The seventeenth century witnesses the demise of two core doctrines in the theory of perception: naive realism about color, sound, and other sensible qualities and the empirical theory, drawn from Alhacen and Roger Bacon, which underwrote it. This created a problem for seventeenth century philosophers: how is that we use qualities such as color, feel, and sound to locate objects in the world, even though these qualities are not real? -/- Ejecting such sensible qualities from the mind-independent world at once (...) makes for a cleaner ontology, since bodies can now be understood in purely geometrical terms, and spawns a variety of fascinating complications for the philosophy of perception. If sensible qualities are not part of the mind-independent world, just what are they, and what role, if any, do they play in our cognitive economy? We seemingly have to use color to visually experience objects. Do we do so by inferring size, shape, and motion from color? Or is it a purely automatic operation, accomplished by divine decree? -/- This volume traces the debate over perceptual experience in early modern France, covering such figures as Antoine Arnauld, Robert Desgabets, and Pierre-Sylvain Regis alongside their better-known countrymen Rene Descartes and Nicolas Malebranche. (shrink)
Although a fascination with language is a familiar feature of 20th-century empiricism, its origins reach back at least to the early modern period empiricists. John Locke offers a detailed (if sometimes puzzling) treatment of language and uses it to illuminate key regions of the philosophical topography, particularly natural kinds and essences. Locke's main conceptual tool for dealing with language is 'signification'. Locke's central linguistic thesis is this: words signify nothing but ideas. This on its face seems absurd. Don't we need (...) words to signify things as well? But its very absurdity – our inclination to dismiss Locke as a 'linguistic idealist'– should signal to us that we have not yet understood Locke. Doing so must begin with an analysis of signification. Each of the three main interpretations on offer allows Locke to escape the charge of linguistic idealism, although they do so in very different ways. Locke's text also offers an influential account of linguistic particles, words like 'is', 'and' and 'if'. These signify, not ideas, but acts of the mind. These acts can either take place within a proposition, uniting its constituent ideas into a thought that admits of a truth-value, or they can take propositions as their objects, in which case they express attitudes like doubt, assertion and so on. Even this seemingly innocuous sketch of Locke's view is controversial, and many writers, from J.S. Mill onwards, have argued that Locke cannot make sense of propositional attitudes. Apart from the intrinsic interest of these questions, understanding how Locke thinks language works is a prerequisite for understanding his arguments against scholastic essentialism. It also illuminates later discussions of language in Berkeley, Hume and Mill. Author Recommends: 1. Losonsky, Michael. 'Language, Meaning, and Mind in Locke's Essay. ' The Cambridge Companion to Locke's Essay . Ed. Lex Newman. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007. 286–313. In addition to making some original points, Losonsky provides an excellent overview of the three main competing positions on Lockean signification: the Fregean reading, the Scholastic reading and the Indicator theory (see entries 2–5 in the following). 2. Kretzmann, Norman. 'The Main Thesis of Locke's Semantic Theory.' Locke on Human Understanding . Ed. I. C. Tipton. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1975. 123–40. Kretzmann's influential paper offers a broadly Fregean analysis, according to which primary signification is sense and secondary, reference. Locke can then avoid the charge of linguistic idealism, as it is not the case that words signify only ideas. 3. Ashworth, E. J. 'Do Words Signify Ideas or Things?' Journal of the History of Philosophy 19 (1981): 299–326. Ashworth rejects Kretzmann's view, partly on the grounds of anachronism, and sets Locke in his historical context. As she reads Locke, he holds a scholastic position, according to which signification amounts to 'making known' or 'expressing'. This preserves the portmanteau analysis of Kretzmann: words can primarily signify or express ideas, while secondarily signifying things. 4. Lowe, E. J. 'Language and Meaning,' chapter 4. Locke . London: Routledge, 2005. This is a spirited defense of Locke's claim that words signify ideas against contemporary prejudices. Like Ian Hacking (see entry 7 in the following), Lowe argues that Locke is not offering a semantic theory in anything like the contemporary sense; rather, he is concerned with explaining human communication. 5. Ott, Walter. Locke's Philosophy of Language . Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004. On the interpretation offered in chapter 1, Lockean signification is indication: words signify ideas in the same sense in which clouds signify rain. If this view is correct, Locke is departing from the particular scholastic tradition Ashworth focuses on, and embracing instead a tradition running from the Stoics through Thomas Hobbes. http://www.springerlink.com/content/xv362655719101n3/ 6. Winkler, Kenneth. 'Signification, Intention, Projection.' Forthcoming, Philosophia . http://www.springerlink.com/content/xv362655719101n3 Although previous commentators acknowledge the role of intentions in Locke's view (see especially Kretzmann's argument from the uses of words), Winkler claims that they are far more central to Locke's view than has been supposed. In particular, Winkler uses these considerations to criticize the indicator interpretation. 7. Hacking, Ian. Why Does Language Matter to Philosophy? Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1975. Much broader in focus than these other works, Hacking's classic text has much to say about early modern views on language. Hacking argues that Hobbes and Locke do not, properly speaking, even have theories of meaning. Online Materials The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's entry on Locke, by William Uzgalis: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke/ > The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy's entry on Locke, author unknown: http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/l/locke.htm > Sample Syllabus Weeks 1–2: What is Locke's linguistic thesis? Is it a semantic thesis at all? Ashworth, E. J. 'Do Words Signify Ideas or Things?' Journal of the History of Philosophy 19 (1981): 299–326. Kretzmann, Norman. 'The Main Thesis of Locke's Semantic Theory.' Locke on Human Understanding . Ed. I. C. Tipton. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1975. 123–40. Locke, Essay III. i–iii. Lowe, E. J. 'Language and Meaning,' chapter 4. Locke . London: Routledge, 2005. Week 3: Propositions and attitudes Locke, Essay III. vii. Ott, Walter. 'Propositional Attitudes in Modern Philosophy.' Dialogue 41 (2002): 1–18. Owen, David. 'Locke on Judgment.' The Cambridge Companion to Locke's Essay . Ed. Lex Newman. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007. 406–35. If one wanted to explore whether and how Locke applies his semiotic theory in his anti-essentialist argument, one might add (or perhaps replace Week 3 with): Week 4: Applications Bolton, Martha. 'The Relevance of Locke's Theory of Ideas to his Doctrine of Nominal Essence and Anti-Essentialist Semantic Theory.' Locke . Ed. Vere Chappell. Oxford: OUP, 1998. pp. 214–225 Locke, Essay III. vi; III.xi. 4–22. Ott, Walter. 'Locke's Argument from Signification.' Locke Studies 2 (2002): 145–76. Focus Questions 1. What is a semantic theory? What do we want out of such a theory, and does Locke even purport to provide one? 2. What are the differences among the three main competing readings of Locke? What is at stake here? What, if anything, turns on which of them accurately captures Locke's view? 3. How does Locke think his linguistic thesis tells against competing views, such as those of the scholastics? 4. What is the difference between a proposition and a list? Can Locke account for this difference? 5. There is clearly a difference between merely thinking that the cat is on the mat and asserting that it is. Can Locke account for this difference? (shrink)
Profiles of art education in nineteen countries around the world by citizens or longtime residents of those countries comprise the core of this book. Guidelines for the cross-cultural study of art education are presented by the editors in a general introduction and three part introductions, and also by contributing specialists. The nineteen national profiles, with accompanying examples of children's artwork, make up the largest section of the book, Part II. The three chapters in Part I review research that has identified, (...) on one hand, certain universal characteristics of children's artwork attributable to common human stages of development, and, on the other hand, certain differing and unique cultural influences. The need for further research on this distinction is emphasized. Contributors to Part I are Elliot W. Eisner, William Ives and Howard Gardner, and Marjorie and Brent Wilson. The three chapters in Part III discuss three major problems in art education: the use of museum visits, the worldwide attempt to establish valid tests of teacher and pupil proficiency in art, and the design of sound and useful cross-cultural research. Resources for such research are described. Contributors to Part III are Robert Ott and Lois Swan Jones, William Bradley, and Frances E. Anderson. Professionals and students in art education can broaden their perspective through Art in Education, while their counterparts in child development and psychology can gain insights into the creative process. Profiles: Western Europe—England,Finland, Germany, Netherlands; Eastern Europe—Hungary, Poland, Soviet Union; Middle East and South Asia Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Israel; East Asia and the Pacific Australia, China, Japan; Africa—Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa; The Americas—Brazil, United States. (shrink)
