Philosophy Journal. 2018, Vol. 11, No. 4
TABLE OF CONTENTS
HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY
This article considers three different approaches to the question of the term, or matter, and object of the intentional act, as elaborated within the post-medieval 17th-century scholasticism. According to the first approach (Jesuits), the term of the act is actually identical with the act itself. It is called verbum mentis (mental word) or conceptus formalis (formal concept), while what is held the object of direct knowledge is a thing external to it. Another approach (late Thomists) assumes the term of the intentional act to be really distinct from the act itself and to serve as instrumental sign (‘an immediately cognoscible sign’) of the external object (thing). According to the third approach (Stephanus Spinula), the term coincides with the immediate object of the intentional act and functions as the immanent, or formal, object. As to the external thing, it rests the ‘material’ object of cognition, which lies beyond direct human cognitive access. Such positions, formulated among scholastic philosophers, resonate with what was to appear within the Brentano school at the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th centuries; this presents both a historical and a properly philosophical interest. The author brings under examination philosophical texts from 17th century which are rarely given any attention by the scholars.
Keywords: post-medieval scholasticism, John of St. Thomas, Dionigi Leone, Stephanus Spinula, Bernaldo de Quiros, intentional act, intentional object, term of intentional act
This paper suggests that the analysis of philosophical texts may proceed from understanding two main kinds of difference, i.e., 1. the difference between terms, concepts and problems, and 2. the difference between analysis and interpretation. This method is here applied to Husserl’s work Ideas I, by singling out the difference between the style and terminological thesaurus of Ideas I and that of Logical Investigations as the object of inquiry. The author gives a critical reassessment of Husserl’s description of the so-called natural attitude and shows that Husserl’s account corresponds neither to the ordinary attitude nor to the naively scientific one. The concluding section discusses the correspondence of the natural attitude in Husserl’s interpretation to the basic modes of consciousness-perception and judgment.
Keywords: term, concept, problem, text, Ideas I, Husserl, natural attitude, description
This paper deals with the views of Murtaza Mutahhari (1902–1989), contemporary Iranian philosopher and a major ideologue and close associate of Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of 1978–1979 Iranian Revolution. The author traces the growth of the political doctrine of the so-called ‘Rule or guardianship by a jurist’ (vilayat-i faqih), as developed by Mutahhari, and shows that the latter argues for the dominant role of religion in Iranian society on the assumption that the very foundation of the teachings of Islam is reason. The central point of Mutahhari’s theory is the problem of the relation of faith (iman) to knowledge (ilm), in approaching which he follows along the traditional lines of Islamic philosophy. According to Mutahhari, between faith and knowledge there is no strict dichotomy, and indeed they are related to one another as two complementary concepts representing, respectively, the explicit and the hidden sides of the same reality. Knowledge, from this point of view, can be understood as a necessary condition of religious faith (iman-i mazhabi) which, in its turn, should be interpreted as one of the basic elements of individual consciousness and the most important ‘constitutive’ principle in man, Iranian society and the Islamic state.
Keywords: philosophy, worldview, religion, Islam, faith, knowledge, man, Islamic rule, Iran, Murtaza Mutahhari
John E. Smith argued that there were almost as many pragmatisms as pragmatists. Almost all pragmatists criticized abstractive and reductive reasoning in the modern academy, but most entertained different visions of how and to what end academic reasoning should be repaired. Smith’s vision was shaped by his strong preference for the classical pragmatisms of Peirce, Dewey, James and also Royce, whose differences contributed to the inner dynamism of Smith’s pragmatism. Smith was far less impressed with the virtues of neo-pragmatists who rejected key tenets of the classical vision. My goal in this brief essay is to outline a partial list of these tenets, drawing on Smith’s writings and those of a sample of recent pragmatists who share his commitment to the classical vision, such as Richard Bernstein, John Deely, and Doug Anderson. I restate the tenets in the terms of a pragmatic semeiotic, which applies Peirce’s semeiotic to classical doctrines of habit-change and reparative. I conclude by adopting the tenets as signs of pragmatism’s elemental beliefs. Consistent with Peirce’s account of “original” beliefs, these are not discrete claims about the world or well-defined rational principles but a loose and dynamic network of habits. The habits grow, change, inter-mix or self-segregate through the run of intellectual and social history. They can be distinguished but only imprecisely, described but only vaguely, encountered per se only through their effects. Among these effects are sub-communities of pragmatic inquiry, sub-networks of habits, and existentially marked series of social actions and streams of written and spoken words: including context-specific, determinate claims about the world, about other claims, and about habits of inquiry like pragmatism. Among these claims are my way of stating of the tenets and my arguments about the history of pragmatism. Such claims are determinate, but the habits and tenets of pragmatism are not.
