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The Dialectic of Essence

A Study of Plato's Metaphysics

Allan Silverman

The Dialectic of Essence offers a systematic new account of Plato's metaphysics. Allan Silverman argues that the best way to make sense of the metaphysics as a whole is to examine carefully what Plato says about ousia (essence) from the Meno through the middle period dialogues, the Phaedo and the Republic, and into several late dialogues including the Parmenides, the Sophist, the Philebus, and the Timaeus. This book focuses on three fundamental facets of the metaphysics: the theory of Forms; the nature of particulars; and Plato's understanding of the nature of metaphysical inquiry.

Silverman seeks to show how Plato conceives of "Being" as a unique way in which an essence is related to a Form. Conversely, partaking ("having") is the way in which a material particular is related to its properties: Particulars, thus, in an important sense lack essence. Additionally, the author closely analyzes Plato's idea that the relation between Forms and particulars is mediated by form-copies. Even when some late dialogues provide a richer account of particulars, Silverman maintains that particulars are still denied essence. Indeed, with the Timaeus's introduction of the receptacle, there are no particulars of the traditional variety. This book cogently demonstrates that when we understand that Plato's concern with essence lies at the root of his metaphysics, we are better equipped to find our way through the labyrinth of his dialogues and to better appreciate how they form a coherent theory.

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Diogenes of Oinoanda · Diogène d’Œnoanda

Epicureanism and Philosophical Debates · Épicurisme et controverses

Jürgen Hammerstaedt, Pierre-Marie Morel, Refik Güremen (eds)

First collection of essays entirely devoted to the inscription of Diogenes of Oinoanda. The texts of Diogenes of Oinoanda (2nd century AD) who invited his readers to an Epicurean life is the largest ancient inscription ever discovered. Over 70 new finds have increased the number of known wall blocks and fragments to nearly 300, offering new insights into Diogenes’ distinctive presentation of philosophy. This collection of essays discusses the philosophical significance of these discoveries and is the first of this kind entirely devoted to Diogenes of Oinoanda. Particular attention is paid to his philosophical aims and polemical strategies. Diogenes was apparently well aware of still ongoing philosophical debates, engaging in polemics against Presocratic philosophers, Platonics, and especially Stoics. His views about important issues like happiness, fear, old age, and the afterlife are explained on the bases of Epicurean physics and theology, ethics, politics, theory of knowledge, and psychology. Les textes de Diogène d’Œnoanda (Deuxième siècle de notre ère), qui invitait ses lecteurs au mode de vie épicurien, constituent la plus grande inscription antique jamais découverte. Les recherches récentes (plus de 70 pièces) ont porté le nombre de morceaux du mur et de fragments à près de 300, offrant ainsi un nouvel aperçu de la pensée propre de Diogène. Les essais réunis dans ce volume, le premier recueil d’articles entièrement consacré à Diogène d’Œnoanda, examinent la signification de ces découvertes. Ils portent une attention particulière aux intentions philosophiques de Diogène et à ses stratégies polémiques. L’épicurien était manifestement bien averti des débats philosophiques de son temps, engageant lui-même la polémique contre les présocratiques, les platoniciens et, plus spécialement, les stoïciens. Ses idées concernant les problèmes fondamentaux du bonheur, de la peur, de la vieillesse et de la vie après la mort ont pour horizon la pensée épicurienne sous ses différents aspects : physique et théologie, éthique, politique, théorie de la connaissance et psychologie. Contributors: Martin Bachmann (The German Archaeological Institute), Michael Erler (University of Würzburg), Alain Gigandet (University Paris – Est Créteil), Jean-Baptiste Gourinat (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/University of Paris – Sorbonne/Ecole Normale Supérieure), Refik Güremen (Mimar Sinan University), Jürgen Hammerstaedt (University of Cologne), Giuliana Leone (University of Naples Federico II), Francesca Masi (University Ca’ Foscari of Venice), Pierre-Marie Morel (University of Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne / Institut Universitaire de France), Geert Roskam (KU Leuven), Martin Ferguson Smith (Durham University), Voula Tsouna (University of California), Francesco Verde (La Sapienza University of Rome)

