People rely on reason to think about and navigate the abstract world of human relations in much the same way they rely on maps to study and traverse the physical world. Starting from that simple observation, renowned geographer Gunnar Olsson offers in Abysmal an astonishingly erudite critique of the way human thought and action have become deeply immersed in the rhetoric of cartography and how this cartographic reasoning allows the powerful to map out other people’s lives.
A spectacular reading of Western philosophy, religion, and mythology that draws on early maps and atlases, Plato, Kant, and Wittgenstein, Thomas Pynchon, Gilgamesh, and Marcel Duchamp, Abysmal is itself a minimalist guide to the terrain of Western culture. Olsson roams widely but always returns to the problems inherent in reason, to question the outdated assumptions and fixed ideas that thinking cartographically entails. A work of ambition, scope, and sharp wit, Abysmal will appeal to an eclectic audience—to geographers and cartographers, but also to anyone interested in the history of ideas, culture, and art.
This accessible and innovative essay on Aristotle, based on fresh translations of a wide selection of his writings, challenges received interpretations of his accounts of practical wisdom, action, and contemplation and of their places in the happiest human life.
The Activity of Being
Aryeh Kosman Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress B491.O5K67 2013 | Dewey Decimal 111.092
Understanding “what something is” has long occupied philosophers, and no Western thinker has had more influence on the nature of being than Aristotle. Focusing on a reinterpretation of the concept of energeia as “activity,” Aryeh Kosman reexamines Aristotle’s ontology and some of our most basic assumptions about the great philosopher’s thought.
One of Hegel’s most controversial and confounding claims is that “the real is rational and the rational is real.” In this book, one of the world’s leading scholars of Hegel, Jean-François Kervégan, offers a thorough analysis and explanation of that claim, along the way delivering a compelling account of modern social, political, and ethical life.
Kervégan begins with Hegel’s term “objective spirit,” the public manifestation of our deepest commitments, the binding norms that shape our existence as subjects and agents. He examines objective spirit in three realms: the notion of right, the theory of society, and the state. In conversation with Tocqueville and other theorists of democracy, whether in the Anglophone world or in Europe, Kervégan shows how Hegel—often associated with grand metaphysical ideas—actually had a specific conception of civil society and the state. In Hegel’s view, public institutions represent the fulfillment of deep subjective needs—and in that sense, demonstrate that the real is the rational, because what surrounds us is the product of our collective mindedness. This groundbreaking analysis will guide the study of Hegel and nineteenth-century political thought for years to come.
Adorno and Existence
Peter E. Gordon Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress B3199.A34G67 2016 | Dewey Decimal 193
Adorno was forever returning to the philosophies of bourgeois interiority, seeking the paradoxical relation between their manifest failure and their hidden promise. As Peter E. Gordon shows, Adorno’s writings on Kierkegaard, Husserl, and Heidegger present us with a photographic negative—a philosophical portrait of the author himself.
The Affirmation of Life
Bernard REGINSTER Harvard University Press, 2006 Library of Congress B3318.E9R44 2006 | Dewey Decimal 193
While most recent studies of Nietzsche's works have lost sight of the fundamental question of the meaning of a life characterized by inescapable suffering, Bernard Reginster's book The Affirmation of Life brings it sharply into focus. Reginster identifies overcoming nihilism as a central objective of Nietzsche's philosophical project, and shows how this concern systematically animates all of his main ideas.
For over two centuries, Western scholars have discussed African philosophy and culture, often in disparaging, condescending terms, and always from an alien European perspective. Many Africans now share this perspective, having been trained in the western, empirical tradition. Makinde argues that, particularly in view of the costs and failings of western style culture, Africans must now mold their own modern culture by blending useful western practices with valuable indigenous African elements. Specifically, Makinde demonstrates the potential for the development of African philosophy and even African traditional medicine.
Following the lead of a number of countries with government policies of incorporating indigenous medicine with orthodox Western medicine, Makinde argues that traditional African practices should be taken seriously, both medically and scientifically. Further, he charges African scholars with the responsibility of investigating these and other elements of traditional African culture in order to dispel their mystery and secrecy through modern research and useful publications.
Engages with one of the oldest philosophical problems—the relationship between thought and being—and offers a fresh perspective with which to approach the long history of this puzzle.
