A growing literature testifies to the persistence of place as an incorrigible aspect of human experience, identity, and morality. Place is a common ground for thought and action, a community of experienced particulars that avoids solipsism and universalism. It draws us into the philosophy of the ordinary, into familiarity as a form of knowledge, into the wisdom of proximity. Each of these essays offers a philosophy of place, and reminds us that such philosophies ultimately decide how we make, use, and (...) understand places, whether as accidents, instruments, or fields of care. (shrink)
This article presents a detailed exploration of what Sextus and Pyrrhonists regarded as mnemonic signs, where one experience reminds us of another, such as seeing smoke reminds us of a fire that is not yet evident to our present observations. For the skeptic the use of mnemonic signs obviates the need for reasoned, theoretical interpretations or elaborated belief formation. It allows the skeptic or the theory-free physician, for that matter, to live a life or practice symptomatic medicine without the need (...) for philosophizing. (shrink)
Cicero, Lucullus 38: ‘…non potest animal ullum non adpetere id quod accommodatum ad naturam adpareat …’ From earliest childhood every man wants to possess something. One man collects horses. Another wants gold. Socrates has a passion for companions. He would rather have a good friend than a quail or a rooster. In this way, Socrates begins his interrogation of Menexenus. He then congratulates Menexenus and Lysis for each having what he himself still does not possess. How is it that one (...) gets a friend, Socrates asks? Since the nineteenth century many who have read these lines have found them repulsive. Scholars have damned the Lysis for its selfish egoism, for regarding persons as personal belongings. At the turn of the century some sought to discredit the dialogue as a forgery and a calumny. Others debated the dating of the dialogue as Socratic or Platonic, seeking whom to blame rather than whom to credit. And those who have regarded the dialogue as Platonic have tried to redeem it by detecting hints of Plato's theory of Forms. A few have attempted to salvage reputations by understanding the argument of the Lysis as a reductio of egoism, or else by invoking the loyalty of Socrates' friends and the history of Plato's friendship for Dion of Syracuse to speak up for their defence. Guthrie has condemned the dialogue as a failure of method and presentation , and Vlastos has pronounced it a failure of love: ‘The lover Socrates has in view seems positively incapable of loving others for their own sake, else why must he feel no affection for anyone whose good-producing qualities he did not happen to need?’ The Lysis appears to make no positive contribution to the Greek tradition on friendship when compared to the Symposium or the Phaedrus. And in the subsequent tradition, whatever Aristotle might have borrowed from the dialogue he uses for his own purposes. Aristotle too is quite critical of specific points raised in the Lysis. Now it might seem that Aristotle made a place for the selfish love of the Lysis in his own theory, as an inferior grade of utility love. But even this cannot be so, if we are to agree with recent studies of Aristotle's ethics. According to Aristotle, if a client is friendly to his benefactor because of the latter's usefulness, this utilitarian motive must accompany a genuine concern for the benefactor's own interest in that relation, if they are to be friends. Inferior and genuine friendship may differ in purpose but not in regard for the well-being of the beloved. This respect for the object of one's love has no parallel in the Lysis, according to the standard reading of the dialogue. (shrink)
A brief philological look at a key argument in Plato’s “Lysis” reveals Plato’s philosophical interpretation of generic love, or ‘philia’, to be an asymmetrical form of possessive desire, where the interests of the self predominate.
Augustine advances the view that morally devout interpreters of a Biblical text, such as the Psalter, can each advance contradictory interpretations of the very same portion of the text and yet both interpretations can be true. But the moral character of the interpreter is paramount in weighing the validity of the interpretation. I explore this hermeneutical principle Augustine advances with Donald Davidson’s secular “Principle of Charity”.
The understanding of perception advanced by Aristotle and Theophrastus is largely physiological in character, describing the mechanism of perception and its resulting epistemic value. Like Epicurean views, theirs is not a theory of sensory ideas. The Stoics develop a competing approach to perception that describes sensory phenomena in terms of conceptual, linguistic representations.
