Philosophy Journal. 2019, Vol. 12, No. 1
TABLE OF CONTENTS
HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY
Peter Ochs. Measuring Pragmatism by its classical tenets (the final part)
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
Randall A. Poole. The true meaning of humanism: Religion and human values
If humanism is defined as the defense of human dignity, human rights, and human values, then few people today would declare themselves in opposition to it. Yet the meaning of humanism is highly controversial: there are both “secular” and “religious” proponents of the movement, and each vie for the honor of representing “true humanism.” Ever since the term was coined in the early nineteenth century, humanism has tended to be associated with its secular version. Secular humanists oppose religion for two basic types of reasons (ethical and epistemic): they maintain it is harmful and that its ideas are false. In considering (and critiquing) their arguments, I contend that there are both humanistic and anti-humanistic forms of religion. The first (religious humanism) promotes respect for human dignity while the second (religious anti-humanism) undermines it. Further, I contend that there are rational grounds for theistic belief – grounds that can be found in human experience and in the very ideals that humanism claims to champion.
Keywords: human dignity, religious violence, “new atheists,” self-determination, divine image and likeness, salvation, Christian humanism, Renaissance humanism, liberalism
Andrey V. Seregin. Stoicism and justice
This paper examines a relatively unknown Peripatetic argument, according to which the Stoic ethical doctrine makes impossible the existence of the very notions of justice and injustice. In order to prove it, the author first offers a translation of Anon. in EN, p. 248, 1-36 Heylbut, i. e. the Peripatetic text, where this argument is well-defined. Then after some comments clarifying its historical context and logical structure he tries to show on the basis of various Stoic texts that this argument is correct. The gist of the argument is the following: the notions of justice and injustice necessarily imply that moral agents inflict good and evil (or benefit and harm) on each other; therefore, good and evil could be either non-moral or moral. From the Stoic standpoint non-moral good and evil do not exist, whereas moral good and evil are always in the agent’s power and thuswise cannot be “inflicted”. Consequently, it is impossible for moral agents to inflict good and evil on each other, so the notions of justice and injustice make no sense. The author also shows that the notions of the “preferred” indifferent and of the “rejected” indifferent, which were introduced by Stoics in order to describe conventional non-moral goods and evils are of no avail for them in this case.
Keywords: ancient ethics, benefit and harm, good and evil, justice, injustice, Peripatetics, Stoics
Alexey G. Zhavoronkov. Nietzsche’s concept of man from an (anti-)anthropological point of view
The goal of this paper is to analyze and disprove five key arguments presented by a number of modern opponents of the anthropological approach to Nietzsche’s philosophy. These arguments are: the terminological argumentum ad nomen; the argumentum ad hominem which is related to Foucault’s thesis of Nietzsche’s overcoming of Kant’s fourth question; the argumentum ad methodum, which is used to justify the idea of a non-anthropological nature of Nietzsche’s critique of the anthropologies of the 18-19 centuries; the argumentum ad traditionem, which excludes Nietzsche from the anthropological tradition of European philosophy and the argumentum ex negativo regarding the fruitfulness of the anti-anthropological interpretation of his ideas. The first three arguments are examined from the perspective of contextual analysis of Nietzsche’s aphorisms and fragments. The refutation of the fourth and fifth arguments is based on references to several published and unpublished texts of Max Scheler, Helmuth Plessner and Michel Foucault.
Keywords: Nietzsche, philosophical anthropology, anti-anthropology, Kant. Scheler, Plessner, Foucault
HISTORY AND THEORY OF CULTURE
Alexey V. Appolonov. The concept of “religio” according to Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius
The article deals with the concept of “religio” as interpreted by the early Christian writer Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius (c. 250 – c. 325). The author shows that Lactantius proposed an interpretation of this concept, which was novel compared to the one that existed in the Greek and Roman Antiquity. This novelty consists primarily in the introduction of a special intellectual dimension of religion – wisdom (sapientia). In addition, Lactantius renounced the Ciceronian etymology of the word “religio” and proposed a new interpretation of the opposition “religio – superstitio”. Also, Lactantius preserved and adapted Roman (Ciceronian) ideas concerning the connection of religio with piety (pietas) and justice (iustitia). It can also be noted, that, in Lactanius’s writings, one can find an original conception of the religious nature of man, according to which even pagan religions, described as imperfect and irrelevant, could still fulfill the “highest duty (officium)” of a human being.
