This article concerns the place of Plato’s eschatology in his philosophy. I argue that the theory of reincarnation appeals to Plato due to its power to explain how non-human animals came to be. Further, the outlines of this theory are entailed by other commitments, such as that embodiment disrupts psychic functioning, that virtue is always rewarded and vice punished, and that the soul is immortal. I conclude by arguing that Plato develops a view of reincarnation as the chief tool that (...) the gods have to ensure that virtue is victorious over vice throughout the whole cosmos. (shrink)
Plato’s Timaeus reveals a cosmos governed by Necessity and Intellect; commentators have debated the relationship between them. Non-literalists hold that the demiurge, having carte blanche in taming Necessity, is omnipotent. But this omnipotence, alongside the attributes of benevolence and omniscience, creates problems when non-literalists address the problem of evil. We take the demiurge rather as limited by Necessity. This position is supported by episodes within the text, and by its larger consonance with Plato’s philosophy of evil and responsibility. By recognizing (...) the analogy between man and demiurge, the literal reading provides a moral component that its non-literal counterpart lacks. (shrink)
__. L’articolo analizza la descrizione della natura delle piante e la tacita giustificazione del vegetarianismo fornite da Platone nel _Timeo_. Tale pratica alimentare sembra assumere un’utilità esclusivamente fisiologica: potrebbe darsi che Platone si fosse opposto a quanti professavano il vegetarianismo in qualità di mezzo necessario per purificare l’anima e per raggiungere la felicità, come gli orfici, i pitagorici, Empedocle ma anche il suo discepolo Senocrate. Attraverso il particolare valore attribuito a una dieta vegetariana, Platone priva di validità la pretesa degli (...) altri filosofi: solo lo studio delle idee permette di ottenere la felicità. _Abstract_. The aim of this paper is to analyse Plato’s description of plants and his tacit justification of vegetarianism in the _Timaeus_. This practice seems to possess exclusively a physiological relevance: I argue that Plato is opposing the idea of vegetarianism as a superior way to purify one’s soul and achieve happiness, how it was being professed by the Orphics, the Pythagoreans, Empedocles, and even by his disciple Xenocrates. In the _Timaeus_, with the justification of vegetarianism only for physiological purposes, Plato is discrediting other philosophers’ conception of vegetarianism and perfect life: only the study of the noetic world grants ultimate happiness. (shrink)
the contrast and similarity between Rist and Macintyre can be better understood if we take into account their different interpretations of the Republic, especially their 1) descriptions of the primary problem faced by Plato, 2) their interpretation of Plato’s response to the problem, and 3) their evaluation of the contemporary relevance of the problem and his response. The differences and similarities between the views of MacIntyre and Rist on the Republic reflect much larger difference and similarities on the fundamental nature (...) of moral philosophy, the problem of relativism, and the importance of God for ethics. I have illustrated these similarities and differences in the context of their understanding of the problems faced by Plato, the nature and adequacy of his response, and the relevance of the response of later philosophical ethics. (shrink)
Plato seems to have been pessimistic about how most people stand with regard to virtue. However, unlike the Stoics, he did not conclude that most people are vicious. Rather, as we know from discussions across several dialogues, he countenanced decent ethical conditions that fall short of genuine virtue, which he limited to the philosopher. Despite Plato's obvious interest in this issue, commentators rarely follow his lead by investigating in detail such conditions in the dialogues. When scholars do investigate what kind (...) of virtue, if any, Plato thinks is open to non-philosophers, they typically look to the Republic. But in the Republic Plato sets out an ideal city; therefore, the virtue available to non-philosophers there is likely different from what he thinks is available to them in the real world. If we want to determine Plato's thoughts about the virtue of actual non-philosophers, we must look elsewhere. In this paper, I set my sights on the Phaedo. (shrink)
