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In Sophistical Rhetoric in Classical Greece, John Poulakos offers a new conceptualization of sophistry, explaining its direction and shape as well as the reasons why Plato, Isocrates, and Aristotle found it objectionable. Poulakos argues that a proper understanding of sophistical rhetoric requires a grasp of three cultural dynamics of the fifth century B.C.: the logic of circumstances, the ethic of competition, and the aesthetic of exhibition. Traced to such phenomena as everyday practices, athletic contests, and dramatic performances, these dynamics set the stage for the role of sophistical rhetoric in Hellenic culture and explain why sophistry has traditionally been understood as inconsistent, agonistic, and ostentatious. In his discussion of ancient responses to sophistical rhetoric, Poulakos observes that Plato, Isocrates, and Aristotle found sophistry morally reprehensible, politically useless, and theoretically incoherent. At the same time, they produced their own version of rhetoric that advocated ethical integrity, political unification, and theoretical coherence. Poulakos explains that these responses and alternative versions were motivated by a search for solutions to such historical problems as moral uncertainty, political instability, and social disorder. Poulakos concludes that sophistical rhetoric was as necessary in its day as its Platonic, Isocratean, and Aristotelian counterparts were in theirs.
Hugh of St-Cher and His Contemporaries
The soul-body problem was among the most controversial issues discussed in 13th century Europe, and it continues to capture much attention today as the quest to understand human identity becomes more and more urgent. What made the discussion about this problem particularly interesting in the scholastic period was the tension between the traditional dualist doctrines and a growing need to affirm the unity of the human being. This debate is frequently interpreted as a conflict between the ‘new' philosophy, conveyed by the rediscovered works of Aristotle and his followers, and doctrinal requirements, especially the belief in the soul's immortality. However, a thorough examination of Parisian texts, written between approximately 1150 and 1260, leads us to conclusions which may seem surprising. In this book, the study and edition of some little-known texts of Hugh of St-Cher and his contemporaries reveals an extremely rich and colourful picture of the Parisian anthropological debate of the time. This book also offers an opportunity to reconsider some received views concerning medieval philosophy, such as the conviction that the notion of ‘person' did not play any major role in the anthropological controversies. The study covers a wide range of authors, from Gilbert of Poitiers to Thomas Aquinas, and it is partly based on previously unedited material, published for the first time in the Appendix.
The Neoplatonic Philosophy of Dionysius the Areopagite
The work of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite stands at a cusp in the history of thought: it is at once Hellenic and Christian, classical and medieval, philosophical and theological. Unlike the predominantly theological or text-historical studies which constitute much of the scholarly literature on Dionysius, Theophany is completely philosophical in nature, placing Dionysius within the tradition of ancient Greek philosophy and emphasizing, in a positive light, his continuity with the non-Christian Neoplatonism of Plotinus and Proclus. Eric D. Perl offers clear expositions of the reasoning that underlies Neoplatonic philosophy and explains the argumentation that leads to and supports Neoplatonic doctrines. He includes extensive accounts of fundamental ideas in Plotinus and Proclus, as well as Dionysius himself, and provides an excellent philosophical defense of Neoplatonism in general.
Aesthetics in Human Cognition
Use your imagination! The demand is as important as it is confusing. What is the imagination? What is its value? Where does it come from? And where is it going in a time when even the obscene mseems overdone and passé?This book takes up these questions and argues for the centrality of imagination in humanmcognition. It traces the development of the imagination in Kant’s critical philosophy (particularly the Critique of Aesthetic Judgment) and claims that the insights of Kantian aesthetic theory, especially concerning the nature of creativity, common sense, and genius, influenced the development of nineteenth-century American philosophy.The book identifies the central role of the imagination in the philosophy of Peirce, a role often overlooked in analytic treatments of his thought. The final chapters pursue the observation made by Kant and Peirce that imaginative genius is a type of natural gift (ingenium) and must in some way be continuous with the creative force of nature. It makes this final turn by way of contemporary studies of metaphor, embodied cognition, and cognitive neuroscience.
Eine Problemgeschichte von Sokrates bis Johannes Duns Scotus
‘Weakness of the will’ is often used as a shorthand expression to describe a situation in which a person acts against his/her better judgement. This well-known phenomenon poses a serious philosophical problem because it questions deeply our self-understanding as rational agents. This volume offers the first comprehensive investigation into the roots of the present discussion of this subject. Four principal areas constitute the basic framework of the history of this problem: (1) the debate on akrasia in classical Greece; (2) the Christian understanding of weakness of will in late Antiquity; (3) the understanding of involuntary actions in the monastic period; (4) the scholastic controversy between ‘intellectualists’ and ‘voluntarists’ about the roots of human freedom. The book reconstructs the development of the problem within these frameworks and shows how the Greek and the Christian understanding of weakness of the will are intertwined. The final part offers an outlook on the present debate in view of these historical findings.