Compelling voices charge that the theological notion of “sacrifice” valorizes suffering and fosters a culture of violence by the claim that Christ’s death on the Cross paid for human sins. Beneath the ‘sacred’ violence of sacrifice, René Girard discerns a concealed scapegoat-murder driven by a distortion of human desire that itself must lead to human self-annihilation. I here ask: can one speak safely of sacrifice; and can human beings somehow cease to practice the sacrifice that must otherwise destroy them? Drawing (...) on Gregory the Great (ca. 540–604), I propose an understanding of sacrifice that both distinguishes Christian sacrifice from sacred violence and accounts for how to overcome the roots of the sacred violence identified by Girard. I make four claims: First, Girard recognizes two kinds of sacrifice—one, the scapegoat murder, overcomes community rivalries by unanimous imitation of an accuser, shifting blame onto a third party who is collectively murdered; the other sort of sacrifice practices renunciation and forgiveness in imitation of God. These I respectively designate the “Satanic” (Girard’s term) and the “theomimetic” (mine). Second, I analyze the intrinsic instability that keeps the Satanic from sustaining the societal order and unity that it promises. Third, by a constructive reading of Gregory the Great, I posit that satanic sacrifice overlooks and indeed exacerbates the root of human covetousness—a failure to love. Fourth, Gregory’s teaching on the imitation of Christ enables us to expand on Girard’s account of the theo¬mimetic sacrifice of renunciation, to clarify how this latter might not only oppose but also systematically subvert the Satanic by healing the disorder out of which mimetic rivalry and scapegoating first take their rise. (shrink)
What was René Girard’s attitude towards philosophy? What philosophers influenced him? What stance did he take in the philosophical debates of his time? What are the philosophical questions raised by René Girard’s anthropology? In this interview, Paul Dumouchel sheds light on these issues.
This paper will address René Girard’s critique of the “humanization of nothingness” in modern Western philosophy. I will first explain how the “desire for death” is related to a phenomenon that Girard refers to as “obstacle addiction.” Second, I will point out how mankind’s desire for death and illusory will to self-divinization gradually tend to converge within the history of modern Western humanism. In particular, I will show how this convergence between self-destruction and self-divinization gradually takes shape through the evolution (...) of the concept of “the negative” from Hegel to Kojève, Sartre and Camus. Finally, we shall come to see that in Girard’s view “the negative” has tended to become an ever-preoccupying and unacknowledged symptom of mankind’s addiction to “model/obstacles” of desire. (shrink)
This paper will analyze the evolution and the key aspects of René Girard’s critique of the Hegelian “struggle for recognition” and the master-slave dialectic. Through a discussion of Girard’s views on Identity, Difference, Violence, Desire and Negativity, the study will aim to highlight the philosophical uniqueness of the mimetic theory in respect to French Hegelianism and postHegelianism.
Wie ist es zu erklären, dass wir uns vermittels geistiger Akte auf Gegenstände beziehen können? Und wodurch sind uns geistige Akte bewusst? René Descartes und Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz geben faszinierende Antworten auf diese beiden zentralen Fragen der Philosophie des Geistes. In dieser Studie werden die Konzeptionen beider Autoren im Detail analysiert, miteinander verglichen und mit heutigen Positionen in Beziehung gesetzt. Die Analysen zeigen, dass Descartes eine deflationäre Konzeption des Bewusstseins (conscientia) vertritt. Bewusstsein ist „nur“ ein Aspekt der Intentionalität, die das (...) wesentliche Merkmal des cartesischen Geists ausmacht. Die Analysen zu Leibniz weisen nach, dass er im Vergleich zu Descartes eine weitaus komplexere und anspruchsvollere Konzeption des Geistes vertritt, die aus heutiger Sicht anschlussfähiger erscheint. Die herausragenden Merkmale seiner Position sind die strukturelle Auffassung der Intentionalität und die Unterscheidung zwischen zwei Formen von Bewusstsein (apperception und conscientia), die dem phänomenalen Bewusstsein und dem reflexiven Selbstbewusstsein entsprechen. Im Unterschied zu Descartes weist Leibniz auch nicht-rationalen Tieren Bewusstsein in Form der Apperzeption zu. Conscientia bleibt dagegen den rationalen Substanzen vorbehalten. (shrink)
This paper aims to offer a comprehensive overview of René Girard’s reflections on the issue of modern jihadism. It addresses three key aspects of his reasoning: (I) the rise of Islamic terrorism in the context of a globalization of resentment; (II) modern jihadism understood as an “event internal to the development of technology;” (III) the hypothesis that modern jihadism “is both linked to Islam and different from it.”.
This anthology brings together many of the more significant contributions to Cartesian scholarship, some of which reach far back as the 1930s. Altogether, there are well over 100 detailed analyses and discussions of salient aspects of Descartes' Promethean legacy. Because Descartes intended his system to embrace not only philosophy but also a complete scientific corpus, this collection covers both philosophical issues and scientific views: Volume 1 is devoted to questions of Cartesian Method and epistemology; Volumes 2 and 3 concentrate on (...) his metaphysics; and Volume 4 discusses Descartes' scientific views and achievements. The lucidity and originality of the essays, a number of which are already classics of Cartesian scholarship, will ensure that this anthology becomes a standard in Cartesian philosophy. An invaluable resource, Rene;e Descartes provides a large variety of introductions, analyses, criticisms, and appraisals of the problems which preoccupied Descartes and the solutions he propounded. (shrink)
In discussing his mimetic theory, René Girard seeks to show that the story concerning the miraculous curing of Ephesus by Apollonius of Tyana could be used to demonstrate how an epidemic of mimetic rivalry can be converted into a state of unanimous violence that has a cathartic effect on society. In doing so, Girard emphasizes the importance of the model in mimetic contagion and its power in channelling the frustrations and violence of the crowd towards a single victim. For him, (...) Apollonius achieved the curing of Ephesus, not through any miraculous intervention but by the single victim mechanism by which the trepidation of society is relieved through unanimous violence. This paper is an attempt to show what is wrong in Girard’s discussion of this miracle. While not necessarily discrediting Girard’s basic precept that human beings are mimetic in nature, it argues that his use of language in presenting the Apollonius story is unnecessarily emotive and inappropriate. It identifies historical and logical inconsistencies in Girard’s discussion and shows his denigration of Apollonius as irrelevant and unfair. It points to various inconsistencies in his adaptation of the story to his theory and concludes that the context and letter of the Apollonius miracle do not fit his mimetic mould and that his attempt to use the Apollonius miracle to further his theory fails to achieve its purpose. (shrink)
El término “doble vínculo” fue utilizado por primera vez por el antropólogo Gregory Bateson. René Girard asume esta aportación de la Escuela de Palo Alto para formular su teoría del “deseo mimético”. El presente artículo expone la transformación de esta noción en la antropología contemporánea.
La obra de René Girard está salpicada de críticas al humanismo y a los humanistas. En este estudio nos preguntamos en primer lugar qué es el humanismo, haciéndonos cargo de la problemática historiográfica. Presentamos el contraste existente entre los tópicos e ideales humanistas y las ideas que se derivan de la teoría mimética. Estudiamos las críticas explícitas de Girard a los humanistas y, por último, adoptamos una perspectiva que permite calificarlo a él mismo como un humanista.
