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Russian Academy of Sciences

  Philosophy Journal, 2017, Vol. 10, No. 2
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Philosophy Journal, 2017, Vol. 10, No. 2




Galina Vdovina. Cognitive aspect of the problem of universals in late Scholastic tradition 

In this article, the author examines the shaping of universal notions in the 17th century scholastic theory of the soul. The respective concepts found their immediate origin in the typology of universals as elaborated by Francisco Suárez in his books On the Soul and Metaphysical Disputations. According to Suárez, there are three types of universals: physical, metaphysical and logical; but only the latter two are pertinent to the problem here discussed. Suárez, and most of scholastic philosophers after him, believed that universality as such does not exists in extramental reality, but rather is produced by the intellect on the basis of similarity between things, which makes it possible to group things into species and genera. Scholastic writers provided a thorough analysis of the mechanism of generating universal concepts not only from a logical, but from a cognitive point of view as well. The present paper follows them in their comprehensive approach to the problem of generation of universals, including the cognitive aspect of this process and the kind of abstraction employed in it. It can be shown that the place of priority belongs to the metaphysical universal which comprises the general specific and generic characteristics of things and makes predication in natural languages possible; it is also the origin from which the logical universal is generated, indispensable for scientific knowledge but useless in daily life. On the whole, the doctrine of the generation of universals in 17th century scholasticism is derivative from the basic ontological principles of this school of thought.

Keywords: 17th century scholasticism, formation of universal concepts, Francisco Suárez, Pedro Hurtado de Mendoza, Rodrigo de Arriaga, Thomas Compton Carleton

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-2-5-20

Dmitry Kurdybaylo. Toward a reconstruction of Gregory of Nyssa's theory of language in the context of anti-Eunomian polemics

The paper here abstracted introduces a reconstruction of Gregory’s of Nyssa doctrine on names and naming in the context of polemics with Eunomius of Cyzicus. The author brings into consideration a number of ancient conceptions of naming and language that had major relevance in theological and philosophical debates of 4th century Christians, in particular the theories elaborated in Plato’s dialogues, primarily the Cratylus (also in its later interpretations), in Aristotle’s On interpretation and Categories, as well as the Stoic theory of logos and the Old Testament tradition. He traces down the difference 'name' and 'word' have in a Platonic context and establishes the principles of distinction between phonetic and semantic layers in a word, all of which affects the extent to which certain notions can be translated from one language to another. He goes on to analyze Gregory’s exegesis of the cosmological and cosmogonic passages of the Old Testament, which helps reveal the bishop of Nyssa's view of the origins of language and of the word making activity of man. It can be shown that Gregory incorporates in his thinking both the elements of the ancient Greek philosophy of language (primarily Platonic and Stoic ideas) and of the Old Testament apophatism in describing and naming the transcendent God. These elements are brought into a synthesis with Christocentric asceticism, with what later came to be known as 'natural contemplation' and with the doctrine of the logoi of creation. Particular attention deserves Gregory's version of the doctrine of the 'inner word' which, by confrontation with the 'outer word', delineates the domains of semantics, psychology and language in the understanding of names. This gives the starting point for a reconstruction of a peculiar of anthropology of naming where a word is born in the conscience of a contemplating man who then expresses his experience of contemplation by verbal means.

Keywords: Gregory of Nyssa, Eunomius of Cyzicus, name, logos, Plato's Cratylus, Stoicism, ancient philosophy, philosophy of language, patrology

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-2-21-37

Alexey Fokin. Transformation of Aristotelian categories in the theology and cosmology of Maximus the Confessor

This article deals with the reception of Aristotle's logical and metaphysical concepts in the theology and cosmology of St. Maximus the Confessor (580-662). The author examines the view both thinkers share of God as the prime mover and the Intellect whose substance coincides with the act of thinking; he also traces down how Maximus adopts the Peripatetic doctrine of motion and its four kinds and investigates the Aristotelian origins of the ontological triad of essence, potentiality and actuality in Maximus' writings, as well as its other possible sources. It can be shown that the Byzantine theologian reconsiders the ten Aristotelian categories in an ideal mode, reshaping them in pure incorporeal logoi, the combination of which generates every individual thing and establishes all possible relations in the created world. Particular attention is given to the genus-species hierarchy of logoi in its relation to Aristotelian logic and the Neo-Platonic commentators of Aristotle. The transformation Peripatetic concepts undergo in Maximus finds its explanation above all in the difference of religious beliefs.

