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granpa

the myth of Atlantis in context

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cormac mac airt

Firstly, you are mixed up. Atlantis is not mentioned the day before (previous days story) a perfect state is though. Atlantis is in the next days story.

You have it wrong cormac, others said it too, I don't care really, I'm only concerned you have yourself looking like you're pro-Atlantis when you are so obviously not, for your own benefit.

Van Gorp, good on you for reading the dialogues, I find it as intriguing as the OLB.

I'm not the one mixed up. It appears that you and possibly others have skipped over who says what and when. From the previous days discourse:

Socrates: I should like, before proceeding further, to tell you how I feel about the State which we have described. I might compare myself to a person who, on beholding beautiful animals either created by the painter's art, or, better still, alive but at rest, is seized with a desire of seeing them in motion or engaged in some struggle or conflict to which their forms appear suited; this is my feeling about the State which we have been describing. There are conflicts which all cities undergo, and I should like to hear some one tell of our own city carrying on a struggle against her neighbours, and how she went out to war in a becoming manner, and when at war showed by the greatness of her actions and the magnanimity of her words in dealing with other cities a result worthy of her training and education. Now I, Critias and Hermocrates, am conscious that I myself should never be able to celebrate the city and her citizens in a befitting manner, and I am not surprised at my own incapacity; to me the wonder is rather that the poets present as well as past are no better-not that I mean to depreciate them; but every one can see that they are a tribe of imitators, and will imitate best and most easily the life in which they have been brought up; while that which is beyond the range of a man's education he finds hard to carry out in action, and still harder adequately to represent in language. I am aware that the Sophists have plenty of brave words and fair conceits, but I am afraid that being only wanderers from one city to another, and having never had habitations of their own, they may fail in their conception of philosophers and statesmen, and may not know what they do and say in time of war, when they are fighting or holding parley with their enemies. And thus people of your class are the only ones remaining who are fitted by nature and education to take part at once both in politics and philosophy. Here is Timaeus, of Locris in Italy, a city which has admirable laws, and who is himself in wealth and rank the equal of any of his fellow-citizens; he has held the most important and honourable offices in his own state, and, as I believe, has scaled the heights of all philosophy; and here is Critias, whom every Athenian knows to be no novice in the matters of which we are speaking; and as to, Hermocrates, I am assured by many witnesses that his genius and education qualify him to take part in any speculation of the kind. And therefore yesterday when I saw that you wanted me to describe the formation of the State, I readily assented, being very well aware, that, if you only would, none were better qualified to carry the discussion further, and that when you had engaged our city in a suitable war, you of all men living could best exhibit her playing a fitting part. When I had completed my task, I in return imposed this other task upon you. You conferred together and agreed to entertain me to-day, as I had entertained you, with a feast of discourse. Here am I in festive array, and no man can be more ready for the promised banquet.

The above is the first story told from the previous day and concerns the Republic.

Hermocrates: And we too, Socrates, as Timaeus says, will not be wanting in enthusiasm; and there is no excuse for not complying with your request. As soon as we arrived yesterday at the guest-chamber of Critias, with whom we are staying, or rather on our way thither, we talked the matter over, and he told us an ancient tradition**, which I wish, Critias, that you would repeat to Socrates, so that he may help us to judge whether it will satisfy his requirements or not.

The above is the second story told the previous day, concerning Atlantis, while on the way to stay with Critias. Critias then went over the story in his head so that he'd remember all the relevant details and then was asked to tell the story the following day as seen here:

Critias: And therefore, as Hermocrates has told you, on my way home yesterday I at once communicated the tale to my companions as I remembered it; and after I left them, during the night by thinking I recovered nearly the whole it. Truly, as is often said, the lessons of our childhood make wonderful impression on our memories; for I am not sure that I could remember all the discourse of yesterday, but I should be much surprised if I forgot any of these things which I have heard very long ago. I listened at the time with childlike interest to the old man's narrative; he was very ready to teach me, and I asked him again and again to repeat his words, so that like an indelible picture they were branded into my mind. As soon as the day broke, I rehearsed them as he spoke them to my companions, that they, as well as myself, might have something to say. And now, Socrates, to make an end my preface, I am ready to tell you the whole tale. I will give you not only the general heads, but the particulars, as they were told to me. The city and citizens, which you yesterday described to us in fiction, we will now transfer to the world of reality. It shall be the ancient city of Athens, and we will suppose that the citizens whom you imagined, were our veritable ancestors, of whom the priest spoke; they will perfectly harmonise, and there will be no inconsistency in saying that the citizens of your republic are these ancient Athenians. Let us divide the subject among us, and all endeavour according to our ability gracefully to execute the task which you have imposed upon us. Consider then, Socrates, if this narrative is suited to the purpose, or whether we should seek for some other instead.

