It is okay to be confused (It may even be better than knowing).まごまごとしどろもどろな事がいいです。(知識を比べて多分もっと良いか)

Brilliant words flowing … From those never knowing, how many lives they touch….

(2001) Connie Marcum Wong



I would like to thank Tsunoda Japanese School and its students for helping me release and promote my ebook. The video we made to advertise the book demonstrates the uniqueness of the poetry me and my teacher strove to share with the world; and again I am extremely grateful to all the Taiwanese Japanese language students that came forward to help me with the release of this book.  Living and working in Asia for some years now I have come to be accustomed to situations where I do not know what is going on… This is not a problem  if an individual harbors honest intentions to learn then every moment remains a gift in itself. The dominant East Asian languages contain fantastic poetic structures but I have to admit other than Matsu O’ Basho and Dogen my understanding of the poetic of works is very little. However, I have in my studies delved deeper into the many interesting and smaller component parts of the language. Take for example the Japanese word  Zappai  meaning playful literature is a descriptive term that could apply to all the writing I attempt. The second example is the famous example of a kind of unique literature to Japan. The work Again in the Hōjōki’  by Kamo no Chōmei is an example of Zuihitsu (Texts that respond to the authors’ surroundings). I’ve yet to read this bit of Japanese literature I look forward to doing so because a work such as this contains an example of how deeply contradictory language is. For me when confronted with the Hōjōki (a ten foot square hut) I’m reminded of a certain confusion regarding language: it appears to us as being limitless infinite in potential but for humans the beings who are known for their dependency on language it is certainly finite and limited. 

Everyone and everything is in a ten foot square hut … 

Nobody and nothing is in a ten foot square hut …’ 

私のエ本を出す事が手伝うのでつのだ日本語学と学生達を有難いです。ビデオは私と森田先生の詩を世界でシェアしたいですので、台湾人の日本語学生ために私は本当にまた「ありがとうございます」と言うなければなりません。アジアでみつの年に住んだに私は知らないの経験を慣(な)れました。もし、すべての経験から個人は真面目な意思と習う事が出来るので問題じゃないです。東亜諸国の言葉は素敵で私的な形があるけど、松尾 芭蕉(まつお ばしょう)と永平道元無し私の知識を狭いです。しかし、私の学ぶ事で言葉の面白くて小さい部分に探りました。例えば日本語の単語で、私の書くので、雑俳(さっぱい)の意味はプレーフルな文学が記述的な用語です。二回目の例えは有名な文学が日本でユニークな物です。「’方丈記’」鴨 長明さんの本は随筆です。私はこの本を読めましたけどこの本が言葉の深い矛盾(むじゅん)を有ります。私の意見は方丈記で言葉のある種の当枠を連想(れんそう)します。言葉は無限と秒秒(びょうびょう)をみたいですけど、人間のために言葉が有限と限り(かぎ)ある。



Language is certainly a contender for one of the strangest things known to humankind. The possibility of a language-less world is impossible; for nature has had its communication long before homosapiens started making complex patterns in sound. The genesis of language can be considered to arise or start from a need to make sense of pictures, of images, and the meaning they enable. Writing on this blog I have already posted about the inspiration of Derrida and Wittgenstein on how language constructs many competing perspectives. The most interesting of these is inherited from an important moment in the history of thinking. The moment which I speak of is the realisation and perhaps the rediscovery of a long held understanding: that if we seek to contemplate existence, what it means to be, we inevitably arrive at the notion that our mental or subjective experience of our own existence distorts and indeed governs the way we are. This is also a Buddhist notion that behind the appearance of things there resides a deeper truth to being. This can be rephrased as suggesting that having a perspective is not at all helpful in understanding the truer Truth. The European articulation of this is to be located in a line from Germany to France a life long conversation between the ideas of Martin Heidegger and Jacques Derrida. This version of our linguistic interest runs as follows: Humans in as far as they exist can only talk of this being. The being of beings, not of Being itself. Now, the scientists amongst you hawk and state this as rubbish and you are entitled to such an opinion; but do not stop reading just yet.



Science and its method always seeks to arrive at objectivity: a position of knowledge considered to be real. It frequently does produce useful information within a given context so the benefits of having this thing called science and the use of language it enables (highly rational, explainable, and believable) are there to experience yet it is also extremely relativistic. What am I trying to say here? Well let me simplify: a perspective that I am keen on nurturing is the one that questions the outcomes or result of language usage or behaviour that produces more knowledge. What happens if it is possible to know everything? What happens to that which is authentically new and relative if we believe it is already known or even knowable. Our perspective becomes impoverished we loose the initial premise knowledge itself is generated from the original position or proposition of not knowing. The fact that objective knowledge so often looses its way and becomes yet another commodity on a market I find unhelpful to living organisms. This process generates bad belief in a possessive type of knowing. In my ebook I’ve made a small attempt to point towards something else: An Uu (Understated-understanding) such an alliterated concept I would encourage to be defined as the potential to resist the pitfalls of objective knowledge and the havoc it wreaks on limiting the life experiences of so many members of the species…

科学と方法はいつも客観(きゃっかん)をくれたい「実な知識」です。科学はコンテクストでよくに便利な報知(ほうち)を作るから、それが可能にする言語の使用(非常に合理的で、説明可能で、信じられる)は体験することができますが、それはまた非常に相対論的です。ここで何を言おうとしていますか? 簡単に説明します。私が育成に熱心に取り組んでいる視点は、言語の使用や行動の結果や結果に疑問を投げかけ、より多くの知識を生み出します。すべてを知ることができるとどうなりますか? それがすでに知られているか、または知っているとさえ信じるならば、本当の新しい相対的なものに何が起こるか。 私たちの視点は貧弱になり、最初の前提知識自体が失われます。知識自体は、元の位置または知らないという命題から生成されます。客観的な知識がしばしばその道を失い、市場でさらにもう1つの商品になるという事実は、私は生物にとって役に立たないと感じています。 このプロセスは、所有のタイプの知識に対する悪い信念を生み出します。 私の電子ブックでは、他のことを指すように小さな試みをしました。Uu(Understated-Understanding)のようなうわべだけの概念は、客観的な知識の落とし穴とそれが制限にもたらす大混乱に抵抗する可能性として定義されることをお勧めします 種の非常に多くのメンバーの人生経験…

This Uu concept I hope can encourage lesser explored perspectives such as how cultures of writing can erase knowledge in a useful way. Or, how things such as the internet or the archival habit of humans (a desire for history and useful fiction and myth) point towards the possibility of collective appreciation of what already is… rather than the propensity to overvalue knowledge and attributing our own meaning over already deeply meaningful things. The fact that you had a past, you are in a present, and will be in a future makes me aware that creative use of language and the act of poetic expression can assist us in finding new moments for appreciation. 

このUuのコンセプトは、執筆の文化がどのようにして有用な方法で知識を消去できるかなど、あまり探求されていない視点を奨励できることを願っています。 または、インターネットや人間のアーカイブの習慣(歴史と有用なフィクションと神話への欲求)などが、すでにあるものを集合的に評価する可能性をどのように指し示しているのか…知識を過大評価して自分の意味を すでに意味のあること。 あなたが過去を持っていて、あなたが現在にいて、将来にいるという事実は、言語の創造的な使用と詩的な表現の行為が感謝の新しい瞬間を見つけるのを助けることができることを私に認識させます。

All I wish is for people who encounter this collection to leave after rethinking the value of having a confusion or being confused. Certainty can occasionally be overrated in some circumstances. 

私が望むのは、このコレクションに遭遇した人々が、混乱や混乱の価値を再考した後に去ることです。 状況によっては、確実性が過大評価されることがあります。

Please buy my ebook here <…>, or there <…>, or over there <..>.

このイービーを買えるのでここに<…>、そこに<…>, あそこに<..>.

Thank you,  Paul Harrison, Taoyuan, Taiwan 



This post includes a few things I have been reading and translating. I have already posted some of them on Instagram but here I have included a translation of my friend Yutaka’s book, and my teacher Yoko’s buddhist text. I have also included some important practice in Japanese grammar which I really need to commit to memory in a fluent way so I can use them correctly in speech. I also found this amazing website for students of Japanese: it is full of a wide range of literature and I will be using it a couple of times a week.


このポソトは私の読むと翻訳するの物です。インスタグラムで前にアップロードしたにですけど、友達豊君の本も私の先生、陽子さんの仏教テクストの翻訳を有ります。そして、大切な日本語の文法の練習する事も有って、この事が私はとてもペラペラ経由で暗記しなければなりませんから、話すときに使えますね。で、この素敵なサイトを見つけましたので、このサイトは日本語の生徒さんために便利だと思います。 はたくさん文学が持つので毎週二回目使えましょうです。





kanji 005


If we make space for worshipping our nature with sublimation, existence is magnified.

Spring is passing / the birds cry / and the fishes fill with tears on their eyes.


kanji 001

Ah tranquillity! / penetrating the very rock / a Cicada’s voice.



Zen does not shout:

Its will is free

We can swim in the sea of its heart

The place of decision is a turning point in existence

Is the natural profound meaning.





Gradually meet philosophy


What good can I do when angry?


Yutaka Morinaga


Throughout the day there are many problems with being angry, right?

___ Morinaga, This way of resolving was an inconvenient state of affairs.


Morinaga ‘whether one likes it or not, it is a little laughable. A sporadic person, reaching their limit has an angry feeling, and this is an object of torment?’

‘sporadically, ‘yes, this is how it is?’


___what Sporadic people, and Morinaga want to say is failing to come to an end.


Morinaga ‘ sporadic people reaching their limit try and make a sign of the angry episode, this considerable speech is understandable. But, for example, you can’t control the anger, and the anger is unreasonable, oh dear!’


Sporadically, ‘well, yes, you can. Seeing the person who sells, and what person suddenly gets angry like this.


Morinaga ‘ Yes?!’


2 x B

Two Bens:Two Artists Using Japan for Inspiration. (Benjamin Bardou’s ‘Tokyo Wanderings’, and Ben Jeans Houghton’s film ‘2nd Life’.)

[Ben J. Houghton’s film ‘2nd Life’ was exhibited at Bloc Projects in Sheffield.]

