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Profile: Rachel Barney (University of Toronto)
  1. Rachel Barney, Tad Brennan & Charles Brittain (eds.) (2012). Plato and the Divided Self. Cambridge University Press.
    Machine generated contents note: Acknowledgements and notes; Editors' introduction Rachel Barney, Tad Brennan and Charles Brittain; Part I. Transitions to Tripartition: 1. Enkrateia and the partition of the soul in the Gorgias Louis-Andre; Dorion; 2. From the Phaedo to the Republic: philosophers, non-philosophers, and the possibility of virtue Iakovos Vasiliou; 3. The soul as a one and a many: Republic 436a8-439d9 Eric Brown; Part II. Moral Psychology and the Parts of the Soul: 4. Erôs before and after tripartition Frisbee Sheffield; (...)
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  2. Rachel Barney (2010). Aiming at Virtue in Plato (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (4):521-522.
    Iakovos Vasiliou argues for reading Plato’s early dialogues and the Republic in light of “the aiming/determining distinction.” Aiming questions are concerned with the selection of our overriding ends. Determining questions ask how we can identify actions which secure those ends. As Vasiliou argues, Socrates claims to know an answer to the central aiming question, namely that virtue must be supreme (SV). Virtue functions sometimes as an explicit end and always as a limiting condition: we must never do wrong. For wrong (...)
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  3. Rachel Barney (2010). Gorgias' Defense: Plato and His Opponents on Rhetoric and the Good. Southern Journal of Philosophy 48 (1):95-121.
    This paper explores in detail Gorgias' defense of rhetoric in Plato's Gorgias (456c–7c), noting its connections to earlier and later texts such as Aristophanes' Clouds , Gorgias' Helen , Isocrates' Nicocles and Antidosis , and Aristotle's Rhetoric . The defense as Plato presents it is transparently inadequate; it reveals a deep inconsistency in Gorgias' conception of rhetoric and functions as a satirical precursor to his refutation by Socrates. Yet Gorgias' defense is appropriated, in a streamlined form, by later defenders of (...)
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  4. Rachel Barney (2010). Plato on the Desire for the Good. In Sergio Tenenbaum (ed.), Desire, Practical Reason, and the Good. Oxford University Press. 34--64.
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  5. Rachel Barney (2010). Tsouna, Voula . The Ethics of Philodemus . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007 . Pp. 280. $72.00 (Cloth). Ethics 120 (2):422-426.
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  6. Rachel Barney (2009). Simplicius: Commentary, Harmony, and Authority. Antiquorum Philosophia 3:101-120.
    Simplicius’ project of harmonizing previous philosophers deserves to be taken seriously as both a philosophical and an interpretive project. Simplicius follows Aristotle himself in developing charitable interpretations of his predecessors: his distinctive project, in the Neoplatonic context, is the rehabilitation of the Presocratics (especially Parmenides, Anaxagoras and Empedocles) from a Platonic-Aristotelian perspective. Simplicius’ harmonizations involve hermeneutic techniques which are recognisably those of the serious historian of philosophy; and harmonization itself has a distinguished history as a constructive philosophical method.
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  7. Rachel Barney (2008). Aristotle's Argument for a Human Function. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 34:293-322.
    A generally ignored feature of Aristotle’s famous function argument is its reliance on the claim that practitioners of the crafts (technai) have functions: but this claim does important work. Aristotle is pointing to the fact that we judge everyday rational agency and agents by norms which are independent of their contingent desires: a good doctor is not just one who happens to achieve his personal goals through his work. But, Aristotle argues, such norms can only be binding on individuals if (...)
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  8. Rachel Barney (2008). Eros and Necessity in the Ascent From the Cave. Ancient Philosophy 28 (2):357-72.
    A generally ignored feature of Plato’s celebrated image of the cave in Republic VII is that the ascent from the cave is, in its initial stages, said to be brought about by force. What kind of ‘force’ is this, and why is it necessary? This paper considers three possible interpretations, and argues that each may have a role to play.
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  9. Rachel Barney (2008). The Carpenter and the Good. In D. Cairns, F. G. Herrmann & T. Penner (eds.), Pursuing the Good: Ethics and Metaphysics in Plato's Republic. University of Edinburgh.
    Among Aristotle’s criticisms of the Form of the Good is his claim that the knowledge of such a Good could be of no practical relevance to everyday rational agency, e.g. on the part of craftspeople. This critique turns out to hinge ultimately on the deeply different assumptions made by Plato and Aristotle about the relation of ‘good’ and ‘good for’. Plato insists on the conceptual priority of the former; and Plato wins the argument.
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  10. Rachel Barney (2006). Socrates' Refutation of Thrasymachus. In Gerasimos Xenophon Santas (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to Plato's Republic. Blackwell Pub..
    Socrates’ refutations of Thrasymachus in Republic I are unsatisfactory on a number of levels which need to be carefully distinguished. At the same time several of his arguments are more powerful than they initially appear. Of particular interest are those which turn on the idea of a craft, which represents a shared norm of practical rationality here contested by Socrates and Thrasymachus.
     
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  11. Rachel Barney (2006). The Sophistic Movement. In M. L. Gill & P. Pellegrin (eds.), A Companion to Ancient Philosophy. Blackwell.
    This discussion emphasises the diversity, philosophical seriousness and methodological distinctiveness of sophistic thought. Particular attention is given to their views on language, ethics, and the social construction of various norms, as well as to their varied, often undogmatic dialectical methods. The assumption that the sophists must have shared common doctrines (not merely overlapping interests and professional practices) is called into question.
