On Touch and Life in the De Anima

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“On Touch and Life in the De Anima.” In Phenomenology and the Metaphysics of Sight, edited by Antonio Cimino and Pavlos Kontos, (Leiden: Brill Academic Publisher, 2015, 69-94).

Although Aristotle is often thought to give canonical voice to the priority of vision as the most noble of the human powers of perceiving, this article demonstrates that in Aristotle, touch has a priority vision lacks.

By tracing the things Aristotle says about touch in the De Anima and specifically the manner in which he identifies touch as a kind of mean condition, this essay argues that a deeper understanding of the nature of touch connects us humans more deeply to animal life and the natural world we inhabit. Read More

Beginning Anew with #PSUGenEd

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At the Penn State General Education Spring 2014 retreat, we decided to begin anew with GenEd as we try to find ways to feasibly adopt a curriculum that would be animated by substantive integrative learning outcomes. At the retreat, we ripped up the planned agenda, and started thinking anew about how to create a curriculum worthy of our Penn State students.

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Following the Footprints of Aristotle: On Kosman's The Activity of Being

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Aristotle’s thinking is peripatetic. It moves along paths, some of which are well-worn, others newly cleared by the creative elasticity of his thinking. It pursues questions by traversing along a course for a stretch, on the scent of truth itself, but when it finds its way impeded, it is unafraid to turn around, return to the start, or even to cut a new path of its own to navigate a hindrance, to find a way to around an aporia.

To read Aristotle well is to cultivate something of that peripatetic elasticity of mind; it is to learn to walk with him, without rushing; it is to tarry with his thinking and to patiently follow where it leads

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The Peripatetic Method: Walking with Woodbridge, Thinking with Aristotle

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“The Peripatetic Method: Walking with Woodbridge, Thinking with Aristotle.” In The Bloomsbury Companion to Aristotle, edited by Claudia Baracchi, (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014).

Published in The Bloomsbury Companion to Aristotle (Bloomsbury Companions), this essay, entitled “The Peripatetic Method: Walking with Woodbridge, Thinking with Aristotle,” attempts to articulate the manner in which Aristotle’s thinking unfolds.

You can read the The Peripatetic Method on the Bloomsbury site, where they have made it openly accessible.

Drawing on the poetry of Wallace Stevens and the remarkable series of lectures Frederick J. E. Woodbridge gave at Union College in 1930 entitled, simply, “The Philosophy of Aristotle,” but published under the title Aristotle’s Vision of Nature, this paper identifies the path of Aristotle’s thinking, its method, as a “peripatetic legomenology.” It is a legomenology because it attends carefully to the manner in which things are said (ta legomena), and peripatetic because it follows the things said as a way into the nature of things. Read More

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Digital Dialogue 63: Aristotle on Touch

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Rebecca Goldner, recent PhD from Villanova University, joined the Digital Dialogue for episode 63 on Touch in Aristotle. This was our first recorded Digital Dialogue using Google+ On Air, and we were able to stream it live during the discussion.

In the spring of 2013, Rebecca defended her dissertation at Villanova University entitled, Lived Flesh: Touch and Embodiment in Aristotle’s de Anima.

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Digital Dialogue 55: Aristotle and the Tragedy of Life

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Larry Hatab joins Emanuela Bianchi, Erick Jimenez and me in beautiful Umbria, Italy in Citta di Castello, at the Collegium Phaenomenologicum, for episode 55 of the Digital Dialogue.

Larry Hatab is Louis I. Jaffe Professor of Philosophy and Eminent Scholar at Old Dominion University. He is the author of numerous books and articles on 19th and 20th century philosophy. He has written extensively on Nietzsche, including:
  • Nietzsche’s Life Sentence: Coming to Terms With Eternal Recurrence. New York: Routledge, 2005.
  • Ethics and Finitude: Heideggerian Contributions to Moral Philosophy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000.
  • Experiment in Postmodern Politics, Open Court, 1995.
  • Myth and Philosophy: A Contest of Truths. Chicago, Illinois: Open Court Publishing Co., 1990.
  • Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.Translated into Portuguese: Genealogia da Moral de Nietzsche: Uma Introdução. São Paulo, Brazil: Madras, 2010.
Larry is currently working on a book on language.
Emanuela Bianchi is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, New York University
She is completing a manuscript entitled, The Feminine Symptom: Aleatory Matter in the Aristotelian Cosmos, which she discussed in some detail on Digital Dialogue episode 24.
Erick Jimenez was for a number of years the editor of The Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal. In the fall of 2012, he will begin a position as a Post-Doctoral Researcher at University of Navarra, Spain.
Larry, Emma, Erick and I gathered in Città di Castello to talk about Larry’s paper on Aristotle at the 2012 Collegium entitled Aristotle and the Tragedy of Life.