In After Parmenides, Tom Rockmore takes us all the way back to the beginning of philosophy when Parmenides asserted that thought and being are one: what we know is what is. This idea created a division between what the mind constructs as knowable entities and the idea that there is also a mind-independent real, which we can know or fail to know. To counter this, Rockmore argues that we need to give up on the idea of this real, and instead focus on the objects of cognition that our mind constructs. Though we cannot know mind-independent objects as they “really” are, we can and do know objects as they appear to us. If we construct the object we seek to know, then it corresponds to what we think about it.
After Parmenides charts the continual engagement with these ideas of the real and the knowable throughout philosophical history from Plato and Aristotle to Descartes, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, and Schopenhauer, Marx, and others. This ambitious book shows how new connections can be made in the history of philosophy when it is reread through a new lens.
From Kant to Kierkegaard, from Hegel to Heidegger, continental philosophers have indelibly shaped the trajectory of Western thought since the eighteenth century. Although much has been written about these monumental thinkers, students and scholars lack a definitive guide to the entire scope of the continental tradition. The most comprehensive reference work to date, this eight-volume History of Continental Philosophy will both encapsulate the subject and reorient our understanding of it. Beginning with an overview of Kant’s philosophy and its initial reception, the History traces the evolution of continental philosophy through major figures as well as movements such as existentialism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, and poststructuralism. The final volume outlines the current state of the field, bringing the work of both historical and modern thinkers to bear on such contemporary topics as feminism, globalization, and the environment. Throughout, the volumes examine important philosophical figures and developments in their historical, political, and cultural contexts.
The first reference of its kind, A History of Continental Philosophy has been written and edited by internationally recognized experts with a commitment to explaining complex thinkers, texts, and movements in rigorous yet jargon-free essays suitable for both undergraduates and seasoned specialists. These volumes also elucidate ongoing debates about the nature of continental and analytic philosophy, surveying the distinctive, sometimes overlapping characteristics and approaches of each tradition. Featuring helpful overviews of major topics and plotting road maps to their underlying contexts, A History of Continental Philosophy is destined to be the resource of first and last resort for students and scholars alike.
Abu Nasur al-Farabi (ca. 872-950) was an Arabic polymath and philosopher, and the first Arabic logician credited with developing a non-Aristotelian logic. He discussed the topics of future contingents, the number and relation of the categories, the relation between logic and grammar, and non-Aristotelian forms of inference. He is also credited with categorizing logic into two separate groups, the first being “idea” and the second being “proof.” Nicholas Rescher assembles this annotated bibliography, listing printed materials relating to al-Farabi, and summaries that provide further details of these works.
In this work, Muhsin Mahdi—widely regarded as the preeminent scholar of Islamic political thought—distills more than four decades of research to offer an authoritative analysis of the work of Alfarabi, the founder of Islamic political philosophy. Mahdi, who also brought to light writings of Alfarabi that had long been presumed lost or were not even known, presents this great thinker as his contemporaries would have seen him: as a philosopher who sought to lay the foundations for a new understanding of revealed religion and its relation to the tradition of political philosophy.
Beginning with a survey of Islamic philosophy and a discussion of its historical background, Mahdi considers the interrelated spheres of philosophy, political thought, theology, and jurisprudence of the time. He then turns to Alfarabi's concept of "the virtuous city," and concludes with an in-depth analysis of the trilogy, Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle.
This philosophical engagement with the writings of and about Alfarabi will be essential reading for anyone interested in medieval political philosophy.
During the years 800-1200 A.D., Arabic scholars studied many of the works of Greek philosophy, and recorded their interpretations. Significant Arabic interpretations of Aristotle's Prior Analytics, the key work of his logical Organon, however, have remained largely unavailable in the West. The recent discovery of several Arabic manuscripts in Istanbul revealed the “Short Commentary on Prior Analytics” by the medieval Arabic philosopher al-Farabi. Nicholas Rescher here presents the first translation of this work in English, and supplements this with an informative introduction and numerous explanatory footnotes.
