This belongs to a symposium about Crispin Wright's Truth\nand Objectivity. Wright entertains the "possibility of a\npluralist view of truth." I suggest that this should not\nentail ambiguity in the word "true." For truth to amount to\ndifferent things for different kinds of subject matter no\nmore entails ambiguity than does the fact that existence\namounts to different things for different kinds of entity.\nTurning to cognitive command, I argue that it is trivially\nsatisfied: if I judge that p and you disagree, then under\nsuitable conditions I must (...) take it that something is wrong\nwith your cognitive mechanisms. (shrink)
The Vestal Virgins are one of the most famous elements of Roman religion, yet despite their perennial appeal and the importance of some smaller scale studies of the priesthood, the priestesses have not received a monograph-length study since F. Giuzzi, Aspetti giuridici del sacerdozio romano. II sacerdozio di Vesta (Naples, 1968). Now we have books by R.L. Wildfang and M.C. Martini that could not be more different. The former offers a thorough survey of what the sources can tell us about (...) the priesthood in the period from the end of the Second Carthaginian War to the first century C.E. The latter is an analysis of early Roman historiography and the role the Vestals, in particular their periodic unchastity, played in the creation of the traditional account of the development of Rome. W's book puts forward two main arguments: (1) the Vestals were charged with the ritual purification of the city and with the storage and preparation of ritual materials, and (2) many aspects of the priesthood that have long puzzled scholars are tied to the Vestals' status as Roman citizens, but citizens who existed outside the traditional family structure. The book will be accessible to those new to the topic, but the notes will repay specialists. Ancient sources are quoted in translation, with original texts provided in an appendix. A second appendix provides a list of known Vestals. This slender volume could have been even thinner if the frequent repetitions were cut down. W's work might have been better as a hefty article, so little is there to know about the Vestals. The Classical Review vol. 58 no. 1 C The Classical Association 2008; all rights reserved This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Sat, 26 Jul 2014 11:47:09 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions THE CLASSICAL REVIEW 213 In the Introduction, W makes a welcome distinction among types of rituals often lumped together in discussions of 'fertility' rituals, with which the Vestals are often associated (p. 4). W reserves 'fertility' to describe only those rites that deal with the reproduction of people, livestock and the growth of crops. Harvest rituals are linked to the harvesting of crops, while another set of rites, 'storage rites', are tied to the preservation of the harvest. The final group, purification rituals, aim at the cleansing of an individual, place or object of 'all forms of pollution that would render it or them unfit to come into contact with the religious sphere'. The book is arranged thematically. The first two chapters lay out all we can know about the priestesses' ritual obligations performed in the seclusion of the temple and out amongst the people. While a reader may not find W's interpretation of each of the Vestals' actions equally persuasive, the overall argument that the priestesses' activities were, by and large, purificatory is convincing. Two of the more interesting aspects of W.'s discussion are her considerations of Vesta's fire and of the water required for some of her rituals (pp. 8-11). Fire was seen by the Romans as both a fertile and a sterile force, and scholars have emphasised one or the other, or the contrast between them, in their interpretation of the Vestals. W points out that fertile fire is always described in masculine terms and is associated with Vulcan. Vesta's fire, however, is always associated with sterility and purity, and so should be understood as having a purificatory significance. W points out that Vesta's fire was used only in the manufacture of ritually necessary items: roasting spelt for mola salsa, baking brine for muries and burning ashes from the fetal cow from the Fordicidia and the tail of the October horse, both of which were used at the Parilia. For other rituals, the Vestals were required to use water, the purificatory substance par excellence, drawn only from the spring of Juturna and carried only in vessels that could not be set down. These restrictions ensured that the water was always fresh, running water that never touched profane earth. Chapters 3-5 trace out the unique position the Vestals occupied in Roman society, arguing that they existed outside the standard Roman familial and other social structures, yet remained fully part of the Roman state. W suggests that the initiation rite of captio removed the new priestess not only from her family but, more importantly, from her family cult, thus avoiding any potential contamination of familial and public cult. Virginity was required for multiple reasons, the most significant being that such a status allowed the priestess to remain a full member of the Roman state, but prevented her from being a member of a traditional family structure. Throughout