Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: Fw: BMCR 2008.08.43, Kevin Corrigan, Platonisms: Ancient, Modern,and Postmodern (fwd)

Expand Messages
  • vaeringjar
    ... Assuming ... Let me if I may add something - I don t presume to know exactly why Plato wrote the dialogues, and meant rather above that the sort of
    Message 1 of 11 , Aug 30, 2008
      > > M.C. Im by no means clear on how this "directly follows".
      Assuming
      > that
      > > the 7th Letter is genuine, it could equally be interpreted as
      > saying that
      > > the dialogues don't contain anything truly serious: they are mere
      > > appetizers to get readers interested in philosophy.
      >
      > See above - I think dialectic is essential and the dialogues ought
      > not to be interpreted chiefly as appetizers, but are in a sense as
      > described above preparatory. Not to say they aren't frequently
      > peppered with irony and humor, as we all well know.
      >
      > That's all the defense I can muster - again, sorry if I fell into
      > error here on the Letter.
      >
      > Dennis Clark
      >

      Let me if I may add something - I don't presume to know exactly why
      Plato wrote the dialogues, and meant rather above that the sort of
      Socratic method and dialectic displayed in them is the important
      preparatory above.

      I could only say if pressed that I think that we was much affected by
      Socrates' execution and that it made him very chary of expressing
      himself too openly, maybe not so much in the directly fearful sense
      as much as taking it as an example of what can happen when you "cast
      your pearls before swine", to use a wildly anachronistic metaphor. I
      wouldn't say it was his main motivation, but I think it may be in the
      mix. And like in the 7th letter - again if genuine - he says he won't
      get into written specifics, but then does nevertheless give us that
      little discourse. So in spite of himself he feels the urge to share,
      as it were, and perhaps the dialogues, assumeably also recording
      experiences of Socrates he considered important enough to preserve,
      were as much of an outlet that he would allow himself. And they are
      after all only dialogues, however much fictionalized - and his
      obvious talent as a writer would out also somehow, I believe - not
      focused prose treatises.

      Dennis Clark
    • John Uebersax
      Here is a question that follows up on the last thread. Two noteworthy attributes of Archetypes in Jungian psychology is that they are (1) autonomous, in the
      Message 2 of 11 , Sep 2, 2008
        Here is a question that follows up on the last thread.

        Two noteworthy attributes of Archetypes in Jungian psychology is that they are (1) autonomous, in the sense that they possess something like a will, and (2) dynamic, in the sense that they act, they do things.

        This appears somewhat different from how we generally think of Platonic Forms.  Forms seem more static, and more, well, like ideas, not autonomous entities possessed of their wills (the latter point might be more debatable).

        In short, Jungian Archetypes are, at least as presented by some later writers, more like or analogous to 'gods' than to Forms.

        This suggests a potentially interesting question:  did Neoplatonists consider the issue of whether there are Forms associated with gods?  For example, if there is a god, Ares -- is there also a Form of Ares, of which Ares is an instance or manifestation?

        John Uebersax






        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • epb223@gmail.com
        My understanding is that Jungian archetypes are merely instinctual behavior patterns, and that therefore they are not volitional agents in the manner you
        Message 3 of 11 , Sep 3, 2008
          My understanding is that Jungian archetypes are merely instinctual behavior
          patterns, and that therefore they are not volitional agents in the manner
          you suggest, although they are certainly causes (formal causes, I would say)
          of human behavior. I know that Jungians, when they are speaking strictly,
          will distinguish between archetypes simpliciter and archetypal images, which
          are the images produced within various cultures as expressions, so to speak,
          of the archetype. These images may help to enact the behavior pattern itself
          by the effect they have upon the psyche.

          The question of the relationship of Forms to Gods among Platonists is a
          wholly distinct issue. Proclus makes it quite clear that the Gods (henads)
          are prior to the Forms, and so there are not Forms of Gods. Each God is for
          him sui generis. Plato says in the Philebus (30d) that the different Gods
          have the perfections (kala) from which their proper (philon) epithets are
          derived "through the power of the cause" (dia tên tês aitias dunamin). In
          this way, for example, "in the nature [en têi phusei]" of Zeus "there comes
          to be [eggignesthai] a royal soul and a royal mind." Since the Gods are not
          artifacts, nor thinkable without their distinctive perfections, I think that
          the causality in question here is meant to be inseparable from each one, and
          not some external cause; that is, rather than being forms, I think that
          these perfections express the mode of causality of each deity.