A highly interesting collection of lectures on the central themes of contemporary philosophy and theology in the European tradition. Out of twenty-seven fascinating titles a few especially interesting ones are: Heinrich Ott, "The Structure of the Act of Faith," Karl Kerényi, "The Myth of Faith," Antoine Vergote, "Myth, Belief, and Theological Faith," Henri Bouillard, "To Believe and to Understand," Geo Widengren, "Myth and Faith in the Light of Religious Phenomenology," Giulio Girardi, "Demythisation and Atheism," René Marlé, "Is the Christian Faith (...) a Religion?" Huguette Fugier, "Time and the Sacred in the Religious Vocabulary of the Romans," Renato Lazzarini, "Myth and Faith in Eschatological Perspective." All the lectures and the discussions centered around them are in French.—M. J. V. (shrink)
The present book is the revised version of my Ph.D. Thesis “A Philosophical Study of the Concept of Mind (with special reference to Rene Descartes, David Hume and Gilbert Ryle)”. I have selected three thinkers Rene Descartes, David Hume and Gilbert Ryle to discuss their ideas on the nature of mind. All the above thinkers have relevance in cognitive science and philosophy of mind by their conceptions about the mind and problems they have raised. We have used analysis (...) as a methodology of this work and concluded that we should adopt an integrated and collective approach of cognitive science to study the nature of mind. In the end of the book, glossary of the philosophy of mind also added, which terms frequently I used in this work. (shrink)
A major contribution to Descartes studies, this book provides a panorama of cutting-edge scholarship ranging widely over Descartes's own primary concerns: metaphysics, physics, and its applications. It is at once a tool for scholars and--steering clear of technical Cartesian science--an accessible resource that will delight nonspecialists. The contributors include Edwin Curley, Willis Doney, Alan Gabbey, Daniel Garber, Marjorie Grene, Gary Hatfield, Marleen Rozemond, John Schuster, Dennis Sepper, Stephen Voss, Stephen Wagner, Margaret Welson, Jean Marie Beyssade, Michelle Beyssade, Michel Henry, Evert (...) van Leeuwen, Jean-Luc Marion, Genevieve Rodis-Lewis, and Jean-Pierre Seris. Combining new textual sensitivity with attentiveness to history, they represent the best established scholars and most exciting new voices, including both English speaking and newly-translated writers. Part I examines the foundations of Descartes's philosophy: Cartesian certainty; the phenomenology of the cogito and its modulations in the passions; and the defensibility and comprehensibility of the Cartesian God. The second part examines Descartes's groundbreaking metaphysics: mind's distinctness from and interaction with body; imagination; perception; and language. Part III examines Cartesian science: the revolutionary rhetoric of the Rules and the Discourse; the metaphysical foundations of physics; the interplay of rationalism and empiricism; the mechanics and human biology that flow from Descartes's physics. (shrink)
Contributors are Susan Bordo, Stanley Clarke, Erica Harth, Leslie Heywood, Luce Irigaray, Genevieve Lloyd, Mario Moussa, Eileen O'Neill, Adrianna Paliyenko, Ruth Perry, Mario Sáenz, Karl Stern, Thomas Wartenberg, and James Winders.
An introduction to Descartes as a philosopher. Situates his philosophy within the context of Descartes' efforts to forge a new natural philosophy, including original work on the theory of the senses and the passions and emotions.
When originally published in 1952, this book filled a gap in the history of philosophy and science and remains an important work today, because it puts the main mathematical and physical discoveries of Descartes in an accessible form, for the benefit of English readers. Descartes is acknowledged to be the founder of modern mathematics, through his invention of analytical geometry and this volume charts Descartes’ role in bringing a unity into algebra and geometry and the development of mathematics into a (...) discipline which could be properly analysed. Carefully paraphrasing the Géométrie, this volume retains much of Descartes’ original notation as well as the original diagrams. The volume also discusses the considerable contribution that Descartes made to the physical sciences which involved accurate work in optics, light, sight and colour. (shrink)
La obra girardiana no es sistemática. El análisis y la síntesis de contenido de sus textos es el objeto de esta investigación. Pretendemos aquí exponer y clarificar su filosofía mimética, tanto su teoría sobre la formación de los individuos, como su filosofía interdividual del sujeto, además de contextualizarla dentro del giro intersubjetivo de la filosofía contemporánea.
