Ideas of Alexander Nehamas, by Theme

[American, b.1946, Taught by Gregory Vlastos. Professor at Princeton University.]

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2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 2. Logos
The logos enables us to track one particular among a network of objects
     Full Idea: The logos (the definition) is a summary statement of the path within a network of objects that one will have to follow in order to locate a particular member of that network.
     From: Alexander Nehamas (Episteme and Logos in later Plato [1984], p.234)
     A reaction: I like this because it confirms that Plato (as well as Aristotle) was interested in the particulars rather than in the kinds (which I take to be general truths about particulars).
A logos may be short, but it contains reference to the whole domain of the object
     Full Idea: A thing's logos, apparently short as it may be, is implicitly a very rich statement since it ultimately involves familiarity with the whole domain to which that particular object belongs.
     From: Alexander Nehamas (Episteme and Logos in later Plato [1984], p.234)
     A reaction: He may be wrong that the logos is short, since Aristotle (Idea 12292) says a definition can contain many assertions.
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 6. Platonic Forms / a. Platonic Forms
Forms are not a theory of universals, but an attempt to explain how predication is possible
     Full Idea: The theory of Forms is not a theory of universals but a first attempt to explain how predication, the application of a single term to many objects - now considered one of the most elementary operations of language - is possible.
     From: Alexander Nehamas (Introduction to 'Virtues of Authenticity' [1999], p.xxvii)
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 6. Platonic Forms / b. Partaking
Only Tallness really is tall, and other inferior tall things merely participate in the tallness
     Full Idea: Only Tallness and nothing else really is tall; everything else merely participates in the Forms and, being excluded from the realm of Being, belongs to the inferior world of Becoming.
     From: Alexander Nehamas (Introduction to 'Virtues of Authenticity' [1999], p.xxviii)
     A reaction: This is just as weird as the normal view (and puzzle of participation), but at least it makes more sense of 'metachein' (partaking).
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 2. Understanding
'Episteme' is better translated as 'understanding' than as 'knowledge'
     Full Idea: The Greek 'episteme' is usually translated as 'knowledge' but, I argue, closer to our notion of understanding.
     From: Alexander Nehamas (Introduction to 'Virtues of Authenticity' [1999], p.xvi)
     A reaction: He agrees with Julia Annas on this. I take it to be crucial. See the first sentence of Aristotle's 'Metaphysics'. It is explanation which leads to understanding.