The patristic tradition has long censured or denied debts to Epicurean thought. Thus it is surprising to find that Augustine requires and uses Epicurean arguments at three moments in the Confessions essential his theory of friendship: the pear tree incident, the death of his friend, and the decision not to form a philosophical community. I argue that the classical definition of friendship is inadequate to solve these problems. Furthermore, reworking Augustine’s theory of friendship with the use/enjoyment doctrine developed in The (...) Trinity fails to resolve them. Thus the problems raised in the Confessions cannot be exposed or solved through Augustine’s own theoretical framework. I argue that they are, however, central to the Epicurean theory of friendship, which addresses them specifically, and that the Epicurean insistence on the mortality of the soul produces the central problem for Augustine’s notion of friendship. (shrink)
A detailed scholarly examination of the distorted image of Islam that emerged in the West during the years 1100-1350. Although most of the book is concerned with documenting this image of Islam, Daniel also explores the motives and effects of this distortion. A series of comprehensive bibliographies is included. An authoritative, if somewhat tedious, study.--J. D. T., Jr.
During Leibniz's lifetime, interest in the interpretation of the Bible and biblical prophecy became central to the theological and political concerns of Protestant Europe. Leibniz's treatment of this phenomenon will be examined in the light of his views on the nature of revelation and its role in his defence of Christianity. It will be argued that Leibniz's defence of the miracle of revelation – unlike his arguments on behalf of the core Christian mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation – is (...) demonstrable by purely natural and scientific means, especially the verification of history. (shrink)
In this article I examine recent debates surrounding the publication of Daniel J. Goldhagen's controversial book Hitler's Willing Executioners. I do so against the `backdrop' of contention regarding the centrality of the Nazi Holocaust and the role played by Holocaust Studies - a burgeoning area of academic special interest, involving mainly historians, but also sociologists, theologians and philosophers. In particular I consider the charged disputation which have flowed from Norman G. Finkelstein's critique of Hitler's Willing Executioners and ponder what (...) this tells us about the way in which identity is configured in the post-Holocaust era. In so doing I examine the political investments at stake in these debates and challenge the degree to which academics working within this field have been able to transcend the ideological subject-positions in which they are embedded. (shrink)
Reviewed Works:Reuben Hersh, Proving is Convincing and Explaining.Philip J. Davis, Visual Theorems.Gila Hanna, H. Niels Jahnke, Proof and Application.Daniel Chazan, High School Geometry Students' Justification for Their Views of Empirical Evidence and Mathematical Proof.
Povinelli and colleagues ask whether chimpanzees can understand the concept of weight, answering with a resounding ‘‘no’’. They justify their answer by appeal to over thirty previously unpublished experiments. I here evaluate in detail Povinelli’s arguments against his targets, questioning the assumption that such comparative questions will be resolved with an unequivocal ‘‘yes’’ or ‘‘no’’.
A striking aspect of the so-called "Goldhagen debate" has been the bifurcated reception Hitler's Willing Executioners has received: the enthusiastic welcome of journalists and the public was as warm as the impatient dismissal of most historians was cool. This article seeks to transcend the current impasse by analyzing the underlying issues of Holocaust research at stake here. It argues that a "deep structure" necessarily characterizes the historiography of the Holocaust, comprising a tension between its positioning in "universalism" and "particularism" narratives. (...) While the former conceptualizes the Holocaust as an abstract human tragedy and explains its occurrence in terms of processes common to modern societies, the latter casts its analysis in ethnic and national categories: the Holocaust as an exclusively German and Jewish affair. These narratives possess important implications for the balance of structure and human agency in the explanation of the Holocaust: where the universalism narrative emphasizes the role of impersonal structures in mediating human action, the particularism narrative highlights the agency of human actors. Although historical accounts usually combine these narratives, recent research on the Holocaust tends in the universalist direction, and this bears on the sensitive issue of responsibility for the Holocaust by problematizing the common-sense notion of the perpetrators' intention and responsibility. Goldhagen is responding to this trend, but by retreating to the particularism narrative and employing an inadequate definition of intention, he fails to move the debate forward. It is time to rethink the concept of intention in relation to events like the Holocaust. (shrink)