domingo, 9 de outubro de 2011

CAEIRO, António de Castro, 2011 "Understanding the einai and the dokein einai (structural semantics of poiein)" in Formal Structures in Plato's Dialogues. Theaetetus, Sophist and Statesman. Ed. by Francisco Leonardo Lisi, Maurizio Migliori and Josep Monserrat-Molas, Akademie Verlag, München.

1. The production of fiction question
“But what then? Might it be that as regards lectures we also expect there to be a
certain skill with which he [the sophist] is able to charm young people, who are still
very detached from the truth of situations, with the words that pass though their ears,
and show them false images regarding all things, in such a way that he makes them
believe that he is talking the truth and, thus, in speaking, appears to be more learned
than anyone as regards all things? (…) Now is it not true that the majority of those
listening will of necessity be obliged, with the passing of enough time and the
reaching of a certain age, to find themselves at close hand in such situations as may
occur at any given moment and that, via the difficult experiences they pass through
during their lives, they will end up seeing clearly things as they really are and will
thus need to change the opinions they formulated previously, so that things which
seemed to be very important are now of little importance, others that seemed difficult
to endure are now tolerable and all the phantasmagorical images created by words as
regards everything have been turned inside out by the consequences of the situations
in which they found themselves on each occasion?” (234c2-e2)
The horizon on which a sophist moves is that of producing semblances. His existential
objective is to win absolute control over the expert or technical knowledge occurring on
that horizon, in order to obtain the power to: “make it seem that he is telling the truth
(“ποιεῖν  ληθῆ δοκεῖν λέγεσθαι”, 234c6)” and, thus, gain influence over whoever it is
regarding all matters. Ποιεῖν δοκεῖν  ληθῆ λέγεσθαι is a euphemism. In fact, to make it
seem is to shape an opinion, create an illusion or produce a semblance. All this
presupposes not only that the truth is not spoken but also that lies are told. Making a
semblance, therefore, appear to be the truth. What ποιεῖν is this capable of δοκεῖν  ληθῆ
λέγεσθαι of producing fictions that insinuate themselves and gain the value of what really
and actually truly exists?.
(“Oh really! My dear fellow, we are faced with the most difficult of questions.
Because making appear, shaping an opinion of what does not exist and
pronouncing things that are not true, all this has always created many difficulties
for us both in the past and the present. ὄντως, ὦ μακάριε, ἐσμὲν ἐν παντάπασιν
χαλεπῆ σκέψει. Τὸ γὰρ φαίνεσθαι τοῦτο καὶ τὸ δοκεῖν, εἶναι δὲ μή, καὶ τὸ λέγειν μὲν
ἄττα,  ληθῆ δὲ μή, πάντα ταῦτά ἐστι μεστὰ  πορίας  εὶ ἐν τῶ πρόσθεν χρόνω
καὶ νῦν.” 236d9-e3)
2. Language as the fundamental element in the charming.
The expert knowledge, τέχνη, of a sophist, therefore, finds an application in the λόγοι and
in the λέγεσθαι. The milieu in which a sophist moves is that of language and the
pragmatic situation describing it best is being in a conversation with someone and talking
about a particular question. Except that, instead of sincerity, a sophist produces the
semblance, by means of words, of pronouncing the truth to the other persons listening to
them. In fact, by means of his τέχνη (234c3), a sophist is able (δυνατόν, ibid.) to
“[bewitch], γοητεύειν, young people who are still detached from the truth of things”
(“τοὺς νέους καὶ ἔτι πόρρω τῶν πραγμάτων τῆς  ληθείας  φεστῶτας”, 243c4-5). There
is, thus, a constitutive interaction, a reciprocal implication and a mutual involvement
between the person exercising the power of language and anyone in some way exposed to
it. Here it is a question of an unchangeable vertical relationship in which one exercises
power actively and the other is passively exposed to it. One is a charmer and the other is
charmed. It is not surprising, then, that a sophist, being one of the sorcerers, γοήτων τις,
“appears to be the most knowledgeable of all people as regards all things” (“σοφώτατος
πάντων ἅπαντ’ εἶναι”)1.
The milieu in which a sophist moves allows him to captivate, create illusions, produce
semblances and form opinions in the heads of those listening. He generates meaning and,
therefore, being. But how? The power of action of a ποιεῖν  ληθῆ δοκεῖν sophist involves
a multiple λέγεσθαι that makes use of various arts embracing all the domains of reality.