Keywords: Lactantius, Cicero, history of philosophy, history of religions, patristics, Christian theology, euhemerism
Helen V. Petrovsky. “Brainy Is the New Sexy”: Sherlock Holmes, Abduction, and Neural Networks
Drawing on the popular British TV show “Sherlock,” the author attempts to explore the nature of those special signs that are abundant in contemporary cinema. Historically such signs correspond to what the Italian historian Carlo Ginzburg defines as the appearance of the conjectural (or clue-based) paradigm in the contemporary social sciences. The main feature of this paradigm is a movement from effects to causes, while the causes themselves remain basically unaccounted for. But this is nothing other than the work of a detective, and the method used by Holmes is not deduction, but abduction, i. e., hypotheses springing from a careful examination of the facts. This type of logical inference is advocated by Charles Sanders Peirce; abduction for him is a way of explaining how it is possible for the new in science to appear at all. Abduction allows one to see hitherto hidden connections between various phenomena; it reveals – makes visible – a set of existing relationships. Speaking of the TV show “Sherlock,” one might suggest that Sherlock operates as a hyperfast self-learning neural network, whereas Watson, whose function is to delay and slow down the action, adapts those speeds to the regime of human perception. Contemporary cinema demonstrates “weak signs,” to follow Peirce, which are traces of so many interactions that are taking place all at the same time. It thus becomes both their vehicle and an all-encompassing dynamic milieu that completely absorbs the spectator.
Keywords: Sherlock Holmes, Viktor Shklovsky, Carlo Ginzburg, Charles Sanders Peirce, abduction, neural network, brain, fascination, TV show, technology, weak signs, clues
Daria O. Demekhina. The revelation of personality in Vyacheslav Ivanov’s conception of 'communion theatre'
This study explores the revelation of personality in Vyacheslav Ivanov’s conception of ‘communion theatre’. The Russian poet’s philosophical writings expose an internal antinomy in his understanding of the status of personality in his project of a theatre of the future. On the one hand, Ivanov requires that the borders of personality be completely dissolved and personality itself eliminated in the process of being other than oneself; on the other hand, he stipulates the ontological significance of personality within sobornost’ (the state of collective unity). In the communion theater, personality is revealed, when the I establishes itself through being other than itself. The author suggests that the transformation of personality should be viewed as one of the main objectives within Ivanov’s communion theater. During the collective performance, personality reveals itself as a facet of the unity of the personal and the super-personal. In the communion theater, a human being re-establishes his or her own integrity as part of the ecstatic experience of meeting the Thou and becoming part of the collective body of the chorus. The viewers undergo a transformation as they are moving towards communion, or collective unity. This movement is the movement of an internal phenomenon of personality. Such transformation only results from an experience of internal unity of the human spirit, soul and body.
Keywords: symbolism, sobornost’, Vyacheslav Ivanov, communion theater, symbol, personality, antinomy of person
Russia: the senses of history
Vladimir N. Porus. Two faces of the philosophy of history
The main focus of the article is the double-meaning of the term “philosophy of history”. In the first sense it is understood as formation of historiosophical explanatory schemes of historical processes, in the second one as philosophical and methodological analysis of historical knowledge and research processes of historical science. Confusion of the two meanings leads to misunderstanding and strained relationship between historical studies and philosophy of history. However, their sharp opposition does not result in any positive outcomes. Historiosophy and analysis of historical knowledge serve as platforms for mutual criticism. This criticism is aimed at defining the potential to which philosophy of history could shape historical consciousness of contemporary culture.
Keywords: history, historiosophy, philosophy of history, methodology of historical science, historical narrative
Grigorii L. Tulchinskii. The philosophy of history and historical narratives of memory
The article establishes a number of perspectives for a philosophical interpretation of history as knowledge, which has a narrative character by its very nature. The schemes and levels of historical narration are considered. Special attention is paid to the specifics of the conceptualization of the Russian history. The stable nature of historical narratives is associated with value-normative constants, which express the features of the historical experience of a particular society. It is all the more important to reveal the factors of the dynamics of historical narratives and the diachrony generated by them. Such factors are associated with the context of the formation and translation of historical knowledge, with the participation in the historical comprehension of various social groups. The task of the philosophy of history is not so much to give answers regarding the past development of a society and to build generalizing narratives, but to identify the questions that historical explanatory narratives can answer in the context of contemporary problems common to the entire Russian society.
Keywords: culture, philosophy of history, history, narration
What is analitic philosophy?