Commentators such as Terence Irwin (1999) and Christopher Shields (2006) claim that the Ring of Gyges argument in Republic II cannot demonstrate that justice is chosen only for its consequences. This is because valuing justice for its own sake is compatible with judging its value to be overridable. Through examination of the rational commitments involved in valuing normative ideals such as justice, we aim to show that this analysis is mistaken. If Glaucon is right that everyone would endorse Gyges’ behavior, (...) it follows that nobody values justice intrinsically. Hence, the Gyges story constitutes a more serious challenge than critics maintain. (shrink)
This paper concerns the two arts of measurement discussed at Statesman 283-287b. In particular, it argues against the standard interpretation of the first art of measurement, according to which the various branches of mathematics are instances of the first art. Having argued against this standard view, this paper then supplies a more accurate interpretation in its place. Furthermore, it discusses the consequences of this interpretive disagreement for how we understand the relationship between the Statesman's art of measurement and Aristotle's doctrine (...) of the mean. (shrink)
In Plato’s Apology of Socrates we see a philosopher in collision with his society—a society he nonetheless claims to have benefited through his philosophic activity. It has often been asked why democratic Athens condemned a philosopher of Socrates' character to death. This anthology examines the contribution made by Plato’s Apology of Socrates to our understanding of the character of Socrates as well as of the conception of philosophy Plato attributes to him. The 11 chapters offer complementary readings of the Apology, (...) which through their different approaches demonstrate the richness of this Platonic work as well as the various layers that can be discerned in its presentation of Socrates. -/- While the contributions display variety in both topics and angles, they also share common features: An awareness of the importance of the literary aspects of Plato’s courtroom drama, as well as a readiness to take into consideration the historical context of the work. Thereby they provide contributions to a manifold understanding of the aims and impact of the work, without losing sight of the philosophical questions that are raised by Socrates’ confrontational and unrepentant defense speech. Allowing the character of Socrates to take center stage, the chapters of this volume examine the philosopher in relation to ethics, and to politics and democracy, as well as to the ideology, religion, and virtue shared by the Athenians. -/- Readers will also find reflections on classical Platonic subjects such as the nature of Socratic philosophical inquiry and of philosophy itself, as well as on the notoriously ambiguous relationships between philosophy, sophistry and rhetoric, and their several relationships to truth and justice. The anthology emphasizes and explores the equivocal and sometimes problematic aspects of Socrates as Plato presents him in the Apology, illuminating why the Athenians let the verdict fall as they did, while drawing out problematic features of Athenian society and its reaction to Socrates’ philosophic activity, thereby encouraging reflection on the role philosophy can play in our modern societies. (shrink)
Abstract: In the Philebus, Socrates constructs a dialectical argument in which he purports to explain to Protarchus why the pleasure that spectators feel when watching comedy is a mixture of pleasure and pain. To do this he brings in phthonos (malice or envy) as his prime example (47d-50e). I examine the argument and claim that Socrates implicitly challenges Protarchus’ beliefs about himself as moderate and self-knowing. I discuss two reasons to think that more is at stake in the argument than (...) the mixed pleasure and pain of comic malice. (shrink)
Contributors to this volume focus on the character of Socrates as the embodiment of philosophy, employing this as a starting point for exploring various themes exposed in the Apology. These include the relation of philosophy to democracy, rhetoric, politics, or society in general, and the overarching question of what comprises the philosophic life.
