Interpreting the Enlightenment: on methods -- A map of the Enlightenment: whither France? -- The spirit of the moderns: from the new science to the Enlightenment -- Society, the subject of the modern story -- Quarrel in the Academy: the ancients strike back -- Humanism and Enlightenment: the classical style of the philosophes -- The philosophical spirit of the laws: politics and antiquity -- An ancient god: pagans and philosophers -- Post tenebras lux: Begriffsgeschichte or regime d'historicité? -- (...)Ancients and the Orient: translatio imperii -- Enlightened institutions (i): the royal academies versus the Republic of Letters -- Enlightened institutions (ii): universities, censorship, and public instruction -- Worldliness, politeness, and the importance of not being too radical -- From Enlightenment to Revolution: a shared history? -- France and the European Enlightenment -- Modern myths. (shrink)
When a series of corporate scandals erupted soon after the collapse of the 1990s bull market in equities, policy makers and reformers chiefly responded by augmenting and refining the checks and balances surrounding publicly traded corporations. Through measures such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, securities regulations were intensified and corporate governance was tightened. In essence, reformers followed the tradition of modern political philosophy, developed in the 17th and 18th centuries, in its insistence that pro-social outcomes are best produced through (...) institutional mechanisms that harness self-interest. The empirical evidence, however, suggests the institutional approach will do little to prevent future ethical breakdowns. To corroborate this finding, we survey the literature on board composition, auditor consulting practices, shareholder activism, and executive compensation. Consequently, we look to another stream of political philosophy, the ancient tradition comprising Plato and Aristotle, which argues that social groupings, such as corporations, work best when led by individuals of good character. Applying the ancient view to modern commercial realities, the paper concludes that Benjamin Franklin's attempt to connect virtuous character with enlightened self-interest offers a compelling ethic for corporate leaders. (shrink)
This paper examines the case of Lawrence v. Texas to bring out the philosophical commitments of Justices Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia. It is proposed that Justices Kennedy and Scalia, while both Catholics, represent fundamentally different visions of the “ends and reasons” of democratic law. A close reading of the Justices’ opinions in Lawrence indicates that Justice Scalia belongs to the tradition of the “ancients” and Justice Kennedy to the tradition of the “moderns.” The paper focuses in particular on (...) the Justices’ interpretations of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It is claimed that the interpretation of this clause turns on a philosophical commitment regarding the ends and reasons that the Constitution should be understood to serve, and thus that justices cannot help acting as “philosopher kings” here. Which of the two Justices is more consistent with the Catholic tradition is proposed as a question for another day. (shrink)
Leo Strauss presents at least two distinct accounts of the idea that the authors in the political-philosophical canon have often masked their true teachings. A weaker account of esotericism, dependent on the contingent fact of presecution, is attributed to the moderns, while a stronger account, stemming from a necessary conflict between philosophy and society, is attributed to the ancients. Although most interpreters agree that Strauss here sides with the ancients, this view fails to consider the possibility that Strauss's (...) writings on esotericism may themselves be composed esoterically. A reevaluation of Straussian hermeneutics in light of this possibility suggests that the elitism and secrecy often associated with "Straussianism" may stem, not from Strauss's true account of esotericism, but instead from an exoteric doctrine designed to seduce students into a life of philosophy. (shrink)
This paper addresses the relationship of ancients to moderns by focusing on the “quarrel” between art and philosophy that has led to two articulations of the endof art—one in antiquity, another in modernity: Plato, who expelled the poets from his city on account of art’s irrationality, and Hegel, for whom art was no more the necessary vehicle for truth. Following Giorgio Agamben’s cue in The Man Without Content, I opt for a symptomatic reading of Plato’s condemnation of art, (...) by foregrounding his ambivalence toward poetry. I conclude that, whereas Hegel found poetry wanting, Plato understood poetry’s truth to be tragically excessive. (shrink)
