Frank B. Ebersole died recently. Here I remind philosophers of the thinking of this reclusive philosopher who brought out the value of Wittgenstein's dictum that philosophers should "bring words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use." I illustrate Ebersole's singular thinking by focusing on his philosophical investigation of Wittgenstein's family resemblance metaphor.
Frederick Brenk is a specialist, but, as this third volume of his collected essays makes clear, a multiple specialist, as skilled in dealing with visual materials as with texts, with epigraphy as with prosopography, with Christian writers as with pagan, with Egypt as with Greece, with style and language as with philosophy and religion. Few scholars have such wide learning, and fewer still can use it to weave together insights from so many different ways of thinking, feeling, seeing, and (...) writing. (shrink)
Wittgenstein in his later writing often remarked on the negative influence of language on philosophy. Here, I call attention to a previously unnoticed but significant way that language has influenced philosophy: we use the very same vocabulary in two different ways, in philosophical talk and in our everyday interactive speaking-situations. Our propensity for using this double talk has prevented us from resolving most philosophical problems. Is our attraction to philosophical talk the result of our learning to use a phonetic alphabet, (...) so that words can be used outside of interactive situations? (shrink)
The interplay of Greek and Roman motifs in the Marcellus eulogy at the end of the Sixth Book of the Aeneid presents a complicated study in literary history. The association of roses with the dead is more Roman than Greek, but perhaps not so much so as one might imagine. Roses are not entirely absent from the Greek milieu, and in fact Vergil apparently drew on Greek rose motifs for the eulogy. Archaeology reveals that roses were an important symbol on (...) tomb stelai, along with the epigraphical references to roses. In general the rose in Greek inscriptions was reserved for girls, but at least one is for a boy, and another for a youth of twenty-two. Moreover, Vergil may well have been alluding to Bion's Lament for Adonis, where the rose motif has striking importance. (shrink)
In his treatise On Isis and Osiris, Plutarch tries to explain the meaning of a statue or image of Zeus in Crete, which had no ears. An Egyptian or Egyptianizing image with separate ears, perhaps on a stele, incomprehensible to Greeks, but common in Egypt, might have given rise to Plutarch’s bafflement and fantasy interpretation.Dans son traité De Iside et Osiride, Plutarque essaie d’expliquer la signification d’une statue ou d’une image de Zeus en Crète, qui n’avait aucune oreille. Une image (...) égyptienne ou « égyptianisante » avec des oreilles séparées, peut-être sur une stèle, incompréhensible aux Grecs mais commune en Égypte, pourrait avoir provoqué la perplexité de Plutarque et son interprétation fantaisiste. (shrink)
Deutsch is a social psychologist whose research over the past forty years has been concerned mainly with cooperation and competition. This collection of articles assembles his work on how people's social behavior affects and is affected by their conceptions of justice. The central claim is that the influence is mutual: "Deutsch's crude law of social relations" states that "the characteristic processes and effects elicited by a given type of social relationship also tend to elicit that type of social relationship".
Philip McShane has had as one of his leisure specialties the provision of tantalising puzzles which are meant to provide samples of insight but sometimes, instead of promoting insight, reduce his readers to angry frustration. I will take as point of departure for my reflections a single puzzle Philip once presented on his own to some learned society – I forget which. Those present were invited to find the meaning of the letters SMTWTFS; when it was clear they were getting (...) nowhere, Philip rescued them from their frustration with the answer: the letters are the initials for the seven days of the week. Facing then the understandable chagrin of his audience at their failure and their irritated protest that they couldn’t be expected to find a sensible answer to such an absurd question, Philip informed them: ‘I gave the problem to a class in Grade School and they solved it.’ As one of the frustrated academics who didn’t solve the problem, I wish to reflect on this exchange, not just because, like the person in the Gospel, ‘I am willing to justify myself,’ but more importantly because it suggests an appropriate topic for the volume Michael Shute is editing in Philip’s honour, and gives me an opportunity to ponder once more a question we will never ponder enough or come close to exhausting: the working of the human mind as it strives to achieve and sometimes does achieve an insight. How does insight occur? How can it be encouraged to occur? And why in the present case did it not occur in the circle of academics, when it did to a Grade School class? (shrink)