30 November 2006

Plato on Assimilation to the Divine, and Another Platonist?

When Aristotle writes like a Platonist, is he a Platonist? That's the question. A test case might be when Aristotle seems to endorse 'assimilation to the divine'.

As good a statement as any of this view in Plato may be found near the end of the Timaeus. (Pardon the long passages. There is no way around this.)

[90a] And as regards the most lordly kind of our soul, we must conceive of it in this wise: we declare that God has given to each of us, as his daemon, that kind of soul which is housed in the top of our body and which raises us--seeing that we are not an earthly but a heavenly plant up from earth towards our kindred in the heaven. And herein we speak most truly; for it is by suspending our head and root from that region whence the substance of our soul first came that the Divine Power keeps upright our whole body. [90b] Whoso, then, indulges in lusts or in contentions and devotes himself overmuch thereto must of necessity be filled with opinions that are wholly mortal, and altogether, so far as it is possible to become mortal, fall not short of this in even a small degree, inasmuch as he has made great his mortal part. But he who has seriously devoted himself to learning and to true thoughts, and has exercised these qualities above all his others, [90c] must necessarily and inevitably think thoughts that are immortal and divine, if so be that he lays hold on truth, and in so far as it is possible for human nature to partake of immortality, he must fall short thereof in no degree; and inasmuch as he is for ever tending his divine part and duly magnifying that daemon who dwells along with him, he must be supremely blessed. And the way of tendance of every part by every man is one--namely, to supply each with its own congenial food and motion; and for the divine part within us the congenial motions [90d] are the intellections and revolutions of the Universe. These each one of us should follow, rectifying the revolutions within our head, which were distorted at our birth, by learning the harmonies and revolutions of the Universe, and thereby making the part that thinks like unto the object of its thought, in accordance with its original nature, and having achieved this likeness attain finally to that goal of life which is set before men by the gods as the most good both for the present and for the time to come. (Lamb translation. Greek below. In his quotation of this passage, Gerson does not include the bit in red above.)
Gerson sees parallels between this passage and a famous one in the Nicomachean Ethics, and he cites David Sedley in corroboratione: "It seems to have gone unnoticed by scholars," Sedley wrote in a 1997 article, "how accurately the main structure of Aristotle's ethics reflects this passage of the Timaeus". The NE passage (1177b26ff) is as follows:
But such a life would be too high for man; for it is not in so far as he is man that he will live so, but in so far as something divine is present in him; and by so much as this is superior to our composite nature is its activity superior to that which is the exercise of the other kind of virtue. If reason is divine, then, in comparison with man, the life according to it is divine in comparison with human life. But we must not follow those who advise us, being men, to think of human things, and, being mortal, of mortal things, but must, so far as we can, make ourselves immortal, and strain every nerve to live in accordance with the best thing in us; for even if it be small in bulk, much more does it in power and worth surpass everything. This would seem, too, to be each man himself, since it is the authoritative and better part of him. It would be strange, then, if he were to choose not the life of his self but that of something else. And what we said before' will apply now; that which is proper to each thing is by nature best and most pleasant for each thing; for man, therefore, the life according to reason is best and pleasantest, since reason more than anything else is man. This life therefore is also the happiest. (Original Ross translation, warts and all. Gerson in his quotation does not include the bit at the end in red.)
Are the similarities merely superificial? Gerson makes a good case that they are not:
There are so many striking similarities between the foregoing passages and what Plato says in Timaeus and Theaetetus about assimilation to the divine that one cannot help but wonder at the prejudices that have induced many either to ignore or to discount them. It is not just the obvious verbal parallels that are so impressive but the eccentricities of the parallels.
  • Both Plato and Aristotle urge us to try to achieve immortality as much as possible, as if that were something both in our power and allowing of degrees.
  • Both urge us to emulate divine life, though the focus of ethics would seem to be our ineluctable humanity.
  • And both proclaim that the divine life is a contemplative one, specifically removed from human affairs.
  • Finally, both rest what they say upon an assumption that the 'we' of ethical striving is in fact different from an embodied human being.
    [p. 255, bullet points added for clarity's sake]
Gerson seems correct, does he not? The parallels are striking. So then is Aristotle expressing Platonism here? Perhaps even: Doesn't his use of such language signal his allegiance to the general outlook of the Platonic school? How could it have failed to do so? And then, if we realize that he is evincing Platonism here, what difference should this make to the interpretation of NE?

(a.) dio_ fulakte/on o3pwj a2n e1xwsin ta_j kinh&seij pro_j
a1llhla summe/trouj. to_ de\ dh_ peri\ tou~ kuriwta&tou par'
h(mi=n yuxh~j ei1douj dianoei=sqai dei= th|~de, w(j a1ra au)to_ dai/-
mona qeo_j e9ka&stw| de/dwken, tou~to o4 dh& famen oi0kei=n me\n
h(mw~n e0p' a1krw| tw|~ sw&mati, pro_j de\ th_n e0n ou)ranw|~ sugge/neian

a)po_ gh~j h(ma~j ai1rein w(j o1ntaj futo_n ou)k e1ggeion a)lla_ ou)ra&-
nion, o)rqo&tata le/gontej: e0kei=qen ga&r, o3qen h( prw&th th~j
yuxh~j ge/nesij e1fu, to_ qei=on th_n kefalh_n kai\ r(i/zan h(mw~n

(b.) a)nakremannu_n o)rqoi= pa~n to_ sw~ma. tw|~ me\n ou}n peri\ ta_j
e0piqumi/aj h2 peri\ filoniki/aj teteutako&ti kai\ tau~ta dia-
ponou~nti sfo&dra pa&nta ta_ do&gmata a)na&gkh qnhta_ e0gge-
gone/nai, kai\ panta&pasin kaq' o3son ma&lista dunato_n qnhtw|~
gi/gnesqai, tou&tou mhde\ smikro_n e0llei/pein, a3te to_ toiou~ton

hu)chko&ti: tw|~ de\ peri\ filomaqi/an kai\ peri\ ta_j a)lhqei=j
fronh&seij e0spoudako&ti kai\ tau~ta ma&lista tw~n au(tou~ gegu-

(c.) mnasme/nw| fronei=n me\n a)qa&nata kai\ qei=a, a1nper a)lhqei/aj
e0fa&pthtai, pa~sa a)na&gkh pou, kaq' o3son d' au} metasxei=n
a)nqrwpi/nh| fu&sei a)qanasi/aj e0nde/xetai, tou&tou mhde\n me/roj
a)polei/pein, a3te de\ a)ei\ qerapeu&onta to_ qei=on e1xonta& te au)to_n
eu} kekosmhme/non to_n dai/mona su&noikon e9autw|~, diafero&ntwj

eu)dai/mona ei]nai. qerapei/a de\ dh_ panti\ panto_j mi/a, ta_j
oi0kei/aj e9ka&stw| trofa_j kai\ kinh&seij a)podido&nai. tw|~ d' e0n @1
h(mi=n qei/w| suggenei=j ei0sin kinh&seij ai9 tou~ panto_j dianoh&seij

(d.) kai\ periforai/: tau&taij dh_ sunepo&menon e3kaston dei=, ta_j peri\
th_n ge/nesin e0n th|~ kefalh|~ diefqarme/naj h(mw~n perio&douj
e0corqou~nta dia_ to_ katamanqa&nein ta_j tou~ panto_j a(rmoni/aj
te kai\ perifora&j, tw|~ katanooume/nw| to_ katanoou~n e0comoiw~sai
kata_ th_n a)rxai/an fu&sin, o(moiw&santa de\ te/loj e1xein tou~
proteqe/ntoj a)nqrw&poij u(po_ qew~n a)ri/stou bi/ou pro&j te to_n
paro&nta kai\ to_n e1peita xro&non.

o( de\ toiou~toj a2n ei1h bi/oj krei/ttwn h2 kat' a1nqrwpon: ou) ga_r h|{ a1nqrwpo&j e0stin ou3tw biw&setai, a)ll' h|{ qei=o&n ti e0n au)tw|~ u(pa&rxei: o3son de\ diafe/rei tou~to tou~ sunqe/tou, tosou~ton kai\ h( e0ne/rgeia th~j kata_ th_n a1llhn a)reth&n. ei0 dh_ qei=on o( nou~j pro_j to_n a1nqrwpon, kai\ o( kata_ tou~ton bi/oj qei=oj pro_j to_n a)nqrw&pinon bi/on. ou) xrh_ de\ kata_ tou_j parainou~ntaj a)nqrw&pina fronei=n a1nqrwpon o1nta ou)de\ qnhta_ to_n qnhto&n, a)ll' e0f' o3son e0nde/xetai a)qanati/zein kai\ pa&nta poiei=n pro_j to_ zh~n kata_ to_ kra&tiston tw~n e0n au(tw|~: ei0 ga_r kai\ tw|~ o1gkw| mikro&n e0sti, duna&mei kai\ timio&thti polu_ ma~llon pa&ntwn u(pere/xei. do&ceie d' a2n kai\ ei]nai e3kastoj tou~to, ei1per to_ ku&rion kai\ a1meinon. a1topon ou}n gi/noit' a1n, ei0 mh_ to_n au(tou~ bi/on ai9roi=to a)lla& tinoj a1llou. to_ lexqe/n te pro&teron a(rmo&sei kai\ nu~n: to_ ga_r oi0kei=on e9ka&stw| th|~ fu&sei kra&tiston kai\ h3disto&n e0stin e9ka&stw|: kai\ tw|~ a)nqrw&pw| dh_ o( kata_ to_n nou~n bi/oj, ei1per tou~to ma&lista a1nqrwpoj. ou{toj a1ra kai\ eu)daimone/statoj.

