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Ancient Philosophy


Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


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The Archaeology of the Soul: Platonic Readings in Ancient Poetry and Philosophy by Seth Benardete, Ronna Burger and Michael Davis (St. Augustine's Press) The Archaeology of the Soul is a testimony to the extraordinary scope of Seth Benardete's thought. Some essays concern particular authors or texts; others range more broadly and are thematic. Some deal explicitly with philosophy; others deal with epic, lyric, and tragic poetry. Some of these authors are Greek, some Roman, and still others are contemporaries writing about antiquity. All of these essays, however, are informed by an underlying vision, which is a reflection of Benardete's life-long engagement with one thinker in particular – Plato. The Platonic dialogue presented Benardete with the most vivid case of that periagoge, or turn-around, that he found to be the sign of all philosophic thinking and that is the signature as well of his own interpretations not only of Plato but also of other thinkers. The late Benardete (1930-2001), was an outstanding teacher and scholar in classical literature and philosophy and taught at New York University; editors are Ronna Burger, who teaches philosophy at Tulane University and Michael Davis, who teaches philosophy at Sarah Lawrence College. More

How Should One Live?: Comparing Ethics in Ancient China and Greco-Roman Antiquity by Richard King (DeGruyter) Chinese and Greco-Roman ethics present highly articulate views on how one should live; both of these traditions remain influential in modern philosophy. The question arises how these traditions can be compared with one another. Comparative ethics is a relatively young discipline; this volume is a major contribution to the field. Fundamental questions about the nature of comparing ethics are treated in two introductory chapters, and core issues in each of the traditions are addressed: harmony, virtue, friendship, knowledge, the relation of ethics to morality, relativism, emotions, being and unity, simplicity and complexity, and prediction. More

Parmenides, Venerable and Awesome: Proceedings of the International Symposium by Nestor-Luis Cordero (Parmenides Publishing) Despite Parmenides' tremendous importance during his own lifetime and his perennial influence on philosophical thought ever since, the great Eleatic - born circa 515 BCE and described by Plato as "Venerable and Awesome" (Theaetetus, 183e) - had never been the subject of an international conference until 2007, when some of the world's most eminent specialists on Parmenides' philosophy convened for a multinational and multilingual Symposium in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This present volume offers a collection of the papers (translated, where applicable) presented at the conference, each advancing the respective scholar's current state of research on Parmenides and his Poem, "On Nature", often with far-reaching and sometimes controversial results. The topics discussed include the challenge of translation, the Poem's poetic form, its logical structure, the sequence of the fragments, the interpretation of "Aletheia" and "Doxa", what Parmenides meant by "mortals" the Poem's "physics" (especially Parmenidean astronomy), the various senses of Being and the role of thought, as well as Plato's relationship to Parmenides. In their different ways each contribution conveys a deep appreciation for the revolutionary nature of Parmenides' philosophy, and the collection as a whole bears witness to the fact that the study of Parmenides continues to yield rich and prolific scholarship - perhaps today more so than ever. This book is intended for scholars and non-specialists alike, and will be of particular relevance to students of Ancient Greek Philosophy, Classical Studies, as well as philosophy and literature more generally. It includes contributors such as: Scott Austin; Jean Bollack; Giovanni Casertano; Barbara Cassin; Giovanni Cerri; Nestor-Luis Cordero; Lambros Couloubaritsis; Patricia Curd; Jean Frere; Arnold Hermann; Charles H Kahn; Alexander P D Mourelatos; Massimo Pulpito; Chiara Robbiano; Fernando Santoro; Jose Trindade Santos; Jose Dueso Solana; and, Panagiotis Thanassas.
Parmenides, Venerable and Awesome discusses all aspects of Parmenides' Poem, "On Nature", including the challenge of translation, the Poem’s poetic form, its logical structure, the sequence of the fragments, the interpretation of “Aletheia” and “Doxa,” what Parmenides meant by “mortals,” the Poem’s “physics” (especially Parmenidean astronomy), the various senses of Being and the role of thought, as well as Plato’s relationship to Parmenides. In their different ways each contribution conveys a deep appreciation for the revolutionary nature of Parmenides’ philosophy, and the collection as a whole bears witness to the fact that the study of Parmenides continues to yield rich and prolific scholarship—perhaps today more so than ever. More

Parmenides, Plato and Mortal Philosophy: Return from Transcendence by Vishwa Adluri (Continuum) Parmenides has survived the "parricide" committed against him in Plato's Sophist and in every philosophy of plurality and becoming. Despite the brevity of the fragments of his poem, supposedly titled On Nature (Peri Phuseos), and the apparent simplicity of its central thought -- "being is" -- Parmenides continues to nourish speculation, historical research, and philological debate. We now even have Parmenides Publishing, which has printed or reprinted over half a dozen studies of the pre-Socratic to date. The series Continuum Studies in Ancient Philosophy currently includes no fewer than three books on the topic: Raymond Tallis' The Enduring Significance of Parmenides, Lisa Atwood Wilkinson's Parmenides and To Eon, and Vishwa Adluri's Parmenides, Plato, and Mortal Philosophy. Adluri's work stands out for the radicality of its argument, the subtlety of its interdisciplinary interpretations, and the forthright passion that motivates it.

