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In the treatise On the Change of Names (part of his magnum opus, the Allegorical Commentary), Philo of Alexandria brings his figurative exegesis of the Abraham cycle to its fruition. Taking a cue from Platonist interpreters of Homer’s Odyssey, Philo reads Moses’s story of Abraham as an account of the soul’s progress and perfection. Responding to contemporary critics, who mocked Genesis 17 as uninspired, Philo finds instead a hidden philosophical reflection on the ineffability of the transcendent God, the transformation of souls which recognize their mortal nothingness, the possibility of human faith enabled by peerless faithfulness of God, and the fruit of moral perfection: joy divine, prefigured in the birth of Isaac.
This book represents the first monograph (miscellany) entirely devoted to Crantor of Soli (app. 335–275 BCE), an outstanding figure of the Old Academy. He was in particular famous for his On Grief, an exemplary work of consolation literature, and for his being the first commentator of Plato’s Timaeus. Unlike his darling Arcesilaus of Pitane, who initiated the Sceptical turn, Crantor seems to have stuck firm to the Academic teachings of Polemon and Plato. The contributions collected in this book aim to convey a complete picture of Crantor by discussing various aspects of his philosophy and biography.
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A wealth of political literature has survived, from political theory by Plato and Aristotle to the variety of prose and verse literature that more broadly demonstrate political thinking. However, despite the extent of this legacy, it can be surprisingly hard to say how ancient Greek political thought has made its influence present, or whether this influence has been sustained across the centuries. This volume includes a range of disciplinary responses to issues surrounding the legacy of Greek political thought, demonstrating the ways in which political thinking has evolved from antiquity to the present day.
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‘Let me give you a simple example of what I mean, and you will see the rest for yourself.’ This is how Plato usually introduces mathematical examples to illustrate important philosophical puzzles. The research presented in this book offers a systematic analysis of these examples and demonstrates their crucial psychagogical function. Providing a toolkit of paradoxical objects that challenge the soul and summon thought, mathematical examples do not convey demonstrative rigor or exact calculations, but instead induce psychic states of aporia and wonder. The gaze of Plato’s mathematicians is directed both downwards and upwards: precisely for this reason mathematics have the power to awaken the soul and to lead it towards the Forms.

«Prendi un piccolo esempio, e saprai tutto quello che voglio dire». Così Platone introduce esempi matematici funzionali a illustrare snodi filosofici particolarmente problematici. Questo studio fornisce un’analisi sistematica di tali esempi e ne mostra la cruciale funzione psicagogica. Come un toolkit di oggetti paradossali che confondono l’anima e mettono in moto il pensiero, le matematiche degli esempi non veicolano rigore dimostrativo e calcoli esatti, ma inducono stati psichici di aporia e meraviglia. Proprio in virtù del loro sguardo biforcuto, rivolto non solo verso l’alto ma anche verso il basso, le matematiche hanno il potere di risvegliare l’anima e di trainarla verso le Idee.
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The book is a critical edition of the text with an English translation and commentary of Proclus’ On the Hieratic Art according to the Greeks. The Hieratic Art is the Theurgic Art, theurgy, the theurgic union with the divine. Proclus describes the theurgic union, putting an emphasis on a conceptual blending of ritual actions (teletai, e.g. the role of statues, incenses, synthêmata, symbols, purifications, invocations and epiphanies) and philosophical concepts (e.g. union of many powers, ‘one and many’, symphathy, natural sympathies, attraction, mixing and division).
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In the Gorgias Plato offers a synthesis of what he thinks about the bitter conflict between philosophical and non-philosophical approaches to one’s responsibilities in private and public life. This book contributes to a deeper understanding of this historically and conceptually rich canvas by shedding light on its main topics: speech in its philosophical and non-philosophical forms, psychology in relation to virtuous life, and politics which charges the two former topics with high stakes that call for personal choices.

Abstract

At Outlines of Pyrrhonism (PH) 2.227–8, Sextus Empiricus argues that certain entities which his adversaries hold to be one and the same for different individuals are in fact not. This he does by, among other things, considering the truth-value of sentences of which the subject is a common noun, thereby drawing an interesting connection between metaphysics and semantics. In this article, I provide a careful analysis of Sextus’ arguments at PH 2.227–8 and explore the origins and limits of such a connection. In particular, I argue that Sextus’ argument at PH 2.227 probably reflects a Stoic argument against Aristotelian essences, thereby relying on specifically Stoic doctrines about universals and common nouns, whereas his next argument at PH 2.228 targets accidents. If this is true, it follows that the overall structure of PH 2.227–8 fits well with the typically Aristotelian distinction between essence and accident.

In: Phronesis

Abstract

This article critically analyses the concept of ‘partnership’ (koinōnia) in Book II of the Republic (Pl. Resp. 369b–374e), a concept it believes grounds Plato’s political thesis. It attempts to determine the nature of the concept, explore the agential capacities of the partnering agents, identify the original and derivative rational principles that could emerge from it, and argue that these rational principles are also moral principles. Platonic social justice spells out one of the rational and moral principles that emerge from the partnership. In this regard, the paper aims to show, inter alia, the connection between Platonic partnership and social justice and how such connection helps to explain, for instance, the quality of relationship that could exist between the rulers and ruled in Kallipolis. Incidentally, the paper compares Platonic partnership in respect of his defence of justice with Glaucon’s contractarian moral thesis in connection with his pean for injustice.

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