The sixteen essays in this volume confront the current debate about the relationship between philosophy and its history. On the one hand intellectual historians commonly accuse philosophers of writing bad - anachronistic - history of philosophy, and on the other, philosophers have accused intellectual historians of writing bad - antiquarian - history of philosophy. The essays here address this controversy and ask what purpose the history of philosophy should serve. Part I contains more purely theoretical and methodological discussion, of such (...) questions as whether there are 'timeless' philosophical problems, whether the issues of one epoch are commensurable with those of another, and what style is appropriate to the historiography of the subject. The essays in Part II consider a number of case-histories. They present important revisionist scholarship and original contributions on topics drawn from ancient, early modern and more recent philosophy. All the essays have been specially commissioned, and the contributors include many of the leading figures in the field. The volume as a whole will be of vital interest to everyone concerned with the study of philosophy and of its history. (shrink)
A new approach to the historiography of the history of philosophy was first proposed near the end of the eighteenth century. It is useful to regard it as an alternative to two others, sometimes conceived of as exhausting the possibilities: a purely philosophical approach, and a purely historical one, both of which I consider in section I. The bulk of the paper is devoted to what I call "the modern historiography of the history of philosophy" . Its origins (...) are closely tied to the renewal of philology. Section III recounts the methodological innovations of the New Philology and their relevance for approaching texts--including philosophical ones--from the past. In section IV, I consider some moves made by early proponents of "modern historiography"--in particular their implicit demand for an internal rather than an external history of philosophy, that is, an account that allows us to understand how and why philosophy has changed through time, in terms of philosophical factors: how, for example, one set of philosophical considerations led to a certain view; how reflecting on that view led philosophers to perceive various difficulties, and to perceive philosophical responses to those difficulties, and so on. The goal is to exclude, to as great an extent as possible, external factors, that is, factors which are not themselves philosophical views or arguments. In section V, I turn to Christian A. Brandis whose methodological reflections and historiographical practice mark an enormous advance over his predecessors and even over some of his successors, like W. Jaeger. I conclude by arguing that some "philosophical" objections brought against the way of proceeding advocated by Brandis fail. In the course of describing this new approach and its origins, I hope also to make clear why it is more attractive than the two other possibilities briefly considered in section I. (shrink)
During the past three decades the Utrecht scholar Jaap Mansfeld has built up a formidable reputation in the field of the history of ancient philosophy. This state-of-the-art collection of articles is presented to him by colleagues and friends on his sixtieth birthday.
Machine generated contents note: Introduction. Unfounding times: the idea and ideal of ancient history in Western historical thought Alexandra Lianeri; Part I. Theorising Western Time: Concepts and Models: 1. Time's authority François Hartog; 2. Exemplarity and anti-exemplarity in Early Modern Europe Peter Burke; 3. Greek philosophy and Western history: a philosophy-centred temporality Giuseppe Cambiano; 4. Historiography and political theology: Momigliano and the end of history Howard Caygill; Part II. Ancient History and Modern Temporalities: 5. The making of (...) a bourgeois antiquity. Wilhelm von Humboldt and Greek history Stefan Rebenich; 6. Modern histories of Ancient Greece: genealogies, contexts and eighteenth-century narrative historiography Giovanna Ceserani; 7. Acquiring (a) historicity: Greek history, temporalities and eurocentrism in the Sattelzeit Kostas Vlassopoulos; 8. Herodotus and Thucydides in the view of nineteenth-century German historians Ulrich Muhlack; 9. Monumentality and the meaning of the past in ancient and modern historiography Neville Morley; Part III. Unfounding Time In and Through Ancient Historical Thought: 10. Thucydides and social change: between akribeia and universality Rosalind Thomas; 11. Historia magistra vitae in Herodotus and Thucydides? The exemplary use of the past, and ancient and modern temporalities Jonas Grethlein; 12. Repetition and exemplarity in historical thought: ancient Rome and the ghosts of modernity Ellen O'Gorman; 13. Time and authority in the chronicle of Sulpicius Severus Michael Williams; Part IV. Afterword: 14. Ancient history in the eighteenth century Oswyn Murray; 15. Seeing in and through time John Dunn. (shrink)
