This brief, reflective research looks analytically at the impact of Greek philosophy on Christianity from three perspectives. They are: 1) the challenge that it presented to Christianity, 2) the signs of syncretism, and 3) Christian differentiation despite assimilation of aspects of Greek philosophy. Though not exhaustive because of its brevity, the study may help with discussions on the backgrounds of Christianity, and also stimulate an interest in the religion, politics, and history of the Levant in the first century.
…A reconstructed imaginal account of Alexander’s (the Great) historical letter to Aristotle pursuant to his (in-) famous meeting with the gymnosophist Dandimus on the paradoxes of Zeno ( presaging those of Nagarjuna ) as a means of presenting a synthesis of the stasis and dynamism implicit in the potential of a phenomenally real world beyond a rigid designation of a chain-of-being taxonomy where animal dignity resides side by side with predator-prey relations and a mind-laden ( theory ) of evolution.
In describing the Stoic principles, the manuscript tradition of DL 7.134 preserves readings which variously call them σώµατα, ‘bodies’, or ἀσώµατα, ‘incorporeals’; but the Suida quotes this passage with ἀσωµάτους, ‘incorporeal’. This paper shows that the Suida has the best reading. This is not the only, or the clearest, case where the Suida can correct our text: another example considered here concerns DL 7.74.
In this paper, we examine a fundamental problem that appears in Greek philosophy: the paradoxes of self-reference of the type of “Third Man” that appears first in Plato’s 'Parmenides', and is further discussed in Aristotle and the Peripatetic commentators and Proclus. We show that the various versions are analysed using different language, reflecting different understandings by Plato and the Platonists, such as Proclus, on the one hand, and the Peripatetics (Aristotle, Alexander, Eudemus), on the other hand. We show that the (...) Peripatetic commentators do not focus on Plato’s solution but primarily on the formulation of the “Third Man” paradox. On the contrary, Proclus seems to be convinced that Plato suggests a sound solution to the paradox by defining the predicate of similarity (homogeneity) that demarcates two types of homogeneous entities – the eide and the participants in them in a way that their confusion would be inadmissible. We claim that Plato’s solution follows a sound line of reasoning that is formalisable in a language of Frege-Russell type; hence there exists a model in which Plato’s reasoning is valid. Furthermore, we notice that Plato’s definition of the second-order predicate of similarity is attained by resorting to first-order entities. In this sense, Plato’s definition is comparable to Eudoxus’ definition of ratio, which is also attained by resorting to first-order objects. Consequently, Plato seems to follow a logical practice established by the mathematicians of the 5th century, notably Eudoxus, in his solution to the paradox. (shrink)
Smartphone technology is ubiquitous and subject to frequent complaints, both by reformers and the recalcitrant. The ubiquity of smartphone technology has led to many negative consequences, some of which may not be fully addressed by empirically oriented literature. One such consequence is a threat to a certain kind of autonomy. I argue that this threat justifies a form of Cynicism about smartphone technology, styled after ancient Cynicism. Cynicism is importantly different from its colloquialized, contemporary namesake (“cynicism”). While ancient Cynicism shares (...) the theme of opting out, in some sense, with contemporary cynicism, it is not a philosophy of withdrawn futility; in fact, the Cynic emphasis on embodiment may have an import on our lives in a time of smartphone ubiquity. Accordingly, I offer one Cynic value, autarkeia (self-sufficiency), which can be recruited to address the way that smartphone technology threatens our autonomy. (shrink)
Whereas Aristotle defended the appropriateness of slavery and Seneca derided only its cruelty, Dio Chrysostom vehemently opposed any argument in favor of keeping slaves. And he did it in the 1st Century CE Greco-Roman world, a society comfortable with slavery. This paper analyzes Dio’s dialogue _The Tenth Discourse: Diogenes or on Servants_ to try to understand how Cynics addressed the wrongs of slavery when so many other philosophers did not. The paper argues that Cynic commitments to self-sufficiency, freedom, and nature (...) helped them to recognize the immorality and injustice of owning slaves. And Dio’s work, which derided injustices that most others defended, shows that philosophers should resist excusing thinkers as mere products of their time, especially canonical figures such as Aristotle and Seneca. Not only were Aristotle and Seneca wrong, but so are contemporary philosophers if they do not hold such historical figures to account by acknowledging and discussing their limitations and faults as thinkers in relation to the historical circumstances they faced. (shrink)