The French artist Benjamin Bardou’s work is a visual feast at first sighting on Instagram one was hooked asking what is this new glitchy and painterly crack? It turned out to be some experiment in video editing and production using something called ‘pointcloud’ in the animation of videos. Take for example ‘Dotswarm’ an application for apple operating systems developed in New Zealand. After glimpsing at what this kind of animation is I encountered a new development in animation techniques that is animating the cloud. This is very fascinating for me because the image of the cloud is a very very very beautiful and strong image. Clouds have inspired so much culture over the history of our species from Aristophanes’s portrayal of Socrates to a fantastic youtube lesson on the continuation of Chan Buddhist hermits titled Amongst White Clouds (worth watching it still makes me romanticise about being a hermit… although I do not wish to be one). In Japanese the Kanji for cloud 雲 / ku-mo / is comprised of two parts ‘rain’ 雨 /a-me/ and a radical for ‘say’言/ Iu / which in turn can be in turn reduced down to two. So, one direct translation into English can be ‘rain say’ or ‘say rain’ the potential meaning of which escapes me. Yet, it does provide a route into the two videos which I would love to just gawp at continuously projected in a high definition. First viewing was a kind of reality check because Bardou’s short films really forced immaterial aesthetics into one’s thoughts. Similar and relevant considerations are also found in a brilliant discussion of an “immaterial world” author Steve Wright asks a question that is perhaps also asked by the two films Lost in Tokyo, and Wandering in Paris (please watch them below), that is ‘Are we living in an immaterial world?’. In Wright’s sharp dissection of post-workerism and especially the work of political and economic thinkers such as Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt in their books Empire and the Multitude ideas of immaterial labour and the changing reality of capitalism are thought through. I think an element of wrights conclusion is rather interesting when he mentions ‘Speculative ventures – which have been rife in the past decade – seem to make money out of thin air’, and…

‘In the meantime, debt continues to balloon, from the micro scale of individual and family credit cards, to the macro level of public sector budgets and current account deficits. However ingeniously the burden of such debt is redistributed, the terms of the wager cannot be forestalled forever. When it is finally called in, things will become very interesting indeed. If nothing else, we may then find out at last whether or not, as Madonna sang. …

The boy with the cold hard cash Is always Mister Right, ‘cause we are Living in a material world.i

Ending on Madonna’s song completes a nice circuit in that the essay begins with referencing Zen. Two individuals try and outsmart a master and ask, ‘can you teach me about reality without using either sound or silence? The master punches them in the face’ such a moment of aggression is perfectly placed so as to allow me to make an important point regarding Bardou’s cloudy creations. For me they were and still are a punch to the face in that they build upon the notion of a veil that covers an underlying reality, or a reality that should indeed be veiled?

Fundamentally, modern life is computational the acceptance of mathematics builds a one sided picture of the world. A sphere of certainty although useful is it really necessary? If so what kind of necessity does it represent? Questions such as these are seemingly resolved in the silent Buddhism by way of a profound negation of illusion of Maya; qualities that are shared with Plato in that the most rightfully revered ancient Greek Pagan believed whole heartedly in a universal law. In the Timaeus (Plato’s creationist account for existence) we can read Timaeus describe how the maker of the universe a creator God desired ‘everything to be good, marred by as little imperfection as possible’; this God found everything visible in a state of turmoil therein he was forced to turn this chaos into order.ii It is this movement away from the senses and an emphasis on their being two realms of reality the transient and the eternal and unchanging. For those readers interested in how Plato came to make his distinction between the sensible (A-C, eikasia -pistis), and the intelligible (C-E, dianoia – noesis) represented by a divided line. Can it not be true that all lines are not just divided but are dividing; Plato would have perhaps said that all lines are divided by the sight or gaze. Yet what about the line made by Plato’s creator, a line from Chaos to order, and is this line still as persuasive as it has been for over a thousand years? I am less convinced that Plato did not completely miss-interpret the followers of Heraclitus and that his debt to Parmenides was not burdensome upon the human imagination. Speaking about such topics makes me also add that the role of the Sophists on Socrates and Plato needs studying as it contains hidden mysteries and insights. Bardou’s films offer up not a frustrating but a strong example of artistic wonder surviving, thriving, and marking its territory among its newer iterations: philosophy, science, and design.

It is one of those infuriating moments of existence a good friend of yours has helped bring an awesome artwork to a city that gave me my first taste of actual education (the state organised schools, the generic secondary schools in the UK, I experienced as a factory and a prison – aware that the national curriculum is so devoid of any kindness nor nuanced belief in those learning under it – I hear some of you think: ‘well at least you had education of some sort?’, yes, I did, but only when I moved to an open and free space at the Art school in Sheffield). It is a shame I could not participate in this community’s appreciation of a film ‘2ndlife’ by Ben J. Houghton. A film which features visual material shot and taken from the country I consider as my second home. Japan, has a claim to being the most interesting country, nation, or culture currently thriving on this planet because it is home to some of the oldest unique events, objects, and processes. To name but a few that western readers may easily identify and understand: Manga & Animation, Samurai, and Sushi. But wait, the latter is a silly sentence because each reader has their own identification and understanding of the Far East. This is but one of the good things about this film although a monologue Ben’s voice (I assume) never detracts from the content his camera records; content that features places and locations that I am personally so fond of. This is of course to be expected as any lucky person able to live in a country that is not their own will testify that although it is a confusion as to whether or not your interpretation makes the place, or does the place (time/space) make your interpretation?

The film is a good resource and example of how art is a parental practice to philosophy. Watching 2nd life one hears, ‘every artistic practice is generative’ and this made me nostalgic for such a belief for I do not believe this is applicable to the whole (every practice) of such practices. This is due to my repeated experience of the severity of manipulation involved in human habits and thus an inability to fully control symbolic value (this is most likely tantamount to a personal confession about one’s own inability to draw conclusions surrounding such distinctions as value and meaning, being and non-being, the transcendent and immanent). One really likes how the film really deepens the titles duality. It comments on a life within a life and beliefs surrounding rebirth and the Buddhist belief of Saṃsāra (संसार: an endless cycle of rebirth and wandering; is it akin to the western wondering necessity? Who knows?). For me there are strong highlights that stuck with me after one watch of this film. The first comes at 09:44 – and Ben’s voice reminded me of the spiral circles in French thinker Delueze’s metaphysical detailing of desire … and this film brilliantly hammers home that time is necessary for meaning and generates a lived experience in which time’s transitory mysterious materiality is laid bare for the spectator’s spectacles. Houghton correctly states three modes of learning 1) brutal ‘trial and error’ 2) emphatic connections, 3) love and compassion – all eventually, by way of artistic inquiry and agency lead to “learning as liberation from learning.

Here the film’s speculations start to go even more deeper as the narrator suggests whilst on a Tokyo train that it is perhaps a strange and dark aspect of human consciousness that allows our thinking, or being to often encompass a “Tearing through humanness” amidst all the energy and re-incarnation. Another memorable line that hits right to the hidden dilemma at the heart of human creativity, “trying to find a usable marker is like trying to grab a beam of sunlight in a river current”. This line makes me think of the strangeness of how objects only exist under the parameters of their own usage, but this sentence seems to disturb this in that with the surface of a flowing river’s encounter with light. Such an example of flux is one of the joys of film and video (both digital and analogue) they capture light for fleeting experiences that are often feel so fundamentally familiar we forget their difference. The mechanics of film: the capture of light and time, the animation of matter, and the social and anti-social modes of production… offer up alternatives to what we so often are forced to take for granted. Here, cinema and literature are shown to be deeply intertwined and contained within their operating systems, within their modus operandi, is a utopian day dreaming. Understood from the perspective of a ‘second life’ this may suggest that rebirth be something desired; never mind the Buddhist wisdom that states this as unnecessary suffering, ‘if one can live again then why not?’ Well, there is always the probability you could come back as a fruit fly or a loathed creature like a cockroach? This is why Buddha’s insights should not be messed with however if we, in our thinking, are searching for a connection between East and West then here is a potentially political one: Is Buddhism more Hobbesian (as in the self is this illusionary leviathan?) or Rosseau-ian (that the institutions with which we have to live by corrupt our innocence?); it could be a mixture of course?


A cat moving through a graveyard hones the films fluctuations on its current: its exploration of the true difficulties that every human faces. How, in each of us there exist drives that if we find a balance within daily life then they may flow peacefully but if we experience a degree of unbalanced events and situations then ‘like follows like’ we move towards chaos. Such interrelations are very difficult to navigate and to survive them the psyche of an individual has to go through training, has to measure itself amongst the vast possibilities that reside in even the most miniscule of spaces. This meditation manifests more vividly at an introduction of a cat (a most beloved creature in Japan). At 34:26, a cat’s poem states, ‘you smell like soul and blood, just waiting wanton time … waiting for the time where my ideas act…’ all spoken in a slow and lucid stroll through a graveyard. Reminding me of supposed antagonisms between reason and its absence, realism and relativism, automation and autonomy. But, is it not true that an animal such as a cat teaches humans their own futility? We can never be as beautiful nor as stupendously wacky (see the mass of cat Instagrams), or even as wise as our feline associates. This cat and poem in a graveyard (all Japanese cats are related to the six cats (Goma, Otsuka, Kawamura, Mimi, Okawa, and Toro in Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore (2002)) made me want to read the book again of course and also research other relations one could find that connected Ben’s film with Murakami and I stumbled across an article written by Michele Eduarda Brasil de Sá. In this article Michele brilliantly invites us to consider a Japanese notion of “Space Time” by honing in on an important part of Murakami’s novel. We are presented with the main character kafka Tamura discovering an oil painting in a library in which supposedly the secrets to the labyrinth of time are found as well as “The Edge of the World” (世間の縁 /sekai no fuchi/).iii

Inevitably Murakami’s novel and the cat cameo culminates in me and you, dear reader, being forced to bow to the cat’s (にゃー義 /nya-gi/ a belief in the feline) because it could be the case that cats are in possession of an understanding of why gravity is also only partially universal and more than a little bit wave like. This then entails a perspective that strives and struggles for an appreciation of the limitations of life and of living. Houghton’s film is so thought provoking it gracefully invites much consideration on this narrative of struggle, of the finite that all humans represent. Here again Buddhism trumps western thinking in that the Buddhist death is positive we should be embracing the lack of choice with which we came into being as different to how we could leave existence. Ben’s work also references the notion of Antinatalism in the thinking of philosopher David Benatar, and how Houghton experienced a group of American military personal discussing their masculinity at the doors of the notorious suicide forest Aokigahara or ‘The Sea of Trees’. Such a coincidence makes me think of an anti-antinatalist position that I also think the maker of this film would also support. That is it is a little daft considering we are all here because two or even more people made us. To prescribe a negative value to birth is akin to saying you would rather not be when you are being. You could say that this misunderstanding arises from not appreciating how being is always taken over to a space, it always finds itself there. This is of course a little derivative of Martin Heidegger’s thinking (I wish it were more Kantian, or Schellingian but I need to study these Germans more), but what I find fascinating by the ease at which anti-natalism is refuted (in only one sense, but it could also be defended as a form of “free” choice) is that it also enables an understanding of traditionally materialist stances on the cosmos. Here we have two positions that are against human life one being anti-birth, and the other against continuing life (suicide).

