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Explaining the Cosmos

The Ionian Tradition of Scientific Philosophy

Daniel W. Graham

Explaining the Cosmos is a major reinterpretation of Greek scientific thought before Socrates. Focusing on the scientific tradition of philosophy, Daniel Graham argues that Presocratic philosophy is not a mere patchwork of different schools and styles of thought. Rather, there is a discernible and unified Ionian tradition that dominates Presocratic debates. Graham rejects the common interpretation of the early Ionians as "material monists" and also the view of the later Ionians as desperately trying to save scientific philosophy from Parmenides' criticisms.

In Graham's view, Parmenides plays a constructive role in shaping the scientific debates of the fifth century BC. Accordingly, the history of Presocratic philosophy can be seen not as a series of dialectical failures, but rather as a series of theoretical advances that led to empirical discoveries. Indeed, the Ionian tradition can be seen as the origin of the scientific conception of the world that we still hold today.

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Fate, Providence and Moral Responsibility in Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Thought

Studies in Honour of Carlos Steel

Pieter d'Hoine ; Gerd Van Riel (eds)

Essays on key moments in the intellectual history of the West. This book forms a major contribution to the discussion on fate, providence and moral responsibility in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Early Modern times. Through 37 original papers, renowned scholars from many different countries, as well as a number of young and promising researchers, write the history of the philosophical problems of freedom and determinism since its origins in pre-socratic philosophy up to the seventeenth century. The main focus points are classic Antiquity (Plato and Aristotle), the Neoplatonic synthesis of late Antiquity (Plotinus, Proclus, Simplicius), and thirteenth-century scholasticism (Thomas Aquinas, Henry of Ghent). They do not only represent key moments in the intellectual history of the West, but are also the central figures and periods to which Carlos Steel, the dedicatary of this volume, has devoted his philosophical career.

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The Feminine Symptom

Aleatory Matter in the Aristotelian Cosmos

Emanuela Bianchi

The Feminine Symptom takes as its starting point the problem of female offspring for Aristotle: if form is transmitted by the male and the female provides only matter, how is a female child produced? Aristotle answers that there must be some fault or misstep in the process. _x000B__x000B_This inexplicable but necessary coincidence—sumpt ma in Greek—defines the feminine symptom. Departing from the standard associations of male-activity-form and female-passivity-matter, Bianchi traces the operation of chance and spontaneity throughout Aristotle’s biology, physics, cosmology, and metaphysics and argues that it is not passive but aleatory matter—unpredictable, ungovernable, and acting against nature and teleology—that he continually allies with the feminine. _x000B__x000B_Aristotle’s pervasive disparagement of the female as a mild form of monstrosity thus works to shore up his polemic against the aleatory and to consolidate patriarchal teleology in the face of atomism and Empedocleanism. _x000B__x000B_Bianchi concludes by connecting her analysis to recent biological and materialist political thinking, and makes the case for a new, antiessentialist politics of aleatory feminism._x000B_

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Finding the Mean

Theory and Practice in Aristotelian Political Philosophy

Stephen G. Salkever

Stephen Salkever shows that reading Aristotle is a starting point for discussing contemporary political problems in new ways that avoid the opposition between liberal individualism and republican communitarianism, between the politics of rights and the politics of virtues.

Originally published in 1994.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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Francisci de Marchia Q1-12

Quaestiones in secundum librum sententiarum (Reportatio), Quaestiones 1-12

T. Suarez-Nani T., W. Duba, T. Babey, G.J. Etzkorn (eds)

This commentary exists in two versions: The major version is contained in 17 manuscripts and the critical edition of it is being prepared by a team of specialists led by Prof. Tiziana Suarez-Nani of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. A minor version is found in one Vatican manuscript and is being edited by Prof. Em. Girard J. Etzkorn. The texts edited in this volume all deal with creation, and investigate such central philosophical and theological issues as action, production, and causality, being and nothingness, the nature of time, God’s relation to the world he created, and the distinction between God’s creation and God’s conservation of the world. Typical of this section of Sentences commentaries is a discussion of the eternity of the world (q. 12), in which Marchia defends the (counterfactual) possibility of the world’s eternality as well as the possibility of an actual infinite. Somewhat more unusual for this part of a medieval Sentences commentary is Marchia’s highly detailed discussion of the problem of universals and the validity of syllogistic argumentation, all of this part of Marchia’s attempt to determine whether creation can be demonstrated about God (q. 1). Throughout these twelve questions, Marchia challenges the ideas of some of the later Middle Ages’ best minds, including Peter Auriol, Durand of St. Pourçain, John Duns Scotus, Henry of Ghent, and Giles of Rome.

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Francisci de Marchia Q13-27

Quaestiones in secundum librum sententiarum (Reportatio), Quaestiones 13-27

T. Suarez-Nani ; W. Duba; E. Babey ; G.J. Etzkorn (eds)

The texts edited in this volume deal with angelology and anthropology, and particularly with the nature and the functions of immaterial substances like angels and the human rational soul. Marchia discusses such controversial issues as universal hylomorphism, i.e., whether angels and the rational soul are composed of both matter and form (q. 13), the immortality of the soul (qq. 18-19), and the nature and the object of the intellect and will (qq. 20, 21), as well as the functionality of the angelic intellect - whether angels understand through discursive reasoning (q. 23), and how they can speak with each other (q. 26). The problematic nature of the relationship between the material and the immaterial is approached through asking whether an angel can produce a material object (q. 22) and whether a material object can be the source of an angel's understanding of that object (q. 25). A particularly interesting treatment concerns how angels, immaterial substances, can be in a place (q. 16); this treatment includes Marchia's attempt to provide a physical theory explaining why an angel cannot move over some distance instantaneously. Throughout these fifteen questions, Marchia challenges the ideas of some of the best minds of the later Middle Ages, not only major figures of the thirteenth century like Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, Henry of Ghent, and Giles of Rome but also fourteenth-century authors like John Duns Scotus, Hervaeus Natalis, Walter Burley, and Peter Auriol.