Which means that they took a fictitious story (about the Republic), merged it with a claimed tradition (not a fact) and applied it to contemporary Athens of Plato's time and presented the whole as if it were one and the same, which it wasn't. And yet Atlantis proponents have spectacularly failed to notice this. Whether one wants to cite Plato for each speakers words or one wants to pretend that an actual discussion by Hermocrates, Critias, Socrates and Timaeus occurred it did so in the way I mentioned as specifically shown in Timaeus.

** This conveniently gets overlooked by pretty much everyone who has claimed to have read Timaeus but who only mention one story from the previous day. As shown above there were two (2) stories.

The real mystery here is how many will continue to pretend that Plato never has one of his characters mention the Atlantis story the previous day, contrary to what he actually has written?

cormac

Edited by cormac mac airt

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Van Gorp

I'm certainly no scholar but it seems plain to me that Plato was using an artistic device to make a point not trying to recount history

In case of the reset button as an artistic device, but no history: what point is he making then you could ask.

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Harte

He is explaining exactly how it could be that his fantasy civilization could have escaped discovery by the Greeks of his time.

Harte

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Van Gorp

Ok, trying to follow ...

You mean Plato's fantasy civilsation as the ideal Republic (which he says likened ancient Athens, not Atlantis)?

But when really looking at Plato's ideas (set aside Atlantis and deluge stories) paramount is the idea and importance of truth, as an objective, clear and absolute truth.

I still can't reconcile Plato's ideas on truth with the fact that he makes a philosopher statesman like Solon confirm the ancient Athens-Atlantis tale is a real fact, no myth but we are to interprete this as a style for bringing accross his fantasy about an ideal state.

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Harte

Solon doesn't have a line in either dialogue, so Solon never "confirms" anything at all.

No, Plato's fantasy civilization is Atlantis. The Republic was another fantasy, but was recognized as one in the dialogues.

Harte

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Van Gorp

T

Solon doesn't have a line in either dialogue, so Solon never "confirms" anything at all.

That was not the point.

Point is Plato makes Solon confirm the ancient Athens-Atlantis story as a fact, litteraly.

As a philosopher stating absolute truth is objective and clear to perceive, it would be a very odd case to use the line below in your work if you want to use the Athens-Atlantis story as a mere artistic tool (not to be taken as a fact).

Soc. Very good. And what is this ancient famous action of the Athenians, which Critias declared, on the authority of Solon, to be not a mere legend, but an actual fact?

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Atlantisresearch

The real mystery here is how many will continue to pretend that Plato never has one of his characters mention the Atlantis story the previous day, contrary to what he actually has written?

cormac

Well Critias knew of the story as young as ten. I'm sure he had chats like 20c-d references. These "chats" though were not on level as the dialogue discussions.

20c-d is just further evidence Atlantis is not an allegory - since it is contrasted to the ideal state.

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Atlantisresearch

Solon doesn't have a line in either dialogue, so Solon never "confirms" anything at all.

No, Plato's fantasy civilization is Atlantis. The Republic was another fantasy, but was recognized as one in the dialogues.

Harte

Ideal state = fantasy because stated to be fiction.

Atlantis = fantasy because stated to be not fiction but true.

Skeptic logic? :no:

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cormac mac airt

Well Critias knew of the story as young as ten. I'm sure he had chats like 20c-d references. These "chats" though were not on level as the dialogue discussions.

20c-d is just further evidence Atlantis is not an allegory - since it is contrasted to the ideal state.

He did? Then you have textual evidence written by Critias himself that states as much? I'm sure the rest of the world would like to see said evidence that apparently only you have.

cormac

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granpa

http://religion.wikia.com/wiki/Timaeus

Crit. Then listen, Socrates, to a tale which, though strange, is certainly true, having been attested by Solon, who was the wisest of the seven sages. He was a relative and a dear friend of my great-grandfather, Dropides, as he himself says in many passages of his poems; and he told the story to Critias, my grandfather, who remembered and repeated it to us. There were of old, he said, great and marvellous actions of the Athenian city, which have passed into oblivion through lapse of time and the destruction of mankind, and one in particular, greater than all the rest. This we will now rehearse. It will be a fitting monument of our gratitude to you, and a hymn of praise true and worthy of the goddess, on this her day of festival.

Soc. Very good. And what is this ancient famous action of the Athenians, which Critias declared, on the authority of Solon, to be not a mere legend, but an actual fact?