But, I am sure these two are positive they are affirmations of life because both are about choice seen as both intentional and wholly other. We are fundamentally not in control of the beginning of existence and yet we can say with some certainty that it is more likely that we are in control of our demise (not when but how) even though there is still the possibility that this control may be taken away from us. The ancient atomists understood existence as unforgiving and unaffected by humans, yet they acknowledged that atoms may join and separate and that is why a film about Japan such as ‘2nd life’ is so great; it is not humorous but it demands we take materialism and the role of religion seriously. I think this film encourages and nurtures understanding on the role of transience in transcendence. This then connects back to what one mentioned regarding Plato’s conjunction between constant change and infinite being. I think the regularity of material change is of a nature that is apprehensible in that ‘becoming’, the titanic twin of change, reinforces teleological time (there are other forms of time (Chronos is a mischeivous god!)). Why? Plato believed in universals (Ideas = forms) and for something to be a universal it must remain forever and be incorruptible. . Science and particularly astrophysics and quantum mechanics reveals the extent to which all could be related, this is called the unified field theory, and it aims to reveal reality as an equation. Regardless of whether or not the physicists make such a remarkable achievement the fact that some of us are striving for such things demands that we question the effects it may carry. If such a process is accomplished in the name of knowledge then this worries me because it suggests another standardisation that may do away with a determination (struggle to understand) found in those phenomena such as light, colour, and life.

One good example of why a spectrum predominates over standards is mass/matter/weight itself and here again we can find Plato and Buddha’s presence. Plato had the notion of το μέγα και το μικρών (‘the great and the small’ /to mega kai to mikron /) a dualistic ontology that has ‘the One’ as a principle of unity, and ‘the indefinite dyad’ a principle of multiplicity and indeterminacy.iv Buddha has a similar if not equivalent duality that Enlightenment is another One (but, differs in that this represents an absence of thinking), and unless we learn to see through the multiplicity called ‘Maya’ an illusion, our suffering increases. But, it is the half of the split comprised of illusion that interests me and I am not here trashing the One, just stating that the contents of the sensory realm being illusionary may not be problematic if we understand them as illusions. That being illusionary generates a necessary need to be creating our own relations between things? Even mathematics can be said to partake in such processes; one very striking modern scientific example is a discrepancy between the Quantum and the relative, or how do we understand atoms when their material qualities appear as change itself.

A striking example would be a symmetry between the great and the small this can be found if we consider the notion that mass is only a constant if it travels at the speed of light. Other than this it is subject to change. This then makes it also a spectrum if what we measure changes by our measuring then does this support the necessity of a spectrum of choice struggling in face of determination? Or, does it affirm a determination a one unchanging and perfect? I do not know, but this is the line of questioning I will further at some point. First, to end on some aesthetic evidence for these considerations. Whilst studying for a philosophy of science exam I came across the symbol for Solar mass M and learnt that it is equivalent to the mass of our sun: two Nonillion (two quintillion kilograms), allowing the measurement of the mass of the planets and cosmic entities. If we look at the symbol for solar mass we simultaneously see how Plato was brilliant and wrong in that our contemporary understanding of our sun states that it too has a lifespan, it too has to die, and if it has to die, then surely the universe also?v This symbol also resembles Plato and his intellectual father Parmenides’s belief that the One took the form of a circle because by definition, ‘that which is equidistant in all directions from the centre’ can be said to have a kind of perfection but importantly we have a choice if this is seen as a process of becoming. If we exist within the universe on a line from one sun Mto others M1 + M2 + M☉3 + M☉4 +M☉n……. we see clearly how choice arises from a battle against a determination with demise as Ben himself narrated, ‘you must be in a place of perfect unrealised potential at the moment of death’.This all may be a digression from the brilliance of Ben Houghton’s film but I felt that I wanted to take the opportunity to share some thoughts and urge anyone interested about this film to get in touch with the artist and demand that he screen this 50 minute film near you. This film deals with so much that is of interest ( sovereignty of personhood… love as a co-dependency) it would take a second life just to second this awesome work of art.

Perhaps, this commentary on a ‘2ndlife’ is too focused on just one recent extrapolation of death and indeed too anchored to the beautiful Japan. So, to end with something that expands the death of this film into another stream of thinking on death found in the ‘Tibetan Book of the Dead’, these lines lifted from The Aspirational Prayer Which Protects from Fear of the Intermediate States may offer a temporary period. But still a perfect pregnant potential, Thank you Bens!

‘When I am miraculously born into the intermediate state of rebirth, may I not be beguiled by the perverse prophecies of Māra, And as I [freely] arrive at every place that I think of, May the bewildering fear and terror, generated by my negative past actions, not arise. When the roars of savage wild beasts echo around me, May their cries be transformed into the sound of the sacred teachings, the Six Syllables , And as I am engulfed by snow, rain, wind, and darkness, May I achieve the pure clairvoyance of radiant pristine cognition

May I easily come to master by study and reflection, The manifold stages of learning ̶ small, intermediate, and great. May the country into which I am born be auspicious, And may all sentient beings be blessed with happiness. ‘vi






Lost in Tokyo from Benjamin Bardou on Vimeo.
“二回目の命は哲学ためにアートが親ので本当にいい例えです。二回目の命を見っているは(全てのアーティステックな実践をジェネレーティブ)と聞こえるから。このビデオのアートは私に遠因の覆面カーバが実を覆面有るなければなりませんから私の顔でパンチもです。差遣的にもダンライフの勘定と数学を受諾ので世界の絵は不平等な絵を作ります。確実性の球体はべんりけどこれは必ずですか。この質問は静かな仏教でマーヤーのイリュージョンを深い否定で解決済みです。そして、このクオリティはプラトンにシエアするので尊の古いギリシャーのペイガンが普遍的な法律を信じました。ティメオーズ(プラトンの創造論)私たちは天主が全てのいいと少しい不備も欲しい事を読めます。このゴッドは全ての視覚的なものを混乱過ぎるを見つけたから、この混乱を平均)に化せなければなりません。この移動は可能から二つの実の天地あるで無常と永久に念を押しました。読者からペラトンの区別で感覚的な(エイー・シーeikasia・pistis)と達意なタース(シー・イーdianoia・noesis) 両方はディバイデッドインを描破します。それも、全てのラインはディバイデッドですけどディバィデッデイングも有るし〜ペラトンが全てのインを視線が見えるからディバィデッドします。でも、ペラトンの神明のラインはどうですか。このラインは混乱からバランスまで、このラインが千年あとに説得力続く。私はペラトンがヘラクライタスを悪い拝読したと彼のパーメニディーズために忝を人間の思い方に負担を成ったので半信半疑です。このトッピクスを話しているは私がペラトンとサークレーティーズの詭弁の影響で非表示の神秘と洞祭力有るから足しました。バードウさんの映画は創造的な驚嘆の生き残るの例を悔しくないけと強い奉納ですからこの例はアートの新しい反復で哲学と科学とデザインにこの創造的な驚嘆が


         Benjamin J. Houghton ‘2ndlife’, Film Still (2018)

よくファミリア過ぎるので忘れると光を捕らえます。フィルムの力学: 光を時間捕らえる、物質をアニメする、社会的でアソテソーシャルの生産の方法…皆さんの強行な措定くらへて他のオプションを見せます。だからシネマと文学は一緒に不採算の手口と作動で空想的社会改良家有ります。二回目の生命の遠近法から見るを分がったに生変をくれたいみたいですけど仏教の知恵がこの生変を必要ではないと言った”もし、また生きたら大丈夫かな?”では、生変するでいつもショウジョウバイとゴキブリを死に変わりますか。それは仏教の洞察力をごちゃ混ぜないですけど、もし私たち考えるで東と西の関係を探して多分政治的な一つのままです。仏教はハーブジーン(遺制と生くなければなりませんので無罪を毒する)勿論、ミクスもありうべきか?
猫はなかば経由動くでフィルムの変動をナラティブに研ぐ、そして全ての人間は正しい問題を向かいます。どうやってか、全ての人中に動因があって、もし私たちが生活でバランスを見つけるからこの動因を平穏ですけどもし、いつかの経験をするので同じ事を一緒に習うで私たちを混乱に動きます。相関はナビるが難しさともし良い生存して個人のプッュケーを訓練しなければなりませんと個人のプッュケーは自分を微細なスペースで膨大な可能に対して計ります。この瞑想は一番の鮮明する猫の紹介時で(日本で猫が超愛してる)。34分26秒で、猫のしはみみは精神とちの匂いみたいです。はちゃめちゃな時間を持って…時間で私のアイデアに行為を持つと私がこの信じる事を全ての実践で言わないけど前の信じるから懐かしくてなりました。このいない事は人間の習性で深刻なてさばきので象徴的な価値を支配が出来ません。(でも、これは私の価格と意味いるといない、超越論と内在的で断じないから個人的な懺悔です)。私はこのフィルムに題名の双対をもっと深さなる事が大好きです。生命を生命中に伝えて生変と生変と仏教の輪廻と信じるも伝えます。私ために一回見る後で強い圧巻を見かけました。まず、9分44秒でベンさんの声はフランス人の哲学者デレューズのデザアイの形而上学的唯物論を連想します。このフィルムは時間のマティリアリティを見物人のメガネためにあらわにすると時間も意味の命脈ために必要です。ホーウトンさんは3つの学びの除法生と言って、1) 残虐なテストとミス、2) 罷り手作、3) 愛と慈悲です。これ学び方たちはアーティスティックの調査と仲介経て”学びは学びから解放”と導く。
ここにフィルムの思索はもっと深さに始めるに話者が東京よ電車でエネルギーと生まれ変わり中に見知らぬで暗い人間の意識の分から皆さんの考えると存在よく人命をばりばり経由すると網羅と理解を出来ます。他の印象深い文章は人間の徳蔵生の心に行く本流中で光線を奪い取るようにするは使えるのマーカーを見つけるようにみたいです。この文章は私に物が物の使う方であるだけと考えるですけど、この文章この考えると光が本流を会いて妨げます。この光速の例え一つのフィルムとビデオの喜び(アナログとデジタル) ではかない経験を言う。全ての言うは明徴でゆっくりはかば経由して話しました。理由と不合理、現実主義と相対主義、オートメーションと自治権も、この対立関係たちは私に連想しました。でも、猫は人間に無駄なこと教えるを正しいですか。人間は決めして猫の知恵と綿陽でならないです。この猫とし(全ての猫は6匹の猫とゴム、オツカ、カフムラ、ミミ、オカフ、トロ、と村上・春樹の’海辺のカフカ’(2002年) 。私にこの本をまた読みたいです。そして、他の関係たちを見つけるとベンのフィルムから村上・春樹までつなげると研究するので私はミシェールさんはエドアルダー・ブラツル・ディー・ザーさんの記事を積まずできます。ぎじで日本的な時空を考えて村上・春樹の本の大切な部分にピントに行く。主人公、カフカ・タムラは図書館で油絵と時間の迷宮とせかりの縁を見つけました。

