I argue for the interpretation of Anaximander’s world as an unstable system. The inconsistency found by scholars in Theophrastus/Simplicius’ text disappears when it is realized that the elemental forces of nature do not change into each other. They are in the Infinite in time as well as in space. To some extent preference is given to Aristotle’s evidence over the doxographical vulgate habitually derived from Theophrastus, though of course the Theophrastean passage containing the verbatim quotation remains the primary witness.
This article aims at reconstructing the most damaged part of the Strasbourg papyrus of Empedocles (fragment f-d), by taking into account all the parameters at our disposal: palaeography, metre and, of course, content. According to this attempt, Empedocles would be describing the very moment in the phase of increasing Strife when the whole-natured creatures (the ολοφυ) were split into male and female beings. Thus, the first part of the fragment becomes very similar, in its content, to fr. 62 D.-K. and to Plato’s parody of Empedocles in Aristophanes’ myth in the Symposium, while its second part emerges as containing new details of the process by which double creatures were split into two. If this reconstruction is accepted, its implication will be that Aetius’ presentation of Empedocles’ cosmic cycle as a fourfold continuous process is deeply inadequate.
In Republic II Glaucon assigns to Socrates the task of praising justice for itself. What it means to praise justice for itself is unclear. A new interpretation is offered on the basis of an analysis of Glaucon’s division of goods. A distinction is developed between criterial benefits, those valuable consequences of a thing which provide a standard for evaluating a thing as a good instance of its type, and fringe benefits, valuable consequences which do not provide such a standard. Socrates is expected to praise justice by describing the benefits it constitutes as a valuable activity of soul. He may also use the criterial benefits of justice but not its fringe benefits. This account of Socrates’ task is superior to those interpretations which rule out all use of valuable consequences in praising justice and to those interpretations which fail to preserve the distinction between the second and third classes of goods.