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Sehen und Wahrnehmen in Optik, Naturforschung und Ästhetik des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts
Author: Evelyn Dueck
Der Epoche der Aufklärung wird nicht nur eine besondere Vorliebe für den Sehsinn und das Licht nachgesagt, sondern auch ein bestimmtes ‚Wahrnehmungsmodell‘, das von dem Topos des kalten, distanzierten und klassifizierenden Blicks geprägt sei. Ausgehend von einem vereinzelt formulierten Zweifel an dieser Zuordnung sowie neueren Tendenzen in der Aufklärungsforschung geht die vorliegende Arbeit der Frage nach, ob sich ein solches Wahrnehmungsmodell im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert tatsächlich nachweisen lässt. Was wussten und wie dachten Naturforscher, Philosophen oder Optiker über das Auge und die Funktionsweise des menschlichen (und tierischen) Sehens? Es kann gezeigt werden, dass sich im Zeitraum von 1604 bis 1778 ein vielschichtiger Diskurs über Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der sinnlichen Empfindung entwickelt, der lange vor 1750 die physisch-psychische und kulturelle Bedingtheit des Sehens ins Zentrum rückt.
A Jesuit Life in Baroque Rome
Editor: Maarten Delbeke
As a key figure in baroque Rome, Sforza Pallavicino embodies many of the apparent tensions and contradictions of his era: a man of the church deeply involved in the new science, a nobleman and courtier drawn to ascetism and theology, a controversial polemicist involved in poetry and the arts. This volume collects essays by specialists in the fields and disciplines that cover Pallavicino’s activities as a scholar, author and Jesuit, and situate him within the Roman cultural, political and social elite of his times. Through the figure of Pallavicino, an image of baroque Rome emerges that challenges historical periodisations and disciplinary boundaries.

Contributors include: Silvia Apollonio, Stefan Bauer, Eraldo Bellini, Chiara Catalano, Maarten Delbeke, Maria Pia Donato, Federica Favino, Irene Fosi, Sven K. Knebel, Alessandro Metlica, Anselm Ramelow, Pietro Giulio Riga, and Jon R. Snyder
A Study of Christian Hermetism in Four Plays
Have you ever wondered why Cordelia has to die? Or how Alonso talks and walks about the isle while his body lies ‘full fathom five’ on the sea floor? Ever wondered why the monument to Shakespeare in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford-upon-Avon names three pagans: Nestor, Socrates, and Virgil – king, philosopher, and poet? Or why Shakespeare is on Olympus, home of the Greek gods? This interdisciplinary study, the first to interpret the plays of Shakespeare in the light of the esoteric religious doctrines of the Corpus Hermeticum, holds answers to these and other puzzling questions.
Editor: Laura Nicolì
The Great Protector of Wits provides a new assessment of baron d’Holbach (1723–1789) and his circle. A challenging figure of the European Enlightenment, Paul-Henri Thiry d’Holbach was not only a radically materialistic philosopher, a champion of anticlericalism, the author of the Système de la nature – known as ‘the Bible of atheists’ –, an idéologue, a popularizer of the natural sciences and a prolific contributor to the Encyclopédie, but he also played a crucial role as an organizer of intellectual networks and was a master of disseminating clandestine literature and a consummate strategist in authorial fictions. In this collective volume, for the first time, all these different threads of d’Holbach’s ‘philosophy in action’ are considered and analyzed in their interconnection.

Contributors to this volume: Jacopo Agnesina, Nicholas Cronk, Mélanie Éphrème, Enrico Galvagni, Jonathan Israel, Alan Charles Kors, Mladen Kozul, Brunello Lotti, Emilio Mazza, Gianluca Mori, Iryna Mykhailova, Gianni Paganini, Paolo Quintili, Alain Sandrier, Ruggero Sciuto, Maria Susana Seguin, and Gerhardt Stenger.
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In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis

Abstract

The paper provides a reconstruction of proof by contradiction in Kant’s pure general logic. A seemingly less-explored point of view on this topic is how apagogical proof can account for the formal truth of a judgement. Integrating the argument held by Kjosavik (2019), I intend to highlight how one can use proof by contradiction, conceived as a modus tollens, to establish the logical actuality (logical or formal truth) of a cognition. Although one might agree on the capacity of the proof to prove formal falsity, the logical actuality of a judgement is assessable based on a logically grounded judgement and, as for transcendental logic, this cognitive operation has to presuppose the real possibility of an object.

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In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Simon Dierig

Abstract

In this essay, I discuss three readings of Descartes’ Meditations. According to the first reading, “I exist” is for Descartes the foundation of our knowledge. This reading is dismissed on the grounds that, in his view, as long as God’s existence is not proven there is a good reason to doubt this proposition. Proponents of the second reading claim that there are two kinds of Cartesian knowledge: perfect and imperfect knowledge. The meditator has imperfect knowledge of “I exist” before God’s existence is proven. Subsequently, she acquires perfect knowledge of various metaphysical theorems. This reading is repudiated, too. I argue for a third reading, according to which “I think” – and not “I exist” – is the foundation of our knowledge.

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In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Ruggero Sciuto

Abstract

This chapter examines the various ways in which d’Holbach engaged with Voltaire’s texts. It argues that the baron’s practice of often quoting and paraphrasing passages from the Patriarche’s works as well as his attempts at imitating Voltaire’s unmistakeable style can be interpreted as part and parcel of a carefully devised strategy, simultaneously aiming to conceal his authorship of his texts, attract public interest to his works, increase the diffusion of his ideas, and win Voltaire himself over to the cause of atheism and determinism. By emphasising the importance of the Voltairean subtext to d’Holbach’s works, this chapter also aims to reflect on the advantages that different (and perhaps opposing) strands within Enlightenment thought could derive from mutual interaction and dialogue.

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In: The Great Protector of Wits
Author: Brunello Lotti

Abstract

It is a common opinion that for d’Holbach order and disorder are concepts relative to subjective human evaluations, though order may be regarded as objective if we think of nature as the necessary system of causes and effects. A more accurate reading of the Système de la nature brings to light also the objective side of disorder, when it is conceived as the change of a preceding state of things, since both the preceding state and its change follow from the absolute order of nature. Even human prejudices about order and disorder are objectively grounded as they depend on the relation between the natural course of events and the equally natural drive of each individual to survive and to enjoy pleasant sensations. The subjective notions of order and disorder become sources of error only when they are employed by human imagination to describe the whole universe, thereby concealing the true necessary order of nature which is grasped by reason. A reconstruction of these concepts is provided in this essay, together with an examination of d’Holbach’s arguments against natural theology and an analysis of the interplay of necessity, energy and infinity in d’Holbach’s view of natural order. Finally, d’Holbach’s skepticism is discussed, as he recognized that the inner constitution of bodies, being imperceptible, is unknown, and therefore many causes of motions remain unknown too. This epistemic limit, coupled with the adoption of Leibniz’s principles of indiscernibles, appears incompatible with the strong metaphysical determinism asserted by d’Holbach merely on the assumption that every action of each body must proceed from its essence, according to the axiom ex nihilo nihil. Despite the inconsistencies of d’Holbach’s determinism, the Système de la nature deserves to be appreciated in the history of western thought because it represented the first materialistic and atheistic system, opposed to the ‘ancien régime’ of theological metaphysics which had hitherto dominated the philosophical tradition.

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In: The Great Protector of Wits