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Brill's Companion to the Philosophy of Biology

Entities, Processes, Implications


Andrea Borghini and Elena Casetta

In this volume, Andrea Borghini and Elena Casetta introduce a wide spectrum of key philosophical problems related to life sciences in a neat framework and an accessible style, with a special emphasis on metaphysical issues. The volume is divided into three parts. The first addresses the two main questions stemming from life sciences: what is life, and what is the correct understanding of the theory of evolution? The second part looks at metaphysical questions concerning biological entities: environments, species, organisms, and biological individuals. The third part focuses on theoretical questions of particular ethical and political significance: sex and gender, the biotechnological revolution, and the evolution of behavior and culture. Each chapter is followed by a list of further readings.

Kreative Gegensätze

Der Streit um den Nutzen der Philosophie an der mittelalterlichen Pariser Universität


Marcel Bubert

In Kreative Gegensätze Marcel Bubert analyses the debates among medieval scholastics on the social usefulness of learned knowledge in their specific social and cultural contexts. In particular, he shows how the skepticism towards the scholars as well as the tensions between the University of Paris, the French royal court, and the citizens of Paris had profound effects on the scientific community, and led to very different views on the utility of philosophy. Some Masters responded to the expectations of society by emphasizing the autonomy of philosophical cognition. Others departed radically from this notion of science “for its own sake”, and created decidedly “practical” concepts of knowledge. The examination of these contentious relations shows how the dynamics of mutual demarcation within this “constellation” became intellectually prolific by way of generating highly original and innovative responses to the question of the utility of philosophy.


Markus Locker

This book argues that all truths systems include paradoxes. Paradoxes, such as found in the sciences, philosophy and religion offer themselves as mutually shared partners in a dialogue of arguably incommensurable truths on the basis of their underlying truth. Paradoxes leap beyond the epistemic border of individual truth claims. A dialogue of truths, grounded in paradox, reaches before, and at the same time past singular truths. A paradox-based dialogue of truths elevates the communication of disciplines, such as the sciences and religion, to a meta-discourse level from which differences are not perceived as obstacles for dialogue but as complementary aspects of a deeper and fuller truth in which all truths are grounded.

Philosophie des Geistes im Spätmittelalter

Intellekt, Materie und Intentionalität bei Johannes Buridan


Martin Klein

Is the human intellect material? Or can we show by appeal to its intentional operations, such as universal cognition and self-knowledge, that it is immaterial? Is there therefore a connection between intentionality and immateriality?
In Philosophie des Geistes im Spätmittelalter, Martin Klein offers a comprehensive account of John Buridan’s philosophy of mind considered in relation to his epistemology, metaphysics and natural philosophy. In light of material that has only recently been edited, Buridan is presented in the context of the late medieval debate about the nature of the human intellect and how this influences its cognitive functioning.


Ileana Chinnici

In Decoding the Stars, Ileana Chinnici offers an account of the life of the Jesuit scientist Angelo Secchi (1818-1878). As well as providing an invaluable account of Secchi’s life and work—something that has been sorely lacking in the English-language scholarship—this biography will be especially stimulating for those interested in the evolution of astrophysics as a discipline from the nineteenth century onward. Despite his eclecticism, reminiscent of the natural philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Secchi was in many ways a very modern scientist: open to innovation and cooperation, and a promoter of popularization and citizen science. Secchi also appears fully inserted in the cultural context of his time: he participated in philosophical and scientific debates, spread new theories and ideas, but also suffered the consequences of political events that marked those years and impacted on his life and activities.


Edited by Anders Klostergaard Petersen, Gilhus Ingvild Sælid, Luther H. Martin, Jeppe Sinding Jensen and Jesper Sørensen

Evolution, Cognition, and the History of Religion: A New Synthesis comprises 41 chapters that push for a new way of conducting the study of religion, thereby, transforming the discipline into a genuine science of religion. The recent resurgence of evolutionary approaches on culture and the increasing acknowledgement in the natural and social sciences of culture’s and religion’s evolutionary importance calls for a novel epistemological and theoretical framework for studying these two areas. The chapters explore how a new scholarly synthesis, founded on the triadic space constituted by evolution, cognition, cultural and ecological environment, may develop. Different perspectives and themes relating to this overarching topic are taken up with a main focus on either evolution, cognition, and/or the history of religion.

