Early modern commentaries on Aristotle’s Metaphysics contain a lively debate on whether experience is ‘rational’, so that it may count as ‘proto-knowledge’, or whether experience is ‘non-rational’, so that experience must be regarded as a primarily perceptual process. If experience is just a repetitive apprehension of sensory contents, the connection of terms in a scientific proposition can be known without any experiential input, as the ‘non-rational’ Scotists state. ‘Rational’ Thomists believe that all principles of scientific knowledge must rely on experiential (...) data, because experience consists in an apprehension of facts rather than objects. And it is only apprehension of facts that can justify knowledge of principles. In this context, the role of mathematical knowledge is special, because it is self-evident. So Thomists must either show that mathematical principles do rely on experience, or that they do not express knowledge claims. (shrink)
In their debate on whether or not the young should be allowed to study history, Degory Wheare and Gerhardus Vossius quote Bartholomäus Keckermann and state that he wants to exclude the young from studying history, Wheare arguing for Keckermann’s purported position, Vossius opposing it. Their disagreement is part of a larger controversy on the relevance of history for moral instruction in general, contemplating the question whether or not history is best understood as ‘philosophy teaching by example.’ But the interpretation of (...) Keckermann’s position presupposed by both Wheare and Vossius is wrong. Keckermann’s Ramist predecessors argued against a central presupposition of Wheare’s views, i.e., the exclusion of the young from studying moral philosophy. Keckermann’s own position in this regard is not fully clear. But a closer analysis of his distinction between methods for writing and for reading history shows that Keckermann did want the young to study history. If Keckermann had believed that such exclusion were necessary, it could only have been related to reading historical texts, not to writing them: writing texts about historical figures or events does not require moral precepts, but only the application of certain logical tools. A view that implies that writing a historical text should be possible for students, whereas reading such a text would go beyond their capabilities, is absurd. Hence, we can assume that Keckermann expected the young to study both history and moral philosophy. (shrink)
The majority of Kant scholars has taken it for granted that for Kant the soul is in some sense present in space and that this assumption is by and large unproblematic. If we read Kant’s texts in the context of debates on this topic within 18th century rationalism and beyond, a more complex picture emerges, leading to the somewhat surprising conclusion that Kant in 1770 can best be characterised as a Cartesian about the mind. The paper first develops a framework (...) for describing the various positions on the place of the soul in space as varieties of ‘localism’, since German philosophers of the 18th century all agreed on the fact that the soul is in some sense present in space. Strong localists (Crusius, Knutzen) maintain that the soul occupies a place that cannot at the same time be occupied by a material substance. The Königsberg Wolffian Christian Gabriel Fischer is an ‘epistemic localist’ defending the view that our knowledge about the presence of the soul in space is limited. Bilfinger holds that the soul only represents itself as being present in space, he is a ‘representational localist’. The Cartesians, including Leonhard Euler and his teacher Samuel Werenfels, assume that the soul is effective in a region of space without truly being present there. They are ‘virtual localists’. Kant’s attitude towards this problem before the 1760s is a bit unclear. But his writings in this period are at least compatible with the strong localism defended by Knutzen. In the Herder transcripts (1762-1764) and other texts after 1760, Kant begins to distance himself from this view, but he does not articulate clearly his own position. This trend culminates in Dreams of a Spirit Seer (1766), where Kant oscillates somewhat uneasily between epistemic and virtual localism and criticises explicitly the Cartesian thesis that the soul’s presence in the body is limited to a determinate region. The dissertation from 1770 marks another radical change in Kant’s views on the place of the soul. Here, he subscribes to virtual localism and its concomitant thesis that the soul itself is, properly speaking, nowhere. Together with the thesis that the soul knows that it belongs to the mundus intelligibilis this makes Kant in 1770 a Cartesian about the mind. (shrink)
