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David Ebrey
Humboldt-University, Berlin
  1. The Asceticism of the Phaedo: Pleasure, Purification, and the Soul’s Proper Activity.David Ebrey - 2017 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 99 (1):1-30.
    I argue that according to Socrates in the Phaedo we should not merely evaluate bodily pleasures and desires as worthless or bad, but actively avoid them. We need to avoid them because they change our values and make us believe falsehoods. This change in values and acceptance of falsehoods undermines the soul’s proper activity, making virtue and happiness impossible for us. I situate this account of why we should avoid bodily pleasures within Plato’s project in the Phaedo of providing Pythagorean (...)
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  2. Annotated Bibliography on Plato's Phaedo.David Ebrey - 2017 - Oxford Bibliographies.
    8000 Word annotated bibliography on the Phaedo, with roughly 70 entries. Note that the subscription version is a bit easier to navigate. The hyperlinks work in this pdf, but you can not as easily jump to the different sections.
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  3. Meno's Paradox in Context.David Ebrey - 2014 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (1):4-24.
    I argue that Meno’s Paradox targets the type of knowledge that Socrates has been looking for earlier in the dialogue: knowledge grounded in explanatory definitions. Socrates places strict requirements on definitions and thinks we need these definitions to acquire knowledge. Meno’s challenge uses Socrates’ constraints to argue that we can neither propose definitions nor recognize them. To understand Socrates’ response to the challenge, we need to view Meno’s challenge and Socrates’ response as part of a larger disagreement about the value (...)
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  4. Why Are There No Conditionals in Aristotle’s Logic?David Ebrey - 2015 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 53 (2):185-205.
    Aristotle presents a formal logic in the Prior Analytics in which the premises and conclusions are never conditionals. In this paper I argue that he did not simply overlook conditionals, nor does their absence reflect a metaphysical prejudice on his part. Instead, he thinks that arguments with conditionals cannot be syllogisms because of the way he understands the explanatory requirement in the definition of a syllogism: the requirement that the conclusion follow because of the premises. The key passage is Prior (...)
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  5. A New Philosophical Tool in the Meno: 86e-87c.David Ebrey - 2013 - Ancient Philosophy 33 (1):75-96.
    I argue that the technique Socrates describes in the Meno at 86e-87c allows him to make progress without definitions, even while accepting that definitions are necessary for knowledge. Some contend that the technique involves provisionally accepting a claim. I argue, instead, that it provides a secure biconditional that one can use to reduce the question one cares care about to a new question that one thinks will be easier to answer.
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  6. Socrates on Why We Should Inquire.David Ebrey - 2017 - Ancient Philosophy 37 (1):1-17.
    This paper examines whether Socrates provides his interlocutors with good reasons to seek knowledge of what virtue is, reasons that they are in a position to appreciate. I argue that in the Laches he does provide such reasons, but they are not the reasons that are most commonly identified as Socratic. Socrates thinks his interlocutors should be motivated not by the idea that virtue is knowledge nor by the idea that knowledge is good for its own sake, but rather by (...)
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  7.  52
    Blood, Matter, and Necessity.David Ebrey - 2015 - In Theory and Practice in Aristotle's Natural Science. Cambridge, UK: pp. 61-76.
    According to most scholars, in the Parts of Animals Aristotle frequently provides explanations in terms of material necessity, as well as explanations in terms of that-for-the-sake-of-which, i.e., final causes. In this paper, I argue that we misunderstand both matter and the way that Aristotle explains things using necessity if we interpret Aristotle as explaining things in terms of material necessity. Aristotle does not use the term “matter” very frequently in his detailed discussions of animal parts; when he does use it, (...)
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  8. Aristotle's Motivation for Matter.David Ebrey - 2007 - Dissertation,
    Aristotle’s Motivation for Matter Why does Aristotle make matter so central to his account of the natural world, making it a principle of nature and one of the four causes? Although there is considerable interest in how Aristotle conceives of matter, scholars rarely investigate why he thinks of it as fundamental to the natural world. Some simply ask why Aristotle thinks there must be matter. Other interpreters do not even agree that we should ask this question; they claim that Aristotle (...)
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  9.  41
    The Value of Rule in Plato’s Dialogues: A Reply to Melissa Lane.David Ebrey - 2016 - Plato: The Internet Journal of the International Plato Society 16:75-80.
    A reply to Melissa Lane's "Antianarchia: interpreting political thought in Plato" In these comments I focus on how to think of antianarchia as an element of Plato's political thought, and in doing so raise some methodological questions about how to read Plato’s dialogues, focusing on what is involved in attributing views to Plato in general.
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