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Abstract

This article maintains that Aristotle develops his political theory as a craft and science in Politics 4–6. The literature, however, has argued that he views political knowledge as a form of practical wisdom or prudence. This article discusses the way that Aristotle proposes political theory as a skill to help deal with unfavorable circumstances. In Greek political thought, craft and science are characterized as skills of cooperating with nature, taking up opportunities, and coping with uncertainty. Aristotle uses this conception when he develops his political theory in Politics 4–6. He understands that political theorists should advise prudent legislators on practical reforms of constitutions and help them address non-ideal situations. Serious efforts to gain causal knowledge are indispensable for statesmanship. This view of statesmanship better illustrates political theory as part of human efforts and cooperation to resolve uncertainty rather than the one that sharply distinguishes among theoretical, practical, and productive sciences.

Open Access
In: Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought
Author:

Abstract

The paper argues for an analytic interpretation of Protagoras’ myth in Plato’s dialogue by showing that its goal is not so much to reconstruct the origins of civilization as to identify some essential features of humankind. Against the widespread opinion that human progress depends on the development of technai, Protagoras claims that political art is the most important one, insofar as it is the condition for the existence of society. More concretely, the emphasis on the political art also serves to bring light to what is distinctive of Protagoras as opposed to the other sophists and poets. As clearly shown in the dialogue, Protagoras can thus present himself as the only teacher who is capable of imparting the teachings suited to the needs of the new world of the polis.

Open Access
In: Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought
Author:

Abstract

In this paper we explore some of the key themes in the thought of Werner Beierwaltes. He established a reputation as a scholar of Neoplatonism during a period of great renewal of Neoplatonic studies in the last century, and that esteem was justly deserved. Yet his work was motivated by the faith in Platonism as a living tradition and a resolute conviction that metaphysics is an ineluctable part of the philosophical vocation; and indeed he was irritated by jejune or simplistic critiques of metaphysics. Plotinus was at the centre of his scholarship, which explored the great themes of Neoplatonism through medieval, Renaissance and Idealistic philosophy into the contemporary context. Theology, aesthetics and the question of selfhood or subjectivity were recurrent topics in his writing. The discussion of these problems was fueled by a keen sense of the abiding significance of the Platonic tradition for the most puzzling and urgent intellectual questions.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition
In: Philosophical Perspectives on Galen of Pergamum: Four Case-Studies on Human Nature and the Relation between Body and Soul
In: Philosophical Perspectives on Galen of Pergamum: Four Case-Studies on Human Nature and the Relation between Body and Soul
In: Philosophical Perspectives on Galen of Pergamum: Four Case-Studies on Human Nature and the Relation between Body and Soul
In: Philosophical Perspectives on Galen of Pergamum: Four Case-Studies on Human Nature and the Relation between Body and Soul
In: Philosophical Perspectives on Galen of Pergamum: Four Case-Studies on Human Nature and the Relation between Body and Soul
Author:

Abstract

Origen of Alexandria uses the language of ἔρως to explain God’s desire to be with humanity. However, Plato’s classic definition of ἔρως as a mix of poverty and plenty seems to be at odds with Origen’s commitment to classical theism. This article explains why Origen does not consider this attribution to contradict his theological commitments. It starts with a discussion of Origen’s theory of divine attributes, the ἐπίνοιαι Χριστοῦ. Next, Origen’s doctrine of passio caritatis, which states that God can actively will to be passive, is explained. Then, Origen’s familiarity with Plato’s Symposium is demonstrated. The article then considers Origen’s attribution of ἔρως to God, and its context, in the Commentarium in Canticum Canticorum; it emerges that the Incarnation is, for Origen, God’s most erotic act. The final section shows that Origen maintains his understanding of God’s erotic, incarnational movement towards fallen humanity in works other than the Commentarium in Canticum Canticorum.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition