Institute of Philosophy
Russian Academy of Sciences




  Philosophy Journal, 2016, Vol. 9, No. 3
Home Page » » Philosophy Journal » Philosophy Journal, 2016, Vol. 9, No. 3

Philosophy Journal, 2016, Vol. 9, No. 3

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE


Alexander Karpenko. Hyperrealism, part II: from the possible to the real

Hyperrealism conceives of the Multiverse as multivariance of the Universe, all variants being equiprobable. Problematics of the philosophy of mind, the phenomenon of counterfactual thinking, modal epistemology, various theories of possible worlds, the results of contemporary cosmology, the anthropic principle – all of this amalgamates into one global tendency which aims to maximally expand the sphere of the real. In the present paper, on the basis of a vast factual material, the following argument is established: (1) All that is thinkable is also possible (Wittgenstein, Chalmers, etc.); (2) All that is possible is also actualized (the principle of plenitude, the principle of fecundity, modal realism, the worlds of Everett, etc.). From this, by transitivity, we obtain: (3) All that is thinkable is also actualized (the principle of fullness). Then the basis of the principle of fullness is a thinking being, the one endowed with counterfactual thinking, whose function is to generate, by means of consciousness proper to it, ever newer possibilities. Now the reality is born out of the closure of human consciousness upon itself, that is, from logic, and so on indefinitely, until everything logical possible is actualized. There are two essential prejudices which hinder the development of human reflective faculties: (1) Constant repetition that history has no place for the subjunctive mood; (2) The hope that everything ends eventually. The former, as well as the latter, points to the strict the limitations of modern human thought. Overcoming such prejudices leads to an entirely novel view of the world around us and to new, much greater, opportunities for its philosophical understanding.

Keywords: logical space, philosophy of consciousness, counterfactual thinking, metaphysics of modality, principle of fullness, anthropic principle, Multiverse, hyperrealism

DOI 10.21146/2072-0726-2016-9-3-5-24

 

Vasily Zuev. The notion of scientific reality and the character of transition from classical to nonclassical science

In this paper, the author attempts a comparative analysis of classical and nonclassical scientific theories in order to answer the following questions: what does a scientific theory actually capture about reality? of what nature is the connection between theory and reality? how the failures of classical theory can be explained and which way the transition from classical to nonclassical theory proceeds? The corpus of the study comprises the texts of scientists, methodologists and philosophers of science which are used to illustrate the difficulties of the ontology and methodology of science. Among the methods adopted, M.A. Rozov's social relay theory stands out. Classical naturalistic ontology is immature, as is reflected in the inadequacy of judgments made about scientific knowledge and reality, which ultimately leads to the problem of the reality of the objects of inquiry. This phenomenon, however, activates the process of theorizing in science, prompting the scientists to develop methodology. At the heart of the transition from classical to nonclassical science, which occurs in the process of solving the problem of reality, there is the awareness that philosophical and methodological work in science should precede the development of any engineering projects of scientific activity and first establish the framework of goals and objectives that would determine the appropriate theoretical background and eventually help identify the most successful project strategy. The notion of reality in science is undergoing change the process of its theorizing: unlike classical science, where the real object is the object as it is furnished to the researching mind by nature, its reality being confirmed by direct observation, nonclassical science stresses the ambiguous character of the conformity of knowledge to reality and adopts a more sophisticated cognitive model in which only the information about reality obtained through experiment and observation is recognized as knowledge. The ontology of nonclassical science is not a straightforward one: the assignment of the status of reality to the objects of theory is carried out on the ground of an empirical confirmation of a theoretical hypothesis; such problems as the possibility of a full compliance of a given fragment of material world to the theoretical object or the natural existence of the objects of science, according to most philosophers of science, lie outside the cognitive limits of contemporary science.

Keywords: scientific reality, classical science, nonclassical science, naturalism, constructivism, realism, social relay theory

DOI 10.21146/2072-0726-2016-9-3-25-40

 

HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY


Galina Vdovina. Species impressa: on the intentional forms in cognitive doctrines of post-medieval Scholasticism

The present article discusses the intentional form, or species impressa. It is an element of the cognitive chain, which, from the standpoint of scholastic philosophical psychology, delivers data about the object of knowledge to the respective cognitive faculty. In the first section the paper offers an analysis of the theory of species as developed by Augustine, and of the notions of “impressed” and “expressed” forms first introduced by him. In the second section the author proceeds to examine the scholastic theory of species impressa devised during the early modern period. This theory attributed to the impressed intentional form a double function, that is, 1) to activate the respective cognitive power, sensory or intellectual, subsequently redefining it to eventually achieve the knowledge of a particular thing, and 2) to represent that thing in order to form, through such representations, a sensual image or concept of it. To understand the essence of species impressa, it is important to distinguish between its ontological nature (all species are real accidents in the category of quality) and its cognitive content (which is unreal but able to represent a real thing, different from the species itself). The specific role of species impressa consists in being a virtual sign of an external thing, in other words, a sign that physically activates a cognitive potency. The concept, on the contrary, is a formal sign, or formal representation, of a thing, and its only function is to represent the thing without further producing any physical actions in the cognisant soul.

