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Atheism was the most foundational challenge to early-modern French certainties. Theologians and philosophers labelled such atheism as absurd, confident that neither the fact nor behaviour of nature was explicable without reference to God. The alternative was a categorical naturalism, whose most extreme form was Epicureanism. The dynamics of the Christian learned world, however, which this book explains, allowed the wide dissemination of the Epicurean argument. By the end of the seventeenth century, atheism achieved real voice and life. This book examines the Epicurean inheritance and explains what constituted actual atheistic thinking in early-modern France, distinguishing such categorical unbelief from other challenges to orthodox beliefs. Without understanding the actual context and convergence of the inheritance, scholarship, protocols, and polemical modes of orthodox culture, the early-modern generation and dissemination of atheism are inexplicable. This book brings to life both early-modern French Christian learned culture and the atheists who emerged from its intellectual vitality.
Was Socrates an ironist? Did he mock his interlocutors and, in doing so, show disdain for both them and the institutions of Athenian democracy? These questions were debated with great seriousness by generations of ancient Greek writers and helped to define a primary strand of the western tradition of political thought. By reconstructing these debates, The Politics of Socratic Humor compares the very different interpretations of Socrates developed by his followers--including such diverse thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Xenophon, Aristophanes, and the Hellenistic philosophers--to explore the deep ethical and political dimensions of Socratic humor and its implications for civic identity, democratic speech, and political cooperation. Irony has long been seen as one of Socrates' most characteristic features, but as Lombardini shows, irony is only one part of a much larger toolkit of Socratic humor, the broader intellectual context of which must be better understood if we are to appropriate Socratic thought for our own modern ends.
For all men are persuaded by considerations of where their interest lies... Aristotle's Art of Rhetoric is the earliest systematic treatment of the subject, and it remains among the most incisive works on rhetoric that we possess. In it, we are asked: What is a good speech? What do popular audiences find persuasive? How does one compose a persuasive speech? Aristotle considers these questions in the context of the ancient Greek democratic city-state, in which large audiences of ordinary citizens listened to speeches pro and con before casting the votes that made the laws, decided the policies, and settled the cases in court. Persuasion by means of the spoken word was the vehicle for conducting politics and administering the law. After stating the basic principles of persuasive speech, Aristotle places rhetoric in relation to allied fields such as politics, ethics, psychology, and logic, and he demonstrates how to construct a persuasive case for any kind of plea on any subject of communal concern. Aristotle views persuasion flexibly, examining how speakers should devise arguments, evoke emotions, and demonstrate their own credibility. The treatise provides ample evidence of Aristotle's unique and brilliant manner of thinking, and has had a profound influence on later attempts to understand what makes speech persuasive. The new translation of the text is accompanied by an introduction discussing the political, philosophical, and rhetorical background to Aristotle's treatise, as well as the composition and transmission of the original text and an account of Aristotle's life.
The philosopher Socrates was guided in his investigations by nothing other than his own reason. But did Socrates address adequately the possibility of guidance from a different and higher source -- the possibility of divine revelation? In this book, Lewis Fallis examines Socrates' study of divine revelation. Giving interpretations of two of Plato's dialogues, the Euthyphro and the Ion -- which each depict Socrates conversing with a believer in revelation -- Fallis argues that in each dialogue Socrates explores the connection between knowledge of justice or nobility on the one hand and divine wisdom on the other. By doing so, Socrates searches for common ground between reason and revelation. Shedding new light on Socratic dialectics, Fallis uncovers the justification for understanding political philosophy to be the necessary starting point for an adequate inquiry into divine revelation. Lewis Fallis is an independent scholar of political theory.
'Middle' Platonism has some claim to be the single most influential philosophical movement of the last two thousand years, as the common background to 'Neoplatonism' and the early development of Christian theology. This book breaks with the tradition of considering it primarily in terms of its sources, instead putting its contemporary philosophical engagements front and centre to reconstruct its philosophical motivations and activity across the full range of its interests. The volume explores the ideas at the heart of Platonist philosophy in this period and includes a comprehensive selection of primary sources, a significant number of which appear in English translation for the first time, along with dedicated guides to the questions that have been, and might be, asked about the movement. The result is a tool intended to help bring the study of Middle Platonism into mainstream discussions of ancient philosophy.
