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Displaying: 41-60 of 510 documents

41. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Samuel A. Stoner Kant on the Philosopher’s Proper Activity: From Legislation to Admiration
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This essay investigates Kant’s understanding of the philosopher’s proper activity. It begins by examining Kant’s well-known claim in the Critique of Pure Reason that the philosopher is the legislator of human reason. Subsequently, it explicates Kant’s oft-overlooked description of the transcendental philosopher as an admirer of nature’s logical purposiveness, in the ‘First Introduction’ to the Critique of the Power of Judgment. These two accounts suggest very different ways of thinking about the philosopher’s character and concerns. For, while Kant’s philosopher-legislator pursues the practical, world-transformative task of furthering reason’s moral vocation, the transcendental philosopher’s admiration of nature’s purposiveness is a form of a contemplative openness to the contingent but wonderful orderliness of things. I conclude that Kant ultimately recognizes that the tension between legislation and admiration is characteristic of the philosopher and that it is the heart of philosophy’s vitality.
42. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Paolo Diego Bubbio Hegel: From the I to the Spirit
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The author argues that one of the “circles” that constitute Hegel’s philosophical system, as it is displayed in the Encyclopedia, is the circle between the I and the spirit (Geist). Specifically, the author focuses on the emergence of spirit as a self and an I (from self-feeling up to universal self-consciousness and the free mind), and on the encounter of the I with nature. The author also argues that absolute spirit maintains fundamental intersubjective and perspectival features that are proper to the I, and that grasping the circular movement between the I and the spirit in the context of Hegel’s discussion of absolute Geist is also relevant to appreciating how normative categories of social thought can be challenged and altered through Geist’s ability to achieve critical distance by overcoming subject/object distinctions.
43. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Ethan Stoneman Everyone Is at Liberty to Be a Fool: Schopenhaur’s Philosophical Critique of the Art of Persuasion
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Retrieved from unpublished manuscript remains, Arthur Schopenhauer’s Eristic Dialectics (1830–1831) has been largely ignored both by philosophers and rhetoricians. The work is highly enigmatic in that its intended meaning vacillates between playful irony and Machiavellian seriousness. Adopting an esoteric perspective, this article argues that the tract can be read as simultaneously operating on two levels: an exoteric, cynical one, according to which Schopenhauer accepts that people are going to argue irrespective of the truth and as a result provides tools for defeating one’s opponents, and a deeper, esoteric level, which functions not cynically but, in Peter Sloterdijk’s language, kynically, as a satirical unmasking of the cynical impulses animating the study and practice of argumentation, especially as evinced in the rhetorical-humanist tradition. Such an interpretation reveals that, while a minor work, Eristic Dialectics offers a sophisticated philosophical critique of “the art of persuasion.”
44. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Steven Burgess Nietzsche on Language and Logic
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Recent commentators on Nietzsche’s philosophy have paid careful attention to his reflections on truth. While this issue has generated significant dispute, one prominent school of thought is in tacit agreement about the view of language that underlies Nietzschean truth. This view holds that certain linguistic entities can capture precise, distinct units of propositional content and static, rigidly designated conceptual meanings. A closer look at Nietzsche’s various analyses of language and logic reveals not only that he does not subscribe to such a position, but that he offers a sustained critique against the possibility of any form of atomism of language. It was only in the 1880s, after Nietzsche overcame his dualistic commitments to Kant and Schopenhauer and embraced a philosophy of becoming, that the full power of his critique is made manifest.
45. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Tupac Cruz Remnant Volition: Walter Benjamin's Theory of Fortune
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This study of Walter Benjamin’s ‘theory of fortune,’ understood as a contribution to the ‘theory of events,’ focuses on a detailed reading of a notebook entry from 1932, published under the title ‘Practice.’ In that note Benjamin cites one ordinary example of a ‘fortunate event’: you lose an object, look for it, fail to find it, forget about it; later on, you look for a second object and find the first one. Benjamin describes this event, the finding of an object that you are no longer looking for, as an event that can be attributed to your hand. The concept of a “remnant volition” determines the singular sense in which, in this example, you still wanted to find the first object, although the volition to do so was not active when you were looking for the second object. A volition can be remnant, generally speaking, when it is disjoined from the agent’s anticipation of its fulfillment. Thus, a fortunate event is the fulfillment of a remnant volition by an agent’s body, and practice is a form of activity that makes this possible, for it allows an agent’s will to “abdicate in favor of the body.” In my reading of this notebook entry I contrast Benjamin’s account of practice to Aristotle’s; I argue (by way of Benveniste) for a reactivation of the concept of ‘lucre’; and I determine the relevance of this account to Benjamin’s (and our) understanding of Proust’s theory of ‘aesthetic commitment.’ I also consider some implications of this odd conceptual construction for the philosophy of action.
46. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Shannon Hayes Merleau-Ponty’s Melancholy: On Phantom Limbs and Involuntary Memory
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I offer a re-evaluation of Freudian melancholy by reading it in-conjunction with Merleau-Ponty’s analysis of phantom limbs and Marcel Proust’s involuntary memories. As an affective response to loss, melancholy bears a strange, belated temporality (Nachträglichkeit). Through Merleau-Ponty’s analysis of the phantom limb, I emphasize that the melancholic subject remains affectively bound to a past world. While this can be read as problematic insofar as the subject is attuned to both the possibilities that belong to the present and the impossibilities that belong to the past world, I turn to Proust whose writings on involuntary memory indicate a way of taking up these futural (im)possibilities. I focus the discussion on the narrator’s involuntary memory of his grandmother after her death to highlight the creative transformation of his melancholy.
47. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
David Liakos Another Beginning?: Heidegger, Gadamer, and Postmodernity
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Martin Heidegger’s critique of modernity, and his vision of what may come after it, constitutes a sustained argument across the arc of his career. Does Hans-Georg Gadamer follow Heidegger’s path of making possible “another beginning” after the modern age? In this article, I show that, in contrast to Heidegger, Gadamer cultivates modernity’s hidden resources. We can gain insight into Gadamer’s difference from Heidegger on this fundamental point with reference to his ambivalence toward and departure from two of Heidegger’s touchstones for postmodernity, namely, Friedrich Nietzsche and Friedrich Hölderlin. We can appreciate and motivate Gadamer’s proposal to rehabilitate modernity by juxtaposing his rootedness in Wilhelm Dilthey and Rainer Maria Rilke with Heidegger’s corresponding interest in Nietzsche and Hölderlin. This difference in influences and conceptual starting points demonstrates Heidegger and Gadamer’s competing approaches to the modern age, a contrast that I concretize through a close reading of Gadamer’s choice of a poem by Rilke as the epigraph to Truth and Method
48. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Rodrigo Therezo Doublings: The Concept of Reading in Derrida's Geschlecht III
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This article attempts to read the very concept of reading as articulated and problematized by Derrida’s newly discovered Geschlecht III. I argue that Derrida enacts a reading of Heidegger in Geschlecht III in ways that help us understand the strong sense Derrida gives this word. In the article’s first part, I dwell on Derrida’s—and Heidegger’s—(quasi)methodological precautions that problematize the traditional concept of reading so as to open the way for a reading of Heidegger that does not bank on the metaphysical presuppositions the very same Heidegger warns us against time and again. In the second part, I turn to Derrida’s topotypological examples that show us what traditional methodology problematically presupposes when “reading” Heidegger. The article ends by turning to the Derridean notion of “overprinting”—and the uncanny effects of doubling it implies—as a way to think about what it means to read and countersign Heidegger’s text.
49. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Matthew Paul Schunke Marion, Nihilism, and the Gifted
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The reformulation of the subject as the gifted allows Jean-Luc Marion to incorporate saturated phenomena into his phenomenology but also introduces a serious problem to his project. Specifically, when confronted with the choice between absolute, unconditioned phenomena and the active role of the gifted, Marion chooses the unconditioned phenomena, and as a result, his project loses the ability to maintain meaning. In response to this issue, I advocate for a more active role for the gifted by turning to Iain Thomson’s recent work on Heidegger. I conclude by affirming the validity of a more active role for the gifted by turning to Heidegger’s early lectures on the phenomenology of religion. My aim will be to show that this more active role still allows the gifted to be affected by the phenomenon and can avoid the problems of objectivity and ontotheology, while better preserving the account of meaning.
50. 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.
51. 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.
52. 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.
53. 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.
54. 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.
55. 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.
56. 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.
57. 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.
58. 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.
59. 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.
60. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Marta Jimenez Self-Love and the Unity of Justice in Aristotle
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In this paper I take up the question about the unity of justice in Aristotle and advocate for a robust relationship between lawfulness and equality, the two senses of justice that Aristotle distinguishes in Nicomachean Ethics (EN) V. My strategy is to focus on Aristotle’s indication in NE V 2 that “other-relatedness” is the common element shared by the two justices and turn to Aristotle’s discussion of the notion of self-love (philautia) in EN IX 8 to explain what that means. I argue that the other-relatedness of justice can be characterized in terms of proper self-love. Concretely, the discussion of self-love makes clear that those who are concerned with the well-being of others in their community over their own material gain—i.e., those who are lawful and not grasping or pleonectic—are able to see that their own self-interest is in harmony with (and promoted by) acting in benefit of their community. This shows that there is an intimate link between lacking pleonectic inclinations and being able to act for the sake of the common good—and in general, between lacking pleonectic inclinations (i.e., being equal) and being virtuous in relation to others (i.e., being lawful).