Reading Nietzsche, knowing humanism -- Nietzsche's humanist genealogy -- In the region of likeness: family resemblances -- A single web of meaning -- All in one: horizon, goal, and doctrine -- Nietzsche the terrible -- Reprise and ascent -- Nietzsche's works -- Bibliography -- Index.
http://www.cla.umn.edu/jhopkins/ Taken together, twenty-four of these works constitute Nicholas of Cusa’s complete philosophical and theological treatises. They must be supplemented by studying his richly conceptual sermons, along with his ecclesiological and exegetical writings such as De Concordantia Catholica and Coniectura de Ultimis Diebus. His mathematical writings are also of interest, even though they are not of lasting importance, as Gottfried Leibniz rightly recognized.
This article discusses how Nicholas of Cusa’s speculative philosophy harbors an ecumenical spirit that is deeply entwined and in tension with his commitment to incarnational mystical theology. On the basis of my discussion of this tension, I intend to show that Nicholas understands “faith” as a poietic activity whose legitimacy is rooted less in the independent veracity of the beliefs in question than in the potential of particular religious conventions to aid intellectual processes of self-interpretation. In undertaking this (...) analysis, the paper will use Nicholas of Cusa’s De pace fidei—whose overt intention is to show that all forms of religious practice presuppose the same universal faith—as an interpretive lens to explore implications of the philosophical anthropology that Nicholas offers in treatises such as De ludo globi and De venatione sapientiae. Thus, I will argue that Nicholas’ appreciation of the inevitability of religious diversity in the temporal world funds the consistently favored view in his speculative works that “faith” is a virtue only insofar as its adherent genuinely remains in search of understanding and that, consequently, religious beliefs should function as nothing more than tools for creative activity, interpretation, and inquiry. (shrink)
Section 1 of this essay distinguishes between four interpretations of Socratic intellectualism, which are, very roughly: a version in which on any given occasion desire, and then action, is determined by what we think will turn out best for us, that being what we all, always, really desire; a version in which on any given occasion action is determined by what we think will best satisfy our permanent desire for what is really best for us; a version formed by the (...) assimilation of to, labelled the ‘standard’ version’ by Thomas C. Brickhouse and Nicholas D. Smith, and treated by them as a single alternative to their own interpretation; and Brickhouse and Smith’s own version. Section 2 considers, in particular, Brickhouse and Smith’s handling of the ‘appetites and passions’, which is the most distinctive feature of interpretation. Section 3 discusses Brickhouse and Smith’s defence of ‘Socratic studies’ in its historical context, and assesses the contribution made by their distinctive interpretation of ‘the philosophy of Socrates’. One question raised in this section, and one that is clearly fundamental to the existence of ‘Socratic studies’, is how different Brickhouse and Smith’s Socrates turns out to be from Plato himself, i.e., the Plato of the post-‘Socratic’ dialogues; to which the answer offered is that on Brickhouse and Smith’s interpretation Socratic moral psychology becomes rather less distinguishable from its ‘Platonic’ counterpart—as that is currently understood—than it is on the interpretation they oppose. (shrink)
This paper is a reaction to the book “Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom”, whose central concern is the philosophy of Nicholas Maxwell. I distinguish and discuss three concerns in Maxwell’s philosophy. The first is his critique of standard empiricism (SE) in the philosophy of science, the second his defense of aim-oriented rationality (AOR), and the third his philosophy of mind. I point at some problematic aspects of Maxwell’s rebuttal of SE and of his philosophy of mind and argue (...) in favor of AOR. (shrink)
Given the significance of Nicholas of Cusa’s ecclesiastical career, it is no surprise that a good deal of academic attention on Nicholas has focused on his role in the history of the church. Nevertheless, it would also be fair to say that a good deal of the attention that is focused on the life and thought of Nicholas of Cusa is the legacy of prior generations of scholars who saw in his theoretical work an opportunity to define (...) the most salient features of transformations in the habits of thinking leading from the Middle Ages into the epoch of modernity. Thus, although contemporary scholars have not been able to achieve any clear consensus on the question of whether Nicholas belongs to the Middle Ages or to modernity, the field of Cusanus studies has become much more attentive to the possibility that the uniqueness and significance of Nicholas’s vision is a function of his ability to synthesize and redeploy a variety of strands in the Catholic intellectual tradition—strands that are as apt to involve practical matters of canon law and church reform as they are to hinge on a unique and richly developed mystical theology. Given the flourishing of the attention devoted to Nicholas in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the choices about which texts to include in this article were difficult ones. The rationale for this article’s predominant focus on scholarship of the late 20th and early 21st centuries is that, insofar as the recent studies listed here enter into the debates that have been shaped by their predecessors, the sources mentioned here will point readers to the prior work in the field not acknowledged here. (shrink)
