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Josh Brandt

At the outset of the Republic, Polemarchus advances the bold thesis that “justice is the art which gives benefit to friends and injury to enemies”. He quickly rejects the hypothesis, and what follows is a long tradition of neglecting the ethics of enmity. The parallel issue of how friendship (and other positive relationships) affects the moral sphere has, by contrast, been greatly illuminated by discussions both ancient and contemporary. This article connects this existing work to the less explored topic of the normative significance of our negative relationships. I explain how negative partiality should be conceptualized through reference to the positive analogue, and argue that at least some forms of negative partiality are justified. I further explore the connection between positive and negative relationships by showing how both are justified by ongoing histories of encounter (though of different kinds). However, I also argue that these relationships are in some important ways asymmetrical (i.e. friendship is not the mirror image of enmity).

Money versus Value?

Reconsidering the ‘Monetary Approach’ of the ‘post’-Uno School, Benetti/Cartelier, and the Neue Marx-Lektüre

Elena Louisa Lange

Abstract

Even after the demise of the influential Uno School in the 1980s, Japanese economists have been continuously engaged in the categorial reconstruction of Marx’s Critique of Political Economy, especially the theory of value and money. Writing in the 1980s–2000s, authors of the ‘post-Uno School’, such as Ebitsuka Akira, Mukai Kimitoshi, Kataoka Kōji etc., broadened the value-theoretical views of Uno School orthodoxy to include, among others, the Neue Marx-Lektüre (predominantly H.-G. Backhaus and M. Heinrich) and the French economists C. Benetti and J. Cartelier.

This paper will confront the ‘post-Uno School’s’ reading of Marx’s theory of value, which poses the theories of value and money as unreconcilable, leading them to discard the theory of value in favour of a ‘monetary approach’. We show that the dismissal of value theory leads to an introduction of Baileyan and neoclassical elements into Marx’s theory, which we believe to be both theoretically and practically precarious.

Filippo Menozzi

Abstract

This essay traces a Marxist notion of cultural heritage drawing on the work of twentieth-century thinkers Daniel Bensaïd and Ernst Bloch. Both authors, indeed, address the act of inheriting as a way of rethinking Marxism beyond determinist and teleological concepts of history. In particular, Bensaïd’s 1995 Marx for Our Times and a 1972 essay on cultural heritage by Ernst Bloch reimagine the handing-on of cultural inheritance as the political reactivation of untimely and non-synchronous survivals of past social formations. For this reason, the heritage of Marx conveyed by these authors does not result in a nostalgic preservation of the past but in reviving unrealised possibilities of social transformation. In a comparative reading of Bensaïd and Bloch, the act of ‘inheriting Marx’ analysed in this essay hence formulates a de-commodifying conception of cultural heritage set against the violence of capital.

Colm Shanahan

Abstract

I will argue that, due to the level of attention given to comparing and contrasting Socratic Intellectualism with the Republic, the question of the possibility of akrasia in Plato’s thought has not yet been adequately formulated. I will instead be focusing on Plato’s Symposium, situating Alcibiades at its epicentre and suggesting that his case should be read as highlighting some of Plato’s concerns with Socratic Intellectualism. These concerns arise from the following position of Socratic Intellectualism: knowing the greater good will necessarily entail doing good, and will thereby remove the motivational content of prior knowledge of what is good. Through Alcibiades, Plato explores the possibility of a negative reaction to knowledge of the greater good. Importantly, rather than simply arising as a result of being overcome by the passions, Alcibiades’ negative reaction assumes that rational freedom is required to reject the greater good (virtue) in favour of the lesser.

Harold Tarrant and Suzanne Stern-Gillet

D.A. Vasilakis

Abstract

This article deals with the complex relation between providence and descent in Neoplatonism, with particular reference to Proclus and especially his Commentary on the First Alcibiades. At least according to this work, descent is only a species of providence, because there can be providence without any descent. Whereas the gods (for instance the Henads) provide for our cosmos without descending to it, a large group of souls provide for our cosmos by descending to it. The former kind of providence is better than the latter, even if it is necessary that souls descend in order to give existence to the beautiful cosmos. The following study deals with providence as descent, looking at it from two angles. In the first section I show that Proclus designates this form of providence in two rather surprising ways. One term he uses for it, which will be well known to readers of Plotinus, is τόλµα (audacity)—this despite the word’s negative connotations due to its Neopythagorean and Gnostic origin. A second name for descended providence is ἐπιστροφή (‘reversion’ or better ‘turning one’s attention’). Again, this may be surprising, since we usually expect this term to express the ‘turning back’ of a lower effect to its cause. In Proclus, the word ἐπιστροφή too can have negative connotations, but he also uses it in a positive way when applying it to providence. In the second part of the paper, I explain how Socrates’ providence for Alcibiades (as seen in the Alcibiades I) can be undefiled (i.e. unmixed), even if Socrates necessarily descends as he offers providential guidance. Proclus’ comparison of Socrates with Hercules, who went to the Underworld in order to save Theseus, serves as a positive illustration of Socrates’ divinelike providence, and marks the deficiency of Socrates (or Hercules as a ‘semi-god’) compared to the transcendent and undefiled providence of Neoplatonic divinities.