Keywords: Greek philosophy, Aristotle, logic, categories, metaphysics, cosmology, theology, patristics, Maximus the Confessor

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-2-38-61



Ivan Karpenko. Physical theories in a multiple possible-world environment 

In the paper here abstracted, the author submits to critical analysis the criteria of truth used in physical theories and physical laws, with reference to some theories in contemporary physics allowing for the existence of multiple universes. Seeing as the properly done inquiry demands universe models with diverging basic principles (the laws of physics), two theories have been chosen as the object of the present study: the first one which assumes eternal inflation and the second one presupposing string cosmology (a string landscape). Both theories admit a broad variation in physical laws (which may amount to fundamentally different laws or to the same basic principles only slightly modified). Magnitude of dark energy (the cosmological constant) has been taken to represent the parameter of a physical law that changes its value from one possible universe to another. The analysis of physical theories admitting multiple universes shows that the standard requirements for a theory, which have their origin back in early modern period and which assume the validity of a theory to depend on its conformity to the criteria of observability and justification of the fundamental principles of our universe, cannot be entirely consistent. The tendency in the development of theoretical physics is towards creating the models which represent increasing (in many cases apparently altogether insurmountable) difficulty for experimental verification. It can be argued that, for some physical theories, there obviously must be no verification requirement at all, since any assumption of the necessary correspondence between theory and reality is no more than a manifestation of anthropocentrism. A theory may be able to reveal a more general ground which will be beyond the scope of observation. In this case, an epistemological question will arise, what can be the criterion of validity for such a theory? The present paper is an attempt to provide arguments for the priority of mathematical over the empirical justification.

Keywords: philosophy of science, physical theory, physical law, eternal inflation, dark energy,  anthropic principle, epistemology

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-2-62-78





Philosophy as expert examination (Mikhail Pronin, Boris Yudin, Julia Sineokaya)

This is a written account of a panel discussion on the role of philosophy when it is made to function as expert examination. This application of philosophy is getting more prominence with the increasing impact of new technologies on the world and on humans. Tendencies in the development and implementation of human-oriented technologies induce one to consider the prospects of a radical change in the physical, psychological, intellectual and even moral qualities of man, and to reflect on the effects of putting such technologies into practice. The panelists were unanimous in rejecting the tenets of 'technological determinism' according to which man and human society have no control over the direction of technological progress and are left to adapt to the changes brought about by new technologies. They agreed that one could, and should, try to foresee the consequences of the multiform influence technology exerts on humans, which could not be achieved without employing philosophical imagination and the tools of rational thinking elaborated by philosophy. The practice of the European Council Committee on Bioethics may serve here as illustration: they involve philosophers in the discussion of the impact development of new technologies has on human rights and on the dignity of man. Another aspect of the appraisal function acquired by philosophy can be seen in the history of virtualistics: this new field of study has demonstrated the urgent need for philosophical expert examination of scientists' Weltanschauung and has revealed, through an analysis, inter alia, of Chernobyl nuclear accident, the risks of new technologies.

