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Being and Politics: Seth Benardete on Aristotle's Metaphysics

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Fall, 2005 - Vol. 34, No. 1

Although he will not be remembered principally as an interpreterof Aristotle, Seth Benardete was much engaged with thisphilosopher throughout his life of teaching and writing. He taughtseven graduate seminars on texts of Aristotle between 1968 and1993, and published remarkable essays on De Anima and theMetaphysics in the 1970s. Benardete approached Aristotle as a trueSocratic who philosophizes in a Platonic manner. The centralproblem of philosophy is the soul, inquiry about which opens theway to the nature of being. The way to the soul, however, must bethrough the realm of opinion, and that means above all the politicalphenomena of the arts, the laws, and the gods. The soul must be thecentral theme of philosophy because all efforts to grasp the natureof being directly fail, as Socrates relates in the autobiographicaldiscussion of the "two sailings" in the Phaedo. Indeed the elementsof first philosophy or wisdom seem to be incompatible. Even so, theystrangely exist together in the soul of the being that seeks wisdom.Benardete saw that Aristotle employed his own version of theSocratic-Platonic procedure of dividing and collecting those elements.The first approach to them for Socrates is to posit them asseparate ideas; their appearance of separateness, however, must beabandoned in further inquiry. Similarly Aristotle seems to foundwholly separate sciences of distinct subject-matters, but on closerexamination one sees that the treatises contain diverging accounts ofthe soul, nature, and being which demand to be put together. Thatthe task of combination is not finished by Aristotle, and is perhapsnot finishable, belies the traditional view that Aristotle understandshimself as attaining wisdom, and as proposing a metaphysics andcosmology which, "as distinguished from Plato's, is unqualifiedlyseparable from the quest for the best political order."2

Metaphysics and the Soul

Benardete notes a peculiarity of Aristotle's Metaphysics at thebeginning of his essay "On Wisdom and Philosophy: The First TwoChapters of Aristotle's Metaphysics A."3 After presenting critiques ofhis predecessors in the first books of his Physics and De Anima,Aristotle offers in the second books his own definitions of nature andsoul. The second book of the Metaphysics, however, "seems to benothing but a series of questions" (396). The inquiries of metaphysicsor first philosophy lack something self-evidently prior, such as soul."Soul is even more self-evident than nature," Benardete writes in hisessay on De Anima. "Soul alone is in being first for us first by nature."The immediate access of the soul to itself permits a high degree ofaccuracy in its investigation. Yet "for all that it admits of precision itstill remains an object of wonder."4 "Nature and soul are thereregardless of what anyone might say about them (Physics 193a3); butwithout perplexity there is nothing to metaphysics. Metaphysicsseems to be the only science that in asking questions discovers all ofits own field, and so, in completing philosophy, somehow returnsphilosophy to its origin in wonder" (396). If the subject-matter ofmetaphysics is questioning, then the soul as questioning provides theaccess to its field. In a sense its subject is the soul as questioning, orthe soul as wondering. Accordingly, metaphysics as inquiry about theprinciples and causes of being has special regard for the being of thesoul as wondering. A form of psychology centering on the being ofwonder is the core of metaphysics.

In De Anima the soul studied with precision is not the soul aswondering, but the soul as knowing. Crucial to the account isphantasia, as the link between the noetic and the aesthetic as wellas between thought and desire. But the discussion does not disclosewhat makes these linkages possible; De Anima lacks a causal accountof the unity of the soul. The aporia of the Physics—how does therealm of unchanging form relate to nature as the realm ofchange?—is still its aporia. The precise account of soul cannot bea causal account. It shows the "that" of the powers of the soul, butonly incompletely the "why." The focus of the account is on the"now": what is, or can be, actual to the soul at any moment.Phantasia operates in the soul nearly always, even in dreams, butwonder is a passing condition. The path to being may be throughwonder as the key to the unity of the soul, yet that key is strangelynot a permanent feature of the soul, found in every "now." Theremay be an important connection between De Anima's abstractionfrom wonder and its abstraction from the question of causal unity.Both are central themes of the Metaphysics. De Anima comes tothe threshold of first philosophy by treating the highest condition(self-thinking) of the highest part of the whole (the rational soul)but it does not pass over the threshold.

