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Displaying: 1-10 of 11 documents


1. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Charles E. Snyder, Becoming Like a Woman: Philosophy in Plato's Theaetetus
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Interpreters of Theaetetus are prone to endorse the view that a god gave Socrates maieutic skill. This paper challenges that view. It provides a different account of the skill’s origins, and reconstructs a genealogy of Socratic philosophy that begins and has its end in human experience. Three distinct origins coordinate to bring forth a radically new conception of philosophy in the image of female midwifery: the state of wonder (1. efficient origin), the exercise of producing, examining and disavowing beliefs in the gradual cultivation of human nature’s lack of skill (2. material origin), and Socrates’ understanding of god’s assistance as an endorsement of his mental infertility and the benefit of a particular form of dialectical training (3. formal origin). The paper concludes by arguing that Socrates transforms philosophy into a pursuit of wisdom that has its telos in becoming like a woman.
2. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Kelly E. Arenson, Impure Intellectual Pleasure and the Phaedrus
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This paper considers how Plato can account for the fact that pain features prominently in the intellectual pleasures of philosophers, given that in his view pleasures mixed with pain are ontologically deficient and inferior to ‘pure,’ painless pleasures. After ruling out the view that Plato does not believe intellectual pleasures are actually painful, I argue that he provides a coherent and overlooked account of pleasure in the Phaedrus, where purity does not factor into the philosopher’s judgment of pleasures at all; what matters instead is the extent to which a given pleasure fosters the philosophical life. I show that to argue, as James Warren has recently done, that Plato thinks intellectual pleasures are not per se painful is less successful than the Phaedrus account at explaining philosophers’ lived experiences of pleasure, which often involve pain.
3. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Alan Pichanick, Sôphrosunê, Socratic Therapy, and Platonic Drama in Plato’s Charmides
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Plato’s Charmides suggests that there are really four notions that are deeply connected with one another, and in order to understand sôphrosunê we need to get a proper hold on them and their relation: these four notions are Knowledge of Ignorance, Self-Knowledge, Knowledge of the Good, and Knowledge of the Whole. My aim is to explore these four notions in two stages. First, I will try to explain Socrates’s notion of knowledge of ignorance, so that the nature and coherence of this Socratic idea will come into focus, and shed some light on its connection to self-knowledge and knowledge of the good. Second, I will turn to explain what I call the origin (archê) or even “truth” of Socrates’s conception of sôphrosunê by examining the idea of the physician of the soul in Plato’s Charmides and Plato’s use of the dialogue form, and thereby make a connection to knowledge of the whole. I will show that seeing sôphrosunê as “whole-mindedness,” connects to Socrates’s description of our in-between state as human beings, and that the study of this “in-between-ness,” is the supremely insightful glimpse into Socrates and his philosophical activity (perhaps the very definition of it).
4. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Katharine Loevy, Al-Farabi’s Images
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Al-Farabi understands politically useful images to be good imitations of essences, and also effective means of persuasion for geographically and historically situated communities. Such images, moreover, are what constitute the virtuous religions of virtuous cities. At play in al-Farabi’s account of images is thus a relationship between image, religion, truth, and history, and one that brings with it certain implications for how we understand the nature of the human being. We are creatures of truth, of the grasping of essences, and hence of universals, and yet we are differently persuaded by images depending upon our geography and our history. And since historically diverse images can imitate the same universal essences, many different religions can nevertheless be “true,” and hence can function in such a way as to orient geographically and historically specific people toward happiness. Al-Farabi’s account of images is thus at the heart of his political theory of religion, and provides the basis for his affirmation of religious pluralism in relation to the virtuous city. The following essay considers the relationship between images and religious pluralism in al-Farabi’s political writings, and shows as well that it implies a correlating theory of the human being.
5. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
David Kaye, Descartes and Nietzsche on the Soul of Man and Life-Everlasting
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In this work I defend, not the content, but, rather, the logical coherence of Descartes’s system by insisting on the ontological priority of substance over attributes in spite of the fact that Descartes seems, on occasion, to suggest otherwise. This, in turn, however, allows us to better grasp the nature of Descartes’ Augustinian conception of the soul, and what it might resemble should it be granted God’s concurrence, and, thus, eternal life. At the same time, I demonstrate, by means of his Thomistic inheritance, the philosophically sound reasons why Descartes leaves these issues somewhat opaque. Finally, these reflections lead us to Nietzsche, and by contrasting the latter’s thoughts on science and freedom to those of Descartes we are led to what, for Nietzsche, would be the ultimate desideratum of such Cartesian longings for the ‘tranquility’ and ‘happiness’ of life-everlasting: a ‘will to nothingness.’
6. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Andre Santos Campos, Spinoza on Justice: Understanding the Suum Cuique
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Spinoza studies have paid little attention to the concept of justice for centuries. However, he refers to it quite often in different contexts, especially in his mature texts. More specifically, he defines it as synonymous with suum cuique tribuere, even though he fails to provide a reasonable account of how this traditional legal expression fits into his philosophical system. This article shows that there is a relevant philosophical dimension in Spinoza’s treatment of the suum cuique that emerges out of his notion of equality. The main section identifies the connection between Spinoza’s references on justice as suum cuique and the different conceptions of equality that are inherent in his system (an ontological, a metaphysical, a productive (ethical), a legal, and a political equality). The conclusion tries to answer the question of whether such an understanding of the suum cuique as equality constitutes a theory of justice or not.
7. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Erik Stephenson, An Ethical Justification for Political Resistance in Spinoza
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This paper demonstrates that an ethical justification for political resistance can be found in Spinoza’s writings. It establishes that important elements of his ethical analysis of politics entail an ethical imperative to actively resist any attempt on the part of the sovereign to abolish or unduly curtail freedom of thought and expression. It shows that, under such circumstances, active resistance will be in accord with reason: (1) the less it is motivated by any species of hatred; and (2) the more it serves to empower people. Since freedom of thought and expression necessarily involves the freedom to engage in the philosophical critique of prejudices, and the latter can itself function as a form of political resistance, the ethical imperative to preserve libertas philosophandi amounts to an enjoinder to preserve a form of perpetual resistance within the normal functioning of the rationally-ordered state.
8. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Terje Sparby, Rudolf Steiner’s Idea of Freedom: As Seen in the Panorama of Hegel’s Dialectic
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Rudolf Steiner’s work contains many different claims about human freedom spread out in over three hundred books. A basic challenge for the research on Steiner is to create an overview of his idea of freedom, but also to consider potential conflicting claims. One of the main tensions in Steiner’s work is the one between his early philosophical and later anthroposophical accounts of freedom. The former focuses on individual freedom while the latter puts the emphasis on the greater whole in which the human being exists. Hegel’s idea of freedom can be used to create a comprehensive and coherent understanding of Steiner’s different perspectives on freedom. In particular, using Hegel’s notion of being-with-oneself in otherness, the freedom that the individual can experience within the whole can be seen as an immanent development of the individual itself.
9. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Michael Marder, To Open a Site (with Heidegger): Toward a Phenomenology of Ecological Politics
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Drawing on the texts of Martin Heidegger, at times interpreted against the grain, I tackle the relation between ecology and economy in our era of rampant economism. I begin by outlining the ecological and economic variations on ethics and politics, with the view to the logos and nomos of dwelling (oikos). Thereafter, I consider the rise of a worldless, homeless world from the undue emphasis placed on nomos, which is but the active (actively gathering) dimension of logos. This lopsidedness, I argue, coincides with and is reinforced by the deterioration of ontological rank to valuation and, ultimately, to numeric orderability. Further, I focus on the excesses of a purely economist comportment that, emboldened by the inflation of nomos, devastates “economy” itself from within by converting the elemental fold for dwelling first into a manageable territory and finally into an empire. I conclude with the thesis that things, sharply contrasted to objects, maintain the possibility of an ecological existence, recalling us to the lost dwelling.
10. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Bryan Lueck, A Fact, As It Were: Obligation, Indifference, and the Question of Ethics
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According to Immanuel Kant, the objective validity of obligation is given as a fact of reason, which forces itself upon us and which requires no deduction of the kind that he had provided for the categories in the Critique of Pure Reason. This fact grounds a moral philosophy that treats obligation as a good that trumps all others and that presents the moral subject as radically responsible, singled out by an imperatival address. Based on conceptions of indifference and facticity that Charles Scott has articulated in his recent work, I argue that these broadly Kantian commitments are mistaken. More specifically, I argue that the fact of obligation is given along with a dimension of indifference that disrupts the hierarchical relation between moral and non-moral goods and that renders questionable the unconditional character of responsibility.