Simmias' famous epiphenomenalist analogy of the soul-body relation to the harmony and strings of a lyre leads to Socrates' initial refutation and subsequent prolonged defense of soul's immortality in the Phaedo. It also yields in late antiquity significant treatments of the harmony relation by Plotinus and Porphyry that present a larger context for viewing the nature of harmony in the soul and the psycho-somatic compound. But perhaps the most detailed treatment of the musical analogy, and certainly the most radical, is (...) to be found in Gregory of Nyssa's De Hominis Opificio. Gregory's remarkable development of the musical instrument analogy provides a multi-layered analysis of interrelated causality on the mechanistic, physiological, psycho-somatic and intellectual/spiritual planes. Gregory not only sees mind/soul and body as radically equal and yet multilayered in their mutual development; he also refuses to restrict mind to the brain alone, for all physiological systems, in his view, are holistically and individually expressive of mind's activity. Gregory's theory is more innovative than Augustine's view of the mind/soul-body relation and, in my view, the most important account between Plotinus and Aquinas. (shrink)
The third edition of Being and Logos—consisting in a revised text of the second edition and a "recomposed preface"—twenty-one years after the book's first appearance, is ample testimony to the continuing success of John Sallis's work. Originally part of the Duquesne Philosophical Series, a series dedicated mainly to phenomenology and other related disciplines, Sallis adopts a phenomenological approach and language at the outset, which sometimes leads to genuinely gnomic utterances, but which is inspired at root by the simple and admirable (...) wish to read six Platonic dialogues with as few unnecessary assumptions and as little theatrical baggage as possible, and to read them as individual wholes rather than as fragmentary lode-bearers of some pre-established or Procrustean "philosophy of Plato". (shrink)
More collaborative work in the humanities could be instrumental in helping to break down the traditional rigid boundaries between academic divisions and disciplines in modern universities. The value of the traditional model of the solitary humanities scholar or the collaborative science paradigm should not be discounted. However, increasing the use of collaborative and interdisciplinary research models in the humanities would promote new forms of scholarship and also help to create a better, more integral and inclusive world.
The _Symposium_ is one of Plato’s most accessible dialogues, an engrossing historical document as well as an entertaining literary masterpiece. By uncovering the structural design of the dialogue, _Plato’s Dialectic at Play _aims at revealing a Plato for whom the dialogical form was not merely ornamentation or philosophical methodology but the essence of philosophical exploration: his dialectic is not only argument, it is also play. Careful analysis of each layer of the text leads cumulatively to a picture of the dialogue’s (...) underlying structure, related to both argument and myth, and shows that a dynamic link exists between Diotima’s higher mysteries and the organization of the dialogue as a whole. On this basis the authors argue that the _Symposium_, with its positive theory of art contained in the ascent to the Beautiful, may be viewed as a companion piece to the Republic, with its negative critique of the role of art in the context of the Good. Following Nietzsche’s suggestion and applying criteria developed by Mikhail Bakhtin, they further argue for seeing the _Symposium_ as the first novel. The book concludes with a comprehensive reevaluation of the significance of the _Symposium_ and its place in Plato’s thought generally, touching on major issues in Platonic scholarship: the nature of art, the body-soul connection, the problem of identity, the relationship between _mythos_ and logos, Platonic love, and the question of authorial writing and the vanishing signature of the absent Plato himself. (shrink)