This paper explores Nicholas of Cusa’s framing of the De pace fidei as a dialogue taking place incaelo rationis. On the one hand, this framing allows Nicholas of Cusa to argue that all religious rites presuppose the truth of a single, unified faith and so temporally manifest divine logos in a way accommodated to the historically unique conventions of different political communities. On the other hand, at the end of the De pace fidei, the interlocutors in the heavenly (...) dialogue are enjoined to return to earth and lead their countrymen in a gradual conversion to the acceptance of rites which would explicitly acknowledge the metaphysically presupposed transcendent unity of all true faiths. In light of these two aspects of the literary framing of the De pace fidei, the question that motivates this paper concerns the extent to which the understanding of history subtending Cusanus’ temporal political aims is consistent with the understanding of history grounded in his metaphysical presupposition that there is una religio in omni diversitate rituum. In addressing this question, I shall argue that the literary strategy of the De pace fidei sacrifices Nicholas of Cusa’s apologetic doctrinal aims insofar as the text creates an allegorical space in which the tension between its literal and figurative dimensions assigns to its readers the task of choosing their own orientations to the significance of history as a foundation for future action. (shrink)
In response to the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Nicholas of Cusa wrote De pace fidei defending a commitment to religious tolerance on the basis of the notion that all diverse rites are but manifestations of one true religion. Drawing on a discussion of why Nicholas of Cusa is unable to square the two objectives of arguing for pluralistic tolerance and explaining the contents of the one true faith, we outline why theological pluralism is compromised by its own (...) meta-exclusivism. (shrink)
In December 1924 when Simone de Beauvoir almost certainly wrote her essay analyzing Claude Bernard's "Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine," a classic text in the philosophy of science, she was a 16 yr old student in a senior-level philosophy class at a private Catholic girls' school. Given the popular conception of existentialism as anti science, Beauvoir's early interest in science, reflected in her baccalaureate successes as well as her paper on Bernard, may be surprising. But her enthusiasm (...) for Bernard is unmistakable. We have identified three themes in Beauvoir's essay that reappear in her later work, including the valuing of philosophical doubt. (shrink)
Although Nicholas of Cusa occasionally discussed how the universe must be understood as the unfolding of the absolutely infinite in time, he left open questions about any distinction between natural time and historical time, how either notion of time might depend upon the nature of divine providence, and how his understanding of divine providence relates to other traditional philosophical views. From texts in which Cusanus discussed these questions, this paper will attempt to make explicit how Cusanus understood divine providence. (...) The paper will also discuss how Nicholas of Cusa’s view of the question of providence might shed light on Renaissance philosophy’s contribution in the historical transition in Western philosophy from an overtly theological or eschatological understanding of historical time to a secularized or naturalized philosophy of history. (shrink)
In the midst of the De pace fidei’s imagined heavenly conference on the theme of the possibility of religious harmony, Nicholas of Cusa has Saint Peter acknowledge to the Persian interlocutor that it will be difficult to bring Jews to the acceptance of Christ’s divine nature because they refuse to accept the implicit meaning of their own history of revelation. What is peculiar about this line in the dialogue is not merely that it flies in the face of what (...) Cusanus scholars tend to regard as an ecumenical spirit in Nicholas’ call to interreligious dialogue and mutual toleration. Rather, the statement reveals a peculiar hermeneutic principle at work in Nicholas’ understanding of the tension between truth and doctrine and the way that this tension informs human practice. Accordingly, by grappling with Nicholas’ portrayal of an imagined failure of Jews to practice interpretation correctly, I hope to shed light on Nicholas’ philosophy of religion in a way that neither ignores his anti-Judaism nor reduces the significance of his views to one of its most unpleasant manifestations. (shrink)
Research in modern biology has largely been developed according to two main ways of inquiry, as they were outlined by Charles Darwin and Claude Bernard. Each stands for a specific approach to the living corresponding to two different methodological rules: the principle of natural selection and the principle of causation.
