ἀναλογία

Taking a break from the commons research which has been occupying much of my brain and time recently, I was contemplating the many parts of my PhD research which I had had to either compress or completely leave out from the recent book version of it, Scandalous Space: between architecture and archaeology. Particularly sad to lose but which I am beginning to become interested in again, were long detailed sections concerning what I had argued were the logical underpinnings of interdisciplinary space which, after Claude Lévi-Strauss, I had termed ‘scandalous’.

These logical foundations were introduced in a number of ways in various parts of the thesis, but here is a lightly edited one I still like:

Timaios_beginning._Codex_Parisinus_graecus_1807
Page of the Codex Parisinus graecus 1807. Dialogue Timaios in Omont, H. Plato: Codex Parisinus A : Œuvres Philosophiques De Platon, Facsimilé En Phototypie À La Grandeur Exacte De L’original Du Ms. Grec 1807 De La Bibliothèque Nationale. 1908.

ANALOGY IN ANTIQUITY AND ITS BASIS IN LOGIC

What might it mean if an architect were to record an artefact at an archaeological excavation? What if that recording were made using (accidental) hybrid architectural/archaeological drawing techniques but the purpose of that drawing was simply to take its place in the project archive amongst other drawings made by archaeologists? And what if those architectural drawings were presented at, say, an archaeological conference, or workshop?[1] What would all this signify for that architect’s practice on the one hand, or for the practice of archaeology on the other? This thesis maintains that the products of this kind of ‘scandalous practice’ would still be intelligible (and not trivial) because the suites of artefacts and practices, techniques and tools used in archaeology and architecture already have a relationship of shared ancestry. That is, they share a homological relationship from which basis – in a sometimes explicit, sometimes occluded, yet common, inherited structure – new analogically realised tools techniques and practices may develop.

Analogy is a common word which disguises its own complex development; it is at once a stand-in for all kinds of metaphor and, for Plato, the first to systematically analyse its nature and usages, the glue which holds the world together. In the Timaeus, Plato says that in order for two superficially unlike things to be successfully combined, say earth and water, or fire and water, they must be joined by a third thing which shares some of their already common underlying structure. For Plato this bond must share “proportion” with both of the terms it is seeking to unite or to fuse. At least, proportion is how the word is normally translated. For although the English word ‘analogy’ has its roots in the Attic Greek word which Plato uses, ἀναλογία, to which it is strongly connected phonetically,[2] “proportion” tends to be used in English translation because as Plato immediately goes on to explain the universe is a geometrical and proportionally related construct. Nevertheless, some translators have used the homophone ‘analogy’ instead. In fact,  Barbara Maria Stafford uses a translation which employs this version when she says, “analogy was ‘the most beautiful bond possible,’” and references the Timaeus. She does not say whose translation she uses, though it is very close to James Anderson’s English rendering of Paul Grenet’s French, “of all bonds the most beautiful is analogy.”[3]

Plato’s understanding of ἀναλογία (let’s use the English version which Stafford favours – analogy) underpins the argument of this thesis for a deep resemblance, or proportion, between divergent and therefore superficially dissimilar practices of propositional making, and it is Plato’s argument which underpins Stafford’s visually analogical exemplars in Visual Analogy.[4] For Plato’s student, Aristotle, analogical union is a species of metaphor and, crucially for the account of analogy given by Stafford and developed in this thesis, a kind of visual metaphor;

Metaphor by analogy means this: when B is to A as D is to C, then instead of B the poet will say D and B instead of D. And sometimes they add that to which the term supplanted by the metaphor is relative. For instance, a cup is to Dionysus what a shield is to Ares; so he will call the cup ‘Dionysus’s shield’ and the shield ‘Ares’ cup.’ Or old age is to life as evening is to day; so he will call the evening ‘day’s old-age’ or use Empedocles’ phrase; and old age he will call ‘the evening of life’ or ‘life’s setting sun.’ Sometimes there is no word for some of the terms of the analogy but the metaphor can be used all the same. For instance, to scatter seed is to sow, but there is no word for the action of the sun in scattering its fire. Yet this has to the sunshine the same relation as sowing has to the seed, and so you have the phrase ‘sowing the god-created fire.’[5]

The visual nature of Aristotle’s explanation is not accidental; the words, the images and their analogical relationship appear tightly (though not, I would argue, inextricably) connected to one another. Their analogical relationship is one of balance, as the distribution of the ABCD notation reveals, and one of proportion – an operation performed on one side of the inference must be matched by an equivalent operation on the other. Furthermore, in this way meaning is carried forward across the analogical medium of the text and imagery. As Anderson notes;

here it is a question simply of metaphorical proportion, or proportionality […] For in its essence metaphorical analogy or proportion consists in the transference, in virtue of some perceived likeness of relations.[6]

But if, for Plato, analogy (proportion) describes and explains the structure of the world, then for Aristotle the attribute which lends analogy its agency is something quite different. The conceptual tool Aristotle uses is usually translated as ‘abduction.’ C. S. Peirce’s use of abductive reasoning to explain and promote scientific thought as a creative mode of reasoning will be explored in detail in the next chapter and in particular its critical position in the formation of the analogically-sensitive medium of scandalous space.

____________________________________________________________________________

[1] At Must Farm in 2012 my drawing of a bronze age ‘stake’ was both presented at an archaeological conference and archived with other drawings from the excavation. This drawing and the circumstances surrounding its production were presented at the Theoretical Archaeology Group conference (TAG), Chicago in 2013.

[2] See for example;  Plato, Timaeus, ed. Benjamin Jowett, trans. Benjamin Jowett (1998).
“But two things cannot be rightly put together without a third; there must be some bond of union between them. And the fairest bond is that which makes the most complete fusion of itself and the things which it combines; and proportion is best adapted to effect such a union.”
or; Timaeus and Critias, trans. Desmond Lee and T. K. Johansen, New ed. (London: Penguin, 2008).
“But it is not possible to combine two things properly without a third; for there has to be some bond in the middle to hold them together. And the finest bond is one that effects the closest unity between itself and the terms it is combining; and this is best done by a proportion.”

[3] James F. Anderson, “Analogy in Plato,” The Review of Metaphysics 4, no. 1 (1950). translates the epigraph from Grenet’s book; Paul Bernard Grenet and Appendix Plato, Les Origines De L’analogie Philosophique Dans Les Dialogues De Platon, Etc  (pp. 299. Paris, 1948), 7.

[4] Barbara Maria Stafford, “The Magic of Amorous Attraction,” in Visual Analogy: Consciousness as the Art of Connecting (Cambridge, Mass. ; London: MIT Press, 1999).

[5] Aristotle, Longinus, and Demetrius of Phaleron, Poetics. Longinus: On the Sublime. Demetrius: On Style, trans. Stephen Halliwell, W. Hamilton Fyfe, and Doreen C. Innes, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, Mass. ; London: Harvard University Press, 1995), 1457b.

[6] Anderson, “Analogy in Plato,” 114.

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