On Touch and Life in the De Anima

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CITTÀ DI CASTELLO, Umbria, Italy – Late last year, I received a very kind set of questions from Matteo Cosci, a PhD student in Italy at the University of Padua, about my book Aristotle on the Nature of Truth. One of the issues he raised about the book was that it did not flesh out the meaning of the methodological approach that informs the book, an approach I call a “peripatetic legomenology.”

In this, Matteo agreed with Sean Kirkland’s review of the book in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews in which he suggested that “more contextualizing methodological reflections” on the meaning of legomenology would have been welcome.

In this paper, On Touch and Life in the De Anima, I attempt to further flesh out the meaning and nature of the legomenological method by putting it to work on the question of touch in the De Anima. More specifically, because legomenology involves the attempt to discern the nature of a phenomenon by attending to the things having been said (ta legomena) by thoughtful predecessors who have sought to articulate the meaning of the phenomenon itself, this paper seeks to follow the things Aristotle says about touch in the De Anima.

The most effective articulation of the meaning and nature of legomenology is not to offer a meta-reflection on it as a methodology separable from a way of inquiry, but to perform it so that the hermeneutical possibilities it opens may be experienced.

This is the spirit in which this paper was offered, as a performance of legomenology at work on the question of touch in the De Anima. By following the manner in which Aristotle speaks of touch in the De Anima, we identify an itinerary in which the nature of touch is felt to haunt Aristotle’s account of the other proper powers of perceiving – seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting – in such a way that the nature of perceiving itself comes ultimately to language in the chapter on touch in De Anima II.11.

More specifically, the aporia of touch, which seems not to require a separate medium through which to operate as the other powers of perceiving do, appears in the middle of the De Anima, forcing Aristotle to speak not of a medium (to metaxu) but of a mean (to meson). This enables him to articulate the nature of perceiving itself as a mean condition (mesotes) that puts us in intimate touch with the world in which we live. But perceiving turns out not only to be the manner in which animals inhabit the world, but the mode by which the world habituates us to it.

The legomenology of touch in the De Anima uncovers the dynamic, reciprocal relationship between animal life and the world in and with which it lives.

Below is a small slide show with some images from the Circolo, where the Collegium is held:

Digital Dialogue 50: Efficient Cause

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Tom Tuozzo, Professor of Philosophy at Kansas University, joins me for episode 50 of the Digital Dialogue.

Professor Tuozzo is author of the forthcoming book with Cambridge University press entitled “Plato’s Charmides. Positive Elenchus in a ‘Socratic’ Dialogue.”
He has written extensively on Ancient Greek Philosophy, including “The General Account of Pleasure in Plato’s Philebus” Journal of the History of Philosophy 34 (1996) 495-513; “Aristotle’s Theory of the Good and Its Causal Basis” Phronesis 40 (1995) 293-314; “Contemplation, the Noble, and the Mean: The Standard of Moral Virtue in Aristotle’s Ethics” Apeiron 28 (1995) 453-448.
Tom joins me on the Digital Dialogue to discuss an article he published in Epoché vol. 15, no. 2, 2010 entitled: How Dynamic is Aristotle’s Efficient Cause?

Long Responds to Commentators

By | Aristotle on the Nature of Truth, Recognition and Responses, Vita | 8 Comments

In my response to the generous, thoughtful and provocative commentaries of Will McNeill, Drew Hyland and John Lysaker, I attempted to perform the methodological approach I adopted in Aristotle on the Nature of Truth. John Lysaker had asked an important question: how does legomenology welcome interlocutors?

In my response, I tried to model how I hope one committed to the practice of legomenology would enter into dialogue with others.

This meant first listening attentively and with patience, particularly in the face of strong and provocative criticism. Second, in considering a response, I tried to be generous in drawing on the work of those who were generous enough to take the time to read my work so carefully. Finally, I tried to defend the position for which I argued as strongly as possible, recognizing when appropriate, the limits of the things I said and the need to be willing to reconsider my position in the face of new insights.