The Clitophon has posed a riddle to its readers: Why does Socrates not respond to the criticisms levelled against him? A careful reading of the dialogue shows that Clitophon’s criticism of Socrates already contains its own rebuttal. It is not, as many have suggested, certain beliefs of Clitophon’s that make a Socratic response impossible. Rather, Socrates’s silence is itself the response, intended to force Clitophon to turn back to what has already been said. It is Clitophon’ lack of self-knowledge, or (...) better his self-oblivion, his failure to see his own soul as implicated in the logos, that propels him always to seek out what’s next in the logos without any reflection on what has already been said. (shrink)
With a masterful sense of the place of rhetoric in both thought and practice and an ear attuned to the clarity, natural simplicity, and charm of Plato's Greek prose, James H. Nichols Jr., offers precise yet unusually readable translations of two great Platonic dialogues on rhetoric. The Gorgias presents an intransigent argument that justice is superior to injustice: To the extent that suffering an injustice is preferable to committing an unjust act. The dialogue contains some of Plato's most significant and (...) famous discussions of major political themes, and focuses dramatically and with unrivaled intensity on Socrates as a political thinker and actor. Featuring some of Plato's most soaringly lyrical passages, the Phaedrus investigates the soul's erotic longing and its relationship to the whole cosmos, as well as inquiring into the nature of rhetoric and the problem of writing. Nichols's attention to dramatic detail brings the dialogues to life. Plato's striking variety in conversational address is carefully reproduced, as is alteration in tone and implication even in the short responses. The translations render references to the gods accurately and non-monotheistically for the first time, and include a fascinating variety of oaths and invocations. A general introduction on rhetoric from the Greeks to the present shows the problematic relation of rhetoric to philosophy and politics, states the themes that unite the two dialogues, and outlines interpretive suggestions that are then developed more fully for each dialogue. The twin dialogues reveal both the private and the political rhetoric emphatic in Plato's philosophy, yet often ignored in commentaries on it. Nichols believes that Plato's thought on rhetoric has been largely misunderstood, and he uses his translations as an opportunity to reconstruct the classical position on right relations between thought and public activity. (shrink)
The most famous Socratic question—ti esti touto?—is often pre- ceded by a far less famous, but more fundamental question—esti touto ti? Though this question is posed in many dialogues with re- spect to myriad topics, in every instance it receives but one answer: it is something, namely something that is. The dialogue devoted to why this question always meets with an affirmative answer would appear to be the Parmenides, for there Parmenides throws into question whether the eidē are, only to (...) establish that, if we have opinions that there is some unity in being, such unity must be. Nevertheless, the dramatic setting of the Parmenides is the quarreling of the Pre-Socratic schools, and the popular dismissal of philosophy that their quarreling engendered. For a dialogue that establishes that the object of inquiry is simply because we have opinions about it, we must, as I hope to show, turn to the Euthyphro. (shrink)
In Book I of the Republic, or so I shall argue, Plato gives us a glimpse of sheer horror. In the character, beliefs, and desires of Thrasymachus, Plato aims to personify some of the most diabolical dangers that lurk in human nature. In this way, the role that Thrasymachus plays for Plato is akin to the role that for Hobbes is played by the bellum omnium contra omnes, the war of all against all, which would allegedly be the inevitable result (...) of a "state of nature", where human beings have no government to terrorize them into obedience. It is also akin to the role that for Kant is played by the "radical evil" that is allegedly an indelible feature of human nature itself. As I shall try to show, the desires that characterize Thrasymachus are of the kind that are described in Book IX as "lawless" desires, desire of the wild insane kind that dominate the tyrannical soul; and his beliefs systematically reflect these desires, in a way that has its own hideously coherent logic. (shrink)
This paper considers how Plato can account for the fact that pain features prominently in the intellectual pleasures of philosophers, given that in his view pleasures mixed with pain are ontologically deficient and inferior to ‘pure,’ painless pleasures. After ruling out the view that Plato does not believe intellectual pleasures are actually painful, I argue that he provides a coherent and overlooked account of pleasure in the Phaedrus, where purity does not factor into the philosopher’s judgment of pleasures at all; (...) what matters instead is the extent to which a given pleasure fosters the philosophical life. I show that to argue, as James Warren has recently done, that Plato thinks intellectual pleasures are not per se painful is less successful than the Phaedrus account at explaining philosophers’ lived experiences of pleasure, which often involve pain. (shrink)
