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   Access Provided by Oxford University Library Services at 02/12/13 4:54PM GMT  456  journal of the history of philosophy 50 : 3  july 2012 monad which is not called a nature at all. Proclus does this, Martijn argues, because he “has to bend the rules of his own metaphysics in order to allow for a lowest transitional hypostasis (after Soul) between the intelligible realm and the realm of the sensible” ( 43 ).  After developing her explanation of Proclus’s concepts of universal and demiurgic na-ture in ascending order, Martijn traces the source of nature, according to Proclus, to the life-giving goddess Hera, based on Chaldean Oracle   frag. 54  (Edouard des Places, Oracles Chaldaiques   [Paris, 1989 ], 81 ). It is not this transcendental source of nature, however, that Martijn recognizes as imparticipable nature, but rather the Demiurgic mind, which, though subsequent to it, contains that source. Martijn similarly concludes that, although Proclus does not explicitly state that nature is not soul, he carefully hypostatizes the two in order to account for both unity and motion in entities not animated by soul. While Martijn’s careful analysis and interpretation of her sources is impressive, questions still remain, as she herself points out, and will certainly generate subsequent discussions of these central issues in Proclus’s ontology of nature.The continuity in Proclean cosmology is further reflected, Martijn argues, both within and among the relation of reality, knowledge, and discourse. After demonstrating that Proclus’s philosophy of nature is divided into four phases—theological, mathematical, empirical, and biological—the first three of which are described by an appropriate form of reasoning—dialectical, analogical, and sensory, respectively—Martijn shows how the chain of causation results in ontological, epistemological, and representational similarity: although obfuscated by the descent into the realm of extension, lower beings resemble higher, analogical reasoning is like dialectical, and the likely account ( eikos logos  ) is similar to the truth. In fact, the greatest value of Platonic philosophy, according to Martijn, lies in its demonstration of the continuity and similarity between the sensible and transcendent causes, which provides a stable guide for both the refinement of scientific reasoning and linguistic representation. Proclus’s philosophy of nature thereby assists in raising conscious-ness to a higher plane of assimilation to reality itself. More than an analysis of hierarchical ontology, Martijn’s Proclus on Nature   sheds new light on an enduring philosophical prob-lem—the scientific implications of establishing a natural relationship among language, knowledge, and reality itself. Brian Duvick University of Colorado, Colorado Springs Sara Ahbel-Rappe, translator.  Damascius’ Problems & Solutions Concerning First Principles  . AAR Religion in Translation Series. Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press, 2010 . Pp. xxx + 529 . Cloth, $ 99 . 00 .Damascius was the last head of the Platonic Academy in Athens before it was closed by Justin-ian in 529 . It is no small paradox to see his treatise “On the First Principles,” the last major  work in ancient philosophy, published in the Religion in Translation series of the American  Academy of Religion. To be sure, since Syrianus and Proclus, the Academy in Athens had become increasingly concerned with theological matters, insisting on the harmony between Plato’s divine philosophy and the old religious traditions. Damascius shares this conviction, as is evident from the conclusion of this treatise wherein he attempts to show the harmony of his views on the principles with Chaldean, Orphic, and non-Greek theologies. Yet “On the First Principles” remains above all an impressive philosophical achievement in a tradition that started with Presocratic investigations into the archai   of all things. Damascius comes at the end of centuries of discussion in the Platonic school regarding the nature and distinc-tion of these principles, such as the One, Being, the Intellect, and the Soul. In many ways, this complex work is an examination of a series of problems ( aporiai  ) concerning the systematization of Platonic theology by Proclus. The first and most funda-mental problem concerns the “relation” between the first ineffable ( arrêton  ) principle and  457 book reviews  what proceeds from it. How could the first still be absolute if it enters as a principle into the system? Following Iamblichus, Damascius distinguishes between the “ineffable” and the One from which all things proceed, but he understands the triad of Being in a different  way. Few readers, if any, will follow Damascius to the end in this metaphysical labyrinth (see  jacket design!) raising an endless series of puzzles on all levels of principles. There are, however, fascinating sections that are worth studying in themselves, even if one gets lost in often abstruse speculations: there is the opening section on whether the first principle belongs to the system, a text that deserves a place in all readers on classic metaphysics; there is the discussion of the problems involved in the concept of “procession” and “reversion” (if reversion is just a return to the srcin from where it proceeded, is procession not in vain?); there is a subtle analysis of the concept of being and related notions (existence, hypostasis  , ousia  ), the examinations of whether there are forms of individuals, of how to understand participation, and of knowledge and desire; there are beautiful pages on the limits of all metaphysical discourse and conceptualization and how to develop alternative discursive strategies in dealing with the ultimate. This provocative work, which brings in many ways the development of ancient meta-physics into an “end,” is now for the first time accessible in an English translation with an extensive introduction on the life, works, and philosophy of Damascius. Sara Ahbel-Rappe does an excellent job of translating this monumental, but also extremely difficult work. Of course, the translator was greatly helped by the three-volume edition and French translation of Westerink-Combès (Paris, 1986 – 91 ). In a translation of such a large and complex work, one may find errors and deficiencies, however. I noticed that a sentence was not translated in chapter 75  (p. 253 ): after ‘proceeded,’ add: ‘If what has proceeded also remains, as has been shown, why does it need reversion, as it is already made similar in accordance with its remaining?’ (II. 124 , 18 – 20 ). In chapter 45  (p. 167 ) one should correct the translation of II. 8   17 – 23  as follows: “If we employ these conceptions, wishing to grasp with the [concep-tion of] the ‘One’ that which is absolutely simple and beyond all things, and to avoid, with [the conception of] ‘all things’, that which is minimal and determinate as a particular one, and to indicate with both [conceptions, i.e. the One and the all] the unique principle of  wholes that is beyond all things and transcends all things, clearly we must also.…” It was an excellent idea to introduce the different sections of the treatise with short sum-maries. I regret, however, that the translator kept the chapter division of Ruelle’s edition as the main articulation of the work. This works well in most cases, but sometimes it cuts the argument at the wrong place, for instance, in chapter 87  (p. 300 ), where the answer is separated from the question raised at the end of the preceding chapter. Likewise, I would start Part III not with chapter 50 , which continues the previous discussion, but with chapter 55 : “Let us now come to the third problem in our discussion.…” The translation is extensively annotated and ends with a useful glossary of technical terms. There are some long Greek quotations in the notes, probably imported from the TLG, where translations would have been more useful. This beautifully produced book deserves a place in all philosophical libraries. Carlos Steel University of Leuven  Craig Martin. Renaissance Meteorology: Pomponazzi to Descartes  . Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011 . Pp. viii + 213 . Cloth, $ 50 . 00 .Descartes famously described the four ancient elements as the product of infinitely divis-ible particles. These tiny building blocks simplified study of the weather and threatened to strip our sense of awe from the sky. Descartes removed the marvel by reducing meteorol-ogy to matter and motion and by replacing core concepts from classical philosophy. Craig Martin argues, however, that Descartes never turned fully away from Aristotle and drew deeply on the peripatetic views of his peers. While sympathy for Aristotelian meteorology


Jul 23, 2017
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