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1. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Scott Aikin, Lucy Alsip Vollbrecht On Diogenes and Olympic Victors: Cynic Rhetoric and the Problem of Audience
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Diogenes’s exchange with Cicermos the Olympic pankratist is unusual in that it is both a dialectical exchange and is successful in changing Cicermos’s mind. Most Cynic rhetoric is physical or gestural and more often alienates than convinces. The puzzling difference is explained by the rhetorical choices Diogenes makes with his uniquely receptive audience.
2. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Anna Cremaldi Aristotle on Benefaction and Self-Love
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Aristotle claims that the virtuous motive in benefitting others is altruistic. But he also claims in Nicomachean Ethics 9.7 that benefaction is an expression of self-love. This essay examines the account of benefaction with an eye to resolving the tension between these claims. By drawing out Aristotle’s comparison between reproduction and benefaction, I show that Aristotle conceives of self-love principally in terms of activities whose causal effects redound not only to the beneficiary but also to the benefactor. With this understanding of self-love, we better understand the relationship between self-love and benefaction and between self-love and friendship.
3. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Andrew Burnside Inexhaustibility: St. John of the Cross and Barthes’s Author Function
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St. John of the Cross was aware of the fact that his mysticism resisted prosaic, discursive representation; however, most contemporary scholars have overlooked this radical component of his work. First, I trace the major philosophical influences on John’s work: Medieval Neoplatonism and Scholasticism (especially Pseudo-Dionysius and St. Thomas Aquinas, as well as Ibn Arabi and possibly Averroes). Second, by drawing on the Barthesian-Foucauldian concept of the author function, I demonstrate that the Mystical Doctor saw his poetry as free-standing, inexhaustible by even his own efforts to systematize key aspects of his poetry—an insurmountable task, which he had to be compelled to compile and publish by the nuns he guided in spiritual direction.
4. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Cecilia Sjöholm Figures of Snow: Preconceptual Dimensions of Descartes’s Meteorology
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In times of climate change and unpredictable variations in weather conditions, not least in the climate of the North, Descartes’s treatise on Meteorology, published with Discourse on Method in 1637, has gained new relevance. He presents us with the kind of transformations that a Northern climate in particular materializes: weather consisting of small particles changing in shape and movement, intertwining, interfering and reorganising. This article argues that the Cartesian “figures” of the essay can be seen as philosophical thought-images of a preconceptual dimension of experience that abstract language fails to seize. In this way, they point to a dimension in Descartes’s philosophy that has been little commented upon, a tool of aesthetic approximation that lies between the res extensa and the res cogitans, a philosophical methodology using images explicitly appreciated by Descartes. The article links the use of images to the epistemological concept of “figure”, used to describe phenomena of the atmosphere that may be described as rhythmic. Here the analysis takes recourse to Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s analysis of figural extension.
5. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Naomi Fisher, Jeffrey J. Fisher Schelling and the Philebus: Limit and the Unlimited in Schelling’s Philosophy of Nature
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Schelling’s 1794 commentary on the Timaeus makes extensive use of Plato’s Philebus, particularly the principles of limit and unlimited. In this article, we demonstrate the resonances between Schelling’s 1794 treatment of the metaphysics of the Philebus and his 1798 philosophy of nature. Attention to these resonances demonstrates an underexplored but important debt to Plato in Schelling’s philosophy of nature. In particular, Schelling is indebted to Plato’s late metaphysics in his model of the iterative combination of two basic principles: a productive, positive principle, akin to Plato’s unlimited, and a limiting, negative principle, akin to Plato’s limit. In Schelling’s philosophy of nature, the iterative interaction of these principles both provides a common ground for and accounts for the differences between inorganic and organic nature.
6. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Daniela Vallega-Neu A Strange Proximity: On the Notion of Walten in Derrida and Heidegger
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This article juxtaposes Derrida’s last seminar, The Beast and the Sovereign (volume 2) with Heidegger’s The Event (from 1940/41) in order to question Derrida’s reading of the notion of Walten in Heidegger’s texts in relation to the themes of sov­ereignty and death. It draws out different senses of Walten depending on whether Heidegger thinks Greek φύσις or the other beginning and it points out the importance of constancy for the notion of Walten. In each case Walten shatters in relation to death or to the notions of the “beingless” and “expropriation” that Heidegger introduces at the beginning of the 40s. At the same time, there emerges a strange proximity between an originary differencing Heidegger thinks in relation to the notions of “the beingless” and “expropriation” on the one hand, and Derrida’s notion of différance on the other hand (an originary differencing that, in Derrida’s reading of Heidegger, institutes a “sovereignty of last instance”) as well as a strange proximity in the circular character of both Heidegger’s and Derrida’s writings that has to do with how death informs their writing.
7. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Giancarlo Tarantino What Are Hermeneutic Character Virtues and Vices? Four Ambiguous Tendencies in Gadamer’s Hermeneutic Retrieval of Phronēsis
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Gadamer’s retrieval of phronēsis lies at the heart of his philosophical hermeneutics. This paper argues that this retrieval requires a co-retrieval of what Aristotle referred to as character virtue, and that Gadamer’s work largely neglects this. In part one, I review Aristotle’s analysis of the relationship between phronēsis and character virtue. In part two, I show how Gadamer’s double insistence on the importance of phronēsis for his hermeneutics and on taking responsibility for concepts generates the requirement of a co-retrieval of character virtues and vices. Following this, I then survey four ambiguous tendencies in Gadamer’s work that seem to militate against such a retrieval. I conclude with some remarks for future work.
8. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
John V. James On the Several Senses of Forgetting in Gadamer’s Hermeneutics
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Following Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer states that the primordial way we experience the past is through forgetting rather than memory. This essay seeks to explore the various senses of forgetting as it appears in Gadamer’s thought with a particular emphasis on how forgetting and memory structure the unique temporality of the work of art. This exploration reveals that the interplay between forgetting and remembering is more complicated than mere opposition; this interplay is specifically revealed in Gadamer’s analyses of the epochal transition and the transmissive event of history. In both cases, forgetting is revealed not as a lack or lacuna, but as a dynamic generating structure that elevates the work of art from its original past—constituting the immemorial dimension of the work. This essay concludes by gesturing toward the repercussions of forgetting on subjectivity and a theory of time in Gadamer’s hermeneutics.
9. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Bryan Lueck Being-With, Respect, and Adoration
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According to Stephen Darwall, being with others involves an implicit, second-personal respect for them. I argue that this is correct as far as it goes. Calling on Jean-Luc Nancy’s more ontological account of being-with, though, I also argue that Darwall’s account overlooks something morally very important: right at the heart of the being-with that gives us to ourselves as answerable to others on the basis of determinate, contractualist moral principles, we encounter an irreducible excess of sense that renders those principles questionable. Following Nancy, I characterize this exposure to excess as adoration and develop some of its moral implications.
10. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
D. M. Spitzer Images in Archaic Thinking
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Images permeate and propel archaic thinking in diverse ways. How do philosophic texts from the Greek archaic period (ca. eighth through early-fifth centu­ries BCE) conceive of images and what do images accomplish in archaic philosophies? In what ways can attention to images in philosophic texts open perspectives onto the relations of myth, poetry, and philosophy in the archaic Greek period? With these questions guiding the inquiry, this paper explores texts from various traditions jointly related within the archaic Aegean cultural matrix. Texts from what might be termed philosophy’s prehistory, such as the ancient Egyptian Leiden Hymns and Odysseia, pro­vide important context for understanding the continuity and development of images.
11. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Kalliopi Nikolopoulou Tragedy without Action?: Reading Sophocles after Loraux
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The essay focuses on a paradox in the modern reception of tragedy: modernity foregrounds the Sophoclean tragic hero, in particular, but undermines the significance of heroic agency as autonomous deliberation. This gesture could be traced back to Hölderlin’s reading of Antigone as “divine fool,” and culminates more recently in Loraux’s gendered theory of tragedy as the feminine mourning voice that opposes the masculine politics of rational deliberation and action. For Loraux, tragedy’s ethical thrust is to highlight the distorted temporality of the political logos, which gives us a false sense of infinity through power and action; in contrast, the tragic voice exposes that mortal beings’ only infinity is the infinity of suffering and mourning. First outlined in her essay on Antigone, this thesis is later expanded in a book on tragedy as dirge, focusing on Sophocles’s Electra. By rereading both Sophoclean plays as mirroring each other on the topics of mourning, action, and revenge, I submit that, not only is action indispensable for tragedy, but the heroines’ infinitization of mourning affirms their disregard for mortal time in pursuit of their own glory. Their “intransigence” in mourning—to use Bernard Knox’s term—is the feminine equivalent to the war glory pursued by their male counterparts, though Electra’s inactive revenge fantasies lessen her heroic stature. Contra modernity’s emphasis on time, history, and finitude, I insist that Sophoclean heroes/heroines contest and reject time and its limits.
12. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Marta Heckel Parmenides’s Love of Honor and Lessons about How (Not) to Do Philosophy from Plato’s Parmenides
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In this paper, I show that the Parmenides provides important insight into how to properly engage in philosophical discussion—or, more accurately, how not to engage in it. From references to age, love-of-winning and love-of-honor, and a paral­lel to the Phaedo, I show that Parmenides is ruled by the spirited part of his soul in a way that compromises his ability to philosophize, and that the Parmenides is a warning about doing philosophy from a love of honor. Ideally, we should do philosophy from a love of wisdom. When we are honor-loving, we are not only motivated by the wrong kind of thing, but our love of honor can also blind us to the specific ways in which we might be falling short of ideal philosophical engagement, such as missing the potential dangers of engaging in philosophy with certain kinds of interlocutors.
13. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Andrew Haas One One, or the Unity of Being in Plato’s Parmenides
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Being can no longer be thought, for Plato, in accordance with Parmenides’ either/or; rather, it is both/and, both present in and absent from things, which is how they can come-to-presence and go-out-into-absence. But as the Parmenides demonstrates, Greek grammar hints at a fundamental ontological truth: the expression, “one one,” ἓν ἕν, shows that being can be implied, neither present nor absent—for being is an implication. But then participating must be rethought in terms of implying: being is implied in everything that is and is one, which is how it is present in beings and absent therefrom. But this understanding of participation—as Aristotle insists—is contradictory. Luckily, there is another way: implication qua belonging—being no longer participates-in, but belongs-to things, which is how it is one with them, distinct but inseparable. But this too, betrays implication, fails to grasp being’s way of being, and the meaning of being qua implied, and so cannot illuminate how being and beings are and are one—for as the suspension of presence and/or absence, implying is irreducible to participating or belonging. Rather, if being is implied, it is because implication is suspension, which is why it is so suspenseful.
14. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Marta Faustino, Paolo Stellino Leaving Life at the Right Time: The Stoics and Nietzsche on Voluntary Death
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This paper aims to discuss the coherence and consistency of the Stoic and the Nietzschean “art of dying at the right time”. Throughout this paper, we will use this expression to refer to the Stoics’ and Nietzsche’s treatment both of involuntary and voluntary death, inasmuch as both seem to be strongly connected to and grounded on the notion of timeliness. Taking this notion as a guiding thread, we will emphasize the several similarities that link their approach to suicide. Indeed, as will be shown, it is plausible to assume that Nietzsche’s understanding of voluntary death is particularly influenced by the Stoic tradition. At the same time, we will point out the relevant differences that make these two approaches differ. In dealing with the Stoic and the Nietzschean attitude towards suicide, the underlying question will be whether the legitimization and defense of voluntary death is compatible—and if so, to which extent—with their teachings, in particular, with their notions of happiness and affirmation of life, on the one hand, and their ideals of living in accordance with nature and amor fati, on the other.
15. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
F. W. J. Schelling, Naomi Fisher Schelling’s Plato Notebooks, 1792–1794
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These notebooks were written during the years that F. W. J. Schelling spent as a student at the Tübinger Stift (1790–1795). From dates written by Schelling in the margins, we can surmise that the first portion (AA II/4: 15–28) was begun in August of 1792, and the latter portion (AA II/5: 133–142) was written in early 1794. To this latter portion is appended a substantial work, Schelling’s Timaeus-commentary, which is not included in the present translation. It appeared as “Timaeus (1794)” (translated by Adam Arola, Jena Jolissaint, Peter Warnek) in Epoché 12: 2. These notebooks offer a window into Schelling’s philosophical development and proclivities, in light of his engagement with various Platonic dialogues, most notably the Ion, Theaetetus, Meno, Timaeus, and Philebus. They include discussions of divine power, rapture, and genius, especially as these relate to poetry, prophecy, and ordinary forms of human knowledge. These topics are discussed in the first portion (AA II/4: 15–25). In the latter portion, Schelling discusses myth, its function and relation to human greatness, Socrates’s daimonion, and the authority of tradition (AA II/4: 25–28; II/5: 133–142).
16. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Daniele Fulvi Schelling as a ‘Post-Heideggerian Thinker’: Luigi Pareyson’s Interpretation of Schelling
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In this paper, I focus on Luigi Pareyson’s interpretation of Schelling, arguing that it must be read in continuity with Pareyson’s early engagement with the philosophies of Heidegger and Jaspers. Firstly, I argue that Pareyson shapes his existentialism on Jaspers’s and Heidegger’s thoughts, and particularly in relation to that which he considers the fundamental question of philosophy, namely ‘why is there Being rather than nothingness?’ Secondly, I demonstrate how Pareyson reads Schelling’s philosophy in light of his interpretations of Jaspers and Heidegger, i.e., in relation to the ‘fundamental question of philosophy’. Finally, I show how Pareyson’s reading of Schelling is centered on the notion of ‘awe of reason’, and how he defines Schelling as a ‘post-Heideggerian thinker’, since Heidegger’s philosophy allows us to innovatively reinterpret Schelling’s philosophy in an existentialist way.
17. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Magnus Ferguson Joycean Hermeneutics and the Tyranny of Hidden Prejudice
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In order to revise interpretive prejudgments, it is important to first recognize them for what they are. Problematically, the habitual overreliance on deficient prejudgments can make such recognition difficult. An impasse appears: How can one intervene on deficient interpretive resources if those very same resources conceal their deficiencies? I analyze James Joyce’s short story “The Dead,” in which the protagonist Gabriel is highly resistant to internalizing experiences that might otherwise prompt him to revise his interpretive projections. I argue that Gabriel only becomes aware of his interpretive shortcomings after an experience of profound hesitation that allows him to affectively sense the limitations of his prejudice. Drawing from Hans-Georg Gadamer, Kristie Dotson, and Alia Al-Saji, I argue that Gabriel’s experience of hesitation temporarily denaturalizes his deeply entrenched sexism, circumventing the hermeneutical impasse described above. Read in this way, “The Dead” illustrates the power of affective experiences to unsettle highly resilient ways of seeing the world.
18. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Norman K. Swazo Heidegger, Aristotle, and Dasein’s Possibility of Being
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Heidegger’s thinking of the human way to be unavoidably concerns itself with a distinctive human possibility of being. It is argued here that the early Heidegger, who engaged Aristotle’s philosophy via what Heidegger calls “phenomenological interpretations,” learns from Aristotle’s method of definition but goes beyond it to conceive the idea of possibility—Dasein’s being-possible (Seinkönnen)—differently. It is reasonable to argue that the early Heidegger accomplishes a productive interpretation of Aristotle in this case while being indebted to Aristotle’s understanding of ‘definition’ as both “genuinely indicative” and “indeterminate.” Despite Aristotle’s ontological commitment to a metaphysics of presence (Anwesenheit) with its linkage of “possibility-actuality” (“dunamis-energeia/entelecheia”), Heidegger appreciates that there remains an important possibility of phenomenological interpretation in both Aristotle’s concept of zóon lógon echon and the expression ‘tò tí en einai’. This interpretive move is discussed here.
19. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Joel Michael Reynolds Heidegger, Embodiment, and Disability
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Most interpreters of Heidegger’s reflections on the body maintain that—whether early, middle, or late in the Gesamtausgabe—Dasein’s or the mortal’s openness to being/beyng is the ground of the fleshly or bodily (das Leibliche), but not the reverse. In this paper, I argue that there is evidence from Heidegger’s own oeuvre demonstrating that this relationship is instead mutually reciprocal. That is to say, I contend that corporeal variability is constitutive of Dasein’s openness to being just as Dasein’s openness to being is constitutive of its corporeal variability. Understood in this way, Heidegger’s thinking puts forward what I call a corpoietic understanding of the body and of the meaning of ability. I show that, despite the ableist assumptions at play in much of Heidegger’s work, such an understanding is nevertheless grounded in the idea of access, a central concept in philosophy of disability and disability studies. After developing this idea of ability as access, I close by addressing the larger political stakes of using Heidegger’s work to think about embodiment and disability given the Third Reich’s mass slaughter of people with disabilities.
20. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Niall Keane Polemos, Logos, Plurality: Hannah Arendt’s Phenomenological Reading of the Greeks
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The following examines Hannah Arendt’s interpretations of Greek thought, specifically her phenomenological reading of Homer and Socrates as proto-phenomenological thinkers of objectivity, plurality, and logos. Drawing inspiration from these thinkers, Arendt finds the means of preserving and actualizing plurality as the existential truthfulness that emerges from the conflict in speaking and acting with others. She does this by contrasting how, after the trial and death of Socrates, thinking became professional philosophy and shifted its focus from the reciprocal interdependence of thinking, speaking, and acting well in the polis and towards a reflection on truth, unity, and necessity that takes its start from an ontological order that is either prior to or beyond the world of appearances. Engaging with the literature, this article examines and assesses Arendt’s claims and focuses on the themes of plurality, conflict, and speaking, as set out in her interpretations of Homer and Socrates.