This chapter explores the relationship between two themes of this volume, pantheism and ecology, as it is present in Pliny the Elder’s Natural History. Specifically, it examines the influence of Stoicism on Pliny’s cosmology, as he adopts and challenges philosophical positions associated with the Stoa, particularly in his engagement with the view that the entire cosmos is a single living being which governs the variety of natural phenomena in both the heavens and the sublunar world. Additional themes, such as the (...) role of natural teleology and providence are explored, as these provide the intellectual foundation for what I consider to be Pliny’s “environmental ethics.” I argue that Pliny, despite often expressing an anthropocentric outlook toward nature, holds that, in virtue of the divinity of the Earth, there are certain human duties toward maintaining natural order. These are justified both in terms of the benefits they provide for humans as a species, given that the Earth is a source of food and other material goods, but also in terms of harms and benefits for the Earth itself. Recognizing the difference between goods that exist for our sake and that which exists for the benefit of the non-human world is a crucial distinction according to Pliny and one that underlies many of his comments about the duties humanity has toward Nature. (shrink)
The volume studies, from different perspectives, the relationship between ancient thought and biopolitics, that is, theories, discourses, and practices in which the biological life of human populations becomes the focal point of political government. It thus continues and deepens the critical examination, in recent literature, of Michel Foucault's claim concerning the essentially modern character of biopolitics. The nine contributions comprised in the volume explore and utilize the notions of biopolitics and biopower as conceptual tools for articulating the differences and continuities (...) between antiquity and modernity and for narrating Western intellectual and political history in general. Without committing itself to any particular thesis or approach, the volume evaluates both the relevance of ancient thought for the concept and theory of biopolitics and the relevance of biopolitical theory and ideas for the study of ancient thought. The volume is divided into three main parts: part I studies instances of biopolitics in ancient thought; part II focuses on aspects of ancient thought that elude or transcend biopolitics; and part III discusses several modern interpretations of ancient thought in the context of biopolitical theory. (shrink)
This article expands our knowledge of the historical-philosophical process by which the dominant metaphysical account of the Christian God became ascendant. It demonstrates that Marius Victorinus proposed a peculiar model of ‘consubstantiality’ that utilised a notion of ‘existence’ indebted to the Aristotelian concept of ‘prime matter’. Victorinus employed this to argue that God is a unity composed of Father and Son. The article critically evaluates this model. It then argues that Augustine noticed one of the model's philosophical liabilities but did (...) not publicly name Victorinus when he rejected it in De Trinitate, thereby exemplifying the practice of private ‘rebuke’ (ἐλέγχɛιν). (shrink)
Disney’s Frozen (2013) and Frozen 2 (2019) are among the highest-grossing films of all time (IMDb 2021) and are arguably among the most influential works of fantasy produced in the last decade in any medium. The films, based loosely on Hans Christensen Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” (Andersen 2014) focus on the adventures of the sisters Anna and Elsa as they, together with their companions, seek to safeguard their people both from external threats and (importantly) from Elsa’s inabilities to control her (...) magical abilities to summon ice and snow. While Anna’s choices drive much of the action of both films, Elsa has undoubtedly been the more influential and popular of the two characters, as indicated by measures such as merchandise sales (Ellen Byron and Paul Ziobro 2014), Google search data (Play Like Mum 2020), and even baby name choices (Wolfers 2015). -/- Despite her popularity, Elsa is in many ways a paradoxical sort of hero, as she finds her actions all but predetermined by both external and internal forces. This is particularly the case in the first film, where we meet an Elsa who has been born with a power she cannot control, and which appears more as a force of nature than as anything that “belongs” to Elsa. The film’s action is driven, in large part, precisely by Elsa’s failures to exert control over her emotions and abilities. She begins the film by accidentally injuring Anna. This, in turn, causes Elsa to become fearful and withdrawn and to isolate herself from her sister, even after their parents die on a quest to find a cure for Elsa. Elsa's fear and lack of control lead to an even more dire outcome when