—The main claim of this book is that if we situate Nietzsche’s thought within the historical context of nineteenth-century theories of evolution and degeneration, our comprehension of Nietzsche will significantly improve. Moore begins by questioning Heidegger’s dismissal of Nietzsche’s “alleged biologism.” He contends that Heideggerian approaches not only rest upon a false dichotomy between the metaphysical and the biological, but that they also can never make sense of “why Nietzsche mobilizes a wide array of biological metaphors, and from an early (...) stage in his intellectual development, consistently situates his thought within the dominant discourse of the second half of the nineteenth century”. (shrink)
Truth in the Making represents a sophisticated effort to map the complex relations between human knowledge and creative power, as reflected across more than half a millennium of philosophical enquiry. Showing the intimacy of this problematic to the work of Nicholas of Cusa, Bacon, Galileo, Descartes, Hobbes, Leibniz, Vico and David Lachterman, the book reveals how questions about creation apparently diluted by secularism in fact retain much of their potency today. If science could counterfeit or synthesize nature precisely from its (...) smallest nuts and bolts, as Descartes and Hobbes implied and as modern science increasingly suggests, would it create an identical world to that we live in now Robert C. Miner offers a precise genealogy of modern thought on truth and creation: from medieval theology's identification of human creativity with divine initiative to the radical Leibnizian contention that human ideas are 'not little copies of God's', and may at once exceed mimesis and produce things new, unpredictable and unseen. He considers how the theological importance given to creation interacts historically with the secularisation and instrumentalisation of modes of discovery and method, and asks how knowledge is understood between different disciplines, from the allegorical discipline of poetry to the constructible field of mathematics. The book is an eloquent reminder of the ways in which theology continues to fling a wild card at philosophical understandings of reality, countering theories of metaphysical equivalence of the 'real' and 'artificial' with theologies in which human making is always fallible, and strives only for approximate participation in divine truth. As a strenuous and informative breakdown of leading theories of knowledge, Truth in the Making shows the continuing influence of theological questions upon philosophical, scientific and aesthetic disciplines, whilst raising topical questions about the ultimate nature of our reality and our freedom to modify and define it. (shrink)
In this analysis of his thought on friendship, I begin first by arguing that for Nietzsche friendship is undesirable or impossible with or between four human types. Insight on this point is valuable, because it provides clear vision of what friendship is not. Second, I will argue that Nietzsche takes superior friendship to be possible but rare, since it requires its participants to balance three pairs of opposing qualities that are difficult to keep in equilibrium. Third, I will show that (...) Nietzsche takes friendship in its highest form to aim at a goal, appropriately named "truth." Here I draw upon both "middle-period" texts and Beyond Good and Evil, the latter to show that a concern for friendship pervades Nietzsche's oeuvre. Fourth, I show that Nietzsche differs most from ancient authors in his uncompromising insistence that if friendship is to serve truth rather than comfort or illusion, it is necessarily agonistic. A final section argues that if true friendship is to be nourished rather than destroyed by opposition, the virtue of "sympathy" must be present. Sympathy in Nietzsche's sense cannot be conflated with pity, since it is related to the "shared joy" that he identifies as the crown of friendship. (shrink)
Abstract Struck by essentialist and anti-essentialist elements in his writings, Nietzsche's readers have wondered whether his conception of the self is incoherent or paradoxical. This paper demonstrates that his conception of the self, while complex, is not paradoxical or incoherent, but contains four distinct levels. Section I shows Schopenhauer as Educator to contain an early description of the four levels: (1) a person's deepest self, embracing all that cannot be educated or molded; (2) a person's ego; (3) a person's ?ideal? (...) or ?higher self?; (4) a person's ?true self? or ?true nature?. In the remaining three sections, I show that Nietzsche develops and enriches this conception, without ever abandoning it. Section II treats the fourfold conception as it appears in Human, All Too Human. Section III interrogates relevant passages in the Gay Science, showing that while Nietzsche speaks of artful self-fashioning (as Alexander Nehamas emphasizes), he also pays due regard to the sense in which we are not our own creations. Section IV turns to the ?deepest? level of the self, consisting of motives and drives. Drawing primarily upon Daybreak and Beyond Good and Evil, I show that Nietzsche regards neither the drives nor their hierarchical ordering as things that we construct. (shrink)
The Summa Theologiae is Thomas Aquinas' undisputed masterwork, and it includes his thoughts on the elemental forces in human life. Feelings such as love, hatred, pleasure, pain, hope and despair were described by Aquinas as 'passions', representing the different ways in which happiness could be affected. But what causes the passions? What impact do they have on the person who suffers them? Can they be shaped and reshaped in order to better promote human flourishing? The aim of this book is (...) to provide a better understanding of Aquinas' account of the passions. It identifies the Aristotelian influences that lie at the heart of the Summa Theologiae, and it enters into a dialogue with contemporary thinking about the nature of emotion. The study argues that Aquinas' work is still important today, and shows why for Aquinas both the understanding and attainment of happiness requires prolonged reflection on the passions. (shrink)
We can describe certain actions as defective in a particular virtue, for example, as “unjust” or “intemperate.” We can take the additional step of describing such actions as “morally wrong” or “contrary to moral obligation.” A key claim of Elizabeth Anscombe's “Modern Moral Philosophy” is that if we choose to describe virtue-defective actions as “morally wrong,” because we are “obliged” or “bound” or “required” not to do them, we are in fact taking an additional step and that this step stands (...) in need of explanation. Just what, if anything, is added to the description of an action as “unjust” when we say there is an obligation not to do it? Anscombe thinks “the answer is in history: between Aristotle and us came Christianity, with its law conception of ethics.” 1 In this paper, I shall confront this question in two parts. First, I will consider the possibility, argued for by Simon Blackburn, that Anscombe's historical explanation cannot answer this question because her history is based on the false premise that the Greeks do not possess the “moral ought.” Describing an action as contrary to obligation may still add something to “unjust,” but historical genealogy of Anscombe's sort will not shed any light on the question. Since I think that Blackburn's arguments, although important, are not conclusive, I will proceed to consider the implications of Anscombe's own view of what talk about obligation adds to descriptions of actions as defective in virtue. This will require elaboration of her cryptic Wittgensteinian remark that “it really does add something to the description ‘unjust’ to say there is an obligation not to do it; for what obliges is the divine law—as rules oblige in a game.” 2. (shrink)
This brilliant book seeks to understand “the central aspiration of Hobbes’s civil philosophy, the aspiration to convert the study of moral and political theory into a scientific discipline”, by tracing the influence of the rhetorical culture of Renaissance humanism upon Hobbes’s texts. Attention to this influence, the author argues, will show that the Leviathan “is a work in which the humanist ideal of a union between reason and rhetoric is not merely defended but systematically realized”.