This book treats so‐called Greek mathematics, developed in the Greek‐speaking world between about 600 b.c. and 600 a.d. It consists of four parts: early Greek mathematics, Hellenistic mathematics, Graeco‐Roman mathematics, and late ancient mathematics. Each part is divided into two chapters, “The Evidence” and “The Questions.”This separation of evidence and questions is significant. Serafina Cuomo has refused to follow the familiar method of weaving an apparently seamless history of Greek mathematics out of fragmentary and heterogeneous documents and conjectures about (...) them. The chapters of questions, where she points to issues that remain open, are very suggestive. For example, most important documents about the early development of Greek mathematics derive from a single lost work, the History of Geometry by Eudemus. Cuomo dares to cast doubt on its authenticity. Though her reservations seem extreme, we should remember that no document is neutral: Eudemus's history is a compilation, which involved choices, and the fragments we have now are the result of selection, partly intentional, partly by chance.Another merit of this book is that it considers a wide range of activity as mathematics. Practical mathematics—such as land surveying and accounting, with their sociopolitical importance—is emphasized.Cuomo's chief claim is that the standard historiography that associates the development of Greek mathematics with Plato's philosophy is only the version promulgated by Proclus; other descriptions are also possible. In fact, Pappus, Iamblichus, and others had their own versions. This claim is reasonable and contributes to a better understanding of Greek mathematics and the authors of late antiquity.In her citations, the author tries to let the text speak for itself, allowing as much as a full page to a passage or a proposition, and she refrains from using modern symbolism to explain mathematical content. Though this attitude is admirable, its cost is not negligible. Readers expecting to acquire a basic knowledge of Greek mathematics may find themselves at a loss when faced with highly technical propositions presented without elucidation.What this compact book does not include should also be mentioned. In contrast to her enthusiasm for the social and political dimensions of ancient mathematics, the author seems somewhat indifferent to its technical and theoretical aspects. Archimedes and Apollonius command only 16 pages—less than 7 percent of the text—whereas T. L. Heath dedicated 150 pages of his 1,000‐page history to them . Though documents showing the importance of land surveying are frequently quoted, little is said about the practice and the technical development of this art. The technical details of Ptolemy's works are practically dismissed—but should he not have an especially important role in alternative versions of the history of ancient mathematics because of his ingenious reconciliation of rigorous theory and the limitations imposed by reality in fields like astronomy and geography?The scantiness of the technical ingredients makes Ancient Mathematics more a history of discourses about mathematics than a history of mathematics—though this is to some extent inevitable given the character of late ancient mathematics, as Cuomo correctly emphasizes. The plan of the series to which this book belongs may be too modest to accommodate the author's ambition. Another problem attributable to the publisher is that the notes appear at the end of each chapter, so checking the references is annoying. Short references could be put in parentheses, and footnotes would be more convenient for longer notes. (shrink)
Humoralism, the view that the human body is composed of a limited number of elementary fluids, is one of the most characteristic aspects of ancient medicine. The psychological dimension of humoral theory in the ancient world has thus far received a relatively small amount of scholarly attention. Medical psychology in the ancient world can only be correctly understood by relating it to psychological thought in other fields, such as ethics and rhetoric. The concept that ties these various (...) domains together is character (êthos), which involves a view of human beings focused on clearly distinguishable psychological types that can be recognized on the basis of external signs. Psychological ideas based on humoral theory remained influential well into the early modern period. Yet, in 17th-century medicine and philosophy, humoral physiology and psychology started to lose ground to other theoretical perspectives on the mind and its relation to the body. This decline of humoralist medical psychology can be related to a broader reorientation of psychological thought in which the traditional concept of character lost its central position. Instead of the focus on types and stable character traits, a perspective emerged that was primarily concerned with individuality and transient passions. (shrink)
This new publication, handsomely printed in double–column pages of approximate y Royal Octavo format, is the inaugural volume of another series sponsored by the Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure, New York. In it Father Brady, at present a member of the prestigious Franciscan editorial group of Quaracchi, offers the evident pedagogical fruit of many years’ lecturing. A masterful work of scholarly compression, easily read, slowly digestible and always thought–provoking, it provides the undergraduate student with an admirable introduction to the great (...) originators and main lines of Greek thinking, with a useful knowledge of current historiography and a serviceable base for personal research. (shrink)
This paper traces the reception of Babylonian astronomy into the history of science, beginning in early to mid twentieth century when cuneiform astronomical sources became available to the scholarly public. The dominant positivism in philosophy of science of this time influenced criteria employed in defining and demarcating science by historians, resulting in a persistently negative assessment of the nature of knowledge evidenced in cuneiform sources. Ancient Near Eastern astronomy was deemed pre- or non-scientific, and even taken to reflect a (...) stage in the evolution of thought before the emergence of science. Two principal objections are examined: first, that the Near East produced merely practical as opposed to theoretical knowledge and, second, that astronomy was in the service of astrology and religion. As the notion of a universal scientific method has been dismantled by post-positivists and constructivists of the second half of the twentieth century, an interest in varieties of intellectual and cultural contexts for science has provided a new ground for the re-consideration of Babylonian astronomical texts as science developed here.Author Keywords: Babylonian astronomy; Cuneiform texts; Epistemology; Hellenistic astronomy; Religion and science; Theory. (shrink)
