- Software name: appdown
- Software type: Microsoft Framwork
- size: 735MB
Passing over the fashionable Summer homes of wealthy people at Southampton, they held the course until Montauk Point light was to the left of the airplane, then Jeff swung in a wide circle out over the desolate sand dunes, the ooze and waving eel-grass of marshes and the tossing combers of the surf.As might be expected, the Parmenidean paradoxes provoked a considerable amount of contradiction and ridicule. The Reids and Beatties of that time drew sundry absurd consequences from the new doctrine, and offered them as a sufficient refutation of its truth. Zeno, a young friend and20 favourite of Parmenides, took up arms in his masters defence, and sought to prove with brilliant dialectical ability that consequences still more absurd might be deduced from the opposite belief. He originated a series of famous puzzles respecting the infinite divisibility of matter and the possibility of motion, subsequently employed as a disproof of all certainty by the Sophists and Sceptics, and occasionally made to serve as arguments on behalf of agnosticism by writers of our own time. Stated generally, they may be reduced to two. A whole composed of parts and divisible ad infinitum must be either infinitely great or infinitely little; infinitely great if its parts have magnitude, infinitely little if they have not. A moving body can never come to the end of a given line, for it must first traverse half the line, then half the remainder, and so on for ever. Aristotle thought that the difficulty about motion could be solved by taking the infinite divisibility of time into account; and Coleridge, according to his custom, repeated the explanation without acknowledgment. But Zeno would have refused to admit that any infinite series could come to an end, whether it was composed of successive or of co-existent parts. So long as the abstractions of our understanding are treated as separate entities, these and similar puzzles will continue to exercise the ingenuity of metaphysicians. Our present business, however, is not to solve Zenos difficulties, but to show how they illustrate a leading characteristic of Greek thought, its tendency to perpetual analysis, a tendency not limited to the philosophy of the Greeks, but pervading the whole of their literature and even of their art. Homer carefully distinguishes the successive steps of every action, and leads up to every catastrophe by a series of finely graduated transitions. Like Zeno, again, he pursues a system of dichotomy, passing rapidly over the first half of his subject, and relaxes the speed of his narrative by going into ever-closer detail until the consummation is reached. Such a poem as the Achilleis of modern critics21 would have been perfectly intolerable to a Greek, from the too rapid and uniform march of its action. Herodotus proceeds after a precisely similar fashion, advancing from a broad and free treatment of history to elaborate minuteness of detail. So, too, a Greek temple divides itself into parts so distinct, yet so closely connected, that the eye, after separating, as easily recombines them into a whole. The evolution of Greek music tells the same tale of progressive subdivision, which is also illustrated by the passage from long speeches to single lines, and from these again to half lines in the dialogue of a Greek drama. No other people could have created mathematical demonstration, for no other would have had skill and patience enough to discover the successive identities interposed between and connecting the sides of an equation. The dialectic of Socrates and Plato, the somewhat wearisome distinctions of Aristotle, and, last of all, the fine-spun series of triads inserted by Proclus between the superessential One and the fleeting world of sense,were all products of the same fundamental tendency, alternately most fruitful and most barren in its results. It may be objected that Zeno, so far from obeying this tendency, followed a diametrically opposite principle, that of absolutely unbroken continuity. True; but the Eleatic Palamedes fought his adversaries with a weapon wrested out of their own hands; rejecting analysis as a law of real existence, he continued to employ it as a logical artifice with greater subtlety than had ever yet been displayed in pure speculation.18
On the day of my visit to Ostend all sorts of conveyances had taken more than 3,000 wounded into the town. Peasants from the neighbourhood were compelled to harness their horses and transport the unfortunate men. Such a procession was distressing to look at, as most men lay on open carts, only supported by a handful of newly cut straw, and long processions entered the town continuously. As reinforcements had arrived, the divisions of the German army which had suffered most came sometimes from the front to the town, in order241 to have a rest, and then I saw a great deal of misery.
It was their habit of teaching rhetoric as an art which raised the fiercest storm of indignation against Protagoras and his colleagues. The endeavour to discover rules for addressing a tribunal or a popular assembly in the manner best cal94culated to win their assent had originated quite independently of any philosophical theory. On the re-establishment of order, that is to say of popular government, in Sicily, many lawsuits arose out of events which had happened years before; and, owing to the lapse of time, demonstrative evidence was not available. Accordingly, recourse was had on both sides to arguments possessing a greater or less degree of probability. The art of putting such probable inferences so as to produce persuasion demanded great technical skill; and two Sicilians, Corax and Tisias by name, composed treatises on the subject. It would appear that the new-born art was taken up by Protagoras and developed in the direction of increased dialectical subtlety. We are informed that he undertook to make the worse appear the better reason; and this very soon came to be popularly considered as an accomplishment taught by all philosophers, Socrates among the rest. But if Protagoras merely meant that he would teach the art of reasoning, one hardly sees how he could have expressed himself otherwise, consistently with the antithetical style of his age. We should say more simply that a case is strengthened by the ability to argue it properly. It has not been shown that the Protagorean dialectic offered exceptional facilities for maintaining unjust pretensions. Taken, however, in connexion with the humanistic teaching, it had an unsettling and sceptical tendency. All belief and all practice rested on law, and law was the result of a convention made among men and ultimately produced by individual conviction. What one man had done another could undo. Religious tradition and natural right, the sole external standards, had already disappeared. There remained the test of self-consistency, and against this all the subtlety of the new dialectic was turned. The triumph of Eristic was to show that a speaker had contradicted himself, no matter how his statements might be worded. Moreover, now that reference to an objective reality was disallowed, words were put in the place95 of things and treated like concrete realities. The next step was to tear them out of the grammatical construction, where alone they possessed any truth or meaning, each being simultaneously credited with all the uses which at any time it might be made to fulfil. For example, if a man knew one thing he knew all, for he had knowledge, and knowledge is of everything knowable. Much that seems to us tedious or superfluous in Aristotles expositions was intended as a safeguard against this endless cavilling. Finally, negation itself was eliminated along with the possibility of falsehood and contradiction. For it was argued that nothing had no existence and could not be an object of thought.71Every one remembers the classification of water-wheels met with in the older school-books on natural philosophy, where we are informed that there are three kinds of wheels, as there were "three kinds of levers"namely, overshot, undershot, and breast wheelswith a brief notice of Barker's mill, which ran apparently without any sufficient cause for doing so. Without finding fault with the plan of describing water-power commonly adopted in elementary books, farther than to say that some explanation of the principles by which power is derived from the water would have been more useful, I will venture upon a different classification of water-wheels, more in accord with modern practice, but without reference to the special mechanism of the different wheels, except when unavoidable. Water-wheels can be divided into four general types.
Mr. Everdail proceeded at once to tie himself in his first knot.