An argument for a bottom-up model of social philosophy: Notwithstanding local presumptions and prejudice, common sense is sufficiently aligned with shared experience to be at least locally reliable. It seems as if traversing common ground is requisite for mutual understanding, even if such commonplaces are locally derived. A community of commonplaces is fundamental for communication and can convey an almost miraculous wisdom.
Within an interpretive community, conversation will not cease until voices are silenced by circumstance.1 Less than three months after lecturing at Lake Forest College in November of 1911, Royce suffered a stroke.2 Within a year, Royce had adequately recovered and recuperated, so as to redouble his preparations for a lecture series on Christianity, initially presented in part at the Lowell Institute and then in a more completed version at Oxford. These lectures would come to constitute The Problem of Christianity.3 Publication (...) preceded Royce’s passing by a mere three years.In Royce’s day, both the United States and England were largely Christian nations. They are no longer so today.... (shrink)
A close reading of what Plato writes about DOXA, misleadingly translated as ‘belief’, reveals that DOXA exhibits the logical form of what it is now referred to as “de re belief.” A DOXA makes a claim on the nature of reality, not a claim about the speaker’s thoughts about that reality. Consequently a doxastic claim is either true or meaningless when it fails of reference to the portion of reality it is naming. This insight has deep implications for Plato’s epistemology (...) in general and his “Meno,” “Republic, ” and “Theaetetus” in particular. (shrink)
This volume contains a German dissertation in philosophy examining Josiah Royce’s theory of knowledge. It was submitted to the Georg-August-Universität of Göttingen in 1914 by Winthrop Bell, a Canadian student of Edmund Husserl’s from 1911 to 1914. This edition includes an appendix consisting of hundreds of concise critical notes Husserl had written on the dissertation typescript that Bell submitted in preparation for his doctoral defense on August 7th of that year, along with several additional remarks Husserl wrote separately to address (...) deeper concerns. Husserl was an exemplary Doktorvater. And he affirmed in a letter to Hocking in July of 1920 that he deeply respected Bell’s character and admired his... (shrink)
The eristic paradox served as a starting point for Josiah Royce's metaphysical and moral outlook, beginning with "The Religious Aspect of Philosophy" (1885) and continuing to his final "Hope of the Great Community" (1916). In particular, Royce's early reflections on how error proves possible, as the puzzle was specifically presented in Plato's "Theaetetus", proved foundational for Royce's entire philosophical development. Royce's particular solution to the puzzles of the waxed table and the aviary is suggestive of similar moves in Frege, Wittgenstein, (...) and the neopragmatism of Richard Rorty, not to mention Royce's own theory of community. (shrink)
An exploration of the roots of terrorism suggests one primal source arises from so-called “self-made” males who find difficulty forming community attachments. Those who fail to see that they live within the boundaries of humanity fail to recognize where dark ambitions of their souls fester and where inter-subjective reality begins. They suffer from what psychiatrists call borderline disorders. Cut off from a lived community, they become monsters of humanity.
Book synopsis: Reissued in 1997 with corrections and a new Afterword, this book fully explores for the first time an idea common to Plato and Aristotle, which unites their treatments - otherwise very different - of love and friendship. The idea is that although persons are separate, their lives need not be. One person's life may overflow into another's, and as such, helping another person is a way of serving oneself. The author shows how their view of love and friendship, (...) within not only personal relationships, but also the household and even the city-state, promises to resolve the old dichotomy between egoism and altruism. (shrink)
Having been set free from sin,You have become slaves of righteousness.Beginning with The Religious Aspect of Philosophy, Josiah Royce's views gradually evolved into a growing celebration of community affiliations. Philosophy of Loyalty eloquently articulated his distinctive social philosophy.1 Royce's vision of ideal community life soon became beatified in The Problem of Christianity in the form of "the Beloved Community," where Royce venerated the Pauline model of a gathered community consisting of those who share a common faith. Heartfelt community loyalty thereby (...) acquired a spiritual dimension that transformed human nature. Against the background of this transfiguration, Royce downplayed the... (shrink)