A widely accepted, perhaps prevailing view among Hobbes scholars is that his theory of political obligation is grounded in an egoistic and materialistic view of human nature. There are a number of difficulties with this view, not the least of which is that it seems to make a genuine theory of political obligation impossible. It is the object of the present paper to examine certain aspects of Hobbes's account of human nature, with the object of weaving them together into a (...) single doctrine which is coherent with what he has to say about political obligation. I will conclude by considering briefly how traditional interpretations could have come to prevail. (shrink)
In a recent symposium on Descartes' ontological argument, Norman Malcolm has restated a rather ingenious version of St Anse1m's ontological argument. 1 The purpose of the present paper is to assess the merits of this particular version of the ontological argument.
The Alexandrian emphasis on smallness, elegance, and slightness at the expense of grand themes in major poetic genres was not preciosity for its own sake: although the poetry was written by and for scholars, it had much larger sources than the bibliothecal context in which it was composed. Since the time of the classical poets, much had changed. Earlier Greek poetry was an intimate part of the life of the city-state, written for its religious occasions and performed by its citizens. (...) But eh conquests of Alexander had altered the structure and the boundaries of the Greek world to an astonishing degree. Alexandria, the center of the poetic culture of the new age, was a city that had not even existed at the time of Euripides; it was in Egypt, not in Greece, and was a huge, polyglot community. As immigrants immersed in a new, impersonal, and bureaucratic society, the poets not unreasonably sought out what was small, intimate, and personal in their verses. The heroes of early Greek poetry are larger than life; those of Alexandrian poetry are life-size. They are human, like us; they have a childhood and an old age; they are afraid or in love or caught in a rainstorm. It was simply one way of reducing the world to more manageable dimensions. At the same time, the new world of Alexandria needed a new poetry. To continue writing epics about a mythology that seemed very far away was senseless; it was impossible to recapture either the style or the immediacy of Homer, lyric poetry, or Attic tragedy. The scholar-poets of Alexandria admired the literature of classical Greece; for them Homer was incomparable and inimitable, to be studied—but not to be copied. Far better, then, to find a new voice on a more manageable scale: instead of oral epic, erudite epyllion; instead of lyric, epigram; instead of tragedy, mime. The poets of an urban and unheroic world might long for but could never re-create the grandeur of the past. James E. G. Zetzel is associate professor of classics at Princeton University and editor of the Transactions of the American Philological Association. He is the author of Latin Textual Criticism in Antiquity and, with Anthony T. Grafton and Glenn W. Most, has translated Friedrich August Wolf’s Prolegomena ad Homerum. (shrink)
One of the contemporary results of Germany’s memorial conundrum is the rise of its “counter-monuments”: brazen, painfully self-conscious memorial spaces conceived to challenge the very premises of their being. On the former site of Hamburg’s greatest synagogue, at Bornplatz, Margrit Kahl has assembled an intricate mosaic tracing the complex lines of the synagogue’s roof construction: a palimpsest for a building and community that no longer exist. Norbert Radermacher bathes a guilty landscape in Berlin’s Neukölln neighborhood with the inscribed light of (...) its past. Alfred Hrdlicka began a monument in Hamburg to counter—and thereby neutralize—an indestructible Nazi monument nearby. In a suburb of Hamburg, Jochen Gerz and Esther Shalev-Gerz have erected a black pillar against fascism and for peace designed to disappear altogether over time. The very heart of Berlin, former site of the gestapo headquarters, remains a great, gaping wound as politicians, artists, and various committees forever debate the most appropriate memorial for this site.4 4. The long-burning debate surrounding projected memorials, to the Gestapo-Gelände in particular, continues to exemplify both the German memorial conundrum and the state’s painstaking attempts to articulate it. For an excellent documentation of the process, see Topographie des Terrors: Gestapo, SS und Reichssicherheitshauptamt auf dem “Prinz-Albrecht-Gelände,” ed. Reinhard Rürup . For a shorter account, see James E. Young, “The Topography of German Memory,” The Journal of Art 1 : 30. James E. Young is assistant professor of English and Judaic studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the author of Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust: Narrative and the Consequences of Interpretation and The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning in Europe, Israel, and America , from which this essay is drawn. He is also the curator of “The Art of Memory,” an exhibition at the Jewish Museum of New York. (shrink)
In this article, I examine both the problem of so-called postmodern history as it relates to the Holocaust and suggest the ways that Saul Friedlander's recent work successfully mediates between the somewhat overly polemicized positions of "relativist" and "positivist" history. In this context, I find that in his search for an adequately self-reflexive historical narrative for the Holocaust, Hayden White's proposed notion of "middle-voicedness" may recommend itself more as a process for eyewitness writers than as a style for historians after (...) the fact. From here, I look at the ways Saul Friedlander's reflections on the historian's voice not only mediate between White's notions of the ironic mode and middle-voicedness, but also suggest the basis for an uncanny history in its own right: an anti-redemptory narrative that works through, yet never actually bridges, the gap between a survivor's "deep memory" and historical narrative.For finally, it may be the very idea of "deep memory" and its incompatibility to narrative that constitutes one of the central challenges to Holocaust historiography. What can be done with what Friedlander has termed "deep memory" of the survivor, that which remains essentially unrepresentable? Is it possible to write a history that includes some oblique reference to such deep memory, but which leaves it essentially intact, untouched and thereby deep? In this section, I suggest, after Patrick Hutton, that "What is at issue here is not how history can recover memory, but, rather, what memory will bequeath to history." That is, what shall we do with the living memory of survivors? How will it enter the historical record? Or to paraphrase Hutton again, "How will the past be remembered as it passes from living memory to history?" Will it always be regarded as so overly laden with pathos as to make it unreliable as documentary evidence? Or is there a place for the understanding of the witness, as subjective and skewed as it may be, for our larger historical understanding of events?In partial answer to these questions, I attempt to extend Friedlander's insights toward a narrow kind of history-telling I call "received history"-a double-stranded narrative that tells a survivor-historian's story and my own relationship to it. Such a narrative would chart not just the life of the survivor-historian itself but also the measurable effect of the tellings-both his telling and mine-on my own life's story. Together, they would compose a received history of the Holocaust and its afterlife in the author's mind-my "vicarious past.". (shrink)
James E. Bruce explores the relationship between morality and God’s free choices in the thought of Francis Turretin. The first book-length treatment of Turretin’s natural law theory, Rights in the Law provides an important theological backdrop to Early Modern moral and political philosophy. Turretin affirms Thomas Aquinas’s approach to the natural law, calling it the common opinion of the Reformed orthodox, but he develops it, too, by introducing a threefold scheme of right —divine, natural, and positive—to explain how change (...) within the law is possible. For example, God can change the specific day for Sabbath observance from Saturday to Sunday—from positive right—without changing the natural law precept that finite creatures ought to rest. Yet even with respect to the natural law God is still free. God can make a world in which there is no such thing as murder: he can choose not to make a world that contains such a thing as man. What God cannot do is make a murderable man. So God’s free choices determine the natural law insofar as the natural law is constituted by the nature of the things that God has chosen to create. (shrink)
The Free Will Defence , as we shall understand it here, is an attempt to show that God exists and he is omnipotent, omniscient, and wholly good is logically consistent with There is moral evil in the actual world.