Perhaps wonder involves a special case of phantasia. In DeAnima phantasia is the prime evidence for the peculiar doublenature of the mind. Mind is receptive to the noeton, considered apartfrom the whole, but at the same time the mind is open to all beings,to the whole as such. In light of the mind's universal openness it ishard to grasp how the mind can have any distinctive nature, or howit can be anything except pure possibility. But the mind must becapable of an active initiation of thought. Knowing is negativity,insofar the mind grasps the sensible particular not just as itself, butas an instance of noetic form, and hence as other to itself. Straighteningchalk lines so they can be read as pure lines of geometry entailsseeing the arbitrariness of the sensible. But if intellection is only thereception of the noetic, another power must come to its aid to carryout the transformation of the sensible. Phantasia does this bysuspending the truth-claim of the sensible and converting "I see aman" into "It seems to be a man." It allows the sensible image to beviewed just as image. This power enables the mind to be both turnedtoward itself and open to the whole of being. Phantasia can try to becomplete in itself, since its dwelling on the appearance as appearanceseems to free it from being, but its reading of being as onlyimage presupposes the recognition of being. When it serves intellect,phantasia allows the intellect to find the noetic in the sensible, andits suspension of the given is only a step toward understanding.Yet the two actions are inseparable, and thus the rational animalis characterized by a problematic freedom. This account ofphantasia surely has an important connection with poetry, and inthe Metaphysics poetry is related to wonder.

But De Anima makes none of these connections. Outside itspurview lies a deeper negativity than that of seeing the image asimage, and therewith also a deeper doubleness of the mind. Poetryand philosophy address these issues as rivals; it is only fitting that theproblem of doubleness should have a twofold solution. By abstractingfrom such issues the account of De Anima proves to be, in morethan one sense, less than poetic.

Freedom and Necessity

In chapter one of Metaphysics A the examination of opinionsabout wisdom and knowledge substitutes for the lack of the selfevidentlyprior. The first phenomena of opinion are the delight ineffortless acquisition of knowledge, and admiration of thosemanifestly superior to ourselves in knowing. Delight and admirationshare selfless freedom from calculation. But the absence ofcalculation and ratiocination, which characterize the arts asknowledge of causes, is a deficiency in the natural desire to know.As emerges later, philosophic wonder includes both selflessdelight and the self-regarding concern with cause, and thuswonder as complex comes to light through partial perspectives onit. (By contrast Heidegger's exclusion of calculation from opennessto being impoverishes the complexity of the origin of philosophy.)At first the choice of sight, as the most revelatory of thesenses, and the reasoning of the arts seem wholly unrelated.Similarly the delight in seeing and knowing, which is always presentand at work, is not the same as the desire to learn. "To love wisdomis not in the same sense natural" as this delight (397). The naturaldelight is indiscriminate, non-hierarchical, and satisfied by thenoting of any differences, being only "the most satisfying fillerof our idle moments." It seems that humans are either idle orlaboring, with these opposites seeming to form no natural unity.

Benardete quotes from the Politics: "Man is by nature thepolitical animal." Clearly this sense of the natural points away fromthe idle desire to know. Art and calculative reasoning are related topolitical life through their common conditions: speech and thedivision of labor. The introduction of the arts and therewith the cityin the Metaphysics brings into view the soul as a needful being. Yetspeech is dual, as both the articulation of the beings and as means ofcommunication. It is doubtful that human communities came intobeing for the sharing of knowledge, even if they arose in a noncalculativeway. Thus in the Socratic dialogues philosophic conversionis the rare coincidence of the two sides of speech. The dualityof speech can be restated as the duality of the human as such: "As akind (anthropos) man is political; as individual (pantes anthropoi) hedesires to know" (397–98). The difference between the human askind and the human as individual is reflected in the differencebetween genesis and telos in the city. Since speech is not accidentallyrelated to knowledge, "perhaps knowledge as that which alone istruly sharable, is the ultimate ground for human society." Butultimate end and temporal origin, or the eidetic and genetic ordersof being, are not the same (although poetry seeks to identify them)."The city as an association of freemen could thus be a divination ofthe freedom that belongs preeminently to the highest kind ofwisdom" (398). Modern criticisms of the Aristotelian account of thefree life of theoria claim that it is a mere prejudice, rooted in thevanity of an aristocratic nomos. But this stance willfully denies thenatural force of the difference between the free and the needful, andthus supposes that human incompleteness, being an accident ofcircumstances, can be remedied by human self-production.

