This paper has two parts. In the first part, I concede an error in an argument I have given for the incompatibility of free will and determinism. I go on to show how to modify my argument so as to avoid this error, and conclude that the thesis that free will and determinism are compatible continues to be—to say the least—implausible. But if free will is incompatible with determinism, we are faced with a mystery, for free will undeniably exists, (...) and it also seems to be incompatible with indeterminism. In the second part of this paper, I will defend the conclusion that the concept of agent causation is of no use to the philosopher who wants to maintain that free will and indeterminism are compatible. I conclude that free will remains a mystery---that is, that free will undeniably exists and that there is a strong and unanswered prima facie case for its impossibility. (shrink)
Abstract In this paper the word mystery refers to “what“ cannot be understood or intellectually grasped; a mystery is concealed and unavailable for direct explanation. The questions the discussion raises address the decisive differences that sensibilities and feelings often make in our encounters with mysteries as well as occurrences of mystery that seem undetermined by differences of sensibility. The main topics are: mystery and eternal return, contexts of mystery, another kind of speaking about mystery (...) (that take account of one's own sensibility), turning away from Nietzsche and Heidegger and toward a prioritizing of feeling. (shrink)
McGinn claims that (1) there is nothing “inherently mysterious” about consciousness, even though (2) we will never be able to understand it. The first claim is no more than a rhetorical flourish. The second may be read either as a claim (1) that we are unable to construct an explanatory theory of consciousness, or (2) that any such theory must strike us as unintelligible, in the sense in which quantum mechanics is sometimes said to be unintelligible. On the first reading, (...) McGinn's argument is based on a false premiss (the “homogeneity constraint"). On the second reading, it suffers from the shortcoming that the central notion of intelligibility is too obscure to permit any definite conclusion. I close with a brief discussion of the contemporary tendency to reject non-physicalist approaches to consciousness on a priori grounds. (shrink)
This paper proposes a reconciliation between libertarian freedomand causal indeterminism, without relying on agent-causation asa primitive notion. I closely examine Peter van Inwagen''s recentcase for free will mysterianism, which is based in part on thewidespread worry that undetermined acts are too chancy to befree. I distinguish three senses of the term chance I thenargue that van Inwagen''s case for free will mystrianism fails,since there is no single construal of the term change on whichall of the premises of his argument for (...) free will–causalindeterminism incompatibilism are true. By use of a particularevent-causal indeterminist account of free action, I support thecase for free will–indeterminism compatibilism. (shrink)
There is a problem regarding God and perception right at the heart of Berkeley’s metaphysics. With respect to this problem, I will argue for (A): It is intractable. Berkeley has no solution to this problem, and neither can we hope to offer one on his behalf. However, I will also argue for (B): The truth of (A) need not be seen as threatening the viability of Berkeley’s metaphysics. In fact, it may even be seen as speaking in its favor.
