http://www.cla.umn.edu/jhopkins/ Taken together, twenty-four of these works constitute Nicholas of Cusa’s complete philosophical and theological treatises. They must be supplemented by studying his richly conceptual sermons, along with his ecclesiological and exegetical writings such as De Concordantia Catholica and Coniectura de Ultimis Diebus. His mathematical writings are also of interest, even though they are not of lasting importance, as Gottfried Leibniz rightly recognized.
This article discusses how Nicholas of Cusa’s speculative philosophy harbors an ecumenical spirit that is deeply entwined and in tension with his commitment to incarnational mystical theology. On the basis of my discussion of this tension, I intend to show that Nicholas understands “faith” as a poietic activity whose legitimacy is rooted less in the independent veracity of the beliefs in question than in the potential of particular religious conventions to aid intellectual processes of self-interpretation. In undertaking this (...) analysis, the paper will use Nicholas of Cusa’s De pace fidei—whose overt intention is to show that all forms of religious practice presuppose the same universal faith—as an interpretive lens to explore implications of the philosophical anthropology that Nicholas offers in treatises such as De ludo globi and De venatione sapientiae. Thus, I will argue that Nicholas’ appreciation of the inevitability of religious diversity in the temporal world funds the consistently favored view in his speculative works that “faith” is a virtue only insofar as its adherent genuinely remains in search of understanding and that, consequently, religious beliefs should function as nothing more than tools for creative activity, interpretation, and inquiry. (shrink)
Section 1 of this essay distinguishes between four interpretations of Socratic intellectualism, which are, very roughly: a version in which on any given occasion desire, and then action, is determined by what we think will turn out best for us, that being what we all, always, really desire; a version in which on any given occasion action is determined by what we think will best satisfy our permanent desire for what is really best for us; a version formed by the (...) assimilation of to, labelled the ‘standard’ version’ by Thomas C. Brickhouse and Nicholas D. Smith, and treated by them as a single alternative to their own interpretation; and Brickhouse and Smith’s own version. Section 2 considers, in particular, Brickhouse and Smith’s handling of the ‘appetites and passions’, which is the most distinctive feature of interpretation. Section 3 discusses Brickhouse and Smith’s defence of ‘Socratic studies’ in its historical context, and assesses the contribution made by their distinctive interpretation of ‘the philosophy of Socrates’. One question raised in this section, and one that is clearly fundamental to the existence of ‘Socratic studies’, is how different Brickhouse and Smith’s Socrates turns out to be from Plato himself, i.e., the Plato of the post-‘Socratic’ dialogues; to which the answer offered is that on Brickhouse and Smith’s interpretation Socratic moral psychology becomes rather less distinguishable from its ‘Platonic’ counterpart—as that is currently understood—than it is on the interpretation they oppose. (shrink)
This paper is a reaction to the book “Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom”, whose central concern is the philosophy of Nicholas Maxwell. I distinguish and discuss three concerns in Maxwell’s philosophy. The first is his critique of standard empiricism (SE) in the philosophy of science, the second his defense of aim-oriented rationality (AOR), and the third his philosophy of mind. I point at some problematic aspects of Maxwell’s rebuttal of SE and of his philosophy of mind and argue (...) in favor of AOR. (shrink)
Given the significance of Nicholas of Cusa’s ecclesiastical career, it is no surprise that a good deal of academic attention on Nicholas has focused on his role in the history of the church. Nevertheless, it would also be fair to say that a good deal of the attention that is focused on the life and thought of Nicholas of Cusa is the legacy of prior generations of scholars who saw in his theoretical work an opportunity to define (...) the most salient features of transformations in the habits of thinking leading from the Middle Ages into the epoch of modernity. Thus, although contemporary scholars have not been able to achieve any clear consensus on the question of whether Nicholas belongs to the Middle Ages or to modernity, the field of Cusanus studies has become much more attentive to the possibility that the uniqueness and significance of Nicholas’s vision is a function of his ability to synthesize and redeploy a variety of strands in the Catholic intellectual tradition—strands that are as apt to involve practical matters of canon law and church reform as they are to hinge on a unique and richly developed mystical theology. Given the flourishing of the attention devoted to Nicholas in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the choices about which texts to include in this article were difficult ones. The rationale for this article’s predominant focus on scholarship of the late 20th and early 21st centuries is that, insofar as the recent studies listed here enter into the debates that have been shaped by their predecessors, the sources mentioned here will point readers to the prior work in the field not acknowledged here. (shrink)
