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Author: Hernán D. Caro
The reign of philosophical optimism, or the doctrine of the ‘best of all possible worlds’, in modern European philosophy began in 1710 with the publication of Leibniz’s Theodicy, about God’s goodness and wisdom, divine and human freedom, and the meaning of evil. It ended on November 1, 1755 with the Lisbon Earthquake, which was followed by numerous attacks against optimism, starting with Voltaire’s Poème sur le désastre de Lisbonne and Candide. But the years between both events were intense.

In this book, Hernán D. Caro offers the first comprehensive survey of the criticisms of optimism before the infamous earthquake, a time when the foundations of what has been called the ‘debacle of the perfect world’ were first laid.
Author: Andrew Oberg
The question of the self, of what the self is (or even if there is a self), has been one that has grown alongside humanity – has haunted humanity – throughout our history. Blurred: Selves Made and Selves Making guides the reader down these dark corridors, shining light on the specters of theories past and unveiling a new self-view to hover afresh, beckoning to roadways beyond.

In this remarkably interdisciplinary study, philosophy of mind joins with contemporary neuroscience and cutting-edge psychology to lay bare the how of identity formation, judgment, and behavior generation. Drawing on thinkers from both the Continental and Analytic traditions, consciousness is explored and a uniquely realist self-concept presented that, if adopted, offers a life lived otherwise.
Concept and Judgment in Brentano's Logic Lectures is concerned with a crucial aspect of Brentano's philosophy as it was developed in his logic lectures from c. 1870 to c. 1885. The first part of the volume is an analysis of his theory of concept and judgment. The second part consists of materials, including a German edition and English translation of notes that a student took from a lecture course that Brentano gave. A short book by this student on Brentano is also translated in the materials.

The access to Brentano's philosophy is enhanced by this volume not only with regard to his logic as a theory of deductive inference, but also to his descriptive psychology, metaphysics, and philosophy of language.
Contributor: Alexander Marr
Descartes and the ‘Ingenium’ tracks the significance of embodied thought ( ingenium) in the philosophical trajectory of the founding father of dualism. The first part defines the notion of ingenium in relation to core concepts of Descartes's philosophy, such as memory and enumeration. It focuses on Descartes’s uses of this notion in methodical thinking, mathematics, and medicine. The studies in the second part place the Cartesian ingenium within preceding scholastic and humanist pedagogical and natural-philosophical traditions, and highlight its hitherto ignored social and political significance for Descartes himself as a member of the Republic of Letters. By embedding Descartes' notion of ingenium in contemporaneous medical, pedagogical, but also social and literary discourses, this volume outlines the fundamentally anthropological and ethical underpinnings of Descartes's revolutionary epistemology.

Contributors: Igor Agostini, Roger Ariew, Harold J. Cook, Raphaële Garrod, Denis Kambouchner, Alexander Marr, Richard Oosterhoff, David Rabouin, Dennis L. Sepper, and Theo Verbeek.
Plotinus' metaphysics is often portrayed as comprising two movements: the derivation of all reality from a single source, the One, and the return of the individual soul to it. Alberto Bertozzi argues that love is the origin, culmination, and regulative force of this double movement. The One is both the self-loving source of the derivation and articulation of all reality in levels of unity and love and the ultimate goal of the soul's longing, whose return to its source is a gradual transformation of the love it originally received from the One. Touching on virtually all major concepts of Plotinus' philosophy, Plotinus on Love is at once an investigation of a lesser-studied Plotinian theme and an introduction to his metaphysics.
A Study of the One’s Causality in Proclus and Damascius
Author: Jonathan Greig
In The First Principle, Jonathan Greig examines the philosophical theology of the two Neoplatonists, Proclus and Damascius (5th–6th centuries A.D.), on the One as the first cause. Both philosophers address a tension in the Neoplatonic tradition: namely that the One was seen as absolutely transcendent, yet it was also seen as intimately related to other things as the source of their unity and being. Proclus’ solution is to posit intermediate causes after the One, while Damascius posits a distinct principle, the ‘Ineffable’, above the One. This book provides a new, thorough study of the theories of causation that lead each to their respective position and reveals crucial insights involved in a rigorous negative theology employed in metaphysics.
In Necessary Existence and the Doctrine of Being in Avicenna’s Metaphysics of the Healing Daniel De Haan explicates the central argument of Avicenna’s metaphysical masterpiece. De Haan argues that the most fundamental primary notion in Avicenna’s metaphysics is neither being nor thing but is the necessary ( wājib), which Avicenna employs to demonstrate the existence and true-nature of the divine necessary existence in itself. This conclusion is established through a systematic investigation of how Avicenna’s theory of a demonstrative science is employed in the organization of his metaphysical science into its subject, first principles, and objects of enquiry. The book examines the essential role the first principles as primary notions and primary hypotheses play in the central argument of Avicenna’s metaphysics.

Abstract

In this paper, I use Husserl’s phenomenological analyses of noesis and noema to investigate the connection between experience and place, a relation which I call “geographical experience,” using a term coined by Edward Relph. Following the correlative structure of lived experience, geographical experience is enabled by the lived body as the noetic part and place as the respective noematic part. Both parts belong together necessarily. However, in this experiential field, distortions and an eluding aspect of place appear in the relationship between body and place. These distortions point to an aspect of geographical experience that cannot be fully grasped by the noetic-noematic structure of experience. They indicate that the reality of place is not completely constituted by this correlative structure but nevertheless becomes apparent in and through it.

In: Research in Phenomenology
Author: Karin Fry

Abstract

Over the years, many scholars have focused on the hierarchical and overpowering influence of Martin Heidegger upon Hannah Arendt’s thought. This view follows the stereotype concerning philosophical influence in which an all-knowing teacher affects the thought of the student, particularly if the student is a woman. In this paper, I argue that the story of philosophical influence is more complicated. In this case, the biographical archive establishes how Karl Jaspers, Martin Heidegger, and Hannah Arendt mutually influenced one another throughout their lives and careers. This evidence contests the typical view of philosophical influence which is hierarchical and often gendered and suggests a new model for understanding philosophical influences as dynamic and reciprocal.

In: Research in Phenomenology
Author: Dana Villa

Abstract

In this essay I trace the relationship between philosophy and politics in Hannah Arendt’s work, with specific reference to the tension between her Socratic commitments and her appeal to “common sense” or sensus communis. I argue Arendt’s idea of a “common sense of the world” gives rise to a conception of the public realm that has too much shape and integrity to fit the often misty and particulate nature of contemporary reality. This is not the familiar critique of Arendt as a nostalgic Grecophile. Rather, it is a critique aimed at the phenomenological concept of “world” underlying her analysis. This concept—derived, but notably different, from Husserl’s and Heidegger’s respective conceptions—relies on background practices and understandings that are thick enough to sustain both a common public culture and a shared “sense of the world.” I suggest that Arendt’s appeal to a sensus communis runs aground of the moral and value pluralism that both Weber and Berlin have suggested are constitutive features of modernity. I conclude with some remarks on the relationship between Arendt’s critique of modernity and Socratic philosophical critique (on the one hand) and Frankfurt School Critical Theory (on the other).

In: Research in Phenomenology