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  • Edward Moore
    ... From: To: ; Sent: Sunday, July 03, 2005 5:55 PM Subject: BMCR 2005.07.06, Arieti,
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 3, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <owner-bmcr-l@...>
      To: <unlisted-recipients:>; <no To-header on input>
      Sent: Sunday, July 03, 2005 5:55 PM
      Subject: BMCR 2005.07.06, Arieti, Philosophy in the Ancient World


      > James A. Arieti, Philosophy in the Ancient World. An Introduction.
      > Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005. Pp. 416. ISBN 0-7425-3329-8.
      > $28.95 (pb).
      >
      > Reviewed by Giannis P. Stamatellos (gstamap@...)
      > Word count: 1368 words
      > -------------------------------
      >
      > The majority of introductions, textbooks and source books about ancient
      > Greek thought either stop at the Hellenistic Age, or focus at length on
      > Plato and Aristotle. Both approaches are thematically incomplete, and
      > tend to disregard the continuation and contribution of the ancient
      > Greeks (and to a lesser extent the Romans) to the history of
      > philosophy. 'Ancient Greek Philosophy' is the academic discipline that
      > studies the philosophical activities of the Greco-Roman thinkers. It
      > starts with Thales and the innovative thinking of the Presocratics,
      > continues with Socratic arguments in the fifth century BC, Plato and
      > Aristotle in the fourth century, the post-Socratic movements of the
      > Hellenistic Age, especially those of the Sceptics, Stoics and
      > Epicureans, and extends to the philosophy of the Middle Platonic,
      > Neoplatonic and Aristotelian commentators of the sixth century AD. The
      > end of ancient philosophy is usually marked by the closure of Plato's
      > Academy in Athens by the emperor Justinian in 529 AD, while its
      > influence extended to Christianity, Medieval, Arabic and modern
      > philosophy.
      >
      > James A. Arieti in his introductory book on Philosophy in the Ancient
      > World successfully includes in a single volume the whole intellectual
      > history of the ancient Greek world -- from the eighth century BC with
      > the mythological, political and cultural ancestors of ancient
      > philosophy, including Homer and Hesiod, to the philosophy of late pagan
      > antiquity and early Christian thought in the fifth century AD. Within
      > this framework, the aim of Arieti's introduction is to offer a
      > companion to the theories of the philosophers in a description and
      > evaluation that complement the study of the primary texts. As the
      > author himself sets out at the Preface of his book, 'reading their
      > work, or what remains of them, in translation is the next best way to
      > understanding their thought' (p. xvii).
      >
      > Arieti places ancient philosophy in an anthropological setting, an
      > effective framework that vividly involves the cultural, historical,
      > political and mythological elements of the Greek tradition. This
      > enlightened method provides the readers with as complete a picture as
      > possible of the life and thought of each philosopher, and helps them to
      > decode their original meaning not only in terms of each philosopher's
      > individual approach but within the context of the whole period and its
      > relevant circumstances. In accordance with this perspective, Arieti
      > stresses the need to read ancient philosophers not merely as authors
      > 'of obscure pronouncements or knotty argument or enchanting dialogues
      > but as human beings who suffered, as we all do, from complex psyches
      > and traumatic historical circumstances' (p. xviii).
      >
      > In order to succeed in his aims, Arieti refers extensively to the
      > primary and secondary philosophical sources and provides the reader
      > with a select bibliography at the end of each chapter. With the chapter
      > bibliographies are relevant questions for additional discussion as well
      > as notes by the author. There is also a map of ancient Greece at the
      > opening of the book and an excellent Time Line of the ancient thinkers
      > and a Glossary of Terms at the end of the work. Here the
      > non-professional will find useful definitions of central terms in
      > ancient philosophy. As the author points out (p. 359), these
      > definitions are not accurate for all periods of Greek thought, but they
      > are nonetheless a good preliminary guide for the reader. The book is
      > also supplemented by seventeen original illustrations by David M.
      > Gibson including various themes inspired by ancient Greek culture, such
      > as the statue of Nike and the temple of Sounion as well as the
      > Acropolis of Athens and the patterns of Epicycles. In some cases, for
      > example Zeno's Paradoxes, the illustrations (figures 9 and 10) are
      > really helpful in understating the philosopher's position (p. 77). The
      > language of the book is simple, clear, thought-provoking and in many
      > cases entertaining, which makes for pleasant reading, and, as with all
      > good introductions, is an incentive to study the subject further.
      >
      > Arieti's book is divided into eighteen chapters, and his presentation
      > follows a historical line of exposition, presenting the major ancient
      > thinkers in due order. He gives a detailed description of each
      > philosopher and an evaluation of his thought in a well-presented
      > exposition, with an awareness, in most cases, of modern scholarship and
      > recent interpretations. The structure of each chapter is designed to
      > cover the intellectual personae of the philosophers and bring to light
      > their main theoretical contributions.
      >
      > After an introductory chapter on the mythological forerunners of
      > ancient philosophy, Homer and Hesiod in particular, and other cultural
