This essay shows that Derrida's discussion of "Differance," is remarkably parallel to Plato's discussion of Difference in the Parmenides. Plato's presentation of "Parmenides'" discussion of generation from a One which Is is a version of Derrida's preconceptual spacing. Derrida's implicit reference to Plato both interprets Plato and explains the obscure features of "Differance." Derrida's paradoxical remarks about Differance are very like what Plato implies about Difference. Derrida's Differance addresses the puzzle that concepts are required to construct the beings in a (...) plurality of objects, but concepts cannot differentiate unless there is already a plurality of objects. Plato's version of the same problem is a notational variant of Derrida's Husserlian dilemma. Derrida, following Davidson, is not only skeptical about the project of founding metaphysics on simple entities, but also holds that necessity has no foundation in the "world." Plato, on the other hand, retains the idea that necessity has an objective basis in the self-evident truths of mereology. (shrink)
Section 1 of this essay distinguishes between four interpretations of Socratic intellectualism, which are, very roughly: (1) a version in which on any given occasion desire, and then action, is determined by what we think will turn out best for us, that being what we all, always, really desire; (2) a version in which on any given occasion action is determined by what we think will best satisfy our permanent desire for what is really best for us; (3) a version (...) formed by the assimilation of (2) to (1), labelled the ‘standard’ version’ by Thomas C. Brickhouse and Nicholas D. Smith, and treated by them as a single alternative to their own interpretation; and (4) Brickhouse and Smith’s own version. Section 2 considers, in particular, Brickhouse and Smith’s handling of the ‘appetites and passions’, which is the most distinctive feature of interpretation (4). Section 3 discusses Brickhouse and Smith’s defence of ‘Socratic studies’ in its historical context, and assesses the contribution made by their distinctive interpretation of ‘the philosophy of Socrates’. One question raised in this section, and one that is clearly fundamental to the existence of ‘Socratic studies’, is how different Brickhouse and Smith’s Socrates turns out to be from Plato himself, i.e., the Plato of the post-‘Socratic’ dialogues; to which the answer offered is that on Brickhouse and Smith’s interpretation Socratic moral psychology becomes rather less distinguishable from its ‘Platonic’ counterpart—as that is currently understood—than it is on the interpretation(s) they oppose. (shrink)
Historically labor has been central to human interactions with the environment, yet environmentalists pay it scant attention. Indeed, they have been critical of those who foreground labor in their politics, socialists in particular. However, environmentalists have found the nineteenth-century socialist William Morris appealing despite the fact that he wrote extensively on labor. This paper considers the place of labor in the relationship between humanity and the natural world in the work of Morris and two of his contemporaries, the eminent scientist (...)Thomas Henry Huxley, and the Fabian socialist Herbert George Wells. I suggest that Morris's conception of labor has much to recommend it to environmentalists who are also interested in issues of social justice. (shrink)
The essays in this volume critically analyze and revitalize agrarian philosophy by tracing its evolution in the classical American philosophy of key figures such as Franklin, Jefferson, Emerson, Thoreau, Dewey, and Royce.