Spectacles of Truth in Classical Greek Philosophy: Theoria by Andrea Wilson Nightingale

By Andrea Wilson Nightingale

From being seen as an task played in functional and political contexts, knowledge in fourth-century BC Athens got here to be conceived when it comes to theoria, or the clever guy as a ''spectator'' of fact. This booklet examines how philosophers of the interval articulated the recent perception of data and the way cultural stipulations encouraged this improvement. It offers an interdisciplinary examine of the makes an attempt to conceptualize ''theoretical'' job in the course of a foundational interval within the heritage of Western philosophy.

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Spectacles of Truth in Classical Greek Philosophy: Theoria in its Cultural Context

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See Lloyd 1987, 89–98, Demont 1993b, and Thomas 2000, ch. 8 on the public “displays” of wisdom by a wide variety of sophoi in this period. For Athens as a “performance culture,” see Rehm 1992, Goldhill and Osborne 1999. Goldhill (1999a) offers an excellent summary of different conceptions of “performance” in recent scholarship and theory. 32 Spectacles of Truth in Classical Greek Philosophy on the Pontus (DK12 a3). Pythagoras was part religious guru, part politician, part mathematician. Parmenides is said to have served as a lawmaker in his city (DK28 a1).

Philip of Opus offers a similar account of astronomical theoria in the Epinomis. But he departs from Plato by dispensing with the theory of Forms and claiming that astronomy is, itself, the highest mode of theoretical wisdom. By theorizing the visible gods in the heavens, Philip claims, the philosopher develops not only wisdom but piety: the philosophic astronomer will thus be the most virtuous individual in practical and political affairs, and the ideal leader of the city. Aristotle set forth a very different conception of theoria.

52 Here, Thales is stargazing rather than engaging in metaphysical theoria (though his practice of astronomy was no doubt based on expertise in mathematics). Although Socrates does not explicitly identify him as a “theorizer” (by using the terminology of theoria), he clearly represents Thales as living an exclusively contemplative life. 53 Indeed, this philosopher experiences complete aporia in the human world, since 51 52 53 Although Aristotle credits some unnamed “people” with this view, he appears to agree with their basic position.

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