This volume is the first in English to provide a full, systematic investigation into Aristotle's criticisms of earlier Greek theories of the soul from the perspective of his theory of scientific explanation. Some interpreters of the De Anima have seen Aristotle's criticisms of Presocratic, Platonic, and other views about the soul as unfair or dialectical, but Jason W. Carter argues that Aristotle's criticisms are in fact a justified attempt to test the adequacy of earlier theories in terms of the theory (...) of scientific knowledge he advances in the Posterior Analytics. Carter proposes a new interpretation of Aristotle's confrontations with earlier psychology, showing how his reception of other Greek philosophers shaped his own hylomorphic psychology and led him to adopt a novel dualist theory of the soul–body relation. His book will be important for students and scholars of Aristotle, ancient Greek psychology, and the history of the mind–body problem. (shrink)
In recent decades, it has been argued that the modern concept of forgiveness is absent from Aristotle’s conception of συγγνώμη as it appears in his Rhetoric and Nicomachean Ethics. In this paper, I argue that Aristotle’s view is more modern than it might appear. I defend the idea that Aristotle’s treatment of συγγνώμη, when seen in conjunction with his theory of ethical decision, involuntary action, and character alteration, commits him to a cognitive and emotional theory of forgiveness that is both (...) well-grounded and thoroughly modern. I go on to claim that Aristotle’s view of συγγνώμη helps to solve at least four controversial problems about the nature of forgiveness raised by modern philosophers: how one can forgive a wrong without condoning it, whether forgiveness is a duty, whether moral luck requires us to forgive more widely, and whether forgiveness ought to be unconditional. (shrink)
Throughout his works, St. Augustine offers at least nine distinct views on the nature of time, at least three of which have remained almost unnoticed in the secondary literature. I first examine each these nine descriptions of time and attempt to diffuse common misinterpretations, especially of the views which seek to identify Augustinian time as consisting of an un-extended point or a distentio animi . Second, I argue that Augustine's primary understanding of time, like that of later medieval scholastics, is (...) that of an accident connected to the changes of created substances. Finally, I show how this interpretation has the benefit of rendering intelligible Augustine's contention that, at the resurrection, motion will still be able to occur, but not time. (shrink)
Of all the criticisms that Aristotle gives of his predecessors’ theories of soul in De anima I.3–5, none seems more unmotivated than the ones directed against the world soul of Plato’s Timaeus. Against the current scholarly consensus, I claim that the status of Aristotle’s criticisms is philosophical rather than eristical, and that they provide important philosophical reasons, independent of Phys. VIII.10 and Metaph. Λ.6, for believing that νοῦς is without spatial extension, and that its thinking is not a physical motion.
In De Anima 1.4, Aristotle asks whether the soul can be moved by its own affections. His conclusion—that to say the soul grows angry is like saying that it weaves and builds—has traditionally been read on the assumption that it is false to credit the soul with weaving and building; I argue that Aristotle’s analysis of psychological motions implies his belief that the soul does in fact weave and build.
I argue that a common interpretation of DA 3.4, which sees Aristotle as there rejecting Anaxagoras’s account of mind, is mistaken. Instead, I claim that, in providing his solution to the main puzzles of this chapter, Aristotle takes special care to preserve the essential features that he thinks Anaxagoras ascribes to mind, namely, its ability to know all things, its being unmixed, and its inability to be affected by mixed objects.
In his dialogue, 'Non posse suaviter vivi secundum Epicurum', Plutarch of Chaeronea criticizes Epicurus for not believing that the gods are provident over human affairs and for not believing that our souls survive death. However, Plutarch’s arguments are striking in that they do not offer any theoretical justification for believing either of these religious claims to be true; rather, they aim to establish that we are practically justified in adopting them if we follow Epicurus’s rule that the goal of belief (...) is not truth in its own right, but mental tranquility. I argue that this form of argument assumes a novel justificatory theory of religious belief, based in Epicurean thought, that I call ‘strong doxastic hedonism.’. (shrink)
In DA I.2–5, Aristotle offers a series of critical discussions of earlier Greek definitions of the soul. The status of these discussions and the role they play in the justification of Aristotle’s theory of soul in DA II–III is controversial. In contrast to a common view, I argue that these discussions are not dialectical but philosophical. I also contend that Aristotle does not consider earlier philosophical definitions of soul to be endoxa, but rather contradoxa – beliefs about which the many (...) and the wise disagree among themselves. Through an analysis of Plato’s and Empedocles’s definitions of soul, I show that these definitions are nevertheless treated by Aristotle as potential scientific principles for explaining two of the soul’s per se attributes: causing motion and cognition in animate bodies. The main role of the critical discussions in DA I.2–5 is to show that all such earlier definitions of soul fail this explanatory task. Nevertheless, I show that these chapters are not wholly aporetic. Aristotle makes progress by solving two scientific puzzles within them: whether the soul has spatial parts, and whether ‘soul’ refers to a uniform entity across biological species. (shrink)
In this dense, intelligent, but often frustrating work, Cinzia Arruzza argues that Plato's depiction of tyranny and the character of the tyrant in the Republic is best interpreted as, ‘an intervention in a debate concerning the transformed relation between political leaders and demos in Athenian democracy’ (p. 9) in the last decades of the fifth century BCE. Her central claim is that Plato's critique of tyranny in the Republic was aimed at showing that this particular historical form of Athenian democracy, (...) along with its institutional mechanisms, was morally, psychologically, and politically continuous with the forms of tyranny to which its ideology was opposed. (shrink)
Fred D. Miller, Jr.'s stated goal for his new translation for the Oxford World's Classics series is, 'to provide a clear and accessible translation of Aristotle's psychological works while . . . conveying something of his distinctive style'. Not only does Miller achieve these goals in spades, but he also provides something more. His translation of Aristotle's De Anima and Parva Naturalia (the 'short works concerning nature'), along with twenty-three selected fragments from Aristotle's lost works and his 'Hymn to Hermias', (...) is elegant, philosophically sensitive, and informed by some of the best recent scholarly work on Aristotle's psychology and biology. (shrink)
Originating from two conferences that took place in September 2013 and June 2015 at Sapienza University of Rome, this outstanding specialist volume aims to systematically illuminate the arguments that Aristotle uses in trying to establish the ‘first principles’ of his natural philosophy in Physics I. Not only is it successful in achieving this overall goal, but it is also timely, as its publication anticipates the forthcoming proceedings of the July 2014 Symposium Aristotelicum, devoted to the Physics.