What you hear here, then, first, is my response to the commentators, and then my responses to questions from those gathered at the 11th annual meeting of the Ancient Philosophy Society.

Christopher Long responds to commentaries on Aristotle on the Nature of Truth

To hear the other comments and my responses, click on the links below:

Here are images from the APS Book Panel:


Lysaker Comments on Aristotle on the Nature of Truth

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Lysaker Animated

Originally uploaded by cplong11

John Lysaker, Professor of Philosophy at Emory University, commented on my book, Aristotle on the Nature of Truth, at the 2011 meeting of the Ancient Philosophy Society.

John’s comments invited me to consider more fully my ethos as an author and challenged me to articulate more fully what animates the legomenological approach.  His concern, in part, is how it is determined what of the things said by one’s predecessors are deserving of response and amplification. This is an important issue, particularly if legomenology is not to become a echo chamber legitimizing one’s own previously held opinions.  “How,” John asks, “does legomenology welcome interlocutors?”
I tried to perform an answer to that in my response to him, but for now, listen to John’s commentary, and particularly to the way he calls into question the propriety of my embracing Woodbridge’s language of “cooperation.” This, indeed, is a central issue; one that we discuss in more detail on episode 48 of the Digital Dialogue, which will be posted in a week or so.

To hear the other comments and my responses, click on the links below:

Here are images from the APS Book Panel:

Hyland Comments on Aristotle on the Nature of Truth

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Drew Hyland

Originally uploaded by cplong11

Drew Hyland, Charles A. Dana Professor of Philosophy at Trinity College, commented on my book, Aristotle on the Nature of Truth, at the 2011 meeting of the Ancient Philosophy Society.

Drew’s comments focused largely on the question of my interpretation of Aristotle’s approach to the thinking of his predecessors. I argue in the book that the practice of “legomenology” involves attending to the things said by one’s predecessors as the place where philosophy must begin.  Further, I suggest that Aristotle’s engagement with his predecessors was not designed simply to legitimize Aristotle’s own position, but was a genuine attempt to think with and against those who in the past had sought to speak the truth of nature.
Drew recognizes this as precisely the way philosophy ought to be practiced, but he questions what he calls my generous reading of Aristotle, suggesting that Aristotle in fact is interested in his predecessors only insofar as they lead up to his own thinking. Drew also calls into question the degree to which I read a Heraclitean understanding of logos into Aristotle. He argues further that I bring Aristotle too close to Plato who made aporia a stance toward the world as opposed to focusing on aporiai which point to a series of problems to solve.  Finally, at the end, Drew calls attention to my interpretation of God in Aristotle.
In his commentary, Drew touched upon two of the most difficult sentences to write in the book. Give a listen to his commentary, and to my response (to be posted in the days to come).
Drew Hyland responds to Aristotle on the Nature of Truth

To hear the other comments and my responses, click on the links below:

Here are images from the APS Book Panel:

Digital Dialogue 47: Narrative

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Claire Colebrook, Edwin Earl Sparks Professor of English here at Penn State joins me for episode 47 of the Digital Dialogue. Claire received her doctorate from the University of Edinburgh and was a Professor of Modern Literary Theory at the University of Edinburgh before joining the faculty of English at Penn State.

Her work focuses on contemporary European philosophy, feminist theory, literary theory, contemporary music, dance and visual culture and political theory. Let me name just a few of her books to give you a sense of the range of her expertise: New Literary Histories, Manchester UP 1997, Ethics and Representation, Edinburgh Press 1999, Understanding Deleuze, Allen and Unwin 2003, Irony and the Work of Philosophy, Nebraska 2002 and Milton, Evil and Literary History, Continuum 2008. She is currently working on two book projects, one on vitalism and another on William Blake and aesthetics.

But she joins me on the Digital Dialogue today to discuss an article she published in the London Consortium in 2006 entitled Happiness, Death and the Meaning of Life. In fact, this article was recommended to me by a loyal listener to the digital dialogue, Dirk Felleman, who suggested that Claire would be a great guest on the Digital Dialogue. So, of course, I wanted to respond to Dirk’s deep engagement with the work we are doing on the Digital Dialogue, and I immediately extended an invitation to Claire, who has graciously accepted.