How Language Informs Mathematics

Bridging Hegelian Dialectics and Marxian Models


Dirk Damsma

In How Language Informs Mathematics Damsma shows how Hegel’s and Marx’s systematic dialectical analysis of mathematical and economic language helps us understand the structure and nature of mathematical and capitalist systems. More importantly, Damsma shows how knowledge of the latter can inform model assumptions and help improve models.

His book provides a blueprint for an approach to economic model building that does away with arbitrarily chosen assumptions and is sensitive to the institutional structures of capitalism. In light of the failure of mainstream economics to understand systemic failures like the financial crisis and given the arbitrary character of most assumptions in mainstream models, such an approach is desperately needed.

Edited by Josefina Rodríguez-Arribas, Charles Burnett, Silke Ackermann and Ryan Szpiech

First published as a special issue of the journal Medieval Encounters (vol. 23, 2017), this volume, edited by Josefina Rodríguez-Arribas, Charles Burnett, Silke Ackermann, and Ryan Szpiech, brings together fifteen studies on various aspects of the astrolabe in medieval cultures. The astrolabe, developed in antiquity and elaborated throughout the Middle Ages, was used for calculation, teaching, and observation, and also served astrological and medical purposes. It was the most popular and prestigious of the mathematical instruments, and was found equally among practitioners of various sciences and arts as among princes in royal courts. By considering sources and instruments from Muslim, Christian, and Jewish contexts, this volume provides state-of-the-art research on the history and use of the astrolabe throughout the Middle Ages.

Contributors are Silke Ackermann, Emilia Calvo, John Davis, Laura Fernández Fernández, Miquel Forcada, Azucena Hernández, David A. King, Taro Mimura, Günther Oestmann, Josefina Rodríguez-Arribas, Sreeramula Rajeswara Sarma, Petra G. Schmidl, Giorgio Strano, Flora Vafea, and Johannes Thomann.

Paul Ricoeur’s Idea of Reference

The Truth as Non-Reference


Sanja Ivic

This book investigates the importance of Ricoeur’s hermeneutics and poetics in rethinking humanities. In particular, Ricoeur’s insights on reference as refiguration and his idea of interpretation as a triadic process (which consists of mimesis 1 – prefiguration, mimesis 2 – configuration, and mimesis 3 – refiguration) will be applied to philosophy of science and to literary and historical texts. It will be shown that Ricoeur’s idea of emplotment can be extended and applied to scientific, literary and historical texts. This multidisciplinary research will include philosophy of science, metaphysics, hermeneutics, and literary theory.

The Science of Religion: A Defence

Essays by Donald Wiebe


Donald Wiebe

Edited by Anthony Palma

Donald Wiebe, Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Trinity College, University of Toronto, has spent much of his academic career arguing for a clear demarcation between Theology and Religious Studies. The Science of Religion: A Defence offers a brilliant overview of Professor Wiebe's contributions on methodology in the academic study of religion, of the development of his thinking over time, and of his intellectual commitment to 'a science of religion'.

The work is divided into three parts. The first part identifies pertinent connections between 'religion', 'religious studies', and 'science' and why 'reductionism' in the academic study of religion, when properly applied, can bridge the explanatory gap between the sceptic and the devotee. The second part treats conceptual debates in the academic study of religion, with particular reference to the place of 'belief', 'understanding', and 'meaning' in the modern study of religion. The third part addresses the theological resistance to the scientific study of religion and how that resistance can be overcome. Finally, two new essays are included: a critique on ‘The Preconceptions of a Science of Religion’ by Anthony J. Palma, and an accompanying reply by Donald Wiebe.

The Science of Religion: A Defence is an essential resource for both scholarly and non-scholarly audiences alike, and will be of particular interest to both defenders and critics of a scientific study of religion.