Combining exemplary scholarship and analytic precision, Stanley Rosen illuminates the underpinnings of post-modernist thought, providing valuable insight as he pursues two arguments: first, that post-modernism, which regards itself as an attack upon the Enlightenment, is in fact the penultimate stage of the Enlightenment itself; and second, that the extraordinary contemporary emphasis upon hermeneutics is the latest consequence of the triumph of history over mathematics within the unstable essence of the Enlightenment. Hermeneutics is consequently at bottom a political phenomenon. In developing (...) these arguments, Rosen demonstrates the paradigmatic status of Kant for a proper understanding of post-modernism, analyzes Derrida's influential critique of Platonism as well as his defense of writing, explains the political dimension of the quarrel between the ancients and moderns by studying the hermeneutics of Leo Strauss and Alexander Kojhve, and shows how the modern notion of "theory" is intrinsically relativized by the triumph of history over mathematics into the notion of interpretation. A wide-ranging exploration into current critical thinking, Hermeneutics as Politics will generate considerable debate among scholars interested in post-modernism, the Enlightenment, hermeneutics, the relation of philosophy and politics, deconstruction, and the history of philosophy. (shrink)
In this work Thomas surveys the contributions of (pre-Kantian) early modern philosophy to our understanding of the mind. She focuses on the six canonical figures of the period -- Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, and Hume -- and asks what each has to say about five topics within the philosophy of mind. The topics are (1) the ontological status of mind, (2) the scope and nature of self-knowledge, (3) the nature of consciousness, (4) the problem of mental causation, and (5) (...) the nature of representation or intentionality. The overarching aim of the book is to show that the theories articulated by these thinkers are not just historical curiosities, but have much to contribute to our understanding of these topics today. (shrink)
In this essay I sketch a philosophical argument for classical liberalism based on the requirements of public reason. I argue that we can develop a philosophical liberalism that, unlike so much recent philosophy, takes existing social facts and mores seriously while, at the same time, retaining the critical edge characteristic of the liberal tradition. I argue that once we develop such an account, we are led toward a vindication of “old” (qua classical) liberal morality—what Benjamin Constant called the “liberties of (...) the moderns.” A core thesis of the paper is that a regime of individual rights is crucial to the project of public justification because it disperses moral authority to individuals thus mitigating what I call the “burdens of justification.” Footnotesa Earlier versions of this essay were presented at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Philosophy Department workshop on the morality of capitalism, and at the conference on rights theory at the Murphy Institute, Tulane University. I am grateful for the comments of the participants; my special thanks to David Schmidtz, Julian Lamont, and Andrea Houchard for their useful written comments and suggestions. (shrink)
This article reads Carlyle as a reader of Goethe to recover why he proclaimed Goethe as the `benignant spiritual revolutionist' of modernity and `first of the moderns'. As Goethe's first major English translator, Thomas Carlyle was also arguably the first to grasp the nature and purpose of Goethe's project to interpret modernity as a revolutionary epoch involving changes in consciousness, culture and material development. For Carlyle, Goethe's Faust presents modern consciousness and culture from the side of elegy - as the (...) search by an old man for eternal youth and an infinite world without constraints involving tragic loss. Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, by contrast, presents the same processes from the side of romantic quest, that is, from the perspective of a youth growing into adulthood, as looking into the future with infinite hope. Finally in Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre, Carlyle discerns that the radical form of this novel as a discontinuous narrative that embodies movement, change and incompletion enables Goethe to represent the social conditions of moderns as a spiritual challenge and historic achievement. Carlyle's critical perspicacity is evident not least in his choice of Goethe's works to translate as much as his own essays on Goethe's place in modern European letters. In his close reading of Goethe, Carlyle captures the symbolic form of modernity as incorporating three levels of revolutionary transformation of individual consciousness, of culture and of modernity as mythic condition consisting of tragic development, creative destruction and perpetual movement and change. Moderns then are challenged to become authors of their own texts and lives. Carlyle contrasts Goethe's achievement against other primary candidates for the title of modern spiritual revolutionist in ironically Goethean terms: Napoleon (Prometheus), Byron (Faust and Young Werther) and Voltaire (Mephistopheles). Thereafter, the older Carlyle puts aside his critical readings of Goethe to become his own Goethean authority on the modern condition, most notably in his most famous books, Sartor Resartus, The French Revolution, Chartism, On Heroes, and Past and Present. By reading Carlyle as a reader of Goethe we can begin to discern that Carlyle was not only an historian, biographer and political commentator of his own place and times but a critical theorist seeking to interpret the modern epoch, with and beyond Goethe. (shrink)