Loci personarum, ‘topics for persons’ were used in Latin rhetoric for the description of persons, their external circumstances, physical attributes, or qualities of character. They stood in the way of fusing rhetoric and dialectic, the goal of sixteenth-century ‘humanistic’ logic: the project of a unified theory of invention depends on the exclusion of loci personarum from the domain of dialectic proper. But still they cannot easily be replaced in the class room. Bartholomaeus Keckermann resolved these difficulties: he proposed to abandon (...) the notion that loci personarum could play a role in finding new arguments concerning persons. So they pose no risks for a unified theory of invention, because they can only be used for the exposition of information that we already have. Since loci personarum are concerned with individuals, the knowledge about individuals that is available to us is inescapably circumstantial and contingent, defying the claim of generality or necessity of dialectic made by Keckermann’s sixteenth-century predecessors. However, our thinking about persons is primarily interested in those aspects that we do not share with other members of our species. For Keckermann, persons are therefore logically different from most individuals belonging to other species. (shrink)
The paper examines attempts to define philosophy as a discipline in early modern Spanish Aristotelianism. Such definitions served primarily didactical goals: a definition of philosophy conveyed first impressions of what philosophy was in order to facilitate the subsequent detailed apprehension of philosophical doctrines. But even though such definitions should not be misunderstood as >metaphilosophical< in the contemporary sense, they gave rise to quite detailed debates on the nature of philosophy, its relation to wisdom, or the domain of objects philosophy is (...) concerned with. Whereas the canon of problems discussed in the texts is quite homogeneous, the answers given differ considerably. These differences concern e. g. the status of philosophical knowledge, the relation between theoretical and practical philosophy or the role of mathematics in the canon of philosophical disciplines. (shrink)
The paper discusses Sellars’s view of philosophy and its relation to the sciences. It argues for three interrelated theses. First, philosophy has no specifi c subject matter. Second, we ask ourselves questions which cannot be answered from a purely scientifi c point of view. Third, philosophical standards are contingent, but this does not mean that philosophy is to be abandoned. Pace Sellars, the specifi c achievement of philosophy consists in «a view of the whole», which enables us to «know our (...) way around» with respect to the different domains of expertise we are familiar with. Philosophy thus refl ects a common sense perspective of ourselves and the world we live in, which rests on the assumption that we are obliged to regard ourselves, as well as those sharing our lives, as persons. This in turn implies that our most basic ways of relating to the world are governed by norms. Getting a view of the whole of man thus means that we must regard ourselves both as participants of a norm-governed «Lebensform» [life form] and as complex biological systems. Philosophy and the sciences complement one another. Science aims at knowledge. This aim cannot be properly understood within science itself, because science does not concern itself with the normative perspective inherent in the very concept of knowledge. Philosophy, in turn, cannot risk ignoring the results of the sciences, because their insights form an essential part of what we must take to be the whole of the world that philosophy has in view. Even though philosophy should not aspire to achieve a complete revolution of the norms and standards governing our attempts to make sense of this world, it is nevertheless indispensable because it shows that these norms themselves are always open to refl ection and revision. (shrink)
Called “the most important critic of his time” by Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin has only become more influential over the years, as his work has assumed a crucial place in current debates over the interactions of art, culture, and meaning. A “natural and extraordinary talent for letter writing was one of the most captivating facets of his nature,” writes Gershom Scholem in his Foreword to this volume; and Benjamin's correspondence reveals the evolution of some of his most powerful ideas, (...) while also offering an intimate picture of Benjamin himself and the times in which he lived. Writing at length to Scholem and Theodor Adorno, and exchanging letters with Rainer Maria Rilke, Hannah Arendt, Max Brod, and Bertolt Brecht, Benjamin elaborates on his ideas about metaphor and language. He reflects on literary figures from Kafka to Karl Kraus, and expounds his personal attitudes toward such subjects as Marxism and French national character. Providing an indispensable tool for any scholar wrestling with Benjamin’s work, The Correspondence of Walter Benjamin, 1910–1940 is a revelatory look at the man behind much of the twentieth century’s most significant criticism. (shrink)
