without a dog

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Michael Zeleny

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Oct 22, 2005, 1:38:33 AM10/22/05
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In the Rhetoric 2.24, at 1401a22, within his discussion of
equivocation, Aristotle says that to be without a dog is most
dishonorable:

ὥστε τὸ κύνα δῆλον ὅτι τίμιον.

LSJ gives an alternative meaning of κύων as frenum praeputii,
referring to Lysistrata 158:

τὸ τοῦ Φερεκράτους, κύνα δέρειν
δεδαρμένην.

On the other hand, the 1922 French translation by Ch. Emile Ruelle,
comments "l'on dit qu'il est honteux de ne pas avoir de chien" as
"être eunuque".

What have we here?

Is Aristotle decrying circumcision or a more substantial lack?

Michael Zel...@post.harvard.edu
http://larvatus.livejournal.com/
(soon to be left without a dog)

Lewis Mammel

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Oct 22, 2005, 3:22:22 AM10/22/05
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Michael Zeleny wrote:
>
> In the Rhetoric 2.24, at 1401a22, within his discussion of
> equivocation, Aristotle says that to be without a dog is most
> dishonorable:
>
> ὥστε τὸ κύνα δῆλον ὅτι τίμιον.
>
> LSJ gives an alternative meaning of κύων as frenum praeputii,
> referring to Lysistrata 158:
>
> τὸ τοῦ Φερεκράτους, κύνα δέρειν
> δεδαρμένην.
>
> On the other hand, the 1922 French translation by Ch. Emile Ruelle,
> comments "l'on dit qu'il est honteux de ne pas avoir de chien" as
> "être eunuque".
>
> What have we here?


Insofar as ignorance may be counted as an advantage, I would say that
he is merely counting the double negative as a positive:

"If it is not dishonorable to have a dog, then a dog is to be honored."

Lew Mammel, Jr.

Michael Zeleny

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Oct 22, 2005, 4:51:21 AM10/22/05
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This couldn't be right. Recall that the Rhetoric is put together as a
collection of examples illustrating general principles. In the passage
at issue, the general principle is homonymy or equivocation:

ἓν δὲ τὸ παρὰ τὴν ὁμωνυμίαν

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Aristot.+Rh.+2.24.1

Michael Zel...@post.harvard.edu
http://larvatus.livejournal.com/

Lewis Mammel

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Oct 22, 2005, 2:48:18 PM10/22/05
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Michael Zeleny wrote:
>
> Lewis Mammel wrote:
> > ...


> > Insofar as ignorance may be counted as an advantage, I would say that
> > he is merely counting the double negative as a positive:
> >
> > "If it is not dishonorable to have a dog, then a dog is to be honored."
>
> This couldn't be right. Recall that the Rhetoric is put together as a
> collection of examples illustrating general principles. In the passage
> at issue, the general principle is homonymy or equivocation:

Cope ( Commentary available via Perseus ) suggests ( citing Schrader )
that the pun is on Cynic. Of course, this name derives from "dog" and
refers to the Cynic's crude mode of life. So the premise is that, in some
sense, "there is nothing dishonorable about a dog" and the conclusion
is that it is therefore an honor to be a "dog" , or a Cynic.

This sounds likely to me, but it leaves the problem of the exact
meaning of the premise, which seems to say, "To have no dog at all
is dishonourable". Cope notes parenthetically, "( would this be accepted
as probable? ) " and that was my reaction.

The problem hinges on the phrase "medena einai", meaning "nothing at all"
or "not any". I was suggesting that this might refer to "dishonorable"
rather than "dog" - "nothing at all dishonourable in having a dog",
but this founders ( in my mind ) on the superlative form, "atimotaton" .

Another thought just occured to me. Perhaps he is referring to some
colloquialism involving "medena einai kun" - "not even a dog" , which
has the meaning, "most dishonorable", "atimotaton estin", so the sense
is that if not being a dog is the most dishonorable thing, then being
a dog ( Cynic ) is honorable.

... well, I'm having fun.

Lew Mammel, Jr.

Michael Zeleny

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Oct 22, 2005, 4:51:55 PM10/22/05
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The premiss seems straightforward, as does the implication:

εἶναι κύν' ἀτιμότατόν ἐστιν, ὥστε


τὸ κύνα δῆλον ὅτι τίμιον.

I understand the possible allusion to Σωκράτης
μαινόμενος, as suggested in the way whereby Rhetoric 3.10 at
1411a24 cites Diogenes as ὁ Κύων. I just cannot see it as
explanatory, unlike the possibility suggested by Ruelle.

What does the frenum praeputii have to do with canidae, anyway?
The ideological treatment makes no mention of man's best friend:

http://www.male-initiation.net/cultural_taboo.html

Michael Zel...@post.harvard.edu
http://larvatus.livejournal.com/

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