Despite a misleading title, a superfluous introduction, and a dubious concluding argument, this book succeeds in demonstrating the unorthodox thesis that a concept of a "history of reason" is "genuine and central" to Kant’s system. The first part demonstrates a decisive and highly problematic shift in Kant’s practical philosophy, where a synthesis of morality and nature, the idea of the highest good, is made the object of duty. In this way the highest good, initially a "rational version of the notion (...) of the next world," becomes Kant’s regulative idea of history, "the kingdom of God on earth," comprising both "inner disposition and external institution". The ability to realize the highest good is a logical condition of the concept of duty and a "psychological condition of the ‘inner act’ of intention". The latter condition, Yovel suggests, explains why Kant identifies the ground of this ability with God. The sole objective significance of Kant’s idea of God, however, is said to reside in duty’s logical condition, viz., "the assertion that the given world is the highest good in potentia, and that human praxis can make it so actually". Though much more needs to be said, Yovel thus makes a strong case that Kant’s concept of God is "only a subjective decor" and "strictly humanistic". (shrink)
The term "Middle Platonism" is used as a classification of those who professed some form of Platonic philosophy between the end of the third Academy and the beginning of "Neoplatonism". The evidence which survives concerning the "Middle" Platonists is not on the whole of great philosophical interest, but has been given increasing attention in recent years for the reason that the Middle Platonists are to some extent heirs to the Academy and ancestors to Neoplatonism. Middle Platonism is also of interest (...) to intellectual historians as an important intellectual force in the literary and religious life of the Roman Empire. For an introduction to Middle Platonism, the English-speaking non-expert has had to turn to Merlan’s rather compressed account in The Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy. He now will be able to avail of Dillon’s detailed and compendious survey. (shrink)
This University of Münster dissertation deals with the problem of how to interpret the coming-into-being of the world as described in the Timaeus: does Plato really mean that the world was generated or is his account merely a mythical expression of the composition of a world which is eternal? Scheffel shows how this issue has divided both ancient and modern interpreters: Aristotle, Vlastos, and Hackforth, for example, taking the former view; Xenocrates and the Academy, A. E. Taylor, Cherniss, and Cornford (...) taking the latter. In this book Scheffel argues for the "Aristotelian" view and develops the positions of Vlastos and Hackforth. In a preparatory section he briefly presents two ancient proponents of his position, Aristotle and Plutarch, noting that Plato's Laws does not support Plutarch's conception of an evil soul animating the unordered chaos of the Timaeus. In the main part of the book Scheffel comments on the text of the Timaeus, organizing his exposition into chapters on "The Exposition of the Cosmogony," "The Concept of Space in the Timaeus," "The Doctrine of Movement in the Timaeus," "The Concept of Soul in the Timaeus," "The Platonic Distinction between First and Second Causes." Some subordinate issues are also discussed, in particular that of the possible contradiction between the eternal soul of the Phaedrus and the generated soul of the Timaeus. Scheffel's final position on the main issue is that Plato in the Timaeus means that the world is generated, not in time, but in an "einmalige überzeitliche Formungsakt" by the demiurge. This is perhaps not all that distant from the old position which concluded that to be generated outside time is to be causally dependent in some non-temporal way on the eternal. Scheffel does not appear, however, to have thought out what an "einmalige überzeitliche Formungsakt" might turn out to be. His argument is not always very convincing and this is unlikely to be the last word on an interesting and important problem.--D.O. (shrink)
In late antiquity the work On the Nature of the Cosmos and of the Soul attributed to Timaeus of Locri was thought to be a Pythagorean text used by Plato when he wrote the Timaeus. The attribution, archaizing language, and similarity of contents of the work suggest this. However, the linguistic and philosophical anachronisms to be found in it show it to be a post-Platonic forgery. It summarizes the Timaeus, simplifying and "demythologizing" the dialogue in a didactic way. It also (...) on occasion departs enough from its source to constitute an interpretation of the dialogue. Baltes in his introduction notes that this is all done along lines characteristic of Middle Platonic treatments of Plato, and he suggests that the work may have been written by a pupil of Eudorus of Alexandria since it seems to depend on Eudorus’s interpretation of the Timaeus. Having introduced the work, Baltes then provides a line-by-line commentary in which he deals with philological questions, analyzes the sequence of thought, and attempts to determine for each passage the extent to which the work echoes the Timaeus or departs from it. In the latter case, he provides helpful references to parallel and possible source texts in Hellenistic philosophy. An index of terms would have made this valuable commentary more accessible. For the original Greek text we must turn to the edition published by W. Marg in the same series. Baltes’s commentary can be recommended to anyone interested in Plato’s Academy, in Middle Platonism, and in the subjects discussed in the Timaeus as understood and developed in Hellenistic philosophy.—D.O. (shrink)
