Contents \t\t\t\t\t \tTRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION \t\t1 \t \tNOTE ON THE TRANSLATION \t\t39 \t OBSERVATIONS ON THE FEELING OF THE BEAUTIFUL AND SUBLIME \t\t\t\t\t \tSECTION ONE: \t\t\t\t \t\tOf the Distinct Objects of the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime \t\t45 \tSECTION TWO: \t\t\t\t \t\tOf the Attributes of the Beautiful and Sublime.
Isaiah Berlin: A Celebration gathers tributes, reflections, and commentaries on the great thinker and his philosophy, politics, and life-including contributions from Michael Ignatieff, Leon Wieseltier, Ronald Dworkin, Stephen Spender, and many others. "Some [essays], like Joseph Brodsky's tribute, are touchingly personal. Others, like G. A. Cohen's 'Isaiah's Marx, and Mine,' mingle personal reminiscences with a more theoretical look at Berlin's ideas. . . . The volume is a fitting tribute to a thinker famed for his erudition, eclecticism, and (...) clarity of style."--Merle Rubin, The Christian Science Monitor "One of the many merits of this rich and rewarding collection is the sense-very imperfectly conveyed here-it transmits of the tone of Berlin's writings and conversation, of the multiplicity of his interests and the variety of his achievements. . . . The essays testify to the character of Berlin's mind as a luminous prism, in which the cultural traditions of Russia, England and Judaism are marvelously refracted."--John Gray, Times Literary Supplement "[T]he collection testifies to the learning and profundity of Berlin's thought and, by way both of reminiscence and influence, to the charm and gaity of its expression."--Anthony Quinton, The Times of London. (shrink)
Volume 115 of the Proceedings of the British Academy contains 20 obituaries of recently deceased Fellows of the British Academy and an essay on James Bryce. Memoirs of Fellows have previously been published in the same annual Proceedings volume as that containing the British Academy's Lectures. The Biographical Memoirs are henceforth to be published in a volume of their own, within the Proceedings sequence.
In July 1759 the French philosopher Andre´ Pierre Le Guay de Prémontval (1716-1764) published in Berlin a diatribe against the excessive and incorrect use of French in the Prussian capital. Far from being a mere guide to linguistic style, the Préservatif contre la corruption de la langue françoise generated a heated debate, attested by an official threat to ban its publication. The personal animosity between Prémontval and the perpetual secretary of the BerlinAcademy, Jean Henri Samuel Formey (...) (1711-1797) was amply demonstrated over the pages of the Préservatif, offering a rare insight into the complex web of social and intellectual tensions in mid eighteenth-century Berlin and its Academy of Sciences. At stake were the social status and the philosophical outlook of local Huguenots, compared to that of French philosophers who were granted asylum in Prussia by Frederick II. The debate also concerned the issues of academic freedom in an absolutist regime, the material production and distribution of texts, conduct and etiquette in the Republic of Letters and the formation of group identities in eighteenth-century Germany. Drawing on manuscripts preserved in Berlin, Göttingen and Krakow, this article traces the development of the controversy and the reception of Prémontval’s work by both French- and German- writing authors at the BerlinAcademy and beyond its confines. (shrink)
The famous philosopher Leibniz (1646-1716) was also active in the (cultural) politics of his time. His interest in forming scientific societies never waned and his efforts led to the founding of the BerlinAcademy of Sciences. He also played a part in the founding of the Dresden Academy of Science and the St. Petersburg Academy of Science. Though Leibniz's models for the scientific society were the Royal Society and the Royal Science Academy of France, his (...) pansophistic vision of scientific cooperation sometimes took on utopian dimensions. In this paper, I will present Leibniz's ideas of scientific cooperation as a kind of religious activity and discuss his various schemes for the founding of such scientific societies. (shrink)
What is the role of language in human cognition? Could we attain self-consciousness and construct our civilisation without language? Such were the questions at the basis of eighteenth-century debates on the joint evolution of language, mind, and culture. Language and Enlightenment highlights the importance of language in the social theory, epistemology, and aesthetics of the Enlightenment. While focusing on the BerlinAcademy under Frederick the Great, Avi Lifschitz situates the Berlin debates within a larger temporal and geographical (...) framework. He argues that awareness of the historicity and linguistic rootedness of all forms of life was a mainstream Enlightenment notion rather than a feature of the so-called 'Counter-Enlightenment'. -/- Enlightenment authors of different persuasions investigated whether speechless human beings could have developed their language and society on their own. Such inquiries usually pondered the difficult shift from natural signs like cries and gestures to the artificial, articulate words of human language. This transition from nature to artifice was mirrored in other domains of inquiry, such as the origins of social relations, inequality, the arts and the sciences. By examining a wide variety of authors - Leibniz, Wolff, Condillac, Rousseau, Michaelis, and Herder, among others - Language and Enlightenment emphasises the open and malleable character of the eighteenth-century Republic of Letters. The language debates demonstrate that German theories of culture and language were not merely a rejection of French ideas. New notions of the genius of language and its role in cognition were constructed through a complex interaction with cross-European currents, especially via the prize contests at the BerlinAcademy. (shrink)
