In questa nota storico-critica, anche contestualmente alla nozione di cambio concettuale toulmiano, si vuol riflettere sull'opportunità metodologica di un ritorno, in senso heideggeriano, all'autenticità dell'originario pensiero filosoco greco sia per meglio chiarire i termini dei rapporti fra pensiero scientifico e teologia sistematica sia per inquadrare, in maniera più coerente e maggiormente comprensiva, le principali concezioni della dottrina eucaristica della teologia cattolica che, ripensate entro l'impianto ontoteologico heideggeriano, avvaloreranno e giusticheranno le teorie transustanziali rispetto a quelle consustanziali.
An archetypal model for the constants of nature is found from the ancient geometry of the the Cosmological Circle and is related to Plato's cosmology, with its dynamics and harmonics of time cycles. The inverse fine-structure constant and the proton-electron mass ratio are calculated, connecting fundamental mathematical constants of geometry with the latest theoretical and experimental values of these physical constants. Continuing in the tradition of George Gamow's suggestion, "Since the works of Sir Arthur Eddington, it has become customary to (...) discuss from time to time the numerical relations between various fundamental constants of nature. Although until today such discussions have not led to any practical results - that is, to any valuable road signs toward further development of the theory of the still unclear fundamental facts in physics - it may be of some interest to survey the present status of this 'clairvoyant' branch of science.". (shrink)
From the cosmology of classical quintessence and the Cosmological Circle of ancient geometry, quintessence is calculated as the primary fundamental physical constant. The role of the fine-structure constant in quantum electrodynamics is briefly discussed and the same value for inverse alpha, the inverse fine-structure constant found in previous work, is confirmed. Then the cosmological constant is calculated, confirming a recent theoretical prediction related to the fine-structure constant and the cosmological constant.
Recent authors hold that the role of historical scholarship within contemporary philosophical practice is to question current assumptions, to expose vestiges or to calibrate intuitions. On these views, historical scholarship is dispensable, since these roles can be achieved by nonhistorical methods. And the value of historical scholarship is contingent, since the need for the role depends on the presence of questionable assumptions, vestiges or comparable intuitions. In this paper I draw an analogy between scientific and philosophical practice, in order to (...) float one role for historical scholarship that is nonreplicable and noncontingent. It has long been acknowledged that cognitive values – features of theories that facilitate understanding, such as ontological parsimony, ideological simplicity, computational ease and fecundity – play a key role within science. The role of some of these values within philosophy also has received attention but left understudied are the values of novelty and conservativeness. These values influence theory choice, the selection of methodology, the setting of research agenda, and the presentation of results; and are best assessed with a historically informed evaluation. This role for historical scholarship is not replicable by nonhistorical methods, and is not contingent on the presence of questionable assumptions, vestiges or comparable intuitions. (shrink)
Everything is Something is a book about Stoic metaphysics. It argues that the Stoics are best understood as forging a bold new path between materialism and idealism, a path best characterized as non-reductive physicalism. To be sure, only individual bodies exist for the Stoics, but not everything there is exists — some things are said to subsist. However, this is no Meinongian move beyond existence, to the philosophy of intentionality (as the language of subsistence might suggest), but a one-world metaphysics (...) that both counts its entities by logical criteria, and grounds them in body by physical principles, yielding a tightly ordered ontology in which everything is Something and nothing is not. -/- This last phrase is not innocent. It invokes the Stoic innovation of Something (ti) as the highest genus of reality, and takes the stand that it is not only principled and coherent, but comprehensive — anything that is not Something is nothing at all (for the initiated: there is no class of Not-Somethings between Something and nothing). Further, everything that is Something is either itself a body, or ontologically dependent on body. Herein lies the Stoics’ non-reductive physicalism, and the beating heart of their response to the Battle of Gods and Giants in Plato’s Sophist: a one-world metaphysics. -/- The foundation of Stoic metaphysics is their ground-breaking corporealism, which introduces an alternative to both atomism and hylomorphism. The Stoics are continuum physicists for whom body as such, i.e. solid, three-dimensional extension, is homogeneous, partless, uniform, and infinitely divisible without reaching minima (atoms). And because body is not conceived along hylomorphic lines, i.e. as a composite of matter and form, the Stoics are free to make body fundamental. Out of