Centuries after his death, al-Ghazali remains one of the most influential figures of the Islamic intellectual tradition. Although he is best known for his Incoherence of the Philosophers, Moderation in Belief is his most profound work of philosophical theology. In it, he offers what scholars consider to be the best defense of the Ash'arite school of Islamic theology that gained acceptance within orthodox Sunni theology in the twelfth century, though he also diverges from Ash'arism with his more rationalist approach to the Quran. Together with The Incoherence of the Philosophers, Moderation in Belief informs many subsequent theological debates, and its influence extends beyond the Islamic tradition, informing broader questions within Western philosophical and theological thought.
The first complete English-language edition of Moderation in Belief, this new annotated translation by Aladdin M. Yaqub draws on the most esteemed critical editions of the Arabic texts and offers detailed commentary that analyzes and reconstructs the arguments found in the work’s four treatises. Explanations of the historical and intellectual background of the texts also enable readers with a limited knowledge of classical Arabic to fully explore al-Ghazali and this foundational text for the first time.
With the recent resurgence of interest in Islamic philosophy and the conflict between philosophy and religion, this new translation will be a welcome addition to the scholarship.
In his day, al-Kindi (ca. 805-870) was the only philosopher of pure Arab descent, and became known as “the philosopher of the Arabs.” He was one of the first Arab scholars interested in a scientific rather than theological viewpoint, and played a key role in bringing Greek learning into the orbit of Islam. al-Kindi wrote over three hundred fifty treatises, for the most part short studies on special topics in science and philosophy. Nicholas Rescher assembles this annotated bibliography, listing of over three hundred items, to assist students and scholars through the maze of publications related to al-Kindi.
Mark C. Taylor University of Chicago Press, 1987 Library of Congress B105.D5T39 1987 | Dewey Decimal 110
Readers familiar with Mark C. Taylor's previous writing will immediately recognize Altarity as a remarkable synthetic project. This work combines the analytic depth and detail of Taylor's earlier studies of Kierkegaard and Hegel with the philosophical and theological scope of his highly acclaimed Erring.
In Altarity, Taylor develops a genealogy of otherness and difference that is based on the principle of creative juxtaposition. Rather than relying on a historical or chronological survey of crucial moments in modern philosophical thinking, he explores the complex question of difference through the strategies of contrast, resonance, and design. Taylor brings together the work of thinkers as diverse as Hegel, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Lacan, Bataille, Kristeva, Levinas, Blanchot, Derrida, and Kierkegaard to fashion a broad intellectual scheme.
Situated in an interdisciplinary discourse, Altarity signifies a harnessing of continental and American habits of intellectual thought and illustrates the singularity that emerges from such a configuration. As such, the book functions as a mirror of our intellectual moment and offers the academy a rigorous way of acknowledging the limitations of its own interpretive practices.
How might the ethical philosophy of the renowned French thinker Emmanuel Levinas relate to literature? Because his philosophy addresses the very opening of ethical experience, it cannot be applied readily as a critical method to literary texts. Yet Levinas's work, studded as it is with literary sources and quotations, demands a literary account.
With an attitude at once respectful and interrogative, closely attentive to Levinas's texts while in dialogue with readings by Derrida, Blanchot, and Bataille, Altered Reading shows how the thread of the literary leads directly to the internal tensions of Levinas's ethical discourse. Jill Robbins provides a comprehensive critical account of Levinas's early and mature philosophy as well as later key transitional essays. In an invaluable appendix, she includes her own translation of an important, previously untranslated essay by Bataille on Levinas.
Altered Reading will interest philosophers, literary critics, scholars of religion, and others drawn to Levinas's work.
In these previously uncollected essays, Smith argues that
American philosophers like Peirce, James, Royce, and
Dewey have forged a unique philosophical tradition—one
that is rich and complex enough to represent a genuine
alternative to the analytic, phenomenological, and
hermeneutical traditions which have originated in Britain
"In my judgment, John Smith has no equal today in
combining two scholarly qualities: the analysis of
philosophical texts with penetration and rigor, and the
discernment of what it is in these texts that matters.