Despite the central importance of Alexander of Aphrodisias to later Greek, Medieval, and Renaissance philosophy, little attention has been given to his work in modern times. Only one of his writings, the De fato, has been available in English translation. Todd’s study and translation of Alexander’s De mixtione is therefore a welcome contribution. His book not only contributes to the study of Alexander but also presents a critical analysis of the evidence concerning the theory of the "total blending" of bodies (...) attributed to the Stoics by Alexander and by other ancient sources. By investigating the polemical character of such reports concerning Stoicism, Todd attempts to develop a means of evaluating the evidence, the consequence of which is a revision of not a few aspects of what has been thought to be Stoic doctrine. (shrink)
The problem the author sets himself in this historico-critical study of the post-Kantian development of the a priori is: Can one understand the nature of the a priori as part of the explanation of knowledge, without assigning it exclusively to the subject and without radically identifying the a priori and the a posteriori? Dufrenne thinks this can be done by retaining a dualism of subject and object. Well-written and scholarly. An index would have been helpful.--D. D. O.
This book is published as part of a series catering mainly to the undergraduate and is written on a fairly general, vulgarizing level. However, Schlanger—author of a monograph on the Medieval Jewish Neoplatonist Ibn Gabirol —takes the occasion to provide some reflections on the essence of philosophy and on the interpretation of its history. Of the two sections of the book, the first analyzes what is essential, non-contingent, in any philosophical system, and the second describes the essential aspect of a (...) Plotinian-type philosophy. Philosophy, for Schlanger, is a never-ending effort of "réadéquation" between what is and what is thought concerning what is. This effort gives rise in history to philosophical "systems" representing various sets of formulations which seek to give an "ideal" interpretation of reality. These systems relate to specific socio-cultural contexts, and their "truth" is contingent to the degree that it is related to contingent contexts. However, the systems also embody various possible "ideal" attitudes to reality. Behind each philosophical system, stripped of its contingency and temporality, lies an ideal attitude, a "structure métaphysique." The history of philosophy can therefore be considered as constituting an "inventory" of "structures métaphysiques," and it is in the study of this inventory that Schlanger finds the philosophical importance of the study of the history of philosophy. By studying this inventory, the historian is able to provide philosophy with an array of possible "ideal" attitudes applicable in any socio-cultural context. The constituent elements of a "structure métaphysique" are listed as follows: ideal intuitions ; ideal methodological intuitions ; analogical intuitions ; preferred disciplines ; way of life. In the second section of the book, Schlanger provides an illustration of all this by describing the "structure métaphysique" essential to Plotinian-type philosophical systems. Of the Plotinian "ideal intuitions" he lists the unicity of being, emanation of being, derivation of being from non-being, the hierarchial order of being, the conception of two worlds, the "conversion" of soul, man as microcosm. These ideal intuitions are particular "ideal" reactions to specific existential situations; they are not interdependent, do not logically cohere with each other and can contradict each other. In discussing Plotinian-type "methodological intuitions," Schlanger notes the ontological status of knowledge in "Plotinisme" and the idea that there are different levels of knowledge corresponding to different levels of being. The Plotinian "analogical intuitions" include the images of the sphere and its circular motion, and of the sun and its rays. The "preferred discipline" in "Plotinisme" is psychology, a "practical science" designed to lead the soul to union with the One. This is indeed the Plotinian "way of life," a life directed towards the "salvation" of the soul through a process of purification and transcendence in which the soul reaches union with the One. Schlanger concludes in a "Postface" with some useful remarks on the nature and significance of the interpretation of philosophical texts. (shrink)
