Cover of Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy
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21. 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.
22. 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).
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Mauro Senatore The Question of Regionalism: Derrida’s Early Reading of Heidegger
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In Of Grammatology (1967), Jacques Derrida explains that Western culture undergoes a transformation of knowledge and discourses that unfolds as the grammatization of experience. By resorting to the code of writing (grammē), as the elementary code of experience, modern sciences call into question ontological regionalism, that is, their traditional subordination to a fundamental ontology that assigns them the region of being corresponding to their field of investigation. Within this framework, Derrida develops a twofold schematic reading of Heidegger’s question of being in light of the question posed by scientific research to ontological regionalism. In this article, I focus on this reading, which has been overlooked by scholarship and yet undergirds Derrida’s later engagements with Heidegger, and I show that it draws on the overall interpretation of Heidegger’s thought developed by Derrida in his 1964–65 lecture course.
29. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Hans-Georg Gadamer, Cynthia R. Nielsen, David Liakos Music and Time: A Philosophical Postscript (1988) by Hans-Georg Gadamer
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This is a translation of Hans-Georg Gadamer’s 1988 essay, “Musik und Zeit: Ein philosophisches Postscriptum.” The essay, although brief, is noteworthy in that it contains Gadamer’s philosophical reflections on music—reflections which are largely absent in his masterwork, Truth and Method. In the essay, one finds several important Gadamerian hermeneutical themes such as the notion of art as performance or enactment (Vollzug), the linguisticality of understanding, the importance of lingering with an artwork or text, and how our absorption in the work gives rise to a particular experience of time.
30. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Joe Balay “Wal-Mart and the Heavens”: A Dialogue with Charles Scott on the Importance of Seeing Stars
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In his chapter “Wal-Mart and the Heavens” from Living with Indifference, Charles Scott compares the experience of gazing at the starry heavens to the glow of Walmart at night. In this remarkable analogy, Scott suggests that one encounters an experience of sublime indifference that interrupts our usual judgments about the life-world and invites an appreciation for the sheer appearing of things. Scott concludes his study, however, by reminding us that we must be careful to observe the limits between such appearances, raising a longstanding question about our ability to discern such boundaries. Following a close re-reading of Scott’s reverie then, I attempt to explicate the hermeneutic limit underlying this agonistic relationship between Walmart and the starry heavens, τέχνη and Θαυμάζειν, in order to demonstrate just what its violation might look like for human understanding today. In doing so, however, I also attempt to show just what is so significant about our ability to see the stars.
31. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Michael Shaw, S. Montgomery Ewegen Guest Editors' Introduction
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32. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Jessica Elbert Decker I Will Tell A Double Tale: Double Speak in the Ancient Greek Poetic Tradition
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Double speak refers to two parallel devices that are often deployed together: simple repetition, which is frequently used as both emphasis and as an indicator of double speak, and ambiguous syntax such that the phrase uttered may have multiple meanings at once. This paper explores the use of double speak in early Ancient Greek poetic texts, beginning with Homer and tracing its use through the texts of Heraclitus, Parmenides, and Empedocles. Double speak seems to be employed in order to mediate between mortal and divine, creating a double audience: a god or goddess is capable of speaking in two registers at once, so a mortal listening will infer one meaning, while from the perspective of the god or goddess speaking, the statement will have another meaning supplemental to the first. This paper demonstrates the manner in which these Presocratic thinkers employ double speak as a means of disrupting human binary habits of thinking and creating a “quantum awareness” where the subject is able to perceive the relationships and paradoxes that exist between the knower and the seeming objects of knowledge, as well as the habits of thinking and perceiving that nourish the repetition and growth of those patterns.
33. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Ryan Drake The Compulsion of Bodies: Infection and Possession in Gorgias's Helen
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This essay seeks to understand Gorgias’ reflections upon language and perception in the Encomium of Helen through the threefold vocabularies of medicine, enchantment, and oratory that were often taken together in the fifth century. I demonstrate that the two modes of sorcery to which Gorgias refers have to do with language and its effect on opinion, on the one hand, and perception and its effect upon one’s affective bearing, on the other. Both effects, I claim, are grasped through their forceful means of physically impressing and deforming the soul such that its reliance upon memory and habitual forms of dwelling in the world are subject to oblivion. Further, such conceptual and practical unmooring can be understood as forms of disease that rob an individual of her agency, either temporarily or permanently, and therefore reflect the problematic status of language in early democratic Greece.
34. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Pieta Päällysaho Metamorphoses of Shamed Bodies: Sexual Violence in Euripides’s Helen
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In this paper I explore the connections between shame and embodiment in Euripides’s play Helen. The paper focuses on the play’s underlying theme of sexual violence and rape, and on the descriptions of metamorphoses that the mythological female victims often undergo in the face of rape. In my analysis on shame and embodiment I apply two insights from Giorgio Agamben’s analysis of the phenomenon of victim shame in The Remnants of Auschwitz. These are, first, the definition according to which shame is “to be consigned to what cannot be assumed”—that is, to be consigned to one’s self, being and physical body—and second, the claim that in shame one is affected by one’s own (bodily) passivity. Building on these definitions, I explore the intimate connection between shame and embodiment at work in Helen. As a result we can see how the female metamorphoses before or after sexual violence—in Euripides’s play and in Greek mythology in general—can be read in terms of victim shame. Furthermore, I suggest that this shame of the victims of sexual violence originates from the very nature of the crime itself: from being forced to experience the body’s abject passivity.
35. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Sarah Horton The Just as an Absent Ground in Plato's Cratylus
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Through a study of nature and paternal power, this paper sheds light on the neglected theme of the relation between language and justice in Plato’s Cratylus. The dialogue inquires after the correctness of names, and it turns out that no lineage leads us back to a natural ground of names. Every lineage breaks; nature is always disrupted by the monstrous. It does not follow, however, that names are mere conventions without significance: on the contrary, naming is best understood as a prayer to and for the just. The Cratylus reveals the insufficiency of language not to lead us to despair but to call us to the humility and the hope in which we must pray for justice.
36. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Sonja Tanner Trading Places and Parasites: The Metatheatrical Comedy of Plato's Protagoras
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The Protagoras exhibits several traits of metatheatrical comedy. Through the use of role-playing and intertextual reference, I argue that the Protagoras exhibits metatheatrical comedy which Socrates uses to expose the pretension at the heart of philosophical dialogue itself. In this way, Socrates pulls back the curtain of philosophical dialogue to expose the theatricality of such dialogue and, in doing so, offers the audience a unique opportunity to laugh at ourselves.
37. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Jeffrey A. Golub The Last Animal: Indifference in Plato’s Protagoras
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In this essay, I argue that Socrates adopts a philosophical stance of indifference that is particularly unique to the Protagoras. The peculiarity stems from Socrates’s (or perhaps Plato’s) significant interest in dealing with Protagoras as a certain kind of thinker rather than merely a sophist in general. The stance of indifference is shown to be a dramatic reaction to the attitude sophists like Protagoras take toward philosophical problems, specifically, thinkers who understand solutions to philosophical problems as commodities. The stance is shown to anticipate certain Academic skeptical methods, to embolden Socratic ignorance, and shore up defenses against the sophistic insecurity of needing to succeed for the sake of success. This stance is elaborated upon in three specific aspects of Socrates’s dramatic portrayal culminating in a re-reading of the poem of Simonides and the myth of Prometheus and Epimetheus. I resist readings that try to see the Protagoras as a simple takedown of sophistry or as a catalog of platonic doctrine, and instead treat Protagoras as a “philosopher in decline,” a significantly dangerous type of thinker who is savvy enough to repurpose genuine insight for the sake of easy answers to immensely difficult problems.
38. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Santiago Ramos The Ion and Creativity
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Readings of Plato’s Ion are usually guided by one of two broad assumptions about the nature of the text. The Romantic school sees the dialogue as making explicit the idea of Genius, and of the artist as a privileged seer of hidden truths. The Rationalist tendency sees the dialogue as a Socratic attack on poetry, of a piece with other dialogues—most notably, the Republic—that also critique the art. In this paper, I claim that applying a phenomenological method to the dialogue uncovers a way beyond the impasse between these two schools. Specifically, I argue that we must turn our attention away from the question of whether poetry is a human art or divinely inspired, and toward the phenomenon at the heart of the dialogue, which is poetry itself, or better put, the creative act that generates poetic language. Moreover, the Ion itself calls for such a reading.
39. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Mary Cunningham Purification in Plato’s Symposium
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Scholars often take purification (κάθαρσις) to be a concept that persists the same throughout Plato’s dialogues. Generally, they take it to mean the separation of the soul from the body, picking up on Socrates’s account at Phaedo 67c–d. I do not find that this account of purification endures throughout the dialogues. In this paper, I argue that in Symposium Diotima describes purification differently. I argue that her account of purification emphasizes preparedness for encountering the forms, not the eradication of the corporeal. I present this account in three steps. First, I discuss Diotima’s lower and higher mysteries, focusing on the lower mysteries. Next, I examine Diotima’s use of the Eleusinian mysteries as an analogy for her own mysteries. Here, I overview the historical rites at Agrai and the Eleusinian Mysteria. I argue that, mirroring the Agrai rites, Diotima’s lower mysteries are purificatory, and therefore provide an account of purification. Finally, I explain the account of purification Diotima presents in the lower mysteries as the desire to possess the deathless deathlessly. Diotima’s account of purification is importantly distinct from the Phaedo account. In the former, the separation of the soul from the body is in no way important for purification. We must confront the discrepancies between these accounts and recognize that purification is not a doctrine that persists throughout the dialogues.
40. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Sean D. Kirkland Finding Our Way Home: Materiality and the Ontology of the Limit in Plato’s Philebus
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Situating the Philebus within the greater context of Plato’s late-period reconsideration of his own “theory of Ideas,” this essay offers a coordinated interpretation of two of the dialogue’s central passages—the discussion of the God-Given Method and that of the Fourfold Ontology. These passages prove to be interested not in Ideas apart from their material instantiations, as often seemed the case in the middle period dialogues, but in Ideas as they work on and even in materiality as such, producing an intelligible and even beautiful order in the sensible world. This entails, the essay suggests, something like a shift in the direction of Plato’s philosophical gaze and interest toward material being, and thereby a sort of return home to the embodied human condition.