Hartshorne and Reese thought that in the Timaeus Plato wasn’t quite a panentheist—though he would have been if he’d been consistent. More recently, Cooper has argued that while Plato’s World Soul may have inspired panentheists, Plato’s text does not itself describe a form of panenetheism. In this paper, I will reconsider this question not only by examining closely the Timaeus but by thinking about which features of current characterizations of panentheism are historically accidental and how the core of the doctrine (...) might most fruitfully be understood. I’ll argue that there is a polytheistic view that deserves to be called panentheistic and that Plato’s Timaeus describes such a view. (shrink)
Proclus’ interpretation of the Timaeus confronts the question of whether the living being that is the Platonic cosmos percieves itself. Since sense perception is a mixed blessing in the Platonic tradition, Proclus solves this problem by differentiating different gradations of perception. The cosmos has only the highest kind. This paper contrasts Proclus’ account of the world’s perception of itself with James Lovelock’s notion that the planet Earth, or Gaia, is aware of things going on within itself. This contrast illuminates several (...) key differences between contemporary theories of perception and the neoplatonic world view. In particular, it argues that the neoplatonists had a radically different view of these matters because they assigned the property of truth not only to representations, but to objects as well. (shrink)
In the present volume Proclus describes the 'creation' of the soul that animates the entire universe. This is not a literal creation, for Proclus argues that Plato means only to convey the eternal dependence of the World Soul upon higher causes. In his exegesis of Plato's text, Proclus addresses a range of issues in Pythagorean harmonic theory, as well as questions about the way in which the World Soul knows both forms and the visible reality that comprises its body. This (...) part of Proclus' Commentary is particularly responsive to the interpretive tradition that precedes it. As a result, this volume is especially significant for the study of the Platonic tradition from the earliest commentators onwards. (shrink)
It is an axiom of late neoplatonic metaphysics that all things are in all, but in each in an appropriate manner (ὀικείως, ET 103). These manners or modes of being are indicated by adverbial forms such as παραδειματικῶς or εἰκονικῶς. Thus, for example, the Forms are in the World Soul in the mode of images, while the objects in the sensible realm below Soul are in it in the manner of paradigms (in Tim. II 150.27). Among the many modes of (...) being distinguished by Proclus we find existence ὁλικῶς and μερικῶς – in the manner of a whole and in the manner of a part. This paper investigates the nature and significance of these mereological modes of being. (shrink)
Stoicism was one of the new philosophical movements of the Hellenistic period. The name derives from the porch (stoa poikilê) in the Agora at Athens decorated with mural paintings, where the members of the school congregated, and their lectures were held. Unlike ‘epicurean,’ the sense of the English adjective ‘stoical’ is not utterly misleading with regard to its philosophical origins. The Stoics did, in fact, hold that emotions like fear or envy (or impassioned sexual attachments, or passionate love of anything (...) whatsoever) either were, or arose from, false judgements and that the sage—a person who had attained moral and intellectual perfection—would not undergo them. The later Stoics of Roman Imperial times, Seneca and Epictetus, emphasise the doctrines (already central to the early Stoics' teachings) that the sage is utterly immune to misfortune and that virtue is sufficient for happiness. Our phrase ‘stoic calm’ perhaps encapsulates the general drift of these claims. It does not, however, hint at the even more radical ethical views which the Stoics defended, e.g. that only the sage is free while all others are slaves, or that all those who are morally vicious are equally so. Though it seems clear that some Stoics took a kind of perverse joy in advocating views which seem so at odds with common sense, they did not do so simply to shock. Stoic ethics achieves a certain plausibility within the context of their physical theory and psychology, and within the framework of Greek ethical theory as that was handed down to them from Plato and Aristotle. It seems that they were well aware of the mutually interdependent nature of their philosophical views, likening philosophy itself to a living animal in which logic is bones and sinews; ethics and physics, the flesh and the soul respectively (another version reverses this assignment, making ethics the.. (shrink)