Keywords: intentional form, species impressa, scholasticism, Augustine, philosophical psychology, cognitive power

DOI 10.21146/2072-0726-2016-9-3-41-58

 

Alexey Gaginsky. On the sense of Being and the meanings of beings

Once having grasped the distinction between Being and beings (Sein und Seiendes), it is no longer possible to study the history of ontology without understanding the forgetfulness of Being. The purpose of the present paper is to clarify the “ontological difference” by inquiring into specific cases from the history of philosophy and, on the other hand, to outline the limit beyond which one cannot go back in time when speaking of Being. It can be argued that there is nothing methodologically incorrect about such an attempt, since the distinction of Being and beings appears to have been known long before Heidegger and started to take shape already in ancient Platonism. There is ample evidence for this in the lexicon of Greek ontology, focused as it was on the study of beings, or things. By introducing the concept of essence, Plato established for ontology a new and specific perspective which had a determining influence on European metaphysics. This work was continued by Aristotle who distinguishes between the different meanings of beings but fails to clarify the underlying unity behind them. It was only Heidegger who gave the question of Being an unambiguious formulation by making “ontological difference” the foundation and starting point of his philosophy. With this difference in mind, one is able to discern the core of the debate between Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus, which sheds light on how Being was conceptualized during the Middle Ages. From the above it becomes clear that Being has only one meaning, whereas beings are said in many ways. Being is predicated of all things but is identical with none of the things of which it is predicated, because Being excludes multiplicity. Despite this, Being is not the one, since by its nature it is in no way related to number.

Keywords: Being, existence, beings, essence, quiddity, “ontological difference”, history of ontology

DOI 10.21146/2072-0726-2016-9-3-59-76

 

Alina Pertseva. Visibility of the subject between imagination and perception. Sartre and Merleau-Ponty

This paper explores the theoretical difficulties arising from the treatment of the problem of the visibility of the subject by the philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. The author attempts an interpretation of the glance of the other, described by Sartre in his Being and Nothingness, as a specific form of this kind of visibility, in order to demonstrate the “destructive” potential of such description for Sartre's own dualistic ontology. The analysis of the passages from Being and Nothingness where an encounter with the glance of the other is depicted, brings into question at least two of the key oppositions in Sartre's early works, imagination vs. perception and consciousness vs. object. As a result, the visibility of the subject, although given quite a persuasive account in Being and Nothingness, actually remains non-theorised (and, very likely, non-theorisable within the limits allowed by a dualist ontology). It would seem that it is Merleau-Ponty who should be able to solve the problem of theoretical justification of non-contradictory foundations of the visibility of the subject, since he is mainly interested in finding the common ground for various oppositions without nullifying the oppositions themselves. Merleau-Ponty's critique of the opposition between imagination and perception in Sartre, however, being centered as it is on the notion of “flesh” and, eventually, on the reversibility internal to vision, meets with difficulties once it is required to provide a solution to the second dichotomy, the one between consciousness and the object. Even though in Merleau-Ponty's late work The Visible and the Invisible the visibility of the subject ceases to be problematic, his criticism of Sartre's notion of 'pre-reflexive consciousness' still leads to his very definition of the position of the 'subject' (which already in early Sartre was equalized in status with the object) being ambiguous.

Keywords: Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, the visible, subject, consciousness, the other, perception, imagination, glance, flesh

DOI 10.21146/2072-0726-2016-9-3-77-105

 

HISTORY AND THEORY OF CULTURE


Ilshat Nasyrov. 'Ibn Khaldunizm' in the Ottoman intellectual tradition (19th–20th century)

The prominent Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406), the author of the famous Muqaddimah (Prolegomena, or “Introduction”), is considered by many scholars as 'the father of the philosophy of history'. In his study of history he strived to follow a scientific method and gave economic and natural factors prevalence over religious belief in his explanation of the origins and development of the state and civilization. The political changes which occurred in the Islamic world during the 15th century (territorial expansion and apogee of the Ottoman Empire) proved a major inspiration for the development of Ottoman historiography. Ibn Khaldun was to remain a dominant influence on Ottoman intellectual tradition until the 20th century; this is why contemporary Turkish historians designate this centuries-old tradition as 'Ibn Khaldunizm' (İbn Haldunculuk). Scholars belonging to it made significant contributions to many fields of knowledge. Among their achievements it is to point out that they were responsible for the uninterrupted study of Ibn Khaldun's work during the Middle Ages and up to its 'discovery' in the West in early 19th century; they made appear, in the first half of the 18th century, the first translation of Ibn Khaldun's Prolegomena (Muqaddimah) from Arabic into any other language (Ottoman Turkish); they continued to develop and, in some respects, to expand Ibn Khaldun’s theory of the state.

