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181. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Marco Duichin A Neglected Episode in the History of Nineteenth-century Ideas: Marx and Engels Facing Phrenology
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At the end of the 18th century, the German physician and anatomist F.J. Gall founded Schädellehre, a new discipline – better known today by the name “phrenology”, popularized by his disciple J. C. Spurzheim – designed to show the functional connections between psychic faculties, areas of the brain, and the shape of the skull. In contrast to Gall’s belief that the individual’s moral and intellectual endowments were biologically innate, and could be measured by cranioscopy, 20th century Marxism took a critical view of phrenology, branding it as a “pseudoscientific”, “vulgar-materialistic”, and “reactionary” doctrine, the preserve of “spiritualists” and “charlatans of every stripe”. Up until today it has seldom been pointed out that – in spite of this harsh judgment by the Marxist literature – also Marx and Engels make an unexpected appearance amidst the varied array of 19th century supporters of phrenology. During his stay in Manchester (1842/44), the Young Engels, who had recently turned atheist, carried out cranioscopic experiments in order to disprove the claims made by the “Christianizing phreno-mesmerist” S.T. Hall that there was a specific cerebral organ of religiosity and faith in God; and even in his ripe age he was not above, having a phrenologist examine him to assess his aptitudes for business and foreign languages. As for Marx, after his early discovery of Schädellehre through reading Hegel’s works, he consolidated his knowledge of the subject during his long exile in London (1849/83). While in London, he read books on medicine and phrenology, watched anatomical demonstrations, made friends with some German refugees who were followers of the doctrines of Gall and Spurzheim, and used the cranioscopic method to make a personal selection of the militants of the Communist League. This paper aims to draw attention to a little-known and unexplored episode in the history of philosophical and scientific ideas of the 19th century.
182. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Vasiliki Grigoropoulou The Stoic Aspect of Spinoza: Oikeiosis in the Stoics and conatus in Spinoza
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In France and the Netherlands, between 1580 and 1620, an age of religious and civil wars, Neo-Stoicism made its appearance, with Justus Lipsius, Guillaume du Vair and Pierre Charron as its key representatives. The Neo-Stoics sought to counter the irrationality and acrimony of wars by recourse to reason and especially to Stoic theories of nature and Logos. Yet, since the ideas of the Stoics were widely held as incompatible with Christian theology, Lipsius (1547-1606) sought to wed them with Christian teachings, as it were, to ‘Christianize’ them, a policy also adopted by Gassendi for the propagation of the Epicurean philosophy. Translations of works by the Stoics had appeared during the Renaissance period and they were disseminated widely. The first text we shall examine comes from the seventh volume of the works of Diogenes Lærtius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers [Vitæ Philosophorum], which was devoted to the Stoics and was translated into Latin in 1433 by Ambrogio Traversari in Florence. The work of Diogenes Laertius was a basic source of Stoic philosophy and another source was the work of Cicero, whose writings were studied uninterruptedly throughout the Middle Ages. In this paper, I will quote and focus on certain passages on oikeiosis in Cicero’s De finibus, which was one of the key points of reference for philosophers in the 17th century. Spinoza’s library included the Letters of Cicero [Ciceronis Epistolæ], as well as the Εnchiridion and the Discours [Dissertationes] of Epictetus, in the 1595/96 bilingual Greek/Latin edition of Hieronymo Volfio, with a commentary by Simplicius. In his library there were also three editions of the works of Seneca, including the Moral Letters to Lucilius, which had been published by J. Lipsius and J. F. Gronovius (1649), and his Tragedies. Spinoza very rarely mentions other philosophers, yet explicit references to the Stoics are found in his writings, but for raising objections such as against their theory of the soul, their conception of the will, and the suicide of Seneca. The most important references, in my view, are implicit; yet, as I’ll attempt to demonstrate, above all it is these very places that reveal his affinity with the Stoics. I propose to focus first on the concept of oikeiosis, drawing on relevant citations in the texts of Diogenes Laertius, in Cicero’s De finibus and in Seneca’s Letter 121. I will then proceed to examine Spinoza’s notion of conatus. Oikeiosis, which is a core notion for the moral theory of the Stoics, has been rendered via a variety of words, such as “appropriation”, but also “love”, “familiarization”, “affinity”, “affection”, “endearment”, “being dear”. It has become accepted that it is an untranslatable term that, as it were, resists rendition through a single word. Oikeiosis is connected with three terms: oikeion, meaning familiar or dear, constitution of a being, and συνείδησις, meaning