This paper argues that Epicurus held a non-reductionist view of mental states that is in the spirit of Davidson's anomalous monism. We argue for this conclusion by considering the role that normative descriptions play in the peritropē argument from "On Nature" 25. However, we also argue that Epicurus was an indeterminist. We can know that atoms swerve because we can know that we make choices that are up to us and this is incompatible with the ancestral causal determination of mental (...) states by atomic processes. Epicurus escapes the traditional criticism of indeterminist libertarians because the swerve is not meant to explain how choices may be free. The anti-reductionist stance on the mental means that nothing about atomic processes could possibly explain any particular mental event. Moreover, because of the practical and therapeutic nature of Epicurean philosophy, it is not necessary that Epicurus provide an explanation of how the swerve subserves freedom of choice. We know all that we need to know for eudaimonia when we know that some choices are up to us. (shrink)
I think that perversions, if there are any such things, are either sexual manifestations of various aspects of bad moral character or states that are psychologically inextricable from bad moral character. I am myself unsure whether there are any sexual perversions. In this paper, though, I have simply been concerned to argue that ordinary moral discourse has sufficient implicit teleology to allow talk of sexual perversions to be meaningful. It might yet turn out that there are none.
This essay argues the Stoics are rightly regarded as pantheists. Their view differs from many forms of pantheism by accepting the notion of a personal god who exercises divine providence. Moreover, Stoic pantheism is utterly inimical to a deep ecology ethic. I argue that these features are nonetheless consistent with the claim that they are pantheists. The essay also considers the arguments offered by the Stoics. They thought that their pantheistic conclusion was an extension of the best science of their (...) day. Some of their most interesting arguments are thusa posteriori. (shrink)
It is sometimes claimed that the Kantian Ought Implies Can principle (OIC) rules out the possibility of moral dilemmas. A certain understanding of OIC does rule out the possibility of moral dilemmas in the sense defined. However I doubt that this particular formulation of the OIC principle is one that fits well with the eudaimonist framework common to ancient Greek moral philosophy. In what follows, I explore the reasons why Aristotle would not accept the OIC principle in the form in (...) which it rules out the possibility of moral dilemmas. (shrink)
I come not to clarify Aristotle’s defence of the principle of non-contradiction, but to put it in its proper context. I argue that remarks in Metaphysics IV.3 together with the argument of IV.4, 1006a11-31 show that Aristotle practises Plato’s method of dialectic in his defence of PNC. I mean this in the strong sense that he uses the very methodology described in the middle books of the Republic and, I claim, illustrated in such dialogues as Parmenides, Sophist and Theaetetus.
We ought to combine the predicative and veridical readings of estin. Plato’s view involves a parallelism between truth and being: when we know, we grasp a logos which is completely true and is made true by an on which is completely (F). Opinion takes as its object a logos which is no more true than false and which concerns things which are no more (F) than not (F). This view, I argue, is intelligible in the context of the presuppositions which (...) underlie Socratic ‘What is F?’ questions. (shrink)
In the Phaedo, Socrates endorses the view that the senses are not a means whereby we may come to gain knowledge. Whenever one investigates by means of the senses, one is deceived. One can attain truth only by inquiry through intellect alone. It is a measure of the success of empiricism that modern commentators take a very different approach to Phaedo 65a9-67b3 than their neoplatonist forebearers did. In what follows I shall argue that, if they made too much of "Socrate's" (...) anti-empiricism, we make too little of it.I believe that careful examination of the presuppositions of Socratic questioning will reveal some principled reasons which lead to the view about sense perception that Socrates endorses in the Phaedo. These reasons are, I believe, wrong and I think that Plato may have had occassion to reconsider them later in his career. But even if this is so, it remains that Socrates' anti-empiricism in this dialogue is not simply a gratuitous epistemological reflection of the dialogue's otherworldly, ascetic ethical outlook. (shrink)