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1. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Walter Brogan Letter from the Editor
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2. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
David Farrell Krell “A Double Tale I Shall Tell . . . ”: Empedocles and Hölderlin on Tragic Nature and Tragic Purification
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Countless poets and thinkers over the ages have identified closely with Empedocles of Acragas. Friedrich Hölderlin (1770–1843) is one of these. The threeversions of his mourning-play, The Death of Empedocles, give us an opportunity to conceive of the unity of the Empedoclean project—to confront nature and humanexistence alike as tragic. Central to this tragic view of both On Nature and Purifications, reputedly the two books of Empedocles, is the theme of doubling and duplicity, especially the presence in the (one) sphere of love and strife. Tragic doubling is a unity in perpetual dispersion.
3. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Eric C. Sanday Philosophy as the Practice of Musical Inheritance: Book II of Plato’s Republic
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Philosophy is often taken at its core to be an argumentative appeal to our own native capacity to judge the truth without bias. I claim in this paper that the very notion of unbiased truth represents a particular interest, viz., the interests of the political as such: the city. My thesis is that Socrates’ city in speech in Book II of the Republic exposes the injustice concealed at the core of demonstrative philosophy, and on this basis he goes on to offer an account of philosophical education based on a notion of musical inheritance.
4. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Lawrence J. Hatab Writing Knowledge in the Soul: Orality, Literacy, and Plato’s Critique of Poetry
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In this essay I take up Plato’s critique of poetry, which has little to do with epistemology and representational imitation, but rather the powerful effects that poeticperformances can have on audiences, enthralling them with vivid image-worlds and blocking the powers of critical reflection. By focusing on the perceived psychological dangers of poetry in performance and reception, I want to suggest that Plato’s critique was caught up in the larger story of momentous shifts in the Greek world, turning on the rise of literacy and its far-reaching effects in modifying the original and persisting oral character of Greek culture. The story of Plato’s Republic in certain ways suggests something essential for comprehending the development of philosophy in Greece (and in any culture, I would add): that philosophy, as we understand it, would not have been possible apart from the skills and mental transformations stemming from education in reading and writing; and that primary features of oral language and practice were a significant barrier to the development of philosophical rationality (and also a worthy competitor for cultural status and authority). Accordingly, I go on to argue that the critique of writing in the Phaedrus is neither a defense or orality per se, nor a dismissal of writing, but rather a defense of a literate soul over against orality and the indiscriminate exposure of written texts to unworthy readers.
5. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Jena G. Jolissaint Sacred Doorways: Tracing the Body in Plato’s Timaeus
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This paper develops a structural parallel between the maternal/feminine body in Greek mythology and the figure of the body in Plato’s Timaeus. HistoricallyPlato is often portrayed as a thinker who is concerned with the corporeal only insofar as philosophy is engaged in transcending bodily limitations. Yet the Timaeus is not engaged in producing a dualistic opposition between the intelligible and the sensible, nor is Platonic philosophy a rejection of life in favor of the perfect wisdom that comes with death. The following work will suggest that the Timaeus is a dialogue deeply concerned with the question of birth and corporeality and that this concern is disclosed (and not repressed) in and through Timaeus’s evocation of the body.
6. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Omar Rivera The Comedy of Patricide (or: A Passing Sense of Manliness): Socrates’ Overcoming of Andreia
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This paper is an investigation of the role of comedy in philosophical thinking, particularly of how comedy reveals the erotic dimension of philosophical thinking.In the first half of the paper, I show that the relation between comedy and Eros is a powerful means to understand in what way philosophy is not technē. Philosophy in its erotic and comedic character is, rather, engaged with an appearing of things as ‘birthed’ or ‘living.’ In the second part of the paper, I focus on the role of comedy in the Laches. There I study the complex relationship between philosophy as erotic thinking and andreia or ‘manliness.’ I show that philosophy as erotic must distinguish itself from manliness and that the enactment of this differentiation is the core of the Laches. At the same time, manliness is not simply something that philosophy should not concern itself with. Philosophy must ask the question ‘what is manliness?’ as a way of enacting manliness and overcoming it, in an overcoming through which philosophy comes to its own erotic core.
7. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Francisco J. Gonzalez Dialogue Discontinued: Heidegger on a Few Pages of Plato’s Theaetetus
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According to Heidegger’s own testimony, his 1940 essay, “Plato’s Doctrine of Truth,” is derived from a course he first delivered in 1931/32. Yet, while an interpretation of the Theaetetus is central to the argument in 1931/32, this dialogue is not so much as mentioned in the 1940 essay. The reason is that Heidegger’s own careful and insightful reading of the Theaetetus simply does not support his thesis regarding Plato’s “doctrine of truth.” But then the real interest of this reading is that it affords the opportunity for pursuing a genuine dialogue between Heidegger and Plato that was too abruptly discontinued
8. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Jussi Backman All of a Sudden: Heidegger and Plato’s Parmenides
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The paper will study an unpublished 1930–31 seminar where Heidegger reads Plato’s Parmenides, showing that in spite of his much-criticized habit of dismissing Plato as the progenitor of “idealist” metaphysics, Heidegger was quite aware of the radical potential of his later dialogues. Through a temporal account of the notion of oneness (to hen), the Parmenides attempts to reconcile the plurality of beings with the unity of Being. In Heidegger’s reading, the dialogue culminates in the notion of the “instant” (to exaiphnēs, Augenblick)—a high point in the entire metaphysical tradition—where the temporal plurality of presence and un-presence converges into a unified disclosure.
9. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Huaiyu Wang Mesotēs, Energeia, and Alētheia: Discovering an Ariadne’s Thread through Aristotle’s Moral and Natural Philosophy
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Drawing upon John Burnet’s interpretation of mesotēs, I explore the original meanings of this important Greek word and its inherent relations to the conceptsof formal cause, final cause, and actuality (energeia). My investigation reveals the concept of mesotēs as an Ariadne’s thread running through the whole system ofAristotle’s moral and natural philosophy. It also throws a new light on the implications of Aristotle’s definition of moral virtue and the essential role it plays in the truth of human existence.
10. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Aryeh Kosman Ontological Differences: Being and Substance in Book V of the Metaphysics
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Aristotle’s discussions, in Metaphysics Delta 7 and 8, of things designated by the terms we translate ‘being’ and ‘substance’ are revealing in several respects. The discussion in chapter 7 reveals the centrality in his thinking of the distinction between in itself and accidental being, a distinction different from that between substance and the other categories. The discussion in chapter 8 in turn reveals not only two related criteria for calling things substance, but a distinction as well between entities that are called substances and the substance being which is the principle of their being so called.
11. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Christopher P. Long Aristotle’s Phenomenology of Form: The Shape of Beings that Become
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Scholars often assume that Aristotle uses the terms morphē and eidos interchangeably. Translators of Aristotle's works rarely feel the need to carry the distinctionbetween these two Greek terms over into English. This article challenges the orthodox view that morphē and eidos are synonymous. Careful analysis of texts fromthe Categories, Physics, and Metaphysics in which these terms appear in close proximity reveals a fundamental tension of Aristotle's thinking concerning the being of natural beings. Morphē designates the form as inseparable from the matter in which it inheres, while eidos, because it is more easily separated from matter, is the vocabulary used to determine form as the ontological principle of the composite individual. The tension between morphē and eidos—between form as irreducibly immanent and yet somehow separate—is then shown to animate Aristotle's phenomenological approach to the being of natural beings. This approach is most clearly enacted in Aristotle's biology, a consideration of which concludes the essay.
12. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
P. Christopher Smith Virgil’s Destruktion of the Stoic Rational Agent: Rehearing Aeneid IV after Nietzsche and Heidegger
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This paper uses the exchanges between the lovers Dido and Aeneas in Aeneid IV to undercut the pretensions of Stoic philosophers to lead a dispassionate, imperturbable life under the sole guidance of “reason.” It takes Aeneas as an example of Stoicism’s lawyer-like, falsified rationality—“I will say just a few words in regard to this matter [pro re]” (IV 336)—and Dido as an example of someone who, though under the sway of furor, nevertheless makes honest, reasoned arguments that are continuous with the feelings she is experiencing. The point is not that one is more at fault than the other but the rather more radical thesis that with his Aeneas character Virgil is showing that Stoicism’s ataraxia and apatheia are inevitably dissimulation, inevitably fake.
13. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Walter Brogan Letter from the Editor
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14. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Phil Hopkins Zeno’s Boêtheia Tôi Logôi: Thought Problems about Problems for Thought
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This essay addresses two central issues that continue to trouble interpretation of Zeno’s paradoxes: 1) their solution, and 2) their place in the history of philosophy. I offer an account of Zeno’s work as pointing to an inevitable paradox generated by our ways of thinking and speaking about things, especially about things as existing in the continua of space and time. In so doing, I connect Zeno’s arguments to Parmenides’ critique of “naming” in Fragment 8, an approach that I believe adds considerably to our understanding of both Zeno’s puzzles and this enigmatic aspect of Parmenides’ thought.
15. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Claudia Baracchi “Words of Air”: On Breath and Inspiration
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(1) In Plato’s Phaedrus divine inspiration comes literally to mean “environmental inspiration.” Intimated thereby is the insufficiency of all reflection on the divine and the natural which would fail to interrogate these categories precisely in their convergence, indeed, in their being (at) one. (2) The theme of inspiration, in its divine or elemental character, necessarily raises further questions concerning the status of inspired utterance—that is, in this case, of philosophical discourse itself. (3) These themes finally point to the problem of the provenance of speaking and writing, if not from a purely active and free subject.
16. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Alessandra Fussi “As the Wolf Loves the Lamb”: Need, Desire, Envy, and Generosity in Plato’s Phaedrus
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The Phaedrus’s Palinode ascribes to the wing the double function of lifting the soul towards truth while itself being nourished by truth. The paper concentrates on the role Socrates ascribes to the wing in the structure and ‘physiology’ of the soul—mortal and divine—as well as on the role it plays in Socrates’ subsequent phenomenological description of falling in love. The experience of love described in Socrates’ first speech—an experience dominated by envy—is examined in light of Socrates’ Palinode, by reference to Socrates’ account of the different ways souls can relate to truth before incarnation.
17. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Russell Winslow On the Nature of Epagôgê
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This essay pursues an interpretation of epagôgê in Aristotle in order to challenge the current claims in the scholarship that Aristotle’s method of discovery is, on the one hand, empirical or, on the other hand, a priori. In contrast to these claims, this essay offers a reading of the Analytica in conjunction with the Physics in order to propose the following: if we are to think through Aristotle’s method of discovery, we must first unhinge ourselves from the oppositional paradigm of empirical contra conceptual. Through the example of Aristotle’s inquiry into nature, it is shown that Aristotle’s method of discovery is, at once, one intimately betrothed to “conceptual” (or, more properly, “dialogical”) resources, while also subtended by a comportment itself wakeful and perceptive of the being undergoing inquiry.
18. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Emanuela Bianchi Material Vicissitudes and Technical Wonders: The Ambiguous Figure of Automaton in Aristotle’s Metaphysics of Sexual Difference
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In Aristotle’s physics and biology, matter’s capacity for spontaneous, opaque, chance deviation is named by automaton and marked with a feminine sign, while at the same time these mysterious motions are articulated, rendered knowable and predictable via the figure of ta automata, the automatic puppets. This paper traces how automaton functions in the Aristotelian text as a symptomatic crossing-point, an uncanny and chiasmatic figure in which materiality and logos, phusis, and technē, death and life, masculine and feminine, are intertwined and articulated. Automaton permits a mastery of generative materiality for teleological metaphysics, but also works to unsettle teleology’s systematic and unifying aspirations.
19. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
William Franke Praising the Unsayable: An Apophatic Defense of Metaphysics on the Basis of the Neoplatonic Parmenides Commentaries
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This essay represents a contribution to rewriting the history metaphysics in terms of what philosophy never said, nor could say. It works from the Neoplatonic commentary tradition on Plato’s Parmenides as the matrix for a distinctively apophatic thinking that takes the truth of metaphysical doctrines as something other than anything that can be logically articulated. The hymn is taken to epitomize the kind of discourse that arises in the wake of apophatic negation and witnesses to what the Logos cannot say. The essay contends that metaphysics as a discourse of the unspeakable may prove more viable than any purely logical system could.
20. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Michael Bray The Hedges that Are Set: Hobbes and the Future of Politics
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This essay traces out, in the works of Thomas Hobbes, the theoretical development of what I argue is the essential temporal element of modern thought: anxiety regarding the future. What finds systematic expression in Hobbes’s psychology and politics is the dilemma that modern thinking inherits: the project of social rationalization perpetuates an image of an indeterminate future, to which the only possible response is rational submission to a project of administration over men akin to that which science practices on nature.