These qualities are in evidence throughout the essays in America's Philosophical Vision. Whether he is
evaluating Rorty's view of Dewey; the pragmatic theory of
experience and truth; theories of freedom, creativity,
and the self; Royce's conception of community; or
synoptic philosophic visions, Smith always succeeds in
uniting a comprehensive understanding of philosophic
writings with a sure grasp of their import for human
culture and aspiration. It is a great benefit to
students of American thought that these papers have now
been collected into one volume."—James Gouinlock, Emory
Anger, Mercy, Revenge
Lucius Annaeus Seneca University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress PA6665.A1 2010 | Dewey Decimal 878.0109
Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BCE–65 CE) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, dramatist, statesman, and adviser to the emperor Nero, all during the Silver Age of Latin literature. The Complete Works of Lucius Annaeus Seneca is a fresh and compelling series of new English-language translations of his works in eight accessible volumes. Edited by world-renowned classicists Elizabeth Asmis, Shadi Bartsch, and Martha C. Nussbaum, this engaging collection restores Seneca—whose works have been highly praised by modern authors from Desiderius Erasmus to Ralph Waldo Emerson—to his rightful place among the classical writers most widely studied in the humanities.
Anger, Mercy, Revenge comprises three key writings: the moral essays On Anger and On Clemency—which were penned as advice for the then young emperor, Nero—and the Apocolocyntosis, a brilliant satire lampooning the end of the reign of Claudius. Friend and tutor, as well as philosopher, Seneca welcomed the age of Nero in tones alternately serious, poetic, and comic—making Anger, Mercy, Revenge a work just as complicated, astute, and ambitious as its author.
A groundbreaking volume introduces the unique feminist thought of the longstanding Italian group known as Diotima
Introducing Anglophone readers to a potent strain of Italian feminism known to French, Spanish, and German audiences but as yet unavailable in English, Another Mother argues that the question of the mother is essential to comprehend the matrix of contemporary culture and society and to pursue feminist political projects.
Focusing on Diotima, a community of women philosophers deeply involved in feminist politics since the 1960s, this volume provides a multifaceted panorama of its engagement with currents of thought including structuralism, psychoanalysis, linguistics, and Marxism. Starting from the simple insight that the mother is the one who gives us both life and language, these thinkers develop concepts of the mother and sexual difference in contemporary society that differ in crucial ways from both French and U.S. feminisms.
Arguing that Diotima anticipates many of the themes in contemporary philosophical discourses of biopolitics—exemplified by thinkers such as Giorgio Agamben, Antonio Negri, and Roberto Esposito—Another Mother opens an important space for reflections on the past history of feminism and on feminism’s future.
Contributors: Anne Emmanuelle Berger, Paris 8 U–Vincennes Saint-Denis; Ida Dominijanni; Luisa Muraro; Diana Sartori, U of Verona; Chiara Zamboni, U of Verona.
Anselm's Other Argument
A. D. Smith Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress B765.A84S65 2014 | Dewey Decimal 212.1
Some commentators claim that Anselm's writings contain a second independent "modal ontological argument" for God's existence. A. D. Smith contends that although there is a second a priori argument in Anselm, it is not the modal argument. This "other argument" bears a striking resemblance to one that Duns Scotus would later employ.
We inhabit a time of crisis—totalitarianism, environmental collapse, and the unquestioned rule of neoliberal capitalism. Philosopher Jean Vioulac is invested in and worried by all of this, but his main concern lies with how these phenomena all represent a crisis within—and a threat to—thinking itself.
In his first book to be translated into English, Vioulac radicalizes Heidegger’s understanding of truth as disclosure through the notion of truth as apocalypse. This “apocalypse of truth” works as an unveiling that reveals both the finitude and mystery of truth, allowing a full confrontation with truth-as-absence. Engaging with Heidegger, Marx, and St. Paul, as well as contemporary figures including Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, and Slavoj Žižek, Vioulac’s book presents a subtle, masterful exposition of his analysis before culminating in a powerful vision of “the abyss of the deity.” Here, Vioulac articulates a portrait of Christianity as a religion of mourning, waiting for a god who has already passed by, a form of ever-present eschatology whose end has always already taken place. With a preface by Jean-Luc Marion, Apocalypse of Truth presents a major contemporary French thinker to English-speaking audiences for the first time.