Zusammenfassung Oftmals wird Fairness mit einer ethischen Haltung in Verbindung gebracht. Demnach ist ein Sportler fair, wenn er aufgrund bestimmter moralischer Einsichten handelt. Diese Vorstellung ist kaum empirisch nachprüfbar. Andere, nichtethische Motive können stattdessen für die Individuen handlungsleitend sein. Nimmt man als Extremfall rein egoistische Handlungsmotive der Individuen an, lässt sich dann noch faires Verhalten beobachten? Dieser Frage wird im vorliegenden Aufsatz nachgegangen. Aufbauend auf einer Kritik deontologischer Konzeptionen von Fairness, wird ein utilitaristischer Ansatz entwickelt, der faires Verhalten als wechselseitige (...) Kooperation versteht. Auf Grundlage dieses Ansatzes werden Bedingungen herausgearbeitet, unter denen faires Handeln im Sport erwartbar wird. Zugleich zeigt sich, dass sich aus einer Fairnesskonzeption als wechselseitige Kooperation deutlich mehr Maßnahmen zur Förderung von Fair Play im Sport ableiten lassen. (shrink)
Die Frage nach Sinn ist eine bleibend existentielle Frage des Menschen. Sie wird dringend aktuell in einer Zeit zunehmender Säkularisierung und Multioptionalität. Eine Theologie, die die Gesellschft prägen will, muss hierzu eine Antwort aus der Mitte des christlichen Glaubens geben können. Stefan Laurs stellt sich dieser Herausforderung. In Auseinandersetzung mit Charles Taylor und Walter Kasper analysiert er den neuzeitlichen Säkularisierungsprozess und widmet sich insbesondere der damit verbundenen Frage des Menschen nach Sinn und Erfüllung. Dabei wird ersichtlich, dass die (...) Sinnfrage aus theologischer Perspektive in der Gottesfrage zur Darstellung kommt. Nur in Gott, der Liebe ist, findet der Mensch den universalen Sinn un die Erfüllung seines Lebens. (shrink)
El ángel de la historia, en las tesis de Walter Benjamin, mira hacia atrás por tres razones: Primero, porque epistemológicamente es inevitable y necesario mirar hacia atrás, o sea: el ángel no puede ver adelante y tiene que mirar hacia atrás para poder entender su entorno. Segundo, porque onto..
The point of departure of this study is Walter Benjamin’s last text, “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” Benjamin appeals to the significance of theology for historical materialism in order to overcome one of the decisive reasons why Marx’s unique theoretical project, in its positivistic interpretations, was not understood with the necessary radicality and had been in danger of losing its explanatory power and revolutionary impulse. The necessity of looking back to the past constitutes the basic theme of the (...) study, and it is analyzed at the epistemological, ontological and political levels. The view backwards is also necessary because the past shows how all its atrocities, which we think have been overcome, may at any time return in a way which we are unable to imagine. (shrink)
This imaginative and unusual book explores the moral sensibilities and cultural assumptions that were at the heart of political debate in Victorian and early twentieth-century Britain. It focuses on the role of intellectuals as public moralists, and suggests ways in which their more formal political theory rested upon habits of response and evaluation that were deeply embedded in wider social attitudes and aesthetic judgements. Stefan Collini examines the characteristic idioms and strategies of argument employed in periodical and polemical writing, (...) and reconstructs the sense of identity and of relation to an audience exhibited by social critics from John Stuart Mill and Matthew Arnold to J. M. Keynes and F. R. Leavis. Dr Collini begins by situating the leading intellectuals in the social and political world of the Victorian governing classes. He explores fundamental values like `altruism', `character', and `manliness', which are revealed as the animating dynamic of much of the political thought of the period. The book assesses the impact of increasing academic specialization across a range of disciplines, and offers an illuminating analysis of the public voice of legal theorists like Maine and Dicey. Through a detailed study of J.S. Mill's posthumous reputation Dr Collini uncovers the process by which the genealogy of images of national cultural identity is established; and he concludes with a provocative exploration of the nationalist significance of what he calls `the Whig interpretation of English literature'. Public Moralists is a subtle and illuminating study by a leading intellectual historian which will redirect debate about the distinctive development of modern English culture. (shrink)
Ştefan Aug. Doinaş and Basarab Nicolescu, two great spirits related through the generosity of the humanist vision, met, held an epistolary dialogue and had common projects. Doinaş commented upon a few of the innovative concepts proposed by Basarab Nicolescu and he also aesthetically transfigured, in literary pages, certain concepts of transdisciplinarity.