These “arts” contaminate the truth of what exists in reality with the imperceptible
semblance of reality of what is not. εἰδωλοποιική, art producing εἴδωλα, εἰκαστική, art
producing εἰκόνες and φανταστική art producing φαντάσματα join together in the general
possibility the human horizon has of dealing with imitations, μιμήσεις, which are mere
reproductions of reality and admit a second degree ability to reproduce, a μιμητική τέχνη.
These arts generating falsifications of reality are not confined to what we commonly
identify as images, photographs, drawings, sphinxes, statues, statuettes, idols, monsters,
apparitions and other imitations, whether course or refined, of reality.
In fact, it is precisely in language a dizer-se (sinonimo pf) that we find the means par
excellence of producing fiction and simulation. When one tells lies, stories or inventions
and when one makes believe, one seduces, persuades and dissuades, manipulates and
convinces or tries to.
It is precisely this that the Stranger wants to tell us in this passage, in distinguishing
words or expressions of meaning as particular forms of εἴδωλα, i.e. as phenomena
produced by μίμησις. It is that the “products” that a sophist devises and makes appear to
be are precisely idols, εἴδωλα, icons, εἰκόνες, imitations, μιμήσεις, phantoms,
φαντάσματα, apparently true apparitions, φαινομένα, and occurrences in contrast with
that which is, τὰ ὄντα. The discussion in this passage tries to distinguish the possibility
of (“δείκνυσθαι”, c5) spoken εἴδωλα and therefore auditory λεγόμενα, that work their
1 Cf. 233b1-2: καθ᾿ὅντινα τρόπον ποτὲ δυνατοὶ τοῖς νέοις δόξαν παρασκευάζειν, ὡς εἰσὶ
πάντα πάντων αὐτοὶ σοφώτατοι.
charm through the ears (“διὰ τῶν ὤτων, c5”), being produced and manifesting
A sophist, thus, marks out the radical possibility of the horizon in which we find
ourselves and produces apparitions, φαινομένα, that derive from an active effort to
deceive and lie. His art is an active way of dealing with things, with himself and with
others, but in such a manner that he knows well the way he is, therefore, trying to escape
from the deficiencies of the point of view and deactivating the possibility of exposing
himself to illusions, semblances and lies. That is, it is one thing to passively and
unconsciously deceive and beguile ourselves and be influenced by semblances producing
themselves spontaneously in the open depending on the way we, at each moment and
always, find ourselves in the midst of things, and another, completely different thing for
someone to work at isolating this deficiency, in order to understand how it works and,
then, develop it with art, i.e. reinforce as actively as possible the possibility of the human
making believe in the illusion and semblance both of oneself for oneself and of oneself
for others.
Sophistry is stricto sensu  πατική the art of actively lying and deceiving and of creating
semblances. The success of sophistic output depends on the particular condition of the
way in which our point of view gets formed (cf. 264d5). The risk in a sophism is that, as
such, it also is an entity. Lying and deceiving in some way generate circumstances and
the situations we come across in fact create situations. In conversations with others
talking about a particular question, the radical possibility of language as the atmosphere
and milieu in which we move with others when talking gets exorcised. It is language that
makes it possible to set out from backstage and carry the question about which we are
talking with others to the front.2
2 Without speaking, things remain hidden there in the background and we remain without
subject matter. Such a situation, nevertheless, is not just created, when in fact one is
conversing with someone about a question. At that time it is just recreated, given that this
is the underlying situation in which we always find ourselves with ourselves: talking
from us to us about a particular question related to us. It is within this possibility that we
3. ποίησις in general, in fiction and in reality
The particular ability of the ποιεῖν  ληθῆ δοκεῖν as a λέγεσθαι exists in a general picture of
fiction production that generates false opinions, illusions and semblances. It is in this
general production scenario, ποίησις, defined at the beginning of the dialogue, that we
shall have to try to understand that even no limite radical of the production of
semblances, semblance is the determinative complement of an inextirpable occurrence on
the meaning horizon, itself understood as actively producing. It is already said in 219b4:
“that all that which did not exist previously and is brought into existence subsequently
involves a bringing and a brought respectively dependent on a making and a being made”
(“πᾶν ὅπερ ἂν μὴ πρότερόν τις ὂν ὕστερον εἰς οὐσίαν ἄγη, τὸν μὲν ἄγοντα ποιεῖν, τὸ δὲ
 γόμενον ποιεῖσθαί πού φαμεν”, 219b4-6).