Adluri's radical reading denies that Parmenides is the enemy of plurality and becoming. How can this be, if the poem bluntly argues that, since "being is," becoming is unthinkable and being is eternally one -- pastless, futureless, and featureless? The answer begins in plain sight, on the surface of the poem, but this surface has been ignored all too often by readers who assume they already know what Parmenides stands for.  Parmenides does not in fact say "being is." The phrase (with its sundry tortured variations) is uttered by an unnamed goddess who addresses the poem's narrator. The poem begins in the first person, describing the narrator's (Parmenides'?) passionate journey ("as far as thumos might reach," fragment 1, line 1) to the gates of the divine domain. The goddess then welcomes the voyager and presents two accounts: an account of the "truth" (monistic being) and an account of mortal opinions about the mutable cosmos. The usual assumption is that the first-person proem is window dressing: like the dactylic hexameter, it is a remnant of or concession to the prephilosophical, mythmaking culture from which Parmenides is emerging. The goddess' first account is assumed to be Parmenides' own theory. Her second account is then problematic: if there is nothing but being, how can there "be" a plurality of phenomena, opinions (whether true or untrue), and opiners? Parmenides the monist turns out to be an extreme dualist, due to his uncompromising split between reality and appearance. Our task is then to construct a logical solution to this split -- if not within Parmenides' theory itself, then in our own physical or metaphysical theories. More

Socrates and Philosophy in the Dialogues of Plato by Sandra Peterson (Cambridge University Press) In Plato's Apology, Socrates says he spent his life examining and questioning people on how best to live, while avowing that he himself knows nothing important. Elsewhere, however, for example in Plato's Republic, Plato's Socrates presents radical and grandiose theses.
In this book Sandra Peterson offers a new hypothesis which explains the puzzle of Socrates' two contrasting manners. She argues that the apparently confident doctrinal Socrates is in fact conducting the first step of an examination: by eliciting his interlocutors' reactions, his apparently doctrinal lectures reveal what his interlocutors believe is the best way to live. She tests her hypothesis by close reading of passages in the Theaetetus, Republic, and Phaedo. Her provocative conclusion, that there is a single Socrates whose conception and practice of philosophy remain the same throughout the dialogues, will be of interest to a wide range of readers in ancient philosophy and classics. More

Rabbi Joseph Gikatilla's Hermeneutics by Elke Morlok (Mohr Siebeck) Elke Morlok deals with the hermeneutics of R. Joseph Gikatilla, one of the most outstanding and influential kabbalists of medieval Jewish mysticism. His literary creativity falls onto the last decades of the 13th century, when very innovative ideas on kabbalah and its hermeneutics were developed and formulated for the first time. The author analyzes several key concepts throughout his writings such as his ideas on letter combination, symbol, memory, imagination and ritual and their varying functions within the hermeneutical and theosophic structures that underlie Gikatilla's approach. With the application of methods derived from modern theories on language and literature, she tries to create the basis for a fruitful encounter between medieval mystical hermeneutics and postmodern hermeneutical approaches. As Gikatilla incorporates two main trends of kabbalistic thinking during the medieval period, he was one of the most valuable sources for Christian thinkers interested in medieval kabbalistic thought. More

Plato's Parmenides and Its' Heritage: History and Interpretation from the Old Academy to Later Platonism and Gnosticism  by John D. Turner and Kevin Corrigan (Writings from the Greco-Roman World Supplements, 2: Brill Academic) Paper
Plato's Parmenides and Its' Heritage: Its Reception in Neoplatonic, Jewish, and Christian Texts by John D. Turner and Kevin Corrigan (Writings from the Greco-Roman World Supplements, 3: Brill Academic) Paper
'Plato’s Parmenides and Its Heritage' presents in two volumes ground-breaking results in the history of interpretation of Plato’s Parmenides, the culmination of six years of international collaboration by the SBL Annual Meeting seminar, “Rethinking Plato’s Parmenides and Its Platonic, Gnostic and Patristic Reception” (2001–2007).
The theme of Volume 1 is the dissolution of firm boundaries for thinking about the tradition of Parmenides interpretation from the Old Academy through Middle Platonism and Gnosticism. The volume suggests a radically different interpretation of the history of thought from Plato to Proclus than is customary by arguing against Proclus’s generally accepted view that there was no metaphysical interpretation of the Parmenides before Plotinus in the third century C.E. Instead, this volume traces such metaphysical interpretations, first, to Speusippus and the early Platonic Academy; second, to the Platonism of the first and second centuries C.E. in figures like Moderatus and Numenius; third, to the emergence of an exegetical tradition that read Aristotle’s categories in relation to the Parmenides; and, fourth, to important Middle Platonic figures and texts. The contributors to Volume 1 are Kevin Corrigan, Gerald Bechtle, Luc Brisson, John Dillon, Thomas Szlezák, Zlatko Pleše, Noel Hubler, John D. Turner, Johanna Brankaer, Volker Henning Drecoll, and Alain Lernould.
Volume 2 examines and establishes for the first time evidence for a significant knowledge of the Parmenides in Philo, Clement, and patristic sources. It offers an extensive and balanced analysis of the case for and against the various possible attributions of date and authorship of the Anonymous Commentary in relation to Gnosticism, Middle Platonism, and Neoplatonism and argues that on balance the case for a pre-Plotinian authorship is warranted. It also undertakes for the first time in this form an examination of the Parmenides in relation to Jewish and Christian thought, moving from Philo and Clement through Origen and the Cappadocians to Pseudo-Dionysius. The contributors to Volume 2 are Matthias Vorwerk, Kevin Corrigan, Luc Brisson, Volker Henning Drecoll, Tuomas Rasimus, John F. Finamore, John M. Dillon, Sara Ahbel-Rappe, Gerald Bechtle, David T. Runia, Mark Edwards, Jean Reynard, and Andrew Radde-Gallwitz. More

