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Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy

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Aristotle claimed that the supralunar realm was composed solely of ether. But did he believe the moon was also made only of ether or did he express doubt about this ? And if he did believe the moon was made solely of ether, how did he explain away the imperfections of the moon which can be seen by the naked eye ?

Most, if not all the early Church Fathers were schooled in Greek Philosophy. What principles and practices of Christianity would have clashed with their worldviews in general?
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Christianity did not emerge from a vacuum. The Hebrews were the first Christians. Before Christianity it was likely that they practiced or were familiar with Judaism. Some adherents of Judaism during the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD totally rejected Greek philosophy which is known as Hellenism. Others embraced Hellenism in different degrees. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic, the language of Judaism. The New Testament, which espoused Christianity was transmitted in Koine Greek, the language of the Hellenists.  The descendants of the Hebrews are called Jews in the New Testament. Why did the Jews en bloc (or for the most part) reject Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity, upon whose teaching the religion was founded? For these Jews, the Messiah had not yet come. Most Jews today still believe that the promised Messiah of the Old Testament has not yet come. If you were a Jew in the 1st century, would you have accepted Jesus Christ?
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REQUEST: Please send errors, omissions, and suggestions. I am especially interested in citations made in non-English publications.



Corcoran’s 2009 ARISTOTLE’S DEMONSTRATIVE LOGIC deals decisively with several issues that had previously been handled by vague speculation and dogmatic pontification if at all. One possible example: Corcoran [2009, p. 13] proves conclusively that the imperfect syllogisms Baroco and Bocardo—which Aristotle completed indirectly [by reductio-ad-impossible]—cannot be completed directly. More generally, Corcoran shows that no valid premise-conclusion argument, regardless of the number of premises,  having an existential negative [“particular negative” or “O-proposition”] as a premise can be completed using a direct deduction—assuming of course that no premises are redundant and that the conclusion is not among the premises. To be clear this means that for no such argument is it possible to deduce the conclusion from the premises without using reductio.

This result, called the EXISTENTIAL-NEGATIVE EXCLUSION [ENE], was circulated informally by Corcoran much earlier but it seem ... (read more)

Good morning all

I am writing a piece about social work values and how these are a challenge in certain circumstances within mental health treatment. Some unwell people who are a danger to others while unwell are persuaded/coerced into taking medication that although relieves the mental health problem and so reduce the risk to the public, also leaves the patient with side effects which are debilitating. Many patients endure this as the only alternative is to return to hospital detention.

I am attempting to suggest that in certain circumstances this oppressive intrusion into liberty has some justification. However, I cannot recall which philosopher (Aristotle or Plato?) has said something about an individuals responsibility to society.

I am using a moral argument that no one is responsible for the individuals predicament and that society is not responsible for the conflict of circumstances.

I have only the vaguest recollection that some old Greek fellow has said something on this subject.

An ... (read more)
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Does anybody know where I could find a good scholarly discussion of the weird 'numerological' passages about cultural decline in Republic VIII (ca. 545e-547a). I'm interested both in where Plato might have gotten these ideas about the 'predictable unpredictability' of genetic heritability of traits and what light the passages might throw upon his remarks about the 'noble lie.'
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Before suggesting any category additions/changes here, I thought it might be useful to have some discussion among those with interests in ancient philosophy.

I think that, in general, for the categories to be useful, the Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy categories need to be more fine-grained.

(1) Specifically, I think that at least Plato and Aristotle and probably Stoics, Epicureans, and some others as well need subject sub-categories such as Ethics, Metaphysics, Epistemology, etc. These subject categories could further be cross-listed under other major categories. For example, a Political Philosophy sub-category under Aristotle could be cross-listed under Social and Political Philosophy as History of Political Philosophy/ Ancient Greek Political Philosophy/ Aristotle. (For some it might also even be useful to have categories for specific works, such as the Republic.)

(2) It also might be useful to add general subject categories under Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy for articles th ... (read more)
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The 8th Conference of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies will
be held in Madrid on June 17-20 2010.
Along with the Conference there will be a Panel discussion entitled Dionysius the Areopagite between Orthodoxy and Heresy:

One of the most controversial characters in the history of philosophy and theology is beyond all doubt (Pseudo-) Dionysius the Areopagite. The only conclusion on which the modern scholarship agreed is that he was not the famous bishop of Athens, a pagan converted to Christianity by St. Paul.

The influence of Dionysian writings in the entire Middle Ages is astonishing, and he was considered as the highest authority, second only to Bible, since he was considered a contemporary of Apostles. Some of the main features of his doctrine, such as apophatic theology, deification, and hierarchies, greatly determined the ways of future Christian speculation.

His knowledge of the Christian tradition is proven by his good command of the notions of not only the theoretic ... (read more)

THE WEST COAST PLATO WORKSHOP  / Third Annual Conference

Topic: Plato's Phaedrus
Date: 22-23 May 2010
Place: Philosophy department, University of California, San Diego

Keynote speaker: Rachana Kamtekar, Department of Philosophy, University of Arizona

The conference organizer invites proposals for 30 minute talks (to be followed by 45 minutes of commentary or discussion) on any topic related to Plato's Phaedrus. Please send proposals (abstracts) to by 15 December 2009. Also, please forward this announcement to anyone who might be working on the Phaedrus or interested in attending (apologies for cross-posting).

The first conference, on Plato's Theaetetus, was held in 2008 at the University of California, Davis; the second, on the Euthydemus, in 2009 at the University of California, Berkeley. The conferences are open to all students and faculty, and are organized on an ad hoc basis by the host university.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions. Join us on facebook by befriendi ... (read more)

My scholarly colleagues will enjoy by this witty passage from Oxford psychologist Susanna Millar's recent book, Space and Sense.

"The idea that spatial concepts are known before birth was taught by the Athenian philosopher Socrates some two and a half thousand years ago.  It is nicely paradoxical that we really ought to credit that arch 'rationalist' philosopher with the first empirical study of spatial reasoning.  Unfortunately, an Athenian court condemned Socrates to poison himself with hemlock for teaching philosophy to the young.  So we can only go by the writings, as construed by later scholars, of his friend and student Plato (c. 429-347 BC). According to Plato, Socrates' questions elicited perfectly correct geometric deductions from an untaught, ignorant slave boy.  As any editor of a self-respecting scientific journal would, no doubt, have pointed out, the finding is flawed as empirical evidence for an innate concept of space.  Socrates ... (read more)
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