Cogito ergo sum

Bill Snyder wsnyder at sciti.com
Thu Jun 1 15:16:44 EST 2000


To both Peter and Robert: clearly, I am, at least partially, mistaken about
the example which I chose (robots - but is a golem a robot?- and I should
have remembered the Aristotle reference), but I stand by my fundamental
point.  Certain ideas cannot arise without the appropriate historical
developments.  Try the example of "sub-atomic particle" or "light-year", for
example.  My point was that unspeakability to historical epoch A, does not
imply unintelligibility; it may just mean that people in that historical
epoch know nothing about it. :)

Bill Snyder

"Robert Stonehouse" <ew65 at bcs.org.uk> wrote in message
news:3936321f.333010 at news.cityscape.co.uk...
> "Bill Snyder" <wsnyder at sciti.com> wrote:
> > But as we know today robots are quite
> >intelligible and can easily be spoken about.  They were equally
intelligible
> >in 200BC, and could have easily been spoken of, IF the idea had ever
> >occurred to anyone!  But until certain technological developments had
taken
> >placed, the idea itself did not arise.
>
> Aristotle, Politics 1253b 33 ff.
> 'For suppose that every tool we had could perform its task, either
> at our bidding or itself perceiving the need, and if - like the
> statues made by Daedalus or the tripods of Hephaestus, of which the
> poet says that 'self-moved they enter the assembly of the gods' -
> shuttles in a loom could fly to and fro and a plectrum play a lyre
> all self-moved, then master-craftsmen would have no need of servants
> nor masters of slaves.'
> (The Penguin translation, Sinclair and Saunders, except that I have
> substituted 'plectrum' where they write 'plucker', because it seemed
> to me more intelligible.)
>
> That is, the idea does not depend on the practicality of the moment.
> Aristotle has it comprehensively and even refers some of it back to
> Homer (Iliad 18.375-7).
> ew65 at bcs.org.uk







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