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Author: Colin C. Smith

Abstract

In Plato’s Statesman, the Eleatic Stranger leads Socrates the Younger and their audience through an analysis of the statesman in the service of the interlocutors’ becoming “more capable in dialectic regarding all things” (285d7). In this way, the dialectical exercise in the text is both intrinsically and instrumentally valuable, as it yields a philosophically rigorous account of statesmanship and exhibits a method of dialectical inquiry. After the series of bifurcatory divisions in the Sophist and early Statesman, the Stranger changes to a non-bifurcatory method of dividing to account for the statesman, but does not explain the reason for this change. I argue that the change is prepared by the elements discussed in the digression from 277a2 to 287b2. Here the Stranger makes use of four concepts that are crucial for understanding this change: the notion of paradigm, the paradigms of care and the weaver, and the notion of due measure. I claim that the notion of paradigm clarifies the nature of dialectical inquiry, care and weaving act as paradigms appropriate to dialectical practice, and an account of due measure offers insight into the constitutive ratios that govern the structuring of kinds pursued through dialectical inquiry. I suggest that the non-bifurcatory method is intended to articulate knowledge in the strictest sense, or knowledge of the forms, presenting a method of inquiry into being and its structure that will foster the turning of the soul from things to forms that Socrates describes in the Republic.

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In: The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition
In: The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition
Author: Miriam Byrd

Abstract

This paper presents a new interpretation of the objects of dianoia in Plato’s divided line, contending that they are mental images of the Forms hypothesized by the dianoetic reasoner. The paper is divided into two parts. A survey of the contemporary debate over the identity of the objects of dianoia yields three criteria a successful interpretation should meet. Then, it is argued that the mental images interpretation, in addition to proving consistent with key passages in the middle books of the Republic, better meets those criteria than do any of the three main positions.

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In: The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition
In: The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition

Abstract

Ennead IV 5[29] has been poorly served by translators and commentators, misreporting what Plotinus wrote and, with these mangled results, asserting that this part of his treatise on the “Problems about the Soul” is merely a disjointed series of doxographical fragments with little compelling contribution to make. More careful translation and analysis reveal something strikingly different and original. First, he gives a cogent critique of the theories of Plato and Aristotle concerning the body between and the role of daylight. Second, he substitutes his own account in terms of both sympathy and the principle of two acts, explaining vision both during the day as well as at night, notably deficient in previous accounts. Third, he derives some surprisingly original corollaries about the nature of light and the source of color.

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In: The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition