Like many of his contemporaries, Hegel considered Spinoza a modern reviver of ancient Eleatic monism, in whose system “all determinate content is swallowed up as radically null and void”. This characterization of Spinoza as denying the reality of the world of finite things had a lasting influence on the perception of Spinoza in the two centuries that followed. In this article, I take these claims of Hegel to task and evaluate their validity. Although Hegel’s official argument for the unreality of (...) modes in Spinoza’s system will turn out to be unsound, I do believe there is one crucial line in Spinoza’s system – Spinoza’s rather weak and functional conception of individuality – which provides some support for Hegel’s reading of Spinoza. (shrink)
The main thesis of Michael Della Rocca’s outstanding Spinoza book (Della Rocca 2008a) is that at the very center of Spinoza’s philosophy stands the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR): the stipulation that everything must be explainable or, in other words, the rejection of any brute facts. Della Rocca rightly ascribes to Spinoza a strong version of the PSR. It is not only that the actual existence and features of all things must be explicable, but even the inexistence – as well (...) as the absence of any feature of any thing – demands an explanation. Della Rocca does not stop here, however. He feeds his PSR monster with some more powerful steroids and suggests that Spinoza advocates what he terms “the twofold use of the PSR.” It is not only that everything must be explained and made intelligible, but it must ultimately be explained in terms of explainability or intelligibility itself. This twofold use of the PSR is the key to the entire book. Della Roca’s strategy throughout the book is to argue that any key feature of Spinoza’s system – be it causality, inherence, essence, consciousness, existence, rejection of teleology, goodness or political right – must be explained, and ultimately it must be explained in terms of intelligibility. “Spinoza single-mindedly digs and digs until we find that the phenomenon in question is nothing but some form of intelligibility itself, of explicability itself” (Della Rocca 2008a: 2). Della Rocca’s book came out together with a cluster of articles in which he develops in detail his new reading of Spinoza. In one of these articles, he warns the reader: “Don’t let me start” (Dell Rocca 2010: 1). The train that is about to embark leads to very bizarre terrain, and thus one should think twice before embarking on the “PSR Express.” In this paper I argue that the train was hijacked. This was a perfect crime: without anyone noticing it, the engine driver diverted the train to a new route, and as with other perfect crimes, it is none but the criminal himself who is capable of, and indeed will, bring about his own demise. As I will later argue, Della Rocca’s “PSR-on-steroids” will eventually cripple reason itself. But let us not run too fast, and start at the very beginning. I happily – or at least, so I think - board the “PSR Express.” I believe Spinoza is strongly committed to the PSR and makes very significant use of this principle, but, unlike Della Rocca, I do not think the PSR is the key to all mysteries Spinozist, nor do I believe Spinoza was committed to the reductionist program of explaining all things through intelligibility (i.e., the second use of the PSR). (shrink)
John Palmer develops and defends a modal interpretation of Parmenides, according to which he was the first philosopher to distinguish in a rigorous manner the fundamental modalities of necessary being, necessary non-being or impossibility, and non-necessary or contingent being. This book accordingly reconsiders his place in the historical development of Presocratic philosophy in light of this new interpretation. Careful treatment of Parmenides' specification of the ways of inquiry that define his metaphysical and epistemological outlook paves the way for detailed analyses (...) of his arguments demonstrating the temporal and spatial attributes of what is and cannot not be. Since the existence of this necessary being does not preclude the existence of other entities that are but need not be, Parmenides' cosmology can straightforwardly be taken as his account of the origin and operation of the world's mutable entities. Later chapters reassess the major Presocratics' relation to Parmenides in light of the modal interpretation, focusing particularly on Zeno, Melissus, Anaxagoras, and Empedocles. In the end, Parmenides' distinction among the principal modes of being, and his arguments regarding what what must be must be like, simply in virtue of its mode of being, entitle him to be seen as the founder of metaphysics or ontology as a domain of inquiry distinct from natural philosophy and theology. An appendix presents a Greek text of the fragments of Parmenides' poem with English translation and textual notes. (shrink)
The adventure of philosophy began in Greece, where it was gradually developed by the ancient thinkers as a special kind of knowledge by which to explain the totality of things. In fact, the Greek language has always used the word onta , "beings," to refer to things. At the end of the sixth century BCE, Parmenides wrote a poem to affirm his fundamental thesis upon which all philosophical systems should be based: that there are beings. In By Being, It Is (...) , Nestor-Luis Cordero explores the richness of this Parmenidean thesis, which became the cornerstone of philosophy. Cordero's textual analysis of the poem's fragments reveals that Parmenides' intention was highly didactic. His poem applied, for the first time, an explicative method that deduced consequences from a true axiom: by being, it is . To ignore this reality meant to be a victim of opinions. This volume explains how without this conceptual base, all later ontology would have been impossible. This book offers a clear and concise introduction to the Parmenidean doctrine and helps the reader appreciate the imperative value of Parmenides's claim that "by being, it is." "This thorough and controversial book will certainly be valued highly by the international community of scholars devoted to the study of ancient philosophy as well as by educated readers worldwide." --Alfonso Gomez-Lobo, Georgetown University " By Being, It Is offers a meticulous discussion of one of the most puzzling theses in the history of philosophy. It is a highly challenging piece of work from a philosophical viewpoint, an outstanding model of philological work, and a contribution that causes anyone interested in philosophical matters to reflect." --Marcelo D. Boeri, National Council for Scientific and Technological Research, Argentina "Parmenides' importance consists in the fact that he represents an absolute beginning in history, and particularly in the history of thought. We can understand why, for more than twenty years now, N.L. Cordero has devoted tremendous efforts to understanding the few verses that remain to us of this Poem. The result is the present book, characterized by its completeness and its rigor. It is an essential work on a seminal author." --Luc Brisson, National Council for Scientific Research, France. (shrink)
Parménides es uno de los pensadores más influyentes de la filosofía occidental. El presente libro ofrece una hipótesis hermenéutica que se puede resumir en dos afirmaciones esenciales: primera, Parménides, como todos los pensadores de su tiempo, era ante todo un físico o fisiólogo (como los denominó Aristóteles), cuyas inquietudes y aportaciones se expresan en la segunda parte de su poema Sobre la naturaleza. Esa parte, escasamente representada en los fragmentos conservados, exponía una teoría original que se caracterizaba por defender una (...) física dualista frente al monismo de los milesios. Segunda, Parménides, a diferencia de la mayoría de los físicos, tomó conciencia por primera vez de la necesidad de explicar, no solo el orden de la naturaleza (physis) y las leyes que la rigen (tarea de los físicos), sino también el orden y las leyes del mundo del discurso (logos), de la teoría que trata de explicar el mundo. A esta segunda tarea, que sin duda puede ser calificada como el descubrimiento de la lógica, dedicó la primera parte de su Poema a modo de un discurso del método y no de una anacrónica especulación metafísica. (shrink)
The Eleatic Principle or causal criterion is a causal test that entities must pass in order to gain admission to some philosophers’ ontology.1 This principle justifies belief in only those entities to which causal power can be attributed, that is, to those entities which can bring about changes in the world. The idea of such a test is rather important in modern ontology, since it is neither without intuitive appeal nor without influential supporters. Its supporters have included David Armstrong (1978, (...) Vol 2, 5), Brian Ellis (1990, 22) and Hartry Field2 (1989, 68) to name but a few. (shrink)
There is a tradition according to which Parmenides of Elea endorsed the following set of counterintuitive doctrines: (a) There exists exactly one material thing. (b) What exists does not change. (g) Nothing is generated or destroyed. (d) What exists is undivided. For convenience, I will use the label ‘Eleatic monism’ to refer to the conjunction of a–d.
“Why did God create the World?” is one of the traditional questions of theology. In the twentieth century this question was rephrased in a secularized manner as “Why is there something rather than nothing?” While creation - at least in its traditional, temporal, sense - has little place in Spinoza’s system, a variant of the same questions puts Spinoza’s system under significant pressure. According to Spinoza, God, or the substance, has infinitely many modes. This infinity of modes follow from the (...) essence of God. If we ask: “Why must God have modes?,” we seem to be trapped in a real catch. On the one hand, Spinoza’s commitment to thoroughgoing rationalism demands that there must be a reason for the existence of the radical plurality of modes. On the other hand, the asymmetric dependence of modes on the substance seems to imply that the substance does not need the modes, and that it can exist without the modes. But if the substance does not need the modes, then why are there modes at all? Furthermore, Spinoza cannot explain the existence of modes as an arbitrary act of grace on God’s side since Spinoza’s God does not act arbitrarily. Surprisingly, this problem has hardly been addressed in the existing literature on Spinoza’s metaphysics, and it is my primary aim here to draw attention to this problem. In the first part of the paper I will present and explain the problem of justifying the existence of infinite plurality modes in Spinoza’s system. In the second part of the paper I consider the radical solution to the problem according to which modes do not really exist, and show that this solution must be rejected upon consideration. In the third and final part of the paper I will suggest my own solution according to which the essence of God is active and it is this feature of God’s essence which requires the flow of modes from God’s essence. I also suggest that Spinoza considered radical infinity and radical unity to be roughly the same, and that the absolute infinity of what follow from God’s essence is grounded in the absolute infinity of God’s essence itself. (shrink)
It’s well known that one way to cure a hangover is by a “hair of the dog” — another alcoholic drink. The drawback of this method is that, so it would appear, it cannot be used to completely cure a hangover, since the cure simply induces a further hangover at a later time, which must in turn either be cured or suffered through.
: Given Descartes's conception of extension, space and body, there are deep problems about how there can be any real motion. The argument here is that in fact Descartes takes motion to be only phenomenal. The paper sets out the problems generated by taking motion to be real, the solution to them found in the Cartesian texts, and an explanation of those texts in which Descartes appears on the contrary to regard motion as real.
A novel way of making a non-stick frying pan using a topologically open surface is described. While the article has a slight humorous element to it, it is also intended to contain some serious philosophical points concerning the nature of infinitely divisible matter and the kind of contact that must occur between objects in order for them to interact.
I present a formal ontological theory where the basic building blocks of the world can be either things or events. In any case, the result is a Parmenidean worldview where change is not a global property. What we understand by change manifests as asymmetries in the pattern of the world-lines that constitute 4-dimensional existents. I maintain that such a view is in accord with current scientific knowledge.
Negative facts get a bad press. One reason for this is that it is not clear what negative facts are. We provide a theory of negative facts on which they are no stranger than positive atomic facts. We show that none of the usual arguments hold water against this account. Negative facts exist in the usual sense of existence and conform to an acceptable Eleatic principle. Furthermore, there are good reasons to want them around, including their roles in causation, chance-making (...) and truth-making, and in constituting holes and edges. (shrink)
Our world is a world of change. Children are born and grow into adults. Material possessions rust and decay with age and ultimately perish. Yet scepticism about change is as old as philosophy itself. Heraclitus, for example, argued that nothing could survive the replacement of parts, so that it is impossible to step into the same river twice. Zeno argued that motion is paradoxical, so that nothing can alter its location. Parmenides and his followers went even further, arguing that the (...) very concept of qualitative change is inconsistent. Change in any respect is impossible, they argued, as change requires difference and nothing differs from itself. Few today would accept the Eleatic conclusion that change is impossible. But the topic of change continues to be a source of much debate, as it brings together various issues that are central to metaphysics, language, and logic – including identity, persistence, time, tense, and temporal logic. Author Recommends Wasserman, Ryan. 'The Problem of Change.' Philosophy Compass 1 (2006): 1–10. This article presents the problem of change and provides a brief survey of potential solutions. Haslanger, Sally. 'Persistence Through Time.' The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics . Eds. M. Loux and D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. This article presents the problem of change and provides a detailed survey of potential solutions. Heller, Mark. 'Things Change.' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (1992): 695–704. This article presents, explains, and defends the temporal parts solution to the problem of change. Hinchliff, Mark. 'The Puzzle of Change.' Philosophical Perspectives 10 (1996): 119–36. This article presents, explains, and defends the presentist solution to the problem of change. Wasserman, Ryan. 'The Argument from Temporary Intrinsics.