From Inquiry to Demonstrative Knowledge: New Essays on Aristotle's Posterior Analytics edited by J. H. Lesher (Academic Printing and Publishing)  ISBN 9781926598017. Aristotle's Posterior Analytics is regarded as an original work that determined the course of philosophy of science — and to some extent of science itself — for two millennia. Nevertheless the work poses many challenges to the scholar. How does the demonstrative syllogism that is the focus of Aristotle's interest in the APo relate to the non-syllogistic accounts of phenomena that we find in his scientific treatises? How do the accounts of knowledge, definition, and explanation put forward in the APo stand in relation to other elements in Aristotle's philosophy — his accounts of substance, the four causes, the distinctions between actuality and potentiality, form and matter, processes and activities, etc? How exactly do we know the first principles of scientific inquiry: why should we suppose that we have access to some non-demonstrative way of knowing, why in explaining how we can know first principles does Aristotle focus instead on how we form concepts, and what could it possibly mean to say that 'while we perceive the particular, perception is of the universal'? The distinguished contributors to this volume address all of these questions and more. The volume sets a new standard for the interpretation and assessment of one of Aristotle's most important philosophical works. More

The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life by Bettany Hughes (Knopf) WE THINK THE WAY WE DO because Socrates thought the way he did; in his unwavering commitment to truth and in the example of his own life, he set the standard for all subsequent Western philosophy. And yet, for twenty-five centuries, he has remained an enigma: a man who left no written legacy and about whom everything we know is hearsay, gleaned from the writings of Plato, Xenophon and Aristophanes. Now Bettany Hughes gives us an unprecedented, brilliantly vivid portrait of Socrates and of his homeland, Athens in its Golden Age.

His life spanned "seventy of the busiest, most wonderful and tragic years in Athenian history." It was a city devastated by war, but, at the same time, transformed by the burgeoning process of democracy, and Hughes re-creates this fifth-century B.C. city, drawing on the latest sources—archaeological, topographical and textual—to illuminate the streets where Socrates walked, to place him there and to show us the world as he experienced it.

She takes us through the great, teeming Agora—the massive marketplace, the heart of ancient Athens—where Socrates engaged in philosophical dialogue and where he would be condemned to death. We visit the battlefields where he fought, the red-light district and gymnasia he frequented and the religious festivals he attended. We meet the men and the few women—including his wife, Xanthippe, and his "inspiration" and confidante, Aspasia—who were central to his life. We travel to where he was born and where he died. And we come to understand the profound influences of time and place in the evolution of his eternally provocative philosophy.

Deeply informed and vibrantly written, combining historical inquiry and storytelling élan, The Hemlock Cup gives us the most substantial, fascinating, humane depiction we have ever had of one of the most influential thinkers of all time. More 

The Cambridge History of Philosophy in Late Antiquity 2 Volume Set by Lloyd P. Gerson (Cambridge University Press) The Cambridge History of Philosophy in Late Antiquity comprises over forty specially commissioned essays by experts on the philosophy of the period 200–800 CE. Designed as a successor to The Cambridge History of Later Greek`and Early Medieval Philosophy (ed. A. H. Armstrong), it takes into account some forty years of scholarship since the publication of that volume. The contributors examine philosophy as it entered literature, science and religion, and offer new and extensive assessments of philosophers who until recently have been mostly ignored. The volume also includes a complete digest of all philosophical works known to have been written during this period. It will be an invaluable resource for all those interested in this rich and still emerging field. More

Plato on Music, Soul and Body by Francesco Pelosi (Cambridge University Press) Plato's reflection on the relationship between soul and body has attracted scholars' attention since antiquity. Less noted, but worthy of consideration, is Plato's thought on music and its effects on human beings. This book adopts an innovative approach towards analysing the soul—body problem by uncovering and emphasising the philosophical value of Plato's treatment of the phenomenon of music. By investigating in detail how Plato conceives of the musical experience and its influence on intelligence, passions and perceptions, it illuminates the intersection of cognitive and emotional functions in Plato's philosophy of mind.
FRANCESCO PELOSI obtained a Ph.D. in philosophy at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. His main field of research is the relation between music and philosophy in ancient Greece. More 

