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1. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Dennis J. Schmidt Anything But a Series of Footnotes: Some Comments on John Sallis’s Platonic Legacies
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Whitehead’s widely cited and accepted remark that the history of philosophy is but a series of footnotes to Plato has implications for how both Plato and the history of philosophy is to be understood. Such an understanding does an injustice to both Plato and the history of philosophy. A recent book by John Sallis, Platonic Legacies, presents us with a counterview, one that offers a more exciting view of both Plato and the meaning of his legacy for the history of philosophy. The chief purpose of this article is to unpack some of Sallis’s contributions in this regard.
2. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Phil Hopkins Zeno’s Boêtheia Tôi Logôi: Thought Problems about Problems for Thought
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This essay addresses two central issues that continue to trouble interpretation of Zeno’s paradoxes: 1) their solution, and 2) their place in the history of philosophy. I offer an account of Zeno’s work as pointing to an inevitable paradox generated by our ways of thinking and speaking about things, especially about things as existing in the continua of space and time. In so doing, I connect Zeno’s arguments to Parmenides’ critique of “naming” in Fragment 8, an approach that I believe adds considerably to our understanding of both Zeno’s puzzles and this enigmatic aspect of Parmenides’ thought.
3. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Ayon Roy In seinem Anderen bei sich selbst zu sein: Toward a Recuperation of Hegel’s Metaphysics of Agency
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This essay argues for a distinctly post-Kantian understanding of Hegel’s definition of freedom as “being at home with oneself in one’s other.” I first briefly isolate the inadequacies of some dominant interpretations of Hegelian freedom and proceed to develop a more adequate theoretical frame by turning to Theodor Adorno. Then I interpret Hegel’s notion of the freedom of the will in the Philosophy of Right in terms of his speculative metaphysics. Finally, I briefly examine Hegel’s treatment of agency in the Phenomenology of Spirit in order to establish important continuities between the early and late Hegel.
4. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Cynthia D. Coe Contesting the Human: Levinas, the Body, and Racism
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In his 1934 essay “Some Thoughts on the Philosophy of Hitlerism,”Levinas identified two major movements within contemporary culture:liberalism and Hitlerism. At one level, these two movements are in strictopposition, but Levinas’s later work explores the way in which liberalismis implicated in the “hatred of the other” that pervades Hitlerism. In thispaper, I argue that Cartesian dualism underlies two sorts of anxieties, bothof which are expressed as racism. Levinas’s reconception of the body as ethicallysignificant overcomes this dualism, and thus seems to hold promise asa method for undoing contemporary manifestations of racism.
5. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Walter Brogan Letter from the Editor
6. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
William Franke Praising the Unsayable: An Apophatic Defense of Metaphysics on the Basis of the Neoplatonic Parmenides Commentaries
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This essay represents a contribution to rewriting the history metaphysics in terms of what philosophy never said, nor could say. It works from the Neoplatonic commentary tradition on Plato’s Parmenides as the matrix for a distinctively apophatic thinking that takes the truth of metaphysical doctrines as something other than anything that can be logically articulated. The hymn is taken to epitomize the kind of discourse that arises in the wake of apophatic negation and witnesses to what the Logos cannot say. The essay contends that metaphysics as a discourse of the unspeakable may prove more viable than any purely logical system could.
7. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Gordon Hull Hobbes’s Radical Nominalism
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This paper analyzes Hobbes’s understanding of signification, the process whereby words come to have meaning. Most generally, Hobbes develops and extends the nominalist critique of universals as it is found in Ockham and subsequently carried forward by early moderns such as Descartes. Hobbes’s radicality emerges in comparison with Ockham and Descartes, as, unlike them, Hobbes also reduces the intellectual faculty entirely to imagination. According to Hobbes, we have nothing in which a stabilizing, pre-discursive mental language could inhere. Hobbes thus concludes that all thinking is affective and semiotic, and depends on the regulation of conventionally established regimes of signs. Establishing this regulation is one of the central functions of the Hobbesian commonwealth.
8. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Emanuela Bianchi Material Vicissitudes and Technical Wonders: The Ambiguous Figure of Automaton in Aristotle’s Metaphysics of Sexual Difference
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In Aristotle’s physics and biology, matter’s capacity for spontaneous, opaque, chance deviation is named by automaton and marked with a feminine sign, while at the same time these mysterious motions are articulated, rendered knowable and predictable via the figure of ta automata, the automatic puppets. This paper traces how automaton functions in the Aristotelian text as a symptomatic crossing-point, an uncanny and chiasmatic figure in which materiality and logos, phusis, and technē, death and life, masculine and feminine, are intertwined and articulated. Automaton permits a mastery of generative materiality for teleological metaphysics, but also works to unsettle teleology’s systematic and unifying aspirations.
9. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Russell Winslow On the Nature of Epagôgê
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This essay pursues an interpretation of epagôgê in Aristotle in order to challenge the current claims in the scholarship that Aristotle’s method of discovery is, on the one hand, empirical or, on the other hand, a priori. In contrast to these claims, this essay offers a reading of the Analytica in conjunction with the Physics in order to propose the following: if we are to think through Aristotle’s method of discovery, we must first unhinge ourselves from the oppositional paradigm of empirical contra conceptual. Through the example of Aristotle’s inquiry into nature, it is shown that Aristotle’s method of discovery is, at once, one intimately betrothed to “conceptual” (or, more properly, “dialogical”) resources, while also subtended by a comportment itself wakeful and perceptive of the being undergoing inquiry.
10. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Michael Bray The Hedges that Are Set: Hobbes and the Future of Politics
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This essay traces out, in the works of Thomas Hobbes, the theoretical development of what I argue is the essential temporal element of modern thought: anxiety regarding the future. What finds systematic expression in Hobbes’s psychology and politics is the dilemma that modern thinking inherits: the project of social rationalization perpetuates an image of an indeterminate future, to which the only possible response is rational submission to a project of administration over men akin to that which science practices on nature.
11. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Claudia Baracchi “Words of Air”: On Breath and Inspiration
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(1) In Plato’s Phaedrus divine inspiration comes literally to mean “environmental inspiration.” Intimated thereby is the insufficiency of all reflection on the divine and the natural which would fail to interrogate these categories precisely in their convergence, indeed, in their being (at) one. (2) The theme of inspiration, in its divine or elemental character, necessarily raises further questions concerning the status of inspired utterance—that is, in this case, of philosophical discourse itself. (3) These themes finally point to the problem of the provenance of speaking and writing, if not from a purely active and free subject.
12. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Alessandra Fussi “As the Wolf Loves the Lamb”: Need, Desire, Envy, and Generosity in Plato’s Phaedrus
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The Phaedrus’s Palinode ascribes to the wing the double function of lifting the soul towards truth while itself being nourished by truth. The paper concentrates on the role Socrates ascribes to the wing in the structure and ‘physiology’ of the soul—mortal and divine—as well as on the role it plays in Socrates’ subsequent phenomenological description of falling in love. The experience of love described in Socrates’ first speech—an experience dominated by envy—is examined in light of Socrates’ Palinode, by reference to Socrates’ account of the different ways souls can relate to truth before incarnation.
13. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Christopher P. Long Aristotle’s Phenomenology of Form: The Shape of Beings that Become
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Scholars often assume that Aristotle uses the terms morphē and eidos interchangeably. Translators of Aristotle's works rarely feel the need to carry the distinctionbetween these two Greek terms over into English. This article challenges the orthodox view that morphē and eidos are synonymous. Careful analysis of texts fromthe Categories, Physics, and Metaphysics in which these terms appear in close proximity reveals a fundamental tension of Aristotle's thinking concerning the being of natural beings. Morphē designates the form as inseparable from the matter in which it inheres, while eidos, because it is more easily separated from matter, is the vocabulary used to determine form as the ontological principle of the composite individual. The tension between morphē and eidos—between form as irreducibly immanent and yet somehow separate—is then shown to animate Aristotle's phenomenological approach to the being of natural beings. This approach is most clearly enacted in Aristotle's biology, a consideration of which concludes the essay.
14. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Eric C. Sanday Philosophy as the Practice of Musical Inheritance: Book II of Plato’s Republic
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Philosophy is often taken at its core to be an argumentative appeal to our own native capacity to judge the truth without bias. I claim in this paper that the very notion of unbiased truth represents a particular interest, viz., the interests of the political as such: the city. My thesis is that Socrates’ city in speech in Book II of the Republic exposes the injustice concealed at the core of demonstrative philosophy, and on this basis he goes on to offer an account of philosophical education based on a notion of musical inheritance.
15. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Omar Rivera The Comedy of Patricide (or: A Passing Sense of Manliness): Socrates’ Overcoming of Andreia
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This paper is an investigation of the role of comedy in philosophical thinking, particularly of how comedy reveals the erotic dimension of philosophical thinking.In the first half of the paper, I show that the relation between comedy and Eros is a powerful means to understand in what way philosophy is not technē. Philosophy in its erotic and comedic character is, rather, engaged with an appearing of things as ‘birthed’ or ‘living.’ In the second part of the paper, I focus on the role of comedy in the Laches. There I study the complex relationship between philosophy as erotic thinking and andreia or ‘manliness.’ I show that philosophy as erotic must distinguish itself from manliness and that the enactment of this differentiation is the core of the Laches. At the same time, manliness is not simply something that philosophy should not concern itself with. Philosophy must ask the question ‘what is manliness?’ as a way of enacting manliness and overcoming it, in an overcoming through which philosophy comes to its own erotic core.
16. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Lawrence J. Hatab Writing Knowledge in the Soul: Orality, Literacy, and Plato’s Critique of Poetry
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In this essay I take up Plato’s critique of poetry, which has little to do with epistemology and representational imitation, but rather the powerful effects that poeticperformances can have on audiences, enthralling them with vivid image-worlds and blocking the powers of critical reflection. By focusing on the perceived psychological dangers of poetry in performance and reception, I want to suggest that Plato’s critique was caught up in the larger story of momentous shifts in the Greek world, turning on the rise of literacy and its far-reaching effects in modifying the original and persisting oral character of Greek culture. The story of Plato’s Republic in certain ways suggests something essential for comprehending the development of philosophy in Greece (and in any culture, I would add): that philosophy, as we understand it, would not have been possible apart from the skills and mental transformations stemming from education in reading and writing; and that primary features of oral language and practice were a significant barrier to the development of philosophical rationality (and also a worthy competitor for cultural status and authority). Accordingly, I go on to argue that the critique of writing in the Phaedrus is neither a defense or orality per se, nor a dismissal of writing, but rather a defense of a literate soul over against orality and the indiscriminate exposure of written texts to unworthy readers.
17. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Jena G. Jolissaint Sacred Doorways: Tracing the Body in Plato’s Timaeus
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This paper develops a structural parallel between the maternal/feminine body in Greek mythology and the figure of the body in Plato’s Timaeus. HistoricallyPlato is often portrayed as a thinker who is concerned with the corporeal only insofar as philosophy is engaged in transcending bodily limitations. Yet the Timaeus is not engaged in producing a dualistic opposition between the intelligible and the sensible, nor is Platonic philosophy a rejection of life in favor of the perfect wisdom that comes with death. The following work will suggest that the Timaeus is a dialogue deeply concerned with the question of birth and corporeality and that this concern is disclosed (and not repressed) in and through Timaeus’s evocation of the body.
18. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Walter Brogan Letter from the Editor
19. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Francisco J. Gonzalez Dialogue Discontinued: Heidegger on a Few Pages of Plato’s Theaetetus
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According to Heidegger’s own testimony, his 1940 essay, “Plato’s Doctrine of Truth,” is derived from a course he first delivered in 1931/32. Yet, while an interpretation of the Theaetetus is central to the argument in 1931/32, this dialogue is not so much as mentioned in the 1940 essay. The reason is that Heidegger’s own careful and insightful reading of the Theaetetus simply does not support his thesis regarding Plato’s “doctrine of truth.” But then the real interest of this reading is that it affords the opportunity for pursuing a genuine dialogue between Heidegger and Plato that was too abruptly discontinued
20. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Jussi Backman All of a Sudden: Heidegger and Plato’s Parmenides
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The paper will study an unpublished 1930–31 seminar where Heidegger reads Plato’s Parmenides, showing that in spite of his much-criticized habit of dismissing Plato as the progenitor of “idealist” metaphysics, Heidegger was quite aware of the radical potential of his later dialogues. Through a temporal account of the notion of oneness (to hen), the Parmenides attempts to reconcile the plurality of beings with the unity of Being. In Heidegger’s reading, the dialogue culminates in the notion of the “instant” (to exaiphnēs, Augenblick)—a high point in the entire metaphysical tradition—where the temporal plurality of presence and un-presence converges into a unified disclosure.