This paper explores Nicholas of Cusa’s framing of the De pace fidei as a dialogue taking place incaelo rationis. On the one hand, this framing allows Nicholas of Cusa to argue that all religious rites presuppose the truth of a single, unified faith and so temporally manifest divine logos in a way accommodated to the historically unique conventions of different political communities. On the other hand, at the end of the De pace fidei, the interlocutors in the heavenly (...) dialogue are enjoined to return to earth and lead their countrymen in a gradual conversion to the acceptance of rites which would explicitly acknowledge the metaphysically presupposed transcendent unity of all true faiths. In light of these two aspects of the literary framing of the De pace fidei, the question that motivates this paper concerns the extent to which the understanding of history subtending Cusanus’ temporal political aims is consistent with the understanding of history grounded in his metaphysical presupposition that there is una religio in omni diversitate rituum. In addressing this question, I shall argue that the literary strategy of the De pace fidei sacrifices Nicholas of Cusa’s apologetic doctrinal aims insofar as the text creates an allegorical space in which the tension between its literal and figurative dimensions assigns to its readers the task of choosing their own orientations to the significance of history as a foundation for future action. (shrink)
In response to the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Nicholas of Cusa wrote De pace fidei defending a commitment to religious tolerance on the basis of the notion that all diverse rites are but manifestations of one true religion. Drawing on a discussion of why Nicholas of Cusa is unable to square the two objectives of arguing for pluralistic tolerance and explaining the contents of the one true faith, we outline why theological pluralism is compromised by its own (...) meta-exclusivism. (shrink)
Although Nicholas of Cusa occasionally discussed how the universe must be understood as the unfolding of the absolutely infinite in time, he left open questions about any distinction between natural time and historical time, how either notion of time might depend upon the nature of divine providence, and how his understanding of divine providence relates to other traditional philosophical views. From texts in which Cusanus discussed these questions, this paper will attempt to make explicit how Cusanus understood divine providence. (...) The paper will also discuss how Nicholas of Cusa’s view of the question of providence might shed light on Renaissance philosophy’s contribution in the historical transition in Western philosophy from an overtly theological or eschatological understanding of historical time to a secularized or naturalized philosophy of history. (shrink)
In the midst of the De pace fidei’s imagined heavenly conference on the theme of the possibility of religious harmony, Nicholas of Cusa has Saint Peter acknowledge to the Persian interlocutor that it will be difficult to bring Jews to the acceptance of Christ’s divine nature because they refuse to accept the implicit meaning of their own history of revelation. What is peculiar about this line in the dialogue is not merely that it flies in the face of what (...) Cusanus scholars tend to regard as an ecumenical spirit in Nicholas’ call to interreligious dialogue and mutual toleration. Rather, the statement reveals a peculiar hermeneutic principle at work in Nicholas’ understanding of the tension between truth and doctrine and the way that this tension informs human practice. Accordingly, by grappling with Nicholas’ portrayal of an imagined failure of Jews to practice interpretation correctly, I hope to shed light on Nicholas’ philosophy of religion in a way that neither ignores his anti-Judaism nor reduces the significance of his views to one of its most unpleasant manifestations. (shrink)
Richard Falckenberg (1851-1920) in his book Grundzüge der Philosophie des Nicolaus Cusanus mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Lehre vom Erkennen was among the first historians of philosophy to support the argument that Nicholas of Cusa was a modern philosopher because his innovative theory of knowledge. The Falckenberg's celebrity shall be reduced because he was later obscured by the most famous historians of philosophy as Ernst Cassirer and Joachim Ritter. In our paper we want to come back to the Falckenberg's book (...) and recover his main arguments about the proximity of Cusanus with the philosophies of Leibniz, Fichte and the positivists. (shrink)
For the last several decades, philosophers have wrestled with the proper place of religion in liberal societies. Usually, the debates among these philosophers have started with the articulation of various conceptions of liberalism and then proceeded to locate religion in the context of these conceptions. In the process, however, too little attention has been paid to the way religion is conceived. Drawing on the work of Robert Audi and Nicholas Wolterstorff, two scholars who are often read as holding opposing (...) views on these issues, I argue that, for the purposes of their argument about liberalism, both have implicitly accepted a concept of religion that has come under severe attack in recent work on the subject. Namely, they have accepted a concept of religion that identifies religion primarily with belief, ritual practice, and ecclesial institutions. Following recent scholarship, I suggest that religion is better conceived as a kind of culture. To conclude the essay, I gesture toward what the beginnings of a re-visioned debate about religion and liberal society might look like if one started from this revised conception of religion. (shrink)
Nicholas Maxwell is not afraid of big ideas. As the title suggests, this book covers several sweeping topics: aside from those in the title, Maxwell discusses the methodology of social science, interdisciplinarity, quantum mechanics, and more besides. Given the 325-page word-length, this scope inevitably means that the ideas and arguments are frequently underdeveloped. However, despite this proportion of pages to topics, Maxwell's book is clear, accessible, and (most importantly) thought-provoking.