The Texts of Early Greek Philosophy: The Complete Fragments and Selected Testimonies of the Major Presocratics in two volume set by Daniel W. Graham (Cambridge University Press) [hardcover set] This sourcebook in two parts gives the reader easy access to the language and thought of the Presocratic thinkers, making it possible either to read the texts continuously or to study them one by one along with commentary. It contains the complete fragments and a generous selection of testimonies for twenty major Presocratic thinkers including cosmologists, ontologists, and sophists, setting translations opposite Greek and Latin texts on facing pages to allow easy comparison. The texts are grouped in chapters by author in a mainly chronological order, each preceded by a brief introduction and followed by a brief commentary and an up-to-date bibliography. Significant variant readings are noted. This edition contains new fragments and testimonies not included in the authoritative but now outdated Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker. It is the first and only bilingual edition of the works of the Presocratic philosophers for English-speakers: Volume One contains Part I. Cosmologists and ontologists.  The sixth century BE: 1. Thales (Ths) 2. Anaximander (Axr) 3. Anaximenes (Axs) 4. Xenophanes (Xns) 5. Heraclitus (Hct)
B. The fifth century BCE 6. Parmenides (Prm)  7. Zeno (Zno) 8. Anaxagoras (Axg) 9. Empedocles (Emp) RD. Diogenes of Apollonia (Dgn) 11. Melissus (Mls) 12. Philolaus (Phs) 13. The Atomists: Leucippus and Democritus (Lcp, Dmc) 14. The Atomists, continued: Democritus' ethical fragments
Volume 2 contains Part II: Sophists: 15. Protagoras (Prt) 16. Gorgias (Grg) 17. Antiphon (Ant) 18. Prodicus (Prd) 19. Anonymous texts
A. Anonymus Iamblichi (AnI) B. Dissoi Logoi (DsL) Appendix: Pythagoras (Pth) More

Plato and the Talmud by Jacob Howland (Cambridge University Press) This innovative study sees the relationship between Athens and Jerusalem through the lens of the Platonic dialogues and the Talmud. Howland argues that these texts are animated by comparable conceptions of the proper roles of inquiry and reasoned debate in religious life, and by a profound awareness of the limits of our understanding of things divine. Insightful readings of Plato's Apology, Euthyphro, and chapter three of tractate Ta'anit explore the relationship of prophets and philosophers, fathers and sons, and gods and men (among other themes), bringing to light the tension between rational inquiry and faith that is essential to the speeches and deeds of both Socrates and the Talmudic sages. In reflecting on the pedagogy of these texts, Howland shows in detail how Talmudic aggadah and Platonic drama and narrative speak to different sorts of readers in seeking mimetically to convey the living ethos of rabbinic Judaism and Socratic philosophizing. More

Opening the Tablet Box: Near Eastern Studies in Honor of Benjamin R. Foster  by Sarah C. Melville and Alice L. Slotsky (Culture and History of the Ancient Near East: Brill Academic Publishers) is a scholarly tribute to Benjamin R. Foster, Laffan Professor of Assyriology and Babylonian Literature and Curator of the Babylonian Collection at Yale University, from some of his students, colleagues, and companions, in appreciation of his outstanding achievements and in thanks for his friendship. Reflecting on the remarkable breadth of the honoree’s research interests, the twenty-six original papers in this Festschrift cover a wide range of topics in ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian literature, economic and social history, as well as art and archaeology. More

The Afterlife of the Platonic Soul: Reflections of Platonic Psychology in the Monotheistic Religions edited by Maha Elkaisy-Friemuth and John M. Dillon (Ancient Mediterranean and Medieval Texts and Contexts: Brill Academic) Plato's doctrine of the soul, its immaterial nature, its parts or faculties, and its fate after death (and before birth) came to have an enormous influence on the great religious traditions that sprang up in late antiquity, beginning with Judaism (in the person of Philo of Alexandria), and continuing with Christianity, from St. Paul on through the Alexandrian and Cappadocian Fathers to Byzantium, and finally with Islamic thinkers from al-Kindi on. This volume, while not aspiring to completeness, attempts to provide insights into how members of each of these traditions adapted Platonist doctrines to their own particular needs, with varying degrees of creativity.

This volume aims to present a study on the treatment of the human soul by a selection of medieval Christian, Jewish and Muslim thinkers. Notably, medieval thought was heavily influenced by Greek philosophy, ever since Philo of Alexandria had first integrated it into his interpretation of the Bible. Church Fathers, and Muslim and Jewish theologians afterwards, found in Greek theorizing an objective logical tool for understanding the world and its creator or originator. Integrating and reconciling Greek thought to one or other of the three monotheistic religions, however, was a great challenge which most thinkers of this period felt it incumbent upon them to face. The reason, perhaps, is that both religion and philosophy claim to possess truth. Some issues, it must be said, found no interdisciplinary solution and remained a subject of conflict, such as the question of the origin of the world, whether it is created or eternal. Others, however, like the question of the faculties of the human intellect and the process of thinking, were settled under agreement between philosophy and religion. The nature and the future of the human soul is also one of the most important problems which call for deep study and support from both theology and philosophy. Thus, this volume devotes considerable attention to the problems that arise when studying the nature and the destiny of the human soul, and illustrates some of the solutions which the most notable thinkers of the mediaeval period provided. More

Nature and Science in Hellenistic Poetry by M.A. Harber, R.F. Regtuit, G.C. Wakker (Hellenistica Groningana: Peeters) contains the papers of the 'Groningen Workshop on Hellenistic Poetry 8: Nature and Science' (Groningen 2006). During the workshop, a first draft of the papers was commented on by an international group of specialists in the field of Hellenistic poetry. This volume deals with the interaction between 'nature and science' and Hellenistic poetry, particularly the ways in which poets were inspired and stimulated by the results of science and incorporated them into their work. In the Hellenistic period, the fields of nature and science on the one hand and scholarship and poetry on the other hand touch and overlap to a large extent and the boundaries between science and poetry were not as straight and clear as they are today. The articles in this volume refine the general picture somewhat further. They focus on various authors and topics, e.g. Aratus, Nicander and Callimachus, medicine, astronomy, and geography. More

