This volume, including sixteen contributions, analyses ancient and medieval theories of intentionality in various contexts: perception, imagination, and intellectual thinking. It sheds new light on classical theories and examines neglected sources, both Greek and Latin.
Though the two-world interpretation of Plato's metaphysics is no longer uncontested the question of the expendability of the physical world still predominates current discussions. Against this tendency the article suggests that Plato neither intended to dispose of sensory evidence altogether nor to locate the Forms in a separate realm of pure understanding. The Forms should rather be understood as the ideal principles determining the proper function of each entity. Such a 'functional view' of the Forms is discussed explicitly in Book (...) X of the Republic, but it can easily be extended to account for Plato's use of the Forms elsewhere. (shrink)
Plato is commonly credited with a much more enlightened view concerning the equality of women and their political rights than Aristotle. This is due to the fact that he acknowledges, in the Republic, the possibility that women possess abilities that are equal to those of men and therefore assigns to them the same functions in the state. Plato’s principle of equality is, however, limited to the women of the upper classes in the Republic, and it is, at least in part, (...) a consequence of the separation of the classes. Because these conditions no longer obtain in the “second-best state” designed in the Laws, women are assigned, there, a much inferior role. In the Timaeus, women are treated not only as the weaker but also as the decadent form of humankind in the cycle of births and rebirths. Plato’s views on the worth of women change, if not with time, then with context.Aristotle throughout supports the traditional view on the exclusion of women from politics and public life. He does so because he ascribes to women only a limited form of practical rationality. Though he ascribes to women the status of citizens, he regards them as citizens that stand in need of a permanent rule by their male superiors, in public as well as in the family. Aristotle never questions whether the same kind education would lead to the intellectual equality of men and women. The rigidity of Aristotle’s position in that respect seems to be based on a kind of “conservative naturalism.” He accepts as constituted by nature the social conditions that are observable throughout the world as he knew it. This not only explains his view on the natural inferiority of women, but also his justification of slavery as a natural institution. (shrink)
In his attempt to redirect philosophy, Rorty recruits some allies to his cause. The present paper contains a critical discussion of his attempt to interpret heidegger and davidson as holding an "above battle" position in the realism/anti-Realism controversy. Although neither heidegger nor davidson fit into the regular mold of either position, Neither does rorty's nietzschean portrait of heidegger nor his pragmatist one of davidson do justice to those two philosophers but, Rather, Betray the "textualist's" hand.
The philosophers and scholars of the Hellenistic world laid the foundations upon which the Western tradition based analytical grammar, linguistics, philosophy of language, and other disciplines probing the nature and origin of human communication. Building on the pioneering work of Plato and Aristotle, these thinkers developed a wide range of theories about the nature and origin of language which reflected broader philosophical commitments. In this collection of nine essays, a team of distinguished scholars examines the philosophies of language developed by, (...) among others, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, the Stoics, and Lucretius. They probe the early thinkers' philosophical adequacy and their impact on later theorists. With discussions ranging from the Stoics on the origin of language to the theories of language in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the collection will be of interest to students of philosophy and of language in the classical period and beyond. (shrink)
THE CLAIM that even Plato could not say everything at once nor could have thought or worked out everything at once is, of course, a platitude. It is generally acknowledged that there is development in Plato's thought. But what the development is, is still a much fought-over question. For in spite of all scholarly efforts this intriguing question cannot be regarded as settled in a satisfactory way. This is due not only to the fact that we all look at Plato (...) through different eyes. There are just too many unknowns: We do not know when the dialogues were written nor in what order. We do not know what Plato himself regarded as the result of each of the dialogues nor how they are supposed to hang together. We do not know to what extent Plato himself is in agreement with what he lets Socrates say--or any of his partners. Nor do we always know what, precisely, the text itself says. And we do not know when Plato put the dialogues into the form in which they have come down to us. (shrink)
There are three versions of determinist conceptions that Aristotle was the first to address and work out in detail: logical/semantical determinism of ‘future truth’ concerning propositions about contingent events in the future in De interpretatione 9 ; physical determinism in the sense that there are no uncaused events, a point that he addresses in his Physics; ethical determinism in the sense that the actions of human beings are determined by psychological preconditions that Aristotle addresses in his ethical works, most of (...) all concerning the questions whether human actions are determined by their character—and in what sense our actions are ‘up to us’. Despite the fact that Aristotle discovered these different versions of determinism, he clearly did not regard them as reasons for denying that there are contingent events in the world or that humans are responsible for their own actions. After a brief introduction of these three different forms of deterministic assumption and their background in Aristotle’s philosophy, it will be shown why and in what sense Aristotle is to be regarded as the father of a ‘benign’ form of determinism. (shrink)
Despite the fact that the theory of Forms is regarded as the hallmark of Plato’s philosophy, it has remained remarkably elusive, because it is more hinted at than explained in his dialogues. Given the uncertainty concerning the nature and extension of the Forms, this article makes no pretense to coming up with solutions to all problems that have occupied scholars since antiquity. It aims to elucidate only two aspects of that theory: the indication in certain dialogues that the Forms are (...) what in modern parlance are called functions or purposes, and the indication in other dialogues that such functions rely on harmonious structures. (shrink)
The article purports to show that the preference of theôria in Nicomachean Ethics X 7–8 does not represent Aristotle's definitive conception of the best form of life, because it is compatible neither with his overall conception of happiness in the EN nor with its political framework. The critical chapters rather recall an early contribution of Aristotle's to a controversy on the best form of life in the Academy, attested to in Politics VII 2–3; its central point is resolved in Politics (...) VII 13–15 in a sketch of the life of leisure that combines both politics and philosophy. (shrink)
Some contemporary philosophers of action have contended that the intentions, decisions, and actions of collective social agency are reducible to those of the individuals involved. This contention is based on two assumptions: that collective agency would require super-minds, and that actions presuppose causes that move our bodies. The problem of how to account for collective action had not been regarded as a problem in the history of philosophy earlier.The explanation of why ancient Greek philosophers did not see joint agency as (...) a problem is not, as sometimes assumed, that they had no, or only a weak, sense of individuality. Nor is it because they simply overlooked the difference between individual and collective agency. It is, rather, as Aristotle’s conception of humans as ‘social’ or ‘political’ animals indicates, that the aims and ends of actions, and the means to bring them about by acting together, is the result of practice from early on. Without the acquisition of language and moral habituation humans would not become humans. There is, then, a shared understanding about common agency from infancy on. Individuals may disagree about some particular aim and action, and act only because it is a decision of the majority. But no super-minds are required to explain the communality of wishes. That Aristotle ignored the fact that all motion starts in individual bodies is explained by the difference between motions and actions: moves that are not determined by their ends are mere motions, not actions. So what moves an individual body can be the wish to bring about a joint action with another person or with a collective of persons. (shrink)