Keywords: anthropology, expert examination, humanitarian expertise, bioethics, human-oriented technology, human 'enhancement', virtualistics, virtual person, Chernobyl catastrophe, chemical weapons

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-2-79-96



Anton Vavilov, Irina Zotova. Negativity in earnest? Toward the problem of Heidegger's interpretation of negativity in the philosophy of Hegel 

The present article offers an analysis of the methodological models used by both Hegel and Heidegger to approach the problem of negativity. The authors seek to reveal what makes Hegel's and, on the other hand, Heidegger's inquiry into the origins of philosophy so special. Heidegger builds his critique of Hegel's doctrine of negativity on a more general interpretation of speculative thinking. It can be shown, however, that the Freiburg philosopher effectively reduces the role of negativity in Hegel's system to that of one of its parts which Hegel himself would not take too much 'in earnest', letting it be leveled under the pressure of the speculative principle and thus included and locked within the system. What the authors set to demonstrate is that in fact an essential and necessary characteristic of the speculative system is self-expenditure: this is prerequisite to its continuation and to its functioning historically, which, in its turn, means precisely positing negativity in itself.

Keywords: Hegel, Heidegger, speculative thinking, representation, negativity, sublation, being, self-evidence, beginning

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-2-97-113

Daniil Nebolsin. Pictorial space, content and surface: Wollheim’s theory of twofoldness

This paper concerns Richard Wollheim’s theory of twofoldness, one of the most acclaimed analytical theories of pictorial representation. Wollheim has pointed to the structural distinction of perceiving the pictures from seeing the objects and from face-to-face situations, which resulted in his putting forward the theory of seeing-in and twofoldness. Such theory presupposes a two-way simultaneous seeing of the object of representation and of the material surface of the image. This paper concerns Richard Wollheim’s theory of twofoldness, one of the most acclaimed analytical theories of pictorial representation. Wollheim has pointed to the structural distinction of perceiving the pictures from seeing the objects and from face-to-face situations, which resulted in his putting forward the theory of seeing-in and twofoldness. Such theory presupposes a two-way simultaneous seeing of the object of representation and of the material surface of the image. Considering the basic influences, features and shortcomings of Wollheim’s theory, the present author shows that it is largely limited to artistic images. From a detailed reconstruction and a critique of it he proceeds to offer an interpretation based on spatially oriented definitions of twofoldness (Bence Nanay, John Kulvicki) and involving the actual distinction between representational content of a picture and its figurative content. Content of the first type includes all spatial relations which can be seen in an image, that of the second type everything which can be seen in it and described in non-abstract terms. Though in his writings on twofoldness Wollheim never used this distinction, it allows to deduce a fairly balanced definition of twofoldness as a holistic visual experience of pictorial surface (i.e., a material object in viewer’s egocentric space) and of representational content (i.e., semantically active spatial relations which one sees in the picture). Being devoid of Wollheim’s psychologism while maintaining his focus on visuality, this interpretation aspires to be a useful instrument for a non-reductionist description of pictorial experience and of the ontological duality of pictures. Moreover, it provides some opportunities for applying Wollheim’s theory beyond the contexts of analytical philosophy of pictures, effectively connecting it to the problems of phenomenological and hermeneutic theories of image.

Keywords: Richard Wollheim, pictorial representation, depiction, philosophy of pictures, twofoldness, seeing-in, seeing-as, perception

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-2-114-129

Elena Chebotareva. The 'efficiency' of philosophy in social and political science: a survey of the application of philosophical research 

This article attempts to answer the question: what kind of 'efficiency' contemporary studies in the humanities and, in particular, in philosophy may have. The author starts with an analysis of scholarly publications which, in order to meet certain social and political challenges, employ philosophical instruments, and then assesses the limits within which such usage is still possible. The publications brought here under examination are selected from a number of philosophical and interdisciplinary learned journals focused on the problems of domestic and foreign policy of several nations, insofar as it is related to institutional policy. Among the published works chosen for the survey, there are some which appeared in the Journal of Scottish Philosophy; these are indicative of the importance national traditions in thinking can have even in the age of global 'intellectual networks'. Discussion of the efficiency of philosophy will benefit from introducing the notion of 'territorial marketing': such a representation of the national history of ideas will be relevant not only on an intra-disciplinary level, but can also be regarded as part of the strategy to promote an attractive image of the respective country. Another type of similar strategy is exemplified by Carlin Romano's book America the Philosophical. The interdependence between the intellectual significance of advances in the humanities and the position occupied by a country in the political arena (e.g. such journals as East European Politics & Societies) is also worth consideration. It is in the context of this problem that one has to investigate the principles of objective and politically unbiased assessment of the role of social studies and the works of art. Potential efficiency of philosophy in determining the scope and methods of educational policy and in the intercultural communication can be studied, respectively, on the example of such journals as Journal of Philosophy of Education (the use of philosophical apparatus in discussing the problem of teaching patriotism at school) and Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture.

