This volume deals with the appropriations, criticism and transformation of Plato’s and Aristotle’s positions about theory, practice and the contemplative life, including their epistemological and metaphysical foundations, from ...
Contrary to what is often assumed since the seminal studies of Puech, I argue that Numenius’ interest in Oriental Wisdom is part of his Platonist stance. The most important testimony is fr. 1a des Places, which shows that Plato is not only the reference‑point but also the criterion and measure to judge the truthfulness of the other philosophical traditions and religions. Numenius’ dualism therefore can be explained as an attempt to preserve the transcendence of the first principle, the typical problem (...) of Middle Platonists as opposed to Hellenistic philosophies such as Stoicism. (shrink)
In the 4th century B.C., philosophers began to write not only philosophical texts, but also biographical ones. As biographers, they often presented members of their own schools as the epitome of their ideals, or tried to prove that the followers of others lived in ways inconsistent with their own doctrines, which the writers thereby hoped to show were ultimately unrealizable. Other biographies contained chapters engaging in doxographical or more properly philosophical discussions. Even when the philosopher-biographers' attention turned to the lives (...) of politicians and poets, they would find occasions to introduce their philosophical concerns. This whole genre of Greek biography, then, is an rich source of commentary on the philosophical doctrines current in Antiquity. The papers collected in this volume explore the many ways in which philosophy was incorporated into such texts, as well as how the genre was used as a means of philosophical instruction, discussion and polemics. They analyze texts from the 4th century B.C. to the 6th century A.D., some belonging to the best-known examples of the genre, and others being virtually unknown to most students of Antiquity. The volume contains studies of, among others, Dicaearchus, Timaeus, Philodemus, Plutarch, Lucian, Iamblichus, Philostratus, Eunapius and the anonymous Prolegomena to Plato's Philosophy. (shrink)
From Socrates and Plato onwards, the Sophists were often targeted by the authoritative philosophical tradition as being mere charlatans and poor teachers. This book, translated and significantly updated from its most recent Italian version, challenges these criticisms by offering an overall interpretation of their thought, and by assessing the specific contributions of thinkers like Protagoras, Gorgias and Antiphon. A new vision of the Sophists emerges: they are protagonists and agents of fundamental change in the history of ancient philosophy, who questioned (...) the grounds of morality and politics, as well as the nature of knowledge and language. By shifting the focus from the cosmos to man, the Sophists inaugurate an alternative form of philosophy, whose importance is only now becoming clear. (shrink)
_Thinking, Knowing, Acting: Epistemology and Ethics in Plato and Ancient Platonism_ aims to offer a fresh perspective on the correlation between epistemology and ethics in Plato and the Platonic tradition from Aristotle to Plotinus, by investigating the social, juridical and theoretical premises of their philosophy.
From the 1st century BC onwards followers of Plato began to systematize Plato's thought. These attempts went in various directions and were subjected to all kinds of philosophical influences, especially Aristotelian, Stoic, and Pythagorean. The result was a broad variety of Platonisms without orthodoxy. That would only change with Plotinus. This volume, being the fruit of the collaboration among leading scholars in the field, addresses a number of aspects of this period of system building with substantial contributions on Antiochus and (...) Alcinous and their relation to Stoicism; on Pythagoreanising tendencies in Platonism; on Eudorus and the tradition of commentaries on Aristotle's Categories; on the creationism of the Jewish Platonist Philo of Alexandria; on Ammonius, the Egyptian teacher of Plutarch; on Plutarch's discussion of Socrates' guardian spirit. The contributions are in English, French, Italian and German. (shrink)
Contrairement à ce qui est pris d’ordinaire pour acquis, le Commentateur Anonyme du Théétète est philosophiquement stimulant, comme le démontre la confrontation avec le Stoïcisme. Le Commentateur Anonyme déploie une stratégie subtile, ne visant pas tant à rejeter des doctrines nettement stoïciennes qu’à les incorporer dans son propre système platonicien, en présupposant que seul ce dernier peut assurer des fondements adéquats aux doctrines. Le Commentateur Anonyme peut de la sorte s’approprier le Stoïcisme et régler de manière définitive l’ancienne querelle entre (...) Stoïcisme et Platonisme. Qui plus est, le Stoïcisme n’est pas une question séparée, mais il fait partie d’une question plus large. Car la comparaison avec le Stoïcisme aide aussi le Commentateur Anonyme à défendre son interprétation unitaire de la tradition académique platonicienne. Commenter un texte n’est pas une pratique neutre, mais bien plutôt un des aspects les plus importants de la philosophie post-hellénistique. (shrink)
Among Plato’s dialogues, the Timaeus was the most authoritative for Middle Platonists. But alone it does not suffice to explain some of the most important tenets defended by these philosophers. A remarkable example is the doctrine of the three Principles, which characterizes imperial Platonism, and which cannot be stated on the basis of the Timaeus alone. In my paper I show that Numenius was influenced by the Republic as well : in the metaphor of the Sun he found the Good (...) as first principle and an indication of a second principle which is further subdivided into an Intellect thinking the Ideas and a Demiurge ordering the universe. This interpretation provides him with some interesting solutions. But such an influence also raises difficulties insofar as the causal role of the first principle is concerned. (shrink)
ABSTRACT The image of Plato captured in Raphael’s School of Athens as the champion of contemplative life has been celebrated for centuries. Such a description of Plato, however, would probably be surprising for most readers who are used to a very different Plato. For many current readers, Plato is a political philosopher. The contrast could not be sharper. The goal of this paper is to reconstruct the origins of the political interpretation of Plato’s thought. Prior to Popper, this interpretation was (...) first developed into a mainstream presentation by some important Hellenists in Germany in the first 30 years of the twentieth century, and it quickly became dominant outside the universitiies. One interesting example of the attempts to popularize Plato’s political thought is that of K. Hildebrandt, a member of the George Kreis, who sought to harmonize Plato and Nietzsche in order to derive a new politics of the German state. (shrink)
Aim of this paper is to show how Middle Platonist philosophers adapted Stoic epistemology to their own Platonist metaphysics. More precisely the discussion focuses on the key notion of ennoia.Middle Platonists argue against the hypothesis that conceptions have an empirical origin and claim that an ennoia is what remains of the pre-natal vision of the ideas. According to them, it is only through metaphysics that a theory of knowledge can adequately be grounded. The second part of the paper delves into (...) the limits of such a claim. The possibility of getting a proper knowledge of the ideas raises a problem, for if the ennoiai are grounded on the ideas, but the ideas are not object of a proper knowledge, we run the risk of not having a proper criterion anymore. On these grounds, we would not be able to account for the process of knowledge. (shrink)