Aquinas and Analogy
Ralph McInerny Catholic University of America Press, 1996 Library of Congress B765.T54M236 1996 | Dewey Decimal 169.092
The basic distinctions McInerny introduces, his criticism of the central piece in the literature, Cajetan's De nominum analogia, the applications he makes to problems such as that of the nature of metaphysics or of logic, his knowledge of contemporary debates on related topics, combine to make his contribution unique
Aquinas on Emotion’s Participation in Reason aims to present Aquinas’s answer to the perennial and now popular question: In what way can the emotions be rational? For Aquinas, the starting point of this inquiry is Aristotle’s claim (EN. I. 13) that there are three parts to the soul: 1) the rational part, 2) the non-rational part which can participate in reason, and 3) the non-rational part that does not participate in reason. It is the extent to which the second part (the sense appetites, the seat of the emotions) participates in reason that the emotions can become rational. However, immediately after Aristotle introduces his tripartite division of the soul, he warns that one need not delve into the details of the division or the participation. Aquinas, however, ignores Aristotle, and uses his precise metaphysics of participation within in his sophisticated anthropology to great effect in his ethics. Unlike Aristotle, to fully understand Aquinas’s thinking on how the emotions can become rational, we simply must delve into the kinds of precisions that Aristotle thinks are misplaced. When Aquinas’s views emerge from these precisions, he has a surprisingly level-headed and commonsense view of how the emotions can become rational. On this point, he is more pessimistic than Aristotle and more optimistic than Kant; he is certainly not, as is he is often thought to be, the faithful follower of Aristotle and the polar opposite of Kant. Nicholas Kahm argue that Aquinas has a realistic and plausible view of how far reason can go in shaping our emotions. Furthermore, his plausible views can accommodate the serious current challenge raised against virtue ethics from social psychology. The method has mainly been a careful reading of primary texts, but unlike the rest of the scholarship on Aquinas’s ethics, Kahm is particularly sensitive to Aquinas’s historical and philosophical development.
Though often invoked by pro-life supporters, Thomas Aquinas in fact held that human life begins after conception, not at the moment of union. But in following the twists and turns of Aquinas’ thinking about the beginning and end of human life, Fabrizio Amerini reaches a nuanced interpretation that will unsettle both sides in the abortion debate.
There are two great traditions of natural-kinds realism: the modern, instituted by Mill and elaborated by Venn, Peirce, Kripke, Putnam, Boyd, and others; and the ancient, instituted by Aristotle, elaborated by the “medieval” Aristotelians, and eventually overthrown by Galilean and Newtonian physicists, by Locke, Leibniz, and Kant, and by Darwin. Whereas the former tradition has lately received the close attention it deserves, the latter has not. The Aristotelian Tradition of Natural Kinds and its Demise is meant to fill this gap. The volume’s theme is the emergence of Aristotle’s account of species, what Schoolmen such as Thomas Aquinas and William of Ockham did with this account, and the tacit if not explicit rejection of all such accounts in modern scientific theory. By tracing this history Stewart Umphrey shows that there have been not one but two relevant “scientific revolutions” or “paradigm shifts” in the history of natural philosophy. The first, brought about by Aristotle, may be viewed as a renewal of Presocratic natural philosophy in the light of Socrates’s “second sailing” and his insistence that we attend to what is first for us. It features an eido-centric conception of living organisms and other enduring things, and strongly resists any reduction of physics to mathematics. The second revolution, brought about by seventeenth-century physics, features a nomo-centric view according to which what is fundamental in nature are not enduring individuals and their kinds, as we commonly suppose, but rather certain mathematizable relations among varying physical quantities. Umphrey examines and compares these two very different ways of understanding the natural order.
Today, democracy is seen as the best or even the only legitimate form of government—hardly in need of defense. Delba Winthrop punctures this complacency and takes up the challenge of justifying democracy through Aristotle’s political science. In Aristotle’s time and in ours, democrats want inclusiveness; they want above all to include everyone a part of a whole. But what makes a whole? This is a question for both politics and philosophy, and Winthrop shows that Aristotle pursues the answer in the Politics. She uncovers in his political science the insights philosophy brings to politics and, especially, the insights politics brings to philosophy. Through her appreciation of this dual purpose and skilled execution of her argument, Winthrop’s discoveries are profound. Central to politics, she maintains, is the quality of assertiveness—the kind of speech that demands to be heard. Aristotle, she shows for the first time, carries assertive speech into philosophy, when human reason claims its due as a contribution to the universe. Political science gets the high role of teacher to ordinary folk in democracy and to the few who want to understand what sustains it.