Keywords: Ibn Khaldun, philosophy of history, Ottoman intellectual tradition

DOI 10.21146/2072-0726-2016-9-3-106-120

 

Igor Andreev. The African paradigm of time. Attitude towards time among the peoples dwelling to the south of Sahara

This article attempts a philosophical anthropological and ethnopsychological analysis of the algorithms of time perception among the African peoples dwelling to the south of Sahara, considering time both in its role as an objective condition of their existence and a fundamental element of traditional consciousness, and from the viewpoint of their attitudes toward it which can be observed in the structure of their individual and group daily activity. The author argues that while the Western mentality tends to lean towards a rational understanding of the place of man in the world (both nature and society) which undergoes change with time, the “Eastern” mentality is rather inclined to grasp the reflection of an evolving local nature and society within the particular person's mind and body in an altogether sensual manner, “switching off” the social time as it is known in the Western culture. All this casts doubt on the idea, implicitly transmitted by both academic humanities and mass culture, of the universality of Eurocentric intellectual stereotypes which permeate Modern Age philosophy with its predominant attention to man's instrumental and logical communication with the natural and social environment under the strict temporal normalization of all life activities. In the 'natural' civilizations of the East, on the contrary, mass mentality is much more influenced by the internal psychological unity of the temporally perpetual traditional society in the face of the external world, both natural and social. Such unity carries an enormous potential of social passionarity.

Keywords: man, time, clocks, traditional mind, communication

DOI 10.21146/2072-0726-2016-9-3-121-134

 

ACADEMIC DISCUSSIONS


Ivan Efishov. On Bacon's biliteral cipher

In the second, revised and expanded edition of the works of Francis Bacon published under the auspices of the Institute of Philosophy of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR almost thirty years ago (1977), annoying errors of cryptographic nature were made in Chapter I, Book VI of the treatise On the Advancement of Learning. All of them relate to the biliteral cipher invented by Bacon, according to his own statement, in his youth. These errors (which are of various origin) misrepresent what the English philosopher and statesman, founder of empiricism has to say about “the highest degree of cypher”, known today as Bacon’s cipher (or code). They also deprive of any value the examples carefully chosen by Bacon for this late work. It is worth noting that in the first lifetime edition of this work in Latin (1623) non of the said errors is present, which means that the author was more concerned with the correct reproduction of his text than the philosophical supervisors of an edition which was to be printed more than three hundred and fifty years later. Now the sequence of symbols 0 and 1 (or, in Baconian terms, of the “two letters” a and b) is a binary sequence of the kind which makes possible the operation of all modern computers. It looks like Bacon foresaw a great future for such method of transmitting information: “Neither is it a small matter these Cypher-Characters have, and may perform: For by this Art a way is opened, whereby a man may express and signify the intentions of his mind, at any distance of place, by objects which may be presented to the eye, and accommodated to the ear”. Unfortunately, no one, let alone a philosopher, is immune to mistakes committed against his work by others. The purpose of this article is to trace down such mistakes, typographical errors included, and to suggest the necessary amendments to the Russian text of the respective chapter of the treatise On the Advancement of Learning.

Keywords: Francis Bacon, biliteral cipher, cipher, binary code

DOI 10.21146/2072-0726-2016-9-3-135-147

 

Andrei Paramonov. When the hidden remains hidden (a comment on the paper On Bacon's biliteral cipher)

The paper here commented upon examines one of the fragments of Francis Bacon's 1623 book De Augmentis Scientiarum (On the Advancement of Learning), where the philosopher explains his invention of the method of hiding a secret message by means of a specially devised biliteral alphabet. The author of the article shows that along with the principle of imperceptibility of the hidden message present in writing, a good illustration of which gives his famous method of biliteral cipher, Bacon also adopts the opposite strategy where apparency of the hidden is the instrument of concealing. It is the latter principle that underlies the method of hiding the cipher by using the two alphabets. Unfortunately, the existing Russian translation of the chapter expounding this method, which is contained in two-volume academic edition of Bacon's works  published in 1977, is so imprecise that no adequate understanding of Bacon's invention can be derived from it. The article On Bacon's biliteral cipher discusses the existing text and suggests a corrected translation of the relevant passages.