McNeill Comments on Aristotle on the Nature of Truth

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Drew, Chris, Will and John

Originally uploaded by cplong11

William McNeill
, Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University, commented on my book, Aristotle on the Nature of Truth, at the 2011 meeting of the Ancient Philosophy Society.

Will’s comments offer a very good introduction to the scope, methodology and significance of the book.  His kind words are greatly appreciated as are the important questions he raises.
He begins with a very thoughtful and thorough account of the main themes of the book, including my attempt to understand truth in terms of justice and my development of a new understanding of ecology and ecological community.  He then goes on to explicate the meaning of “legomenology,” which designates the method I argue Aristotle follows. This approach recognizes that the nature of things is revealed in part in and through the things said about them, that our attempts at articulating the truth of things lends insight into something of the nature of things: ta legomena, the things said, are able to reveal something of the truth of ta phainomena, the things appearing.
Will also challenges me to consider more fully the degree to which I privilege a sort of homecoming over “a certain homelessness” and he points me to Heidegger’s interpretation of dynamis in the 1931 lecture “On the Essence and Actuality of Force” on Metaphysics Theta, where Heidegger focuses on negativity, withdrawal and inner finitude as a place where a different vision of Aristotle is developed.  He invites me to address more deeply the implications of modern technicity and globalization on what I have called the “ecological community.”  This, indeed, is an important dimension of the book that remains an open area of research, one that I hope to address as I think more deeply about the original Greek understanding of techne with the help, no doubt, of by Will and Heidegger.
I invite you to listen to Will’s paper here and to respond to the things he says:
To hear the other comments and my responses, click on the links below:

Here are images from the APS Book Panel:

Aristotle on the Nature of Truth Premiers at Sundance

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SUNDANCE, UT – Today there was a panel on my book, Aristotle on the Nature of Truth, at the Ancient Philosophy Society held this year at Sundance in Utah. The panel included Will McNeill, Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University, Drew Hyland, Charles A. Dana Professor of Philosophy at Trinity College, and John Lysaker, Professor of Philosophy at Emory University.

You can find each individual commentary, including sound recordings of their presentation at the links provided below:

I invite you to listen to the recording of my APS Book Panel Introduction.

Here are some images from the book panel:

The text of my introductory comments is below:

This book begins and ends with these words from Heraclitus:

“… wisdom is for the one’s listening to speak truth and act according to nature.”

It was, indeed, by way of a certain listening that this book itself came into being; for by attending to the ways my daughters found their ways into the world–at first by touch and taste, and now increasingly by words, spoken, whispered, sung and written that I was first able to discern something of the language of nature and, I hope, of the nature of truth–which inhabits the space between being and language.

But in speaking at the beginning of the book as I do about my daughters, I only spoke part of the truth. For this book was born in the wake of my move to Penn State, where the thinking of Heidegger has long been permitted to engage that of American Pragmatism, and the spirit of that pragmatism, infused with continental phenomenology, has allowed a certain approach to Ancient Greek Philosophy to flourish. And yet, to say this is still inadequate; for the Aristotle who speaks in this book is one who has been nourished by what is now over a decade’s worth of conversations, with many of you here in the Ancient Philosophy Society.

So, I can imagine no better place than this place, no more appropriate group than you, in which and with whom to embark on a discussion of a book that attempts to articulate the nature of truth and the truth of nature.

As recently as a week ago, I had intended use this time to frame the book, to speak of its method and structure, of the way it is organized around the central metaphor of articulation, which for the Greeks functions also as a joint or lever capable of translating those rudimentary encounters in perceiving into the vernacular of thinking. I had intended to speak of truth, not as correspondence, but as the ability to respond together with the things of nature, that is, I had intended to speak of truth as a co-response-ability.

But that was before I received the three gifts you are about to hear. For Will, Drew and John, have responded to the things I have said in my book in ways that do justice at once to it and to the truth. And although to be heard is a great gift, greater still is to hear the articulate responses of friends whom one holds dear–even if, as Aristotle so eloquently reminds us, “although both our friends and the truth are loved, it is more sacred to give truth the higher honor” (NE, 1096a16-7).

Digital Dialogue 45: Soul and Substance

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For episode 45 of the Digital Dialogue, I am joined by Josh Hayes who is currently a Lecturer at Santa Clara University. He has been a Visiting Assistant Professor at Loyola Marymount University and Post-doctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Stanford University and he graduated with his PhD from the New School in 2005.

