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161. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Marisa Diaz-Waian, J. Angelo Corlett Kraut and Annas on Plato: Why Mouthpiece Interpreters are Stuck in the Cave
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Mouthpiece interpreters of Plato such as Richard Kraut and Julia Annas believe that Plato had philosophical beliefs, doctrines, and theories that he intended to convey in his dialogues. We argue that some of their primary arguments for this approach to Plato are problematic and that there is a more promising approach to Plato’s dialogues than the mouthpiece interpretation, all things considered.
162. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Brian Earl Johnson Ethical Roles in Epictetus
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Epictetus holds that agents can determine what is appropriate relative to their roles in life. There has been only piecemeal work on this subject. Moreover, current scholarship on Epictetus’s role theory often employs Cicero’s narrow and highly schematic role theory as a template for reconstructing Epictetus’s theory. I argue against that approach and show that Epictetus’s theory is more open-ended and is best presented as a set of criteria that agents must reflect upon in order to discover their many roles: their capacities, their social relations, their wishes, and even divine signs.
163. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
S. Montgomery Ewegen A Unity of Opposites: Heidegger’s Journey through Plato
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In his 1942 lectures on Hölderlin’s der Ister, Heidegger discerns within Hölderlin’s poetry a movement beyond the strictures of metaphysics and its representational language. This movement finds its most explicit articulation in the figure of the appropriative journey of the poet from the home into the land of the foreign fire. I argue that Heidegger’s reading of Hölderlin is rendered problematic by Heidegger’s own treatment of Plato’s ‘Myth of Er’ as it appears in his 1942–1943 Parmenides lectures, and that Heidegger’s reading of der Ister is itself a creative re-inscription of Plato’s ‘myth of Er.’
164. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Bradley Jay Strawser Those Frightening Men: A New Interpretation of Plato’s Battle of Gods and Giants
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In Plato’s Sophist (245e–247e) an argument against metaphysical materialism in the “battle of gods and giants” is presented which is oft the cause of consternation, primarily because it appears the characters are unfair to the materialist position. Attempts to explain it usually resort to restructuring the argument while others rearrange the Sophist entirely to rebuild the argument in a more satisfying form. I propose a different account of the argument that does not rely on a disservice to the materialist nor restructuring Plato’s argument. I contend, instead, that the argument is enthymematic in nature, allowing the definitions employed to flow out of the reasoning as originally presented. Moreover, it suggests that Plato’s idealism was so deeply ingrained that modern defenses of materialism were not even live options.
165. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Emma R. Jones The Nature of Place and the Place of Nature in Plato’s Timaeus and Aristotle’s Physics
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I offer a comparison between Plato’s discussion of χώρα in the Timaeus at 48A–53C and Aristotle’s discussion of τόπος in Physics Book IV, arguing that the two accounts have more in common than has been suggested by Continental scholars. Τόπος and χώρα both signal what I call the impasse of place as the question of that which cannot be reduced to either the sensible or the intelligible, and which (un)grounds such categories. Identifying this impasse reveals Plato’s and Aristotle’s accounts of “place” as strikingly dissimilar from the Newtonian category of Absolute Space; and it also suggests new ways of thinking the relationships between bodies, motion, place and nature.
166. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
D. Rita Alfonso On Necessity: A Primer For Interpreting Chora in Plato’s Timaeus
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Since Stalbaum’s 1838 translation revived interest in Plato’s Timaeus, commentators have tended to bracket the discourse on Necessity, reading it as either mythical or mystical. This essay offers an interpretation of Necessity that is also an assertion of its importance for understanding the philosophically important conception of chora-space found therein. Beginning with throwing ourselves back into the Presocratic milieu, I examine what remains of Presocratic notions of kreon and ananke (necessity) in order to move forward a more robust interpretation of the discourse on Necessity and chora-space.
167. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Annie Hounsokou “Exposing the Rogue in Us”: An Exploration of Laughter in the Critique of Judgment
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Kant’s treatment of laughter in section 54 of the Critique of Judgment is intriguing: he places laughter among the arts, but does not deem it serious enough to be a fine art. According to Kant, laughter is an agreeable art, and ministers only to the senses. But when he describes to us what laughter actually does, it turns out that this bodily phenomenon is actually a moral phenomenon akin to the sublime in that it elevates and humbles us at the same time. This paper revisits Kant’s aesthetic themes, shows the distinctive role of laughter in the third Critique, and explores the possibilities of a true reunification of law and freedom through laughter.
168. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Ladelle McWhorter Whatever Is Hardest: Charles Scott's Practice of Thinking
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Charles Scott has always encouraged his students to take up the questions they find most troubling, difficult, and even possibly unanswerable. For him, philosophy is about movements of thinking themselves rather than arrival at reasonable conclu­sions. In tribute to Scott as a teacher, this paper takes up a troubling and perhaps unanswerable question: How might we teach our students today so as to prepare them for life in a world of ecological instability beyond what any member of our species has ever experienced? It looks at the question of ethics in the midst of pollution, peak oil, and climate change.
169. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Nancy Tuana Preface
170. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
David Farrell Krell Narrative as Trauma and Resilience: Charles Scott's "Living with Indifference"
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After listing a series of topics in Scott’s Living with Indifference that I would have wanted to address but, if only for reasons of space, could not, I focus on the uses of narrative or fiction in Scott’s book. I am particularly interested in the relation of fiction to trauma. It is the resilience of fiction that perhaps enables it to speak—or to write—so eloquently about traumatic occurrences. As a writer of fiction, I am gripped by the proximity and even intimacy of fiction and trauma in Scott’s thinking.
171. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
John Sallis Once Again: What's the Matter with "Nature"?