ネがティブな父あげるから(生きるならよりいかにいの方がいい)と言う同じです。これ分けないのことが生きるいつも場所にもたらすも、いつも生きるはそことおそこに見つける。ハイデガーの教えるからちょっと誘導したいです。(私はこれをもっとキャンティウンがスケリンギアンの方がいいですけどこのドイツ人をもっと勉強しないと)。でも、アンテーネータリズムの本論の簡単から面白いです。(一つの駁する方だ、でも自由の形で守る。) それで、伝統的で物質主義者の宇宙から分ける事が出来ます。ここに二つの立場は人間の生きるにはしてアンテ生めると他の立場が生きる事を続くにはして(自殺)です。
ところがこの収集は約をほされる。古いアトミズトは存在から人間のかざいけのないが優しくないと分かりました。でも、アトミズトはアトムを一つ一つと結びつけると承認しるので二回目の命が本当にいいです。二回目の命はユーモア無し唯物論と宗教の役目をちゃんとする。このフィルムは超越中で無常を促がす。これはプラトン前にことで常数の変化と広大無辺の散在の交渉またリンクします。置く薄々変化の至善は分けるから理由が変化のヲタンな双子を成ることでテローローギキャルな時間に増強します。(クロノスはわんぱくな神様だから、他の時間形があります。) 何故?ペラトンさんは普遍と信じて(イデア) と理念)何かが普遍あれのこの物を永遠に連結有ります。


               Benjamin J. Houghton ‘2ndlife’, Film Still (2018)

分光(決心) 一つの良い例規格外よりはもっといいですからが質量、集団、重さままここでペラトンとブッダを見つける。ペラトンは(観念)を有って(大きて、小さくて)双対の存在論でペラトニックなワンで団結と無期限のダイアドでかず多い原則です。ブッダは等しい二元性が有ってこの開眼か他のワンです。でも、考えるは欠席です)。皆さんはまやかし経由を見えるを習う。なくては、ないことには、我らがなくなんを上がります。だから、まやかしとイリュージョンの半で面白さもワンが(たわごと、おしないですけどもし皆さんは可能の現実は幻を分かたら、問題じゃないです。幻で皆さんために必要な物とこと間に新しい関係を作くなければなりませんか。数学もこの照臨仮定で参加して、量子と神族の違いは近代的で化学的な例について、アトムの物質を変化でその物の見た目をどうやって分かりますか。



iSteve Wright, ‘Reality Check: Are We Living in an Immaterial World?’, in Proud to be Flesh: A mute magazine anthology of cultural politics after the net, (Mute Publishing, London; Autonomedia: Brooklyn, 2009) 472- 480.

iiPlato, trans. Robin Waterfield, Timaeus and Critias, (Oxford World’s Classics, Oxford University Press. 2008).18.

iiiMichele Eduarda Brasil de Sá, Time(s) and Space(s) in Huraki Murakami’s “Kafka on the Shore”, Conference Paper, 2016.

ivAristotle, Metaphysics, (A 6, 987 a 29 – 988 a 1)

vSee Stoic “ἐκπύρωσις ekpyrōsis, “conflagration”) is a belief in the periodic destruction of the cosmos by a great conflagration every Great Year. The cosmos is then recreated (palingenesis) only to be destroyed again at the end of the new cycle.

viComposed: Padmasambhava, revealed: Terton Karma Lingpa, Trans: Gyurme Dorje, The Tibetan Book of The Dead, (Penguin Books, England, 2005) 316.



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Latin prepositions used in the following definitions:

a or ab: ‘from’ ad: ‘to’ or ‘toward’ de: ‘from’ or ‘concerning’

ex: ‘from’ or ‘out of’ per: ‘through’ or ‘by’ in: ‘in’ or ‘on’

sub: ‘under’ post: ‘after’ pro: ‘for’ or ‘in exchange for’ propter: ‘because of’

A fortiori: preposition + the ablative neuter singular of the comparative adjective fortior/fortius (literally: ‘from the stronger thing’): arguing to a conclusion from an already established stronger statement (e.g. ‘All animals are mortal, a fortiori all human beings are mortal’).

A posteriori: preposition + the ablative neuter singular of the comparative adjective posterior/posteriorus (literally: ‘from the later thing’): things known a posteriori are known on the basis of experience (e.g. ‘We can know only a posteriori that all swans are white’).

A priori: preposition + the ablative neuter singular of the comparative adjective prior/prius (literally: ‘from the earlier thing’): what is known to be true a priori can be known independently of (or prior to) empirical investigation or confirmation (e.g. ‘Kant held that we can know a priori that a straight line is the shortest distance between two points.’)

Ad hoc: preposition + the accusative neuter singular of the pronoun hic/haec/hoc (literally: ‘to this thing’): a proposed solution lacking in independent justification (e.g. ‘Aristotle’s view that nous is the kind of knowledge we have of the first principles seems entirely ad hoc.’)

Amicus Plato sed magis amica veritas: Plato is a friend but truth is a greater friend’, based loosely on Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 1096a.

Argumentum ad hominem: the nominative neuter noun argumentum/argumenti + plus preposition + the accusative masculine singular of the noun homo/hominis (literally: ‘argument toward the man’): an argument attacking the person rather than addressing the question.

Barbara: A name employed as part of a mnemonic system devised by medieval students to remember the valid forms of the syllogism (‘Barbara’, ‘Celarent’, ‘Darii’, etc.). Since one of these syllogism consisted of three universal-affirmative (or ‘a’) propositions it was associated with a woman’s name containing three a’s). Aristotle held that Barbara was the most appropriate argument form for presenting a scientific explanation.

Causa sine qua non: the nominative feminine singular of causa/causae + preposition + the ablative feminine singular of the pronoun qui/quae/quod + adverb (literally: ‘a cause without which not’): an indispensable cause.

Causa sui: the nominative feminine singular of causa/causae + the genitive singular of the pronoun sui, sibi, se, se: ‘self caused’ or ‘cause of itself’. Associated with the view proposed by Spinoza and others that the reason for God’s existence lies in its essence (thus sometimes associated with the Ontological Argument).

Ceteris paribus: the ablative neuter plural of the adjective ceter-a-um + plus the ablative neuter plural of the adjective par-paris, an ablative absolute (literally: ‘if other things are equal’ or ‘other things being equal’): a phrase commonly used to consider the effects of a cause in isolation by assuming that other relevant conditions are absent (e.g. ‘An increase in the price of oil will result, ceteris paribus, to people using their cars less often).

Cogito ergo sum: the first person singular present indicative active of cogito/cogitare + adverb + the first person singular present indicative of the verb to be: ‘I think therefore I am’. From Descartes, Principles of Philosophy (1644); the first proposition Descartes encountered in his exercise of methodic doubt he believed could be know clearly and distinctly to be true.

Conatus: the nominative masculine singular of the perfect passive participle of conor/conari, a deponent verb meaning ‘attempt’ or ‘endeavor’; derived from Greek hormê (‘force’ or ‘first start’), term used by the Stoics and later philosophers in speaking of the innate tendency of things to exist or enhance themselves.

Contra: adverb: ‘against’. To be distinguished from Pace (see below)

Credo quia absurdum est: the first person singular indicative active of credo/credere + conjunction + the nominative neuter singular of the adjective absurdus-a-um used as a noun + the third person present indicative of the verb to be: I believe because it is absurd’. Based loosely on a remark in Tertullian, De Carne Christi V, 4.

Credo ut intellegam: the first person singular indicative active of credo/credere + subordinating conjunction + the first person singular subjunctive present active of intellego/intellegere: ‘I believe in order that I may understand’, a view associated with St. Anselm of Canterbury, based on a saying of St. Augustine.

De dicto: preposition + the neuter ablative singular of dictum/dicti: ‘concerning what is said’.

De re: preposition + the feminine ablative singular of res/rei : ‘concerning the thing’.

The phrases de dicto and de re are often used to mark a kind of ambiguity found in intensional statements (statements concerning what a person knows, believes, wants, etc.—also known as attributions in an opaque context). When we say that ‘John believes that someone is out to get him’ we might mean either that John believes that someone (unspecified) means to do him some harm (the de dicto interpretation) or that there is some particular person John believes is out to do him some harm (the de re interpretation).

De facto: preposition + the neuter ablative singular of factum/facti (literally: ‘concerning what is done’): in accordance with the way things exist or events happen (‘John is the de facto head of the organization although he has not been authorized to take charge’).

De jure: preposition + the neuter ablative singular of ius/iuris (literally: ‘concerning the law’): in accordance with the law or some authorizing condition (‘John may be running the organization but he is not its leader de jure’).

Deus ex machina: the nominative masculine singular of deus/dei + preposition + the ablative feminine singular of machina/machinae (literally: ‘god from the machine’). From Horace, Ars Poetica, where it refers to a mechanical device used to transport the representation of a deity onto the stage; more generally it designates any attempt to resolve a problem by means of an unwarranted or un-natural contrivance.

Eo ipso: the ablative neuter singular of the pronoun is, ea, id + the ablative neuter singular of the pronoun ipse/ipsa/ipsum: ‘through or by the thing itself’ (as opposed to through some consequent factor or action). ‘The fact that one disagrees with a particular church doctrine does not eo ipso make one an unbeliever.’

Ergo: adverb: ‘therefore’.

Esse est percipi: the present infinitive of the verb to be + the third person singular present indicative of the verb to be + the present passive infinitive of percipio/percipere (literally: ‘to be is to be perceived’). For Bishop Berkeley, being perceived was a basic feature of all sensible objects.

Ex nihilo nihil fit: preposition + the ablative neuter singular of nihil plus the nominative neuter singular of nihil + third person indicative active of fio/fieri: ‘Nothing is produced or comes from nothing.’ One of those metaphysical principles supposedly evident to ‘the light of reason’; first stated in fragment B 8 of the ancient Greek thinker Parmenides of Elea.

Explanans/explanandum: the nominative neuter present active participle of explano/explanare and the nominative neuter singular future passive participle of explano/explanare: ‘the one explaining’ and ‘the thing needing to be explained’. In the plural: explanantia/explananda: ‘the things explaining’ and ‘the things needing to be explained’. (A clue: remember that the nd in explanandum marks the item needing to be explained.)