On the Daimonion of Socrates: Human Liberation, Divine Guidance & Philosophy by Heinz-Gunther Nesselrath (Scripta Antiquitatis Posterioris Ad Ethicam Religionemque Pertinentia: Mohr Siebeck) Most modern scholarship has been disconcerted by the combination of exciting historical romance and serious philosophical and religious discussion. Many attempts have therefore been made to identify themes and connections which might be held to unify the whole: Liberation (as the soul is freed with difficulty from the ills of the body, so Thebes is freed from the Spartan occupation); divine guidance (Epaminondas, like Socrates, is under a special tutelary daimon); or a general concern with signs and portents. It is doubtful whether any of these ideas is a guide to Plutarch's intentions.1 These should be sought rather in his educational concerns. In the preface to De audiendis poetis (14E) he observes that young students, not yet ready for the formal study of philosophy, nevertheless take pleasure in works like Heraclides' Abaris and Ariston's Lycon, in which philosophy and fabulous narrative are combined. If we consider De genio in this light, it is clear that it fills the bill very well. There is the exciting patriotic story of the liberation of Thebes; there is also the speculation about divination and the fate of the soul after death; there is even a miniature Socratic dialogue on doing good (584B-585D) and a suggestion that it is a good thing to study mathematics (579A—D). We should also recall that the narrator, Caphisias, Epaminondas' younger brother, is young, and emphasises his youth (he has lovers, he spends time in the gymnasia), and that the bravery of Charon's fifteen year old son is given special prominence (595B—D). It would be foolish to suggest that Plutarch is primarily targeting an adolescent readership (or his own pupils) but he certainly has one in mind, as he does also in his Banquet of the Seven Wise Men and in Gryllus. And it is a Boeotian audience: he makes the visionary who relates the myth a native of his own city Chaeronea, and he gives us a great deal of antiquarian detail about the religions and political practices of Boeotia in classical times. More

Hierocles the Stoic by Ilaria Ramelli, translated by David Konstan (Society of Biblical Literature: Brill) Hierocles, the Stoic philosopher of the early imperial age, is a crucial witness to Middle and Neo-Stoicism, especially with regard to their ethical philosophy. In this volume, all of Hierocles surviving works are translated into English for the first time, with the original Greek and a facing English translation: the Elements of Ethics, preserved on papyrus, along with all fragments and excerpts from the treatise On Duties, collected by Stobaeus in the fifth century C.E. and dealing mainly with social relationships, marriage, household, and family. In addition, Ramelli s introductory essay demonstrates how Hierocles was indebted to the Old Stoa and how he modified its doctrines in accord with Middle Stoicism and further developments in philosophy as well as his personal views. Finally, Ramelli s extensive commentary on Hierocles works clarifies philosophical questions raised by the text and provides rich and updated references to existing scholarship.  More

Erotic Wisdom: Philosophy and Intermediacy in Plato's Symposium by Gary Alan Scott and William A. Welton (SUNY series in Ancient Greek Philosophy)  Wisdom provides a careful reading of one of Plato's most beloved dialogues, the Symposium, which explores the nature and scope of human desire (erôs). Gary Alan Scott and William A. Welton engage all of the dialogue's major themes, devoting special attention to illuminating Plato's conception of philosophy. In the Symposium, Plato situates philosophy in an intermediate (metaxu) position—between need and resource, ignorance and knowledge—showing how the very lack of what one desires can become a guiding form of contact with the objects of human desire. The authors examine the concept of intermediacy in relation both to Platonic metaphysics and to Plato's moral psychology, arguing that philosophy, for Plato, is properly understood as a kind of "being in-between," as the love of wisdom (philosophia) rather than the possession of it. More

Anaximander and the Architects: The Contributions of Egyptian and Greek Architectural Technologies to the Origins of Greek Philosophy by Robert Hahn (S U N Y Series in Ancient Greek Philosophy: State University of New York Press) and Studies of Anaximander in Context: New Studies on the Origins of Greek Philosophy by Dirk Couprie, Robert Hahn, Gerard Naddaf (State University if New York Press) manages to place the development of Anaximander's thought squarely within social, political, cosmological, astronomical, and technological contexts. It brings to the forefront of modern debates the importance of cultural context, and the indispensability of images to clarify ancient ideologies. Opens a previously unexplored avenue into Presocratic philosophy--the technology of monumental architecture. The evidence, coming directly from sixth century BCE. building sites and bypassing Aristotle, shows how the architects and their projects supplied their Ionian communities with a sprouting vision of natural order governed by structural laws. Their technological innovations and design techniques formed the core of an experimental science and promoted a rational, not mythopoetical, discourse central to our understanding of the context in which early Greek philosophy emerged. Anaximander's prose book and his rationalizing mentality are illuminated in surprising ways by appeal to the ongoing, extraordinary projects of the archaic architects and their practical techniques.

Beside these pioneering studies Archaeology and the Origins of Philosophy by Robert Hahn (State University of New York Press) deals with architectural details and what they suggest in regards the cosmology of Anaximander, augmenting and supplying more detail to the uses of archaeology to enhance our understanding of the early cosmologists.

