Philosophers over the course of the last century, including Edmund Husserl, Chaim Perelman, and Jacques Derrida, have attempted to unravel the tangled relationship between the rational and the reasonable in order to understand how the history of thought progresses. Critical political theorists, including Michel Foucault and Ernesto Laclau have also investigated this issue from a range of perspectives, especially as it relates to the relationship between ideational limits and their transgression and the universal and the particular. This essay compares (...) these perspectives to locate the rational dimensions of the reasonable, and to relate that “meta-reason” to the irrational and unreasonable aspects of identity formation and the unfolding of world history. (shrink)
Between 1100 and 1600, the emphasis on reason in the learning and intellectual life of Western Europe became more pervasive and widespread than ever before in the history of human civilization. Of crucial significance was the invention of the university around 1200, within which reason was institutionalized and where it became a deeply embedded, permanent feature of Western thought and culture. It is therefore appropriate to speak of an Age of Reason in the Middle Ages, and (...) to view it as a forerunner and herald of the Age of Reason that was to come in the seventeenth century. The object of this study is twofold: to describe how reason was manifested in the curriculum of medieval universities, especially in the subjects of logic, natural philosophy and theology; and to explain how the Middle Ages acquired an undeserved reputation as an age of superstition, barbarism, and unreason. (shrink)
: This essay explores some themes in use of a relativized Kantian a priori in the work of Thomas Kuhn and Michael Friedman. It teases out some shared and some divergent beliefs and attitudes in these two philosophers by comparing their characteristic questions and problems to the questions and problems that seem most appropriately to attend to an adequate understanding of games and their histories. It argues for a way forward within a relativized Kantian framework that is suggested but not (...) argued for in Friedman (2001): philosophers of science should move from a concern with unreason as meaninglessness to a concern with unreason as argumentative coercion. It ends with a few suggestions regarding a place for philosophy in the history of reason. (shrink)
Passion's Triumph over Reason presents a comprehensive survey of ideas of emotion, appetite, and self-control in English literature and moral thought of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In a narrative which draws on tragedy, epic poetry, and moral philosophy, Christopher Tilmouth explores how Renaissance writers transformed their understanding of the passions, re-evaluating emotion so as to make it an important constituent of ethical life rather than the enemy within which allegory had traditionally cast it as being. This interdisciplinary study (...) departs from current emphases in intellectual history, arguing that literature should be explored alongside the moral rather than political thought of its time. The book also develops a new approach to understanding the relationship between literature and philosophy. Consciously or not, moral thinkers tend to ground their philosophising in certain images of human nature. Their work is premissed on imagined models of the mind and presumed estimates of man's moral potential. In other words, the thinking of philosophical authors (as much as that of literary ones) is shaped by the pre-rational assumptions of the 'moral imagination'. Because that is so, poets and dramatists in their turn, in speaking to this material, typically do more than just versify the abstract ideas of ethics. They reflect, directly and critically, upon those same core assumptions which are integral to the writings of their philosophical counterparts. -/- Authors examined here include Aristotle, Augustine, Hobbes, and an array of lyric poets; but there are new readings, too, of The Faerie Queene and Paradise Lost, Hamlet and Julius Caesar, Dryden's 'Lucretius', and Etherege's Man of Mode. Tilmouth's study concludes with a revisionist interpretation of the works of the Earl of Rochester, presenting this libertine poet as a challenging, intellectually serious figure. Written in a lucid, accessible style, this book will appeal to a wide range of readers. (shrink)
Andrew Dobson charts Sartre's transformation from novelist and apolitical philosopher of existentialism, before the Second World War, to a committed defender of Marxism and Marxist method after it. Examining Sartre's post-war work in detail, he shows how the biographies of Baudelaire, Genet and Flaubert, often considered tangential to his main oeuvres, are in fact central to this defence of Marxism, and should therefore be read as acts of political commitment. Andrew Dobson's study is new in its use of posthumous sources, (...) including one of the first extended commentaries in English of Volume II of the Critique of dialectical reason, and in its insistence on reading Sartre's philosophical development as primarily politically motivated. It provides a clear reading of some of Sartre's less familiar works, situating them in an overarching social and political project. (shrink)
Already a classic in its first year of publication, this landmark study of Western thought takes a fresh look at the writings of the great thinkers of classic philosophy and questions many pieces of conventional wisdom. The book invites comparison with Bertrand Russell's monumental History of Western Philosophy, "but Gottlieb's book is less idiosyncratic and based on more recent scholarship" (Colin McGinn, Los Angeles Times). A New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Best Book, and a Times (...) Literary Supplement Best Book of 2001. (from the publisher). (shrink)
An English translation of Hegel's introduction to his lectures on the philosophy of history, based directly on the standard German edition by Johannes Hoffmeister, first published in 1955. The previous English translation, by J. Sibree, first appeared in 1857 and was based on the defective German edition of Karl Hegel, to which Hoffmeister's edition added a large amount of new material previously unknown to English readers, derived from earlier editors. In the introduction to his lectures, Hegel lays down the (...) principles and aims which underlie his philosophy of history, and provides an outline of the philosophy of history itself. The comprehensive and voluminous survey of world history which followed the introduction in the original lectures is of less interest to students of Hegel's thought than the introduction, and is therefore not included in this volume. (shrink)
Two centuries after they were published, Kant's ethical writings are as much admired and imitated as they have ever been, yet serious and long-standing accusations of internal incoherence remain unresolved. Onora O'Neill traces the alleged incoherences to attempts to assimilate Kant's ethical writings to modern conceptions of rationality, action and rights. When the temptation to assimilate is resisted, a strikingly different and more cohesive account of reason and morality emerges. Kant offers a "constructivist" vindication of reason and a (...) moral vision in which obligations are prior to rights and in which justice and virtue are linked. O'Neill begins by reconsidering Kant's conceptions of philosophical method, reason, freedom, autonomy and action. She then moves on to the more familiar terrain of interpretation of the Categorical Imperative, while in the last section she emphasizes differences between Kant's ethics and recent "Kantian" ethics, including the work of John Rawls and other contemporary liberal political philosophers. (shrink)
Hilary Putnam deals in this book with some of the most fundamental persistent problems in philosophy: the nature of truth, knowledge and rationality. His aim is to break down the fixed categories of thought which have always appeared to define and constrain the permissible solutions to these problems.
Kant believed that true enlightenment is the use of reason freely in public. This is the first book to trace systematically the philosophical origins and development of the idea that the improvement of human understanding requires public activity. Michael Losonsky focuses on seventeenth-century discussions of the problem of irresolution and the closely connected theme of the role of volition in human belief formation. This involves a discussion of the work of Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Spinoza, and Leibniz. Challenging the traditional (...) views of seventeenth-century philosophy and written in a lucid, nontechnical language, this book will be eagerly sought out by historians of philosophy and students of the history of ideas. (shrink)
This book explores Hume's account of reason and its role in human understanding, seen in the context of other notable accounts by philosophers of the early modern period. David Owen offers new interpretations of many of Hume's most famous arguments about induction, belief, scepticism, the passions, and moral distinctions.
In this study of Robert Boyle's epistemology, Jan W. Wojcik reveals the theological context within which Boyle developed his views on reason's limits. After arguing that a correct interpretation of his views on 'things above reason' depends upon reading his works in the context of theological controversies in seventeenth-century England, Professor Wojcik details exactly how Boyle's three specific categories of things which transcend reason - the incomprehensible, the inexplicable, and the unsociable - affected his conception of what (...) a natural philosopher could hope to know. Also covered in detail is Boyle's belief that God had deliberately limited the human intellect in order to reserve a full knowledge of both theology and natural philosophy for the afterlife. (shrink)
The Sovereignty of Reason is a survey of the rule of faith controversy in seventeenth-century England. It examines the arguments by which reason eventually became the sovereign standard of truth in religion and politics, and how it triumphed over its rivals: Scripture, inspiration, and apostolic tradition. Frederick Beiser argues that the main threat to the authority of reason in seventeenth-century England came not only from dissident groups but chiefly from the Protestant theology of the Church of England. (...) The triumph of reason was the result of a new theology rather than the development of natural philosophy, which upheld the orthodox Protestant dualism between the heavenly and earthly. Rationalism arose from a break with the traditional Protestant answers to problems of salvation, ecclesiastical polity, and the true faith. Although the early English rationalists were not able to defend all their claims on behalf of reason, they developed a moral and pragmatic defense of reason that is still of interest today. Beiser's book is a detailed examination of some neglected figures of early modern philosophy, who were crucial in the development of modern rationalism. There are chapters devoted to Richard Hooker, the Great Tew Circle, the Cambridge Platonists, the early ethical rationalists, and the free-thinkers John Toland and Anthony Collins. (shrink)
In Descartes's philosophy, communicating scientific and philosophical truth does not represent a problem that can be traced back to humanistic “rhetoric”, meant as “the art of persuasion”. Descartes states his belief in the “eloquence” of reason: a clear, precise, and adequately expressed thought cannot fail to “convince” the listener. This is the measure of the distance between the level of truth and the level of opinion. However, the moment of confrontation with the public is also the very moment when (...) the truth of the new knowledge enters into conflict with other, different conceptions. Education and history influence communication with the result that the distinction between intellectual “conviction” and “persuasion” becomes less straightforward. Rational eloquence, as Descartes is well aware, must be articulated in such a way as to avoid any possible language equivocation and to adopt exposition strategies ensuring effective access to readers. The aim of this paper is to illustrate some aspects of this tension as expressed by the writer Descartes with reference to a number of texts (from the Regulae to the Meditationes) that were essential for the elaboration and dissemination of his philosophy. (shrink)
My claim in this paper is that what I shall call the problem of public reason became central to the political theory of the early modern period, and continues to be in ours. However the solutions we have, for the most part, inherited and developed since then are increasingly under pressure in these fractious times. Public justification may be crucial to liberal political theory, but it can take alternative and conflicting forms. Moreover, however much it is theoretically unlimited -- (...) however much �reasons for us� are always contestable and defeasible -- it is always at the same time historically patterned and thus limited. (shrink)
Faith and reason in the Church Magisterium from Pius IX to Fides et ratio -- Pius IX (1846-1878) between the Qui pluribus and the syllabus -- Faith and reason in the First Vatican Council -- From the syllabus to the First Vatican Council -- Constitution Dei filius -- Leo XIII and the Aeterni patris -- Faith and reason in the light of Fides et ratio -- Fides et ratio after Dei filius and Aeterni patris: faith and (...) class='Hi'>reason -- Truth, foundation and metaphysics -- Historical reconstruction of Chapter IV -- Patristic and Medieval period -- Faith and reason in the modern age -- For a comprehensive review -- Difference and reciprocity of faith and reason -- Stressing difference: S. Kierkegaard -- Stressing reciprocity and circularity -- Crisis of reason and of the relationship reason-truth -- Post-modernity as the name of contemporary times. a brief analysis -- Going beyond the reductionism of post-modern reason -- Faith and reason: a necessary encounter, if both are "loyal" to themselves. (shrink)
Truth is no longer based on reason What we feel is now the truest reality Yet despite our obsession with the emotive and the experiential we still face anxiety despair and purposelessness Tracing trends in twentieth century thought Francis ...
This collection of essays explores 'the end' in various contexts, including art, politics, and the philosophy of time and existence. In different ways, all of the essays address emerging horizons of meaning and reality.
This book is a study of the role of intellect in human action as described by Thomas Aquinas. One of its primary aims is to compare the interpretation of Aristotle by Aquinas with the lines of interpretation offered in contemporary Aristotelian scholarship. The book seeks to clarify the problems involved in the appropriation of Aristotle's theory by a Christian theologian, including such topics as the practical syllogism and the problems of akrasia. Westberg argues that Aquinas was much closer to Aristotle (...) than is often recognized, and he puts forward important new interpretations of the relation of intellect and will in the stages of intention, deliberation, decision, and execution. In the concluding section of the book, he shows how this new interpretation yields fruitful insights on a range of theological topics, including sin, law, love, and the moral virtues. (shrink)
My goal in writing this article is to give a brief overview of the two volumes of Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason. After a brief introduction, I proceed in three stages that move from the abstract to the concrete. I thus trace the development of such notions as comprehension into the dialectic, praxis into singularity and incarnation, the practico-inert into the totalization-of-envelopment, and the enhancement of the notion of scarcity as a general historical condition into a collective free choice. (...) I also suggest new divisions for Critique II. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: List of contributors; Acknowledgments; Introduction: the humanist tradition in Russian philosophy G. M. Hamburg and Randall A. Poole; Part I. The Nineteenth Century: 1. Slavophiles, Westernizers, and the birth of Russian philosophical humanism Sergey Horujy; 2. Alexander Herzen Derek Offord; 3. Materialism and the radical intelligentsia: the 1860s Victoria S. Frede; 4. Russian ethical humanism: from populism to neo-idealism Thomas Nemeth; Part II. Russian Metaphysical Idealism in Defense of Human Dignity: 5. Boris Chicherin and human dignity (...) in history G. M. Hamburg; 6. Vladimir Solov'iev's philosophical anthropology: autonomy, dignity, perfectibility Randall A. Poole; 7. Russian panpsychism: Kozlov, Lopatin, Losskii James P. Scanlan; Part III. Humanity and Divinity in Russian Religious Philosophy after Solov'iev: 8. A Russian cosmodicy: Sergei Bulgakov's religious philosophy Paul Valliere; 9. Pavel Florenskii's trinitarian humanism Steven Cassedy; 10. Semën Frank's expressivist humanism Philip J. Swoboda; Part IV. Freedom and Human Perfectibility in the Silver Age: 11. Religious humanism in the Russian silver age Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal; 12. Russian liberalism and the philosophy of law Frances Nethercott; 13. Imagination and ideology in the new religious consciousness Robert Bird; 14. Eschatology and hope in silver age thought Judith Deutsch Kornblatt; Part V. Russian Philosophy in Revolution and Exile: 15. Russian Marxism Andrzej Walicki; 16. Adventures in dialectic and intuition: Shpet, Il'in, Losev Philip T. Grier; 17. Nikolai Berdiaev and the philosophical tasks of the emigration Stuart Finkel; 18. Eurasianism: affirming the person in an 'Era of Faith' Martin Beisswenger; Afterword: on persons as open-ended ends-in-themselves (the view from two novelists and two critics) Caryl Emerson; Bibliography. (shrink)
The project of public-reason liberalism faces a basic problem: publicly justified principles are typically too abstract and vague to be directly applied to practical political disputes, whereas applicable specifications of these principles are not uniquely publicly justified. One solution could be a legislative procedure that selects one member from the eligible set of inconclusively justified proposals. Yet if liberal principles are too vague to select sufficiently specific legislative proposals, can they, nevertheless, select specific legislative procedures? Based on the work (...) of Gerald Gaus, this article argues that the only candidate for a conclusively justified decision procedure is a majoritarian or otherwise ‘neutral’ democracy. If the justification of democracy requires an equality baseline in the design of political regimes and if justifications for departure from this baseline are subject to reasonable disagreement, a majoritarian design is justified by default. Gaus’s own preference for super-majoritarian procedures is based on disputable specifications of justified liberal principles. These procedures can only be defended as a sectarian preference if the equality baseline is rejected, but then it is not clear how the set of justifiable political regimes can be restricted to full democracies. (shrink)
A Kantian beginning : Georg Hermes -- A Catholic Hegel? Anton Günther -- The response of fideism : Louis Bautain -- Magisterial interventions : Gregory XVI and Pius IX -- Return to the schoolmen : Joseph Kleutgen and Leo XIII -- Embodying the Leonine project : Etienne Gilson -- The philosophy of action : Maurice Blondel -- The dispute over apologetics : from Blondel to Balthasar -- A synthetic outcome? John Paul II's letter Fides et ratio -- From Cracow to (...) Regensburg : Benedict XVI. (shrink)
This paper situates Lynne Huffer’s recent queer-feminist Foucaultian critique of reason within the context of earlier feminist debates about reason and critically assesses Huffer’s work from the point of view of its faithfulness to Foucault’s work and its implications for feminism. I argue that Huffer’s characterization of Enlightenment reason as despotic not only departs from Foucault’s account of the relationship between power and reason, it also leaves her stuck in the same double binds that plagued earlier (...) feminist critiques of reason. An appreciation of the profoundly ambivalent nature of Foucault’s critique of reason offers feminists some insights into how to navigate those double binds. What feminists should learn from the early Foucault is precisely his commitment to engage in a rational critique of reason that highlights reason’s dangerous entanglements with power while resisting the temptation to reject or refuse reason altogether. (shrink)