Ex vi terminorum: preposition + the ablative feminine singular of vis/vis (‘force’) + the masculine genitive plural of terminus/termini (‘end’, ‘limit’, ‘term’, ‘expression’): ‘out of the force or sense of the words’ or more loosely: ‘in virtue of the meaning of the words’. ‘We can be certain ex vi terminorum that any bachelors we encounter on our trip will be unmarried.’

Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas: ‘Happy is he who is able to know the causes of things’. From Vergil, Georgics 2.490, said with reference to Lucretius.

Fiat justicia ruat caelum: ‘Let there be justice though the sky should fall’. (One of many versions.)

Floruit (fl.): the third person perfect indicative singular of floreo/florere: ‘he flourished’. Used to place a person in a historical period when the precise birth and death dates are not known (e.g. ‘Heraclitus of Ephesus, fl. 504-500’).

Hypotheses non fingo: the accusative plural of the Greek noun hupothesis + adverb + the first person singular present indicative of fingo/fingere: I do not feign (invent) hypotheses’. From the second edition of Newton’s Principia.

Ignoratio elenchi: the nominative feminine singular of ignoratio/ignorationis + the genitive masculine singular of elenchus/elenchi (literally: ‘ignorance of a refutation): mistakenly believing that an argument that has proved an irrelevant point has proved the point at issue.

In cauda venenum: preposition + the ablative feminine singular of cauda/caudae + the nominative singular neuter of venenum/veneni: ‘the sting is in the tail’. Originally used to describe the scorpion, the phrase is sometimes used in connection with a text or speech that begins in a friendly way but ends with a stinging rejoinder (cf. Winston Churchill’s remark: ‘You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing—after they have exhausted all the other alternatives’).

Ipse dixit: the nominative singular of intensive pronoun ipse/ipsa/ipsum + the third person singular indicative active of dico/dicere: ’He himself said it’, based on the Greek autos êpha, a phrase associated with the Pythagorean practice of crediting all discoveries to the founder of their community.

Ipso facto: the ablative neuter singular of the adjective ipse-a-um + the ablative singular neuter of factum/facti: ‘By the very fact’.

Ipsissima verba: the nominative neuter plural of the superlative adjective ipsissimus-a-um + the nominative neuter plural of verbum/verbi: ‘the very words’ or ‘the words themselves’.

Lex talionis: the nominative feminine singular of lex/legis + the genitive feminine singular of talio/talionis: ‘the law of retaliation’.

Locus classicus: the nominative masculine singular of locus/loci + the nominative masculine singular of the adjective classicus-a-um: the ‘classic place’ or original location (‘Iliad II 454-57 is the locus classicus of the view that gods know all things and mortals know nothing’).

Modus ponens: the nominative masculine singular of modus/modi + the nominative masculine singular of the present active participle ponens/ponentis: ‘by means of putting or placing’, from pono/ponere: ‘put, place, set out, assert’: the name of the valid argument form ‘If P then Q, P, therefore Q’. (Also known as modus ponendo ponens: ‘the way that asserts by asserting.)

Modus tollens: the nominative masculine singular of modus/modi + the nominative masculine singular of the present active participle tollens/tolentis, from tollo/tollere: ‘take away’: ‘by means of taking away’; name of the valid argument form ‘If P then Q, not-Q, therefore not-P’. Also known as modus tollendo tolens: ‘the way that denies by denying.’

Mundus intelligibilis: the nominative masculine singular of mundus/mundi + the nominative singular of the adjective intelligibilisintelligibile: ‘the intelligible world’, the world known to the intellect’. For Kant, this was the noumenal world or things in themselves.

Mundus sensibilis: the nominative masculine singular of mundus/mundi + the nominative singular masculine of the adjective sensibilis-e: ‘the sensible world’, ‘the world known through sense perception’.

Mutatis mutandis: the ablative neuter plural of the perfect passive participle of the verb muto/mutare + the ablative neuter plural of the future passive participle of the verb muto/mutare, an ablative absolute: ‘those things being changed which have to be changed’ or more loosely: ‘making the appropriate changes’.

Natura naturans: the nominative feminine singular of natura/naturae + the present active participle of the verb naturo/naturare (literally: ‘nature naturing’): ‘nature doing what nature does’, associated with the philosophy of Spinoza.

Non sequitur: adverb + the third person singular present of the deponent verb sequor/sequi: literally: ‘It does not follow’; used to characterize an inference as invalid.

Obiter dictum: adverb + the nominative neuter singular of dictum/dicti (literally ‘something said by the way’): an incidental or collateral statement.

Obscurum per obscurius: the nominative neuter singular of the adjective obscurus-a-um + preposition + the accusative neuter singular of the comparative adjective obscurior-ius: the error of attempting to explain the obscure by means of the even more obscure.

Pace: the ablative feminine singular of pax/pacis: literally ‘by means of the peace of’; more loosely: ‘with all due respect to’, used to express polite disagreement with one who holds a competing view.

Per se: preposition + the accusative neuter singular of the third person pronoun sui, sibi, se, se: ‘through or by itself’. ‘Aristotle held that the essence of a thing is what that thing is in virtue of itself or per se.’

Petitio principii: the nominative singular feminine of petitio/onis + the genitive neuter singular of principium/principii: literally: ‘a request for the beginning’, used to accuse a speaker of begging the question, i.e. assuming the truth of that which needed to be proved.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc: ‘After this therefore because of this’, used to accuse a speaker of inferring a causal connection simply on the basis of temporal precedence.

Prima facie: the ablative feminine singular of the adjective primus-a-um + the ablative feminine singular of facies/faciei: ‘on its first appearance’ or ‘at first sight’. Often used in an ethical context (following Ross) to distinguish a duty from an absolute moral obligation.

Quale/qualia: the neuter singular and plural forms of qualis/quale (‘of what sort or kind’); used to characterize either a property (such as redness) independently of the object that possesses it, or the contents of subjective experience (sometimes spoken of as ‘raw feels’).

Quid pro quo: the nominative neuter singular of quis/quid + preposition + the ablative neuter singular of quis/quid: ‘something in exchange for something’.

Quod erat demonstrandum (QED): the nominative neuter singular of the pronoun qui-quae-quod + the third person singular of the imperfect of the verb to be + the nominative neuter singular of the future passive participle of demonstro/demonstrare: ‘that which was to be demonstrated’. Traditionally used to mark the conclusion of a mathematical or philosophical proof.

Quot homines tot sententiae: ‘(There are) as many opinions as there are men’ (from the Roman playwright Terence).

Reductio ad absurdum: the nominative feminine singular of reducio/reductionis + preposition + the accusative neuter singular of the adjective absurdum: ‘reducing to absurdity’, a form of argument which seeks to disprove a proposition by showing that it implies an absurd consequence.

Salva veritate: the ablative singular feminine of the adjective salvus-a-um + the ablative feminine singular of veritas/veritatis: literally ‘with saved truth’. Two terms or statements can be interchanged salva veritate when one can replace the other without loss of truth value.

Solvitur ambulando: the third person singular present passive indicative + the ablative gerund from ambulo/ambulare: ‘It is solved by walking’; more broadly: ‘the problem is solved by a practical experiment’. Diogenes the Cynic is said to have introduced the idea of a refutatio ambulando in response to Zeno’s arguments against motion. After Zeno had presented the argument against motion Diogenes got up from his seat and walked out of the room.

Sub specie aeternitatis: preposition + the ablative feminine singular of species/speciei + the genitive feminine singular of aeternitas/aeternitatis: literally under eternal appearance’: viewing some matter from an eternal or cosmic perspective.

Sui generis: the genitive neuter singular of the adjective suus-a-um + the genitive neuter singular of genus/generis: ‘of its own kind’ or ‘unique in its characteristics’.

Summum bonum: the nominative neuter of the adjective summus-a-um + the nominative neuter singular of the substantive of bonus-a-um: ‘the supreme or highest good’. Ethical theorists since Plato and Aristotle have sought to identify the ‘highest good’ or ultimate aim of all human action.

Tabula rasa: the nominative feminine singular of tabula/tabulae + the nominative feminine singular of the adjective rasus-a-um: ‘an erased or blank tablet’, a phrase used by Aristotle, Locke, and others in connection with the view that the human mind is wholly lacking in content prior to the onset of sense experience.

Tertium non datur: the nominative neuter singular of the substantive tertius-a-um + adverb + the third person singular present passive of do/dare: ‘the third thing is not given’ or ‘there is no third option’, often used in connection with the principle of the excluded middle.

Tertium quid: (as above) + the nominative neuter singular of quis/quid: ‘a third thing’, originally used in debates concerning the nature of Christ.

Tu quoque: the nominative masculine singular of the second person pronoun tu + adverb meaning ‘also’: ‘literally ‘you also’, used to accuse the speaker of acting inconsistently with his doctrine; a form of ad hominem argument.

Vade mecum: the second person singular present imperative of vado/vadere + the ablative singular of the first person pronoun joined with the governing preposition: literally: ‘go with me’, a handbook or manual. Compare ‘Fodor’s Guide to Mental Representation: the Intelligent Auntie’s Vade-Mecum’ (Mind, 1985).


Here are definitions or explanations of some ancient Greek terms and phrases (or some English terms and phrases derived from ancient Greek) you may encounter in your study of philosophy. (A superscript caret () serves to distinguish the long vowels êta () and ômega () from epsilon () and omicron (o) respectively.)

Aesthetics: from the Greek aisthêtikos (adj.) relating to aisthêsis, which can mean either ‘sensation’ or ‘perception’. The use of the term to designate a branch of philosophical inquiry dates from the 18th century when the German philosopher Baumgarten assigned it the meaning of ‘sense of beauty’.

Agapê/philia/erôs: The three most common Greek words for love. Agapê (rarely found in the Greek of the classical period but common in the New Testament) is a caring concern; philia covers various forms of affection ranging from friendships to a mother’s love of her child to a miser’s love for gold; erôs is passionate desire, typically sexual in nature.

Aitia: ‘cause’ or ‘reason why’, related to the verb aitiaomai: ‘charge, accuse, blame’. Aristotle held there were four kinds of aitiai—material, formal, efficient, and final. In Plato’s Phaedo Socrates defends the view that only formal and final causes are deserving of the name, all other factors being mere necessary conditions.

Akrasia: ‘not having power’, ‘weakness of will’, ‘incontinence’. Socrates’ identification of knowledge with virtue raised the question of how a person can fail to do what he or she believes or knows to be the best course of action. Aristotle proposed a solution within the context of his theory of the practical syllogism.