In May 2000, I had the honor of giving the Theophilos Beikos Lecture at the University of Athens. My presentation was a summary of a central theme of Anaximander and the Architects that was then just about to be published. By chance, one of the most senior scholars in the field, Alexander Mourelatos, was in the audience and after the lecture he made a remark to me that, unforeseeable at that time, led to this new book. Up until that time, I had been describing my research as trying to show how an appeal to ancient architecture and its technologies could illuminate Anaximander's thought and a fortiori the origins of Greek philosophy. Mourelatos remarked that he had never before heard anyone explain Greek philosophy by appeal to archaeology. I was initially taken by surprise by the way he put it. But I realized straightaway that my research in ancient architecture and its technologies relied on archaeological artifacts and archaeological reports. And so while I was struck by his wording, I also was struck by the very idea that despite the enormous literature on Greek philosophy, scholars have not appealed to archaeology for major insights. My next book project, Studies of Anaximander in Context: New Studies on the Origins of Greek Philosophy, continued architectural themes but also included discussions of proportions and numbers in archaic sculpture (and the metrics of poetry), and so my appeal to archaeology was extended further. More

Late Antique Epistemology: Other Ways to Truth edited by Stephen Clark, Panayiota Vassilopoulou (Palgrave Macmillan)  explores the techniques used by late antique philosophers to discuss truth. Non-rational ways to discover truth, or to  reform the soul, have usually been thought inferior to the philosophically approved techniques of rational argument, suitable for the less philosophically inclined, for children, savages or the uneducated. Religious rituals, oracles, erotic passion, madness may all have served to waken courage or remind us of realities obscured by everyday concerns. What is unusual in the late antique classical philosophers is that these techniques were reckoned as reliable as reasoned argument, or better still. Late twentieth century commentators have offered psychological explanations of this turn, but only recently has it been accepted that there might also have been philosophical explanations, and that the later antique philosophers were not necessarily deluded. More

The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies by Thomas McEvilley (Allworth Press) This unparalleled study of early Eastern and Western philosophy challenges every existing belief about the foundations of Western civilization. Spanning thirty years of intensive research, this book proves what many scholars could not explain: that today’s Western world must be considered the product of both Greek and Indian thought—Western and Eastern philosophies.

Thomas McEvilley explores how trade, imperialism, and migration currents allowed cultural philosophies to intermingle freely throughout India, Egypt, Greece, and the ancient Near East. This groundbreaking reference will stir relentless debate among philosophers, art historians, and students.  More

Post-Hellenistic Philosophy: A Study in Its Development from the Stoics to Origen by G. R. Boys-Stones (Oxford University Press) This book traces, for the first time, a revolution in philosophy which took place during the early centuries of our era. It reconstructs the philosophical basis of the Stoics' theory that fragments of an ancient and divine wisdom could be reconstructed from mythological traditions, and shows that Platonism was founded on an argument that Plato had himself achieved a full reconstruction of this wisdom, and that subsequent philosophies had only regressed once again in their attempts to 'improve' on his achievement. The significance of this development is highlighted through parallel studies of the Hellenistic debate over the status of Jewish culture; and of the philosophical beginnings of Christianity, where the notions of 'orthodoxy' and 'heresy' in particular are shown to be tools in the construction of a unified history of Christian philosophy stretching back to primitive antiquity. More

Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy XXVIII edited by David Sedley (Oxford University Press) (Hardcover) Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy is a volume of original articles on all aspects of ancient philosophy. The articles may be of substantial length, and include critical notices of major books. OSAP is now published twice yearly, in both hardback and paperback. This volume includes articles on Heraclitus and Plotinus, with several on each of Aristotle and Plato. More

Visions of Development: A Study of Human Values by David Alexander Clark, Peter H. Nolan (Edward Elgar) Visions of Development is a path-breaking and original volume, examining concepts and perceptions of human development through a unique synthesis of empirical and philosophical work. It builds on the foundations of Sen and Nussbaum’s capability approach, now at the forefront of development studies.

The author identifies and clarifies academic concepts of development, to consider how poor people themselves perceive ‘development’ and confronts abstract concepts of development with the views of ordinary people. The book represents the first systematic attempt to construct a development ethic (list of valuable capabilities) that is based directly on the values and experiences of the poor.

David Clark considers the case for viewing development in terms of the expansion of human capabilities instead of some narrow conception of utility or opulence, and develops a non-paternalistic methodology for forging a development ethic that can respect the values of all people. He then proceeds to develop an account of human development based on the perceptions of people living in both rural and urban locations in South Africa - Murraysburg and Wallacedene respectively.

A multidisciplinary and accessible text, this challenging book will appeal not only to scholars and researchers in development economics but also economic geographers, social scientists and political economists. It will also be of great interest to policymakers and practitioners.

Excerpt: The concept of human development is as old as philosophy itself. Discussions of what makes a good life date back at least to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and the Ancient Greek tradition. In fact, much of ancient philosophy concerns itself with the question of eudaimonia, i.e.. `the state of having an objectively desirable human life.’ The objective character of eudaimonia distinguishes it from the ancient philosophies of the Epicureans and Stoics, who saw the good in terms of mental tranquillity; and from modern concepts of utility, which are concerned with the achievement of a subjectively satisfactory life.

But Ancient Greek philosophy (and subsequent moral theories) had little influence upon the development of modern political economy and social science - the disciplines that eventually gave rise to the birth of development studies as an independent field of inquiry in the 1950s. Social scientists expressed little interest in ancient concepts of eudaimonia and human flourishing. Outside the domain of Classics and Philosophy these concepts were largely forgotten. Economists in particular were uncomfortable with ethical questions and sought to avoid subjective value judgements by divorcing their `science' from the realms of politics and moral philosophy.