The essay provides a short outline of Berlin's career and an assessment of his contribution to pluralist and liberal thought. He was a British academic with a Russian cast of mind, and an inhabitant of the ivory tower who was very much at home in the diplomatic and political world. Similarly, he was neither a historian of ideas nor a political philosopher in the narrow sense usually understood in the modern academy. Rather, he engaged in a trans-historical conversation (...) about the human condition with such figures as Machiavelli, Herzen, Vico, and Herder. The Russian liberal understanding of the historical and cultural setting was, in his view, much superior to that of familiar figures such as John Stuart Mill, just as the nonliberal Machiavelli cast a particularly vivid light on the problems of a pluralist world view. (shrink)
In this article Johann David Michaelis’s views of language and translation are juxtaposed with his own experience as a translated and translating author, especially with regard to the translations of his prize essay on the reciprocal influence of language and opinions (1759). Its French version originated in a close collaboration with the translators, while the pirated English edition was anonymously translated at second hand. The article reconstructs Michaelis’s relationship with the French translators and his renouncement of the English version, publicly (...) condemned in London by Robert Lowth at the author’s request. These two processes represent different contemporary modes of translation and shed new light on emerging theories of linguistic and cultural transfer. (shrink)
Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet | : Cet article se propose d’analyser les courants et les doctrines méthodologiques représentés à l’Académie de Berlin entre 1746 et 1761 en prenant en compte les deux orientations principales qui s’y affrontent : d’une part, le wolffianisme soutenu en premier lieu par Formey, qui argumente l’emploi d’une méthode d’inspiration mathématique en philosophie, et, de l’autre, le camp newtonien et anti-wolffien, représenté notamment Maupertuis et Béguelin, qui affirme l’hétérogénéité de la mathématique et de la philosophie et la (...) nécessité d’en tenir compte sur le plan méthodologique. Ce débat est intimement dépendant des prises de position de Crusius et de Wolff et leur analyse s’avère indispensable. Il formule également le cadre conceptuel de la Preisaufgabe pour l’année 1763, jouant un rôle déterminant dans l’élaboration des réponses, ainsi qu’en témoignent les mémoires de Mendelssohn et de Kant, discutés dans la dernière partie du texte. L’Académie de Berlin apparaît ainsi comme un acteur décisif dans les controverses philosophiques de l’époque et dans la redéfinition méthodologique amorcée. | : This paper aims to analyze the methodological doctrines articulated and promoted at the BerlinAcademy between 1746 and 1761 by taking into account the two major opposing positions : on the one hand, Wolffianism, endorsed by Formey who argues in favor of the use of a mathematics-inspired method in philosophy, and, on the other hand, the Newtonian and anti-Wolffian faction, represented principally by Maupertuis and Béguelin, which asserts the heterogeneity of mathematics and philosophy and the necessity to mirror this heterogeneity on the methodological level. This debate is closely related to Wolff’s and Crusius’ conceptions and their analysis hence appears as crucial. It also offers the conceptual frame of the Preisaufgabe for 1763 and plays an essential role in the composition of the answers, as shown in Mendelssohn’s and Kant’s essays discussed in the last part of the article. The BerlinAcademy thus emerges as a decisive actor in the philosophical controversies and the meditations on methodology of the time. (shrink)
Paul Abraham, one of the BerlinAcademy’s most experienced researchers, was deported to Auschwitz in 1943. The fate of this Jewish scholar reveals much about the inner life of the Academy, and its treatment of Jewish staff, during the World War II. This paper describes his life, against a backdrop of war, revolution, and dictatorship, and in the context of one of the Academy’s most prestigious projects.
Eleven obituaries of recently deceased Fellows of the British Academy: Isaiah Berlin; Christopher Hill; Rodney Hilton; Keith Hopkins; Peter Laslett; Geoffrey Marshall; John Roskell; Isaac Schapera; Ben Segal; John Cyril Smith and Richard Wollheim.