An authoritative new translation of Plato's The Republic by Christopher Rowe, with notes and an introduction. 'We set about founding the best city we could, because we could be confident that if it was good we would find justice in it' The Republic, Plato's masterwork, was first enjoyed 2,400 years ago and remains one of the most widely-read books in the world: as a foundational work of Western philosophy, and for the richness of its ideas and virtuosity of its writing. Presented as a dialogue between Plato's teacher Socrates and various interlocutors, it is an exhortation to philosophy, inviting its readers to reflect on the choices to be made if we are to live the best life available to us. This complex, dynamic work creates a picture of an ideal society governed not by the desire for money, power or fame, but by philosophy, wisdom and justice. Christopher Rowe's accurate and enjoyable new translation remains faithful to the many variations of the Republic's tone, style and pace. This edition also contains a chronology, further reading, an outline of the work's main arguments and an introduction discussing Plato's relationship with Socrates, and the Republic's style, ideas and historical context.
Stoicism is two things: a long past philosophical school of ancient Greece and Rome, and an enduring philosophical movement that still inspires people in the twenty-first century to re-think and re-organize their lives in order to achieve personal satisfaction. What is the connection between them? This Very Short Introduction provides an introductory account of Stoic philosophy, and tells the story of how ancient Stoicism survived and evolved into the movement we see today. Exploring the roots of the school in the philosophy of fourth century BCE Greece, Brad Inwood examines its basic history and doctrines and its relationship to the thought of Plato, Aristotle and his successors, and the Epicureans. Sketching the history of the school's reception in the western tradition, he argues that, despite the differences between ancient and contemporary Stoics, there is a common core of philosophical insight that unites the modern version not just to Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius but also to the school's original founders, Zeno, Cleanthes, and Chrysippus. Inwood concludes by considering the place of Stoicism in modern life. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
On the surface, stoicism and emotion seem like contradictory terms.
Yet the Stoic philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome were deeply
interested in the emotions, which they understood as complex
judgments about what we regard as valuable in our surroundings.
"Stoicism and Emotion" shows that they did not simply advocate an
across-the-board suppression of feeling, as stoicism implies in
today's English, but instead conducted a searching examination of
these powerful psychological responses, seeking to understand what
attitude toward them expresses the deepest respect for human
This lively book offers a wide-ranging study of Greek notions of mind and human selfhood from Homer through Plotinus. A. A. Long anchors his discussion in questions of recurrent and universal interest. What happens to us when we die? How is the mind or soul related to the body? Are we responsible for our own happiness? Can we achieve autonomy? Long asks when and how these questions emerged in ancient Greece, and shows that Greek thinkers modeling of the mind gave us metaphors that we still live by, such as the rule of reason or enslavement to passion. He also interrogates the less familiar Greek notion of the intellect s divinity, and asks what that might mean for us.
Because Plato s dialogues articulate these themes more sharply and influentially than works by any other Greek thinker, Plato receives the most sustained treatment in this account. But at the same time, Long asks whether Plato s explanation of the mind and human behavior is more convincing for modern readers than that contained in the older Homeric poems. Turning to later ancient philosophy, especially Stoicism, Long concludes with an exploration of Epictetus s injunction to live life by making correct use of one s mental impressions.
An authoritative treatment of Greek modes of self-understanding, Greek Models of Mind and Self "demonstrates how ancient thinkers grappled with what is closest to us and yet still most mysterious our own essence as singular human selves and how the study of Greek thought can enlarge and enrich our experience."
"Man is a political animal," Aristotle asserts near the beginning of the Politics. In this unique reading of one of the foundational texts of political philosophy, Eugene Garver traces the surprising implications of Aristotle's claim and explores the treatise's relevance to ongoing political concerns. Often dismissed as overly grounded in Aristotle's specific moment in time, in fact the Politics challenges contemporary understandings of human action and allows us to better see ourselves today. Close examination of Aristotle's treatise, Garver finds, reveals a significant, practical role for philosophy to play in politics. Philosophers present arguments about issues - such as the right and the good, justice and modes of governance, the relation between the good person and the good citizen, and the character of a good life - that politicians must then make appealing to their fellow citizens. Completing Garver's trilogy on Aristotle's unique vision, Aristotle's Politics yields new ways of thinking about ethics and politics, ancient and modern.
