The Alcibiades was widely read in antiquity as the very best introduction to Plato. Alcibiades in his youth associated with Socrates, and went on to a spectacularly disgraceful career in politics. When Socrates was executed for 'corrupting the young men', Alcibiades was cited as a prime example. This dialogue represents Socrates meeting the charming but intellectually lazy Alcibiades as he is about to enter adult life, and using all his wiles in an attempt to win him for philosophy. In spite (...) of its ancient reputation, many modern scholars have thought that the Alcibiades is not by Plato and it has therefore lacked a decent commentary. This edition remedies that lack. The notes explain difficulties of linguistic, literary and philosophical detail. The introduction includes a discussion of the dialogue's authenticity, and of the consequences that acknowledging its authenticity has for our conception of Plato's intellectual development. (shrink)
The Protagoras is one of Plato's most entertaining dialogues. It represents Socrates at a gathering of the most celebrated and highest-earning intellectuals of the day, among them the sophist Protagoras. In flamboyant displays of both rhetoric and dialectic, Socrates and Protagoras try to out-argue one another. Their arguments range widely, from political theory to literary criticism, from education to the nature of cowardice; but in view throughout this literary and philosophical masterpiece are the questions of what part knowledge plays in (...) a successful life, and how we may acquire the knowledge that makes for success. This edition contains the first commentary in English on the Greek text for almost a hundred years. The commentary provides the assistance with linguistic, literary and philosophical detail that will enable students and scholars to savour to the full the pleasures of the Protagoras. (shrink)
The theory of forms makes a very poor theory of universals. It-or at least the "phaedo's" version of it-makes excellent sense as a theory of the elemental stuffs from which everything is made. This is shown by a detailed examination of all that this "phaedo" has to say about forms.
Philosophers have met with many problems in discussing the interconnected concepts being, identity, and truth, and have advanced many theories to deal with them. Professor Williams argues that most of these problems and theories result from an inadequate appreciation of the ways in which the words `be', `same', and `true' work. By means of linguistic analysis he shows that being and truth are not properties, and identity is not a relation. He is thus able to demystify a number of metaphysical (...) issues concerning the meaning of the word `I', the relation between the mental and the physical, objects of thought, times and places, and the nature of reality. Williams presents his views clearly, with a minimum of technicality, and with rich and apt examples, so that they will be accessible to readers not versed in symbolic logic. (shrink)
This paper expounds and assesses plato's arguments in favour of justice and their basis in his moral psychology. the purpose of the paper is to give some introduction to this aspect of plato for the benefit of those taking a-level philosophy.
Aristotle draws two sets of distinctions in Metaphysics 9.2, first between non-rational and rational capacities, and second between one way and two way capacities. He then argues for three claims: [A] if a capacity is rational, then it is a two way capacity [B] if a capacity is non-rational, then it is a one way capacity [C] a two way capacity is not indifferently related to the opposed outcomes to which it can give rise I provide explanations of Aristotle's terminology, (...) and of how [A]-[C] should be understood. I then offer a set of arguments which are intended to show that the Aristotelian claims are plausible. \\\ [Nicholas Denyer] In De Caelo 1: 11-12 Aristotle argued that whatever is and always will be true is necessarily true. His argument works, once we grant him the highly plausible principle that if something is true, then it can be false if and only if it can come to be false. For example, assume it true that the sun is and always will be hot. No proposition of this form can ever come to be false. Hence this proposition cannot be false. Hence it is necessarily true, and so too is anything that follows from it. In particular, it is necessarily true that the sun is hot. Moreover, if the sun not only is and always will be hot, but also always has been, then it follows by similar reasoning that the sun not only cannot now fail to be hot, but also never could have failed. Anything everlastingly true is therefore, in the strictest sense of the term, necessarily true. (shrink)
In 399 BC Socrates was prosecuted, convicted, sentenced to death and executed. These events were the culmination of a long philosophical career, a career in which, without writing a word, he established himself as the figure whom all philosophers of the next few generations wished to follow. The Apologies by Plato and Xenophon are rival accounts of how, at his trial, Socrates defended himself and his philosophy. This edition brings together both Apologies within a single volume. The commentary answers literary, (...) linguistic and philosophical questions in a way that is suitable for readers of all levels, helping teachers and students engage more closely with the Greek texts. The introduction examines Socrates himself, the literature generated by his trial, Athenian legal procedures, his guilt or innocence of the crimes for which he was executed, and the rivalry between Xenophon and Plato. (shrink)
Metaphysicians often declare that there are large ontological differences (properties versus individuals, universals versus particulars) correlated with the linguistic distinction between names and verbs. Gaskin argues against all such declarations on the grounds that we may quantify with equal ease over the referents of both types of expression. However, his argument must be wrong, given the massive differences between first- and second-order qualification. Its only grain of truth is that these differences show up only in the logic of relations, and (...) not also in monadic logic. (shrink)