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2003): 413–19. This article presents, explains, and defends the relationist solution to the problem of change. Sider, Theodore. Four-Dimensionalism . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. This book provides an introduction to various issues related to the problem of change, including the nature of time, tense, and persistence. Chapter 5 presents, explains, and defends the stage-view solution to the problem of change. Online Materials Change. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/change/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on change, by Chris Mortensen. Time. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/time/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on time, by Ned Markosian. Temporal Parts. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/temporal-parts/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on temporal parts, by Katherine Hawley. Material Constitution. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/material-constitution/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on material constitution, by Ryan Wasserman. Persistence Bibliography. URL: http://tedsider.org/teaching/pp_bibliography.pdf A bibliography on change and related issues, by Theodore Sider. Sample Syllabus Books on Syllabus Rea, Michael. Material Constitution: A Reader . Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997. Sider, Theodore. Four-Dimensionalism . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. 2008. Metaphysics: The Big Questions . 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008. Week 1: Time and Tense Four-Dimensionalism , chapters 1 and 2. Markosian, Ned. 'A Defence of Presentism.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, Volume 1. Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004: 47–82. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 116-123. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 124-129. Week 2: Time and Persistence Four-Dimensionalism , chapter 3. McGrath, Matthew. 'Temporal Parts.' Philosophy Compass 2 (2007): 730–48. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 265-267. Hawthorne, J, Scala, M., and Wasserman, R. 'Recombination, Humean Supervenience, and Causal Constraints: An Argument for Temporal Parts?' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics , Volume 1. Ed. D. Zimmerman, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004: 301-318. Week 3: Change and Presentism In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 141-149. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 267-269. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 269-281. Week 4: Change and Temporal Parts Four-Dimensionalism , pp. 92–8. Heller, Mark. 'Things Change.' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (1992): 695–704. Lombard, Lawrence. 'The Doctrine of Temporal Parts and the "No Change" Objection.' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (1994): 365–72. Week 5: Change, Relationism, and Adverbialism Hawley, Katherine. 'Why Temporary Properties are not Relations between Physical Objects and Times.' Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 98 (1998): 211–16. Wasserman, Ryan. 'The Argument from Temporary Intrinsics.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2003): 413–19. Lewis, David. 'Tensing the Copula.' Mind 111 (2002): 1–13. Caplan, Ben. 'Why so Tense about the Copula?' Mind 114 (2007): 703–8. Week 6: Change and Tropes Ehring, Douglas. 'Lewis, Temporary Intrinsics and Momentary Tropes.' Analysis 57 (1997): 254–8. MacBride, Fraser. 'Four New Ways to Change Your Shape.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (2001): 81–9. Simons, Peter. 'On Being Spread Out in Time: Temporal Parts and the Problem of Change.' Existence and Explanation . Eds. W. Spohn, B.C. van Fraassen, and B. Skyrms. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1991: 131-147. Weeks 7 and 8: Special Topic – Material Change Four-Dimensionalism , chapter 5. Selections from Material Constitution: A Reader. Week 9: Special Topic – Change of Position In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 186-195. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 195-215. Week 10: Special topic – Changing the Past In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 224-235. van Iwagen, Peter. 'Changing the Past.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics , Volume 5 . Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009: 1-22. Hudson, H. and Wasserman, R. 'Van Inwagen on Time Travel and Changing the Past.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics , Volume 5. Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009: 41-49. (shrink)
MATHEMATICAL RESOLUTIONS OF ZENO’s PARADOXES of motion have been offered on a regular basis since the paradoxes were first formulated. In this paper I will argue that such mathematical “solutions” miss, and always will miss, the point of Zeno’s arguments. I do not think that any mathematical solution can provide the much sought after answers to any of the paradoxes of Zeno. In fact all mathematical attempts to resolve these paradoxes share a common feature, a feature that makes them consistently (...) miss the fundamental point which is Zeno’s concern for the one-many relation, or it would be better to say, lack of relation. This takes us back to the ancient dispute between the Eleatic school and the Pluralists. The first, following Parmenide’s teaching, claimed that only the One or identical can be thought and is therefore real, the second held that the Many of becoming is rational and real.1 I will show that these mathematical “solutions” do not actually touch Zeno’s argument and make no metaphysical contribution to the problem of understanding what is motion against immobility, or multiplicity against identity, which was Zeno’s challenge. I would like to point out at this stage that my contention. (shrink)
Our world is a world of change. Children are born and grow into adults. Material possessions rust and decay with age and ultimately perish. Yet scepticism about change is as old as philosophy itself. Heraclitus, for example, argued that nothing could survive the replacement of parts, so that it is impossible to step into the same river twice. Zeno argued that motion is paradoxical, so that nothing can alter its location. Parmenides and his followers went even further, arguing that the (...) very concept of qualitative change is inconsistent. Change in any respect is impossible, they argued, since change requires difference and nothing differs from itself.1 Few today would accept the Eleatic conclusion that change is impossible. But the topic of change continues to be a source of much debate, as it brings together various issues that are central to metaphysics, language and logic – including identity, persistence, time, tense, and temporal logic. As we consider various approaches to our topic, it will become clear that one’s perspective on change is often determined by one’s position in the broader philosophical landscape. (shrink)
1 See for example, E. J. Lowe, The Possibility of Metaphysics, pp. 51-3, 210-220, and David Lewis, The Plurality of Worlds on the notion of concrete object. 2 The properties that are constituents of a particular should be intrinsic properties, though it need not be assumed that all its intrinsic properties are constituents. The notion of intrinsic property is easier if a sparse view (as opposed to an abundant view) of properties is assumed. A sparse view requires a criterion for (...) being a property, such as a causal principle (Shoemaker) or the related Eleatic principle (Armstrong). Intrinsic properties should be real properties. Such a criterion should rule out conjunctive properties, disjunctive properties, and negated properties. On the hand, it could be stipulated that these are not intrinsic properties. Those that believe in abundant properties should use the criterion to divide properties into two classes (natural and non-natural); intrinsic properties would then be located in the first class. Extrinsic properties are properties that an object possesses in virtue of other objects, their properties, and relations that involve them. If these other objects were to disappear all intrinsic properties would be unaffected. Intrinsic properties are non-relational in the sense that an object does not possesses them in virtue of other objects, their properties, and relations between them. However, intrinsic properties can be relational when an object possesses a (monadic) property in virtue of relations between its parts. Paradigmatic intrinsic properties are the mass, charge, magnetic moment, and spin of the electron as normally understood. (shrink)
For most of the twentieth century, interpreters of Plato took little interest in the dramatic aspects of the dialogues, assumed Plato's teachings were directly expressed by their leading speakers, and sought to understand prima facie absences and inconsistencies among apparent teachings through a developmental picture of Plato's thought. Rarely did they explain why Plato occasionally used philosophical characters as different from each other and from Socrates as Parmenides, Timaeus, and the Eleatic Stranger, leaving Socrates present but largely silent. Nor did (...) they address why, having returned Socrates to leadership in the "late" Philebus, Plato eliminated him altogether in favor of an Athenian Stranger in the .. (shrink)
The Theaetetus and the Sophist both stand in the shadow of the Parmenides, to which they refer. I propose to interpret these two dialogues as Plato's first move in the project of reshaping his metaphysics with the double aim of avoiding problems raised in the Parmenides and applying his general theory to the philosophy of nature. The classical doctrine of Forms is subject to revision, but Plato's fundamental metaphysics is preserved in the Philebus as well as in the Timaeus. The (...) most important change is the explicit enlargement of the notion of Being to include the nature of things that change.This reshaping of the metaphysics is prepared in the Theaetetus and Sophist by an analysis of sensory phenomena in the former and, in the latter, a new account of Forms as a network of mutual connections and exclusions. The division of labor between the two dialogues is symbolized by the role of Heraclitus in the former and that of Parmenides in the latter. Theaetetus asks for a discussion of Parmenides as well, but Socrates will not undertake it. For that we need the visitor from Elea. Hence the Theaetetus deals with becoming and flux but not with being; that topic is reserved for Eleatic treatment in the Sophist. But the problems of falsity and Not-Being, formulated in the first dialogue, cannot be resolved without the considerations of truth and Being, reserved for the later dialogue. That is why there must be a sequel to the Theaetetus. (shrink)
My paper addresses a number of questions raised in the Statesman by the Eleatic Visitor’s identification of certain ontological conditions for the existence of art of due measure, and therefore of all the technai . My view is that evidence relevant to these questions can be found in the Philebus , and specifically, in an ontological doctrine presented at 23c–27c. What emerges from an examination of the Statesman and Philebus is a highly developed conception of technê , one that affords (...) a place for such ordinary human activities within the broader framework of Plato’s philosophy. (shrink)
John Palmer presents a new and original account of Plato's uses and understanding of his most important Presocratic predecessor, Parmenides. Adopting an innovative approach to the appraisal of intellectual influence, Palmer first explores the Eleatic underpinnings of central elements in Plato's middle-period epistemology and metaphysics and then shows how in the later dialogues Plato confronts various sophistic appropriations of Parmenides.