Early in his career, Karl Marx complained that “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” Philosophers Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle have recently issued this same complaint against their contemporaries, arguing that philosophy has become an isolated, “purified” discipline, detached from its historical commitments to virtue and to public engagement. In this paper I argue that they are wrong about contemporary philosophy and about its history. Philosophy hitherto has always been characterized (...) both by a concern with practical engagement and by serious misgivings about such engagement. I show that reluctance to engage with practical affairs was a feature of philosophy long before the advent of the modern university and that a wide range of contemporary philosophers are concerned with virtue and public engagement. Finally, I argue that Frodeman and Briggle’s own account of contemporary philosophy makes it unsuitable both as the subject of their title (“When Philosophy Lost Its Way”) and as the object of their call to action. (shrink)
Interpreters of Theaetetus are prone to endorse the view that a god gave Socrates maieutic skill. This paper challenges that view. It provides a different account of the skill’s origins, and reconstructs a genealogy of Socratic philosophy that begins and has its end in human experience. Three distinct origins coordinate to bring forth a radically new conception of philosophy in the image of female midwifery: the state of wonder (1. efficient origin), the exercise of producing, examining and disavowing beliefs in (...) the gradual cultivation of human nature’s lack of skill (2. material origin), and Socrates’ understanding of god’s assistance as an endorsement of his mental infertility and the benefit of a particular form of dialectical training (3. formal origin). The paper concludes by arguing that Socrates transforms philosophy into a pursuit of wisdom that has its telos in becoming like a woman. (shrink)
This paper reads Republic 583b-608b as a single, continuous line of argument. First, Socrates distinguishes real from apparent pleasure and argues that justice is more pleasant than injustice. Next, he describes how pleasures nourish the soul. This line of argument continues into the second discussion of poetry: tragic pleasures are mixed pleasures in the soul that seem greater than they are; indulging them nourishes appetite and corrupts the soul. The paper argues that Plato has a novel account of the ‘paradox (...) of tragedy’, and that the Republic and Philebus contain complementary discussions of tragic and comic pleasure. (shrink)
This paper raises a new interpretive puzzle concerning Socrates’ attitude towards truth in the Phaedo. At one point Socrates seems to advocate that he is justified in trying to convince himself that the soul is immortal and destined for a better place regardless of whether or not these claims are true, but that Cebes and Simmias should relentlessly pursue the truth about the very same matter. This raises the question: Why might Socrates believe that he will benefit from believing things (...) about death irrespective of the truth, but that Cebes and Simmias will not? Why should they continue pursuing the truth? This paper argues that the relevant difference between Socrates and his friends is that Socrates is a fully accomplished philosopher, while his friends are not. This, I argue, makes Socrates an epistemic authority, and it is in virtue of being an epistemic authority that he is justified in not pursuing the truth about death. The upshot of this paper is that sometimes the demands of living well require that we abandon the pursuit of truth and knowledge. (shrink)
Principlism, a most prominent approach in bioethics, has been criticized for lacking an underlying moral theory. We propose that the four principles of principlism can be related to the four traditional cardinal virtues. These virtues appear prominently in Plato's Republic and in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. We show how this connection can be made. In this way principlism has its own compelling ethical basis.
In this article, we examine, in the light of Arendt s categories, the fundamental structure of traditional claims on moral life. In other words, we evaluate the spirit in which traditional morality relates to the human world, especially, to the human condition of plurality. In this way, we shall be led to a perceptive reading of Arendt s groundbreaking view on morality and its borderline possibility of assuming a paradoxically significant role in the worldly affairs.
In the Gorgias, Socrates argues that just punishment, though painful, benefits the unjust person by removing injustice from her soul. This paper argues that Socrates thinks the true judge (i) will never use corporal punishment, because such procedures do not remove injustice from the soul; (ii) will use refutations and rebukes as punishments that reveal and focus attention on psychological disorder (= injustice); and (iii) will use confiscation, exile, and death to remove external goods that facilitate unjust action.