Aristotle's Eudemian Ethics has been unjustly neglected in comparison with its more famous counterpart the Nicomachean Ethics. This is in large part due to the fact that until recently no complete translation of the work has been available. But the Eudemian Ethics is a masterpiece in its own right, offering valuable insights into Aristotle's ideas on virtue, happiness and the good life. This volume offers a translation by Brad Inwood and Raphael Woolf that is both fluent and exact, and an introduction in which they help the reader to gain a deeper understanding both of the Eudemian Ethics and of its relation to the Nicomachean Ethics and to Aristotle's ethical thought as a whole. The explanatory notes address Aristotle's many references to other works, people and events. The volume will be of interest to students and scholars of the history of ethics, ancient and moral philosophy, and Aristotle studies.
Plato of Athens, who laid the foundations of the Western philosophical tradition and in range and depth ranks among its greatest practitioners, was born to a prosperous and politically active family circa 427 BC. In early life an admirer of Socrates, Plato later founded the first institution of higher learning in the West, the Academy, among whose many notable alumni was Aristotle. Traditionally ascribed to Plato are thirty-five dialogues developing Socrates' dialectic method and composed with great stylistic virtuosity, together with the Apology and thirteen letters. The four works in this volume recount the circumstances of Socrates' trial and execution in 399 BC. In Euthyphro, set in the weeks before the trial, Socrates and Euthyphro attempt to define holiness. In Apology, Socrates answers his accusers at trial and unapologetically defends his philosophical career. In Crito, a discussion of justice and injustice explains Socrates' refusal of Crito's offer to finance his escape from prison. And in Phaedo, Socrates discusses the concept of an afterlife and offers arguments for the immortality of the soul. This edition, which replaces the original Loeb edition by Harold North Fowler, offers text, translation, and annotation that are fully current with modern scholarship.
Soon after its publication, Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy was hailed as the favorite to become "the 'standard' text for survey courses in ancient philosophy." * More than twenty years later that prediction has been borne out: Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy still stands as the leading anthology of its kind. It is now stronger than ever: The Fifth Edition of Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy features a completely revised Aristotle unit, with new translations, as well as a newly revised glossary. The Plato unit offers new translations of the Meno and Republic . In the latter, indirect dialogue is cast into direct dialogue for greater readability. The Presocratics unit has been re-edited and streamlined, and the pages of every unit have been completely reset. * APA Newsletter for Teaching Philosophy
In the fifth century BCE, Melissus of Samos developed wildly counterintuitive claims against plurality, change, and the reliability of the senses. This book provides a reconstruction of the preserved textual evidence for his philosophy, along with an interpretation of the form and content of each of his arguments. A close examination of his thought reveals an extraordinary clarity and unity in his method and gives us a unique perspective on how philosophy developed in the fifth century, and how Melissus came to be the most prominent representative of what we now call Eleaticism, the monistic philosophy inaugurated by Parmenides. The rich intellectual climate of Ionian enquiry in which Melissus worked is explored and brought to bear on central questions of the interpretation of his fragments. This volume will appeal to students and scholars of early Greek philosophy, and also those working on historical and medical texts.
This unique text is designed as a guide to the most important and influential works of ancient Greek philosophy. The book begins with mythology and the pre-Socratics, then proceeds to examine a number of the most important works from Plato and Aristotle, including Euthyphro, Meno, Republic the Categories, the Physics and the Nicomachean Ethics. Student readers who might otherwise struggle with the primary texts will find an exceedingly helpful guide in Stumpf's clear explanations and analyses. Maps, diagrams and images are provided to aid comprehension.
