Cover of Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy
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1. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Dylan S. Bailey Midwifery and Epistemic Virtue in the Theaetetus
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The Theaetetus’s midwife metaphor contains a puzzling feature, often re­ferred to as the “midwife paradox”: the physical midwives must have first given birth to their own children in order to have the necessary experience to practice their art. Socrates, however, seems to disavow having any children of his own and thus appears to be unqualified to practice philosophical midwifery. In this paper, I aim to dissolve the midwife paradox by arguing that it rests on problematic assumptions, namely, that Socrates never gave birth to a child at all or the child of wisdom in particular, and that he is primarily an intellectual midwife. I offer a new interpretation of Socratic midwifery, arguing that what Socrates may have birthed in the past which qualifies him for midwifery is his virtuous recognition of his ignorance, and that this “epistemic virtue” is also the proximate goal of Socratic midwifery.
2. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Ryan M. Brown The Lovers’ Formation in Plato’s Phaedrus
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This essay argues that the Phaedrus’s Palinode articulates an account of love (erōs) in which the experience of love can morally and intellectually transform both lover and beloved. After situating this account of love within the dialogue’s thematization of soul-leading (psuchagōgia), I show how Socrates’s account of love makes an intervention into typical Greek thought on pederasty and argue against Jessica Moss’s contention that soul-leading love suffers severe limitations in its soul-leading capacity, showing that Moss is wrong to think that love can only efficaciously lead souls that are already well-formed. By contrast, the Palinode portrays the moral and intellectual formation of the lover, who first approaches the beloved in the spirit of rapacity only to be turned by his experience of beauty toward genuine service, ordered to the beloved’s benefit. The beloved likewise undergoes such a transformation as a result of his nascent return-love (anterōs).
3. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Andreea Mihali Descartes’s Ethics: Generosity in the Flesh
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This paper focuses on the emotional make-up of Descartes’s generous person. Described as having complete control over the passions, the generous person is not passion-free; she feels compassion for those in need but unable to bear their misfortunes with fortitude, hates vice, takes satisfaction in her own virtue, etc. To bring to light the coherence of the generous person’s emotional configuration, a compare and contrast analysis with Descartes’s deficient moral type, the abject person, is provided. Real life as well as literary examples (Queen Christina of Sweden, Descartes himself and Kadhy Demba, one of the main characters of Marie NDiaye’s novel Trois Femmes Puissantes) further refine the portrait of Descartes’s generous person and show that generosity is achievable by anyone who uses their will well. Descartes’s position on harmonizing the passions is reconstructed as a developmental trajectory: harmonizing the emotions is possible courtesy of God who put this sphere of created affairs under our jurisdiction; harmonizing the passions is required since the alternative is sub-optimal (souls enslaved and miserable); finally, harmonizing the emotions is satisfying. Since, as the above examples demonstrate, in the process of making their emotional composition coherent, different people take different routes and thus “create for themselves a personal, quite personal ideal,” acquiring Cartesian generosity points the way to Nietzsche’s later notion of self-creation.
4. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Terrence Thomson Kant’s Opus postumum and Schelling’s Naturphilosophie: The Very Idea
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This paper is about Kant’s late unfinished manuscript, Opus postumum (1796–1803) and some of the resonances it has with Schelling’s early Naturphiloso­phie (1797–1800). Most of the secondary literature on Opus postumum investigates its relation to the rest of Kant’s corpus, often framing the drafts as an attempt to fill a so-called “gap” in the Critical philosophy whilst ignoring the relationship it has to the wider landscape of late eighteenth century German philosophy. Whether Opus postumum may provide grounds for reviewing the relationship between Kant and Schelling’s Naturphilosophie, for example, is rarely discussed. Some scholars have remarked upon the striking parallels between Opus postumum and Naturphilosophie, but there has yet to appear a single monograph-length text on the relation. Whilst certainly “Schelling’s Post-Kantian confrontation with nature itself begins with the overthrow of the Copernican revolution” (Grant 2008, 6), what if Kant was himself overthrowing the Copernican revolution? In this paper, I will outline some of the points of contact to start from in support of posing this question.
5. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Deborah Casewell Rewriting Mythology: Tautegory, Ontology, and the Novel
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In Schelling’s Lectures on the Philosophy of Art, he outlines an aesthetic theory of the novel and how it communicates truth, based around his Identitätssystem. In doing so, he understands truth as symbolic, where the symbolic is tautegorical. In his later lectures on mythology he instantiates a new understanding of ontology and mythology as tautegorical, and makes gestures towards how to understand aesthetic forms based on these new accounts. This paper explores how that new aesthetic understanding of truth, ontology, and aesthetics can be used to create a new Schellingian theory of the novel. To explore this, the paper looks at the worldview presented in Thomas Mann’s Doktor Faustus, arguing that it could be seen as the late Schellingian novel and as such, present a new paradigm for understanding truth as communicated through literature.
6. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Richard McDonough A Hegelian Dialectical Model of the Relation between Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and Philosophical Investigations
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There has been considerable disagreement about the relationship between Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (TLP) and his Philosophical Investigations (PI) with some scholars arguing that there is considerable continuity between them and some arguing that they are completely opposed. The paper argues that this breadth of disagreement is not surprising because the relation between TLP and PI is analogous with that described in Hegel’s dialectical model of philosophical truth in the Phenomenology of Spirit. One might say that TLP is “refuted” by PI but there is also a sense in which PI is “the truth” of TLP. TLP and PI are both essential stages in “the progressive unfolding of truth” bound together like the successive stages in a single living organism where the view of the former is both “annulled” and “preserved at a higher level” in the view of the latter (Aufhebung). The paper thereby helps to facilitate Rorty’s attempt to usher “analytical philosophy” from its Kantian to its Hegelian stage.
7. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Antonio Vargas A Polytheistic Phenomenology from Brazil: Vicente Ferreira da Silva’s “Mythology and the Tropic Experience of Being”
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Two formative forces for Greek philosophers remain undertheorized: polytheism as a metaphysical position and myth as a source of intelligibility. Heidegger’s work is perhaps exemplary in this regard: he both runs together Greek Metaphysics and Monotheism as well as fell prey to the power of myths. In this paper I introduce and translate the 1953 essay “Mythology and the Tropic Experience of Being” by the Brazilian philosopher Vicente Ferreira da Silva, where he proposed an openly polytheistic Heideggerian metaphysics and philosophy of mythology. Vicente Ferreira da Silva thereby developed a phenomenological approach to myth that can dialogue fruitfully with ancient philosophy in its fullness and also reflect critically about contemporary myths.