Felsefi Düşün Issue:5 – Ancient Philosophy / October 2015
Issue Editor: Çiğdem DÜRÜŞKEN (İstanbul Üniversitesi)
Please click on the name of any article for abstract and keywords.
Çağatay AŞKİT Ankara Üniversitesi)
Hasan AYDIN ( Ondokuz Mayıs Üniversitesi)
Kubilay AYSEVENER (Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi)
Samet BAĞÇE (Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi)
Fulya BAYRAKTAR ( Gazi Üniversitesi)
Nihal Petek BOYACI (Medeniyet Üniversitesi)
Fikret ÇELİK (Kırıkkale Üniversitesi)
Erdem ÇİFTÇİ ( Mersin Üniversitesi)
Tufan ÇÖTOK (Sakarya Üniversitesi)
Ahmet Emre DAĞTAŞOĞLU ( Trakya Üniversitesi)
İbrahim Safa DAŞKAYA (Sakarya Üniversitesi)
Didem DEMİRALP (Gazi Üniversitesi)
Uğur EKREN (İstanbul Üniversitesi)
Reyda ERGÜN (Kadir Has Üniversitesi)
Hatice Nur ERKIZAN ( Muğla Sıtkı Koçman Üniversitesi)
Tarık Necati ILGICIOĞLU (Galatasaray Üniversitesi)
Nazile KALAYCI (Hacettepe Üniversitesi)
İnan KALAYCIOĞULLARI (Ankara Üniversitesi)
Sibel KİBAR (Kastamonu Üniversitesi)
Çiğdem MENZİLCİOĞLU (İstanbul Üniversitesi)
Esra Çağrı MUTLU (Yüzüncü Yıl Üniversitesi)
Enver ORMAN (İstanbul Üniversitesi)
Mehmet Ali SARI (Pamukkale Üniversitesi)
Ahu TUNÇEL (Maltepe Üniversitesi)
Emir Hasan ÜLGER (Başkent Üniversitesi)
Mustafa YILDIZ (Erciyes Üniversitesi)
BEING HUMAN IN BOETHIUS’ CONSOLATION
The aim of this article is to understand human concept in Boethius’ Consolatio Philosophiae. This work of Boethius, which he wrote during his exile in Pavia, encoloured with the way of creating three different characters and became an adventure, that Boethius in chains been trying to find his path by following the light of his lifelong teacher Philosophia. The man who condemned to death, and forgot everything with his grief, needs to remember that human is just not only a rational being. Because of that he needs to recall how God rules the universe. To this end I retrace the steps of Boethius while he was convincing himself and briefly analyze the concepts that Philosophy explained in whole work, such as fate, the highest good and justice. Thus I tried to explain the contrast that Boethius set up with his dialectic way of thinking, as Goddess Philosophy and Boethius in chains, God –the creator of everything- and human being. In conclusion it’s clarified how a man, who forgets everything with grief, could remember his own nature and could find the divine essence, which every human being have in his own with his creation.
Keywords: Boethius, Neoplatonism, consolation, human being, fate, the highest good.
THE PROBLEM OF EROS’ (LOVE) NATURE IN PLATO’S SYMPOSIUM (FEAST): (A) DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY
It would not be wrong at all to indicate that efforts to answer the question of what Eros is dates as back as the human history. Many poets, writers and philosophers/thinkers ranging from Sophokles to Plato, from Rousseau to Balzac and from Lucretius to Nietzsche have searched and answer to the question of what is “love”, and love has become the research area of mythology, philosophy and literature from time to time. As Eric Blondel pointed out that in his famous book, Love, some thinkers defined the love as “the search for Union”, while others defined it as “the happiness of Lust”. Although love has been defined in many ways for many times by many, the subject of Love is still keeping up-to-date.
