Aristotle's Eudemian Ethics has been unjustly neglected in comparison with its more famous counterpart the Nicomachean Ethics. This is in large part due to the fact that until recently no complete translation of the work has been available. But the Eudemian Ethics is a masterpiece in its own right, offering valuable insights into Aristotle's ideas on virtue, happiness and the good life. This volume offers a translation by Brad Inwood and Raphael Woolf that is both fluent and exact, and an (...) introduction in which they help the reader to gain a deeper understanding both of the Eudemian Ethics and of its relation to the Nicomachean Ethics and to Aristotle's ethical thought as a whole. The explanatory notes address Aristotle's many references to other works, people and events. The volume will be of interest to students and scholars of the history of ethics, ancient and moral philosophy, and Aristotle studies. (shrink)
To what extent is possession of truth considered a good thing in the Republic? Certain passages of the dialogue appear to regard truth as a universal good, but others are more circumspect about its value, recommending that truth be withheld on occasion and falsehood disseminated. I seek to resolve this tension by distinguishing two kinds of truths, which I label 'philosophical' and 'non-philosophical'. Philosophical truths, I argue, are considered unqualifiedly good to possess, whereas non-philosophical truths are regarded as worth possessing (...) only to the extent that possession conduces to good behaviour in those who possess them. In the non-philosophical arena it is an open question, to be determined on a case-by-case basis, whether falsehood is more efficacious in furthering this practical aim than truth. (shrink)
The main title of this work is a little misleading. Hobbs does not begin to consider in any detail Plato’s relation to traditional Greek models of the hero until chapter 6, nearly two-thirds of the way through the book. In fact, Hobbs’s treatment of Plato’s re-working of the hero-figure is embedded in a nexus of themes revolving round the Greek virtue of andreia and its psychological basis in that part of the soul that Plato in the Republic calls the thumos. (...) Commonly translated ‘spirit’, the term is notoriously hard to render by a single English equivalent. Plato’s conception of this human drive can be captured, according to Hobbs’s succinct phrase, as “the need to believe that one counts for something”. (shrink)
This paper offers a critical examination of the notion of epistemic authority in Plato. In the Apology, Socrates claims a certain epistemic superiority over others, and it is easy to suppose that this might be explained in terms of third-person authority: Socrates knows the minds of others better than they know their own. Yet Socrates, as the text makes clear, is not the only one capable of getting the minds of others right. His epistemic edge is rather a matter of (...) first-person authority: while others falsely think they are wise, Socrates is in a position to realize he is ignorant. By contrast with, say, a Cartesian picture, for Plato third-person authority with regard to the mind is relatively commonplace, whereas first-person authority is as rare as Socrates. I discuss the basis for this view, and some of its implications for the notion of a distinctively first-person mode of access. (shrink)
This paper sets out to re-examine the famous Wax Tablet model in Plato's Theaetetus, in particular the section of it which appeals to the quality of individual souls' wax as an explanation of why some are more liable to make mistakes than others (194c-195a). This section has often been regarded as an ornamental flourish or a humorous appendage to the model's main explanatory business. Yet in their own appropriations both Aristotle and Locke treat the notion of variable wax quality as (...) an important part of the model's utility in dealing with mistake. What, then, is its status for Plato? I shall argue that the section on variable wax quality is there to suggest to the reader a tempting way of misinterpreting the model. This will highlight the distinctive character of the model in its original version, and provide an unusual example of a philosopher describing how not to read one of his own doctrines. (shrink)
This paper sets out to re-examine the famous Wax Tablet model in Plato’s Theaetetus, in particular the section of it which appeals to the quality of individual souls’ wax as an explanation of why some are more liable to make mistakes than others. This section has often been regarded as an ornamental flourish or a humorous appendage to the model’s main explanatory business. Yet in their own appropriations both Aristotle and Locke treat the notion of variable wax quality as an (...) important part of the model’s utility in dealing with mistake. What, then, is its status for Plato? I shall argue that the section on variable wax quality is there to suggest to the reader a tempting way of misinterpreting the model. This will highlight the distinctive character of the model in its original version, and provide an unusual example of a philosopher describing how not to read one of his own doctrines. (shrink)
This 2001 translation makes one of the most important texts in ancient philosophy available to modern readers. Cicero is increasingly being appreciated as an intelligent and well-educated amateur philosopher, and in this work he presents the major ethical theories of his time in a way designed to get the reader philosophically engaged in the important debates. Raphael Woolf's translation does justice to Cicero's argumentative vigour as well as to the philosophical ideas involved, while Julia Annas's introduction and notes provide a (...) clear and accessible explanation of the philosophical context of the work. This edition will appeal to all readers interested in this central text in ancient philosophy and the history of ethics. (shrink)
The tale of Gyges' ring narrated by Cicero at De officiis 3.38 is of course originally found, and acknowledged as such by Cicero, in Plato . I would like in this paper to address two questions about Cicero's handling of the tale – one historical, one philosophical. The purpose of the historical question is to evaluate, with respect to the Gyges narration, Cicero's quality as a reader of Plato. How well does Cicero understand the role of the story in its (...) original Platonic context? The motivation for the question is that, at first blush, Cicero seems to have badly misunderstood it. I shall argue that the appearance is illusory, and that Cicero understands the tale's Platonic provenance perfectly well. Now it should be noted that the question of Cicero's grasp of the tale's purpose in Plato is distinct from the question whether Cicero himself puts the story to the same or a different use than Plato did. I shall suggest that while there are striking points of contact between the two treatments, on one crucial feature – namely the tale's ostentatiously far-fetched nature – Cicero is instructively more explicit than Plato. (shrink)
This book revisits, and sheds fresh light on, some key texts and debates in ancient philosophy. Its twin targets are 'Old Chestnuts' – well-known passages in the works of ancient philosophers about which one might have thought everything there is to say has already been said – and 'Sacred Cows' – views about what ancient philosophers thought, on issues of philosophical importance, that have attained the status of near-unquestioned orthodoxy. Thirteen leading scholars respond to these challenges by offering new perspectives (...) on familiar material and challenging some prevailing orthodoxies. On authors ranging from the Presocratics to Plotinus, the book represents a snapshot of contemporary scholarship in ancient philosophy, and a vigorous and illuminating affirmation of its continuing interest and power. The volume is dedicated to Professor M. M. McCabe, an inspiring scholar and teacher, colleague and friend to both the editors and the contributors. (shrink)
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