Review of André Laks, Le vide et la haine: éléments pour une histoire archaïque de la négativité, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 2004 ; Introduction à la “philosophie présocratique”, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 2006.
This article takes up Diogenes again, investigating some of the reasons Diogenes has been unappreciated, and making a case for Diogenes' mind-based teleology as a significant philosophical contribution. The sophists, too, have suffered from the charge, which goes back to Plato, of not being “real” philosophers. Diogenes did not bother himself with, or was not interested in, showing in what sense the world is organized in the best possible manner; this looked to him as something that happened as a matter (...) of course. What did interest him, on the other hand, was to show what the thing that exercised intelligence is. From this point of view, the emphasis is definitely not on teleology, but rather on noetics. Here, primary textual evidence is available, for the fragments, as well as Simplicius's presentation of them, definitely support the view that the point of Diogenes' argumentation was to show that intelligence is air's. (shrink)
En la Poética, Aristóteles define la metáfora como la transferencia de un nombre de un dominio extraño a otro. Si, como en la doctrina clásica de los tropos, vemos en ella un término figurado, que sustituye al término propio, la metáfora reviste un valor puramente ornamental y el discurso podría en principio prescindir de ella. La metáfora moderna, en cambio, tiene la ambición de ofrecer una redescripción del mundo, es una metáfora viva, y por tanto cognitiva. La cuestión es saber (...) en qué medida esa concepción cognitiva de la metáfora puede apoyarse en el análisis de Aristóteles, como Ricœur lo hace. La respuesta es sí, pero no, dado que la cognición de la cuál Aristóteles habla con relación a la metáfora es una cognición de tipo especial, una “cuasi-cognición”. (shrink)
When we talk about Presocratic philosophy, we are speaking about the origins of Greek philosophy and Western rationality itself. But what exactly does it mean to talk about “Presocratic philosophy” in the first place? How did early Greek thinkers come to be considered collectively as Presocratic philosophers? In this brief book, André Laks provides a history of the influential idea of Presocratic philosophy, tracing its historical and philosophical significance and consequences, from its ancient antecedents to its full crystallization in (...) the modern period and its continuing effects today. Laks examines ancient Greek and Roman views about the birth of philosophy before turning to the eighteenth-century emergence of the term “Presocratics” and the debates about it that spanned the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He analyzes the intellectual circumstances that led to the idea of Presocratic philosophy—and what was and is at stake in the construction of the notion. The book closes by comparing two models of the history of philosophy—the phenomenological, represented by Hans-Georg Gadamer, and the rationalist, represented by Ernst Cassirer—and their implications for Presocratic philosophy, as well as other categories of philosophical history. Other figures discussed include Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Diogenes Laertius, Schleiermacher, Hegel, Nietzsche, Max Weber, and J.-P. Vernant. Challenging standard histories of Presocratic philosophy, the book calls for a reconsideration of the conventional story of early Greek philosophy and Western rationality. (shrink)
In the _Poetics_, Aristotle, defines metaphor as the transfer of a term from a given, foreign domain to another one. If, as does the classical doctrine of tropes, we consider that it substitutes the ‘proper’ term, the metaphor has a purely ornamental value and we can do without it. Modern theories insist, on the contrary, on the cognitive value of the metaphor: because it offers a re-description of the world, the metaphor is “alive”. The question is to what extent this (...) cognitive conception of metaphor, in spite of its classical reception, is already at work in Aristotle’s differentiated analysis of the phenomenon, as Ricœur claims. The answer is ‘yes but rather no’. This is because the cognition Aristotle talks about in relation to metaphor is of a special type, a “quasi-cognition”. (shrink)
Le Centre de Recherche Philologique de l'Université de Lille III publie ici, dans un premier cahier, quelques études consacrées à l'histoire de l'épicurisme, qui est l'objet d'une des activités principales. Les travaux de ses membres ont en commun d'insister sur l'examen approfondi de la lettre du texte, où nous voyons la condition d'un renouvellement de la compréhension. La critique de la tradition interprétative fait partie de ce réexamen, dont le le lieu privilégié se trouve dans des textes qui, se situant (...) eux-mêmes dans une continuité remarquable, comme le poème de Lucrèce et le mur d'Oenoanda, imposent une réflexion sur les modes de l'actualisation dans le cadre d'une orthodoxie essentielle. Nous sommes heureux de publier en même temps les travaux d'hôtes du Centres et en particulier les dernières découvertes de Martin F. Smith à Oenoanda, qui marquent une nouvelle étape de la connaissance de l'inscription de Diogène. David Sedley qui a présenté à Lille, dans une série de séminaires, les problèmes posés par l'interprétation des papyrus du Péri Phuseôs d'Epicure, reprend ici l'analyse de quelques parties de la Vie de Diogène Laërce, complétant heureusement le commentaire de ce texte par André Laks. P.H. Schrijvers explique, à propos d'un chapitre de la physiologie, de quelle manière doit être reprise, slon lui, la question des "sources" de Lucrèce, considérées comme la matériel d'une culture scientifique globale. Diskin Clay, qui entretient avec le Centre des relations suivies et déjà aniciennes, communique, sur ce sujet, les éléments d'une réflexion de portée générale. (shrink)