Eleven obituaries of recently deceased Fellows of the British Academy: Isaiah Berlin; Christopher Hill; Rodney Hilton; Keith Hopkins; Peter Laslett; Geoffrey Marshall; John Roskell; Isaac Schapera; Ben Segal; John Cyril Smith and Richard Wollheim.
Readers of this volume will notice that it contains only a few papers on general relativity. This is because most papers documenting the genesis and early development of general relativity were not published in Annalen der Physik . After Einstein took up his new prestigious position at the Prussian Academy of Sciences in the spring of 1914, the Sitzungsberichte of the Berlinacademy almost by default became the main outlet for his scientific production. Two of the more (...) important papers on general relativity, however, did find their way into the pages of the Annalen [35,41]. Although I shall discuss both papers in this essay, the main focus will be on , the first systematic exposition of general relativity, submitted in March 1916 and published in May of that year. (shrink)
With Fermat’s Last Theorem finally disposed of by Andrew Wiles in 1994, it’s only natural that popular attention should turn to arguably the most outstanding unsolved problem in mathematics: the Riemann Hypothesis. Unlike Fermat’s Last Theorem, however, the Riemann Hypothesis requires quite a bit of mathematical background to even understand what it says. And of course both require a great deal of background in order to understand their significance. The Riemann Hypothesis was first articulated by Bernhard Riemann in an address (...) to the BerlinAcademy in 1859. The address was called “On the Number of Prime Numbers Less Than a Given Quantity” and among the many interesting results and methods contained in that paper was Riemann’s famous hypothesis: all non-trivial zeros of the zeta function, ζ(s) = ∞ n=1 n−s, have real part 1/2. Although the zeta function as stated and considered as a real-valued function is defined only for s > 1, it can be suitably extended. It can, as a matter of fact, be extended to have as its domain all the complex numbers (numbers of the form x + yi, where x and y √ −1) with the exception of 1 + 0i (at which point are real numbers and i =. (shrink)
At the very beginning of L’Homme-Machine, La Mettrie claims that Leibnizians with their monads have “rather spiritualized matter than materialized the soul”; a few years later Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, President of the BerlinAcademy of Sciences and natural philosopher with a strong interest in the modes of transmission of ‘genetic’ information, conceived of living minima which he termed molecules, “endowed with desire, memory and intelligence,” in his Système de la nature ou Essai sur les corps organisés. This (...) text first appeared in Latin in 1751 under the title Dissertatio inauguralis metaphysica de universali naturae systemate, with the pseudonym Dr Baumann; it was translated by Maupertuis in 1754 as Essai sur la formation des corps organisés and was later included in his 1756 Œuvres under the title Système de la nature. Now, it is clear that Maupertuis was a kind of Leibnizian; and that his molecule possessed higher-level, ‘mental’ properties. In that sense he falls under the first category described by La Mettrie. But he was also involved in a debate on this issue with Diderot, who put forth a sustained critique of Maupertuis’ theory of the molecule in the additions to his 1753 Pensées sur l’interprétation de la nature. Where Maupertuis attributes higher-level properties to his living minima, Diderot argues that these properties are ‘organizational’, i.e., they can only be properties of the whole. At issue here is the degree of commitment to a form of materialism. (shrink)
In his Système de la nature ou Essai sur les corps organisés, Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, President of the BerlinAcademy of Sciences and a natural philosopher with a strong interest in the modes of transmission of 'genetic' information, described living minima which he termed molecules, “endowed with desire, memory and intelligence.” Now, Maupertuis was a Leibnizian of sorts; his molecules possessed higher-level, 'mental' properties, recalling La Mettrie's statement in L'Homme-Machine, that Leibnizians have “rather spiritualized matter than materialized (...) the soul.” But Maupertuis also debated this issue with Diderot, who critiqued this theory in the additions to his 1753 Pensées sur l'interprétation de la nature. Where Maupertuis attributes higher-level properties to his living minima, Diderot argues that these can only be 'organizational', i.e., properties of the whole. At issue here is the degree of commitment to a form of materialism. (shrink)
MODERN ARISTOTELIAN SCHOLARSHIP is heavily indebted to the German scholars of the nineteenth century who produced the BerlinAcademy editions of Aristotle's corpus and of his Greek commentators. The foundations for this massive project were laid around the middle of the century by people like Schwegler, who edited and commented on Aristotle's Metaphysics. Yet, while acknowledging our debt to such exemplary scholarship, I want to cast doubt on one of his proposed emendations to Metaphysics 6.1, which influenced later (...) editors like W. D. Ross and Werner Jaeger. (shrink)
