•  2779
    Christopher Stead
    Studia Patristica 53 (1): 17-30. 2013.
    Professor Christopher Stead was Ely Professor of Divinity from 1971 until his retirement in 1980 and one of the great contributors to the Oxford Patristic Conferences for many years. In this paper I reflect on his work in Patristics, and I attempt to understand how his interests diverged from the other major contributors in the same period, and how they were formed by his philosophical milieu and the spirit of the age. As a case study to illustrate and diagnose his approach, I shall focus on a d…Read more
  •  2104
    All three books reviewed here are turning over again for us the pages of perennially irresistible thinkers whose ideas never cease to hold us transfixed; all three are inviting us to notice that the material that we thought we knew has got more to do with what Nehamas calls 'the art of living' than we might have realised; and all three are making space for attitudes, responses and areas of self-understanding that are, by traditional classifications, irrational and hence sometimes inadequately ac…Read more
  •  323
    Eros Unveiled: Plato and the God of Love
    Oxford University Press. 1994.
    This unique book challenges the traditional distinction between eros, the love found in Greek thought, and agape, the love characteristic of Christianity. Focusing on a number of classic texts, including Plato's Symposium and Lysis, Aristotle's Ethics and Metaphysics,, and famous passages in Gregory of Nyssa, Origen, Dionysius the Areopagite, Plotinus, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas, the author shows that Plato's account of eros is not founded on self-interest. In this way, she restores the place…Read more
  •  134
    Socrates in the platonic dialogues
    Philosophical Investigations 29 (1). 2006.
    If Socrates is portrayed holding one view in one of Plato's dialogues and a different view in another, should we be puzzled? If (as I suggest) Plato's Socrates is neither the historical Socrates, nor a device for delivering Platonic doctrine, but a tool for the dialectical investigation of a philosophical problem, then we should expect a new Socrates, with relevant commitments, to be devised for each setting. Such a dialectical device – the tailor-made Socrates – fits with what we know of other …Read more
  •  109
    Aristotle, De anima 3. 2: How do we perceive that we see and hear?
    Classical Quarterly 33 (02): 401-411. 1983.
    The most important things in this seminal paper are (a) showing that the first part of the chapter is only setting up the aporia and does not provide the solution; (b) showing that the rest of the chapter provides the material for resolving the aporia; (c) showing that the question is not about how we perceive that we perceive, but how we can distinguish between seeing and hearing—how we are aware that we are seeing rather than hearing; (c) showing that this is reducible to how we are aware that…Read more
  •  98
    On making mistakes in Plato: Thaeatetus 187c-200d
    Topoi 31 (2): 151-166. 2012.
    In this paper I explore a famous part of Plato’s Theaetetus where Socrates develops various models of the mind (picturing it first as a wax tablet and then as an aviary full of specimen birds). These are to solve some puzzles about how it is possible to make a mistake. On my interpretation, defended here, the discussion of mistakes is no digression, but is part of the refutation of Theaetetus’s thesis that knowledge is “true doxa”. It reveals that false doxa is possible only if there is a certai…Read more
  •  87
    Perceiving Particulars and Recollecting the Forms in the 'Phaedo'
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95. 1995.
    I ask whether the Recollection argument commits Socrates to the view that our only source of knowledge of the Forms is sense perception. I argue that Socrates does not confine our presently available sources of knowledge to empirically based recollection, but that he does think that we can't begin to move towards a philosophical understanding of the Forms except as a result of puzzles prompted by the shortfall of particulars in relation to the Forms, and hence that our awareness of the Forms is …Read more
  •  65
    Perceiving white and sweet (again) : Aristotle, De Anima 3.7, 431a20-b1
    Classical Quarterly 48 (2): 433-446. 1998.
    In chapter 7 of the third book of De anima Aristotle is concerned with the activity of the intellect, which, here as elsewhere in the work, he explores by developing parallels with his account of sense-perception. In this chapter his principal interest appears to be the notion of judgement, and in particular intellectual judgements about the value of some item on a scale of good and bad. In this paper I shall argue, firstly that there is in fact a coherent structure and focus to this chapter, wh…Read more
  •  63
    The book is about three things. First, how Ancient thinkers perceived humans as like or unlike other animals; second about the justification for taking a humane attitude towards natural things; and third about how moral claims count as true, and how they can be discovered or acquired. Was Aristotle was right to see continuity in the psychological functions of animal and human souls? The question cannot be settled without taking a moral stance. As we can either focus on continuity or on discontin…Read more
  •  49
    Ralph Cudworth (1617-88) was one of the Cambridge Platonists. His major work, The True Intellectual System of the Universe, was completed in 1671, a year after Spinoza published (anonymously) the Tractatus Logico-philosophicus. It was published a few years later, in 1678. Cudworth offers a spirited attack against the materialism and mechanism of Thomas Hobbes. His work is couched as a search for truth among the ancient philosophers, and this paper examines his use of the Presocratics as a tool f…Read more
  •  46
    XI—Perceiving Particulars and Recollecting the Forms in thePhaedo
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95 (1): 211-234. 1995.
    I ask whether the Recollection argument commits Socrates to the view that our only source of knowledge of the Forms is sense perception. I argue that Socrates does not confine our presently available sources of knowledge to empirically based recollection, but that he does think that we can't begin to move towards a philosophical understanding of the Forms except as a result of puzzles prompted by the shortfall of particulars in relation to the Forms, and hence that our awareness of the Forms is …Read more
  •  45
    Empedocles Recycled
    Classical Quarterly 37 (01): 24-. 1987.
    It is no longer generally believed that Empedocles was the divided character portrayed by nineteenth-century scholars, a man whose scientific and religious views were incompatible but untouched by each other. Yet it is still widely held that, however unitary his thought, nevertheless he still wrote more than one poem, and that his poems can be clearly divided between those which do, and those which do not, concern ‘religious matters’.1 Once this assumption can be shown to be shaky or actually fa…Read more
  •  45
    Indices Chrysostomici, II: De Sacerdotio (review)
    The Classical Review 40 (2): 482-483. 1990.
  •  45
    Selves and Other Selves in Aristotle’s Eudemian Ethics vii 12
    Ancient Philosophy 29 (2): 349-371. 2009.
    Osborne argues against the idea that Aristotle thinks that friends are useful for assisting us towards self-knowledge, and defends instead the idea that friends provide an extension of the self which enables one to obtain a richer view of the shared world that we view together. She then examines similar questions about why the good person would gain from encountering fictional characters in literature, and what kinds of literature would be beneficial to the good life.
  •  40
    I argue that philosophy was naturally conceived and written in verse, not prose, in the early years of philosophy, and that prose writing would be the exception not the norm. I argue that philosophers developed their ideas in verse and did not repackage ideas and thoughts first formulated in non-poetic genres, so there is no adaptation or modification involved in "putting it into poetry". This also means that the content and the form are interdependent, and the poetic details are part of the mes…Read more
  •  39
    A study of Hippolytus of Rome and his treatment of Presocratic Philosophy, used as a case study to argue against the use of collections of fragments and in favour of the idea of reading "embedded texts" with attention to the interpretation and interests of the quoting author. A study of methodology in early Greek Philosophy. Includes novel interpretations of Heraclitus and Empedocles, and an argument for the unity of Empedocles's poem.
  •  36
    Scott Austin: Parmenides, Being, Bounds and Logic (review)
    Ancient Philosophy 11 (2): 393-396. 1991.
    This is a book review of the work by Scott Austin.
  •  35
    This is a review of the book by Kirk, Raven and Schofield.
  •  35
    Space, time, shape, and direction: creative discourse in the Timaeus
    In Christopher Gill & Mary Margaret McCabe (eds.), Form and Argument in Late Plato, Oxford University Press. pp. 179--211. 1996.
    There is an analogy between Timaeus's act of describing a world in words and the demiurge's task of making a world of matter. This analogy implies a parallel between language as a system of reproducing ideas in words, and the world, which reproduces reality in particular things. Authority lies in the creation of a likeness in words of the eternal Forms. The Forms serve as paradigms both for the physical world created by the demiurge, and for the world in discourse created by Timaeus: his discour…Read more
  •  35
    Philosophers are generally somewhat wary of the hints of number mysticism in the reports about the beliefs and doctrines of the so-called Pythagoreans. It's not clear how much Pythagoras himself (as opposed to his later followers) indulged in speculation about numbers, or in more serious mathematics. But the Pythagoreans whom Aristotle discusses in the Metaphysics had some elaborate stories to tell about how the universe could be explained in terms of numbers—not just its physics but perhaps mor…Read more
  •  35
    Presocratic Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction
    Oxford University Press. 2004.
    This is a book about the invention of Western philosophy, and the first thinkers to explore ideas about the nature of reality, time, and the origin of the universe. Generations of philosophers, both ancient and modern, have traced their inspiration back to the presocratics, even though we have very few of their writings left. In this book, Catherine Osborne invites her readers to dip their toes into the fragmentary remains of thinkers from Thales to Pythagoras, Heraclitus to Protagoras, to try t…Read more
  •  34
    Holding the centre and untied kingdom – by Ian Robinson (review)
    Philosophical Investigations 33 (3): 266-270. 2010.
  •  32
    I start by asking what Aristotle knew (or thought) about Heraclitus: what were the key features of Heraclitus's philosophy as far as Aristotle was concerned? In this section of the paper I suggest that there are some patterns to Aristotle's references to Heraclitus: besides the classic doctrines (flux, ekpyrosis and the unity of opposites) on the one hand, and the opening of Heraclitus's book on the other, Aristotle knows and reports a few slightly less obvious sayings, one of which is in my tit…Read more
  •  31
    The Pythagorean Society and Politics
    In Carl Huffman (ed.), A History of Pythagoreanism, Cambridge University Press. pp. 112-130. 2014.
    Pythagoreans dominated the political scene in southern Italy for nearly a century in the late 6th to 5th century BC. What was the secret of their political success and can their political, social and economic policies be assessed in the customary terms with which historians try to analyse ancient societies? I argue that they cannot, and that the Pythagorean approach to politics was sui generis, and successful because it was based on ideas, not force or popular demagogy.