Most development economists turned to more practical issues, such as the determinants of economic growth and the merits of competition and trade. Modem conceptions of development concerned themselves with growth, capital accumulation, technological change, structural transformation of the economy, and the modernisation of the social, cultural and political institutions necessary to facilitate economic development (see Chapter 1). In the early days of the development studies discipline comparatively little attention was devoted to the development of human beings as ends in themselves.

In fact economists and other social scientists have said little of substance about the meaning of `development'. No books appear to be devoted to an exclusive or systematic treatment of the concept of `development' .4 Instead, discussions have been restricted to a small number of academic papers and introductory chapters in elementary textbooks. Some meaningful contributions have been made, but most of the available literature takes the form of criticizing existing concepts rather than developing new ideas or building upon old ones. In most cases little direct interest is expressed in the concept of development. Most treatments seem to be motivated by other objectives, such as the desire to reassess existing development strategies or construct basic social and economic indicators to guide public policy.

There are several practical reasons for studying the concept of development. In particular a more thorough and comprehensive exposition of the meaning of development could help to improve policy and form a foundation for building new and better theories. In the words of one of the pioneers of development studies:

... we have to dispel the fog around the word development and decide more precisely what we mean by it. Only then will we be able to devise meaningful targets and indicators, and thus help to improve policy, national or international.

By the 1990s however, the `fog' surrounding the concept of development had not cleared. The notion of development still seemed to require clarification before it could be used to inform public policy, as another prominent scholar of development observed:

... the main question - What does development mean? - is important. The failure to have an objective that is widely understood, and accepted and has relevance for policy, is an important reason for the many difficulties that nations encounter in designing consistent and effective policies.

Yet despite the widespread interest in designing development strategy and the calls to clarify and agree the goals of development, few economists or social scientists made a serious effort to work in the field of development ethics.

An early exception was Denis Goulet whose book, The Cruel Choice, aimed to introduce - in the words of the sub title - `a new concept in the theory of development'. Goulet however, devotes only seven pages (of a 362 page book) to the actual formulation of a development ethic (Goulet, 1971, pp.87-94).6 Moreover, Goulet's notion of development (life sustenance, self­esteem, and freedom from servitude) is remarkably thin in comparison to Aristotle's original account of human flourishing, and contains little that is genuinely new. Subsequent attempts to conceptualise development in the 1970s and early 1980s were typically confined to the enumeration of basic needs or the construction of a small selection of socio-economic indicators.

Few social scientists concerned themselves with the big picture. Instead, attention centered on a narrowly defined set of human needs. One distinguished economist-philosopher however, has adopted a different approach. In a series of journal papers and books dating from the late 1970s, Amartya Sen began to construct a more comprehensive framework for conceptualising human well-being and development. According to Sen development is about the expansion of human capabilities. One argument in favour of the capability approach is the need to (re)focus on people, who are the ultimate beneficiaries of real development. Following the eighteenth century philosopher Immanuel Kant, Sen argues for the necessity of viewing people as ends in themselves and never as only means to other ends:

Human beings are the agents, beneficiaries and adjudicators of progress, but they also happen to be - directly or indirectly - the primary means of all production. The dual role of human beings provides a rich ground for confusion of ends and means in planning and policy making. Indeed, it can - and frequently does - take the form of focusing on production and prosperity as the essence of progress, treating people as the means through which the productive process is brought about (rather than seeing the lives of people as the ultimate -concerns and treating production and prosperity merely as means to those lives). (Sen, 1990, p.41)

Meanwhile some modern philosophers had already given some thought to the ultimate ends of a good human life. Perhaps the most notable is James Griffin (1986) whose book Well-Being proposed a list of Prudential Values.' But in stark contrast to most other philosophers, Sen's approach is firmly rooted in social science. His philosophy has profoundly influenced the way in which economists and policy makers think about the real world. By focusing on ends rather than means, Sen has revolutionised the way in which social science understands the concept of 'development'.

Sen is also responsible for inspiring other social scientists to take an active interest in development ethics. By the 1990s the capability approach had emerged as the leading alternative to traditional concepts of welfare. Sen's conceptual framework (and friendship with the late Mahbub ul Haq) encouraged the UNDP to compile a Human Development Report, which has been published annually since 1990 (e.g.. UNDP, 1990; see also Haq, 1995). Meanwhile WIDER published the proceedings of two major conferences attended by leading economists and philosophers from around the world, both of which were concerned with the foundations and application of Sen's capability approach (see Nussbaum and Glover, 1995; Nussbaum and Sen, 1993)." New terminology began to enter the social science and development literature. Phrases like `development ethic', `human good', `good living' and `well-being' were finally used alongside more familiar terms such as `living standards', `quality of life' and `human development'.

But most of the debates that transpired were conducted by philosophers or economists with a keen interest in philosophy from elite universities in the UK and North America. (Consider the list of contributors to the WIDER conferences in the two volumes cited above.) These philosophers operated strictly at the level of theory. While most economists were uncomfortable with ethical questions, social philosophers expressed little interest in solid empirical work. The possibility of testing their grand designs in the public domain or constructing an account of human well-being that rests squarely on the values and attitudes of ordinary people were not seriously considered." Some philosophers regarded such endeavours as superfluous and perhaps even misguided. Most felt that such tasks fell outside the domain of philosophy and should be left to social scientists or anthropologists who are better equipped to handle these kinds of investigations.