This posthumous publication is more than an honor to Delba Winthrop’s memory. It is a gift to partisans of democracy, advocates of justice, and students of Aristotle.
Richard Sorabji, a noted philosopher in his own right, here offers a new edition of his 1972 translation of De Memoria here with commentary, summaries, and three essays comparing Aristotle’s accounts of memory and recollection. For this edition, Sorabji has also provided a substantial new introduction taking into account scholarly debates over the intervening thirty years, particularly those over the role of mental images in the imagination.
“Sorabji has produced a first-class book on an important topic. All Aristotelians, and anyone with an interest in any aspect of memory, will be in his debt.”—Jonathan Barnes, Isis
“Anyone concerned with Aristotle’s psychology, theory of mind, or rhetoric, anyone interested in mnemonic systems, and anyone trying to work out for himself a theory of memory, should read Aristotle’s treatise On Memory, with the comments by Richard Sorabji.”—International Studies in Philosophy
“Sorabji’s book is a sample of care, intelligence, and subtlety that the Anglo-Saxon philosophers do not hesitate to invest in such enterprises. . . . The notes seem to leave no detail, no textual difficulty unilluminated.”—Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale
Nicomachean Ethics VI is considered one of classical philosophy’s greatest achievements. Aristotle on Practical Wisdom is the first full-scale commentary on this work to be issued in over a century, and is the most comprehensive and philosophically illuminating to date. A meticulous translation coupled with facing-page analysis enables readers to engage directly with the account of phronêsis or practical wisdom that Aristotle is developing, while a full introduction locates that account in the context of his ethical thought and of later ethical thought more generally.
The commentary discusses the text line by line, illuminating obscure passages, explaining technical ones, and providing a new overall interpretation of the work and the nature of practical reason. A companion volume, Action, Contemplation, and Happiness, expands on this interpretation to provide a startling new picture of Aristotle’s thought as a whole. Although the two books can be approached separately, together they constitute one of the most daring and original contemporary readings of Aristotle’s philosophy. Aimed at committed students of these notoriously difficult writings, C. D. C. Reeve’s engaging and lucid books should find a wide audience among philosophers, classicists, and all readers willing to wrestle with a thinker of unparalleled subtlety, depth, and scope.
For more than two thousand years. Aristotle’s “Art of Rhetoric” has shaped thought on the theory and practice of rhetoric, the art of persuasive speech. In three sections, Aristotle discusses what rhetoric is, as well as the three kinds of rhetoric (deliberative, judicial, and epideictic), the three rhetorical modes of persuasion, and the diction, style, and necessary parts of a successful speech. Throughout, Aristotle defends rhetoric as an art and a crucial tool for deliberative politics while also recognizing its capacity to be misused by unscrupulous politicians to mislead or illegitimately persuade others.
Here Robert C. Bartlett offers a literal, yet easily readable, new translation of Aristotle’s “Art of Rhetoric,” one that takes into account important alternatives in the manuscript and is fully annotated to explain historical, literary, and other allusions. Bartlett’s translation is also accompanied by an outline of the argument of each book; copious indexes, including subjects, proper names, and literary citations; a glossary of key terms; and a substantial interpretive essay.
What is the good life for a human being? Aristotle’s exploration of this question in the Nicomachean Ethics has established it as a founding work of Western philosophy, though its teachings have long puzzled readers and provoked spirited discussion. Adopting a radically new point of view, Ronna Burger deciphers some of the most perplexing conundrums of this influential treatise by approaching it as Aristotle’s dialogue with the Platonic Socrates.
Tracing the argument of the Ethics as it emerges through that approach, Burger’s careful reading shows how Aristotle represents ethical virtue from the perspective of those devoted to it while standing back to examine its assumptions and implications.
“This is the best book I have read on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. It is so well crafted that reading it is like reading the Ethics itself, in that it provides an education in ethical matters that does justice to all sides of the issues.”—Mary P. Nichols, Baylor University
Aristotle was the founder not only of logic but also of modal logic. In the Prior Analytics he developed a complex system of modal syllogistic which, while influential, has been disputed since antiquity--and is today widely regarded as incoherent. Combining analytic rigor with keen sensitivity to historical context, Marko Malink makes clear that the modal syllogistic forms a consistent, integrated system of logic, one that is closely related to other areas of Aristotle's philosophy.
