Neither a doctrine of rights nor a doctrine of justice can provide a non-question-begging foundation for political philosophy. Instead, all political philosophical theories must rest on the recognition of the existence of moral agents, individual members of a natural kind capable of entering into associations with other moral agents. Beginning with moral agency, we can deduce that for there to be any associations, political or otherwise, there has to be the mutual recognition of self-ownership. The nature of moral agency excludes (...) the possibility that groups like states or societies or nations can be moral agents. From moral agency and self-ownership, we can deduce the exigency of property ownership. On this basis, we can explain a state of affairs as just when and only when there is no aggression against moral agents. And we can show that the only nonarbitrary right is the right to self-ownership and property ownership. Thus, A has a right to p means: to deprive A of p is unjust. So, rights are founded on justice and justice is founded on property and property is founded on self-ownership and the recognition of self-ownership is a necessary condition for the mutual recognition of moral agency, the only possible basis for the existence of human associations. Thus, rights and justice are derivative or dependent concepts; they are not basic or foundational. (shrink)
Ancient and modern perspectives -- The origin of epistemology -- Plato -- Republic -- Theaetetus -- Knowledge versus belief -- Aristotle -- Posterior analytics -- De anima -- Epicureanism and stoicism -- Epicurean epistemology -- Stoic epistemology -- Skepticism -- Pyrrho and the beginning of skepticism -- Academic skepticism -- The pyrrhonist revival -- Plotinus and the neoplatonic synthesis -- The platonist's response to the pyrrhonist -- Knowledge and consciousness -- Imagination -- Varieties of naturalism -- Naturalism redivivus -- Epistemology (...) and nature -- Naturalism and the mental -- Concluding remarks. (shrink)
One of the major puzzling themes in the history of Platonism is how theology is integrated with philosophy. In particular, one may well wonder how Plato's superordinate first principle of all, Idea of the Good, comes to be understood by his disciples as a mind or in some way possessing personal attributes. In what sense is the Good supposed to be God? In this paper I explore some Platonic accounts of the first principle of all in order to understand where (...) the integration of the personal into the metaphysical is organic and where it is not. I conclude that the “ontological” and the “henological” construals of the first principle of all differ in their openness to “intellectualizing” that principle. (shrink)
Lives of the stoics (Zeno, Aristo, Herillus, Cleanthes, Sphaerus, Chrysippus) on philosophy -- Logic and theory of knowledge -- Perception, knowledge, and sceptical attack -- The stoic-academic debate and Cicero's testimony -- Conceptions and rationality -- Physics -- Theology -- Bodily and non-bodily realities -- Structures and powers -- The soul -- Fate -- Ethics -- The general account in Diogenes Lartius -- The account preserved by Stobaeus -- The account in Cicero on goals -- Other evidence for stoic ethics (...) -- Passions and the goal : criticism within the stoic school and the evidence of Galen -- A critique from the academic-peripatetic point of view -- Pyrrhonist critique of basic ethical concepts -- Later stoic ethics : a sampler -- Musonius Rufus -- Seneca -- Epictetus. (shrink)
In this paper I explore Plato's reasons for his rejection of the so-called standard analysis of knowledge as justified true belief. I argue that Plato held that knowledge is an infallible mental state in which (a) the knowable is present in the knower and (b) the knower is aware of this presence. Accordingly, knowledge (epistm) is non-propositional. Since there are no infallible belief states, the standard analysis, which assumes that knowledge is a type of belief, cannot be correct. In addition, (...) I argue that Plato held that belief (doxa) is only possible for the sort of being capable of knowledge. This is because self-reflexivity is necessary for infallible knowledge and self-reflexivity is only possible if the intellect is immaterial. This capacity for self-reflexivity is also essential for belief, since beliefs are, paradigmatically, not dispositions but self-reflexive mental states. (shrink)
The question posed in the title of this paper is an historical one. I am not, for example, primarily interested in the term 'Platonism' as used by modern philosophers to stand for a particular theory under discussion – a theory, which it is typically acknowledged, no one may have actually held.1 I am rather concerned to understand and articulate on an historical basis the core position of that 'school' of thought prominent in antiquity from the time of the 'founder' up (...) until at least the middle of the 6th century C.E.2 Platonism was unquestionably the dominant philosophical position in the ancient world over a period of more than 800 years. Epicureanism is perhaps the sole major exception to the rule that in the ancient world all philosophers took Platonism as the starting-point for speculation, including those who thought their first task was to refute Platonism. Basically, Platonism sent the ancient philosophical agenda. Given this fact, understanding with some precision the nature of Platonism is obviously a desirable thing for the historian of ancient philosophy. (shrink)
Knowing Persons is an original study of Plato's account of personhood. For Plato, embodied persons are images of a disembodied ideal. The ideal person is a knower. Hence, the lives of embodied persons need to be understood according to Plato's metaphysics of imagery. For Gerson, Plato's account of embodied personhood is not accurately conflated with Cartesian dualism. Plato's dualism is more appropriately seen in the contrast between the ideal disembodied person and the embodied one than in the contrast between mind (...) or soul and body. (shrink)
This set reprints key articles on Aristotle's logic, metaphysics, physics, cosmology, biology, psychology, ethics, politics, rhetoric, and aesthetics, discussing the major issues of concern in contemporary Aristotelian scholarship.