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Abstract

Since Mates’ seminal Stoic Logic there has been uncertainty and debate about how to treat the term anapodeiktos when used of Stoic syllogisms. This paper argues that the customary translation of anapodeiktos by ‘indemonstrable’ is accurate, and it explains why this is so. At the heart of the explanation is an argument that, contrary to what is commonly assumed, indemonstrability is rooted in the generic account of the Stoic epistemic notion of demonstration (apodeixis). Some minor insights into Stoic logic ensue.

In: Phronesis

Abstract

I argue that the science of the soul only covers sublunary living things. Aristotle cannot properly ascribe ψυχή to unmoved movers since they do not have any capacities that are distinct from their activities or any matter to be structured. Heavenly bodies do not have souls in the way that mortal living things do, because their matter is not subject to alteration or generation. These beings do not fit into the hierarchy of soul powers that Aristotle relies on to provide unity to ψυχή. Their living consists in their activities, not in having a capacity for activity.

In: Phronesis
Philosopher en commun, tourner sa pensée vers Dieu
Françoise Frazier’s Quelques aspects du platonisme de Plutarque: Philosopher en commun, Tourner sa pensée vers Dieu includes 20 essays on several philosophical tractates in Plutarch’s Moralia. Interesting both for Classists and Historians of Religion alike, the chapters provide an in-depth interpretation of several essential aspects of Plutarch’s philosophical dialogues that pays special heed both to the divine and the communication between God and humans. The book includes three sections. While the first is mainly concerned with Plutarch’s Amatorius, the second focuses on Plutarch’s relationship to Plato, especially in his myths of the afterlife. The third part, finally, deals with an important investigation that occupied Professor Frazier lately, namely the concept of pistis in the religious context of the first centuries CE.
Studies in Hermias’ Commentary on Plato’s Phaedrus is a collection of twelve essays that consider aspects of Hermias’ philosophy, including his notions of the soul, logic, and method of exegesis. The essays also consider Hermias’ work in the tradition of Neoplatonism, particularly in relation to the thought of Iamblichus and Proclus. The collection grapples with the question of the originality of Hermias’ commentary—the only extant work of Hermias—which is a series of lectures notes of his teacher, Syrianus.

Abstract

A crux of Plato’s Symposium is how beauty (to kalon) relates to the good. Diotima distinguishes beauty from the good, I show, to explain how erotic pursuits are characteristically ambivalent and opaque. Human beings pursue beauty without knowing why or thinking it good; yet they are rational, if aiming at happiness. Central to this reconstruction is a passage widely taken to show that beauty either coincides with the good or demands disinterested admiration. It shows rather that what one loves as beautiful does not appear good, a proposal with ramifications for ethical psychology.

In: Phronesis
In Plato's Timaeus and the Missing Fourth Guest, Donna M. Altimari Adler proposes a new Timaeus scale structure. She finds the harmonic cosmos, mathematically, at 35 A-36 D, regarding the text as a number generator. Plato's primary number sequence, she argues, yields a matrix defining a sophisticated harmony of the spheres. She stresses the Decad as the pattern governing both human perception and the generation of all things, in the Timaeus, including the World Soul and musical scale symbolizing it. She precisely identifies Plato's "fabric" and its locus of severance and solves other thorny problems of textual interpretation.

Abstract

Why do human beings, on Aristotle’s view, have an innate tendency to badness, that is, to developing desires that go beyond and against their natural needs? Given Aristotle’s teleological assumptions (including the thesis that nature does nothing in vain), such tendency should not be present. I argue that the culprit is to be found in the workings of rationality, in particular in the (necessary) presence of theoretical reason. As theoretical reason requires that human beings have unlimited non-rational desires for the fine (to kalon), it also gives rise to a tendency to form unlimited non-rational desires for other things.

In: Phronesis

Abstract

David Furley has suggested that we think of Callicles’ immoralism as attacking a thick concept. I take up this suggestion and apply it to the argument of Plato’s Gorgias more generally. I show that the discussion between Socrates, Gorgias and Polus, which prepares the ground for Callicles, is precisely addressing the thickness of the concept of justice: it reveals that this concept is both descriptive and evaluative and that formulating a revisionist position about justice is therefore extremely difficult. Callicles’ strategy is best read as a response to this difficulty, which sets the stage for Socrates’ revisionist account of justice.

In: Phronesis

Abstract

In a late treatise, That the Capacities of the Soul Follow the Mixtures of the Body (QAM), Galen of Pergamum infamously offered the view that the substance of the soul is identical with a bodily mixture. This thesis has been found radical and extreme in modern scholarship and is generally considered to be at odds with Galen’s ‘agnosticism’ on the substance of soul. In this paper I propose a close reading of QAM that allows us to make sense of it in terms of Galen’s other work, including his late work On My Own Opinions (De Propriis Placitis).

In: Phronesis