For Aristotle the duality is so basic that it is evident in sight itself,which is at once the most pleasant and the most useful of the senses.Sight more than other senses reveals wholes, and wholeness is theobject of both eros and knowing. Sight as both "most needful andmost delightful perhaps reflects the fact that form (eidos) too, is acause" (398). The connection of sight with eidos may relate to itsfreedom, for in choosing sight most of all senses, we perfect naturaldesire. This account of sight runs contrary to the tragic wisdom of thepoets, since the freedom of sight, our ability to turn it on or off atwill, relates to its power to put the greatest distance betweenourselves and whatever it brings to light. Oedipus's self-blindingseems to indicate the impossibility of such cognitive distance, as ifthe tragic hero always sees and so always intends to act. "To dream(horan) is also to see" (398). Even so, wisdom cannot be understoodwithout art, and hence without poetry, for art is the index of thehuman difference. Some animals live solely by perception, andothers need memory and instruction. But the human not onlysupplements the given with experience; it perfects experience withart. The greater admiration accorded to the expert over theexperienced amateur—to the botanist over the gardener with agreen thumb—attests to widespread intuition of art as the markof human superiority. We esteem inventors more than theirinventions, since utility is not the highest ground of esteem.Aristotle exaggerates the separation of experience and the arts inorder to bring out the element of luxury in the arts. This exaggeration,it could be said, is reflecting the tendency of opinion to lookaway from possible connections between the beautiful or uselesson the one hand and human neediness or incompleteness on theother. Although the arts may be a sign of human superiority, theywould not exist without human incompleteness. "Man seems to bemore incomplete than any other animal" (399).

Notably absent from chapter one's list of ways of knowing isprudence. Benardete observes that the unification of prudence withthe other characteristics of wisdom, discussed in chapter two,remains a question. Prudence is neither art nor science, but itunmistakably arises out of the useful, such that the beauty andfreedom of precise knowing are alien to it. All the same, it has acomprehensiveness of vision unavailable to any of the specializedarts. Prudence points to the central perplexity of wisdom: how tocombine comprehensiveness with precision. If prudence is moreclosely allied to the useful than to the free, then comprehensivenesscomes to light more readily from the standpoint of the useful. But theaccount of wisdom stresses the requirements that relate to free andprecise knowing. Accordingly, it can be doubted whether wisdomthus described attains true comprehensiveness.

Art and History

Benardete follows Aristotle in taking up another aspect of thecontrast between art and experience. Art grasps the universal and istherefore teachable; experience is always attached to the particular,and is deaf and dumb. Art discovers causes with universal insightswhich demote experience. "In its own eyes, art has no ‘history'"(399). With art the mind reaches a plane above the genetic series ofperception, imagination, memory and experience. One recallsAristotle's account of the double sense of ousia as concrete wholeand essence. Benardete notes that for experience's particularism"Socrates is accidentally man" whereas for art's universalism "Manis accidentally Socrates" (400). For Aristotle both are right and bothare wrong. The Republic shows how the identification of justice withart in the exchange with Thrasymachus leads more directly tophilosophy than the appeal to experience by Cephalus. Yet experienceas "the cognitive counterpart to virtue" is closer to character.Philosophy acknowledges the claims of both art and experience,Aristotle could be saying, since in order to grasp the universal onemust reason and live as a particular being, as Socrates or as Glaucon.If that is so, when art makes the turn to philosophy it can no longerignore its own history. Aristotle introduces his account of the causesby relating the history of their discovery. Yet art and history neversimply coincide, and no practitioner of an art can fully explain howhe attained his insights. Even the highest science has conditions inincommunicable experiences.

Thus it is not surprising that even within the arts themselves thisduality appears. The opinion that the arts more removed from needare closer to wisdom rendered mathematics and poetry supremeamong the arts in early times. But apart from impracticality the twohave little in common: mathematics is eminently teachable andpoetry is held to be unteachable and impossible without inspiration.Both lack the knowledge of causes which originates in the usefularts. Thus the contrast of communicable art and incommunicableexperience gets complicated by the other contrast of the free and thenecessary. The contrasts do not coincide. The human delight inknowing can detach the universal from the origin of its discovery inneed. But the arts of leisure which thereby rise above themechanical arts do not form a true whole. The disparity ofmathematics and poetry indicates the illusion of supposing thatwholeness is inherent in free activity, since freedom remainsdivided between the teachable and the unteachable, the preciseand the allusive. The free delight in knowing still exhibits featuresof human incompleteness. To advance toward true wholeness,thinking must return to the level of causes, hence back to theneedful. But for Aristotle there is no smooth sailing in such areturn. Benardete observes: "Even if poetry were irrelevant forwisdom, a wisdom that just combined the theoretical character ofmathematics with the knowledge of causes the arts contain seemsto be something of an oxymoron." Aristotle famously "denies thepossibility of a mathematical physics" (401). That the kinds ofknowledge found in mathematics, poetry, and the arts thatdiscover causes may be uncombinable is special cause for wonder.Aristotle's text provides an occasion for wonder and thus performsan action instantiating the theme of its argument.

