The Dominican theologian Albert the Great was one of the first to investigate into the system of the world on the basis of an acquaintance with the entire Aristotelian corpus, which he read under the influence of Islamic philosophers. The present study aims to understand the core of Albert's natural philosophy. Albert's emblematic phrase, “every work of nature is the work of intelligence” , expresses the conviction that natural things are produced by the intellects that move the (...) celestial bodies, just as houses are made by architects moving their instruments. Albert tried to fathom the secret of generation of natural things with his novel notion of “formative power” , which flows from the celestial intellects into the sublunary elements. His conception of the natural world represents an alternative to the dominant medieval view on the relationship between the artificial and the natural. (shrink)
The present account aims to contribute to a better characterization of the state and the dynamics of embryological knowledge at the dawn of the molecular revolution in biology. In this study, Albert Dalcq (1893-1973) was chosen as a representative of a generation of embryologists who found themselves at the junction of two very different approaches to the study of life: the first, focusing on global properties of organisms; the second focusing on the characterization of basic molecular constituents. Though clearly (...) belonging to the organismic tradition, Dalcq was already blending his experimental and explanatory practices with biochemical aspects by the 1930s. Principally based on published sources, the present analysis focuses on the conceptual definitions, modifications and interrelations on which Dalcq's explanation of development rested. Among these are variant process concepts such as gradients and fields, which are often thought to have strongly holistic implications. I will argue that Dalcq's version of these concepts was compatible with a more reductionist treatment of embryos than was accepted by most embryologists as late as the 1950s, pointing to some extent toward the recent molecular characterization of gradients by molecular geneticists such as Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard. Moreover, I will show how the embryological research program of Dalcq and his pupil Jean Brachet has been largely instrumental in the development of molecular biology in Belgium. (shrink)
Im Roman „Der Fremde“, dem Drama „Caligula“ und insbesondere dem Essay „Der Mythos des Sisyphos“ entwickelt Albert Camus eine erste Fassung einer „Logik des Absurden“. Die menschliche Existenz sei geprägt durch ein Spannungsverhältnis zwischen unserem Streben nach Sinn und einer dieses Streben fortwährend enttäuschenden Welt. Auf die Erkenntnis dieser Tatsache darf man Camus zufolge weder mit Selbstmord noch mit dem Aufgeben des Strebens nach Sinn reagieren. Vielmehr fordert er eine Haltung der beständigen Auflehnung. In meinem Artikel gehe ich der (...) Frage nach, wie schlüssig diese frühe „Logik des Absurden“ ist. Es wird sich zeigen, dass Camus’ Thesen in dem von ihm intendierten für alle Menschen gültigen und objektiven Sinn kaum haltbar sind. Ihr großes Potential entfalten sie erst, wenn man sie psychologisch wendet. Camus skizziert einen plausiblen Weg, wie wir trotz der beständigen Unerfülltheit unseres Strebens nach Sinn ein Leben in Glück und Würde führen können. (shrink)
This paper compares Pierre Hadot’s work on the history of philosophy as a way of life to the work of Albert Camus. I will argue that in the early work of Camus, up to and including the publication of The Myth of Sisyphus, there is evidence to support the notions that, firstly, Camus also identified these historical moments as obstacles to the practice of ascesis, and secondly, that he proceeded by orienting his own work toward overcoming these obstacles, and (...) thus toward a modern rehabilitation of ascesis. Moreover, in contrast to Hadot’s Platonism, Camus located the source of this practice in the pre-philosophical stage of Athenian tragedy. This points to a further contrast between these two figures, which has historical and cultural precedents, in the distinction between this pre-Platonic form of ascesis - favoured by Camus - and the latter Christian form of asceticism - favoured by Hadot, with the status of Platonic ascesis rendered in terms of prefiguring this Christian form of asceticism. (shrink)
Predictive genetic testing may confront those affected with difficult life situations that they have not experienced before. These life situations may be interpreted as ‘absurd’. In this paper we present a case study of a predictive test situation, showing the perspective of a woman going through the process of deciding for or against taking the test, and struggling with feelings of alienation. To interpret her experiences, we refer to the concept of absurdity, developed by the French Philosopher Albert Camus. (...) Camus' writings on absurdity appear to resonate with patients' stories when they talk about their body and experiences of illness. In this paper we draw on Camus' philosophical essay ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’, and compare the absurd experiences of Sisyphus with the interviewee's story. This comparison opens up a field of ethical reflection. We demonstrate that Camus' concept of absurdity offers a new and promising approach to understanding the fragility of patients' situations, especially in the field of predictive testing. We show that people affected might find new meaning through narratives that help them to reconstruct the absurd without totally overcoming it. In conclusion, we will draw out some normative consequences of our narrative approach. (shrink)
Friedrich Albert Lange (b. 1828, d. 1875) was a German philosopher, pedagogue, political activist, and journalist. He was one of the originators of neo-Kantianism and an important figure in the founding of the Marburg school of neo-Kantianism. He is also played a significant role in the German labour movement and in the development of social democratic thought. His book, THE HISTORY OF MATERIALISM, was a standard introduction to materialism and the history of philosophy well into the twentieth century.