Previously, the author tried to show that some arguments in one of the two versions of Nicholas of Autrecourt’s Quaestio de intensione visionis are taken almost verbatim from the anonymous Tractatus de sex inconvenientibus. This paper concentrates on the arguments themselves in order to consider two main issues: the ‘translatability’ of limit decision problems, manifest in Autrecourt’s juxtaposition of questions de maximo et minimo, de primo et ultimo instanti, and the intension and remission of forms; the importance of Parisian (...) discussions of limit decision problems prior to the adoption of the new analytical languages developed at Oxford. Thus, the paper is divided in two sections, the first concerning some arguments of Autrecourt’s question, the second focusing on the link between one of Autrecourt’s arguments and the medieval tradition of commentaries on Aristotle’s De caelo, in which it is possible to find some antecedents of the analytical approach that later Parisian scholars would apply to these problems. (shrink)
The article discusses in detail Nicholas Rescher’s book Scientific Progess: A Philosophical Essay on the Economics of Research in Natural Science (1978). Rescher discusses the possibilities of further progress for science. According to Rescher there are no limits by principles to scientific progress. Among the positions which postulate an end of scientific progress there are some which see the reason in the finiteness of nature, others in the finitude of our intellectual resources. According to Rescher science arises from the (...) interaction between nature and our intellectual instruments, and the combinatory of these interactions in infinite. On the other hand, there is an economic limit to scientific progress, due to the growth of the marginal costs of the scientific enterprise: the costs grow exponentially, that is to say that the yields grow only logarithmically compared to the investments. (shrink)
Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464) was active during the Renaissance, developing adventurous ideas even while serving as a churchman. The religious issues with which he engaged – spiritual, apocalyptic and institutional – were to play out in the Reformation. These essays reflect the interests of Cusanus but also those of Gerald Christianson, who has studied church history, the Renaissance and the Reformation. The book places Nicholas into his times but also looks at his later reception. The first part addresses (...) institutional issues, including Schism, conciliarism, indulgences and the possibility of dialogue with Muslims. The second treats theological and philosophical themes, including nominalism, time, faith, religious metaphor, and prediction of the end times. (shrink)
La traduction latine des Dialoghi della historia du philosophe néo-platonicien Francesco Patrizi da Cherso est publiée à Bâle en 1570. L’étude de la circulation de ce texte et des choix de traduction permet de mieux comprendre la réception des artes historicae italiennes dans le Nord de l’Europe et les fluctuations ou limites du latin face à la montée en puissance de l’italien vernaculaire comme langue philosophique.
Nicholas Shea offers Varitel Semantics as a naturalistic account of mental content. I argue that the account secures determinate content only by appeal to pragmatic considerations, and so it fails to respect naturalism. But that is fine, because representational content is not, strictly speaking, necessary for explanation in cognitive science. Even in Shea’s own account, content serves only a variety of heuristic functions.
