Le relevé des affleurements de la référence explicite à Pascal, dans les textes de Heidegger, montre que celle-ci n’est nullement aussi erratique qu’il y paraît. Ce gisement de références se concentre autour de quelques thèmes fondamentaux, tels : l’excédentarité de l’« Être » ; la description du caractère mouvementé de la « condition humaine » ; mais aussi : la « logique du cœur » ; et surtout : la place singulière de Pascal, eu égard à Descartes et (...) à l’inflexion décisive que celui-ci apporte à la configuration des Temps modernes, dans un épisode majeur de l’histoire de la métaphysique occidentale. – Mais rien de la thématique pascalienne de la révélation du « Dieu caché » n’y est expressément relevé. – Pourtant, une puissante et quelque peu énigmatique analogie pourrait devoir venir s’y nouer et s’y faire jour – quoique sur un mode « sigétique » – entre la « théologie » pascalienne de la révélation du « Dieu caché », d’une part, et la méditation heideggerienne de la structure paradoxale du « retrait de l’Être », d’autre part, avec l’étrange révélation qui s’y annonce de la fugitive parution du « signe de la passée du dernier Dieu » des Compléments à la philosophie [Beiträge zur Philosophie].Texte intégral Searching for the outcrops of explicit references to Pascal’s thought in Heidegger’s writings, it clearly appears that these references are by far not so erratic as it could have seemed at first sight. They concentrate – for the most part – on a few essential topics, such as Pascal’s taking into account of the irreducibility of « being » to any possible definition, or Pascal’s vivid, passionate description of human « condition » ; such as Pascal’s « Logic of the Heart » too, or the significant historical « situation » of Pascal’s thought in regard to Descartes’ bold renewal of the whole way of thinking of that time, as a pioneer of a new European Age, at the turning point of a major episode of the History of Metaphysics. – Nevertheless, Heidegger does not even hint at Pascal’s meditation of the paradoxical revelation of the Jansenistic « Deus absconditus »: the « Hidden God ». – An enigmatically tight analogy, however, might have been woven there – in a « sigetical », silent way – between Pascal’s theology of the « Hidden God » and Heidegger’s thought of the « withdrawal of Being » and the inherent fugitive revelation of the mysterious « hint of the passing of the Last God », in Heidegger’s Complements to Philosophy [Beiträge zur Philosophie]. (shrink)
C'est une question classique de la théologie que celle de la vertu des païens. Sur ce sujet aussi se manifeste au XVIIe siècle l' antagonisme des molinistes et des augustiniens. Le camp de Pascal ne fait aucun doute, mais on n'a pas mesuré les inflexions que sa stratégie argumentative imprime à la thématique païenne des Provinciales aux Pensées. Dans les Provinciales, non seulement la morale jésuite est exclue de la sphère éthique chrétienne, mais elle est présentée comme inférieure à (...) la morale des païens. Or, dans les Pensées, le statut des païens semble beaucoup moins enviable : de possible référence morale aux yeux du polémiste, ils sont transformés en repoussoirs par l'apologiste, qui les exhibe en preuves historiques de la misère de l'homme sans Dieu. On ne peut cependant en demeurer à cette vision réductrice : les Pensées reconnaissent une valeur aux sentiments, aux lois, et même à la religion, des païens, et cette appréciation est lourde de conséquences métaphysiques en ce qu'elle signifie la validité de l'instance naturelle - outre qu'elle contribue à établir entre Provinciales et Pensées une continuité qui met à mal la thèse de la prétendue « rupture idéologique ». The question of the virtues of pagans is a classical one in theology. This subject was also a focus of the antagonism between Molinists and A ugustinians in the seventeenth century. There is no doubt as to which side Pascal supported, but as yet the different inflections of his argumentative strategy with respect to the theme of paganism in the Provinciales and the Pensées have not been accurately assessed. In the Provinciales, Jesuit morals are not only excluded from the sphere of Christian ethics, but also presented as lower than the ethics of the pagans. In the Pensées, on the other hand, the status of pagans seems much less enviable ; no longer a possible moral reference for the polemist, they are transformed into wholly negative models by the apologist, who exhibits them as historic evidence of man's wretchedness without God. Yet this reductive vision is not the whole truth : the Pensées also acknowledge that there is a certain value in the feelings, the laws, and even the religion, of pagans. This estimate has many metaphysical consequences, as it implies the validity of natural standards, in addition to contributing to the establishment of a continuity between the Provinciales and the Pensees, contrary to the claim that there is an « ideological break » between the two works. (shrink)