Benardete points to the political counterpart of this aporia.Political life makes possible the transformation of universal naturalcuriosity into the arts of leisure. Leisure is the political equivalent ofthe free play of the senses. But there would be no leisure without theproductive arts that satisfy primary needs, and it is from the knowingof these arts that causes were first understood. The knowing forwhich the city exists, its telos in arts of leisure, is not the knowing thatbrings the city into being. Final cause and efficient cause aredisjunct. Benardete remarks "the nature of the knower and thenature of knowledge seem not quite aligned with each other" (401).It is appropriate here to think of the two great achievements ofmodernity, mathematical natural science and liberal democracy,each of which claims to overcome that misalignment through unitingthe free and the productive, or the useless and the causal. Aristotleis the skeptic, not Descartes nor Kant, about whether the nature ofthe knower and the nature of knowledge can be brought into accord.The modern solutions rest on the claim that the object of knowledgemust conform to conditions set by the knower or, very crudely put,that we know only what we make. The hope is that the mind asproductive can overcome its internal divisions. By contrast Aristotle"separates the insight, to which the arts give access, of what knowledgeis, from the way in which the arts apparently make over thenatural to serve human needs" (401). Aristotle presses to the pointof paradox the view that " the productive arts are not primarilydirected to production." Thus the edifying Aristotelian claim that"art is not the conquest of nature but rather its imitation or completion"leaves unresolved the relation between origin and telos. Theperfection or completion of which human nature is capable mustrest on uncertainty about that relation. Here is the deeper version ofthe problem of phantasia—the relation of the noetic to the aesthetic—emerging on the level of the arts and politics, which levelinvolves the confrontation with human neediness.

The Requirements of Wisdom

The second chapter of Metaphysics A takes up the diverseopinions about the wise man and compresses them into threepairs of oppositions. Benardete claims that the incoherence ofthese characteristics, "or at best their lack of mutual implication,"preserves the truth that "no known science can satisfy all thatopinion demands of wisdom" (401–2). The science fulfilling thosedemands would be the most comprehensive science and the mostdifficult science, the most precise science and the science uncoveringthe highest causes, the science sought for its own sake andthe science of the good. All these characteristics except theconcerns with causes and the good point to mathematics. Mathematicsamong the sciences most exemplifies the natural desirefor knowledge while not indicating the content of wisdom, sincemathematics does not reflect on the whole as such. Its kinshipwith play, as witnessed in the myth of its origin in Palamedes'sgames, brings forth the tension between play and seriousness(403). The beautiful of mathematics is not the good. Theseelements are found together in the souls of some seekers ofwisdom, like Socrates, but no actual science brings them together.The nature of first philosophy can be approached onlythrough the nature of the knower, or rather through the diversenatures of knowers, whose characteristics are seldom foundtogether in one knower. Questioning whether a science of firstphilosophy is possible, Benardete notes that if realized, such ascience would have all its principles present to itself, and bewithout potentiality (403). It would possess certainty that thereare four causes and no others. If Aristotle had such a science, whywould he need the history of thinking about causes to establishthat there are only four and that he has not overlooked a fifth?Furthermore, can knowledge of the subordinate kinds of beinghave the precision and completeness of the knowledge of thehighest genera? Benardete asserts that "the principles of knowledgecannot but must be the same as the principles of being.Aristotle's use of ousia for both ‘beingness' and a being places thisperplexity in being itself" (404).

Knowing at the highest level would bring together contemplativeknowing for its own sake and causal knowing of the good. Thiswould be the self-knowing that knows why knowledge for its ownsake is good, and that grasps the reason for the desire to know.Benardete notes that this highest knowing is foreshadowed inwonder, which oddly was not introduced at the start of Metaphysics,although it is the condition for the pursuit of wisdom. The reason forthis postponed entrance, Benardete suggests, is that wonder islinked to poetry, which conveys a false conception of wonder.Therefore Aristotle first offers essentially true opinions about wisdomthat allow him to separate philosophic from poetic wonder. Ioffer a related suggestion. Aristotle first discloses the problem of theconflicting requirements of philosophic wisdom before turning topoetic wisdom, which claims to have a unified account of the whole.He thereby plants the seeds of doubt about any claims to possesssuch wisdom, prior to bringing poetry's claim on the scene. Thedoubt about the poetic claims will then apply just as well to the poeticview of wonder.