In any society influenced by a plurality of cultures, there will be widespread, systematic differences about at least some important values, including moral values. Many of these differences look like deep disagreements, difficult to resolve objectively if that is possible at all. One common response to the suspicion that these disagreements are unsettleable has always been moral relativism. In the flurry of sympathetic treatments of this doctrine in the last two decades, attention has understandably focused on the simpler case in (...) which one fairly self-contained and culturally homogeneous society confronts, at least in thought, the values of another; but most have taken relativism to have implications within a single pluralistic society as well. I am not among the sympathizers. That is partly because I am more optimistic than many about how many moral disagreements can be settled, but I shall say little about that here. For, even on the assumption that many disputes are unsettleable, I continue to find relativism a theoretically puzzling reaction to the problem of moral disagreement, and a troubling one in practice, especially when the practice involves regular interaction among those who disagree. This essay attempts to explain why. (shrink)
In an earlier paper, Stephen Kershnar argued for the following thesis: An instance of trash-talking is permissible if and only if the relevant sports organization’s system of rules permits the expression. One person trash-talks a second if and only if the first intentionally insults the second during competition. The above theory sounds implausible. Surely, the conditions under which a player may insult another do not depend on what the owners arbitrarily decide. Such an approach doesn’t appear to be true in (...) the workplace, bar, or sandlot, so it is hard to see why it should be true in sport. With this general skepticism in mind, this paper evaluates Nicholas Dixon’s objections. Dixon rejects Kershnar’s argument because trash-talking conflicts with the internal value of a sport, violates a right, and degrades the person toward whom the trash-talking is directed. (shrink)
In the introduction to his Philosophical Papers 1&2 Charles Taylor assures us that his work, while encompassing a range of issues, follows a single, tightly knit agenda. He claims that the central questions concern "philosophical anthropology". Taylor's work on these questions has been presented piecemeal, in the form of articles and papers, and the student has had to imagine what a systematic monograph by Taylor on philosophical anthropology would look like. Neither Hegel, Sources of the Self, Ethics of Authenticity, Catholic (...) Modernity nor Varieties of Religion Today, nor Taylor's forthcoming books on secularization and modern social imaginaries are such treatises on the ontology of the human being. Nicholas H. Smith's monograph Charles Taylor: Meaning, Morals and Modernity (Polity, 2002) puts forward a clear and well-argued assessment of Taylor's entire project, with details on his intellectual biography and political engagement. For the purposes of thinking through Taylor's work so far, this book is probably the best one around. It is divided into eight chapters: "Linguistic Philosophy and Phenomenology", "Science, Action and the Mind", "The Romantic Legacy", "The Self and the Good", "Interpretation and the Social Sciences", "Individual and Community", "Politics and Social Criticism", and "Modernity, Art and Religion". The chapters are thematically ordered, but the order of presentation follows roughly the temporal order of Taylor's career. In this review article, I will begin with what Smith identifies as Taylor's organizing idea, and then focus on Smith's presentation of Taylor's transcendental argumentation concerning 'human constants'. As exemplars, I will discuss two of the.. (shrink)
Nicholas Wolterstorff: Practices of belief: selected essays, volume 2 (Terence Cuneo, ed.) Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 255-258 DOI 10.1007/s11153-011-9287-4 Authors Scott A. Davison, Philosophy Program, Morehead State University, 150 University Blvd., 354A Rader Hall, Morehead, KY 40351, USA Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047 Journal Volume Volume 70 Journal Issue Volume 70, Number 3.
Nicholas of Cusa was first of all a theologian but he was interested also in mathematic and natural sciences. In fact philosophico-theological and mathematical ideas were intertwined by him, theological and philosophical ideas influenced his mathematical considerations, in particular when he considered philosophical problems connected with mathematics and vice versa, mathematical ideas and examples were used by him to explain some ideas from theology. In this paper we attempt to indicate this mutual influence. We shall concentrate on the following (...) problems: the role and place of mathematics and mathematical knowledge in knowledge in general and in particular in theological knowledge, ontology of mathematical objects and their origin, in particular their relations to God and their meaning for the description of the world and physical reality, infinity in mathematics versus infinity in theology and their mutual relations and connections. It will be shown that—according to Nicholas—mathematics and mathematical thinking are tools of rationalization of theology and liberating it in a certain sense from the trap of apophatic theology. (shrink)
Nicholas Maxwell's provocative and highly-original philosophy of science urges a revolution in academic inquiry affecting all branches of learning, so that the single-minded pursuit of knowledge is replaced with the aim of helping people realize what is of value in life and make progress toward a more civilized world. This volume of essays from an international, interdisciplinary group of scholars engages Maxwell in critical evaluation and celebrates his contribution to philosophy spanning forty years. Several of the contributors, like Maxwell, (...) took their inspiration from Sir Karl Popper’s philosophy of science and were connected to the department he created at the London School of Economics. In the introductory chapter, Maxwell provides an overview of his thought and then defends his views against objections in a concluding essay. -/- . (shrink)
Why would God make us ask for some good He might supply, and why would it be right for God to withhold that good unless and until we asked for it? We explain why present defences of petitionary prayer are insufficient, but argue that a world in which God makes us ask for some goods and then supplies them in response to our petitions adds value to the world that would not be available in worlds in which God simply supplied (...) such goods without our asking for them. This added value, we argue, is what we call ‘partnership with God’. (shrink)
Philosophy of religion in the Anglo-American tradition experienced a 'rebirth' following the 1955 publication of New Essays in Philosophical Theology (eds. Antony Flew and Alisdair MacIntyre). Fifty years later, this volume of New Essays offers a sampling of the best work in what is now a very active field, written by some of its most prominent members. A substantial introduction sketches the developments of the last half-century, while also describing the 'ethics of belief' debate in epistemology and showing how it (...) connects to explicitly religious concerns and to the topics of the individual contributions. The book is a Festschrift for Nicholas P. Wolterstorff, edited by two of his former students. (shrink)
Nicholas of Cusa In the 21st century, Nicholas of Cusa or Cusanus is variously appreciated as a Christian disciple of the burgeoning Italian humanism of the 15th century, one of the great mystical theologians and reforming bishops of the late Middle Ages, and a dialogical religious thinker whose philosophical and political ideas peacefully contemplate … Continue reading Nicholas of Cusa →.