The Nature of Love question drew the attention of Plato, who is one of the most prominent philosophers of Ancient Age, having a great impact on the world of thought of the whole Western and also Islamic Philosophy. Symposion is the famous dialogue in which Plato mentions the Love in a general perspective. Symposion includes the six discussions of the notable people of Athens (Phaidros, Pausanias, Eryksimakhos, Aristophanes, Agathon and Socrates) over the subject of Love. The most important of these talks belongs to Socrates in that he suggests analytic ideas about the relation between Love and immortality. However, Socrates conveys his opinions on the subject from another character called Mantina Priestess, Diotima the wise woman. This paper, therefore, puts Diotima’s (Socrates) talks heavily in the center of the discussions over the nature and types of Love. The principal claim of this paper is to demonstrate that the desire for the immortality is the actual reason of the suppressive emotion in centre the tendency towards Eros. According to Diotima, “Love” is the love of immortality. It seems that the roots of such thoughts are definitely based on the Platonist metaphysics. As a result, the purpose of this study is to reveal the philosophical roots of the Eros subject matter.
Keywords: Feast, Diotima, Love, beauty, immortality, Daimonion (Godlike).
A DISCOURSE ON THE CONCEPT OF ‘TYRANT’ IN CICERO’S POLITICAL THOUGHT
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) was a legist and statesman who lived in struggles. We can’t consider his philosophy of politics and any political idea as separate from his active experience of law and politics. When this state that especially depends on Rome’s cultural structure, distinguishes him from Greek philosophers who lived before, raises an issue about correlation between his actual and utilitarian ideas on actual political problems, and his peculiar acknowledgements about philosophy of politics that he presented as a theorist. This paper hasn’t to do with this issue, but only we analyse usage examples of ‘tyrant’ as a notion, both in his philosophy of politics that rises especially in De Re Publica and generally in the other political works, and in the concept of actual politics that he experienced himself. Moreover we examine that these usages converge what extent. In this context, we firstly analyse the tyrant as a concept in theory of cycle of political regimes, then we study how Cicero used the tyrant as a concept in accusations against Gaius Verres, Piso, Catilina, Clodius, Tiberius Gracchus and Marcus Antonius whom he was in political struggle.
Keywords: Cicero, De Re Publica, philosophy of politics, politics, Roma, tyrant.
METAPHYSICS OF WORKING: THE IDEA OF LABOUR AND THE PROCESS OF INDIVIDUALISATION IN HESIOD
Hesiod, an epic poet lived around 8th century BC, is credited with two extant works: Theogonia (The Birth of Gods) and Erga kai Hēmerai(Works and Days). While the former represents the genealogy of gods and generation of universe (kosmos), in other words suggests a cosmogony (kosmogonia) based on mythology, the latter ponders on the stance human being in the mature universe and discusses the venture of his existence and his struggle for life as an individual, finally tries to offer solutions to problems of daily life enumerating consecutively religious advices and ethical maxims from Greek wisdom. This study aims to reveal Hesiod’s conception of working (ergon) by embracing totally these works and examining them from both philological and philosophical perspectives. In this context, arguing that human being achieves the tragic mind by Hesiodic working and describing how this conception being abstracted from concrete meaning and turned to the idea of labour, and thereby coming on the verge of individualisation and accordingly philosophical thinking, the study tries to show the importance and significance of Hesiod in early Greek thought.
Keywords: Hesiod, epos, working/labour, individualisation, tragic mind, early Greek thought.
THE PROBLEM OF PHILOSOPHERS’ WISDOM AND COMPETENCY WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF ANCIENT GREEK PHILOSOPHY
In the ancient Greece the concept of autonomy means self-sufficiency. This meaning exposed itself specially in the activity of the philosophers. Thus, it is important to show this concept through explaning their words and deeds. In this article especially it is shown how the concept of autonomy has been put differently by Aristotle from the previous philosophers. Thus we examined Heraclitus, Socrates and Plato respectively. Instead of putting a thesis about a subject we tried to discuss a deep problem of philosophy with some new questions. First of all this problem indicates a deficiency in Turkish language. Although they are very closed to each other in Greek language autarkeia/αὐτάρκεια, and autonomia/αὐτονομία have different meanings. In our language this is covered with the word özerklik. This articles claims the insufficiency of the word. Beside this technical subject philosophically I’ve put a question: If philosopers fail in the process of getting the truth they required, is it still possible for them to claim self-sufficency? In this context the main claim of my article is for some Ancient Greek philosophers the important thing is not having but pursuiting the truth.
