Philosophy Journal. 2018, Vol. 11, No. 1
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LOGIC AND PHILOSOPHY
This Part II completes the exposition of the basic notions and theses developed in the ‘uṣūl al-fiqh (roots of jurisprudence) science, started in Part I of the present article, and elaborates the hypothesis stating different epistemic bases for the Greek qiyāssyllogysm
Keywords: collective cognitive unconscious, qiyās, ‘uṣūl al-fiqh, constituting reason, constituted reason
MORALS, POLITICS, SOCIETY
Irina I. Myurberg. Toward the problem of self-justification of political philosophy from the standpoint of social epistemology
One prominent feature of contemporary intellectual climate is the current problematization of political philosophy (PPh). The author contends that the main challenge to this disci¬pline came from the emergence of non-classical political thought in 20th century Europe, followed by the appearance of socio-epistemological (SE) type of philosophical reasoning about the meaning of the ‘the political’ in Lebenswelt. This challenge had important conse¬quences: (1) the rejection of the traditional paradigm of the ‘philosophy of politics’ (PhP) which remained dominant throughout the Modern Age when political thinking remained a de facto part of the history of philosophy (HPh); (2) the emergence of analytical philosophy that left PPh wondering which of the methodological traditions of the Enlightenment were to be discarded. The publication of Carl Schmitt’s theory of the ‘autonomy of the political’ can be viewed as a 20th century response to these difficulties. Schmitt’s insistence on the autonomous nature of the political highlights the self-standing nature of the present-day political thinking as a discipline, its irreducibility to HPh with its academic tools, while drawing clear distinction between ‘the political’ and ‘politics’, the latter term signifying the sum of scientific disciplines known today as ‘political science’. The author proceeds to illustrate the said distinctions with the help of the example of contemporary debates on the opposing categories of ‘structure’ and ‘agency’. In can be demonstrated that conflicting opinions in this debate are conditioned by the critical attitude toward analytical philosophy persistent in PPh, and, on the other hand, by its drift to non-classical SE. By sharing the SE thesis on the priority of Lebenswelt as against the ‘scientific’ attitude, PPh makes SE its own prime concern. This allows PPh to expose, among other things, the epistemic gap between the facets of political theory and leads to the conclusion that political science and PPh ‘speak different languages’. Hence, among today’s topics, there are those which can only be addressed within the problem field of PPh.
Keywords: political philosophy, political science, social epistemology, ”natural attitude”, autonomy of the political
Rossella Fabbrichesi. The social structure of language and consciousness in George Herbert Mead
This essay focuses on George H. Mead’s Mind, Self, and Society (1934). In his seminal work, Mead gives birth to social psychology, differentiating it from pure behaviorism. Mead focuses on an observable activity – the gesture, the act – and yet he distances himself from behaviorism because he does not deny the inner experience of the individual. On the contrary, he is particularly concerned with the rise of inner experience within the process as a whole. The process of the formation of consciousness works from the outside to the inside. Consciousness is mostly to be explained, not to be certified; what must be explained is its development, its function, its usefulness. Mead maintained that consciousness has a social origin (like his contemporary Vygotsky), and that it is the outcome, and not the origin, of the process of communication (like Darwin). This process begins with a “conversation of gestures”, continues with what Mead calls “taking the role of the other”, and ends up with a social architecture of significant symbols. The Self appears as a Social Self, a Generalized Other made possible especially by that particular form of gesture that is the vocal gesture. I will insist on the particular form of “genealogy of consciousness” that Mead underlined, trying to clear up its novelty in reference to the metaphysical and psychological tradition. The inward-looking individual seems to fail to see his proper Self, because the truth of the Self lies in the outward and dynamical relations with others.
Keywords: Mead, Vygotsky, Consciousness, Gestures, Symbols, Language, Communication
THEORY AND HISTORY OF CULTURE
Giula B. Shamilli. Conglomeration of facts or structured information? A problem of method in the study of history
The present article deals with the structural unit in historic narrative which the documents in Arabic and Persian languages dating from the 9th–15th centuries designate using the Arabic term ẖabar. The author’s aim is to find out whether the ẖabar structure is reducible to the familiar subject-predicate construction or rather its foundation rests on a deep logical predication structure which can be symbolically expressed as S (process) P. After examining a wide representation of medieval texts, she arrives at the conclusion that a ẖabar structure invariably retains the same principles of organization irrespective of the literary genre or even the grammar and language of a given text; its raison d’être is rather the Gestalt of ‘resting upon’ a wholesome image which can be realized in either verbal or non-verbal texts.
