Category Archives: Books

Plotinus, Ennead II.9. Against the Gnostics. Translation, With an Introduction and Commentary

How was the universe created, and what is our place within it? These are the questions at the heart of Plotinus’ Against the Gnostics. For the Gnostics, the universe came into being as a result of the soul’s fall from intelligible reality—it is the evil outcome of a botched creation. Plotinus challenges this narrative and insists that the soul’s creation of the world is the necessary consequence of its contemplation of the ideal forms. While the Gnostics claim to despise the visible universe, Plotinus argues that such contempt displays their ignorance of the higher realities of which the cosmos is a beautiful image.

Against the Gnostics is a polemical text. It aims to show the superiority of Plotinus’ philosophy over that of his Gnostic rivals and poses unique challenges: Plotinus nowhere identifies his opponents by name, he does not set out their doctrines in any great detail, and his arguments are frequently elliptical. The detailed commentary provides a guide through these difficulties, making Plotinus’ meandering train of thought in this important treatise accessible to the reader.

An Aristotelian Feminism

This book articulates the theoretical outlines of a feminism developed from Aristotle’s metaphysics, making a new contribution to feminist theory. Readers will discover why Aristotle was not a feminist and how he might have become one, had he been truer to his best insights.

Sophistes Plato’s Dialogue and Heidegger’s Lectures in Marburg (1924-25)

Heidegger’s philosophy has an extraordinarily complex relationship to Plato. Heidegger sees Plato as the founder of that Western metaphysics which he claims should be overcome. However, his interpretation of Plato, upon which his reconstruction of the history of philosophy rests, is anything but incontestable from a philological point of view, and has generated much criticism. This criticism, however, has been hampered by the fact that the only example in Heidegger’s work of a detailed analysis of a Platonic dialogue, namely the Lectures on Plato’s Sophist held in Marburg in 1924–25, remained unpublished until 1992. Thus, only in the last twenty years have scholars been able to develop a more nuanced understanding of Heidegger’s interpretation of Plato. Even then, however, the focus has been primarily on the importance of the lectures for Heidegger’s own thought. The possible impact of Heidegger’s interpretation on the study of Platonic philosophy itself has been neglected. This volume, therefore, offers a critical re-evaluation of Heidegger as an interpreter of Plato.

Neoplatonism in the Middle Ages, I. New Commentaries on Liber de causis (ca. 1250-1350); II. New Commentaries on Liber de causis and Elementatio theologica (ca.1350-1500)

One of the most important texts in the history of medieval philosophy, the Book of Causes was composed in Baghdad in the 9th century mainly from the Arabic translations of Proclus’ Elements of Theology. In the 12th century, it was translated from Arabic into Latin, but its importance in the Latin tradition was not properly studied until now, because only 6 commentaries on it were known. Our exceptional discovery of over 70 unpublished Latin commentaries mainly on the Book of Causes, but also on the Elements of Theology, prove, for the first time, that the two texts were widely disseminated and commented on throughout many European universities (Paris, Oxford, Erfurt, Krakow, Prague), from the 13th to the 16th century. These two volumes provide 14 editions (partial or complete) of the newly discovered commentaries, and yield, through historical and philosophical analyses, new and essential insights into the influence of Greek and Islamic Neoplatonism in the Latin philosophical traditions.

Series: Studia Artistarum 42.1-2
2 vol., 983 p., 156 x 234 mm, 2016, PB, ISBN 978-2-503-55474-7, € 100

Table of Contents

D. Calma (ed.), Neoplatonism in the Middle Ages. I. New Commentaries on Liber de Causis (ca. 1250-1350)

D. Calma, Introduction

I. Székely and D. Calma, Le commentaire d’un maître parisien conservé à Erfurt
M. Maga, Remarques sur le commentaire au Liber de causis attribué à Pierre d’Auvergne
I. Costa, M. Borgo, The Questions of Radulphus Brito (?) on the Liber de causis
A. Baneu, D. Calma, Le commentaire sur le Liber de causis de Jean de Mallinges
D. Carron, A Theological Reading of the Liber de Causisat the Turn of the Fourteenth Century: The Example of William of Leus
A. Baneu, D. Calma, The Glose super Librum de Causis and the Exegetical Tradition

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D. Calma (ed.), Neoplatonism in the Middle Ages. II. New Commentaries on Liber de Causis and Elementatio Theologica (ca. 1350-1450)