Keywords: Francis Bacon, cipher, biliteral cipher, method of steganography using two cipher alphabets

DOI 10.21146/2072-0726-2016-9-3-148-153

 

 

REVIEWS AND BIBLIOGRAPHIC SURVEYS


Olga Kusenko. Russian philosophy and theology in Italy

This is a critical assessment of two book-length studies of the two major figures in the history of Russian philosophy, written by prominent Italian scholars Piero Coda and Natalino Valentini and now appearing in Russian translation in the “Religious thinkers” series published by St. Andrew's Biblical Theological Institute. Both monographs adopt the theologically tinged approach typical of the Italian scholarship on Russian philosophy, with its characteristic avowal of inseparability of reason from faith and demand for ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox religious thinking. The works here reviewed bear ample evidence of the way Russian Philosophy gets perceived within Italian historiographical school, one of the most advanced in Europe. The publication of the books by Coda and Valentini in Russian is all the more important given the fact that Italian writing on the subject still gets relatively little attention from the Russian academic community.

Keywords: Italian historiography, Russian philosophy, heritage of theology and philosophy,  Pavel Florensky, Sergei Bulgakov, Piero Coda, Natalino Valentini

DOI 10.21146/2072-0726-2016-9-3-154-161

 

Artem Krotov. The 'death' of philosophy? (On Jean-François Revel’s thesis)

This paper contains an analysis of the thesis about the 'death' of philosophy advanced by the celebrated French author, member of the French Academy Jean-François Revel in his History of Western Philosophy (Histoire de la philosophie occidentale, de Thalès à Kant, 1994), the book which for its 2003 reprint was announced as intended for the “honest man of the 21st century”. Revel’s idea of the “death” of philosophy is based on a peculiar understanding of its function and historical role, and a closer look at his arguments allows fresh insight into the nature of philosophical knowledge. Revel built up an impressive doctrine with regard to what he calls the common “illusions” of the philosophers and their unjustified claims. It makes Revel the foremost representative of an important contemporary attitude toward philosophical texts. This approach refuses to be reduced to abstract logical analysis and wants to make philosophy an emotional experience. It finds its manifestation in unfounded, but very generic statements dispraising the entire areas of philosophical knowledge. No doubt Revel's critical remarks against some philosophers and the style of their writing are very reasonable. Still, his position is hardly convincing. His attempt to present as the sum of philosophy certain views typical only of a restricted period in its history significantly brings down the value of his judgements. Moreover, while discounting the argumentative part of philosophy as some sort of external and irrelevant cover, he completely ignores the 'architectonics' of philosophical systems, outside which it becomes increasingly difficult to understand the originality of each system and the internal logic of its construction. By stating the 'death' of philosophy, Revel in fact pronounces his sentence only against an outdated idea of it.

Keywords: Jean-François Revel, nature of philosophical knowledge, French philosophy, philosophy of history of Philosophy

DOI 10.21146/2072-0726-2016-9-3-162-174

 

Dmitry Volkov. The problem of free will: an overview of major studies by analytical philosophers in late 20th – early 21st century

This paper is an overview of contemporary studies on the problem of free will and moral responsibility. Its main purpose is to outline the key figures, theories and arguments which have contributed significantly toward finding a solution to this paradox. No similar survey has as yet appeared in Russian, and the Russian-speaking readers remain largely unaware of the main positions in the debate. From the author’s point of view, the leading exponents of contemporary philosophy of free will are Robert Kane, Derk Pereboom, Daniel Dennett and John Martin Fischer. The former two advocate incompatibilist theories, such as libertarianism and hard incomaptibilism respectively, whereas Dennett and Fischer share the compatibilist view. According to Kane and Pereboom, free will and moral responsibility are not compatible with causal determinism which claims that all events have a cause and that every cause necessitates the effect. In Dennett’s and Fischer’s theories, on the contrary, free will and moral responsibility are compatible with causal determinism. The author of the present article contends that compatibilist theories have the most promise, seeing as they conform better to the existing practices of interpersonal relations. To defend the compatibilist choice, however, one has to demonstrate the falsity of the opposing arguments, such as the consequence argument and the manipulation argument, which seems not to be an impossible task since the arguments propounded by the antagonists of compatibilism are inconclusive and have significant flaws.

Keywords: free will, moral responsibility, compatibilism, incompatibilism, Kane, Pereboom, Dennett, Fischer, basic desert, manipulation argument, consequence argument

DOI 10.21146/2072-0726-2016-9-3-175-189