Plato's dialogue the Timaeus-Critias presents two connected accounts, that of the story of Atlantis and its defeat by ancient Athens and that of the creation of the cosmos by a divine craftsman. This book offers a unified reading of the dialogue. It tackles a wide range of interpretative and philosophical issues. Topics discussed include the function of the famous Atlantis story, the notion of cosmology as 'myth' and as 'likely', and the role of God in Platonic cosmology. Other areas commented (...) upon are Plato's concepts of 'necessity' and 'teleology', the nature of the 'receptacle', the relationship between the soul and the body, the use of perception in cosmology, and the work's peculiar monologue form. The unifying theme is teleology: Plato's attempt to show the cosmos to be organised for the good. A central lesson which emerges is that the Timaeus is closer to Aristotle's physics than previously thought. (shrink)
Aristotle thinks that an account, alogos, of some sort is characteristic of craft,technē. Some scholars think that thelogoselement oftechnēis tagged onto experience as a theoretical element not directly engaged in successful production: I argue instead that thelogosgrounds the productive ability of craft, and also that is practically orientated in a way that distinguishes it from thelogosof theoretical science. Understanding thelogosof craft thus helps us explain how the craftsman differs both from the merely experienced practitioner and from the theoretical scientist.
In his opening speech, Timaeus argues that the cosmos must be the product of a craftsman looking to an eternal paradigm. Yet his premises seem at best to justify only that the world could have been made by such a craftsman. This paper seeks to clarify Timaeus’ justification for his stronger conclusion. It is argued that Timaeus sees a necessary role for craftsmanship as a cause that makes becoming like being.
A teleological explanation is an explanation in terms of an end or a purpose. So saying that ‘X came about for the sake of Y’ is a teleological account of X. It is a striking feature of ancient Greek philosophy that many thinkers accepted that the world should be explained in this way. However, before Aristotle, teleological explanations of the cosmos were generally based on the idea that it had been created by a divine intelligence. If an intelligent power made (...) the world, then it makes sense that it did so with a purpose in mind, so grasping this purpose will help us understand the world. This is the pattern of teleological explanation that we find in the Presocratics and in Plato. However, with Aristotle teleology underwent a change: instead of thinking that the ends were explanatory because a mind had sought to bring them about, Aristotle took the ends to operate in natural beings independently of the efforts of any creative intelligence. Indeed, he thought that his predecessors had failed to understand what was distinctive of nature, namely, that its ends work from the inside of natural beings themselves. (shrink)
This work investigates how ancient philosophers understood productive knowledge or technê and used it to explain ethics, rhetoric, politics and cosmology. In eleven chapters leading scholars set out the ancient debates about technê from the Presocratic and Hippocratic writers, through Plato and Aristotle and the Hellenistic age, ending in the Neoplatonism of Plotinus and Proclus. Amongst the many themes that come into focus are: the model status of ancient medicine in defining the political art, the similarities between the Platonic and (...) Aristotelian conceptions of technê, the use of technê as a paradigm for virtue and practical rationality, technê´s determining role in Platonic conceptions of cosmology, technê´s relationship to experience and theoretical knowledge, virtue as an 'art of living', the adaptability of the criteria of technê to suit different skills, including philosophy itself, the use in productive knowledge of models, deliberation, conjecture and imagination. (shrink)
The notion of a capacity in the sense of a power to bring about or undergo change plays a key role in Aristotle’s theories about the natural world. However, in Metaphysics Θ Aristotle also extends ‘ capacity ’, and the corresponding concept of ‘activity’, to cases where we want to say that something is in capacity, or in activity, such and such but not, or not directly, in virtue of being capable of initiating or undergoing change. This paper seeks to (...) clarify and confirm a certain view of how Aristotle wishes us to see the relationship between the two uses of ‘ capacity ’ and ‘activity’. To that end, I consider also Aristotle’s employment of the terms in the De Anima, which sheds light on the key examples which direct the discussion in Metaph. Θ. (shrink)
Based on a case study of a large multinational group, this paper addresses the way in which social and environmental reporting systems were changed and the consequences and controversies associated with this change. Drawing on Power’s work on the processes by which things are made auditable via underlying systems, we focus on how and why a specific programme with auditability as its ultimate aim changed the basis on which the external social and environmental report was prepared. Our analysis demonstrates that (...) the perceived alignment with the financial report preparation and the explicit pursuit of auditability legitimized SER and paved the way for data systems to be changed. The programme borrowed authority from financial accounting technologies not only to make a system change but also to push SER internally, as we suggest that an intraorganizational group used the programme to ensure the existence and organizational status of SER. However, we also illustrate some of the practical challenges associated with this change, which include issues related to internal control and the establishment of organizational boundaries. (shrink)
