Simone Weil was a defining figure of the twentieth century; a philosopher, Christian, resistance fighter, Labour activist and teacher, described by Albert Camus as 'the only great spirit of our time'. In 1941 Weil was introduced to Father Joseph-MariePerrin, a Dominican priest whose friendship became a key influence on her life. When Weil asked Perrin for work as a farm hand he sent her to Gustave Thibon, a farmer and Christian philosopher. Weil stayed with the (...) Thibon family, working in the fields and writing the notebooks which became _Gravity and Grace _and other posthumous works. Perrin and Thibon met Weil at a time when her spiritual life and creative genius were at their height. During the short but deep period of their acquaintance with her, they came to know her as she actually was. First published in English in 1953, and now introduced by J.P. Little, this unique portrait depicts Weil through the eyes of her friends, not as a strange and unaccountable genius but as an ardent and human person in search of truth and knowledge. (shrink)
In 1941 Simone Weil was introduced to Father Jean-MariePerrin, a priest of the Dominican order whose friendship became one of the most significant influences on her spiritual development. It was for Father Perrin that she wrote her 'spiritual autobiography', contained in Waiting for God, and to him that she later wrote 'Letter to a Priest'. When Weil requested work as a field hand, Perrin sent her to Gustave Thibon, a farmer and Christian philosopher. From 1941-2, (...) Weil stayed with the Thibon family, working in the fields by day while writing by night the notebooks which posthumously became Gravity and Grace and other seminal works. Perrin and Thibon met Weil at a time when her interior life and her creative genius were at the height of their glowing maturity. During the short but deep period of their acquaintance with her, they came to know her as she actually was. Their accounts of this time reveal her to us in the bare parlour of the Dominican convent at Marseilles where, after waiting her turn among a stream of refugees, she discussed her personal problems with Father Perrin. They show her to us in the vineyards of Ardèche, and on the stone seat by the fountain overlooking the Rhone valley where she read Plato to Thibon, her host. First published in 1953, and now newly introduced by Patricia Little, this unique portrait depicts Weil through the eyes of her friends, not as a strange and unaccountable genius but as an ardent and very human young person in search of truth and knowledge. (shrink)
For some fifteen years in his chemistry lectures in Edinburgh, Joseph Black taught that phlogiston possesses absolute levity. It was not an aberration on Black's part: he justified the notion on experimental grounds. Moreover, the existence of a nongravitating substance capable of entering the composition of bodies raised intriguing possibilities for uniting physical and chemical phenomena. The doctrine became something of a tradition in Edinburgh, but was subject to growing criticism, particulary with the growth of pneumatic chemistry. By the (...) early 1780s, Black found the hypothesis was no longer tenable and quietly dropped it, leaving a void in the explanation of weight relations in combustion which his students were quick to fill with Lavoisier's oxygen theory. (shrink)
Catholic modernist John Augustine Zahm is best known for his attempt to reconcile the theory of evolution with the Christian scriptures. However, Zahm's theological method—the underlying principles and procedures in his effort to reconcile faith and science—remains largely unexamined. In this article, I analyze Zahm's theological method and submit that it is an attempt to harmonize scientific knowledge and Christian scripture through a “scientific allegory” of the bible, which takes into account the human and divine meanings of scripture, the exegesis (...) of the church fathers, and the dogmatic constitutions of the Catholic church. I compare Zahm's method with that of pioneering Catholic bible critic Marie-Joseph Lagrange, and his conception of biblical inspiration and the supra-literal sense of scripture. Through this historical investigation, I hope to contribute to the question of the relationship between modern science and Christian hermeneutics. (shrink)
Aucun historien sérieux ne pourrait prétendre le contraire, une histoire sans les femmes n'est plus possible. Et pourtant la question, certes provocatrice, ne semblait pas incongrue en 1997, lorsqu'elle fut retenue pour intituler le colloque qui s'est tenu à Rouen, ainsi que l'ouvrage paru l'année suivante. Très tôt, l'histoire des femmes a dû s'exercer à dresser des bilans. Portée par l'engagement et la quête identitaire, il lui fallut périodiquement tenir un discours de justificatio..