Peter van Inwagen contends that free will is a mystery. Here I present an argument in the spirit of van Inwagen's. According to the Assimilation Argument, libertarians cannot plausibly distinguish causally undetermined actions, the ones they take to be exercises of free will, from overtly randomized outcomes of the sort nobody would count as exercises of free will. I contend that the Assimilation Argument improves on related arguments in locating the crucial issues between van Inwagen and libertarians who hope (...) to demystify free will, while avoiding objections these arguments have faced. (shrink)
_This is an account of his present thinking by an excellent philosopher who has been_ _among the two or three foremost defenders of the doctrine that determinism and_ _freedom are incompatible -- that logically we cannot have both. In his 1983 book,_ _An Essay on Free Will_ _, he laid out with unique clarity and force a fundamental_ _argument for this conclusion. What the argument comes to is that if determinism is_ _true, we are not free, since our actions are (...) effects of causal circumstances in the_ _remote past, and those circumstances are certainly not up to us. To that line of_ _thought, in the article below, by way of the supposition of a world of angels, he adds_ _something new. This is a fundamental difficulty with the freedom that we cannot_ _have if determinism is true. The difficulty, indeed a mystery, is one having to do with_ _the opposite of determinism -- indeterminism._. (shrink)
In at least some cases of justified perceptual belief, our perceptual experience itself, as opposed to beliefs about it, evidences and thereby justifies our belief. While the phenomenon is common, it is also mysterious. There are good reasons to think that perceptions cannot justify beliefs directly, and there is a significant challenge in explaining how they do. After explaining just how direct perceptual justification is mysterious, I considerMichael Huemers (Skepticism and the Veil of Perception, 2001) and Bill Brewers (Perception and (...) Reason, 1999) recent, but radically different, attempts to eliminate it. I argue that both are unsuccessful, though a consideration of their mistakes deepens our appreciation of the mystery. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue against Peter van Inwagen’s claim (in “Free Will Remains a Mystery”), that agent-causal views of free will could do nothing to solve the problem of free will (specifically, the problem of chanciness). After explaining van Inwagen’s argument, I argue that he does not consider all possible manifestations of the agent-causal position. More importantly, I claim that, in any case, van Inwagen appears to have mischaracterized the problem in some crucial ways. Once we are clear (...) on the true nature of the problem of chanciness, agent-causal views do much to eradicate it. (shrink)
Among challenges to libertarians, the _Mind_ Argument has loomed large. Believing that this challenge cannot be met, Peter van Inwagen, a libertarian, concludes that free will is a mystery. Recently, the _Mind_ Argument has drawn a number of criticisms. Here I seek to add to its woes. Quite apart from its other problems, I argue, the _Mind_ Argument does a poor job of isolating the important concern for libertarians that it raises. Once this concern has been clarified, however, another (...) argument serves to renew the challenge. The Assimilation Argument challenges libertarians to explain how ostensible exercises of free will are relevantly different from other causally undetermined outcomes, outcomes that nobody would count as exercises of free will. In particular, libertarians must explain how agents can have the power to settle which of two causally possible futures becomes the actual future. This will require them to distinguish cases where this power is supposedly present from similar cases where it’s clearly absent. (shrink)
In a recent article, Dale Tuggy argues that the two most favoured approaches to explicating the doctrine of the Trinity, Social Trinitarianism and Latin Trinitarianism, are unsatisfactory on either logical or biblical grounds. Moreover, he contends that appealing to ‘mystery’ in the face of apparent contradiction is rationally and theologically unacceptable. I raise some critical questions about Tuggy's assessment of the most relevant biblical data, before defending against his objections the rationality of an appeal to mystery in the (...) face of theological paradox. (shrink)
Research in experimental epistemology has revealed a great, yet unsolved mystery: why do ordinary evaluations of knowledge ascribing sentences involving stakes and error appear to diverge so systematically from the predictions professional epistemologists make about them? Two recent solutions to this mystery by Keith DeRose (2011) and N. Ángel Pinillos (2012) argue that these differences arise due to specific problems with the designs of past experimental studies. This paper presents two new experiments to directly test these responses. Results (...) vindicate previous findings by suggesting that (i) the solution to the mystery is not likely to be based on the empirical features these theorists identify, and (ii) that the salience of ascriber error continues to make the difference in folk ratings of third-person knowledge ascribing sentences. (shrink)
This paper considers two “mysteries” having to do with vagueness. The first pertains to existence. An argument is presented for the following conclusion: there are possible cases in which ‘There exists something that is F’ is of indeterminate truth-value and with respect to which it is not assertable that there are borderline-cases of “being F.” It is contended that we have no conception of vagueness that makes this result intelligible. The second mystery has to do with “ordinary” vague predicates, (...) such as ‘tall’. An argument is presented for the conclusion that although there are people who are “tall to degree 1”—definitely tall, tall without qualification—, no greatest lower bound can be assigned to the set of numbers n such that a man who is n centimeters tall is tall to degree 1. But, since this set is bounded from below, this result seems to contradict a well-known property of the real numbers. (shrink)