Stress and mental ill-health carry considerable costs for both individuals and organizations. Although interventions targeting compassion and self-compassion have been shown to reduce stress and benefit mental health, related research in organizational settings is limited. We investigated the effects of a 6-week psychological intervention utilizing compassion training on stress, mental health, and self-compassion. Forty-nine employees of two organizations were randomly assigned to either the intervention or a physical exercise control condition. Multilevel growth models showed that stress and mental ill-health decreased (...) over 3 months in both groups, while self-compassion only increased in the intervention group. There were no significant effects on life satisfaction in any of the groups. The findings show promising results regarding the ability of compassion training within organizations to decrease stress and mental ill-health and increase self-compassion. (shrink)
In this annotated critical edition of Aristotle’s _Metaphysics_ Lambda Stefan Alexandru draws upon many hitherto unexplored sources of the direct and indirect tradition, _inter alia_ upon an independent Greek manuscript he has discovered in the Vatican Library.
This is the first complete English translation of _On the Purity of the Art of Logic, _a handbook of logic written in Latin by English philosopher Walter Burley. The work circulated in the Middle Ages in two versions, a shorter and a longer one, both translated here by Paul Vincent Spade. The translations are based on the only complete edition of Burley’s treatises, corrected by Spade on the basis of one of the surviving manuscripts. The book also includes an (...) extensive introduction, explanatory notes, a table of corresponding passages between the two versions, a select annotated bibliography, and three indexes. A contemporary of John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham, Burley was active at the universities of both Paris and Oxford. He became one of the most important figures in the transformation of medieval logic and semantics that took place in the early fourteenth century. Burley used new tools and techniques of logical and semantical analysis, yet in many cases he used them in defense of traditional views, such as a realist metaphysical theory of “universals_._”_ On the Purity of the Art of Logic_ shows_ _both these sides of Burley—the innovator and the conservative—as well as some of the ways in which his views corresponded or clashed with those of William of Ockham. (shrink)
Newman’s anthropology duly appreciates the individuality and subjectivity of the human person, identifying each person as having “an infinite abyss of existence” within. Each person has thoughts and experiences that can never be fully understood by another. Yet Newman balances this focus on the radical irreducibility and individuality of the person with the inextricably social dimension of personhood, which is important for belief and value formation and moral development. He recognizes that we are social beings, discovering ourselves and growing through (...) the influence of community and interpersonal relationships. This essay proposes, through a presentation of the personalist thought of Newman, that the radical individuality and subjectivity of the person does not need to be seen as an alienating or isolating reality but can rather be viewed as a basis for the development of interpersonal relationships. (shrink)
Ardley aims to assist the re-discovery of James Oswald, Scottish common sense philosopher, Moderate churchman, and author of the two-volume Appeal to Common Sense in Behalf of Religion. He also makes surprising claims about Oswald's merits as a philosopher, and about the place Oswald merits in the history of philosophy. He writes that Oswald, "more than most writers of the eighteenth century, had things of the first order to put forward", that he was "one of the most gifted moral writers (...) of his age", and that he was "the most discerning of the Scots trio [Reid, Beattie, Oswald]". He views Oswald as a staunch defender of the "philosophia perennis" and thus as standing squarely, if unwittingly, in the tradition of Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas. And he takes Oswald to anticipate such disparate writers as Adam Smith, Burke and de Maistre, Maritain and Garrigou-Lagrange, and Kierkegaard. (shrink)
In this annotated critical edition of Aristotle’s Metaphysics Lambda Stefan Alexandru draws upon many hitherto unexplored sources of the direct and indirect tradition, inter alia upon an independent Greek manuscript he has discovered in the Vatican Library.