D. Calma, Introduction

D. Calma, A Medieval Companion to Aristotle. John Krosbein and his Paraphrase of Liber de Causis
F. Retucci, Sententia Procli alti philosophi. Notes on an Anonymous Commentary on Proclus’ Elementatio Theologica
M. Meliadò, Le Questiones super Librum de causis attribuite a Johannes Wenck. Concezione, fonti e tradizione manoscritta del commento
D. Calma, I. Szekely, Causality and Causation in Henry of Geismar’s Questio de quolibet
A. Baumgarten, Theologia philosophorum parcialis. Un commentaire sur le Liber de causis
L. Miolo, Liber de causis in librariam. Pour une mise en perspective du Liber de causis dans la bibliothèque du collège de Sorbonne

Dionysios von Alexandria. De natura (περὶ φύσεως)

Bischof Dionysios von Alexandria (etwa 190-265) war für die Geschichte der Kirche von überragender Bedeutung. Wie sein Lehrer Origenes fungierte auch er als Leiter der sogenannten Alexandriner Katechetenschule. Unter seinen literarischen Hinterlassenschaften, überwiegend Briefe, findet sich die aus mehreren Büchern bestehende Schrift περὶ φύσεως (de natura).

Dieses einzig bekannte philosophische Werk des Dionysios ist uns im Wesentlichen durch Auszüge aus dem ersten Buch bei Eusebius überliefert. Das Erhaltene stellt eine Polemik gegen die epikureische Physik dar. Dionysios verteidigt die Vorsehung, indem er Epikurs Atomismus anhand von Alltagsbeispielen, der Harmonie des Kosmos und des menschlichen Körpers zu destruieren sucht und die Defizite seiner Gottesvorstellung aufzeigt. Der Abhandlung gebührt ein besonderer Platz unter den Erzeugnissen der christlichen Literatur, insofern nur hier die physikalischen Grundlagen von Epikurs Philosophie unter Einbezug christlicher Elemente in einem größeren Rahmen widerlegt werden.

Ein neuer Kommentar zu περὶ φύσεως des Dionysios bildet die Grundlage für eine umfassende Würdigung und Einordnung, wobei insbesondere eine Neuentdeckung zur Repräsentativität des Erhaltenen die Frage nach dem Charakter der Gesamtschrift virulent werden lässt. Da die anti-epikureischen Einlassungen in περὶ φύσεως auf eine zu Dionysios‘ Zeit noch vorhandene Vitalität des Epikureismus in Alexandria hindeuten, wurde zur breiteren Kontextualisierung auch erstmalig eine profunde Gesamtdarstellung der `Geschichte des Epikureismus in Alexandria´ unternommen und einleitend vorangestellt.

Apuleius and the Metamorphoses of Platonism

Apuleius was a respected philosophus Platonicus in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Until the middle of last century, he attracted the attention of scholars as a so-called ‘Middle Platonist’ author. Then, with the rejection of the historical schema that he had been situated in (the so-called ‘school of Gaius’, which we will treat shortly), his ‘brother’ Alcinous was the object of studies and (even harsh) criticisms, while almost nothing more was written about Apuleius by anyone. Studies of Middle Platonism primarily accentuated the liberty of the philosophers of the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, who interpreted the doctrines of Plato without constituting a specific school. Due to this new vision of Middle Platonism, Apuleius’ role was difficult to define. It is not uncommon to find that Apuleius the philosopher is completely neglected . The literary character, and especially the ‘rhetorical’ nature of some of his works and of his personality have probably hurt his reputation in philosophy. These aspects of his personality have however been ever more accentuated in the last few decades within the development of studies on Second Sophistics.

Consequently not only have there been few scholars to show interest for Apuleius’ philosophical doctrines, but those few who have the opportunity to almost manage his philosophical doctrines usually disregard his literary works. In this way one cannot understand the most specific aspect of his philosophy, which consists in a sort of intermingling of philosophy and literature (a typical attitude of Greek and Latin culture of the 2nd century AD), and above all, of religion and Platonism. The dichotomy between philosophy and literature that was normal in the 19th and 20th centuries therefore still persists in the case of Apuleius. Claudio Moreschini attempted in some way to fill this gap in his 1978 study on Apuleio e il Platonismo. It was obviously in vain. Accordingly, in this book he would like to reflect on the possibility of a synthesis between these two aspects.

 

Grasp and dissent: Cicero and Epicurean Philosophy

The present study centers on the distinctive characteristics of Cicero’s philosophical training; for the first time in a volume, the Roman philosopher’s relationship with Epicurean philosophy is accurately recreated. Not only does Cicero exhibit his lofty philosophical proficiency anchored in the Academic school, but he also proves an excellent authority in Epicurus’s proposed philosophy.
At the conclusion of the research, Cicero will prove to be a fierce opponent of Epicureanism – an intelligent adversary, capable of ‘studiose dicere contra Epicurum’: understanding and criticizing, but also (and this is surely quite important for us today), reiterating the opposing party’s thought with great acumen.

