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Abstract

The words τὸ πρῶτον in Heraclitus B1 have been subjected to competing construals, yet this dilemma, and its stakes, are almost never discussed. We argue that the common translation of ἀκούσαντες τὸ πρῶτον, ‘when once they have heard it’, faces insurmountable philosophical, stylistic, and linguistic objections. We make a new case for the alternative construal, ‘after they have heard it for the first time’. This yields a linguistically better account of the Greek, and a philosophically more satisfying one in the broader context of B1 and Heraclitus’ thought. Finally, we examine the larger programmatic implications of the small phrase τὸ πρῶτον for Heraclitus’ book.

Open Access
In: Phronesis
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Abstract

Aristotle’s divine nous of Metaphysics Λ.9 is generally understood to exclusively characterise the Prime Mover-God. This paper challenges this view by (1) drawing out the strong congruity between our ‘best state’ and that of the Prime Mover in Λ.7 and (2) removing certain key obstacles to a more inclusive reading of Λ.9: our thought is not limited to the ‘human’ kind (ho anthrōpinos nous, 1075a7), nor is our self-knowledge always a ‘by-product’ (en parergōi, 1074b36). Noēsis noēseōs, I contend, equally applies to some forms of our thought. Hence, divine thought is accessible—indeed, even commendable—to us, just as the ‘divine life’ of Nicomachean Ethics X.7 is.

Open Access
In: Phronesis
Author:

Abstract

Bryson of Heraclea and Polyxenus have received little attention from scholars. Sources on these philosophers are few and difficult to interpret. However, they present interesting dialectical arguments that concern some of Plato’s and Aristotle’s most important theoretical elaborations: Bryson’s arguments on the issue of semantic ambiguity were explicitly discussed by Aristotle, and Polyxenus is credited with a particular version of the Third Man argument. My purpose in this paper is to reconstruct the historical background of these two philosophers and to analyze the philosophical implications of the arguments that the ancient tradition ascribes to them.

In: Phronesis
Free access
In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
In: Proclus' On the Hieratic Art according to the Greeks
In: Proclus' On the Hieratic Art according to the Greeks
In: Proclus' On the Hieratic Art according to the Greeks
In: Proclus' On the Hieratic Art according to the Greeks

Abstract

In the last part of the Gorgias, to build the debate between Socrates and Callicles, Plato reemploys thematic and structural elements of the agon of Euripides’ Antiope between the two brothers Zéthos and Amphion, sons of Antiope and builders of the Theban walls. The importance of the reprise, made explicit by Plato, leads one to wonder about its meaning in the dialogue, since the latter contains a severe rebuttal of tragedy, which it criticises as a form of rhetoric. To answer this question, we will study how the agon of the Antiope is integrated into the plot of the Gorgias to highlight, in a kind of dramatic crescendo, the limits of the elenchos and the stakes of the choice of philosophical life, which implies a new heroism, different from the tragic one. Indeed, in the Gorgias, a new drama is played out, with a new hero, on a new stage, that of the Socratic dialogue.

Open Access
In: Plato’s Gorgias: Speech, Soul and Politics

Abstract

Plato presents the result of the first part of the Gorgias as an aporia (460c–461a). Rhetoric as represented by Gorgias either includes knowledge and makes its user responsible for its use or does neither of these. This paper claims that Plato’s aim in this part is twofold: to make as strong an argument as possible that rhetoric can be morally neutral and to show the shortcomings of that argument. It is equally important to see Plato’s contribution to the concept of rhetoric’s neutrality and his reasons to oppose this concept. The latter include a necessary relation of speaking to its subject.

Open Access
In: Plato’s Gorgias: Speech, Soul and Politics