Topoi’s Mapping Body and Soul Group will host Resemary Twomey (City University of New York) this Thursday, the 11th Novermber, 4 – 8 pm, for the workshop ‘Aristotle on Perceptual Consciousness’. Fortunately, Prof. Henry Mendell (California State University, Los Angeles & Topoi) agreed to additionally enrich the discussion by giving a short comment on Rosie’s Paper.
III 2 is one of the most enigmatic, but also most interesting parts of Aristotle’s De Anima. Here Aristotle is taken to address crucial issues like perceptual awareness, self-awareness, and the unity of the subject of perception. Rosie will present us a new, contextualized reading of Aristotle’s account.
Abstract: It is my contention that Aristotle gives a formal account of the activity of the common-sense, which I will call ‘common-sensing, ’ at 425b12. The reference to perceiving that we see and hear that opens DA III.2 is not generally interpreted in this way. Rather, most commentators take Aristotle’s talk of metaperceiving as a way of describing the fact that we are perceptually conscious. Commentators split on the question of what conscious state is here being explained, but all understand the passage as having to do with some form of awareness or other. My reading–where the focus of his discussion here is on common-sensing rather than consciousness–will be defended by showing that my account allows for heightened continuity both throughout this chapter and with the one preceding it.
This topic is interesting in many respects. We will address e.g. the following questions: In what sense is the soul, being a non-extended entity, bodily localized? Why does the soul have to be bodily localized at all, and need all capacities of the soul be localized in the same bodily part? Are the different capacities or parts of soul separate in account only, as Aristotle seems to claim, or are they also partly localized in different parts of the body, as Alexander states? Can all parts of the soul be bodily localized? What secures the unity of the soul, and thereby the unity of the living body, if different soul capacities are partly localized in different bodily parts and what is the relation of the primarily ensouled central organ to the other parts of the body?
We will discuss these issues through a close reading of the following two short texts: on the first day we will read the very end of Alexander’s own treatise De Anima (94.7 – 100. 17). On the second day, we will read Plotinus answer to exactly that passage (IV 3, 20-23). Please join us!
In the first part (4-6 pm), Prof. Powers will lead a close reading on the Stoic conception of the soul’s hegemonikon or ruling part. This concept has often been studied in the context of the Stoic account of human agency, but it also plays an important role more generally in their explanation of how the bodies and bodily activities of living things are related to those things’ souls or natures.
In the second part (6-8 pm) we will discuss a new paper by Prof. Powers (comment: Dorothea Prell) about the way in which the Stoics thought about the hegemonikon in the special case of the cosmos as a whole (“The Stoic Argument for the Rationality of the Cosmos”). One of the central lines of argument in Stoic theology runs as follows: given the way in which the cosmic body is organized, we may infer it is controlled by a hegemonikon that is rational. This paves the way for the identification of the cosmos as god.
Die Asia (1461) des Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Papst Pius II.) gilt als bedeutendste lateinische historisch-geographische Beschreibung Asiens des 15. Jh. in Italien. Auf der Textgrundlage der jüngsten kritischen Ausgabe von Nicola Casella (2004) wird in Fortführung eines früheren Seminars (Februar 2010) das Prooemium (par. 6ff) in gemeinsamer Quelleninterpretation als ein Zeugnis der individuellen Rezeption und Adaption antiker historischer und geographischer Vorbilder untersucht. Danach wird die Beschreibung der Hauptstadt des Can Cambaleschia (Kap. 15) übersetzt und besprochen werden. Dieses Kapitel ist auch zentral für die Verbindung von Klimazonen- und Barbarentheorien bei Pius. Im zweiten Teil des Seminars steht Kap. 21 über die Kaukasusregion und der Bericht über die Christianisierung Georgiens im Mittelpunkt.