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Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 2
Ancient Greek Philosophy: Pre-Socratic Philosophy

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Displaying: 41-60 of 107 documents


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41. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Konstantin Mikhailovich Dolgov The Philosopher and Philosophy in Plato’s View
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The paper reveals Plato’s basic views on the philosopher and philosophy. According to Plato, philosophers should rule the state, but for this purpose they should be brought up and educated in the appropriate way, possess qualities and virtues that will enable them to create if not the ideal society and the state, then the most reasonable and suitable one for the people to live in. These virtues are the following: eternal aspiration to cognize being and truth, justice, courage, reasonableness etc. Plato creates an image of the philosopher who is anxious not for personal wealth and prosperity, but for the public good, that is, highly spiritual, highly moral, virtuous life of the society and the state. Naturally, philosophers develop the appropriate philosophy to express their ideas and ideals. In Plato’s works philosophy acquires the character of the social and state ideology which is aimed at educating citizens in the spirit of justice, freedom and responsibility, dignity, good, beauty, love, that is, such philosophy which makes citizens extremely noble and directs their efforts to achieve the public good, the highest spiritual sphere, but not the material well-being. The paper shows that the philosopher and philosophy in Plato’s interpretation have not become outdated for two thousand years, but, on the contrary, have preserved their vitality and sense until nowadays.
42. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
John Dudley The Unrealism of Aristotle’s Metaphysics?
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In this paper, I aim to show that Aristotle’s metaphysics belongs to an unrealist tradition in ancient philosophy, deriving from Anaximander, Pythagoras, Parmenides and Plato.
43. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Brian Elliott Plato’s Phaedrus on Philosophy and the City
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This paper offers an interpretation of the dramatic setting of Plato’s Phaedrus as an allegory of the situation of the philosopher within Plato’s Athens. Following Jean-Pierre Vernant’s work on the place of class struggle and warfare within the ancient Greek city-state in his Myth and Society in Ancient Greece I decipher key passages on the Phaedrus as implicit responses to Plato’s experience of the city. The key themes that emerge are: the relation between the country and the city; the connection between leisure, luxury, and territorial expansion; the prospects for philosophical rule in the city; and the assessment of writing as a product of urban and commercial development. In my concluding paragraphs I suggest that Plato’s dialogues should more generally be regarded as a confrontation with the social conditions of the city-state as Plato experienced them. I also suggest that Platonic writings such as the Phaedrus are best interpreted allegorically as well as literally to ensure that multiple levels of meaning are drawn out through close analysis.
44. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Lucas Fain Prelude to a Genealogy of Happiness: Solon to Socrates
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This paper examines how the Solonian conception of happiness appears transformed in the Socratic teaching, precisely as it is bound up with the introduction of erōs in the historical transition from Herodotean inquiry to Platonic philosophy. It argues, first, that philosophy is distinguished from inquiry by the introduction of erōs; and second, that the turn from olbos to eudaimonia appears as a defining moment in the historical transition from in-quiry to philosophy. Whereas Herodotean inquiry understands the importance for happiness of looking to the end and seeing the whole, Platonic philosophy understands the end or the whole as a fundamental problem, and indeed as a fundamentally erotic problem.
45. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Marie I. George A Critique of Richard Sorabji’s Interpretation of Aristotle
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A correct understanding of experience (empeiría) is crucial for understanding the difference between human and non-human animals. Richard Sorabji interprets Aristotle to be affirming that experience in non-human animals is the same thing as a rudimentary universal, and that the individual who possesses experience achieves his goal by the application of low level univer-sals. I argue that this is neither a correct understanding of Aristotle’s statements in the Posterior Analytics, Metaphysics, and Nicomachean Ethics, nor is it true to the facts. Sorabji is misled, first, by the fact that experience can be regarded as a rudimentary universal (though not a true universal) in humans, and secondly by the fact that people of experience often possess universals that pertain to their actions. As to the latter, I show that people of experience do not succeed in virtue of possessing universals. As to the former, I point out that regarding experience as a rudimentary universal presupposes that the being that possesses them goes on to acquire true universals, something Sorabji fails to show. The presence of a modicum of experience in some non-human animals, thus, does not show that these beings share with us the capacity for knowledge of universals.
46. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Thomas Giourgas Well-being, Education and Unity of the Soul in Plato
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Is Socrates in the Protagoras a sincere hedonist? The decipherment of the latter question is fundamental to the unraveling of key aspects of Plato’s ethical thought. It has been suggested that Socrates in the Protagoras finds hedonism philosophically attractive for it functions as a necessary anti-akrasia premise and, therefore, it fits his moral psychology. At the same time quantitative hedonism provides for commensurability of moral value and, in turn, for a more straightforward, quantifiable, and action-guiding Platonic ethical theory. Although initially appealing, the latter hypothesis is deeply problematic. On the one hand, hedonism is not a necessary theoretical tool either for commensurability of value or for a quantifiable eudemonistic ethical theory. On the other hand a hedonistic interpretation of the Protagoras would result in a plethora of blatant anomalies for Platonic ethical theory as it is exhibited in the early and middle period dialogues. In particular, the endorsement of quantitative hedonism comes tied with an apotheosis of sophistic education and also with a purely instrumental conception of virtue which contradicts cardinal components of Socrates’ and Plato’s virtue theory. Therefore, a prohedonistic approach of the Protagoras is untenable and has to be rejected. As a result, a sufficiently plausible defense of the Socratic doctrine “no one does wrong willingly” needs to be constructed on non-hedonistic grounds. My suggestion is that we should recast Plato’s treatment of akrasia in terms of two –commonly defended by early Plato- descriptive theses of human psychology; that is, psychological eudemonism and motivational intellectualism. This move will lead us to the conclusion that the traditional conceptualization of akrasia as a single and unified phenomenon is incomplete as it does not pay justice to the richness of Plato’s moral psychology. Rather, as I will maintain, there are two types of akrasia implicit in Plato’s treatment of the phenomenon: synchronic akrasia and diachronic akrasia. On this revisionary theoretical basis, the differences between early Plato and later Plato on akrasia can be understood as variations in the adherence or not to psychological eudemonism and motivational intellectualism.
47. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Athanasios Gkatzaras Plato’s Republic (386c5-7 & 516d4-7): An Ambiguous (?) Attitude of Plato on Three Homeric Lines
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The subject of my paper is the explanation of Plato’s attitude in Republic on three lines taken from Odyssey (11.489-91). In one case (386c5-7) Plato rejects these lines, because they should not be heard by children or free men, while in another case (516d4-7) he repeats them as a perfect example of illustrating philosopher’s feelings. My purpose is to show that this attitude is not ambiguous; it is compatible with Plato’s doctrines and a good example of the importance that the context plays whenever Plato interprets a poem.
48. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Francisco J. Gonzalez The God of Metaphysics as a Way of Life in Aristotle
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The question addressed here is how Aristotle can characterize the ‘unmoved mover’ that is the ‘first ousia’ and first principle of his metaphysics not only as being alive, but as a model for the best kind of human life. The first step towards understanding this characterization is the distinction between ‘motion’ (kinêsis) and ‘activity’ (energeia) that Aristotle develops in 6th chapter of Metaphysics (book 9). Only on the basis of this distinction can we understand how the unmoved mover can be active without being in motion. The second is the argument in De Anima that the soul as principle of life is not any kind of motion, being unmoved even by itself. The soul indeed ‘moves’ in the sense of causing motion, but while remaining itself unmoved. On this basis we see that the meaning of ‘life’ in us is not fundamentally different from its meaning in the divine, and that therefore we can indeed find in the ultimate object of metaphysics a model for how we ourselves are to live.
49. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Silvia Gullino Avicenna’s Interpretation of Aristotle’s Metaphysics (Ε1, 1026a13-16)
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During the 9th century Aristotle’s Metaphysics was translated for the first time from Greek into Arabic by Ustâth, at the request of al-Kindî and, afterwards, the interest of the Arab world in this oeuvre grew with the production of several translations, comments and paraphrases of the work. Among the books which compose the Metaphysics, one of the most studied was book Epsilon. In particular Arab philosophers focused their interest on the passage of Ε1, which contains a classification of the theoretical sciences (1026a13-1026a16), founded on the degree of immateriality and of separation from the matter of their object. Aristotle states: “Natural science deals with things which are inseparable from matter but not immovable, and some parts of mathematics deal with things which are immovable, but probably not separable, but are embodied in matter; while the first science deals with things which are both separable and immovable”. According to the Arab exegetes, Aristotle introduces here the doctrine of the three degrees of abstraction, on the base of which the object of first philosophy is the most abstract among the beings, both from the conceptual point of view and from the real one. This interpretation of the Aristotelian text – already present in Avicenna – had a huge influence on the Latin Middle Ages and on modern philosophy.
50. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Chelsea Harry Concerning the Right Time: καιρός in Plato’s Statesman
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In her book, Method and politics in Plato’s Statesman (1998), Melissa Lane discusses the relationship between political authority and time. Namely, she asks what the source of political authority could be when, in the Statesman, the Stranger tells us that law cannot be applicable in all situations, for all people, in all times (294b2-6, 295a1-5). In this paper I agree with Lane that the apparent contradiction in the dialogue between, on the one hand, the temporal laws and, on the other hand, the contingency of everyday situations can be explained only in coming to understand the statesman as a master of kairos, or “right timing”. A mastery of kairos, I suggest, does not mean simply that one is able to recognize when it is the right time to do or say something, but rather it must mean that one is able to create the right time, which involves foreknowledge of universal truth and proficiency in the art of putting things together.
51. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Erica A. Holberg Aristotle on the Pleasure of Courage
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Because virtuous action is the fulfillment of our nature and so is constitutive of good living, Aristotle argues for a conceptual connection be-tween virtuous action and pleasure. Yet courage does not seem to conform to this account of virtuous action. Because courageous action involves confronting the fearful, which is painful, and because courageous action can fail to achieve the desired (and presumably pleasant) goal, it seems contrary to experience to claim that all truly courageous action is pleasant. I offer a defense of Aristotle’s claim that courageous action is necessarily pleasant. To do this, I give a more detailed explanation of the hierarchical, metaphysical relation between process and activity in courageous action. Virtuous activity, as instantiated in courageous actions, is necessarily pleasant because it is an end-in-itself and complete, and so requires pleasure as the full engagement of the agent in the action.
52. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Hsei-Yung Hsu Aristotle on the Complete Justice
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It is well-known that Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics V deals with a single virtue, justice. He divides justice into two kinds: the complete justice and the particular justice; and the latter is further divided into several different sub-kinds of justice, among them the distributive and corrective justice are the most prominent. As regard the former, Aristotle defines it as law-abidingness and the complete exercise of all virtues. However, the notion of law-abidingness and the notion of virtue as the state of character seem to be in conflict. In this paper I would like to explore this issue by arguing the fact that Aristotle’s identifying the complete virtue with law-abidingness shows that although for him justice is still a virtue, but it is different in kind. For not only can justice not fit into the scheme of the doctrine of the mean, but also does not have the corresponding emotion. That is, it is not a state of character. A proper interpretation of the Aristotelian notion of the complete justice would be to see it as concerning with rules or principles.
53. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Dohyoung Kim On the Indication of Aristotle’s Prohairesis
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Aristotle often says ‘the prohairesis, the conclusion of deliberation, is a combination between nous (reason) and orexis (desire)’. However, what he actually means by this remark is rather unclear. Is the prohairesis an actual action? Scholars have argued that the prohairesis is an action, claiming that the relationship between reason and desire here is of such a nature that the prohairesis becomes an actual action, at least in the context of ‘the euboulia’ (εὐβουλία). Yet, this view seems inadequate, because although it seem evident that the prohairesis results from the combination of reason and desire, Aristotle never uses the terms ‘prohairesis’ to indicate an actual action or a force needed to initiate an action. Instead, I will claim that Aristotle means no more than that the prohairesis (προαίρεσις) is the conclusion of deliberation, in which reason and desire have already been brought together. Hence, the thesis that the combination of reason and desire means that the prohairesis is an action, cannot be accepted. Rather, I will argue that the prohairesis is a decision, a combination of the best judgment (νοῦς-element) of what to do and the correct intention (orexis-element) that follows it.
54. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Kamladevi Kunkolienker Protagoras’s ‘Homo Mensura’: a Reinterpretation
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In this paper a reinterpretation of Protagoras thesis, ‘homo mensura’ is attempted. Plato’s interpretation of Protagorean statement, ‘homo mensura’ in his Theaetetus, as ‘knowledge is perception’ is not reliable, since he was hostile towards sophists. ‘Homo mensura’ expresses a philosophical relativism, wherein Protagoras maintains that each one of us is determiner of truth. Each one of us is the unique authority on the content of our own perception. As a result, our judgments are incorrigible. However, not all judgments are equally true. Protagoras provided for consensus, wherein changes are caused by wise man and he appeals to reason through common sense ways to grasp truth. It seems that Protagoras goes beyond the meaning of sense; perception in man-measure thesis. In this reinterpretation ‘measure’ stands for an insight in determining the general self-world view and the way of life implicit in such a view. It refers to the deeper valuing, and not to any external standard. It has to fit in the overall reality in which man lives, and as demonstrated by his perception and harmony of action to which it leads. This anti-dogmatic philosophical relativism places man in central position. Protagoras’s engineering approach and inseparability of thought and emotion plays an important role in man’s being ‘measure’ of all things.
55. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Yuji Kurihara Socrates as a ‘Radical’ Politician
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In Plato’s early dialogues Socrates seems to make a contradictory statement about politics. In the Apology he denies his commitment to political activity in Athens, whereas in the Gorgias he declares that he is the only politician in his time, using the ‘true political craft’. How can we understand his prima facie contradictory statement? In this paper, I aim to answer this question by showing that Socrates is a ‘radical’ politician in democratic Athens, who keeps prompting each individual to care for the soul and the truth. For this aim, I first clarify usual ‘political’ activities in Athens in terms of the public-private dichotomy. Then, I elucidate the political meaning of Socrates’ philosophy in “the semi-public sphere” that he discovers for his politics between the public sphere (e.g., the Assembly and the courts) and the private sphere (e.g., the oikos). In the semi-public sphere, such as the Agora, Socrates helps his fellow citizens establish their true selves, independently of ‘the politics of reputation’. Finally, I conclude that Socrates’ statement about politics is not self-contradictory, although Plato has Socrates pointing out the important use of ‘the true rhetoric’ in the presence of many people.
56. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Anastasios Ladikos The Theology of Plato in Book X of the Laws: an Evolving Perspective
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This paper deals with Plato’s theology based mainly on Book X of the Laws. According to Plato, there are three false beliefs which are fatal to moral character, namely atheism, denial of the moral government of the world, and the belief that divine judgment can be bought off by prayers and offerings. Furthermore, legislation is an embodiment of the divine laws that govern the universe, and therefore it is the task of the legislator to see that every aspect of the state is directed to the inculcation of virtue. Human beings are seen as small parts of the universe and that the gods’ care for human affairs is seen as part of their care for the whole. Plato reinforces the argument that since the universe is under rational direction, one can be certain that what happens to humans after death will be appropriate to the character they have acquired in this life. The message is thus conveyed that people will in some way be rewarded or punished after death, without relying on the kind of mythical detail which the young atheist would obviously reject.
57. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Elena Lappa Motion and the Pair of Potentiality and Actualityas Key Notions for the Comprehension of Aristotle’s Theory of Sense
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The concepts of sense, movement and potentiality are closely interwoven and the effort to approach the Aristotelian theory of sense leads to the notions of motion and dynamei (δύναμις). We will attempt to show that physical and mental processes of change have many things in common. Our point will be that the important pair of potentiality and actuality, which is a significant contrariety for Aristotle, is a key notion in both of these changes. The role of contrariety and, more specifically, the transition from potentiality to actuality plays the same role both in physical changes (movements for example), and - in the case of sense - since processes of change that take place in the soul does not differ from those found in physics, despite the fact that are being more subtle and complex. We will try to illustrate that the soul is (ἀρχὴ) the principal (the beginning) of a unique kind of movement, but it is not itself a movement, because it is not a separated substance completely independent and self-existent. Sense is a movement, a process that requires a transition from potentiality to actuality and potentiality can be the key notion for the understanding of the Aristotelian theory of perception.
58. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Shenbai Liao Aristotle’s Nous as Telos-related Teasoning: an Explanation
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It is important to re-investigate Aristotle’s concept of nous. This concept basically denotes some telos-related thinking/reasoning activity of the human intellect, which proceeds both upward and downward: upward to grasp a comprehension of the telos one has acquired, and downward to reach some ultimate end. It differs from the theoretical thinking/reasoning of science in its upward-proceeding inquiries in that it constitutes a comprehension of the very first principles; it differs from technique in its downward-proceeding reasoning in that it always proceeds with a certain comprehension of or insight into the telos of human beings. As it aims to attain some ultimate end, in practical affairs it is construed to proceed with downward reasoning. This downward reasoning zigzags around the issues being faced, until reaching some ultimate point, at which we need no more thinking and simply act. To see how this helps us in finding a way to the good life, we must adopt a special perspective on living, i.e., that of the good man, because it contains and is addressed to greater truth.
59. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Jing Liu Virtue, Nature and Practice: On the Reassessment of Aristotle’s Concept of Virtue
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With the revival of virtue ethics, recently more and more scholars start to realize the important role of Aristotle’s theory of virtue, and present to “going back to Aristotle”. Therefore, it is very significant and meaningful to re-read Aristotle’s concept of virtue. Through the analysis of Aristotle’s “neither by nature, then, nor contrary to nature do the virtues arise in us”, this paper attempts to re-estimate the concept of Aristotle’s virtue. My analysis will focus on Aristotle’s virtue from the perspective of nature and practice. Finally, I will attempt to point out that Aristotle’s virtue has its roots in nature, but is cultivated by the practice of human beings. The activity of human beings’ practical life is the fundamental to the existence of human beings.
60. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Rajesaheb D. Maradkar Platonic Ethics: Is it Applicable?
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More than 200 countries are in the world and the number is still growing by the day. For the establishment of social system in any country there is one or other form of government. None of the five forms of government described by Plato is completely flawless or completely false. All the forms have been experienced by different states in the world and are being experienced even today. In every country there are some evils like. Secondly, before the year 347 BCE Plato said an ideal government is must for an ideal society. What does an ideal government mean? Plato answers; the king should be a philosopher, in order to rule as an ideal king applying philosophical thought, courage, wisdom, justice etc. I propose one additional thing here: that this philosopher does not necessary mean an academician of philosophy, but the person who has the sense of wisdom, courage, temperance and justice, and the sense of practical utility. I think by this the concept of the ‘philosopher king’ is not a theoretical one but it becomes practical (not a 100% practical, but it will be helpful for maximum goodness). Thirdly, for any king or administrator - even with the above virtues 100% perfectness - or ideal king or ideal society can never exist. Ideal king, ideal government and ideal society of 100% perfection cannot be realized in this world nor can be realized in future. No one is perfect in this world and no one can use perfect king, government and society. Many reasons of that due to research paper restriction I am not able to explain here. But one point is clear here; Plato’s wisdom, courage, temperance and justice, if taken into consideration by any administrator and used with consciousness, then it can help to make better public administration oriented towards an optimum ideal society. From this point of view, Plato’s ethical theory is very important.