A Band of Brothers

I don't often stray from ancient philosophy, but I found the following picture so appealing that I wanted to share it with Dissoi Blogoi readers.

The picture was taken in the spring of 1942 at a camp either on or near the Peace River in British Columbia by my uncle, Pfc William J. Pakaluk, who was working on the Alaskan Highway, as part of the early U.S. defense efforts. (The U.S. had joined the war only a few months earlier.) On May 14th a sudden squall arose when he and some other men were taking a barge of construction supplies across Charlie Lake. 12 of the 17 men on board perished, perhaps including some shown here.

29 November 2006

Jaeger, Gerson, Gilson, and the Neoplatonists

Two 'thats':

(1.) There is some kind of deep difference between the philosophy of Plato and that of Aristotle. (This seems to be so, even if we are unsure of how that difference is to be characterized.)
(2.) There are many passages in Aristotle that look like passages in Plato, or passages that Plato might have written. (They seem that way, even we are unsure what their sense is ultimately.)
Now, how to deal with this? One way is to characterize (1.) in such a way that it becomes necessary to explain away (2.): thus Jaeger, who understands the difference to be that between an other-worldly and metaphysical rationalism, and a this-wordly and anti-metaphysical empiricism. The latter viewpoint simply cannot accommodate any significant portions of the former. Jaeger therefore needs to explain away the Plato-sounding passages in Aristotle by appeal to developmentalism: those passages really are passages that Plato could have written, but they belong to an early, platonizing period of Aristotle's development.

Gerson, insofar as he explores a 'harmony' between Plato and Aristotle in the spirit of the neoplatonists, takes a different approach. He characterizes (2.) in such a way that it becomes necessary to explain away (1.). The neoplatonists held that those passages in Aristotle that look like Plato could have written them really do say much the same as what Plato said. But from this one is meant to conclude-- contrary to what is commonly thought in modern times--that there are no deep differences between Aristotle and Plato: Aristotle is a Platonist; and the disagreements between them are on the level of a quarrel within a school.

Gerson quotes something from Gilson as an example of the view he wishes to call into question:
...reduced to their bare essences, these metaphysics are rigorously antinomical; one cannot be for the other without being against all those who are with the other, and that is why Saint Thomas remains with Aristotle against all those who are counted on the side of Plato.
There is perhaps some irony in the fact that, although Gerson understoods his book as a contributing to a critique of Jaeger, he apparently shares with Jaeger the view that the Plato-sounding passages in Aristotle are of a piece with Platonic philosophy. Gerson disagrees with Jaeger on how to resolve the difficulty posed by (1.) and (2.), but they are agreed in taking the Plato-sounding passages to be truly platonic.

To this, I think, we need to bring to bear the criterion that we had adopted for evaluating Gerson's approach. We said that Gerson's exploration of a harmony, in the spirit of the neoplatonists, is saved from being an 'exercise in historical perversity' precisely to the extent that it yields exegetical and philosophical fruit. But is it fruitful to read Aristotle's Plato-sounding passages in that way--as platonic? I do not prejudge an answer to this question; I simply raise the question.

In my next post, I'll consider a specific example, namely, Gerson's treatment of a passage in Aristotle which seems similar to those passages in Plato that recommend 'assmilation to God' as the goal of human life. As Gerson explains in his introduction:
There is not much Neoplatonic commentary material on Aristotle's ethical writings. It is, however, possible to piece together something that can legitimately be called a Neoplatonic reading of the Nicomachean Ethics and to show how on this reading the view of happiness and virtue there is in harmony with the central idea of Neoplatonic ethics: namely, assimilation to the divine (21).
The question is: Is the passage in Aristotle illuminated by taking him to be saying (more or less) what Plato says?

27 November 2006

You Can't Tell a Book from the Way It's Covered

Suzanne Obdrzalek has a tautly-argued review in BMCR of Terry Penner and Chris Rowe's recent commentary (with translation) of Plato's Lysis.

I so much enjoyed the sharp writing of her review that I read it twice, to make sure I did not miss anything.

Obdrzalek raises many interesting questions, for instance: How can the 'primary object of love' (prw~ton fi/lon 219d1) of the Lysis be wisdom, as Penner and Rowe claim, if we love wisdom, but not the primary object of love, for the sake of other things? (After all, wisdom makes us and what we deal with useful and good.)

Again, Obdrzalek is rightly unconvinced by Penner and Rowe's explanation of the argument that the love of a genuine lover will be reciprocated. She writes:

One difficulty raised by P & R is how Socrates can legitimate moving [sic] from the claim that the beloved is oikeion to the lover to the claim that the lover is oikeion to the beloved--this slide is needed to reach the conclusion that boys mustn't spurn true lovers. P & R's proposal is that if x loves y, then y is oikeion to x and is a means to x's acquisition of wisdom; in that case, x will be oikeion to y. It is difficult to see why the insertion of wisdom into this erotic equation should render philia reciprocal. P & R essentially make the lover loveable by converting him into the beloved, i.e. a means to wisdom.
And, perhaps only for the sake of argument, she gives a brave defense of Vlastos' 'utilitarian' interpretation of the dialogue at the end of her view.

I'd very much like to post on these topics, and maybe I will.

But here I simply wish to lodge an objection against what I think is an unfortunate paragraph near the beginning of Obdrzalek's review:
P & R's book will be of primary interest to scholars of ancient philosophy, particularly those familiar with contemporary analytic debates in the philosophy of language and moral psychology. It should be noted that, though the book presents itself as a translation and commentary, it is not suitable for looking up isolated passages of the dialogue, since it offers a cumulative interpretation. The translation itself is highly literal, and hence less fluid than Lombardo's; it will be of most use for those wishing a stand-in for the Greek. P & R do not provide much discussion of textual or linguistic issues, nor do they provide socio-historical background for the dialogue. These limitations are undoubtedly due to the fact that P & R intend the work as a philosophical commentary on Plato, and in this it excels. Plato's Lysis does a splendid job of giving a sense of what it is like to read a Platonic dialogue through the eyes of two readers who are at once keenly sensitive to literary nuance and deeply philosophically engaged.
The paragraph is unfortunate, as it gives an completely wrong impression of the book.

"highly literal, and hence less fluid"-- that inference needn't hold, and I don't think it does hold in this case. From my brief inspection, I find Penner and Rowe entirely as fluid as Lombardo--easy and good English, idiomatic, natural. If their translation is also more literal, then it is better in every respect. (Here one could wish that Obdrzalek, to support her point, had compared the two translations, as is sometimes done in BMCR reviews.) Penner and Rowe are not giving us some kind of Eek!

"of primary interest to scholars in ancient philosophy" -- I think, rather, the book aims at a general, educated audience, and in my view it succeeds. It is a wonderful example of humanity (in the old sense). It is definitely not a book in 'analytic philosophy', although it is lucid and concerned about arguments.

"P & R do not provide much discussion of textual or linguistic issues, nor do they provide socio-historical background for the dialogue." This is emphatically not true. The translation (as it is presented in the much longer commentary section of the book) is accompanied by frequent, detailed notes, which give fascinating and suggestive remarks on language and background. (But how could Rowe, at least, have a hand in a book which was not like that?)

"it is not suitable for looking up isolated passages of the dialogue, since it offers a cumulative interpretation" -- another non sequitur. Actually, the book has a very detailed TOC which makes it eminently suitable for finding the commentary corresponding to any passage. The cumulative interpretation complements, rather than obscures or obliterates, what is said about passages considered on their own.

On the other hand, it would be correct to say that the book discourages the reading of texts out of context, as if they are giving arguments in isolation. But on that point I should have liked to hear Obdrzalek say something about the goal of the series to which the volume belongs ("Cambridge Studies in the Dialogues of Plato"). Does she agree with that goal? And, in her view, do Penner and Rowe execute that task well?

FYI, here is the statement of principle from the CUP website:
Plato's dialogues are rich mixtures of subtle argument, sublime theorising and superb literature. It is tempting to read them piecemeal - by analysing the arguments, by espousing or rejecting the theories or by praising Plato's literary expertise. It is equally tempting to search for Platonic views across dialogues, selecting passages from throughout the Platonic corpus. But Plato offers us the dialogues to read whole and one by one. This series provides original studies in individual dialogues of Plato. Each study will aim to throw light on such questions as why its chosen dialogue is composed in the complex way that it is, and what makes this unified whole more than the sum of its parts. In so doing, each volume will both give a full account of its dialogue and offer a view of Plato's philosophising from that perspective.

More Good Things at Toronto

A friend drew my attention to the following, well worth noting here.

The Augustine Confessions Conference 2007

An interdisciplinary conference examining various aspects of Saint Augustine's great spiritual autobiography, the Confessions.

MARCH 30 - 31, 2007 at St. Michael's College in the University of Toronto

Featured Speakers:

  • Dr. Sara Byers, Ave Maria University
  • Dr. Catherine Conybeare, Bryn Mawr College
  • Dr. James Farrell, University of New Hampshire
  • Dr. Meredith J. Gill, University of Maryland
  • Dr. Peter King, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Scott MacDonald, Cornell University
  • Dr. Gareth Matthews, University of Massachusetts
  • Dr. Stephen Menn, McGill University
  • Dr. Oliver O’Donovan, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr. Mark Vessey, University of British Columbia

To find out more and register, please go to:


(I thought, though: 'Tis a pity that John Kenney of nearby St. Michael' s College, Vermont, is not featured on the program, as his recent book is provocative and good, The Mysticism of Saint Augustine: Re-Reading the Confessions.)