two basic bodies, then (the archai), and by the tantalizing mechanism of through and through blending (krasis di’ holou), Stoic physics constructs the cosmos (and every body it contains) in completely corporealist terms, composing one thing out of many. And once those bodies are built, Stoic logic gives an account of their identity conditions, kinds, and qualities according to the vexed schema of the Categories, making now many out of one by the constitution relation, as a statue is constituted by its clay. With these distinct mereological relations of composition and constitution, Stoic corporealism artfully divides the labor of Plato’s Forms between physics and logic. -/- Next in the ontological order, with bodies as their foundation, are the incorporeals (asōmata): space (place, room, and surface), time, void, and the (awkwardly named) sayables, or lekta (roughly, though controversially, the meanings of our words). These entities do not exist; they do, however, subsist, inheriting their physical properties and, hence, their subsistence, from the bodies on which they depend. For example, place depends for its three-dimensional (non-solid) extension on the bodies that occupy or delimit it. The ontological dependence of space, time, and their novel semantic entities (the lekta) on body, is what takes Stoic metaphysics beyond corporealism to non-reductive physicalism, beyond a merely sorted ontology to an ordered, one-world metaphysics. Each incorporeal counts as Something according to the Stoic criterion for subsistence (hence, the theory is non-reductive), and what they have in common as incorporeals (and what makes the account physicalist), is their dependence on underlying body. -/- In addition to the incorporeals, the Stoics also recognize the subsistence of things like creatures of fiction and geometrical limits, which they classify as neither corporeal nor incorporeal. What these entities have in common is that they are products of thought; and since thoughts are themselves bodies according to Stoic corporealism, this remains a physicalist account. As before, the account is not Meinongian; neither all objects of thought, nor all products of thought count as Something. Indeed, the Stoics’ eliminative treatment of universals (and Forms) turns on their denying concepts (ennoēmata) a place on the ontological map altogether — concepts are simply not Somethings (and, again, not some further category of Not-Somethings, intermediate between Something and nothing at all). If all this is right, then the Stoics are not flat-footed materialists or ersatz Platonists, as so often assumed, but our first non-reductive physicalists. (shrink)
Evidence for a Parmenidean influence on Plato’s Republic typically focuses on content from Bks. V-VI, and the development of Plato’s Theory of Forms. This essay aims to suggest that Plato’s censorship of poetic content in Bks. II-III—particularly the rules for portraying divine nature (376e-383c)—also draw heavily upon the Eleatic tradition, particularly Parmenides’s. Identifying this further Eleatic influence will be enhanced by my own reading of Parmenides. This reading advocates understanding Parmenides in a more Xenophanean-vein—i.e. by taking What-Is to be an (...) explication of the essential qualities of divine nature, and the overall poem as rejecting traditional, mythopoetic accounts of divinity. Recognizing this Eleatic influence on the censorship of poetic content, a tension arises. For Plato infamously censors poetic styles next, concluding that mimetic dialogue may only be rarely employed, and only then in imitation of virtuous persons and actions (392c-398b). This would entail banning all poetic works relying exclusively on mimetic dialogue. Yet, not only do Plato’s own dialogues entirely consist of mimetic dialogue, so does Parmenides’s proto-dialogue. Furthermore, by so closely imitating Parmenides’s thought and language in Republic, has not Plato himself engaged in a type of intellectual and compositional mίμησις? Just as it would be strange to ban the very dialogue (Republic) which outlines and justifies Kallipolis in the first place, it would also be troubling to ban a philosophical work (i.e. Parmenides’s poem) which Republic is so heavily indebted to. Such a ban would also seem strongly at odds with Plato’s general reverence for Parmenides. In an attempt to address these tensions, I suggest that in Republic II-III, Plato’s lack of concern for banning philosophical works along with mimetic poetry should further suggest that he intends the ban to be far narrower than it first appears: as a rejection of performative, rather than compositional, mίμησις. (shrink)