Keywords: American pragmatism, Charles Peirce, John Dewey, Augustine, binary reasoning, semiotics, Cartesianism, habit-change
PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE
This article examines a historical case brought to general attention by English theoretical physicist and historian of science Julian Barbour. The events took place at the beginning of the 20th century when Albert Einstein, on his first steps towards the theory of General relativity, formulated what later was to become the famous Mach’s Principle, in the earnest conviction that he was giving expression to Ernst Mach’s ideas on the ‘relativity of inertia’. The irony is that whatever coincidence of opinion there may be between Einstein and Mach on this issue, it exists on the level of terminological expression alone; in other words, either of them, while speaking of ‘inertia’, had a different physical phenomenon in mind. One of the factors to provoke confusion was the semantic ambiguity of the notion of inertia in the language of science both at the time and even to this date. The implicit terminological contradiction between Einstein and Mach may seem superficial and accidental, though in fact, as this analysis shows, it is a manifestation of circumstances which had come into being much earlier but hitherto remained unnoticed. Such a delayed and unexpected event one may call a ‘late collision’, to borrow a term from network science. To address the problem of the possible origins of the semantic ambiguity of the notion ‘inertia’, the present author reassesses the history of its appearance in the work of Johannes Kepler, then gives a detailed account of the terms chosen by Isaac Newton for the definition of inertia and for the verbal expression of his first law of motion, after which he follows the same procedure for Descartes’s first law of nature. New insights, in particular, are offered on the possible meaning of the introductory words (“quantum in se est”) of Newton’s Principia, traditionally known as representing a serious difficulty for translators. Such investigations lead to the conclusion that the semantic ambiguity of the notion of inertia is very likely explained by the role it plays in Newton’s reduction of Descartes’s symbolic forms, which served to grasp knowledge as an event, to an operational language of knowledge.
Keywords: Johannes Kepler, René Descartes, Isaac Newton, Ernst Mach, Albert Einstein, Mach’s principle, law of nature, inertia, ‘quantum in se est’, late collision
IN SEARCH OF A NEW LANGUAGE FOR PHILOSOPHY
The present study takes a closer look on such aspects of simulation as the way it is construed, its dependence on rules, the basis of modeling, as well as the representation of these aspects in images. The author concentrates on the specific nature of challenges which arise from expressing the simulations and shaping their form in real time. It will only become possible to start a productive discussion of and lay the foundation for computer simulation aesthetics when the skeptical attitudes toward the notion of ‘simulation’, common among media theorists, have been subjected to a strict examination from the standpoint of their potential applicability, and when, as a result, the respective limits have been clearly delineated. It has to be emphasized that technical definitions need to be complemented with a critical assessment. The fragments here discussed contain no examples of particular simulations; they rather deal with the medium of computer simulation in the most general sense, which is explained with the help of ideas borrowed from the various human and natural sciences.
Keywords: digital image, modeling, system, dynamism, time
This paper explores some works of Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Marie- José Mondzain under the assumption that it is the notion of ‘reversibility’ which is in every case responsible for structuring the experience of visual perception. Whether one takes the incessant switching of the gaze direction between myself and the Other in Sartre; or the ‘overlaying’ (l’empiétement), coincident with ‘dissecting’ the flesh of the world, in the writings of Merleau-Ponty; or even the nonstop traffic of meanings in course of an exchange of opinion about things seen in Mondzain, it can be shown that at the heart of mechanism implied in all such ideas there always is the working of reversibility or, to put it more precisely, of reciprocating movement within the visible field. Since, however, for all the three listed types of analysis of fundamental structures of human perception reversibility appears to be merely ‘technical’, the author proceeds to explicating the said operation by assigning to the technological category a place of its own as the additional necessary requirement of today’s thinking. Basing on data collected through a study of contemporary technological art, she advances the hypothesis that reversibility, once secured by technical means, is bound to put the hermeneutically endless reversibility, typical of the previous period, into the mode of irreversibility. This inevitably has a bearing on the subjective interaction with technology, since it is highly probable that, being endowed with an ability to see ‘all at once’, the one who sees would come into contact with anything new to him.
Keywords: technology, reversibility, reversive motion, human condition, subjectivity
What is analytic philosophy?
In the present paper, the author replies to the critique of his concept of the essential characteristics of analytic philosophy and the periods in its history, advanced by Vitalii Tselishchev in an earlier issue of this journal (2018, Vol. 11, No. 2). Such critique can be shown to be untenable from the standpoint of both the ethics of debate and the standards of rational inquiry. Not only does Tselishchev fail to understand the essence of this author’s arguments against Aaron Preston’s attempt to dethrone analytic philosophy, and even less so for the main idea of the concept elaborated in response, but, most importantly, he risks appearing ignorant of the tasks of a historian of philosophy and of the very nature of philosophy itself. The author insists on the validity of all major points he originally made, i.e. that analytic philosophy is not a body of doctrines or even topics, but a specific philosophical practice (and, for that matter, the one that surpasses all others in efficiency); that key attributes of such practice can be found long before the 20th century and by no means within the Western tradition alone; finally, that the rise of self-reflection, just as with any other grand style of philosophy, should be adopted as the foremost criterion for dividing its history into meaningful periods.
