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Revista Archai, Issue: 29, Published: 2020
  • Ancient Perspectives on Technology Editorial

    Postiglione, Enrico
  • The Demon of Technology: The History of Western Demonology and its role in the contemporary nature-technology debate Article

    Postiglione, Enrico

    Abstract in English:

    Abstract: Contemporary advanced technology seems to raise new and fundamental questions as it apparently provides a human subject with an infinite range of incoming possibilities. Accordingly, research on the implications of technology is massive and splits into hard critics and faithful supporters. Yet, technological activities cannot be defined in terms of their products alone. Indeed, every technological behaviour unfolds the very same tension against what would have been naturally impossible, in absence of that same behaviour. Thus, the debate on technology appears to be independent from any level of technological sophistication, and so its roots can be traced back in the dawn of Western thought. In this article, I argue that the faithful and sceptic views today at stake on hard-technology can be explained as a revival of the twofold attitude towards demons, developed in the history of Western thought. I show how demons have always embodied the human natural limits and the incomprehensible aspects of reality. Exactly as in the case of demons, hard-technology is now seen as a fearful destroyer of both nature understood as a complex system and human naturalness or as a trustful way to save humanity from decay, which complements what is naturally imperfect and, then, perfectible. Yet, none of these irreducible approaches opens a satisfactory path towards the solution of the contemporary issues on technology. On the contrary, by drawing upon ancient Greek neutral demonology the debate on technology may be definitively returned to its teleological and ethical dimension.
  • Architectural Technologies And The Origins Of Greek Philosophy Artigos

    Hahn, Robert

    Abstract in English:

    Abstract: In this essay on ancient architectural technologies, I propose to challenge the largely conventional idea of the transcendent origins of philosophy, that philosophy dawned only when the mind turned inside, away from the world grasped by the body and senses. By focusing on one premier episode in the history of western thinking - the emergence of Greek philosophical thought in the cosmic architecture of Anaximander of Miletus - I am arguing that the abstract, speculative, rationalising thinking characteristic of philosophy, is indeed rooted in practical activities, and emerges by means of them rather than in repudiation of them. The spirit of rational inquiry emerged from several factors but the contributing role of monumental architecture and building technologies has been vastly under-appreciated. In the process of figuring out how to build on an enormous scale that the eastern Greeks had never before tried, the architects discovered and revealed nature’s order in their thaumata, the very experience with which Aristotle claims that philosophy begins. Ancient architecture and building technologies were on display for decades with monumental temple building. In front of Anaximander and his community, a new vision of nature spawned that, surprisingly, humans could grasp and command. The building of these thaumata, these objects of wonder, offered proof of the human capacity to control nature, and opened a new vision of our human rational capacity to understand the world and our place in it.
  • The Techne of Nutrition in Ancient Greek Philosophy Artigos

    Preus, Anthony

    Abstract in English:

    Abstract: The preparation of food and nutrition is a pervasive techne in the classical Greek world. Indeed, food technology may be a defining characteristic of humanity (Levi-Strauss, 1964). We begin with a glimpse of a tension in the use of the word techne in relation to the preparation of food in Plato’s Gorgias 462d-e. Turning to the Presocratics, we discern three distinct perspectives on food, those of Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and the treatise Regimen (Περὶ Διαίτης). In Regimen, we find an anticipation of the distinctions made by Plato in the Gorgias passage, and trace some of the implications in what we may call the “food technology” of this treatise that manages to be both philosophical and technically informative.
  • Theurgy and Transhumanism Artigos

    Steinhart, Eric

    Abstract in English:

    Abstract: Theurgy was a system of magical practices in the late Roman Empire. It was applied Neoplatonism. The theurgists aimed to enable human bodies to assume divine attributes, that is, to become deities. I aim to show that much of the structure of theurgical Neoplatonism appears in transhumanism. Theurgists and transhumanists share a core Platonic-Pythagorean metaphysics. They share goals and methods. The theurgists practiced astrology, the reading of entrails, the consultation of oracles, channeling deities, magic, and the animation of statues. The transhumanist counterparts of those practices are genetics, self-tracking with biosensors, artificial intellects like Google and Siri, brain-computer interfaces, programming, and robotics. Transhumanist techno-theurgy shows how Neoplatonism can be a modern philosophical way of life.
  • The End of Love? Questioning technocracy in Plato’s Symposium Artigos

    Krinks, Philip

    Abstract in English:

    Abstract: Plato’s Symposium contains two accounts of eros which explicitly aim to reach a telos. The first is the technocratic account of the doctor Eryximachus, who seeks an exhaustive account of eros, common to all things with a physical nature. For him medical techne can create an orderly erotic harmony; while religion is defined as the curing of disorderly eros. Against this Socrates recounts the priestess Diotima finding a telos, not in technical exhaustiveness, but in a dialectical definition of eros in the light of the good. What is common to all human beings is the desire to be in eternal relation to the good. All technai are forms of poiesis, by which things pass from being to not being. The erotic harmony recommended by Eryximachus, no less than the Aristophanes” recommendation of eros as “of a half, or of a whole’, is subject to the question whether “it happens to be good’. A self-harmonisation produced by techne can no more evade the sovereignty of good, than can projects of self-completion with a beloved in our likeness.
  • Towards an artistic Account of Nature: Morphology, Hylology, Hylomorphism Artigos

    Porceddu Cilione, Pier Alberto

    Abstract in English:

    Abstract: A long philosophical tradition has claimed the fact that the concepts of physis and techne should remain radically distinct. But an equally important tradition has instead considered the question in less abstract terms. What can encourage us to rethink the question of hylomorphism is the radical rethinking of the terms at stake. How should the relationship between matter and form (two fundamental Aristotelian concepts) be thought? How should the distinction between natural form and artificial form be considered? The attempt that is proposed here is to consider art as the conceptual mediator that holds together a morphological determination of nature and a technical determination of art. ‘Artificiality’ should not be understood as the opposite of ‘naturalness’: art here means the possibility of thinking of techne already at work in nature, justifying the sense of a coming hylomorphism.
  • Plato’s Theory of the Arts in the Gorgias and in the Republic Artigos

    Schmid, Walter Thomas

    Abstract in English:

    Abstract: This paper examines Socrates’ theory of the arts in the Gorgias and in the Republic. It shows how that theory changes, as the discussion takes focus first in relation to moderation, then to justice, where it is tied to the idea of a techne of rule, to notions of virtuous work and civic health, and to five levels of ‘art’ represented in the cave. It argues that both Socrates’ vision of a scientific and benevolent political art and Thrasymachus’ sophistic theory of tyrannical rule are undercut in the dialogue, the former by doubts concerning the epistemic closure it seems based on, the latter by the tyrant’s character, which impels him toward self-destructive government.
  • Review of Calenda, G. Un Universo Aperto. La cosmologia di Parmenide e la struttura della Terra (2017) Resenhas

    Privitello, Lucio Angelo
  • Review of Chaisemartin, N.; Theodorescu, D. Le théâtre d’Aphrodisias : les structures scéniques. Aphrodisias 8 (2017) Resenhas

    Duarte, Adriane da Silva
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