Plato's Theory of Explanation: A Study of the Cosmological by Anne Freire Ashbaugh

By Anne Freire Ashbaugh

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10 It is fairly evident that whatever Damascius and his remote kathegemon, Plato, mean by ‘philosophy’, it radically differs from what contemporary textbooks mean by this now rather devalued term, though ancient Platonists and especially Peripatetics sometimes did pursue their secondary activity of explaining the world too vigorously, and that indeed led to a too theoretical and abstract view of things. The modern scholarly pursuit also too often resembles a sort of self-confident obsession enacted by a host of hypercritical and angry ‘grammarians’.

To take at face value their claim that they possess an exceptional spirituality would be naïve; likewise, to imagine (in accordance with a common fiction) that Western philosophy from Aristotle onwards is deficient in its orientation and, being mere a shallow mental plaything, does not lead to a spiritual disciple and liberation, in whatever sense this ‘liberation’ may be understood, would be equally naïve. Orphism and Pythagoreanism, which may be safely regarded as the font of the whole Greek philosophical tradition, were perhaps partly related to contemporary Indian speculations, medical theories and spiritual practices (especially, those of Ajivikism and Jainism), but they depended more directly on a re-shaping of the Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultural heritage.

I am particularly grateful to Pierre and Patricia Bikai and the staff of ACOR. Last but not least, I want to acknowledge the unwavering support of my wife Virginia and my two daughters, Dorothea and Ruta. ALGIS UZDAVINYS Kaunas (Lithuania) November 2008 1 THE ORIGINS AND MEANING OF PHILOSOPHY Really there can only be one kind of knowledge. And rationality is simply mysticism misunderstood. 1 Truth itself is in danger of being extinguished. ’ 3 But if the sphere of words must be transcended (because philosophy’s concern with language and logic is only preliminary to more important tasks), the term philosophia itself must not be improperly idolized.

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