In this paper, in response to Nicolson’s claim that South African liberation theology is non‐realist – or at least is non‐realist in its language – I suggest that Albert Nolan’s important book God in South Africa is not based on such an “exotic” philosophical basis but is a reflection using the populist Marxism of the anti‐apartheid struggle of the 1980s. The clue here is Nolan’s use of the Colonialism of a Special Type thesis, an integral part of ANC and (...) Communist Party discourse since the 1960s. Nolan himself has described his work as “historical materialist” in its philosophical language. Such a position seems far removed from non‐realism, although they certainly sound similar in Nolan’s God‐language.I then examine non‐realist theologian Don Cupitt’s model of “militant religious humanism” and conclude that a non‐realist liberation or political theology along these lines suffers too much from a sense of relativism or absurdity for it to be of use to those who use liberation theology. From this I try to suggest how a non‐realist liberation theology might be developed. In the end, however, I conclude that though such a theology could be constructed, it would probably not be effective: liberation theology requires a real God who really sides with the poor. (shrink)
Si le nom d’Albert Camus continue de s’imposer, aujourd’hui, comme une figure incontournable de la littérature et de la pensée françaises du XXe siècle, il n’en est pas moins demeuré une personnalité cosmopolite, sensible à ce que la culture ne s’accomplit véritablement qu’en l’absence de sectarisme, qu’en présence de l’autre — avec ou envers lui, peu importe. C’est aussi tout le sens de la collection « Exotopies » de l’Association portugaise des études françaises (A.P.E.F.) qu’inaugure ce volume : présenter (...) des travaux sur la langue et la culture françaises, mais d’un point de vue singulier, celui d’un autre pays. En lisant ce bouquet assez restreint, mais en même temps assez diversifié de travaux sur l’oeuvre d’Albert Camus, on relèvera donc qu’il ne s’agissait ni d’un hommage, ni d’une commémoration, si contraires au vif esprit de la littérature, mais de s’aviser de l’exceptionnelle variété et actualité de son oeuvre. En ce sens, il n’est de meilleure figure pour débuter cette collection à visée cosmopolite que celle d’Albert Camus, chez qui le geste d’écriture est totalement inscrit dans une vocation humaniste. Celle-ci ne s’entend pas dans un sens moraliste, mais dans un sens existentiel — sinon existentialiste —, qui veut que chacun se définisse par le souci qu’il a de l’autre, et que l’humanité s’apparaisse comme le perpetuum mobile de l’histoire, en même temps que son point fixe, son sens dernier. (shrink)
The fiftieth anniversary of Camus’ death in 2010 was largely ignored in his native Algeria, reflecting the critical response to Camus’ writings that regards him as a colonialist writer and apologist for the French domination of his native Algeria. This critique also claims that Camus’ colonial attitudes are hidden and reinforced by a European attitude that sees him as dealing first and foremost with universal questions about the human predicament and existential isolation. However, Camus’ journalism shows an Algerian closely identified (...) with the destiny of all the peoples of Algeria, and his novel The Outsider contains sufficient indications that, whatever its existential importance, in the concrete situation of Camus’ Algeria the Arab has the precise status of outsider. (shrink)
It is possible today to observe in hindsight the epistemological landscape of the twentieth century, and the work of Albert Lautman in mathematical philosophy appears as a profound turning point, opening to a true under- standing of creativity in mathematics and its relation with the real. Little understood in its time or even today, Lautman’s work explores the difficult but exciting intersection where modern mathematics, advanced mathe- matical invention, the structural or unitary relations of mathematical knowledge and, finally, the (...) metaphysical and dialectical tensions underly- ing mathematical activity converge. Well beyond other better-known names in philosophy of mathematics – who are focused above all on