she inadvertently calls down winter on Arendelle and abandons her people for the mountains. It is only through Anna's devoted quest to rescue her sister, first by pursuing her to the mountains, and later by throwing herself in front of the villainous Hans’ sword attack on her sister, that Elsa (and Arendelle) are saved. Elsa's most active contribution to this is to appreciate the import of Anna's sacrifice and to discover the power of "love" to overcome her fear. -/- What then, are we to make of Elsa as a character? It is the younger sister Anna who corresponds most closely to Gerda, the unquestioned protagonist of Andersen’s original tale, and her character arc fits neatly with the well-known “Hero’s Journey” model for describing myth (Campbell 2020). It is Anna, for example, who goes on a quest, meets a group of motley companions (the human Kristoff, the reindeer Sven, and the magical snowman Olaf), accepts advice from wise elders (the trolls), undergoes a severe trial, and even gets the "reward" of romantic love at the end. All of this has led some scholars (Niemiec and Bretherton 2015; Heit 2019) to hold up Anna, rather than Elsa, as something like the hero of the story. Existing scholarship on Elsa, by contrast, has focused largely on issues related to her gender and sexuality (Law 2014; Lee 2015; Steinhoff 2017; Streiff and Dundes 2017; Dundes, Streiff, and Streiff 2018; Dundes 2020; Llompart and Brugué 2020). In what follows, I’ll be taking a closer look at Elsa’s unique status as a protagonist, and what her struggles with fate reveal about the nature of free will and ethical responsibility. I’ll argue that Elsa provides a useful model of a “Stoic hero” and that her strengths and weaknesses as a character provide valuable insight into an often-misunderstood school of philosophy. My argument will proceed in several stages. I’ll begin by describing the basic tenets of Stoic philosophy, paying special attention to the role of fate and nature. I’ll then move on to a more detailed treatment of Stoic ethics, as exemplified by Elsa’s own character development. I’ll close by considering the infamous “Lazy Argument” against. (shrink)
This book assembles an international team of scholars to move forward the study of Plato’s conception of time, to find fresh insights for interpreting his cosmology, and to reimagine the Platonic tradition.
Due to its discussion of the question of non-being and its intention of grounding the philosophical discourse, Plato ́s dialogue The Sophist occupies a central position in the history of philosophy. The purpose of this article is to relate the definition method used by Plato in the dialogue (the diaeresis) with his conception of philosophical discourse. The different definitions for the sophist proposed in the dialogue are not only part of Plato's polemic against sophistry, but underpin the very Platonic conception (...) of the philosopher and philosophical discourse. While dialectics would be the method employed by the philosopher to arrive at knowledge and wisdom, sophistry would be only an imitation of true knowledge and true wisdom. (shrink)
This is the first French translation of Galen’s De optima doctrina, which articulates his view “On the Best Teaching”. The translation is preceded by an introduction on the context in which this text was written, especially on the relationship of Galen towards scepticism in general and Favorinus of Arles in particular. Although it is hard to characterize this “treatise” in terms of its date of redaction and its form, nonetheless it yields clear information on Galen’s critiques with regards to the (...) “Platonists” and the “Pyrrhonists”. (shrink)
The atheistic Hiddenness Argument contains a controversial premise that a perfectly loving God would love every single person. J. L. Schellenberg, the author of the Argument, claims that this premise is necessarily true. However, many ancient theologians would disagree with the truth of this premise. In this paper, I provide evidence of the variety of alternative theological views from antiquity concerning the proper object of perfect divine love. The list of alternatives includes 1) the whole humanity as a collective subject, (...) 2) humanity as a universal, 3) divine image reflected in human beings, 4) the community of the faithful, 5) a chosen people. Based on the disagreement between Schellenberg and the ancient theologians concerning the proper object of perfect divine love, I argue that the aforementioned premise of the hiddenness argument, even if true, is not necessarily true. Therefore, the key premise of the hiddenness argument turns out to be without support, and the Argument turns out to be unsound. (shrink)
Both, Lucan and Seneca refer to the Stoic concept of metus lymphaticus; whereas Seneca intends to warn his readers of the negative outcome of irrational panic, Lucans illustrates its disastrous consequences. In this paper, focus is thus brought to their similarities, and especially to their different presentations and purposes.
