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Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 7, Issue 2, Spring 2003
Readings of Ancient Greek Philosophy: In Memory of Seth Benardete

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Displaying: 1-10 of 10 documents


1. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Walter A. Brogan

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2. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Seth Benardete

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3. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Ronna Burger

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In book IV of the Republic, Socrates offers an analysis of the tripartite structure of the soul as a perfect match-up to the class structure of the city. But the deeds that produce those speeches reveal the fixed relation among three independent parts to be the result of a dynamic process of self-division. This self-division is the work, more specifically, of thumos or spiritedness, which first cuts reason from desire, then separates itself from each in turn. By following this “plot,” one uncovers the roots of the devotion to justice that animates the construction of the best city in speech. The psychology of Republic IV proves to be a striking model in miniature of what Seth Benardete called “the argument of the action.”
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4. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Michael Davis

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The three sorts of soul in Aristotle’s On Soul (nutritive, animal, and cognitive) may be understood as one insofar as each must go out of itself in order to confirm itself as itself. This feature of soul, without which there would be no distinction between inside and outside at all, proves to be the underlying theme of the Nicomachean Ethics. It is at the core of both moral virtue and intellectual virtue and points as well to the principle of their union. Rationality, whether in the form of morality or of thought, is necessarily incomplete rationality, for its perfection could become manifest only in a completed structure in which neither choice nor longing to know would have any place and in which rationality would be indistinguishable from mechanical structure. It is thus not accidental that although the moral argument of the Nicomachean Ethics seems to require that the human soul be double—with a rational part that governs and an animal part that is capable of being governed by this rational part—strictly speaking the rational part, which Aristotle likens to a father, is never really present in the argument. Its absence points to the character of reason as necessarily hidden and only showing itself as a striving for rationality. Further, it is a sign of the impossibility of ever achieving an adequate structural account of the soul.
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5. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Richard L. Velkley

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Benardete reads Aristotle as Socratic dialectician writing in treatise form. The sciences of various subject matters appear at first separate (like Platonic eide) but they contain diverging accounts of being, nature, and the soul, which demand to be put together by the reader. De Anima abstracts from the soul as such in order to treat the soul “precisely.” This places limits on the unfolding of problems in phantasia and the heterogeneity of mind and being. As prelude to first philosophy, De Anima raises but does not answer the question: how are the being of thinking and the being of beings related?
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6. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Michael Naas

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In Plato’s later dialogues, and particularly in the Sophist, there is a general reinterpretation and rehabilitation of the name (onoma) in philosophy. No longer understood rather vaguely as one of potentially dangerous and deceptive elements of everyday language or of poetic language, the word onoma is recast in the Sophist and related dialogues into one of the essential elements of a philosophical language that aims to make claims or propositions about the way thingsare. Onoma, now understood as name, is thus coupled with rhema, or verb, to form the two essential elements of any logos, that is, any claim, statement, orproposition. This paper follows Plato’s gradual rehabilitation and reinscription of the name from early dialogues through late ones in order to demonstrate thenew role Plato fashions for language in these later works.
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7. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Claudia Baracchi

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By reference to the Aristotelian meditation, this essay undertakes to articulate an understanding of phronesis and sophia, praxis and theoria, in their belonging together. In so doing, it strives to overcome the traditional opposition of these terms, an opposition preserved even by those thinkers, such as Gadamer and Arendt, who have emphasized the practical over against the theoretical simply by inverting the order of the hierarchy.What is at stake, ultimately, is thinking ethics as first philosophy, i.e., seeing the philosophical articulation of scientific knowledge, even of ontology, as resting on (belonging in) living-in-action, as phenomenologically, phenomenally, sensibly grounded. Of course, “ethics as first philosophy” here can mean neither a normative-prescriptive compilation nor a self-founding, autonomous discourse. Rather, the phrase names the comprehensiveness of ethics vis-à-vis all mannerof human endeavor and the openness of ethics vis-à-vis that which exceeds it, that which is irreducible to discourse and in which the ethical discourse belongs.
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8. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Günter Figal

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The Symposium is one of Plato’s most literary and poetic dialogues. How might one reconcile this evidence of Plato’s predilection for poetry in light of his severe critique of poetry in the Republic? Though his critique is modified and refined in other dialogues, the power of his critique is nowhere significantly undermined. I argue in this paper that Plato’s poetic writing is not inconsistent with his critique, and that in fact there is an affinity between his practice of poetry and his critique. Plato’s critique of poetry is not aimed against poetry itself, but just against its problematic claims and false promises. In turn, Plato’s use of the poetic image, especially in relationship to eros, delimits philosophy, and places it in relation to that which is not attainable for it. The battle between poetry and philosophy is seen to involve a reciprocal benefit for both, and a hidden affinity. In this sense, the poetic image has its philosophical sense precisely because it falls outside of the philosophical perspective.
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9. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Peter Warnek

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This paper seeks to steer a way between a dogmatic and a skeptical reading of the Meno by taking up the performative dimension of Socrates’ responseto Meno. How does the philosophical inquiry into the definition of virtue promise to radicalize Meno’s alleged concern with the genesis of virtue? The paper shows that Socrates is acting, in a way, as an educator, in the sense that he attempts to awaken Meno to the task of self-knowledge as it bears upon the possibility of virtue in his own life. Thus, a dogmatic response to Meno’s question could not succeed in interrupting his tendentious memorizing approach to philosophical questions. But the paper also develops this reading by retracing the way in which nature undergoes a transformation, or a doubling, during the course of the dialogue. It becomes evident that the apparently inconclusive answer at the end of the dialogue, which states that the origin of virtue is to be found in “divine dispensation” and “correct opinion,” is only understandable in light of this transformation or doubling of nature that is made manifest dialogically andmythically in Socrates’ interaction with the young and handsome Meno. Socrates thus appears as a kind of “Teiresias in Athens,” but his clear failure inimpacting Meno in any lasting way only demonstrates that the possibility of political health is irreducible to any and all technical production.
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10. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Drew A. Hyland

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Beginning with attention to the double shadow of death that hovers over the Theaetetus, I discuss the pervasive presence in that dialogue of finitude and the effect that recognition has on Socratic/Platonic philosophy, which, even in this supposedly “later” dialogue, remains deeply and in a sustained way aporetic, interrogative. But such aporia, and the interrogative stance that follows from it, is also, I argue, a fundamental mode of knowing.
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