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Journal of Philosophical Research

Philosophy as Inquiry and Way of Life

Volume 40, Issue Supplement, 2015
Selected Papers from the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

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  • Issue: Supplement

Displaying: 11-20 of 47 documents


philosophy as practical wisdom
11. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Chen Lai Practical Wisdom in Confucian Philosophy
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Confucianism, since the time of Confucius, emphasizes “practical wisdom” as the realization of philosophy. This approach accentuates the practical aspects of wisdom rather than the analytical rationale of the intellect. Emphasis on practical wisdom persistently reinforces a moral foundation that is not differentiated from personal virtue. At the same time, practical wisdom in Confucianism stresses self-cultivation, or the complete transformation of the self, derived from the internal state of the heart/mind (xin 心). Finally, Confucian insists that practical wisdom must be transformed into practical action.
12. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Alexander Nehamas Is Living an Art that Can be Taught?
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Along with our inordinate emphasis on managing our lives on the basis of impartial principles and rules, we have lost the sense that some of the greatest human achievements are accomplished precisely by going beyond anything that existing rules and principles allow. Along with our fixation on the values of morality and politics, which apply to everyone on the basis of our similarities to one another, we have lost the sense that there are also values that depend on our differences and distinguish us from the rest of the world. Philosophical Individualism is a theory that considers the values of difference and distinction to be of crucial importance to life, and models successful lives on successful works of art. That is what is meant by “the art of living.” But such an art is manifested in the abilities of successful leaders in any field: leadership always requires going at least one step beyond wherever what has been already codified can take them.
philosophy and public life
13. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Abdusalam A. Guseynov Philosophy as an Ethical Project
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Philosophy is often understood in terms of public benefit as being synonymous with its application to other domains of public life such as politics, economics, education etc. The question I would like to raise is of an altogether different nature—namely, it is the question of whether philosophy can be seen as having any public or social value per se, before there is any further thought of application or usage. In particular, it is the question of whether it contains anything universally significant, something that could make it of interest to anyone as seen in the context of one’s personal evolution. And in order to answer that question, first we have to find out what philosophy is to the philosophers themselves and how it benefits them.
14. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Hans Lenk The Public: Its Concept and New Effects in the Internet and Multimedia Societies
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This paper begins with an overview of the origins and development of ancient direct participatory “democracy” and a related concept of the “public.” Through the Roman “res publica” and the “homo publicus” and much later the Magna Carta and the English tradition of participatory rights, as well as the French “division of powers” and the French Revolution and Kant’s “public usage of reason,” a rather modern concept of the “public” in representative modern democracies developed in the Enlightenment and materialized in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In social and political philosophy there was a noticeable impact of “the public” and “public life” in debates, formal constitutions and their philosophical and pragmatic foundations. Dewey’s lectures on “The Public and its Problems” already emphasized the impact and the growth of communication technologies for “the public,” publicity, political and social life. Habermas diagnosed a “Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere” from a pragmatic social philosophical point of view, although he did not really take up Dewey’s diagnoses and predictions of the role of media and communication technologies. The same is true for Gerhardt’s study The Public: The Political Form of Consciousness (2012). With the pervasive impact of digital communication and media technologies there has occurred another structural transformation of the public sphere and the concept of the public. Instant global multimedia communication certainly has largely positive effects, fostering social as well as individal freedom and even revolutionary changes. But there are also the widespread experiences of individual and group mobbing, “shitstorms,” cyber-crimes, electronic spying and data-mining, etc. The structure (the concept and reality) of the public has lately been and is currently rapidly changing again—due to the electronic information revolution.
the relevance of ancient greek philosophy today
15. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Enrico Berti The Relevance of Aristotle’s Philosophy Today
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The relevance of Aristotle’s philosophy today is the survival of many Aristotelian concepts, definitions, distinctions, in the culture of many countries. In some cases, e. g. in the fields of logic and of metaphysics, the Aristotelian concepts survive as useful instruments for reasoning, like the concepts of category, contrariety, contradiction, or the distinctions between matter and form and between potency and act. But in other fields, like biology and psychology, some Aristotelian doctrines serve equally as examples of conceptual innovations, as was recognised by the biologist Max Delbrück about the discovery of DNA and by Anthony Kenny about the discussion of the “Mind-Body Problem.” Even in the fields of ethics and of politics, the revival of the practical philosophy of Aristotle has been an occasion for developing new models of social life and organisation of society, as is shown by philosophers like Alasdair MacIntyre and Martha C. Nussbaum, and by economists like Amartya Sen.
16. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Dorothea Frede Aristotle on the Importance of Rules, Laws, and Institutions in Ethics