After an eloquent and moving analysis of what he sees as the disillusion of themodern age, Lippmann posits as the central dilemma of liberalism its inability to find an appropriate substitute for the older forms of authority-- church, state, class, family, law, custom--that it has denied. Lippmann attempts to find a way out of this chaos through the acceptance of a higher humanism and a way of life inspired by the ideal of "disinterestedness" in all things. In his new introduction (...) to the Transaction edition, John Patrick Diggins marks "A Preface "to "Morals, "originally published in 1929, as a critical turning point in Lippmann's intellectual career. He also provides an excellent discussion of the enduring value of this major twentieth-century work by situating it within the context of other intellectual movements. (shrink)
In this book, Alison Ross engages in a detailed study of Walter Benjamin’s concept of the image, exploring the significant shifts in Benjamin’s approach to the topic over the course of his career. Using Kant’s treatment of the topic of sensuous form in his aesthetics as a comparative reference, Ross argues that Benjamin’s thinking on the image undergoes a major shift between his 1924 essay on ‘Goethe’s Elective Affinities ,’ and his work on The Arcades Project from 1927 up (...) until his death in 1940 . The two periods of Benjamin’s writing share a conception of the image as a potent sensuous force able to provide a frame of existential meaning. In the earlier period this function attracts Benjamin’s critical attention, whereas in the later he mobilises it for revolutionary outcomes. The book gives a critical treatment of the shifting assumptions in Benjamin’s writing about the image that warrant this altered view. It draws on hermeneutic studies of meaning, scholarship in the history of religions and key texts from the modern history of aesthetics to track the reversals and contradictions in the meaning functions that Benjamin attaches to the image in the different periods of his thinking. Above all, it shows the relevance of a critical consideration of Benjamin’s writing on the image for scholarship in visual culture, critical theory, aesthetics and philosophy more broadly. (shrink)
In this article of 1995, which had been translated into Russian already in 2013, the German Historian Stefan Troebst studied the question of the « breakthrough of the modern age » in Russia, usually attributed to tsar Peter I « the Great », suspecting that the new Era had in fact begun earlier, in the XVIIth century. After a theoretical reflexion about periodization in history, and its application to the history of Russia, he demonstrates that the « threshold year (...) » takes place in 1667, examining this theory from different points of view: state and institutions, international relations, economical policy, religion, culture and fine arts. But this modernization has also caused violent revolts and oppositions during the reign of tsar Alexis Mikhailovitch. (shrink)
Walter Burley is the author of a treatise, entitled De primo et ultimo instanti, which is regarded as the most popular medieval work on the problem of assigning first and last instants of being to permanent things. In this paper, however, the author does not deal with this treatise directly. She looks instead at Burley’s Physics commentary to see how he applies the ideas presented in De primo et ultimo instanti to the solution of an Aristotelian puzzle about the (...) ceasing to be of the present instant. In Burley’s interpretation, the relevant question raised by the puzzle is whether the present instant ceases to be when it is or when it is not. While Aristotle’s argument quickly dismisses the first alternative as absurd, Burley defends it by appealing to the ‘expositions’ of sentences about ceasing. Given that the sentence ‘this instant ceases to be’ has two expositions— ‘this instant now is and immediately afterwards will not be’ or ‘this instant now is not and immediately beforehand was’ —Burley maintains that the sentence is true in exposition but not true in exposition, so that an instant ceases to be when it is and not when it is not. (shrink)
This book offers a provocative, clear and rigorously argued account of the nature of perception and its role in the production of knowledge. Walter Hopp argues that perceptual experiences do not have conceptual content, and that what makes them play a distinctive epistemic role is not the features which they share with beliefs, but something that in fact sets them radically apart. He explains that the reason-giving relation between experiences and beliefs is what Edmund Husserl called 'fulfilment' - in (...) which we find something to be as we think it to be. His book covers a wide range of central topics in contemporary philosophy of mind, epistemology and traditional phenomenology. It is essential reading for contemporary analytic philosophers of mind and phenomenologists alike. (shrink)
Walter Dubislav (1895–1937) was a leading member of the Berlin Group for scientific philosophy. This “sister group” of the more famous Vienna Circle emerged around Hans Reichenbach’s seminars at the University of Berlin in 1927 and 1928. Dubislav was to collaborate with Reichenbach, an association that eventuated in their conjointly conducting university colloquia. Dubislav produced original work in philosophy of mathematics, logic, and science, consequently following David Hilbert’s axiomatic method. This brought him to defend formalism in these disciplines as (...) well as to explore the problems of substantiating (Begründung) human knowledge. Dubislav also developed elements of general philosophy of science. Sadly, the political changes in Germany in 1933 proved ruinous to Dubislav. He published scarcely anything after Hitler came to power and in 1937 committed suicide under tragic circumstances. The intent here is to pass in review Dubislav’s philosophy of logic, mathematics, and science and so to shed light on some seminal yet hitherto largely neglected currents in the history of philosophy of science. (shrink)
