skip to primary navigationskip to content



Graduate Society for Philosophical Theology and Systematics

Noesis is a forum for graduate students conducting research in the field of philosophical theology and systematics. 

The society meets once a term to receive and discuss papers offered by its members. In Easter term we also have a more convivial gathering where we celebrate the launch of the annual Noesis Review. Sessions last approximately 1.5 hours, and are followed by tea and baked goods in the Selwyn Room.

Noesis is open to all members of the University. 

For more information, visit our website or email .

 To purchase Noesis Review, visit the online shop.

Noesis Easter Term Seminar

Thursday 26th April, 4pm-5pm

Room 6, Divinity Faculty

All students and faculty are warmly invited to the Noesis Easter seminar. Ryan Haecker will speak on 'Analogy and Dialectic in Plato', and Sebastian Milbank will respond.

See below for details of Ryan's exciting paper.

Ryan Haeker: Analogy and Dialectic in Plato

Plato first mixed Pythagorean analogy and Parmenidean dialectic into a single idea.  He mixed Pythagoras’ analogy of countably constructed harmonia and Parmenides’ dialectic of being opposed to nothing but bounded by being into the pure proportionality of the beautiful cycling through the circuit of ideas shining forth from the supreme idea of the good itself.  Analogy and dialectic may thus, for the first time, have been mixed together as one in and for the good itself.

Analogy and dialectic are grammatical and logical forms of theological language.  Analogy is a grammatical form that differentiates many distinct terms that remain related by a proportionate similitude, while dialectic is a logical form that opposes many contradictory terms for the purpose of resolving contradictions into a synthetic unity of opposites.  Both have been used to mix the elements of theological language to construct the metaphysical infrastructure of theology.  Yet each appears to be opposed as dialectic negatively divides what analogy positively combines.  Both have thus been subordinated to one another.  This mutual subordination is meant to preserve each in their purity but has only subverted both: for when dialectic is subordinated to analogy the force of its theses can be fossilized in analogy, and when analogy is subordinated to dialectic the bonds of its terms can be broken in dialectic to demolish the metaphysical infrastructure of theological language.

Plato first preserved the free presuppositionlessness of dialectic and the beautiful proportionality of analogy by destroying the deathly speech of sophistry into signs, circulating these signs into the shining spectacle of paradigms, and preserving all paradigms in the living speech of philosophy.  The dialogic discourse of philosophy restores the life that sophistry destroys: for sophistry destroys speech by dissolving paradigms into signs, signs into semblances, and the semblances of being between nothing; but philosophy preserves this very possibility of speech by suspending these semblances in and from the spectacle of signs in paradigms, paradigms in ideas, and the dialectical circuit of ideas to ideas cycling into the centre of the good. 

Analogy can, for Plato, always be counted into numbers, beings, and signs: it was first counted into numbers by the Pythagorean countable construction of analogy in the harmonia mundi collapsing upon measureless magnitudes into the centre of its being; it was then said to ‘be’ in the Parmenidean originary opposition of being opposed to nothing beyond but bounded in the semblances between beings; and it was finally spoken by Plato in signs participating in paradigms, the shining spectacle of the ideas, and the dialectical circuit cycling into its centre.  The Pythagorean analogy of the countably constructed cosmos can, through this succession of stages, be emptied beyond its bounds by the Parmenidean dialectic of being opposed to nothing before the spectacle of signs, which can be collected, divided, and mixed by Plato into the analogy of the beautiful bond cycling through the dialectical circuit into the idea of the good.



Current students and supervisors can access the Faculty’s Moodle page by clicking on the image below.