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61. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
David Storey Heidegger and the Question Concerning Biology: Life, Soul, and Nature in the Early Aristotle Lecture Courses
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While Heidegger has long been cast as hostile to or neglectful of life-philosophy, his work on Aristotle in the 1920s demonstrates a struggle to articulate an ontology of life. I argue that this is no peripheral concern in his work and should be seen in the broader context of the development of his philosophy of nature. I submit that we can triangulate Heidegger’s position on the ontological status of life by tracing the tension between the Kantian and Aristotelian strains in his work. His early forays into life-philosophy and philosophical biology, while incomplete and inconclusive, challenge our picture of him as espousing a view of human existence dissociated from living and natural being.
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62. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Gregory Kirk Misreading the Unparticipated Source of Difference in Deleuze's Reversal of Platonism
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In this article, I argue that in his “reversal of Platonism” in The Logic of Sense, Gilles Deleuze does not adequately consider in what sense Plotinus identifies The One as “unparticipated.” I further claim that when The One is understood in the sense I consider Plotinus to have presented it, it shows itself to have attributes similar to Deleuze’s “dark precursor,” insofar as both The One and the dark precursor are ineffable, are inexhaustible, and contain absolute generative power. I propose that examining conceptual similarities between the works of such figures—about whose concepts similarity is undoubtedly counter-intuitive—sheds interesting light on important characteristics of Platonism, and in particular about the underappreciated sense in which the concept of difference is richly developed in the Platonic tradition.
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63. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Michael Marder On the Verge of Respect: Ontological and Phenomenological Investigations into Plant Ethics
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In contrast to the legal, metaphysically laden, and epistemological paradigms, the ontological interpretation of respect concerns not only the relation between the “subject” and the “object” (or, better, the provider and the recipient, of this attitude) but also the being of the respected and the respecting. This paper develops an ontology of respect with regard to the human treatment of plants and teases out the meanings of vegetal life that germinate in this relation. What is at stake, I claim, is not so much an objective ontology as the phenomenological disclosure of the meanings of human and vegetal lives, construed “from within,” i.e., both in the context of the interactions between them and from the unique standpoint proper to each kind of being. Far from an ethical supplement to a theoretical description of vegetal beings, respect is the prism through which we may first gain access to plant ontology.
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64. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Jerome Veith Concerned with Oneself as One Person: Self-Knowledge in Phronesis
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This paper addresses the debate concerning the nature of Aristotelian phronêsis and the objects to which it is directed. After a preparatory distinction from other intellectual virtues, I elucidate phronêsis’s connection to character-virtue and deliberation, highlighting the crucial role of perception. Focusing on moral sensibility serves to underscore the particular nature of the objects of phronêsis, and introduces its aspect of self-knowledge. This determination, finally, helps characterize the project of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics as an indirect education in phronêsis.
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65. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Dimitrios Dentsoras The Birth of Supererogation
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The essay investigates the philosophical infancy of the idea that some actions are morally praiseworthy while not being morally obligatory. It focuses on Thomas Aquinas’s distinction between commandments and counsels, the early Christian idea that some acts go beyond nature, and the Stoic notion of circumstantially appropriate actions. I discuss the Christian and Stoic justification of acts of self-denial, such as celibacy, poverty, and martyrdom, and attempt to find a unitary source of goodness and moral obligation that allows for such supererogatory acts. Nature provides such a unitary source in the early Christian theologian Athanasius and the Stoics. I discuss how nature determines one’s duties while also allowing for praiseworthy acts outside the scope of these duties, and in seeming contrast with them.
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66. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Jeffrey Reid The Hobbesian Ethics of Hegel's Sense-Certainty
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In this paper, I explore the largely ignored ethical dimension in the first section of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, Sense-certainty, which tends to be understood exclusively as an epistemological critique of sense-data empiricism. I approach the ethical aspect of the chapter through Hegel’s analysis of language, there, as unable to refer to individual things. I then show that the position Hegel analyses is akin to the one presented by Thomas Hobbes in his Leviathan, as well as in his De Corpore, and which serves to ground his naturalistic ethics. The linguistic juxtaposition consequently allows me to relate the ethics of sense-certainty to Hobbes, not only to his “shallow” empiricism, as Hegel puts it, but to the ethical vision Hobbes presents in his state of nature.
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67. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Brian Seitz The Other Subject of Husserl: A Troubled Double
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Husserl’s “Fifth Meditation” is an effort to establish intersubjectivity, the necessary passage to the Objective world. Two conflicting tendencies govern Husserl’s discourse here: 1) a privileged desire to maintain the primacy of the monadic Ego, which is 2) the origin of a desire to recognize the other and thus to secure intersubjectivity. By focusing on the conflict between these tendencies and on his abrupt introduction of the body into the text in an attempt to resolve them, I try to show through “something like” a deconstruction that Husserl does not resolve the problem of the other but begins and ends this key chapter in an impasse.
