In this essay, I defend theology against a recent argument made by Peter Byrne. According to Byrne, any discipline of thought that can be interpreted realistically shows the accumulation of reliable or widespread belief about the reality it investigates. I challenge this claim, first, by showing how theology, so construed as an exercise of ‘faith seeking understanding’, can and should be interpreted realistically, even if it does not show the accumulation of reliable or widespread belief about divine reality. Second, I (...) give a plausible account of why theology is beset by internal disagreement and division, even if the goal of theological enquiry is to overcome such disagreement and division. (shrink)
We think that certain of our mental states represent the world around us, and represent it in determinate ways. My perception that there is salt in the pot before me, for example, represents my immediate environment as containing a certain object, a pot, with a certain kind of substance, salt, in it. My belief that salt dissolves in water represents something in the world around me, namely salt, as having a certain observational property, that of dissolving. But what exactly is (...) the relation between such states and the world beyond the surfaces of our skins? Specifically, what exactly is the relation between the contents of those states, and the world beyond our bodies? (shrink)
An Inaugural Lecture FrancisMacdonald Cornford. LAWS of MOTION in ANCIENT THOUGHT AN INAUGURAL LECTURE BY F. M. CORNFORD ' Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy in the University of Cambridge CAMBRIDGE ...
Originally published in 1931, this volume contains the text of an inaugural lecture by Francis Cornford upon his accession to the Laurence Professorship of Ancient Philosophy in the University of Cambridge. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in ancient philosophy or the history and philosophy of science.
Former students of FrancisMacDonald Cornford report that the distinguished Cambridge historian was fond of what he called his “parable of the coins.” The point of the parable’s instruction was that words, especially philosophers’ words, are like coins in that they retain their “shape” or visual appearance over decades and even centuries while their “purchasing power” or meaning may be shifting drastically. The image of a coin with an enduring shape but a varying purchasing power is especially appropriate (...) for the semantic career of one of the most important of Greek philosophical words, psyche, traditionally rendered “soul.” Visually, psyche retained its shape from the earliest Greek literature known to us, which is of course Homer, down to the age of the koine spoken in the time of Christ and later used to record the gospels. That was a period of a thousand years of varied and often intense philosophical and religious exploration and development; in those centuries, the meaning of psyche, unlike its shape, was far from static. (shrink)
Original and engaging, this exploration of early Western philosophy traces the religious roots of science and systematic speculation. Author F. M. Cornford, a distinguished historian of ancient philosophy, combines deep classical scholarship with anthropological and sociological insights to examine the mythic precursors of enduring metaphysical concepts--such as destiny, God, the soul, substance, nature, and immortality. Cornford illustrates the rise of a new spirit of rational inquiry from traditional beliefs, demonstrating that philosophy’s modes of clear definition and explicit statement were already (...) implicit in the unreasoned intuitions of mythology. (shrink)
This chapter focuses on the appetite for self-preservation and its central role in Francis Bacon’s natural philosophy. In the first part, I introduce Bacon’s classification of universal appetites, showing the correspondences between natural and moral philosophy. I then examine the role that appetites play in his theory of motions and, additionally, the various meanings accorded to preservation in this context. I also discuss some of the sources underlying Bacon’s ideas, for his views about preservation reveal traces of Stoicism, Telesian (...) natural philosophy, the natural law tradition, as well as late-scholastic ideas. Bacon assumes the existence of two kinds of preservation: self-preservation and preservation of the whole. The appetite through which the whole preserves itself overpowers individual appetites for self-preservation. In Bacon’s theory of motions, the primacy of global preservation – that is, the preservation of the whole – is evidenced by the way matter resists being annihilated, while self-preservation at a local and particular level is revealed through other kinds of motion. Bacon’s notion of appetite reflects a specific metaphysics of matter and motion, in which the preservation of natural bodies follows teleological patterns shared by both nature and humanity: the preservation of the whole is the highest goal, both in moral and natural philosophy. In this chapter, I argue that in Bacon’s natural philosophy different kind of things, including nature and humans, are ruled by patterns that are constitutive of correlated orders, neither of which is reducible to the other: there is no priority of the natural order over the moral, or vice versa. Thus, at a more general level, both are expressions of the same type of divinely imposed, law-like behaviour. (shrink)
Translated and with an Introduction by Daniel W. Smith Afterword by Tom Conley Gilles Deleuze had several paintings by Francis Bacon hanging in his Paris apartment, and the painter’s method and style as well as his motifs of seriality, difference, and repetition influenced Deleuze’s work. This first English translation shows us one of the most original and important French philosophers of the twentieth century in intimate confrontation with one of that century’s most original and important painters. In considering Bacon, (...) Deleuze offers implicit and explicit insights into the origins and development of his own philosophical and aesthetic ideas, ideas that represent a turning point in his intellectual trajectory. First published in French in 1981, _Francis Bacon_ has come to be recognized as one of Deleuze’s most significant texts in aesthetics. Anticipating his work on cinema, the baroque, and literary criticism, the book can be read not only as a study of Bacon’s paintings but also as a crucial text within Deleuze’s broader philosophy of art. In it, Deleuze creates a series of philosophical concepts, each of which relates to a particular aspect of Bacon’s paintings but at the same time finds a place in the “general logic of sensation.” Illuminating Bacon’s paintings, the nonrational logic of sensation, and the act of painting itself, this work—presented in lucid and nuanced translation—also points beyond painting toward connections with other arts such as music, cinema, and literature. _Francis Bacon_ is an indispensable entry point into the conceptual proliferation of Deleuze’s philosophy as a whole. Gilles Deleuze was professor of philosophy at the University of Paris, Vincennes–St. Denis. He coauthored _Anti-Oedipus_ and _A Thousand Plateaus_ with Félix Guattari. These works, as well as _Cinema 1, Cinema 2, The Fold, Proust and Signs_, and others, are published in English by Minnesota. Daniel W. Smith teaches in the Department of Philosophy at Purdue University. (shrink)