ques- tions concerning the logical problem of foundations, important but frag- mentary studies in the vast panorama of modern mathematics – Lautman broaches the emergence of inventiveness in the very broad spectrum of the development of the mathematical real. Group theory, differential geome- try, algebraic topology, differential equations, functional analysis, functions of complex variables and number fields are some of the domains of his preferred examples. He detects in them methods of construction, structu- ration and unification of modern mathematics that he connects to a precise Platonic interpretation in which powerful pairs of ideas serve to organize the edifice of effective mathematics. (shrink)
Existentialism is a philosophy that flourishes in extreme situations. Identified with the period of the French Resistance when Frenchmen were held as political prisoners by the Germans, existentialism, with its call for an uncompromised allegiance to a leftist system of values, served to boost the sagging morale of French political prisoners who had witnessed during the Occupation the subversion of their nation's democratic principles by German totalitarianism.
Leslie, E. A. Albert Cornelius Knudson, the man.--McConnell, F. J. Bowne and personalism.--Brightman, E. S. Personality as a metaphysical principle.--Hildebrand, C. D. Personalism and nature.--Ramsdell, E. T. The cultural integration of science and religion.--Ensley, F. G. The personality of God.--Harkness, G. Divine sovereignity and human freedom.--Pfeiffer, R. H. Personalistic elements in the Old Testament.--Flewelling, R. T. Personalism and the trend of history.--Muelder, W. G. Personality and Christian ethics.--King, W. J. Personalism and race.--Marlatt, E. B. Personalism and religious education.
In this essay I argue that Albert would reject the need for a separate fourth mode of common personal supposition, and that his view of merely confused supposition has not been fully explicated by modern scholars. I first examine the various examples of conjunct descent given by modern scholars from his Perutilis logica , and show that Albert clearly adopts it in resolving the sophistic examples involved. Second, I explicate the view of merely confused supposition that Albert (...) defends in his Sophismata , and then attempt to answer the question: which view of merely confused supposition was his final view, the view articulated in the Perutilis logica or the view in the Sophismata ? I conclude that based upon his Sophismata view of merely confused supposition, Albert came to realize the logical strength his revised theory of personal supposition afforded, and consequently, that he is one of the earliest 14th-century logicians to adopt conjunct terminal descent to resolve various sophisms, a move which gave his theory of personal supposition a logical symmetry having two sorts of propositional descents to singulars, and two sorts of terminal descents to singulars. (shrink)
This paper shows how reflection on habit leads in nineteenth-century French philosophy to Henri Bergson’s idea of duration in 1888 as a non-quantifiable dimension irreducible to time as measured by clocks. Historically, I show how Albert Lemoine’s 1875 L’habitude et l’instinct was crucial, since he holds – in a way that is both Ravaissonian and Bergsonian avant la lettre – that for the being capable of habit, the three elements of time are fused together. For that habituated being, Lemoine (...) claims, it is not true to say that the past is no longer, nor even that the future is not yet. This historical link between Ravaisson and Bergson, however, only sharpens the philosophical question of how a dynamic conception of habit involves and requires a conception of real duration, of a temporality more original than clock-time, and, conversely, of how reflection on duration prior to clock-time involves a notion of habit. With reference to the work of Gilles Deleuze, the paper concludes by showing that there is an internal connection between these two grand philosophical themes of nineteenth- and then twentieth-century French thought: habit and time. (shrink)