Crit. I will tell an old-world story which I heard from an aged man; for Critias, at the time of telling it, was as he said, nearly ninety years of age, and I was about ten.

Edited by granpa

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cormac mac airt

http://religion.wikia.com/wiki/Timaeus

Crit. Then listen, Socrates, to a tale which, though strange, is certainly true, having been attested by Solon, who was the wisest of the seven sages. He was a relative and a dear friend of my great-grandfather, Dropides, as he himself says in many passages of his poems; and he told the story to Critias, my grandfather, who remembered and repeated it to us. There were of old, he said, great and marvellous actions of the Athenian city, which have passed into oblivion through lapse of time and the destruction of mankind, and one in particular, greater than all the rest. This we will now rehearse. It will be a fitting monument of our gratitude to you, and a hymn of praise true and worthy of the goddess, on this her day of festival.

Soc. Very good. And what is this ancient famous action of the Athenians, which Critias declared, on the authority of Solon, to be not a mere legend, but an actual fact?

Crit. I will tell an old-world story which I heard from an aged man; for Critias, at the time of telling it, was as he said, nearly ninety years of age, and I was about ten.

Sorry granpa, but writings attributed to Critias within works written by Plato do not support the contention that Critias actually said them. So what actual evidence do you have that Critias said anything that's attributed to him in Plato's Timaeus? Can you provide any independent evidence that would support such a contention?

cormac

Edited by cormac mac airt

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Proclus

What a great thread to present my new articles, translated now into English - they fit very well!

Atlantis Newsletter 70: What is Atlantis / Labyrinth of Atlantis

Dear readers,

one article from 2013 is now available in English, another one is completely new and intended for newcomers to the Atlantis topic - but it may be inspiring even for "old hands":

New: What is Atlantis?

An academically reliable Introduction in intentionally short but very precise Words

Translated: The Labyrinth of Atlantis:

Meanderings and Dead Ends of Atlantis Research

Enjoy!

Subscribe newsletter here!

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Sir Wearer of Hats

The way I see it, Plato used Solon's name and reputation the same way some people use Morgan Freeman's - to lend an air of authenticity to their fiction (think of all the memes and false comments ascribed to Freeman of late).

Just because Solon was real, doesn't mean what Plato has him saying was real was actually real - do you get my drift?

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Proclus

The way I see it, Plato used Solon's name and reputation the same way some people use Morgan Freeman's - to lend an air of authenticity to their fiction (think of all the memes and false comments ascribed to Freeman of late).

Just because Solon was real, doesn't mean what Plato has him saying was real was actually real - do you get my drift?

Plain and clear but no proof anywhere to be seen, neither pro nor con.

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Sir Wearer of Hats

Plain and clear but no proof anywhere to be seen, neither pro nor con.

Exactly.

Taken on face value it adds nothing but detracts nothing as well. However, take into account the point Plato was attempting to make with his Dialogues. The point is easier made with a fiction then with a reality that could be researched and debunked by anyone with the wit and coin to investigate.

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Proclus

The point is easier made with a fiction then with a reality that could be researched and debunked by anyone with the wit and coin to investigate.

I clearly disagree. If you want to show that something can be real or was real, etc., then why not just show that it was real?

We have to keep in mind that Plato was not an impostor.

Plato himself believed in his philosophy and so he had to believe that it (in theory) must be possible to find his ideas in the past.

Whether he really believed that he did - we don't know for sure.

But for a demonstration, reality is much more convincing than invention.

Edited by Proclus

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Van Gorp

The way I see it, Plato used Solon's name and reputation the same way some people use Morgan Freeman's - to lend an air of authenticity to their fiction (think of all the memes and false comments ascribed to Freeman of late).

Just because Solon was real, doesn't mean what Plato has him saying was real was actually real - do you get my drift?

Hi Sir,

I think i get this, using Solon to lend an air of authenticity.

A good point, I can follow that possibilty.

But can you imagine that this kind of "lending authenticity" to make appear a fictionous story a real fact, is not a proper way for a philosopher of the kind that Plato is assumed to be regarding all what he states about finding the absolute truth in the matters?

Many posters point, and they are probably right, to the fact that Plato has so much more to say and let that so much more be 'truth'.

This doesn't fit in my eyes.

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Sir Wearer of Hats

I clearly disagree. If you want to show that something can be real or was real, etc., then why not just show that it was real?

And he didn't though, did he? He didn't SHOW it was real, he intimated it was real.

We have to keep in mind that Plato was not an impostor.

No, he was a polemist who knew you could use fiction as well as fact and a blend of fiction and fact to better make his points.