Intuitively, we lack the standing to blame others in light of moral norms that we ourselves don't take seriously: if Adam is unrepentantly aggressive, say, he lacks the standing to blame Celia for her aggressiveness. But why does blame have this feature? Existing proposals try to explain this by reference to specific principles of normative ethics – e.g. to rule‐consequentialist considerations, to the wrongness of hypocritical blame, or principles of rights‐forfeiture based on this wrongness. In this paper, I suggest a (...) fundamentally different approach. Employing Timothy Williamson's idea of ‘constitutive rules’ of speech acts, I argue that this feature of blame is simply constitutive of any essentially moral form of disapproval. So if Adam had the standing to disapprove of Celia's aggressiveness in some form, necessarily, this disapproval couldn't be blame. If I'm right, this proposal thus not only answers our main question, but also sheds an interesting novel light on the very nature of blame. If we didn't have a form of disapproval with that feature, we wouldn't have our practice of holding each other to moral norms. (shrink)
This classic is the benchmark against which all modern books about Nietzsche are measured. When Walter Kaufmann wrote it in the immediate aftermath of World War II, most scholars outside Germany viewed Nietzsche as part madman, part proto-Nazi, and almost wholly unphilosophical. Kaufmann rehabilitated Nietzsche nearly single-handedly, presenting his works as one of the great achievements of Western philosophy. Responding to the powerful myths and countermyths that had sprung up around Nietzsche, Kaufmann offered a patient, evenhanded account of his (...) life and works, and of the uses and abuses to which subsequent generations had put his ideas. Without ignoring or downplaying the ugliness of many of Nietzsche's proclamations, he set them in the context of his work as a whole and of the counterexamples yielded by a responsible reading of his books. More positively, he presented Nietzsche's ideas about power as one of the great accomplishments of modern philosophy, arguing that his conception of the "will to power" was not a crude apology for ruthless self-assertion but must be linked to Nietzsche's equally profound ideas about sublimation. He also presented Nietzsche as a pioneer of modern psychology and argued that a key to understanding his overall philosophy is to see it as a reaction against Christianity. Many scholars in the past half century have taken issue with some of Kaufmann's interpretations, but the book ranks as one of the most influential accounts ever written of any major Western thinker. Featuring a new foreword by Alexander Nehamas, this Princeton Classics edition of Nietzsche introduces a new generation of readers to one the most influential accounts ever written of any major Western thinker. (shrink)
Bostrom rejects Nietzsche as an ancestor of the transhumanist movement, as he claims that there were merely some “surface-level similarities with the Nietzschean vision” (Bostrom 2005a, 4). In contrast to Bostrom, I think that significant similarities between the posthuman and the overhuman can be found on a fundamental level. In addition, it seems to me that Nietzsche explained the relevance of the overhuman by referring to a dimension which seems to be lacking in transhumanism. In order to explain my position, (...) I will progress as follows. First, I will compare the concept of the posthuman to that of Nietzsche’s overhuman, focusing more on their similarities than their differences. Second, I will contextualise the overhuman in Nietzsche’s general vision, so that I can point out which dimension seems to me to be lacking in transhumanist thought. (shrink)
“Walter Benjamin, Reader of Kafka: Study, Oblivion and Justice”. In this paper we propose to explore an aspect of Franz Kafka. On the Tenth Anniversary of his Death, an essay that Walter Benjamin wrote in 1934 for the Jüdische Rundschau, and to investigate an idea that does not develop there in extenso: the “study”. Throughout the text, we find that Benjamin relates this idea with two other concepts: first, he argues that study is opposed to “oblivion”, and, on (...) the other hand, links study with the notion of justice. In this way, both characterizations seem to coexist in the essay about Kafka, without the author developing them in depth. The objective of this work is, then, to delve into each of them in order to clarify how Benjamin conceives the study so that it can be associated with both a struggle against oblivion and with justice. (shrink)
An unusual aspect of Walter Benjamin's work is the provocative way he uses theology in tackling “theoretical” questions. While it is difficult to write about Benjamin without dealing with his relation to the Jewish tradition, in studies of his work surprisingly little attention is paid to theological questions. This is not to ignore the many accounts of Benjamin's interest in the Kabbala, his “theological” writings on language, or his messianic imagery. However, whereas for Benjamin theological concerns are central, this (...) is rarely true of his commentators. While some have confronted Benjamin's theology, until recently this has often been done by…. (shrink)