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فلسفه سقراطی و آپوریای فضیلت تفسیری بر منوی افلاطون
Socratic Philosophy and the Aporia of Virtue A Commentary on Plato's Meno
The Platonic Socrates is renowned both for his disavowals of knowledge and for his irony, and it is often the case that both interlocutors and readers believe his disavowals to be ironic. Such a belief frequently underlies interpretations of Plato's Meno, which take Socrates' claim not to know at all what virtue is to be either partially or entirely untrue; either Socrates knows what virtue is or he at least knows in some respect even if he does not know its essential being, its ousia. This dissertation argues that Socrates is being honest in his claim in the Meno not to know at all what virtue is, and this means he is not able to recognize some one thing called "virtue." This serves as a starting point for a new interpretation that examines the arguments and the drama of the dialogue as an illumination of Socrates' perplexing disavowal of knowledge. Socrates' claim not to know at all what virtue is shown to indicate an aporia he confronts with respect to his understanding of virtue. And this aporia, it is argued, concerns, not what virtue is but that it is. The dissertation argues further that Socrates' aporia with respect to virtue is fundamentally woven into his uncertainty about whether knowledge is possible at all. The fundamental character of Socratic philosophy, which is practiced by investigating with others into the virtues, is thus shown to involve an investigation into the very foundation of philosophy itself.
تاریخچه فیزیولوژی انسان و فلسفه قرن هفدهم: دکارت، اسپینوزا و وضعیت کنونی علوم اعصاب
A History of Human Physiology and 17th C. Philosophy: Descartes, Spinoza, and the Current State of Neuroscience
In the early 1630s, René Descartes developed a speculative treatise on the functional structures of the human body and brain. His work, The Treatise on Man, constituted the first attempt at a complete human physiology, inspiring a generation of scientists and physicians who developed Descartes’ speculations into a genuine field of scientific inquiry. It is the intent of this discussion to determine how Descartes’ speculations in human physiology influenced the direction of 17th c. European philosophy.
The above question is often dismissed by scholars who argue that Descartes abandons scientific pursuits for philosophy, finding that science could not provide the kind of knowledge Descartes craved. In contrast, I argue that the themes that emerge in the Treatise are continually developed by Descartes throughout his philosophic career. This is evident in Meditations on First Philosophy, where Descartes demonstrates a preoccupation with (1) the possible resemblance between sensory ideas and their objects and (2) the independence of our nature as a thinking thing from our nature as a corporeal body, topics of great importance in the Treatise.
Descartes’ contemporaries, specifically Spinoza, were influenced by these scientific speculations. In the Ethics, Spinoza identifies Descartes’ account of human nature as the specific view he intends to critique and replace with a novel account of human nature, i.e. the conatus doctrine. While ultimately in disagreement with Descartes, Spinoza freely turns to human physiology to both attack Descartes’ views and construct his own account of human nature. Thus, far from rejecting the place of the human sciences in philosophy, Spinoza embraces it.
Finally, as a means of demonstrating the philosophic value of Descartes and Spinoza’s engagement with human physiology, I employ their metaphysical insights in a critique of contemporary scientific research. Specifically, I will evaluate neuroscientific studies on the phantom limb, arguing that, in their explanations, researchers tend to unreflectively employ the metaphysical assumption that neural structures work to support an accurate representation of the body to the subject. While this view may ultimately prove correct, it blinds researchers to alternative explanations.