      > and political factors that affected the birth of philosophy in Greece,
      > the author proceeds, in the second chapter, to the Presocratic pioneers
      > of Greek philosophy, the three Milesian thinkers: Thales, Anaximander
      > and Anaximenes. The third chapter explores the philosophical
      > development of Presocratic thought in Italy, including Pythagoras and
      > the Pythagoreans and Xenophanes, followed, in the fourth chapter, by a
      > discussion of Heraclitus and the Eleatics which focuses on the conflict
      > of theory between Heraclitus and Parmenides. Chapters five and six
      > include an interesting account of the relevance of the Persian Wars,
      > the Sophistic movement and the significance of medicine, tragedy and
      > politics in the development of the late Presocratic Pluralists:
      > Empedocles, Anaxagoras and Democritus, who are then effectively treated
      > in their turn in chapter seven. In chapter eight Arieti describes
      > Socrates and his radical thought in relation to other eminent Athenians
      > of the fifth century such as Thucydides and Euripides, while in chapter
      > nine he presents the interrelationship between rhetoric and philosophy
      > with special reference to Isocrates. The philosophy of Plato and
      > Aristotle are the subjects of chapters ten and eleven respectively.
      > Chapter twelve links the intellectual developments of the third century
      > with the Hellenistic movements of Epicureanism and Stoicism; these are
      > treated in detail, along with the relevant movements of Skepticism and
      > Cynicism, in the following sections. The importance of Stoicism is
      > further discussed in chapter fifteen where the author focuses on Cicero
      > and the early Roman Empire. Chapters sixteen and seventeen highlight
      > the intellectual affiliation between Greek philosophy and Christianity,
      > with special attention to Philo of Alexandria, Minucius Felix and Basil
      > of Caesarea. The final chapter is devoted to Plotinus and the rivals of
      > Neoplatonism as well as the influence of these on the development of
      > Christian philosophy by St. Augustine and Boethius.
      >
      > On the whole the chapters are well-structured and balanced, while some
      > bridge central areas of Greek thinking; chapters eight and nine, for
      > example, on the importance of the Peloponnesian War, Tragedy and
      > Rhetoric, effectively link the philosophy of the Presocratic Pluralists
      > with the central thinking of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. However,
      > perhaps because of the extended approach that Arieti offers in his
      > book, less coverage is given to the later movements of ancient
      > philosophy. He devotes fewer than ten pages to Plotinus and
      > Neoplatonism (pp. 332-337), while some eminent late Neoplatonic figures
      > such as Iamblichus, Proclus, and Damascius are not mentioned. In
      > addition, Arieti's analysis of Plotinus' theory of emanation presents
      > an older interpretation of the theory that is currently queried by
      > modern scholars (pp. 335ff.). Scant attention is paid to other
      > contemporary movements of the imperial period such as those of the
      > Middle Platonists, Neopythagoreans and Aristotelians. The author shows
      > greater interest and devotes more space to Christian philosophy than to
      > the later Greek philosophical development, and from this perspective
      > the last part of the book is somewhat unbalanced.
      >
      > So Arieti's introduction to ancient Greek philosophy is generally
      > well-structured and informative. His thoughtful, vivid and
      > comprehensive approach to ancient philosophy makes the book suitable
      > for students and the interested non-expert. The simple and entertaining
      > language of the work motivates the reader to further study in ancient
      > theories and arguments, and the author's presentation of the diverse
      > philosophical figures colors the original texts and brings the subject
      > to life. The supplementary material, such as the time line, the
      > glossary definitions and the discussion questions, add to the value of
      > the book for the intended readership. Even more significant is the
      > author's contribution to the extension of ancient thought. His method
      > of exposition from the Presocratic thinkers to late antiquity writers
      > such as Basil, Posidonius and Boethius makes the textbook more complete
      > and contributes to a broader perspective. Arieti's work can be
      > recommended both as an admirable introduction to Greek philosophy and
      > as an excellent companion to the ancient texts.
      >
      >
      >
      > -------------------------------
      > The BMCR website (http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/) contains a complete
      > and searchable archive of BMCR reviews since our first issue in 1990.
      > It also contains information about subscribing and unsubscribing from
      > the service.
      >
      >
    • John H Spencer
      James A. Arieti and Patrick A. Wilson wrote The Scientific and the Divine: Conflict and Reconciliation from Ancient Greece to the Present , 2003, Rowman and
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 4, 2005
      • 0 Attachment
        James A. Arieti and Patrick A. Wilson wrote 'The Scientific and the Divine:
        Conflict and Reconciliation from Ancient Greece to the Present', 2003,
        Rowman and Littlefield. I am not providing any sort of book review but it
        is certainly relevant to note that this book is a derisive attack on
        Neoplatonism and anything remotely similar. These authors give a systematic
        misrepresentation of Neoplatonism in a manner that is rhetorically
        condescending and mocking. For example, '[Plotinus'] doctrine of emanation
        vindicates Cicero's quip that nothing is so absurd as not to have been
        uttered by some philosopher' (p. 113).