Keywords: subject-predicate construction, proposition, rationality, methodology, ẖabar structure, music
Liudmila E. Kryshtop. The doctrine of pietism: did the religious Enlightenment ever take place in Germany?
This is a study of the pietist religious movement which took shape in Germany in mid- 17th century and continued to be an important factor throughout the Enlightenment pe¬riod. Often pietism is associated with reactionary forces hampering the dissemination of the Enlightenment ideas. Not the least role in the forming of this perception played the ill-famous banishment of Christian Wolff from Halle, initiated by the pietist Joachim Lange. Today, however, scholars have come to believe that the hitherto universally accepted view of Lange’s critique of Wolff’s metaphysics, dispraising the former as academically untenable, lacks serious grounds and, therefore, that the entire picture of pietism as a reactionary force is by no means a well justified one. There can be no doubt, of course, that pietism, due to its religious and Lutheran origins, retains much in common with the principles of Luther’s doctrine. At the same time, however, pietists radically reconsidered some of the fundamental notions of Lutheranism, so that their position in many points effectively approached that of the philosophers of the early Enlightenment. Among such points of convergence one can single out the ideas about the nature of human mind and its possible benefits, as well as the firm rejection of prejudice and false belief, above all in morals and religion. This gives one the right to speak about pietism as a phenomenon of German religious Enlightenment, though important reservations should be made to account for the fact that while pietists shared the same goals with the Enlightenment philosophers, methods applied in either case remained different and even strictly opposite. Both groups were aiming at illuminating the human reason, but while for the philosophers this meant the emancipation of reason, for pietists it amounted to achieving the divine illumination of spirit.
Keywords: pietism, Philipp Spener, Martin Luther, Christianity, papism, reason, faith, sola fide, Enlightenment, religion, morals
HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY
Catherine Malabou. Can we relinquish the transcendental? (translated into Russian by Maxim Miroshnichenko)
Is contemporary continental European philosophy preparing itself to break with Kant? An attack upon supposedly indestructible structures of knowledge is happening today: finitude of the subject, phenomenal given, a priori synthesis. ‛Relinquishing the transcendentalʼ: such is the leading project of postcritical thinking in the early twenty-first century as it appears in Quentin Meillassoux’s book. The familiar questions are posed in it with a renewed force: Was Kant genuinely able to deduce categories instead of imposing them, to prove the necessity of nature, to found the difference between ʽa prioriʼ and ʽinnateʼ? Should we consider, on the contrary, that the “problem of Hume” – the existence of an irreducible contingency of the world–has never been settled by the Transcendental Deduction? Such a claim implies that we are provided a sufficiently convincing concept of the irregularity of the laws of nature and of the possibility of a totally different world. Does After Finitude elaborate such concepts?
Keywords: transcendental, contingency, postcriticism, nature, mathematics, Hume, Kant, Meillassoux
Alexei M. Gaginsky. The hidden premises of rational theology
In this article, the author attempts to highlight some of the premises of rational theology which normally tend to be taken for granted. The most important precondition of scientific rationality is assumption that the object of inquiry does exist. When it comes to theology, however, this assumption becomes ambiguous because it makes God dependent on the existence. As a result, it can be shown that divinity becomes ‘inferior’ to the existence. If one, namely, is to prove the existence of God, one is forced to acknowledge, at least in theory, that there may happen to be no God at all. Once this mode of thinking is deemed logically acceptable, doubts as to the existence of God become psychologically admissible as well. Postmodern theology, on the contrary, suggests thinking about God’s freedom from the existence, but this kind of reasoning is problematic since it accepts the absence of God as an axiom. The author outlines a possible solution by recurring to the doctrine of divine energies. If the concept of existence in theology is a homonym, then nothing about God can be known, it cannot even be said He exists. This notwithstanding, such conclusion is not something impossible if one is prepared to take the thesis of the incomprehensibility of God seriously.