the book, W makes much of the idea of Vestals as represen tatives of Roman citizen women without ever really dealing with the question to what extent any Roman woman, priestess or not, was a ciuis. Though W is probably correct, it is not entirely certain to what extent women were citizens in the Republic, and at least a reference to some key ancient sources and to recent scholarship on this question should be made (e.g. L. Peppe, Posizione giuridica e ruolo sociale della donna romana in eta repubblicana [Milan, 1984]). The sixth chapter, 'The Vestals in the Romans' History', looks at the appearance of Vestals in the early history of Rome, refining the common assumption that accusations of, and convictions for, incestum arose only in periods of great stress and danger. W adds that a priestess's involvement, or her family's involvement, in one of the groups taking part in the conflict or struggle of the moment also played a role. This chapter traces changes over the course of 300 years in the attitudes of the priestesses and the Romans more generally toward the priesthood, its role in society This content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Sat, 26 Jul 2014 11:47:09 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 214 THE CLASSICAL REVIEW and its requirement of 30 years of chastity. The argument hangs on even less evidence than other sections of the work. In contrast to their central place in W's book, the Vestals play only a small (though crucial, in her interpretation) role in M.'s work. The basic argument of the book is that episodes of Vestal incestum are linked in the historiographic tradition to key moments in the development of the Roman state: the separation of augurium from regnum, the development of a mixed patrician-plebeian aristocracy, the creation of a monetary system and the expansion of the colonial system outside Italy. The history of Rome can be seen as alternating phases of stasis and transformation; instances of Vestal incestum mark the transitions (p. 95). The work falls into two parts that are not well integrated. The first is a useful discussion of the historiography of the Roman Republic, taking in turn each element of the story of the founding of Rome from the arrival of Aeneas to the death of Remus. M. traces how early Roman writers, especially Fabius Pictor, reshaped the tradition already present in some Greek authors, distancing Rome from the Greek world and adding an Italic element to the tale. This detailed analysis is well worth consulting and will be of interest to those working on many aspects of cultural life in the Republic. The second, larger, section of the book comprises a series of studies of the Vestals known to have been convicted of incestum during the Republic. After dealing with issues of dating and sources, M. links each case of incestum to a major event in Roman history. Not all the events are equally important for the creation of the Rome of the middle and late Republic. One wonders why M. chose to tie the conviction of Minucia, somewhere between 339 and 332, to the admission of plebeians to the praetorship in 337 rather than to the conclusion of the Latin War in 338. Some explanation is warranted. The connection M. draws is often very vague, as in the case of Sextilia (pp. 144-54), convicted and interred alive in either 275 or 274. M. sees this as marking the end of any meaningful distinction between patricians and plebeians, following as it does the first time a plebeian censor completed a lustrum. The gap of five or six years between Sextilia's conviction and Cn. Domitius Calvinus Maximus' censorship in 280 passes unremarked. Similarly, in discussing the three Vestals accused of incestum in 114-113 (pp. 188-210), M. steps away from the commonly accepted interpretation of the event as part of the continuing struggle between Gracchan and senatorial forces, arguing instead that it is tied to the establishment in 118 of the colony of Narbo Martius, Rome's first colony in Gaul. Here, as elsewhere, there is no evidence that any ancient author linked the founding of the colony and Vestal unchastity; the temporal gap makes an association even more unlikely. Ultimately, it is not possible to accept M.'s argument that Vestal incestum punctuated key stages in the development of the 'cosmo Romano' in the way she imagines. Even so, M.'s effort to reintegrate the Vestals into the larger narrative of Rome's history is thought-provoking, and it is to be hoped that it will spark further work in the same vein. The field is perhaps in a better position to undertake work on this scale now that we have W's careful and comprehensive collection and interpre tation of what there is to know about the Vestals. Yale University CELIA E. SCHULTZ celia.schultz(yale.edu This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Sat, 26 Jul 2014 11:47:09 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions. (shrink)
