Aristotle and the Philosophy of Friendship

Cambridge University Press
Free sample

This book offers a comprehensive account of the major philosophical works on friendship and its relationship to self-love. The book gives central place to Aristotle's searching examination of friendship in the Nicomachean Ethics. Lorraine Pangle argues that the difficulties surrounding this discussion are soon dispelled once one understands the purpose of the Ethics as both a source of practical guidance for life and a profound, theoretical investigation into human nature. The book also provides fresh interpretations of works on friendship by Plato, Cicero, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne and Bacon. The author shows how each of these thinkers sheds light on central questions of moral philosophy: is human sociability rooted in neediness or strength? is the best life chiefly solitary, or dedicated to a community with others? Clearly structured and engagingly written, this book will appeal to a broad swathe of readers across philosophy, classics and political science.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Nov 14, 2002
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Pages
267
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ISBN
9781139441865
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / General
Philosophy / History & Surveys / Ancient & Classical
Political Science / History & Theory
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This content is DRM protected.
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In this stunning act of synthesis, Abraham Edel captures the entire range of Aristotle's thought in a manner that will prove attractive and convincing to a contemporary audience. Many philosophers approach Aristotle with their own, rather than his, questions. Some cast him as a partisan of a contemporary school. Even the neutral approach of classical scholarship often takes for granted questions that reflect our modern ways of dissecting the world.

"Aristotle and His Philosophy "shows him at work in asking and answering questions. Abraham Edel fashions a sound comparative way of using current analysis to deepen our understanding of Aristotle rather than argue with or simply appropriate him. Edel examines how Aristotle's basic ideas operated in his scientific and humanistic works, what they enabled him to do, what they kept him from doing, and what in turn we can learn from his philosophical experimentation.

The purpose of this volume is twofold: to provide a comprehensive introduction to Aristotle's thought, and to throw fresh light on its patterned and systematic character. First, tracing the pattern in Aristotle's metaphysical and physical writings, he then explores the psychology, epistemology, ethics and politics, rhetoric and poetics. In the process, Edel discusses the way interpretations of Aristotle are built up and how different philosophical outlooks--Catholic, Hegelian, Marxian, linguistic, naturalistic, and pragmatic--have affected the reading of Aristotelian texts and ideas.

The new introduction probes the general problem of interpreting a philosophy, and suggests how working through the different interpretations can contribute to a fuller understanding. This methodological self-consciousness makes "Aristotle and His Philosophy "markedly different from other studies of Aristotle. Martha C. Nussbaum of Brown University has described Edel as having "philosophical sensitivity and good sense throughout. His scholarship is comprehensive, but handled with grace and clarity."

The concept of self-motion is not only fundamental in Aristotle's argument for the Prime Mover and in ancient and medieval theories of nature, but it is also central to many theories of human agency and moral responsibility. In this collection of mostly new essays, scholars of classical, Hellenistic, medieval, and early modern philosophy and science explore the question of whether or not there are such things as self-movers, and if so, what their self-motion consists in. They trace the development of the concept of self-motion from its formulation in Aristotle's metaphysics, cosmology, and philosophy of nature through two millennia of philosophical, religious, and scientific thought. This volume contains "Self-Movers" (David Furley), "Aristotle on Self-Motion" (Mary Louise Gill), "Aristotle on Perception, Appetition, and Self-Motion" (Cynthia Freeland), "Self-Movement and External Causation" (Susan Sauvé Meyer), "Aristotle on the Mind's Self-Motion" (Michael Wedin), "Mind and Motion in Aristotle" (Christopher Shields), "Aristotle's Prime Mover" (Aryeh Kosman), "The Transcendence of the Prime Mover" (Lindsay Judson), "Self-Motion in Stoic Philosophy" (David Hahm), "Duns Scotus on the Reality of Self-Change" (Peter King), "Ockham, Self-Motion, and the Will" (Calvin Normore), and "Natural Motion and Its Causes: Newton on the 'Vis Insita' of Bodies" (J. E. McGuire).

Originally published in 1994.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

The relation between virtue and knowledge is at the heart of the Socratic view of human excellence, but it also points to a central puzzle of the Platonic dialogues: Can Socrates be serious in his claims that human excellence is constituted by one virtue, that vice is merely the result of ignorance, and that the correct response to crime is therefore not punishment but education? Or are these assertions mere rhetorical ploys by a notoriously complex thinker?

Lorraine Smith Pangle traces the argument for the primacy of virtue and the power of knowledge throughout the five dialogues that feature them most prominently—the Apology, Gorgias, Protagoras, Meno, and Laws—and reveals the truth at the core of these seemingly strange claims. She argues that Socrates was more aware of the complex causes of human action and of the power of irrational passions than a cursory reading might suggest. Pangle’s perceptive analyses reveal that many of Socrates’s teachings in fact explore the factors that make it difficult for humans to be the rational creatures that he at first seems to claim. Also critical to Pangle’s reading is her emphasis on the political dimensions of the dialogues. Underlying many of the paradoxes, she shows, is a distinction between philosophic and civic virtue that is critical to understanding them.

Ultimately, Pangle offers a radically unconventional way of reading Socrates’s views of human excellence: Virtue is not knowledge in any ordinary sense, but true virtue is nothing other than wisdom.
One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives. In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life. Using the psychological insights and the practical techniques of the Stoics, Irvine offers a roadmap for anyone seeking to avoid the feelings of chronic dissatisfaction that plague so many of us. Irvine looks at various Stoic techniques for attaining tranquility and shows how to put these techniques to work in our own life. As he does so, he describes his own experiences practicing Stoicism and offers valuable first-hand advice for anyone wishing to live better by following in the footsteps of these ancient philosophers. Readers learn how to minimize worry, how to let go of the past and focus our efforts on the things we can control, and how to deal with insults, grief, old age, and the distracting temptations of fame and fortune. We learn from Marcus Aurelius the importance of prizing only things of true value, and from Epictetus we learn how to be more content with what we have. Finally, A Guide to the Good Life shows readers how to become thoughtful observers of their own lives. If we watch ourselves as we go about our daily business and later reflect on what we saw, we can better identify the sources of distress and eventually avoid that pain in our life. By doing this, the Stoics thought, we can hope to attain a truly joyful life.
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