This lecture presents the text of the speech about reason and identity delivered by the author at the 2008 Isaiah Berlin Lecture held at the British Academy. It discusses the style and content of Sir Isaiah Berlin's thought and explores the complex relation between the closely connected ideas of reason and identity. The lecture explains that reason and identity are both constitutive features of human life in the sense that human beings cannot be defined and understood without (...) reference to either. (shrink)
Stefanie Buchenau | : Johann Georg Sulzer participe d’une tradition allemande et wolffienne qui conjugue réflexion épistémologique et esthétique. L’originalité de Sulzer au sein de cette tradition consiste à développer un nouveau modèle de la connaissance comme contemplation. Selon ce modèle spéculatif qui emprunte des éléments à l’esthétique de Du Bos, la distance et l’extériorité du spectateur par rapport à son objet est loin d’être le réquisit d’une bonne vision. Celle-ci dépend tout au contraire de l’appartenance du spectateur au monde (...) qu’il contemple, de sa réceptivité, de sa sensibilité et de son humanité. Car l’âme ne peut déployer son activité de pensée qu’à condition de s’attacher d’abord à son objet : un tel attachement est la condition de son détachement. La mise en place de ce nouveau modèle spéculatif répond à l’injonction de Mérian qui est de repenser la conscience ou l’aperception à partir d’un sentiment a posteriori. Car « l’oeil ne se voit pas voir », et l’aperception primitive, cet acte par lequel l’esprit se pense, lui échappe. Il éprouve néanmoins des sentiments — de plaisir et de déplaisir — qui le contraignent à faire retour sur lui-même et sur son état d’être affecté ; des sentiments dont Sulzer considère qu’ils ancrent sa connaissance dans la réalité et lui permettent de la rapporter à soi-même. C’est ainsi qu’au fil des mémoires académiques des années 1750 à 1770, Sulzer élabore une nouvelle conception tripartite des facultés, et une distinction entre domaines théorique et pratique qui marquera la philosophie de Kant. Ce débat au sein de l’Académie berlinoise au sujet de la connaissance de soi donne une nouvelle orientation anthropologique à la philosophie allemande de la seconde moitié du xviiie siècle. | : Johann Georg Sulzer belongs to a German and Wolffian tradition that closely associates theory of knowledge and aesthetics. Sulzer’s originality within this tradition consists in introducing a new model of contemplation. This model borrows elements from Du Bos and leads him to revise the traditional paradigms of cognition and self-cognition : more than the spectator’s distance and exteriority to her object, good vision requires her involvement and inclusion into the world she contemplates, that is her receptivity, sensibility and humanity. For her soul cannot unfold its activity unless it is attached to its object. Such attachment is the condition of its detachment. Sulzer elaborates his model of speculation in response to issues recently raised by his colleague Merian within the Berlinacademy. Merian had emphasized the necessity to rethink consciousness or apperception on the basis of some posteriori feeling. For “the eye does not see itself seeing” and the primitive apperception, the act of thinking itself, necessarily escapes the soul’s aperception : it nonetheless has feelings — of pleasure and displeasure — which make the soul reflect on itself and its state of affection ; For Sulzer, these feelings are what grounds knowledge in reality and establishes a relation to the self. In his writings from the 1750’ies to the 1770’ies Sulzer develops these insights and elaborates a new division of faculties and of the theoretical vs. practical that will shape Kant’s psychology and philosophy. This debate within the Berlinacademy confers a new anthropological orientation to the German philosophy of the second 18th century. (shrink)
Daniel Dumouchel | : Le nom de Johann Georg Sulzer reste attaché à la naissance de l’esthétique philosophique en Allemagne, principalement à travers son oeuvre majeure, la Théorie générale des beaux-arts. Il s’agira de montrer ici comment ce membre influent de la classe de philosophie spéculative de l’Académie de Berlin, fortement influencé par la pensée de Leibniz et de Wolff, mais également très attentif aux particularités psychopathologiques de l’esprit humain et aux composantes corporelles de l’activité psychique, prétend fournir une (...) assise métaphysique à la théorie du beau en la fondant sur ce que, depuis Wolff, on appelle la psychologie. À partir de l’étude d’une série de Mémoires dont la rédaction s’étend de 1751 à 1763, on portera une attention particulière au projet de déduction des sentiments agréables et désagréables, que Sulzer entend opérer à partir du principe d’activité de l’âme, pour mieux saisir la nature des plaisirs que nous procure la beauté. Sur cette base, on reviendra en fin de parcours à la question de la fonction des beaux-arts dans la pensée de Sulzer, pour soutenir l’idée que l’énergie de l’art ne peut être réduite à la question de la beauté. | : Johann Georg Sulzer’s name is associated with the birth of philosophical aesthetics in Germany, above all through his major work, General Theory of the Fine Arts. The paper will show how