        Regarding the Renaissance and Neoplatonism they write: 'Pico della
        Mirandola, Michelangelo, and Marsilio Ficino were among the many famous, if
        muddle-headed, intellectuals who attended the [Platonic] meetings' (p. 117).

        Or, 'Insofar as it [Neoplatonism] was absorbed into the elements of
        Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, it may said to breathe still, as some of
        the DNA of the ancient dinosaurs still takes flight in both the eagles and
        sparrows of our skies' (p. 118).

        These rhetorical comments completely ignore the fact that the Platonic
        tradition was at the foundation of modern science, influencing Copernicus,
        Galileo, Kepler and Newton. For example, Kepler quotes Proclus extensively
        with admiration in his 'The Harmony of the World'.
        Further, many physicists, from Heisenberg to Goswami and Malin, have also
        returned to the Platonic tradition.

        The fact is that the Platonic and what we have called the Neoplatonic
        tradition are growing steadily. The recent ISNS conference in New Orleans
        had more than 60 presentations over 5 days, with scholars from Classics,
        Philosophy, Psychology, Computer Science etc. My own research is on showing
        how Plotinus and Proclus can be helpful in clarifying conceptual problems
        in quantum theory.

        I usually do not engage in such discussions, but Arieti and Wilson's book
        is merely a thinly disguised attempt to promote atheism and materialism
        while ignoring the history of science and contemporary work in philosophy
        and physics. Although I may be wrong in assuming that misinformed
        philosophy in one book may spill over into other works, I am skeptical that
        Arieti would do justice to philosophy in the ancient world. Indeed, in the
        book review of 'Philosophy in the Ancient World'
        written below, Giannis P. Stamatellos writes:

        'However, perhaps because of the extended approach that Arieti offers in
        his book, less coverage is given to the later movements of ancient
        philosophy. He devotes fewer than ten pages to Plotinus and Neoplatonism
        (pp. 332-337), while some eminent late Neoplatonic figures such as
        Iamblichus, Proclus, and Damascius are not mentioned. In addition, Arieti's
        analysis of Plotinus' theory of emanation presents an older interpretation
        of the theory that is currently queried by modern scholars (pp. 335ff.).
        Scant attention is paid to other contemporary movements of the imperial
        period such as those of the Middle Platonists, Neopythagoreans and
        Aristotelians.'

        Might I suggest that an 'extended approach' is not at all the reason for
        Arieti's dismissal of Neoplatonism; rather, a fundamental misunderstanding
        of and (given the tone of his words in the book I mentioned above I do not
        hesitate to say) prejudice against Neoplatonism is the reason for the
        omission.



        John H Spencer
        President, Interdisciplinary Forum
        <www.liverpoolidf.com>
        Department of Philosophy
        University of Liverpool

