Plato is associated with the idea that the body holds us back from knowing ultimate reality and so we should try to distance ourselves from its influence. This sentiment appears is several of his dialogues including Theaetetus where the flight from the physical world is compared to becoming like God. In some major dialogues of Plato's later career such as Philebus and Laws, however, the idea of becoming like God takes a different turn. God is an intelligent force that tries (...) to create order in the physical world. I argue that likeness to God in these dialogues involves imitating God's effort by trying to order our bodies, souls, and societies as intelligence directs. Becoming like Plato's God is not to abandon the world. It is to improve it. (shrink)
A new English translation of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. This ongoing project aims to translate accurately the meaning of Aristotle's terse Greek into readable American English for students and the general reader.
For students and the general reader, this is the best English translation of the entire 'Laws' available. I give several examples of important lines that are translated well in this edition, but I take issue with the translation of some other lines and with part of Schofield's introduction on grounds that these parts do not reveal Plato's political and cosmic holism as clearly as they could have.
The purpose of Sheffield’s careful study is to increase scholarly appreciation of the Symposium as a ‘substantive work in Platonic ethics’ (3). Among the book’s highlights are a persuasive response to Vlastos’ criticism of Plato on love for individuals, an eminently reasonable assessment of the evidence for and against the presence of tripartite psychology in the Symposium, and a delightful interpretation of Alcibiades’ speech at the dialogue’s end—one that reveals elements of satyr play and corroborates rather than undermines Diotima’s account (...) of erôs. My review focuses on Sheffield’s account of Socrates’ speech. She devotes four of seven chapters to it. After summarizing her main argument, I raise two concerns: one about her account of immortality, the other about her interpretation of Plato as a rational eudaimonist. (shrink)
I review Gabriel Richardson Lear's excellent essay on Aristotle’s conception of the human good. She solves some long-standing problems in the interpretation of Aristotle’s ethics by drawing on resources in his natural philosophy and Plato’s conception of love. Her interpretation is a compelling and, to my mind, largely true account of Aristotle’s view. In this review, I summarize the book's main argument and then explain two fundamental points on which I have concerns.
This new, inexpensive translation of Plato's Apology of Socrates is an alternative to the 19th-century Jowett translation that students find online when they're trying to save money on books. Using the 1995 Oxford Classical Text and the commentaries of John Burnet and James Helm, I aimed to produce a 21st-century English translation that is both true to Plato's Greek and understandable to college students in introductory philosophy, political theory, and humanities courses. The book also includes a new translation of the (...) death scene from Plato's Phaedo, a short introduction, a dozen explanatory notes, advice on how to cite Plato in papers, and suggestions for further reading. Search for "Plato Armstrong" in Apple Books (epub ISBN 9781957448022) and Amazon (paperback ISBN 9781957448008, Kindle ISBN 9781957448015). (shrink)
I review this fine collection of articles on ancient ethics ranging from the Presocratics to Sextus Empiricus. Eight of the nine chapters are published here for the first time. Contributors include Charles H. Kahn on "Pre-Platonic Ethics," C. C. W. Taylor on "Platonic Ethics," Stephen Everson on "Aristotle on Nature and Value," John McDowell on "Some Issues in Aristotle's Moral Psychology," David Sedley on "The Inferential Foundations of Epicurean Ethics," T. H. Irwin on "Socratic Paradox and Stoic Theory," Julia Annas (...) on "Doing Without Objective Values: Ancient and Modern Strategies," and Susan Sauvé Meyer on "Moral Responsibility: Aristotle and After." There is also an introductory essay by the editor, Stephen Everson. I summarize and then critique each chapter in this rather lengthy review. (shrink)