Keywords: Self-sufficency, autonomy, ancient philosophy, acquiring knowledge wisdom
ONTOLOGICAL DIFFICULTIES IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE RELATION BETWEEN THE ELEMENTS AND PSYKHÊ
Aristotle shows psyche as the principle and cause of life in a natural body. For understanding nature, one has to know that understanding psyche comes first as the principle and cause of natural body. As for Aristotle, natural beings are composed of elements (water, air, fire, soil) or simple bodies. Fundamentally, simple bodies carry out two types of linear movements, which are up and down which can also be called natural movements. Live or lifeless, because the natural bodies composed of elements coming together, their movements have to be consistent with the movements of these four elements. Natural body’s life is recognized with three essential movements (self-sustenance, growth and decay). Psyche is defined as the first entelekhia of a natural body containing life potentially in itself. Psyche does not exist separately without body. As a principle, it is inherent in the body. As being within the body, it has to be binding with the combination of the elements that creates body. In addition to this, some other movements in living beings are identified that are not originated from the natural movements of elements composing living bodies. Theoretical difficulty comes from the association of life movements caused by psyche as principle of life with natural movements of elements. This study is envisaged to be an introductory analysis of such a difficulty.
Keywords: psyche, natural movement, element, principle, life, living body.
AN ESSAY CONCERNING THE CONCEPTION OF ‘BEAUTIFUL’ IN PLATO AND BURKE
With this work, some points that contain conceptual contradictions between Plato’s conception of the “beautiful” and Edmund Burke’s conception of the “beautiful” will be mentioned. For such a purpose, Plato’s conceptions of the beautiful in Hippias Major, Symposium, Philebus ve Timaeus, which he has discussed in three periods of his life, will be covered. After clarifying Plato’s views on the beautiful, Edmund Burke’s, a 19th century philosopher’s conception of the beautiful that he has included in his work A Philosophical Enquire into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful will be discussed. As a result, Platon and Burke’s conception of “beautiful” will be discussed. In this sense, our starting point will be based on; proportion, pleasure and art of poetry. Furthermore, a historical point of view will be shortly presented and some examples will be given in order to clarify the difference between two thinkers’ conceptions of ‘beautiful’.
Keywords: beautiful, Plato, proportion, pleasure, Edmund Burke, art.
THE CAUSALITY OF BECOMING AND CHANGE IN TIMAEUS AND FOUR SENSES OF THE CONCEPT OF ‘CAUSE’
The present study aims to propose that Plato’s Timaeus is a natural philosophy or a cosmology rather than a theology or a mythology. The concepts and reasons presented in Timaeus are not theological, but rather cosmological ones. However, through the middle ages, Timaeus, Plato’s the most frequently studied work, had always been interpreted as a theological work. In this study, Timaeus is discussed within the context of causality of the world’s coming to be. According to Plato, the explanation of the causality of becoming will be possible by applying to more than one cause. In Platonic philosophy, ideas are necessary for explaining becoming but they cannot be sufficient reasons. In Timaeus, anything that becomes is explained by four causes; and ideas are considered as the order of becoming, but they cannot be reasons of becoming by themselves. Consequently, Platonic ideas should be considered as the ground of being (not becoming) or knowledge.
Keywords: becoming, being, causality, cause, cosmos, nature.
READING PLATO’S TIMAEUS WITH QUINE
Willard Van Orman Quine believes that scientific theories are just cultural myths which impinge on experience only along the edges. As a myth of the World creation, Plato’s dialogue Timaeus offers rich possibilities to illustrate Quine’s thesis and critically discusses its tenets. It is equally possible to use Quine’s approach in the opposite sense and defend that Timaeus is not a myth but rather a scientific explanation. We consider that the theory of platonic ideas provides a better foundation for defining science as an expression of the absolute reality. Whereas Quine postulates a modern theory of science in which science is approaching an ultimate reality without ever consuming it. In this perspective a theory is scientific in so far as it is capable of producing successful predictions of future experiences. Plato searches the logos with a myth while Quine finds a myth using the logos. According to Quine, the myth of physical objects is epistemologically superior to most in that it is more efficacious than other myths for providing a manageable structure into the flux of experience.