          Edward Butler
        • Bruce MacLennan
          Hi Edward, ... I disagree with your interpretation with Jungian psychology. Jung stressed that archetypes and complexes can behave as autonomous
          Message 4 of 11 , Sep 4, 2008
            Hi Edward,

            On Sep 3, 2008, at 3:31 PM, epb223@... wrote:

            > My understanding is that Jungian archetypes are merely instinctual
            > behavior
            > patterns, and that therefore they are not volitional agents in the
            > manner
            > you suggest, although they are certainly causes (formal causes, I
            > would say)
            > of human behavior. ...
            >

            I disagree with your interpretation with Jungian psychology. Jung
            stressed that archetypes and complexes can behave as autonomous
            personalities, which is why, for example, Jungians can speak quite
            literally of being "possessed" by an archetype or complex (see, e.g.,
            von Franz, Projection and Re-collection in Jungian Psychology).
            Complexes in particular have been explicitly identified with
            Neoplatonic daimones by Jung as well as by the Jungians. The
            archetypes are the unconscious psychodynamical structures
            corresponding to phylogenetic (species-wide) adaptations (i.e.,
            instincts); the complexes are ontogenetic (individually acquired)
            "offspring" of these archetypes, which mediate (unconsciously)
            between the universal archetype and the individual. (Complexes may
            also be shared within groups, including entire cultures.)

            Some of the archetypes are impersonal (such as the archetypal
            numbers: monad, dyad, etc.), but many of them regulate
            phylogenetically-rooted interactions among people (love, sex,
            parenting, care-giving, cooperation, dominance, defense, etc.) and so
            they are naturally personified with such archetypal figures as the
            Sky Father, the Great Mother, the Wise Old Man/Woman, the Nymph, the
            Trickster, the Warrior, the Hero/-ine, etc. etc. These correspond
            more or less (subject to cultural modification) to the gods of
            various pantheons. (An interpersonal archetype is a schema with
            roles for two or more people, and so when such an archetype is
            activated in a person, they may be "possessed" by one role, and
            "project" the other role onto another person. In interpersonal
            schemata the roles are, naturally, personified.)

            I would offer that the archetypes may be viewed as both formal,
            final, and efficient causes. They are formal structures in that they
            dynamically shape perception, motivation, and behavior. They are
            final causes in that this shaping is for a "purpose" (or, in the
            language of evolutionary psychology, they are "adaptive"). They are
            efficient causes in that they directly instigate behavior. (If
            someone challenges you and "gets in your face," and you have the urge
            to punch them, formal, final, and efficient causes are all in
            operation!)

            I have discussed some of these issues in: MacLennan, B. J. (2006).
            "Evolutionary Jungian Psychology." Psychological Perspectives 49, 1
            (Spring 2006), pp. 9-28.

            > The question of the relationship of Forms to Gods among Platonists
            > is a
            > wholly distinct issue. ...
            >

            Well, distinct but not, I think, wholly distinct. I would argue that
            the Middle Platonists, Neoplatonists, etc. were engaged in a
            phenomenological + intellectual exploration and interpretation of the
            psyche (in the modern sense), and therefore that they discovered
            similar archetypal structures to those explicated by Jungian
            psychologists. They were studying the same phenomena by similar
            means. Some of the details of the similarities are amazingly
            specific, as I've suggested in:

            MacLennan, B. J. (2005). "Evolution, Jung, and Theurgy: Their Role in
            Modern Neoplatonism." In _History of Platonism: Plato Redivivus_,
            John F. Finamore & Robert Berchman (eds.), University Press of the
            South, pp. 305-22.

            Both of these papers are available at my website:

            <http://www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/other-res.html#neurotheol>.

            Bruce




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • jensav55
            I will defer to you on the matter of Jungian psychology, as it has been a long time since I was hands-on with the primary texts in that field. I do recall,
            Message 5 of 11 , Sep 5, 2008
              I will defer to you on the matter of Jungian psychology, as it has
              been a long time since I was hands-on with the primary texts in that
              field. I do recall, however, from my studies at that time that there
              was a good deal of debate within Jungian circles over the 'whatness'
              of the archetypes.

              Regarding the identification of deities with Jungian archetypes, it is
              to me simply another form of reductionist reading. This is not to say
              that others might not find it interesting. I do not agree, however,
              that the Platonists were doing a phenomenology of the psyche; they
              understood themselves to be doing theology, which they would have
              understood as belonging to a higher pay grade. Their method of doing
              theology involved primarily the hermeneutics of mythic texts and
              living religious traditions in conjunction with ontology.

