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Bennett Gilbert
Portland State University
  1.  68
    On Some Moral Implications of Linguistic Narrativism Theory.Natan Elgabsi & Bennett Gilbert - 2020 - De Ethica 6 (1):75-91.
    In this essay we consider the moral claims of one branch of non-realist theory known as linguistic narrativism theory. By highlighting the moral implications of linguistic narrativism theory, we argue that the “moral vision” expressed by this theory can entail, at worst, undesirable moral agnosticism if not related to a transcendental and supra-personal normativity in our moral life. With its appeal to volitionism and intuitionism, the ethical sensitivity of this theory enters into difficulties brought about by several internal tensions as (...)
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  2.  10
    A Personalist Philosophy of History.Bennett Gilbert - 2019 - London: Routledge.
    Historical study has traditionally been built around the placement of the human at the center of inquiry. The de-stabilized concepts of the human in contemporary thought challenge this configuration. However, the ways in which these challenges provoke new historical perspectives both expand and enrich historical study but are also weak and vulnerable in their concept of the human, lacking or omitting something valuable in our self-understanding. A Personalist Philosophy of History argues for a robust concept of personhood in our experience (...)
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  3.  7
    Eternity and Print.Bennett Gilbert - 2020 - Contributions to the History of Concepts 15 (1):1-21.
    The methods of intellectual history have not yet been applied to studying the invention of technology for printing texts and images ca. 1375–ca. 1450. One of the several conceptual developments in this period reflecting the possibility of mechanical replication is a view of the relationship of eternity to durational time based on Gregory of Nyssa’s philosophy of time and William of Ockham’s. The article considers how changes in these ideas helped enable the conceptual possibilities of the dissemination of ideas. It (...)
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  4. Eternity and Print How Medieval Ideas of Time Influenced the Development of Mechanical Reproduction of Texts and Images.Bennett Gilbert - 2020 - Contributions to the History of Concepts 15 (1):1-21.
    The methods of intellectual history have not yet been applied to studying the invention of technology for printing texts and images ca. 1375–ca. 1450. One of the several conceptual developments in this period refl ecting the possibility of mechanical replication is a view of the relationship of eternity to durational time based on Gregory of Nyssa’s philosophy of time and William of Ockham’s. Th e article considers how changes in these ideas helped enable the conceptual possibilities of the dissemination of (...)
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  5. Early Carthusian Script and Silence.Bennett Gilbert - 2014 - Cistercian Studies Quarterly 49 (3):367-397.
    At its founding and during its first three decades, the Carthusian order developed a distinctive and forceful concept of communication among the members and between the members and the extramural world.2 Saint Bruno’s life, contemporary twelfth-century exegesis, and the physical situation of La Grande Chartreuse established the necessary context in which this concept evolved. A review of historical background, the relevant documentary texts, and early development demonstrate the shaping of two steps in this concept. Close reading of the principal testimonies (...)
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  6. Freshest Advices on What To Do With the Historical Method in Philosophy When Using It to Study a Little Bit of Philosophy That Has Been Lost to History.Bennett Gilbert - 2012 - Essays in Philosophy 13 (1):106-118.
    The paper explores the question of the relationship between the practice of original philosophical inquiry and the study of the history of philosophy. It is written from my point of view as someone starting a research project in the history of philosophy that calls this issue into question, in order to review my starting positions. I argue: first, that any philosopher is sufficiently embedded in culture that her practice is necessarily historical; second, that original work is in fact in part (...)
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  7.  28
    Freshest Advices on What To Do With the Historical Method in Philosophy When Using It to Study a Little Bit of Philosophy That Has Been Lost to History.Bennett Gilbert - 2012 - Essays in Philosophy 13 (1):7.
    The paper explores the question of the relationship between the practice of original philosophical inquiry and the study of the history of philosophy. It is written from my point of view as someone starting a research project in the history of philosophy that calls this issue into question, in order to review my starting positions. I argue: first, that any philosopher is sufficiently embedded in culture that her practice is necessarily historical; second, that original work is in fact in part (...)
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  8.  2
    Gravity and Graves.Bennett Gilbert - 2020 - Rethinking History 25.
    This short essay is an experiment in narrative history. It explores the convergence of narrative tense and commentary tense, the role of ‘history’ in Henry Fielding’s novels, the nature of empathy by historians towards past actors through their memoirs, some ideas of moral philosophy, some ideas about what history is, and a couple of other matters. The essay is followed by a brief explanation of the experiment.
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  9.  57
    Ideas, Persons, and Objects in the History of Ideas.Bennett Gilbert - 2019 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 13 (2):141-162.
    The history of ideas is most prominently understood as a highly specialized group of methods for the study of abstract ideas, with both diachronic and synchronic aspects. While theorizing the field has focused on the methods of study, defining the object of study – ideas – has been neglected. But the development of the theories behind material culture studies poses a sharp challenge to these narrow approaches. It both challenges the integrity of the notion of abstract ideas and also offers (...)
