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NOTES AND DISCUSSIONS 161 2) You wish him to become what he is not, and no longer to be what he is now (literally: what he is now, no longer to be [283d 2-3]). 3) You wish for his death, since you wish him no longer to be (283d 5-6). The obvious way of dealing with this argument is to make precisely the distinction made by the author of the Dissoi Logoi at V, 15: we should say to Dionysodorus, "Your conclusion that the friends of Cleinias wish for his death is the result of an illegitimate step: you went from 'you wish him not to be ignorant' to 'you wish him not to be'. To have made this step is to have ignored the distinction between existence with respect to some particular thing, i.e., ignorance, and existence in general." (A later critic might point out to Dionysodorus that he has confused the copulative and existential uses of the verb "to be.") It now becomes possible to return to the question, which of the two formulations , (a) or (b), does the author of the Dissoi Logoi presuppose? On the basis of the Euthydemus passage, it seems likely that he presupposed both. The conclusion of Dionysodorus' argument is (b), that Cleinias does not exist, but his conclusion is based upon (a) that Cleinias both is (ignorant) and is not (wise). The Euthydemus passage shows clearly that the words "if someone denies that the man exists" are considerably less of a non sequitur than might first appear. CONCLUSmN. The fallacy-solving distinction of Dissoi Logoi, u 15 was probably understood by Plato~ although not clearly formulated until Aristotle. How is this fact to be assimilated? Is the Dissoi Logoi (or at least this section) much later than has hitherto been presupposed? Or have scholars simply failed to credit its author with this important distinction? Until we have additional studies of the treatise, further discussion would be premature. ROSAMOND KENT SPRAGUE University o] South Carolina HUME'S A LETTER FROM A GENTLEMAN, A REVIEW NOTE In his biography of David Hume, E. C. Mossner notes that on May 21, 1745 there appeared in two Edinburgh newspapers the following advertisement: This Day will be published, and sold by the Booksellersin Town, A LETTER from a Gentlemanto his Friend at Edinburgh: containing some Observations on a Specimenof the PrinciplesconcerningRELIGION and MORALITY, said to be maintain 'd in a Booklately published,intituled, A Treatiseo] Human Nature, &c.I This Letter, Mossner discloses, was sent by David Hume to his friend Henry Home (later Lord Kames), and its publication was, he suggests, the "last 7A later passagein the Euthydemus, 293b ft.,in whichSocratesuses obstructive tactics when the sophistswish to movefrom "knowingx" to "knowingsimpliciter" seems to me to point in this direction.See R. K. Sprague,Plato's Use o] Fallacy (London, 1962),22-23, and passim on secundumquid. 1See The Li]e o] David Hume (Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson & Sons, Ltd., 1954), pp. 153162 ,esp.p. 160. 162 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY frantic effort" by Hume's friends to stem the rising opposition to his appointment to the vacant chair of Ethics and Pneumatical Philosophy at Edinburgh University. Mossner was obliged to report further, however, not only that this effort had been in vain, but also that what "may well constitute an important document in the further interpretation of some aspects of the Treatise" has "never been located." z Now a copy of the Letter has been located. It was purchased from a Birmingham bookseller in December, 1966, by the National Library of Scotland. And, with admirable celerity, a facsimile edition of it has been published by the Edinburgh University Press. Adding still further to the value of this important discovery is the accompanying Introduction which describes the events, parties, and personalities which occasioned the Letter. The editors tell us that John Pringle first offered to resign his chair of philosophy in June, 1744, two years after he had taken leave to accept the position of Physician-General to the British forces in Flanders. He sent his offer to John Coutts, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and Courts, in turn, suggested to Hume that he apply. Had Pringle not delayed...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 161-167
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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