Reflecting on his scientific career toward the end of his life, the French-educated medical researcher René Dubos presented his flowering as an ecological thinker as a story of linear progression—the inevitable product of the intellectual seeds planted in his youth. But how much store should we set by Dubos’s account of his ecological journey? Resisting retrospective biographical readings, this paper seeks to relate the development of Dubos’s ecological ideas to his experimental practices and his career as a laboratory researcher. In (...) particular, I focus on Dubos’s studies of tuberculosis at the Rockefeller Institute in the period 1944–1956—studies which began with an inquiry into the tubercle bacillus and the physiochemical determinants of virulence, but which soon encompassed a wider investigation of the influence of environmental forces and host–parasite interactions on susceptibility and resistance to infection in animal models. At the same time, through a close reading of Dubos’s scientific papers and correspondence, I show how he both drew on and distinguished his ecological ideas from those of other medical researchers such as Theobald Smith, Frank Macfarlane Burnet, and Frank Fenner. However, whereas Burnet and Fenner tended to view ecological interactions at the level of populations, Dubos focused on the interface of hosts and parasites in the physiological environments of individuals. The result was that although Dubos never fully engaged with the science of ecology, he was able to incorporate ecological ideas into his thought and practices, and relate them to his holistic views on health and the natural harmony of man and his environment. (shrink)
Why is it so important to study Nietzsche? Many works about Nietzsche’s thought have been published over the years, from every conceivable position, including analytical philosophy.1 One more essay on Nietzsche may seem a bit repetitive. Yet, as Giuseppe Fornari wrote in the preface of Il Caso Nietzsche (The Nietzsche Case), it is fundamental to analyze Nietzsche deeply, because the most important themes of his works are still hidden among the pages of his books.2 René Girard has made an original (...) contribution to understanding Nietzsche by underlining the close connections between Nietzsche’s philosophy and the personal relationships he established during his life. In particular, Girard’s .. (shrink)
Between the years 1643 and 1649, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes exchanged fifty-eight letters—thirty-two from Descartes and twenty-six from Elisabeth. Their correspondence contains the only known extant philosophical writings by Elisabeth, revealing her mastery of metaphysics, analytic geometry, and moral philosophy, as well as her keen interest in natural philosophy. The letters are essential reading for anyone interested in Descartes’s philosophy, in particular his account of the human being as a union of mind and body, as well as (...) his ethics. They also provide a unique insight into the character of their authors and the way ideas develop through intellectual collaboration. Philosophers have long been familiar with Descartes’s side of the correspondence. Now Elisabeth’s letters—never before available in translation in their entirety—emerge this volume, adding much-needed context and depth both to Descartes’s ideas and the legacy of the princess. Lisa Shapiro’s annotated edition—which also includes Elisabeth’s correspondence with the Quakers William Penn and Robert Barclay—will be heralded by students of philosophy, feminist theorists, and historians of the early modern period. (shrink)
A systematic introduction into the mimetic theory of the French-American literary theorist and philosophical anthropologist René Girard, this essential text explains its three main pillars with the help of examples from literature and philosophy. This book also offers an overview of René Girard’s life and work, showing how much mimetic theory results from existential and spiritual insights into one’s own mimetic entanglements. Furthermore it examines the broader implications of Girard’s theories, from the mimetic aspect of sovereignty and wars to the (...) relationship between the scapegoat mechanism and the question of capital punishment. Mimetic theory is placed within the context of current cultural and political debates like the relationship between religion and modernity, terrorism, the death penalty, and gender issues. Drawing textual examples from European literature and philosophy, Palaver uses mimetic theory to explore the themes they present. A highly accessible book, this text is complemented by bibliographical references to Girard’s widespread work and secondary literature on mimetic theory and its applications, comprising a valuable bibliographical archive that provides the reader with an overview of the development and discussion of mimetic theory until the present day. (shrink)
Review of Desmond M. Clarke. Descartes: A Biography. xi + 507 pp., apps., figs., bibl., index. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. $40 (cloth).; Richard Watson, Cogito, Ergo Sum: The Life of René Descartes. viii + 375 pp., figs., bibl., index. Boston: David R. Godine, 2002. $35 (cloth).