Le conseil d’administration du CNRS a adopté le 23 juin 2011 la charte interne de l’expertise, qui adapte aux spécificités de ses propres activités le texte de la Charte nationale de l’expertise. La charte interne du CNRS est guidée par la volonté de répondre efficacement à deux enjeux majeurs de l’expertise scientifique : la crédibilité des experts et la qualité du processus et du produit de l’expertise.The CNRS governing board adopted its internal Charter on Expert Studies on 23 June 2011, (...) which adapts the National Charter on Expert Studies to the specific features of CNRS activities. The internal CNRS Charter rests on the principle of efficient striving to address two major issues concerning scientific expert studies : the credibility of experts and the quality of expert study processes and output. (shrink)
It is surprisingly difficult to justify private property. Two questions are at stake: (a) a metaphysical and juridical one concerning the nature of property and (b) an ethical one concerning our attitude toward wealth. This issue reached an unprecedented importance during the 12th and 13th centuries as a new moral ideal emerged. This essays analyses the controversy (with emphasis on Bonaventure’s Defense of the Mendicants) by first locating it in relation to the philosophical and theological authorities as well as the (...) Roman law. It argues that the dispute between the defenders of paupertas altissima and their opponents concerns the limit of the law. Gerard of Abbeville and John XXII saw a contradiction in a right to use that would exclude ownership. Yet, what the Franciscans were seeking was use without right. To relate to the world as something that is essentially inappropriable is to seek a form of life (a rule) prior to the law. Centuries after, such a possibility remains to be discovered. (shrink)
Leo Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich might well be read as a narrative outworking of Pascal's observation that "We run heedless into the abyss after putting something in front of us to stop us seeing it."1 That Ivan Ilyich, an ambitious mid-level Russian legal official, plummets into the abyss is incontestable, for the novella opens by announcing his death. What is debated is how he does so: On his deathbed does he merely resign himself to nothingness, or does (...) he undergo some sort of religious conversion? Some scholars—call them "hermeneuts of denial"—find little or no religious significance in Ivan's death.2 If some allusions are religiously suggestive, they must be interpreted and discounted in view of... (shrink)
The Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Florence, Italy, possesses an astrolabe with five latitude plates that is now attributed to the Duisburg workshop of Gerard Mercator. Although it is known that Mercator made instruments, this is the first surviving example to be identified. Another latitude plate is shown to come from the workshop of the Florentine, Giovan Battista Giusti. A seventh plate, possibly engraved by Rumold Mercator, provides the only known Mercatorian polar stereographic projection. The role of Egnazio (...) Danti, cosmographer to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, in the acquisition of the astrolabe in about 1570 is considered. (shrink)
In a paper published in volume 50 of Annals of Science an astrolabe at the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Florence, was attributed to the hand of Gerard Mercator, c. 1570, when his workshop was in Duisburg. This was the first scientific instrument by Mercator to be identified. Since then two further astrolabes by Mercator have been identified, one of them bearing his monogram: GMR. They belong to the Städtische Kunstsammlungen, Augsburg, and the Moravian Gallery, Brno. All three (...) instruments are described as a group, and reasons for believing that the Brno astrolabe was made earlier than 1550, and therefore in Louvain, are given. (shrink)
