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41. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Claudia Baracchi “Words of Air”: On Breath and Inspiration
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(1) In Plato’s Phaedrus divine inspiration comes literally to mean “environmental inspiration.” Intimated thereby is the insufficiency of all reflection on the divine and the natural which would fail to interrogate these categories precisely in their convergence, indeed, in their being (at) one. (2) The theme of inspiration, in its divine or elemental character, necessarily raises further questions concerning the status of inspired utterance—that is, in this case, of philosophical discourse itself. (3) These themes finally point to the problem of the provenance of speaking and writing, if not from a purely active and free subject.
42. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Alessandra Fussi “As the Wolf Loves the Lamb”: Need, Desire, Envy, and Generosity in Plato’s Phaedrus
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The Phaedrus’s Palinode ascribes to the wing the double function of lifting the soul towards truth while itself being nourished by truth. The paper concentrates on the role Socrates ascribes to the wing in the structure and ‘physiology’ of the soul—mortal and divine—as well as on the role it plays in Socrates’ subsequent phenomenological description of falling in love. The experience of love described in Socrates’ first speech—an experience dominated by envy—is examined in light of Socrates’ Palinode, by reference to Socrates’ account of the different ways souls can relate to truth before incarnation.
43. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Christopher P. Long Aristotle’s Phenomenology of Form: The Shape of Beings that Become
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Scholars often assume that Aristotle uses the terms morphē and eidos interchangeably. Translators of Aristotle's works rarely feel the need to carry the distinctionbetween these two Greek terms over into English. This article challenges the orthodox view that morphē and eidos are synonymous. Careful analysis of texts fromthe Categories, Physics, and Metaphysics in which these terms appear in close proximity reveals a fundamental tension of Aristotle's thinking concerning the being of natural beings. Morphē designates the form as inseparable from the matter in which it inheres, while eidos, because it is more easily separated from matter, is the vocabulary used to determine form as the ontological principle of the composite individual. The tension between morphē and eidos—between form as irreducibly immanent and yet somehow separate—is then shown to animate Aristotle's phenomenological approach to the being of natural beings. This approach is most clearly enacted in Aristotle's biology, a consideration of which concludes the essay.
44. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Eric C. Sanday Philosophy as the Practice of Musical Inheritance: Book II of Plato’s Republic
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Philosophy is often taken at its core to be an argumentative appeal to our own native capacity to judge the truth without bias. I claim in this paper that the very notion of unbiased truth represents a particular interest, viz., the interests of the political as such: the city. My thesis is that Socrates’ city in speech in Book II of the Republic exposes the injustice concealed at the core of demonstrative philosophy, and on this basis he goes on to offer an account of philosophical education based on a notion of musical inheritance.
45. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Omar Rivera The Comedy of Patricide (or: A Passing Sense of Manliness): Socrates’ Overcoming of Andreia
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This paper is an investigation of the role of comedy in philosophical thinking, particularly of how comedy reveals the erotic dimension of philosophical thinking.In the first half of the paper, I show that the relation between comedy and Eros is a powerful means to understand in what way philosophy is not technē. Philosophy in its erotic and comedic character is, rather, engaged with an appearing of things as ‘birthed’ or ‘living.’ In the second part of the paper, I focus on the role of comedy in the Laches. There I study the complex relationship between philosophy as erotic thinking and andreia or ‘manliness.’ I show that philosophy as erotic must distinguish itself from manliness and that the enactment of this differentiation is the core of the Laches. At the same time, manliness is not simply something that philosophy should not concern itself with. Philosophy must ask the question ‘what is manliness?’ as a way of enacting manliness and overcoming it, in an overcoming through which philosophy comes to its own erotic core.
46. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Lawrence J. Hatab Writing Knowledge in the Soul: Orality, Literacy, and Plato’s Critique of Poetry
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In this essay I take up Plato’s critique of poetry, which has little to do with epistemology and representational imitation, but rather the powerful effects that poeticperformances can have on audiences, enthralling them with vivid image-worlds and blocking the powers of critical reflection. By focusing on the perceived psychological dangers of poetry in performance and reception, I want to suggest that Plato’s critique was caught up in the larger story of momentous shifts in the Greek world, turning on the rise of literacy and its far-reaching effects in modifying the original and persisting oral character of Greek culture. The story of Plato’s Republic in certain ways suggests something essential for comprehending the development of philosophy in Greece (and in any culture, I would add): that philosophy, as we understand it, would not have been possible apart from the skills and mental transformations stemming from education in reading and writing; and that primary features of oral language and practice were a significant barrier to the development of philosophical rationality (and also a worthy competitor for cultural status and authority). Accordingly, I go on to argue that the critique of writing in the Phaedrus is neither a defense or orality per se, nor a dismissal of writing, but rather a defense of a literate soul over against orality and the indiscriminate exposure of written texts to unworthy readers.
47. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Jena G. Jolissaint Sacred Doorways: Tracing the Body in Plato’s Timaeus
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This paper develops a structural parallel between the maternal/feminine body in Greek mythology and the figure of the body in Plato’s Timaeus. HistoricallyPlato is often portrayed as a thinker who is concerned with the corporeal only insofar as philosophy is engaged in transcending bodily limitations. Yet the Timaeus is not engaged in producing a dualistic opposition between the intelligible and the sensible, nor is Platonic philosophy a rejection of life in favor of the perfect wisdom that comes with death. The following work will suggest that the Timaeus is a dialogue deeply concerned with the question of birth and corporeality and that this concern is disclosed (and not repressed) in and through Timaeus’s evocation of the body.
48. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Walter Brogan Letter from the Editor
49. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Francisco J. Gonzalez Dialogue Discontinued: Heidegger on a Few Pages of Plato’s Theaetetus
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According to Heidegger’s own testimony, his 1940 essay, “Plato’s Doctrine of Truth,” is derived from a course he first delivered in 1931/32. Yet, while an interpretation of the Theaetetus is central to the argument in 1931/32, this dialogue is not so much as mentioned in the 1940 essay. The reason is that Heidegger’s own careful and insightful reading of the Theaetetus simply does not support his thesis regarding Plato’s “doctrine of truth.” But then the real interest of this reading is that it affords the opportunity for pursuing a genuine dialogue between Heidegger and Plato that was too abruptly discontinued
50. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Jussi Backman All of a Sudden: Heidegger and Plato’s Parmenides
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The paper will study an unpublished 1930–31 seminar where Heidegger reads Plato’s Parmenides, showing that in spite of his much-criticized habit of dismissing Plato as the progenitor of “idealist” metaphysics, Heidegger was quite aware of the radical potential of his later dialogues. Through a temporal account of the notion of oneness (to hen), the Parmenides attempts to reconcile the plurality of beings with the unity of Being. In Heidegger’s reading, the dialogue culminates in the notion of the “instant” (to exaiphnēs, Augenblick)—a high point in the entire metaphysical tradition—where the temporal plurality of presence and un-presence converges into a unified disclosure.
51. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Aryeh Kosman Ontological Differences: Being and Substance in Book V of the Metaphysics
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Aristotle’s discussions, in Metaphysics Delta 7 and 8, of things designated by the terms we translate ‘being’ and ‘substance’ are revealing in several respects. The discussion in chapter 7 reveals the centrality in his thinking of the distinction between in itself and accidental being, a distinction different from that between substance and the other categories. The discussion in chapter 8 in turn reveals not only two related criteria for calling things substance, but a distinction as well between entities that are called substances and the substance being which is the principle of their being so called.
52. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
P. Christopher Smith Virgil’s Destruktion of the Stoic Rational Agent: Rehearing Aeneid IV after Nietzsche and Heidegger
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This paper uses the exchanges between the lovers Dido and Aeneas in Aeneid IV to undercut the pretensions of Stoic philosophers to lead a dispassionate, imperturbable life under the sole guidance of “reason.” It takes Aeneas as an example of Stoicism’s lawyer-like, falsified rationality—“I will say just a few words in regard to this matter [pro re]” (IV 336)—and Dido as an example of someone who, though under the sway of furor, nevertheless makes honest, reasoned arguments that are continuous with the feelings she is experiencing. The point is not that one is more at fault than the other but the rather more radical thesis that with his Aeneas character Virgil is showing that Stoicism’s ataraxia and apatheia are inevitably dissimulation, inevitably fake.
53. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Huaiyu Wang Mesotēs, Energeia, and Alētheia: Discovering an Ariadne’s Thread through Aristotle’s Moral and Natural Philosophy
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Drawing upon John Burnet’s interpretation of mesotēs, I explore the original meanings of this important Greek word and its inherent relations to the conceptsof formal cause, final cause, and actuality (energeia). My investigation reveals the concept of mesotēs as an Ariadne’s thread running through the whole system ofAristotle’s moral and natural philosophy. It also throws a new light on the implications of Aristotle’s definition of moral virtue and the essential role it plays in the truth of human existence.
54. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
David Farrell Krell “A Double Tale I Shall Tell . . . ”: Empedocles and Hölderlin on Tragic Nature and Tragic Purification
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Countless poets and thinkers over the ages have identified closely with Empedocles of Acragas. Friedrich Hölderlin (1770–1843) is one of these. The threeversions of his mourning-play, The Death of Empedocles, give us an opportunity to conceive of the unity of the Empedoclean project—to confront nature and humanexistence alike as tragic. Central to this tragic view of both On Nature and Purifications, reputedly the two books of Empedocles, is the theme of doubling and duplicity, especially the presence in the (one) sphere of love and strife. Tragic doubling is a unity in perpetual dispersion.
55. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Kevin Aho Gender and Time: Revisiting the Question of Dasein’s Neutrality
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Many critics have attempted to give an account of a gendered incarnation of Dasein in response to Heidegger’s “neutral” or “asexual” interpretation. In this paper,I suggest gendered readings of Dasein are potentially misleading. I argue Dasein is gendered only to the extent that “the Anyone” (das Man)—understood as relational background of social practices, institutions, and languages—constitutes the space or “clearing” (Lichtung) of intelligibility. However, this reading misrepresents the core motivation of Heidegger’s early project, namely to arrive at “temporality” (Zeitlichkeit) as the original source of any intelligibility whatsoever. For Heidegger, Dasein is to be understood in terms of the twofold movement of being “thrown” into the Past (Vergangenheit) and “projecting” into the Future (Zukunft). It is only the basis of the neutral temporal structures of “thrown projection” that beings can emerge-into-presence as such, enabling us to make sense of our Present (Gegenwart) gendered practices in the first place.
56. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
David LaRocca Changing the Subject: The Auto/biographical as the Philosophical in Wittgenstein
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In this essay, I investigate our understanding of what counts as philosophical. Using the life and work of Wittgenstein as a test case, I take a close look at how various Wittgenstein scholars relate to work other than the principal and accepted philosophical texts (such as the Tractatus and the Philosophical Investigations), and suggest that there is an inconsistency in the criteria of what we can and should be taking seriously for philosophical purposes; sometimes there is inconsistency of use (one thing is said, another is done), and sometimes there is inconsistency in the form of occlusion (the scholar simply avoids the chance (or responsibility) to define terms). Guarding against advocacy for essentialism, I argue that philosophers might benefit from a more direct and explicit engagement with the criteria they use when writing about the philosophical significance of material other than dominant texts. That engagement, however, reveals that the pursuit of criteria is at odds with the spirit of Wittgenstein’s philosophy. As a result, we stand in need of an alternative method of discerning what counts. I suggestthat, in the context of Wittgenstein’s work, such a method is a matter of approach, not criteria. Perhaps this method can extend beyond Wittgenstein’s work to a general view of what counts as philosophical.
57. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Sean D. Kirkland On Anti-Parmenidean Temporality in Aristotle’s Physics
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Taking very seriously its anti-Parmenidean character, this essay locates a radically temporalized ontology at the heart of Aristotle’s Physics. We first concentrateon Aristotle’s discussion of kinêsis or ‘change’ as always between opposites, drawing the conclusion that the archai that govern and constitute a change, as opposites, cannot be present in the change itself. Thus, change is what it is by virtue of what is necessarily not present. We then draw the implications of this discussion for chronos or ‘time,’ defined in Book IV of the Physics as “the number of change.” Here, we uncover the ecstatic present moment of natural, changing things, a present constituted by its past and future, which is to say by what is emphatically not present.
58. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Michael Marder Given the Right—of Giving (in Hegel’s Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts)
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This essay approaches the Hegelian problem of giving and givenness through the marginal figures of the animal, the child, and “superstitious humanity,”representing, in one way or another, the unperturbed relationship with immediacy. I argue that, for Hegel, the process of subjectivization supersedes these figures by learning to reject the immediately given and to accept only what is self-given. Yet, interspersed throughout this process are various imbalances and asymmetries, whereby the subject gives itself more than it takes, undialectically suppressing the particular and displacing the marginal.
59. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Christian Lotz Existential Idealism?: Fichte and Heidegger
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In this essay, I shall attempt to shed light on central practical concepts, such as action and decision, in Heidegger’s existentialism and in Fichte’s idealism. BothFichte and Heidegger, though from different philosophical frameworks and with different results, address the practical moment by developing [1] a non-epistemic concept of certainty, in connection with [2] a temporal analysis of the conditions of action, which leads to the primacy of future in their analyses. Both [1] and [2] shed light on their concept of the self, and on the concept of freedom. In addition, my paper offers a further clarification of what was called before Fichte’s “proto-existentialism” (G. Zöller, D. Henrich). The ontological framework of both philosophies and their concept of the practical self, finally, leads to the proposal to merge both perspectives into what I would like to call “existential idealism.” Fichte’s and Heidegger’s practical philosophies can be taken as two sides of the same coin.
60. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Jacob Howland Plato’s Dionysian Music?: A Reading of the Symposium
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Like Aristophanes’ Frogs, Plato’s Symposium stages a contest between literary genres. The quarrel between Socrates and Aristophanes constitutes the primary axis of this contest, and the speech of Alcibiades echoes and extends that of Aristophanes. Alcibiades’ comparison of Socrates with a satyr, however, contains the key to understanding Socrates’ implication, at the very end of the dialogue, that philosophy alone understands the inner connectedness, and hence the proper nature, of both tragedy and comedy. I argue that Plato reflects in the character of Socrates the primordial wisdom embodied in satyric drama. I conclude with a brief consideration of Nietzsche’s challenge to Plato’s Dionysian wisdom.