        >
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: <owner-bmcr-l@...>
        > To: <unlisted-recipients:>; <no To-header on input>
        > Sent: Sunday, July 03, 2005 5:55 PM
        > Subject: BMCR 2005.07.06, Arieti, Philosophy in the Ancient World
        >
        >
        >> James A. Arieti, Philosophy in the Ancient World. An Introduction.
        >> Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005. Pp. 416. ISBN 0-7425-3329-8.
        >> $28.95 (pb).
        >>
        >> Reviewed by Giannis P. Stamatellos (gstamap@...)
        >> Word count: 1368 words
        >> -------------------------------
        >>
        >> The majority of introductions, textbooks and source books about ancient
        >> Greek thought either stop at the Hellenistic Age, or focus at length on
        >> Plato and Aristotle. Both approaches are thematically incomplete, and
        >> tend to disregard the continuation and contribution of the ancient
        >> Greeks (and to a lesser extent the Romans) to the history of
        >> philosophy. 'Ancient Greek Philosophy' is the academic discipline that
        >> studies the philosophical activities of the Greco-Roman thinkers. It
        >> starts with Thales and the innovative thinking of the Presocratics,
        >> continues with Socratic arguments in the fifth century BC, Plato and
        >> Aristotle in the fourth century, the post-Socratic movements of the
        >> Hellenistic Age, especially those of the Sceptics, Stoics and
        >> Epicureans, and extends to the philosophy of the Middle Platonic,
        >> Neoplatonic and Aristotelian commentators of the sixth century AD. The
        >> end of ancient philosophy is usually marked by the closure of Plato's
        >> Academy in Athens by the emperor Justinian in 529 AD, while its
        >> influence extended to Christianity, Medieval, Arabic and modern
        >> philosophy.
        >>
        >> James A. Arieti in his introductory book on Philosophy in the Ancient
        >> World successfully includes in a single volume the whole intellectual
        >> history of the ancient Greek world -- from the eighth century BC with
        >> the mythological, political and cultural ancestors of ancient
        >> philosophy, including Homer and Hesiod, to the philosophy of late pagan
        >> antiquity and early Christian thought in the fifth century AD. Within
        >> this framework, the aim of Arieti's introduction is to offer a
        >> companion to the theories of the philosophers in a description and
        >> evaluation that complement the study of the primary texts. As the
        >> author himself sets out at the Preface of his book, 'reading their
        >> work, or what remains of them, in translation is the next best way to
        >> understanding their thought' (p. xvii).
        >>
        >> Arieti places ancient philosophy in an anthropological setting, an
        >> effective framework that vividly involves the cultural, historical,
        >> political and mythological elements of the Greek tradition. This
        >> enlightened method provides the readers with as complete a picture as
        >> possible of the life and thought of each philosopher, and helps them to
        >> decode their original meaning not only in terms of each philosopher's
        >> individual approach but within the context of the whole period and its
        >> relevant circumstances. In accordance with this perspective, Arieti
        >> stresses the need to read ancient philosophers not merely as authors
        >> 'of obscure pronouncements or knotty argument or enchanting dialogues
        >> but as human beings who suffered, as we all do, from complex psyches
        >> and traumatic historical circumstances' (p. xviii).
        >>
        >> In order to succeed in his aims, Arieti refers extensively to the
        >> primary and secondary philosophical sources and provides the reader
        >> with a select bibliography at the end of each chapter. With the chapter
        >> bibliographies are relevant questions for additional discussion as well
        >> as notes by the author. There is also a map of ancient Greece at the
        >> opening of the book and an excellent Time Line of the ancient thinkers
        >> and a Glossary of Terms at the end of the work. Here the
        >> non-professional will find useful definitions of central terms in
        >> ancient philosophy. As the author points out (p. 359), these
        >> definitions are not accurate for all periods of Greek thought, but they
        >> are nonetheless a good preliminary guide for the reader. The book is
        >> also supplemented by seventeen original illustrations by David M.
        >> Gibson including various themes inspired by ancient Greek culture, such
        >> as the statue of Nike and the temple of Sounion as well as the
        >> Acropolis of Athens and the patterns of Epicycles. In some cases, for
        >> example Zeno's Paradoxes, the illustrations (figures 9 and 10) are
        >> really helpful in understating the philosopher's position (p. 77). The
        >> language of the book is simple, clear, thought-provoking and in many
        >> cases entertaining, which makes for pleasant reading, and, as with all
        >> good introductions, is an incentive to study the subject further.
        >>
        >> Arieti's book is divided into eighteen chapters, and his presentation
        >> follows a historical line of exposition, presenting the major ancient
        >> thinkers in due order. He gives a detailed description of each
        >> philosopher and an evaluation of his thought in a well-presented
        >> exposition, with an awareness, in most cases, of modern scholarship and
        >> recent interpretations. The structure of each chapter is designed to
        >> cover the intellectual personae of the philosophers and bring to light
        >> their main theoretical contributions.
        >>