Between the years 1643 and 1649, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–80) and Rene; Descartes (1596–1650) exchanged fifty-eight letters—thirty-two from Descartes and twenty-six from Elisabeth. Their correspondence contains the only known extant philosophical writings by Elisabeth, revealing her mastery of metaphysics, analytic geometry, and moral philosophy, as well as her keen interest in natural philosophy. The letters are essential reading for anyone interested in Descartes’s philosophy, in particular his account of the human being as a union of mind and body, (...) as well as his ethics. They also provide a unique insight into the character of their authors and the way ideas develop through intellectual collaboration. Philosophers have long been familiar with Descartes’s side of the correspondence. Now Elisabeth’s letters—never before available in translation in their entirety—emerge this volume, adding much-needed context and depth both to Descartes’s ideas and the legacy of the princess. Lisa Shapiro’s annotated edition—which also includes Elisabeth’s correspondence with the Quakers William Penn and Robert Barclay—will be heralded by students of philosophy, feminist theorists, and historians of the early modern period. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: René Descartes' Cogito is an example of a paradigmatic thought experiment, herald of both subjectivism and new science in Europe's Modern Age, that seems to have escaped the attention of thought experiment philosophers. On deep analysis, the Cogito appears as universal instantiation. The Cogito has strong rhetorical effects for it narratively generalizes from I to all human kind, and its historical and philosophical success can be explained from its concise enthymematic structure that rings true in many possible senses. We (...) consider it a preeminent example of a thought experiment as it states the power of thinking as its very contents. From Descartes' methodology of doubt we can conclude that, e.g., on a Wittgensteinian interpretation, the Cogito is a logical thought experiment rather than a psychological one. RESUMO: O Cogito de René Descartes é um exemplo de experimento mental paradigmático, precursor tanto do subjetivismo quanto da nova ciência, na Idade Moderna europeia, o qual parece ter escapado à atenção dos filósofos que estudaram o experimento mental. Na análise profunda, o Cogito aparece como uma instanciação universal. O Cogito tem fortes efeitos retóricos por si mesmo, generalizando narrativamente desde o eu para toda a espécie humana, e seu sucesso histórico e filosófico pode ser explicado por sua estrutura entimemática concisa, que soa através de muitos sentidos possíveis. Consideramos que é um exemplo proeminente de um experimento mental, na medida em que afirma o poder de pensar como seus próprios conteúdos. A partir da metodologia da dúvida de Descartes, podemos concluir que, em uma interpretação wittgensteiniana, o Cogito é um experimento mental mais lógico que psicológico. (shrink)
The major goal of René Descartes’s rich and penetrating recent book, Meditations on First Philosophy, is to develop a methodology for the discovery of the truth, more specifically, a methodology that accommodates the dictates of a mathematical physics for our view of physical reality. Such a methodology must accordingly deal with and seek to defuse the apparent conflict between a mathematical physics and our commonsense picture of things, a conflict that continues to pose difficult challenges. Though much in the book (...) is devoted to an account of the mind, that focus results from the broader goal of finding a methodology for discovery that will deliver an overall picture of reality consonant with a mathematical physics. Much that Descartes says in this book may strike many readers as extravagant and implausible, and perhaps hardly worth serious consideration. But there is a line of argument one can extract that is challenging and often compelling, even if not in the end wholly convincin .. (shrink)
This paper analyzes the work of Emmanuel Levinas and René Girard and argues that both of them have as their central problem the phenomenon of human violence and both try to address this problem from their own religious tradition, Jewish for Levinas, Christian for Girard. They both pursue the concept of nonviolence to an extreme point in what each calls saintliness or holiness and both can be considered religious prophets of this extreme version of nonviolence.
Religion has become a vital resource for attempts to rethink the meaning of the political. This article rehearses the efforts of two recent figures, René Girard and Giorgio Agamben, to transform the political by renewing its connection to religion. Both thinkers struggle to escape politics as defined by Carl Schmitt's friend/enemy distinction. Girard and Agamben do clash ideologically, but their inquiries into sacrifice and messianism take similar courses. Regarding origins, Girard argues for the sacrificial crisis as the common parent to (...) religion and politics. Conversely, for Agamben, the Roman figure of homo sacer distinguishes politics from religion. With respect to the future, Girard's messianism installs Christian belief as the only way to move beyond violence. By contrast, Agamben steers Pauline messianism toward the efforts to displace sovereignty and reopen the political. I conclude that Agamben breaks with Schmitt while Girard reinscribes his politics at a higher level. Key Words: Giorgio Agamben Rey Chow Christianity René Girard homo sacer messianism politics sacred sacrifice Carl Schmitt. (shrink)