Keywords: Reductionism, myth, epistemology, ontology, idea, analytic, synthetic, theory, science.
PARRHESIA: COURAGE OF TRUTH-TELLING AND CRITICISM
The aim of this study is to exhibit Michel Foucault’s analysis of parrhesia practice as a modality of truth-telling in Ancient culture, which has occupied a central place in his last lectures delivered at the Collège de France, in order to reveal and discuss its relation with the critical philosophy which he defined through his interpretation of Kant’s “What is Enlightenment?” essay and also used it to characterize his own works. To this end, firstly Foucault’s investigation of the practice of parrhesia in Ancient Greek and Rome and its historical transformation till the modern age will be elucidated in details. Then, in the light of this exposition, we’ll try to reveal how Foucault understands Ancient culture’s conception of care of self and practice of parrhesia as the origin of the critical practice which he adopts as an alternative derived from Kant’s Enlightenment conception, and thereby consider it as an important reference for developing a critical practice today. In this context, Foucault’s endeavor to define his own critical practice as a parrhesiastik philosophy whose modern manifestation or example can be found in Kant’s Enlightenment conception will be emphasized.
Keywords: parrhesia, care of self, veridiction, Enlightenment, critical philosophy, Cynicism.
ANCIENT GREEK THOUGHT AND ARISTOTLE WITH REGARD TO PERSPECTIVES ON HISTORY AND THE COURSE OF PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY
Although the historical material is taken up and elaborated most indirectly through poetry, epics, theatre/tragedy, and even philosophy in Ancient Greek civilisation- i.e. the place of birth and development of the Western philosophical tradition, it is possible to say that philosophy and history are the two basic elements of Ancient culture which are entwined. However, as regards the development and course of philosophy of history, the developments in the middle ages-especially, via Augustine- seem to take over the ancient era. This essay is an attempt 1. To point out that the philosophical perspectives on history were also born in the Ancient Greek civilisation-in other words, many of the problems debated under the title of philosophy of history emerged within Greek thought, and, 2. To raise questions against the justification given for the thesis that Aristotle is responsible for the sceptical and (sometimes) negative attitude towards history, which lasted until the second half of the eighteenth century. These two attempts will be supported by a rather long summary of the development of the thoughts on history, a process starting from Homer, going on through Aristotle and ending up with Vico.
Keywords: Historein, historia, historiography, philosophy of history, philosophy, history, Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle.
TRAGEDY AND ETHICS IN ARISTOTLE: REMARKS ON THE POETICS
This essay is meant to explore Aristotle’s views on tragedy from the standpoint of his ethics. The guiding claim is that the so-called “formal” analysis of tragedy in Aristotle’s Poetics in fact extensively draws on “substantive” presuppositions grounded in ethical theory, and therefore can be systematically understood against the background of the latter. The essay has four parts. The first part outlines Aristotle’s response to Plato’s criticism of poetry in general. Then, we closely look at the ethical grounds on which Aristotle takes the tragic possibility seriously, a possibility which is consistently rejected by Plato: how is it possible for a good or virtuous person to fail in living well? Our next stop is the concept of hamartia, the “error” or “mistake” that brings the tragic hero to a disastrous end. The analysis of hamartia will allow us to state that Aristotle takes a critical stance not only on the Platonic outlook, but also on the worldview of the tragic poets as well. Finally, turning to “pity” and “fear”, we discuss the practical significance of tragic emotions, their relation to ethical learning and citizenship, thereby prying into the political implications of Poetics as well as what Aristotle might have to say about the relationship between tragedy and democracy.
Keywords: Aristotle, Plato, Poetics, tragedy, tragic action, hamartia, pity, fear, catharsis.