        >> After an introductory chapter on the mythological forerunners of
        >> ancient philosophy, Homer and Hesiod in particular, and other cultural
        >> and political factors that affected the birth of philosophy in Greece,
        >> the author proceeds, in the second chapter, to the Presocratic pioneers
        >> of Greek philosophy, the three Milesian thinkers: Thales, Anaximander
        >> and Anaximenes. The third chapter explores the philosophical
        >> development of Presocratic thought in Italy, including Pythagoras and
        >> the Pythagoreans and Xenophanes, followed, in the fourth chapter, by a
        >> discussion of Heraclitus and the Eleatics which focuses on the conflict
        >> of theory between Heraclitus and Parmenides. Chapters five and six
        >> include an interesting account of the relevance of the Persian Wars,
        >> the Sophistic movement and the significance of medicine, tragedy and
        >> politics in the development of the late Presocratic Pluralists:
        >> Empedocles, Anaxagoras and Democritus, who are then effectively treated
        >> in their turn in chapter seven. In chapter eight Arieti describes
        >> Socrates and his radical thought in relation to other eminent Athenians
        >> of the fifth century such as Thucydides and Euripides, while in chapter
        >> nine he presents the interrelationship between rhetoric and philosophy
        >> with special reference to Isocrates. The philosophy of Plato and
        >> Aristotle are the subjects of chapters ten and eleven respectively.
        >> Chapter twelve links the intellectual developments of the third century
        >> with the Hellenistic movements of Epicureanism and Stoicism; these are
        >> treated in detail, along with the relevant movements of Skepticism and
        >> Cynicism, in the following sections. The importance of Stoicism is
        >> further discussed in chapter fifteen where the author focuses on Cicero
        >> and the early Roman Empire. Chapters sixteen and seventeen highlight
        >> the intellectual affiliation between Greek philosophy and Christianity,
        >> with special attention to Philo of Alexandria, Minucius Felix and Basil
        >> of Caesarea. The final chapter is devoted to Plotinus and the rivals of
        >> Neoplatonism as well as the influence of these on the development of
        >> Christian philosophy by St. Augustine and Boethius.
        >>
        >> On the whole the chapters are well-structured and balanced, while some
        >> bridge central areas of Greek thinking; chapters eight and nine, for
        >> example, on the importance of the Peloponnesian War, Tragedy and
        >> Rhetoric, effectively link the philosophy of the Presocratic Pluralists
        >> with the central thinking of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. However,
        >> perhaps because of the extended approach that Arieti offers in his
        >> book, less coverage is given to the later movements of ancient
        >> philosophy. He devotes fewer than ten pages to Plotinus and
        >> Neoplatonism (pp. 332-337), while some eminent late Neoplatonic figures
        >> such as Iamblichus, Proclus, and Damascius are not mentioned. In
        >> addition, Arieti's analysis of Plotinus' theory of emanation presents
        >> an older interpretation of the theory that is currently queried by
        >> modern scholars (pp. 335ff.). Scant attention is paid to other
        >> contemporary movements of the imperial period such as those of the
        >> Middle Platonists, Neopythagoreans and Aristotelians. The author shows
        >> greater interest and devotes more space to Christian philosophy than to
        >> the later Greek philosophical development, and from this perspective
        >> the last part of the book is somewhat unbalanced.
        >>
        >> So Arieti's introduction to ancient Greek philosophy is generally
        >> well-structured and informative. His thoughtful, vivid and
        >> comprehensive approach to ancient philosophy makes the book suitable
        >> for students and the interested non-expert. The simple and entertaining
        >> language of the work motivates the reader to further study in ancient
        >> theories and arguments, and the author's presentation of the diverse
        >> philosophical figures colors the original texts and brings the subject
        >> to life. The supplementary material, such as the time line, the
        >> glossary definitions and the discussion questions, add to the value of
        >> the book for the intended readership. Even more significant is the
        >> author's contribution to the extension of ancient thought. His method
        >> of exposition from the Presocratic thinkers to late antiquity writers
        >> such as Basil, Posidonius and Boethius makes the textbook more complete
        >> and contributes to a broader perspective. Arieti's work can be
        >> recommended both as an admirable introduction to Greek philosophy and
        >> as an excellent companion to the ancient texts.
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >> -------------------------------
        >> The BMCR website (http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/) contains a complete
        >> and searchable archive of BMCR reviews since our first issue in 1990.
        >> It also contains information about subscribing and unsubscribing from
        >> the service.
        >>
        >>
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • Metta Spencer
        My goodness! Have you posted anything here on how Plotinus and Proclus can be helpful in clarifying conceptual problems in quantum theory ? I d be
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 4, 2005
        • 0 Attachment
          My goodness! Have you posted anything here on how "Plotinus and
          Proclus can be helpful in clarifying conceptual problems
          in quantum theory"? I'd be interested.