The intellectual history of evolutionary theory really does not begin in earnest until the late seventeenth/early eighteenth century. Prior to that, the idea that species might have evolved over time was not a serious possibility for most naturalists and philosophers. There is certainly no substantive debate in antiquity about evolution in the modern sense. There were really only two competing explanations for how living things came to have the parts they do: design or blind chance. Ancient Greek Atomism, for example, (...) taught that all composite bodies, including living things, are generated through the random collision of atoms as they rebel and move in the void. Plato and Aristotle both dismissed this possibility on the grounds that living things are too complex and too well-adapted to be products of chance. This eventually became the central premise in Galen’s own Argument from Design. That species forms might have gradually evolved over time by a process of natural selection was not seen as a plausible alternative. Of course, such a theory had been proposed by Empedocles in the fifth century BCE. But because his theory still relied heavily on chance, it was not taken seriously by any of the later ancient Greek or Roman thinkers. My aim in this paper is to investigate the reasons why evolutionary thinking failed to gain momentum in antiquity after its introduction by Empedocles. (shrink)
Phenomenology and ancient Greek philosophy. The title of this book, indicating these topics as its two main subjects, could give the impression that the subjects are held together by a circumstantial “and.” The title would then indicate a connection between phenomenology and a topic, ancient Greek philosophy, the way titles such as Art and Phenomenology, Phenomenology and Psychological Research, Phenomenology and Virtue Ethics do. This impression would be wrong. First, ancient Greek philosophers take pride of place in the dialogues initiated (...) by many phenomenologists with various figures from the history of philosophy. Second, this is not just because phenomenological philosophers have tended to regard ancient Greek philosophy as the revered beginning of Western thought, reflection upon which may help illuminate any topic modern human beings wish to inquire into or give it a kind of historical dignity. It is first and foremost because ancient Greek philosophy, understood as the scientific attempt to understand the world, ourselves, and our place in the world, in the phenomenological tradition is regarded as one important origin of contemporary Western philosophy and science, even if contemporary philosophy and science is also determined by a new ideal of philosophy that emerges in early modernity. Indeed, for most phenomenologists, Greek philosophy can be regarded as the roots supporting this new ideal—even if these roots are sometimes hidden from sight or forgotten. The main rationale for confronting ancient Greek philosophy phenomenologically is accordingly the attempt to bring to light in its full radicality the phenomenon “philosophy.” Unearthing philosophy as it was originally understood by Greek thinkers may, according to many phenomenologists at least, help us understand what philosophy in the full sense of the word was, has been, and may be again, but also what it has become or even degenerated into in modern times, for instance positivism. It is this way of approaching ancient Greek philosophy that we wish to concentrate on in this book, in the hope that the volume will prove instructive both to people who have an interest in ancient Greek philosophy and wish to know more about the phenomenological approach to it and to people who work within phenomenology and wish to know more about the various approaches to ancient Greek philosophy characterizing the phenomenological movement. We have therefore sought to make the introduction and the individual chapters accessible to non-experts, for instance by transliterating all Greek text, and confining quotes in other languages than English to footnotes and glosses. (shrink)
Aristotle tells us that in order to develop virtue, one needs to come to love and hate the right sorts of things. However, his description of the virtuous person clearly privileges love to hate. It is love rather than hate that is the main driving force of a good life. It is because of her love of knowledge, truth and beauty that the virtuous person organizes her life in a certain way and pursues these rather than other things (such as (...) pleasure). When hate comes into the picture, it is merely an unavoidable consequence of loving those noble and beautiful things. The virtuous person hates things that are contrary to her values, but does not concentrate on them, much less constructs her life in the pursuit of their destruction. But why privilege love over hate in this way? Why could not a good (happy) and virtuous life be a life driven primarily by hate (in particular, one aimed at eradicating what one (correctly) considers shameful and evil)? Without appealing to any consequences or harmful effects that hate might have on other People, the paper gives two answers to this question. First, allowing hate (rather than love) to dominate one’s life would undermine the right relationship between the two parts of the soul (the rational and the non-rational one) that Aristotle recognizes. Virtue involves establishing the right kind of internal ordering of one’s soul and this cannot be done if one’s soul is dominated by hate. Second, hate has negative cognitive effects insofar as it renders one insensitive to the beauty of human nature and behavior and actively precludes one from acquiring knowledge and understanding. Accordingly, if a good life is a life that involves virtue and knowledge, a life fueled by hate cannot but fall short of that ideal. (shrink)
