Belief and Truth: A Skeptic Reading of Plato explores a Socratic intuition about belief, doxa -- belief is "shameful." In aiming for knowledge, one must aim to get rid of beliefs. Vogt shows how deeply this proposal differs from contemporary views, but that it nevertheless speaks to intuitions we are likely to share with Plato, ancient skeptics, and Stoic epistemologists.
This book argues that political philosophy is central to early Stoic philosophy, and is deeply tied to the Stoics' conceptions of reason and wisdom. Broad in scope, it explores the Stoics' idea of the cosmic city, their notion of citizen-gods, as well as their account of the law.
The Stoics’ theory of kataleptic impressions looks different once we attend to their analysis of the Sorites paradox. In defending this view, I reject the long-standing assumption that the Stoics develop their theory by focusing on sensory impressions. The Stoic approach to vagueness shows, for example, that non-sensory impressions can be seemingly indistinguishable by belonging to a series. It also draws attention to an understudied dimension of Stoic theory: in aiming to assent only to kataleptic impressions, one aims to avoid (...) not only assent to false impressions but also assent to those that are neither true nor false. (shrink)
Vogt puts forward a novel version of the Guise of the Good: the desire to have one's life go well shapes and sustains mid- and small-scale motivations. Her book lays out a non-relativist version of Protagoras's Measure Doctrine and defends a new realism about good human lives.
In this paper, it is argued the Stoics develop an account of corporeals that allows their theory of bodies to be, at the same time, a theory of causation, agency, and reason. The paper aims to shed new light on the Stoics' engagement with Plato's Sophist . It is argued that the Stoics are Sons of the Earth insofar as, for them, the study of corporeals - rather than the study of being - is the most fundamental study of reality. (...) However, they are sophisticated Sons of the Earth by developing a complex notion of corporeals. A crucial component of this account is that ordinary bodies are individuated by the way in which the corporeal god pervades them. The corporeal god is the one cause of all movements and actions in the universe. (shrink)
The Stoics identify the law with the active principle, which is corporeal, pervades the universe, individuates each part of the world, and causes all its movements. At the same time, the law is normative for all reasoners. The very same law shapes the movements of the cosmos and governs our actions. With this reconstruction of Stoic law, I depart from existing scholarship on whether Stoic law is a set of rules. The question of whether ethics involves a set of rules (...) is rich and fascinating. In the 1970s and 80s, the observation that ancient ethics might do without rules was part of philosophy’s rediscovery of virtue ethics. This debate, however, neglects that Stoic law is a corporeal principle pervading the world. The key puzzle regarding Stoic law, I argue, is how it is possible that the very same law is a corporeal principle in the world and normative for us. (shrink)
Sextus Empiricus was the voice of ancient Greek skepticism for posterity. His writings contain the most subtle and detailed versions of the ancient skeptical arguments known as Pyrrhonism, adding up to a distinctive philosophical approach. Instead of viewing philosophy as valuable because of the answers it gives to important questions, Sextus considered the search for answers itself to be fundamental and offered a philosophy centered on inquiry. Assuming the point of view of an active inquirer, Sextus developed arguments concerning conflicting (...) appearances, infinite regress in argument, dogmatic assertion of premises that are insufficiently justified, and many other ideas that fascinated later philosophers of knowledge across the centuries. He provided a unique perspective on topics of enduring relevance such as perception, language, logical consequence, belief, ignorance, disagreement, and induction. -/- While Sextus's importance to epistemology was appreciated by early modern and modern philosophers, he is underrepresented in contemporary discussions. In order to put Sextus back in the center of epistemology, these essays discuss his influence in the history of modern philosophy as well as contemporary engagements with Sextus's version of Pyrrhonian skepticism. The contributors investigate epistemology after Sextus, addressing four core themes of Sextus's skepticism: appearances and perception, the structure of justification and proof, belief and ignorance, and ethics and action. The arguments presented here bridge the divide between contemporary and ancient debates about knowledge and skepticism and will appeal to philosophers interested in epistemology and philosophy of mind as well as those interested in ancient philosophy and the history of philosophy more generally. (shrink)
Contrary to their predecessors, the Stoics put forward a unified notion of cause: a cause is a bodily because-of-which. Against the backdrop of Plato’s and Aristotle’s influential views, this is an original proposal. It involves the rejection of an earlier trend, according to which causes and explanations are closely associated. It also involves a pulling apart of causes and principles. And it comes with a charge against Plato and Aristotle, namely that they introduce a swarm of causes, a turba causarum.