A sophist’s specific skill is that of creating reproductions or representations of the reality
of that which is: μιμήματα τῶν ὄντων, but in such a way that his deceitful, false, illusory
and apparently true representations superimpose themselves on that specific and concrete
or general and abstract reality that they claim to represent. I.e. a sophist is well aware of
the milieu in which he moves. Imitations of reality or reproductions of it depend on a
production or fabrication skill. The fiction exists and is effective because it joins in the
general scenario of the human meaning and comprehension horizon. The meaning and its
comprehension occur in a production horizon that not only gives us something to
understand, but also produces misunderstandings, where lies and mistakes are taking
What we try to perceive, at first, is the fact that reality is obliterated by the semblance, i.e.
of sophisms, while the object produced by sophistic art really exists, even if only to hide
the truth and show the deception. Secondly, we try to see how the entity, that very thing
which is, the entity that lets itself be seen, on the basis of itself, as what it really is, occurs
rooted in a meaning production occurrence which, as such, is not real, in a
can also deceive ourselves regarding ourselves, by creating illusion, generating
semblances, etc., etc..
philosophically modern but highly effective qualification. What is, the ὄντως ὄν, is as
unreal as what merely appears, τὸ φαινόμενον, and what appears, τὸ φαινόμενον, is as
effective as what is, ὄντως ὄν. At a third stage we shall need to understand how it is that
from the meaning of the particular production of phenomena and entities we are able to
understand the idea of being as a making, in being made on the basis of itself. Being as
making is the continuous transformation of what is not into what is, the permanent
production of presence from an intrinsic and effective possibility that at each and every
moment activates a later moment in time, bringing it or taking it as far as existence and
its particular form of presence.
4. Production of fiction in its various forms.
Before we can unequivocally understand the ability of language to make believe, when
forged by a specific art that creates linguistic – spoken and written, heard and read –
idols, we need to understand that in everything language joins together in a same sense of
fiction production that leads to other skilled knowledge. The εἴδωλα of the εἰδωλοποιική,
the εἰκόνες of the εἰκαστική and the φαντάσματα of the φανταστική join together in the
general potential of the human horizon to make imitations, mere reproductions of reality.
These various products, on the other hand, widen and enlarge reality as it were, i.e. as a
minimum they duplicate it. That is, a longer inspection would show them to be
independent and clearly identifiable realities. As reproductions, apparitions or fictions
these products also belong to a horizon that does not go beyond that of reality.
Thus idols, icons, phantoms and apparitions, fictions and imitations are forms of
appearing that can be ontologically identified. But the way in which these products of
fiction can appear to us has a particular form that removes their false and doubtful
character, of copies and imitations, and presents them as originals. Not as fictitious
versions of an original but as what reality is itself. The doubtful character of the
appearance of these products derives precisely from their ambiguity: at one moment they
are entities and at another they pass for the original they present. As long as they are not
denounced as semblances or reduced to their ontological insignificance, they pass for
what they are not. There is, thus, a possible spontaneous oscillation in our point of view
between semblance and reality, in which on some occasions what is a semblance appears
to be reality itself and on others it emerges as what it is, as a semblance, illusion, lie and
fiction. It is for this reason that phantoms and ghosts can haunt. This is its particular form
of being and it will be thus that it will always appear to us.
5. The assimilable and assimilative character of idols.
We can see that when we identify the being of each apparition as the being of the icon, of
the idol, of the imitation, of the apparition and of the phantom, its content is, as it were,
erased, as Husserl would say, and appears lessened and diminished in its difference and
deficit compared to that which really is and exists. In this sense, idols, icons, images,
appearances, phantoms and apparitions are seen and understood to be ficticious and
unreal products and radically different from what presents itself as that which is, τὰ ὄντα.
When icons, idols, imitations and fictions are seen to be mere apparitions, that which
really is appears in all its splendour of self-sufficiency and independence and ostensively
shows and displays itself as what it actually is. One can thus, from time to time, or always
and on the majority occasions, understand the difference between τὰ φαινομένα and τὰ
ὄντα as being inherent to horizons with well-defined outlines, that of fiction and that of
reality, even if one can be intrusive in relation to the other. It is important here to see the
particular form in which fiction escapes from its being and stops presenting itself as the
reality with which it appears to us or in what way reality subtly insinuates itself into or is
intrusive in fiction. It is important here to indicate the fact of the revelation, even if
relative, of fiction as fiction and reality as reality and also the fact that there can be the
contamination of one meaning horizon in the other.