There are enormous differences between quantifying name-variables only, quantifying verb-variables only, and quantifying both. These differences are found only in the logic of polyadic predication; and this presumably is why Richard Gaskin thinks that they distinguish names from transitive verbs only, and not from verbs generally. But that thought is mistaken: these differences also distinguish names from intransitive verbs. They thus vindicate the common idea that on the difference between names and verbs we may base grandiose metaphysical distinctions, and undermine (...) Gaskin's idea that both names and verbs may be said to designate objects. (shrink)
[Stephen Makin] Aristotle draws two sets of distinctions in Metaphysics 9.2, first between non-rational and rational capacities, and second between one way and two way capacities. He then argues for three claims: [A] if a capacity is rational, then it is a two way capacity [B] if a capacity is non-rational, then it is a one way capacity [C] a two way capacity is not indifferently related to the opposed outcomes to which it can give rise I provide explanations of (...) Aristotle's terminology, and of how [A]-[C] should be understood. I then offer a set of arguments which are intended to show that the Aristotelian claims are plausible. \\\ [Nicholas Denyer] In De Caelo 1: 11-12 Aristotle argued that whatever is and always will be true is necessarily true. His argument works, once we grant him the highly plausible principle that if something is true, then it can be false if and only if it can come to be false. For example, assume it true that the sun is and always will be hot. No proposition of this form can ever come to be false. Hence this proposition cannot be false. Hence it is necessarily true, and so too is anything that follows from it. In particular, it is necessarily true that the sun is hot. Moreover, if the sun not only is and always will be hot, but also always has been, then it follows by similar reasoning that the sun not only cannot now fail to be hot, but also never could have failed. Anything everlastingly true is therefore, in the strictest sense of the term, necessarily true. (shrink)
The innocent are immune. We must never, that is, make the object of any violent attack those who bear no responsibility for doing wrong to others; and only with grave reason and in extreme circumstances should we be prepared to cause them any incidental harm as we press home a violent attack against those who are its legitimate objects. This principle of the immunity of the innocent seems almost self-evidently true. This is not to say that the principle is incapable (...) of further development and articulation, unsusceptible of marginal qualification, or underivable from deeper principles. It does however mean that any moral theory which denies this principle altogether will be something that only a fool or a knave could accept. (shrink)
ABSTRACT McCabe is right on one thing and wrong on another. She is right to draw our attention to the different aspects that a verb might have—and not only because attention to aspect helps us understand what is going on in Plato’s Euthydemus. Getting straight on aspect promises benefits for our philosophy of action, and for our metaphysics more generally, comparable to those of getting straight about modality and about excuses. The same is true of getting straight on the active, (...) middle, and passive voices. She is wrong to suggest that we need a properly developed theory of inference before we can be confident in detecting fallacy. Such a suggestion is like saying that we may not dismiss a conjuror’s tricks unless we can say how they are done. (shrink)
Imagine a child′s toy arrow, sticking by its rubber sucker to a mirror′s reflective surface. We can call the direction in which such an arrow would point the finwards direction ; and we can call the opposite direction boutwards . When we look at things in a mirror, their images are apparently just as far finwards of the mirror as the things themselves are boutwards of it. For example, if we look at the tail of our arrow and cast our (...) glance finwards, we see first the tail, then the head, then the mirror, then the reflection of the head, and finally the reflection of the tail. We can therefore say that a mirror reverses things in the finwards/boutwards dimension. Moreover, the straight line connecting each thing to its image passes perpendicularly through the plane of the mirror. Hence there is no plane, apart from that of the mirror itself, such that the apparent location of each thing′s image is just as far to the one side of that plane as the original is to the other. This means that the reversal in the finwards/ boutwards dimension is the only reversal of its kind to take place. In particular, there is no such reversal in any dimension at right angles to finwards/boutwards. (shrink)
The definition here ascribed to Philo is entirely in line with what we know of Philo from else where: Alex. Aphr. in APr. 184.6–10; Simp, in Cat. 195.33–196.5; Boethius, in de Int. 234.10–15. The same is not true of the definition here ascribed to Diodorus. For Diodorus, we are told elsewhere, defined the possible as that which either is or will be so: Cic. Fat. 13, 17; Plu. de Stoic rep. 1055d-e; Alex. Aphr. in APr. 183.42–184.5; Boethius, in de Int. (...) 234.22–4,412.16–7. Something has therefore got garbled. (shrink)
Why should I be just? What have I to gain if I am decent, honest, moral, upright, fair and truthful? Other people benefit if I am just, but do I? And doesn't it seem clear that sometimes the benefit that other people receive from my being just is a benefit received at my expense? Perhaps then I have no adequate reason to be just. Perhaps if I have any sense I will not bother.