There are elements in Heraclitus that are enticing to modern readers in that they point toward a certain intimacy of consciousness. Having read the fragments of this philosopher, we propose a reading that harmonizes his assertions about universality with his assertions about self-knowledge, in which we believe we can glimpse the discovery of self-awareness. In Heraclitus’ view, humans possess a soul with an unlimited horizon and a capacity to access the logos. A person must pursue introspection, listen to the logos, (...) and find the unity of all things and himself. This will enable us to gain a deeper understanding of the interiority of self-awareness without sacrificing its connection to the universal. Furthermore, individuals must speak the logos to themselves to act according to it. By acting otherwise, one would be acting against his own inner self. (shrink)
Free Will & The Tragic Predicament : Making Sense of Williams -/- The discussion in this paper aims to make better sense of free will and moral responsibility by way of making sense of Bernard Williams’ significant and substantial contribution to this subject. Williams’ fundamental objective is to vindicate moral responsibility by way of freeing it from the distortions and misrepresentations imposed on it by “the morality system”. What Williams rejects, in particular, are the efforts of “morality” to further “deepen” (...) or “refine” the notion of the voluntary, with a view to securing “ultimate justice”. It is these aims and aspirations, he argues, that take us to the precipice of scepticism. In Shame and Necessity (1993) Williams advances a vindicatory genealogy that unmasks the “illusions” and “fantasies” of our current ethical ideas as they relate to agency and responsibility. What we are then left with is the task of “recasting our ethical conceptions” . It is here that Williams is especially insistent on the importance and value of historical consciousness and reflection. The role of our reflections about the Greeks and tragedy is precisely to show that in order to move forward, into the future, we need to first look back at where we have come from. The value of these “untimely” observations is that they provide us with alternatives and options that we might otherwise lack. What we discover, when we consider the Greeks, is their commitment to a “pessimism of strength” that rests on rejecting scepticism. It is this two-sided perspective on our ethical predicament that delivers a more truthful account of our human situation, one that will help us discard those illusions and fantasies of "morality" that we are “better off” without. An account of this kind refuses to accept an optimism that insists that any form of responsible ethical life must be one that is immune to the influence of luck and fate. This is the fundamental lesson that we can learn from the ancient Greeks and that Williams seeks to “recover” for us. (shrink)
This article is a transcript of an interview with David Shaw, the author of the book, “An Ancient Greek Philosophy of Management Consulting: Thinking Differently about its Assumptions, Principles and Practice”, published with Springer in 2022. It discusses his reasons for looking to the ancient Greek philosophers for new ideas about management consulting, and how his papers for this journal have contributed to the development of the book.
In contrast to the abundance of discussion of Plato’s portrayal of the Socratic elenchos, relatively little work has been done on the elenchos as it appears in Xenophon. The reason is obvious: Xenophon makes much less use of the elenchus than Plato and what he does offer is not as interesting philosophically. Nevertheless, there are good reasons to look more closely at Xenophon’s portrait. It provides a corrective to the excessively intellectualizing portrait of the elenchus found in Plato’s writings, and (...) exhibits an educational quality that is characteristic of ancient Greek attitudes but not always stressed in treatments of Socrates. In the introduction to Bandini and Dorion 2000-2010, cxviii-clxxxii, Louis-André Dorion offers a probing analysis of the term elenchos as used by Xenophon and a broad survey of the elenchoi in Xenophon’s Socratic writings. Although Xenophon’s Socrates sometimes uses argumentation reminiscent of his Platonic cousin, this is only a minor part of his over-all conversational repertoire. Education is accomplished not by interrogation but by the direct and open communication of doctrine and by the practice of virtue (askēsis: see Mem. i 2.23, ii 1.1). Rather than employing the elenchos, Xenophon’s Socrates generally spends his time offering abundant useful advice to his friends. According to Dorion, Xenophon’s scant use of the elenchos is a result of his deep skepticism about its educational value. As a result of this skepticism, Xenophon creates an alternative portrait of Socrates in which interrogation plays a much smaller role. Dorion is certainly right to note that the elenchos is far less important for Xenophon than for Plato, but his conclusion is somewhat extreme. Although Xenophon does not focus on the Socratic elenchos, he does offer some portraits of it and he does not contest Plato’s fuller portrait of it either. This is because the elenchos does have some value for Xenophon, even if this value differs from what we may assume is its value in the Platonic portrait. As Morrison 1994 has shown, the elenchos serves a valuable role in selecting or preparing students for more substantive lessons. It can also play a valuable role in training for and acting in political affairs. And the elenchos can serve an educational role in another way, by contributing directly to the acquisition of virtue (sophrosune) by the interlocutor. I shall trace these significant roles of the elenchos for Xenophon. (shrink)
