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The Academy was a philosophical school established by Plato that safeguarded the continuity and the evolution of Platonism over a period of about 300 years. Its contribution to the development of Hellenistic philosophical and scientific thinking was decisive, but it also had a major impact on the formation of most of the other philosophical trends emerging during this period. This volume surveys the evidence for the historical and social setting in which the Academy operated, as well as the various shifts in the philosophical outlook of Platonism during its existence. Its contribution to the evolution of special sciences such as mathematics is also examined. The book further includes the first complete annotated translation in English of Philodemus' History of the Academy, preserved on a papyrus from Herculaneum. It thus offers a comprehensive picture of one of the most prominent and influential of all educational institutions in ancient Greece.
A pioneering work in the history of philosophy, the ancient text of the Lives presents engaging portraits of nearly a hundred Greek philosophers. It blends biography with bibliography and surveys of leading theories, peppered with punchy anecdotes, pithy maxims, and even snatches of poetry, much of it by the philosophers themselves. The work presents a systematic genealogy of Greek philosophy from its origins in the sixth century BCE to its flowering in Plato's Academy and the Hellenistic schools. In this fully up-to-date and accessible translation, based on the most accurate texts and the latest advances in scholarship, Stephen White provides a valuable resource for students and scholars of ancient philosophy. Highlights include extended treatment of the 'Seven Sages' (Book 1), Socrates and his Socratic followers (Book 2), Plato (Book 3), Aristotle and his school (Book 5), Diogenes the Cynic (Book 6), Stoicism (Book 7), Pythagoreans (Book 8), Pyrrhonian skepticism (Book 9), and Epicureanism (Book 10).
Why did Greek philosophy begin in the sixth century BCE? Why did Indian philosophy begin at about the same time? Why did the earliest philosophy take the form that it did? Why was this form so similar in Greece and India? And how do we explain the differences between them? These questions can only be answered by locating the philosophical intellect within its entire societal context, ignoring neither ritual nor economy. The cities of Greece and northern India were in this period distinctive also by virtue of being pervasively monetised. The metaphysics of both cultures is marked by the projection (onto the cosmos) and the introjection (into the inner self) of the abstract, all-pervasive, quasi-omnipotent, impersonal substance embodied in money (especially coinage). And in both cultures this development accompanied the interiorisation of the cosmic rite of passage (in India sacrifice, in Greece mystic initiation).
Accompanied by a new translation of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics X, this volume presents a hybrid between a traditional commentary and a scholarly monograph. Aristotle's text is divided into one hundred lemmata which not only explore comprehensively the content and strength of each of these units of thought, but also emphasise their continuity, showing how the smaller units feed into the larger structure. The Commentary illuminates what Aristotle thinks in each lemma (and why), and also shows how he thinks. In order to bring Aristotle alive as a thinker, it often explores several possible ways of reading the text to enable the reader to make up their own mind about the best interpretation of a given passage. The relevant background in Plato's dialogues is discussed, and a substantial Introduction sets out the philosophical framework necessary for understanding Book X, the final and most arresting section of the Ethics.
During the months before and after he saw Julius Caesar assassinated on the Ides of March, 44 BC, Cicero wrote two philosophical dialogues about religion and theology: On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination. This book brings to life his portraits of Stoic and Epicurean theology, as well as the scepticism of the new Academy, his own school. We meet the Epicurean gods who live a life of pleasure and care nothing for us, the determinism and beauty of the Stoic universe, itself our benevolent creator, and the reply to both that traditional religion is better served by a lack of dogma. Cicero hoped that these reflections would renew the traditional religion at Rome, with its prayers and sacrifices, temples and statues, myths and poets, and all forms of divination. This volume is the first to fully investigate Cicero's dialogues as the work of a careful philosophical author.
The Pythagorean Precepts by Aristotle's pupil, Aristoxenus of Tarentum, present the principles of the Pythagorean way of life that Plato praised in the Republic. They are our best guide to what it meant to be a Pythagorean in the time of Plato and Aristotle. The Precepts have been neglected in modern scholarship and this is the first full edition and translation of and commentary on all the surviving fragments. The introduction provides an accessible overview of the ethical system of the Precepts and their place not only in the Pythagorean tradition but also in the history of Greek ethics as a whole. The Pythagoreans thought that human beings were by nature insolent and excessive and that they could only be saved from themselves if they followed a strictly structured way of life. The Precepts govern every aspect of life, such as procreation, abortion, child rearing, friendship, religion, desire and even diet.