His scholarship focuses upon Aristotle, particularly the history of Aristotelian interpretation in the Western and Islamic traditions, and the philosophy of Martin Heidegger.
His recent publications include “Being-Affected: The Pathos of Truth,” in Interpreting Heidegger: Critical Essays (Cambridge University Press), “Deconstructing Dasein: Heidegger’s Earliest Interpretations of Aristotle’s De Anima,” published in The Review of Metaphysics 61 (December 2007), and “Heidegger, Aristotle,and Animal Life,” Philosophy Today (2007).

He joins me on the Digital Dialogue today to discuss his essay: Being Ensouled: The Role of Desire as an Efficient Cause in Aristotle’s De Anima.

Aristotle's Phenomenology in Colombia

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At the Universidad de los Andes

Originally uploaded by cplong11

BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA – This evening I gave a public lecture at the Universidad de los Andes entitled Aristotle’s Phenomenology of Truth in which I articulate the basic argument of my book, Aristotle on the Nature of Truth. The lecture, and the book, attempt to re-think the nature of truth not as correspondance, but in terms of the ability to respond together with the things of nature.

The lecture locates in Aristotle resources by which to understand truth in terms of the attempt to put words to things in ways that do justice to the ways they express themselves. I draw on Heideggerian phenomenology and American naturalism in order to identify Aristotelian phenomenology as a ‘legomenology’ that attends to the ways things are said in order to gain access to something of the nature of things.

The ability to respond to the logos of things is at the root of an understanding of truth in terms of justice.

Here is a slideshow of the visit to Colombia:

Aristotle on the Nature of Truth

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Christopher P. Long, Aristotle on the Nature of Truth, 1st ed. (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

This book reconsiders the traditional correspondence theory of truth, which takes truth to be a matter of correctly representing objects.

Drawing Heideggerian phenomenology into dialogue with American pragmatic naturalism, I undertake a rigorous reading of Aristotle that articulates the meaning of truth as a cooperative activity between human beings and the natural world that is rooted in our endeavors to do justice to the nature of things.

By following a path of Aristotle’s thinking that leads from our rudimentary encounters with things in perceiving through human communication to thinking, this book traces an itinerary that uncovers the nature of truth as ecological justice, and it finds the nature of justice in our attempts to articulate the truth of things.

Endorsements of the book:

“An original interpretation of Aristotle that subtly weaves together the themes of truth and justice. Christopher Long shows how the question of truth leads us ineluctably to justice and the question of justice leads us back to truth. He combines a rigorous reading of Aristotle’s texts with an imaginative discussion of how American pragmatic naturalism and Heideggerian phenomenology illuminate Aristotle’s attentive response to the world. Through Long’s rich text, we can virtually hear Aristotle’s voice speaking to us in new, relevant, and exciting ways.”

— Richard J. Bernstein, New School for Social Research

“Christopher Long’s new book, Aristotle and the Nature of Truth, is a remarkably fresh and original treatment of one of the most central topics in all of philosophy. Long shows through penetrating and persuasive scholarship that for Aristotle the question of truth is about the nature of things and the things of nature. Thus, this is as much a book about nature and about ecology as it is about truth and being, and it is an indispensable tool for those whose work in environmental philosophy is committed to mining the tradition in order to retrieve a theoretical basis for a new sense of ecological justice. Long philosophizes with a remarkable gracefulness and he has a unique ability to work across methodological traditions to offer a reading of Aristotle that draws resources equally from phenomenology, pragmatism, and analytic philosophy. This book will contribute a great deal to overcoming the polarization that inhibits the usual philosophical approaches to ancient Greek philosophy.”

— Walter A. Brogan,Villanova University

“This is a boldly conceived, painstakingly researched, and exquisitely executed work. The author’s intensely focused attention on the relevant texts is matched by a hermeneutic sensibility animated by imagination, probity, and a steadying awareness of Aristotle’s principal preoccupations and commitments. Christopher Long exemplifies what he takes to be at the heart of Aristotle’s understanding of truth – responsibility in the sense of responsiveness (including reflexive responsiveness). His reading of Aristotle as an integral part of philosophical naturalism, taken to be a living philosophical tradition, is just one of the notable and valuable aspects of this unique contribution to contemporary philosophy, not just contemporary scholarship. At every turn, Professor Long shows in detail the relevance of Aristotle’s writings – indeed, the force of his arguments and the depth of his insights.”