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  10. Johannes Fontana’s Drawing for a Castellus Umbrarum, Udine or Padua, C. 1415–20.Bennett Gilbert - 2014 - Mediaevalia 35 (1):255-277.
    A finished sketch for a light-and-shadow projection device by the Paduan mechanical artisan Johannes de Fontana (c.1395–1455), in his manuscript book of drawings now known as Liber Bellicorum Instrumentorum, depicts a machine for communicating ideas or information through spectacle. The manuscript is fairly well known, and this sketch is just one of many interesting images worthy of study in its 70 leaves. A couple dozen manuscripts of the mechanical arts from this period survive, the best-studied of which fall into the (...)
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  11. Jakob Leupold’s Imaginary Automatic Anamorphic Devices of 1713.Bennett Gilbert - 2016 - Media History 25 (2):1-18.
    In 1713 the scientific instrument-maker Jakob Leupold published designs for three machines were the first attempt to design machinery with internal moving parts that replaced human agency in creating original images. This paper first analyzes his text and engravings in order to explain how he proposed to do this, given contemporary materials and command of physical forces. Next, it characterizes the devices as a transition from concepts of incision to concepts of mirroring, taken as models of the history of mechanical (...)
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  12. On Breaking Up Time, or, Perennialism as Philosophy of History.Bennett Gilbert - 2016 - Joirnal of the Philosophy of History 12 (1):5-26.
    Current and recent philosophy of history contemplates a deep change in fundamental notions of the presence of the past. This is called breaking up time. The chief value for this change is enhancing the moral reach of historical research and writing. However, the materialist view of reality that most historians hold cannot support this approach. The origin of the notion in the thought of Walter Benjamin is suggested. I propose a neo-idealist approach called perennialism, centered on recurrent moral dilemmas and (...)
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  13. Plato's Lost Lecture.Bennett Gilbert - 2012 - Dissertation, Reed College
    Plato is known to have given only one public lecture, called "On the Good." We have one highly reliable quotation from Plato himself, stating his doctrine that "the Good is one." The lecture was a set of ideas that existed as an historical event but is now lost--and it dealt with ideas of supreme importance, in brief form, by the greatest of philosophers. Any reading of the lecture is speculative. My approach is philosophical rather than historiographic. The liminal existence of (...)
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  14.  58
    Repairing Historicity.Bennett Gilbert - 2020 - Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 2 (16):54-75.
    This paper advances a fresh theorization of historicity. The word and concept of historicity has become so widespread and popular that they have ceased to have definite meaning and are used to stand for unsupported notions of the values inherent in human experience. This paper attempts to repair the concept by re-defining it as the temporal aspect of the interdependence of life; having history is to have a life intertwined with the lives of all others and with the universe. After (...)
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  15. Some Neglected Aspects of the Rococo: Berkeley, Vico, and Rococo Style.Bennett Gilbert - 2012 - Dissertation, Portland State University
    The Rococo period in the arts, flourishing mainly from about 1710 to about 1750, was stylistically unified, but nevertheless its tremendous productivity and appeal throughout Occidental culture has proven difficult to explain. Having no contemporary theoretical literature, the Rococo is commonly taken to have been a final and degenerate form of the Baroque era or an extravagance arising from the supposed careless frivolity of the elites, including the intellectuals of the Enlightenment. Neither approach adequately accounts for Rococo style. Naming the (...)
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  16.  66
    Simone Weil’s Philosophy of History.Bennett Gilbert - 2019 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 13 (1):66-85.
    The philosophical and religious ideas of Simone Weil bear on theory of history and historiography in ways not previously explored. They amount to a view of history as a consequence of the original creation, but they also exclude theodicy. By examining these ideas we see some of the ways in which to develop a theory history centered on a conception of moral understanding that is impartialist and universal. For Weil such understanding is both inside of and outside of history. This (...)
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  17.  56
    To Copy, To Impress, To Distribute: The Beginning of European Printing.Bennett Gilbert - 2019 - On_Culture.
    In order to distribute our thoughts and feelings, we must make intelligible and distributable copies of them. From approximately 1375 to 1450, certain Europeans started fully mechanized replication of texts and images, based on predecessor “smaller” technologies. What they started became the most powerful means for the distribution, storage, and retrieval of knowledge in history, up until the invention of digital means. We have scant information about the initiation of print technologies in the period up to Gutenberg, and the picture (...)
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  18.  87
    The Parisian Porters’ Revolt of January 1786.Bennett Gilbert - 2016 - Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 39 (3):359-375.
    This paper gives a full picture of the moral universe pressuring all sides in the strike by porters in Paris during January 1786. These Parisian day-labourers found their livelihood taken away by a new system of parcel delivery, part of a many-sided endeavour to rationalise the economy. They rioted and were the first rioting mob to appeal to the king at Versailles. This paper looks at the riot from the points of view of the rioters and their neighbours, the police, (...)
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