In October 1984, Bruno Huisman stated with regards to Jean Cavaillès, ‘Let us be honest, or at least realistic: today, one can be a professor of philosophy without ever having read a single line of Cavaillès. Often invoked, sometimes quoted, the oeuvre of Cavaillès is little attended for itself’ (Huisman 1984). As for Albert Lautman, it would seem that the situation is even more extreme. In 1994, the publisher Hermann, under the impetus of Bruno Huisman and George Canguilhem, collected (...) almost the totality of the Jean Cavaillès papers in one volume (Oeuvres complètes de philosophie des sciences (Cavaillès 1994)). But, the Essai sur l’unité des mathématiques et divers écrits (Lautman 1977), published by the Union générale d’Éditions in 1977, had all but disappeared by the early 1980s and yet was never republished! This will remain one of the great indignities of French publishing, for as Jean Petitot rightly affirms: ‘Regarded as too speculative, in spite of his exceptional mathematical scholarship and his close connection with Hilbertian axiomatic structuralism, his mathematical philosophy has, until now, been devoid of any particular attention …. We would like to state clearly from the start, Albert Lautman represents, in our view, without exaggeration, one of the most inspired philosophers of this century’ (Petitot 1987, 79-80). (shrink)
I think it would be fair to say that, until about 1900, philosophers were generally reluctant to admit the existence of what are nowadays called polyadic properties.1 It is important to recognize, however, that this reluctance on the part of pre-twentieth-century philosophers did not prevent them from theorizing about relations. On the contrary, philosophers from the ancient through the modern period have had much to say about both the nature and the ontological status of relations. In this paper I examine (...) the views of one such philosopher, namely, Albert the Great. (shrink)
In this paper, the main outlines of the discussions between Niels Bohr with Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, and Erwin Schrödinger during 1920–1927 are treated. From the formulation of quantum mechanics in 1925–1926 and wave mechanics in 1926, there emerged Born's statistical interpretation of the wave function in summer 1926, and on the basis of the quantum mechanical transformation theory—formulated in fall 1926 by Dirac, London, and Jordan—Heisenberg formulated the uncertainty principle in early 1927. At the Volta Conference in Como (...) in September 1927 and at the fifth Solvay Conference in Brussels the following month, Bohr publicly enunciated his complementarity principle, which had been developing in his mind for several years. The Bohr-Einstein discussions about the consistency and completeness of qnautum mechanics and of physical theory as such—formally begun in October 1927 at the fifth Solvay Conference and carried on at the sixth Solvay Conference in October 1930—were continued during the next decades. All these aspects are briefly summarized. (shrink)
Albert Camus's existential thinking has been the object of renewed interest over the past decade. Political theorists have looked to his work to shed light on the contradictions and violence of modernity and the dynamics of postcolonial justice. This article contends that Camus's account of the modern human condition provides a means of engaging critically with one of the most compelling ideas linked to thinking about global politics today: cosmopolitanism. By developing Camus's position on absurdity and rebellion, it suggests (...) that the idea of cosmopolitanism should be situated in a post-foundationalist and post-teleological nexus to prevent it becoming a new political ideology of immutable truth. In order to make this argument, the article focuses on how Camus's thinking supports a rebellious cosmopolitan disposition towards global transformations. In so doing, it shows that cosmopolitanism must strive against the injustices of a deeply divided world, yet at the same time accept theoretical, factual and moral limits on its vision and actions. (shrink)
"Albert Camus' Critique of Modernity presents the decisive vision of that ultimate project: to critique Christianity, modernity, and the relationship between them and also to restore the Greek wisdom that had been eclipsed by both ...