Behavioural and neuroscientific research has provided evidence for a strong functional link between the neural motor system and lexical?semantic processing of action-related language. It remains unclear, however, whether the impact of motor actions is restricted to online language comprehension or whether sensorimotor codes are also important in the formation and consolidation of persisting memory representations of the word's referents. The current study now demonstrates that recognition performance for action words is modulated by motor actions performed during the retention interval. Specifically, (...) participants were required to learn words denoting objects that were associated with either a pressing or a twisting action (e.g., piano, screwdriver) and words that were not associated to actions. During a 6?8-minute retention phase, participants performed an intervening task that required the execution of pressing or twisting responses. A subsequent recognition task revealed a better memory for words that denoted objects for which the functional use was congruent with the action performed during the retention interval (e.g., pepper mill?twisting action, doorbell?pressing action) than for words that denoted objects for which the functional use was incongruent. In further experiments, we were able to generalize this effect of selective memory enhancement of words by performing congruent motor actions to an implicit perceptual (Experiment 2) and implicit semantic memory test (Experiment 3). Our findings suggest that a reactivation of motor codes affects the process of memory consolidation and emphasizes therefore the important role of sensorimotor codes in establishing enduring semantic representations. The authors thank Pascal de Water and Gerard van Oijen for technical support and Markus van Ackeren for help in creating stimulus material. The authors would also like to thank Eelco van Dongen, Michael Masson, Art Glenberg, and Diane Pecher for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. The study was supported by the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research NWO-VICI grant (453-05-001) to the third author and NWO-VENI grant (016-094-053) to the last author. (shrink)
Livres  P. Engel, Identité et référence, la théorie des noms propres chez Frege et Kripke, Paris : Presses de l’École normale supérieure.  P. Engel, La Norme du vrai, philosophie de la logique, Paris : Gallimard, 3e éd.  P. Engel, The Norm of Truth, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Logic, New York : Harvester Wheatsheaf. Traduction en anglais de  par P. Engel & M. Kochan.  P. Engel, États d’esprit, questions de philosophie de l’esprit, Aix-en-Pro...
This assignment is to be worked alongside other homework and is due at the class period following the midterm exam. Though you should do reading and start thinking about the issues right away, details will make most sense after we have made some progress with other assignments.
People outside France have always wondered why analytical philosophy has had so little influence in this country, while it has gained currency in many other European countries, such as Germany and Italy, not to speak of Northern Europe, where the analytical tradition is strongly established. This can be explained only by a particular conjunction of historical, cultural, sociological and maybe economical factors, which it would be too long to detail here. If there are natural characters of nations, there is no (...) reason to believe that there are no philosophical characters of nations. As Hume said, the characters of nations can have physical as well as moral causes. As for the physical causes, everybody in Britain knows how insular the Continent can be. So if there is such a thing as French analytical philosophy, nobody will be surprised to learn that it is very insular. Before presenting some of the work done by French philosophers related to the analytical tradition, let me try to give what I take to be some of the moral causes of their insularity. (shrink)
Many think that Pascal’s Wager is a hopeless failure. A primary reason for this is because a number of challenging objections have been raised to the wager, including the “many gods” objection and the “mixed strategy” objection. We argue that both objections are formal, but not substantive, problems for the wager, and that they both fail for the same reason. We then respond to additional objections to the wager. We show how a version of Pascalian reasoning succeeds, giving us (...) a reason to pay special attention to the infinite consequences of our actions. (shrink)
PREFACE When in the year 1940 I ventured a small volume under the title The Secret of Pascal, I honestly did not expect to write further on the topic. But circumstances ordered otherwise. The needs of Cambridge students and the difficulty, ...