25 November 2006

Adventures in Ideas

I discovered recently with pleasure that my teacher, Sarah Broadie, will be giving the 2007 Whitehead Lectures at Harvard University, May 10th and 11th--an honor not simply for Broadie but also for ancient philosophy. (After all, some footnotes to Plato are more conspicuous than others.)

Has another 'ancient philosopher' ever given Whitehead lectures? A quick exploration of the internet uncovered the following as past lecturers:

Tyler Burge
Cora Diamond
Michael Friedman
Nelson Goodman
Saul Kripke
David Lewis
Mary Mothersill
Thomas Nagel
Christopher Peacocke
Sydney Shoemaker
Morton White
Bernard Williams
Crispin Wright

24 November 2006

And the Finale Is .... Alcibiades!

Something light for today.

At Tanglewood last summer I heard Midori live for the first time, and was completely smitten by her interpretation of the Bruch first concerto -- especially the second movement.

So recently I began to think: had she recorded the Barber concerto, which is my favorite (with Sibelius a close second)? In doing some research on her discography, I discovered something new about ancient philosophy.

Perhaps you've heard the famous story of her stunning debut at Tanglewood, when she broke two 'E' strings, had to switch to larger violins (she was still playing a children's-size instrument) and caused Leonard Bernstein to kneel in appreciation at the performance's end. But I wonder if you know the name of the piece she was playing then. It was something I've never heard of, but it is worth giving especially here: Plato's 'Symposium' for Solo Violin, String Orchestra, Harp and Percussion, by Leonard Bernstein.

The piece, written originally for Isaac Stern in 1950, is also called simply Serenade, with the following movements:

I. Phaedrus-Pausanias: Lento and Allegro Marcato
II. Aristophanes: Allegretto
III. Eryximachus: Presto
IV. Agathon: Adagio
V. Socrates-Alcibiades: Molto tenuto and Allegro Molto Vivace

At first, when I learned of this serenade on a theme of Plato, I thought it was strange, that someone should have written programmatic music on the basis of a philosophical dialogue.

But then I thought: Isn't it unusual, rather, that more pieces of music haven't been inspired by Plato? Wouldn't a student be reading Plato according to his own mind, if he wanted to compose music inspired by Plato's writings? After all, Plato thought of creative love and human thinking as somehow unified, and he did not write dry treatises, but beautiful literature.

And then I also thought: Did Bernstein as a student at Harvard (class of '39) perhaps study Plato--to connect this to what I just been thinking about--under John Wild or Raphael Demos? We all seek to accomplish something lasting in our scholarship and teaching: Wouldn't the teacher who had inspired Bernstein have achieved just that? (Although I don't know if this is a great work and a harmonia that will long survive the death of its composer.)

In any case, here's a description of the performance from the Midori and Friends website:
Midori made the first of two recordings for Philips in 1986 (Bach/Vivaldi with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Pinchas Zukerman). The second, a Paganini/Tchaikovsky pairing with the London Symphony Orchestra and Leonard Slatkin, followed in 1987. During this same period, she gave first performances with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Montreal Symphony, undertook her first European tour and made her now-legendary debut at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein conducting. The work was Bernstein's Serenade after Plato's 'Symposium' for Solo Violin, String Orchestra, Harp and Percussion.

In the fifth movement, Midori broke the E string and was quickly passed the violin of the concertmaster, continuing to play without missing a beat. When the unthinkable happened again and she broke the E string on the concertmaster's fiddle, she took the violin of the associate concertmaster. Both borrowed instruments were different in size - and both were larger than her own instrument - yet Midori was unfazed. When she came to the end, the audience and the orchestra erupted in applause and Bernstein fell to his knees. The following day, the front page of The New York Times read, "Girl, 14, Conquers Tanglewood with 3 Violins."

23 November 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

In the United States, today is a national Day of Thanksgiving and a major holiday. Accordingly, I will likely not be posting anything later in the day. (But--who knows?--maybe I'll have a chance to sneak away and read Gerson.)

Something small for me to be thankful for here: Dissoi Blogoi is 1 year, 9 months old exactly.

Something else: the intelligent readership of this blog, and their admirably perceptive and unfailingly courteous comments.

To you: Thanks.

22 November 2006

Why Make Comparisons?

I can't really resist. But excuse me since I've already posted on ancient philosophy (or at least metaphysics) today:


Which well-known epistemologist, when asked to rank the five best books in epistemology of the 20th century, declined to take up the task and said, simply and quite sensibly:

"Few have enough knowledge about the whole century to make the needed comparisons. (There should be some Carnap, shouldn’t there?) Easier, nicer, and more useful to just list some good ones that folks might do well to read — which one can do without committing to them being better than other books that one perhaps isn’t so familiar with."

Hint: He's an epistemologist who is as well-placed to give such a list as anyone.


Keith DeRose

See comment #10 at:

I won't spell out the a fortiori argument.

By the way, I have no objection, and never have, to DeRose or anyone else posting on their website lists of "Ten Good Places to Go to Grad School in Philosophy". Or make it 20, and annotate it too.

Also, just to be perfectly clear, two pieces of advice I always give to students contemplating graduate study in philosophy:

(i) Do not undertake graduate study if you have to pay or borrow large sums to do so; you should be well-enough regarded going in that you get a generous stipend or grant.
(ii) Be idealistic, but within practical limits, that is: attend a graduate program only if, on the assumption that you do well, you will have a reasonable chance of getting the sort of job that you would find acceptable. (But I warn also of the dangers of grad-school acculturation: viz. that what one regards as an 'acceptable' job when one gets the Ph.D. may very well be different from what one thought, perhaps on better grounds, when one began.)

Elementa Philosophiae Aristotelico-Thomisticae

Thus the title of a two volume work by Josef Gredt, O.S.B..

I recently acquired the 7th edition (1937). A little research on OCLC indicates that it was first published in 1899 in Freiburg. First editions are relatively rare, yet the University of Pittsburgh owns a copy.

I first encountered this book on the shelves of the Robbins Library in the philosophy department of Harvard University. What was it doing there? Someone told me that John Wild used to use the book when he taught his seminar on Metaphysics.

Now this would have been between 1927 and 1961, the years when Wild was on the Harvard faculty. A little background: Wild was born in Chicago in 1902. He received a B.A. from the University of Chicago and then his Ph.D from Harvard in 1926. After a year as an instructor at Michigan, he returned to Harvard, where he wrote George Berkeley (1936); Plato's Theory of Man (1946); Introduction to Realist Philosophy (1948); Plato's Modern Enemies and the Theory of Natural Law (1953); and The Challenge of Existentialism (1955).

As those titles indicate, Wild's interests changed from an initial focus on empiricism, to studies on Plato, to "realism", and then finally to existentialism. After a kind of philosophical conversion to existentialism he moved to Northwestern, then went to Yale, and then Florida. He died in 1972. His seminars using Gredt as the text probably date from his "realist" phase in the '40s.

(By the way, I've never seen so much as a reference to Wild's Plato books. I haven't a clue whether they are valuable.)

But now imagine a Harvard faculty with Wild and Demos, as well as C.I. Lewis, Donald Williams, and Quine on the faculty. That was an interesting time. (Williams "took the full breadth of the philosophical tradition in his stride"--observe Quine, Nozick, and Firth in their APA Memorial Minute for him--"writing on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, logic, and the philosophy of history. Scholarship in the philosophical classics, early and late, informed and disciplined his work. The breadth of his writing, moreover, was reflected in that of the courses he gave at Harvard." N.B. Are you able, dear reader, to draw a contrast at this point with what I have previously referred to as the current, narrow professionalism of philosophy?)

I was interested in Gredt because I wondered what it would be to teach metaphysics as if it constituted knowledge. And does it make sense, in contrast, to study metaphysics from within a tradition in philosophy that, as a matter of historical fact, takes its start from denying the possibility of any significant metaphysics at all? (Won't that only give us: the metaphysics that can be made to seem plausible on these unpromising principles?) To be sure, one might conclude that the whole thing was nonsense, but shouldn't one do so only after giving it the best try on its own terms? (And by all means use Wolff, or someone else, if that seems better to you: the point would be to use some text written by someone who believes metaphysics is knowledge.)

Gredt is bracing. I open a page at random:

THESIS XV: In omni ente creato essentia actualis et existentia eius distinguuntur distinctione reali positiva.
Then follows a description of the state of the question, under five distinct points. I quote from the first:
704. St. qu. 1. Ens creatum distinguimus contra ens increatum seu ens a se. Hoc exsistit vi essentiae suae, ac proinde necessario exsistit; essentia eius non recipit exsistentiam, sed est ipsa exsistencia. (Etc.)
After which follow several 'proofs':
705. Prob. th. Arg. I (ex limitatione entis creati). Actus non limitatur nisi per potentiam a se realiter distinctam. Atqui in omni ente creato existentia est actus per essentiam actualem limitatus. Ergo.
There then follow 'corollaries' (e.g. essentia creata se habet ad existantiam, sicut materia prima se habet ad formam), 'scholia' (Diversa substantiarum composito et simplicitas), and 'objections' with replies.