Introduction: Platonic dramatology -- The political and philosophical problems. Using pre-Socratic philosophy to support political reform: the Athenian stranger ; Plato's Parmenides: Parmenides' critique of Socrates and Plato's critique of Parmenides ; Becoming Socrates ; Socrates interrogates his contemporaries about the noble and good -- Paradigms of philosophy. Socrates' positive teaching ; Timaeus-Critias: completing or challenging Socratic political philosophy? ; Socratic practice -- The trial and death of Socrates. The limits of human intelligence ; The Eleatic challenge ; The trial (...) and death of Socrates -- Conclusion: Why Plato made Socrates his hero. (shrink)
The Parmenides is, quite possibly, the most enigmatic of Plato's dialogues. The dialogue recounts an almost certainly fictitious conversation between a venerable Parmenides (the Eleatic Monist) and a youthful Socrates, followed by a dizzying array of interconnected arguments presented by Parmenides to a young and compliant interlocutor named “Aristotle” (not the philosopher, but rather a man who became one of the Thirty Tyrants after Athens' surrender to Sparta at the conclusion of the Peloponnesian War). Most commentators agree that Socrates articulates (...) a version of the theory of forms defended by his much older namesake in the dialogues of Plato's middle period, that Parmenides mounts a number of potentially devastating challenges to this theory, and that these challenges are followed by a piece of intellectual “gymnastics” consisting of eight strings of arguments (Deductions) that are in some way designed to help us see how to protect the theory of forms against the challenges. Beyond this, there is precious little scholarly consensus. Commentators disagree about the proper way to reconstruct Parmenides' challenges, about the overall logical structure of the Deductions, about the main subject of the Deductions, about the function of the Deductions in relation to the challenges, and about the final philosophical moral of the dialogue as a whole. (shrink)
Ancient philosophers -- The history of philosophy -- Philosophy within quotation marks? -- Anglophone attitudes -- Brentano's Aristotle -- Heidegger in the cave -- 'There was an old person from Tyre' -- The Presocratics in context -- Argument in ancient philosophy -- Philosophy and dialectic -- Aristotle and the methods of ethics -- Metacommentary -- An introduction to Aspasius -- Parmenides and the Eleatic One -- Reason and necessity in Leucippus -- Plato's cyclical argument -- Death and the philosopher -- (...) Aristotelian arithmetic -- The principle of plenitude -- 'Aristotle's opinion concerning destiny and what is up to us' -- 'Belief is up to us' -- The same again : the Stoics and eternal recurrence -- Bits and pieces -- Partial wholes -- 'Drei Sonnen sah ich ...' : Syrianus and astronomy -- Immaterial causes. (shrink)
This paper is a piece of detective work. Starting from an obvious excrescence in the transmitted text of Simplicius's treatment of the foundations of Presocratic atomism near the beginning of his "Physics" commentary, it excavates a Theophrastean correction to Aristotle's tendency to lump Leucippus and Democritus together: Theophrastus made application of the οὐ μ[unrepresentable symbol]λλον principle in the sphere of ontology an innovation by Democritus. Along the way it shows Simplicius reordering his Theophrastean source in his efforts to find material (...) which will strengthen the contrast between Leucippus's atomism and Eleatic metaphysics. And it argues that in doing so he all but obliterates Theophrastus's attempt to point up the Democritean credentials of the οὐ μ[unrepresentable symbol]λλον principle. (shrink)