What are we to make of the "Parecon" phenomenon? Michael Albert 's book made it to number thirteen on Amazon.com a few days after some on-line promotion.1 Eight of the twelve Amazon.com reviewers had given the book five stars. It has been, or is being, translated into Arabic, Bengali, Telagu, Croatian, Czech, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.2 The book has been endorsed by Noam Chomsky, who says it "merits close attention, debate and action," (...) by Arundhati Roy, who calls it "a brave argument for a much needed alternative economic vision," by Ben Bagdikian, who finds it "a compelling book for our times," and by Howard Zinn, who sees it as "a thoughtful, profound meditation on what a good society can be like."3 Yet it is a terrible book. (shrink)
Albert Borgmann's new book Holding onto Reality. The Nature of Information at the Turn of the Millennium (1999) continues the interrogation of the epochal significance of new information technology he began in Crossing the Postmodern Divide (1992). For Borgmann, the postmodern divide involves, among other things, a shift from involvement with "focal" things and practices (i.e. activities such as eating, gardening, running, and the like), to immersion in media fantasies, or the thrills of cyberspace and virtual reality. Borgmann continues (...) his defense of "reality" against the champions of the hyper or virtual realities of cyberspace and new technologies, focusing on the concept of information and its vicissitudes under the impact of new computer and information technology. (shrink)
In the nineteenth century, the separation of naturalist or psychological accounts of validity from normative validity came into question. In his 1877 Logical Studies (Logische Studien), Friedrich Albert Lange argues that the basis for necessary inference is demonstration, which takes place by spatially delimiting the extension of concepts using imagined or physical diagrams. These diagrams are signs or indications of concepts' extension, but do not represent their content. Only the inference as a whole captures the objective content of the (...) proof. Thus, Lange argues, the necessity of an inference is independent of psychological accounts of how we grasp the content of a proposition. (shrink)
In 1989 Smart problematised law as a masculinist knowledge which disqualified other forms of knowledge, particularly feminism. Twenty-one years later Smart characterises the relationship between law and feminism quite differently. In this account law responds to feminism and outcomes are progressive. Smart suggests that rather than continuing to focus on law’s disciplinary and normalising role, it is more productive to conceptualise contemporary family law as a creative kinning practice. We argue, however, that we must also bring into this account the (...) changes to the state brought about by neo-liberalism. The paper tests these observations about the trajectories of feminism, law and neo-liberalism by reflecting upon our study of the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT). AKT was established in 1989, in the wake of gay and lesbian resistance to Clause 28, to provide homes with gay and lesbian adults for homeless gay and lesbian teenagers. We are interested in AKT’s shift in its description of the adults’ relationship with the teenagers in their care from ‘brothers and sisters’ to ‘carers’ as it moved from a marginal force to mainstream partner/provider. In this context we explore the complexity of law’s responsiveness to feminism’s dynamism, its contingent recognition of kinning practices and, in the light of neo-liberalism, its continuing disciplinary role. (shrink)
Albert Lautman. Mathematics, Ideas and the Physical Real. Simon B. Duffy, trans. London and New York: Continuum, 2011. 978-1-4411-2344-2 (pbk); 978-1-44114656-4 (hbk); 978-1-44114433-1 (pdf e-bk); 978-1-44114654-0 (epub e-bk). Pp. xlii + 310.
This essay explores connections between bacteriology and the disciplinary evolution of biochemistry in this country during the 1930s. Many features of intermediary metabolism, a central component of biochemistry, originated as attempts to answer fundamental bacteriological questions. Thus, many bacteriologists altered their research programs to answer these questions. In so doing they changed their disciplinary focus from bacteriology to biochemistry. Chester Hamlin Werkman's (1893-1962) Iowa State career illustrates the research perspective that many bacteriologists adopted. As a junior faculty member in the (...) Bacteriology Department in the late 1920s, Werkman faced a powerful professional dilemma: establishing a research identity that distinguished him from his colleagues with flourishing national and international reputations. His solution was to radically alter his research program from traditional bacteriology to a biochemistry program, which reflected the influence of the Dutch microbiologist/biochemist, Albert Jan Kluyver (1888-1956). Werkman was extremely successful in this career change. His laboratory made significant contributions to biochemistry, and Werkman achieved a notable degree of personal success. His career began in the shadow of his departmental bacteriological colleagues; within a decade he became the department's dominant research figure, as a biochemist. Werkman's personal success, however, had profound consequences for the disciplinary future of bacteriology at Iowa State. (shrink)