The history of the political thought on pleasure is not a cloistered affair in which scholars only engage one another. In political thought, one commonly finds a critical engagement with the wider public and the ruling classes, which are both perceived to be dangerously hedonistic. The effort of many political thinkers is directed towards showing that other political ends are more worthy than pleasure: Plato battles vigorously against Calicles' pleasure seeking in the Gorgias, Augustine argues in The City of God (...) against the human tendency to hedonism in favor of a profound distrust of pleasure, and even Machiavelli claims in The Prince that it is in the prince's best interest to separate his pursuit of pleasure from his pursuit of political power. The thrust of the majority of political thought is to interrupt the popular equation that links pleasure with the good. Instead, political thought has largely followed Plato's lead and has worked to contain hedonism on two fronts. First, pleasure is rigorously separated from ethical and political good: what is good is not identical with what is pleasurable even if the two sometimes overlap. Second, even where the pursuit of pleasure is judged to be coincident with the good, pleasure should only be pursued to the degree it is rational to do so and pursued in the most rational way. Of course, it is not true that all thinkers hold to these two positions on pleasure. Epicureanism and utilitarianism are two major schools of thought that challenge the first precept equating pleasure with the good. Both Epicureanism and utilitarianism argue that the only good is pleasure. However, it is much less frequently that one finds a thinker challenging the second Platonic position that reason must master and guide our pursuit of pleasure—even the Epicureans and utilitarians believe that pleasure is best pursued rationally. However, Foucault has attracted recent attention by challenging the idea that reason should dominate the pursuit of pleasure. (shrink)
This essay attempts to explain the traditional and contemporary philosophical neglect of disability by arguing that the philosophical prioritization of rationality leads to a distinctly philosophical conception of disability as a negative category of non-normative embodiment. I argue that the privilege given to rationality as distinctive of what it means to be both a human subject and a moral agent informs supposedly rational norms of human embodiment. Non-normative types of embodiment in turn can only be understood in contradistinction to these (...) rationalized norms, which are predicated on the elimination of certain features and types of embodiment deemed inimical to reason. To establish this thesis, I focus on Platonic philosophy and the Republic as Platonic conceptions of reason and normative types of embodiment have a historical and conceptual influence on contemporary assumptions concerning rational human nature, medicine, mental health, vice, disease, and impairment. (shrink)
The Euthyphro Dilemma is named after a particular exchange between Socrates and Euthyphro in Plato‟s dialogue Euthyphro. In a famous passage, Socrates asks, “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?” (Plato 1981: 10a), and proceeds to advance arguments which clearly favor the first of these two options (see PLATO). The primary interest in the Euthyphro Dilemma over the years, however, has primarily concerned the relationship between (...) God and morality in the monotheistic religious tradition, where God is taken to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, having created the universe initially and still actively involved in it today. But as we will see at the end of this entry, there has also been a recent surge of interest in a version of the Dilemma which applies to so-called response-dependent accounts of normative properties in meta-ethics. (shrink)
Today, dignity recognized as a fundamental value across legal systems is equal, inherent and inalienable, inviolable, is the source of human rights and is essential for its subject to be recognized as an autotelic entity (an end in itself) that cannot be treated as an object. The analysis of the extract from Plato’s Demiurge’s speech in Timaeus reveals that Plato developed a reflection on something that determines the qualitative difference between certain beings and the world of things, and that forms (...) the basis for the special treatment of these beings, which the modern language can reasonably describe as dignity. The attributes of that dignity seem to overlap with the nature of dignity as we know today. What is more, Plato proposes a response to the question of what dignity is like but also to the question of what dignity is. It is the existential perfection, established in a perfect way of existence based on a specific internal unity of being. As the existential perfection, it covers the entire being along with all its features; it is inseparable from being (inherent and inalienable) – without it, it cannot exist. It is primordial to the particular features and independent of their acquisition or loss. Plato’s approach allows, based on the approach to dignity, the formulation of proposals aligned with today’s personalistic standards prescribing that persons be treated as ends in themselves and prohibiting the treatment of persons like objects. (shrink)
The paper argues that everyday ethical expertise requires an openness to an experience of self-doubt very different from that involved in becoming expert in other skills—namely, an experience of profound vulnerability to the Other similar to that which Emmanuel Levinas has described. Since the experience bears a striking resemblance to that of undergoing cross-examination by Socrates as depicted in Plato’s early dialogues, I illustrate it through a close reading of the Euthyphro, arguing that Euthyphro’s vaunted “expertise” conceals a reluctance to (...) submit himself to the basic process of self-redefinition that results from learning the limits of one’s knowledge. I show how the dialogue itself models the disruptive experience of selfquestioning that leads to moral maturity, providing further evidence that expertise has an important non-cognitive element, as well as casting doubt on the ethical value of seeking “definitions” of the virtues. (shrink)
This chapter, which analyses Plato's thinking about ethics and his engagement with it, first reviews his earlier works and asks why neither of them address ethical questions. It then turns to Plato's classical works, particularly the Republic, which suggest a definite ethical position, arguing that they, like his earlier works, are best regarded as often exploring questions rather than as always propounding doctrine.
We want to know about philosophers’ lives in part to see how they applied their philosophy to their own lives. Plato’s account of Socrates’ life, trial, and death sets a great example here, perhaps never equalled, just as few philosophers equal Socrates in integrity and courage.