To identify Porphyry’s place in the Neoplatonic tradition is not only to contribute to our understanding of the development of Neoplatonism between Plotinus and Proclus, but is also to clarify our perspective on the last Greek philosopher to be known in, and to influence to an important degree, Latin thought in the later Roman Empire and in the early Medieval period. In this revised version of a University of Hull doctoral dissertation, Smith attempts to characterize Porphyry’s philosophical positions, as compared (...) with those taken by Plotinus, Iamblichus, and Proclus, with particular reference to theories concerning the "ascent" and "salvation" of the soul, insofar as these theories are attested in the traditional—and meagre—corpus of Porphyrian fragments and testimonia. In the first part of his book, Smith reviews Porphyry’s opinions regarding the nature of soul, its relation to body, its separation from body, its ascent to the transcendent realm, its fate after death, and related eschatological topics. Porphyry’s thought is considered against a background of extensive reference to Plotinus. Smith finds both philosophers at one on a large number of issues. However, Porphyry, he thinks, gives more attention to the place of natural death in the life of the soul, locating the life of the soul more precisely within the framework of the Platonic cycle of reincarnation, whilst at the same time making allowance for the possibility of permanent escape from this cycle. In the second part of the book, the author examines "theurgy," insofar as Porphyry seems to have made use of it in his theories concerning the "salvation" of the soul. This subject is of particular interest, as it relates to what seems characteristic of later Neoplatonism: an interest in religious and magical practices, taken by modern interpreters to represent a "sacrifice" by Neoplatonism of the tradition of "Greek rationalism." Smith shows that Neoplatonic theurgy, in the form in which Porphyry introduced it, represents a development of aspects of Plotinism, [[sic]] and must be distinguished from the practices of the charlatans who gave it its notoriety. In dealing with theurgy, Smith clarifies Porphyry’s position by approaching it from the more developed positions of Iamblichus and of Proclus. Neoplatonic theurgy seems to originate in Plotinus’ views on the role of transcendent causality in the elevation of the soul. A religious expression of this is provided by Porphyry, together with an emphasis on man’s need of divine "aid" which is radicalized in Iamblichus. Smith maintains that Porphyry nevertheless remained wary of, and restricted, the role of theurgy in the salvation of the soul. The "sacrifice" of philosophy to religious belief he finds to have come later, with Iamblichus. A Postscript examines the Neoplatonists’ attitudes to the actual performance of magic, and a Conclusion gives a careful summary of results attained in the book, which ends with two Appendices, a Bibliography, and Indices. (shrink)
The work of the later Greek neo-Platonists remains largely inaccessible to the modern philosopher. Many of the extant texts have not yet been translated from the Greek, and in some cases the texts that have survived are of lesser importance than those that have not, and so must be reconstructed on the basis of reports in later authors. This task of recovery has been undertaken recently in the case of the Syrian Greek Iamblichus by J. M. Dillon, and by Larsen (...) in this, his Aarhus University doctoral dissertation. Larsen collects the historical evidence concerning Iamblichus’ life and literary output. He then analyzes from the point of view of literary form and philosophic significance both the extant works of Iamblichus, and those which survive only in the form of quotations and reports in later authors. He also gives a useful bibliography and his detailed Table of Contents may make up partially for the absence of an Index. In a separate volume, the author brings together the texts of the major quotations and reports in Proclus, Simplicius, et al. on which he bases his account of Iamblichus’ commentaries. (shrink)
McLuhan’s contribution to this book consists of several rather oracular pages of rapprochements of Empedocles with T. S. Eliot, relating mainly, it seems, to the distinction between auditory and visual imagination. In introducing this book Lambridis claims that Empedocles is treated "briefly and almost contemptuously" in "the standard books on the history of ancient Greek philosophy" and that aspects of Empedocles’ thought are largely misunderstood. Lambridis feels however that Empedocles is "a very important philosopher" and, "moreover, can be called the (...) greatest philosopher-poet of the ancient world." We may thus expect in what follows both a demonstration of the importance of Empedocles and a clarification of aspects of his philosophy. Lambridis attempts this in a series of chapters on "The Sources," "Life and Legend," "Contemporaries," "Physics and Metaphysics," "Sensation and Knowledge," "Biology," "Cosmology," "Conversion," "Poetry." Lambridis is not afraid to attack the major problems in interpreting Empedocles: the problem of the relation between On Nature and the Purifications is solved by taking the latter poem to be a later composition reflecting a conversion to Pythagoreanism ; the problem of the cosmic cycle is solved by proposing that it consists of a cycle of the sequence of stages, Sphairos—invasion of strife—dominance of love—invasion of strife—Sphairos. (shrink)