How did the ancient Greeks and Romans conceptualise order? This book answers that question by analysing the formative concept of kosmos ('order', 'arrangement', 'ornament') in ancient literature, philosophy, science, art, and religion. This concept encouraged the Greeks and Romans to develop theories to explain core aspects of human life, including nature, beauty, society, politics, the individual, and what lies beyond human experience. Hence, Greek kosmos, and its Latin correlate mundus, are subjects of profound reflection by a wide range of important ancient figures, including philosophers (Parmenides, Empedocles, the Pythagoreans, Democritus, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Lucretius, Cicero, Seneca, Plotinus), poets and playwrights (Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Plautus, Marcus Argentarius, Nonnus), intellectuals (Gorgias, Protagoras, Varro), and religious exegetes (Philo, the Gospel Writers, Paul). By revealing kosmos in its many ancient manifestations, this book asks us to rethink our own sense of 'order', and to reflect on our place within a broader cosmic history.
A familiar theme in Greek philosophy, largely due to the influence of Plato's Cratylus, linguistic naturalism (the notion that linguistic facts, structures or behaviour are in some significant sense determined by nature) constitutes a major but under-studied area of Roman linguistic thought. Indeed, it holds significance not only for the history of linguistics but also for philosophy, stylistics, rhetoric and more. The chapters in this volume deal with a range of naturalist theories in a variety of authors including Cicero, Varro, Nigidius Figulus, Posidonius, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus. The result is a complex and multi-faceted picture of how language and nature were believed to interrelate in the classical Roman world.
Death and immortality played a central role in Greek and Roman thought, from Homer and early Greek philosophy to Marcus Aurelius. In this book A. G. Long explains the significance of death and immortality in ancient ethics, particularly Plato's dialogues, Stoicism and Epicureanism; he also shows how philosophical cosmology and theology caused immortality to be re-imagined. Ancient arguments and theories are related both to the original literary and theological contexts and to contemporary debates on the philosophy of death. The book will be of major interest to scholars and students working on Greek and Roman philosophy, and to those wishing to explore ancient precursors of contemporary debates about death and its outcomes.
This is the first collection of essays devoted specifically to the nature and significance of Aristotle's anthropological philosophy, covering the full range of his ethical, metaphysical and biological works. The book is organised into four parts, two of which deal with the metaphysics and biology of human nature and two of which discuss the anthropological foundations and implications of Aristotle's ethico-political works. The essay topics range from human nature and morality to friendship and politics, including original discussion and fresh perspectives on rationalism, the intellect, perception, virtue, the faculty of speech and the differences and similarities between human and non-human animals. Wide-ranging and innovative, the volume will be highly relevant for readers studying Aristotle as well as for anyone working on either ancient or contemporary philosophical anthropology.
What is art's relationship to play? Those interested in this question tend to look to modern philosophy for answers, but, as this book shows, the question was already debated in antiquity by luminaries like Plato and Aristotle. Over the course of eight chapters, this book contextualizes those debates, and demonstrates their significance for theoretical problems today. Topics include the ancient child psychology at the root of the ancient Greek word for 'play' (paidia), the numerous toys that have survived from antiquity, and the meaning of play's conceptual opposite, the 'serious' (spoudaios). What emerges is a concept of play markedly different from the one we have inherited from modernity. Play is not a certain set of activities which unleashes a certain feeling of pleasure; it is rather a certain feeling of pleasure that unleashes the activities we think of as 'play'. As such, it offers a new set of theoretical challenges.
The extensive influence of Plotinus, the third-century founder of 'Neoplatonism', on intellectual thought from the Renaissance to the modern era has never been systematically explored. This collection of new essays fills the gap in the scholarship, thereby casting a spotlight on a current of intellectual history that is inherently significant. The essays take the form of a series of case-studies on major figures in the history of Neoplatonism, ranging from Marsilio Ficino to Henri-Louis Bergson and moving through Italian, French, English, and German philosophical traditions. They bring clarity to the terms 'Platonism' and 'Neoplatonism', which are frequently invoked by historians but often only partially understood, and provide fresh perspectives on well-known issues including the rise of 'mechanical philosophy' in the sixteenth century and the relation between philosophy and Romanticism in the nineteenth century. The volume will be important for readers interested in the history of thought in the early-modern and modern ages.
What was it like to be a practitioner of Pyrrhonist skepticism? This important volume brings together for the first time a selection of Richard Bett's essays on ancient Pyrrhonism, allowing readers a better understanding of the key aspects of this school of thought. The volume examines Pyrrhonism's manner of self-presentation, including its methods of writing, its desire to show how special it is, and its use of humor; it considers Pyrrhonism's argumentative procedures regarding specific topics, such as signs, space, or the Modes; and it explores what it meant in practice to live as a Pyrrhonist, including the kind of ethical outlook which Pyrrhonism might allow and, in general, the character of a skeptical life - and how far these might strike us as feasible or desirable. It also shows how Pyrrhonism often raises questions that matter to us today, both in our everyday lives and in our philosophical reflection.