Philosophy and Poetry

Aristotle is now ready to expose the two elements of wonder: it isa selfless condition related to the natural desire to know and a"certain kind of conscious neediness (aporia)" related to thecausal thinking of the arts. The desire to know "is an indiscriminategreediness to transform the opaque into the plain (information);but wonder is the recognition of the opaque in the plain. Thewonderful is that which shows the hiddenness of the unhidden. Itis every ‘that' which seems to be in itself a ‘why?' when seeing is notbelieving, and the given is a question. The wonderful is a beautifulperplexity" (404). Philosophic wonder turns toward that which isclosest to us and thus most "plain," namely, the soul, but discoversan opacity in it which then colors everything given. In its eroticpursuit of this perplexity, philosophy is a paradoxical combinationof the self-regarding and the self-forgetting. But the ordinarydesire to know is turned away from the perplexity of the soul, sinceit delights only in what can be made transparent. Poets, howeverare not wholly unlike philosophers. They wonder also at the given,but they wonder even more at what they make. Wonder is morethe result than the starting-point of the poet's activity. Mythic orpoetic wisdom is "the enigmatic solution to the enigmatic" (405).Poets are in error in thinking that the wonders of poetic makingexceed the natural wonders of experience and thought. Perhapsthe poets are liars only because they cover over a truth at the basisof their activity. If the greatest wonder is the soul itself, thensurely the poets wonder at the soul, but their manner of wonderingtends to obscure what is wonderful about it. Since poets do nottoil they exhibit the freedom of wisdom, but poetry as a productiveart serves the city as the "community of the arts of the necessary"(405). Their freedom obcures the foundation of their art in needand so obscures the nature of knowledge more than otherproductive arts. But even in this problematic unity of freedom andnecessity, poetry is more comprehensive than other arts. Poetsaddress the character of the whole, but they think that making isthe ground of the whole, and so they conceive the gods as efficientcauses. But a whole grounded in making is unintelligible, sinceproduction presupposes incompleteness and the existence ofsome sort of whole is a condition for incompleteness. That thepoets think of the gods as needy is apparent from their claim thatthe gods are jealous of human seekers of wisdom. The poetstherefore do not admit, or perhaps do not care, that the beingsthey portray as both whole and needy are contradictory.

But again, poetic wisdom is not baseless. The togetherness offreedom and necessity in the state of wonder is not simply a naturalstate, but a special condition of the soul. This observation could leadto the poetic conclusion that the soul is not naturally a unity. It is hardto claim that the poets are altogether wrong in this. Aristotle subtlyindicates that the unity of soul described in De Anima is not the soulas such, but an abstraction. Poetry corrects that abstraction by callingto mind how rare are the high experiences which assuage the soul'snormal condition of incompleteness and longing. But the poets aretoo impressed by their temporary triumphs and do not reflectsufficiently on the enduring causes of the soul's disunity, or whatAristotle calls the natural enslavement of human nature. Philosophystrangely finds great satisfaction in dwelling on the causes ofperplexity and in resisting every alluring prospect of a solution thatwould gratify without altering the underlying causes. Every elevationof the human condition presupposes that we remain onlyhuman, and otherwise has no meaning. Thus for the philosophersno poetic solution of human problems can possibly be morewonderful than the enduring forces in human nature that resistpoetic solutions.

The poets believe that they, or the gods as poets, make the worldinto a home for the soul. Poetry is the house of being. By contrast,philosophic wonder is permanently homeless. Benardete says it"induces homelessness without nostalgia" (405)5—a formula thatevokes how the soul as thinking is both near to and distant fromwhat it thinks about, and so exposes the connection betweenphantasia and wonder. Benardete calls phantasia the power ofvirtual distancing: the noeton is made just distant enough so as to beseen as part of a larger whole.6 Thus the distance of wonder isgrounded in familiarity with things, not in flight into abstraction.Poetry, too, rests on virtual distancing, but also annuls the distance ofthings by anthropomorphizing the whole. It reveals a kind ofphantasia essential to being human, even so, for it allows the humanto appear as a kind of whole amidst other things in the whole. Itcreates a larger setting for the human in which, admittedly, everythingrevolves around human concerns. It is easy to see why the poetsregard their making as so important, since this power of imaginativeself-distancing is in most human beings too artless to be veryeffective. Art transcends ordinary nature in order to fulfill it. Poeticinvention is therefore not one of the ever-present powers of the soulin De Anima.