Do not be put off by the cumbersome title of this book. Underneath a huge mass of erudition lies a simple yet powerful thesis. The thinkers of the high Middle Ages did not imagine themselves as contributors to metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics, or any of the autonomous but interconnected “spheres of philosophical inquiry” that most post-Enlightenment historians of medieval philosophy take for granted. In very different ways, Aquinas, Scotus, and Ockham use the materials of philosophy to describe and illuminate the (...) movement of the human creature in via. The result may occasionally remind us of “doing philosophy,” but Inglis suggests that the similarities are mostly superficial. If we care about understanding medieval thought on its own terms, we will pay attention to the differences between the projects of modern philosophy and those of medieval theology—differences that are no less marked even when the latter self-consciously appropriates the insights of pagan philosophy. (shrink)
ExcerptAfter emigrating to the United States, Leo Strauss taught political philosophy for thirty years, first at the New School for Social Research in New York and then at the University of Chicago, before retiring at St. John's College. Richard Wolin observes that he “seems to have deeply mistrusted day-to-day politics—a very strange stance, to be sure, for someone who made his living teaching political philosophy.”1 But is it really so strange? What in his German Gymnasium education, or his participation in (...) the Zionist movement, would have prepared him for the peculiarities of day-to-day American politics? Strauss did not underestimate the…. (shrink)
Can God be the efficient cause of himself (causa sui,)? It is well known that Descartes answers this question in the affirmative, but it is considerably less clear why. The main contention of the essay is that Descartes advances the causa sui doctrine because he came to think that the ontological proof of Meditation V required it. We argue these contentions through a close analysis of Descartes' initial articulation of causa sui in response to Caterus, followed by attention to the (...) reformulation of the doctrine in response to the logical objections posed by Arnauld. Our understanding of causa sui as a move made within the horizon of the ontological proof not only illuminates why Descartes would have defended a doctrine as conceptually problematic as causa sui, but also provides an alternative to Jean-Luc Marion's view that causa sui constitutes a third, distinct proof for the existence of God. /// Pode Deus ser a causa eficiente de si mesmo (causa sui,)? É bem sabido que Descartes responde aflrmativamente a esta questão, mas é consideravelmente menos claro porquê. O principal conteúdo do ensaio é que Descartes apresenta a doutrina da causa sui porque pensou que a prova ontológica da Meditação V precisava dela. Demonstramos estas afirmações através de uma análise rigorosa da articulação inicial de Descartes da causa sui em resposta a Caterus, seguida de uma atenção à reformulação da doutrina em resposta às objecções logicas apresentadas por Arnauld. A nossa compreensão da causa sui como proposta feita no horizonte da prova ontológica não ilumina apenas porque é que Descartes teria defendido uma doutrina conceptualmente tão problemática como a causa sui, mas também providencia uma alternativa ao ponto de vista de Jean-Luc Marion de que a causa sui constitui a terceira, prova distintapara a existência de Deus. (shrink)
This book is of great service to anyone who desires to think historically about ethics, but particularly to those wanting to learn more about the forms assumed by Aristotelian moral discourses during the Renaissance. For it is these forms that are typically overlooked and neglected, even by contemporary theorists who have persuasively argued that we should pay attention to the historical tradition of Aristotelian ethics.
Perhaps the most striking feature of this book is its combination of clarity and obscurity. Deploying a formidable array of technical resources from his “extensive work in epistemology and the philosophy of mind and action”, Audi produces an “overall ethical theory” that “combines a version of moral realism with a moderate intuitionism” and is “epistemologically internalist, normatively objective, valuationally pluralist, and qualifiedly naturalistic”.
Words signify things. Or so O’Callaghan wants to argue, against the “mental representationalist” tradition of modern philosophy which holds that words signify concepts in the mind, which in turn problematically correspond to or represent things. O’Callaghan gives extended consideration to the possibility that the “linguistic turn” of twentieth-century Anglo-American philosophy suggests a way out of mental representationalism. He concludes, however, that a more compelling response may be had by drawing upon Thomas Aquinas and the Thomist tradition, to which he attributes (...) a “willingness and sense of obligation to engage contemporary modes of thought”. (shrink)
A fresh translation of _quaestiones_ from the _Summa theologiae _of Thomas Aquinas, edited by Robert Miner. This volume provides direct access to the medieval theologian’s deepest thinking about the supreme goal of human life—blessedness—and the virtue most intimately related to this goal—charity. The edition also contains Aquinas’s treatment of charity’s effects—love, joy, peace, and mercy—and the vices opposed to them, such as hatred, envy, and war. Featuring five supplementary essays by noted Aquinas scholars, the volume will enable readers to engage (...) more thoroughly with the thought of Thomas Aquinas. (shrink)