This paper critically examines the use of the name 'Pseudo-Archytas' to refer to two aspects of the reception of Archytas of Tarentum in antiquity: the 'author-inflection' and the 'authority-inflection'. In order to make progress on our understanding of authority and authorship within the Pythagorean tradition, it attempts to reconstruct Porphyry's views on the importance of Archytas as guarantor of Pythagorean authenticity in the former's lost work On the History of the Philosophers by considering a fragment preserved in Arabic by Ibn (...) Abī Uṣaybi‘a. The article finally argues that a range of problems attend our use of the term 'pseudo-Archytas', which is not fit for purpose when considering the evidence regarding authorship and authority in the Pythagorean tradition. It recommends a more critical approach to the notion of authenticity within the Pythagorean tradition and suggests a new term, 'Archytism', as a more useful point of reference. (shrink)
To relate theories of affordance and frame with the tradition of formal aesthetics, philosophical iconology and the life sciences (keyword Vitality Semiotics) is the starting point of the paper. According to this approach, the structural preconditions of images, as determined by materials, techniques and the composition of the design means, become essential. Through these structures, the producers are able to set impulses that become decisive for the interpretation of space and time or the "scene" as a dynamic event. Against the (...) social and cultural background of the recipients the "scene" gains a meaning to their life. This means to understand the productʼs conception and composition as an affordance which determines the framework of the reception conditions. The benefit of this approach lies in the identification of changes in the self-understanding and thus of trends in to new standards of societies. This is to be illustrated by Exekiasʼ drinking bowl around 540/30 BC in Munich. (shrink)
This chapter examines the integrative nature of reflexive monism (RM), a psychological/philosophical model of a reflexive, self-observing universe that can accommodate both ordinary and extraordinary experiences in a natural, non-reductive way that avoids both the problems of reductive materialism and the (inverse) pitfalls of reductive idealism. To contextualize the ancient roots of the model, the chapter touches briefly on classical models of consciousness, mind and soul and how these differ in a fundamental way from how mind and consciousness are viewed (...) in contemporary Western philosophy and psychological science. The chapter then travels step by step from such contemporary views towards reflexive monism, and towards the end of the chapter, to more detailed comparisons with Hindu Vedanta and Samkhya philosophy and with Cosmopsychism (a recently emergent, directly relevant area of philosophy of mind). According to RM there never was a separation between what we normally think of as the “physical world” and what we think of as our “conscious experience”. In terms of its phenomenology, the phenomenal physical world is part-of conscious experience not apart-from it. This phenomenal world can be thought of as a biologically useful representation of what the world is like, although it is not the world as-described-by modern physics, and it is not the thing itself—supporting a form of indirect (critical) realism. The analysis then outlines how 3D phenomenal worlds are constructed by the mind/brain, focusing specifically on perceptual projection, and then demonstrates how normal, first-person conscious experiences (e.g. of phenomenal worlds) and their associated, third-person viewable neural correlates can be understood as dual manifestations of an underlying psychophysical mind, which can, in turn, be understood as a psychophysical form of information processing. This dual-aspect monism combines ontological monism with a form of epistemological dualism in which first- and third-person perspectives on the nature of mind are complementary and mutually irreducible—a principle that turns out to have wide-ranging applications for the study and understanding of consciousness. The chapter then considers the evolution and wider distribution of consciousness (beyond humans) through a brief analysis of the many forms of discontinuity theory versus continuity theory and argues that to avoid the “hard problem” of consciousness one may need to treat its existence as fundamental, and, as co-evolving with the evolution of its associated material forms. This, in turn, takes one to a central issue: What does consciousness actually do? The analysis argues that its central function is to real-ize existence (to know it in a way that makes it subjectively real). With these foundations in place we then come to the heart of the essay—the ways in which reflexive monism provides a very different view of the nature of the universe to those offered either by dualism or materialist reductionism. As summarised in the last