Now here is the amazing thing: Wild was teaching Gredt in a metaphysics seminar in Emerson Hall, Harvard University, at roughly the same time that Quine in an office down the hall was writing "On What There Is" and (with Goodman) "Steps Toward a Constructive Nominalism"!

21 November 2006

BACAP at Clark, December 7: Matt Evans

The Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy

Clark University

"Plato's Anti-Hedonism"

Professor Matt Evans
Philosophy, New York University

commentary by

Professor Verity Harte
Philosophy and Classics, Yale University

Thursday, December 7
7:30 pm
Jefferson 218
Clark University

To be preceded by a seminar:
"Plato's Concept of Affective Evidence"
3-5 pm
Seminar Room
Beck Philosophy House
Woodland and Loudon Streets
Clark University

For more information please contact:
Professor Michael Pakaluk

20 November 2006

Aristotle and Other Platonists

(Note: this post has been significantly revised. See note (*) below.)

I begin now a series of posts on the recent book by Lloyd Gerson, Aristotle and Other Platonists, which intrigued me because of its talk of investigating the 'harmony' between Plato and Aristotle.

I find the promise of a 'harmony' intriguing for two reasons, because: (1) this would match my idea of what philosophical progress amounts to, and (2) a 'harmony' might indicate whether there was such a thing as a 'perennial philosophy'. Let me explain.

(1) I accept Aristotle's view about philosophical progess: Z is a better philosophical view than X and Y, if Z incorporates whatever we regard as interesting and true in X and Y, and Z furthermore can give an account of those ways in which X and Y, in comparison with Z, got things wrong. In sum: a better philosophical view is a bigger truth, which shows by its synthetic nature that it is bigger, and which accounts for why lesser truths went wrong where they did.

When I hear talk of a 'harmony of Plato and Aristotle', then, I expect that this would be a view that was better than Plato's or Aristotle's taken separately; it would mark progress in philosophy.

(2) It seems to me that if there is knowledge (i.e. contact with the truth) anywhere in philosophy, this would show itself in the existence of a school of thought which over time showed a certain kind of vitality and development, not unlike that of a living system. Because of the nature of philosophy (in philosophy a mistake is a kind of 'folly' rather than an 'error' or 'ignorance'), I do not expect that near universal agreement among intelligent and informed persons will be a mark of philosophical truth, as it is in the natural sciences. I expect, rather, that the mark of knowledge will be a vitality of the sort I have mentioned. (To see examples of how this notion of 'vitality' may be explicated, see Alasdair MacIntrye's Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry, or, as an analogue in the area of theology, John Henry Newman's Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine.)

I have wondered, then, if the 'harmonization' which Gerson will investigate is a system with precisely this kind of enduring vitality, and which thus might count as a philosophia perennis.

Now I must say that, at first glance, I have serious doubts that these hopes will be fulfilled. I have not entirely ruled it out that they will, but Gerson's remarks in his Introduction are not encouraging.

The problem is already indicated in the title of the book, Aristotle and Other Platonists. The title is meant to be provocative, to be sure, yet it itself suggests that the 'harmony' between Aristotle and Plato to be achieved, is not that of arriving at a bigger view, of the sort I have described, but rather at some kind of reduction of Aristotle to Plato.

And then Gerson says just as much in the Introduction. He says that by a 'harmony' he means that, when Aristotle seems to disagree with Plato, either the disagreement is verbal merely (that is, a case of people using different language to say the same thing), or these views of Aristotle:

... are different from those of Plato because they rest on an imperfect or incomplete grasp by Aristotle of the correct Platonic principles (5).
That is, the harmonization amounts to: Plato is correct and Aristotle either agrees with Plato or disagrees because of a misunderstanding.

Now this would not be a 'harmony' at all but, as I said, as reduction of Aristotle to Plato--an attempt to vindicate the truth of Platonism as against apparent criticisms from Aristotle. As such, the work that Gerson is exploring would fall within a common, but to my mind not respectable, genre of philosophy--viz. 'school advocacy', not unlike works by Thomists who argued that Kant and Aquinas are saying the same thing (and when Kant seems to differ, that is because he misunderstands the correct Thomistic principle); or Wittgensteinians who argue that Aristotle and Wittgenstein are saying the same thing; etc. etc. But in this case the 'school' that was doing the advocating ('neoplatonism') would not be a thriving movement today but rather--it might be thought-- a strange interlude in the history of philosophy from the distant past.

Apparently sensing that the arguments he will be exploring are vulnerable to such a criticism, Gerson writes:
...a book that aimed to do nothing more than show that a group of largely forgotten scholars and eccentric philosophers were not quite as naive as is sometimes thought would in my view be of little interest. Rather, I want to show that reading Aristotle as a Platonist, or understanding Aristotelianism as a type of Platonism, far from being an exercise in historical perversity, does actually yield significant results both exegetical and philosophical (7).
Well, those are the stakes, are they not? That is, if Gerson cannot show that there are 'significant results' from his efforts, then, as he admits, his book is no more than "an exercise in historical perversity". To my mind, then, that becomes the guiding question as I read his book: Does Gerson follow through with his promise of 'significant results'?

(*) It was pointed out to me that my original post was supposing too much, in attributing to Lloyd Gerson as well the advocacy and view of harmonization that he is investigating in certain neo-platonists. I have revised the post to remove this suggestion, and I regret that unnecessary imputation, arising from my misreading of Gerson's Introduction.

15 November 2006

An End (for me) to Pointless Wastings of Time

I want to say something about Keith DeRose's criticism of my post, "A Pointless Waste of Time", but then I will move on to other topics, since this is a blog in ancient philosophy, and discussions of PGR are off the point. (The discussion may, for those who wish, be continued in a new blog started for just that purpose.) In fact, it disturbs me that many of my colleagues seem much more interested in this kind of discussion than in anything philosophical or scholarly.

I note two things.

1. If you read my post carefully, you see that it is a statement of my own practice, and of how I find PGR useless for my purposes. So it may stand. For me, time spent on PGR is a waste of time. And, as far as I am concerned, if others spent long hours filling out surveys to help provide this service, then I want to say, to them (many of whom are my friends): as this pertains to me, you have wasted your time. --Now it may be that I feel that way because the students I have responsibility for will neither need to consult PGR, nor wish to do so.

De Rose thus overreaches in criticizing my post, as I think he recognizes. He explains and justifies his criticism by saying that he is solicitous about protecting "potential graduate students" who may read my post and walk away sad, concluding that they must be unsuited to go on in philosophy. Needless to say, that is absurd. And then he also has to personalize my comment, turning it into an attack on himself and everyone else on the PGR Advisory Board. Believe me: I cannot understand his or their support of the project, but I certainly do prescind from making any judgments about them. All I will say, and all that I do say about these individuals, is that, as far as I am concerned, they are wasting their time.

2. There is an interesting conflation in DeRose's argument. In his reaction against my phrase, "a good philosophical mind", it becomes clear that he regards "belonging in the profession" and "having a good philosophical mind" as equivalent, or nearly so. Now I do not. In fact, I might sum up my discomfort with PGR in a nutshell by saying that it treats philosophy as a profession, when philosophy is not like that. Or, alternatively: it is just as likely that someone with a good philosophical mind will not "belong in the profession", as that he will.

What is it that we all profess--as we must, if we are a single profession? Commitment to the truth? Devotion to wisdom? So nominal a thing as rejection of relativism? Or perhaps a commitment to clear thinking? --But we have no special stake to that, and many of us have even turned away from it (think Wittgenstein, not only Heidegger). The truth is, there is no common 'profession' of philosophy. But start supposing that philosophy is a 'profession', and you may act to make it as though it is such, imposing by grades a homogeneity upon it that simply does not belong, and which is 'unphilosophical' in every sense of the term. (I don't deny, of course, that philosophers in their teaching and writing should display 'professionalism', that is, seriousness and adherence to standards, just like any other worker.)

Here is another way to put this point. Suppose you live in 18th c. Scotland, and you have the choice of studying philosophy with David Hume, or with Thomas Reid. Now, is this a choice between two offerings of a single professional education, like the choice between studying at the Glasgow or the Edinburgh medical school? (Not that we couldn't make it like that: simply count Hume in the rankings but not Reid, or vice versa.) Or could there be any scale ranking Hume and Reid (on which, say, Hume gets 4.5 and Reid 4.0) that should play even a tiny role in your making up your mind? (You might however think: "If I study with Reid, I'll also learn Hume; but if I study with Hume, I'll never learn about Reid"--and you'd be right.) What would you say to a student who knew so little that he didn't know what the difference was between studying with Hume and studying with Reid? Would you say that "a ranking is better than nothing"? --No, it would be worse than nothing. And what would be the point of giving him a ranking and then saying that he should "take it with many grains of salt"? (I guess the point is that you get credit for any good that comes and he gets credit for anything bad.)

But exactly the same sort of choice really does confront students today (it always has in philosophy), even if this is either masked or muted by the narrow professionalism fostered by PGR.