But for a demonstration, reality is much more convincing than invention.

I agree, but to make a specific point, fiction is better because you can then control all the facts you give and you know the outcome and thus know the point everyone's going to take home and chew over.

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cormac mac airt

Hi Sir,

I think i get this, using Solon to lend an air of authenticity.

A good point, I can follow that possibilty.

But can you imagine that this kind of "lending authenticity" to make appear a fictionous story a real fact, is not a proper way for a philosopher of the kind that Plato is assumed to be regarding all what he states about finding the absolute truth in the matters?

Many posters point, and they are probably right, to the fact that Plato has so much more to say and let that so much more be 'truth'.

This doesn't fit in my eyes.

Plato wasn't attempting to make a fictitious story a real fact. He was trying to make a point. That being that the Athens of his 'Republic', along with the claimed tradition of Atlantis his character Critias discussed the previous evening, when merged as an actual example of the contemporary Athens of his day did an excellent job of showing how Athens was once considered great but had fallen in comparison due to its own hubris.

cormac

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Proclus

There are many reasons why the idea of a deceptive myth does not work.

One reason is, that Plato himself writes in the dialogue that he (or Critias, does not matter) added something to primeval Athens in order to make it a perfect representation of his ideal state. Critias just "transfers" the citizen of the ideal state to the historical city.

You wouldn't do this ( a ) if it is an invention to deceive ( b ) if it is fully true.

Neither ( a ) nor ( b ). Nice, isnt' it? :-)

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Sir Wearer of Hats

But can you imagine that this kind of "lending authenticity" to make appear a fictionous story a real fact, is not a proper way for a philosopher of the kind that Plato is assumed to be regarding all what he states about finding the absolute truth in the matters?

Only in Mathematics can you find the truth ;)

Plato wanted to make people think, but importantly, he wanted to make them think about a specific concept. Now you could find that concept in reality and history if you looked hard enough. Even back then when history was a bit shorter then it is today. But to make a specific point?

Look at it like this, I can tell kids bullying is bad until I'm blue in the face. I can recount untold numbers of stories about bullying, I can point to my own personal experiences of bullying but that may target the exact point I want to make, to deliever the exact message I want them to take away. So I embroider the truth with a dash of fiction. I was bullied (true) and in much the same way as I've seen bullying done "today" (a lie). End of the day, they take home the truth (my emotional reactions to the bullying I experienced) but it's gotten there pointedly and topically via a lie.

have I failed or succeeded as a teacher (which IMO is what Plato was)?

They've been engaged emotionally and intellectually.

They've taken home a concept I want them to take on.

They've developed an conceptualisation of the effects bullying has.

All done via a combination of the truth (history) and lies (fiction).

that the specific of the bullying was a lie was necessary to make the point and to make the connection between my own experiences as a boy and what I've witnessed now as a teacher, and what I wanted to address. I could have stuck to the truth, but there was always that risk of "but that's nothing like what happened!" being used as a rationale to avoid taking the time to consider the truth I wanted to get across.

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Van Gorp

Plato wasn't attempting to make a fictitious story a real fact.

Not my point of view. You could give this answer earlier as a reply to Sir :-)

So he was making a point, the point remains why Solon is in the play.

The sceptic view is difficult to follow in this way.

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cormac mac airt

There are many reasons why the idea of a deceptive myth does not work.

One reason is, that Plato himself writes in the dialogue that he (or Critias, does not matter) added something to primeval Athens in order to make it a perfect representation of his ideal state. Critias just "transfers" the citizen of the ideal state to the historical city.

You wouldn't do this ( a ) if it is an invention to deceive ( b ) if it is fully true.

Neither ( a ) nor ( b ). Nice, isnt' it? :-)

It's not meant to either deceive nor be fully true. It's meant to make a point, something of which has apparently gone over the heads of many who are still looking for a real place.

cormac

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Proclus

It's not meant to either deceive nor be fully true. It's meant to make a point, something of which has apparently gone over the heads of many who are still looking for a real place.

cormac

Ooooh, not meant to deceive? Anglo-Saxon academicians love the idea of Atlantis as an instance of a deceptive myth ...

... and again: Making a point does not exclude at all the basic reality of the story (except the ideal state for which Plato does not claim to know about its reality, he just assumes it).

Edited by Proclus

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cormac mac airt

Not my point of view. You could give this answer earlier as a reply to Sir :-)

So he was making a point, the point remains why Solon is in the play.

The sceptic view is difficult to follow in this way.

To lend the story a semblance of authenticity. Is this concept really that difficult for you to understand? Plato wasn't the first to do it, nor will he ever be the last.

cormac

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