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68. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Daniel Whistler Purely Practical Reason: Normative Epistemology from Leibniz to Maimon
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In this paper, I contend that a crucial historical precedent for contemporary interest in virtue epistemology is to be found in Leibniz-Wolffian rationalism. For philosophers from Wolff to Lessing, epistemology was thoroughly normative; that is, the task of epistemology was not to describe knowledge, but set rules for the amelioration of knowledge. Such a normative stance was transferred into cognate disciplines, such as aesthetics, as well. I further argue that after Kant’s Copernican revolution in philosophy in 1781 strands of this normative epistemology lived on in both Schiller’s aesthetics and Maimon’s reworking of transcendental idealism. Finally, I suggest some provisional reasons for considering Kant’s epistemology a break with this tradition.
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69. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Andrew T. LaZella De Aventure: Matter, Causal Violence, and the Event Worthy of Its Name
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That the category of violent causation has passed from the register of “useful” scientific categories is without question. And yet, in a time of ecological crisis, this conceptual atavism reflects not some idyllic pre-modern past, but the present ubiquity of causal violence. Tracing a course through medieval Aristotelianism will show not only that violence cannot be reduced to artificial production, but also that its operation remains phantasmatic insofar as it seeks to exclude the very condition upon which it is founded: possibility. And as the possibility to end all possibility, violence neutralizes “any event worthy of its name.”
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70. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Lewis Meek Trelawny-Cassity On the Foundation of Theology in Plato's Laws
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While recent scholarship often makes the claim that Plato’s theology in the Laws is based upon inferences from observable features about the world, this interpretation runs into difficulties when one considers (1) the continuing importance that the Socratic turn undertaken in the Phaedo has for speculation in the Laws about the order of the cosmos and (2) the actual observations that Plato makes about the sublunar and celestial realms in the Laws. In light of these difficulties, I develop an interpretation of the theology of the Laws that seeks to show the priority of soul to matter by means of an articulation of the fundamental orientation to the world that is manifest in human beings seeking shared understanding through λόγος. This fundamental orientation is characterized by the recognition that νοῦς, not personal ambition, should guide human action and thought, and I argue that this recognition supplies at least partial support for the belief that νοῦς is in control of the cosmos. This interpretation helps makes sense of difficult passages in the Platonic corpus that ground cosmology on piety (Laws 10.898c6, Philebus 28e2, Timaeus 29a4). The relationship of this philosophical piety to the piety required by the laws of Magnesia is, however, problematic, and it could appear that Plato bridges this gap by a prudentialist account of why the laws of the city should be considered divine. I broach this problem in the final section of this paper by way of an examination of the relationship between the second sailing (δεύτερος πλοῦς) of the Phaedo and the δεύτερος πλοῦς of the Statesman and the Laws. I conclude with the observation that both the Phaedo and the Laws make use of an enchantment (ἐπῳδή) that goes beyond the bounds of what λόγος can establish.
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71. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
James Wood Taming the Cosmic Rebel: The Place of the Errant Cause in the Timaeus
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This paper examines the errant cause in the Timaeus. After eliminating the material elements, matter, chōra, and irrational soul, I show that the source of cosmic disorder lies in the manifestation of difference in genesis. This disorder is a necessary feature of demiurgic formation, which requires generated beings to fall short of their paradigmatic forms and to encounter each other in destabilizing motions. Errancy is thus a threat to generated beings, but it also presents an opportunity and a task to those beings capable of bringing sameness to difference in themselves in imitation of the demiurge and cosmic soul.
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72. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Edward Butler Animal and Paradigm in Plato
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The paradigm according to which the cosmos is ordered by the demiurge is characterized in the Timaeus as ‘Animal Itself,’ while παράδειγμα in the vision of Er from the Republic denotes the patterns of lives chosen by individual humans and other animals. The essay seeks to grasp the animality of the paradigm, as well as the paradigmatic nature of animality, by means of the homology discernible between these usages. This inquiry affirms the value within a Platonic doctrine of principles of persons over reified forms, of modes of unity over substantial natures, and of agency over structure.
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73. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Mathias Warnes Heidegger on Hölderlin's Festival: The Wedding Dance as the Inceptual Event
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After accounting for the festival as a philosophical theme across Heidegger’s early to later writings, this article summarizes the 1943 “Andenken” essay on Hölderlin’s “wedding festival” and 1959 “Hölderlin’s Earth and Heaven” essay on the “round dance.” It then explores how these motifs of the wedding festival and its round dance are in play in the 1936–1937 Contributions to Philosophy: Of the Event manuscript, especially in its philosophy of attunement, and notion of the “celebration of the last god.”
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74. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Günter Figal Is There Any Truth in Art?: Aesthetical Considerations
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This paper discusses the question if there is any truth in art. Initially it poses the question whether artworks are just mere appearances or whether they have a special truth. In critical reflection on Heidegger’s conception of art as the “setting-itself-to-work of truth” this question is then elaborated and answered: The appearance character of artworks cannot be conceived as truth. What true artworks show, namely mere possibilities, is beyond truth, because it does not belong to the real world. Artworks are not true; in their decentered order and their self-showing nature they are beautiful.