Aristotle's modal syllogistic differs significantly from modern modal logic. Malink considers the key to understanding the Aristotelian version to be the notion of predication discussed in the Topics--specifically, its theory of predicables (definition, genus, differentia, proprium, and accident) and the ten categories (substance, quantity, quality, and so on). The predicables introduce a distinction between essential and nonessential predication. In contrast, the categories distinguish between substantial and nonsubstantial predication. Malink builds on these insights in developing a semantics for Aristotle's modal propositions, one that verifies the ancient philosopher's claims of the validity and invalidity of modal inferences. While it acknowledges some limitations of this reconstruction, Aristotle's Modal Syllogistic brims with bold ideas, richly supported by close readings of the Greek texts.
This book investigates what change is, according to Aristotle, and how it affects his conception of being. Mark Sentesy argues that the analysis of change leads Aristotle to develop first-order metaphysical concepts such as matter, potency, actuality, sources of being, epigenesis, and teleology. He shows that Aristotle’s distinctive ontological claim—that being is inescapably diverse in kind—is anchored in his argument for the existence of change.
Aristotle may be the only thinker to propose a noncircular definition of change. With his landmark argument that change did, in fact, exist, Aristotle challenged established assumptions about what it is and developed a set of conceptual frameworks that continue to provide insight into the nature of reality. This groundbreaking work on change, however, has long been interpreted through a Platonist view of change as unreal. By offering a comprehensive reexamination of Aristotle’s pivotal arguments, and establishing his positive ontological conception of change, Sentesy makes a significant contribution to scholarship on Aristotle, ancient philosophy, the history and philosophy of science, and metaphysics.
This is a new translation, with introduction, commentary, and an explanatory glossary.
"Sachs's translation and commentary rescue Aristotle's text from the rigid, pedantic, and misleading versions that have until now obscured his thought. Thanks to Sachs's superb guidance, the Physics comes alive as a profound dialectical inquiry whose insights into the enduring questions about nature, cause, change, time, and the 'infinite' are still pertinent today. Using such guided studies in class has been exhilarating both for myself and my students." ––Leon R. Kass, The Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago
Aristotle’s Physics is the only complete and coherent book we have from the ancient world in which a thinker of the first rank seeks to say something about nature as a whole. For centuries, Aristotle’s inquiry into the causes and conditions of motion and rest dominated science and philosophy. To understand the intellectual assumptions of a powerful world view—and the roots of the Scientific Revolution—reading Aristotle is critical. Yet existing translations of Aristotle’s Physics have made it difficult to understand either Aristotle’s originality or the lasting value of his work.
In this volume in the Masterworks of Discovery series, Joe Sachs provides a new plain-spoken English translation of all of Aristotle’s classic treatise and accompanies it with a long interpretive introduction, a running explication of the text, and a helpful glossary. He succeeds brilliantly in fulfilling the aim of this innovative series: to give the general reader the tools to read and understand a masterwork of scientific discovery.
Stephen Halliwell University of Chicago Press, 1998 Library of Congress PN1040.A53H35 1998 | Dewey Decimal 808.2
In this, the fullest, sustained interpretation of Aristotle's Poetics available in English, Stephen Halliwell demonstrates that the Poetics, despite its laconic brevity, is a coherent statement of a challenging theory of poetic art, and it hints towards a theory of mimetic art in general. Assessing this theory against the background of earlier Greek views on poetry and art, particularly Plato's, Halliwell goes further than any previous author in setting Aristotle's ideas in the wider context of his philosophical system.
The core of the book is a fresh appraisal of Aristotle's view of tragic drama, in which Halliwell contends that at the heart of the Poetics lies a philosophical urge to instill a secularized understanding of Greek tragedy.
"Essential reading not only for all serious students of the Poetics . . . but also for those—the great majority—who have prudently fought shy of it altogether."—B. R. Rees, Classical Review
"A splendid work of scholarship and analysis . . . a brilliant interpretation."—Alexander Nehamas, Times Literary Supplement
“Man is a political animal,” Aristotle asserts near the beginning of the Politics. In this novel 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.
One of the fundamental works of Western political thought, Aristotle’s masterwork is the first systematic treatise on the science of politics. For almost three decades, Carnes Lord’s justly acclaimed translation has served as the standard English edition. Widely regarded as the most faithful to both the original Greek and Aristotle’s distinctive style, it is also written in clear, contemporary English.