Keywords: God, being, proof, rationality, philosophical theology
ANATOMY OF PHILOSOPHY: HOW THE TEXT WORKS
Rejoinders in a dialogue Diaries, letters, personal testimony: Lev Shestov and Sergei Bulgakov (Ksenia V. Vorozhikhina, Alexey P. Kozyrev, Julia V. Sineokaya)
The subject of the panel discussion here reported was the role that personal testimonies, correspondence and diaries can have in philosophical studies. In particular, the participants explored the problem of the inner relations between the experiences of a thinker’s personal life and his philosophical activity. Lev Shestov and Sergei Bulgakov, for all the differences they had between them both in style and philosophical content of their writings, still have much in common: they both strongly rely on the biblical tradition, profess certain skepticism as regards reason and its presumed ‘omnipotence’; they draw from the sources of intimate existential experience, and so on. Despite the fact that Shestov almost never speaks in the first person, his philosophy can be qualified as a kind of self-expression and self-analysis, and his writings ultimately appear as an indirect confession. Bulgakov directly transfers much of his diaries into hisphilosophical oeuvre moreover, he often accords a different meaning to one and the same entry. An analysis of such revisions makes it possible to trace down how Bulgakov’s worldview evolved. Shestov and Bulgakov’s letters, Bulgakov’s book Sophia, the Wisdom of God and other unpublished documents were employed in the course of the panel.
Keywords: religious philosophy, diaries, Sergei Bulgakov, correspondence, sophiology, philosophy of tragedy, Lev Shestov, recollections
Demythologizing as a philosophical enterprise: the fortune of Nikolay Chernyshevsky (Vladimir K. Kantor and Elena V. Besschetnova)
This is a transcript of another installment of the Rejoinders in a dialogue series held in Dostoyevsky Library in Moscow, this time dedicated to discussing Vladimir Kantor’s re¬cent book, The Collapsed Tree of Life, The Fate of Nikolai Chernyshevsky, in which for the first time an attempt is made to demythologize the life and ideas of one of Russia’s greatest thinkers and perhaps the most tragic figure of Russian culture. Russian authorities granted him 20 years of Siberian exile, far away not only from books and literary life but from any educated society. It was only through the workings of myth that reformer and gradualist, speculative thinker and archpriest’s son who reintroduced to Russia Christian values in the guise of contemporary positivism and brought to life, in the words of Mikhail Bakhtin, the ideological novel, – that such a man was made a revolutionary. His idea of rational egoism was mistaken for malicious utilitarianism, being nothing else than a paraphrase of Christ’s maxim: “Love your neighbor as yourself”. It is a striking story of a man who never degraded himself by asking for mercy, the story of a Russian Socrates, someone who possessed an unusually strong sense of human dignity, unscrupulously misrepresented by the authorities as a seditious character, contributing to the rise of the forces against which Chernyshevsky spoke. Radical activists took the place of a moral reformer. “In one truly remarkable biography we came to the Tree of Life,” wrote Vasily Rozanov, “but they took it and cut it down”. The author’s aim is to give the Russian thought back its essential and pan-European voice. It is men of the same caliber as Chernyshevsky who highlight the true scale of Russia.
Keywords: Chernyshevsky, Christianity, reformer, rational egoism, the golden rule of Christian ethics, aesthetics of life, new men, Christian socialism
Alexandеr L. Nikiforov. All is not gold that glitters: Wittgenstein’s Tractatus
In this paper, the author provides arguments to support the view that the strictly philosophical contents of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus are in fact quite poor. Wittgenstein, relying on the language of propositional logic, constructs an exceedingly simplified model of the world, of language and knowledge. His understanding of the cognitive image as a mirror reflection of reality appears to be rather naïve and bearing little relation to true scientific knowledge. These considerations prompt the conclusion that the importance of Wittgenstein’s contribution to 20th century philosophy is often exaggerated. His Tractatus represents any real interest only to analytic philosophers and merits little attention outside that camp.
Keywords: ontology, metaphysics, image, proposition, logic, reflection, object, philosophy
Zinaida A. Sokuler. Small rain lays great dust: peculiarities of ontology, theory of knowledge and philosophy of science in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
The author takes a close look at some of the concepts in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus. She sets to show that the meaning of the notion ‘world’ is fully revealed only when Wittgenstein comes to speak of what ‘lies outside the world’. She then attempts to demonstrate that neither propositional logic nor the classical first-order logic enjoy a privileged position in representing the logical spacewhere both the world and the language lie. The paper argues that the Tractatus contains neither an ontology nor a theory of knowledge in the usual sense of the word and proceeds to analysing the possible motives of conventionalism and instrumentalism exhibited by Wittgenstein in the interpretation of scientific theories. The author contends that Wittgenstein’s understanding of philosophy is essentially different from the one shared by the adepts of positivism.
Keywords: Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, logical atomism, philosophy, language, logical space, logic, scientific theory, causality, induction, theory of knowledge, ontology