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75. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
C. T. Ricciardone "We Are the Disease": Truth, Health, and Politics from Plato's Gorgias to Foucault
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Starting from the importance of the figure of the parrhesiastes—the political and therapeutic truth-teller—for Foucault’s understanding of the care of the self, this paper traces the political figuration of the analogy between philosophers and physicians on the one hand, and rhetors and disease on the other in Plato’s Gorgias. I show how rhetoric, in the form of ventriloquism, infects the text itself, and then ask how we account for the effect of the “contaminated” philosophical dialogue on our readerly health. Is the text placebo, vaccine, or virus? All of these options, I argue, complicate Foucault’s prescription for parrhesia, requiring us to think anew the continuing political ramifications of the metaphor of care.
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76. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Amnon Marom Continuity and Discontinuity in Wilhelm Dilthey's Thinking: A New Suggestion for Resolving an Old Controversy
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This study seeks to provide a new resolution to an old controversy regarding the consistency of Wilhelm Dilthey’s thought. This controversy concentrates on the relations between Dilthey’s early psychology and his late hermeneutics. According to my proposed view, Dilthey did intend to replace psychology with hermeneutics; even so, his thought should still be viewed as consistent. Instead of concentrating on the methodological level of his writing, I will concentrate on the object of the two methods. Thus, I will argue that the consistency of Dilthey’s thought is derived from the stable destination he aspired to reach with the help of these different methods.
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77. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Joseph Carter Heidegger's Sein zum Tode as Radicalization of Aristotle's Definition of Kinesis
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There is evidence in the early Vorlesungen to suggest that in Sein und Zeit Heidegger’s description of Dasein as Bewegung/Bewegtheit relies on his reading of Aristotle’s definition of motion, given specifically in the 1924 Grundbegriffe der aristotelischen Philosophie. According to Heidegger, Aristotle identifies kinêsis with energeia and calls it ‘active potentiality’ (tätige Möglichkeit). In this essay, I show how Heidegger’s interpretation of Aristotle’s definition of motion sheds light on the arguments concerning being-towards-death (Sein zum Tode) in Sein und Zeit. I argue that self-understanding is Dasein’s active potentiality, since this is its authentic being-towards-death. In turn, I assess Heidegger’s philological and philosophical justifications for collapsing the distinction between energeia and kinêsis in Aristotle, showing how Heidegger diverges from Aristotle’s doctrines.
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78. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Rodolphe Gasché "A Certain Walk to Follow": Derrida and the Question of Method
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This essay is an inquiry into Derrida’s elaborations on the concept of method, and the frequent discussions in his work of questions of method, particularly, in the context of the conception of a “science of writing.” The aim of the essay is to clarify what Derrida calls “a discourse of method in general,” that is, the discourse that represents the founda­tion of Descartes’s reflections on method, as well as Heidegger’s retracing of the concept of method back to the problematic of methodos, and hodos, in short, to the problematic of “the way of thinking.” Centering on how this way becomes method, and how method brings about the narrowing of thought deplored by Heidegger, Derrida explores what it is in the way itself that makes such becoming, and hence “perversion” of itself inevitable.
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79. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Russell Winslow Biological Meaning
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In the following article, the author offers an interpretation of George Canguilhem’s thinly articulated concept “biological meaning.” As a way into the problem, the article begins with the question: how does “biological meaning” differ from other forms of meaning? That is to ask, if we are to hold that the mere physical/chemical mode of being of a stone differs from the biological mode of being of an organism, how do they differ in their meaning? In an effort to supply an answer to this question, our author postulates that, when we consider the lived circumstances of the organism, the existential situation of living beings, their biological facticity, then we intuit a fundamental difference in the mode of being of the motions of billiard balls and those of organisms. Moreover, through the investigation into, on the one hand, the motions that take place in a living milieu and, on the other hand, the form of potentiality inherent in what we might call the motions of adaptation, the author offers a preliminary description of a meaning that might be uniquely biological.
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80. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Joe Balay "The Special (Dis)Advantage of the Beautiful" in Gadamer's Plato Reading
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In this paper, I examine two important claims that Hans-Georg Gadamer makes in his Plato interpretations. The first claim is found at the end of Wahrheit und Methode, where Gadamer suggests that “the special advantage of the beautiful” in Platonic philosophy is both a shelter and a reminder of the good, as well as the structure of eidetic appearance that brings together ideality and appearance in the event of new understanding. The second claim considered here is Gadamer’s suggestion that while non-being is more alive in Plato than Heidegger’s critique of metaphysics admits, a genuine thinking of semblance remains only “subliminal” in Plato. Drawing these two claims together, I argue that Gadamer’s reading of Plato’s Philebus reveals that the nature of the beautiful grounds semblance in a deeper way than even Gadamer recognizes. Specifically, I contend that beauty’s appearance is both a necessary concretion of the dynamic mixture of the good, the limited, and the unlimited, and yet, as just this concrete appearance it also always dissembles this ongoing dynamic. As the context of the Philebus indicates, however, this is a claim that concerns not only human experience, but ontology itself. In the end, such a finding contributes to a more Socratic interpretation of Platonic wisdom and philosophical hermeneutics, suggesting that genuine knowledge begins with the recognition of the limits and vulnerability of understanding.
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