this influential member of the division of speculative philosophy at the BerlinAcademy, who was deeply influenced by the thought of Leibniz and Wolff but who was also attentive to psychopathological particularities of the human mind and to the corporeal components of psychic activity, claims to present a metaphysical foundation for the theory of beauty, by basing it on what, since Wolff, was called psychology. Starting from a study of a series of ‘Mémoires’ composed between 1751 and 1763, we will focus our attention on the project of the deduction of pleasant and unpleasant feelings, something that Sulzer understands to proceed from the principle of activity of the soul, in order better to grasp the nature of the pleasures that beauty affords us. On this basis, we will return at the end to the question of the function of the fine arts in Sulzer’s thought, in order to defend the idea that the energy of art cannot be reduced to the question of beauty. (shrink)
This article analyses how Rousseau's First Discourse and the questions it posed about human progress and the reform of society were debated in the institutional context of the BerlinAcademy by Formey and Herder. Despite some important disagreements, Formey and Herder fundamentally shared Rousseau's assumption that erudition could be detrimental both to society and to the individual. In order to limit the socially corrosive effects of the arts and the sciences, and in an attempt to realize their full (...) beneficent potential, they called for their reform through institutional regulation and management by a meritocracy of scholarly experts. Drawing on Hume, Herder in particular developed a positive role for the modern state as an active agent of enlightenment, provided it not only promoted the arts and sciences but also guaranteed freedom and the rule of law to ensure their flourishing. (shrink)
François Duchesneau | : Nicolas de Béguelin, philosophe et scientifique, membre de l’Académie de Berlin, entreprit de concilier des thèses contrastées sur les fondements de la philosophie de la nature, qui semblaient suggérer une antinomie irréductible entre les principes leibniziens-wolffiens et les principes newtoniens. Dans une série de mémoires consacrés à ce projet, il tente d’établir qu’une philosophie expérimentale reste incertaine de ses hypothèses, si elle ne les confronte aux réquisits qu’imposent certains des principes architectoniques dérivant du principe de (...) la raison suffisante. Au coeur de l’argument figure une analyse visant à rattacher le concept de loi de la nature à la catégorie des vérités contingentes. Illustration en est fournie par la « déduction » des lois fondamentales de la mécanique : celles-ci ne sauraient être réduites à des propositions abstraites relevant de la seule nécessité géométrique. C’est en se fondant sur le réquisit de l’harmonie universelle que Béguelin propose des hypothèses sur l’intégration de forces motrices, intégration qui serait sous-jacente à l’inertie des corps, et sur l’espace comme ordre de coexistence des corps qui dépendrait de l’interrelation entre des éléments monadiques. | : Nicolas de Béguelin, philosopher and scientist and a member of the BerlinAcademy, undertook to conciliate such conflicting views concerning the foundations of natural philosophy as seemed to suggest an irreducible antinomy between the Leibnizian-Wolffian and the Newtonian principles. In a series of memoirs, he argued that experimental philosophy would remain unsettled about the validity of its hypotheses as long as it failed to check them against requisites arising from architectonic principles and their source in sufficient reason. At the heart of his argument, one finds an analysis of the relationship that holds between laws of nature and contingent truths. Case studies were provided relative to the “deduction” of the fundamental laws of mechanics : these should be in no way equated with abstract statements featuring geometrical necessity. Relying on the requisites of universal harmony, Beguelin framed up hypotheses concerning the integration of motive forces underpinning inertia, as well as concerning space as an order of coexistent bodies that would depend on the interrelation between monadic elements. (shrink)
On the occasion of the 100th birthday of the physical chemist Kurt Schwabe the article presents an overview about Schwabeâs activities as president of the Saxon Academy of Science from 1965 to 1980. Main topics of this time which has to be solved by Schwabe were to ensure the further existence of the academy and to reach an agreement about the principles of cooperation between the Saxon Academy of Science and the BerlinAcademy of Science (...) as an agreement of equals. (shrink)
The Berlin Group was an equal partner with the Vienna Circle as a school of scientific philosophy, albeit one that pursued an itinerary of its own. But while the latter presented its defining projects in readily discernible terms and became immediately popular, the Berlin Group, whose project was at least as sig-nificant as that of its Austrian counterpart, remained largely unrecognized. The task of this chapter is to distinguish the Berliners’ work from that of the Vienna Circle and (...) to bring to light its impact in the history of scientific philosophy. (shrink)