This volume is the first in English to provide a full, systematic investigation into Aristotle's criticisms of earlier Greek theories of the soul from the perspective of his theory of scientific explanation. Some interpreters of the De Anima have seen Aristotle's criticisms of Presocratic, Platonic, and other views about the soul as unfair or dialectical, but Jason W. Carter argues that Aristotle's criticisms are in fact a justified attempt to test the adequacy of earlier theories in terms of the theory of scientific knowledge he advances in the Posterior Analytics. Carter proposes a new interpretation of Aristotle's confrontations with earlier psychology, showing how his reception of other Greek philosophers shaped his own hylomorphic psychology and led him to adopt a novel dualist theory of the soul–body relation. His book will be important for students and scholars of Aristotle, ancient Greek psychology, and the history of the mind–body problem.
This book offers a fresh analysis of the account of Peripatetic ethics in Cicero's On Ends 5, which goes back to the first-century BCE philosopher Antiochus of Ascalon. Georgia Tsouni challenges previous characterisations of Antiochus' philosophical project as 'eclectic' and shows how his reconstruction of the ethics of the 'Old Academy' demonstrates a careful attempt to update the ancient heritage, and predominantly the views of Aristotle and the Peripatos, in the light of contemporary Stoic-led debates. This results in both a hermeneutically complex and a philosophically exciting reading of the old tradition. A case in point is the way Antiochus grounds the 'Old Academic' conception of the happy life in natural appropriation (oikeiosis), thus offering a naturalistic version of Aristotelian ethics.
Greek Memories aims to identify and examine the central concepts underlying the theories and practices of memory in the Greek world, from the archaic period to Late Antiquity, across all the main literary genres, and to trace some fundamental changes in these theories and practices. It explores the interaction and development of different 'disciplinary' approaches to memory in Ancient Greece, which will enable a fuller and deeper understanding of the whole phenomenon, and of its specific manifestations. This collection of papers contributes to enriching the current scholarly discussion by refocusing it on the question of how various theories and practices of memory, recollection, and forgetting play themselves out in specific texts and authors from Ancient Greece, within a wide chronological span (from the Homeric poems to Plotinus), and across a broad range of genres and disciplines (epic and lyric poetry, tragedy, comedy, historiography, philosophy and scientific prose treatises).
How does a school of thought, in the area of philosophy, or indeed of religion, from roots that may be initially open-ended and largely informal, come to take on the features that later mark it out as distinctive, and even exclusive? That is the theme which is explored in this book in respect of the philosophical movement known as Platonism, stemming as it does from the essentially open-ended and informal atmosphere of Plato's Academy. John Dillon focuses on a number of key issues, such as monism versus dualism, the metaphysical underpinnings of ethical theory, the theory of Forms, and the reaction to the Sceptical 'deviation' represented by the so-called 'New Academy'. The book is written in the lively and accessible style of the lecture series in Beijing from which it originates.
Mixtures is of central importance for Galen's views on the human body. It presents his influential typology of the human organism according to nine mixtures (or 'temperaments') of hot, cold, dry and wet. It also develops Galen's ideal of the 'well-tempered' person, whose perfect balance ensures excellent performance both physically and psychologically. Mixtures teaches the aspiring doctor how to assess the patient's mixture by training one's sense of touch and by a sophisticated use of diagnostic indicators. It presents a therapeutic regime based on the interaction between foods, drinks, drugs and the body's mixture. Mixtures is a work of natural philosophy as well as medicine. It acknowledges Aristotle's profound influence whilst engaging with Hippocratic ideas on health and nutrition, and with Stoic, Pneumatist and Peripatetic physics. It appears here in a new translation, with generous annotation, introduction and glossaries elucidating the argument and setting the work in its intellectual context.
This book examines Aristotle's method in ethics from the vantage point of his broader conception of philosophy. Joseph Karbowski challenges longstanding dialectical orthodoxy and argues instead that, in his ethical treatises, Aristotle is seeking the first principles of a demonstrative ethical science, a science of human goodness, using an ethically adapted version of the method described in the second book of his Posterior Analytics. Part I of this volume develops a novel interpretation of Aristotle's conception of philosophy, which highlights its ambition to scientific knowledge (epistēmē) and its flexible approach to philosophical inquiry. Part II then demonstrates Aristotle's scientific and flexible approach to philosophy at work in his ethical treatises. The book shows how the aspiration to scientific knowledge is compatible with Aristotle's remarks about ethical precision, the practical aim of ethics, and the particular orientedness of phronēsis (practical wisdom).