consciousness or sense of self, which in the text of Diogenes is not defined. Nevertheless, both the particular constitution of a living being and its consciousness evolve and can be perfected, which implies that the same may be true for oikeiosis. It is a complex notion, indeed, and it cannot be conveyed by a simple proposition. It is a fluid concept suspended amidst a web of other concepts, which are added to and influence each other’s meanings. Even though the meaning of oikeiosis cannot be conveyed through a single word and a simple proposition, it can be rendered through a system of propositions, which, as we shall see, is also the case in the exposition of conatus in Spinoza. Oikeiosis is a fundamental concept in the anthropology and the ethics of the Stoics. Its influence extends into the 17th and 18th centuries. The contribution of the Stoics, and also of the Epicureans, to 17th century thought, is in no way tangential, because it was that era that saw the introduction of new theories of nature, of natural laws and of human nature that differ from those in the Scholastic tradition. Oikeiosis is a source of inspiration for a number of thinkers, such as Grotius, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, and for Spinoza, as we shall examine. Numerous studies have focused on oikeiosis in the Stoics, and indeed on conatus in Spinoza, and an affinity between them has already been identified. Nevertheless, in my view, the problem of defining both concepts is still open. Moreover, Stoic philosophy is not the theory of just one philosopher and the conception of oikeiosis is not just one and unique among the Stoics. If a source of inspiration for Spinoza’s theory of conatus is to be found in oikeiosis, it remains to be investigated to which philosopher he refers and which account of oikeiosis he has in mind. In my view, in his exposition of conatus Spinoza reformulates the concept of oikeiosis, in the context of his own, ordine geometrico system and in the web of its terms, in an implicit dialogue with the Stoics and also with his contemporaries.
183. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Paola Giacomoni Antonio Damasio about Descartes and Spinoza on Passions and the Body
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This paper focuses on Antonio Damasio’s recent reinterpretation of Descartes’s and Spinoza’s philosophy. Damasio underlines, from an interdisciplinary perspective, the relevance of philosophical conceptions of the mind to current, neurological research on emotion. His main thesis affirms that some 17th century philosophical concepts can be useful within the framework of contemporary research on the human brain and the emotions. Damasio’s work is also an effort to foster dialogue between the humanities and natural sciences within the field of scientific research on human emotions. The thesis expounded in several of Damasio’s works is the necessity of overcoming the mind-body dualism. While Damasio’s evaluation of cartesian philosophy is superficial and underestimates Descartes’s last work, Les passions de l’âme, his approach to Spinoza’s philosophy is more accurate. His interpretation of the concept of “conatus” in terms of homeostatic self-regulation of the organism seems interesting also for a reappraisal of the XVII century’s philosophical debate and its use in a contemporary scientific context.
184. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Robert Greenberg Kant’s Causal Theory of Action and the Freedom of the Will
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This paper presents an interpretation of Kant’s understanding of the concept of an action of a subject as an instance of a causal way he has of understanding certain other concepts as well, including his concept of appearance and that of event. I will call this way of understanding a concept “a causal theory” of the object so conceived, e.g. a causal theory of an action, an appearance, or an event, because the indicated concept logically requires the existence of an object as the cause of the existence of the object so conceived. The argument is that the theory I am attributing to Kant as his causal theory of action provides the basis for an interpretation of his theory of the freedom of the will that is integral to his moral philosophy. The paper thus starts with a general way of understanding his use of causal theory, continues with his understanding of the concepts of appearance, event, and action, thence to his theory of freedom, and concludes, briefly, with his theory of morality.
185. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Qinghai Guo The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity
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The rational subjectivity principle, which is a distinguishing characteristic of philosophical discourse of modernity, is not only the foundation of certainty of scientific knowledge and epistemic truth, but the resource of modern consciousness as well. Rational subject, established by speculative philosophy, contradicts with and separates from otherness while self-regarding and self-defending. Ironically, rationality, which was centered on subject, transformed into a myth of ration in the tendency of self-absolutization. Therefore, rationality pushed forward its self-orientation, and built up its dialectic self-denial.
186. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Igors Gubenko With Heidegger against Heidegger: Derrida Thinking Academic Responsibility
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The paper considers the complicated philosophical filiation of Jacques Derrida and Martin Heidegger in light of the question of academic responsibility. Drawing on Immanuel Kant’s vision of University as the institution grounded on the principle of reason, Heidegger defines the task of thinking (Denken) as questioning this principle that he takes to be governing the whole of modern science and technology. In a similar gesture Derrida also acknowledges the necessity of questioning and soliciting the principle of reason, simultaneously claiming such questioning to be essentially a public issue. By thus endorsing the Enlightenment ideal of public reason exercised without constraint, he eo ipso creates a rift between Heidegger’s understanding of Denken and his own idea of pensée. As many commentators including Jürgen Habermas and Hannah Arendt have pointed out, Heidegger has consistently denied publicity (Öffentlichkeit) any significance in relation to thinking. Thus in Being and Time he connects it with inauthentic existence, while in later writings as The Question Concerning Technology and The Principle of Reason he wholly subordinates it to modern technology. I take Derrida’s ambiguous relation to Heidegger’s Denken – inheritance and betrayal – to be a case of what Habermas famously referred to as “thinking with Heidegger against Heidegger”.
187. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Claudiu Mesaroș An Eleventh Century Transylvanian Philosopher and his Modern Doxographer: Gerard of Cenad and Ignatius Batthyány
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Gerard of Cenad is the author of Deliberatio supra hymnum trium puerorum, an eleventh Century Latin mystical and philosophical treatise, in many ways specific to the Carolingian Age, inspired by the Dyonisian and Eriugenian terminology. It contains many arguments for introducing Gerard as typical medieval philosopher; still, it was only at the end of the Eighteenth Century that Gerard’s work knew its first printed edition, made by Bishop Ignatius Batthyány of Transylvania who named Gerard a philosopher for the first time as well. Nevertheless, neither European philosophical historiography nor academic classicists noticed it until the end of the twentieth Century. In our study we inspect the most representative arguments that support considering Gerard a philosopher as they appear in Batthyány’s preface to his 1790 edition in order to contribute to a coherent narrative regarding what is philosophy in Gerard of Cenad according to his first editor and commentator.
188. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Samuel Kahn A Kantian Responds to Santayana
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In The German Mind: a philosophical diagnosis, Santayana launches an extended attack on Kant and, indeed, German philosophy in general. In this paper, I argue that whatever might be said about his attack on other German philosophers, Santayana’s attack on Kant, despite its subtlety, its force and its intelligence, is fundamentally misguided. To that end, I divide Santayana’s attack on Kant into four parts: an attack on transcendentalism generally and Kant’s theory of knowledge; an attack on the role of inclinations and moral worth in Kant’s ethics; an attack on Kant’s doctrine of the practical postulates; and a general attack on the Categorical Imperative. In what follows, I shall say something about each of these subjects in turn.
189. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Yasuo Kamata From Spontaneity to Will: A Transcendental-Philosophical Reconstruction of the Schopenhauerian Philosophy
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In the history of philosophy, Schopenhauer was often described as a forerunner of the Lebensphilosophie (Kirkegaard, Nietzsche). In recent decades the amount of Schopenhauer researches carried out in the context of his current philosophy, namely of Kantian philosophy and German Idealism is increasing. This paper attempts to show that the Schopenhauerian concept of the will was derived in the latter sense from the “spontaneity of self-consciousness” found in Kant’s Critic of Pure Reason, and refers to his first published work On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which was published in 1813, exactly 200 years ago, and to his Manuscripts Remains. From this point, it will be clear that the structure of the experience and its object, the world as representation with its manifold components: the immediate presence of the representation, the latent corrective experience as its background, and the Platonic idea as a product of imagination, which is the cognition influenced by the will, is also generally penetrated by the will as the transcendental condition of the possibility of experience. The famous title of “the world as will and representation” includes and expresses this great transcendental-philosophical project.
190. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Thomas Morris Plato and Kierkegaard on Being Radically Committed to Ethics
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Both Socrates and the pseudonymous author of Either/Or II hold that we should never allow ourselves to be motivated by anything other than doing what is ethical. For both of them the reason why we must be radically committed to ethics is that we need to keep our souls under control. They think that our passion for an object of desire creates a predisposition to desire the same sort object in the future — the greater the passion, the stronger the predisposition. Thus if we are not careful about what we allow ourselves to feel passion, we risk living our lives for the sake of meaningless things.
191. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Anita Leirfall Kant on Space and Directions – Some Comments in Light of the Negative Magnitudes
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In this paper I will examine Kant’s conception of absolute space in his Concerning the Ultimate Ground of the Differentiation of Directions in Space from 1768 in order to see how his conception of absolute space is related to the conception of directions and how the different directions themselves are related. Further, I will present a novel interpretation of Kant’s reference to an ‘inner feeling’ of the difference between left and right (directions) in the subject in this work. I will argue that the ‘inner feeling’ is based on a negative magnitude. Such a magnitude is an effort of the mind of which we are conscious through a feeling. A negative magnitude exhibits a cognitive activity that is neither a discursive thought nor a receptivity of the senses. Further, a negative magnitude is an intensive magnitude that comes in degrees. In my analysis of Kant’s ‘inner feeling’ of the difference between left and right, and its relation to absolute space, I will draw on some of his arguments in his less known work Attempt to Introduce the Concept of Negative Magnitudes into Philosophy from 1763.
192. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Vasily Markhinin Philosophy and Philosophics: Substantiation of Research Program
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Philosophy remains philosophy, as long as it is loyal to the ancient Greek model. The modern era produced a tendency to subordinate philosophy to science and created conditions for the science – in this context the history of philosophy – to become an effective extra-philosophical cognitive means of philosophy’s self-awareness of its essence. However, one should remember that the reconstruction of the essence of philosophy sets a special goal and singles out a special object domain, which means there must be a special historical and philosophical subdiscipline. Thus we suggested naming this philosophical science philosophics. The research hypothesis of what the essence of philosophy is, in the subject sphere of philosophics, must allow the formation of empirical basis from the texts that are identified as philosophical archetypes. First, it is in such texts where the meaning – the whole world of meaning – of the ancient Greek word-concept φιλοσοφία (the work, which was begun by M. Heidegger) is uncovered. Secondly, it is Plato’s works, in which he sums up all the previous thought, acquiring it by means of the φιλοσοφία concept, and where he creates philosophical teaching for the first time.
193. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Gregg Osborne A Crucial Passage in Kant’s First Analogy
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This paper is concerned with a passage that has long intrigued interpreters of Kant’s First Analogy. the passage in question can be found at A188/B231 of the Critique of Pure Reason. In order to perceive that some item x comes to exist or ceases to exist, asserts Kant in this passage, you must connect the coming to exist or ceasing to exist of x to things that already exist before it takes place and continue to exist until it is completed. But if you do so, he further asserts, it must be the case that x is only a determination of such things and that the coming to exist or ceasing to exist of x is a mere change in the determinations of such things. These assertions are cryptic and give rise to several questions. In what way must you perform the act described? Why must you do so in order to perceive that x comes to exist or ceases to exist? And how does this entail that x is in fact only a determination of such things and thus that its coming to exist or ceasing to exist is not in fact ex nihilo or in nihilo? The answers given in this paper serve both to clarify Kant’s argument and to identify the main issues that would have to be faced in its assessment.
194. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Konstantinos Polias Kant’s “Introduction of the Critique of Practical Judgment”
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The paper opposes one of the founding common places of the historiography of Pragmatics during the last 40 decades according to which Kant’s Critique “of pure Judgment” signifies the break of modern Rationalism with the tradition of practical judgment that gets restored with Hegel. Against that the paper shows that Kant’s reference to the “Einleitung der Critik der pract.[ischen] Urth.[eils]Kr.[aft]” in the letter to his editor of 2nd October 1792 that accompanies his corrections of the manuscript of the Introduction for the 2nd edition of the Critique of Judgment [CoJ] is more than justified and that Hegel’s infamous idea that self-consciousness is “desire in general” (Phenomenology of Spirit, ¶167) can be almost fully traced in the Introduction to the CoJ not only textually, but also historically and systematically. The paper closes by pointing out a systematical consequence of its mainly historical argument for contemporary neo-Hegelian pragmatic theories of concept formation and conceptual change (Robert Pippin) and related so called “transformative” theories of rationality (Matthew Boyle).
195. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Sergey Peruanskiy Specific Difficulties in Interpreting the Teachings of the Great Philosophers and a Method of Overcoming Them
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The interpretation of the texts of the great philosophers is complicated by the fact that they communicated their ideas in a peculiar language that is far from modern scientific terminology. Plato often used metaphors. They could cause false associations, if we would understand them literally. Hegel often used the philosophical categories in unconventional meaning. The method of the Contextual Translation allows to overcome these language difficulties. Its purpose is to define what terms of the modern language we would use in a context, in which the philosopher used such terms. After that it is necessary to analyze the meaning of the text, using modern scientific language instead of terms used by the philosopher. This method helps us to visualize the historical situation in which philosopher lived and, conversely, to look to what extent the words of the philosopher apply to our reality. It allows you to show the injustice of accusations of Plato in commitment to the totalitarianism and hostility to the personality. This method allows us to show that Hegel’s doctrine of the concept is a general theory of programmed processes that take place in the world.
196. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Evangelia Sembou Where Does the Significance of Hegel’s Phenomenology Lie?
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This paper advances the view that Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit is an experiential philosophy. It starts with an examination of what Hegel’s 1807 Phenomenology consists in. It is argued that Hegel’s Phenomenology is an experiential philosophy because it constitutes the immanent development of truth as it is experienced (of “phenomenal knowledge”); both because it is about the “experience of consciousness” and because it requires of the philosopher that he surrender to the development of the subject-matter. Put differently, the philosopher’s role is to live the “experience of consciousness” from within. The philosopher (Hegel) does not import any external criteria by means of which to assess the validity of each one of consciousness’s claims and worldviews. He merely observes consciousness’s self-examination and comments on it. In this way he turns consciousness’s phenomenological experience into a science. Simultaneously, Hegel guides the observing consciousness of the reader(s) into comprehending the “experience of consciousness” as its own education (Bildung). So the readers, too immerse themselves into the immanent development of consciousness and, as a result, adopt an inside perspective. It is this engagement of the philosopher (Hegel and the reader(s)) with the account that is the most significant aspect of Hegel’s Phenomenology.
197. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Juan Santos Virtue and Happiness: The Humean Connection
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A marked concern about happiness (i.e., eudaimonia) and an equal preoccupation with the way virtue contributes to such state are key features of virtue ethics (Hurtshouse 2012). Interpretations that place Hume within the virtue ethics tradition are not rare (Swanton 2003, Taylor 2006, Welchman 2006, Garret 2007), although it is common to qualify such affiliation. Admittedly, Hume gives moral pride of place to character traits and uses virtue and vice as central notions; but he emphasizes practices of evaluation, rather than the deliberative experience of the moral agent, and defines virtues and vices as observer-dependent qualities (Brown 1994, Swanton 2007, Abramson 2011, Taylor 2012). In this paper I want to consider a different way to qualify Hume’s membership in the virtue ethics tradition. My case study is Hume’s treatment of virtue’s contribution to happiness. I claim that, accepting Hume’s empirical notion of happiness, there are grounds to doubt that he even believed that virtue serves one’s happiness achievement.
198. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Wei Song Mill on Function of Art in the Cultivation of Virtue
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On Mill’s view, aesthetic education or the education of the feelings and the cultivation of the beautiful, like intellectual education or moral education, is an important ingredient of human culture, which is indispensable to the completeness of the human being. By historically analyzing the difference of ideas of virtue, which may have been existing between the British people and those of the European Continent, namely, for the former, virtue is almost exclusively an affair of duty, but for the latter, virtue is an affair of the sentiments, Mill believes that a higher and nobler form of expressing the feelings and the beautiful, i.e. Art, enables both sides to aim at a complete and perfect virtue. His reason is as follows, since the perfection is itself the object of Art, Art enables the human mind to maintain a high tone, consequently, the human mind with a high tone will regard human life as a work of Art and will strive for improving it. Mill’s this view of life as Art fully conforms to his belief on self-development and moral progress, and both of them represent his profound understanding and insights of individual person and individual life.
199. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Elvira Simfa Being Moral and Loving Oneself: Kant on Self-Love, Self-Conceit and Morality
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Kant’s moral theory is often perceived through opposition of reason (morality) and inclinations. I argue that this opposition has to be reconsidered by taking in account the complex character of inclinations and differ between self-love and self-conceit. Self-conceit violates prudential rationality and is not compatible with morality. Self-love, due to its particular structure that presupposes ability to overcome oneself, can be interpreted as enabling and preparing humans to obey moral commands and successfully aim at happiness.
200. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 14
Martin Thibodeau Tragedy and Ethical Agency in Hegel’s The Spirit of Christianity and its Fate
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In recent years much attention has been devoted to Hegel’s interpretation of Greek tragedy. Admittedly, authors dealing with Hegel’s understanding of tragedy have adopted different perspectives and pursued different goals. Yet they do share a common view: tragedy plays a crucial role in shaping some key features of Hegel’s philosophy. In my paper, I focus on the particular feature of ethical life and I argue that Hegel’s later ‘retrospective’ theory of action finds some of its key insights in his interpretation of Greek tragedy as developed in The Spirit of Christianity and its Fate.