Common monogenic genetic diseases, ones that have unexpectedly high frequencies in certain populations, have attracted a great number of conflicting evolutionary explanations. This paper will attempt to explain the mystery of why two particularly extensively studied common genetic diseases, Tay Sachs disease and cystic fibrosis, remain evolutionary mysteries despite decades of research. I review the most commonly cited evolutionary processes used to explain common genetic diseases: reproductive compensation, random genetic drift (in the context of founder effect), and especially heterozygote (...) advantage. The latter process has drawn a particularly large amount of attention, having so successfully explained the elevated frequency of sickle cell anemia in malaria-endemic areas. However, the empirical evidence for heterozygote advantage in other common genetic diseases is quite weak. I introduce and illustrate the significance of a hierarchy of genetic disease phenomena found within the genetic disease explanations, which include the phenomena: single mutation variants of a common genetic disease, single genetic diseases, and classes of diseases with related phenotypic effects. I demonstrate that some of the confusion over the explanations of common genetic diseases can be traced back to confusions over which phenomena are being explained. I proceed to briefly evaluate the existing evidence for two common human genetic diseases: Tay Sachs disease and cystic fibrosis. The above considerations will ultimately shed light on why these diseases’ evolutionary explanations remain so deeply unresolved after so such a great volume of research. (shrink)
Imagine yourself sitting on your front porch, sipping your morning coffee and admiring the scene before you. You see trees, houses, people, automobiles; you see a cat running across the road, and a bee buzzing among the flowers. You see that the flowers are yellow, and blowing in the wind. You see that the people are moving about, many of them on bicycles. You see that the houses are painted different colors, mostly earth tones, and most are one-story but a (...) few are two-story. It is a beautiful morning. Thus the world interfaces with your mind through your senses. There is a strong intuition that we are not disconnected from the world. We and the other things we see around us are part of a continuous whole, and we have direct access to them through vision, touch, etc. However, the philosophical tradition tries to drive a wedge between us and the world by insisting that the information we get from perception is the result of inference from indirect evidence that is about how things look and feel to us. The philosophical problem of perception is then to explain what justifies these inferences. We will focus on visual perception. Figure one presents a crude diagram of the cognitive system of an agent capable of forming beliefs on the basis of visual perception. Cognition begins with the stimulation of the rods and cones on the retina. From that physical input, some kind of visual processing produces an introspectible visual image. In response to the production of the visual image, the cognizer forms beliefs about his or her surroundings. Some beliefs the perceptual beliefs are formed as direct responses to the visual input, and other beliefs are inferred from the perceptual beliefs. The perceptual beliefs are, at the very least, caused or causally influenced by having the image. This is signified by the dashed arrow marked with a large question mark. We will refer to this as the mystery link. Figure one makes it apparent that in order to fully understand how knowledge is based on perception, we need three different theories.. (shrink)
The efforts of theologians in the last few decades to adapt their discipline to the methodological constraints of the “empirical sciences” have become obsolete. Just as many theologians have reached a tentative rapproachment with the “secular” mentality, the elements of mystery hitherto shepherded by religious thinkers have been appropriated in the cosmological models of the “new physics.” -/- The paper explores revolutionary developments over the last ten years within quantum physics. It points to an imminent convergence between scientific and (...) religious concepts within a larger framework of speculation termed synholism (from Friedrich von Weizsácher), and examines theoretical implications of such hypotheses in high-energy physics as a “cosmic consciousness” and “multiple universes.”. (shrink)
David Cooper explores and defends the view that a reality independent of human perspectives is necessarily indescribable, a "mystery." Other views are shown to be hubristic. Humanists, for whom "man is the measure" of reality, exaggerate our capacity to live without the sense of an independent measure. Absolutists, who proclaim our capacity to know an independent reality, exaggerate our cognitive powers. In this highly original book Cooper restores to philosophy a proper appreciation of mystery-that is what provides a (...) measure of our beliefs and conduct. (shrink)
Introduction: Does anyone actually believe in God? -- Life-orienting stories -- God of the philosophers -- Reasons for believing in God -- Resistance and receptivity -- Belief as a practical issue -- Anthropomorphism and mystery -- Naturalistic stories -- Theistic and naturalistic morality -- Meaning and the limits of meaning -- Conviction, doubt, and humility.
