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On Song, Logos, and the Movement of the Soul: After Plato and Aristotle

On Song, Logos, and the Movement of the Soul: After Plato and Aristotle

Jessica Wiskus, “On Song, Logos, and the Movement of the Soul: After Plato and Aristotle,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 74, no. 4 (2018): 917–34, https://doi.org/10.17990/RPF/2018_74_4_0917.

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On Song, Logos, and the Movement of the Soul: After Plato and Aristotle

Type Journal Article
Author Jessica Wiskus
Rights © 2018 Aletheia - Associação Científica e Cultural | © 2018 Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
Volume 74
Issue 4
Pages 917-934
Publication Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
ISSN 0870-5283
Date 2018
DOI 10.17990/RPF/2018_74_4_0917
Language English
Abstract In the Phaedo – a dialogue investigating the immortality of the soul – Socrates compares himself to the swans of Apollo who sing “most beautifully” before they die. Working principally from the Phaedo (but also Timaeus, Parmenides, and Philebus), the aim of this article is to determine the relation between the song of the swan and the song of the philosopher. First, we examine the use of language in human song as a way to consider the other side of logos: logos not only as word but logos as ratio – i.e., as a relation between temporally-ordered terms. This ratio we then examine as the sense of before-and-afterness that Aristotle explores, in Physics IV, as the “number of movement” that is time; for, through the counting of this “number of movement” (accomplished by the soul), we begin to understand how swans (through song) and philosophers (through dialogue) share a temporal orientation toward what transcends the present moment. This temporal orientation, I argue, pertains to sempiternity, an ageless or undying [ἀθάνατος] movement of the soul. Thus, I conclude that philosophy as “the highest kind of music” (Phaedo) – like the song of the swans of Apollo – concerns itself with the undying state of the soul and, hence, with ethos.
Date Added 23/01/2019, 18:44:56
Modified 23/01/2019, 18:56:02

Tags:

  • Aristotle,
  • ethos,
  • logos,
  • music,
  • Plato,
  • rhythm,
  • sempiternity,
  • time-consciousness

Notes:

  • Aristotle. De anima. Translated by Walter Stanley Hett. Loeb Classical Library 288. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1957.
    Aristotle. De memoria et reminiscentia. Translated by Walter Stanley Hett. Loeb Classical Library 288. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1957.
    Aristotle. Physics: Volume I: Books I-IV. Translated by Philip Wicksteed and Francis Cornford. Loeb Classical Library 228. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1957.
    Aristotle. Politics. Translated by Harris Rackham. Loeb Classical Library 264. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1932.
    Augustine, Saint. Confessions. Translated by Henry Chadwick. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.
    Brogan, Walter. Heidegger and Aristotle: The Twofoldness of Being. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2005.
    Coope, Ursula. Time for Aristotle: Physics IV.10-14. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
    Cornford, Francis. Plato’s Cosmology: The Timaeus of Plato. London: Routledge, 1937.
    Eldon, Stuart. ‘Reading Logos as Speech: Heidegger, Aristotle and Rhetorical Politics’. Philosophy and Rhetoric 38, no. 4 (2005): 281–301. https://doi.org/10.1353/par.2006.0001 
    Heidegger, Martin. Plato’s ‘Sophist.’ Translated by Richard Rojcewicz and André Schuwer. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1997.
    Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. The Visible and the Invisible. Translated by Alphonso Lingis. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1968.
    Plato. Parmenides. Translated by Harold North Fowler. Loeb Classical Library 167. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1926.
    Plato. Phaedo. Translated by Chris Emlyn-Jones and William Preddy. Loeb Classical Library 36. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017.
    Plato. Philebus. Translated by Harold North Fowler and Walter Rangeley Maitland Lamb. Loeb Classical Library 164. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1925. 
    Plato. Republic, Vol. II. Translated by Chris Emlyn-Jones and William Preddy. Loeb Classical Library 237. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013.
    Plato. Theaetetus. Translated by Harold North Fowler. Loeb Classical Library 123. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1921.
    Plato. Timaeus. Translated by Robert Gregg Bury. Loeb Classical Library 234. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005.
    Schuback, Marcia Sá Cavalcante. ‘The Poetics of Language: Readings of Heidegger’s On the Way to Language’. In Metaphysics, Facticity, Interpretation: Phenomenology in the Nordic Countries, edited by Dan Zahavi, Sara Heinämaa, and Hans Ruin, 195–215. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2003.
    Wiskus, Jessica. ‘On Music and Memory through Μνήμη and Ἀνάμνησις.’ Research in Phenomenology 48 (2018): 346–364.

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