There is a link between icons, idols and fantasies and their originals, i.e. that which on
each occasion and in a specific form they present or, in this case, represent. The ability of
each of these products to render presented,  περγάζεσθαι, φαντάζεσθαι, μιμεῖσθαι, its
originals, that of which they are representations or substitutes depends on the
comprehension of the symmetrical and assimilative character of the apparition. It is what
Teeteto asks the Stranger regarding the εἴδωλον:
“τί δῆτα, ὧ ξένε, εἴδωλον ἂν φαῖμεν εἶναι πλήν γε τὸ πρὸς τ ληθινὸν
 φωμοιωμένον ἕτερον τοιοῦτον; But why Stranger! Can we assert that an idol is
other than what resembles the truth and manifests itself as being original, when it
is the contrary? (240a7-8).
Through this form of assimilation to the original and through the possibility offered by
the original to stop being assimilated by its double we can also see the symbiosis of
presence existing between one and the other. The idol resembles the original and the
original is assimilated by it because there is a symmetry between both of them. This
symmetry is not extrinsic and corresponds only to the fact that there is an exchange of
homothety from one to the other. The symmetry of assimilation in question here is
intrinsic and relates to the fact of the idol rendering the original present and the original
stopping being represented by the idol. The intrinsic possible relationship between the
apparition and what actually is resides in the fact of the presence of the absence of the
original in the duplicate. Our Lady is not a statuette, but she can become present for us
when we see a statuette. The same occurs as regards all the forms of that which Husserl
calls Bildbewusstsein.
In all sophisms we can see the intrinsic symmetry between them and the original which
consists of the particular synchrony between image and imagined. Even if an image is
made of completely different materials from its original, it has the power to represent, or
rather, evoke the object serving as the basis for the representation as a representation. On
the other hand, the original is symmetric and has to do with the copy, because it can be
synchronized with it. The symbiosis of presences - original/idol - can, nevertheless,
collapse, for example when there is an interruption of the exchange from the idol to the
original, from the photograph, statuette, sketch, portrait, sphinx, etc., etc., to the original.
When such an interruption occurs, even if only partially, there is an interference towards
the original. The interruption of the presentation of the original results in us not being
already absorbed and transported towards the truth of the idol.
If the original is as it were presented, it is represented, by a sort of vicarious function in
such a way that it is it that as it were presents itself, and the icon, idol, fantasy and image
do not appear as they are, precisely idols, icons, fantasies and images. On the other hand,
it can be seen that when the symbiosis of co-presences is interrupted, the ontologically
static character of this interruption becomes scandalously clear. We remain with the
essence of the material of which it is made - celluloid, marble, wood, bronze, res extensa,
res materialis or res corpórea – even if it is never possible to completely interrupt in this
nesse ens realissimum its being referential towards the original which shows it to be a
falsification.3 It is a parallel phenomenon of assimilation and disintegration which makes
it possible to pass from the apparition to what is displayed in it or for us to remain just
with the brutal fact of the naked truth of the interrupted apparition of the co-presence of
the original. Even so, this argument does not make it possible to see how there can be a
total immersion of reality in an apparition, or, on the other hand, if the totalising
apparition of the things that are out there is a symbiotic apparition of the absent presence
of the original, with what one is left with if there is an interruption of the referential from
the apparition to the original that presents itself out there.
6. Os εἴδωλα λεγόμενα.
It is in this general picture of production of μιμήματα, conceived here as real falsifications
3 At an initial stage it is important to understand how it is that an ontology of reality
interprets icons, idols, fantasies, images, photographs, statues or statuettes, films and
drawings. It is a question of things. It is a question of things that are without doubt
different, given their function of presenting the absent and disappeared, but even so of
physical things, material occurrences in space and time, res materiales, corporeae,
extensae, if one can say this. On the other hand, they can be artefacts but also images of
a mental nature, or alternatively things which in nature recall others. Cloud formations
that make us recall real figures. There are texts of Plato mentioning precisely this
imagética and fantastic dimension of entities: shadows, dreams, sphinxes or variations,
together with idols, icons, images, fantasies, etc., etc..
