John Black teaches Liberal Studies and Philosophy at Malaspina University College on Vancouver Island. He received his PhD from the University of British Columbia. His previous books are in the area of overlap between ancient Greek philosophy, mathematics and music, though more recently he has turned his attention to the European Enlightenment
2007 0-7734-5404-7 Alexandro Malaspina conducted the most ambitious scientific experiment of the eighteenth century, and wrote the Meditación in 1798, while imprisoned for sedition in the fortress of San Antón off La Coruña. His fall, precipitated by the reaction to the politico-economic recommendations he made to the Monarchy on the subject of colonial relations, led to the suppression of most of the results. This translation is an attempt to redress an intellectual injustice, the silencing of a mind at once broader and deeper than those of his most well-known counterparts. Malaspina’s main topics in this work are questions of aesthetics: does Beauty lie in the eye of the beholder? Is Beauty to be found in Art or in Nature? Does Beauty depend on Utility?
2000 0-7734-7771-3 Plato’s treatment, in Timaeus, of the geometry of the four elements is explored. The claim that the elements are connected by a geometric proportion has been variously interpreted as either playful or obscurantist, but there has not yet been a treatment which both takes the claim seriously and grounds it in the essential structure of the elements, conceived in the Timaean manner as consisting of atoms of the same shape as four of the five regular solids.
2002 0-7734-7167-7 This work deals with interpretive issues surrounding Plato’s mathematically-based accounts, derived from Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans, of reproduction among the ruling class of the Republic, of terrestrial and celestial music, and of atomic stereometry. It indicates surprising ways in which these accounts are essentially connected. Ahlvers offers a re-analysis of Plato’s derivation of the nuptial number in Republic, and devotes much attention to the broader issues raised by Timaeus. It will be of interest not only to Plato scholars, but to scholars of medieval thought, and music.