Plato's Meno and Phaedo are two of the most important works of ancient western philosophy and continue to be studied around the world. The Meno is a seminal work of epistemology. The Phaedo is a key source for Platonic metaphysics and for Plato's conception of the human soul. Together they illustrate the birth of Platonic philosophy from Plato's reflections on Socrates' life and doctrines. This edition offers new and accessible translations of both works, together with a thorough introduction that explains (...) the arguments of the two dialogues and their place in Plato's thought. (shrink)
The Gorgias is a vivid introduction to the central problems of moral and political philosophy. In the notes to his translation, Professor Irwin discusses the historical and social context of the dialogue, expounds and criticises the arguments, and tries above all to suggest the questions a modern reader ought to raise about Plato's doctrines. No knowledge of Greek is necessary.
A selection of Aristotle's most important philosophical works in English translation with an introduction and comments by Renford Bambrough with emphasis on metaphysical questions and a new afterword by Susanne Bobzien that focuses on how to study Aristotle and on Aristotle on determinism and freedom.
What can the study of the history of ancient philosophy bring to the study of contemporary philosophical problems and questions? In _New Essays on Plato and Aristotle_ eight distinguished philosophers address topics in Greek philosophy that are connected with current philosophical issues. All the essays are original and include Gilbert Ryle on Dialectic in the Academy and R. M. Hare on Plato’s indictment of mathematicians.
There is a sentence in the Philosophical Investigations where Elizabeth Anscombe has missed an opportunity to distill a whole cloud of philosophy into the choice of one mot juste. Wittgenstein writes: ‘Ein Wort ohne Rechtfertigung gebrauchen, heisst nicht, es zu Unrecht gebrauchen’. Anscombe translates: ‘To use a word without justification does not mean to use it without right.’ The missing of the philosophical opportunity is at the same time a literary lapse. There is nothing in Anscombe’s version to mark the (...) echoing of the ‘Recht’ in ‘Rechtfertigung’ by the ‘recht’ in ‘zu Unrecht.’ My preferred alternative would be: ‘To use a word without justification does not mean to be unjustified in using it’, or: ‘To use a word without a justification does not mean to be unjustified in using it.’. (shrink)
‘Where two principles really do meet which cannot be reconciled with one another, then each man declares the other a fool and a heretic’ This sentence from Wittgenstein's On Certainty is the source of my title. A passage in George Orwell's Shooting an Elephant might have prompted the same choice: ‘The Catholic and the Communist are alike in assuming that an opponent cannot be both honest and intelligent. Each of them tacitly claims that “the truth” has already been revealed, and (...) that the heretic, if he is not simply a fool, is secretly aware of “the truth” and merely resists it out of selfish motives’. (shrink)
In his speech of welcome to the members of the Classical Joint Meeting at Cambridge in August, 1958, the Master of Peterhouse praised classical scholars for the detachment and pertinacity with which they continue their pursuits while the world is on the edge of the abyss. The remark might be taken to have one more edge than the abyss. At a time when it can no longer be assumed that a knowledge of the Greek and Latin classics is part of (...) the learning of any man who has any learning at all, there are two opposite temptations which beset those whose profession is the study and teaching of the ancient classics. The first is the sentimentality which goes on singing dithyrambs to the Glory that was Greece and the Grandeur that was Rome, on the assumption that the relevance of ancient texts to modern perplexities is too nearly self-evident to need explaining. (shrink)
As there is a condition of mind which is characterized by invincible ignorance, so there is another which may be said to be possessed of invincible knowledge; and it would be paradoxical in me to deny to such a mental state the highest quality of religious faith,—I mean certitude . ‘She's an artist. She keeps saying the same thing without repeating herself. In being initiated into our life as human beings we are subject to causal influences; guiding, teaching, restraint, compulsion, (...) incentives, rewards, warnings, penalties. Until such influences have achieved their most important work we do not share the human understanding within which there can be ratiocination, evidence, argument. So there is and must be a causal story of how we come to acquire a human understanding; a causal story for the species as a whole and a causal story for each of us; and there is not and could not be any acceptable account, either for the species or for the individual, of how we reasoned or argued our way into our initial and fundamental understanding. I say the same thing without repeating myself if I call such knowledge and understanding invincible . It is not possible to Overthrow it by reasoning any more than it is possible to establish it by reasoning. (shrink)
What is the difference between reason and faith? The question is framed in what I would call ‘the treacherous singular’. The structure of the question implies a particular form of answer and makes other assumptions about notions that occur in the same region of our network of thoughts and understandings. If I were happy to play this game I might reply in kind by offering a simple formula purporting to sum up my own answers to the cluster of questions that (...) are implicit in the simple form given above. The form makes the question and the answer appear more straightforward than they are. Perhaps I might answer in the questioner's style by stating the conclusions of my paper in these words: A simple idea is at the heart of my paper, but one that is hard to absorb and to live by in one' s wider thoughts about reason and faith. The simple idea is that faith is itself a mode of reason. This means that there cannot be a sharp distinction between reason and faith, whether or not one tries to express such a distinction in the treacherous singular, or perhaps in the impoverished plural, a mode of expression in which a few separate but simple factors are identified as what faith is or what reason is. (shrink)
Does photography leave everything as it is? Clearly not. It scalps Uncle George, as he stands at the church door, proudly, innocently, in the role of bride's father, and it decapitates his nephew James, who had until now been a head taller than any other member of the wedding group. It reduces to two dimensions, and to black and white, such solid three-dimensional objects as the Rocky Mountains and St Paul's Cathedral, such colourful scenes and sights as the Aurora Borealis (...) and sunset in the desert. (shrink)
In the Michaelmas Term 1968 I gave a course of lectures on the Philosophical Investigations . Until then nobody had lectured at Cambridge specifically on that book, though it had been in print for fifteen years and must by that time have been lectured on in nearly every other philosophy department in the English-speaking world. One reason why we were so slow is suggested by a remark that John Wisdom made after hearing Max Black give a lecture on the Tractatus (...) in the early fifties. As we came out of the lecture room he said to me ‘That was a strange experience. I have a clear memory of all that from my early years in Cambridge. And yet in some ways it was like hearing a lecture on Spinoza.’. (shrink)
If he had not been discouraged by the opposition of the farmers, Mein Herr could surely have done better still. He could have made his map into a relief map, with mountains and valleys represented on the scale of one foot to the foot; he could have represented every blade of grass and every pool of water, every pillar box and every fence, every mouse and every man, by a full-scale model in the appropriate and authentic materials. And all the (...) models could have been working models, programmed to represent exactly every waterfall and every thunderstorm, every birth, marriage anddeath, every renaissance and every reformation. If he had done all this the country would not simply do nearly as well, but just as well as the map. He could throw the country away, and still have the country. He could throw the map away, and still have all that he needed, unless for some reason he wanted to have two copies of his map. (shrink)
Gasking, D. A. T. The philosophy of John Wisdom.--Thomson, J. J. Moore's technique revisited.--Yalden-Thomson, D. C. The Virginia lectures.--Dilman, I. Paradoxes and discoveries.--Ayers, M. R. Reason and psycholinguistics.--Roberts, G. W. Incorrigibility, behaviourism and predictionism.--Hinton, J. M. "This is visual sensation."--Gunderson, K. The texture of mentality.--Newell, R. W. John Wisdom and the problem of other minds.--Lyon, A. The relevance of Wisdom's work for the philosophy of science.--Morris, H. Shared guilt.--Bambrough, R. Literature and philosophy.--Chronological list of published writings of John Wisdom, 1928-1972 (...) (p. -300). (shrink)