The paper surveys the lifetime achievements of Claude Sumner, S.J., a Canadian Jesuit who lived for 45 years in Ethiopia and devoted his life's work to collecting, documenting and evaluating Ethiopian philosophical texts and oral literature.
Richard Falckenberg (1851-1920) in his book Grundzüge der Philosophie des Nicolaus Cusanus mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Lehre vom Erkennen was among the first historians of philosophy to support the argument that Nicholas of Cusa was a modern philosopher because his innovative theory of knowledge. The Falckenberg's celebrity shall be reduced because he was later obscured by the most famous historians of philosophy as Ernst Cassirer and Joachim Ritter. In our paper we want to come back to the Falckenberg's book (...) and recover his main arguments about the proximity of Cusanus with the philosophies of Leibniz, Fichte and the positivists. (shrink)
For the last several decades, philosophers have wrestled with the proper place of religion in liberal societies. Usually, the debates among these philosophers have started with the articulation of various conceptions of liberalism and then proceeded to locate religion in the context of these conceptions. In the process, however, too little attention has been paid to the way religion is conceived. Drawing on the work of Robert Audi and Nicholas Wolterstorff, two scholars who are often read as holding opposing (...) views on these issues, I argue that, for the purposes of their argument about liberalism, both have implicitly accepted a concept of religion that has come under severe attack in recent work on the subject. Namely, they have accepted a concept of religion that identifies religion primarily with belief, ritual practice, and ecclesial institutions. Following recent scholarship, I suggest that religion is better conceived as a kind of culture. To conclude the essay, I gesture toward what the beginnings of a re-visioned debate about religion and liberal society might look like if one started from this revised conception of religion. (shrink)
Nicholas Maxwell is not afraid of big ideas. As the title suggests, this book covers several sweeping topics: aside from those in the title, Maxwell discusses the methodology of social science, interdisciplinarity, quantum mechanics, and more besides. Given the 325-page word-length, this scope inevitably means that the ideas and arguments are frequently underdeveloped. However, despite this proportion of pages to topics, Maxwell's book is clear, accessible, and (most importantly) thought-provoking.
The following study departs from the lecture, entitled “Creative thinking”, delivered by Claude Shannon in 1952 at the Bell Laboratories. This paper includes an interpretive and critical account of the necessary conditions, as well as the desirable procedures, which must be satisfied in the scientific and technological invention, within the frame of the so-called scientist’s spontaneous philosophy.
Tertium Organum, published in Russian in 1912, is the most interesting and important of these works. The title is explained as meaning that the book is about "the third canon of thought," namely the mystical, which has always existed, although for us moderns it appears as a third method after the deductive and inductive methods described by Aristotle and Bacon. The English translation by Nicholas Bessaraboff and Claude Bragdon was published by Manas Press in 1920, and again, revised, (...) by Knopf in 1922. The simplicity of the literary style, the short sentences and paragraphs, and the clarity with which subtle arguments are developed show the influence of the author's training as a journalist. In content Tertium Organum is a systematic treatise on epistemology. The first seven chapters are an objective survey of the physical world. The author considers that the most basic problem of physics is why space has just three dimensions, and he concludes that it is impossible to find any answer to this question in an objective study of the world of space and time. Consequently, taking as a clue Kant's thesis that space and time are forms of intuition, and inferring from this that "we bear within ourselves the conditions of our space," he approaches the problem subjectively. In the following chapters he endeavors to show how our mode of consciousness makes space three-dimensional, how other modes of consciousness would, and for other beings do, make it of fewer or more dimensions, and how these different spaces are related to each other. The next to last chapter is a collection of selections from mystical literature, with comments, and the concluding chapter considers the "cosmic consciousness" with has for its object a world of four dimensions. An appendix gives a table showing the space and time sense, psychology, logic, mathematics, forms of action, morals, forms of consciousness, forms of knowledge, and forms of science characteristic of, as well as the different beings characterized by, four "forms of the manifestation of consciousness.". (shrink)