              Edward


              --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Bruce MacLennan <mclennan@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hi Edward,
              >
              > On Sep 3, 2008, at 3:31 PM, epb223@... wrote:
              >
              > > My understanding is that Jungian archetypes are merely instinctual
              > > behavior
              > > patterns, and that therefore they are not volitional agents in the
              > > manner
              > > you suggest, although they are certainly causes (formal causes, I
              > > would say)
              > > of human behavior. ...
              > >
              >
              > I disagree with your interpretation with Jungian psychology. Jung
              > stressed that archetypes and complexes can behave as autonomous
              > personalities, which is why, for example, Jungians can speak quite
              > literally of being "possessed" by an archetype or complex (see, e.g.,
              > von Franz, Projection and Re-collection in Jungian Psychology).
              > Complexes in particular have been explicitly identified with
              > Neoplatonic daimones by Jung as well as by the Jungians. The
              > archetypes are the unconscious psychodynamical structures
              > corresponding to phylogenetic (species-wide) adaptations (i.e.,
              > instincts); the complexes are ontogenetic (individually acquired)
              > "offspring" of these archetypes, which mediate (unconsciously)
              > between the universal archetype and the individual. (Complexes may
              > also be shared within groups, including entire cultures.)
              >
              > Some of the archetypes are impersonal (such as the archetypal
              > numbers: monad, dyad, etc.), but many of them regulate
              > phylogenetically-rooted interactions among people (love, sex,
              > parenting, care-giving, cooperation, dominance, defense, etc.) and so
              > they are naturally personified with such archetypal figures as the
              > Sky Father, the Great Mother, the Wise Old Man/Woman, the Nymph, the
              > Trickster, the Warrior, the Hero/-ine, etc. etc. These correspond
              > more or less (subject to cultural modification) to the gods of
              > various pantheons. (An interpersonal archetype is a schema with
              > roles for two or more people, and so when such an archetype is
              > activated in a person, they may be "possessed" by one role, and
              > "project" the other role onto another person. In interpersonal
              > schemata the roles are, naturally, personified.)
              >
              > I would offer that the archetypes may be viewed as both formal,
              > final, and efficient causes. They are formal structures in that they
              > dynamically shape perception, motivation, and behavior. They are
              > final causes in that this shaping is for a "purpose" (or, in the
              > language of evolutionary psychology, they are "adaptive"). They are
              > efficient causes in that they directly instigate behavior. (If
              > someone challenges you and "gets in your face," and you have the urge
              > to punch them, formal, final, and efficient causes are all in
              > operation!)
              >
              > I have discussed some of these issues in: MacLennan, B. J. (2006).
              > "Evolutionary Jungian Psychology." Psychological Perspectives 49, 1
              > (Spring 2006), pp. 9-28.
              >
              > > The question of the relationship of Forms to Gods among Platonists
              > > is a
              > > wholly distinct issue. ...
              > >
              >
              > Well, distinct but not, I think, wholly distinct. I would argue that
              > the Middle Platonists, Neoplatonists, etc. were engaged in a
              > phenomenological + intellectual exploration and interpretation of the
              > psyche (in the modern sense), and therefore that they discovered
              > similar archetypal structures to those explicated by Jungian
              > psychologists. They were studying the same phenomena by similar
              > means. Some of the details of the similarities are amazingly
              > specific, as I've suggested in:
              >
              > MacLennan, B. J. (2005). "Evolution, Jung, and Theurgy: Their Role in
              > Modern Neoplatonism." In _History of Platonism: Plato Redivivus_,
              > John F. Finamore & Robert Berchman (eds.), University Press of the
              > South, pp. 305-22.
              >
              > Both of these papers are available at my website:
              >
              > <http://www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/other-res.html#neurotheol>.
              >
              > Bruce
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • Bruce MacLennan
              Hi Edward, ... True, and I admit to taking a particular position on the archetypes (rooted in Jung, but cultivated by Anthony Stevens, Meredith Sabini, and
              Message 6 of 11 , Sep 6, 2008
                Hi Edward,

                On Sep 5, 2008, at 1:44 PM, jensav55 wrote:

                > I do recall, however, from my studies at that time that there
                > was a good deal of debate within Jungian circles over the 'whatness'
                > of the archetypes.

                True, and I admit to taking a particular position on the archetypes
                (rooted in Jung, but cultivated by Anthony Stevens, Meredith Sabini,
                and others).

                > Regarding the identification of deities with Jungian archetypes, it is
                > to me simply another form of reductionist reading. This is not to say
                > that others might not find it interesting. I do not agree, however,
                > that the Platonists were doing a phenomenology of the psyche; they
                > understood themselves to be doing theology, which they would have
                > understood as belonging to a higher pay grade. Their method of doing
                > theology involved primarily the hermeneutics of mythic texts and
                > living religious traditions in conjunction with ontology.