This paper proposes an analytical taxonomy of ‘mystery’ based upon what makes a mystery mysterious. I begin by distinguishing mysteries that depend on what we do not know (e.g. detective fiction) from mysteries that depend on what we do know (e.g. religious mysteries). Then I distinguish three possible grounds for the latter type. The third and most provocative ground offers a mathematical analogy for how rational reflection can be appropriate to mystery without compromising its intrinsically mysterious character. (...) I conclude with reflections on the metaphysical presuppositions that this understanding of mystery requires. (Published Online January 15 2007). (shrink)
Any satisfactory account of freedom must capture, or at least permit, the mysteriousness of freedom—a “sweet” mystery involving a certain kind of ignorance rather than a “sour” mystery of unintelligibility, incoherence, or unjustifiedness. I argue that compatibilism can capture the sweet mystery of freedom. I argue first that an action is free if and only if a certain “rationality constraint” is satisfied, and that nothing in standard libertarian accounts of freedom entails its satisfaction. Satisfaction of this constraint (...) is consistent with the universal causal predetermination of action (UCP). If UCP is true and the rationality constraint satisfied, there’s a sense in which our actions are explanatorily (though not necessarily causally) overdetermined. While it seems plausible (given UCP) that our actions are so overdetermined, it seems utterly mysterious why they should be so overdetermined. Compatibilism’s capacity to accommodate this mystery is a mark in its favor. (shrink)
The paschal mystery holds a place of prominence in the lives of Catholics, both theologically and pastorally. Given its prominent theological and ecclesial place since the Second Vatican Council, this article examines the place and role of the paschal mystery for Catholic education. With the move from a ‘classicist world view to historical mindedness,’ the thought of Bernard Lonergan is employed – particularly his understanding of the person as subject and his law of the cross – as a (...) means to frame the relationship between the paschal mystery and Catholic education. (shrink)
Alfred Loisy (1857-1940), the excommunicated French modernist priest and historian of religions, and Franz Cumont (1868-1947), the Belgian historian of religions and expert in pagan mystery cults, conducted a lively correspondence in which they intensively exchanged ideas. One of their favorite subjects for discussion was the dependence of St Paul on the pagan mysteries. Loisy dealt with this early 20 th century moot point for Protestant, Catholic and non-religious scholars in his publications, while Cumont always remained silent. This study (...) of their unpublished letters sheds new light on the strategies lying behind their publications. It reveals what they chose not to say, and what they meant by what they did say. (shrink)
This article on mystery and hope at the boundary of reason in the postmodern situation responds to the challenge of postmodern thinking to philosophyby a recourse to the works of Gabriel Marcel and his best disciple, Paul Ricoeur. It develops along the lines of their interpretation of hope as a central phenomenon in human experience and existence, thus shedding light on the philosophical enterprise for the future. It is our purpose to dwell briefly on this postmodern challenge and then, (...) incorporating its positive contribution, to present theirs as an alternative philosophy at the boundary of reason. (shrink)
This paper considers two mysteries having to do with vagueness. The first pertains to existence. An argument is presented for the following conclusion: there are possible cases in which âThere exists something that is Fâ is of indeterminate truth-value and with respect to which it is not assertable that there are borderline-cases of being F. It is contended that we have no conception of vagueness that makes this result intelligible. The second mystery has to do with ordinary vague predicates, (...) such as âtallâ. An argument is presented for the conclusion that although there are people who are tall to degree 1 âdefinitely tall, tall without qualificationâ, no greatest lower bound can be assigned to the set of numbers n such that a man who is n centimeters tall is tall to degree 1. But, since this set is bounded from below, this result seems to contradict a well-known property of the real numbers. (shrink)