This new edition of the Politics retains and adds to Lord’s already extensive notes, clarifying the flow of Aristotle’s argument and identifying literary and historical references. A glossary defines key terms in Aristotle’s philosophical-political vocabulary. Lord has made revisions to problematic passages throughout the translation in order to enhance both its accuracy and its readability. He has also substantially revised his introduction for the new edition, presenting an account of Aristotle’s life in relation to political events of his time; the character and history of his writings and of the Politics in particular; his overall conception of political science; and his impact on subsequent political thought from antiquity to the present. Further enhancing this new edition is an up-to-date selected bibliography.
With Aristotle’s Teaching in the “Politics,” Thomas L. Pangle offers a masterly new interpretation of this classic philosophical work. It is widely believed that the Politics originated as a written record of a series of lectures given by Aristotle, and scholars have relied on that fact to explain seeming inconsistencies and instances of discontinuity throughout the text. Breaking from this tradition, Pangle makes the work’s origin his starting point, reconceiving the Politics as the pedagogical tool of a master teacher.
With the Politics, Pangle argues, Aristotle seeks to lead his students down a deliberately difficult path of critical thinking about civic republican life. He adopts a Socratic approach, encouraging his students—and readers—to become active participants in a dialogue. Seen from this perspective, features of the work that have perplexed previous commentators become perfectly comprehensible as artful devices of a didactic approach. Ultimately, Pangle’s close and careful analysis shows that to understand the Politics, one must first appreciate how Aristotle’s rhetorical strategy is inextricably entwined with the subject of his work.
Art and Truth after Plato
Tom Rockmore University of Chicago Press, 2013 Library of Congress N72.7.R63 2013 | Dewey Decimal 701.17
Despite its foundational role in the history of philosophy, Plato’s famous argument that art does not have access to truth or knowledge is now rarely examined, in part because recent philosophers have assumed that Plato’s challenge was resolved long ago. In Art and Truth after Plato, Tom Rockmore argues that Plato has in fact never been satisfactorily answered—and to demonstrate that, he offers a comprehensive account of Plato’s influence through nearly the whole history of Western aesthetics.
Rockmore offers a cogent reading of the post-Platonic aesthetic tradition as a series of responses to Plato’s position, examining a stunning diversity of thinkers and ideas. He visits Aristotle’s Poetics, the medieval Christians, Kant’s Critique of Judgment, Hegel’s phenomenology, Marxism, social realism, Heidegger, and many other works and thinkers, ending with a powerful synthesis that lands on four central aesthetic arguments that philosophers have debated. More than a mere history of aesthetics, Art and Truth after Plato presents a fresh look at an ancient question, bringing it into contemporary relief.
“Learned ignorance,” the recognition that God is beyond us and our knowing capacities is the theological concept for which Nicholas of Cusa is most famous. Despite God’s apparent absence Nicholas offers original ways to think about God that would unite his presence with his absence. He called these proposals “conjectures” (coniecturae). Conjecture and conjecturing are central to the methodology of Nicholas’s philosophical theology and to his thinking about human knowledge.
By using concrete examples from the everyday life of his times as symbolic imagery Nicholas makes what we say about God imaginatively available and theoretically plausible. He called such conjectural symbols “aenigmata” (= “symbolic or ‘enigmatic’ conjectures”) because they partially clarify and likewise point to an exact truth that is beyond us. Novel and imaginative, Nicholas’s conjectural examples break with the traditional medieval Aristotelian examples and provide further evidence of his role as a figure bridging medieval and Renaissance thought.
Following his earlier book, Reading Cusanus (The Catholic University of America Press, 2003), Clyde Lee Miller here examines and comments on the meaning of “conjecture” in Nicholas of Cusa. The Art of Conjecture: Nicholas of Cusa on Knowledge explores what Nicholas meant by conjecture and its import as demonstrated in his treatises and sermons. Beginning with Nicholas’ On Conjectures, Miller analyzes a series of conjectural symbols and proposals across Nicholas’s less frequently discussed texts and recently published sermons. This early Renaissance thinker offers an original and ground-breaking way of framing speculation in philosophical theology and more generally in philosophy itself.