The irrelevance of ideology is perhaps one of the most strongly held views shared by the historians of the Late Republic. As indicated by Matthias Gelzer in 1912, in those final years of the Roman Republic, ‘political struggles were fought out by the nobiles at the head of their dependents’. In his opinion, this was nothing more than a power struggle, in which slogans or ideas were merely propaganda, without any real value. In 1931, analysing the political proposals of Cicero, (...) Gelzer's disciple HermannStrasburger rejected the existence of political parties, as, in his opinion, terms such as optimates or populares were merely propagandistic mottos and pure wordplay. As a result, it became widely believed that the civil war between Caesar and Pompey was nothing more than a struggle between dignitates, that is, a confrontation for leadership between ambitious politicians who were not prepared to compromise. More recently, in 1994, Luigi Loreto considered the conflict between Caesar and Pompey to be aimed at seizing power, unlike ‘ideological’ wars, where the aim was to maintain or instate a specific type of social or political order. (shrink)
Patient RP suffers a unilateral right homonymous quadrant anopia but demonstrates better than chance discrimination for stimuli presented in the blind field at temporal frequencies between 33 and 47 Hz . Examination of her reports of visual experience during blind-field discrimination suggests a more complex picture in which experiences particular to correct discrimination are not found at low-mid-gamma frequencies, but are significantly more likely than average at a lower frequency at which blindsight is not observed. We believe that visual experience (...) may serve to support blindsight if discrimination tasks are generally impaired at frequencies outside of the low-mid-gamma band. If this is so, although generally experienced as non-specific and unstructured light, the visual experience that accompanies discrimination performance must be based upon a neural representation which includes information on the visual features present in the stimulus. (shrink)
In Bertrand Russell's 1903 Principles of Mathematics, he offers an apparently devastating criticism of the neo-Kantian Hermann Cohen's Principle of the Infinitesimal Method and its History (PIM). Russell's criticism is motivated by his concern that Cohen's account of the foundations of calculus saddles mathematics with the paradoxes of the infinitesimal and continuum, and thus threatens the very idea of mathematical truth. This paper defends Cohen against that objection of Russell's, and argues that properly understood, Cohen's views of limits and (...) infinitesimals do not entail the paradoxes of the infinitesimal and continuum. Essential to that defense is an interpretation, developed in the paper, of Cohen's positions in the PIM as deeply rationalist. The interest in developing this interpretation is not just that it reveals how Cohen's views in the PIM avoid the paradoxes of the infinitesimal and continuum. It also reveals some of what is at stake, both historically and philosophically, in Russell's criticism of Cohen. (shrink)
The neo-Kantian Hermann Cohen is famously anti-empiricist in that he denies that sensations can make a definable contribution to knowledge. However, in the second edition of Kant’s Theory of Experience (1885), Cohen considers a proposition that contrasts with both his other work and that of his followers: a Kantian who studies scientific claims to truth—and the grounds on which they are made—cannot limit himself to studying mathematics and logical principles, but needs to also investigate underlying presuppositions about the empirical (...) element of science. Due to his subjectivist approach, Cohen argues, Kant not only failed to explain how scientific observation and experiments are possible, but also misconceived the role of the ideas, particularly the idea of a system of nature. (shrink)
The following text is the first ever translation into English of a writing by German phenomenologist Hermann Schmitz (*1928). In it, Schmitz outlines and defends a non-mentalistic view of emotions as phenomena in interpersonal space in conjunction with a theory of the felt body’s constitutive involvement in human experience. In the first part of the text, Schmitz gives an overview covering some central pieces of his theory as developed, for the most part, in his massive System of Philosophy, published (...) in German in a series of volumes between 1964 and 1980. Schmitz’s System is centred on the claim that the contemporary view of the human subject is the result of a consequential historical process: A reductionist and ‘introjectionist’ objectification of lived experience culminating in the ‘invention’ of the mind (or ‘soul’) as a private, inner realm of subjective experience and in a corresponding ‘grinding down’ of the world of lived experienced to a meagre, value-neutral ‘objective reality’. To counter this intellectualist trend, Schmitz puts to use his approach to phenomenology with the aim of regaining a sensibility for the nuanced realities of lived experience—hoping to make up for what was lost during the development of Western intellectual culture. Since both this text and the overall style of Schmitz’s philosophising are in several ways unusual for a contemporary readership, a brief introduction is provided by philosophers Jan Slaby and Rudolf Owen Müllan, the latter of whom translated Schmitz’s text into English. The introduction emphasises aspects of Schmitz’s philosophy that are likely to be of relevance to contemporary scholars of phenomenological philosophy and to its potential applications in science and society. (shrink)
Two seemingly contradictory tendencies have accompanied the development of the natural sciences in the past 150 years. On the one hand, the natural sciences have been instrumental in effecting a thoroughgoing transformation of social structures and have made a permanent impact on the conceptual world of human beings. This historical period has, on the other hand, also brought to light the merely hypothetical validity of scientific knowledge. As late as the middle of the 19th century the truth-pathos in the natural (...) sciences was still unbroken. Yet in the succeeding years these claims to certain knowledge underwent a fundamental crisis. For scientists today, of course, the fact that their knowledge can possess only relative validity is a matter of self-evidence. The present analysis investigates the early phase of this fundamental change in the concept of science through an examination of Hermann von Helmholtz's conception of science and his mechanistic interpretation of nature. Helmholtz (1821-1894) was one of the most important natural scientists in Germany. The development of this thoughts offers an impressive but, until now, relatively little considered report from the field of the experimental sciences chronicling the erosion of certainty. (shrink)