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  12. Rachel Barney & Michael J. Green (2006). Intrinsically Scarce Goods. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 2:189-192.
    The Paleolithic paintings and drawings found on cave walls at sites in France and Spain, such as Lascaux, Altamira and Vallon-Pont-D'Arc, have profound effects on those who see them. In addition to their historical interest, they are prized for their aesthetic and spiritual qualities, which have had an important influence on modern art. But the caves are small and the paintings are fragile. Access to them has been sharply limited: some caves have been closed to protect the paintings from the (...)
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  13. Rachel Barney (2005). Comments on Sarah Broadie “Virtue and Beyond in Plato and Aristotle”. Southern Journal of Philosophy 43 (S1):115-125.
  14. Rachel Barney (2004). Callicles and Thrasymachus. In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The Metaphysics Research Lab.
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  15. Rachel Barney (2003). A Puzzle in Stoic Ethics. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 24:303-40.
    It is very difficult to get a clear picture of how the Stoic is supposed to deliberate. This paper considers a number of possible pictures, which cover such a wide range of options that some look Kantian and others utilitarian. Each has some textual support but is also unworkable in certain ways: there seem to be genuine and unresolved conflicts at the heart of Stoic ethics. And these are apparently due not to developmental changes within the school, but to the (...)
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  16. Rachel Barney (2001). Names and Nature in Plato's Cratylus. Routledge.
    This study offers a comprehensive new interpretation of one of Plato's most enigmatic and controversial dialogues, the Cratylus , showing it to present a complex and unified argument for a positive conclusion. Throughout, the book combines analysis of Plato's arguments with attentiveness to his philosophical method, including its "dramatic" or "literary" features; in particular, Socrates' extended etymological discourse, long an interpretive puzzle, is explained in terms of the various Platonic genres to which it belongs.
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  17. Rachel Barney (2001). Platonism, Moral Nostalgia and the City of Pigs. Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy 17 (1):207-27.
    Plato’s depiction of the first city in the Republic (Book II), the so-called ‘city of pigs’, is often read as expressing nostalgia for an earlier, simpler era in which moral norms were secure. This goes naturally with readings of other Platonic texts (including Republic I and the Gorgias) as expressing a sense of moral decline or crisis in Plato’s own time. This image of Plato as a spokesman for ‘moral nostalgia’ is here traced in various nineteenth- and twentieth-century interpretations, and (...)
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  18. Rachel Barney (1998). Commentary on Rist: Is Plato Interested in Meta-Ethics? Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 14 (1):73-82.
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  19. Rachel Barney (1998). Louis-André Dorion, Aristote : Les réfutations sophistiques, introduction, traduction et commentaire, Paris, Vrin, 1995, x+476 p.Louis-André Dorion, Aristote : Les réfutations sophistiques, introduction, traduction et commentaire, Paris, Vrin, 1995, x+476 p. [REVIEW] Philosophiques 25 (1):111-120.
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  20. Rachel Barney (1998). Socrates Agonistes: The Case of the Cratylus Etymologies. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 16:63-98.
    Are the long, wildly inventive etymologies in Plato’s Cratylus just some kind of joke, or does Plato himself accept them? This standard question misses the most important feature of the etymologies: they are a competitive performance, an agôn by Socrates in which he shows that he can play the game of etymologists like Cratylus better than they can themselves. Such show-off performances are a recurrent feature of Platonic dialogue: they include Socrates’ speeches on eros in the Phaedrus, his rhetorical discourse (...)
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  21. Rachel Barney & G. Mosquera (1998). Étude critique. Philosophiques 25 (1):111-120.
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  22. Rachel Barney (1997). Plato on Conventionalism. Phronesis 42 (2):143-62.
    A new reading of Plato's account of conventionalism about names in the Cratylus. It argues that Hermogenes' position, according to which a name is whatever anybody 'sets down' as one, does not have the counterintuitive consequences usually claimed. At the same time, Plato's treatment of conventionalism needs to be related to his treatment of formally similar positions in ethics and politics. Plato is committed to standards of objective natural correctness in all such areas, despite the problematic consequences which, as he (...)
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  23. André Laks, Rachel Barney, István M. Bodnár, Christopher Rowe & Bob Sharples (1997). Brill Online Books and Journals. Phronesis 42 (2).
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  24. Rachel Barney (1992). Appearances and Impressions. Phronesis 37 (3):283-313.
    Pyrrhonian sceptics claim, notoriously, to assent to the appearances without making claims about how things are. To see whether this is coherent we need to consider the philosophical history of ‘appearance’(phainesthai)-talk, and the closely related concept of an impression (phantasia). This history suggests that the sceptics resemble Plato in lacking the ‘non-epistemic’ or ‘non-doxastic’ conception of appearance developed by Aristotle and the Stoics. What is distinctive about the Pyrrhonian sceptic is simply that the degree of doxastic commitment involved in his (...)
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  25. Rachel Barney (1992). Plato on Conventionalism. Phronesis 42 (2):143-62.
    A new reading of Plato's account of conventionalism about names in the Cratylus. It argues that Hermogenes' position, according to which a name is whatever anybody 'sets down' as one, does not have the counterintuitive consequences usually claimed. At the same time, Plato's treatment of conventionalism needs to be related to his treatment of formally similar positions in ethics and politics. Plato is committed to standards of objective natural correctness in all such areas, despite the problematic consequences which, as he (...)
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