The view that the soul can exist separately from the body is commonly associated with dualism. Since Plato’s Phaedo (Phd.) argues that the soul is immortal and survives the death of the body, there seems to be reason to call Plato, in that dialogue at least, a ‘dualist’. Yet, as we know, there are many kinds of dualism, so we have thereby not said very much. Let me therefore start with some distinctions. First of all, we can distinguish between two (...) kinds of dualism which say that the soul is a different kind of substance from the body. On one version, call it ‘strong’ substance dualism, no properties of mind can also be properties of body. Mind is defined as a kind of thing that uniquely has a certain property or set of properties, say consciousness, just as body is defined by its unique properties, say spatial extension. This would seem to be Descartes’ view. On another version, call it ‘weak’ substance dualism, no essential or defining properties of mind are also properties of body. This leaves it open whether the mind and body may share some accidental or non-defining properties. Finally, there is an even weaker kind of dualism which we may call property dualism. According to this view, there are mental properties which are distinct from and irreducible to bodily properties.4 However, these mental properties may or not be properties of an underlying substance that also has bodily properties. In other words, the same thing may have both mental and bodily properties, so having mental properties is not enough to make something a different kind of substance. (shrink)
This article examines a social accounting cycle in a Danish savings bank with specific focus on how employees interacted with the cycle. The case study is based on archival material and observations of employee engagement sessions that were a significant part of the cycle. The article exposes the ways in which the cycle can be understood as an initiative that prompts different forms of accountability. The cycle had the potential to bring different forms of accountability together, but the cycle also (...) faced challenges that threatened its relevance from an employee perspective. These challenges might have implications for the way we perceive social accounting and the role of employees. (shrink)
Unitarianism was the norm amongst ancient interpreters of Plato. One strategy they used to maintain the unity of his thinking was to argue that different works were saying the same things but in different modes. So, for example, the Republic was saying ethically what the Timaeus was saying in the manner of natural philosophy. In this paper, I want to offer an interpretation of the Cave image in Republic 7 which lends support to this division of labour, and so indirectly, (...) at least, to a unitarian understanding of Plato’s thinking across these two works. (shrink)
This paper considers Theophrastus’ use in the De sensibus of the principles that like perceives like and that unlike perceives unlike to criticise his predecessors. It is argued that the aporiai that arise from either position serve to motivate the view of perception articulated by Aristotle in the De anima.
From antiquity on, the status of Critias' account has been the subject of intense debate. Is the Atlantis story 'real history'? The dialogue invites us to raise this question but also to reflect on its terms. In this paper I shall argue that the story should be seen as 'history' only in a special Platonic sense: it is a story which is fabricated about the past in order to reflect a general truth about how ideal citizens would behave in action.
In this paper, we argue for craftivism as a form of social activism with a political depth reached through making. From Mary Wollstonecraft to the suffragettes, Betsy Greer to DIY, craftivism has had a place in feminist activism. The human tradition for making objects combined with the online possibility of documentation, has made craftivism a political weapon. But it is a soft weapon, where the power lies in the pain and suffering it reminds us off. This protest is often performed (...) by women and history shows that this is why craft has been seen as something other than art, and as a form of political protest today. This article ties the history of feminist craft to the current movement of craftivism, arguing for this art herstory to be part of the canon and part of a political solution. (shrink)
Dans De Caelo III.2 Aristote affirme, en guise de critique, que la description platonicienne des traces dans la chôra implique nécessairement l’existence préalable d’un cosmos avant le cosmos. Dans cet article je me penche sur le passage visé par Aristote (Timée 52d2‑53b5), afin de montrer comment celui‑ci peut être défendu contre l’objection d’Aristote. J’argumente que les traces sont des formes géométriques qui assurent les matériaux au démiurge. Dans ce sens, elles peuvent être considerées comme constitutives potentiellement des quatre corps, et (...) rien de plus. (shrink)
Scholars have often seen Parmenides as entirely opposed to earlier materialistic philosophy. In this paper I argue that what is more striking in Aristotle’s Metaphysics Book I is the degree of continuity that he sees between Parmenides and the material monists. I explore this coupling of Parmenides with the material monists to understand better what he takes to be distinctive and problematic with Parmenides’ monism.
WORK AS IMPROVEMENT - HUSBANDRY, HOUSEKEEPING AND CAPITALISM IN 16TH ANN 17TH CENTURY ENGLANDThis article traces the development of a new attitude to work as improvement in early modern England. By focusing on agricultural manuals from the period, the author shows how the attitude to work as improvement developed as a response by yeomen and gentleman farmers to their increasing subjection to market imperatives. In contrast to the ethics of housekeeping, which stressed the good maintenance and ordering of the ‘house’ (...) in the broadest sense as the primary aim of social and economic activities, the new idea of improvement focused on activities directed at the market. This idea established new distinctions between good and bad work, and it created new criteria for valorizing different types of agricultural activities. The constant drive to measure the value of agricultural work in terms of market price, and to continually raise productivity and efficiency and make use of the latest techniques and inventions became pivotal for these agricultural writers. The idea of work as improvement had a wide range of new moral, cultural and political dimensions, all of which consolidated into a more coherent ideology of improvement by the late 16th century. (shrink)