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101. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Luc Brisson Sur le Bien de Platon: Métamorphose d’une anecdote
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The anecdote recounted by Aristoxenus, who claims to be reporting Aristotle’s words, has been used by several interpreters to maintain the existence of a doctrine of the Good reserved for the members of the Academy, and transmitted orally, after the model of Pythagorean teaching. Yet a close analysis of these few lines shows that this interpretation has no basis : instead, what is at issue is a reading, for a broad audience, of a text corresponding to a doctrine of the good that can be found in the Republic and the Laws.
102. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Pierre Destrée La contemplation du Beau et la pratique du bien: Pour une lecture éthique du discours de Diotime dans le Banquet de Platon
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This paper focuses on the conclusion of Diotima’s speech : “Do you not reflect that it is there alone, when he sees the Beautiful […] that he will give birth not to mere images of virtue but to true virtue, because it is not an image that he is grasping but the truth. And when he has given birth to and nurtured true virtue it is possible for him to be loved by the gods and to become, if any human can, immortal himself ” (212a). It is not clear what exactly Diotima takes “true virtue” to be. Many interpreters (esp. F. Sheffield) argue that that virtue amounts to the exercise of the intellect, the moral, or political virtues being only “secondary” (as Aristotle would famously say) in the eudaimonia. Opposing this in fact Aristotelian reading, I contend that “true virtue” amounts to the moral‑cum‑political virtues once enlightened by the contemplation of the Form of Beauty. My main arguments come from a close reading of some passages of Alcibiades’s speech which should be read as a diptych to Diotima’s.
103. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Giulia Sissa Le Peuple philosophe: Le souci du bien dans la République de Platon et chez les Athéniens
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Une premisse majeure met en place les arguments les plus normatifs de la Republique : les caracteres des hommes sont la cause des caracteres des cites. Le gouvernement de Kallipolis est le meilleur de tous, explique Socrate, pour une raison tres simple : c’est le gouvernement des meilleurs (aristokratia). Dans une demokratia, en revanche, n’importe qui peut revetir un role de pouvoir par tirage au sort, et n’importe qui peut dire n’importe quoi. Tandis que les meilleurs des Gardiens se soucient du bien politique au superlatif, le peuple n’en a cure. Il foule aux pieds l’idee meme qu’il faudrait choisir et eduquer les magistrats. Le Peuple ne saurait être philosophe. Et pourtant, à Athènes, la parole politique et le langage à l’oeuvre dans l’administration de la cite (serments, decrets, eloges) montrent une quete acharnee du mieux possible. Le temoignage epigraphique nous devoile une citee pavee de bonnes intentions, engagee dans un perfectionnisme democratique que Platon refuse de reconnaitre.
104. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Enrico Berti Bien en soi ou bien humain?: Aristote et Platon
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Aristotle criticizes the Idea of Good admitted by Plato because it is not a human, i.e. a practicable, good. But Aristotle himself admits, besides the human good, i.e. happiness, a supreme impracticable good, which coincides with the unmoved mover. And Plato himself, in his Philebus, speaks of a human good as the mixed life, which depends for its measure on the Idea of Good. This means that Aristotle does not criticize Plato because he identifies the supreme principle with the Good, a Good which cannot be attained by men, but because Plato conceives this supreme Good as the One, i.e. a formal cause, not as an efficient cause of the cosmic order. For Aristotle the supreme good, i.e. the divinity, is not the end of human actions, but he is the object, among the other first causes, of the wisdom, which is the true end of the wise man.
105. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Valérie Cordonier Traduction, translittération, réinterprétation: la kalokagathia chez Albert le Grand
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In the significant body of existing research on the notion of kalokagathia – an ideal of the accomplished man who combines physical beauty with social status and moral goodness –, the focus has so far been on the history of the formation of the terms that denoted this quality (καλὸς καὶ ἀγαθός, καλoσκἀγαθός, καλοκἀγαθία) in ancient Greece, on their usage during the classical period and – to a lesser extent – on the changes in their meaning during the Hellenistic period. Our history of this concept therefore lacks a mediaeval chapter. I propose to address this gap by analysing how Albert Magnus understood the Latin terms corresponding to kalokagathia in the Aristotelian texts of practical philosophy made accessible by Latin translators at the time (Nicomachean Ethics, Magna Moralia, Politics and Eudemian Ethics). I also offer a reflection on the factors that determine how a text is understood within the contingency space left open between its translation and its interpretation by the reader.
106. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Charlotte Murgier Aristote critique de Platon sur le bien pratique
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This paper aims at investigating Aristotle’s criticism of Plato on the practical good. It confronts the practical functions attributed to the Idea of the good in Plato’s Republic to Aristotle’s objections against this Idea in the Ethics, objections that point out its practical inefficiency. Then I turn to Aristotle’s own elaboration of the practical good, showing how indebted it is to the treatment of the human good in the Philebus. This leads to assess how and how far Aristotle distances himself from Plato’s views on the practical good.
107. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Francesca Alesse La notion du bien chez Aristote, Métaphysique VII 6. Quelques remarques
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The question I deal with is Aristotle’s treatment of agathon in Metaphysics VII 6, as compared to the treatment of the same notion in famous passages from Ethics (EE 1217b26 ff. ; EN 1096a19 ff.) and Topics (107a5 ff.). In these latter agathon is considered as homonymous in that it assumes as many meanings as the categories, whereas in Metaphysics VII 6 (1031a29‑b14) Aristotle employes the example of agathon in order to examine the relationship between every reality in itself and its essence. In this context Aristotle uses the notion of “good in itself ”, as an example of ἕκαστον which should be identical to its essence : as a consequence of such an identity, “good in itself ” shoud be a synonymous notion and have a univocal definition. Is the treatment of agathon in Metaphysics VII 6 opposed to what Aristotle claims in Ethics and Topics ? In my opinion, what is to be pointed out is not a contradiction, but a difference in perspective, which has rarely been emphasised. My aim is to analyse the possible reasons for this difference in perspective.
108. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Sylvain Delcomminette Platon et Aristote sur le bien en soi
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In this paper, I examine Plato’s and Aristotle’s contrasted treatment of the “Good itself ” and its relation to the human good. Contrary to a common view, Aristotle does not attack the very concept of a Good itself, but rather Plato’s interpretation of it as the Idea of the Good. One of his central criticisms is that such an Idea would have no practical use. By an analysis of the Philebus, I try to show why and how this Idea does have such a use in Plato, but in a way which could not satisfy his pupil, because for Aristotle, the Good itself must be an ultimate end which must have a direct efficiency on the whole world, without any need of the mediation of knowledge. In the Metaphysics, Aristotle shows that such an end can be identified with a purely active intelligence, which he names God. Although this Good itself is absolutely necessary and thus cannot be a “practical good” in Aristotle’s terms, its contemplation by human intelligence (i.e. what Aristotle calls sophia) can be, because it is for its part contingent. I conclude in assessing the main consequences of Plato’s and Aristotle’s different views of the Good itself on their philosophy as a whole.
109. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Fabienne Baghdassarian Principe du bien et principe du mal chez Aristote
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This paper deals with Aristotle’s criticism of a metaphysical principle of evil. On several occasions in the Metaphysics, Aristotle notes that some of his predecessors, e.g. Empedocles and Plato at least, have been forced to admit the existence of a principle of evil, for the very same reasons that led them to define the good as a principle. Needless to say Aristotle too admits that the good belongs to the range of principles, but he obviously does not think he is committed to the same position concerning evil. This article tries to determine why it can legitimately be so, i.e. on which grounds Aristotle’s conception of the good as a principle can save him from having to make room for its contrary too among the principles. In the first part of this paper, I define the two main logical rules which, according to Aristotle, led Empedocles and Plato to admit the evil among the principles : the rule of homogeneity between a principle and its effect, and the rule of contrary principles. In the two following parts, I study how Aristotle manages to avoid the undesirable consequences of these logical rules : first, by providing a definition of an absolutely first principle which has no contrary ; second, by providing a new definition of the relation of contrariety itself, thanks to which the hypothesis of a principle of evil turns to be both useless and contradictory.
110. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Silvia Fazzo L’epilogo del libro Lambda della Metafisica di Aristotele : il Bene come principio
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Not many texts from the Greek classical literature focus on the nature of the Good more closely than Aristotle’ Metaphysics Lambda 10. The first section raises the question to be answered henceforth : is the Good to be conceived as anything separated or does it intrinsically belong to the universe, as a way of being ? And if both ways, how so, and which way first, and why ?According to a current reading, which is well established in the commentary tradition, Aristotle’s Good comes, first of all, as a separate being, namely God ; as a consequence, it also belongs to every kind of being. My aim is to show that this view, though playing a significant role in late Aristotelian scholastics, is scarcely supported in Aristotle’s text. In fact, it is unlikely to grasp whatever Aristotle has been willing to say in this final chapter of book Lambda, which brings to conclusion his overall theory about the principles of the world.
111. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Izabela Jurasz Ce que les Gnostiques ont fait du Principe du Bien. Le cas de Basilide
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The article examines the metamorphosis of the Platonic Principle of Good in the doctrine of Basilides, the 2nd century Christian gnostic. The Basilidian doctrine represents a radical form of dualism, in which the universe ‑ physical and metaphysical ‑ is born from an encounter between Light (good) and Darkness (evil). In his effort to liberate the Light from all contact with Darkness, Basilide refers to several different mediators (eye, mirror, gleam, desire). Analysing the Basilidian myth in the light of the Platonic writings brings out the paradoxes inherent in any attempts to construct a dualistic metaphysics within the Platonic context.
112. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Laurent Lavaud Y a‑t‑il, selon Plotin, une energeia du Bien ?
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Is there an energeia of the Good according to Plotinus ? The aim of this paper is to shed light on the tension between two conflicting perspectives concerning the Good in the philosophy of Plotinus. According to the first perspective, Plotinus claims that the the first principle completely transcends the energeia, which is strictly limited to the Intellect. According to the second, he ascribes a kind of immanent energeia to the One. I will examine the two series of texts in which these two perspectives are present and advance two hypotheses to explain the divergence between these two viewpoints.Firstly, the meaning of the term energeia is not unequivocal, depending on whether it is strictly limited to the intelligible realm or ascribed to the One. Secondly, the competition between two models of causality in the Enneads can explain why Plotinus has two divergent views on the relation between the Good and the energeia. According to the first model, the Good ≪doesn’t have in itself what it gives≫. In line with this principle, Plotinus claims that the Good stands epekeina energeias. The second model of causality is inherited from the peripatetic school. According to it, the cause already contains eminently in itself that which it gives. This model of causality helps explain the ascription of energeia to the Good and the so‑called ≪double‑energeia theory≫.
113. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Jean‑Claude Picot Penser le Bien et le Mal avec Empédocle
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A ready answer to the question of Empedocles’ thinking about Good and Evil is to be found in Aristotle, who provides us with this simple rule of thumb : Good is associated with Love, and Evil with Hate. Fundamentally obvious as that rule may be (it makes us think in particular of Love’s masterpiece in the cosmic cycle, the Sphairos), we need to go beyond Aristotle’s words. This article investigates several topics : fire, the sun, water, the hoard of divine thought, reincarnation, Empedoclean ethics, and, finally, the Blessed Ones. Complexity rules our quest to determine what belongs to the Good and what belongs to the Bad. There are times when Love takes advantage of Hate’s ability to cause separation. The sun, manifestation par excellence of fire, is loaded with ambivalence in Empedocles – even though the high value placed almost universally on light is a commonplace in Greek thought. Empedocles is torn between his sense of wonder at the works of Aphrodite and his pessimism on recognizing the infernal cycle in which mortals are involved.
114. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Salvatore Lavecchia La luce del Bene : l’essere e la coscienza, la materia e lo spirito. Su ciò che Platone tralascia nell’analogia fra il Bene e il sole
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In Resp. 509c7 and 9 Socrates declares that he has omitted many things in the exposition of the analogy between the supreme Good and the sun. In fact Socrates’ exposition leaves some questions open which are seminal with regard to the interpretation of the aforesaid analogy : 1) Why Plato designates the sun as analogon of the Good ? 2) Why the original manifestation of the Good consists in a plurality of intelligible beings ? 3) Why the original manifestation of the Good consists not only in a purely objective intelligible being (νοητόν), but also in an intellect (νοῦς), that is in a form of consciousness ? 4) How can be explained the fact that Plato perceives the Good as origin not only of intelligible, but also of physical reality ? While the first question can be simply answered by referring to the infinite manifestativity of the Good, the other three questions require a significant effort in the field of speculation. Basing on some clues given by Plato in the exposition of the analogy between the Good and the sun, this article attempts to answer these questions by conjecturing that Plato could have presupposed the image of an infinite sphere consisting in intelligible light. This image, which could have already been presupposed by Parmenides, would offer a conceptual background capable of explaining on the one hand the unity of intelligibility (being) and intellect (consciousness) characterizing the original manifestation of the Good, on the other hand why in Plato’s perspective the Good can be perceived as origin not only of intelligible, but also of physical light.
115. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Maria Carmen De Vita ≪Figlio del Bene≫ e Re dell’universo: il dio Helios di Giuliano Imperatore
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This article aims to analyze the philosophical and religious message of Julian’s Hymn to King Helios. The emperor, using Iamblichean structures, shows how the First Cause, the Neoplatonic One, can interact with the layers or gradation below it, including the physical world ; his starting point is an original ‘pluralizing’ interpretation of the Sun analogy contained in Resp. VI 509b.However, Julian’s hymn has a political meaning, too ; it can be considered as a sort of manifesto of Julian’s imperial ideology. The parallel between the emperor and the sun – already present in the ancient rhetorical tradition – is reworked by the Apostate and is part of a complex metaphysical‑cosmological system, grounded on the principles of similarity (homoiotēs) and middleness (mesotēs). These concepts were subject to controversy between nicene and heterodox christians in the IV century. It is possible that these controversies were largely known by Julian and that he has consciously recalled them in his panegyric to Helios intellective, mediator and saviour.
116. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Rossella Saetta Cottone Le soleil comme reflet et la question de la connaissance dans la pensée d’Empédocle: aux origines d’une image
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Questo articolo argomenta in favore della tesi di una collaborazione tra sensi e ragione nella gnoseologia di Empedocle. Il primo difensore di questa tesi, Sesto Empirico, distingueva nel pensiero empedocleo due forme di ragione (λόγος), una umana e l’altra divina. Viene sostenuta qui l’identificazione della ragione divina menzionata da Sesto con il dio protagonista del fr. 134DK, a cui il suo citatore, Ammonio, attribuisce il nome di Apollo. L’analisi proposta cerca di mostrare in particolare 1) che il dio menzionato nel fr. 134 e il sole della comologia empedoclea conosciuto grazie alla testimonianza di Aezio (A56) ; 2) che la costituzione fisica di questo dio solare, immagine luminosa proiettata sulla volta dell’etere, ne fa una figura velata della conoscenza, come relazione necessaria di esperienze sensibili e di contenuti intellettivi. La tradizione pitagorica che identificava il sole con Apollo troverebbe un prolungamento nella divinizzazione empedoclea della ragione.
117. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Fernando Rey Puente Simone Weil, Platon et le Bien
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The aim of this article is to provide an overview about Simone Weil’s interpretation of the Good in Plato. The article has two parts. In the first one, we focus on her exegesis of the ancient Greek civilization and of the Pythagorean tradition. We also signalize that her interpretation cannot be confused with the one done in Neoplatonism. After that, we investigate her interpretation of Plato’s philosophy with special emphasis on two dialogues : Republic and Timaeus. In the second part we research two main concepts of Simone Weil’s philosophy, i.e., the notions of value and of lecture and finalize our text with the question of how we should situate her appropriation of the Platonic tradition.
118. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Michel Narcy L’idée du bien chez trois platoniciens modernes: Alain, Pétrement, Weil
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This paper consists in three case studies of modern French philosophers who drew their inspiration from Plato : Emile Chartier (1868‑1951), known under his nom de plume Alain, famous as a teacher in the twenties of the last century, and two of his pupils, Simone Petrement (1907‑1992) and Simone Weil (1909‑1943). Great admirer of Plato, Alain taught the survival of his main thoughts through all the philosophical tradition and their agreement with the rationalistic mood of 19th‑20th century philosophy. This implied that these thoughts were stripped of the allegorical or mythological way in which Plato often expresses them. In particular, Plato’s allegory of the cave, one of his core images, turned out in Alain’s interpretation to be a metaphoric description of the difficult ascent of the mind up to scientific or at least rational knowledge. Consequently in this interpretation it was no longer question of any transcendency of the idea of the Good.Petrement and Weil remained faithful to their teacher and therefore to Platonic inspiration. Nevertheless, both of them, although in different ways, have reacted against this exhaustion of transcendence and come into conflict with modern interpretation of Plato. Petrement, even before specialising in the history of Gnosticism, worked out a dualistic system in which truth is absolutely transcendent because, as universal, it is unattainable for any particular mind inasmuch it is a subject’s mind. Truth, therefore, is unattainable throughout this life. On Weil’s part, the interest in Plato took place after a period of left wing militancy, following her discovery of Christianity and some personal experiences of mysticism. Platonism was for her a means of combining her new faith with a properly philosophical, i.e. rationalistic, way of thinking. Of course in this view transcendency was crucial to the idea of Good as much as to that of God. Whether this transcendency is more a matter of faith than of reason is at least uncertain.
119. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Marilena Vlad Denys l’Aréopagite et le principe donateur de bien
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In this article I discuss the perspective of Dionysius the Areopagite regarding the problem of the absolute Good. I begin with a short outline of the main Neoplatonic ideas concerning the identity between the One and the Good. I then try to show how, in Dionysius’ thinking, the role of the Good changes. The Good appears as the source of all procession and it aquires more and more names, as the procession advances. However, I also try to show the reverting manner in which these names (goodness, light, beauty and love) act.
120. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Francisco J. Gonzalez The Aristotelian Reception of the Idea of the Good According to Heidegger and Gadamer
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Pendant l’ete de 1928 Heidegger a offert un seminaire sur le troisieme livre de la Physique d’Aristote et donc sur l’explication aristotelicienne de la nature du mouvement (kinesis). La derniere seance de ce cours, qui eut lieu le 25 juillet, est d’une grande importance parce que c’est a cette occasion que Heidegger va au livre neuf de la Metaphysique pour essayer de comprendre la notion ontologique qui est a la base de l’interpretation aristotelicienne du mouvement : l’energeia. Mais dans les protocoles de ce seminaire qui se trouvent parmi les papiers de Heidegger et qui ont ete publies recemment dans le volume 83 de la Gesamtausgabe, la seance du 25 juillet se trouve absente. Ce fait a conduit l’editeur a conclure que le seminaire avait pris fin le 23 juillet, sans s’apercevoir donc que la conclusion du seminaire manquait. Il existe heureusement une transcription preservee parmi les papiers de l’etudiante de Heidegger, Helene Weiss, et accessible aujourd’hui dans les archives de l’universite de Stanford. Cette transcription montre que la derniere session eut bien lieu le 25 juillet et nous offre la lecture heideggerienne de Metaphysique IX qui ne se trouve pas dans la version de la Gesamtausgabe. C’est dans le contexte de cette lecture que Heidegger fait la declaration etonnante qui nous concerne ici : ≪Dans la derniere instance, la Metaphysique Θ revient a Platon ; la priorite de l’energeia est fondamentalement la meme chose (im Grunde dasselbe) que l’epekeina des Idees. (Donc, pour cette raison aussi la these de Jaeger d’une evolution chez Aristote est fausse, parce que la Metaphysique Θ appartient a la periode tardive dans laquelle Aristote aurait [selon cette these] surmonte le platonisme.)≫La première tâche que je me propose ici sera d’expliquer cette déclaration qui suggère une relation tres etroite, ou meme une identite, entre la notion aristotelicienne de l’energeia comme ayant une priorite vis‑a‑vis de la dunamis et la notion platonicienne de l’Idee du Bien comme etant epekeina de l’ousia. Pour cette explication je ferai appel non seulement au contexte du seminaire de 1928, mais aussi aux textes plus tardifs comme les Beitrage et les cours sur Nietzsche dans lesquels Heidegger semble presupposer et développer sa déclaration de 1928. Ma seconde tâche sera de comparer cette thèse heideggerienne a la tentative de Gadamer de surmonter l’opposition traditionnelle entre les ontologies de Platon et d’Aristote en faisant appel a l’idee du bien chez les deux. Cette tentative se trouve dans le texte Die Idee des Guten zwischen Plato und Aristoteles. La comparaison que j’entreprends ici va montrer certaines affinites entre les interpretations de l’Idee du Bien chez Heidegger et Gadamer, mais aussi de profondes differences qui vont determiner leurs differents projets philosophiques.