Abraham ibn Ezra, the subject of this Cologne doctoral dissertation, is a lesser-known figure in the history of Jewish philosophy in medieval Spain, his dates placing him roughly after Ibn Gabirol and before Moses Maimonides. The title given to this book calls first for some comment. By "Religionsphilosophie," a term he has seemingly inherited from his scholarly predecessors, Greive does not mean "philosophy of religion," but is referring to a system of reality and of knowledge concerned with a metaphysical ultimate (...) principle and our relation to that principle, and in which no divide is established between "religion" and "philosophy," between "mysticism" and "rational thought"., accommodating his faith to his philosophy.) This system, as it is found in Ibn Ezra, conforms in its general lines to the Neoplatonic-inspired philosophy common in medieval Islamic and Jewish thought. A second comment might be made concerning the scope of Greive’s work. It is not his intent to present a full and systematic account of Ibn Ezra’s philosophy. He wishes rather to provide a careful reconstruction of certain aspects of Ibn Ezra’s thought which will represent an improvement on earlier scholarly accounts and will serve to illuminate Ibn Ezra’s philosophy as a whole. Following a brief review of Ibn Ezra’s Jewish philosophical predecessors, Greive surveys previous scholarly work on Ibn Ezra, finding confusion and misinterpretation of particular theories and a tendency to relate Ibn Ezra to Ibn Gabirol while ignoring Islamic influences. Greive then proceeds to his corrective treatment of aspects of Ibn Ezra’s thought, but not before surveying Ibn Ezra’s life, works and posthumous influence, noting that an account of Ibn Ezra’s philosophical thought must draw from all his literary production, as he did not compose a strictly philosophical work. There is one possible exception, Ibn Ezra’s prose poem Haj ben Meqis, which Greive presents in the latter part of his book in German translation with introduction and notes, and which, for Greive, can serve to demonstrate Ibn Ezra’s dependence vis-à-vis Avicenna. The book ends with a translation of a short poem, the Arugat ha-hokmah, and a very useful bibliography and indices. (shrink)
The text of a Seminarübung held in 1940 is here published for the first time together with an Italian translation. This is another of Heidegger's creative interpretations of Greek philosophy. The topic is Book II, Chapter 1 of the Physics, three pages in which Aristotle explains the various meanings of nature. Heidegger finds grounds in this text for his doctrine that truth is not an idea or a property of propositions, but the self-revelation of "nature".--D. D. O.
Miss Stambaugh argues that the fundamental paradox on which Nietzsche's philosophy seems to rest--the doctrine of eternal recurrence and the doctrine of the will to power--can be mitigated, or at least clarified, by an understanding of Nietzsche's theory of time. This line of investigation results in a re-interpretation of the basic categories of Nietsche's philosophy.--D. D. O.
A collection of essays, addresses and occasional pieces written over the past fifteen years by Prof. Weischedel, a pupil of Heidegger. The pieces are grouped in four categories: history of philosophy, problems of metaphysics, contemporary art and contemporary ethico-political problems. There is some interesting material, but the book suffers from the defects of what C. S. Peirce called 'the pitchfork method of book-making.'--D. D. O.
We give here alternative definitions for the notions that S. Shelah has introduced in recent papers: the dimensional order property and the depth of a theory. We will also give a proof that the depth of a countable theory, when defined, is an ordinal recursive in T.
Recently I reported in this journal1 how it became necessary for a judge to settle a dispute between the pharmaceutical industry and certain Dutch pharmacists. It considered the question of whether a pharmacist is permitted, without prior consultation, to give a patient a generic drug instead of the patent drug mentioned on the prescription.Another dispute has now arisen after the pharmaceutical industry discovered that healthcare insurers were paying general practitioners a bonus if they prescribed generic drugs, such as simvastatin or (...) omeprazol (which reduces the …. (shrink)
This is the third volume in a series of university lectures at Freiburg published by the author, a long-time assistant and interpreter of Husserl. The lectures are a sustained effort to rethink, amend, and develop themes first discussed by Husserl and Heidegger. In this volume Fink offers a new interpretation of the problems of nothingness and the totality of being. He seeks to avoid the tendency to reify the notion of totality; such reification the author argues is the besetting sin (...) of previous philosophies of being.--D. D. O. (shrink)
One of three tribute volumes marking the 75th birthday of an outstanding teacher, historian, and philosopher. Twenty former students present their teacher with a collection of essays which reflect both his own broad interests and the influence of his voluminous writing. There are essays interpreting various philosophical and historical problems of the Middle Ages, an important interpretation of Heraclitus, investigations of Heidegger and certain American Empiricists. The bulk of the book, however, deals with the area in which Gilson is an (...) acknowledged master: the systematic study of Thomas Aquinas and his relevance for contemporary philosophy.--D. D. O. (shrink)
In contrast to many other scholarly continental works, Bochenski's monumental survey waited only five years for its English translation. The translator has made some minor emendations and has appended a few pages concerning Abélard's contribution to logic. A great contribution to the scholarship of this exciting field. -D. D. O.