Johnnies Break Ranks

A friend drew my attention to the principled stance that St. John's, apparently alone among U.S. Colleges, takes against the U.S. News and World Report rankings. To me the statement seems basically correct, although much more could be said. Here is an excerpt:

St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland and Santa Fe, New Mexico, has chosen not to participate in any collegiate rankings surveys. We have asked U.S. News and World Report not to include the College, and we have not sent current information for use in the survey. St. John's College is opposed in principle to rankings. We want to explain to you some of our reasons:

Rankings do a disservice to students and their parents as they search for the best college. Making a decision about where to spend those four years is a serious and difficult one: we think that you need to know more about a college than the numbers used to come up with the survey results can provide. Rankings are almost always about popularity, prestige, and perceived quality of education, but they say virtually nothing about what happens after a student enrolls, that is, nothing about the educational experience itself.

Rankings attempt to quantify the value of an education. Although the collection and publication of information about such things as location, class size and programs offered is useful to students and their parents, the statistics used in the rankings do not offer that kind of information. How can the interaction between faculty and students be quantified? What kind of numbers tell you about the interests students discover as they explore new ideas and participate in scholastic and extra-curricular programs? Do statistics reflect the skills in thinking, writing and analysis that students develop during the course of a well-designed and cohesive program of study?

Over the years, St. John's College has been ranked everywhere from the third tier, to the second, to the first, to the "Top 25" among national liberal arts colleges. Yet we haven't changed. Our mission and our methods have been virtually constant for almost 60 years. We would rather be ourselves and have our college speak for itself, than be a part of this fluctuating outside analysis.

One needn't have scored well on the SAT or GRE to recognize that the following analogy holds:
U.S. News & WorldReport : colleges :: BrianLeiter : philosophy graduate schools
If we reject the application of the one, and perhaps blame administrators when 'the rankings' distort pedagogical decisions, so we should reject the other in a domain in which we have responsibility and are perfectly free to do so. The Leiter approach is simply the seeping up, now into a decision about graduate study, of a way of thinking about education and scholarship that we should be aiming to discourage. How odd, though, that we freely brought this upon ourselves.

14 November 2006

Aristotelian Ethics as Civic

I shall end today my consideration of Richard Kraut's recent anthology (The Blackwell Guide to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics) with a brief appreciation of Malcolm Schofield's "Aristotle's Political Ethics", which, as I have said, I regard as one of the finest essays in the collection.

I would not say it is 'the finest', because there are other fine contributions, and to pick out one above the others without reference to some particular purpose or aspect would not be possible. Nor of course would I be prepared to assign this essay the ranking of 1 as the best, and then rank the other 15 essays in decreasing order after that, even though I have studied them thoroughly and (as readers of this blog will know) have exposed the weaknesses and strengths of many of them. (I don't add this entirely in jest, as we can hardly be capable of ranking big and complex things in that way, if we would not thus rank small and relatively homogeneous things, nor could we be good at drawing up or applying rankings for big decisions in our lives, unless we had become practiced at it in relatively unimportant things).

What I particularly like about Schofield's contribution, is that it draws attention--with entirely sound scholarship and good judgment--to the way in which Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics, from start to finish, conceives of an individual ethical agent as naturally belonging to a political community, and that it shows how the treatise is throughout an expression of Aristotle's conviction that a human being is a politikon zwon:

...I shall bring together a range of evidence--mostly from the NE, but some from the Politics--confirming that for Aristotle the humanness of the good and the happiness and the virtue with which the NE is preoccupied are things essentially social and political. I shall be concentrating on the way in which he works this out in his treatment of just three topics: self-sufficiency, the general virtue of justice, and practical wisdom. But there are, in fact, a huge number of passages where it comes home to the reader that Aristotle takes it for granted that the city is the major forum in which life, and therefore the good life, is lived. The assumption permeates the books on justice and friendship in particular, but is also operative ... in the treatment of the other virtues. As Ross's (1925) translation puts it with customary Aristotelian pithiness: "man is born for citizenship" (NE I.7.1097b11).
Now many of the felt difficulties in NE, I believe, can be resolved if we approach it in this way, such as the nagging sense many of us have that NE should include, but lacks, something like a moral 'code' or a discussion of 'precepts' to complement its exposition of the virtues (these will be supplied by the laws and practices of the polis); and, furthermore, this approach gives a new coherence to the treatise, since it reveals the 'hierachical structure' of NE, as this perceptive paragraph by Schofield makes clear:
Of course, when the enemy attack, I need courage as well as justice to stand firm in the line. Acting justly in this instance rides on the back of courageous behavior. Justice may explain why on this occasion I am displaying my courage on behalf of the city. But as Aristotle sees it, acting justly is always likely to require the exercise of other more basic virtues, presumably because we are always having to cope with emotions and impulses--on the battlefield, fear and daring--which the ordinary moral virtues enable us to handle appropriately. This indicates why justice is "complete excellence to the highest degree". It is complete in the first instance because--as Aristotle implies in the passage just quoted--there is no basic virtue you may not be required to exercise in acting justly. Hence his endorsement of the saying: "In justice is every virtue gathered." It is complete in the highest degree because its exercise perfects each of the other virtues. Inasmuch as the good of the city is "greater and more complete" (NE I.2.1094b8) than the good of the individual, courage exercised in defense of the city will simply be a more admirable thing--courage at its very best--than courage in coping with life-threatening disease or the perils of seafaring. Book III confirms that death in battle is death in the circumstances of what is described as "the greatest and most admirable danger" (NE III.6.1115a30-31) -- no doubt precisely because it is a sacrifice made for a whole community at risk, and so honored "in cities and by monarchs" (1115a32).
This essay by Schofield, indeed, is one of the very first things I would put in the hands of a student as a guide to understanding the ethics, as it deals with something so fundamental to Aristotle's approach, yet so alien, at least initially so, to us.

12 November 2006

A Pointless Waste of Time

The latest "Philosophical Gourmet" report has appeared. I should say that I find the "ancient philosophy ranking" useless and will not use it for advising students. Why?

1. Any student who wished to consult such a list, in order to decide where or with whom to study, should probably not pursue graduate studies in philosophy. His taking such lists seriously would show that he lacks a good philosophical mind. I would advise him to choose a career in law, accounting, or something similar instead.

2. Any student who did not already have an idea of the scholars, or kind of scholar, he would wish to study with, should probably also not pursue graduate studies in philosophy. His undergraduate studies have clearly not advanced to a sufficient level of maturity. But if he did have such an idea, then that would suffice to help discover where he might suitably apply.

3. It's a bit misleading to say, as the Report does, that "The rankings are primarily measures of faculty quality and reputation. Faculty quality and reputation correlates quite well with job placement, but students are well-advised to make inquiries with individual departments for complete information on this score." The placement rankings can and should stand on their own. But do you know anyone who has consulted the Leiter rankings in hiring a candidate? If we wouldn't be so foolish, why would we recommend that students heed these rankings in choosing a program as regards something much more important than a job, viz. their education?

4. The ranking omits to say what one especially needs to know, which is whether a university offers a coherent program in ancient philosophy. Only a few institutions on the list do. And, as regards programs, a few testimonials from recent graduates would be far more valuable than any quantitative scoring.

5. For all but those 3 or 4 institutions that have a flourishing program in ancient, the ranking can be little more than a ranking of the one senior or dominant ancient philosopher who is on the faculty. Now, with only a couple of exceptions (in my view), every institution on the list, no matter where situated in the ranking, has an ancient philosopher as regards which it would be true to say that a talented student, if well-matched with that scholar, could receive as good an education studying with him as anywhere else. Also, in some excellent graduate programs not on the list there are ancient philosophers who excel, in some respects at least, over anyone included on the list. E.g. I would not hesitate for a heartbeat to send a student to study Aristotle's ethics at UCLA, which isn't on the list at all. Or would it really be the 15th best outcome, to study Aristotle's Metaphysics at McGill?

6. Last but not least, I wonder if the esteemed evaluators who produced this ranking would be willing to publish their criteria? --since if their judgments are rational, then they must have applied criteria in arriving at them; and one might wonder if the judgments alone, without the reasons for those judgments, should have any weight for a reasonable person.

I offer this blog as a space in which their criteria and reasons may be published.

Leisure as Self-Expression?

One might think of leisure as being both a negative and positive concept. We have leisure, negatively, when we are free of necessities; but we dedicate that 'free time' to something that, positively, we regard as most valuable.

Of course these are related: those who lack a sufficiently powerful, positive conception of leisure will find, I think, that all of their time is taken up with perceived necessities. Or, one might say: they regard as necessary what really is not so. We can dismiss some apparent necessities as merely apparent only if we judge that something is most valuable.

As a matter of human experience, it proves difficult to reserve time for 'leisure', however we conceive of it. Consider simply the centuries-old battle among those who honor a Sabbath, to preserve that day as something set apart. When Bertrand Russell stopped writing philosophy and began writing tracts of social criticism, he made all kinds of predictions about how modern inventions would give the average man several days of free time each week--which would be true, were the average man content to enjoy the same standard of living that moderately well-off persons enjoyed in 1920. And modern man does not spend what free time he has, studying science or the arts, as Russell hoped, but rather watching low-brow television shows.

The truth (as is often said) is that we don't 'find time' but have to 'make time' for valuable activities, and most of us don't.

It is with this fact in mind, I think, that we have to evaluate Pieper's thesis, that 'the ritual of public sacrifice' has traditionally and commonly been the safeguard of leisure in societies. Ritual: thus, codified and even (somehow) legislated. Public: because one might doubt whether one person can enjoy leisure on his own, while others do not, or even whether a private conception of leisure is coherent. 'Sacrifice': because this implies an acknowledgment that all of the activities of the polis (the buying and selling, and improvement and preparations, the organization and coordination) give way and yield to something more fundamental. (This more fundamental thing need not be something 'higher'--the gods--but can be something prior, such as the acknowledgment of nature inherent in a harvest festival.)