Hermann Weyl was one of the twentieth century's most important mathematicians, as well as a seminal figure in the development of quantum physics and general relativity. He was also an eloquent writer with a lifelong interest in the philosophical implications of the startling new scientific developments with which he was so involved. Mind and Nature is a collection of Weyl's most important general writings on philosophy, mathematics, and physics, including pieces that have never before been published in any language (...) or translated into English, or that have long been out of print. Complete with Peter Pesic's introduction, notes, and bibliography, these writings reveal an unjustly neglected dimension of a complex and fascinating thinker. In addition, the book includes more than twenty photographs of Weyl and his family and colleagues, many of which are previously unpublished. Included here are Weyl's exposition of his important synthesis of electromagnetism and gravitation, which Einstein at first hailed as "a first-class stroke of genius"; two little-known letters by Weyl and Einstein from 1922 that give their contrasting views on the philosophical implications of modern physics; and an essay on time that contains Weyl's argument that the past is never completed and the present is not a point. Also included are two book-length series of lectures, The Open World and Mind and Nature, each a masterly exposition of Weyl's views on a range of topics from modern physics and mathematics. Finally, four retrospective essays from Weyl's last decade give his final thoughts on the interrelations among mathematics, philosophy, and physics, intertwined with reflections on the course of his rich life. (shrink)
Grete Hermann’s essay “Die naturphilosophischen Grundlagen der Quantenmechanik” has received much deserved scholarly attention in recent years. In this paper, I follow the lead of Elise Crull who sees in Hermann’s work the general outlines of a neo-Kantian interpretation of quantum theory. In full support of this view, I focus on Hermann’s central claim that limited spatio-temporal, and even analogically causal, representations of events exist within an overall relational structure of entangled quantum mechanical states that defy any (...) unified spatio-temporal description. In my view, Hermann also advances an important transcendental argument that perspectival spatio-temporal representations of nature have their foundations in general relational networks that are not spatio-temporal. The key point is that the adoption of a perspectival system within the general network induces the representation but only for that context. These ideas are consistent with a perspectival subject–object principle in Kant and also with Weyl’s work on Lie groups and their representations. (shrink)
In all the current alienating discourse on Islam as a source of extremism and fanatic violence this new publication takes a timely and refreshing look at the traditions of Islamic mysticism, philosophy and intellectual debate in a series of diverse and stimulating approaches. It tackles the major figures of Islamic thought as well as shedding light on hitherto unconsidered aspects of Islam utilizing new source material. The contributors are impressive list of scholars and experts.
Prior analyses of Grete Hermann’s 1935 essay on the philosophical foundations of quantum mechanics have taken her central aim to be the recovery of an appropriately Kantian notion of causality from this new indeterministic physics. I argue that if one instead reads this essay as primarily an investigation into the meaning and implications of the relative nature of quantum mechanics—not only for physics, but also for fields as different as ethics—certain dimensions of her work appear with greater clarity. Among (...) these are her particular Kantian interpretation of Bohr’s complementarity and correspondence principles, her unique understanding of the quantum-classical divide, the failure of Kant’s a priori categories of space, time and causality to apply literally—even for obtaining classical natural knowledge, and the splitting of truth. (shrink)
Hermann Cohen's Religion of Reason, Out of the Sources of Judaism is widely taken to be the greatest work in Jewish philosophy and religious thought since Maimonides' Guide to the Perplexed. It is at once a Jewish book and a philosophical one: Jewish because it takes its material from the literary tradition that extends from the bible to the rabbis to the great medieval philosophers; philosophical because it studies that material in order to construct a worldview that is rational (...) in the broadest sense of the term. This edition reprints a 1972 introduction by Leo Strauss and includes an essay on the work by Steven Schwarzchild. A new introduction by Kenneth R. Seeskin situates Cohen's masterwork in the history of modern philosophical and religious thought. (shrink)
Hermann Weyl, one of the twentieth century's greatest mathematicians, was unusual in possessing acute literary and philosophical sensibilities—sensibilities to which he gave full expression in his writings. In this paper I use quotations from these writings to provide a sketch of Weyl's philosophical orientation, following which I attempt to elucidate his views on the mathematical continuum, bringing out the central role he assigned to intuition.
Der Verzicht auf absolut gültige Erkenntnis, heute in den Naturwissenschaften beinahe schon selbstverständlich, ist erst jüngeren Datums. Noch im vergangenen Jahrhundert zweifelte die experimentelle Forschung kaum an der vollkommenen Begreifbarkeit der Welt. Diesen Wandel zu erkunden und aufzuzeigen ist Thema der vorliegenden Studie. Der erste Teil präsentiert verschiedene Typen neuzeitlicher und moderner Wissenschaftsauffassungen von Galilei über Newton bis hin zu Kant. Im zweiten Teil werden Entwicklung und Wandel der Wissenschafts- und Naturauffassung bei Helmholtz (1821-1895) erstmals mittels detaillierter Textanalysen einer umfassenden (...) Rekonstruktion unterzogen. Die Relativierung des Wahrheitsanspruchs erlaubt es Helmholtz, seine Naturauffassung trotz der antimechanistischen Kritik innerhalb der Physik, die im letzten Viertel des vergangenen Jahrhunderts laut wurde, als Hypothese aufrechtzuerhalten. Auch gewährt die Studie eine neue Sichtweise des Verhältnisses zwischen Helmholtz und Kant, das in der Vergangenheit kontroverse Beurteilungen erfuhr. (shrink)