By permission of The Gale Group, this article is reprinted (here on-line) from “Nicholas of Cusa,” pp. 122-125, Volume 9 of the Dictionary of the Middle Ages, edited by Joseph R. Strayer (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1987 ). The short bibliography at the end of the original article has been omitted; and the page numbers of the article are here changed.
The article brings under scrutiny an understudied dialogical account about the deposition of the patriarch of Constantinople Nicholas IV Mouzalon. A close reading shows that this is not an official record of the proceedings but a piece of fiction that deliberately inverts the generic conventions of the two types of texts indicative of the 12th-century literary landscape, namely 1) minutes of church councils and 2) syllogistic theological dialogues. The anonymous author invites the reader to recognize the all-familiar scheme of (...) the Socratic interrogation but eventually departs from it investing the protagonists with features that distance them from their Platonic models. The text seems to be inextricably linked to Mouzalon’s canonical dilemma: can an archbishop who previously voluntarily fled from his office be appointed archbishop once again? In fact, the author’s primary concern is not the patriarch but the emperor, a judge-logician who is at one and the same time Socrates and more than Socrates, and the new language able to reflect the changing balance between the imperial and ecclesiastical powers in mid- 12th-century Byzantium. (shrink)
In 1991, Darwin College Cambridge was given a substantial bequest to fund a research post in parapsychology. The event became something of a cause célebre. Various Cambridge University academics objected to accepting this money: the professor of philosophy, D.H. Mellor, said on BBC radio that funding such a position would be like funding a research post to determine whether the earth is round. Other members of Darwin College were (understandably, perhaps) reluctant to turn down any offer of money for research. (...) In the end the situation was resolved to the satisfaction of the sceptics: Nicholas Humphrey, psychologist and broadcaster, was given the post to research into the reasons why people believe in parapsychology. The present book is one result. (shrink)
This book uncovers the lost history of Christianity's encounters with Pythagorean ideas before the Renaissance. David Albertson skillfully examines ancient and medieval theologians, particularly Thierry of Chartres and Nicholas of Cusa, who successfully reconceived the Trinity and the Incarnation within the framework of Greek number theory. David Albertson challenges modern assumptions about the complex relationship between religion and science.
Nicholas Humphrey thinks that consciousness is a kind of illusion. He claims that when we have conscious sensory experiences, it seems to us that we are aware of certain “phenomenal” properties like colours, smells, sounds, when in reality there are no such things. In fact, there cannot be any such things, since phenomenal properties are impossible. Something in our brains causes us to have experiences which represent “extraordinary otherworldly properties”. The whole of conscious experience seems to us like something (...) “magical”; hence the subtitle of the book. (shrink)
Nicholas of Cusa’s deployment of an omnivoyant image in the De visione Dei has been said to deconstruct Leon Battista Alberti’s mathematical determination of space in single-point linear perspective. While there has been some debate over whether the omnivoyant functions like a medieval icon or instead like a Renaissance painting, what has been neglected is a more careful analysis of what underlies the very structure of omnivoyance, namely the milieu from which its contradictions and paradoxes emerge. In this article, (...) I will show how thinking the milieu of vision, implicit in Cusa’s optics, lets us overcome any overly simple binaries in these debates and deepen our understanding of the meaning of omnivoyance. (shrink)
In this paper I want to discuss David Hume's views about morals, politics and citizenship and the role of philosophers and philosophizing in modern civil society - what I shall call his theory of civic morality. This is a subject which has been neglected by philosophers, presumably because it is of limited philosophical interest. But it is of considerable interest to the historian who wants to understand Hume's development as a philosopher, to locate his thought within a specific, Scottish context (...) and to arrive at some understanding of his surprisingly close and cordial relations with the literary and social world of enlightened Edinburgh. These are large claims and I cannot hope to substantiate them fully in a short paper. My purpose is first, to show that, historically speaking, Hume's preoccupation with civic morality was of central rather than peripheral interest to him as a philosopher and that it helps to explain his otherwise rather puzzling decision to give up philosophizing systematically in the manner of Hobbes and Locke, in favour of polite essay-writing in the manner of Addison and Steele. My second purpose is to suggest that Hume's interest in civic morality, his neo-Addisonian mode of philosophizing about it and the nature of his understanding of politics, citizenship and philosophizing in a modern age was, unlike his thought about religion, responsive to and consonant with some of the most important ideological preoccupations of his Scottish contemporaries. It was, I suspect, a shared interest which helped to contain some of the anxieties Hume's notorious religious scepticism caused his contemporaries. Without it, he could not possibly have emerged as one of the leaders of Edinburgh's intellectual life in the age of the Scottish Enlightenment. (shrink)
