Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan). Archives, Labels (tags), and other links appear at the bottom of the page.

Friday, April 01, 2011

How is Socrates not Plato? Let me count the ways...

'Twas the 30th of July, 2002, the 400th birthday anniversary of Reverend Samuel Stone. The First Congregational Church was celebrating the event with a public reading of his most erudite works. As we arrived, Reverend Peebles, a descendant of Reverend Stone, was reading aloud from his ancestor's well-known and very illuminating explanation of "Why Socrates Is Not Plato, Nor Plato Socrates." We were not surprised to see Natasha Guttbalm, the local TV station's fledgling reporter on the Religion and Philosophy beat, paying rapt attention to Reverend Peebles as he read from the text...


Reader, admit it. I know you're on the edge of your seat, waiting and hoping that I'll present the full scintillating text of Reverend Stone's lesson, and believe me, I have no intention of letting you down. Read on!

WHY SOCRATES IS NOT PLATO, NOR PLATO SOCRATES. 
[A Congregational Church is a Catholic Visible Church. 1652.] 
by Samuel Stone 
SOCRATES and Plato are distinguished one from another by their proper and essential forms. As a man and a lion differ in their common form, so Socrates and Plato in their proper form. All opposition is firstly from the form; hereby a thing is that which it is, and is therefore by this distinguished from all other things. All essential distinction and opposition is from the forms of things; they differ not only accidentally, but essentially one from the other, and are distinguished one from another by their essential forms.

The numerical difference between Socrates and Plato is an argument of their specifical distinction; it includeth and implieth an essential difference between things, being distinguished by their proper, individual, essential forms. It is true that our intellectuals are so wounded by the apostasy of the first man that it is exceeding hard for us to find out the forms of things; we are forced many times to describe the forms of things by their accidents, as we are constrained to describe the elements by their proper qualities arising from their forms; yet every one of them hath a proper form. The existence of every thing is from all the causes; nothing can exist and be that which it is without its proper form. And the difference of the proper form is no less than the difference of the common form but rather greater. Look how much greater the similitude and agreement is between singulars in regard of their common forms—so much greater is the difference of their proper form. The difference and opposition of contraries is the greatest and strongest, and yet they communicate in the same genus: these are more opposite one to another than things that are not under the same genus: white and black are more opposite than white and bitter, &c.  Gravia bella fratrum.

To differ so numerically is to differ formally; to differ in number is to differ in form; for number is an affection or proper adjunct following the essence. Socrates and Plato have two distinct forms; hence they differ in essence; hence they have two distinct essences and beings; hence they are two; one cannot be the other; they cannot be both one and the same, hence they differ numerically one from the other. Where there is one humanity and essential form of man, there is one essence of man, and one man; and where there are two humanities and essential, proper, and individual forms of man, there are two men; hence they differ numerically, and one is not the other, or the same with the other. Socrates is not Plato, but is numerically different from him. Socrates is one, and Plato is another, as London is one city and York another.

The difference of number is nothing but the difference of the proper and individual form, and to differ in number is to differ in form. Two men have two different forms, two lions have two different forms. If Socrates and Plato, or any other individual men differing in number, should not differ in essence and form, they should differ only accidentally one from the other, as one man differs from himself, or as Socrates in his old age differs from Socrates in his youth, being the same man and differing only in accidents, not in essence. Socrates should be Plato, and Plato Socrates, and when Alexander rides Bucephalus, Aristotle sits in the same saddle, and it were impossible not to set the saddle upon the right horse, for every horse is the same essentially; and he that stealeth one horse, he stealeth all the horses in the world, because the essence of the one is the same with the essence of the other. There is a difference, indeed, in accidents, but none in essence; there being, according to this account, no essential or substantial difference between them.

Lastly:—hence there is, upon the same account, no essential and substantial man in the world, but only Ideal; for all generals subsist in individuals, and individuals subsist only in themselves. If, therefore, individuals differ not essentially one from another, but only accidentally, there is no substantial and essential man subsisting by himself, because individual men only subsist in themselves. If, therefore, no individual, proper, essential, human form, there is no individual, essential man subsisting, and therefore no individual, substantial man in the world. Every individual man is an accidental man, having no proper, substantial individual form or essence. He that hath no substantial proper form, hath no substantial proper essence, and therefore cannot be a substantial, individual man. And hence there is no substantial, individual man in the world, but only ideal and common; and Socrates and Plato should differ essentially no more from one another than Doctor Martin and Doctor Luther. But the truth is, they have not one and the same essence, but differ in their essential form one from another. For an accidental form cannot be the prime and principal essential Cause of a substance.

------------

Say what?


Stedman, Edmund Clarence, Ellen Mackay Hutchinson Cortissoz, and Arthur Stedman. A Library of American Literature From the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time. New York: C.L. Webster, 1888. (Page 272-274)

4 comments:

Susan (Nolichucky Roots) said...

Made my day! Thank you. It reaffirms my suspicion that pundits- and a few preachers - have been nattering on about nothing for centuries.

T.K. said...

You're most welcome, Susan. Your comment cracked me up!

JL said...

Oh, good god!

T.K. said...

ROFL!!!!

Labels

Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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