Τό γάρ αυτο νοειν έστιν τε καί ειναι.

Discussion in 'Ελληνικά (Greek)' started by Ben pan, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. Ben pan Senior Member

    chinese
    Τό γάρ αυτο νοειν έστιν τε καί ειναι.( Fragment of Parmenides, in Plotinus v, I, 8) Some scholar translate it into "Though and being are the same"; others tranlate it as: "For the same thing is there both to be thought of and to be".


    So the focus is on what "to auto" represents, an object to be thought, or the infinitives "to think" and "to be". If the two infinitives are the subjects, then will the verb remain to be estiv which is singular? If the answer is yes, then there remains truly two possiblities, which one is more probable in your mind?
     
  2. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    U.S.A.
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Hey there!
    I would probably translate it as "thought is the same as being (and vice versa)". What the text translates to verbatim is "For it is the same (thing) thinking and being". Now I have to dig through my grammar books to find out the formal way of describing this phenomenon, but, in regards with the verb being in singular, yes, it can happen in cases like these. You see, in order to show that thinking and being are the same thing, you can use singular, since they are one thing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
  3. Ben pan Senior Member

    chinese
    I agree, I also thought of this possibility, but my question is: is this a standard semantic phenomenon in Greek? I think in English, people will not "pollute" language with philosophy, won't they?

    Second question. It seems you think to auto is to represent the infinitive 'TO THINK", TO BE, not a thing or an object to think of and to be? If so, is "to auto " a nominative or an accusative?
     
  4. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    U.S.A.
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Hey there,

    yes, it happens often enough (google "το αυτό εστί" for instance).
    I am not sure what you mean by your second question though. "Το αυτό" means "the same". X and Y are the same. Am I misunderstanding something?
     
  5. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    The issue in this famous quotation is not the meaning of auto (which incidentally is nominative, not accusative) but the function of the two infinitives. Some scholars have argued that to translate them as “to think” and “to be” is anachronistic in such an early text, and that they mean “for thinking” and “for being” respectively.
     
  6. Ben pan Senior Member

    chinese
    I am aware that my problem may arise due to my poor English. So if my problem about how to understand Greek in this sentence is a fake one, please forgive me!

    For there is the same thing to be thought of and to be. I understand this to mean that the object of the two infinitives is the same. If so, the translator must have thought that Τό αυτο is the object of νοειν. Seeing that Τό αυτο is a normative, I just wonder how a verb can govern a normative.
     
  7. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    U.S.A.
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Ah, I see. Well, when the verb is "to be" (and in some other cases; when the verb is what is called a copula), instead of an object you have a noun or adjective (or, of course, more than one) that always agree in case with the subject. So in a sentence of the form "X is Z", both X and Z would be in nominative. In, for example, the sentence was "Y said that X is Z" and if "is" was an infinitive, then both X and Z would be in accusative.

    This is the form we have here. Νοείν and είναι (sorry for the lack of proper diacritics) εστί το αυτό.
     
  8. Ben pan Senior Member

    chinese
    Thank you very much, you are very gracious!
     
  9. Roberto Torretti New Member

    Spanish
    I suggest comparing the Parmenides passage in question with the following from Thucydides 1.139.4 ἀνὴρ κατ’ ἐκεῖνον τὸν χρόνον πρῶτος Ἀθηναίων, λέγειν τε καὶ πράσσειν δυνατώτατος, “the first of the Athenians at that time, most powerful both to speak and to act”. Note that the two infinitives express that for doing which Pericles was most powerful. Likewise the infinitives νοεῖν and εἶναι in the line from Parmenides express that for which τὸ αὐτό is (ἐστι) equally good. This should take care of Ireney's rather unsophisticated analysis.
     
  10. Roberto Torretti New Member

    Spanish
    The problem with the rendering "the same thing is there to be thought and to be" lies in the fact that νοεῖν is active; it means "to think", NOT "to be thought". perhaps one can sort this out by comparison with tha Spanish idiom "x da que pensar" which literally ="x gives to think", but means "x gives food for thought".
     

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