The question of paradox in Christian theology continues to attract attention in contemporary philosophical theology. Much of this attention understandably centers on the epistemological problems paradoxical claims pose for Christian faith. But even among those who conclude that certain points of Christian theology are paradoxical and that belief in paradoxical points of doctrine is epistemically supportable, concepts of the nature and function of paradox in Christian theology differ significantly. In this essay, after briefly noting the diversity of phenomena that count (...) as paradoxes in contemporary discourse, I critique two of the most helpful accounts of paradox in Christian theology available – James Anderson's and C. Stephen Evans's – on the way to proposing an alternative definition. That definition combines the most helpful features of those two accounts while correcting certain weaknesses in each. The result is a definition of paradox as a particular kind of mystery that fits the Reformed strand of Christian theology particularly well and involves a compelling analysis of the spirituality of the phenomenon of paradox in theology. (shrink)
Anselm said that God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived, but he believed that it followed that God is greater than can be conceived. The second formulaâessential to sound theologyâpoints to the mystery of God. The usual way of preserving divine mystery is the via negativa, as one finds in Aquinas. I formalize Hartshorneâs central argument against negative theology in the simplest modal system T. I end with a defense of Hartshorneâs way of preserving the (...)mystery of God, which he locates in the actuality of God rather than in the divine existence or essence. This paper was delivered during the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God. (shrink)
That the life of Christian faith needs to understand itself as dwelling in the realm of mystery, of that which exceeds and overwhelms any languageand concepts with which we seek to understand it, is suggested at three sites in continental philosophy of religion: Heidegger’s critique of ontotheology,Marcel’s distinction between problems and mysteries, and Marion’s distinction between idol and icon, along with his account of the saturatedphenomenon. All three see the category of mystery as much wider than its religious (...) usage but as crucial for a proper understanding and practice ofChristian faith. (shrink)
As a general rule, contemporary philosophers have taken a different approach, and, thus, there has been very little discussion of mystery in philosophy. As a study of mystery in philosophy, this book is therefore somewhat unique.
This article explores the relationship between religious and philosophical thought, taking the kindred approaches of Anselm and Hegel as illustrations of one particular approach to the issue. It is argued that both thinkers employ a “logic of unity” which tends to subordinate the religious to the philosophical. The most important result of this approach, for the purposes of this paper, is the blurring of the distinction between the human and the divine. The logic of unity, whichultimately implies the “unity” of (...) the human and divine, renders the traditional understanding of God’s mystery problematic. Yet, while Hegel is comfortablewith this eradication of mystery, Anselm proceeds to offer a somewhat cryptic argument for divine mystery, which nevertheless respects the logic of unity towhich he adheres. (shrink)
In a classic article, philosopher William P. Alston argues that nonrealism, “though rampant nowadays even among Christian theologians,” is “subversive” of theistic faith.1 Among contemporaries guilty of succumbing to this philosophical bogey, Gordon Kaufman is singled out as an especially illuminating example. Alston notes that in the essays that make up God the Problem, Kaufman makes use of a distinction between the “available referent” of theistic language and its “real referent,” the former indicating the actual object of religious experience and (...) responses, and the latter appearing only as the “I-know-not-what” that ultimately grounds them. By the time Kaufman writes In Face of Mystery, Alston suggests, the .. (shrink)
Philosophy develops the direction towards the Whole opened up by the Notion of Being that makes the mind to be a mind. It isgrounded in awe that can increase as inquiry continues, though it tends to fall back into the routines of its exercise, like every otherhuman activity. In a time when it is common to think of ourselves as just another combination of elements in the evolutionary universe,reflection upon our own awareness turns the tables on materialists by re-minding the (...) earliest phases called “mere matter” and setting the cosmos back into the encompassing realm of absolute Mystery. (shrink)
I discuss the applicability of mathematics via a detailed case study involving a family of mathematical concepts known as ‘fractional derivatives.’ Certain formulations of the mystery of applied mathematics would lead one to believe that there ought to be a mystery about the applicability of fractional derivatives. I argue, however, that there is no clear mystery about their applicability. Thus, via this case study, I think that one can come to see more clearly why certain formulations of (...) the mystery of applied mathematics are not convincing. (shrink)
From the end of the 19th century until his death, one of history's most brilliant mathematicians languished in an asylum. The Mystery of the Aleph tells the story of Georg Cantor (1845-1918), a Russian-born German who created set theory, the concept of infinite numbers, and the "continuum hypothesis," which challenged the very foundations of mathematics. His ideas brought expected denunciation from established corners - he was called a "corruptor of youth" not only for his work in mathematics, but for (...) his larger attempts to meld spirituality and science. (shrink)
Introduction -- Historical background : schools and politics -- Major representatives : Daoists of the Liang and Tang -- The sources : commentaries and scriptures -- Key concepts : mystery, Dao, and the greater cosmos -- Salvation : Dao-nature and the sage -- The teaching : mysticism, cultivation, and integration -- Changes in the Pantheon : Laozi and the heavenly deities -- The body of the sage : the three-in-one and the three- -- Fold body of the Buddha.
This book studies the intersection of sacred and secular conceptions of kingship in the Renaissance. The book documents in detail six instances of the attempt to connect Machiavelli's thought to an ancient and secret tradition of political counsel, the arcana imperii, or mysteries of state. The ways in which Renaissance writers attempted such a connection varied widely. In addition to carefully analyzing these arguments, the book documents patterns in their dissemination. Through his connection with mysteries of state, Machiavelli influenced not (...) only Renaissance political ideas, but the transmission of these ideas. Machiavellian politics was a secret art; its vehicles, frequently secret books; and its authors and readers, sharers in a mystery. (shrink)
Illness narrative has often been found to play a positive role in both patients’ and providers’ efforts to find meaning in the illness experience. However, illness narrative can sometimes become counterproductive, even pathological, particularly in cases of medical mystery—cases wherein biopsychosocial factors blur the distinction between bodily dysfunction and somatizing behavior. In this article, the author draws attention to two examples of medical mystery, the clinical presentation of medically unexplained symptoms, and the popular reality television program Mystery (...) Diagnosis, to demonstrate the potentially harmful effects of illness narrative. The medical mystery’s complex narrative structure reflects and tends to reinforce providers’ and patients’ mistaken assumptions, anxieties, and conflicts in ways which obstruct, rather than facilitate, healing. (shrink)
Gomez, Cristina Lledo This article explores the idea that motherhood is an invitation to engage with the paschal mystery and can thus be a salvific experience in the lives of women. This is of even greater significance for a Christian mother who can explicitly name the experience as her own sharing in the paschal event of Jesus. This article will focus on crisis moments of motherhood in a contemporary Western context, exploring particularly the issues raised in first becoming a (...) mother, and on the initial years of motherhood. (shrink)
This guest-edited special section explores the related themes of mystery, humility, and religious practice from both the Western and East Asian philosophical traditions. The contributors are David E. Cooper, John Cottingham, Mark Wynn, Graham Parkes, and Ian James Kidd.
The cultivation of receptivity to the mystery of reality is a central feature of many religious and philosophical traditions, both Western and Asian. This paper considers two contemporary accounts of receptivity to mystery – those of David E. Cooper and John Cottingham – and considers them in light of the problem of loss of receptivity. I argue that a person may lose their receptivity to mystery by embracing what I call a scientistic stance, and the paper concludes (...) by offering two possible responses to combating that stance and restoring the receptivity to mystery that it occludes. (shrink)
This is the first book to analyze systematically crucial aspects of ancient Greek philosophy in their original context of mystery, religion, and magic. The author brings to light recently uncovered evidence about ancient Pythagoreanism and its influence on Plato, and reconstructs the fascinating esoteric transmission of Pythagorean ideas from the Greek West down to the alchemists and magicians of Egypt, and from there into the world of Islam.
