Plutarch Against Colotes: A Lesson in History of Philosophy by Eleni Kechagia

Plutarch Against Colotes: A Lesson in History of Philosophy

byEleni Kechagia

Hardcover | December 10, 2011

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Plutarch of Chaeroneia's philosophical work remained largely in the shadow of his celebrated Lives, partly because it was often dubbed 'popular philosophy', and partly because it was thought to be lacking in originality. The tides are, fortunately, changing and current scholarship is showing agrowing appreciation of Plutarch's philosophical work. This book contributes to the 'rehabilitation' of Plutarch as a philosopher by focusing on an important aspect of his philosophical self: his work as a teacher, interpreter, and, eventually, historian of philosophy. Eleni Kechagia offers acritical analysis of Plutarch's anti-Epicurean treatise Against Colotes - a unique text that is both rich in philosophical material and has been widely used as a source for ancient Greek philosophy, but which has yet to be studied in its own right. Combining a historical approach with structural analysis and close reading of selected sections of the text, this book demonstrates that Plutarch engaged with the philosophy of his past in a creative way. By refuting Colotes' Epicurean arguments against the main Greek philosophers up to theHellenistic era, Plutarch gives an insightful critical assessment of the philosophy of his past and teaches his readers how to go about living and reading philosophy. The volume concludes that Plutarch emerges as a respected critic whose 'reviews' of the past philosophical theories are an essentialcompanion when trying to piece together the puzzle of ancient Greek philosophy.

About The Author

Dr Eleni Kechagia studied Classics and Ancient Philosophy at the Universities of Thessaloniki (BA and Masters) and Oxford (DPhil). From 2006 to 2009 she was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford and a Research Fellow at Keble College, Oxford. She has written articles on Plutarch, Epicure...

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Title:Plutarch Against Colotes: A Lesson in History of PhilosophyFormat:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 1.42 inPublished:December 10, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199597235

ISBN - 13:9780199597239

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Table of Contents

List of abbreviationsNote on editions and translationsIntroductionPart I: Plutarch's target1. Why did Plutarch write against Colotes? Reading the prooemium of Against Colotes1.1 Introduction1.2 The prooemium under scrutiny1.2.1 The dedication: Saturninus, lover of antiquity (1107D-E)1.2.2 The circumstances: Platonic undertones and rhetorical disclaimers (1107E- 1108B)1.2.3 The philosophical justification: pleasures of the belly and bad scholarship (1108B-E)1.3 Conclusion: Colotes book as classroom material2. Colotes of Lampsacus: the man and his philosophical background2.1 Introduction: Colotes in context2.2 Life and interactions with Epicurus2.3 Overview of Colotes works2.3.1 Against Plato s Lysis (P.Herc. 208)2.3.2 Against Plato s Euthydemus (P.Herc. 1032)2.3.3 Against Plato s Myths2.3.4 Colotes, the Epicurean pamphleteer?2.4 The tradition of Epicurean polemics and its significance2.5 Colotes place in the history of the Epicurean school3. Colotes polemic against the philosophers: a reconstruction3.1 Introduction: methodological observations3.2 Chronology, targets, and structure of Colotes book3.2.1 The dedication to king Ptolemy and a possible dating3.2.2 Colotes targets3.2.3 Structure of Colotes book and Democritus centrality3.3 Colotes main line of argument and underlying philosophical assumptions3.3.1 Non-Epicurean philosophers make life impossible to live3.3.2 Colotes method: catchy lines and arguments from everyday life3.3.3 The underlying principle: philosophy as therapy3.3.4 Epicurean physics and canonic in Colotes book3.4 Colotes polemic as a protrepticPart II: Method and argument in the Adversus Colotem4. Structure of Plutarch s Adversus Colotem4.1The puzzle of the modified structure4.2 In the quest of thematic coherence4.2.1 The two reversals and Plutarch s explanation4.2.2 Thematic groups in the Adversus Colotem4.2.3 The epilogue, Epicurean ethics, and a schema emerging4.3 Plutarch's omission of Melissus uncovered4.4 A lesson in history of philosophy?5. Plutarch's argumentative strategy5.1 Methodological considerations5.2 Plutarch s arguments in outline5.2.1 Vindication arguments: setting the record straight5.2.2 Overturning arguments: picking out inconsistencies6. Plutarch against Colotes on Democritus' 'by convention'- thesis6.1 Introduction6.2 Colotes accusation against the 'by convention' - thesis (1110E-F)6.3 Plutarch s overturning argument: disarmed? (1110F)6.4 Plutarch s reading of Democritus 'by convention' - thesis (1110F-1111A)6.5 The overturning argument revisited: sensible qualities and the Epicurean inconsistency (1111B-D)6.6 Plutarch s criticism of Epicurean atomism (1111D-F)6.7 Conclusion7. Plutarch against Colotes on Platonic ontology7.1 Introduction7.2 Colotes against Platonic ontology (1115C-D)7.3 Plutarch's vindication argument (1115C-1116C)7.3.1 Plutarch on the true meaning of 'not-being'7.3.2 Plutarch on the theory of Forms7.4 The overturning argument: Epicurean atoms and Platonic Forms (1116C-D)7.5 Where did Epicurus go wrong? (1116D-E)7.6 Conclusion8. Plutarch against Colotes on the Cyrenaic apprehension of (?)8.1 Introduction8.2 Colotes criticism of Cyrenaic epistemology (1120C-D)8.3 Plutarch on Cyrenaic subjectivism (1120D-F)8.4 Plutarch s overturning argument: Epicurean images and Cyrenaic affections8.5 On the inconsistency of the Epicurean all sense impressions are true8.6 ConclusionEpilogue: lessons from PlutarchAppendix I:Colotes of Lampsacus: On the fact that according to the doctrines of the other philosophers it is impossible even to liveAppendix II:Colotes and scepticismAppendix III:The Democritean 'no more', its variants, and Plutarch's readingBibliographyIndex