          Metta Spencer
          (no relation!)

          On Jul 4, 2005, at 10:12 AM, John H Spencer wrote:

          > James A. Arieti and Patrick A. Wilson wrote 'The Scientific and the
          > Divine:
          > Conflict and Reconciliation from Ancient Greece to the Present', 2003,
          > Rowman and Littlefield. I am not providing any sort of book review but
          > it
          > is certainly relevant to note that this book is a derisive attack on
          > Neoplatonism and anything remotely similar. These authors give a
          > systematic
          > misrepresentation of Neoplatonism in a manner that is rhetorically
          > condescending and mocking. For example, '[Plotinus'] doctrine of
          > emanation
          > vindicates Cicero's quip that nothing is so absurd as not to have been
          > uttered by some philosopher' (p. 113).
          >
          > Regarding the Renaissance and Neoplatonism they write: 'Pico della
          > Mirandola, Michelangelo, and Marsilio Ficino were among the many
          > famous, if
          > muddle-headed, intellectuals who attended the [Platonic] meetings' (p.
          > 117).
          >
          > Or, 'Insofar as it [Neoplatonism] was absorbed into the elements of
          > Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, it may said to breathe still, as
          > some of
          > the DNA of the ancient dinosaurs still takes flight in both the eagles
          > and
          > sparrows of our skies' (p. 118).
          >
          > These rhetorical comments completely ignore the fact that the Platonic
          > tradition was at the foundation of modern science, influencing
          > Copernicus,
          > Galileo, Kepler and Newton. For example, Kepler quotes Proclus
          > extensively
          > with admiration in his 'The Harmony of the World'.
          > Further, many physicists, from Heisenberg to Goswami and Malin, have
          > also
          > returned to the Platonic tradition.
          >
          > The fact is that the Platonic and what we have called the Neoplatonic
          > tradition are growing steadily. The recent ISNS conference in New
          > Orleans
          > had more than 60 presentations over 5 days, with scholars from
          > Classics,
          > Philosophy, Psychology, Computer Science etc. My own research is on
          > showing
          > how Plotinus and Proclus can be helpful in clarifying conceptual
          > problems
          > in quantum theory.
          >
          > I usually do not engage in such discussions, but Arieti and Wilson's
          > book
          > is merely a thinly disguised attempt to promote atheism and materialism
          > while ignoring the history of science and contemporary work in
          > philosophy
          > and physics. Although I may be wrong in assuming that misinformed
          > philosophy in one book may spill over into other works, I am skeptical
          > that
          > Arieti would do justice to philosophy in the ancient world. Indeed, in
          > the
          > book review of 'Philosophy in the Ancient World'
          > written below, Giannis P. Stamatellos writes:
          >
          > 'However, perhaps because of the extended approach that Arieti offers
          > in
          > his book, less coverage is given to the later movements of ancient
          > philosophy. He devotes fewer than ten pages to Plotinus and
          > Neoplatonism
          > (pp. 332-337), while some eminent late Neoplatonic figures such as
          > Iamblichus, Proclus, and Damascius are not mentioned. In addition,
          > Arieti's
          > analysis of Plotinus' theory of emanation presents an older
          > interpretation
          > of the theory that is currently queried by modern scholars (pp.
          > 335ff.).
          > Scant attention is paid to other contemporary movements of the imperial
          > period such as those of the Middle Platonists, Neopythagoreans and
          > Aristotelians.'
          >
          > Might I suggest that an 'extended approach' is not at all the reason
          > for
          > Arieti's dismissal of Neoplatonism; rather, a fundamental
          > misunderstanding
          > of and (given the tone of his words in the book I mentioned above I do
          > not
          > hesitate to say) prejudice against Neoplatonism is the reason for the
          > omission.
          >
          >
          >
          > John H Spencer
          > President, Interdisciplinary Forum
          > <www.liverpoolidf.com>
          > Department of Philosophy
          > University of Liverpool
          >
          >>
          >>
          >> ----- Original Message -----
          >> From: <owner-bmcr-l@...>
          >> To: <unlisted-recipients:>; <no To-header on input>
          >> Sent: Sunday, July 03, 2005 5:55 PM
          >> Subject: BMCR 2005.07.06, Arieti, Philosophy in the Ancient World
          >>
          >>
          >>> James A. Arieti, Philosophy in the Ancient World. An Introduction.
          >>> Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005. Pp. 416. ISBN
          >>> 0-7425-3329-8.
          >>> $28.95 (pb).
          >>>
          >>> Reviewed by Giannis P. Stamatellos (gstamap@...)
          >>> Word count: 1368 words
          >>> -------------------------------
          >>>
          >>> The majority of introductions, textbooks and source books about
          >>> ancient
          >>> Greek thought either stop at the Hellenistic Age, or focus at length
          >>> on
          >>> Plato and Aristotle. Both approaches are thematically incomplete, and
          >>> tend to disregard the continuation and contribution of the ancient
          >>> Greeks (and to a lesser extent the Romans) to the history of
          >>> philosophy. 'Ancient Greek Philosophy' is the academic discipline
          >>> that
          >>> studies the philosophical activities of the Greco-Roman thinkers. It
          >>> starts with Thales and the innovative thinking of the Presocratics,
          >>> continues with Socratic arguments in the fifth century BC, Plato and
          >>> Aristotle in the fourth century, the post-Socratic movements of the
          >>> Hellenistic Age, especially those of the Sceptics, Stoics and
          >>> Epicureans, and extends to the philosophy of the Middle Platonic,
          >>> Neoplatonic and Aristotelian commentators of the sixth century AD.
          >>> The
          >>> end of ancient philosophy is usually marked by the closure of Plato's
          >>> Academy in Athens by the emperor Justinian in 529 AD, while its
          >>> influence extended to Christianity, Medieval, Arabic and modern
          >>> philosophy.
          >>>
          >>> James A. Arieti in his introductory book on Philosophy in the Ancient
          >>> World successfully includes in a single volume the whole intellectual
          >>> history of the ancient Greek world -- from the eighth century BC with
          >>> the mythological, political and cultural ancestors of ancient
          >>> philosophy, including Homer and Hesiod, to the philosophy of late
          >>> pagan
          >>> antiquity and early Christian thought in the fifth century AD. Within
          >>> this framework, the aim of Arieti's introduction is to offer a
          >>> companion to the theories of the philosophers in a description and
          >>> evaluation that complement the study of the primary texts. As the
          >>> author himself sets out at the Preface of his book, 'reading their
          >>> work, or what remains of them, in translation is the next best way to
          >>> understanding their thought' (p. xvii).
          >>>
          >>> Arieti places ancient philosophy in an anthropological setting, an
          >>> effective framework that vividly involves the cultural, historical,
          >>> political and mythological elements of the Greek tradition. This
          >>> enlightened method provides the readers with as complete a picture as
          >>> possible of the life and thought of each philosopher, and helps them
          >>> to
          >>> decode their original meaning not only in terms of each philosopher's
          >>> individual approach but within the context of the whole period and
          >>> its
          >>> relevant circumstances. In accordance with this perspective, Arieti
          >>> stresses the need to read ancient philosophers not merely as authors
          >>> 'of obscure pronouncements or knotty argument or enchanting dialogues
          >>> but as human beings who suffered, as we all do, from complex psyches
          >>> and traumatic historical circumstances' (p. xviii).
          >>>
          >>> In order to succeed in his aims, Arieti refers extensively to the
          >>> primary and secondary philosophical sources and provides the reader
          >>> with a select bibliography at the end of each chapter. With the
          >>> chapter
