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1. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 2
Tomáš Vítek Heraclitus’s DK 22 B 85 Revisited
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In Heraclitus’ time, thymos and psyche carried highly similar or even identical meanings, because both could refer to life, courage, personality, emotions, and reason. Heraclitus probably worked with all of these meanings. He may have been partly inspired by Homer and post-Homeric literature, where the two terms were likewise placed side by side and often used interchangeably. In Heraclitus, thymos and psyche are not opposites in terms of signification. Oftentimes, they can be “swapped,” and their meaning and “costs” exchanged. The source and cause of this special exchange is desiring or wanting (thelein), which connects all these senses but is also the source of conflict and fighting. Desire—regardless of what it is and what is desired—is simultaneously the acquisition of the desired object or person and a way of paying for it. This struggle for the desired object is difficult not only because of its consequences (the price), but also because it is not possible to permanently stop desiring, which is why this struggle cannot be brought to an end.
2. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 2
Scott Aikin, G. M. Trujillo, Jr. When the Dog Bites the Subaltern: On Diogenes’s Mistreatment of the Marginalized
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Many fans of Diogenes of Sinope laud his parrhesia, free speech used for critique. However, Diogenes abused not only the powerful but also the socially marginalized. We argue that interpreters of Diogenes cannot explain away the undeniably troublesome things that Diogenes said about those at the margins. But we also argue that Diogenes ought nonetheless to be preserved. Some of his chreiai can be reminders of how to be courageous and fight for the downtrodden, and others can serve as reminders of how easily those aspirations can be forgotten. We offer a variety of ways to interpret Diogenes, especially since the figure of Diogenes is an historical composite from centuries of sources. But we arrive at a position of loving antagonism toward Diogenes, loving Cynic commitments to autarkeia and against wealth and power, and disapproving when Cynics fell short of their commitments and critical aspirations.
3. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 2
Noam Cohen Force and Persuasion: The Musical Two-Tiered Structure of Plato’s Cosmology
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Most scholars have not assigned much interpretive importance to the specific use of the term ‘persuasion’ in the cosmology of Plato’s Timaeus. This paper suggests understanding cosmological ‘persuasion’ in conjunction with ‘force,’ another trait of divine agency in the Timaeus. It analyses the nature of intelligent causation in the cosmology of the Timaeus, particularly in the construction of the cosmic body and soul. Then, it gives a detailed characterization of the causation of necessity, appearing in the Timaeus in three different versions, and relates it to the complex notion of intelligent agency. Ultimately, it claims that the cosmic music in the Timaeus, the primary agent of ordered causation in the cosmos, functions on two levels of conflict with the disorder of the sensible aspect of the world.
4. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 2
Antoine Pageau-St-Hilaire Too Radical Μέθεξις? Gadamer on Platonic Forms
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This paper proposes a new interpretation of Gadamer’s problematic appropriation of Platonic metaphysics. It argues that Gadamer, attempting to respond to the challenge posed by Heidegger’s interpretation of Platonic metaphysics and of its role in the history of Being (Seinsgeschichte), downplayed the transcendence of Platonic Forms. Gadamer achieves a reconfiguration of this transcendence and its transposition into what I call here a plane of immanence through two hermeneutic gestures: 1) interpreting Forms in light of Greek mathematics and especially in light of the structure of the sum-number; 2) introducing temporality and historicity in the Medieval doctrine of transcendentals by giving priority to the Beautiful over the Good. I contend that, Platonically speaking, this amounts to the rejection of νοήσις in favor of διάνοια, and that this raises issues concerning the problem of finitude and the potential limits of linguisticality (Sprachlichkeit).
5. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 2
John Robert Bagby Aristotle on Intensity
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The role of intensity in Aristotelian philosophy is obscure. The problem has historically been approached through his logic and categorical sense of motion. Scholars have largely failed to consider the role of intensity in psychology and ethics, the consideration of which greatly clarifies the situation. To this end, I identify three types of intensity present in the corpus Aristotelicum: comparative, modal, inceptive. I show that the intensity of physical contraries is primary in nature but is different from those found in organic processes. I then show that the intensifications found in life, produced by the soul, are of paramount importance to Aristotle’s philosophy. Inceptive intensity is the backbone of psychical activities: concoction, sensation, pleasure, perception, effort, attention, and self-awareness. I outline two essential characteristics of these intensifications: (1) they imply an intransitive causality that is intrinsic to the entity’s nature or form; (2) that they involve an interaction of many parts which mutually amplify each other so that the whole is beyond (irreducible to) the totality of the parts. I end by comparing Aristotle’s views on intensity to contemporary ideas of emergence: feedback, holism, intentionality, and supervenience.
6. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 2
Jan Kerkmann Divine Ground and Vertical Level Order: On the Metaphysical Foundation of Goethe’s Conception of Nature
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I argue that Goethe’s philosophy of nature can be presented in a vertical order of stages. By reading his natural philosophy as a system of hypostases, Goethe’s accentuation of a divine ground can be taken seriously. Related to the Neoplatonic hypostasis models, for Goethe the living organisms rest on a divine and metaphysical entity. It is a guiding argument of this article that the enigmatic and inexhaustible ‘Bildungstrieb’ (nisus formativus) of all-nature expresses itself in the respective primordial phenomena (Urphänomene). For this purpose, the ‘Bildungstrieb’ uses the two authoritative laws of polarity (Polarität) and increase (Steigerung). These laws form the second level of the graduaded order. The sphere of the diverse Urphänomene can thus be marked as the third level. They are themselves dependent on the Bildungstrieb and the principles of increase and polarity.
7. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 2
Khafiz Kerimov “The Most Interesting Point in the Kantian System”: Kant’s Aesthetic Ideas in Hegel’s Faith and Knowledge
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Hegel’s chief criticism of Kant in his early essay Faith and Knowledge is that Kant’s philosophy introduces the dichotomy between intuition and concept, between being and thought. As a result, Kantian philosophy fails to explain how the synthesis between concepts and intuitions in experience is possible. Kant’s theory of ideas is symptomatic of this failure: Kant’s idea refers to the concept of totality, the highest expression of reason, which is nonetheless not accessible to human experience. Yet, Hegel recognizes another conception of an idea in Kant’s philosophy: the aesthetic idea in the Critique of Judgment is, according to Hegel, the “most interesting point in the Kantian System.” Kant describes the aesthetic idea as an intuition that contains much thought (conceptual content): in the aesthetic idea, then, the concept-intuition dichotomy falls away. And while Kant reduces the aesthetic idea to the subjective framework of reflective judgment, I argue that Hegel treats the aesthetic idea as something like a precursor of the speculative idea: the original unity between thought and being.
8. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 2
Christopher R. Myers Rereading Nietzsche with Philosophical Hermeneutics: “Life” as the “Hermeneutic Situation”
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In this article I examine Nietzsche’s commentaries on the discipline of classical philology in relation to twentieth century philosophical hermeneutics. I argue that Nietzsche frequently made use of the concept of “life” to reflect ‘meta-critically’ on philology and nineteenth century hermeneutics, and that this use is much better represented by Heidegger and Gadamer than representatives of the standard Lebensphilosophie reading. Whereas the standard life-philosophical reading suggests that Nietzsche viewed the activity of interpretation as a mere symptom of biological, psychological life, the hermeneutic reading suggests that Nietzsche uses the concept of “life” to refer to the effective reality of interpretation, i.e., the “hermeneutic situation.” By this reading, Nietzsche’s interest in “life” is in fact an interest in deciphering the meaning content behind our own interpretations, and thus implies a commitment to interpretive pluralism—an interpretive pluralism which Nietzsche recognized as being essentially ontological in character.
9. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 2
Samuel Patrick Munroe Grounds and First Principles in Heidegger and Hegel
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In this article, I provide an interpretation of Heidegger’s critique of Hegel. Hegel’s ability to provide a presuppositionless metaphysics is often taken to be the core strength of his Logic. In his critique of Hegel, Heidegger attempts to show that Hegel in fact smuggles in a decisive presupposition concerning being. Building on the recent work of Robert Pippin, I argue that we can understand this critique by situating it in terms of their common understanding of problems of first principles. Once we do, we can fully appreciate a point that Pippin misses, that Heidegger develops his methodology and concept of ground in order to avoid the problems that he locates in Hegel. The upshots of my interpretation are that it (1) allows us to appreciate the systematicity and radicality of Heidegger’s mature ontology, and (2) forces those sympathetic to Hegel to reevaluate Hegel’s ability to provide a presuppositionless metaphysics.
10. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 2
Morganna Lambeth, Christopher Yeomans Reconsidering Heidegger’s Temporal Idealism: Finding a Successful Argument with the Help of Fichte and Hegel
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Is Heidegger a temporal idealist or a temporal realist? That is, does he believe that time is supplied by the human standpoint, or that we derive it from the structure of the world around us? Blattner makes a compelling case that Heidegger is a temporal idealist, but a failed one. Rousse, however, argues that Heidegger’s position is more promising when he is interpreted not as an unsuccessful idealist, but as an underdeveloped realist. In contrast, we offer arguments grounded in German Idealist treatments of time that Heidegger is a successful idealist who can derive sequential time from nonsequential human temporality.
11. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 2
Daniel Neumann Anonymous Presence: Towards a Phenomenological Account of the Heidegger’s Ereignis
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This article aims to sketch a phenomenological approach to Heidegger’s concept of Ereignis. In understanding Ereignis as the presencing of being, the fun­damental question is whether and how this presence of being, i.e., presence as such, can be experienced. While this experience is incompatible with a transcendental ap­proach, the suggestion here is that Ereignis can be experienced not as my own, but as an anonymous presence. To flesh out this suggestion, a close reading of Heidegger’s critique of subjectivity in the Contributions will elaborate on why presence can belong neither to humanity nor to being. In a second step, a motif in Heidegger’s reception of Schelling is discussed which clarifies that the experience of Ereignis involves a necessity that goes beyond subjectivity. In a third step, the idea of “letting-presence” shows how the coming into being of experience has to remain anonymous in order to be the experience of Ereignis.
12. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 2
D. J. S. Cross By the Way: Heidegger’s Techno-Methodicity in Derrida
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No one who reads Derrida closely could accuse him of “technophobia.” More than any other contemporary thinker, on the contrary, he has shown the limit of attempts to protect thinking and even being itself from technē. Yet, Derrida nevertheless insists that “deconstruction” is neither a “technique” nor the technology of thinking that modern philosophy calls “method.” What allows Derrida to exclude “technique” and “method” when he himself shows, in relation to Heidegger above all, that a certain technicity and methodicity always remain irreducible? After outlining its stakes (§I), this article seeks to raise this question by reconstructing Derrida’s engagement with Heidegger concerning the questions of technology (§II) and of method (§III) before turning to the techno-methodicity that Derrida attempts to dissociate from deconstruction in turn (§IV).
13. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 2
Bernardo Andrade Levinas on Separation: Metaphysical, Semantic, Affective
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In this paper I argue that, to conceive transcendence, Levinas retrieves the Platonic concept of “separation” and deploys it in three ways: metaphysically, semantically, and affectively. Levinas finds in the interaction between being and the Good beyond being of Republic VI 509b a certain “formal structure of transcendence”—one in which a term is conditioned by another while remaining absolutely separated from it. This formal structure is subsequently deployed metaphysically, in the relation between creator and creature; semantically, in the relation between meaning and sense; and affectively, in the relation between the desiring self and its desired aim.
14. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 2
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Cynthia R. Nielsen The Diversity of Languages and Understanding the World: A General Studies Lecture (1990)
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15. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 1
Robin Reames The Sophists and Antilogic
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This paper examines the sophistic practice of antilogikê or antilogic, which consists in, as G. B. Kerferd described, “causing the same thing to be seen by the same people now as possessing one predicate and now as possessing the opposite or contradictory predicate.” Although, since Plato, antilogic has been cast in a cloud of suspicion, understood primarily as the dubious practice of making the weaker argument stronger, I explore a contrary interpretation that antilogic was a technique for pursuing the suspension of judgment, or epochê. In this paper, I define the practice of antilogic through the tale of Corax and Tisias and the surviving fragments of Protagoras and Gorgias. In so doing, I hypothesize that antilogic was a method for averting the natural tendency of language to assign stability and durability to being. Through the perpetual displacement of one logos by another, antilogic grants thought access to the ceaseless flux and becoming of nature. As it barred language from assigning stability to being, so too did it provide a “way out” of the inexorable human drive captured in the opening line of Aristotle’s Metaphysics: “All humans naturally desire to know.”
16. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 1
Juliana Kazemi Orphic Sophistry in the Protagoras
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This paper investigates a reference to the voice of the legendary musician Orpheus in Plato’s Protagoras. I propose that the Orpheus image does serious philosophical work in the text. Understanding the mythic and religious elements of the Orpheus tradition can help us conceptualize the harms of sophistry from a Platonic viewpoint. In the light of the image, the sophist emerges as a quasi-magical manipulator of rhetorical beauty who charms his students into subrational creatures. Furthermore, the image provides insight into Plato’s conception of the difference between sophistic and Socratic education. Playing on the tradition of Orpheus as (failed) psychopomp, I suggest that the sophist employs a descent-style education which holds students captive in an underworld of glamorous but empty sensibles. In sharp contrast, Socratic ascent-style education pulls students upwards to active contemplation of ultimate reality.
17. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 1
Gwen Nally Bringing Up Beauty: Reproductive Love in Plato’s Symposium
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This paper provides a novel response to Vlastos’s challenge that Platonic erōs in the Symposium, since it is for the form of beauty rather than any particular person, is impersonal and egotistical. Vlastos, in addition to generations of his readers and critics, badly misunderstands Diotima’s reproductive theory of love. In particular, it has been widely overlooked or diminished that the ideal erotic relationship set out in the ladder of love mirrors the reproductive labor of ancient Greek mothers and caregivers. The lover of the highest mysteries undertakes the psychic equivalent of motherly care to rear virtuous ideas in the next generation. Thus, properly understanding Diotima’s gendered vision of psychic reproduction reveals that Platonic love is anything but impersonal and egotistical.
18. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 1
Alan Kim Animal Farm: The City of Pigs as a Platonic Ideal
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In Republic II, after Socrates has constructed the smallest city answering the demands of Necessity, Glaucon dismisses it as unfit for human habitation. The lack of relishes makes life there unpalatable. Without further ado, this “healthy” and “true” city is abandoned, and Socrates spends the rest of the Republic on the etiology, diagnosis, and possible treatment of the chronic “fever” afflicting the city of luxury. Prominent commentators see nothing strange in his brisk turn away from the “true” city, taking the Kallipolis as a hardheaded alternative to Socratic pie in the sky. By contrast, I take seriously Socrates’ claim that the CP is the true city. I analyze its political-economic structure; show how this reappears in the Kallipolis; and explain the CP’s hidden role as a quasi-medical model of equilibrium, an ideal the Kallipolis never achieves, yet to which its rulers must look in exercising their craft.
19. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 1
Cynthia Shihui Ma The Philosopher’s Eros in the Myth of the Reversed Cosmos
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At the peak of the Statesman’s myth of the reversed cosmos, the Eleatic Stranger asks after the conditions for human happiness. This paper suggests that philosophy and therewith human happiness is possible only in the age of Zeus, the age characterized by both the withdrawal of the gods and human neediness. The myth clarifies the inadequacy of the dialogue’s previous conception of the human being as a herd animal by illuminating what is missing from it: the erotic dimension of the human soul.
20. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 1
Elizabeth Hill Poetic Language in Plato’s Cratylus: A Moving Image of Being
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This paper addresses Socrates’ claim in the Cratylus that he and Hermogenes must learn of the correctness of names from “Homer and the other poets.” I argue that, in treating poetry as the starting point for investigating the relationship of language to reality, Plato reveals language to be a discursive articulation of non-discursive divine Being. Thus, while language cannot fully capture Being once and for all, it can function as a moving image of it by being kept in continual motion. Poetic language, as divinely inspired, sits at the threshold between language’s discursivity and the unified reality it strives to articulate, and can therefore reinvigorate philosophical contemplation by de-sedimenting concepts articulated in language that have become stagnant, re-opening them for examination in new, previously unarticulated, ways. This vision of philosophical contemplation through language is part of a greater theme of the tension between mortal and divine modes of knowing. Humans desire divine understanding but only approach it through the motion of contemplation. Plato’s treatment of Apollo at 404e–406a reveals the two-fold nature of philosophical contemplation as relying on a certain tension between the revelation of the inarticulable, unchanging divine Being and the attempt to employ reason to test and interpret such disclosures through the unfolding motion of dialectic.