Broadie seems less than successful in navigating through these issues. What is it that marks the limits of necessity ('negative leisure') for her? Apparently, a Jamesian moral holiday:

How is leisure-freedom related to the other senses of freedom studied by philosophers? It is not freedom from coercion, nor is it freedom from servitude to one's passions. More than anything, it is freedom from requirements, duties, and obligations (358).
The positive conception of freedom which she then supplies to complement this is 'self-expression':
Leisure-freedom consists in the possibility of being active without any particular reference to circumstances and constraint, or only with reference to ones chosen or laid down by oneself, and from which one can disengage at will. So "self-expression" is a key concept (ibid).
But then this notion of leisure, which to me seems slightly adolescent (as in, "aw shucks, do I have to?") only problematically involves other persons:
Then can comething be a good lesure activity if it necessarily involves doing something with others? ... If the answer is "Yes," as it surely must be, does that suggest that the self being expressed is in some way corporate--and what can that mean?
And then leisure for Broadie becomes tangled up with questions of different 'selves' and 'individuality':
Is there any sound basis for an argument that the self to be expressed is in some way "higher" than the self of ordinary work? ... And, if so, might there be any interesting analogy or other connection between this and that other possible "higher self," the subject of moral duty and practical reason? ... In what way do leisure and leisure activities contribute to individuality?
And at this point I want to say we know that we've gone off track.

10 November 2006

Broadie on Pieper

One might wonder whether Broadie is entirely fair to Pieper (sc. his Leisure the Basis of Culture). As I mentioned, she writes that his essay:

...while often penetrating, ties leisure so closely to the sacred and the sacramental that there may seem not to be enough of a topic left over for non-religious philosophical reflection.
In a footnote to this sentence she adds:
One does not have to be a non-believer to find off-putting such assertions as: "leisure ... is not possible unless it has a durable and consequently living link with the cultus, with divine worship" (p. xiv), and "When separated from worship, leisure becomes toilsome and work becomes inhuman" (p. 54). Pieper also, following Aristotle, focuses too exclusively on intellectual and contemplative activities. A conception of leisure that leaves no room for sport is defective, to put it mildly. One-sided, too, is Pieper's tendency to characterize leisure as a state of mind: a kind of serenity and receptiveness.
A small point: I'm not sure what sort of an objection it is, to say that a view is "off-putting". Pieper, I believe, regards himself as putting forward an 'anthropological' or broadly sociological view, which is either true or false.

A larger point: because his view is 'anthropological', it misrepresents his view to say, as Broadie does, that he links leisure to the 'sacred' or 'sacramental'. As Pieper explains in the sentences immediately after the one that Broadie quotes (on p. xiv), by 'worship' or 'cultus' he means "something more than religion":
The word 'cult' in English is used exclusively, or almost exclusively, in a derivative sense. But here it is something else than that, and something more than, religion. It really means fulfilling the ritual of public sacrifice. That is a notion which contemporary "modern" man associates almost exclusively and unconsciously with uncivilized, primitive peoples and with classical antiquity. For that very reason it is of the first importance to see that cultus, now as in the distant past, is the primary source of man's freedom, independence, and immunity within society. Suppress that last sphere of freedom, and freedom itself, and all our liberties, will in the end vanish into thin air.
And then Pieper is quite clear that his notion of leisure, which he thinks finds its protective home within cultus, is a very rich one, including within its scope "all our gifts and qualities" as understood in a certain way:
Cultus, in the sense in which it is used above, is the quintessence of all the natural goods of the world and of those gifts and qualities which, while belonging to man, lie beyond the immediate sphere of his needs and wants. All that is good in this sense, all man's gifts and faculties, are not necessarily useful in a practical way; though there is no denying that they belong to a truly human life, not strictly speaking necessary, even though he could not do without them.
Presumably 'sport' would be included in cultus so understood. Indeed I think that Pieper, well familiar with the "rituals of public sacrifice" in antiquity, would never have thought of denying that.

And then Pieper does not "focus too exclusively" on theoria, as if he identifies leisure with theoria, as Broadie's language suggests. He rather says that theoria, or what he prefers to call "the philosophical act", is something that is "in the inner circle" of leisure and which is preserved by leisure.
Among the bona non utilia sed honesta which are at home in the realm of freedom, in its innermost circle indeed, is philosophy, the philosophical act, which must be understood in the traditional sense of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas, and as they understood it.
So his thesis is of a two-fold inclusion and dependency: "the philosophical act" finds its home within leisure, broadly construed, and leisure is preserved within cultus, broadly construed:
In the last resort pure theory, philosophical theoria, entirely free from practical considerations and interference--and that is what theory is--can only be preserved and realized within the sphere of leisure, and leisure, in its turn, is free because of its relation to worship, to cultus.
And then, furthermore, he does not "characterize leisure as a state of mind". What he says is that someone who practices or who has practiced the "philosophical act", as he calls it, as a consequence acquires, in all domains of his life, a certain attitude of attention, wonder, and reverence, "a contemplative attention to things, in which man begins to see how worthy of veneration they really are."

But all of this is straightforwardly stated simply in his "Preface to the English Edition".

In retrospect I want to say: it's not clear that Broadie gets Pieper right in any respect.

09 November 2006

The Latest Trends in Endoxa

Google has a new service that allows one to test the popularity of search strings. Trent Dougherty over at This Is the Name of This Blog, who put me onto this, remarks that "I was hardly able to find any philosopher [sic] who had a high enough search volume. Unsurprisingly, there was one exception." viz. Peter Singer.

He means, of course, he was hardly able to find any name of a philosopher which had a high enough search volume.

But that difficulty aside, I wonder if Dougherty's lament isn't another expression of the prejudice of the present that afflicts contemporary philosophy. You'll find no lack of volume in searches for "John Rawls" or "Quine". Or try "Habermas" for a living philosopher.

The Google feature allows also comparative searches. Simply separate search strings with commas. The Google site then produces a graph which shows fluctuation in search volume over time. Here's a fun one: "Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche". Can you guess who is first, second, third, and fourth on average?

Another nifty feature is that it tells you the top cities of origin of searches (normalized for population). It turns out that more searches for "Aquinas" originate in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, proportionately, than anywhere else. Melbourne, Australia, is the most interested in "Third Man", followed by Austin, Texas, followed by .... Vienna, Austria. (Oops. Look out for equivocations.)

And I'm sure you're all interested in "sex". So, especially, are the residents of Cairo, Egypt.

08 November 2006

Leisure the Basis of Aristotelian Culture

I'll post just a couple or three more times on the Kraut anthology (The Blackwell Guide to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics). It's time to move on to something else.

Today let me clarify something as regards Broadie's contribution. As I said, it is a serious omission in her essay that she fails to discuss what difference it makes, in the reception of Aristotle's ethics, once teleology and a rich notion of 'nature' are rejected. But for all that, her essay is extremely subtle and provocative. It is full of fascinating observations, among which I count her remarks on leisure as a notion important to moral philosophy.

As Kraut notes in his introduction, Gavin Lawrence and Dorothea Frede also comment on the topic--a welcome trend, I think.

Lawrence, for instance, in his concluding remarks says that Aristotle is "correct--or, if wrong, interestingly wrong" in his concern over the "role of free time", and Lawrence properly draws a connection between leisure and 'liberal' eduction:

There are admittedly difficulties in elucidating the notion of free time and its proper activities. But Aristotle is correct in emphasizing its centrality. Our modern Weltanschauung is dominated by a work "ethic" that invites us to view "normal" life as a matter of five days of labor and two days R&R--itself increasingly viewed as an opportunity for business to recoup its outlay on the workforce. And, correspondingly, we are increasingly encouraged to view education as education for gainful employment, not as the requisite preparation for a truly rich life (cf. Pol. VIII.3.1338a9-22, 1338a30-32). But there is all the difference between vacation and free time. In the blurring of this distinction, we lose nothing less than our lives in the most important sense.
In her discussion of leisure under the heading, "One Neglected Aristotelian Theme", Broadie actually brings in Joseph Pieper's minor masterpiece, Leisure the Basis of Culture:
Aristotle's remarks about leisure are not copious, but the theme is a vitally important one for him. Most philosophers of ethics today regard as important the ethical matters that Aristotle regarded as important. Surprisingly, then, except for Joseph Pieper's (1948) contribution, which is very much of the nature of a protreptic, there has been practically no modern ethical discussion of leisure. As can easily be verified, the topic does not appear in modern surveys and compendia of ethics.
One might perversely wonder why philosophical discussions of the purpose of education (school) don't count as discussions of leisure (schole). Don't we all appreciate that years in college are 'free time'?

But Broadie thinks there is a lack nonetheless and provides her own diagnosis:
First, leisure in Aristotle is associated with his notorious doctrine of the supremacy of the theoretical life, which in turn is based partly on a theological picture. And Pieper's (1948) essay, while often penetrating, ties leisure so closely to the sacred and the sacramental that there may seem not to be enough of a topic left over for non-religious philosophical reflection. Secondly, a priori it may seem that even if there are philosophical questions about leisure, they are quite easy ones, presenting no professional challenge. Thirdly, philosophical discussion of leisure, especially in the footsteps of Aristotle and of Pieper, is sure to get on to the question of its proper uses, but to take that seriously may seem uncomfortably close to legislating about how people should use their leisure-time: "which is no one's business but their own."
To which Broadie next answers (here the respondeo occurs before the corpus) :
In response: first, there is plenty to be said humanistically about leisure. Secondly, even if the questions are easy, one can find this out only by engaging with them. Thirdly, if for a moment we allow ourselves the phrase "the purpose of leisure," why should that set us on the path of telling people what to do any more threateningly than a question about "the purpose of art" or, for that matter, "the purpose of morality"?