Keywords: efficiency, evaluation of philosophical studies, humanities, national philosophy, territorial marketing, educational policy

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-2-130-145



Vadim Rozin. Reflections on Pierre Hadot's Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault  

The central questions of Pierre Hadot's book are: how a philosopher should live, what does it take to dedicate one's life to philosophy, how should one philosophize? Attempting to provide an answer, Hadot explores what philosophy is, and shows that from the very beginning in classical antiquity it has been not only and not so much a kind of theoretical thinking, as a specific philosophical way of life and the way of thinking associated with the idea of wisdom. At the same time, he is convinced that the practice of philosophy is a spiritual exercise, and its mission is to transform the way one perceives the world. The present paper discusses, alongside with Hadot's ideas, the circumstances which accompanied his making his choices in philosophy and the values which determined his understanding of it. For Hadot, to understand a philosophy is, in the first place, to understand the philosopher as a person who is busy constructing his own world and is guided by how he sees his own place in it. This will be true if the person is the only factor involved in the events, but things become more complicated when culture, communication or a particular concurrence of circumstances are also to be taken into account. Though culture is inhabited by the person, it remains independent as ontological reality; culture and person can, therefore, be described as two complementary social ontologies. This is why this author, while generally following the path made by Pierre Hadot, proposes not to concentrate exclusively on the philosopher's personality, but to consider culture, communication and particular circumstances as well.

Keywords: philosophy, lifestyle, theorizing, culture, salvation, peace, order, life navigation, exercise, spirituality

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-2-146-161


Tamara Dlugach. On Lion Chernyak's Eternity and Time: an Old Problem Revisited (Russian Vechnost' i vremia: vozvrasheniye zabytoi temy. Moscow–Saint-Petersburg: Nestor-Istoriya, 2012, 576 p.)

Lion Chernyak's Eternity and Time is a book on how space and time are related and what their structure is within the system of transcendental philosophy. This is the background against which the author seeks to provide a new justification of thinking as the essence of man. Contemplation, and space and time along with it, come into consideration not as independent characteristics of perception, but rather as images produced by things only at the moment when thinking meets the extra-thinkable: what happens here is not that a thing assumes an image, but rather that the existing thing is allotted an image. This idea was, according to Chernyak, what determined positions taken by both Husserl and Heidegger in approaching the problems of contemplation and reason. This line of argument compels the author to undertake an analysis of the theories put forward by Descartes and Kant, considering the fact that the Cartesian conception of thinking tends to interpreting time as the underlying structure of thinking/contemplation. Chernyak suggests to regard the structure of contemplation/reason/intellect, as it is represented in the first Critique, not as a hierarchy but as a sum of elements in a cyclic order, so that the required workings of the active intellect would consist in elaborating the transcendental schemes which reveal the inner unity of the transcendental structures of space and time and distinction between them. The monograph here reviewed, therefore, achieves a completely new understanding of human cognitive ability, of space and time, and of many traditional categories such as being, reality, relation, the determinant, and so on.

Keywords: thinking, the extra-mental, thinking/contemplation, space, time, transcendental philosophy, hierarchy, cycle, reason, ego, intentional act, scheme

DOI: 10.21146/2072-0726-2017-10-2-162-173