25 Srp 2017

Aristotle’s opinions are controversial in at least a triple sense. First, we have in mind his editing of and commenting on Poetics. Second, we may see his work as part of a polemic with his contemporaries with whom he did not agree with over the evaluation of tragic poetry. Third, his work is controversial because of the method Aristotle employed and the results he obtained with this method. In this paper the focus will be on the third point, especially on Aristotle’s alleged or real interpretation of tragedy as a text and on the possible reasons for his seeming or deliberate underappreciation of tragedy as performance or spectacle (ὄψις). In the final part a sketch will be provided of the breakup with Aristotle’s legacy by means of the example of Oliver Taplin and David Wiles, as well as new methodological approaches to ancient Greek tragedy, which go far beyond Aristotle.

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25 Srp 2017

This essay provides a contextual reconstruction of Aristotle’s ethical heritage at the University of Prague during late Middle Ages. The first part retraces the impact of the commentary tradition on Nicomachean Ethics within the milieu of the Prague Faculty of Arts between 1347/8 and 1409. Since the early years of the Prague University, the local didactic curriculum and discourse in ethics were intensely influenced by the teaching patterns as well as textbooks from the University of Paris, most of all by the commentary compiled by Jean Buridan (d. 1360/1361). However, we should also presuppose the impact of other expositions extant in manuscripts, such as those of Albert the Great (d. 1280), Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274), Robert Kilwardby (d. 1279), Henry of Friemar (the Elder, d. 1340), Peter of Aquila (d. 1361), Richard Kilvington (d. 1362) and Marsilius of Inghen (d. 1396). Eight genuine Prague commentaries of several different genres are preserved in manuscripts (from Oto of Werder, Henry Totting of Oyta, Bartholomew of Jaslo, Conrad of Steinsberg or Worms, Matthias of Lehnice, Peter of Wartenberg, John Arsen of Langenfeld and Peter of Przemysl). The second part of the paper presents an analysis of Jean Buridan’s concept of felicity and its influence on the debate about true felicity between the Czech intellectuals Matthias of Knín (d. 1410) and Jan Hus (d. 1415), held during the quodlibetal disputation in early January 1409.

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25 Srp 2017

The problem of the analogy of being is at an intersection of ontology and semantics. It can be motivated by the following aporia: the assumptions that “being” is meaningful and transcendental and that every super-ordinate concept decomposes into specific concepts by means of specific differences are inconsistent. The solution is to reconsider the semantics of “being” or the theory of the generality of concepts. Since the thirteenth century, the former was associated with the view that the concept of being is transcendental but systematically) ambiguous, while the latter with the view that the concept of being is transcendental and unambiguous but does not decompose into sub-ordinate concepts in the same way as generic concepts decompose into specific ones. One of the achievements of fourteenth-century nominalism was an emphasis on semantics, which made it possible to re-formulate the analogy of being in rigorous logico-semantic terms. Second, the combination of Eucharistic ontology and a weak ontology of accidental beings led to a re-statement of the problem in a bottom-up fashion and to its re-construction into a theorem of the semantics and ontology of accidents.

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25 Srp 2017

In his De caelo, Aristotle ascribes to Anaximander of Miletus a conception according to which the Earth remains at its place in the universe only thanks to the symmetry of its position. Simplicius, however, in his commentary on this passage from Aristotle, notes that such a formulation can also be found in Plato. Aetius, meanwhile, ascribes this entire argument to Parmenides and Democritus. Plato shows that the validity of this argument is based on the assumption that both the Earth and the universe that surrounds it are spherical. Anaximander, however, in all likelihood, believes the Earth to be flat – a feature typical of Ionian cosmology. Given that a belief in a spherical shape of the universe and the Earth can be demonstrated in the Pythagorean School and is hinted upon in Parmenides, we could assume that this conception originated in the Italian branch of philosophy. And since we do not have enough texts to satisfactorily reconstruct Pythagorean thoughts and have to rely on much later reports by Philolaus, one could assume that the whole argument about the stability of the Earth due to equilibrium and symmetry is based on Parmenides’s thoughts.

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