While Sen's capability approach has revolutionised our understanding of human development, further research is required to make his framework operational. Before human development can be assessed a list of relevant ends is required. Although countless lists have appeared in the literature, no systematic attempt has been made to develop an account of capability or need through scientific investigation. There are no apparent examples of what might be called an 'empirical philosophy' in development ethics, where theoretical accounts of human well-being and development are informed by empirical studies of human values. 13 It is therefore prudent to reflect on the usefulness and relevance of some of the abstract concepts of human development and hypothetical accounts of well­being advocated by philosophers and social theorists. An authentic development ethic should not be divorced from the hopes, expectations and aspirations of ordinary people. 14 This point has been underlined in the South Report, which was compiled by an independent team of scholars from developing countries:

True development has to be people centered. It has to be directed at the fulfillment of human potential and the improvement of social and economic well-being of the people. And it has to be designed to secure what the people themselves perceive to be their social and economic interests.

Taking account of the views of ordinary people from poor countries may also provide philosophers and social theorists with some useful and potentially unique insights into human development.

In fact one solitary social scientist (who wrote long before Sen inspired a small group of economists and social theorists to take an active interest in development ethics) has called for a more direct approach for understanding poverty and human development. In a passage which has been overshadowed by more recent contributions to development ethics, Goulet observes:

Underdevelopment is shocking: the squalor, disease, unnecessary deaths, and hopelessness of it all! No man understands if underdevelopment remains for him a mere statistic reflecting low income, poor housing, premature mortality or underemployment. The most emphatic observer can speak objectively about underdevelopment only after undergoing, personally or vicariously, the 'shock of underdevelopment.' This unique culture shock comes to one as he is initiated to the emotions that prevail in the 'culture of poverty' . . . Chronic poverty is a cruel kind of hell, and one cannot understand how cruel that hell is merely by gazing upon poverty as an object. Unless the observer gains entry into the inner sanctum of these emotions and feels them himself, he will not understand the condition he seeks to abolish.

While Goulet may overstate the necessity of encountering the phenomena we seek to understand, there can be no substitute for experience itself 15 Yet since this passage was written, many of those who have made key contributions to development ethics have managed to avoid encountering 'development' or 'undergoing personally or vicariously, the shock of underdevelopment'.

The preceding remarks suggest that efforts to conceptualise human well­being and development would benefit from the closer integration of the philosophy and social science disciplines. This book represents an ambitious attempt to bridge the gap between social science and philosophy in the field of development ethics. The aim is to introduce a new kind of 'empirical philosophy' that is informed by scientific inquiry and firmly rooted in social reality. In order to achieve this goal our inquiry attempts to: (1) identify and clarify some of the academic concepts of development commonly found in the social science and philosophy literature; (2) consider how poor people themselves perceive development (a 'good' form of life); and (3) confront abstract concepts of development with the views of ordinary poor people living in two distinct locations.

The results of this study help to throw light on two fundamental questions. The first asks if there are any common human values upon which we can build a theory of the good. In contrast to traditional wisdom, the evidence presented below suggests that it is possible to achieve a broad consensus regarding the central features of a good human life. The second question relates to the nature and character of human values themselves. What are the objects of a good human life? One interesting aspect of this question concerns the distinction between a 'morally good life' and the kind of life in which 'comfort' and 'enjoyment' play a large part (see Walsh, 1995). The evidence presented in this study implies that most people value a life of comfort and satisfaction, but also believe that such a life should be combined with ethical behaviour that includes at least some altruistic acts.

Terms such as `the good life', `human good' and `development ethic' are used interchangeably throughout this study. While these terms (like other concepts in social science) are clearly `value loaded' and carry `emotive connotations', an effort has been made to employ them in a neutral and scientific way (insofar as this is possible). By using these terms one does not necessarily `beg the question'. Ultimately our respondents have the final say on what constitutes a good form of life. This inquiry is concerned with the dimensions of human development rather than the process of economic development. It is not my intention to underplay or deflect attention from the significance of economic growth for long-term improvements in living standards and social well-being. But the success of economic development does ultimately have to be judged in terms of its consequences for human beings.

A final point remains. The word `concept' is used to refer to the idea of development. The term `definition' is resisted in this context. A `definition' consists of a rigid statement or description of the precise nature and meaning of an object or word and therefore implies a high degree of precision and objectivity that the notion of development seems to lack. In contrast, a `concept' is composed of a set of ideas, beliefs and values about a particular object, and thus more adequately portrays the subjective character of development. 

Chapter 1 reviews some of the abstract concepts of development employed in economics and social science. A prima facie case is made for conceptualising development in terms of human capability. It is also suggested that a new approach, which draws on perceptions of development among the poor, is required to provide potentially sterile debates about the nature of human well-being and development with new impetus. Chapter 2 considers the case for viewing development as capability expansion. The capability approach is also compared and contrasted with more traditional ways of conceptualising development, which typically focus on income, commodity command and utility. Chapter 3 paves the way for making the capability approach operational. A methodology is developed for forging an international development ethic; and a list of potentially valuable ends is identified by drawing on the work of philosophers and social theorists. Chapter 4 provides a detailed analysis of our surveys, which investigated how ordinary poor people from a rural village and urban township view a good life. The results are used to evaluate the usefulness and relevance of some of the theoretical accounts of human well-being and development advanced in the academic literature, and provide the foundation for developing a more realistic and robust theory of the good.

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