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1. 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.”
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 1
John Robert Bagby The Nature of Music in Peripatetic Phenomenological Musicology
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There was a long and lively debate in Ancient Greece on the nature of music, spanning philosophy, cosmology, and psychology. Peripatetic musicology based its understanding of the nature of music on philosophical principles derived from Aristotle’s psychology in order to address debates among their predecessors, primarily to shift the focus away from the physical sounds or their mathematical ratios, towards the investigation of the psyche, which I show was a sort of proto-phenomenology. Music involves a voluntary activity accompanied by a natural joy. This joy grows and intensifies the energeia of the psyche. The nature of music is related directly to the nature, essence, or activity, of the psyche.
8. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 1
Mariska Leunissen Aristotle’s Animalization of Mothers and Motherly Love
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This paper argues that Aristotle’s representation of mothers and motherly love in two separate arguments about friendship in his ethical treatises are not to be read as positive valuations of mothering and its associated traits but rather as perpetuating the common Greek animalization of women. For the deep love and the complex care and practical intelligence human mothers exhibit for their children are according to Aristotle rooted in the biological capacities that they share with non-human animals. Importantly, these capacities are instinctual rather than chosen and grounded primarily in women’s perceptive soul rather than in their rational soul. By emphasizing the naturalness and the affective character of motherly love in his ethics, Aristotle assimilates human mothers to animal ones and depicts their excellence in mothering as a biological virtue rather than a moral one.
9. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 1
Justin Humphreys Logical Priority in Aristotle’s Metaphysics M.2
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In Metaphysics M, Aristotle aims to refute the Platonic view that mathematical objects are substantially prior to sensible things. For Aristotle, mathematical objects are the abstracted attributes of sensible substances required for geometrical analysis and proof. Yet, despite this derivative status of the objects of mathematics, Aristotle insists that they are logically prior to individual substances. This paper examines the distinction between logical and substantial priority, arguing that it underwrites Aristotle’s conception of mathematical necessity and explanation.
10. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 1
Harold Tarrant Unmarried Male Platonists on Death in the Family: How Did Crantor’s Peri Penthous Become a Model?
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In this paper I ask what it is that adds credibility to Crantor (d. 276/5 BC) as an authority on managing one’s grief, especially grief at the loss of children. At first sight the homoerotic ethos of the Academy in his time made it unlikely that high profile members would have concerned themselves with children of their own. The primary source used is Plutarch’s Consolation to Apollonius, where it is clear that immediate suppression of grief and other natural feelings is not intended, nor must rationality always override them. Rather the consolation helps to produce a pause that allows reason to gradually bring such feelings down to a rational level. Texts associated with Crantor already idealize suspension of judgment at times of pressure, even if his partner Arcesilaus took this epokhê further.
11. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 28 > Issue: 1
Sofia Lombardi Passion as Judgment: The Problem of the Stoic Definition in Zeno and Chrysippus
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Ancient sources present mainly two Stoic definitions of passion: as an irrational and unnatural movement of the soul, and as an excessive impulse. These definitions hold for the Stoics in general, and undoubtedly for Zeno. However, in other sources, passion is seen as a judgment or as what supervenes on judgment. In this case, some sources refer to Zeno, others to Chrysippus, and still others do not refer to any particular Stoic philosopher, so it is unclear whether the idea of judgment was already present in Zeno or is an innovation of his successor. Starting from this problem, I attempt to reconstruct the meaning of Stoic passion, with a particular interest in the definition of passion as judgment. In this way I will try to show that the apparently different positions of Zeno and Chrysippus are in fact the same when viewed within the framework of the Stoic theory of action.