Plato's account of the tripartite soul is a memorable feature of dialogues like the Republic, Phaedrus and Timaeus: it is one of his most famous and influential yet least understood theories. It presents human nature as both essentially multiple and diverse - and yet somehow also one - divided into a fully human 'rational' part, a lion-like 'spirited part' and an 'appetitive' part likened to a many-headed beast. How these parts interact, how exactly each shapes our agency and how they (...) are affected by phenomena like erôs and education is complicated and controversial. The essays in this book investigate how the theory evolves over the whole of Plato's work, including the Republic, Phaedrus and Timaeus, and how it was developed further by important Platonists such as Galen, Plutarch and Plotinus. They will be of interest to a wide audience in philosophy and classics. (shrink)
My aim in this study is to unfold the profound relationship thatnonetheless exists between the world of Rosenzweig and that of Plato. Plato’s presence in The Star of Redemption is greater than onemight think by relying solely on the references found in the index. Inaccordance with this suggested relationship, one might propose areligious interpretation of that youthful pronouncement made byRosenzweig, to which, indeed, the expression of „faith“ is appropri-ate: „Ich glaube an Πλάτων [Plato]“. Notwithstanding the need to undertake a broad (...) overview of Platoand several of his earlier as well as later dialogues in the presentcontext, I wish to focus my attention here upon the Symposium andthe discussion therein of love and Eros. This study will make a verysimple claim: Rosenzweig’s attitude towards love and Eros as a reve-latory event was shaped specifically in relation to the manner inwhich Eros is discussed in Plato’s Symposium In order to discoverthe importance of the Symposium for the Star, one must examine allthree parts of The Star together, as a process creating a certain stancetowards love and Eros. Plato’s influence is likewise present in Ro-senzweig’s attitude towards Jewish sources and midrashic literature.Succinctly stated, the process put forward in the Symposium movesfrom a previous tragedy to a shared discourse on love, leading to thelove of wisdom – i. e., philosophy – and from there back to concrete Love Discourse: Rosenzweig vs. Plato life. -/- The move proposed by the Star is from the tragic hero whoconfronts death (part I of the Star ), to the revelation of love (part II),and thenceforth to fellowship and the shared meal (part III). Theplace occupied by „wisdom“ in the Symposium is taken by „truth“ in the Star, but both leave the door wide open, at the end of the day (orthe end of the night), back into life. (shrink)
This volume deals with the appropriations, criticism and transformation of Plato’s and Aristotle’s positions about theory, practice and the contemplative life, including their epistemological and metaphysical foundations, from ...
I develop the relatively familiar idea of a variety of forms of knowledge —not just propositional knowledge but also knowledge -how and experiential knowledge —and show how this variety can be used to make interesting sense of Plato’s and Aristotle’s philosophy, and in particular their ethics. I then add to this threefold analysis of knowledge a less familiar fourth variety, objectual knowledge, and suggest that this is also interesting and important in the understanding of Plato and Aristotle.
There has been a long tradition of interpreting Plato as a rational egoist. Over the past few decades, however, some scholars have challenged this reading. While Rational Egoism appeals to many ordinary folk, in sophisticated philosophical circles it has fallen out of favor as a general and complete account of the nature of reasons for action. I argue that while the theory of practical rationality that is often equated with rational egoism—a view that I call ‘Simple-Minded Rational Egoism'—is neither plausible (...) nor endorsed by Plato in his Republic, there is a more complex version of Rational Egoism to which Plato is indeed committed. Moreover, such a conception of practical rationality is not vulnerable to the standard set of objections that contemporary philosophers have made against Rational Egoism. (shrink)
Peter Warnek: Descent of socrates: Self-knowledge & cryptic nature in the platonic dialogues Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s11007-012-9214-0 Authors Christopher P. Long, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, USA Journal Continental Philosophy Review Online ISSN 1573-1103 Print ISSN 1387-2842.
