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Displaying: 1-10 of 18 documents


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1. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Jessica Elbert Decker How to Speak Kata Phusin: Magico-Religious Speech in Heraclitus
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Heraclitus has often been read through Aristotelian and Stoic paradigms that do not contextualize his text in the poetic tradition with which his fragments engage. This paper is a close study of Heraclitus’s DK 1 as a demonstration of his poetic methods, and argues that Heraclitus’s text is an example of what Marcel Detienne calls magico-religious speech. Heraclitus’s logos is a living thing, not only words but ‘works,’ as Heraclitus refers to his logos in DK 1, using the Homeric formula “words and works.” Heraclitus’s teaching is experiential, and depends on memory as the antidote to oblivion and forgetting, often associated with sleeping and death. In reading DK 1 and following the paths that it traces to other fragments, Heraclitus’s teaching as a method of escaping the private world (idion kosmos) is revealed.
2. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Justin Habash Heraclitus and the Riddle of Nature
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In a world of expanding epistemological horizons, the Early Greek thinkers known as the Presocratics wrestled with questions concerning the nature (φύσις) of things. But this idea of φύσις as a way to say what things really are was a relatively new one and meant that these thinkers often articulated very different ideas about how to properly under this philosophical concept. In this paper I sketch Heraclitus’s understanding of φύσις as a riddle that demands a particular method of inquiry. Linking many of his fragments, I show that φύσις is a paradoxical harmonia, or “fitting-together,” of opposites that serves as the pattern which underlies all things. Understood in this way, Heraclitus’s frequently mysterious fragments serve as a training ground for building wisdom by testing the listener’s ability to navigate ambiguity and complexity to find hidden meaning. Ultimately for Heraclitus, successfully navigating the riddle of φύσις moves us beyond simply saying “what things are” and unlocks our access to λόγος, or the principle according to which all things are steered or guided.
3. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Arlene W. Saxonhouse Who Speaks: Reflections on Voice and Logos in Sophocles’s Ajax, Aristotle and Plato
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I consider Sophocles’s tragedy the Ajax against the backdrop of Pericles’s invocation of silence about and from women, Pericles’s citizenship law of 451BCE and Aristotle’s understanding of the human being as a political animal possessing logos. I argue that in the actions and speeches of the play there is a questioning of the exclusion of women and bastards from political deliberation. A study of the language of the play reveals that Tecmessa, Ajax’s concubine, and Teucer, his bastard half-brother, exercise logos while the Homeric hero Ajax consistently resorts to the sort of sounds used by animals that give voice (phonê) to pain. The dismissal of the speech of women and those from the lower ranks of society proves detrimental to the lives of those who choose to silence them.
4. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Andy German ΠΑΛΙΝ ἘΞ ἈΡΧΗΣ: Resumption and Recollection in Plato
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I argue that Plato’s deployment of the resumptive phrase πάλιν ἐξ ἀρχῆς illuminates the philosophical significance of his art of transition in Socratic dialogues. These explicit calls for a new beginning often appear when a conversation fails to account for two particular elements of ordinary experience: assumptions about whole-part relations and about the interlocutor’s self-conception as a being responsive to basic rational and normative distinctions. Returning to the archē is a form of ἀνάμνησις, reminding us that these assumptions constitute true, but inarticulate, opinions of a fundamental kind. They are the preconditions for discourse that philosophical διαλέγεσθαι must preserve and ground.
5. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Etienne Helmer The Political Border Inside: On Institutional Slavery in Plato’s Laws
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The academic debate on institutional slavery in Plato’s has been limited so far to the question of whether or not it is present in his paradigmatic just cities. The answer is clearly affirmative for the city of Magnesia in the Laws, but things are not so clear with respect to the Kallipolis of the Republic: some believe that it contains slaves, while others deny it or at least report that it cannot be assessed with certainty. As legitimate as it may be, this debate remains very limited. My claim is that a close scrutiny of a specific passage from the Laws reveals that slavery is not present in Plato’s political thought (at least in the Laws) as a mere cultural element of economic origin: it rather fulfills the function of what I call an “inner political border” on which the civic space must be built if it is to have a true theoretical and practical autonomy, that the citizens embody and enforce.
6. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Drew A. Hyland From Democracy to Oligarchy to Tyranny
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As the differently ordered title indicates, and through a careful examination of Books IV and VIII of Plato’s Republic, I seek to destabilize the common view that there is a specific number of regimes and a necessary order of decline in the Book VIII account of the decline of regimes, one consequence of which would be that Plato is a straightforwardly harsh critic of democracy. The upshot of my study is to argue that in fact, the account offers a qualified defense, a proto-Kantian “critique” of democracy. I attempt to sustain this argument with references to several of the Letters of Plato.
7. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Holly G. Moore Platonic Epogōgē and the “Purification” of the Method of Collection
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Despite Aristotle’s claim in Topics I that all dialectical argument is either syllogism or epagoge, modern scholars have largely neglected to assess the role of epagoge in Platonic dialectic. Though epagoge has no technical use in Plato, I argue that the method of collection (which, along with division [diairesis], is central to many of the dialogues’ accounts of dialectic) functions as the Platonic predecessor to Aristotelian epagoge. An analysis of passages from the Sophist and Statesman suggests that collection is a purificatory practice. I argue that collection is not only Plato’s account of generalization from a sensible many to an intelligible many, as suggested by the Phaedrus, but also functions as a method of diacritical selection that allows inquiry to move from the intelligible many produced by division to the intelligible unity of a definition. This reading contributes a deeper understanding of the mutual relationship of division and collection within Platonic dialectic as well as a way of unifying the accounts of dialectic in the Sophist and Statesman with the otherwise idiosyncratic account of dialectic in the Republic. Finally, this analysis of Platonic epagoge sheds light on the connection between inquiry and argument present in Aristotle’s use of epagoge.
8. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Ronna Burger Eros and Mind: Aristotle on Philosophic Friendship and the Cosmos of Life
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While Plato and Aristotle both recognize the importance of friendship and love, Aristotle seems to be as much the philosopher of philia as Plato is of eros. Aristotle’s extensive discussion of friendship in the Nicomachean Ethics includes only a few scattered remarks about eros. Following the thread of those remarks, however, uncovers a movement from the disparagement of eros, contrasted with friendship of the virtuous, to its elevation as the shared experience of philosophic friendship. In the quite different context of Metaphysics Lambda, eros serves as the model for Aristotle’s famous account of the unmoved mover, where the activity of thought thinking itself provides, as an object of love, the ultimate source of motion in the universe. This paper explores what connection or common ground there may be between the presumably cosmological role of eros directed to the completed activity of mind and its place in Aristotle’s discussion of friendship.
9. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Paul Carron Aristotle on Blaming Animals: Taking the Hardline Approach on Voluntary Action in the Nicomachean Ethics III.1–5
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This essay offers a reconstruction of Aristotle’s account of the voluntary in the Nicomachean Ethics, arguing that the voluntary grounds one notion of responsibility with two levels, and therefore both rational and non-rational animals are responsible for voluntary actions. Aristotle makes no distinction between causal and moral responsibility in the NE; rather, voluntariness and prohairesis form different bases for responsibility and make possible different levels of responsibility, but both levels of responsibility fall within the ethical sphere and are aptly appraised. Important differences between the two levels remain. Animals and children are aptly appraised for direct voluntary actions. Conversely, only adults capable of prohairesis or rational choice are appraised for indirect voluntary actions—psychologically compelled actions that stem from character. Furthermore, while children and animals are responsible for actions, only adults casually contribute to the formation of their characters and thus are aptly appraised for character traits.
10. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Josh Hayes A Politics to Come: Benevolence and the Nature of Friendship in Aristotle’s Ethics
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Throughout Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Eudemian Ethics, and Magna Moralia, the disposition of benevolence (εὔνοια) operates as the primary condition for both friendship and political community to fully manifest themselves. However, benevolence always retains the possibility of not developing into proper friendship. Although benevolence may develop into proper friendship, its non-possibility comes to be disclosed in the concord (ὁμόνοια) of political friendship (πολιτική φιλία) and the generation of political community. As I shall claim, benevolence is constituted by an essential ambivalence modeled upon Aristotle’s definition of nature as the principle and source of generation (γένεσις) and corruption (φθορά). Following this inherent tendency in all organic life, Aristotle’s account of benevolence thus serves to adumbrate the fragile and tenuous nature of friendship and political community as the site of a cosmopolitanism to come.