We tend to think that the two great scourges of humankind, sexism and racism, have been around since the beginning of time. With regard to sexism, this is true. Aristotle, for example, thought women are malformed men: they do not have rational souls; they do not have enough soul heat to think properly or to boil their menstrual blood into semen; and, the cruelest cut of all, they are inferior because they have one less tooth than men. Aristotle also believed, (...) along with his compatriots, that all non-Greeks were barbarians and that slavery, especially for those of an inferior class or those captured in war, was completely justified. But Aristotle, and all other ancients of whom we are aware, did not ever think of discriminating against people because of the color of their skin. (shrink)
Humoralism, the view that the human body is composed of a limited number of elementary fluids, is one of the most characteristic aspects of ancient medicine. The psychological dimension of humoral theory in the ancient world has thus far received a relatively small amount of scholarly attention. Medical psychology in the ancient world can only be correctly understood by relating it to psychological thought in other fields, such as ethics and rhetoric. The concept that ties these various domains together is (...) character (êthos), which involves a view of human beings focused on clearly distinguishable psychological types that can be recognized on the basis of external signs. Psychological ideas based on humoral theory remained influential well into the early modern period. Yet, in 17th-century medicine and philosophy, humoral physiology and psychology started to lose ground to other theoretical perspectives on the mind and its relation to the body. This decline of humoralist medical psychology can be related to a broader reorientation of psychological thought in which the traditional concept of character lost its central position. Instead of the focus on types and stable character traits, a perspective emerged that was primarily concerned with individuality and transient passions. (shrink)
: A transitional text in other respects as well, De Cive differs from Hobbes's earlier Elements of Law and later Leviathan by claiming points of agreement between his own political philosophy and that embodied allegorically in the fables of classical antiquity (as explicated by himself). Though he did not begin with and subsequently abandoned this unconvincing approach, it reveals how late in his intellectual development he was still tempted to find some way of establishing classical precedents for his views, and (...) thereby calls into question his frequent assessment as an arch-modern. (shrink)
This paper deals with what has been called "ars inveniendi" (’art of finding‘) in antiquity, medieval and early modern times. A survey of different techniques of finding tenable and relevant arguments is presented (among them, the Topical tradition, Status theory, Debate theory, Encyclopedic systems, Creativity techniques). Their advantages and disadvantages are critically compared. It is suggested that a mixture of strategies of finding arguments should be used. Finally, a few remarks showing the relationship beween the strategies of finding arguments and (...) creativity in general are given. (shrink)
Analyzing the ancient Greek point of view concerning anger, shame and justice and a very modern one, one can see, that anger has a regulative function, but shame does as well. Anger puts the other in his place, thereby regulating hierarchies. Shame regulates the social relations of recognition. And both emotions also have an evaluative function, because anger evaluates a situation with regard to a humiliation; shame, with regard to a misdemeanor. In addition, attention has to be paid to the (...) correct molding of these emotions and the correct ways of using them in rearing to be good or just (i.e., in personality formation. (shrink)
If we want to be autonomous, what do we want? The author shows that contemporary value-neutral and metaphysically economical conceptions of autonomy, such as that of Harry Frankfurt, face a serious problem. Drawing on Plato, Augustine, and Kant, this book provides a sketch of how "ancient" and "modern" can be reconciled to solve it. But at what expense? It turns out that the dominant modern ideal of autonomy cannot do without a costly metaphysics if it is to be coherent.
