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Headword: Θέσις
Adler number: theta,263
Translated headword: thesis, position, settling, convention
Vetting Status: high
According to Aristotle, [a thesis] is a paradoxical supposition of one of the well-known [thinkers] in the domain of philosophy,[1] that is, a problem. However, not every problem is a thesis,[2] but [a thesis is] the supposition contrary to the common opinions of one of the well-known [thinkers] in the domain of philosophy. This is why also the champion of the opinion, in constituting his thesis, must apply himself to a problem of the following sort: for example, whether or not all things come together and are always in process of generation, but nothing is ever [stable], according to Heraclitus;[3] and whether or not what exists is unitary and motionless, as Parmenides thinks;[4] and whether or not there is motion, as Zeno thinks;[5] and whether or not health [is] a good, as Chrysippus says;[6] and whether or not it is [possible] to contradict, as Antisthenes thinks.[7]
What is by convention (thesis) is distinguished from what is by nature (phusis), as occurs in the case of the convention of names. In fact we also say there that names [exist] by convention, meaning not by nature. Some people already call 'theses' also rhetorical problems -- to which it is more usual to apply the name of 'hypothesis' -- because they believe that such [names] are constituted in certain underlying and defined things. Aristotle also calls theses 'hypotheses'.
Greek Original:
Θέσις: κατὰ Ἀριστοτέλην ὑπόληψις παράδοξος τῶν γνωρίμων τινὸς κατὰ φιλοσοφίαν, τουτέστι πρόβλημα. οὐ πᾶν δὲ πρόβλημα θέσις ἐστίν, ἀλλ' ἡ παρὰ τὰς κοινὰς δόξας ὑπόληψις τινὸς τῶν ἐνδόξων κατὰ φιλοσοφίαν. διὸ δεῖ καὶ τὸν προστάτην τῆς δόξης τὸν συνιστάντα τὴν θέσιν προσκεῖσθαι τῷ τοιούτῳ προβλήματι: οἷον πότερον πάντα συγχωρεῖ καὶ ἀεὶ γίνεται, οὐδέποτε δὲ οὐδέν ἐστι καθ' Ἡράκλειτον, ἢ οὔ: καὶ πότερόν ἐστιν ἓν καὶ ἀκίνητον τὸ ὄν, ὡς Παρμενίδῃ δοκεῖ, ἢ οὔ: καὶ πότερον κίνησίς ἐστιν ἢ οὔ, ὡς δοκεῖ Ζήνωνι: καὶ πότερον ἡ ὑγεία ἀγαθὸν ἢ οὔ, ὡς Χρύσιππος λέγει: καὶ πότερόν ἐστιν ἀντιλέγειν ἢ οὔ, ὡς Ἀντισθένει δοκεῖ. ὅτι ἀντιδιαιρεῖται τὸ θέσει τῷ φύσει, ὥσπερ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς τῶν ὀνομάτων θέσεως: καὶ γὰρ ἐκεῖ θέσει λέγομεν τὰ ὀνόματα, σημαίνοντες, ὅτι μὴ φύσει. ἤδη δέ τινες καὶ τὰ ῥητορικὰ προβλήματα θέσεις καλοῦσιν, ἐφ' ὧν τὸ τῆς ὑποθέσεως ὄνομα συνηθέστερον, τῷ δοκεῖν τὰ τοιαῦτα ἐπὶ ὑποκειμένοις τισὶ καὶ ὡρισμένοις συνίστασθαι. τὰς δὲ θέσεις καὶ ὑποθέσεις λέγει Ἀριστοτέλης.
The first part of this passage is largely taken (with some variations) from Alexander of Aphrodisias, Commentaries on Aristotle's Topics 78.21-79.7 (commenting on Aristotle, Topica 104b19-105a1); the second section then draws on 82.15-24.
[1] See Aristotle, Topica 104b19-20.
[2] Aristotle, Topica 104b29-30.
[3] Heraclitus B12 (ed. Diels-Kranz) and Plato, Cratylus 402A, 440C-D.
[4] Parmenides B8 (ed. Diels-Kranz).
[5] For Zeno (of Elea) see generally zeta 77.
[6] The Stoic Chrysippus (see Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta, III 70, 117, and 199, ed. von Arnim).
[7] Antisthenes of Athens (cf. frr.155-156, ed. Giannantoni).
Keywords: biography; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; philosophy; rhetoric
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 13 October 2003@14:23:35.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (modified translation, cosmetics) on 13 October 2003@17:26:11.
David Whitehead (augmented primary note; cosmetics) on 14 October 2003@02:59:59.
David Whitehead (supplemented and tweaked translation; added a note; raised status) on 20 January 2005@04:55:48.
David Whitehead on 1 January 2013@09:06:19.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 19 November 2018@02:18:37.
Catharine Roth (another tweak) on 19 November 2018@11:45:02.


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