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articles
1. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
J. H. Lesher τὰ πολλὰ ἥσσω νοῦ: A Puzzle in Xenophanes
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Diogenes Laertius reports that Xenophanes of Colophon said that τὰ πολλὰ ἥσσω νοῦ εἶναι— on one defensible translation: that ‘many things are weaker than mind.’ The remark has been interpreted in various ways, none of them entirely convincing. However, a review of the relevant fragments and ancient testimonia will provide the basis for a credible interpretation. Ultimately, it will emerge that the remark reflects Xenophanes’ understanding of the relationship between the divine mind and the cosmos.
2. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Benjamin Rider Transforming Ambition: Positive Socratic Psychotherapy in Plato’s Gorgias
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Plato’s Gorgias depicts Socratic psychotherapy, showing Socrates aiming at “what’s best” for those he talks to (521d). The negative aspect of Socrates’ efforts—refuting claims, shaming people for misplaced values—has been well documented and discussed. Focusing on the conversations with Gorgias and Callicles, I highlight a neglected positive side to these interactions: How Socrates seeks to draw on what these characters deeply care about—here, leadership—to inspire philosophical reflection on how they live.
3. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
William H. F. Altman Xenophon and Plato’s Meno
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Not only was it a reference to Ismenias the Theban (Men. 90a4-5) that allowed nineteenth-century scholars to establish a date of composition for Plato’s Meno on the basis of Xenophon’s Hellenica but beginning with “Meno the Thessalian” himself, immortalized as a scoundrel in Xenophon’s Anabasis, each of the four characters in Plato’s dialogue is shown to have a Xenophontic resonance, thus revealing Meno to be Plato’s tombeau de Xénophon.
4. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Andy German Progressus ad Infinitum?: A Theme in the Protagoras
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In this paper, I argue that in the “Great Speech” of the Protagoras, Plato investigates the consequences of a view of history as progress away from nature, as expressed in Protagoras’ account of humanity’s origin and development. Socrates’ hedonistic calculus, in the dialogue’s second half, confronts Protagoras with the full implications of his view - showing how, absent a doctrine of natural human perfections, progress necessarily devours its own tail.
5. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Colin C. Smith Against the Existential Reading of Euthydemus 283e-284c, with Help from the Sophist
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I argue that the fallacy concerning false speech (283e-284c) in Plato’s Euthydemus does not entail conflation of the alleged existential and veridical senses of ‘einai’ (‘to be’), but instead confusion regarding predicative statements. I consider this passage by advancing interpretations of nonbeing and the structure of true and false speech in the Sophist. I aim to refute those who hold that this passage demands an ‘existential’ sense of ‘einai ’ by offering a more Platonic interpretation.
6. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Roslyn Weiss Good for Anything?: Justice in Plato’s Republic ii
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This paper aims to show that in Republic ii Glaucon and Adeimantus contend that being just is not a good of any kind; it is the good consequences of seeming just that place it in Glaucon’s third and lowest class of goods. The brothers challenge Socrates to prove that being just has good consequences. They do not ask him to prove that being just is good for itself apart from its consequences, nor is this something he attempts to prove.
7. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Evan Coulter Mind and Necessity in Timaeus’ Hepatology
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Analogies between the human and the cosmos run throughout Plato’s Timaeus. Timaeus claims that the cosmos came to be as mind’s “persuasion of necessity.” This paper argues that an anthropological equivalent to this “persuasion” can be found in Timaeus’ suggestive account of the human liver. Mediating between intellect and desire, the organ shows the problem of mind and necessity reflected in the human soul.
8. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Luc Brisson, Salomon Ofman The Mathematical Anti-atomism of Plato’s Timaeus
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In Plato’s eponymous dialogue, Timaeus, the main character presents the universe as an (almost) perfect sphere filled by tiny, invisible particles having the form of four regular polyhedrons. At first glance, such a construction may seem close to an atomistic theory. However, one does not find any text in Antiquity that links Timaeus’ cosmology to the atomists, while Aristotle opposes clearly Plato to the latter. Nevertheless, Plato is commonly presented in contemporary literature as some sort of atomist, sometimes as supporting a form of so-called ‘mathematical atomism’. However, the term ‘atomism’ is rarely defined when applied to Plato. Since it covers many different theories, it seems that this term has almost as different meanings as different authors. The purpose of this article is to consider whether it is correct to connect Timaeus’ cosmology to some kind of ‘atomism’, however this term may be understood. Its purpose is double: to obtain a better understanding of the cosmology of the Timaeus, and to consider the different modern ‘atomistic’ interpretations of this cosmology. In short, we would like to show that such a claim, in any form whatsoever, is misleading, an impediment to the understanding of the dialogue, and more generally of Plato’s philosophy.
9. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Albert Joosse Anchoring Innovation in the Platonic Axiochus
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As the youngest work in the Platonic corpus, the Axiochus interacts with other texts in the corpus as well as with its contemporary philosophical milieu. How it does so, however, and what the purpose of the work is, is still unclear. This paper proposes a new theoretical approach to this text, arguing that the Axiochus anchors a number of innovations. It discusses three innovations in particular: the introduction of philosophical therapy in Platonism, the use of Epicurean arguments in Academic philosophy, and a renovated Platonism on the contemporary philosophical scene. The Axiochus aims, so this paper argues, to make these innovations acceptable to different audiences by anchoring them in the Socratic dialogue and the therapeutic paradigm of philosophy, respectively.
10. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Francesca Alesse The Predicative Role of ‘Being Good’ in Aristotle
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The article proposes a renewed analysis of the texts in which Aristotle claims that the term ‘good’ is spoken of in many ways and more precisely in as many ways as there are categories. After a revision of the traditional interpretations, a new reading of the texts is advanced in the light of the theory of predication described in Top. 103 b20-38 and Metaph. 1017 a7-30. The conclusion is that in the Aristotelian passages on the multivocity of ‘good’, the word ‘good’ should not be meant as the predicate of categorially distinct realities, and therefore as a qualifying adjective, but itself as the subject of the question what is it? (τί ἐστι;) In this way, it is possible to advance the hypothesis that the homonymous notion of ‘good’ performs a predicative function, useful to the formulation of practical and prescriptive propositions.
11. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Roy C. Lee The Function Argument in the Eudemian Ethics
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This paper reconstructs the function argument of Aristotle’s Eudemian Ethics 2.1. The argument (1) seeks to define happiness through the method of division; (2) shows that the highest good is better than all four of the goods of the soul, not only two, as commentators have thought; and (3) unlike the Nicomachean argument, makes the highest good definitionally independent of the human function.
12. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Javier Echeñique Sosa, Jose Antonio Errazuriz Besa Aristotle on Personal Enmity
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In this paper we develop Aristotle’s remarks about personal enmity (ἔχθρα) into a systematic account, with a view to determining whether personal enmity has a role to play in the good life. We argue that such an account can be obtained by examining Aristotle’s claims about hatred, and that this examination reveals that there is a significant place for enmity in Aristotle’s conception of the good life.
13. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Mariana Gardella Aristotle on Riddle
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Aristotle presents two different approaches to riddle in the Poetics and the Rhetoric. In this paper, I intend to argue that, despite meaningful differences, these two views on riddle are not contradictory, but rather complementary. Taken together, they provide a valuable explanation of the structure, as well as the cognitive function, of riddle.
14. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Javier Aoiz, Marcelo D. Boeri The Genealogy of Justice and Laws in Epicureanism
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In this paper, we argue that the Epicurean genealogy of justice and laws presuppose an analysis of the just as a modality of the useful, an approach that denies the conventional character of justice. This genealogical pattern differentiates the origin of justice from that of the law and refers to friendship as a relevant explanatory factor of the origin of justice. We maintain that the interpretations that underline the incoherence of this reference to friendship, in the framework of a hedonistic theory, presuppose a non-Epicurean sharp distinction between altruism and selfishness.
15. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Pavle Stojanović Epistemic Luck in Stoicism
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The Stoics held that knowledge depends on the special kind of true appearances they called ‘apprehensive.’ Sextus Empiricus reports that they also thought that some true appearances are not apprehensive—and hence unable to lead to knowledge—because they are true merely ‘externally and by chance’, which suggests that the Stoics were aware of the problem of epistemic luck. Unfortunately, Sextus does not tell us what kind of appearances the Stoics thought are true by chance, and why. I argue that the appearances in question here are imaginations, and propose an explanation why the Stoics, who defined chance in terms of hidden causes, would have thought that imaginations can only be true by chance. The explanation stems from their view that the essential characteristic of imagination is that it leaves the actual cause of its representational content hidden from the subject.
16. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Antonia Kakavelaki The Authorship of Philoponus’ Commentary On the Soul iii
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To this day no consensus has been reached concerning the authorship of the 3rd book of Philoponus’ on the Soul. I will begin this article by surveying the discussion of the authorship. In this first section I go into some detail concerning the arguments of scholars who attribute the DAC 3 to Philoponus, and those who do not believe that it is by Philoponus, including those who attribute it to Stephanus of Alexandria. The second section of the paper consists in an analysis and evaluation of the arguments involved in the debate. Finally, I conclude by presenting my own position, including new arguments in favor of the attribution of the DAC 3 to John Philoponus.
reviews
17. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Kristian Sheeley Review of Reading Plato’s Dialogues to Enhance Learning and Inquiry: Exploring Socrates’ Use of Protreptic for Student Engagement, by Mason Marshall
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18. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Lloyd P. Gerson Review of Plato’s Sun-Like Good: Dialectic in the Republic, by Sarah Broadie
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19. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Nicholas R. Baima Review of Plato’s Epistemology: Being & Seeming, by Jessica Moss
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20. Ancient Philosophy: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1
Thomas Slabon Review of Pseudo-Aristotle: De Mundo (On the Cosmos): A Commentary, ed. Pavel Gregoriæ and George Karamanolis
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