L.B. Makeeva. Analytic philosophy as a historico-philosophical phenomenon
During last decades, analytic philosophy, its distinctive features, sources and main figures have become a subject of a wide and intensive discussion. Having been the predominant philosophical movement in the XXth century, analytic philosophy was represented by some researchers as a very problematic phenomenon – with the uncertain past, the present crisis condition and without any prospects in future. Thus, according to A. Preston and H.-J. Glock, analytic philosophy only existed as a kind of illusion, that is, because some thinkers believed in its existence. The present paper argues that these skeptical conclusions were received since, firstly, analytic philosophy was treated as a philosophical school or movement, associated with a certain position, and, secondly, it was mistakenly supposed that a philosophical school can be given a definition as a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for belonging to that school. Analytic philosophy is a different kind of historico-philosophical phenomenon which should be described, following the leading Russian historians of philosophy, as a movement having a distinctive style of philosophizing. The paper shows how that notion can be elaborated relying on L. Fleck’s idea of “thought style” and M. Polanyi’s conception of “personal knowledge”. Also, with the help of that notion P. Hacker’s proposal to significantly restrict analytic philosophy in space and time is criticized. It is argued that, if it is considered in such a way, many important achievements and distinctions of analytic philosophers cannot be properly appreciated.
Keywords: analytic philosophy, history of philosophy, style of philosophizing, philosophical school, philosophical movement, thought style, personal knowledge
Vadim V. Vasilyev. What is analytic philosophy, and why is it important to ask?
In this paper I discuss the nature and origins of analytic philosophy. I criticize a few recent papers on this topic, published by Vladimir Shokhin and Vitalii Tselishchev. I also consider a book of Aaron Preston, Analytic Philosophy: The History of Illusion, as both Shokhin and Tselishchev discuss his ideas. I criticize Tselishchev’s ad hominem critique of Shokhin’s “revisionism”, by which he expands the historical boundaries of analytic philosophy to the very beginnings of philosophy. I argue, however, that Shokhin’s version of such revisionism is flawed, because his position presupposes that “analytic philosophy” is a description, not a name, but that seems not to be the case. I recommend another view, according to which the contemporary analytic philosophy is an heir of classical and modern philosophy. In this paper I also clarify some points concerning the early “linguistic” period of analytic philosophy and origins of the very term “analytic philosophy”, which I trace back to the 18th century. At the end of the paper I provide some data confirming a “classical turn” of the recent analytic philosophy and consider some practical consequences of my conclusions for Russian philosophical education. I believe we should pay much more attention to analytic thought.
Keywords: analytic philosophy, revisionism, Vladimir Shokhin, Vitalii Tselishchev, Aaron Preston
REVIEWS AND BIBLIOGRAPHIC SURVEYS
Natalia A. Blokhina. Analytic philosophy in the search of the analytic self-concept
Within the last three decades, intense work of analytic philosophers in the search of the analytic self-concept has made some of them not only negate the existence of the unique analytical tradition, but also deny the specificity of their own philosophical activities. These are the particular goals, which the editor of the collected papers “Analytic Philosophy: An Interpretive History” (2017) Aaron Preston and the author of the manuscript “On the traditionalist conjecture” Sandra Lapointe pursued. After a thorough analysis it becomes clear that these scientists’ arguments are weaker against the arguments of other scientists presented in the collection of papers. Close reading shows us that an attempt to interpret one or another analytic philosopher’s writings in a different way does not allow to take these authors out of the analytical context or exclude their writings from the analytical discourse.
Keywords: analytic philosophy, self-concept, A. Preston, S. Lapointe, H.-J. Glock
Denis S. Shalaginov. Critique of pure feeling (and its critique)
The review analyzes Steven Shaviro’s book “Without Criteria: Kant, Whitehead, Deleuze, and Aesthetics”, dealing with the so-called critical aestheticism – a philosophical approach focused on the affect and singularity, which are seen as a means of developing a non-dialectical aesthetic way of criticism, based on unorthodox reading of Kant carried out by Deleuze and Whitehead. The basic thesis of the American researcher is that the aesthetic judgment is not conceptual but affective, so it cannot be subordinated to pre-existing criteria. By implementing cross-reading of the texts of Kant, Whitehead and Deleuze, Shaviro concentrates on several problems, among which the important place is occupied by questions concerning the appearance of novelty and the formation of subjectivity. The review pays a special attention to the critique of representation and the question of the reinterpretation of philosophical practice in the light of Deleuzian ideas developed in Shaviro’s work. The review problematizes the very critical potential of critical aestheticism and points out the dangerous proximity of the ideas developed by the American researcher to the logic of late capitalism. In this view, some of the provisions of Shaviro’s aesthetic theory can be interpreted as a call for adaptability and mobility, which significantly reduces its critical potential. In conclusion, an outline of an alternative critical position is given.
Keywords: critical aestheticism, critique of pure feeling, aesthetics, affect, becoming, subjectivity, representation, clichés, criteria, capitalism
CHRONICLES OF PHILOSOPHY
Galen of Pergamon. De indolentia (translated from Greek with a commentary by Irina Prolygina) (the final part)
In memory of professor Vyacheslaw S. Stepin