This article considers an interpretative model for the study of Heraclitus, which was first put forward by Alexander Mourelatos in 1973, and draws upon a related model put forward by Julius Moravcsik beginning in 1983. I further develop this combined model and provide a motivation for an interpretation of Heraclitus. This is also of interest for modern metaphysics due to the recurrence of structurally similar problems, including the ‘colour exclusion’ problem that was faced by Wittgenstein. Further, I employ the model (...) to shed new light on Heraclitus’ image of the river, while relating potential readings to various contemporary metaphysical views. (shrink)
I offer an examination of a core element in the reflectiveness of Heraclitus’ thought, namely, his rebuke of polymathy . In doing so, I provide a response to a recent claim that Heraclitus should not be considered to be a philosopher, by attending to his paradigmatically philosophical traits. Regarding Heraclitus’ attitude to that naïve form of ‘wisdom’, i.e., polymathy, I argue that he does not advise avoiding experience of many things, rather, he advises rejecting experience of things as merely many (...) independent things in their manifoldness , and, instead, to understand their unity and thereby to unify our knowledge of them. (shrink)
The three main kinds of theory in normative ethics, namely, consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics, are often presented as the ‘palette’ from which we may choose, or use as a starting point for an investigation. However, this way of doing ethics and philosophy, by the palette, may be leading some of us astray. It has led some to believe that all that there is to ethics, and to ethics of AI, is given in terms of these already devised petrified categories (...) of theory. It has also led others to abandon normative ethics and philosophy altogether and to resort to descriptive methods that are then used to justify action. I wish to argue that (1) we should not abandon traditional philosophical approaches, but (2a) this does not entail that the petrified palette should constitute the beginning of our philosophical investigations. Further, (2b) I recommend a non-methodological approach in which it is instead radical questions that spur these investigations, which arise through consideration of the practical actions (potential or otherwise) of machines and their programmers. (shrink)
Jerrold J. Katz often explained his semantic theory by way of an analogy with physical atomism and an attendant analogy with chemistry. In this chapter, I track the origin and uses of these analogies by Katz, both in explaining and defending his decompositional semantic theory, through the various phases of his work throughout his career.
This book has been ably reviewed by others. I am taking a second look at it now on the occasion of the publication of its sequel, a review of which I also provide in this volume. I have had the distinct pleasure of being a student and colleague of Vasilis Politis (VP) since the initiation of the project that led to these monographs, and the great privilege of witnessing the development of the project for more than a decade. VP’s Plato (...) is in a way the only one I have known. When I hear the terms ‘aporia’, ‘whether-or-not’, and ‘ti esti’, they ring in my ears like bells. In this double review, I hope to impress upon the reader the unique importance of this interpretation of Plato, both for the history of philosophy and philosophy more broadly, and thereby to give a sense of its melody and resonance. (shrink)
This article investigates the clothing metaphor in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus at remark 4.002. I consider the antecedents and origins of 4.002, in particular, of the fourth paragraph that contains the metaphor, and also suggest and argue for potential source texts for the third and fourth paragraphs. In particular, early sources for the Tractatus, such as the Notes on Logic and the Notebooks 1914–1916, letters, and other manuscripts and early drafts are considered, especially MS104 and the Prototractatus where the metaphor appears (...) at remarks 4.0014 & 4.00141. The place of the metaphor among the context of the elucidations of these early manuscripts is discussed. I also consider similar uses of the metaphor that are present in the work of Hertz, Boltzmann, Frege, Kraus, and others. Some of these texts and potential influences are more compelling than those previously adduced or recognised in the literature. The appearances of the metaphor in the work of these authors and their potential influence upon Wittgenstein’s work is discussed. (shrink)
"It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. Of course the great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. It isn’t only the synonyms; there are also the antonyms. After all, what justification is there for a word which is simply the opposite of some other word? A word contains its opposite in itself. Take “good”, for instance. If you have a word like “good”, what need (...) is there for a word like “bad”? “Ungood” will do just as well — better, because it’s an exact opposite, which the other is not." (Syme, in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four) This chapter is about opposites and Newspeak in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. (shrink)
In this book, VP builds upon his previous study by shifting focus from the motivation for the ti esti question, to the motivation for the commitment to what is designated by an adequate and true answer to such questions. VP’s aim in this study is to show that what are usually called ‘Forms’ (eidē), rather than being things that have essences, simply are those essences designated by adequate and true answers to ti esti questions. This book is highly recommended for (...) scholars, students, and anyone wishing to understand the core of Plato’s philosophy and its motivations from the ground upwards. (shrink)
This paper discusses knowledge of opposites. In particular, attention is given to the linguistic notion of antonymy and how it represents oppositional relations that are commonly found in perception. The paper draws upon the long history of work on the formalisation of antonymy in linguistics and formal semantics, and also upon work on the perception of opposites in psychology, and an assessment is made of the main approaches. Treatments of these phenomena in linguistics and psychology posit that the principles of (...) minimal difference and invariance are centrally important. It will be suggested that the standard approach employing meaning postulates fails to capture the relevant notion of antonymy, in part because it is not informed by these principles, and in part due to a number of other problems with this kind of approach, many of which may be overcome by building in the central principles from the beginning. The paper also discusses the issue of whether we can know that opposites necessarily exclude each other and, if so, how. This issue is intertwined with what is known as the colour incompatibility problem that Wittgenstein wrangled with at various times during his life. The paper assesses various solutions to these problems including an approach that was first put forward by Jerrold J. Katz. The relation between this approach and the theory of determinables and determinates is also examined. A further development upon this approach is proposed and then applied to the case of the formalisation of antonymy. It is argued that this approach avoids the problems suffered by the main approaches discussed earlier in the paper. (shrink)
This book represents more than a decade of work (p. ix) by this eminent scholar. It is intended primarily for scholars of Classical Greek; however, F.’s laudable practice of, in most cases, providing English translations and repeating them when needed, makes it accessible to non-specialists and undergraduates, as he intended (pp. ix–x).