Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Phronesis Vol. 46, No. 1, February 2001. (Philosophical Abstracts)

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Phronesis Vol. 46, No. 1, February 2001. (Philosophical Abstracts)

Article excerpt

The New Academy's Appeals to the Presocratics, CHARLES BRITTAIN and JOHN PALMER

Members of the New Academy presented their skeptical position as the culmination of a progressive development in the history of philosophy, which began when certain Presocratics started to reflect on the epistemic status of their theoretical claims concerning the natures of things. The Academics' dogmatic opponents accused them of misrepresenting the early philosophers in an illegitimate attempt to claim respectable precedents for their dangerous position. The ensuing debate over the extent to which some form of skepticism might properly be attributed to the Presocratics is reflected in various passages in Cicero's Academica. In this essay, the authors try to get clearer about the precise nature of the Academics' historical claim and their view of the general lesson to be learned from reflection on the history of philosophy down to their own time. The Academics saw the Presocratics as providing some kind of support for the thesis that things are noncognitive or, more specifically, that neither the senses nor reason furnishes a criterion of truth. As this view is susceptible to both "dialectical" and nondialectical readings, the authors consider the prospects for each. They also examine the evidence for the varied functions both of the Academics' specific appeals to individual Presocratics and of their collections of the Presocratics' divergent opinions. What emerges is a better understanding of why the Academics were concerned with claiming the Presocratics as skeptical ancestors and of the precise manner in which they advanced this claim

The Case of Theaetetus, GOKHAN ADALIER

Any comprehensive interpretation of the Theaetetus has to provide answers to, among others, two very general questions concerning that dialogue: (1) what is Plato's relation to the problems faced in the Theaetetus? …

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