»Neque quidquam intelligi potest esse sine esse.« On the necessity of being as an epistemological principle in Meister Eckhart and Nicholas of Kues. The paper analyses the plausibility of the reasoning for the rational necessity of being. The decisive point for the question as to why for Meister Eckhart being alone is necessary, unvarying in itself and self-evident is the conviction that nothing can be thought which is distinct from being, outside of being or without being. Eckhart states this (...) basic philosophical insight repeatedly using the how-question: How could something be knowable as being which is not and cannot be? Nicolas Cusanus concurs with Eckhart’s claim that nothingness is absolutely excluded from being and embraces his strategy of argumentation, including the way it is stated. Cusanus adopts the central principle of Eckhart’s thought that being must be absolutely knowable by founding all multiplicity in unity, that is, in the being of unity, taking recourse in this point to the quomodo-question typical for Eckhart. Cusanus claims to have proved philosophically that being is rationally necessary, that it is a comprehensive, ultimate and incontrovertible certainty: Nothing can be truer and more secure than the presupposition of being, which is indispensable for all thinking. (shrink)
Ever since Ernst Cassirer in his epochal book Individuum und Kosmos in der Philosophie der Renaissance1 labeled Nicholas of Cusa “the first modern thinker,” interest in Cusa’s thought has burgeoned. At various times, both before and after Cassirer, Nicholas has been viewed as a forerunner of Leibniz,2 a harbinger of Kant,3 a prefigurer of Hegel,4 indeed, as an anticipator of the whole of..
This paper contrasts the reception of Dionysius in relation to non-Christian philosophy during the Latin Middle Ages with his reception in twentieth-centuryChristian thought. The medievals, including Eriugena, Thomas Aquinas, Nicholas of Cusa, and many others, as a rule refuse to divide religion from philosophy and they distinguish or unite thinkers by their teaching rather than by their confessional adherence. Hence they see no need to set Dionysius in opposition to non-Christian philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, and Proclus, or to (...) repudiate the latter in favor of the former. By contrast, Vladimir Lossky and Jean-Luc Marion, with their shared background in Etienne Gilson, celebrate Dionysius in opposition to the non-Christian Neoplatonists, whom they polemically misrepresent as reducing God to conceptual categories. These twentieth-century figures evince a sectarian religious narrowness that blinds them to the textual and philosophical community of Dionysius with his non-Christian sources. (shrink)
This introduction sets the stage for four papers on Nicholas Wolterstorff's Justice: Rights and Wrongs , written by Harold Attridge, Oliver O'Donovan, Richard Bernstein, and myself. In his book, Wolterstorff defends an account of human rights. The first section of this introduction distinguishes Wolterstorff's account of rights from the alternative account of rights against which he contends. The alternative account draws much of its power from a historical narrative according to which theory and politics supplanted earlier ways of thinking (...) about justice. The second section sketches that narrative and Wolterstorff's counter-narrative. The third section draws together the main points of Wolterstorff's own account. (shrink)
A major part of the mind–body problem is to explain why a given set of physical processes should give rise to perceptual qualities of one sort rather than another. Colour hues are the usual example considered here, and there is a lively debate as to whether the results of colour vision science can provide convincing explanations of why colours actually look the way they do. The internal phenomenological structure of colours is considered here in some detail, and a comparison is (...) drawn with sounds and their synthesis. This paper examines the type of explanation that is needed, and it is concluded that it does not have to be reductive to be effective. What needs to be explained more than anything is why inverted hue scenarios are more intuitive than other sensory inversions: and the issue of physicalism versus dualism is argued to be of only marginal relevance. (shrink)