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1. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Walter Brogan Letter from the Editor
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2. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Klaus Held Wonder, Time, and Idealization: On the Greek Beginning of Philosophy
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Following Heidegger’s lead, I first undertake a description of philosophical wonder. A second task emerges out of this, the task of describing the manner of experiencing time upon which this wonder is based. Here I attend specifically to Plato’s discussion thereof. In the third and final section of my considerations, I illustrate how “idealization” follows from wonder and the accordant experience of time, “idealization” being that mental operation which, according to Husserl, has determined the consequent development of European culture in its scientific character from Plato and Aristotle up to the contemporary crisis.
3. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Gary M. Gurtler, S.J. Plotinus: Matter and Otherness, “On Matter” (II 4[12])
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An examination of Plotinus’s treatise on matter, II 4[12], reveals interesting paradoxes. He seems to use Aristotle’s matter to explain Plato’s receptacle. Attention to the text reveals that both matter and the receptacle are, in fact, recast in terms of the otherness of Plato’s Sophist. By this, Plotinus articulates how matter and the receptacle function as the condition of possibility for the sensible cosmos. His analysis of related terms further supports this rapprochement: privation and substrate exclude quality and quantity as attributes of matter; and the indefinite, the unlimited, size and mass echo the paradoxical language of the Timaeus.
4. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
James Eric Butler Effluvia: Empedocles Studies
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Taking as a guiding theme his claim that “there are effluvia from all things that have come to be,” (DK B89), the author presents a reading of Empedocles that stresses the central role of effluvia in his natural philosophy. In presentations of Empedocles, the tradition has usually emphasized the importance of the elements—earth, air, water, fire, Love, and Strife. But as an alternative to that tradition, the author here argues that one must bring to the forefront the role of the effluvia, which give to Empedocles’ cosmology a fluid, viscous character. The history of western natural science has been dominated by a mechanics of solid bodies following, however indirectly, in the tradition of the atoms and void of early Greek atomism. Empedocles represents a forgotten exception to that history, and the present paper attempts to return to his philosophy, unearth its fluid mechanical foundations, and present a challenging alternative to the dominant physical paradigm.
5. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
P. Christopher Smith Poetry, Socratic Dialectic, and the Desire of the Beautiful in Plato’s Symposium
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I attempt in this paper to argue a thesis that is the opposite of the standard reading of Plato’s Symposium. I maintain that it is not the persuasive speech of thecomic or tragic poets that is criticized and undermined in the dialogue, but Socratic dialectic and dialogical argumentation. This is to say, it is not Aristophanes’ and Agathon’s speeches that are the object of Plato’s critique, but Socrates’ minimalist and rather unpoetic elenchos. My anaysis leads to the conclusion that Diotima’s speech is meant to be recognized as Plato’s own invention in order to highlight the abstraction and utter unmusicality of Socratic dialectic.
6. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Jill Gordon Eros in Plato’s Timaeus
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The Timaeus, a decidedly non-erotic dialogue, provides surprising philosophical insight into the role and importance of eros in human life. Contrary to manytraditional readings of the dialogue, the Timaeus indicates that eros is an original part of the disembodied soul as created by the demiurge, and as such, is part of the noetic or intelligent design of the cosmos. Timaeus reveals, furthermore, that eros is the moving force behind our desire to know first causes and the noetic world, that eros, like the senses and emotions, needs to be trained and guided toward its proper objects, and that eros is distinct from appetitive desires in the mortal soul.
7. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Alejandro A. Vallega The Lightness of Words: On the Translucence of the Philosophical Logos in Plato’s Phaidros
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Through a discussion of “translucence” in Plato’s Phaidros and in Juan Jose Saer’s “On Line,” in this essay I attempt to engage the simultaneous experience of the concrete sense of language and of the appearing of beings in their materiality through language. The discussion ultimately suggests that, when taken in its full force, the philosophical logos figures the elemental translucence of beings in their intelligibility; a formulation meant to resist the separation of language and concreteness. Such an interpretation of the philosophical logos also leads to the understanding of thought as an elemental, interpretative, transformative, and “marginal” experience.
8. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Sara Brill Diagnosis and the Divided Line: Pharmacological Concerns in Plato’s Republic
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From the care Plato takes in describing the excellence of the doctor in book 3 to the characterization of various pathological elements in the regimes he describes in book 8, the Republic teems with references to medical terms and concepts. The following investigates the breadth of the influence of medicine on the Republic. I argue that a medical vocabulary proves indispensable to indicating the relationship between philosophy and politics that the Republic envisages. In order to do so, this paper examines the confluence of medicine and metaphysics revealed by a comparison between the discussion of the divided line and ancient characterizations of diagnosis. I then conclude with a reading of the Glaucus image in book 10 that emphasizes its self-diagnostic character.
9. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Corinne Painter In Defense of Socrates: The Stranger’s Role in Plato’s Sophist
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In this essay I argue that the Stranger’s interest in keeping the philosopher and the sophist distinct is connected, primarily, to his assessment of the charges ofsophistry advanced against Socrates, which compels him to defend Socrates from these unduly advanced accusations. On this basis, I establish that the Stranger’s task in the Sophist, namely to keep philosophy distinct from sophistry, is intimately tied to the project of securing justice and is therefore not merely of theoretical importance but is also—and essentially—of political and ethical significance.
10. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Günter Figal Language Between Voice and Writing: On Philosophy as Deconstruction and Dialectic
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This paper is concerned with the relationship between philosophy and rhetoric. It argues that philosophical claims are bound to language, and yet philosophy’sclaim to objective clarity is meaningless if language is radically perspectival. The paper attempts to show the limitations and possibilities that Platonic dialectics and Derridean deconstruction share in their respective approaches to the analysis of language and the relationship between speech and writing. The paper concludes that language is ambiguous, neither reducible to the relativism of sophistry nor to the essentialism of metaphysics. Against Derrida, the paper argues that without structure, voice is not language; it renders only inarticulate sounds. Yet in speaking, this structural aspect gets taken for granted and passed over. Only when language is established in writing is the possibility of voice first recognized.
11. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Heidi Northwood Disobedient Matter: The Female Contribution in Aristotle’s Embryology
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In his article “Metaphysics in Aristotle’s Embryology” (Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 214 [1988]), John Cooper argues that it is wrong tothink that the movements that come from the female in Aristotle’s version of animal generation play any sort of formal role in the resultant offspring. In this paper I raise some doubts about Cooper’s thesis through a consideration of three key passages from the Generation of Animals (GA IV.1 766b15–16, IV.3 767b22–23, and IV.3 768a12–14) which open a discussion of Aristotle’s views on the distinctions between form and matter, active and passive principles, deficiency, summetria, and, more generally, the importance of being sensitive to the analogous uses of terms.
12. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Friederike Rese Praxis and Logos in Aristotle: On the Meaning of Reason and Speech for Human Life and Action
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This article is a summary of the main results of a more extended study published in German as a book entitled “Praxis und Logos bei Aristoteles” (FriederikeRese, Praxis und Logos bei Aristoteles. Handlung, Vernunft und Rede in ‘Nikomachischer Ethik,’ ‘Rhetorik’ und ‘Politik,’ Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003). My thesis with regard to the relation of praxis and logos in Aristotle is that logos is not only responsible for determining human life and action, but also for their indeterminacy. Taking the forms of reason and speech, logos can determine the life of an individual agent as well as of a community of agents. With regard to individual life, I investigate which moments of the soul determine individual action and how they can be addressed by the speech of others. With regard to public life, I show how public speech and law are relevant to the organization of political life in a community. Finally, I consider the ontological and logical foundations of the determination of human action. Here it will become clear why logos grounds both the determination as well as the indeterminacy of human life and action.
13. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Walter Brogan Letter from the Editor
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14. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Martin Beck Matuštík Between Hope and Terror: Habermas and Derrida Plead for the Im/Possible. To Jacques Derrida in memoriam (1930–2004)
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His Paulskirche speech on October 14, 2001, marked Habermas’s turn to public criticism of the unilateral politics of global hegemony as he promoted a globaldomestic and human rights policy. Two years later he joined ranks with Jacques Derrida against the eight “new” Europeans who lent signatures to the second Gulf War. Lest we misjudge the joint letter by Habermas and Derrida as peculiarly Eurocentric and even oblivious to the worldwide nature of the antiwar protest on February 15, 2003, we must read their new alliance in the context of its emergence: Derrida and Habermas introduce a corrective that neither invokes the geographical heart of Europe nor the cosmopolitan westernization of the world. In this essay, first, I revisit the imaginary conversation between Habermas and Derrida from 1995. Second, I highlight the persisting differences in their post-2001 thinking, pairing up key political concepts that illustrate how each thinker hopes for that which is to come after the death of God. Third, I press ahead to a new critical theory that articulates postsecular hope after the death of God.
15. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Daniela Vallega-Neu Driven Spirit: On the Body in Max Scheler’s Phenomenology
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This essay proposes a reading of Scheler’s work that puts into question the separation of principles he claims for life and spirit, or body and thought. After considering how Scheler opens possibilities to think the body non-objectively when he conceives it as an analyzer that determines if and how one perceives something, the essay moves to a discussion of his late work Man’s Place in Nature. Here Scheler thinks the mutual penetration of life and spirit while still maintaining their distinction by claiming that they have separate principles. By focusing on the performativity of Scheler’s thought, the essay aims at uncovering a dimension of his thought that undermines this distinction and allows for new possibilities of understanding the lived body.
16. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Roy Brand Schlegel’s Fragmentary Project
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This paper investigates the new form of writing—the fragmentary project—that Friedrich Schlegel developed in response to Kant’s systematic philosophy.The fragments, I argue, are not anti-systematic; rather, they elucidate the idea that philosophy, like the modern work of art, no longer represents the unity of a closed system but a unity beyond the system. The fragmentary project is an ambitious attempt to find a form of philosophical coherence beyond the compulsion of a system. In contrast to the traditional view which regards the fragment as expressing relativistic, skeptic, and at bottom, anarchic sentiments, this account views the fragment as a figure of writing that does not represent but itself enacts the movement toward greater coherence and communication.
17. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Corinne Painter Aristotle and Functionalism: A Re-Examination of their “Natural” Disagreement
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In this paper I provide a compelling argument against the thesis that Aristotle’s understanding of the relation between the soul and the body can be construed asfunctionalist, despite some passages that would seem to support such an interpretation. Toward this end, in section I of the essay I offer an interpretation of Aristotle’s account of the soul-body relation that emphasizes the non-contingent nature of the connection between the soul and a specific kind of body, arguing that Aristotle’s account of the soul as the “form” and “actuality” of the living thing, and of the organic body as its “matter” and “potentiality,” shows their necessary relation with one another. In section II, I present the functionalist account of mind, placing especial emphasis on its post-Cartesian genesis, which takes seriously the “problematic” status of the relation between mind and body. I then attempt to show, in section III, how because functionalism holds that psychic capacities can be realized within a number of different material bases, including physical and artificial systems, it is incompatible with Aristotle’s conception of the necessary soul-body relation, and thus that Aristotle’s account of psuche is not best construed as functionalist.
18. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Jason Aleksander Modern Paradoxes of Aristotle’s Logic
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This paper intends to explain key differences between Aristotle’s understanding of the relationships between nous, epistêmê, and the art of syllogistic reasoning(both analytic and dialectical) and the corresponding modern conceptions of intuition, knowledge, and reason. By uncovering paradoxa that Aristotle’s understanding of syllogistic reasoning presents in relation to modern philosophical conceptions of logic and science, I highlight problems of a shift in modern philosophy—a shift that occurs most dramatically in the seventeenth century—toward a project of construction, a pervasive desire for rational certainty, and a general insistence on the reducibility of the sciences. The major motivation of this analysis is my intention to show that modern attempts to reduce science/epistêmê to a single science/method of inquiry occlude dialectical and ethico-political dimensions of “reason” and, hence, also impoverish philosophy’s critical capacities.
19. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Charlotta Weigelt Logos as Kinesis: Heidegger’s Interpretation of the Physics in Grundbegriffe der aristotelischen Philosophie
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This article discusses Heidegger’s lecture course Grundbegriffe der aristotelischen Philosophie, which focuses on Aristotle’s conception of the relationbetween the essence of man, logos, and the being of the world, kinesis. It is argued that the overall aim of Heidegger’s interpretation is to show that, on the one hand, it is Aristotle’s insight into the nature of logos that has made possible the great achievement of the Physics: the explication of being in terms of kinesis or movement; but that, on the other hand, the concept of kinesis in its turn leads Aristotle to a notion of being as perfect presence, entelecheia, which proves to have problematic consequences for his concept of logos. Heidegger’s own project is then presented as a critical retrieval of Aristotle’s understanding of the relation between logos and kinesis.
20. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Tracy Colony Telling Silence: The Question of Divinity in Heidegger’s Early Nietzsche Lectures
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In this article, I argue that the question of divinity provides an important context for reading Heidegger’s initial two Nietzsche lecture courses (1936–37). First,I demonstrate how this often overlooked background can shed light upon the way in which Heidegger understood the meanings of will to power and eternal recurrence in this period. Second, I argue that the related themes of need (Not) and necessity (Notwendigkeit) in these lectures can be seen as an important framework for understanding the relation between Heidegger’s early Nietzsche engagement and his Contributions to Philosophy (1936–38).