The Derveni papyrus is the oldest literary papyrus ever found, and one of the very few from Greece itself, which makes it one of the most interesting new texts from the ancient Greek world to have been discovered this century. The eschatological doctrines and an allegorical commentary on an Orphic theogony in terms of Presocratic physics which it contains make it a uniquely important document for the history of ancient Greek religion, philosophy, and literary criticism. This book is the first (...) to have been published on the text. It includes a full and reliable translation of the Papyrus together with a range of articles by leading European and American classicists who are internationally recognised experts in Greek religion and philosophy. Professor K. Tsantsanoglou, who will publish the papyrus when work on it is complete, presents important new material and has checked all the articles against the Papyrus. Thus for the first time, material is provided which will authorize scholarship upon the Papyrus in a way hitherto impossible, will stimulate further work on it, and will make the book a standard reference work on the subject for years to come. (shrink)
Nine leading scholars of ancient philosophy from Europe, the UK, and North America offer a systematic study of Book Beta of Aristotle's Metaphysics. The work takes the form of a series of aporiai or 'difficulties' which Aristotle presents as necessary points of engagement for those who wish to attain wisdom. The topics include causation, substance, constitution, properties, predicates, and generally the ontology of both the perishable and the imperishable world. Each contributor discusses one or two of these aporiai in sequence: (...) the result is a discursive commentary on this seminal text of Western philosophy. (shrink)
This essay aims at establishing that the word “free” (eleutheros) and related terms are used by Plato in the Laws in two main senses. There is, first, the constitutional meaning of “freedom” which is put to work in book 3 in order to analyze moderately good and degenerate forms of historical constitutions. Strikingly enough, this meaning does not play any subsequent role in the shaping of the Platonic constitution itself—a fact which requires some kind of explanation. There is, then, scattered (...) throughout the work, the behavioral meaning of “freedom” according to which the citizens of Magnesia, who are free in the sense that they are free men, are supposed to behave as such and to be educated accordingly, that is as “gentlemen.” One important aspect here is that a free education will appeal to rationality. The philosophically interesting fact, however, is that there appears to be no intrinsic link for Plato between freedom and rationality, as we might expect on the basis of modern philosophical assumptions whereby freedom is grounded on rationality. Rather, freedom is the condition for exercising rationality, because this exercise takes time. True, there is in the Laws a unique occurrence of yet another conception of “freedom” according to which one is free when one's reason masters one's desires. One might speculate why Plato did not develop this specific conception of freedom, which is in some sense closer to some modern views about liberty, as is shown, for example, from I. Berlin's concept of “positive liberty.” Footnotesa I would like to thank the editors for revising the English of this paper, as well as for a further series of useful suggestions. (shrink)
La revue publie des numéros thématiques, mais telle n'est pas son unique destination. Son ambition est en effet d'être l'écho des recherches en cours, aussi bien de celles de chercheurs confirmés que de jeunes chercheurs.
Hegel's often-echoed verdict on the apolitical character of philosophy in the Hellenistic age is challenged in this collection of essays, originally presented at the sixth meeting of the Symposium Hellenisticum. An international team of leading scholars reveals a vigorous intellectual scene of great diversity: analyses of political leadership and the Roman constitution in Aristotelian terms; Cynic repudiation of the polis - but accommodation with its rulers; Stoic and Epicurean theories of justice as the foundation of society; Cicero's moral critique of (...) the traditional political pursuit of glory. The volume as a whole offers a comprehensive guide to the main currents of social and political philosophy in a period of increasing interest to classicists, philosophers and cultural and intellectual historians. (shrink)