In this paper, I shall be arguing for what I hope is a modern version of a very traditional view, which is that God can explain two very basic phenomena: the first is the existence of the universe as we know it: the second is the particular way in which the universe is organised. I shall also, though briefly, try to counter the view that the totally unwelcome features of our universe make it impossible to reconcile the universe as it (...) is with anything like traditional theistic belief. This project, however, is quite a daunting one. So I would wish to make it clear right at the start that, while I would claim that my views are reasonable, and indeed more reasonable than belief in the denial of these views would be, I still do not hold that it is unreasonable for someone to reject each of the conclusions for which I shall argue. For plainly anyone, whether myself or any opponent, can be both reasonable and mistaken. (shrink)
"I know of no religious writer more pertinent to our time."—T. S. Eliot, Introduction to Pensees Intended to prove that religion is not contrary to reason, Pascal's Pensees rank among the liveliest and most eloquent defenses of Christianity. Motivated by the seventeenth-century view of the supremacy of human reason, Pascal (1623–1662) had intended to write an ambitious apologia for Christianity in which he argued the inability of reason to address metaphysical problems. His untimely death prevented the work's completion, (...) but the fragments published posthumously in 1670 as Pensees remain a vital part of religious and philosophical literature. W. F. Trotter translation. Introduction by T. S. Eliot. (shrink)
This treatise of medicine by Yühannā ibn Sarābiyūn, written in Syriac in the 8th century, translated into Arabic in the 10th century and then into Latin in the 12th century, is a typical example of the transmission of Hippocratic medicine from the Arabic East to the Latin West in the Middle Ages. However, while the complete Latin translation of Gerard of Cremona has reached us, we have only fragments of the Arabic text, dispersed in five manuscripts preserved in four European (...) libraries. In the first part we shall try to establish the biographical information about the author and the four translators of his treatise from Syriac to Arabic. In the second part we shall study the Arabic fragments of the Paris manuscript and the two Escorial manuscripts, first by examining their language, and then by comparing them to the Latin translation. Composé en syriaque au VIII e siècle, traduit en arabe au X e siècle, puis en latin au XII e siècle, ce traité de médecine de Yūḥannā ibn Sarābiyūn est un exemple typique de la transmission de la médecine hippocratique de l'Orient arabe à l'Occident latin au moyen âge. Mais si la traduction latine de ce traité, faite par Gérard de Crémone, nous est parvenue dans son intégralité, nous ne possédons que des fragments du texte arabe, dispersés dans cinq manuscrits conservés dans quatre bibliothèques européennes. Dans une première partie, on essaiera de préciser les données biographiques relatives à l'auteur et aux quatre traducteurs qui ont effectué la traduction de son traité du syriaque en arabe. Dans une seconde partie, on étudiera les fragments du manuscrit de Paris et des deux manuscrits de l'Escorial, en examinant d'abord ces fragments du point de vue de leur langue, puis en les comparant à la traduction latine. (shrink)
Between 9th and 11th centuries, the geometrical transformations gave to the mathematicians a method more and more fertile, leading them to modify their modes of apprehension of the geometrical figures. This article aims to highlight al-Sijzī’s contribution to this change by setting two tasks: first, to precisely understand what al-Sijzī means by transformation ; and secondly, to give an account of his research on geometrical invariants, obtained by a variation of some elements of a figure. The use of transformations and (...) the search for invariants seem to be the two faces of the same tendency, that to break with an Euclidean manner to consider the figures in a way isolated and static for better exploiting the common properties which can link them. The article is completed by the edition and the translation of a small treatise devoted to invariants. Résumé En offrant une méthode de plus en plus féconde, les transformations géométriques conduisent les mathématiciens, entre les ix e et xi e siècles, à modifier leurs modes d’appréhension des figures géométriques. Le présent article voudrait mettre en évidence la contribution d’al-Sijzī à cette mutation en se fixant deux tâches: en premier lieu, comprendre précisément ce qu’al-Sijzī entend par transformation ; et en second lieu, rendre compte de ses recherches sur les invariants géométriques, obtenus en faisant varier certains éléments d’une figure. L’usage des transformations et la recherche d’invariants apparaissent comme les deux volets d’une même tendance, celle de rompre avec une manière euclidienne de considérer les figures de façon isolée et statique pour mieux exploiter les propriétés communes qui peuvent les unir. L’article s’achève par l’édition et la traduction d’un petit traité consacré à la mise en évidence d’invariants. (shrink)
