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181. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Tyler Tritten A Will Free to Presence . . . or Not: Schelling on the Originality of the Will
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This article presents Schelling’s doctrine of creation, primarily as outlined in his lectures on mythology and revelation. Schelling there presents not a will to power, but a power to will or not to will—the decisiveness of freedom rather than blind willing. Accordingly, Schelling is able to surpass the tradition of the metaphysics of presence through freedom as an unprecognoscible act prior to potency/power. Schelling’s will is not natural but preternatural, capable of bringing forth something original, i.e., that which first becomes possible only once it has already become actual.
182. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Katrina Mitcheson Translating Man Back into Nature: Nietzsche's Method
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While the relationship between Nietzsche and naturalism has been surveyed, why Nietzsche sets himself apart from nineteenth-century naturalists has not been adequately explained. I argue that it is a new method, necessary for the task of deciphering the text of homo natura, which distinguishes Nietzsche. A capacity to endure a greater degree of solitude is required in order to cultivate a new skepticism, allow sufficient attention to our drives, and enable the incorporation of truths that undermine herd morality. Thus, the translation of man back into nature involves both understanding man in natural terms and a re-naturalization of man.
183. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Joseph Arel The Necessity of Recollection in Plato’s Meno and Derrida’s Memoirs of the Blind
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In Memoirs of the Blind, Derrida not only makes repeated references to anamnēsis in Plato’s texts, but writes the text in a way that follows from the discussions found in Plato’s Meno. Focusing on the account of recollection given in Plato’s Meno reveals a passive structure that is also found in Plato and Derrida’s use of hypothesis. Following Derrida, these insights are applied to self-representation, which is revealed to have a similar structure to the structure found in the logic of hypothesis and recollection. These texts provide an argument for the hypothetical nature of self-representation and the limited knowledge one can claim to have of the self.
184. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Gaetano Chiurazzi Incommensurability and Definition in Plato's Theaetetus
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Unlike most readings of Plato’s Theaetetus, which concentrate on gnoseology, this paper places it in the debate on commensurable and incommensurable magnitudes that distinguished Greek philosophical and mathematical thought at the beginning of the 4th century BC and in which Theaetetus played a leading role. The argumentation of the dialogue shows clearly how this debate was important for Plato, to the point that the entire dialogue can be considered as an attempt to consider seriously how incommensurability, and its ontological correlate, the concept of dynamis, could elaborate a new form of logos.
185. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Patrick Craig Absoluta Cogitatio: Badiou, Deleuze, and the Equality of Powers in Spinoza
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Alain Badiou’s relationship to the work of Baruch Spinoza is a complex one. Though Badiou admires Spinoza’s courageous pursuit of the more geometrico, he is ardently critical of Spinoza on a number of fundamental ontological issues. Because of this, Spinoza often has had to bear the brunt of Badiou’s theoretical attacks. But how successful is Badiou’s attack on Spinoza? In this paper, I aim to show that this attack fails by examining the critique of Spinoza that Badiou provides in his “Spinoza’s Closed Ontology,” which can be found in his Theoretical Writings. Badiou’s essential claim is that the ontology of Spinoza’s Ethics employs structures or procedures that are heterogeneous to that ontology. I rely on Gilles Deleuze’s reading of Spinoza, as found in his Expressionism in Philosophy, to pinpoint precisely where Badiou’s reading of Spinoza goes wrong. I show not only that Badiou’s critique of Spinoza fails to recognize a central structural feature of Spinoza’s ontology, namely the two powers of God—the power to exist and act, and the power to think and know—but also that this misrecognition is the condition for the possibility of Badiou’s mistaken critique. The paper then discusses how it is that these issues relate, more broadly, to the relationship between Deleuze and Badiou.
186. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Ryan Drake Aristotelian Aisthesis and the Violence of Suprematism
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Kazimir Malevich’s style of Suprematist painting represents the inauguration of nothing less than a new form of culture premised upon a demolition of the Western tradition’s reifying habits of objective thought. In ridding his canvases of all objects and mimetic conventions, Malevich sought to reconfigure human perception in such a way as to open consciousness to alternative modes of organization and signification. In this paper, I argue that Malevich’s revolutionary aesthetic strategy can be illuminated by a return to the very basis of this tradition, namely by a reconsideration of Aristotle’s account in De Anima III.2 of the initial possibility of objective perception as such.
187. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
David Storey Heidegger and the Question Concerning Biology: Life, Soul, and Nature in the Early Aristotle Lecture Courses
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While Heidegger has long been cast as hostile to or neglectful of life-philosophy, his work on Aristotle in the 1920s demonstrates a struggle to articulate an ontology of life. I argue that this is no peripheral concern in his work and should be seen in the broader context of the development of his philosophy of nature. I submit that we can triangulate Heidegger’s position on the ontological status of life by tracing the tension between the Kantian and Aristotelian strains in his work. His early forays into life-philosophy and philosophical biology, while incomplete and inconclusive, challenge our picture of him as espousing a view of human existence dissociated from living and natural being.
188. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Gregory Kirk Misreading the Unparticipated Source of Difference in Deleuze's Reversal of Platonism
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In this article, I argue that in his “reversal of Platonism” in The Logic of Sense, Gilles Deleuze does not adequately consider in what sense Plotinus identifies The One as “unparticipated.” I further claim that when The One is understood in the sense I consider Plotinus to have presented it, it shows itself to have attributes similar to Deleuze’s “dark precursor,” insofar as both The One and the dark precursor are ineffable, are inexhaustible, and contain absolute generative power. I propose that examining conceptual similarities between the works of such figures—about whose concepts similarity is undoubtedly counter-intuitive—sheds interesting light on important characteristics of Platonism, and in particular about the underappreciated sense in which the concept of difference is richly developed in the Platonic tradition.
189. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Michael Marder On the Verge of Respect: Ontological and Phenomenological Investigations into Plant Ethics
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In contrast to the legal, metaphysically laden, and epistemological paradigms, the ontological interpretation of respect concerns not only the relation between the “subject” and the “object” (or, better, the provider and the recipient, of this attitude) but also the being of the respected and the respecting. This paper develops an ontology of respect with regard to the human treatment of plants and teases out the meanings of vegetal life that germinate in this relation. What is at stake, I claim, is not so much an objective ontology as the phenomenological disclosure of the meanings of human and vegetal lives, construed “from within,” i.e., both in the context of the interactions between them and from the unique standpoint proper to each kind of being. Far from an ethical supplement to a theoretical description of vegetal beings, respect is the prism through which we may first gain access to plant ontology.
190. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Jerome Veith Concerned with Oneself as One Person: Self-Knowledge in Phronesis
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This paper addresses the debate concerning the nature of Aristotelian phronêsis and the objects to which it is directed. After a preparatory distinction from other intellectual virtues, I elucidate phronêsis’s connection to character-virtue and deliberation, highlighting the crucial role of perception. Focusing on moral sensibility serves to underscore the particular nature of the objects of phronêsis, and introduces its aspect of self-knowledge. This determination, finally, helps characterize the project of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics as an indirect education in phronêsis.
191. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Dimitrios Dentsoras The Birth of Supererogation
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The essay investigates the philosophical infancy of the idea that some actions are morally praiseworthy while not being morally obligatory. It focuses on Thomas Aquinas’s distinction between commandments and counsels, the early Christian idea that some acts go beyond nature, and the Stoic notion of circumstantially appropriate actions. I discuss the Christian and Stoic justification of acts of self-denial, such as celibacy, poverty, and martyrdom, and attempt to find a unitary source of goodness and moral obligation that allows for such supererogatory acts. Nature provides such a unitary source in the early Christian theologian Athanasius and the Stoics. I discuss how nature determines one’s duties while also allowing for praiseworthy acts outside the scope of these duties, and in seeming contrast with them.
192. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Jeffrey Reid The Hobbesian Ethics of Hegel's Sense-Certainty
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In this paper, I explore the largely ignored ethical dimension in the first section of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, Sense-certainty, which tends to be understood exclusively as an epistemological critique of sense-data empiricism. I approach the ethical aspect of the chapter through Hegel’s analysis of language, there, as unable to refer to individual things. I then show that the position Hegel analyses is akin to the one presented by Thomas Hobbes in his Leviathan, as well as in his De Corpore, and which serves to ground his naturalistic ethics. The linguistic juxtaposition consequently allows me to relate the ethics of sense-certainty to Hobbes, not only to his “shallow” empiricism, as Hegel puts it, but to the ethical vision Hobbes presents in his state of nature.
193. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Brian Seitz The Other Subject of Husserl: A Troubled Double
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Husserl’s “Fifth Meditation” is an effort to establish intersubjectivity, the necessary passage to the Objective world. Two conflicting tendencies govern Husserl’s discourse here: 1) a privileged desire to maintain the primacy of the monadic Ego, which is 2) the origin of a desire to recognize the other and thus to secure intersubjectivity. By focusing on the conflict between these tendencies and on his abrupt introduction of the body into the text in an attempt to resolve them, I try to show through “something like” a deconstruction that Husserl does not resolve the problem of the other but begins and ends this key chapter in an impasse.
194. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Daniel Whistler Purely Practical Reason: Normative Epistemology from Leibniz to Maimon
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In this paper, I contend that a crucial historical precedent for contemporary interest in virtue epistemology is to be found in Leibniz-Wolffian rationalism. For philosophers from Wolff to Lessing, epistemology was thoroughly normative; that is, the task of epistemology was not to describe knowledge, but set rules for the amelioration of knowledge. Such a normative stance was transferred into cognate disciplines, such as aesthetics, as well. I further argue that after Kant’s Copernican revolution in philosophy in 1781 strands of this normative epistemology lived on in both Schiller’s aesthetics and Maimon’s reworking of transcendental idealism. Finally, I suggest some provisional reasons for considering Kant’s epistemology a break with this tradition.
195. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Andrew T. LaZella De Aventure: Matter, Causal Violence, and the Event Worthy of Its Name
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That the category of violent causation has passed from the register of “useful” scientific categories is without question. And yet, in a time of ecological crisis, this conceptual atavism reflects not some idyllic pre-modern past, but the present ubiquity of causal violence. Tracing a course through medieval Aristotelianism will show not only that violence cannot be reduced to artificial production, but also that its operation remains phantasmatic insofar as it seeks to exclude the very condition upon which it is founded: possibility. And as the possibility to end all possibility, violence neutralizes “any event worthy of its name.”
196. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Lewis Meek Trelawny-Cassity On the Foundation of Theology in Plato's Laws
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While recent scholarship often makes the claim that Plato’s theology in the Laws is based upon inferences from observable features about the world, this interpretation runs into difficulties when one considers (1) the continuing importance that the Socratic turn undertaken in the Phaedo has for speculation in the Laws about the order of the cosmos and (2) the actual observations that Plato makes about the sublunar and celestial realms in the Laws. In light of these difficulties, I develop an interpretation of the theology of the Laws that seeks to show the priority of soul to matter by means of an articulation of the fundamental orientation to the world that is manifest in human beings seeking shared understanding through λόγος. This fundamental orientation is characterized by the recognition that νοῦς, not personal ambition, should guide human action and thought, and I argue that this recognition supplies at least partial support for the belief that νοῦς is in control of the cosmos. This interpretation helps makes sense of difficult passages in the Platonic corpus that ground cosmology on piety (Laws 10.898c6, Philebus 28e2, Timaeus 29a4). The relationship of this philosophical piety to the piety required by the laws of Magnesia is, however, problematic, and it could appear that Plato bridges this gap by a prudentialist account of why the laws of the city should be considered divine. I broach this problem in the final section of this paper by way of an examination of the relationship between the second sailing (δεύτερος πλοῦς) of the Phaedo and the δεύτερος πλοῦς of the Statesman and the Laws. I conclude with the observation that both the Phaedo and the Laws make use of an enchantment (ἐπῳδή) that goes beyond the bounds of what λόγος can establish.
197. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
James Wood Taming the Cosmic Rebel: The Place of the Errant Cause in the Timaeus
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This paper examines the errant cause in the Timaeus. After eliminating the material elements, matter, chōra, and irrational soul, I show that the source of cosmic disorder lies in the manifestation of difference in genesis. This disorder is a necessary feature of demiurgic formation, which requires generated beings to fall short of their paradigmatic forms and to encounter each other in destabilizing motions. Errancy is thus a threat to generated beings, but it also presents an opportunity and a task to those beings capable of bringing sameness to difference in themselves in imitation of the demiurge and cosmic soul.
198. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Edward Butler Animal and Paradigm in Plato
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The paradigm according to which the cosmos is ordered by the demiurge is characterized in the Timaeus as ‘Animal Itself,’ while παράδειγμα in the vision of Er from the Republic denotes the patterns of lives chosen by individual humans and other animals. The essay seeks to grasp the animality of the paradigm, as well as the paradigmatic nature of animality, by means of the homology discernible between these usages. This inquiry affirms the value within a Platonic doctrine of principles of persons over reified forms, of modes of unity over substantial natures, and of agency over structure.
199. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Mathias Warnes Heidegger on Hölderlin's Festival: The Wedding Dance as the Inceptual Event
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After accounting for the festival as a philosophical theme across Heidegger’s early to later writings, this article summarizes the 1943 “Andenken” essay on Hölderlin’s “wedding festival” and 1959 “Hölderlin’s Earth and Heaven” essay on the “round dance.” It then explores how these motifs of the wedding festival and its round dance are in play in the 1936–1937 Contributions to Philosophy: Of the Event manuscript, especially in its philosophy of attunement, and notion of the “celebration of the last god.”
200. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Günter Figal Is There Any Truth in Art?: Aesthetical Considerations
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This paper discusses the question if there is any truth in art. Initially it poses the question whether artworks are just mere appearances or whether they have a special truth. In critical reflection on Heidegger’s conception of art as the “setting-itself-to-work of truth” this question is then elaborated and answered: The appearance character of artworks cannot be conceived as truth. What true artworks show, namely mere possibilities, is beyond truth, because it does not belong to the real world. Artworks are not true; in their decentered order and their self-showing nature they are beautiful.