The essays gathered in this collection demonstrate the breadth and depth of Aryeh Kosman’s scholarship over the past thirty-five years. Virtues of Thought is a very welcome contribution to Ancient Greek scholarship and includes several seminal essays in the study of Plato and Aristotle. Kosman’s highly engaging readings bring difficult ancient texts to new life and make timeless questions feel timely.
Virtues of Thought is an excursion through interconnecting philosophical topics in Plato and Aristotle, under the expert guidance of Aryeh Kosman. Exploring what these two foundational figures have to say about the nature of human awareness and understanding, Kosman concludes that ultimately the virtues of thought are to be found in the joys and satisfactions that come from thinking philosophically, whether we engage in it ourselves or witness others' participation.
Kosman examines Aristotle's complex understanding of the role that reason plays in practical choice and moral deliberation, and the specific forms of thinking that are involved in explaining the world and making it intelligible to ourselves and others. Critical issues of consciousness and the connection between thinking and acting in Aristotle's philosophical psychology lead to a discussion of the importance of emotion in his theory of virtue. Theories of perception and cognition are highlighted in works such as Aristotle's Posterior Analytics. When his focus turns to Plato, Kosman gives original accounts of several dialogues concerning Plato's treatment of love, self-knowledge, justice, and the complex virtue known as sophrosyne in such texts as Charmides and the Republic.
Bringing together in a single volume previously unpublished essays along with classics in the field, Virtues of Thought makes a significant contribution to our study of ancient Greek philosophy.
Kosman is one of the most interesting and insightful readers of Plato and Aristotle of his generation; he is in fact one of the few people equally interesting and insightful on both authors. Many fine readers of Aristotle have no ear for Plato and many readers with Kosman’s sensitivity to the literary dimensions of Plato are ill-equipped to deal with the rigors of argument featured no less in the work of Plato than in that of Aristotle. Virtues of Thought is the work of a real master.
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