Re: Re: Humpty Dumpty

From: Edgar Foster (
Date: Thu Mar 19 1998 - 11:57:40 EST

Dear Cindy,

You wrote:

>Dear Edgar,

>Briefly--I didn't mean that Heraclitus would think himself to be the village idiot.
 I mean that he would think (rhetorically speaking with all due respect) that you
might be a village idiot because you as a stranger (with no prior relationship or
appropriate context) came up and uttered LOGOS.<<

Okay, I can see that we're kind of talking past each other here (as Carl has noted).
My hypothetical situation presupposed a person of Heraclitus' community or philosophical
group saying the word LOGOS to him, not a total stranger. I guess I did make it sound
that way, however. :)

>For your reasoning to work, Heraclitus would have to use LOGOS exclusively for 'the
universersal principle of reason', and not for its 10 or so other meanings. I would
gather that he used this kind of terminology in philosophical discussions, but in
his home (among children, servants, slaves, wife too if he was married) if LOGOS
was in the conversation, it would tend to have one of the other meanings.<<

>Cindy Westfall
>PhD Student, Roehampton

Points taken. The reason I don't agree is that (1) LOGOS did not carry the semantical
baggage in Heraclitus' day that it later came to have in the apostle John's day.
(2) I theorize that Heraclitus used the word consistently, even in his daily speech.
This would be analogous to me using the term "God" around my friends and associates.
While the term "God" can mean many things to many people, if I used it consistently
in a theological and philosophical manner, for me God would not "have" the other
"ten meanings."

As a side point, I also wonder about Adam and Eve. The Bible says that God spoke
to Adam first; then Adam NAMED the animals; then Adam spoke to Eve and named her
"living one." Where does the argument for context fit in here? Maybe this is an offlist


Edgar Foster
Classics Major
Lenoir-Rhyne College
Hickory NC

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