In this critical introduction to contemporary philosophical issues in the theory of truth Pascal Engel provides clear and authoritative exposition of recent and current ideas while providing original perspectives that advances discussion of the key issues. This book begins with a presentation of the classical conceptions of truth - the correspondence theory, the coherence theory and verificationist and pragmatist accounts - before examining so-called minimalist and deflationist conceptions that deny truth can be anything more than a thin concept holding (...) no metaphysical weight. The debates between those who favour substantive conceptions of the classical kind and those who advocate minimalist and deflationist conceptions are explored. Engel argues that, although the minimalist conception of truth is basically right, it does not follow that truth can be eliminated from our philosophical thinking as some upholders of radical deflationist views have claimed. Questions about truth and realism are examined and the author shows how the realism/anti-realism debate remains a genuine, meaningful issue for a theory of truth and has not been undermined by deflationist views. Even if a metaphysical substantive theory of truth has little chance to succeed, Engel concludes, truth can keep a central role within our thinking, as a norm or guiding value of our rational inquiries and practices, in the philosophy of knowledge and in ethics. (shrink)
Pascal's Wager is finding ever more defenders who aim to undermine the old Many Gods Objection. It is my thesis that they are mistaken. After describing the Wager and the objection, I report on Jeff Jordan's repeated attempt to limit legitimate religious hypotheses to those that are traditional. In separate sections I criticize Jordan, first coming from epistemology and second from anthropology. Then I describe George Schlesinger's repeated appeal to the ‘simplest’ religious hypothesis, and argue that it fails for (...) similar reasons. Finally, I summarize and reject miscellaneous defences of Pascal by Robert Anderson, Bradley Armour-Garb, James Franklin, Joshua Golding, and Nicholas Rescher. (shrink)
Engel argues that, although the minimalist conception of truth is basically right, it does not follow that truth can be eliminated from our philosophical thinking, as is claimed by some radical deflationists. In particular, he shows that some deflationist views have a definitively relativist and "postmodernist" ring and should be rejected. Even if a metaphysically substantive theory of truth has little chance to succeed, he argues, truth plays a central role as a norm or guiding value of our rational inquiries (...) and practices in the philosophy of knowledge and in ethics. (shrink)
“Pascal's Wager” is the name given to an argument due to Blaise Pascal for believing, or for at least taking steps to believe, in God. The name is somewhat misleading, for in a single paragraph of his Pensées, Pascal apparently presents at least three such arguments, each of which might be called a ‘wager’ — it is only the final of these that is traditionally referred to as “Pascal's Wager”. We find in it the extraordinary confluence (...) of several important strands of thought: the justification of theism; probability theory and decision theory, used here for almost the first time in history; pragmatism; voluntarism (the thesis that belief is a matter of the will); and the use of the concept of infinity. (shrink)
ome Remarks on the Crisis of Capitalism What are the causes and consequences of the crisis of capitalism ? What are the plausible scenarios forthe outcome of the crisis ? To what extent is the current crisis comparable to that of 1929, and to whatextent does it differ from the crisis of the 1970s ? To what extent can one speak of a crisis of neoliberalism ? These are some of the questions which the authors of The Crisis of Neoliberalism (...) address here. (shrink)
Anglo-Saxon schools of metascience.--Continental schools of metascience.--Toward a theory of research that is neither logical reconstruction nor psychology or sociology of science.--References (p. 420-438).
Is it reasonable to believe in God even in the absence of strong evidence that God exists? Pragmatic arguments for theism are designed to support belief even if one lacks evidence that theism is more likely than not. Jeff Jordan proposes that there is a sound version of the most well-known argument of this kind, Pascal's Wager, and explores the issues involved - in epistemology, the ethics of belief, decision theory, and theology.
For much of his life Pascal (1623-62) worked on a magnum opus which was never published in its intended form. Instead, he left a mass of fragments, some of them meant as notes for the Apologie. These were to become known as the Pensées, and they occupy a crucial place in Western philosophy and religious writing. Pascal's general intention was to confound scepticism about metaphysical questions. Some of the Pensées are fully developed literary reflections on the human condition,, (...) some contradict others, and some remain jottings whose meaning will never be clear. The most important are among the most powerful aphorisms about human experience and behaviour ever written in any language. This translation is the only one based on the Pensées as Pascal left them. It includes the principal dossiers classified by Pascal, as well as the essential portion of the important Writings on Grace. A detailed thematic index gives access to Pascal's areas of concern, while the selection of texts and the introduction help to show why Pascal changed the plan of his projected work before abandoning the book he might have written. (shrink)
In some dark alley. . . Mugger: Hey, give me your wallet. Pascal: Why on Earth would I want to do that? Mugger: Otherwise I’ll shoot you. Pascal: But you don’t have a gun. Mugger: Oops! I knew I had forgotten something. Pascal: No wallet for you then. Have a nice evening. Mugger: Wait! Pascal: Sigh. Mugger: I’ve got a business proposition for you. . . . How about you give me your wallet now? In return, (...) I promise to come to your house tomorrow and give you double the value of what’s in the wallet. Not bad, eh? A 200% return on investment in 24 hours. (shrink)
[Note: Picture of Peirce available] Charles S. Peirce’s Philosophy of Signs Essays in Comparative Semiotics Gérard Deledalle Peirce’s semiotics and metaphysics compared to the thought of other leading philosophers. "This is essential reading for anyone who wants to find common ground between the best of American semiotics and better-known European theories. Deledalle has done more than anyone else to introduce Peirce to European audiences, and now he sends Peirce home with some new flare."—Nathan Houser, Director, Peirce Edition Project Charles (...) S. Peirce’s Philosophy of Signs examines Peirce’s philosophy and semiotic thought from a European perspective, comparing the American’s unique views with a wide variety of work by thinkers from the ancients to moderns. Parts I and II deal with the philosophical paradigms which are at the root of Peirce’s new theory of signs, pragmatic and social. The main concepts analyzed are those of "sign" and "semiosis" and their respective trichotomies; formally in the case of "sign," in time in the case of semiosis. Part III is devoted to comparing Peirce’s theory of semiotics as a form of logic to the work of other philosophers, including Bertrand Russell, Wittgenstein, Frege, Philodemus, Lady Welby, Saussure, Morris, Jakobson, and Marshall McLuhan. Part IV compares Peirce’s "scientific metaphysics" with European metaphysics. Gérard Deledalle holds the Doctorate in Philosophy from the Sorbonne. A research scholar at Columbia University and Attaché at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, he has also been Professor of Philosophy and Head of the Philosophy Department of the universities of Tunis, Perpignan, and Libreville. In 1990 he received the Herbert W. Schneider Award "for distinguished contributions to the understanding and development of American philosophy. In 2001, he was appointed vice-president of the Charles S. Peirce Society. Contents Introduction—Peirce Compared: Directions for Use Part I—Semeiotic as Philosophy Peirce’s New Philosophical Paradigms Peirce’s Philosophy of Semeiotic Peirce’s First Pragmatic Papers The Postscriptum of 1893 Part II—Semeiotic as Semiotics Sign: Semiosis and Representamen—Semiosis and Time Sign: The Concept and Its Use—Reading as Translation Part III—Comparative Semiotics Semiotics and Logic: A Reply to Jerzy Pelc Semeiotic and Greek Logic: Peirce and Philodemus Semeiotic and Significs: Peirce and Lady Welby Semeiotic and Semiology: Peirce and Saussure Semeiotic and Semiotics: Peirce and Morris Semeiotic and Linguistics: Peirce and Jakobson Semeiotic and Communication: Peirce and McLuhan Semeiotic and Epistemology: Peirce, Frege, and Wittgenstein Part IV—Comparative Metaphysics Gnoseology—Perceiving and Knowing: Peirce, Wittgenstein, and Gestalttheorie Ontology—Transcendentals "of" or "without" Being: Peirce versus Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas Cosmology—Chaos and Chance within Order and Continuity: Peirce between Plato and Darwin Theology—The Reality of God: Peirce’s Triune God and the Church’s Trinity Conclusion—Peirce: A Lateral View. (shrink)