Summary The genealogy of observation as a philosophical term goes back to the ancient Greek astronomical and medical traditions, and the revival of the concept in the Renaissance also happened in the astronomical and medical context. This essay focuses primarily on the medical genealogy of the concept of observation. In ancient Greek culture, an elaboration of the concept of observation (t?r?sis) first emerged in the Hellenistic age with the medical sect of the Empirics, to be further developed by the ancient (...) Sceptics. Basically unknown in the Middle Ages, the Empirics? conceptualisation of t?r?sis trickled back into Western medicine in the fourteenth century, but its meaning seems to have been fully recovered by European scholars only in the 1560s, concomitantly with the first Latin translation of the works of Sextus Empiricus. As a category originally associated with medical Scepticism, observatio was a new entry in early modern philosophy. Although the term gained wide currency in general scholarly usage in the seventeenth century, its assimilation into standard philosophical language was very slow. In fact, observatio does not even appear as an entry in the philosophical dictionaries until the eighteenth century?with one significant exception, the medical lexica, which featured the lemma, reporting its ancient Empiric definition, as early as 1564. (shrink)
Being a subject and being conscious of being one are different realities. According to Hegel, the difference is not only conceptual, but also influences people's experience of the world and of one another. This book aims to explain some basic aspects of Hegel's conception of subjectivity with particular regard to the difference he saw in ancient and modern ways of thinking about and acting as individuals, persons and moral subjects.
Anne Conway was an extraordinary figure in a remarkable age. Her mastery of the intricate doctrines of the Lurianic Kabbalah, her authorship of a treatise criticising the philosophy of Descartes, Hobbes, and Spinoza, and her scandalous conversion to the despised sect of Quakers indicate a strength of character and independence of mind wholly unexpected (and unwanted) in a woman at the time. Translated for the first time into modern English, her Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy is the (...) most interesting and original philosophical work written by a woman in the seventeenth century. Her radical and unorthodox ideas are important not only because they anticipated the more tolerant, ecumenical, and optimistic philosophy of the Enlightenment, but also because of their influence on Leibniz. This fully annotated edition includes an introduction which places Conway in her historical and philosophical contexts, together with a chronology of her life and a bibliography. (shrink)
This engaging and informative text will hold the attention of students and scholars as they take a journey through time to understand the role that history and philosophy have played in shaping the course of sport and physical education in Western and selected non-Western civilizations. Using appropriate theoretical and interpretive frameworks, students will investigate topics such as the historical relationship between mind and body; what philosophers and intellectuals have said about the body as a source of knowledge; educational philosophy and (...) the value of physical education and/or sport; philosophical positions that have impacted the historical development of sport and physical education; the history of women in sport and physical education; the role and scope of sport and physical education in Ancient Greece and Rome; the Ancient Olympic Games; the relationship between sport and religion in ancient and modern times; the theoretical and professional development of physical education; the rise of sport in modern America; the history and politics of the modern Olympic Games; and the contributions of men, women, and social movements to the development of sport and physical education from ancient times to the modern era. (shrink)
This paper argues that contemporary philosophy of mind and action could learn much from the structure of action explanation manifested in ancient Greek tragedy, which is less deterministic than typically supposed and which does not conflate the motivation of action with its causal production.