          >>> bibliographies are relevant questions for additional discussion as
          >>> well
          >>> as notes by the author. There is also a map of ancient Greece at the
          >>> opening of the book and an excellent Time Line of the ancient
          >>> thinkers
          >>> and a Glossary of Terms at the end of the work. Here the
          >>> non-professional will find useful definitions of central terms in
          >>> ancient philosophy. As the author points out (p. 359), these
          >>> definitions are not accurate for all periods of Greek thought, but
          >>> they
          >>> are nonetheless a good preliminary guide for the reader. The book is
          >>> also supplemented by seventeen original illustrations by David M.
          >>> Gibson including various themes inspired by ancient Greek culture,
          >>> such
          >>> as the statue of Nike and the temple of Sounion as well as the
          >>> Acropolis of Athens and the patterns of Epicycles. In some cases, for
          >>> example Zeno's Paradoxes, the illustrations (figures 9 and 10) are
          >>> really helpful in understating the philosopher's position (p. 77).
          >>> The
          >>> language of the book is simple, clear, thought-provoking and in many
          >>> cases entertaining, which makes for pleasant reading, and, as with
          >>> all
          >>> good introductions, is an incentive to study the subject further.
          >>>
          >>> Arieti's book is divided into eighteen chapters, and his presentation
          >>> follows a historical line of exposition, presenting the major ancient
          >>> thinkers in due order. He gives a detailed description of each
          >>> philosopher and an evaluation of his thought in a well-presented
          >>> exposition, with an awareness, in most cases, of modern scholarship
          >>> and
          >>> recent interpretations. The structure of each chapter is designed to
          >>> cover the intellectual personae of the philosophers and bring to
          >>> light
          >>> their main theoretical contributions.
          >>>
          >>> After an introductory chapter on the mythological forerunners of
          >>> ancient philosophy, Homer and Hesiod in particular, and other
          >>> cultural
          >>> and political factors that affected the birth of philosophy in
          >>> Greece,
          >>> the author proceeds, in the second chapter, to the Presocratic
          >>> pioneers
          >>> of Greek philosophy, the three Milesian thinkers: Thales, Anaximander
          >>> and Anaximenes. The third chapter explores the philosophical
          >>> development of Presocratic thought in Italy, including Pythagoras and
          >>> the Pythagoreans and Xenophanes, followed, in the fourth chapter, by
          >>> a
          >>> discussion of Heraclitus and the Eleatics which focuses on the
          >>> conflict
          >>> of theory between Heraclitus and Parmenides. Chapters five and six
          >>> include an interesting account of the relevance of the Persian Wars,
          >>> the Sophistic movement and the significance of medicine, tragedy and
          >>> politics in the development of the late Presocratic Pluralists:
          >>> Empedocles, Anaxagoras and Democritus, who are then effectively
          >>> treated
          >>> in their turn in chapter seven. In chapter eight Arieti describes
          >>> Socrates and his radical thought in relation to other eminent
          >>> Athenians
          >>> of the fifth century such as Thucydides and Euripides, while in
          >>> chapter
          >>> nine he presents the interrelationship between rhetoric and
          >>> philosophy
          >>> with special reference to Isocrates. The philosophy of Plato and
          >>> Aristotle are the subjects of chapters ten and eleven respectively.
          >>> Chapter twelve links the intellectual developments of the third
          >>> century
          >>> with the Hellenistic movements of Epicureanism and Stoicism; these
          >>> are
          >>> treated in detail, along with the relevant movements of Skepticism
          >>> and
          >>> Cynicism, in the following sections. The importance of Stoicism is
          >>> further discussed in chapter fifteen where the author focuses on
          >>> Cicero
          >>> and the early Roman Empire. Chapters sixteen and seventeen highlight
          >>> the intellectual affiliation between Greek philosophy and
          >>> Christianity,
          >>> with special attention to Philo of Alexandria, Minucius Felix and
          >>> Basil
          >>> of Caesarea. The final chapter is devoted to Plotinus and the rivals
          >>> of
          >>> Neoplatonism as well as the influence of these on the development of
          >>> Christian philosophy by St. Augustine and Boethius.
          >>>
          >>> On the whole the chapters are well-structured and balanced, while
          >>> some
          >>> bridge central areas of Greek thinking; chapters eight and nine, for
          >>> example, on the importance of the Peloponnesian War, Tragedy and
          >>> Rhetoric, effectively link the philosophy of the Presocratic
          >>> Pluralists
          >>> with the central thinking of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. However,
          >>> perhaps because of the extended approach that Arieti offers in his
          >>> book, less coverage is given to the later movements of ancient
          >>> philosophy. He devotes fewer than ten pages to Plotinus and
          >>> Neoplatonism (pp. 332-337), while some eminent late Neoplatonic
          >>> figures
          >>> such as Iamblichus, Proclus, and Damascius are not mentioned. In
          >>> addition, Arieti's analysis of Plotinus' theory of emanation presents
          >>> an older interpretation of the theory that is currently queried by
          >>> modern scholars (pp. 335ff.). Scant attention is paid to other
          >>> contemporary movements of the imperial period such as those of the
          >>> Middle Platonists, Neopythagoreans and Aristotelians. The author
          >>> shows
          >>> greater interest and devotes more space to Christian philosophy than
          >>> to
          >>> the later Greek philosophical development, and from this perspective
          >>> the last part of the book is somewhat unbalanced.
          >>>
          >>> So Arieti's introduction to ancient Greek philosophy is generally
          >>> well-structured and informative. His thoughtful, vivid and
          >>> comprehensive approach to ancient philosophy makes the book suitable
          >>> for students and the interested non-expert. The simple and
          >>> entertaining
          >>> language of the work motivates the reader to further study in ancient
          >>> theories and arguments, and the author's presentation of the diverse
          >>> philosophical figures colors the original texts and brings the
          >>> subject
          >>> to life. The supplementary material, such as the time line, the
          >>> glossary definitions and the discussion questions, add to the value
          >>> of
          >>> the book for the intended readership. Even more significant is the
          >>> author's contribution to the extension of ancient thought. His method
          >>> of exposition from the Presocratic thinkers to late antiquity writers
          >>> such as Basil, Posidonius and Boethius makes the textbook more
          >>> complete
          >>> and contributes to a broader perspective. Arieti's work can be
          >>> recommended both as an admirable introduction to Greek philosophy and
          >>> as an excellent companion to the ancient texts.
          >>>
          >>>
          >>>
          >>> -------------------------------
          >>> The BMCR website (http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/) contains a
          >>> complete
          >>> and searchable archive of BMCR reviews since our first issue in 1990.
          >>> It also contains information about subscribing and unsubscribing from
          >>> the service.
          >>>
          >>>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >> Yahoo! Groups Links
          >>
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          >>
          >
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        • vaeringjar
          ... I just checked the older messages, and two years ago I posted some as did others on a book on just this subject, by Shimon Malin, a
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 4, 2005
          • 0 Attachment
            --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Metta Spencer <mspencer@w...>
            wrote:
            > My goodness! Have you posted anything here on how "Plotinus and
            > Proclus can be helpful in clarifying conceptual problems
            > in quantum theory"? I'd be interested.
            >
            > Metta Spencer
            > (no relation!)
            >

