The Dionysian corpus makes virtually no statement about the authority of kings or the structure of nations, but it has nevertheless repeatedly been the subjectof political analysis. Several scholars have recently sketched out a Dionysian politics by drawing analogies between the Dionysian church and the city, and between the Dionysian bishop and the emperor. These analogies are of limited usefulness. They show that Dionysius does employ Platonic political language to describe the ecclesiastical hierarchy, but they risk overlooking or downplaying the (...) hierarchy’s non-temporal, and therefore non-political, activity. A more fruitful ground for developing a Dionysian politics may be found in his brief discussion of the legal hierarchy, which provides practical instruction for action in the temporal realm without direct reference to the contemplative activity of the church. (shrink)
The luminaries of late thirteenth-century Europe took great interest in the mysterious fifth-century author known as Dionysius the Areopagite. They typically read Dionysius not in the original Greek, but in a Latin edition prepared sometime in the middle of the thirteenth century. This edition, which appeared first in Paris and later circulated all over Western Europe, was no mere translation. In addition to the famous translation made by Eriugena in the ninth century, it contained translations of scholia on the Dionysian (...) texts made by Anastasius the Librarian, alternative readings provided by Anastasius and other Latin readers, as well as excerpts from Eriugena's own theological masterwork, the Periphyseon. University scholars such as Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas thus learned Dionysian mystical theology not only from his text, but from the seven-hundred year interpretive tradition that literally surrounded it on the page. (shrink)
Apparently alone among medieval Christians, Eriugena argues that all life is immortal. He relies on Plato’s Timaeus as his primary source for this claim, but he modifies the argument of the Timaeus considerably. He turns Plato’s cosmic soul into the genus of life, thereby taking a treatise that originally dealt with cosmology and using it to explore the ontological significance of definition. All species that fall under the genus of life must be immortal, because a mortal species would contradict the (...) genus. No later medieval author would take up Eriugena’s arguments explicitly, although Aquinas comes close. The two thirteenth-century thinkers to address universal immortality seriously—Aquinas and Bonaventure—argue against it, but they are more faithful than Eriugena himself to a literal reading of the Timaeus. (shrink)
The medieval fascination with the mysterious language of Dionysius the Areopagite is nowhere more evident than in the thirteenth-century textbook edition of his treatise on liturgical rites. Dionysius employed unfamiliar Greek to describe people, actions, and texts that would have been perfectly familiar to his readers. The Latin translation used in the thirteenth-century textbook strives to preserve this unfamiliarity, but commentaries are introduced between its lines and paragraphs, disrupting its ability to bewilder and surprise. These commentaries make the Dionysian text (...) less mysterious, while also slightly altering its meaning. In the hands of the commentators, Dionysius becomes less interested in the aesthetic mystery of the liturgy, and more interested in credal orthodoxy. To read text and commentary together is to confront seven hundred years of competing voices speaking on the nature and purpose of the Christian church. (shrink)
The twentieth century discovered the concept of sacred place largely through the work of Martin Heidegger and Mircea Eliade. Their writings on sacred place respond to the modern manipulation of nature and secularization of space, and so may seem distinctively postmodern, but their work has an important and unacknowledged precedent in the Neoplatonism of Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. Sacred Place in Early Medieval Neoplatonism traces the appearance and development of sacred place in the writings of Neoplatonists from (...) the third to ninth centuries, and sets them in the context of present-day debates over place and the sacred. (shrink)
This book is a translation of a key commentary on the Book of Changes, or Yijing, perhaps the most broadly influential text of classical China. The Yijing first appeared as a divination text in Zhou-dynasty China and later became a work of cosmology, philosophy, and political theory as commentators supplied it with new meanings. While many English translations of the Yijing itself exist, none are paired with a historical commentary as thorough and methodical as that written by the Confucian scholar (...) Cheng Yi, who turned the original text into a coherent work of political theory. (shrink)
About the Author:Joanna Harrington is associate professor, law, University of Alberta.Michael Milde is associate professor, philosophy, and associate dean, arts and humanities, University of Western Ontario.Richard Vernon is professor, political science, University of.
This is a beginning text, with an ingenious format. Each of the five sections consists of seven or eight articles or excerpts, of varying difficulty. Each opens with two excerpts from classic philosophers, presenting alternative formulations of major problems in an area of philosophy. The other selections are by contemporary writers. Each section closes with a fictional dialogue between the men who set the problems. The author hopes that students will find the easy selections provocative and so be encouraged to (...) attempt the less readily understandable. The sections are designed to lead into one another, from "Political and Social Philosophy," with which most students have some acquaintance, to other areas, each presupposed by those preceding, that is, to "Ethics and the Moral Life," "Philosophy of Religion," "Theory of Knowledge and Experience," and finally to "Metaphysics." The selections are fresh, varied, and well-chosen to stimulate discussion. For example: Plato and Hobbes introduce "Political and Social Philosophy," followed by Stuart Hampshire, Michael Oakeshott, Jean-Paul Sartre, C. I. Lewis, John Rawls, and Edward Kent. Berkeley and James introduce "Theory of Knowledge and Experience." Contemporary selections are by Bertrand Russell, A. J. Ayer, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Martin Buber, Georg Simmel.--L. G. (shrink)
Abstract: Despite the recent rash of corporate scandals and the resulting rush to address the problem by adding more laws and regulations, seemingly little attention has been paid to how the nature (not the substance) of rules may or may not affect ethical decision-making. Drawing on work in law, ethics, management, psychology, and other social sciences, this article explores how several characteristics of rules may interfere with the process of reaching and implementing ethical decisions. Such a relationship would have practical (...) implications for regulatory policy and managers of organizations, and the article concludes by suggesting how regulations and corporate ethics programs should be able to improve the ethical culture of business and enhance the ethical decision-making skills of employees. (shrink)
Michael L. Morgan is Emeritus Chancellor Professor at Indiana University and the Grafstein Visiting Chair in Jewish Philosophy at the University of Toronto. He has written extensively on ancient Greek philosophy, modern Jewish philosophy, and post-Holocaust theology and ethics.
Michael Oakeshott critique le rationalisme en politique car celui-ci exclut tout ce qui n’est pas fondé sur ou justifié par la théorie. L e savoir théorique, d’après Oakeshott, ne peut absorber la diversité du monde étant donné qu’il fonctionne avec des catégories différentes de celles de la réalité qu’il cherche à saisir. Par conséquent, le rationalisme réduit la politique à la résolution de problèmes. Ce que recommande Oakeshott pour un retour à l’autonomie de la politique est l’émancipation dans l’association (...) civile. Cette dernière est constituée sur la reconnaissance commune des règles générales dans le cadre desquelles la politique devrait s’exercer sous forme de dialogue. Une version plus élaborée du projet utopique de Michael Oakeshott est donnée par la pensée de Michel Foucault qui montre mieux que les institutions, les normes et les lois sont le résultat des relations de pouvoir complexes. (shrink)
Shame is a ubiquitous and highly intriguing feature of human experience. It can motivate but it can also paralyse. It is something which one can legitimately demand of another, but is not usually experienced as a choice. Perpetrators of atrocities can remain defiantly immune to shame while their victims are racked by it. It would be hard to understand any society or culture without understanding the characteristic occasions upon which shame is expected and where it is mitigated. Yet, one can (...) survey much of the literature in social and political theory over the last century and find barely a footnote to this omnipresent emotional experience. The two books under review aim to rectify this lacuna. (shrink)