Selections from all three Critiques and the Metaphysical Foundations of Morals presented in a clear, fresh idiom, considerably revised and edited. Continuity is assured by frequent editorial introductions and comments. Inevitably there will be questions about the pieces chosen or omitted, but there should be no quarrel with the outstanding translation. --D. D. O.
The text of this new edition of Scheler's pioneer work in the sociology of knowledge has been corrected in a few places. There are also about 50 additional pages drawn from Scheler's relicta which throw new light on the themes of the original study. The most interesting of these additions are the pages which spell out the differences between Scheler's phenomenological approach to problems about values and the positivistic approach of Max Weber.--D. D. O.
Anthropology must be centered not on human reason, freedom, or Existenz, but on the reciprocal relation of individual men to human culture. The comparative study of cultures must be considered the foundations of the whole edifice of human knowledge. Consequently, the task of synthesis and integration in the university, formerly assigned to the philosopher, should be assigned to the cultural anthropologist. --D. D. O.
This book, first published in 1933 but prevented from distribution in Nazi Germany, serves as an introduction to a German philosopher who, together with Martin Buber, attempted to rethink the central motifs of existentialist philosophy from the perspective of Jewish faith and tradition. The author provides an outline of the over-all content of this philosophy. In particular she stresses Rosenzweig's debt to the later Schelling and the main themes of his major work, The Star of Salvation.--D. D. O.
A brief but informative introduction to the work of Alfred Weber. The author seeks to show why scholars like Timascheff and Sigmund Neumann rank Alfred Weber in the company of his more famous brother Max, and with Simmel, Rickert, Dilthey, and Scheler in the field of historical sociology. The work includes a systematic presentation of Weber's conception of 'historicocultural sociology'.--D. D. O.
A lively and fascinating study-in-miniature of the Catholic experiment with Humanism at the dawn of the Renaissance. This illuminating book is only secondarily about Erasmus, whose theology is sketched in broad strokes. More valuable are Bouyer's ability to capture the spirit of the age and his unusual talent for brief, striking portraits of its leadings figures.--D. D. O.
Cullman, a distinguished Swiss Protestant theologian, presents a practical proposal for realizing Christian solidarity. He concedes, first, that opposing views on the concept of the Church make actual church unity humanly impossible for contemporary Protestants and Catholics. He proposes that a collection be taken up among Protestant churches for the Catholic poor and among Catholic churches for the Protestant poor. An adaptation of Paul's suggestion, this "exchange" offering would, he hopes, foster an atmosphere in which theological debate could flourish. -D. (...) D. O. (shrink)
The musings of a retired engineer on the meaning of life. Mr. Pryor offers us a remedy for the troubles of this life, one which will also enable us to specify what sort of future existence we want to have. What is this modest physic? Treatment by hypnosis!--D. D. O.
In honor of Husserl's 100th birthday, an impressive roster of 25 former students and close friends contribute essays to this volume. There are some interesting personal reminiscenses, but most deal with problems in Husserl's philosophy. It is something of a mystery that nearly all the contributors ignore or reject what Husserl considered the most important and fundamental aspect of his philosophy--its transcendental dimension. Moreover, it is confusing to find included in the volume quotations from Husserl condemning as total misunderstandings the (...) very omission or modifications which his students are introducing. The essays themselves are sufficient witness to the seminal importance of Husserl's philosophy, as well as to the difficulties and obscurities remaining in it.--D. D. O. (shrink)
Taking into account the recent publications of many hitherto unknown works of Husserl, this short introduction aims to present Husserl's philosophizing as an organic system, which the author dubs, not inappropriately, Transcendental Positivism, since he stresses Husserl's attempt to provide a strict foundation for the sciences. The book is systematic and carefully written. It was designed to meet the needs of university students and may be recommended to them as a generally reliable guide, although necessarily not as definitive interpretation.--D. D. (...) O. (shrink)