06 November 2006

Eric Brown on Philanthropia

The following communication from Eric Brown deserves a post of its own (posted with permission):

I was interested in your exchange with Jennifer Whiting about philanthropia in the Nicomachean Ethics, as I am finishing up an article that contrasts the Stoic ideal of cosmopolitan friendship with Aristotle's notion of philanthropia. I think that I agree with you, against Whiting, that philanthropia is not a matter of overcoming natural tendencies—does that accurately express her view?—although I agree with Whiting, against you, that in EN VIII 1 1155a16-22, Aristotle contrasts friendship arising tois homoethnesi with friendship arising tois anthropois.

I take your point, Michael, that the scope of ethnos (and so homoethnesi) can vary. But I disagree with you about the import of our passage. First, I divide it a bit differently from you:

fu&sei t' e0nupa&rxein e1oike [(a)] pro_j to_ gegennhme/non tw|~ gennh&santi kai pro_j to_ gennh~san tw|~ gennhqe/nti, ou) mo&non e0n a)nqrw&poij a)lla_ kai\ e0n o1rnisi kai\ toi=j plei/stoij tw~n zw|&wn, kai\ [(b)] toi=j o(moeqne/si pro_j a1llhla, kai\ ma&lista [(c)] toi=j a)nqrw&poij, o3qen tou_j filanqrw&pouj e0painou~men.

With the rendering by Ross, as revised by Urmson, I take Aristotle to distinguish three kinds of natural friendship: parent-offspring (in both directions), intra-stock, and human-human. Others, including Gauthier and Jolif, Irwin, Pakaluk, and Rowe, take Aristotle to distinguish just two kinds of natural friendship: parent-offspring and intra-stock friendship, the latter of which is understood as intra-species friendship and is exemplified by human-human friendship.

Gauthier and Jolif do not discuss the point in their commentary, nor does Broadie in the commentary that accompanies Rowe's translation. Fortunately, Irwin and Pakaluk give reasons. Having rendered toi=j o(moeqne/si as "members of the same species," Irwin notes (273) that "members of the same race" would be more literally apt, but he insists that "the rest of the paragraph shows that Aristotle has species in mind (i.e., friendship among dogs or human beings, rather than friendship among greyhounds or Greeks)." But this begs the question: it supposes that the rest of the paragraph pertains to the natural friendship of members of the same ethnos, which is exactly what is denied by those who, like me, take the rest of the paragraph to discuss the natural friendship of human beings with each other as something distinct from intra-ethnos friendship. Pakaluk argues that 'friendship seems to be present by nature' should not be understood before 'especially in human beings' because "Aristotle had already added 'not only among human beings' in relation to the idea that friendship arises by nature" (48). But Aristotle had already added 'not only among human beings' to the idea that parent-child and child-parent friendships arise by nature, and this says nothing about whether general human-human friendship arises by nature. So I see no good reason to recognize just two kinds of friendship here.

For the alternative reading I adopt, I offer the following reason. In 1155a16-19 Aristotle uses bare datives to pick out the possessors of a natural friendship (parents and children, members of the same stock) and datives preceded by e0n to pick out the kinds of beings among which the parent-child friendship is found (human beings, birds, and most other kinds of animals). So if he meant to say that intra-stock (understood as intra-species) friendship is found especially among human beings, he ought to have employed e0n before the dative toi=j a)nqrw&poij. By using the bare dative toi=j a)nqrw&poij, he puts "human beings" parallel to members of the same stock (and parents and children); in other words, he says that friendship naturally arises for humans with each other just as it arises for parents and children, on the one hand, and members of the same stock, on the other.

So, unlike Pakaluk, I think that this passage contrasts friendship that arises tois homoethnesi with friendship that arises tois anthropois, and, unlike Whiting (?), I think that it asserts that friendship tois anthropois arises naturally.

I thank Brown for his thoughtful and interesting comments. In the spirit of Dissoi Blogoi, I would reply as follows.

Brown takes (c) above to be marking out a third kind of natural friendship; in contrast I take (c) to be indicating a class subsumed under (b):

1) Brown's argument about the absence of
e0n before toi=j a)nqrw&poij is not decisive, as we could just as well interpret toi=j a)nqrw&poij as parallel to toi=j o(moeqne/si, as giving a special case of it.

Futhermore, there are two reasons for taking it in just that way:

2) The qualification of (c) with
ma&lista naturally suggests that (c) is presenting a more intense instance of something that is the same in kind as (b); and,

3) Clause (c) lacks a
pro/j clause, to indicate the relata of the friendshp (cp. pro_j to_ gegennhme/non, pro_j to_ gennh~san ); and surely pro_j a1llhla is meant to be carried over from (b), as would be natural if (c) were a special case of (b).

That is to say, both the presence of ma&lista and the absence of pro_j a1llhla connect (c) with (b) in the manner of a special instance to a more general class.

And perhaps a more general comment is in order also. The first part of VIII.1 serves not simply as a presentation of endoxa but also as something like a Table of Contents for VIII and IX (as I once heard David Konstan observe). One can map most of its sentences to later discussions. But is there a discussion of a distinct kind of 'natural friendship among members of the human race' later on, comparable to Aristotle's treatment of the other sorts of friendship by nature? But perhaps you answer this in your paper.

04 November 2006

Functioning without Nature

I said in an earlier post that Broadie, in her Kraut volume contribution, discusses the Nicomachean Ethics as if there were no Function Argument. She speaks of "flourishing"--not, I am convinced, Aristotle's idea, as I have explained--and interprets eudaimonia in terms of that.

Now in the quotations I gave, you may see that she sometimes speaks of "living well" or "functioning well" instead of "flourishing", and, for her, the view that there are a variety of ostensible competitors for "flourishing" is the same as that there are a variety of ostensible competitors for "functioning well." She thinks that Aristotle has no real way out of this. She takes him simply to presume that there is only one way of flourishing or functioning, an approach which she calls "lost innocence", but which I would call begging the question, arguing in a circle, petitio principii (take your pick).

I should say that I doubt that there is any "lost innocence" in Aristotle, since there was no such innocence in Plato, and Aristotle follows Plato. One finds in Plato sufficiently clever and, in their own way, persuasive defenders of hedonism (Callicles), "the will to power"(Thrasymachus), and the ethic of glamour and the "cool" (Alcibiades). I would prefer to presume the presence in Aristotle--and there is textual evidence for this--of the (by then) standard objections and criticisms to these viewpoints, rather than imagine that Aristotle has somehow worked his way back into a state of innocence, perhaps by surrounding himself with students who thought just as he did, or, as Broadie puts it:

Aristotle and his audience, then, largely accept Aristotle's equation about flourishing as naturally and willingly as a carnivore accepts in a practical way the equation of food with flesh.
(I sigh when I read a sentence such as that, at the harm that Hume has done, of teaching us to accept psychological explanation as a replacement for reasoned justification: it is Hume's way to reply to "Why should we think this?" with "We do think it; that is all." But Hume is at least prepared to underwrite the latter by an appeal to human nature: "It is human nature to think this.")

This mention of human nature leads to another way of stating my dissatisfaction in Broadie's omitting any serious consideration of the Function Argument. One might alternatively put the point: she gives no weight to the Aristotelian idea, even in the interpretation of his philosophy, that there is a single, uniform, ergon for human beings, which we have by nature (and all that would be implied by that).

Of course, it would be perfectly understandable if she held that that sort of conception of nature is not something that "we" (i.e. those who hold to the dominant views in contemporary moral philosophy) can today endorse. But then, surely, that difference becomes one of the crucial differences that sets Aristotle apart from contemporary ethics, as Alasdair McIntyre rightly stressed in After Virtue.

And yet, Broadie's essay nowhere explores the differences that follow from the acceptance, or rejection, of an Aristotelian understanding of nature.

Ancient Political Philosophy, in Boston

Through the efforts of Thornton Lockwood (a Dissoi Blogoi reader and commentator), it would appear that the Northeastern Political Association annual meeting has now become a major venue for work in ancient philosophy. If you doubt that, consider the program. (I give only the ancient panels, not the medieval.) I gather all of these have been organized by Lockwood; and I, for one, am impressed.