Alêtheia: ‘truth’ (literally ‘the state of not being forgotten or concealed’). In Homer one who gives an alêthes (adj.) account speaks openly and withholds nothing. Heidegger mistakenly took this to mean that alêtheia originally designated ‘a kind of being that has come out of hiding’ (Verborgenheit).

Antinomy (from anti: ‘against’ + nomos: ‘law’), a pair of incompatible principles or theses each of which we have reason to accept. According to Kant, using the categories in any way other than as rules for the organizing of sense experience will generate a set of ‘antinomies of pure reason’.

Aretê: (Pronounced ar-eh-tay). By the 5th century BCE aretê had come to mean ‘virtue’ or better ‘excellence’, especially in the qualities that made for success in civic affairs. Plato devoted most of the Meno to a consideration of the question: ‘Can aretê be taught, or is it acquired by practice, or does it come to us as a gift from the gods?’ In Plato’s Republic ‘justice’ (diakaiosunê) became the focus of attention, but aretê regained its central place in Greek moral thought when Aristotle defined the single highest human good as ‘activity in accordance with aretê’.

Atomic theory: In the 5th century BCE Leucippus and his associate Democritus introduced the idea of ‘the uncuttable thing’ (to atomon) in an attempt to reconcile a belief in plurality and change with the arguments for an indivisible and changeless reality devised by Parmenides of Elea. Thus, as Jonathan Barnes put it, ‘the first atoms came from Elea.’ The idea of an indivisible material building block was later taken up by Epicurus and Lucretius and established on a scientific basis by John Dalton and Ludwig Boltzman in the 19th century and Ernest Rutherford and Niels Bohr in the 20th.

Cosmology (from kosmos: ‘order’, ‘the ordered world’ + logos: ‘account’ or ‘reason’): ‘an account of the physical universe’. A scientific approach to cosmology begins with the Milesian thinkers (Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes) who were the first to offer accounts of the universe that were (loosely) based on experience and subject to critical evaluation, correction, and improvement. Greek kosmos, at least as used by the Pythagoreans and Heraclitus, conveyed the idea of an elegant or beautiful arrangement (cf. the English derivative ‘cosmetic’).

The demiurge (ho dêmiourgos); ‘the artist’ of Plato’s Timaeus who uses the Forms as a blueprint in fashioning the best possible universe from pre-existing matter (from ho dêmos: ‘the people’ + ergon: ‘work’, i.e. a public worker).

Deontological ethics: from to deon: ‘that which is binding or needful’ + logos: ‘word’, ‘account ‘ or ‘reason’. Deontological approaches focus on the question of what action is required or must be done, typically in order to comply with a rule or set of rules rather than on the basis of the consequences of performing the action.

Dialectic: from hê dialektikê technê: ‘the dialectical art’, ‘the art of debating or arguing’. In Republic VI I Plato identifies a form of dialectic that consists in the examination of philosophical concepts and theses without making use of any information gained from sense experience. In Aristotle, dialectical arguments seek to establish a conclusion using premises granted by one’s opponent and play an important role in the presentation and defense of scientific knowledge. Dialectic assumes a central importance in Hegel’s philosophy as the historical process through which one natural development is negated and yet to some extent preserved in its successor. Marxian ‘dialectical materialism’ represents a variation on the Hegelian theme.

Elenchos/elenchus: ‘examination by question and answer’, ‘testing’, ‘refutation’. Although the word makes its first appearance in Parmenides B 7.5 when the goddess directs the youth to ‘judge/decide the elenchus on the basis of the account spoken by me’, the best-known ancient practitioner of elenchus was the Socrates of Plato’s dialogues. The elenchus usually consisted in the assertion of a thesis by Socrates’ opponent, Socrates extracting a few seemingly innocuous concessions, then Socrates pointing out that one or more conclusions implied by those concessions contradict the original thesis.

Endoxic method: Aristotle typically began his discussions of philosophical questions by reviewing ‘the received opinions’ (ta endoxa) on a subject—‘the opinions of the many and the wise’. At least in ethical contexts, a philosophical theory would also be evaluated on the basis of how well it accorded with the endoxa.

Epistemology: (from epistêmê: ‘knowledge’, especially ‘scientific or explanatory knowledge’ + logos: ‘word’, ‘account’, ‘reason’): ‘theory of knowledge’. Greek epistemology begins with some brief remarks by Xenophanes, Heraclitus, and Parmenides. It becomes a major topic of interest for Plato and Aristotle, and a major problem among the Skeptical philosophers of the Hellenistic period.

The ergon argument: (from ergon: ‘work’ or ‘job’): In Book I of the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle argues that the supreme human good (aka eudaimonia) must be defined in connection with the exercise of the rational part(s) of our soul since this is the ergon or distinctive activity that serves to distinguish us from all other kinds of living creatures (perhaps an offshoot of the principle affirmed in Plato’s Republic that a person’s role in the ideal state will be determined by his or her special abilities).

Ethics (from êthikos: ‘relating to moral character’): ancient Greek ethics can be divided into five main phases: the largely normative teachings of the early Greek poets and philosophers (including Xenophanes and Heraclitus), the skeptical attack on objective moral values launched by the Sophists of 5th-century Athens, Socrates’ questioning of conventional Athenian values and search for the essential nature of the virtues, the systematic theories developed by Plato and Aristotle, and the more-action oriented reflections of the Stoics, Epicureans, Cynics, and Skeptics.

Eudaimonia: (literally: ‘being under the protection of a good daimôn or spirit’): usually but misleadingly translated into English as ‘happiness’. The term is perhaps best understood in connection with the success or good fortune a person would enjoy when under the protection of a guardian angel; sometimes rendered as ‘human flourishing’. Eudaimonia was the winner of the contest Aristotle organized to determine the single highest good of all the goods achievable by action.

‘Focal meaning’: pros hen legomenon or ‘being spoken of toward one’. The philosopher-scholar G. E. L. Owen coined the phrase to characterize Aristotle’s view of the way in which words such as ‘health’, ‘medicine’, and ‘being’ possess meaning. Although things can be said ‘to be’ in various senses (e.g. to be as a substance, as a quality, as a relation, etc.) there is one basic sense in connection with which all the other things are said to be. This basic or core sense is the ‘focal’ sense of the expression, and in the case of ‘being’ it is ‘to be as a substance’. Owen held that it was Aristotle’s discovery of the phenomenon of focal meaning that enabled him to think that there could be a single science of being (i.e. metaphysics).

Form: eidos. Eidos appears to have begun its life designating the ‘visual appearance’ or ‘look’ of a thing (from the Greek verb eidô: ‘see’) and to have acquired the meaning of ‘kind’ or ‘form’ of a thing in early medical writings (where people who had a certain ‘look’ were associated with suffering from a certain kind of ailment). In Plato’s dialogues Socrates asks a number of his interlocutors to identify that single common characteristic (eidos) all its instances have in common. In dialogues such as the Symposium, Republic, and Timaeus, Plato characterizes Forms (eidê) as the only true realities, with the things we encounter in sense experience representing merely imperfect and short-term copies of their ideal prototypes. Like Plato, Aristotle regarded the eidos of a thing as the proper object of knowledge but he rejected Plato’s contention that eidê could exist as independent substances. At Parts of Animals 642a Aristotle describes his conception of immanent form, i.e. a fixed set of attributes inhering in a substance and constituting its ‘what it is to be’, as his major advance over his predecessors.

Greatness of soul: megalopsuchia (from megas/megalê: ‘great’ + psuchê: ‘soul’). In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle speaks of greatness of soul as ‘the crowning ornament of the virtues’. The great-souled man possesses all the individual virtues, a great deal of interest in the specific virtue of honor, and an unshakable confidence in his own excellence. He also ‘moves at a sedate pace and speaks in a deep voice’. Some students of ancient Greek thought regard megalopsuchia as one of the less appealing aspects of ancient Greek ethical thought.

Hedonism (from hedonê: ‘pleasure’): the view that pleasure is the chief or sole good to be pursued in human life, associated primarily with the ancient Greek thinker Epicurus (cf. also ‘hedon’: the unit of measure of pleasure in Jeremy Bentham’s ‘hedonic calculus’),

Hylomorphism (from hylê: ‘wood’, ‘lumber’, ‘matter’ + morphê: ‘form’ or ‘shape’): usually associated with Aristotle’s view that substances (including living beings) cannot be adequately understood either simply as material beings (as, for example, the ancient atomists had supposed) or simply as form (as the Platonists had held), but as compounds of matter and form. Aristotle’s hylomorphic conception of substance is one of the most difficult and historically influential aspects of his philosophy.

‘Justice writ large’: The English phrase often associated with the reference to dikaiosunê en tôi meidzoni in Book II of Plato’s Republic. Having failed to determine the nature of justice as a quality in persons, Socrates proposes that he, Glaucon, and Adeimantus, consider justice ‘writ large’ or justice as a quality present in cities or states.

The ladder of love: The usual way of characterizing the simile introduced by Socrates in his speech on ‘passionate desire’ (erôs) in Plato’s Symposium. Although ‘the ladder of love’ (or ‘the celestial ladder’) became a commonplace in the writings of Neoplatonic philosophers and early Christian writers, it was a somewhat inaccurate representation of the Platonic original (which was epanabasmos: ‘a step on a staircase’, literally ‘a thing one steps on in going up’). Philosophically, it matters whether one views the pursuit of philosophical understanding as a ‘ladder’ (Greek: klimax) or as a staircase, since the former but not the latter must be a rather solitary enterprise.

Logic (from hê logikê technê: ‘the art of reasoning’). Although philosophers before Aristotle devised arguments to support their claims, and Sophists such as Gorgias identified various forms of persuasive argument, logic as a systematic study of the valid forms of inference begins with Aristotle. Within several centuries the limitations of Aristotelian logic had become apparent (non-syllogistic argument forms were identified and investigated by the Stoics), but for roughly two thousand years Aristotelian logic provided the basic tools for the analysis of immediate, syllogistic, and modal inferences.

Logos: ‘word’, ‘account’, ‘reason’. Logos is arguably the single most important term in ancient Greek philosophy. In Parmenides it is the ‘account’ or ‘discourse’ through which the goddess announces Parmenides’ epistemology and metaphysics. For Heraclitus it is both his ‘message’ to the world and the larger rational order he sets out to explain. For Plato and Aristotle it is the ‘rational account’ the possession of which serves to distinguish knowledge from mere true belief or experience. The logos became the ‘word’ of the gospel of John I 1 which was ‘in the beginning’.

