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Displaying: 61-80 of 562 documents

61. 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.
62. 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.
63. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Julie Piering The Kosmopolis over the Kallipolis: The Origin of Cynic Cosmopolitanism and the Challenge It Poses
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When the Cynic philosopher, Diogenes of Sinope, coins the term ‘cosmopolitan,’ he invites an expansive understanding of the ethical and political commitments one should endeavor to challenge and uphold. Whereas the politics of the day privileged one’s status and role in the polis as foundational for rights, entitlements, duties, and allegiances, the cosmopolitan perspective highlights the arbitrary nature of political boundaries and benefits. This permits virtue, nature, and reason to supplant law and custom as the standards for judgment. After grounding the invention of cosmopolitanism in its political and ethical context, this paper explores what is salient in the notion by attending to it in its own right and as a foil for a different kind of ethically driven political structure, here represented by Plato’s kallipolis.
64. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Anne-Marie Schultz Narrative Tyranny in American Political Discourse and Plato's Republic I: The Possibility of Philosophical and Political Freedom
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This paper begins with a brief examination of the contemporary American political landscape.  I describe three recent events that illustrate how attempts to control the narrative about events that transpired threaten to undermine our shared reality.  I then turn to Book I  of Plato’s Republic to explore the potentially tyrannizing effect of  Socrates’s narrative voice.  I focus on his descriptions of Glaucon, Polemarchus and his slave, and Thrasymachus to show how Plato presents Socrates’s narrative activity as a process that controls how the auditor  understands the events that follow.  I then turn to an alternate understanding of  Socratic narrative which extols its philosophically and politically liberatory possibilities.  I use  my own previous work on  Socratic narrative,  Jill Frank’s  Poetic Justice,  and Rebecca’s LeMoine’s Plato’s Cave  as three examples that emphasize the more positive dimensions of  Socratic narrative. Finally, I  end with a brief exploration of Cornel West’s Democracy Matters, and bell hooks’ works on pedagogy to argue for the possibility a Socratically-informed public space for political discourse.
65. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Marina Marren Tragic Rationality in Nietzsche’s Misreading of Plato in The Birth of Tragedy and Beyond
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Shortly before the first publication of The Birth of Tragedy, Friedrich Nietzsche identified his philosophy as an “inverted Platonism.” Although, as Martin Heidegger warns, “we may not overlook the fact that the ‘inverted Platonism’ of his early period is enormously different from the position finally attained,” nonetheless, Nietzsche’s suspicion about otherworldly truths and optimistic faith in reason runs as a strong current throughout his works. I argue that Nietzsche’s view of Plato as the initiator of the “true world”—the world that must be overcome on Nietzsche’s valuation—and of Socrates as a proponent of logicality suffers from the same overly rationalistic thinking that Nietzsche himself impugns in Plato. To account for Nietzsche’s interest in setting up Plato as the origin of the system of thought he seeks to overcome, I analyze Nietzsche’s remarks on Plato’s Phaedo in the Birth of Tragedy.
66. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Michael Naas Staying Hydrated: Plato and the Problem of Water
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Water, hydōr: it is the first word of ancient Greek philosophy, the word used by Thales, the first philosopher, to describe the material principle subtending all things. By the time of Plato, philosophers were proposing other kinds of non-material principles to explain diverse phenomena, principles like soul, mind, or ideas. But Plato would continue to be interested in—even fascinated by—water, water in every imaginable form, at once pure and impure, transparent and troubled, drinkable and undrinkable, flowing and still, fresh and salt, shallow and deep. In this paper, I look at Plato’s fascination with and fundamental ambivalence toward water, his understanding of water as both a political question (in his depiction of the island of Atlantis and the city of Athens) and a philosophical problem (in the myth of the cave and the divided line in the Republic and the myth of the earth in the Phaedo). I suggest by the end of the paper, using the work of Jacques Derrida in “Plato’s Pharmacy” to guide my argument, that, for Plato, water was at once the greatest danger for philosophy and its most powerful resource.
67. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Walter Brogan The Intimate Relationship of Life and Law in Aristotle's Politics: The Rise and Decline of the Ancient Greek Polis
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This essay argues that the fundamental premise of Aristotle’s political philosophy is that free citizens are those who rule and are ruled in turn. The virtuous community sustains a mean between these two dimensions of political life, and the decadent regime errs by excess or deficiency from this ideal. Aristotle sees the production and exercise of law as essential to preserve the continuity of the arrangements between citizens. In the production of law, the process of ruling together is best exemplified, and, at the same time, the citizens give themselves over to be ruled by the principles that have been laid down. Since living well is carried out in the realm of the political, we have to learn how to express our life in relationship to the whole that is shared with others. The life of law is achieved when the citizens become lawful.
68. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Matthew Berry The Natural Part of Political Justice in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics
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Scholars have advanced many different interpretations of Aristotle’s discussion of “the naturally just” in the Nicomachean Ethics. Most of these interpretations, however, pay insufficient attention to the context into which Aristotle introduces the concept, and in particular to Aristotle’s discussion of political justice, of which “the naturally just” is only a part. This paper seeks to recover that context and to offer a new interpretation of “the naturally just” as the part of political justice that is derived from the nature of republican politics, rather than from the agreement of fellow citizens.
69. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Magnus Ferguson Hermeneutical Justice in Fricker, Dotson, and Arendt
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I propose that Hannah Arendt’s hermeneutical philosophy can make important contributions to ongoing debates in the study of epistemic injustice. Building on Kristie Dotson’s concern that Miranda Fricker’s formulation of hermeneutical injustice is needlessly restrictive, I argue that Arendt’s concept of ‘thinking’ challenges us to imagine a form of hermeneutical virtue that is rigorously self-critical. The self-destructive tendency of Arendtian thinking may help to guard against the specific danger that Dotson identifies - namely, that an overly rigid approach to hermeneutical injustice and hermeneutical virtue can itself generate situations of epistemic injustice. Despite important differences that emerge, it is productive to bring together Fricker’s concept of hermeneutical virtue and Arendt’s concept of self-undermining thinking in order to reveal the ways in which these two corrective strategies might enrich and pose important challenges for the other.
70. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Christopher Iacovetti The “Almost Necessary” Link Between Selfhood And Evil In Schelling’s Freiheitsschrift
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This article attempts to draw out and to clarify a tension at the core of Schelling’s Freiheitsschrift (1809). This tension can be put as follows. On the one hand, Schelling insists quite strongly throughout this text upon the inherent goodness of creaturely selfhood—not simply in the negative sense that selfhood is not intrinsically evil, but in the positive sense that each created self is loved by God and destined to play a singular part in God’s self-revelation. On the other hand, Schelling depicts selfhood in terms that seem to link it inextricably—perhaps constitutively—to sin and evil. It is my contention in this article that this tension arises as a result of Schelling’s attempt, in the Freiheitsschrift, to embed an essentially Kantian account of radical evil within the broadly Neoplatonic framework he had sketched five years earlier in his Philosophy and Religion (1804).
71. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Simon Lambek Nietzsche’s Rhetoric: Dissonance and Reception
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This article presents a reading of Nietzsche’s use of rhetoric as inseparable from his philosophical project. I provide an exegesis of Nietzsche’s own reflections on rhetoric and consider its actual deployment, arguing that Nietzsche’s rhetoric is often deliberately dissonant and oriented toward facilitating receptive effects. The aim, I suggest, is to shift politics of possibility—to alter what can and cannot be done and said politically. Dissonant rhetoric, rhetoric that marries aesthetic attunement with affective turbulence, helps to accomplish this end by shaping the way that rhetoric is received by audiences. I conclude by suggesting that Nietzsche’s rhetoric has implications for contemporary theory, shifting how we might view critical political engagement in the public sphere. Understood in this way, Nietzsche’s rhetoric provides a perhaps surprising model for a critically robust form of rhetoric.
72. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Pascal Massie Seeing Darkness, Hearing Silence: Meta-Sensation and the Limits of Perception in Aristotle’s De anima
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This essay addresses the following questions: How does the meta-sensory function of koine aisthesis (sensing-that-I-sense) relate to its other functions? How can a meta-level arise from the immanence of sensation? Can we give an account of meta-sensation that doesn’t assume a transcendental plane? My contention is that (a) the representationalist model doesn’t apply to Aristotle and that (b) Aristotle offers an alternative that is worth exploring. I propose to interpret the meta-sensory power of the koine aisthesis in terms of the sensing of the limits of perception. The sensing of the limit of sensation is the sensing of sensation itself qua potentiality as exemplified by Aristotle’s observations on the experience of seeing darkness or hearing silence. If it is so, sensing-that-I-sense doesn’t require an appeal to a transcendent faculty and arises from the immanent experience of sensation itself.
73. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Lucio Angelo Privitello Approaching the Parmenidean Sublime—Part II
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This paper is Part II of my study entitled “Approaching the Parmenidean Sublime: A New Translation and Resequencing of the Fragments of Parmenides.” What I seek to accomplish here is to elaborate on my resequencing/translation decisions, and take up the more thorny philosophical/juridical aspects of my position previously mentioned, yet condensed, in “Notes to Translator’s Introduction,” and “Notes on the Fragments.” I believe that this continued engagement with the fragments of Parmenides makes up the “dutiful apprenticeship” intrinsically represented in the poem’s teacher-student exchange, and in the request to convey the story. The request to convey the story is still alive and well in Parmenidean studies. This passing along of a teaching, its history, and its style, makes up the essence of an apprenticeship, whether artistic, philosophical, or as a social ontology. To streamline my references to the poem, I will use only my translated and resequenced fragment and line numbers found in my article, “Approaching the Parmenidean Sublime: A New Translation and Resequencing of the Fragments of Parmenides,” from Volume 23, Number 1, pages 1–18, Fall 2018, of this journal.
74. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Jeffrey Reid Hegel and the Politics of Tragedy, Comedy and Terror
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Greek tragedy, in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, represents the performative realization of binary political difference, for example, “private versus public,” “man versus woman” or “nation versus state.” On the other hand, Roman comedy and French Revolutionary Terror, in Hegel, can be taken as radical expressions of political in-difference, defined as a state where all mediating structures of association and governance have collapsed into a world of “bread and circuses.” In examining the dialectical interplay between binary, tragic difference and comedic, terrible in-difference, the paper arrives at hypothetical conclusions regarding how these political forms may be observed today.
75. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Mark Sentesy Community with Nothing in Common?: Plato’s Subtler Response to Protagoras
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The Protagoras examines how community can occur between people who have nothing in common. Community, Protagoras holds, has no natural basis. Seeking the good is therefore not a theoretical project, but a matter of agreement. This position follows from his claim that “man is the measure of all things.” For Socrates community is based on a natural good, which is sought through theoretical inquiry. They disagree about what community is, and what its bases and goals are. But Plato illustrates the seriousness of Protagoras’s position through the repeated breakdown of their conversation. The dialogue leads us to question both speakers’ assumptions about community. Socrates must face the problem that not everything can be brought to language. Protagoras must recognize that there is a basis of community even in what cannot be shared. Community is grounded in an event that is both natural and not up to us, and cultural and articulate.
76. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Beau Shaw Political Form in Paul Celan
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Paul Celan’s “Tenebrae” is a scandalous poem: it describes how “unity with the dying Jesus” (in Hans-Georg Gadamer’s words) is achieved by means of the Jewish experience of the concentration camps. In this paper, I provide a new interpretation of “Tenebrae” that breaks from the two traditional ways in which the poem has been viewed—on the one hand, as a Christian poem that suggests that Jesus, insofar as he suffers just like Jewish concentration camp victims do, can provide “hope and redemption for the faithful” (Gadamer), and, on the other hand, as an ironic criticism of this Christian idea. Rather, I suggest that “Tenebrae” is a modification of Christianity: preserving Christian belief about Jesus’s death, it destroys that belief, and does so for the sake of the defense against Christian persecution. Finally, I suggest that this view reveals the peculiar poetic form of “Tenebrae”—what I call “political form.”
77. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Peter Westmoreland Moral Laws of the Heart: Conscience, Reason, and Sentiments in Rousseau’s Moral Foundationalism
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Tensions between sentiments and reason are a well-known feature of Rousseau’s moral theory. To explain these tensions, this paper appeals to Rousseau’s moral foundationalism. In this foundationalism, I argue, feeling and reason operate jointly to establish the content and normativity of moral law. This joint operation is not always smooth, and additionally there is much leeway in this theory, which explains the theory’s ability to accommodate various interpretations and emphases as well as its struggle to delimit specific moral laws, choices, and actions. The most important element of this foundationalism is conscience, which does the work of voicing moral laws with content and normativity grounded in moral sentiments.
78. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Colin C. Smith Toward a Two-Route Interpretation of Parmenidean Inquiry
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In this paper I challenge the orthodox view regarding the number of routes of inquiry in Parmenides’s poem. The narrating goddess in Fragment 2 identifies ‘the only routes of inquiry there are for knowing,’ (i) guided by the ‘[. . .] is [. . .]’ and (ii) guided by ‘what-is-not as such.’ In Fragment 6, the goddess considers taking (iii) ‘both to be and not to be’ to be ‘the same and not the same,’ and most modern commentators hold that this constitutes a third route. I argue instead that this interpretation entails missing the routes’ fundamental interconnections, and that the goddess describes only two. To show this, I consider Fragments 2 and 6 before turning to key notions in Doxa, particularly the constitutive ontological kinds ‘light’ and ‘night,’ to account for the second, mortal route. Mortals have missed the being of these two, and I develop an account of the inquiry that is guided by this insight.
79. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
John V. Garner Creative Discovery: Proclus and Plato on the Emergence of Scientific Precision
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In his commentary on Euclid, Proclus develops what he takes to be an important Platonic critique of the epistemology of abstraction. As I argue, his argument closely reflects terminology and concepts from Plato’s Philebus. Both emphasize the priority—in reality and in our awareness—of the precise over the imprecise. Specifically, Proclus’s famous notion of the psychical “projection” of intermediate mathematical entities, while having no technically exact precedent in Plato, finds a conceptual neighbor in the Philebus’s suggestion that philosophical arithmeticians “posit” pure units for counting. Likewise, for both our self-engagement in mathematical thinking (which has importance even for non-mathematical inquiries) serves to clarify the independence of the precise sciences—both in their content and in their practice—from perception. Thus, as I argue, Plato and Proclus, with their different terms and nuances, develop a shared conception scientific inquiry in which an activity of “creative discovery” plays a central role.
80. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Rebekah Johnston Aristotle on Wittiness: Verbally Abusing One’s Friends in the Right Way
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Aristotle claims, in his Nicomachean Ethics, that in addition to being, for example, just and courageous, and temperate, the virtuous person will also be witty. Very little sustained attention, however, has been devoted to explicating what Aristotle means when he claims that virtuous persons are witty or to justifying the plausibility of the claim that wittiness is a virtue. It becomes especially difficult to see why Aristotle thinks that being witty is a virtue once it becomes clear that Aristotle’s witty person engages in what he calls ‘educated insolence’. Insolence, for Aristotle, is a form of slighting which, as he explains in the Rhetoric, generally causes the person slighted to experience shame and anger. In this paper, I attempt to bring some clarity to Aristotle’s claim that being witty is a virtue by examining why Aristotle thinks that the object of a witty person’s raillery will find this joking pleasant.