strange adversative combination: sed - tamen

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pb
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strange adversative combination: sed - tamen

Post by pb » Thu Sep 16, 2004 10:04 am

I'm bothered by the use of sed & tamen in the
following sentence - can you help?

Dici potest consistere in tanta, sed minutissima tamen
fluiditate, ac subtilitate corporis.

I'm pretty sure that tanta qualifies fluiditate, but
am bothered about the positioning of the sed and
tamen. Maybe because I consider the fluidity and
subtility not be naturally contradictory. So far, I
have stretched my translation to be as follows, but
I'm uncomfortable with it - any ideas?

It may be said to consist of such great fluidity but
however the most minute fineness of the material.

thanks

Peter Boyd

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Re: strange adversative combination: sed - tamen

Post by benissimus » Sun Sep 19, 2004 6:42 pm

pb wrote:I'm bothered by the use of sed & tamen in the
following sentence - can you help?

Dici potest consistere in tanta, sed minutissima tamen
fluiditate, ac subtilitate corporis.

I'm pretty sure that tanta qualifies fluiditate, but
am bothered about the positioning of the sed and
tamen. Maybe because I consider the fluidity and
subtility not be naturally contradictory. So far, I
have stretched my translation to be as follows, but
I'm uncomfortable with it - any ideas?

It may be said to consist of such great fluidity but
however the most minute fineness of the material.
Is this from an alchemy book? I think the most apparent contradiction is between tanta "so much" and minutissima "very tiny", justifying the contrast expressed by sed... tamen.

I wonder if fluiditas is being used to mean "the liquid state" of a substance and corpus the solid state.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae

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Re: strange adversative combination: sed - tamen

Post by Democritus » Mon Sep 20, 2004 4:09 am

pb wrote:It may be said to consist of such great fluidity but
however the most minute fineness of the material.
Instead of but however, maybe try but nevertheless, or but yet or but still. (Still in the logical sense, not the temporal sense.) Or maybe even and yet.

pb
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response

Post by pb » Mon Sep 20, 2004 10:46 am

Thanks for your responses;

I like 'nevertheless';

It isn't alchemy, it is science, trying to express something not well understood;

I don't think corpus is being contrasted with fluiditas - I believe that corpus is being used to imply substance as oppsed to accident and implies some unknown type of material. The author is not favouring atomism as understood mid-C17, but does believe that "things" are made of very minutes "particles". The subject is known to flow past obstacles as it was fluid-like.

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Re: response

Post by Democritus » Mon Sep 20, 2004 5:05 pm

Does tanta refer back to something previously mentioned? I'm curious to see some of the context, before and after this sentence.

Thanks.

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tanta ...

Post by pb » Mon Sep 20, 2004 6:41 pm

no, tanta definitely qualifies fluiditate - implying extreme fluidity - which might also imply more fluid than any known liquid and consequently of even smaller particle size than any liquid

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Re: tanta ...

Post by Democritus » Mon Sep 20, 2004 10:42 pm

pb wrote:no, tanta definitely qualifies fluiditate - implying extreme fluidity - which might also imply more fluid than any known liquid and consequently of even smaller particle size than any liquid
Oh yes, I understand that tanta qualifies fluiditate. But I share the confusion of your original question. I don't understand what is being contrasted. I'm wondering if tanta is refers back to something which was mentioned in a previous sentence. Maybe minutissima is being contrasted with something mentioned previously, which tanta alludes to?

Maybe I just don't understand the physics. The fluidity is "so great, and yet so minute." Is that what is being asserted? How is great fluidity different from minute fluidity?

I'm curious to know more about this text. Is it a secret?? :) It's not Lucretius, is it?

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no secret

Post by pb » Tue Sep 21, 2004 11:02 am

'It' is light that is being talked about and not Lucretius. The sentence is a chapter (new proposition) heading and thus I believe cannot contain something referring back to something previous.

Yes, why any contrast at all?

Solidity is implicitly being contrasted with fluidity. Solids are relatively bigger chunks. Liquids and gases flow around obstacles easier than chunky solids, even sand, which have to bounce off.

I didn't think it was the physics that was the issue, I though that I was missing something in the latin - but maybe the author or his intended audience was likely to have views inconsistent with our present day common sense views.

Thanks for your interest.

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Post by Anna Coluthon » Tue Sep 21, 2004 7:33 pm

is it possible that the contrast is merely rhetorical--a kind of stylistic reflex occasioned by the juxtaposition of tanta and minutissima, rather than an especially deliberate refinement of the scientific information?

I read the effect of sed tamen as semantically additive in an exclamatory kind of way, rather than especially adversative.

I could easily be tripping, however--I'm kind of short on sleep atm.

Nice question :)
phpbb

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