The human need for self-distancing points back, again, tohuman incompleteness. It is human for individuals to want theirprojects to have some necessary place in the whole of things, and forthem to endow the particular and contingent with the aura of theuniversal and the necessary. This is the dark side of the beautiful ofpoetry, which receives no acknowledgment in the natural delight inseeing and knowing. One could call it the original negativity, theprimordial difference between genesis and telos which the poetsbelieve their making can overcome. It is the negativity that marks thehuman as political animal, and Aristotle shows that it is the permanentrift underlying the inquiries of first philosophy. Yet philosophicwonder is not animated by Angst. Benardete notes "it is neitherpainful nor pleasant. It neither compels nor entices. There isnothing in it to be feared from which one runs away or which rootsone to the spot (like awe), nor does it have the natural attractivenessof seeing" (405). Philosophy can be seen as good, akin to the divine,and even as such immune to divine jealousy, if "the highest beingsare causes only as final cause, and their causality is compatible withtheir being for their own sake" (406). Philosophic wonder is contentwith "the separation between the being of the highest beings andtheir being as cause." The same separation allows Aristotle to affirmthat the origin of philosophy is only "accidentally at a certain stageof ‘history.'" The fortunes of political life and the discoveries ofphilosophy cannot be identical, or even causally related in a philosophyof history. They are necessarily linked, all the same. "The causeof philosophy is the effect of the good."

Epilogue

The problem of being cannot be articulated by turning directly tobeing. Aristotle follows the Socratic turning to logoi by uncoveringthe elements of first philosophy in the phenomena of humanopinions about experience, arts, states of soul, and their relationsto wisdom. No science seems capable of meeting the demandrevealed by this examination: to encompass the free and thenecessary, the precise and the comprehensive, the eidetic and thegenetic. Yet somehow the togetherness of these components isadumbrated in the soul as wondering. The soul's nature containsa perplexity that can seem ugly or beautiful: a certain lack ofalignment between the nature of the knower and the nature ofknowledge. The perplexity of soul is, however, the perplexity ofbeing itself: the separation between the being of intelligibility andthe being of causality, or between the beautiful and the good. Thesoul brings these together through its activity. In striving tounderstand the relation of eidos—beingness or essence as knownprecisely—to the coming into being of beings, the soul is the bondof being. "To figure out an insight might well be the epistemicequivalent of the union of causality and beingness" (397). Themisalignment, arising first for us in political life, is not even seenby the natural pleasure in noting differences and is deeplyexperienced but not healed by poetry. Philosophy's careful articulationof it discloses its benefit to the soul. The philosopherunderstands that the rift in being exercises causality as final, notefficient, by making possible the best human life, that of inquiry.The case is not unlike that of the geometrician who grasps thecause (aitia) of the incommensurability of the square's diagonal:he would wonder at nothing as much as if the diagonal were tobecome measurable (Metaphysics 983a15–21).

Richard L. Velkley
The Catholic University of America

NOTES

  1. In its original form this essay was a paper delivered at "ThePhilosophy of Seth Benardete," a conference at the New SchoolUniversity, December 2002.
  2. Leo Strauss, The City and Man. Chicago: The University ofChicago Press, 1964, 21. Benardete's writing on Aristotle poses achallenge to Strauss's claim that "Aristotelian philosophizing hasno longer to the same degree and in the same way as Socraticphilosophizing the character of ascent." On Benardete's reading,Aristotle's presentation of his thought in treatise-form is a newmask under which the Socratic dialectic proceeds. For moreremarks on this see the author's "Prelude to First Philosophy:Seth Benardete on De Anima,," Epoche, vol. 7, no. 2 (spring,2003), 189–198.
  3. The essay first appeared in Review of Metaphysics 32, no. 2(December 1978) and is reprinted in S. Benardete, The Argumentof the Action: Essays on Greek Poetry and Philosophy, eds. R.Burger and M. Davis. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press,2000. Numbers in parentheses give the pages from the reprintedversion.
  4. "Aristotle De Anima III.3–5," Review of Metaphysics 28, no.4 (June 1975), 621. For more discussion of this essay see the author'sarticle cited in note 2 above.
  5. Benardete cites here Plato, Symposium 203d11. The dualnature of Eros in Socrates's speech (as the child of Poros and Penia)calls for comparison with Aristotle's account of the dual nature ofwonder. Both presuppose human incompleteness.
  6. "Aristotle De Anima," 616.