— Vincent Colapietro, Pennsylvania State University

“This is a deeply insightful, genuinely important book that says things far beyond what its title might suggest. It is at once a learned and original study of Aristotle and his contemporary importance; a brilliant and productive dialogue with naturalism, pragmatism, and existential phenomenology; and a profound and moving meditation on truth, nature, and justice.
Aristotle and the Nature of Truth
is philosophy at its best.”

— John J. Stuhr, Emory University

Digital Dialogue 41: Time and Motion

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Francisco Gonzalez, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ottawa. Frank’s work centers on ancient philosophy, contemporary heremeutics and the relation between metaphysics and ethics/politics.

His first book, Dialectic and Dialogue: Plato’s Practice of Philosophical Inquiry, Northwestern University Press, 1998, offers insight into dialogue as a philosophical practice. This book has been of enormous help to me as I consider the nature of Platonic politics as rooted in the writing of dialogues.

His most recent book, A Question of Dialogue: Plato and Heidegger, Penn State Press, 2009, engages Heidegger’s reading of Plato and argues that Heidegger never really entered into a philosophically fruitful dialogue with Plato.

Frank comes to the Digital Dialogue to discuss the paper he gave on November 3rd, 2010 at the Ancient Philosophy Society gathering at the 2010 meeting of SPEP in Montreal, Canada. That paper, entitled, “What’s in a Moment? Time for Aristotle (and Heidegger)”, takes up Heidegger’s engagement with Aristotle’s notion of kinesis or motion in a number of unpublished lectures from the 1920’s in order to argue that Heidegger privileges kinesis in a way that eclipses the philosophical power of Aristotle’s own understanding of energeia, or being-at-work.


Digital Dialogue 41: Francisco Gonzalez on Heidegger and Aristotle

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Digital Dialogue 19: Politics After Rights

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Adriel Trott, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas, Pan American joins me for episode 19 of the Digital Dialogue. Adriel received her PhD in Philosophy from Villanova University in 2008 with a dissertation entitled “The Challenge of Physis: Reconciling Nature and Reason in Aristotle’s Politics.”

Her areas of specialization are Ancient Greek Thought and Social and Political Philosophy. Her work is informed by the continental and feminist traditions.
She has come to the Digital Dialogue to talk about the recent paper she delivered at SPEP entitled: “The Wrongs of Rights: The Onto-Political Logic of Human Rights from Arendt to Badiou.”

Digital Dialogue 19 with Adriel Trott: Politics After Rights

The Saying of Things

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NEW YORK CITY – Today I returned to the New School to present what will be the first chapter of my forthcoming book, The Saying of Things: The Truth of Nature and the Nature of Truth in Aristotle.  It was wonderful to return home to the New School to present my latest work and to engage in the tradition of rigorous and lively dialogue that makes the New School such a rich site of intellectual development. The questions were welcomed and pressed me to think through more rigorously my understanding of “doing justice to things” and “ontological response-ability.”

I was happy to know that although the building has changed, the spirit of the New School for Social Research endures.

Saving the Things Said

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Long, Christopher P. “Saving ta legomena: Aristotle and the History of Philosophy,” The Review of Metaphysics 60 (2006): 247-267.

By taking seriously the extent to which Aristotle understands the things said (ta legemona) by his predecessors as genuine phenomena that express something of the truth about beings, this essay challenges the orthodox understanding of Aristotle’s approach to the history of philosophy as merely a thinly veiled attempt to legitimize the authority of his own philosophical ideas. Drawing on both the continental phenomenological approach to Aristotle and the Anglo-American analytic and pragmatic recognition of the important role an orientation toward ta phainomena play in Aristotle’s method, this article turns to two specific texts—the Physics and the Parts of Animals—to articulate how Aristotle’s engagement with his historical predecessors is itself an integral moment of his philosophical investigation into the being of natural beings.

John Herman Randall and Hans Georg-Gadamer provide the conceptual vocabulary through which Aristotle’s engagement with his predecessors can be best understood; for each in his own way expresses the view that genuine philosophy opens new possibilities for the future by critically engaging the past. The essay concludes by suggesting at once the limitations of Aristotle’s approach to his predecessors and the continuing importance of his recognition that philosophy cannot be pursued in isolation from its history.

The Review of Metaphysics has generously allowed me to make the full text of this article available in .pdf format. Read it here: