This book deals with the impact of the Reformation debate in Germany on the most prominent intellectual movement of the time: humanism Although it is true that humanism influenced the course of the Reformation, says Erika Rummel, the dynamics of the relationship are better described by saying that humanism was co-opted, perhaps even exploited, in the religious debate.
Recently, an orthodox Russellian tenet has come under fire from within. In particular, some Russellians now argue that definite descriptions don’t semantically encode uniqueness. Instead, Reformed Russellians, as I call them, hold that definite descriptions are truth-theoretically identical to indefinite ones. On this approach, a definite description’s uniqueness reading becomes a matter of pragmatics, not semantics. These reforms, we’re told, provide both empirical and methodological benefits over and above the prevailing orthodoxy. As I argue, however, the Russellian Reformation contains (...) serious flaws. Indeed, it is Orthodox Russellianism that remains a superior choice, both empirically and conceptually. (shrink)
Abstract This article examines Gramsci?s theory of common sense and the implications of this theory for understanding social transformation and theorising political activity. Gramsci analyses common sense as a pervasive, though confused and contradictory, variety of ideology. For Gramsci the point is to challenge and question this pervasive ideology and its incoherence, confusion, passivity, and political conservatism. The task is to involve the construction of a new conception of the world, in opposition to existing belief?systems, and what he terms an (...) ?intellectual and moral reformation?. By transforming modes of thinking and acting, such a transformation is conceived as revolutionising political possibilities, altering the potentialities inherent in a conjuncture. This approach of Gramsci?s dovetails with revolutionary and radical political movements, suggesting a more fundamental challenge to capitalism and a forgotten but very energetic potential project of revolutionary transformation. (shrink)
Descartes’ account of emotion conflict in the Passions of the Soul has recently been the subject of Shapiro’s essay (2003), who claims that agent evaluation of the human good operates as an explanatory factor for the reformation of existing mind-body associations. On the contrary, it is here argued that this passion reformation involves explicit reasoning processes, and that the tendency to promote the good of the human being either denotes the cause and not the reason for the original (...) passion formation or is a specific reasoning method. Passion reformation does not seem to be essentially related to the problem of mind-body union. (shrink)
Under the title The Reformation of Morals , the tenth-century Syrian Orthodox scholar Yahya ibn 'Adi offered encouragement to the effort to promote moral perfection, especially among kings and other members of the social elite: his tract, on the social virtues and vices, gives extensive advice about the cultivation of the former and the extirpation of the latter. Where there are many echoes of Hellenistic moral philosophy in his presentation, the topical profile of the work and the language the (...) author uses reveal his participation in the Baghdad circle of philosophers and intellectuals--both Christian and Muslim--who were responsible for much that has come to be regarded as typical of the classical culture of the Islamic world. In fact, this text has occasionally been attributed to one or another famous Muslim author. It now stands as an important Christian contribution, in Arabic, to a strand of moral philosophy that is an integral component of the intellectual tradition of the world of Islam. (shrink)
At the beginning of the 16th century in Germany, religious ends and human art joined forces to produce a sacred rhetoric: a rhetoric that could transform human nature, and explain at the same time how such transformation was possible according to both science and scripture. No longer was it enough to ask in Scholastic fashion ‘What is man?’ - his essence and unique faculties, his special place in God’s world. A new question took on urgency in the wake of religious (...)reformation, namely ‘What could man become?’ But theology alone could not provide a practical response to this question. Rhetoric, in its various adopted forms, could. Consequently rhetoric emerged as architectonic of the human sciences in Reformation Germany, shaping pedagogy as a practical art. Whereas scholars have paid a good deal of attention to the way in which the exact sciences such as mathematics influenced Enlightenment human science, the history of human science as practical art has received little attention. This article contributes to such a history by showing how rhetoric as a practical protreptic art structured human scientific initiatives in the wake of Philipp Melanchthon’s Reformation pedagogy. (shrink)
Terence Irwin presents a historical and critical study of the development of moral philosophy over two thousand years, from ancient Greece to the Reformation. Starting with the seminal ideas of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, he guides the reader through the centuries that follow, introducing each of the thinkers he discusses with generous quotations from their works. He offers not only careful interpretation but critical evaluation of what they have to offer philosophically. This is the first of three volumes which (...) will examine the history of ethics in the Socratic tradition, up to the late 20th century. (shrink)
Christian theology and ethics are largely inadequate to confront the ecological crisis of today. They are in need of reformation. At the center of Christian faith, we shall not find a mandate to pollute, plunder, and prey on the rest of nature. Instead, we shall discover that the core affirmations endow all life with a moral significance that entails human responsibility toward the whole of nature.
Discernible in the fierce struggles attending the Reformation is the manner in which the Reformers and three great ecclesiastical movements—Lutheranism, Calvinism, and Catholicism—responded to the religious, moral, and political challenges of the age.
In this paper I argue that the influence of Lutheran and Calvinist theology on the philosophy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is the reconception and consequent curtailment of the power and role of language in philosophical thought. Prior to this influence, ethics is the basis for pre-Reformation philosophy, in that it entails a basic teleological conception of human nature upon which other branches of philosophical thought are based. Thus the primary objective of pre-Reformation philosophy is the justification (...) of humanity, the laying out of how humanity might become right, complete, balanced, and just. What allows humanity to achieve its own good by seeking out the good in nature is language and the ability to wield it. The conclusion drawn is that philosophy prior to the Reformation is the justification of humanity as language. (shrink)
Historical scholarship suggests that a robust cult of the saints may have helped some European regions to resist inroads by Protestantism. Based on a neo-Durkheimian theory of rituals and social order, I propose that locally based cults of the saints that included public veneration lowered the odds that Protestantism would displace Catholicism in sixteenth-century German cities. To evaluate this proposition, I first turn to historical and theoretical reflection on the role of the cult of the saints in late medieval history. (...) I then test the hypothesis with a data set of sixteenth-century German cities. Statistical analysis provides additional support for the ritual and social order thesis because even when several important variables identified by materialist accounts of the Reformation in the social scientific literature the presence of shrines as an indicator for the cult of the saints remains large and significant. Although large-scale social change is usually assumed to have politico-economic sources, this analysis suggests that cultural factors may be of equal or greater importance. (shrink)
This article examines Charles Villers's Essay on the Spirit and Influence of Luther's Reformation (1804) in its intellectual and historical context. Exiled from France after 1792, Villers intervened in important French and German debates about the relationship of religion, history, and philosophy. The article shows how he took up a German Protestant discussion on the meaning of the Reformation that had been underway from the 1770s through the end of the century, including efforts by Kantians to seize the (...) mantle of Protestantism for themselves. Villers's essay capitalized on a broad interest in the question of Protestantism and its meaning for modern freedom around 1800. Revisiting the formation of the narrative of Protestantism and progress reveals that it was not a logical progression from Protestant theology or religion but rather part of a specific ideological and social struggle in the wake of the French Revolution and the collapse of the Old Regime. (shrink)
Looking for ‘the future of Christian ethics’ we have to be aware of different paradigms of theological ethics and its different implications for a theologically reflected notion of future. With regard to the Reformation heritage there can be identified a Protestant paradigm of a Christian moral subject, liberated for a universal rational responsibility related to the future of the human condition on the one hand, and—according to a Lutheran grammar—an ethics of Christian practices within a worshipping community, grounded in (...) God’s ongoing creational work. The future of Christian ethics, then, consists of the continuity of this Christian witness as it is rooted in God’s promises and faithfulness. (shrink)
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) was regarded by sixteenth century Europe as one of the most contested religious and philosophical authorities. He was cast as a characteristically Lutheran, Catholic, or Calvinist thinker, and even as the ideal Erasmian pastor. These wildly contrasting receptions raise crucial questions about the significance of Augustine's thought in the Reformation period. They also show the complex relationship between religious change and the new intellectual culture of Renaissance humanism. Drawing on a variety of printed and (...) manuscript sources, Arnoud Visser breaks new ground in three ways. He systematically grounds Augustine's theological reception in the history of reading and the material culture of books and manuscripts. He does not confine his examination to particular confessional parties or specific geographic boundaries, but offers a cross-confessional account of Augustine's appropriation in early modern Europe. Finally, he provides crucial insight into the nature of intellectual authority in the early modern period. Central in this study are the production, circulation and consumption of Augustine's works. Visser examines the impact of the new art of print, the rise of humanist scholarship, and the emerging confessional divisions on Augustine's reception. He shows how editors navigated a wealth of patristic information by using search tools and anthologies. He also explains how individual readers used their copies and how they applied their knowledge in public debates alongside other media of communication. Reading Augustine in the Reformation argues that the emerging confessional pressures did not restrict intellectual life, as has often been claimed, but promoted new scholarship. (shrink)
By way of introduction, this paper points out inherent problems in attempting a comprehensive social history of the Reformation, due to the complex dynamics at work in sixteenth century European society.Contemporary pamphlet literature, a resource as yet not intensively explored, reflects in a unique manner the rich variety of the Reformation experience in all walks of life, from both sides of the schism. By examining a representative sampling of such tracts, the essay strives to establish some immediacy to (...) that experience. The nearly 300 pamphlets held by the Ambrose Swasey Library at the Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, NY, served as source material to help straddle the 500 year gap. The abbreviation ASL is used to identify pamphlets in the text. (shrink)
In his impressive account of the development of the modern conception of selfhood, AlasdairMacIntyre argues that the Protestant Reformers played an important role in paving the way for secular ethics. This essay challenges MacIntyre's historical narrative on this point. His treatment of the views of Luther and Calvin is critically examined, and it is argued that the Reformational view-point offers an alternative to both the classical-medievalist perspective, which Maclntyre endorses, and the modern conception, which he rejects. (...) The Reformers' insistence that the human self stands inescapably before God, and must assess all other role-options from that standpoint, is commended as being worthy of contemporary consideration. (shrink)
Disagreement in the sixteenth century on the meaning of the First Commandment prompted dissension over such related issues as the nature of the Lord's Supper, the authority of the Old Testament for the church and the pace of ecclesiastical reform—issues that are still in dispute.
Business education is at a critical juncture. How are we to justify the curriculum in undergraduate business awards in Aotearoa New Zealand? This essay suggests a philosophical framework for the analysis the business curriculum in Western countries. This framework helps us to see curriculum in a context of global academic communities and national needs. It situates the business degree in the essential tension which modernity (Western metaphysics) creates and which is expressed in an increasingly globalised economy. The tension is between (...) those who insist that the degree is to serve modernity and those who hope that it may contribute to a new era of justice and harmony with nature. One critical battle ground for the business curriculum is the subject Business Ethics. The business ethics curriculum often indicates the intention of the business ethics degree itself. Kant's distinction between heteronomy (rule following) and autonomy (making your own decisions) provides us with a means to judge the purposes of business ethics courses: there are courses which seek to produce reliable and compliant (heteronomous) employees, and there are those which seek to produce independent creative (autonomous) human beings. The question for this conference is: what do we as business educators see as our task? (shrink)
The work of the Paduan Aristotelian philosopher Iacopo Zabarella (1533–1589) has attracted the attention of historians of philosophy mainly for his contributions to logic, scientific methodology and because of his possible influence on Galileo. At the same time, Zabarella's views on Aristotelian psychology have been little studied so far; even those historians of Renaissance philosophy who have discussed them, have based their analysis mainly on the psychological essays included in Zabarella's De rebus naturalibus , but have avoided Zabarella's commentary on (...) Aristotle's De anima . This has led to an inaccurate, but widespread, understanding of Zabarella's views. The intention of this article is to provide a systematic analysis of Zabarella's arguments about the (im)mortality of the soul in the context of Aristotelian psychology. Zabarella's view that the soul is mortal according to Aristotle is remarkable for his time, while his elaboration of this position is far more comprehensive than that of Pietro Pomponazzi, the other significant Renaissance thinker who shared the same view. (shrink)
[Introduction]: Curiosity is now widely regarded, with some justification, as a vital ingredient of the inquiring mind and, more particularly, as a crucial virtue for the practitioner of the pure sciences. We have become accustomed to associate curiosity with innocence and, in its more mature manifestations, with the pursuit of truth for its own sake. It was not always so. The sentiments expressed in Sir John Davies's poem, published on the eve of the seventeenth century, paint a somewhat different picture. (...) To seek knowledge with no particular end in mind was to indulge in "fruitlesse curiositie," while the "desire to know" was associated with those catastrophic events that took place at the dawn of history in the Garden of Eden and with the ensuing curse that fell upon succeeding generations. Davies's poem neatly sets out two of the chief impediments to the advancement of learning in seventeenth-century England: the fact that the Genesis narrative attributes the Fall of the human race to the desire for knowledge, and the moral disapprobation associated with the vice of curiosity. In short, the traditional classification of curiosity amongst the vices and its complicity in the commission of the first sin represented a major obstacle to early modern projects to enlarge human learning. This essay will explore the changing fortunes of curiosity, from its construction as an intellectual vice in the patristic era to its subsequent transformation, over the course of the seventeenth century, to a virtue. Particular attention will be paid to the way in which Francis Bacon dealt with prevailing conceptions of curiosity and forbidden knowledge and how he modified an existing view of the moral legitimacy of knowledge of nature in order to provide rhetorical justification for his proposed instauration of learning. This change in the status of knowledge of nature, initiated by Bacon and promoted by his successors, highlights the morally charged character of early modem debates over the status of natural philosophy and the particular virtues required of its practitioners. As we shall see, the rehabilitation of curiosity was a crucial element in the objectification of scientific knowledge and led to a shift of focus away from the moral qualities of investigators and the propriety of particular objects of knowledge to specific disciplines, procedures, and methods. (shrink)
Two significantly different, if related, themes run through pacifist ideas in western history. One school of pacifism rejects violence as itself evil by whomever practiced and in whatever cause, but accepts the state as the agent of change to abolish violence. This point of view includes an expressed hope that a Utopian reconstitution of government will produce a totally peaceful world society. The other major theme expressed by pacifists in western culture accepts violence as inevitable in history and perhaps even (...) in some sense "ordained by God." The moral rejection of violence follows from an all-encompassing desire to separate from the society where violence is practiced and to live apart in a peaceful society ruled by the love of Christ. This paper explores these two themes in the western historical context via examination of the pacifism of Erasmus, exemplifying the first theme, and that of the Anabaptists of the Schleitheim Confession, representing the second theme. (shrink)
Gintis assumes the behavioral (=social) sciences are in disarray, and so proposes a theory for their unification. Examination of the unity of the physical sciences reveals he misunderstands the unity of science in general, and so fails to see that the social sciences are already unified with the physical sciences. Another explanation of the differences between them is outlined. (Published Online April 27 2007).
The University of Leipzig was founded in the year 1409. In the faculty of arts - the heart and the basis of the old university as a whole - there were numerous controversies during the first century of its existence. From the very beginning it competed with the older University of Prague, its historic mother, for an independent manner of philosophical thinking. The so-called » Wegestreit « between the via moderna and the via antiqua , and the » Poetenstreit « (...) between traditional and new humanistic patterns of science and philosophy were constituents of late medieval philosophy in Germany. Especially the various forms of academic disputation, that is ordinary, extraordinary and quodlibetal disputations, played an important part within the first hundred years of existence of this university, specifically its faculty of arts. The famous disputation between Johann Eck and Martin Luther at Leipzig in the year 1519 was one of the culminating points of this practice. Considerable work remains to be done on the exploration of late medieval philosophy. The analysis of the collection of medieval philosophical manuscripts originating from the old University of Leipzig could provide some new material for our historical knowledge of this period. (shrink)