Keywords: analytic philosophy, the art of debate, logic, rationality, understanding, philosophical practice, self-reflection, history of philosophy, metaphilosophy, Preston, Tselishchev
Russia: the senses of its history
The outbreak of interest in the national philosophy of history, which occurred about thirty years ago, can be observed today again. The present author’s hypothesis is that such entities as empire, autocracy, power-property phenomenon (where no property is real property), Russian ethnic consciousness (narodnost) and Orthodoxy can be best described as constant patterns of social life that persist throughout the entire history of Russia. Such patterns, on the one hand, are part of the mechanism responsible for organization and functioning of the society; on the other hand, they are mental structures of a kind that impose restrictions or extend the directory of social, economic, socio-political and cultural development, thus contributing to the emergence of the respective social actors and blocking the emergence of actors of a different nature. The dilemma whether the existent set of constant patterns is inalterable, or it can be replaced by another set, is of central importance and has a direct bearing on that special part of the philosophy of history which deals with ideas about the desired future. In clarifying this dilemma an important role, if still underrated by many scholars, belongs to literary philosophy, or philosophizing fiction, without which any philosophy of history will be incomplete. Literature responds to the demands of the history of philosophy in two ways: by its nature it seeks to satisfy the human need for understanding the beautiful and the ugly, the proper, etc., and again through the works composed in the genres of utopia, anti-utopia, dystopia and documentary prose it warns philosophy of history to never allow a recreation of past evil once experienced by man.
Keywords: philosophy of history, constants, history, literature, society, man, power, culture, traditions, innovations
Sergey Nikolsky’s paper touches upon some of the most problematic questions related to both history and philosophy and is, therefore, bound to cause controversy. Is a philosophy of history possible? And if so, what must it look like? The set of principles proposed for it by Nikolsky can hardly be accepted, since they are not demonstrable and appear to be a product of abstract reasoning unrelated to any historical context which is ever-changing, dynamic, special and unique. The present author suggests that it may well be not any system of ‘constant patterns’ that would make an appropriate object for the philosophy of history, but rather the variable data as a problem of philosophical reflection that examines the languages that describe history.
Keywords: context, convention, constants, phenomenology, philosophy of history
CHRONICLES OF PHILOSOPHY
This paper explores the evolution of views on the problem of Russian-European identity of Vladimir Vasilyevich Weidle (1895–1979), major Russian philosopher and culture theorist of the Silver age, whose emigrant works some scholars classify as ‘new Westernism’. In distinction to Russian ‘anti-Westerners’ who adhered to the idea of an isolated and autarchic ‘Russian civilization’, Weidle was convinced that by integrating with Europe Russia does not lose, but, on the contrary, acquires her cultural identity. To prove this, he recalls the deeds of Peter the Great who, far from ‘inculcating’ Europe in Russia, only ‘restored’ Russia to Europe, and quotes the most illustrious representatives of Russian national culture, in whose work the Russian and the European identity are inseparable from one another.
Keywords: Vladimir Vasilyevich Weidle, Russian philosophy, culture, European identity, ‘new barbarism’, emigration
This publication brings to light Semyon Ludwigovich Frank’s final lecture course which he delivered before the students of the Religious and Philosophical Academy in Paris in May 1939 under the title Personality and the World (the main problem of worldview). The original text is divided into three lectures. The lecture notes are now kept in the personal fund of S.L. Frank at the Bakhmeteff Archive (Columbia University, USA). In the introduction and notes they have provided, the publishers give a description of the manuscript, thereby establishing its date and the place in holds within the general canon of Frank’s works. One of the main goals Frank contemplated in this lecture course was achieving the awareness of what he called the ‘unworldliness’ of a human individual who, while existing within the world, is no immediate extension of it, which would entail the denial of personal freedom. The true vocation of a human being is to attend the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. The ideas developed in the surviving lecture notes are consonant with Frank’s philosophical views as we know them and offer a clear example of his method of ‘antinomic monodualism’ as applied to the understanding of personality and of being as such. Among the published writings of Frank these lectures show the greatest affinity with such works as A Light in Darkness, The Problem of ‘Christian Socialism’ and The Heresy of Utopianism.
Keywords: personality problem In Russian religious philosophy, Frank’s work in emigration, manuscript collection, lecture course on Personality and the World
This is a study of the recently discovered essay of Galen of Pergamon (ca. 129–216) On Freedom from Distress (De indolentia). The main points of interest are: which place this text occupies in Galen’s moral philosophy and how it is related both to contemporary Greek literature in the genre of practical ethics, which attained popularity in post-Hellenistic period, and to the ancient writings in the genre of consolation. A prominent place in both Galen’s moral reasoning and his medical theory is taken by the notion of λύπη (‘distress’). Reflecting on the ability of human soul to control its passions, Galen recognizes the impact human emotions have on the physiological state of the body: he represents emotions as diseases of the soul which require a diagnosis and a proper treatment. This explains the many parallels between Galen’s method of the so-called praemeditatio malorum futurorum and the Stoic doctrine of preventing passions or affections, to which distress also belongs. Finally, the new insight into Galen’s moral teaching resulting from the examination of the text of De indolentia helps to reveal the implicit polemics against the Epicurean and the Stoic doctrine of the Good.
Keywords: Greek philosophy, Stoics, Epicureans, Galen, De indolentia, practical ethics, distress, ancient medicine