Sixteenth-century Aristotelianism was the culmination of four centuries of commentary and criticism. Physiologia is one of the first books to provide an accessible and comprehensive guide to that tradition in natural philosophy. In an incisive and readable treatment, Dennis Des Chene illuminates the continuities and disruptions between medieval and modern philosophy and promotes a new understanding of the philosophical setting in which modern notions of science emerged.
"A sophisticated and illuminating study of central questions about Aristotle's views on practical reason and the ultimate good. Cooper's three chapters . . . examine familiar exegetical puzzles in a fresh and challenging way; but they also . . . raise new and fruitful questions about the philosophical merits and implications of Aristotle's theories. . . . He writes vigorously and lucidly, with both scholarly rigor and philosophical imagination." --T. H. Irwin in Archiv fur Geschichte der Philosophie
In this bold and provocative work, French philosopher Alain Badiou proposes a startling reinterpretation of St. Paul. For Badiou, Paul is neither the venerable saint embalmed by Christian tradition, nor the venomous priest execrated by philosophers like Nietzsche: he is instead a profoundly original and still revolutionary thinker whose invention of Christianity weaves truth and subjectivity together in a way that continues to be relevant for us today. In this work, Badiou argues that Paul delineates a new figure of the subject: the bearer of a universal truth that simultaneously shatters the strictures of Judaic Law and the conventions of the Greek Logos. Badiou shows that the Pauline figure of the subject still harbors a genuinely revolutionary potential today: the subject is that which refuses to submit to the order of the world as we know it and struggles for a new one instead.
In the most comprehensive account to date of Walter Benjamin's philosophy of language, Alexander Stern explores the nature of meaning by putting Benjamin in dialogue with Wittgenstein. Known largely for his essays on culture, aesthetics, and literature, Walter Benjamin also wrote on the philosophy of language. This early work is famously obscure and considered hopelessly mystical by some. But for Alexander Stern, it contains important insights and anticipates-in some respects surpasses-the later thought of a central figure in the philosophy of language, Ludwig Wittgenstein. As described in The Fall of Language, Benjamin argues that "language as such" is not a means for communicating an extra-linguistic reality but an all-encompassing medium of expression in which everything shares. Borrowing from Johann Georg Hamann's understanding of God's creation as communication to humankind, Benjamin writes that all things express meanings, and that human language does not impose meaning on the objective world but translates meanings already extant in it. He describes the transformations that language as such undergoes while making its way into human language as the "fall of language." This is a fall from "names"-language that responds mimetically to reality-to signs that designate reality arbitrarily. While Benjamin's approach initially seems alien to Wittgenstein's, both reject a designative understanding of language; both are preoccupied with Russell's paradox; and both try to treat what Wittgenstein calls "the bewitchment of our understanding by means of language." Putting Wittgenstein's work in dialogue with Benjamin's sheds light on its historical provenance and on the turn in Wittgenstein's thought. Although the two philosophies diverge in crucial ways, in their comparison Stern finds paths for understanding what language is and what it does.
Knowledge and Ignorance of Self in Platonic Philosophy is the first volume of essays dedicated to the whole question of self-knowledge and its role in Platonic philosophy. It brings together established and rising scholars from every interpretative school of Plato studies, and a variety of texts from across Plato's corpus - including the classic discussions of self-knowledge in the Charmides and Alcibiades I, and dialogues such as the Republic, Theaetetus, and Theages, which are not often enough mined for insights about this crucial philosophical topic. The rich variety of readings and hermeneutical methods (as well as the comprehensive research bibliography included in the volume) allows for an encompassing view of the relevant scholarly debates. The volume is intended to serve as a standard resource for further research on Plato's treatment of self-knowledge, and will highlight the relevance of Plato's thought to contemporary debates on selfhood, self-reflection and subjectivity.
The Cambridge Edition of Early Christian Writings provides the definitive anthology of early Christian texts, from c.100 to 650 CE. Its six volumes reflect the cultural, intellectual and linguistic diversity of early Christianity and are organized thematically on the topics of God, practice, Christ, community, reading and creation. The series expands the pool of source material to include not only Greek and Latin writings, but also Syriac and Coptic texts. Additionally, the series rejects a theologically normative view by juxtaposing texts that were important in antiquity but later deemed 'heretical', with orthodox texts. The translations are accompanied by introductions, notes, suggestions for further reading and scriptural indices. The first volume focuses on early Christian writings about God's nature and unity, and the meaning of faith. It will be an invaluable resource for students and academic researchers in early Christian studies, history of Christianity, theology, religious studies and late antique Roman history.
