Ten neglected classics of philosophy by Eric Schliesser

By Eric Schliesser

What makes for a philosophical vintage? Why do a little philosophical works persist over the years, whereas others don't? The philosophical canon and variety are themes of significant debate this present day. This stimulating quantity includes ten new essays through comprehensive philosophers writing passionately approximately works within the heritage of philosophy that they suppose have been unjustly overlooked or ignored-and why they deserve higher realization. The essays disguise lesser identified works through well-known thinkers in addition to works that have been as soon as recognized yet now purely faintly remembered. Works tested contain Gorgias' Encomium of Helen, Jane Adams' Women and Public Housekeeping, W.E.B. DuBois' Whither Now and Why, Edith Stein's On the matter of Empathy, Jonathan Bennett's Rationality, and extra.

While each one bankruptcy is an expression of engagement with anyone paintings, the amount as a complete, and Eric Schliesser's advent in particular, tackle well timed questions on the character of philosophy, disciplinary contours, and the vagaries of canon formation.

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He will do so by con­ sidering the different causes which might have led her to misbehave so dramatically; in each case, he will argue, she turns out not to be blameworthy. The argument is transparent and cleanly structured.  (6) The rest of the Helen works through these alternatives in the order announced. Thus the basic structure is as follows: [1] Helen went to Troy either because of fate and the gods (I here simplify “the will of fortune and the plan of the gods and the decree of necessity”) or because of force or because of persuasion by speech [logos] or because of erôs.

5). 15 16 Ten Neglected Cl assics of Philosoph y We can now step back and look at the argument as a whole. Again, Gorgias’s argument is valid: if [1]‌–​[5] are true, then so is [6]. And I have tried to show that it is not so easy as we might think to refute the reasoning embedded in [2]–​[5], for these premises fol­ low from widely accepted general (“Aristotelian”) principles about responsibility and compulsion, together with a conception of the human psyche (as material and malleable) which looks more plau­ sible than ever.

11 In that case there is a slippage between the ostensible aim and the real one: these are samples of rhetoric at its highest pitch, but they are also heroic, self-​aware failures. And that twist too must be part of what Gorgias himself finds so amusing. Just as some Nabokov novels have unreliable narrators, the Gorgias of the Helen and On Not-​Being—​their authorial persona—​is an unreliable arguer. I am indebted throughout to Mourelatos’s broader argument in this fascinating paper. Gagarin 2001 argues that sophistic texts, the Helen included, do not really aim at per­ suasion at all: the principal goal is “displaying ingenuity and contributing new and interesting ideas” (290).

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