Justin Smith's book, a sophisticated history of the scientific and philosophical debates on nature, human nature, and human difference in the last centuries, is an important contribution to the pressing task of understanding and remedying our seemingly intractable color prejudice, that "curious kink" of the "human mind," as W. E. B. DuBois put it in a passage Smith uses as an epigraph to his book. It reveals how kinds of people, notably races that appear to be natural kinds, "carved (...) out within nature," in fact only come into being "in the course of human history as a result of the way human beings conceptualize the world around them". It also reveals how the gradual emergence of the race concept was facilitated... (shrink)
_The first unabridged English translation of the correspondence between Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Georg Ernst Stahl detailing their opposing philosophies_ The correspondence between the eighteenth-century mathematician and philosopher G. W. Leibniz and G. E. Stahl, a chemist and physician at the court of King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia, known as the Leibniz-Stahl Controversy, is one of the most important intellectual contributions on theoretical issues concerning pre-biological thinking. Editors François Duchesneau and Justin E. H. Smith offer readers the first (...) fully annotated English translation of this fascinating exchange of philosophical views on divine action, the order of nature, causality and teleology, and the soul-body relationship. (shrink)
Mantendo-se na linha de São Justino, o qual, apesar de valorizar a Filosofia Grego-Romana, defende ser o Cristianismo a "verdadeira filosofia", Agostinho fundamenta ou alicerça seu conceito de felicidade na tradição filosófica que o antecedeu, a qual é concebida por ele como um philosophiae portus . Entretanto, como pensador cristão, buscando superar o eudaimonismo grego-romano, ao distinguir sabedoria e Verdade, sendo esta última identificada com Deus, faz da Fé Cristã o arx philosophiae , a que chama de "nossa Filosofia Cristã", (...) lugar da "verdadeira felicidade", que, para ele, é a principal finalidade de todo filosofar. Following Saint Justin , Augustine grounded his concept of happiness in the philosophical tradition that preceded it, which is conceived by him as a philosophiae portus . However, as a Christian thinker, Augustine sought to overcome Greco-Roman eudaimonism. The distinction between truth and wisdom, the latter being identified with God, makes Christian faith the arx philosophiae , which Augustine calls "our Christian philosophy", the place of "true happiness", which for him is the main purpose of all philosophizing. (shrink)
The main objective of this text is to analyze some of the ambiguities that characterize Augustine of Hippo’s position regarding the so-called pagan culture in general and Greek philosophy in particular. As a matter of fact, the author of Confessions is situated in a mid-term, which I identify by the expression “the paradox of between”, for he does not totally embrace the position of Justin Martyr, who identifies Christian wisdom with Greek philosophy, neither does he claim the other extreme (...) position of Tertullian, who sees an antagonism or an insuperable gap between “Christian wisdom” and “pagan wisdom”, or between faith and reason. In the perspective of this paradox, three major questions will be examined: (a) the relation between philosophy and Christian religion, (b) the problem of the “platonic philosophers”, (c) the concepts of recollection and memory. (shrink)
Though it did not yet exist as a discrete field of scientific inquiry, biology was at the heart of many of the most important debates in seventeenth-century philosophy. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the work of G. W. Leibniz. In Divine Machines, Justin Smith offers the first in-depth examination of Leibniz's deep and complex engagement with the empirical life sciences of his day, in areas as diverse as medicine, physiology, taxonomy, generation theory, and paleontology. He shows how (...) these wide-ranging pursuits were not only central to Leibniz's philosophical interests, but often provided the insights that led to some of his best-known philosophical doctrines.Presenting the clearest picture yet of the scope of Leibniz's theoretical interest in the life sciences, Divine Machines takes seriously the philosopher's own repeated claims that the world must be understood in fundamentally biological terms. Here Smith reveals a thinker who was immersed in the sciences of life, and looked to the living world for answers to vexing metaphysical problems. He casts Leibniz's philosophy in an entirely new light, demonstrating how it radically departed from the prevailing models of mechanical philosophy and had an enduring influence on the history and development of the life sciences. Along the way, Smith provides a fascinating glimpse into early modern debates about the nature and origins of organic life, and into how philosophers such as Leibniz engaged with the scientific dilemmas of their era. (shrink)
This volume collects contributions from leading scholars of early modern philosophy from a wide variety of philosophical and geographic backgrounds. The distinguished contributors offer very different, competing approaches to the history of philosophy.