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This paper resumes my discussion with Charles Scott concerning the concept of nature. The discussion stems from Scott’s book The Lives of Things, and this paper is prompted by a short text (appended to this paper) in which Scott elaborates and clarifies certain significant points. The focus of the discussion is on the double sense of nature, that the word can designate, at once, both natural things in their singular happening and the eidetic double, the essence, of such things. The key issue is the way in which the second, eidetic sense folds back over the first, singular sense so as to conceal it.
172. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
James Risser On Freedom in Another Sense
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This paper assesses the philosophical project of Charles Scott, beginning with his first book, Boundaries in Mind, and including his most recent work on “Bor­dered Americans.” The interpretive focus for the assessment concentrates on what Scott early on characterizes as boundary awareness: the appearing of difference in appearance. In this context, it is argued that what is fundamentally at issue in Scott’s philosophy is a sense of freedom other than that which is associated with subjectivity and its presumed autonomy.
173. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Walter Brogan The Middle Voice of Charles Scott: The Intimacy of Attentiveness and the Life of Wonder
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My essay attempts humbly to honor and celebrate the voice of Charles Scott by thematizing one of the major insights of his body of work, namely the significance of the middle voice. I attempt in various ways to show the significance of the middle voice in the work of Charles Scott and to offer some commentary on what is meant by the middle voice. Finally, I ask about the implications of a middle-voiced philosophy for an understanding of the self of human beings and for an understanding of the theme of indifference in relation to the lives of things that Scott addresses in his later work.
174. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
John Lysaker Finding My Way through Moral Space: A Whim-Wham for Charles Scott
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The ongoing task of self-discovery, which I figure as self-finding, following Emerson, is integral to the human condition. While its results are always fragmentary, self-finding also conducts the currents of life in ways that establish conditions for our lives and those of others. This activity is mistakenly constrained by Charles Taylor, who argues that it remains tied to moral space. Charles Scott’s work shows how moral space can be found in a manner that suspends the necessity of moral space and generates new possibilities.
175. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Alejandro A. Vallega Improper Borders: On the Openings and Convergences of Continental Philosophy with Non-Western Thought in Charles Scott’s Lectures on Cultural Borders
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In 2010, Charles Scott gave a course at the Collegium Phaenomenologicum in Italy titled “Bordered Americans.” The course followed his concern with understanding philosophical thought given our concrete cultural dynamics today. The lectures addressed the question of the limits and delimitations of borders as dynamic transformative events, which occur in encroachments between distinct and ever moving and shifting cultural configurations and borders. Scott emphasized the possibilities of thinking in such spaces, and ultimately situated Continental American philosophy in such disclosure. This essay is the fruit of long conversations with Scott about these issues; in it I aim to add a Latin American voice to his incisive analysis.
176. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Charles Scott Freedom and Oppression in North America
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This article is organized by issues of cruelty and mercy in connection with freedom and oppression in the formation of an exceptional North American cultural diversity. The two leading questions are: How might we address such issues as we live together in our profound and frequently mis-attuned differences with other people? Are there ways to mitigate the multiple cruelties of oppression in the amalgamation and clash of cultures in a country of borderlands? There are four major sections: “How Might We Think of Cultural Boarders and Questions of Freedom and Oppression?,” “How Should We Respond to Practices and Values that Are Abhorrent to Us?,” “How Might We Evaluate the Choices Like Those I Have Highlighted?,” and “Borderland Experiences.”
177. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Daniela Vallega-Neu Bodily Being and Indifference: An Encounter with Charles Scott's "Living with Indifference"
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This essay engages Scott’s Living with Indifference by inquiring how we may understand experiences of indifference as occurring in our bodily being. It brings together Heidegger’s notion of being-there (Da-sein) and Merleau-Ponty’s accounts of world and body as flesh. With respect to Merleau-Ponty, the discussion highlights his thought of a “dehiscence” of body and world, which opens the idea of a hollow in the flesh that “echoes” indifferent dimensions accompanying the happening of things and events. The essay concludes with the insight that we can be attuned to indifference because we carry indifference with us in our bodies.
178. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Dennis J. Schmidt The Idiom of the Ethical
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The purpose of this paper is to raise the question of ethical life independently of the framework of metaphysical assumptions, above all, independently of the language and idiom of conceptual reason. In order to carry out this project, which is akin to what Heidegger described as the project of formulating an “original ethics,” I take up several works by Charles Scott that I find offering especially productive openings for that project.
179. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Robert Bernasconi My Travels in Scott-land
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Charles Scott’s relation to the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas is complex because he is sometimes highly critical, rejecting many of the words Levinas employed, while nevertheless at other times being faithful to some of Levinas’s most original insights. Employing a word often used by Scott himself, I understand his reading of Levinas as an “interruption.” It is a word that also comes to mind when I think of our own discussions about the meaning of ethics from 1981 to 1990, discussions which seem to have brought us to a point of proximity. The essay is intended as a description and celebration of the experience of thinking in the company of a powerful thinker such as Charles Scott is.
180. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
John J. Stuhr Indifference, Description, Difference
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This essay explores four questions: Is there an indifferent dimension to our lives?; what is the relation of indifference to our everyday differentiated meanings, interpretations, preferences, and values?; is it possible to develop an attunement to an indifferent dimension of life and, if so, how?; and, is a life marked by or attuned to indifference better than a life without it? In response, through a concrete example and analysis of a novel and a poem, I characterize indifference as both negation and as a kind of power, engaging the views developed by Charles Scott. I conclude by linking indifference to a project of description, and show the limits to this project, whether it is labeled phenomenological or pragmatic.