How do historians, comparative linguists, biblical and textual critics and evolutionary biologists establish beliefs about the past? How do they know the past? This book presents a philosophical analysis of the disciplines that offer scientific knowledge of the past. Using the analytic tools of contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science the book covers such topics as evidence, theory, methodology, explanation, determination and underdetermination, coincidence, contingency and counterfactuals in historiography. Aviezer Tucker's central claim is that historiography as a scientific (...) discipline should be thought of as an effort to explain the evidence of past events. He also emphasizes the similarity between historiographic methodology to Darwinian evolutionary biology. This is an important, fresh approach to historiography and will be read by philosophers, historians and social scientists interested in the methodological foundations of their disciplines. (shrink)
In The Ambitions of Curiosity, first published in 2002, one of the world's foremost philosophers of science explores the origins and growth of systematic inquiry in Greece, China, and Mesopotamia. Professor Lloyd examines which factors stimulated or inhibited this development, and whose interests were served. He asks who set the agenda? What was the role of the state in sponsoring, supporting or blocking research, in such areas as historiography, natural philosophy, medical research, astronomy, technology, pure and applied mathematics? How (...) were each of those fields defined and developed in different ancient societies? How did truly innovative thinkers persuade their own contemporaries to accept their work? Professor Lloyd explores the different routes those developments took in China, Greece and Mesopotamia, and demonstrates the unexpected results of many research efforts, as well as the tensions between state control and individual innovation and the different ways they were resolved - problems that remain central to scientific research today. (shrink)
This article argues that the perception of decline among philosophers of history reflects the diffused weak academic status of the discipline, as distinct from the booming research activity and demand for philosophy of history that keeps pace with the growth rate of publications in the philosophies of science and law. This growth is justified and rational because the basic problems of the philosophy of history, concerning the nature of historiographical knowledge and the metaphysical assumptions of historiography, have maintained their (...) relevance. Substantive philosophy of history has an assured popularity but is not likely to win intellectual respectability because of its epistemic weaknesses. I suggest focusing on problems that a study of historiography can help to understand and even solve, as distinct from problems that cannot be decided by an examination of historiography, such as the logical structure of explanation (logical positivism) and the relation between language and reality (post-structuralism). In particular, following Quine's naturalized epistemology, I suggest placing the relation between evidence and historiography at the center of the philosophy of historiography. Inspired by the philosophy of law, I suggest there are three possible relations between input (evidence) and output in historiography: determinism, indeterminism, and underdeterminism. An empirical examination of historiographical agreement, disagreement, and failure to communicate may indicate which relation holds at which parts of historiography. The historiographical community seeks consensus, but some areas are subject to disagreements and absence of communication; these are associated with historiographical schools that interpret conflicting models of history differently to fit their evidence. The reasons for this underdetermination of historiography by evidence needs to be investigated further. (shrink)
This work is an essential introduction to the vast body of writing about history, from classical Greece and Rome to the contemporary world. M.C. Lemon maps out key debates and central concepts of philosophy of history placing principal thinkers in the context of their times and schools of thought. Lemon explains the crucial differences between speculative philosophy as an n enquiry into the course and meaning of history and analytic philosophy of history as relating to the nature and methods of (...) history as a discipline. After providing a guide to the principal thinkers from pre-historical times to the present, the book goes on to present a critical summary of the leading issues raised by critical theorists of history, incorporating topics such as objectivity, ideology, historical explanation and narrative. (shrink)
This volume is a welcome addition to the growing body of contemporary scholarship aimed at a more manageable estimation of Greco-Roman historiography than that provided by the themes of nineteenth century German research and its progeny. This is an extremely well-written and reasoned treatment, squarely based upon the classical writings and encompassing a balanced presentation of substance and suggestion.