            I just checked the older messages, and two years ago I posted some
            as did others on a book on just this subject, <Nature Loves to Hide>
            by Shimon Malin, a physicist teaching at Colgate University. I don't
            recall he discusses Proclus but he certainly has a lot to say about
            Plotinus and Neoplatonism in general. The blurb from the webiste of
            the publisher, OUP, describes the author as a "leading authority on
            quantum mechanics, General Relativity and cosmology, and philosophy."

            Dennis Clark
            Issaquah
          • John H Spencer
            Greetings, The book by Malin is very good in some places, though I don t think he understood Plotinus very accurately (not saying that I do!), but he
            Message 5 of 6 , Jul 7, 2005
            • 0 Attachment
              Greetings,
              The book by Malin is very good in some places, though I don't think he
              understood Plotinus very accurately (not saying that I do!), but he
              certainly was moving in the right metaphysical direction. I am in the
              middle of some intense writing on my thesis, so don't have time to go into
              details of my own research, but I can give a good quote from Kevin Corrigan
              from his excellent new book.

              'Plotinus develops a kind of logic of the indeterminate in which the
              principle of non-contradiction no longer strictly applies because no
              principle of identity can be found in matter's indeterminacy as such.
              Instead of making true or false statements, we have to approach the
              puzzling character of indeterminancy by combining apparently opposite
              statements: x both is and is not. Plotinus does not, of course, anticipate
              quantum physics, but there is a certain similarity between the two insofar
              as contemporary physics has been compelled to think and speak of
              probabilities instead of precise scientific measurements and to recognize
              the indeterminacy of descriptions such as wave and particle, or again,
              velocity and position' (Corrigan, 'Reading Plotinus: A Practical
              Introduction to Neoplatonism', 2005, p. 118.)

              Corrigan does not develop this theme but made a very accurate observation
              of the similarity. This similarity follows the standard Copenhagen
              interpretation but may not map on so easily with Bohm's hidden variables or
              the many-worlds interpretation...but that is a different story. Most
              physicists, rightly or wrongly, work with some version of the Copenhagen
              view.
              best wishes
              John



              John H Spencer
              President, Interdisciplinary Forum
              <www.liverpoolidf.com>
              Department of Philosophy
              University of Liverpool

              > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Metta Spencer <mspencer@w...>
              > wrote:
              >> My goodness! Have you posted anything here on how "Plotinus and
              >> Proclus can be helpful in clarifying conceptual problems
              >> in quantum theory"? I'd be interested.
              >>
              >> Metta Spencer
              >> (no relation!)
              >>
              >
              > I just checked the older messages, and two years ago I posted some
              > as did others on a book on just this subject, <Nature Loves to Hide>
              > by Shimon Malin, a physicist teaching at Colgate University. I don't
              > recall he discusses Proclus but he certainly has a lot to say about
              > Plotinus and Neoplatonism in general. The blurb from the webiste of
              > the publisher, OUP, describes the author as a "leading authority on
              > quantum mechanics, General Relativity and cosmology, and philosophy."
              >
              > Dennis Clark
              > Issaquah
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • Metta Spencer
              Thank you. Extremely provocative. It sounds like something I d love to explore further — if only I had time. — Metta Spencer
              Message 6 of 6 , Jul 7, 2005
              • 0 Attachment
                Thank you. Extremely provocative. It sounds like something I'd love to
                explore further — if only I had time.

                — Metta Spencer

                On Jul 7, 2005, at 5:32 PM, John H Spencer wrote:

                > Greetings,
                > The book by Malin is very good in some places, though I don't think he
                > understood Plotinus very accurately (not saying that I do!), but he
                > certainly was moving in the right metaphysical direction. I am in the
                > middle of some intense writing on my thesis, so don't have time to go
                > into
                > details of my own research, but I can give a good quote from Kevin
                > Corrigan
                > from his excellent new book.
                >
                > 'Plotinus develops a kind of logic of the indeterminate in which the
                > principle of non-contradiction no longer strictly applies because no
                > principle of identity can be found in matter's indeterminacy as such.
                > Instead of making true or false statements, we have to approach the
                > puzzling character of indeterminancy by combining apparently opposite
                > statements: x both is and is not. Plotinus does not, of course,
                > anticipate
                > quantum physics, but there is a certain similarity between the two
                > insofar
                > as contemporary physics has been compelled to think and speak of
                > probabilities instead of precise scientific measurements and to
                > recognize
                > the indeterminacy of descriptions such as wave and particle, or again,
                > velocity and position' (Corrigan, 'Reading Plotinus: A Practical
                > Introduction to Neoplatonism', 2005, p. 118.)
                >
                > Corrigan does not develop this theme but made a very accurate
                > observation
                > of the similarity. This similarity follows the standard Copenhagen
                > interpretation but may not map on so easily with Bohm's hidden
                > variables or
                > the many-worlds interpretation...but that is a different story. Most
                > physicists, rightly or wrongly, work with some version of the
                > Copenhagen
                > view.
                > best wishes
                > John
                >
                >
                >
                > John H Spencer
                > President, Interdisciplinary Forum
                > <www.liverpoolidf.com>
                > Department of Philosophy
                > University of Liverpool
                >
                >> --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Metta Spencer <mspencer@w...>
                >> wrote:
                >>> My goodness! Have you posted anything here on how "Plotinus and
                >>> Proclus can be helpful in clarifying conceptual problems
                >>> in quantum theory"? I'd be interested.
                >>>
                >>> Metta Spencer
                >>> (no relation!)
                >>>
                >>
                >> I just checked the older messages, and two years ago I posted some
                >> as did others on a book on just this subject, <Nature Loves to Hide>
                >> by Shimon Malin, a physicist teaching at Colgate University. I don't
                >> recall he discusses Proclus but he certainly has a lot to say about
                >> Plotinus and Neoplatonism in general. The blurb from the webiste of
                >> the publisher, OUP, describes the author as a "leading authority on
                >> quantum mechanics, General Relativity and cosmology, and philosophy."
                >>
                >> Dennis Clark
                >> Issaquah
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >> Yahoo! Groups Links
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
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