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The Universe of Platonic Thought
Универсум платоновской мысли

27th International Conferecne  ·  XXVII Международная конференция
28 June 2019   St Petersburg, Russia  ·  28 июня 2019   Санкт-Петербург, Россия

Igor Tantlevskij, St Petersburg State University, Institute of Philosophy, Chairman of the Department of Jewish Culture, Professor, DSc in Philosophy

Skepticism as an “Attribute” of the Dialectical Methodology of Qohelet*

In the process of rationally comprehending the principles of the world order and revealing the meaning of life, the Qohelet (Greek: Ecclesiastes) comes to the conclusion that a wise person should “correlate” / “compare”, sc. contrast, “one with / to the other to find a solution (ḥešbôn)” (7:27). It is the method of comparison that the Qohelet often uses, while “studying” and “comprehending” the world. He not only compares things and entities, but also the conclusions themselves, based on these comparisons and inferences. In the process of his thinking and reflection, the Qohelet compares the essentially opposite conclusions — both frankly skeptical-pessimistic and optimistic, in some cases revealing the intermediate links of his mental discourse for the reader — sometimes even an internal (“in his heart”) “dialogue” / “dispute ”, during which a kind of intellectual “experiment” is carried out in juxtaposition of сontradictory postulates and doctrines — for “God created opposites (literally: ‘one against the other’; 7:14. — I. T.)”, so that a person does not know what will happen to him in the otherworld. The examples of the Qohelet’s application of the methodology of cognition developed by him demonstrate that his “pessimistic” and “skeptical” statements are only judgments with which sometimes directly opposite premises are compared in the process of his reasoning, which results in rather optimistic conclusions; so that the “inconsistency” of the Qohelet proves to be only seeming.

*Исследование выполнено при финансовой поддержке РФФИ в рамках научного проекта № 19-011-00349 «Скептическая традиция в античном платонизме».
The reported study was funded by RFBR according to the research project № 19-011-00349 «Skeptical tradition in the ancient Platonism».

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