Zu den beiden -Bosewichten- der antiken Philosophie, Kallikles und Thrasymachos, existiert uberraschend wenig detailreiche Sekundarliteratur, obwohl das intellektuelle Interesse an ihren bei Platon uberlieferten Anschauungen uberaus gross ist - denn das Faustrecht fasziniert. Der vorliegende Kommentar zu den entsprechenden Textstellen des -Gorgias- bzw. des ersten Buches des -Staates- soll die Lucken in der Sekundarliteratur nun schliessen.<BR> Gangigen Standpunkten heutiger Interpreten, zwar nicht offen fur Kallikles und Thrasymachos Partei zu ergreifen, Ihnen aber warmherziges Verstandnis auszusprechen, tritt der Autor entschieden entgegen. Er (...) nahert sich dem Problem um das durch Kallikles und Thrasymachos vertretene sophistische Recht des Starkeren von Platons Seite her. Das Buch sagt insgesamt dem anhaltenden Rehabilitierungsstreben zur Sophistik bzw. der um sich greifenden Diffamierung Platons den Kampf an. Damit wird den Sophisten diejenige Rolle zugewiesen, die ihnen geschichtlich gesehen auch zukommt, nicht Aufklarer, sondern Aufwiegler zu sein. Nicht zuletzt kommt uber die umfangreiche Charakterdarstellung des Kallikles und Thrasymachos hinaus die ethische Grundhaltung ihres grossen Gegenspielers Sokrates zum Tragen. Das Buch zeichnet ihn als echten Bezwinger des Immoralismus aus. Und Sokrates erweist sich schliesslich einmal mehr als der, der er ist: als der wahre Erzieher der Menschheit.". (shrink)
This chapter examines Plato's moral psychology in the Phaedrus. It argues against interpreters such as Burnyeat and Nussbaum that Plato's treatment of the soul is increasingly pessimistic: reason's desire to contemplate is at odds with its obligation to rule the soul, and psychic harmony can only be secured by violently suppressing the lower parts of the soul.
Questo testo nasce da alcune indagini sul nesso tra matematica e filosofia in ambiente “accademico”. È interessante notare che l'esplorazione di tale nesso costituisce un felice tratto di continuità tra gli studi più classici e ...
In this essay, I shall describe both Plato and Levinas as philosophers of the other, and delineate their similarities and differences on violence. In doing so, I will open up for broader reflection two importantly contrasting ways in which the self is essentially responsive to—as well as vulnerable to violence from—the other. I will also suggest a new way of situating Levinas in the history of philosophy, not, as he himself suggests, as one of the few in the history of (...) philosophy who has aphilosophy of the other but, instead, as one of a number of 20th century philosophers who turn to pre-modern thinkers for aid in critiquing early modern thought on a variety of topics, including whether the self is essentially closed or, instead, vulnerable, open and responsive to what is outside it. (shrink)
I distinguish, describe and explore two different conceptions of love that inform our lives. One conception found its classic philosophical articulation in Plato, the other its richest expressions in Christian thought. The latter has not had the same secure place in our philosophical traditon as the former. By trying to bring out what is distinctive in this second conception of love, centrally including its significance in revealing the fundamental value of human beings, I aim to show the importance of extending (...) our philosophical reflection to acknowledge it. (shrink)
Plato’s account of pleasure in Republic IX has been treated as an ill-conceived and deeply flawed account that Plato thankfully retracted and replaced in the Philebus. I am convinced, however, that this received view of the Republic’s account is false. In this paper, I will not concern myself with whether, or in what way, Plato’s account of pleasure in the Republic falls short of what we find in the Philebus, but will rather focus on the merits of the former. My (...) concern will be further narrowed down to the first half of the third proof: the proof involves two criteria for the evaluation of pleasures, the criteria of purity and of truth, both of which yield the result that the philosopher’s pleasures are the most pleasant (because it turns out that only those pleasures are pure and only they are true). I will be addressing the criterion of purity, which is based on a psychological/phenomenological account of pleasure and pain. This account has been harshly criticized as full of ambiguity and confusion, as I explain in detail below. I believe, however, that these criticisms result from misunderstanding, and failing to appreciate the complexity of, Plato’s account. In this paper, I will offer an interpretation of Plato’s psychological account of pleasure and pain in Republic IX, showing that this account is, contrary to its detractors, both interesting and persuasive on many points. (shrink)