Metaphysics: Since Aristotle, metaphysics has been identified as the study of being qua being, or an investigation into the conditions that must be satisfied by anything in so far as it can be said to be at all (to this extent, metaphysics coincides with ontology). Later philosophers defined metaphysical inquiry more broadly (e.g. Kant identified its three concerns as the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, and the freedom of the will). We owe the term metaphysics to the Roman scholar Andronicus of Rhodes who edited and organized the surviving Aristotelian treatises during the 1st century BCE. When after completing the editing of the Physics Andronicus came to a treatise that had no obvious unifying theme, he entitled it ‘the things after the Physics’ta meta ta phusika.

Nous: ‘mind’, ‘intelligence’, ‘clever intelligence’, ‘insight’, ‘intuition’. Nous appears early on in Greek literature as the ‘intelligence’ that is either impressively shown or woefully lacking among the characters of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. For Heraclitus, nous was the ‘deep understanding’ that could not be acquired through ‘the learning of many things’; for Anaxagoras nous was the intelligence responsible for the cosmic order; for Plato nous was the certain grasp of truth we gain in connection with thinking about the Forms of things; and for Aristotle nous was (among other things) the mind, the ‘moral insight’ possessed by those who have learned from long experience, the kind of ‘intuitive grasp’ we can have of the first principles of a science, the ‘active intellect’ or ‘maker mind’ described in De Anima III 4 and 5 as a condition of our knowledge of intelligible form, as well as the divine ‘mind’ that moves all things by being the object of thought and desire.

Ontology (from ontos, genitive of the Greek participle ôn: ‘being’ + logos: ‘word’, ‘account’, ‘reason’): the branch of philosophy that seeks to give an account of the nature and properties of being.

Paralogism: from para: ‘against’ or ‘beyond’ + logismos: ‘reasoning’: in general: ‘an invalid or fallacious argument’. In the section of the first Critique known as the Paralogisms Kant attacked the attempts by rational psychology to gain knowledge of the nature of the soul.

Pederasty (paiderasteia, literally: ‘boy love’): the formalized relationship known to have existed in different periods and regions of ancient Greece between an adult male lover (known as the erastês) and the younger male ‘beloved’ (the eromenos). Pederastic relationships were typically short-term quid pro quo arrangements in which the older male offered guidance to the younger (typically post-pubescent) male in return for sexual favors. Plato depicts a number of individuals who are in pederastic relationships, perhaps most notably in the Phaedrus and Symposium, but his depiction is not uncritical.

Philosophia (from philia: ‘love’ + sophia: ‘wisdom’): ‘the love or eager pursuit of wisdom or knowledge’, perhaps coined by the members of the Pythagorean communities.

Phronesis: ‘practical wisdom’, as opposed to nous: ‘insight’ and epistêmê: ‘scientific or explanatory knowledge’; related to ho phronimos: ‘the man of practical wisdom’.

Phusis: ‘nature’, ‘the nature of a thing’. One of the key terms in the development of ancient Greek thought, phusis began its life as a noun formed from the verb phuô: ‘grow’ or ‘come to be by nature’. Early Greek writers spoke of the phusis of some individual thing as ‘the specific nature it had developed’, but the Presocratic philosophers used the term in a novel way in speaking of ‘nature’ as the physical universe.

‘Platonic love’: the phrase amor Platonicus was coined by the Renaissance scholar Marsilio Ficino in speaking of the special bond of mind and heart between two men Plato had depicted in a number of his dialogues, especially in Socrates’ speech in praise of erôs in the Symposium. ‘Platonick love’ (which by this time had become heterosexual) became a popular theme among artists and writers of 17th century Europe. Today’s ‘Platonic relationship’ (i.e. a relationship between two people devoid of any physical or sexual dimension) is a distant cousin of the Platonic original.

Recollection. In the Meno, Phaedo, and Phaedrus Plato develops the Doctrine of Recollection (or Anamnesis), the view that what we ordinarily speak of as learning is in fact ‘recollecting’ or ‘being reminded’ of things the soul knew in some previous lifetime. Plato’s theory is perhaps best understood as an attempt to account for our ability to grasp concepts (rather than the truth about empirically knowable matters). In some respects Plato’s proposal anticipates the later doctrine of ‘innate ideas’ as well as contemporary varieties of nativism developed by Chomsky, Fodor, and others.

‘The Socratic method’: instruction in the form of question and answer, perhaps most usefully employed (as in law school) when a sizable shared body of information can be assumed. See also elenchus.

‘The Socratic paradox’: The view expressed in several Platonic dialogues that knowledge is both necessary and sufficient for virtue, or that all wrongdoing is a product of ignorance.

‘The Socratic problem’: the classic, perhaps insoluble difficulty created by the fact that we have only three contemporary portraits of Socrates—those provided by Plato, the historian Xenophon, and the comic playwright Aristophanes—and they offer us radically different accounts of what Socrates believed and taught.

Socrates’ disavowal of knowledge: Socrates famously claimed that he knew virtually nothing, but this claim sits uncomfortably with his identification of knowledge with virtue as well as with the various passages in which he claims to know some things (e.g. at Apology 29b when he says that he knows that disobedience to a superior is shameful and wrong). Students of Plato’s thought have sought to avoid this inconsistency either by distinguishing between ‘two senses of know’ (Vlastos), between knowing instances of virtue and knowing its essential nature (Lesher), or between ‘expert’ and ‘ordinary knowledge’ (Reeve).

‘Saving the phenomena’ (sodzein ta phainomena). The phrase appeared originally in a statement of Eudemus quoted by Simplicius on the authority of Sosigines. Plato is said to have challenged the mathematicians and astronomers in his Academy to ‘save the phenomena’. This meant, specifically, to come up with an explanation of the apparently irregular motion of the ‘wandering stars’ (the five planets visible to the naked eye) that would enable the observed phenomena to be regarded as real rather than dismissed as deceptive appearance. The astronomer Eudoxus is credited with responding to Plato’s challenge by reducing the apparently disorderly movement of the planets to a combination of regular circular motions, an approach which provided the basis for the Ptolemaic system of astronomy. The incident, real or fictional, illustrates Plato’s preference for the more theoretical, especially more mathematical approach to the study of nature. The phrase reappears in a modern context in Pierre Duhem’s instrumentalist view of scientific explanation.

Sophrosyne: ‘moderation’, one of the five cardinal Greek virtues (along with piety or holiness, justice, courage, and wisdom). Exemplified by the two sayings inscribed on the ancient temple to Apollo at Delphi: gnôthi seauton’ ‘Know Thyself’ and mêden agan: ‘Nothing Too Much’. In 1962 the students at St. John’s College in Annapolis (where Greek is required of all students) organized a popularity contest and crowned the winner ‘Miss Sophrosyne of 1962’.

Substance and essence: ‘Substance’ came into English from the Latin substantia which served to translate the Greek ousia: (‘being’, ‘substance’, ‘essence’) and hupokeimon (‘substance’, ‘underlying subject’). Ousia originally meant ‘substance’ in property or wealth (e.g. ‘a person of substance’), but in Aristotle ousia became the term of choice for ‘the basic reality’ or ‘that of which things are predicated but itself not predicated of other things’. In the Metaphysics Aristotle identified ‘being as an ousia’ as the basic or ‘focal sense’ of ‘being’, and held that the question asked since the time of the first philosophers, ‘What is being?’, was the same question as ‘What is ousia?’ The central books of the Metaphysics contain a convoluted and deeply perplexing account of the hallmarks of ousia along with a review of the most promising candidates. Book Lambda contains a famous and influential account of God (aka ‘the divine mind’, ‘the unmoved mover’ and ‘the best thing’) because God is a substance that in many ways is implicated in the existence of all other substances. Unhelpfully, Aristotle sometimes used ousia in speaking of the essence of a thing, its ‘to ti ên einai’ or ‘what it was to be’ that thing. The relation between a thing and its essence is only one of a number of difficult questions raised and at least partially answered in the Metaphysics.

Sun, line, and cave: The three literary figures deployed by Plato in the central books of the Republic to explain his a priori theory of knowledge and its metaphysical foundations. All three embody the same basic analogy: the light from the sun and the objects that are directly and fully illuminated by that light relate to each other as the form of the Good relates to the objects of thought (the Forms). As a consequence, a ‘full, direct, and sure grasp of the truth’ (saphêneia) requires that we turn our attention away from the realm of shadows and reflected images (i.e. physical objects) and direct it toward the Forms.

Syllogism (from sullogismos: ‘connected reasoning’). Aristotle did not invent the term sullogismos but he was the first to develop a conception of valid inference on the basis of which he could distinguish valid from invalid syllogistic arguments. Although Aristotle’s account of the syllogism represented only part of his logical system, it is usually referred to as ‘Aristotelian logic’).

Teleology (from telos: ‘end’ or ‘goal’ + logos: ‘word’, ‘account’, reason’. A teleological account or approach regards the end state or goal of a process as either the only or the most important explanatory factor. Both Plato and Aristotle attacked various materialist cosmologies and promoted strongly teleological conceptions of the natural world.

Theôria: ‘contemplation’ (literally: ‘a looking at’, from the verb theôreô: ‘look at’, ‘view’, ‘behold’). The Pythagoreans may have introduced the term in connection with their attempt to discover the mathematical principles that order phenomena, but both Plato (e.g. in the Symposium) and Aristotle (e.g. in Nicomachean Ethics X) identify the life of theôria as the best possible kind of life for a human being (see eudaimonia and the ergon argument above).

‘Thought thinking about thought’: Aristotle’s Greek is kai estin hê noêsis noêseôs noêsis: ‘And its thought is thought about thought’ (Meta. XII, 1074b34-35). Aristotle reaches this unusual characterization of the divine through a series of binary decisions, grounded in the conviction that since the divine must be the best being in the universe it must live the best kind of life (which is the life of thought). And since its thought must be the best kind of thought, it must be about the best kind of thing (which is itself); hence it must think about itself. And since thought is just what the divine is, the divine’s thought must be thought about thought. Not surprisingly, this conception of the nature and life of the divine posed no small difficulties for later thinkers who sought to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy with Christian doctrine.

‘The third man argument’ (TMA): Although the title comes from Aristotle (Meta. 990b), the classic statement of the TMA occurs in Plato’s Parmenides 132a-b, formulated in terms of the Form of Largeness. Since the Form of Largeness shares the property of being large along with all the other large things that participate in it, we must posit some ‘third thing’, a second Form of Large in virtue of which the first Form of Large and all other large things share the property of largeness. The argument became the focus of much discussion thanks to a famous paper by Gregory Vlastos. Vlastos attempted to formulate the argument as a deductively valid proof of an infinite regress, articulating all the essential but un-stated assumptions (such as that Forms are self-predicating and that nothing that has a character can be identical with that in virtue of which it has it). Vlastos’ own interpretation of the TMA was that it was a reflection of Plato’s honest perplexity about the viability of his Theory of Forms, but many other interpretations were subsequently proposed in response to Vlastos’ paper. The philosophically rich and stimulating papers published by Vlastos and Owen in the 1960’s and 1970’s sparked a renaissance in the study of ancient philosophy in the English-speaking world.