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In recent years rule-scepticism has been dominant among experts concerning Aristotle’s ethics. The present paper addresses three points that speak for this sceptical attitude: (i) Aristotle’s caveat against precision in ethics; (ii) the emphasis on the particular conditions of actions and on experience; (iii) the fact that moral education relies on habituation rather than teaching. At a closer look it emerges that all these considerations presuppose universal rules, laws, and institutions rather than exclude them, for they concern the adjustment of universal principles to particular cases. Knowledge of these principles may not be necessary in routine cases, but the emphasis on a master-science that provides the laws necessary for every well-functioning community and the appropriate education of the citizens shows that these principles are the indispensable foundation of both ethics and politics. It is Aristotle’s aim to provide the groundwork of such a master science that is the common concern of his ethics and politics.
17. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Kostas Kalimtzis Aristotle on Scholê and Nous as a Way of Life
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My paper is an inquiry into the political significance of Aristotle’s concept of scholê, a word usually translated as ‘leisure.’ The words ‘school’ and ‘scholar’ are derived from scholê, which indicates a richness of meanings that go far beyond anything suggested by the word “leisure.”Perhaps taking up the subject as a political issue seems untimely during this troubled period of economic crisis. And yet, if seen from the perspective in which it was first raised, that is as a response to the question put forth by Socrates—‘what type of life is worth living?’—then inquiry into its nature may help us entertain the possibility that our economic and social ills have arisen from wrong answers that we have given to the Socratic question.Before examining Aristotle’s thoughts on leisure, I will first briefly turn to Plato’s concept of scholê so as to economically bring to the fore the difficulties involved when leisure is projected unto an entire republic as an overarching aim of public life.
18. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Noburu Notomi The Platonic Idea of Ideal and its Reception in East Asia
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In the history of philosophy, Plato’s theory of Forms has enchanted many philosophers, but it has faced more adversaries than proponents. Although it is unusual for contemporary philosophers to believe in the Platonic Forms, I confront Plato seriously and try to defend his thought by reflecting on its reception in modern Japan. For this purpose, the Japanese word “risō” (理想), which was originally a translation of the Platonic “Idea” or “Form,” will give us valuable hints.I discuss Aristotle, Friedrich Nietzsche and Karl Popper, each of whom raised fundamental questions about the Forms as transcendent entities. First, Aristotle ignores one fundamental factor of the Forms, i.e., Eros: we aspire for the perfect or ideal state in our life with reference to the Forms. Next, Popper misses the important difference between the Form and the Ideal: i.e., the ultimate reality and its expressed form in words. Aspiring for the latter does not necessarily lead us to totalitarianism. Then, I argue that Nietzsche shares the same framework with Plato in considering the notion of “ideal.” We have to face his radical question of whether we should hold an “ideal” in everyday life.Finally, I introduce a brief history of how philosophers confronted reality by learning Plato in modern Japan. Michitaro Tanaka, in particular, cast critical eyes on the pre- and post-war society by studying Plato’s philosophy. To consider and discuss the Forms changes views and meanings of the world and of life. Plato thereby invites us to this common search through his dialogues, and leads us to the ideal (risō).
eros
19. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Simon Critchley Philosophical Eros
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This paper, originally read on the site of Plato’s dialogue Phaedrus, attempts to show how the two seemingly distinct themes of this dialogue, eros and rhetoric, are really one. Socrates there employs rhetoric, in which his decent but somewhat dull interlocutor, Phaedrus, takes great pleasure, in order to persuade the latter to assume philosophical eros, inclining his soul to truth. This aim contrasts vividly with the nihilistic one pursued by the greatest of the Sophist rhetoricians, Gorgias. Ultimately, philosophical eros conduces to intimations of immortality. This could be demonstrated, if more time were available, by exploring certain works of contemporary literature and philosophy; for example, in his Totality and Infinity, Emmanuel Levinas cites the Phaedrus more frequently than any other text.
20. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Myrto Dragona-Monachou Eros: An Unexpected God of the Stoic Cosmopolis
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In this paper, I discuss the Stoic views on eros in general and “Eros as a god of the Stoic cosmopolis” in particular. In the first part I present the works on Eros written by the Early Stoics; I discuss the fragmentary evidence about their views focusing on Zeno, the founder of the Stoic School. I point out how puzzling most Stoic views appeared to the opposing schools whose members did not hesitate to ascribe many scandalous and shameful views to them, though the Stoic view on eros is not very different from the pedagogical one defended by Socrates as presented in the works of Plato, Xenophon, Aeschines of Sphettus and others. In the second part I focus on a single piece of information attested by Athenaeus, according to which Zeno in his Republic, a work written as an answer to Plato’s Republic, took “Eros who brings about friendship, freedom, and concord, to be the god of the city” (SVF I 263). This statement has been interpreted in various ways by eminent scholars, some of whose views I present in brief. In the third and last part, based on the testimony that the Stoics wanted to be called “Socratics,” I argue that Zeno proved himself a genuine Socratic, taking into account not only the Platonic Socrates’s view of eros, but also that of Xenophon, to whom Zeno’s philosophical education can be traced back. I also tend to believe that Zeno’s Republic is not a case of a conventional city, but that of the famous Stoic cosmopolis governed by the law of nature in a spirit of friendship, concord and freedom.