El súbito consenso que se ha producido en nuestros días alrededor de la importancia de la noción democracia no se ha acompañado de una reflexión filosófica sobre su sentido moderno. La obra filosófica de Claude Lefort ha contribuido a llenar este vacío teórico. Para Lefort, el sentido de la democracia moderna no puede revelarse, como ha supuesto la ciencia política, a través de la descripción del funcionamiento de sus instituciones, sino puede estudiarse mediante la exploración de su dimensión simbólica. (...) En efecto, la fundación y el destino de la democracia son inseparables de la indeterminación de sus fundamentos y de la infigurabilidad del poder, de la ley y del saber. Origen y destino que bien pueden ser rastreados a la luz del contraste entre la sociedad democrática y la sociedad totalitaria. El presente ensayo se ocupa de contrastar la dimensión simbólica de ambas formas de sociedad. Palabras clave: Democracia; totalitarismo; dimensión simbólica; político; Claude Lefort Democracy and totalitarianism: The Symbolic Dimension of the Political according to Claude LefortThe sudden consensus prevailing nowadays on the importance of the concept of democracy has not been accompanied by a philosophical reflection on its modern sense. Claude Lefort’s philosophical work has helped to fill this theoretical vacuum. According to Lefort, the sense of modern democracy cannot be disclosed, as political science has assumed, just by describing the operation of its institutions. Rather, it may be studied by exploring its symbolic dimension. In fact, democracy’s origin and fate are inseparable from the indeterminacy of its foundation and the non-figurable nature of power, law and knowledge. Such an origin and fate may indeed be tracked in light of the contrast between the democratic society and the totalitarian one. This essay aims to contrast the symbolic dimension of both forms of society. Keywords : Democracy; totalitarianism; symbolic dimension; political; Claude Lefort. (shrink)
Each time patients and their families are asked to make a decision about resuscitation, they are also asked to engage the political, social, and cultural concerns that have shaped its history. That history is exemplified in the career of Claude S. Beck, arguably the most influential researcher and teacher of resuscitation in the twentieth century. Careful review of Beck’s work discloses that the development and popularization of the techniques of resuscitation proceeded through a multiplication of definitions of death. CPR (...) consequently remains unique among medical treatments, because it is indicated precisely when a person dies, depending always on how each event of death becomes defined practically by patients, families, and medical professionals present at the time. It is therefore as an occasion to manage a surplus of definitions of death, and not as an occasion to determine the physiological efficacy of resuscitation, that one should approach analysis of contemporary challenges in decision-making about resuscitation. (shrink)
Previously, the author tried to show that some arguments in one of the two versions of Nicholas of Autrecourt’s Quaestio de intensione visionis are taken almost verbatim from the anonymous Tractatus de sex inconvenientibus. This paper concentrates on the arguments themselves in order to consider two main issues: the ‘translatability’ of limit decision problems, manifest in Autrecourt’s juxtaposition of questions de maximo et minimo, de primo et ultimo instanti, and the intension and remission of forms; the importance of Parisian (...) discussions of limit decision problems prior to the adoption of the new analytical languages developed at Oxford. Thus, the paper is divided in two sections, the first concerning some arguments of Autrecourt’s question, the second focusing on the link between one of Autrecourt’s arguments and the medieval tradition of commentaries on Aristotle’s De caelo, in which it is possible to find some antecedents of the analytical approach that later Parisian scholars would apply to these problems. (shrink)
The article discusses in detail Nicholas Rescher’s book Scientific Progess: A Philosophical Essay on the Economics of Research in Natural Science (1978). Rescher discusses the possibilities of further progress for science. According to Rescher there are no limits by principles to scientific progress. Among the positions which postulate an end of scientific progress there are some which see the reason in the finiteness of nature, others in the finitude of our intellectual resources. According to Rescher science arises from the (...) interaction between nature and our intellectual instruments, and the combinatory of these interactions in infinite. On the other hand, there is an economic limit to scientific progress, due to the growth of the marginal costs of the scientific enterprise: the costs grow exponentially, that is to say that the yields grow only logarithmically compared to the investments. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the target article “From Objects to Processes: A Proposal to Rewrite Radical Constructivism” by Siegfried J. Schmidt. Upshot: This commentary asks if Schmidt’s latest process-orientated philosophy is based on a vicious infinite regress argument. The commentator uses recent literature on the distinction of vicious and benign infinite regresses (from Claude Gratton and Nicholas Rescher) and tries to show that – taken verbatim – there is a serious logical problem in Schmidt’s argumentation.