of reality itself, that the Stranger tries to call attention to the specific interpretation of the
εἴδωλα λεγόμενα as particular forms of reproduction, imitation and falsification of
meaning itself and as such, therefore, with the power to recreate everything in its entirety,
as if it was a mirror, and thus also to be a production of fiction. The εἴδωλα, as μιμήματα,
are ὁμώνυμα τῶν ὄντων,4 whether the homonymy is based on a graphical, visual or
auditory representation. The sophistry is accomplished in an extreme form in the use of
skilled knowledge that has the pretension not of “contradicting or saying no, but of
knowing how, with a single skill, to produce and make all things in their entirety” (“μὴ
λέγειν μηδ᾿ ντιλέγειν,  λλὰ ποιεῖν καὶ δρᾶν μιᾶ τέχνη συνάπαντα ἐπίστασθαι
πράγματα” 233d9-10.). The Stranger has to explain to the young man Teeteto what τὰ
σύμπαντα πράγματα are: “I say, in fact, that they are you and me from among everyone
and moreover all other things, living beings and trees, σὲ καὶ ἐμὲ τῶν πάντων καὶ πρὸς
ἡμῖν τἆλλα ζῶ α καὶ δένδρα.” 233e-6. Such a ποίησις and such a ποιητής “is capable of
making all this and the sea and land and sky and the gods of all other things that there
may be in their entirety and, in truth, it is capable, by making them very quickly, of
selling them very cheaply.” (234a2-5).5
Here the ποιεῖν δοκεῖν  ληθῆ λέγεσθαι meets its primordial element. The sophist’s
pretence is total. It is in language as an element of human beings that he moves, in
making believe that he knows everything about what he is talking about when in
conversation with someone. In talking about everything, especially in talking for the sake
of talking, he can create the illusion in others that he knows what it is that is being talked
about. His success in creating appearances and shaping opinions, and in making believe
that he is telling the truth derives from his managing to pretend with someone over some
time. With the rapidity and agility of a magician he manages to deceive. The same occurs
with the sophist in ourselves. It is able to beguile and deceive us.
The question is, of course, how can the situation created and nurtured in us by a sophist
be made reversible? What is the criterion of truth that makes it possible for us to
4 Cf. 234b5-10.
5 Cf. Same passage in Republic X.
deactivate opinions already for a long time ankylosed in us? Can a sophist manage to
deceive all the potential and imaginable people that have existed, exist and have to exist
during all time? Will this mendax be able to deceive all people at the same time and
forever and ever?
The power of appearing created by language produces fictions that, once they have
insinuated themselves and invaded us, lodge forever in each one of us. As we can see,
this mega- or proto-sophist is not necessarily a person of a particular type. He is, rather,
the very possibility in us of appearance insinuating itself and lodging in our soul, sticking
itself to it like a crust, passing unnoticed by ourselves and deceiving us about who we are
and what we are doing, and about how it is with us for all our lives. The ποιεῖν in the
ποιεῖν δοκεῖν  ληθῆ λέγεσθαι is a ποίησις τις with the ability to create illusions and
produce an appearance, that are constant and with damage, that can be irreversible, to our
lucidity. He pretends everything. He passes off that which is as that which is not, that
which is not as that which is. The charming of εἴδωλα that language is capable of
producing, tamed by the sophist determines fictions more potent than all illusions,
apparitions, phantoms, images, icons and idols, and than all appearance. In truth, the
birthplace of all these apparitions is precisely language. They haunt us down.
7. Iconoclasm.
But might it be that in contrast to what appears, as the result of the production of apparent
knowledge, there is the borderline possibility of unmasking denouncing the way in which
things appear with the pretence of a truth they do not have? The truth as disoccultation at
the opposite end is the ability to reveal that which is as that which is and that which is not
as that which is not. It is also in the domain of language that truth makes things true,
tearing them from absence and revealing them in the presence of itself/themselves.6
6 Knowing is making. The effectiveness criterion already present in the Politeia (give
example) is that of knowing. In the technique area, for example, a table painted by a
painter who animates it and renders it present through its lines, as if he portrays it,
presents but does not render present; it is the tectôn that in fact transforms the wood of
“Now, is it not true that the majority of those listening [i.e. to sophists] will, with
the passing of enough time and as they get older, be necessarily bound to find
themselves in those situations that exist at each moment and that by way of the
difficult experiences through which they pass during their lives and touching
transparently those things that really are and? thus have to transform their
previously shaped opinions in such a way that things that appeared very important
are now unimportant and those that were difficult to bear are bearable and all the
phantasmagorical apparitions created by words as regards everything are turned
inside out by the consequences of the situations in which they find themselves in
each moment?” (234d2-e2)
Without the experiences we go through in life it is not possible to get close to the truth of
things. Iconoclasm can only be achieved by cancelling the distance from the meaning
horizon and creation of the nearness of the circumstances and situations that interpellate
us and to which we have to respond. The apprenticeship or comprehension content does
not necessarily imply that all lives are lived in order to know how it is. It is not a question
of an empirical test or an adventure based on a free variation. It is precisely a question of
the dissocultation of the apparent fiction in which the life of each one of us can find itself.
