Monthly Archives: June 2012

Strunk and White

The following is a lightly edited concatenation of some emails I wrote several years ago, in response to ‘50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice,’ Geoffrey K. Pullum’s article in The Chronicle of Higher Education (April 17, 2009). Continue reading

Logic (notes on the finger-wagging Cratylus)

The senior essay that I wrote at St John’s College was called something like ‘An account based in Aristotle of the Law of Contradiction’. I do not know now what the point was. I had read the Metaphysics in a preceptorial, so I decided to spend even more time with this book in writing my essay. I remember noting ultimately that humans could indeed be self-contradictory. Hector was an example. To Andromache he described two incompatible expectations: that their son would win renown, and that the boy would die as an infant when the Greeks took Troy. Continue reading

Aristotle on Heraclitus

Along with various fellow alumni of St John’s College (Annapolis and Santa Fe), I am currently reading Eva Brann, The Logos of Heraclitus (Paul Dry Books, 2011). This may inspire some incidental posts, such as the present one, which considers the same sentence about Heraclitus by Aristotle in three languages, mainly because of the oddity of a published Turkish translation. The oddity is in the treatment of opinion and knowledge. The distinction between them is important in, for example, Plato’s Republic; but I shall not really have anything to say here about the distinction as such.

Miss Brann spends III.A (pages 15–19) considering Fragment 50 (by the Diels reckoning):

οὐκ ἐμοῦ, ἀλλὰ τοῦ λόγου ἀκούσαντας ὁμολογεῖν σοφόν ἐστιν ἓν πάντα εἶναι

Continue reading

The swift

This is about the bird and its appearance in the Quran.

We live at the edge of the upper reaches of a stream valley on the European side of the Bosphorus. The stream drains a plain where Sultan Abdülmecid (1839–61) once invited immigrants to settle. That area is now called Mecidiyeköy (village of Mecid), and until the 1950s, it was mostly open fields. Continue reading