Narrar artisticamente o Mistério Santo que habita entre nós: Leitura místico-teológica da obra “Guerra e Paz” de Cândido Portinari. (Narrating artistically the Holy Mystery that lives among us: Mystical-theological reading of the panel "War and Peace"). - DOI: 10.5752/P.2175-5841.2013v11n31p867 A revelação é um conceito fundamental para a teologia cristã: ele se refere à experiência que fundamenta o discurso sobre Deus. No século XX, operou-se uma transformação importante nessa concepção fundamental, uma renovação que implicou na desconstrução do conceito tradicional de (...) revelação focado em doutrinas e dogmas e na emergência de uma nova concepção que coloca como fundamento da revelação a experiência do incondicional, experiência mística. A partir dessa renovação, passou-se a considerar a problemática da dificuldade de uma linguagem que expresse a complexidade dessa experiência paradoxal. Toda criação artística, na medida em que provoca uma forte experiência estética, é uma maneira de falar de revelação. A linguagem da arte com seu poder evocativo e não definível é certamente capaz de expressar essa experiência do divino sem constrangimento do sagrado e sem desvalorização do humano. Esse trabalho consiste em fazer a leitura dos painéis Guerra e Paz de Cândido Portinari, evidenciando que através da arte é possível narrar artisticamente o Mistério Santo que habita entre nós. Palavras-chaves: Mística. Arte. Espiritualidade. Cândido PortinariRevelation is a key concept to Christian theology: it refers to the experience that underlines the discourses about God. In the twentieth century, an important transformation on this concept led to a deconstruction of its traditional meaning, originally focused on doctrines and dogmas, and further to the emergency of a new conception, which places the mystical experience in the very foundation of the Revelation’s concept. Since this renovation, the difficulties of a language to express the complexity of this paradoxical experience were highly problematized. All artistic creation, as long as it provokes a strong aesthetic experience, is matter of Revelation. The Art’s language, with its non-definable and evocative power, is certainly capable of expressing this divine experience without devaluate the holy or the human depreciation. This work consists on the reading of Cândido Portinari’s “War and Peace” panels, pointing out that, through art, it is possible to narrate artistically the Holy Mystery that dwells among us. Keywords: Mystics. Art. Spirituality. Cândido Portinari. (shrink)
Summary In his book Serpentum et Draconum Historiae Libri Duo, the sixteenth-century Italian naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi described and illustrated an alleged dragon that had supposedly been killed in 1572. The ?dragon? became famous and was the centrepiece of Aldrovandi's museum. The specimen, a long-necked, long-tailed, scale-covered biped with a thickened torso and a forked tongue, was unlike any currently known bipedal animal and is therefore suspicious. Even so, an explicit description of its true nature has not been published before now. (...) Here we examine Aldrovandi's description and illustration, compare these with extant animals, and conclude that the specimen was a taxidermic hoax. It was made by attaching the forelimbs of a common toad (Bufo bufo) to a European grass snake (Natrix natrix) the midsection of which had been replaced by that of a fish. Fake dragons abounded in the museums of Renaissance Europe, but only in a few cases has the mystery of their true nature been investigated. Aldrovandi's dragon can now be added to the list of such solved zoological mysteries. (shrink)
The path to a new discovery in physics is often a very twisted one. The subject of this Alternate View column is an example of this process. A major accelerator, built with with the prospect of discovering super-heavy elements, is now being used in an experiment to produce "super-atoms" with very large electric fields, and this work has quite unexpectedly revealed what looks like a new and mysterious particle. It is reminiscent of the SF of the 1930's where one of (...) the standard science gimmicks was the discovery of a new element with amazing properties. It also sounds a bit like the Paul Preuss novel Broken Symmetries, where the plot revolves around the discovery at a large accelerator laboratory of a mysterious new particle. But this is real science, folks. Honest! (shrink)