Ancient and Medieval Political Philosophy Panels
Northeastern Political Science Association Annual Meeting
November 9-11, 2006, Omni Parker Hotel, Boston MA
Conference Website
For further information, contact Thornton Lockwood (lockwood@fordham.edu)

Thursday, November 9

9:00-10:30 am

Panel f7: Plutarch’s Political Thought
Chair/Discussant: John Colman, Ashland University

Numa: Philosopher King?
John Colman, Ashland University

The Role of Ambition in the Destruction and Preservation of Regimes in Plutarch’s Lives
Justin D. Lyons, Ashland University

The “Becoming” of a Tyrant: Plutarch’s Julius Caesar
Matthew Brownfield, University of Dallas


panel f8: Plato and the Political technê
Chair: Mary Mulhern, Brookside Institute
Discussant: Coleen Zoller, Susquehanna University

Socrates’ Political
Technê and Socratic Irony
Jeffrey S. Turner, Bucknell University

Statesmanship and the Craft Analogy in Plato’s Republic and Statesman
Mark Moes, Grand Valley State University

Plato’s Republic and the Architecture of Corruption, How to Recycle the Bad and the Corrupt?
Vladimir Suchan, University of Maine at Fort Kent

Plato’s Arguments Against Tyranny and Tyrannical Life: Republic VIII and IX
Antonis Coumoundouros, Warren Wilson College


panel f9: Plato’s Republic, Past and Present
Chair: Jason Giannetti, Framingham State College
Discussant: Franco Trivigno, Boston University

The Hermetic Ideal vs. the Politically Engaged Philosopher
Catherine McKeen, SUNY College at Brockport

Xenophon's Critique of Plato's Socrates
Gary D. Glenn, University of Northern Illinois

Socrates on Wealth and Virtue
Keith Whitaker and William Corliss, Boston College

panel f18: Ancient and modern comparisons
Chair: Erik Dempsey, Boston College
Discussant: Amy Shuster, Princeton University

Ancient Foundation for Modern Offices
Alexandra Elizabeth Hoerl, Rutgers University

Mr. Cheney, Meet Mr. Agathocles: Torture, Terrorism and Machiavelli’s “Economy of Violence”
Greg Weiner, Georgetown University

The Megalopsuchos and the Übermensch: A Comparison of Aristotle’s and Nietzsche’s Conceptions of the Great Man
James Fetter, University of Notre Dame


panel f10: Politics in Plato’s Dialogues
Chair: James Wood, Boston University
Discussant: Antonis Coumoundouros, Warren Wilson College

Teaching by Example: Plato on Fear and Courage
Ioannis D. Evrigenis, Tufts University

Socratic Justice and the Question of Civil Disobedience
Jason Giannetti, Framingham State College

Philosophy as Training for Death in Plato’s
Coleen Zoller, Susquehanna University

Minding Your Own Business in Thucydides and Plato
Joyce M. Mullan, University of Wisconsin - Madison

panel f19: Athens, Persia, and Rome
Chair: Dustin A. Gish, Ohio University
Discussant: B.J. Dobski, Assumption College

Sallust’s Politics of Revolution
Raymond Mercado, University of San Diego,

Protagoras’ Great Speech: Myth, Meaning, and Misunderstanding
Andrew Shortridge, Monash University

Tensions between Retributive Justice and Republican Virtue in the Cyropaedia
Arthur Shuster, University of Texas at Austin

Friday, November 10

7:45-9:15 am

panel f6: Ancient ideas through modern eyes
Chair: J.J. Mulhern, University of Pennsylvania
Discussant: Jacob Howland, University of Tulsa

Nascent Federalism in Homer’s Iliad: The Rhetoric of “Pre-Political” Sovereignty
Dustin A. Gish, Ohio University

Nietzsche’s Renaissance: Thucydides History and Greek Tragedy as Sources for a New Politics
Paul Kirkland, College of the Holy Cross

Absolute Beginners: Kierkegaardian Thoughts on Renewing a Socratic Perspective
Denise Schaeffer, College of the Holy Cross

Free Speech and Noble Lies: Indirect Discourse in Plato and Kierkegaard
Christopher A. Dustin, College of the Holy Cross

panel f17: Justice, evil, and politics in Plato’s thought
Chair: Joshua Shmikler, Boston College
Discussant: Jennifer Ingle, University of South Florida

Recuperating the Political Counsel of Plato’s
Amy Shuster, Princeton University

Persuasion and Justice in Plato’s
Christopher Moore, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

The Concept of Due Measure in Late Plato
Thomas M. Kerch, Georgetown University

Plato Finds Evil in the Cosmos…with a Little Help from Zoroaster
Daniel Betti, Texas A&M University

9:30-11:00 am

panel f1: Rhetoric in Action (Presented by the Society for Greek Political Thought)
Chair: Gary D. Glenn, University of Northern Illinois
Discussant: B.J. Dobski, Assumption College

Rhetorical Appeals in Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus
Laurence Nee, St. John’s College (Santa Fe)

Xenophon as Teacher of Political Realism
Eric Buzzetti, Concordia University

Isocratean Rhetorical Education and Aristotelian Virtue
Tarik Wareh, Union College

PANEL F20: ROUNDTABLE: The Socratic Paradox and its Enemies, by Roslyn Weiss (University of Chicago Press)
Chair: Alan Udoff, St. Francis College
First Commentator: Gerald Mara, Georgetown University
Second Commentator: Catherine Zuckert, University of Notre Dame
Authorial Response: Roslyn Weiss, Lehigh University


panel f2: The Political Animal Speaks: Aristotle and the Politics of Logos (Presented by the Society for Greek Political Thought)
Chair: D. Brendan Nagle, University of Southern California
Discussant: Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill, St. John’s College (Annapolis)

The Body Politic: The Aristotelian Enthymeme and Human Association
Scott Crider, University of Dallas

On “Nature” as a Guide in Aristotle's
Nicomachean Ethics
Kathryn Sensen, Harvard University

Political Musings: Translations and Readings of the Poetics
Steve Shumaker, Baptist Bible College


panel f3: Irreconcilable Differences (?) in Plato and Xenophon (Presented by the Society for Greek Political Thought)
Chair: Waller R. Newell, Carleton College
Discussant: Laurence Nee, St. John’s College (Santa Fe)

The Necessity of
Philotimia for Political Rule: Plato and Xenophon on Ambition
Heidi Northwood, Nazareth College

Socrates’ Theory of Form: Plato versus Xenophon
Robert Roecklein, Pennylvania StateUniversity-Erie/The Behrend College

Virtue and Vice: Socrates in Xenophon and Plato
Alexander Alderman, Baylor University


panel f21: Roundtable: The Household as the Foundation of Aristotle’s Polis, by D. Brendan Nagle (Cambridge University Press)
Chair: Thornton Lockwood, Fordham University
First Commentator: Bernard Yack, Brandeis University
Second Commentator: P.L.P. Simpson, City University of New York
Authorial Response: D. Brendan Nagle, University of Southern California

Saturday, November 11

9:00-10:30 am

panel f4: The Philosopher and the City: A Millennium of Reflection and Rejoinder
Chair: David DiPasquale, Boston College
Discussant: Christopher Colmo, Dominican University

Ibn Bâjjah, Ibn Khaldûn, and the Public Role of the Philosopher
Rima Pavalko, University of Maryland

Logic and Political Philosophy in Alfarabi’s Paraphrase of Aristotle’s
Terence J. Kleven, Central College

Alexander Kojève, the Philosopher and Society
Gary M. Kelly, Hetta Institute for International Development

panel f11: Problems in Plato’s Republic
Chair: Heidi Northwood, Nazareth College
Discussant: Marina McCoy, Boston College

Republic V is Not Very Funny
Joanne Waugh and Jennifer Ingle, University of South Florida

A Happy City of Unhappy People; an Unhappy Soul of Unhappy Parts
Roslyn Weiss, Lehigh University

Plato’s Two Criticisms of Democracy
John P. Anton, University of South Florida


panel f12: Aristotle’s Political Thought
Chair: John Wallach, Hunter College and CUNY - The Graduate Center
Discussant: Steve Skultety, University of Mississippi

Dependency in Aristotle
J.J. Mulhern, University of Pennsylvania

Aristotle on Politics and Philosophy
Geert van Cleemput, Independent Scholar

Statecraft over Legislation in the Political Science of Aristotle
Clifford Angell Bates, Jr., Uniwersytet Warszawski

Exploring Aristotelian Justice
Anne Hewitt, City University of New York


panel f13: Regimes in Aristotle’s Politics
Chair/Discussant: P.L.P. Simpson, City University of New York

Being a Good Ruler in a Deviant Community: Aristotle’s Theory of the Polity
Elena Irrera, University of Warwick, UK

Polity and Middle Regimes in Politics IV
Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill, St. John’s College (Annapolis)

Ernest Barker and Aristotle’s Political Thought: A Centenary Perspective
Quentin P. Taylor, Rogers State University

The Role of Conflict in Aristotle's Ideal City
Steve Skultety, University of Mississippi

panel f22: Roundtable: Plato’s Republic: A Study, by Stanley Rosen (Yale University Press)
Chair: Marina McCoy, Boston College
First Commentator: Jacob Howland, University of Tulsa
Second Commentator: Jill Gordon, Colby College
Authorial Response: Stanley Rosen, Boston University

panel f23: ROUNDTABLE: Breaking with Athens: Alfarabi as Founder, by Christopher A. Colmo (Lexington Books)
Chair: Miriam Galston, George Washington University Law School
First Commentator: Terence J. Kleven, Central College
Second Commentator: David DiPasquale, Boston College
Authorial Response: Christopher Colmo, Dominican University


panel f14: Enduring problems in ancient and modern thought
Chair: Thornton Lockwood, Fordham University
Discussant: Joanne Waugh, University of South Florida,

Democracy and Virtue in Plato and Aristotle—Theoretical Origins of a Political Paradox
John Wallach, Hunter College and CUNY - The Graduate Center

An Arendtian View of Ancient Legacies
Bat-Ami Bar On, Binghamton University

Socrates’ Conception of Justice: Beyond Aristotle and Rawls
Christos Evangeliou, Towson University

Freedom and Slavery in Stoicism
Eleni Tsalla, Xavier University