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)
This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be (...) preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been proofread and republished using a format that seamlessly blends the original graphical elements with text in an easy-to-read typeface. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant. (shrink)
Recent research in the field of New Institutionalist analysis has developed the view that institutions are grounded not only upon authoritative rules but also upon accepted practices and narratives. In this paper I am interested in the ways in which honorific practices and accounts of identity set out in ancient Greek inscriptions contribute towards the persistence of polis institutions in the Hellenistic period. A diachronic survey of Erythraian inscriptions of the classical and Hellenistic periods gives an impression of the adaptation (...) and proliferation of forms of discourse established in the classical period. It demonstrates the ongoing prominence of the rhetoric of identity in conversations that went on not only between peer polities and within real or imagined kinship groups but also in negotiations between powerful and weak state entities and in inward-facing discourses on euergetism. (shrink)
ABSTRACT In his 1981–82 lectures The Hermeneutics of the Subject, Michel Foucault claims that a significant portion of the modern historiography of ancient philosophy tends to discredit the ethical framework of epimeleia heautou (“care of the self”). The thematic analysis of knowledge in the historiography of ancient philosophy overshadows the theme of care of the self. Taking Foucault’s claim as a point of departure, the aim of this paper is twofold. First, the paper provides a genealogy of the early Hellenistic (...) Academy, from Polemo to Arcesilaus. Second, the paper demonstrates that for Arcesilaus, the alleged pioneer of what modern historiography has designated the Academy’s epistemological scepticism, philosophy is not restricted to a continual search for knowledge at a theoretically rarefied level of challenging arguments or discursive statements. This paper situates Arcesilaus’ opposition to early Stoic epistemology within the framework of Academic epimeleia heautou, and defends the thesis that under Arcesilaus the Hellenistic Academy undergoes a shift in the practice of care of the self. (shrink)
This articles explores Philo's variant for Anaxagoras' 21a DK fragment as an alternative for Sextus Empiricus' reading (ὄψις τῶν ἀδήλων τὰ φαινόμενα). Philo's variant (πίστις τῶν ἀδήλων τὰ ἐμφανῆ: De vita Mosis, I, 280) is not present in the current literature on Presocratics but his reading could be a reliable form for this fragment.
In Against the Musicologists (Math. 6), Sextus uses two types of arguments against musicology. Some would argue that a science of music – does not contribute to a happy life, while others deny that such a science has ever been established. Since the respective beliefs that musicology exists and that it benefits those who have mastered it are fine specimens of dogmatism, all Sextus has to do is to set the naysayers and the believers against each other in good Pyrrhonian (...) fashion. If their accounts balance each other out, he can go on to suggest that reasonable inquirers will suspend judgement as to the truth about these matters, while leaving everyday musical practice intact. Against the Musicologists thus lends itself to being read as an attempt to display the Sceptical capacity to motivate suspension of judgement in a specific domain where the Sceptic has detected dogmatic belief. -/- In what follows, I develop a reading of the treatise along these lines. In Section 5.1, I argue that Sextus’ polemical engagement with philosophical musicology sits well with the project of the treatise to which it belongs, and with a plausible understanding of his philosophical position as presented in the Outlines of Pyrrhonism (Pyr.). Then I turn to the two kinds of arguments that are contrasted by Sextus as being ‘more dogmatic’ and ‘more aporetic’ in spirit. After their brief presentation in Section 5.2, explaining the nature of their contrast by pointing to the diverging agendas that they originally served, I give an overview of both as ultimately aiming at epochē in Sections 5.3 and 5.4. Finally, in Section 5.5, I push back against readings that take the treatise to present a deviation from the suspensive outlook. (shrink)
In this special issue, our goal is to ... show that the distinguished history of philosophical reflection on attention, insofar as the Western tradition is concerned, has at least some of its roots in Classical Greek and Roman philosophy. This is offered as a partial corrective to historical overviews of the Western discourse, which rarely reach further back than René Descartes. Furthermore, we wish to emphasize that ancient treatments of attention are especially concerned with its role in the context of (...) ethics and human agency. Even when they take their departure from an analysis of selective perceptual attention, their intention is not only to account for this phenomenon as part of a naturalistic science of the mind but also to motivate the view that the capacity to focus or to shift our attention is indispensable to human flourishing. Moral training is to a large extent conceived of as a matter of acquiring and sustaining the mental strength required for maintaining an attentive state of mind while resisting the interference of competing stimuli. -/- TABLE OF CONTENTS Pauliina Remes: From Natural Tendencies to Perceptual Interests and Motivation in Plato’s Timaeus Voula Tsouna: The Epicurean Notion of epibolê Katerina Ierodiakonou: The Stoic Provenance of the Notion of Prosochê Charles Brittain: A Stoic Ethics for Attention (Seneca Letter 56) Lenka Karfíková: Attention in Augustine. (shrink)