In this long and detailed book Bennett and Hacker set themselves two ambitious tasks. The first is to offer a philosophical critique of, what they argue are, philosophical confusions within contemporary cognitive neuroscience. The second is to present a ‘conceptual reference work for cognitive neuroscientists who wish to check the contour lines of the psychological concept relevant to their investigation’ (p.7). In the process they cover an astonishing amount of material. The first two chapters present a critical history of neuroscience (...) from Aristotle to Sherrington, Eccles and Penfield. Chapter three (to which I shall return), offers the philosophical basis for much of the book. Chapters four to twelve present detailed philosophical criticisms of a wide variety of neuroscientists (and some philosophers) on a large number of topics. These include: Crick, Damasio, Edelman, Marr and Frisby on perception (particularly the primary/secondary quality distinction and the binding problem); Milner, Squire and Kandel on memory; Blakemore and others on mental imagery; LaDoux and Damasio on the emotions; Libet on voluntary movement; and Baars, Crick, Edelman, Damasio, Penrose, Searle, Chalmers, and Nagel on consciousness (with a great deal on qualia and self-consciousness). Chapters thirteen and fourteen, along with the two appendices, contain an elaboration and defence of the book’s methodology and present explicit contrasts with the Churchlands, Dennett and Searle. Bennett and Hacker maintain that whilst neuroscientists have made significant discoveries concerning the workings of the brain, these discoveries have been obscured by their presentation within an incoherent conceptual framework. Their complaints, therefore, are often not with neuroscience itself but with what might be called its philosophical self image. (shrink)
The advent of the post-Stalin "thaw," particularly the period after 1956, was marked by a spectacular expansion in the publishing of translated Western writing and also, on occasion, of editions in the original languages: the virtual ban on import of Western books was, as of 1975, never relaxed. The more permissive political atmosphere favored the publication of a vastly larger variety of Western authors and titles and provision for the Soviet public of much larger quantities of such books in the (...) country's bookstores and libraries. While the improvement was very impressive in itself, abundant data attest that it was far from adequate to satisfy reader demand.1 Among the beneficiaries, books by American authors stood out the more prominently since it was these that were most discriminated against during the years immediately preceding.2 Decades of neglect, to say nothing of politically inspired selectivity, resulted in such incongruities as the first Russian translation of Melville's Moby Dick in 1961—more than a century after the novel's appearance—and the first Soviet publication of any work by Henry James in 1973. It was not until the 1960's that Russians had an opportunity to read Faulkner—but then, the same was true of Kafka. However unevenly, the range of American literature, both old and new, now made available to Soviet readers is gradually expanding. · 1. The overall problem is discussed in detail in this writer's forthcoming book, A Decade of Euphoria: Western Literature in Post-Stalin Russia, 1954-64 . · 2. For a thorough and illuminating discussion of the fate of American literature in the U.S.S.R. from the Revolution until the early post-Stalin years, see Deming Brown, Soviet Attitudes toward American Writing . Interesting statistical data on the first post-Stalin years may also be found in Melville J. Ruggles, "American Books in Soviet Publishing," Slavic Review 20, n.3 : 419-35. A useful, very brief list of selected works of American writing published by 1968, though not entirely as complete as it purports to be, may be found in M.O. Mendel'son, A.N. Nikolyukin, R.M. Samarin, eds., Problemy literature S. Sh. A. XX. veka , pp. 391-517. Unfortunately, the Soviet bibliography contains no information on press runs of the books listed. Maurice Friedberg, head of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois, is the author of numerous essays and articles on Soviet literature. Professor Friedberg's most recent book, A Decade of Euphoria: Western Literature in Post-Stalin Russia, 1954-1964, will be published this year. (shrink)
Approaching comparison through attention to stories of gods rather than through explicit doctrines, and in particular to stories of gods in their infancy and childhood, is an arresting proposal in comparative theology. It was this unusual character which first drew my attention to Kristin Johnston Largen’s Baby Krishna, Infant Christ. Largen’s prose is fluid and clear, and the structure of the argument is also readily apparent. And thus the work held my attention and convinced me that it is deserving of (...)review here.An introduction and first chapter offer a description of and an apology for comparative theology. Part I, comprising chapters two and three, is focused on ‘Baby Krishna,’ first recounting some of the main stories of Krishna from the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, before reflecting on the significance of those stories from the perspective of understanding how salvation is conceived and experienced in those Hindu traditions for which Krishna bhakti is crucial.The fourth and fifth chapters, .. (shrink)
In this book, Adu-Amankwah attempts to present and critically evaluate R. M. Hare’s entire moral philosophy. The book is divided into five extremely long chapters, an organization which permits the author to present his material in a roughly historical order.