paragraph of this section, “In this vision, there is one universe (the thing-itself), with relatively differentiated parts in the form of conscious beings like ourselves, each with a unique, conscious view of the larger universe of which it is a part. In so far as we are parts of the universe that, in turn, experience the larger universe, we participate in a reflexive process whereby the universe experiences itself.” The essay then considers the precise ways in which this reflexive monist understanding of “consciousness” and “mind” relates to later developments in Vedic philosophy and suggests a way of bridging contemporary Western and classical Vedic ways of understanding consciousness and mind. Finally, the chapter considers what can be said of mystical experience and the ground of being, following the principle that this ground must have the power to both manifest the universe in the form that science shows it to be and our ability to experience the universe in the way that we do. In this, RM is shown to be a dual-aspect monist form of cosmopsychism—a recent area of development within philosophy of mind. The essay compares and contrasts this with idealist versions of cosmopsychism and argues that RM allows for an integrated understanding of realism versus idealism, dualism versus monism, how ordinary experience relates to mystical experience, and how consciousness relates to mind. RM also provides an ‘open’ conceptual system that can, in principle, incorporate a range of parapsychological effects. (shrink)
Attic orators skillfully deployed reference to ancestral cults, sacred laws, traditional rites and other types of religious actions to construct religious identity as a means of persuasion. The present chapter explores the use of a variety of forms of religious argumentation and addresses issues of religious identity in public cases of eisangelia. Emphasis is placed on the question of how orators reconstruct ideal forms of religious identity in their arguments; particularly, the main interest of this chapter lies in the techniques (...) by which orators use their religious argumentation to construct pictures of religious identity, both collective and individual, as well as their own identity. (shrink)
This article focusses on the generality of the entities involved in a geometric proof of the kind found in ancient Greek treatises: it shows that the standard modern translation of Greek mathematical propositions falsifies crucial syntactical elements, and employs an incorrect conception of the denotative letters in a Greek geometric proof; epigraphic evidence is adduced to show that these denotative letters are ‘letter-labels’. On this basis, the article explores the consequences of seeing that a Greek mathematical proposition is fully general, (...) and the ontological commitments underlying the stylistic practice. (shrink)
Aristotle, though not the first Greek virtue ethicist, was the first to establish virtue ethics as a distinct philosophical discipline. His exposition of the subject in his Nicomachean Ethics set the terms of subsequent debate in the European and Arabic traditions by proposing a set of plausible assumptions from which virtue ethics should proceed. His conception of human well-being and virtue as well as his brand of ethical naturalism were influential from antiquity through the Middle Ages and continue to be (...) influential today. (shrink)
This essay presents an account of what it takes to live a philosophical way of life: practitioners must be committed to a worldview, structure their lives around it, and engage in truth‐directed practices. Contra John Cooper, it does not require that one’s life be solely guided by reason. Religious or tradition‐based ways of life count as truth directed as long as their practices are reasons responsive and would be truth directed if the claims made by their way of life are (...) correct. The essay argues that these three conditions can be met by progressors as well as sages. Making progress in how one acts in the world, and improving one’s understanding and direction through being part of a community is living a philosophical way of life. The offered view acknowledges more ways to develop the art of living and enables a broader range of people to count as living philosophically. (shrink)
Is there grounding in ancient philosophy? To ask a related but different question: is grounding a useful tool for the scholar of ancient philosophy? These questions are difficult, and my goal in this paper is not so much to give definitive answers as to clarify the questions. I hope to direct the student of contemporary metaphysics towards passages where it may be fruitful to look for historical precedent. But I also hope to offer the student of ancient philosophy some guidance (...) on when drawing on the contemporary discussion of grounding may be beneficial. (shrink)
From famous figures in the history of philosophy to questions in religious theology to the relationship between knowledge and power, The Handy Western Philosophy Answer Book: Ancient Greek to Its Influence on Philosophy Today takes the sometimes esoteric ideas and the jumble of names and makes them easy to understand, enriching readers' lives and answering the question "What do the ancient Greek philosophers have to teach us about contemporary culture?".