The unmoved mover: One of Aristotle’s alternative ways of referring to the divine mind, thought thinking thought, or ‘the best thing’. Aquinas drew his First and Second Ways directly from Aristotle’s argument in Metaphysics XII that the series of moving and moved things cannot go on forever. (The argument is sometimes referred to disparagingly as ‘the taxi cab argument’ since when it gets to where it wants to go, it conveniently forgets about the general principle it used to get there.)

‘Zeno’s paradoxes’: Zeno of Elea (mid-5th century BCE) was a follower of Parmenides who developed a series of arguments intended (evidently) to reinforce the teachings of his master. On one interpretation, Parmenides had sought to show that plurality and movement were unreal (or at least that we can think of what-is only as existing in a complete, indivisible, changeless, and eternal way). Zeno argued that those who disagree with Parmenides in so far as they think that many things exist and that they can move about from place to place can be shown to be committed to various absurdities. Zeno’s best-known arguments are the ‘motion paradoxes’ (The Bi-section, Achilles, Arrow, and Moving Rows), although there is also a set of plurality paradoxes each of which trades on our normal and somewhat loose ways of speaking about parts and wholes. Although the paradoxes seem in some ways to be trick arguments, and are obviously belied by ordinary sense experience, it has proven difficult to kill them off. A number of recent studies maintain that resolving the questions raised by the paradoxes requires that we address some fundamental issues relating to our ways of thinking and speaking about time and movement. For a useful set of essays on the topic, see Wesley Salmon’s Zeno’s Paradoxes (Hackett 1970, 2001). ‘Paradox’ in this context relates not to the embrace of two conflicting but apparently true theses (e.g. a logical antinomy), but rather to ‘paradoxos’ in its ancient meaning: ‘that which is contrary to popular opinion’, ‘unexpected’, ‘strange’—the same sense in which Plato spoke of his most outlandish proposals for reforming existing societies as ‘three great waves of paradox’.

[I hope J. H. Lesher (2010) does not mind me re-posting, re-sharing this resource here. If he does then I am more than willing to delete the post.]

For the best resource for these terms see F. E. Peter’s Greek Philosophical Terms (New York University Press, 1967). Those terms with the asterisk will be the list from which the first terms exam will be drawn.  The rest of the terms will be the possible candidates for your second terms exam.

*Hyle. Aristotle’s word for “prime matter.” Translated by Thomas Aquinas as material prima. Aristotle’s concept arose out of a critique of Anaximander’s notion of apeiron.

*Morphe. Aristotle’s term for form. In Aristotle’s Metaphysics there is a duality between hyle as prime matter and morph‘ as that which forms this matter into the sensible things of the world. Latin translation: forma.

*Apeiron. Anaximander’s concept of the first material or prime matter. Literally translated it means the “unlimited.”

*Logos. The Greek term for “reason” for “giving an account” (Plato). The verb lego both to speak and to put together. Thus Plato’s emphasis is on the living dialogue as the only context for the unveiling of logos. Socrates claims that the logos speaks through him in the Platonic dialogues. The Latin translation is ratio, and this had led to a more strict use of reason in the confines of mathematics, science and logic.  For much more click here.

*Sophia. Wisdom. Becomes an intellectual virtue in Aristotle, as contrasted with phron‘sis the intellectual virtue that makes the good life possible. Last stem of our word “philosophy.” Used in a derogatory way in naming the Sophists, those pretending to be wise.

Phronesis. Generally used to describe practical knowledge.

Pragmata. Objects seen in terms of practice and not theoretical investigation.

*Episteme. For Plato knowledge that has been derived by justifying an opinion with an argument (logos). Hence the Platonic formula doxa + logos = episteme.

*Kosmos. Order, form, fashion, rule, regulation, or regulator. The world or universe according to its perfect order or arrangement. Non-philosophical use in Alexandrian Greek as known or discovered world.

*On = being. Onta = beings. Root for our word ontology.

*Kosmos Noetos. Plato’s real (transcendental) world of forms.

*Eidos (plural eide). The Greek word Plato used to designate his “forms.”

*Eidon. Image. The images of the sensible world, the poor, inexact copies of the perfect eid‘.

*Kosmos Aisthetos. The sensible world for Plato.

*Aisthesis. Sensation, the sensible. Translated into Latin as sensatio.

*Nous, Noesis. Intellect to intellection. Translated into Latin as intellectio. Anaxagoras’ cosmic mind.

*Philo, Philein. Love of and to love. First stem of philosophy.

*Physis. Trans. As natura in Latin. Basic meaning in Greek much more living and active than what we term as physical nature today. Physis could be better translated as creativity or creative coming forth according to a certain logos. Aristotle called the pre-Socratics “physicists” (physikoi).

*Psyche. The soul. First stem of our psychology with logos at the end.

*Atoma. Indivisible. Democritus concept of the basic units of the world.

Energeia. Aristotle’s concept of act or actuality.

Dynamis. The power in things.  Aristotle’s concept of potentiality.

*Homo mensura. (Latin). Man is the measure. Protogoras’ theory of epistemological relativism.

Chorismos. Ontological gap between world of forms and world of appearance.

*Ouk on vs. me on. Absolute non-being vs. relative non-being. First mentioned in Parmenides but there is no consistent distinction until the German theologian Paul Tillich defined them as absolute and relative in the first volume of his famous Systematic Theology.

*Dialektike. See essay at this link.

Eros. Love, usually now in terms of passion as in our erotic love vs. Platonic love.

Hypodoche. Plato’s word for the primal stuff or receptacle which is equiprimordial with the perfect forms. According to the Timeaus, the Demiurge (the artisan or creator) impresses the forms on this stuff and the sensible world of appearance (kosmos aisth‘tos) is the result. Aristotle uses his own hyl‘ as a replacement for the Platonic hypodoch‘.

Hypokeimenon. Aristotle’s substance or substratum that which persists throughout all change. Translated as subiectum by medieval philosophers. The original meaning is corrupted in modern post-Cartesian subjectivism but is retained in our subject as a subject of research or investigation or our subjects in school. Click here for the full hypokeimenon story.

*Aporia. No way out, nothingness, or the impenetrable. It is something which is not porous which cannot leak. The interlocutors in the early Platonic dialogues cannot get out of the dead-ends into which Socrates leads them. They are in aporia; hence, the locution “aporetic” dialogues, the early dialogues where there seems to be no positive result.

Ergon. A finished work, as opposed to energeia the work in process, the actuality of the work.

*Axios. Value or worth; hence, our word axiology, theory of value in ethics and political philosophy.

*Nomos. Law, custom, convention. Nomos was referred to as divine law in Heraclitus, the Sophists thought that nomos was only conventional. Our word, antinomians to indicate revolutionary sects like the Gnostics or the Anabaptists who took seriously the idea of going beyond the law as a way of spiritual redemption.

*Hedone. Pleasure, hence our term hedonism.

*Theos. God hence our “theology” or “theophany” the revelation of theos because the “phany” stems from the Greek phainos, to come to light. Ontophany is the revelation of being. Phenomenology is the logos of phenomena, those things that appear.

*Heiros. The sacred, hence our “hierophany,” the revelation of the sacred.

Agathon. The Good in Plato’s republic, which is not identified with the theos. This is the Form above all the Forms.

*Arche. The first, or first principle (s).

*Gnosis. Knowledge, hence agnostics, not-knowing, and our word “agnostic.”

*Deontos. Law, hence “deontological” ethics, strictly non-utilitarian with strict adherence to the law in all situations.

*Doxa. Opinion, the quasi-knowledge we obtain from the sensible world as opposed to the true knowledge that we get from the realm of Forms.

*Monas. Unit, the one. Hence, Leibniz’s “monads” and the “monadology.”

Polis. Originally meant fort or citadel and then came to mean the Greek city states. Out terms “politics” of course stems from this root.

*Telos. End, purpose, or goal. Hence our “teleological” ethics, utilitarian ethics that urges actions according to their end and purpose.

Dike. Law or justice, as in the opposites having to pay for their coming out of Anaximander’s apeiron.

Aletheia. Unveiling, uncovering. The Greek notion of truth. The German philosopher Martin Heidegger maintains that we ought to return to this concept of truth rather than the modern “correspondence” or “coherence” theories of truth.

Elenchos. Scrutiny, refutation, interrogation. Socrates method in aporetic dialogues.

Entelecheia.  Lit., “having a telos inside.”  It is the essence of anything and allows t

Sophrosyne.  Usually translated as “temperance,” but it literally means “moral sanity,” i.e., a personal stability and integrity that comes from the harmony of the appetites, passions, and reason.

Dianoia.  For Plato the type of cognition that stands between doxa and noesis. It is that faculty that allows the mind to connection mathematical forms to geometrical and numerical figures in the world of appearance.

Aletheia.  The Greek word for truth as the uncovering (lit. meaning) or coming forth of a thing’s essence.

Anamnesis.  The Greek word used to indicate Plato’s theory of recollection.

Arete.  Most generally anything “functioning excellence”; most specifically as phronesis operating to develop the virtues, viz., human functional excellence.

Daimon.  Lit. “spirit,” good, evil, or indifferent.  For Socrates it meant his “conscience,” the voice within that told me not to do certain actions.

Demiourgos.  The creator god of the Timaeus who takes the Forms and impresses them on a primordial stuff (hypodoche) to produce the world of appeance.

Diairesis The Platonic method of division found in the Phaedrus and the Sophist.

Eudaimonia.  Lit. “having a good spirit,” usually translated as “happiness,” but more accurately “contentment” or “well being.”

Theoria.  For Aristotle the activity of nous that requires a logos, viz., a truth that is demonstrated.  As opposed to nous as phronesis that does not require demonstration.  These practical truths are lived rather than demonstrated.

Megalopsychia. Lit. “great souled,” most often translated as “pride,” the virtue of knowing one’s own worth without falling into the deficient of humility or the excess of boastfullness.

Ousia Aristotle’s basic words for substance or fundamental being.

Epoche.  Pyrrho’s term for suspension of belief.

Ataraxia.  Pyrrho’s word for a state of “unpeturbedness” or “quietude.”  It is the moral and spiritual end of the philosopher’s quest.