Virtue ethics has been charged with being unable to provide solutions to practical moral issues. In response, the defenders of virtue ethics argue that normative virtue ethics exists. The debate is significant on its own, yet both sides of the controversy approach the issue from the assumption that moral philosophy has to tell us what we should do. In this essay, I would like to examine the question regarding the practicality of virtue ethics in a different way. Virtue ethics is (...) an ancient approach shared by both ancient Greek philosophers and classic Chinese Confucians, and indeed, ancient Greeks call ethics practical science. How, then, do the ancients themselves view the issue of practicality? This essay shows that there is a notion of practicality which is prominent in both ancient Greek and ancient Chinese virtue ethics but is neglected in todayâs ethics. According to this notion, ethics is to transform oneâs life. The essay also raises a prospect of the revival of this notion. (shrink)
This volume collects 17 case studies that characterize the various kinds of translations of the European culture of the last two and a half millennia from ancient Greece to Rome, from the medieval world to the Renaissance up to the ...
In this interfaith and multicultural fable, eloquent representatives of all members of the animal kingdom—from horses to bees—come before the respected Spirit King to complain of the dreadful treatment they have suffered at the hands of humankind. During the ensuing trial, where both humans and animals testify before the King, both sides argue their points ingeniously, deftly illustrating the validity of both sides of the ecology debate. The ancient antecedents of this tale are thought to have originated in India, with (...) the first written version penned in Arabic sometime before the 10th century in what is now Iraq. Much later, this version of the story was translated into Hebrew in 14th century France and was popular in European Jewish communities into the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This exquisite English translation, illustrated with 12 original color illumination plates, is useful in introducing young and old alike to environmental and animal rights issues. (shrink)
Exhuming the long-buried religious roots of our ostensibly godless age, Michael Allen Gillespie reveals in this landmark study that modernity is much less secular than conventional wisdom suggests. Taking as his starting point the collapse of the medieval world, Gillespie argues that from the very beginning moderns sought not to eliminate religion but to support a new view of religion and its place in human life—and that they did so not out of hostility but in order to sustain certain religious (...) beliefs. He goes on to explore the ideas of such figures as William of Ockham, Petrarch, Erasmus, Luther, Descartes, and Hobbes, showing that modernity is best understood as a series of attempts to formulate a new and coherent metaphysics or theology. We’re still trying, Gillespie contends, to resolve the tensions inherent in our ideas of God, man, and nature—tensions that arose in the late Middle Ages during a titanic struggle between contradictory elements within Christianity. In the end, Gillespie shows that understanding modernity’s continuing entanglement with Christian metaphysics is crucial to comprehending the hidden possibilities of our confrontation with radical Islam and with the dualistic elements of our own tradition. (shrink)
What follows is a dialogue, in the Platonic sense, concerning the justifications for "business ethics" as a vehicle for asking questions about the values of modern business organisations. The protagonists are the authors, Gordon Pearson – a pragmatist and sceptic where business ethics is concerned – and Martin Parker – a sociologist and idealist who wishes to be able to ask ethical questions of business. By the end of the dialogue we come to no agreement on the necessity or justification (...) for business ethics, but on the way discuss the uses of philosophy, the meanings of integrity and trust, McDonald''s, a hypothetical torture manufacturer and various other matters. (shrink)
lecture 1. Introduction : intellectual history and conceptual change -- lecture 2. The dawn of the 17th century : Aristotelian scholasticism -- lecture 3. The new vision of Francis Bacon -- lecture 4. The new astronomy and cosmology -- lecture 5. Descartes's dream of perfect knowledge -- lecture 6. The specter of Thomas Hobbes -- lecture 7. Skepticism and Jansenism : Blaise Pascal -- lecture 8. Newton's discovery -- lecture 9. The Newtonian revolution -- lecture 10. John Locke, the revolution (...) in knowledge -- lecture 11. The Lockean moment -- lecture 12. Skepticism and Calvanism : Pierre Bayle -- lecture 13. The moderns, the generation of 1680-1715 -- lecture 14. Introduction to deism -- lecture 15. The conflict between deism and Christianity -- lecture 16. Montesquieu and the problem of relativism -- lecture 17. Voltaire, bringing England to France -- lecture 18. Bishop Joseph Butler and God's providence -- lecture 19. The skeptical challenge to optimism, David Hume -- lecture 20. The assault upon philosophical optimism, Voltaire -- lecture 21. The philosophes : the triumph of the French Enlightenment -- lecture 22. Beccaria and enlightened reform -- lecture 23. Rousseau's dissent -- lecture 24. Materialism and naturalism, the boundaries of the Enlightenment. (shrink)