In this paper I offer a new interpretation of Melissus' argument at DK 30 B8. In this passage Melissus uses an Eleatic argument against change to challenge an opponent who appeals to the authority of perception in order to support the view that there are a plurality of items in the world. I identify an orthodox type of approach to this passage, but argue that it cannot give a charitable interpretation of Melissus' strategy. In order to assess Melissus' overall argument (...) we have to identify the opponent at whom it is aimed. The orthodox interpretation of the argument faces a dilemma: Melissus' argument is either a poor argument against a plausible opponent or a good argument against an implausible opponent. My interpretation turns on identifying a new target for Melissus' argument. I explain the position I call Bluff Realism (contrasting it with two other views: the Pig Headed and the Fully Engaged). These are positions concerning the dialectical relation between perception on the one hand, and arguments to counterperceptual conclusions on the other. I argue that Bluff Realism represents a serious threat from an Eleatic point of view, and is prima facie an attractive position in its own right. I then give a charitable interpretation of Melissus' argument in DK 30 B8, showing how he produces a strong and incisive argument against the Bluff Realist position I have identified. Melissus emerges as an innovative and astute philosopher. (shrink)
The Benacerraf’s problem is a problem about how we can attain mathematical knowledge: mathematical entities are entities not located in space-time; we exist in spacetime; so, it does not seem that we could have a causal connection with mathematical entities in order to attain mathematical knowledge. In this paper, I propose a solution to the Benacerraf’s problem supported by the Quinean doctrines of naturalism, confirmational holism and postulation. I show that we have empirical knowledge of centres of mass and of (...) entities outside of our light cone and that these entities are inefficacious causality entities, at least, with us. At the end, I defend the existential knowledge of centres of mass and of entities outside of our light cone against the Eleatic principle of Cheyne, that we only could attain existential knowledge of entities by a causal connection. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction; 1. A place for politics: the household and the city; 2. The beginnings and ends of political life; 3. Political knowledge and political power; 4. Political inquiry in Aristotle and the Eleatic Stranger; 5. Philosophy and politics in the Eleatic Stranger, Socrates, and Aristotle; 6. Modern politics, the Eleatic Stranger, and Aristotle; Conclusion.
Aristocles of Messene is an extremely important source for understanding the philosophical thought of early Pyrrhonism. But so far his polemical attitudes have discouraged scholars from taking seriously the extant fragments of his work and at present he is still an obscure figure. In this book Dr Chiesara shows Aristocles to be an erudite, acute, and faithful representative of the Aristotelianism of the first century AD. He is revealed as an accurate historian and trustworthy reporter of the major trends of (...) first century philosophical thought - including Platonism, Stoicism, Pyrrhonism, Protagorism, Epicurism, and Eleatic and Cyrenaic philosophies - and to offer precious additions to the history of ancient philosophy, in particular to the reconstruction not only of early but also of late, namely Aenesidemean, Pyrrhonism. His exhortative aim and his polemical verve make his On Philosophy an interesting and amusing read for specialists and non-specialists alike. (shrink)
Au début du Sophiste, Socrate demande au visiteur éléate ce qu’ont pensé des genres philosophe, sophiste et politique, « ceux » qui sont de ce lieu-là ». L’article a pour but d’éclairer cette dernière expression et en particulier son mot clef « topos ». Il est montré que les significations de ce terme, dans son contexte, sont multiples et que cette diversité, loin d’apporter la confusion, permet au contraire et précisément d’ouvrir les diverses perspectives du dialogue. At the beginning of (...) the Sophist, Socrates asks the Eleatic Visitor how the three kinds Philosopher, Sophist and Statesman, have been understood by “those who are in this place”. The purpose of this paper is to enlighten this periphrasis and specially its key-word “topos”. We have showed that, in its context, this word has four main meanings, and that this diversity, far from causing confusion, opens up the dialogue to various perspectives. (shrink)