Desde hace décadas, las categorías historiográficas racionalismo y empirismo son objeto de cuestionamientos debido a sus limitaciones para explicar el cuadro de posiciones y de relaciones conceptuales mantenidas por los filósofos habitualmente asociados con ellas. Este cuadro fue inicialmente concebido por historiadores alemanes kantianos y comenzó a ser dominante hacia fines del siglo XIX. Sin embargo, la historiografía francesa del mismo siglo desarrolló relatos que agrupaban a los filosófos modernos con otros crierios clasificativos. Joseph-Marie Degérando en la primera (...) edición de su Histoire comparée des systémes de philosophie (1804) reconoce tres grandes escuelas en la filosofía moderna, lideradas por Bacon, Descartes y Leibniz, respectivamente. Degérando presenta la diferencia entre empirismo y racionalismo como una más entre muchas otras, y no como la fundamental. Además, distingue el empirismo de la filosofía experimental y considera a esta última –junto con la filosofía especulativa— como una conciliación de los sentidos con la razón. Este narrativa genera alineamientos filosóficos que difieren del relato estándar y recoge denominaciones y un criterio clasificativo que formaban parte del discurso filosófico moderno. (shrink)
In the last few decades, the historiographical categories rationalism and empiricism have been criticized for their limitations to explain the complex positions and the links held by the philosophers tradiotnally attached to them. This narrative was firstly conceived by Kantian German historians and began to become standard at the turn of the twentieh century. Nonetheless, nineteenth-century French historiography developed other narratives by which early modern philosophers were classified according to alternative criteria. In the first edition of Histoire comparée des systémes (...) de philosophie (1804), Joseph-Marie Degérando distinguishes three first-order early modern schools founded by Bacon, Descartes and Leibniz, respectively. Degérando introduces the empiricism and rationalism distinction as one among others, and not as the fundamental one. In addition, he separates empiricism from experimental philosophy. The last one, along with speculative philosophy, is said to conciliate senses and reason. As a result, this account offers philosophical groupings different from those constructed by the standard narrative. Furthermore, it draws on labels and classification criteria which were part of the early modern philosophical discourse. (shrink)
The essays in this volume place the history of science in context, especially the genre of history of science informed by Joseph Needham's ecumenical vision of science. The book presents a number of questions that relate to contemporary concerns of the history of sciences and multiculturalism.
The story of how Perrin’s experimental work established the reality of atoms and molecules has been a staple in (realist) philosophy of science writings (Wesley Salmon, Clark Glymour, Peter Achinstein, Penelope Maddy, …). I’ll argue that how this story is told distorts both what the work was and its significance, and draw morals for the understanding of how theories can be or fail to be empirically grounded.
This paper aims to cast light on the reasons that explain the shift of opinion—from scepticism to realism—concerning the reality of atoms and molecules in the beginning of the twentieth century, in light of Jean Perrin’s theoretical and experimental work on the Brownian movement. The story told has some rather interesting repercussions for the rationality of accepting the reality of explanatory posits. Section 2 presents the key philosophical debate concerning the role and status of explanatory hypotheses c. 1900, focusing (...) on the work of Duhem, Stallo, Ostwald, Poincaré and Boltzmann. Section 3 examines in detail Perrin’s theoretical account of the molecular origins of Brownian motion, reconstructs the structure and explains the strength of Perrin’s argument for the reality of molecules. Section 4 draws three important lessons for the current debate over scientific realism. (shrink)
In The Ethics of Immigration, Joseph Carens’ builds a sophisticated account of justice in immigration based on an interpretation of liberal states’ democratic principles and practices. I dispute Carens’ contention that his hermeneutic methodology supports a broadly liberal egalitarian consensus; instead, the consensus he detects on principles and practices appears because his interpretation presupposes liberal egalitarianism. Carens’ methodology would benefit by engaging with a “hermeneutics of suspicion” that explores the ideological and exclusionary facets of liberal egalitarian principles when applied (...) to immigration. This would contribute to an account of the ethics of immigration that gives more attention to power and interest, mediated through structures of gender, race, and class. (shrink)