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Divine Law and Political Philosophy in Plato's Law

All over the world secular rationalist governments and judicial authorities have been challenged by increasingly forceful claims made on behalf of divine law. For those who believe that reason—not faith—should be the basis of politics and the law, proponents of divine law raise theoretical and practical concerns that must be addressed seriously and respectfully. As Mark J. Lutz makes plain in this illuminating book, they have an important ally in Plato, whose long neglected Laws provides an eye-opening analysis of the relation between political philosophy and religion and a powerful defense of political rationalism. Plato mounts his case, Lutz reveals, through a productive dialogue between his Athenian Stranger and various devout citizens that begins by exploring the common ground between them, but ultimately establishes the authority of rational political philosophy to guide the law. The result will fascinate not only political theorists but also scholars at all levels with an interest in the intersection of religion and politics or in the questions that surround ethics and civic education.

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Early Greek Philosophy

The philosophy of the Presocratics still governs scholarly discussion today. This important volume grapples with a host of philosophical issues and philological and historical problems inherent in interpreting Presocratic philosophers.

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Elachista

La dottrina dei minimi nell'Epicureismo

Francesco Verde

The first monograph entirely devoted to the Epicurean doctrine of minimal parts. The Epicurean doctrine of minimal parts (ta elachista) is a crucial aspect of Epicurus's philosophy and a genuine turning point compared to the ancient atomism of Leucippus and Democritus. This book consists of three chapters: a philological and theoretical analysis of the primary sources (Epicurus and Lucretius) of the doctrine, a reconstruction of its likely historical background (Xenocrates, Aristotle, Diodorus Cronus), and a close examination of the chiefly geometrical development of this theory within the philosophical school of Epicurus. The critical examination of ancient sources (including several Herculaneum Papyri), combined with a careful analysis of the secondary literature, reveals the very significant role played by minimal parts within the Epicurean science of nature. This is the first monograph entirely devoted to the study of this important doctrine in all its historical and theoretical breadth. Questo volume esamina la dottrina epicurea dei minimi (ta elachista) che rappresenta un nodo cruciale della filosofia di Epicuro e un autentico punto di svolta rispetto all'atomismo di Leucippo e Democrito. Il libro è organizzato in tre capitoli dedicati rispettivamente: (1) all'analisi filologica e teorica delle fonti primarie (Epicuro e Lucrezio), (2) alla ricostruzione del contesto storico-filosofico a cui la dottrina dei minimi verosimilmente fa riferimento (Senocrate, Aristotele e Diodoro Crono), e, infine, (3) all'approfondimento dello sviluppo della teoria dei minimi in ambito prevalentemente geometrico all'interno della scuola di Epicuro. L'esame critico delle fonti antiche (che riguardano anche alcuni Papiri Ercolanesi), anche attraverso l'attenta analisi della letteratura secondaria, conferma il ruolo decisivo giocato dai minimi nella scienza della natura epicurea. Si tratta della prima monografia interamente consacrata allo studio di questa significativa dottrina in tutta la sua ampiezza storica e teorica.

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The Emerging Good in Plato's Philebus

John V. Garner

Plato's Philebus presents a fascinating dialogue between the life of the mind and the life of pleasure. While Socrates decisively prioritizes the life of reason, he also shows that certain pleasures contribute to making the good life good. The Emerging Good in Plato's "Philebus" argues that the Socratic pleasures of learning emphasize, above all, the importance of being open to change.   John V. Garner convincingly refines previous interpretations and uncovers a profound thesis in the Philebus: genuine learners find value not only in stable being but also in the process of becoming. Further, since genuine learning arises in pluralistic communities where people form and inform one another, those who are truly open to learning are precisely those who actively shape the betterment of humanity.  The Emerging Good in Plato's "Philebus" thus connects the Philebus's grand philosophical ideas about the order of values, on the one hand, to its intimate and personal account of the experience of learning, on the other. It shows that this dialogue, while agreeing broadly with themes in more widely studied works by Plato such as the Republic, Gorgias, and Phaedo, also develops a unique way of salvaging the whole of human life, including our ever-changing nature.