Clitophon’s Challenge: Dialectic in Plato’s Meno, Phaedo, and Republic

Hugh H. Benson explores Plato’s answer to Clitophon’s challenge, the question of how one can acquire the knowledge Socrates argues is essential to human flourishing-knowledge we all seem to lack. Plato suggests two methods by which this knowledge may be gained: the first is learning from those who already have the knowledge one seeks, and the second is discovering the knowledge one seeks on one’s own.

The book begins with a brief look at some of the Socratic dialogues where Plato appears to recommend the former approach while simultaneously indicating various difficulties in pursuing it. The remainder of the book focuses on Plato’s recommendation in some of his most important and central dialogues-the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic-for carrying out the second approach: de novo inquiry. The book turns first to the famous paradox concerning the possibility of such an inquiry and explores Plato’s apparent solution. Having defended the possibility of de novo inquiry as a response to Clitophon’s challenge, Plato explains the method or procedure by which such inquiry is to be carried out. The book defends the controversial thesis that the method of hypothesis, as described and practiced in the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic, is, when practiced correctly, Plato’s recommended method of acquiring on one’s own the essential knowledge we lack. The method of hypothesis when practiced correctly is, then, Platonic dialectic, and this is Plato’s response to Clitophon’s challenge.

Hardback ISBN: 9780199324835
Page Count: 328
Price: $65.00
**For a limited time, society members can pre-order and receive a 30% discount via the OUP website. Follow the following link for more information:
https://global.oup.com/academic/product/9780199324835/?cc=us&lang=en&promocode=AAFLYG6

Philosophy in the Hellenistic and Roman Worlds: A History of Philosophy without any gaps, Volume 2

Peter Adamson’s History of Philosophy without any gaps series of podcasts is one of the most ambitious educational works on the web. It aims to do nothing less than take listeners through the entire history of philosophy ‘without any gaps’. It assumes no prior knowledge making it ideal for beginners. This is the second volume to make these witty, and highly accessible, podcasts available in book form. Philosophy in the Hellenistic and Roman Worlds offers a tour through a period of eight hundred years when some of the most influential of all schools of thought were formed. From the counter-cultural witticisms of Diogenes the Cynic to the political philosophy of Augustine, the book gathers together all aspects of later ancient thought in a way that is a pleasure to read.

Hardback ISBN: 9780198728023
Page Count: 360
Price: $35.00
**For a limited time, society members can pre-order and receive a 30% discount via the OUP website. Follow the following link for more information:
https://global.oup.com/academic/product/9780198728023/?cc=us&lang=en&promocode=AAFLYG6

Classical Philosophy: A history of philosophy without any gaps, Volume 1

Classical Philosophy is the first of a series of books in which Peter Adamson aims ultimately to present a complete history of philosophy, more thoroughly but also more enjoyably than ever before. In short, lively chapters, based on the popular History of Philosophy podcast, he offers an accessible, humorous, and detailed look at the emergence of philosophy with the Presocratics, the probing questions of Socrates, and the first full flowering of philosophy with the dialogues of Plato and the treatises of Aristotle. The story is told “without any gaps,” discussing not only such major figures but also less commonly discussed topics like the Hippocratic Corpus, the Platonic Academy, and the role of women in ancient philosophy. Within the thought of Plato and Aristotle, the reader will find in-depth introductions to major works, such as the Republic and the Nicomachean Ethics, which are treated in detail that is unusual in an introduction to ancient philosophy. Adamson looks at fascinating but less frequently read Platonic dialogues like the Charmides and Cratylus, and Aristotle’s ideas in zoology and poetics. This full coverage allows him to tackle ancient discussions in all areas of philosophy, including epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, ethics and politics. Attention is also given to the historical and literary context of classical philosophy, with exploration of how early Greek cosmology responded to the poets Homer and Hesiod, how Socrates was presented by the comic playwright Aristophanes and the historian Xenophon, and how events in Greek history may have influenced Plato’s thought. This is a new kind of history which will bring philosophy to life for all readers, including those coming to the subject for the first time.

*New in Paperback*

Paperback ISBN: 9780198767039
Page Count: 368
Price: $19.95
**For a limited time, society members can pre-order and receive a 30% discount via the OUP website. Follow the following link for more information:
https://global.oup.com/academic/product/9780198767039/?cc=us&lang=en&promocode=AAFLYG6