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Episteme Vol. III


"On Megill and The Birth of Tragedy" by Aaron Bunch

What is Nietzsche doing with Apollo and Dionysus in The Birth of Tragedy? The author believes that Allan Megill’s interpretation is way off the mark. Nietzsche is not committed to a realm of inaccessible reality; his two Greek symbols are not epistemological poles. Although Megill’s attention to “immediate” and “mediation” correctly identifies the separate powers that Nietzsche has in mind, Nietzsche’s goal is not to describe the split between reality and appearance; but rather to describe how their union spawned Attic tragedy. They symbolize the contradiction of existence. As made clear in another work from Nietzsche’s early period, On Truth and Lie in an Extramoral Sense, Nietzsche rejects the thing-in-itself, because it cannot exist except as an abstraction. When it comes to truth, which seems to be what Megill is so preoccupied with, Nietzsche is clear: no experience occurs independently of a perspective.

"Photography as Art in Heidegger's Philosophy" by Chris Greenwald

What is the status of representational photography in Heidegger’s philosophies of art and technology? Does it count as the epitome of the modern subjective mindset, as Michael E. Zimmerman believes, or does it it actually amount to a higher art form than painting? Answers result from an analysis of Heidegger’s thought on art and truth, but also from a careful study of Heidegger’s philosophy of technology. It seems that the camera can be either a revealer of Being destined as such by Being (which is good), or an instrument for human mastery over all existence (which is bad). The author believes Heidegger is most consistent if we accept the first option. The photographer does not create reality and so does not succumb to Zimmerman’s analysis. Ironically, it is certain schools of painting in the technological era which are often false and anthropocentric in their abandonment of traditional representation. Finally, if we seriously meet Heidegger’s desire for a new understanding of technology, we see that Heidegger’s adoration of painting is misleading.

"The Necessity of Moral Marxism" by Mark Van Hook

Doesn’t Marxism need morality? This article takes a look at anti-moral and moral approaches available to Marxists. The Anti-moralist Allen W. Wood believes Marxists make value judgments based on non-moral goods. But this non-moral goods category, when applied, allows for lots of ambiguity concerning goods. Worse, theories that mention non-moral goods usually relate such goods to self-interest, but how can it be in one’s self interest to postpone individual self-satisfaction?—what Marxism theoretically entails. Also, doesn’t the Marxist need an ought, thereby making her or her a moralist? The question becomes which direction should moral Marxism take? An appeal to natural rights? Utilitarian? Kantian? Such options can meet Marxism’s central tenets, but Marxism itself cannot tell us what the right choice is. But that is not a problem. The important thing is that Marxism is compatible with some moral systems in such a way that all such systems compel persons to embrace the Marxist rationality.

"Aristotle's Accounts of Motion in Physics II and VII" by David Laraway

Aristotle’s disparate accounts of natural change appearing in Physics II and VIII are not incompatible if we realize they answer separate questions about distinct developmental systems. He works in two paradigms. In this paper, the author reviews and evaluates numerous opinions/arguments from commentators about how best to understand what Aristotle means by his potentially contradictory theories of self-change and energia, as well as how to critically assess the consistency and success of Aristotle’s body of work on the subject. The author argues that Daniel W. Graham offers a more accurate assessment of the way Aristotle’s later views on motion (energia, the unmoved mover) interact with his earlier more developed theory of self-change. The earlier theory, conceptualized well in De Caelo and Organon, tries to be simple and intuitive. Its incarnation in Physics II reads as awkward but not exactly logically inconsistent with the hylomorphic agenda elsewhere in the Physics.

"Are All our Readings Misreadings?: Derrida, The Flickering A (A Look At Derrida On Interpretation)" by Joseph Partain

The author here guides us toward a sensible conceptualization of Derrida’s philosophical/literary impact on the world. First, Derrida’s demonstration concerning the a or e in differ(e/a)nce is meant to protest the silence in the universe, the insufficiency of language. He speaks of the term “difference” in linguistic terms; as disruption; and as the space between the two. He goes further than Nietzsche in his assault on Western metaphysics. The author then tells us why Derrida resists being identified and labeled, commenting next on how his playfulness relates to logic and negative theology—how he manages to communicate something that resembles conventional thinking. Following that, the discussion describes how comfortable Derrida appears to be in his own misreadings, but uncomfortable with misreadings of himself. Is this a fault of his theory or a matter of human nature, we might ask? Finally, the author reveals his final verdict: Derrida is not the way, but a sign that tells us there is no certain way.

"Wittgenstein's Employment of the Private Language Argument in the Philosophical Investigations" by William Voelker

The article looks to set the record straight about the function of Wittgenstein’s private language argument. The topic is the role the private language argument plays within/for the later Wittgenstein’s thinking. The author begins by arguing that private language is not amenable to language games, the notion of natural expression, or the logic of reference. He then traces the highlights of the argument, beginning with a problem that arises from 5.6 in the Tractatus. The message becomes clear: private language is absurd, interesting only to bad philosophers, and symbolic of the grammar-caused errors that abound in the history of philosophy. To conclude, the author critiques Ayer’s employment of the concept “private language,” which distorts Wittgenstein’s usage, clearly would not count as private, and mistakes naming as the essential aspect of language.

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