During the first decades of the 20th century, many anthropologists who had previously adhered to a linear view of human evolution, from an ape via Pithecanthropus erectus (today Homo erectus) and Neanderthal to modern humans, began to change their outlook. A shift towards a branching model of human evolution began to take hold. Among the scientific factors motivating this trend was the insight that mammalian evolution in general was best represented by a branching tree, rather than by a straight line, (...) and that several new fossil hominids were discovered that differed significantly in their morphology but seemed to date from about the same period. The ideological and practical implications of imperialism and WWI have also been identified as formative of the new evolutionary scenarios in which racial conflict played a crucial role. The paper will illustrate this general shift in anthropological theory for one particular scientist, William Sollas (1849-1936). Sollas achieved a synthesis of human morphological and cultural evolution in what I will refer to as an imperialist model. In this theoretical framework, migration, conflict, and replacement became the main mechanisms for progress spurred by 'nature's tyrant,' natural selection. (shrink)
This study is meant to provide a means of understanding the change of philosophic perspective from the naive classical view that natures manifest themselves to mind to the modern view that they do so only as mediated by thought or speech. it does so by tracing the emergence of the early modern concept that philosophy must be presented as a system of propositions or laws in order to be scientific. it is argued that certain early moderns adopted the term "system" (...) from the stoic definition of art and that they clearly delineated the essential characteristics of systematicity but spoke only of systems of individual sciences. regis first applied the term to philosophy as a whole, but hobbes before him conceived of system in regis's sense. the conclusion is a more precise understanding of the origin of the modern use of the term and of the meaning of the early modern concept of philosophic system. (shrink)
The Modes of Scepticism is one of the most important and influential of all ancient philosophical texts. The texts made an enormous impact on Western thought when they were rediscovered in the 16th century and they have shaped the whole future course of Western philosophy. Despite their importance, the Modes have been little discussed in recent times. This book translates the texts and supplies them with a discursive commentary, concentrating on philosophical issues but also including historical material. The book will (...) be of interest to professional scholars and philosophers but its clear and non-technical style makes it intelligible to beginners and the interested layman. (shrink)
Through extensive readings in philosophical, legal, medical, and imaginative writing, this book explores notions and experiences of being a person from European antiquity to Descartes. It offers quite new interpretations of what it was to be a person—to experience who-ness—in other times and places, involving new understandings of knowing, willing, and acting, as well as of political and material life, the play of public and private, passions and emotions. The trajectory the author reveals reaches from the ancient sense of personhood (...) as set in a totality of surroundings inseparable from the person, to an increasing sense of impermeability to the world, in which anger has replaced love in affirming a sense of self. The author develops his analysis through an impressive range of authors, languages, and texts: from Cicero, Seneca, and Galen; through Avicenna, Hildegard of Bingen, and Heloise and Abelard; to Petrarch, Montaigne, and Descartes. (shrink)
Introduction: Ancient & modern : the braid of Cassiodorus -- Tradition, literacy and change -- Church versus scripture : the idea of biblical tradition -- Revolution and tradition -- Re-envisioning the past : metaphors and symbols of tradition -- Inventing Christian culture : Volney, Chateaubriand and the French Revolution -- Herder, Schleiermacher, Novalis and Schlegel : the idea of a Christian Europe -- Translating Herder : the idea of Protestant Reformation -- Keble and the Anglican tradition -- Newman and the (...) development of tradition -- Arnold : taking religion out of religion -- Radical tradition : theologizing Eliot -- Epilogue: Re-energizing the past -- Appendix: Velázquez and the royal boar hunt. (shrink)