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From Plato to Platonism

by Lloyd P. Gerson

Was Plato a Platonist? While ancient disciples of Plato would have answered this question in the affirmative, modern scholars have generally denied that Plato’s own philosophy was in substantial agreement with that of the Platonists of succeeding centuries. In From Plato to Platonism, Lloyd P. Gerson argues that the ancients were correct in their assessment. He arrives at this conclusion in an especially ingenious manner, challenging fundamental assumptions about how Plato’s teachings have come to be understood. Through deft readings of the philosophical principles found in Plato's dialogues and in the Platonic tradition beginning with Aristotle, he shows that Platonism, broadly conceived, is the polar opposite of naturalism and that the history of philosophy from Plato until the seventeenth century was the history of various efforts to find the most consistent and complete version of “anti-naturalism."

Gerson contends that the philosophical position of Plato—Plato’s own Platonism, so to speak—was produced out of a matrix he calls “Ur-Platonism.” According to Gerson, Ur-Platonism is the conjunction of five “antis” that in total arrive at anti-naturalism: anti-nominalism, anti-mechanism, anti-materialism, anti-relativism, and anti-skepticism. Plato’s Platonism is an attempt to construct the most consistent and defensible positive system uniting the five “antis.” It is also the system that all later Platonists throughout Antiquity attributed to Plato when countering attacks from critics including Peripatetics, Stoics, and Sceptics. In conclusion, Gerson shows that Late Antique philosophers such as Proclus were right in regarding Plotinus as “the great exegete of the Platonic revelation."

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From Protagoras to Aristotle

Essays in Ancient Moral Philosophy

Heda Segvic

This is a collection of the late Heda Segvic's papers in ancient moral philosophy. At the time of her death at age forty-five in 2003, Segvic had already established herself as an important figure in ancient philosophy, making bold new arguments about the nature of Socratic intellectualism and the intellectual influences that shaped Aristotle's ideas. Segvic had been working for some time on a monograph on practical knowledge that would interpret Aristotle's ethical theory as a response to Protagoras. The essays collected here are those on which her reputation rests, including some that were intended to form the backbone of her projected monograph. The papers range from a literary study of Homer's influence on Plato's Protagoras to analytic studies of Aristotle's metaphysics and his ideas about deliberation. Most of the papers reflect directly or indirectly Segvic's idea that both Socrates' and Aristotle's universalism and objectivism in ethics could be traced back to their opposition to Protagorean relativism. The book represents the considerable achievements of one of the most talented scholars of ancient philosophy of her generation.

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Genealogy of the Tragic

Greek Tragedy and German Philosophy

Joshua Billings

Why did Greek tragedy and “the tragic” come to be seen as essential to conceptions of modernity? And how has this belief affected modern understandings of Greek drama? In Genealogy of the Tragic, Joshua Billings answers these and related questions by tracing the emergence of the modern theory of the tragic, which was first developed around 1800 by thinkers associated with German Idealism. The book argues that the idea of the tragic arose in response to a new consciousness of history in the late eighteenth century, which spurred theorists to see Greek tragedy as both a unique, historically remote form and a timeless literary genre full of meaning for the present. The book offers a new interpretation of the theories of Schiller, Schelling, Hegel, Hölderlin, and others, as mediations between these historicizing and universalizing impulses, and shows the roots of their approaches in earlier discussions of Greek tragedy in Germany, France, and England. By examining eighteenth-century readings of tragedy and the interactions between idealist thinkers in detail, Genealogy of the Tragic offers the most comprehensive historical account of the tragic to date, as well as the fullest explanation of why and how the idea was used to make sense of modernity. The book argues that idealist theories remain fundamental to contemporary interpretations of Greek tragedy, and calls for a renewed engagement with philosophical questions in criticism of tragedy.

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"Gorgias" and "Phaedrus"

Rhetoric, Philosophy, and Politics

by Plato, translated with introduction, notes, and interpretive essay by James H. Nichols Jr.

With a masterful sense of the place of rhetoric in both thought and practice and an ear attuned to the clarity, natural simplicity, and charm of Plato's Greek prose, James H. Nichols Jr., offers precise yet unusually readable translations of two great Platonic dialogues on rhetoric.

The Gorgias presents an intransigent argument that justice is superior to injustice: To the extent that suffering an injustice is preferable to committing an unjust act. The dialogue contains some of Plato's most significant and famous discussions of major political themes, and focuses dramatically and with unrivaled intensity on Socrates as a political thinker and actor. Featuring some of Plato's most soaringly lyrical passages, the Phaedrus investigates the soul's erotic longing and its relationship to the whole cosmos, as well as inquiring into the nature of rhetoric and the problem of writing.

Nichols's attention to dramatic detail brings the dialogues to life. Plato's striking variety in conversational address (names and various terms of relative warmth and coolness) is carefully reproduced, as is alteration in tone and implication even in the short responses. The translations render references to the gods accurately and non-monotheistically for the first time, and include a fascinating variety of oaths and invocations. A general introduction on rhetoric from the Greeks to the present shows the problematic relation of rhetoric to philosophy and politics, states the themes that unite the two dialogues, and outlines interpretive suggestions that are then developed more fully for each dialogue.

The twin dialogues reveal both the private and the political rhetoric emphatic in Plato's philosophy, yet often ignored in commentaries on it. Nichols believes that Plato's thought on rhetoric has been largely misunderstood, and he uses his translations as an opportunity to reconstruct the classical position on right relations between thought and public activity.

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