                Describing it as a "phenomenology of the psyche" was a misleading way
                for me to put it. I meant the term "psyche" to include both the
                individual conscious and unconscious minds as well as what Jungians
                call the "objective psyche," that is, those unconscious psychical
                structures that are universal (shared among all humans). From this
                perspective, a phenomenology of this universal ("collective")
                unconscious provides the phenomenological data for theology
                (amplified, of course, by a hermeneutics of texts and traditions).

                Certainly, the Neoplatonists understood their project differently
                from the Jungians' understanding of theirs. However, I think that
                Jungian psychology may provide the best explanation (so far) of what
                the Neoplatonists discovered, establishing in the process the
                essential validity of Neoplatonism.

                Is it a form of reductionist reading? Perhaps, if the phenomena of
                the mind are taken to be "merely psychological" and ultimately just
                material (or physical). However, Jung argued that the psychical and
                the material are two equally essential, mutually irreducible aspects
                of a single underlying reality. Therefore, (phenomenological and
                dialectical) investigation of the structure of the objective psyche
                is a part of ontology. Certainly, from this perspective the forms
                (and the gods) are not separated from the material world, but are
                immanent in it: an unplatonic idea. However, because of their
                irreducible psychical aspect, they are not "merely physical."

                Personally, I am of two minds about these matters. On the one hand,
                the ancient Platonists do not seem to have understood that form can
                emerge in unformed matter through physical self-organization; thus
                form does not have to be postulated as a cause. On the other hand,
                the laws of self-organization are mathematical, and Platonism (with
                its hypostatized forms) remains a viable philosophy of mathematics,
                so perhaps at least mathematical objects have a separate existence.

                Best,
                Bruce

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • jensav55
                ... After I d responded it did occur to me that the term psyche is uncommonly broad for Jungians. Even so, of course, it isn t much broader than it is for
                Message 7 of 11 , Sep 7, 2008
                  --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Bruce MacLennan <mclennan@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Describing it as a "phenomenology of the psyche" was a misleading way
                  > for me to put it. I meant the term "psyche" to include both the
                  > individual conscious and unconscious minds as well as what Jungians
                  > call the "objective psyche," that is, those unconscious psychical
                  > structures that are universal (shared among all humans). From this
                  > perspective, a phenomenology of this universal ("collective")
                  > unconscious provides the phenomenological data for theology
                  > (amplified, of course, by a hermeneutics of texts and traditions).

                  After I'd responded it did occur to me that the term "psyche" is
                  uncommonly broad for Jungians. Even so, of course, it isn't much
                  broader than it is for Neoplatonists, for whom the entire cosmos is
                  ensouled. Nevertheless, for Neoplatonists there is Intellect beyond
                  Soul, and Being beyond Intellect, and the domain beyond Being, which
                  is "where" the Gods are, at least for Proclus and his ilk (perhaps it
                  would be more accurate to say "how" they are).

                  > Certainly, the Neoplatonists understood their project differently
                  > from the Jungians' understanding of theirs. However, I think that
                  > Jungian psychology may provide the best explanation (so far) of what
                  > the Neoplatonists discovered, establishing in the process the
                  > essential validity of Neoplatonism.

                  The question is whether an explanation in this fashion explains away
                  the object(s) of theology. I am wary of any hermeneutical strategy
                  that one feels free to practice upon traditions supposedly "dead", but
                  would not undertake on traditions with a, shall we say, noisier
                  constituency.

                  > Is it a form of reductionist reading? Perhaps, if the phenomena of
                  > the mind are taken to be "merely psychological" and ultimately just
                  > material (or physical). However, Jung argued that the psychical and
                  > the material are two equally essential, mutually irreducible aspects
                  > of a single underlying reality. Therefore, (phenomenological and
                  > dialectical) investigation of the structure of the objective psyche
                  > is a part of ontology. Certainly, from this perspective the forms
                  > (and the gods) are not separated from the material world, but are
                  > immanent in it: an unplatonic idea. However, because of their
                  > irreducible psychical aspect, they are not "merely physical."

                  The point is not whether it reduces the Gods to material entities, but
                  that it reduces them to psychical entities, however broadly "psyche"
                  is construed, whereas the Platonists thought of them as having a more
                  than psychical, indeed, a more than intellectual mode of existence.
                  I'm not sure that any ontology which only comprises the "psychical"
                  and the "material" can ever do justice to Neoplatonism, whether in its
                  theological or any of its systematic aspects.


                  Edward
                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.