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Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 19, Issue 2, Spring 2015
Special Issue: The Ancient Philosophy Society

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Displaying: 1-12 of 12 documents

1. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Theodore George Letter from the Edtior
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2. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Jessica Elbert Decker Everliving Fire: The Synaptic Motion of Life in Heraclitus
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This paper explores Heraclitus’s linguistic method as a structural expression of his cosmological philosophy. Through an analysis of the various kinds of motion that Heraclitus describes, including the crucial motion between opposites, this essay delineates the meaning of ‘everliving fire’ as emblematic of his cosmos. The image of the synapse frames this analysis as it is simultaneously a motion and an expression uniting two poles; ‘syn’ also invokes Heraclitus’s notion of ‘shared logos’ as xynon, contrasted with human incomprehension as axynetoi. The divine principle of Zeus and his thunderbolt serve as a source of motion; these motions of fire govern not only the cosmos, but human perception and thought.
3. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Jean De Groot Why Epistemology Is Not Ancient: From Device and Drama into Philosophy
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This paper traces the significance of first principles (archai) in Greek philosophy to cognitive developments in colonial Greek Italy in the late fifth century BC. Conviction concerning principles comes from the power to make something true by action. Pairing and opposition, the forerunners of metonymy, are shown to structure disparate cultural phenomena—the making of figured numbers, the sundial, and the production, with the aid of device, of fear or panic in the spectators of Greek tragedy. From these starting points, the function of the gnômôn in knowledge is explored.
4. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
G. R. F. Ferrari Plato the Writer
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In this talk I consider a body of my more recent work in order to isolate the shared approach that it takes to reading Platonic dialogue, an approach which had been absent from my writing on Plato up to that point and is largely absent from any of the traditions that influence how most of us read Plato. Its key feature is a refusal to treat the character Socrates as operating as if he were Plato’s secret agent within the dialogue—as if one should attribute to Socrates all of the cunning and the control with which one might credit instead the author who scripted Socrates’s habitual triumphs. The focus of this new approach is rather on Plato’s “writerly” philosophizing: on how Plato exploits the distinction between what he and his character Socrates are up to as philosophers in order to guide our sense of his own activity and aims as a philosophic writer.
5. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Sarah Jansen Audience Psychology and Censorship in Plato’s Republic: The Problem of the Irrational Part
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In Republic X, the “problem of the irrational part” is this: Greek tragedy interacts with non-reasoning elements of the soul, affecting audiences in ways that undermine their reasoned views about virtue and value. I suggest that the common construal of Socrates’s critique of Greek tragedy is inadequate, in that it belies key elements of Plato’s audience psychology; specifically, (1) the crucial role of the spirited part and (2) the audience’s cognitive contribution to spectatorship. I argue that Socrates’s emphasis on the audience’s cognitive contribution to spectatorship allows him to anticipate a non-authoritarian solution to the problem of the irrational part.
6. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Francisco J. Gonzalez "I Have to Live in Eros": Heidegger's 1932 Seminar on Plato's Phaedrus
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Heidegger’s recently published 1932 seminar on Plato’s Phaedrus arguably represents his most successful dialogue with Plato, where such dialogue is characterized by both the deepest affinity and the most incisive opposition. The central thesis of Heidegger’s interpretation is that the Phaedrus is not simply a logos about eros, but rather an attempt to show that eros is the very essence of logos and that logos is thereby in its very essence dia-logue. Heidegger is thus here more attuned than ever before to the erotic and dialogical character of philosophy while at the same time concerned with how this conception of philosophy can lead to the eclipse of being and truth.
7. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Robert D. Metcalf The Situation of Epistemology in Plato’s Theaetetus
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While it may be controversial to categorize Plato’s Theatetetus as “epistemological,” given what is implied by this term, the dialogue does offer a discourse on knowledge, at least in the minimal sense of questioning knowledge. But more than that, the dialogue “situates” its questioning, and its critical examination of attempted definitions of knowledge, in two ways that are particularly illuminating: first, its dramatization of Socrates coming-to-know Theaetetus through philosophical dialogue; second, its taking for granted a whole array of epistemic practices and keeping them in view, peripherally, throughout the discussion. The most interesting example of the latter is found in the famous Digression of the Theaetetus, where the difference between philosophy and rhetoric is understood in terms of the knowledge/lack-of-knowledge belonging to each.
8. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Jeremy R. Bell ἡ δημεραστία: Plato’s Contest between Care and ἡ νομοθετική
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This article analyzes the relationship between ethics and politics in Plato’s dialogues. I argue that Plato set forth the care of the self as the organizing principle of ethics and as the idealized form of politics, both of which are conceived of as practices of care insofar as they are directed toward the attainment of the good. I conclude by demonstrating that, while the idealized form of politics is conceived of as a practice of care, such care turns against and resists real world politics insofar as the latter falls short of this ideal; thus, the ethics of the care of the self emerges as a form of political critique.
9. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Michael Wiitala Non-Being and the Structure of Privative Forms in Plato’s Sophist
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In Plato’s Statesman, the Eleatic Stranger explains that the division of all human beings into Greek and barbarian is mistaken in that it fails to divide reality into genuine classes or forms (eide). The division fails because “barbarian” names a privative form, that is, a form properly indicated via negation: non-Greek. This paper examines how the Stranger characterizes privative forms in the Sophist. I argue that although the Stranger is careful to define privative forms as fully determinate, he nevertheless characterizes them as having a structure unlike that of their non-privative counterparts. A privative form, in contrast to a non-privative form, is indifferent to the specificity of its members.
10. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Lawrence J. Hatab A Story of Unrequited Love: The Tragic Character of Aristotle’s Philosophy
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Aristotle’s Poetics defends the value of tragic poetry, presumably to counter Plato’s critique in the Republic. Can this defense resonate with something larger and rather surprising, that Aristotle’s overall philosophy displays a tragic character? I define the tragic as pertaining to indigenous and inescapable limits on life, knowledge, control, achievement, and agency. I explore how such limits figure in Aristotle’s physics, metaphysics, and biological works. Accordingly I want to disturb the common account of Aristotle’s thought as a neat system of ontological order and metaphysical closure—not to exclude such elements but to place them within a world-view that includes certain limits at the edges of being.
11. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Eve Rabinoff Rational and Non-rational Perception in Aristotle's De Anima
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The bulk of the account of perception that Aristotle offers in De Anima focuses on analyzing the operation of the five senses and the reception of their respective objects. On Aristotle’s own terms, this analysis is an incomplete account of perception, for it does not explain how perception operates in the life of an animal, with the aim of supporting a certain kind of life. This paper aims to supplement the account of the five senses by considering perception in the context of human life. I argue that human perception, i.e., rational perception, differs from non-rational perception insofar as the latter is perspectival—that is, the non-rational animal perceives objects only in light of its needs and desires—whereas the former is non-perspectival—that is, a person perceives objects as independent of and exceeding her desires.
12. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Jeffrey D. Gower The Sovereign and the Exile: Archytas and Aristotle on the Living Law
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This essay explores the historical roots of biopolitics by investigating the structural homology between the supremely virtuous king discussed in Aristotle’s Politics and the sovereign living law advanced in On Law and Justice, accepted here as authored by Archytas of Tarentum. Archytas’s sovereign incarnates a divine law in order to ground the written law of the city and to constitute the way of life proper to the citizenry. The identity of life and law in his person exempts this sovereign from the written laws he grounds just as Aristotle’s king cannot be subjected to law because he is a law unto himself. Despite this homology, Archytas’s sovereign exemplifies a highly determinate way of life fully constituted by law while an analysis of Aristotle’s king reveals a double determination of the virtuous exemplar as both sovereign and exile. This double determination both exhibits and complicates the logic of exclusion that, for Agamben, makes Western politics biopolitical from its inception.