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41. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Emanuele Costa Leibniz on Relations: From (Soft) Reductionism to the Expression of the Universe
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In this paper, I undertake an analysis of Leibniz’s theory of relations. My main argument focuses on distinguishing the ontological part of this theory from the logical/grammatical part, and showing that several studies of this subject are misplaced. I offer a clarification of the matter, presenting an argument that shows how Leibniz does not provide a unified theory for the two sides of his theory of relations. I proceed to argue about soft and hard reductionism, supporting the former. I show how Leibniz’s “re-writing project” about the elimination of dyadic predicates in the “perfect language” of philosophy fits in the picture of his theory without the implication of a nominalist position. Nevertheless, thanks to the distinguishing argument, I am able to argue for Leibniz’s conceptualism on the ontological side of the theory of relations, without using any logical/grammatical argument. I deploy an analysis of all the core themes in his theory, from compossibility to expressionism, from concogitabilitas to supervenience, showing how Leibniz’s position is neither nominalist nor realist, but rather a medial position that has to be understood in its own complexity.
42. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Keith Green Forgiveness, Pardon, and Punishment in Spinoza’s Ethical Theory and “True Religion"
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Spinoza shares with almost all apologists for forgiveness the idea that laying down one’s resentment of a wrong, contempt for a wrongdoer, and overcoming “bondage” to hatred, must be a primary ethical aim. Yet he denies that doing so authorizes pardoning a penitent wrongdoer. He argues that in civil society, it is actually a matter of charity and piety to collude in punishing a wrongdoer—dragging the wrongdoer before a judge, but not “judging” him oneself. I argue that Spinoza offers no warrant to pardon whatever for those not authorized under civil law to punish. But I argue that the response to others’ hatred and deceit that Spinoza urges his reader to cultivate in Ethics 5p10, along with his argument that one may ‘turn the other cheek’ under conditions of oppression, where no sovereign power prosecutes claims of justice, mandates a broader emergent and reparative view of forgiveness.
43. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Luca Guariento Life, Friends, and Associations of Robert Fludd: A Revised Account
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In the last decades Robert Fludd’s philosophy has received increasing attention. On the other hand, his life, network, and acquaintances have been investigated in much less detail. As William Huffman rightly put it, “[o]ne of the main problems confronting someone interested in Robert Fludd is the lack of information about his formative years, as well as about his later associations”. Ron Heisler already observed that regrettably Huffman’s own account is not always accurate or complete. Scholars such as Johannes Rösche have recently added more details. The aim of this article is to give scope for further research; it collects contributions by previous scholars and adds details, corrects inaccuracies, identifies hitherto nameless (or misnamed) people with whom Fludd came into contact, and places he visited. It also takes into account current research coming from tangential fields, for instance studies on Fludd’s publisher or on philosophers such as Michael Maier, with whom he is thought to have been closely associated.
44. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Mingjun Lu Implications of the New Modern Matter: A Monadic Approach to Milton’s Philosophy and Theology
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This essay seeks to resolve three conceptual puzzles raised by Milton’s conception of the new modern matter. First, in both his epic poem Paradise Lost and theological treatise The Christian Doctrine, Milton depicts a motive and generative matter and regards it as the substantial principle that produces all manners of life. Meanwhile, he also represents God as the primary fountain of beings. The priority of the primal matter seems to directly challenge the putative primacy of the divine deity. Second, in conceiving of the substantial principle as both good matter and wild chaos, Milton appears to posit two kinds of primary matter, which runs counter to his allegedly monistic outlook. Third, Milton’s monism seems to contradict his apparent distinction between corporeal and spiritual beings as well. The ancient philosophy of the monad as reformulated by Giordano Bruno and developed by the Conway Circle, I argue, provides a pertinent framework for Milton to negotiate the theological implications of the new matter. The monadic model can account for at once the tensions between Milton’s substantial and theological principles of unity, between his good matter and wild chaos, and between his monistic vision and images of corporeal and incorporeal beings.
45. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Andreas Blank Striving Possibles and Leibniz’s Cognitivist Theory of Volition
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Leibniz’s claim that possibles strive towards existence has led to diverging interpretations. According to the metaphorical interpretation, only the divine will is causally efficacious in bringing possibles into exisence. According to the literal interpretation, God endows possibles with causal powers of their own. The present article suggests a solution to this interpretative impass by suggesting that the doctrine of the striving possibles can be understood as a consequence of Leibniz’s early cognitivist theory of volition. According to this theory, thinking the degree of goodness of something is identical with wanting it to this degree. Arguably, this analysis of volition is relevant not only for Leibniz’s early analysis of the human mind but also for his early analysis of the divine mind.
46. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Justin E. H. Smith What Is a World?: Deception, Possibility, and the Uses of Fiction from Cervantes to Descartes
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In this short essay I will aim to show that literary fiction is consistently at the vanguard of the exploration of philosophical problems relating to the concept of world, while what we think of as philosophy, in the narrower sense, typically arrives late on the scene, picking up themes that have already been explored in literary texts that are explicitly intended as exercises of the imagination. I will pursue this argument with a sustained investigation of the shared aims and methods of Miguel de Cervantes and René Descartes.
47. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Ohad Nachtomy Leibniz, Calvino, Possible Worlds and Possible Cities, Philosophy and Fiction
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Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities presents a wide array of possible cities—cities whose composition turns on a productive ambiguity of their being described or invented by Marco Polo in his conversations with Kublai Khan. Implicit in this book is also a theory about how all possible cities are composed. The method turns on decomposing a city down to its basic elements and recomposing it in different ways through the imagination. I argue that there is a close affinity between Calvino’s theory of fictional cities and Leibniz’s theory of possible worlds. The main similarity is that both theo­ries are combinatorial—they suppose that possibilities are produced by combination and variation of basic elements. The paper presents Leibniz’s theory of possibility in its metaphysical context and explores the similarity (as well as some differences) with Calvino’s cities in their literary context. I suggest that there is a rather strong relation between the theory of literary fiction implicit in Invisible Cities and Leibniz’s theory of possibility, in that both define the possible in terms of the conceivable. Indeed, Leibniz often refers to literary examples to substantiate his position, and I argue that this reveals an essential feature of his theory.
48. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Joseph Anderson Cartesian Privations: How Pierre-Sylvain Regis Used Material Causation to Provide a Cartesian Account of Sin
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Descartes’s very brief explanations of human responsibility for sin and divine innocence of sin include references to the idea that evil is a privation rather than a real thing. It is not obvious, though, that privation fits naturally in Descartes’s reductionistic metaphysics, nor is it clear precisely what role his privation doctrine plays in his theodicy. These issues are made clear by contrasting Descartes’s use of privations with that of Suarez, particularly in light of reoccurring objections to privation theory. These objections have no weight against Suarez’s use of privations, but Descartes’s mentions of privation are so few that it is not clear how his account avoids their consequences. Descartes’s brevity seems to have motivated some of his followers to develop creative accounts of the way in which privation fits in a Cartesian system. Pierre-Sylvain Régis accomplishes this task by reintroducing material causation. Régis holds that moral evil has no efficient cause since an efficient cause can only produce something real. Because he holds that moral evil can have a material cause, he is able to affirm that the soul is morally responsible for sin. In Régis’s case, accommodating this theological issue meant reincorporating Aristotelian resources into his Cartesian system.
49. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Fabrizio Baldassarri Introduction: Gardens as Laboratories. A History of Botanical Sciences
50. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Oana Matei Reconstructing Sylva sylvarum: Ralph Austen’s Observations and the Use of Experiment
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Bacon’s projects of natural history were extremely popular in the mid-seventeenth century, especially for a group of people devoted to experimental activities, namely the Hartlib Circle. Ralph Austen, one member of the Hartlib Circle, tried to construct his own project of natural history using Bacon’s Sylva sylvarum as a pattern and following the Baconian scheme with particular interest for the methodological aspects entailed by such an endeavor. This paper provides an account of Austen’s at­tempts at writing a natural history as found in his Observations upon some part of Sr Francis Bacon’s Naturall History. It discusses the methodology and aims served by such an enterprise, both practical and theoretical: the role of experimentation in the process of compiling a natural history as the most reliable activity able to provide accurate knowledge of the natural world and the determination to provide general rules and axioms about nature.
51. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
María M. Carrión Planted Knowledge: Art, Science, and Preservation in the Sixteenth-Century Herbarium from the Hurtado de Mendoza Collection in El Escorial
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The interactive correspondence of art, science, and preservation supports the composition of a four-volume anonymous herbarium originally belonging first to the Venetian library of Ambassador Hurtado de Mendoza, and later endowed to the Royal Library of the Monastery-Palace of El Escorial. This planted knowledge consist­ed of artistic and scientific practices (composition, writing, calligraphy, naming, drying, pressing, cataloguing, relating to health properties, and so on) to preserve not only the plants dried and glued to recycled paper, but the association of those plants, with names, stories, and contexts in ways that attest to the development of natural history and philosophy in sixteenth-century Italy and Spain. This article describes and analyzes the composition of the Hurtado herbarium, its provenance, and its place in the context of early modern European naturalism and botany. Finally, it considers problems of reading this collection, and possible solutions to better understand the herbarium in El Escorial as another piece of this network of dissemination of ethnobotanical knowledge in early modern Europe.
52. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Florike Egmond Experimenting with Living Nature: Documented Practices of Sixteenth-Century Naturalists and Naturalia Collectors
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This article discusses experimentation in the context of sixteenth-century natural history, or natural science as I prefer to call it here. It uses predominantly textual sources, many of them manuscript letters, from different European countries, mainly Italy, the Low Countries, France and Germany-Austria. The focus is on the practice of experimentation and its documentation, partly because I proceed from the assumption that the investigation of living nature did not necessarily entail the same type of experimentation as contempo­rary alchemy, pharmacy, or medicine, although all these domains of knowledge and their practitioners overlapped. The subject matter to some extent imposed its own rules. The first part of this essay analyses experimentation in the garden, which often combined practical purposes with research ones. The second and third parts discuss experimentation with both plants and animals that originated in more general questions or led to more wide-ranging conclusions about natural phenomena. The final section discusses the links with natural philosophy in these different types of experimentation in natural science, and addresses the possible implications for the concept of experimentation itself in the period shortly before the ”new science” of the seventeenth century.
53. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Ana Duarte Rodrigues The Role of Portuguese Gardens in the Development of Horticultural and Botanical Expertise on Oranges
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In the early modern period, botany still remained a relatively new arrival at the top table of knowledge. Much botanical work was not done in universities, colleges, academies, laboratories, or botanic gardens (usually associated with univer­sities), but behind the walls of different kinds of gardens – of the royalty as well as of common people, of monasteries as well as public gardens. By following the circula­tion of oranges, especially taking into consideration the role of Portugal as a turn­table, this paper sheds light on several of the unexpected ways in which the history of botany and horticulture and the history of gardens encountered in the early modern world. The history of oranges has often made reference to the acclimatization of this citrus fruit in Europe and its transplantation to the New World. However, very few works have addressed the dissemination of oranges from the Iberian Peninsula. In this paper, I argue for a change in perspective by stressing the role played by the Portuguese on acclimatization and dissemination of oranges from Asia to Portugal, and from this country to the Old and New Worlds. I also stress the role Portugal played in building and popularizing horticultural expertise for orange growth and its corresponding botanical knowledge.
54. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Alette Fleischer Leaves on the Loose: The Changing Nature of Archiving Plants and Botanical Knowledge
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This paper focuses on the relationship between the compilation of a herbarium in early modern history and the search for a classification of nature. By looking at the histories of different herbaria and their compilers, this paper shows how the nature of ordering botanical materials changes along with the search for a system of ordering plant knowledge.
55. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Sarah Cawthorne Experimenting with “Garden Discourse”: Cultivating Knowledge in Thomas Browne’s Garden of Cyrus
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Books were materially and metaphorically botanical in the early modern period. This article uses The Garden of Cyrus (1658), Thomas Browne’s wide-ranging philosophical tract, to illustrate how the often self-conscious links between books and gardens could operate in epistemologically significant ways. It argues that Browne’s repeated positioning of his book as a garden creates a productive model for aesthetic, theological and scientific experimentation and innovation. The framework of the garden constructs a space in which the foremost, apparently contradictory, models of knowledge associated with the seventeenth-century garden—the analogical approach of the doctrine of signatures and the empirical approach associated with the “new science”—can coexist. Extrapolating from the book of nature to suggest the inherently discursive and rhetorical forms of Browne’s knowledge as well as its limitations, the article concludes by proposing a new spatial model for this kind of coterminous literary and experimental approach: the elaboratory.
56. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Alexandru Mexi Early Modern Garden Design Concepts and Twentieth Century Royal Gardens in Romania: Peleş Castle and the Mannerist Landscape
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Built in between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century in a mountainous region in Romania, the Peleş Castle and its gardens were conceived according to the mid sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries landscape design principles. Thus, the surrounding landscape, the park and gardens at the royal residence in Sinaia make up an overall image of a Mannerist landscape in which the Villa or, in this case, the castle, is integrated in a complex allegorical, alchemical and political programme. To explore this chronologically incongruent design and to explore gardening principles perhaps invisible in plain sight for modern eyes, the following study aims to emphasize the presence of early modern Western European gardens in the design of the park and gardens at Peleş. This analysis will also reveal the various ways in which, by manipulating nature according to Late Renaissance and Mannerism principles, nature was staged to achieve political goals.
57. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Gabriel R. Ricci Science, Art and the Classical World in the Botanizing Travels of William Bartram
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William Bartram would accompany his botanizing father, John, into the wilderness and he would famously memorialize his own explorations with an account that mixed romantic conventions with natural history and Quaker theology. William’s interior life corresponds to the spirit of Virgil’s Eclogues with its promise of the resto­ration of a Golden Age, replete with bucolic scenes of shepherds tending their flocks and singing nature’s praises. This paper addresses some of the political interpretations that Bartram’s work has received and argues that William was focused on a distant past which he was introduced to through the classical curriculum at the newly founded Academy of Philadelphia (1752). William’s curriculum guaranteed an introduction to the conventions of the sublime and the picturesque, since Addison’s Spectator was also required reading and he was well-versed in Linnaean nomenclature, but wherever William botanized his observations of the natural world were framed by classical literature. His tour of ancient Indian ruins where he imagined an Areopagus and a space free of strife and bloodshed is a dramatic example of William’s habit of importing a place defined by classical literature into his natural history.
58. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Adamas Fiucci The Role of Solitude in Pierre Charron
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This article aims to examine Pierre Charron’s conception of solitude, a task which is complicated by the fact that this conception underwent several changes between the two editions of De la sagesse. Unlike the 1601 edition, the 1604 edition includes passages on the importance of the social dimension of the good life, which may look like an exhortation to actively participate in social life in order to acquire civil prudence. In order to clarify the Charronian position on this issue, I undertake a comparative analysis of the two editions of De la Sagesse, as well as an enquiry into the letters sent to a Doctor of the Sorbonne and to Gabriel Michel de La Rochemaillet, in which Charron deepens his reflections on solitude. I will show that Charron describes solitude not only as a physical separation from a civil context, but also as an emotional autonomy which can be reached everywhere. Charron’s perspective on solitude is also the result of his reading of previous philosophers, such as Seneca, Aristotle and Michel de Montaigne, as well as an analysis of Renaissance discussions of the active and contemplative lives.
59. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Eduard Ghiţă Theological Underpinnings of Joseph Addison’s Aesthetics
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Joseph Addison’s Spectator papers on the imagination have been read as a landmark in the development of aesthetic disinterestedness (Stolnitz). But this is problematic in light of Addison’s theological concerns, particularly as they bear on the final causes of aesthetic pleasures. This teleology of the aesthetic is far from a Kantian understanding, but rather part of a larger discourse of physico-theology. By drawing on the work of Zeitz and Mayhew, among others, this paper shows how Addison’s theological underpinnings of the aesthetic raise the broader question of the role theology played in the emergence and evolution of philosophical aesthetics. In eighteenth-century Britain, the aesthetic belonged to a disciplinary matrix comprising a set of confluent discourses, one of which was theology. Drawing on and expanding M.H. Abrams’s scheme, which explores how concepts such as ‘contemplation’ and ‘disinterestedness’ migrated from theology to aesthetic theory, this paper suggests that the concept of ‘aesthetic pleasure’ underwent a similar transformation. With Addison, the pleasures afforded by the imagination (greatness, novelty and beauty) acquire a new dominant position which allows one to speak of a text in modern aesthetics instead of a manual of Christian apologetics.
60. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Stefan Heßbrüggen-Walter The Young and Clueless?: Wheare, Vossius, and Keckermann on the Study of History
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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.