This article intends to navigate through three distinctive paths. The first of them being Ancient Greece, through Artemidorus, especially from his absorption by Foucault; The second being Ancient Rome, as worked by Paul Veyne in the Constantine’s analyses; and the third path is constituted from a series of ethnographic reports about the South American Amerindian communities. This theoretical trail will be taken to show other analytical possibilities for what is understoodas oneiromancy, that is, the analysis of dreams, that was not (...) framed by the occidental modernity. (shrink)
This book offers a re-evaluation of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, the prominent Italian Renaissance philosopher and prince of Concord. It argues that Pico is part of a history of attempted concordance between philosophy and theology, reason and faith. His contribution is a syncretist theological philosophy based on Christianity, Platonism, Aristotelianism and Jewish Kabbalism. After an introduction, Chapter 2 discusses Pico’s career, his power-relations and his work, Chapters 3 and 4 place his three pillars of Platonism, Aristotelianism and Kabbalism in their (...) historical context, examines shared histories, and introduces the scholars around Pico who contributed so much in each of these traditions (introducing, for example, Christian Kabbalism), including exploring Pico's complex relationship with Marsilio Ficino. Chapter 5 examines the problems of concordance within Pico’s cosmology and metaphysics, including the question of God and the role of the Intellect. Chapter 6 describes Pico’s ‘exceptionalist’ version of the mystical ascent as an individualized ascetic experience. Pico eschews the contemporary desire to use a renewed christian thinking or christian-classical metaphysics to change the world (towards a Golden Age or a 'second coming') to present a personal path to God, with no return to the world. (shrink)
This volume consists of fourteen essays in honor of Daniel Devereux on the themes of love, friendship, and wisdom in Plato, Aristotle, and the Epicureans. Philia (friendship) and eros (love) are topics of major philosophical interest in ancient Greek philosophy. They are also topics of growing interest and importance in contemporary philosophy, much of which is inspired by ancient discussions. Philosophy is itself, of course, a special sort of love, viz. the love of wisdom. Loving in the right way is (...) very closely connected to doing philosophy, cultivating wisdom, and living well. The first nine essays run the gamut of Plato's philosophical career. They include discussions of Plato's Alcibiades, Euthydemus, Gorgias, Phaedo, Phaedrus, and Symposium; and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, Protrepticus and Magna Moralia. It ends with a discussion of Epicurean friendship. (shrink)
The article examines the passages in Isocrates’ Corpus containing a description and a critique of a new type of sophistic called “eristic”. Based on the chronology of Isocrates’ discourses and the description he gave, the author shows that the majority of these passages could not have aimed at Plato as its sole or principal target. However, it should not be excluded that Isocrates’ criticism of eristics was directed against various members of the Socratic circle, a heterogeneous group in which Plato (...) was comprised. The article shows that although a feud between Plato and Isocrates is not an acceptable premise, a possible rivalry between both men may have been possible. Nonetheless, such a rivalry does not allow one to assimilate Plato with an eristic. (shrink)
At least since Socrates, philosophy has been understood as the desire for acquiring a special kind of knowledge, namely wisdom, a kind of knowledge that human beings ordinarily do not possess. According to ancient thinkers this desire may result from a variety of causes: wonder or astonishment, the bothersome or even painful realization that one lacks wisdom, or encountering certain hard perplexities or aporiai. As a result of this basic understanding of philosophy, Greek thinkers tended to regard philosophy as an (...) activity of inquiry (zētēsis) rather than as a specific discipline. Discussions concerning the right manner of engaging in philosophical inquiry – what methodoi or routes of inquiry were best suited to lead one to wisdom – became an integral part of ancient philosophy, as did the question how such manners or modes of inquiry are related to, and differ from, other types of inquiry, for instance medical or mathematical. In this special issue of History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis, we wish to concentrate in particular on ancient modes of inquiry. (shrink)
Knowledge of one's own thoughts, character, and psychological states has long been a central focus of philosophical enquiry. Leading scholars explore the treatment of self-knowledge in ancient Greek thought, particularly in Plato, Aristotle, Hellenistic thinkers, and Plotinus, showing how their perspectives differ from those of today.
Heidegger develops his reading of a-lētheia as privative un-concealment (Unverborgenheit) in tandem with his early phenomenological theory of truth. He is not simply reinterpreting a word, but rather reading Greek philosophy as having a primordial understanding of truth which has itself been concealed in interpretation. After shedding medieval and modern presuppositions of truth as correspondence, the existential truth-experience shows itself, no longer left puzzlingly implicit in unsatisfactory conventional readings of Greek philosophy. In Sein und Zeit §44, Heidegger resolves interpretive difficulties (...) in Parmenides through his interpretation of alētheia and philologically grounds this reading in Heraclitus’s description of the unconcealing logos. Although this primordial sense of the word has already been obscured in Plato and Aristotle, the structural gradation of their theories of truth conserves the primordial pre-Socratic sense of truth as the experience of unconcealment. (shrink)
Relying upon a very close reading of all of the definitions given in Euclid’s Elements, I argue that this mathematical treatise contains a philosophical treatment of mathematical objects. Specifically, I show that Euclid draws elaborate metaphysical distinctions between substances and non-substantial attributes of substances, different kinds of substance, and different kinds of non-substance. While the general metaphysical theory adopted in the Elements resembles that of Aristotle in many respects, Euclid does not employ Aristotle’s terminology, or indeed, any philosophical terminology at (...) all. Instead, Euclid systematically uses different types of definition to distinguish between metaphysically different kinds of mathematical object. (shrink)