Aristotle's moral philosophy is a pillar of Western ethical thought. It bequeathed to the world an emphasis on virtues and vices, happiness as well-being or a life well lived, and rationally motivated action as a mean between extremes. Its influence was felt well beyond antiquity into the Middle Ages, particularly through the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. In the past century, with the rise of virtue theory in moral philosophy, Aristotle's ethics has been revived as a source of insight and interest. While most attention has traditionally focused on Aristotle's famous" Nicomachean Ethics," there are several other works written by or attributed to Aristotle that illuminate his ethics: the "Eudemian Ethics," the "Magna Moralia," and "Virtues and Vices."
This book brings together all four of these important texts, in thoroughly revised versions of the translations found in the authoritative complete works universally recognized as the standard English edition. Edited and introduced by two of the world's leading scholars of ancient philosophy, this is an essential volume for anyone interested in the ethical thought of one of the most important philosophers in the Western tradition.
Plato, the great philosopher of Athens, was born in 427 BCE. In early manhood an admirer of Socrates, he later founded the famous school of philosophy in the grove Academus. Much else recorded of his life is uncertain; that he left Athens for a time after Socrates' execution is probable; that later he went to Cyrene, Egypt, and Sicily is possible; that he was wealthy is likely; that he was critical of 'advanced' democracy is obvious. He lived to be 80 years old. Linguistic tests including those of computer science still try to establish the order of his extant philosophical dialogues, written in splendid prose and revealing Socrates' mind fused with Plato's thought.
In "Laches, Charmides," and "Lysis," Socrates and others discuss separate ethical conceptions. "Protagoras, Ion," and "Meno" discuss whether righteousness can be taught. In "Gorgias," Socrates is estranged from his city's thought, and his fate is impending. The "Apology" (not a dialogue), "Crito, Euthyphro," and the unforgettable "Phaedo" relate the trial and death of Socrates and propound the immortality of the soul. In the famous "Symposium" and "Phaedrus," written when Socrates was still alive, we find the origin and meaning of love. "Cratylus" discusses the nature of language. The great masterpiece in ten books, the "Republic," concerns righteousness (and involves education, equality of the sexes, the structure of society, and abolition of slavery). Of the six so-called dialectical dialogues "Euthydemus" deals with philosophy; metaphysical "Parmenides" is about general concepts and absolute being; "Theaetetus" reasons about the theory of knowledge. Of its sequels, "Sophist" deals with not-being; "Politicus"with good and bad statesmanship and governments; "Philebus" with what is good. The "Timaeus" seeks the origin of the visible universe out of abstract geometrical elements. The unfinished "Critias" treats of lost Atlantis. Unfinished also is Plato's last work of the twelve books of "Laws" (Socrates is absent from it), a critical discussion of principles of law which Plato thought the Greeks might accept.
The Loeb Classical Library edition of Plato is in twelve volumes.
The first philosophers paved the way for the work of Plato and Aristotle - and hence for the whole of Western thought. Aristotle said that philosophy begins with wonder, and the first Western philosophers developed theories of the world which express simultaneously their sense of wonder and their intuition that the world should be comprehensible. But their enterprise was by no means limited to this proto-scientific task. Through, for instance, Heraclitus' enigmatic sayings, the poetry of Parmenides and Empedocles, and Zeno's paradoxes, the Western world was introduced to metaphysics, rationalist theology, ethics, and logic, by thinkers who often seem to be mystics or shamans as much as philosophers or scientists in the modern mould. And out of the Sophists' reflections on human beings and their place in the world arose and interest in language, and in political, moral, and social philosophy. This volume contains a translation of all the most important fragments of the Presocratics and Sophists, and of the most informative testimonia from ancient sources, supplemented by lucid commentary. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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