This is Not Data

May 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

A Translation of the conversation between Theaetetus and an Eleatic Stranger found here.

True= conventional meaning for true – etc correct and right
TrueR = means real or existing in reality
(further explanation in dialogue)

Original Translation
 Str. And you mean by true that which really is?  When you say trueR you mean that which is real?
 Theaet. Yes  Yes that which is trueR coincides with reality.
 Str. And the not true is that which is the opposite of the true?  And when you say not trueR you mean that which is not real?
 Theaet. Exactly.  Exactly – so the pipe in my hand is trueR – whilst this picture of a pipe is not.
 Str. A resemblance, then, is not really real, if, as you say, not true?  A resemblance or visualisation then, is not real and therefore in your sense, not trueR?
 Theaet. Nay, but it is in a certain sense.  No, but it is trueT in a certain sense.
 Str. You mean to say, not in a true sense?  You mean to say it is trueT, but not in a trueR sense?
 Theaet. Yes; it is in reality only an image.  Yes it does coincide with reality so exists as an image in a trueR sense, but only as an image. What is not trueR is what it represents.
 Str. Then what we call an image is in reality really unreal.  Then what we call an image is, in a trueR sense, not really trueR. So the pipe in this image is not trueR  , the image truthfullyT resembles, visualises or represents a pipe however is only trueR as an image
 Theaet. In what a strange complication of being and not – being we are involved! How strange is it that we are involved in everything that can exist in both trueR and untrueR forms!?
 Str. Strange! I should think so. See how, by his reciprocation of opposites, the many – headed Sophist has compelled us, quite against our will, to admit the existence of not – being.  I agree it is strange. See how, by representing many ways to interpret truth and reality our fallacious teacher has tricked us into admitting the existence of things which are not real (not trueR ).
 Theaet. Yes, indeed, I see  Yes indeed, I see.
 Str. The difficulty is how to define his art without falling into a contradiction.  The difficulty here is to define things which are trueR and untrueR  without  falling into the contradiction of saying there are things that exist which are not real.
 Theaet. How do you mean? And where does the danger lie?  What do you mean? Why must we not contradict ourselves?
 Str. When we say that he deceives us with an illusion, and that his art is illusory, do we mean that our soul is led by his art to think falsely, or what do we mean?  When we say he deceives us with this contradiction, and things visualised by art are trueT (however art is only trulyR  a visualisation and nothing else), which creates a contradiction, do we mean that we are led to believe visualisations cause us to think incorrectly?
 Theaet. There is nothing else to be said.  That is correct, there is nothing more to say.
 Str. Again, false opinion is that form of opinion which thinks the opposite of the truth: – You would assent?  So you are saying that incorrect opinion is an opinion that takes knowledge from things that are untrueR would you agree?
 Theaet. Certainly.  
 Str. You mean to say that false opinion thinks what is not  You mean to say incorrect opinion thinks trueT of things that are untrueR?
 Theaet. Of course.  Of course.

Theaetetus is saying, like was said in the lecture, that representations of meaning are often incorrect or untrue – much like what was said about Socrates and the perfect tree or imperfect visualisations of the tree.


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