Taking as a starting point for his quest the teaching received from the Hebrew prophets and transmitted by the people of Israel, Claude Tresmontant identifies in it the specific moment where an entirely new and creative thought is introduced in the history of mankind. Trained in philosophy of science and conscious of the discipline involved in a rigorous experimental method as a key to valid and true knowledge, Claude Tresmontant boldly recreated bridges, long destroyed, between science and philosophy (...) of nature, as well as metaphysics and theology. Following an immense effort, he has found back, stringently and often on his own, a unifying concept capable of integrating the experience and the questions of today's man: "...the central question is that of integrating the teaching of creation and that of revelation in the unity of an intelligible vision of the world, desirable, and verifiable..." as he said himself in the preface to L'histoire de l'univers et le sens de la Création. This immense, powerful and thought-provoking work is here presented by a young philosopher, long time correspondent of Claude Tresmontant, who benefited from decisive moments of encounter with him. (shrink)
Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464) was active during the Renaissance, developing adventurous ideas even while serving as a churchman. The religious issues with which he engaged – spiritual, apocalyptic and institutional – were to play out in the Reformation. These essays reflect the interests of Cusanus but also those of Gerald Christianson, who has studied church history, the Renaissance and the Reformation. The book places Nicholas into his times but also looks at his later reception. The first part addresses (...) institutional issues, including Schism, conciliarism, indulgences and the possibility of dialogue with Muslims. The second treats theological and philosophical themes, including nominalism, time, faith, religious metaphor, and prediction of the end times. (shrink)
This is the first English language volume to offer such a wide-ranging scholarly and intellectual perspective on Claude Lefort. It constitutes the most comprehensive attempt to reconstruct Lefort's engagement with his theoretical interlocutors as well as his influence on today's democratic thought and contemporary continental political philosophy.
This paper will put forward to new audiences the core of Claude Sumner's thesis regarding philosophy in the "broad" and "narrow" senses, the former referring to wisdom and the sapiential tradition. It will look at Sumner's role in popularizing early Ethiopian texts in a project meant to debunk preconceptions that Africa has no written history of philosophy. Nevertheless Sumner does not limit himself to written texts in the Ethiopian tradition, but has branched out into collecting and analyzing the oral (...) traditions as well. He has argued that the written texts of Zera Yacob are examples of "religious rationality" in some ways similar to Descartes' scientific rationality. He argues that proverbs possess "figurative logic," which while different than conceptual logic is still indeed logic. Both written and oral sources of Ethiopian philosophy stretch well beyond the last fifty years, Sumner asserts, and thus African philosophy becomes known as being older than Hountondji, Okolo and others have thought. The paper argues that Sumner's contributions to the growth of the field of African philosophy should not be overlooked. (shrink)
A common and enduring early modern intuition is that materialists reduce organisms in general and human beings in particular to automata. Wasn’t a famous book of the time entitled L’Homme-Machine? In fact, the machine is employed as an analogy, and there was a specifically materialist form of embodiment, in which the body is not reduced to an inanimate machine, but is conceived as an affective, flesh-and-blood entity. We discuss how mechanist and vitalist models of organism exist in a more complementary (...) relation than hitherto imagined, with conceptions of embodiment resulting from experimental physiology. From La Mettrie to Bernard, mechanism, body and embodiment are constantly overlapping, modifying and overdetermining one another; embodiment came to be scientifically addressed under the successive figures of vie organique and then milieu intérieur, thereby overcoming the often lamented divide between scientific image and living experience. (shrink)
What is the event? How the phenomenology of event is possible if the "event" is not the phenomenon in the classical meaning of this word? French philosopher Claude Romano discusses these questions with his Russian colleague Ruslan Loshakov. The interlocutors consider the concept of event in different contexts, paying special attention to the relationships which connect the phenomenology of event with Husserl, Bergson, Heidegger and Levinas' ideas.
This ar ti cle ex tends, from a philo soph i cal and an thro po log i cal point of view, the re cent dis - cus sions as to what is met a phoric. Lan guage phi - los o phers have con trib uted to the un der stand ing of the na ture and func tion of met a phors, but their com ments have been tra ..
La traduction latine des Dialoghi della historia du philosophe néo-platonicien Francesco Patrizi da Cherso est publiée à Bâle en 1570. L’étude de la circulation de ce texte et des choix de traduction permet de mieux comprendre la réception des artes historicae italiennes dans le Nord de l’Europe et les fluctuations ou limites du latin face à la montée en puissance de l’italien vernaculaire comme langue philosophique.