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Displaying: 1-11 of 11 documents


1. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Colin C. Smith Toward a Two-Route Interpretation of Parmenidean Inquiry
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In this paper I challenge the orthodox view regarding the number of routes of inquiry in Parmenides’s poem. The narrating goddess in Fragment 2 identifies ‘the only routes of inquiry there are for knowing,’ (i) guided by the ‘[. . .] is [. . .]’ and (ii) guided by ‘what-is-not as such.’ In Fragment 6, the goddess considers taking (iii) ‘both to be and not to be’ to be ‘the same and not the same,’ and most modern commentators hold that this constitutes a third route. I argue instead that this interpretation entails missing the routes’ fundamental interconnections, and that the goddess describes only two. To show this, I consider Fragments 2 and 6 before turning to key notions in Doxa, particularly the constitutive ontological kinds ‘light’ and ‘night,’ to account for the second, mortal route. Mortals have missed the being of these two, and I develop an account of the inquiry that is guided by this insight.
2. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
John V. Garner Creative Discovery: Proclus and Plato on the Emergence of Scientific Precision
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In his commentary on Euclid, Proclus develops what he takes to be an important Platonic critique of the epistemology of abstraction. As I argue, his argument closely reflects terminology and concepts from Plato’s Philebus. Both emphasize the priority—in reality and in our awareness—of the precise over the imprecise. Specifically, Proclus’s famous notion of the psychical “projection” of intermediate mathematical entities, while having no technically exact precedent in Plato, finds a conceptual neighbor in the Philebus’s suggestion that philosophical arithmeticians “posit” pure units for counting. Likewise, for both our self-engagement in mathematical thinking (which has importance even for non-mathematical inquiries) serves to clarify the independence of the precise sciences—both in their content and in their practice—from perception. Thus, as I argue, Plato and Proclus, with their different terms and nuances, develop a shared conception scientific inquiry in which an activity of “creative discovery” plays a central role.
3. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Rebekah Johnston Aristotle on Wittiness: Verbally Abusing One’s Friends in the Right Way
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Aristotle claims, in his Nicomachean Ethics, that in addition to being, for example, just and courageous, and temperate, the virtuous person will also be witty. Very little sustained attention, however, has been devoted to explicating what Aristotle means when he claims that virtuous persons are witty or to justifying the plausibility of the claim that wittiness is a virtue. It becomes especially difficult to see why Aristotle thinks that being witty is a virtue once it becomes clear that Aristotle’s witty person engages in what he calls ‘educated insolence’. Insolence, for Aristotle, is a form of slighting which, as he explains in the Rhetoric, generally causes the person slighted to experience shame and anger. In this paper, I attempt to bring some clarity to Aristotle’s claim that being witty is a virtue by examining why Aristotle thinks that the object of a witty person’s raillery will find this joking pleasant.
4. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Sean Erwin Mixed Bodies, Agency and Narrative in Lucretius and Machiavelli
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Scholars have cited the influence of Lucretius on Machiavelli as important to framing Machiavelli’s position on the freedom of political agents. Some scholars like Roecklin (2012) and Rahe (2007, 2008) argue that Machiavelli was a determinist based on Machiavelli’s rejection of the clinamen; others argue with Brown (2010, 2013, 2015) and Morfino (2006, 2011) that Machiavelli’s affirmation of Lucretian natural principles left room for the freedom of agents. However, this paper takes a different approach by arguing that Machiavelli successfully resists identification with either of these positions. I argue here that Machiavelli affirms a notion of agency that reflects the influence of the Lucretian notion of mixed bodies where human actions emerge from an irreducible multiplicity of subjective and objective factors. I also argue that Machiavelli structures the narratives describing the actions of his agents in a way that supports interpreting their actions as both contingent and necessary.
5. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Thora Ilin Bayer The Two Views of Renaissance Philosophy
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In the study of the history of philosophy, there is a long-standing question as to whether works produced between the mid-fourteenth century and the end of the sixteenth century, the Renaissance, can be rightly understood as philosophy or as primarily literary and rhetorical in character. The latter view is prominently held by Paul Oskar Kristeller but has precedent in Hegel’s treatment of this period in his History of Philosophy. That the works of major figures of this period are essentially philosophical is a view held, in quite different ways, by Ernst Cassirer and Ernesto Grassi. This essay examines the origin and nature of these views and advances a general perspective through which they may be brought together.
6. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Razvan Ioan Descartes’s Turn to the Body
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What are Descartes’s views on the body and how do they change? In this article, I try to make clearer the nature of the shift towards an increased focus on the body as ‘my’ body in Descartes’s Passions of the Soul. The interest in the nature of passions, considered from the point of view of the ‘natural scientist’, is indicative of a new approach to the study of the human. Moving beyond the infamous mind-body union, grounded in his dualist metaphysics, Descartes begins developing a philosophical anthropology centred on the notion of power and better suited to practical philosophy.
7. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Dimitris Vardoulakis Why Is Spinoza an Epicurean?
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The article argues that Spinoza’s political philosophy is best understood by tracing the influence of epicureanism in his thought.
8. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Matthew J. Dennis Virtue as Empowerment: Spinozism in Nietzsche’s Ethics
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Virtue ethical interpretations of Nietzsche are increasingly viewed as a promising way to explain his moral philosophy, although current interpretations disagree on which character traits he regards as virtues. Of the first-, second-, and third-wave attempts addressing this question, only the latter can explain why Nietzsche denies that the same character traits are virtues for all individuals. Instead of positing the same set of character traits as Nietzschean virtues, third-wave theorists propose that Nietzsche only endorses criteria determining whether a specific character trait is a virtue or vice for a specific individual. The article examines the criteria-based approaches of third-wave theorists Lester Hunt and Christine Swanton, showing how they urgently need revising to explain Nietzsche’s endorsement of non-acquisitive character traits (such as those involving sensitivity and receptivity). To do this I explore Nietzsche’s unpublished remarks on Spinoza, which I contend better explains why he understands non-acquisitive character traits as virtues.
9. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Russell Winslow Enlightenment Infinitesimals and Tolstoy’s War and Peace
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During the Enlightenment period the concept of the infinitesimal was developed as a means to solve the mathematical problem of the incommensurability between human reason and the movements of physical beings. In this essay, the author analyzes the metaphysical prejudices subtending Enlightenment Humanism through the lens of the infinitesimal calculus. One of the consequences of this analysis is the perception of a two-fold possibility occasioned by the infinitesimal. On the one hand, it occasions an extreme form of humanism, “transhumanism,” which exhibits limitless confidence in the possibility of human science. On the other hand, the concept of the infinitesimal also contains within itself a source for a critical “posthumanism,” that is to say, a source which initiates the dissolution of the presuppositions of humanism while simultaneously announcing a different ontological organization. In , Tostoy’s novel takes up the problem of the relation between reason and motion and makes the two-fold possibility visible by presenting a contrast between its theoretical presentations and the lived experiences of the characters in the novel. Thus, is the setting in which the author has chosen to conduct this analysis.
10. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
William Konchak Gadamer’s “Practice” of Theoria
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This paper explores the Greek conception of theoria, Gadamer’s interpretation of it, and how he applies it to his own hermeneutics. In particular, the transition that Gadamer makes from traditional metaphysical perspectives of theoria in ancient thought towards the activity of theoria within human life is explored, and the role that his aesthetics plays in this process. The importance of the intertwining of theory and practice for Gadamer is considered and what the practice of theoria may consist in. It is suggested that Gadamer’s approach, which emphasizes heightened experiences of interconnection to promote self-transformation, is a productive transformation of theoria relevant to contemporary points of view.
11. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Marc Crépon, D. J. S. Cross, Tyler M. Williams The Invention of Singularity in School
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This essay situates “singularity” at the heart of the power dynamics operative in contemporary pedagogy and the system supporting it. More than merely academic learning, indeed, “school” here denotes not only the range of disciplinary authorities at work within the classroom and the educational system at large but also discursive obedience to knowledge. Supported by close readings of Arendt and Derrida, this paper thus argues that nothing less than the formation of identity is at stake in “school.” What are the boundaries, limits, and conditions of possibility for a student’s invention of his or her own singularity within an institution and curriculum that, at the same time, demands obedience to authority? This paradoxical formation of identity within the constrictive demands of authority constitutes the primary task of thinking the “invention of singularity” at the heart of schooling in conjunction with democracy, language, vocation, and ideology.