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The "Enneads" of Plotinus, Volume 1

A Commentary

Paul Kalligas

This is the first volume of a groundbreaking commentary on one of the most important works of ancient philosophy, the Enneads of Plotinus—a text that formed the basis of Neoplatonism and had a deep influence on early Christian thought and medieval and Renaissance philosophy. This volume covers the first three of the six Enneads, as well as Porphyry’s Life of Plotinus, a document in which Plotinus’s student—the collector and arranger of the Enneads—introduces the philosopher and his work. A landmark contribution to modern Plotinus scholarship, Paul Kalligas’s commentary is the most detailed and extensive ever written for the whole of the Enneads.

For each of the treatises in the first three Enneads, Kalligas provides a brief introduction that presents the philosophical background against which Plotinus’s contribution can be assessed; a synopsis giving the main lines and the articulation of the argument; and a running commentary placing Plotinus’s thought in its intellectual context and making evident the systematic association of its various parts with each other.

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Epictetus

His Continuing Influence and Contemporary Relevance

Edited by Dane R. Gordon and David B. Suits

Epictetus (c. 50-c. 120 CE) was born a slave. His master, Epaphroditus, allowed him to attend the lectures of the Stoic philosopher Musonius Rufus and later gave him his freedom. From numerous references in his Discourses it is clear that Epictetus valued freedom as a precious possession. He would have been on the side of the many people living now who, while not actually enslaved, are denied true freedom by the harsh circumstances of their lives. Epictetus's teachings about freedom and human dignity have echoed through the millennia-in the writings of Spinoza, Thomas Paine and Martin Luther King, Jr., to name a few. He was much concerned with human behavior. His advice to not worry about what is not in our control is pointedly relevant to our busy modern society-which is often fraught with anxiety. Some people might argue that what Epictetus taught is not serious philosophy, more like self-help. But the range of topics addressed by the essays in this book clearly indicates that the teachings of Epictetus provide strong incentive to present day philosophical thinking.Epictetus: His Continuing Influence and Contemporary Relevance is the title of a conference on Epictetus held at Rochester Institute of Technology in April 2012, when many of the ideas in these essays were first presented.

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Epicurus

His Continuing Influence and Contemporary Relevance

The philosophy of Epicurus (c. 341-271 B. C. E.), has been a quietly pervasive influence for more than two millennia. At present, when many long revered ideologies are proven empty, Epicureanism is powerfully and refreshingly relevant, offering a straightforward way of dealing with the issues of life and death. The chapters in this book provide a kaleidoscope of contemporary opinions about Epicurus' teachings. They tell us also about the archeological discoveries that promise to augment the scant remains we have of Epicurus's own writing. the breadth of this new work will be welcomed by those who value Epicurean philosophy as a scholarly and personal resource for contemporary life. "Epicurus: His Continuing Influence and Contemporary Relevance," is the title of a 2002 conference on Epicurus held at Rochester Institute of Technology, when many of the ideas here were first presented.

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Eros and the Intoxications of Enlightenment

On Plato's Symposium

Provocative reinterpretation of Plato's Symposium. An original analysis of one of Plato’s most well-known and pivotal dialogues, this study is based upon the effort to think together the most manifest themes of the Symposium (the nature of eros and the relation between poetry and philosophy) with its less obvious but no less essential themes (the character of the city and the nature and limitations of sophistic enlightenment). Author Steven Berg offers an interpretation of this dialogue wherein all the speakers at the banquet—with the exception of Socrates—not only offer their views on the nature of love, but represent Athens and the Athenian enlightenment. Accordingly, Socrates’ speech, taken in relation to the speeches that precede it, is shown to articulate the relation between Socrates and the Athenian enlightenment, to expose the limitations of that enlightenment, and therefore finally to bring to light the irresolvable tension between Socrates and his philosophy and the city of Athens even at her most enlightened.

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