But such a dissocultation implies an absolute engagement in the obtaining of the truth, a
waste of time, if one can say this, in order to at least be able to cancel the powerful
a tree into a piece of furniture; and the person using it and giving it utility who
communicates to a carpenter, through the symbiosis of use, by making use of the table
as a point of specific application for a given use or function (eating, playing cards,
cutting meat or working), ways to fit it out in the best way possible. The difficulty is in
knowing how in the practical domain one can know how to act and express a given
situation. In daily life, only a person who has experienced the situations can do it,
pathemata mathemata, and not a person who thinks about them but has not experienced
difficulties. Well, it is in this domain that a sophist operates without knowing what he is
talking about or else by concealing the truth of things.
bewitching action of idols. On the other hand, the time that has to elapse and about
which we are talking here can not be chronological and one can not wait until it is too
late. It is of another nature, even if it is difficult to ascertain what it is. The passing of
time is not the grafting of time with time in time; it is not prolonging that ages. In the
extreme case all the time in the world can pass by without anything be learnt, because
nothing has happened. The time of which the Stranger speaks implies passing through…
and learning with…. But even if in passing through situations one does not learn with
them, could it be that one can learn without passing through them?
The cancellation of the distance situation vis-à-vis the truth of situations, πόρρω τῶν
πραγμάτων τῆς  ληθείας and of the separation from it in which we find ourselves arises
from actually getting close to that which really is and happens, τοῖς οὖσι προσπίπτειν
ἐγγύθεν, because it compels us to touch transparently what is and happens,  ναγκάζεται
ἐναργῶς ἐφάπτεσθαι τῶν ὄντων. It is this that produces a metamorphosis in opinions
generated previously and turns inside out everything we think about things, making it
reversible. The question is one of knowing how one can methodologically, without the
passing in fact of time, learn or comprehend ἄνευ τῶν παθημάτων, i.e. get as close as
possible to the meaning of the situations that can occur. With this human possibility of
thinking of things from within the time of comprehension, will it not be, like sophisms, a
fictitious time, produced effectively, at best, but nevertheless completely unreal?
In truth, a sophist operates within the possibility of his own lucidity: he produces
apparitions, creates illusions using the time itself in which he renders present and
exorcises the fiction itself. In other words, what is at stake is understanding the very
nature of the production, producing or making, which is at the basis both of appearance
and of truth itself. It is the unreal but no less effective character of the production that
makes it possible to understand on the one hand the production of appearance at a given
present moment as well as the present that presents itself on the basis of its own
production and agency. Time itself is the agent of the radical ποίησις that in fact makes
and produces all things. It is time that makes an absence present and a presence absent.
There is, thus, no metábasis eis allo génos. The original horizon in which being and
happening are conceived is, thus, that of a poiêsis: a eis ousían agein: bringing to
presence. Making what at each moment is made is, thus, making what happens at each
moment happen, a carrying to presence (agôn) of what is at each moment brought to
presence or made to happen. Being is this continuous carrying of what is carried (tò
agómenon):— from absence to presence and from presence to absence (cf. Sophistes,
Just as the dokeîn makes what is not be, an einai makes be, by structuring everything
solidly in its whole, from the actual unreality of the passage from not being (absence) to
being (presence). Being is thought of as the poiesis that radically alters that which is not
into that which is, at each moment in the world, bringing and carrying no to yes, that
which does not exist to that which does and that which is not to that which is, in a total
sphere of action and mediation.