In ancient philosophy, there is no discipline called “logic” in the contemporary sense of “the study of formally valid arguments.” Rather, once a subfield of philosophy comes to be called “logic,” namely in Hellenistic philosophy, the field includes (among other things) epistemology, normative epistemology, philosophy of language, the theory of truth, and what we call logic today. This entry aims to examine ancient theorizing that makes contact with the contemporary conception. Thus, we will here emphasize the theories of the “syllogism” (...) in the Aristotelian and Stoic traditions. However, because the context in which these theories were developed and discussed were deeply epistemological in nature, we will also include references to the areas of epistemological theorizing that bear directly on theories of the syllogism, particularly concerning “demonstration.” Similarly, we will include literature that discusses the principles governing logic and the components that make up arguments, which are topics that might now fall under the headings of philosophy of logic or non-classical logic. This includes discussions of problems and paradoxes that connect to contemporary logic and which historically spurred developments of logical method. For example, there is great interest among ancient philosophers in the question of whether all statements have truth-values. Relevant themes here include future contingents, paradoxes of vagueness, and semantic paradoxes like the liar. We also include discussion of the paradoxes of the infinite for similar reasons, since solutions have introduced sophisticated tools of logical analysis and there are a range of related, modern philosophical concerns about the application of some logical principles in infinite domains. Our criterion excludes, however, many of the themes that Hellenistic philosophers consider part of logic, in particular, it excludes epistemology and metaphysical questions about truth. Ancient philosophers do not write treatises “On Logic,” where the topic would be what today counts as logic. Instead, arguments and theories that count as “logic” by our criterion are found in a wide range of texts. For the most part, our entry follows chronology, tracing ancient logic from its beginnings to Late Antiquity. However, some themes are discussed in several eras of ancient logic; ancient logicians engage closely with each other’s views. Accordingly, relevant publications address several authors and periods in conjunction. These contributions are listed in three thematic sections at the end of our entry. (shrink)
In the terms of ancient epistemology, Pyrrho is a dogmatist, not a skeptic, simply on account of putting forward a metaphysical theory. His most contested claim is that things are indifferent, unmeasured, and indeterminate—or, on a competing reconstruction, that things are indifferentiable, unmeasurable, and indeterminable. This paper argues that Pyrrho’s position, which I call Pyrrhonian Indeterminacy, belongs to a rich tradition of revisionist metaphysics that includes ancient atomism, flux metaphysics, Plato’s analysis of becoming, and today’s discussions of indeterminacy and vagueness. (...) This tradition, my argument continues, makes room for a kind of metaphysics that proceeds in epistemological terms. Pyrrho’s indeterminacy claim says that things are indeterminate insofar as they do not have features by reference to which we can determine them to be such-and-such. We should not waver or be inclined to see things one way or another—we should see things, and describe them, as “no more this than that.”. (shrink)
Talk about evil resonates in ways that are culturally inherited. Historical and religious dimensions of “evil” often seem to be front and center. Nevertheless, we argue that it would be too quick to dismiss the study of evil within secular ethics. We defend an outlook that is inspired by ancient ethics—also called virtue ethics—which accepts the so-called Guise of the Good account of motivation. For an agent to be motivated to perform an action, something about the action must look good (...) to her. We argue that evil actions do not constitute exceptions to the Guise of the Good. To preserve this framework, we entertain a privative account of evil, according to which evil is the absence of the good, and yet appears in a positive light to the agent who performs an evil action. We reject the view that evil is quantitatively extreme badness. An account of evil should permit that some instances of evil are from a third person perspective not extremely bad. On this picture, evil is agent-relative; something can be evil relative to one person without being evil relative to another person. Accordingly, several qualities—rather than only one distinctive quality—can make an action evil. (shrink)
In aiming for knowledge, one must aim to get rid of beliefs. Vogt shows how deeply this proposal differs from contemporary views, but that it nevertheless speaks to intuitions we are likely to share with Plato, ancient skeptics, and Stoic epistemologists.
I argue that Plato’s account of hunger and thirst in Republic IV, 437d–439a uncovers a general feature of desire: desire has an unqualified and a qualified dimension. This proposal, which I call Two Dimensions, captures recognizable motivational phenomena: being hungry and aiming to determine what one is hungry for, or wanting to study and still figuring out what field it is that one wants to study. Two Dimensions is a fundamental contribution to the theory of desire. It is compatible, I (...) argue, with the better known premise that desire is for the good, because the objects of paradigmatic desires are inherently valuable. (shrink)
Rachel Barney proposes that Plato’s theory of the tripartite soul is plausibly compared to scientific theories today. I depart from Barney by proposing that the tripartite soul is a model and that its status is hypothetical. And I raise four questions: What follows from the Plato-science comparison, as Barney conceives of it? Which questions emerge if science is looked at in the sophisticated mode that Barney employs in her discussion of Plato? Current science invokes a multitude of subsystems relevant to (...) motivation. Why compare it with tripartition? Stoic psychology may share more fundamental ideas with current science, including the premise that all goings-on in the soul are physiological movements. If tripartition is a model, why would one expect it to account for all dimensions of epistemic activity? (shrink)