_ Source: _Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 333 - 348 Philosophers and historians debate not only the correct analysis of historiographic counterfactuals and their possible utilities for historiography and its philosophy but whether they can be more than speculative. This introduction presents the articles in the special issue on historiographic counterfactuals, show how they hang together and what are the main agreements and disagreements among the authors. Finally, it argues that the debate over historiographic counterfactuals spills over now into (...) the debate about applied or practical historiography, what we can learn from historiography. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 349 - 369 A theory of causation suitable for historiography must accommodate the many types of causal claims historians make. In this paper, I examine the advantages of applying D. K. Lewis’s counterfactual theory of causation to the philosophy of historiography. I contend that Lewis’s possible world semantics offers a superior framework for making sense of historical causation, and that it lays the foundation for historians to look at history as causal (...) series of events, remaining agnostic as to whether there may be historical regularities or laws. Lewis’s theory can also accommodate important notions often used by historians, such as absences as causes, historical necessity and contingency, and the role they play in the formulation of historical counterfactuals. (shrink)
Voltaire's reform program for history-writing emerges when his scattered utterances on method are collected under three headings: I. Details. Voltaire objects to tedious details, but characterizing detail can be used. There must be selection, and its criterion is significance to large-scale trends. II. Falsehoods. Most historians are to be distrusted. Falsehoods arise from relating very ancient or mythical elements, a matter Voltaire comprehends only superficially; also from partisanship, exaggerations, and traditions. Criteria of probability and for the evaluation of testimony (...) are explained. III. The new history. Unlike crude, pedantic historiography of dynastic and political affairs, the new history must deal with leading ideas, cultural, ethnographic, and economic factors. Voltaire's universalism, his stress on humanity and mankind, is limited by his patriotic and monarchical bias and by polemical and stylistic concerns. - Other Voltairean observations are assembled under judgments on his predecessors ; and under his evaluation of historical figures and events in ancient, medieval, and modern history , marked by correct insights but also by occasional naivety and credulity. (shrink)
This original and lively book uses texts from ancient medicine, epic, lyric, tragedy, historiography, philosophy, and religion to explore the influence of Greek ideas on health and disease on Greek thought. Fundamental issues are deeply implicated: causation and responsibility, purification and pollution, the mind-body relationship and gender differences, authority and the expert, reality and appearances, good government, and good and evil themselves.
History casts a spell on our minds more powerful than science or religion. It does not root us in the past at all. It rather flatters us with the belief in our ability to recreate the world in our image. It is a form of self-assertion that brooks no opposition or dissent and shelters us from the experience of time. So argues Constantin Fasolt in The Limits of History , an ambitious and pathbreaking study that conquers history's power by carrying (...) the fight into the center of its domain. Fasolt considers the work of Hermann Conring (1606-81) and Bartolus of Sassoferrato (1313/14-57), two antipodes in early modern battles over the principles of European thought and action that ended with the triumph of historical consciousness. Proceeding according to the rules of normal historical analysis--gathering evidence, putting it in context, and analyzing its meaning--Fasolt uncovers limits that no kind of history can cross. He concludes that history is a ritual designed to maintain the modern faith in the autonomy of states and individuals. God wants it, the old crusaders would have said. The truth, Fasolt insists, only begins where that illusion ends. With its probing look at the ideological underpinnings of historical practice, The Limits of History demonstrates that history presupposes highly political assumptions about free will, responsibility, and the relationship between the past and the present. A work of both intellectual history and historiography, it will prove invaluable to students of historical method, philosophy, political theory, and early modern European culture. (shrink)