We can, therefore, at a first stage, define the particular ability of a ποιεῖν  ληθῆ δοκεῖν as
a λέγεσθαι existing in an overall scenario of deceiving or false production of illusions or
production creating appearances. It is in this overall production scenario, ποίησις, defined
at the beginning of the dialogue that we have to try to understand that right on the radical
confine of the production of appearance, appearance is the determinative complement of
an inextirpable occurrence on the meaning horizon itself understood as actively
producing. It is already said in 219b4: “that all that did not exist previously and is
brought to existence at a later moment implies a bringing and a brought respectively
dependent on a making and a being made” (“πᾶν ὅπερ ἂν μὴ πρότερόν τις ὂν ὕστερον εἰς
οὐσίαν ἄγη , τὸν μὲν ἄγοντα ποιεῖν, τὸ δὲ  γόμενον ποιεῖσθαί πού φαμεν”, 219b4-6). In
other words, the overall picture of the meaning horizon on which a sophist moves is one
of a production of previously inexistent existences or previously absent presences. ἄγειν
and ἄγεσθαι are verbs portraying movement and transportation, in the active sense of that
which moves and transports and the passive sense of that which is moved and
transported. Here they have to be interpreted as radical forms of change, κίνησις, because
their meaning transforms a μὴ ὄν into an ὄν and an  πουσία into an οὐσία. The radical
difference is extrinsically understood via previous time and subsequent time. There is an
ascertainable fact between one moment in which something did not exist and the moment
in which something comes to be. But the intrinsic determination of what occurs between
these two moments, in the folding as it were of the time absent into the time present, is
understood as the field of application of a production. There is a tension between what
causes the change and the change caused, between operator and operated. This
possibility can be thought of in a radical way not in consideration of something particular
that did not exist and comes to exist, however different the specific and specialized ways
in which production or handling skills operate in transforming a given material. The
radicalisation of the transformation process implies the comprehension of the possibility
of producing the intrinsic relationship between the moment before and the moment after,
in fact the formal production of present time extracted from absent time, independently,
here, of such a production or change being conceived out of the future or the past.
The hermeutic hypothesis of Platonic analysis, in trying to provide meaning to the
general principle of change, is reflected in the paradigm of production or transformation.
The ποιεῖν and the ποιεῖσθαί is formally the structural way of bringing an entity which did
not exist into existence or bringing an absence to presence. Its field of application is the
horizon, unreal but formally producing reality, which makes that which is not be and
renders that which is absent present, the time sandwiched between before and after. This
horizon is the between times before and after but conceived in such a way that it is
beforeness and afterness as such that are produced. In truth, what is human has a defect of
finiteness as regards the surgical ability to intervene on this horizon. Much as we might
want, we can not create time. And, nevertheless, it is this unfolding and stretching out, in
which time transforms and extends itself, that the production is conceived, i.e. the
production of presences and thus also of present contents in contrast to absence and
absent contents.
Sophistry make it appear that the products of these skills are independent and clearly
identifiable realities and, as fictions or apparitions, inscribed in a horizon that goes
beyond that of reality. Thus, eidola, eikones, phantasmata and phainoména are unreal
products of a meaning horizon different from the horizon in which we have found
ourselves since the beginning with tà onta. In other words, tà phainoména and tà onta are
on horizons with well-defined outlines, that of fiction and that of reality, even if one can
be intrusive as regards the other.
At a second stage, there is an attempt to isolate and identify the production horizon of
things which are, tà ónta. I.e. the question for the einai is identical to the question for the
dokeîn. There is a correlation between einai and tà onta parallel to the correlation
between dokeîn and phainoména (sc. eidola, eikones, phatasmata). All beings have a
same sense of structuration and originate from a poieîn. Dokeîn and einai are conceived
as forms of poieîn.
There is, thus, no metábasis eis allo génos. The original horizon on which being and
appearing are conceived is, thus, that of a poiêsis: an eis ousían agein: bringing to
presence. Making what at each moment is made is, thus, making what at each moment
happens happen, a carrying to presence (agôn) of what is at each moment brought to
presence and made to happen. Being is this continuous carrying of what is carried (tò
agómenon):— from absence to presence and from presence to absence (cf. Sophistes,
219b4-6). Just as the dokeîn makes what is not be, the einai makes be, structuring
everything solidly in its whole, from the actual unreality of the passage from not being
(absence) to being (presence). Being is conceived of as the poiesis that radically alters
that which is not into that which is, at each moment in the world, bringing and carrying
no to yes, that which does not exist to that which does and that which is not to that which
is, in a total sphere of action and mediation.

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