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Michel Serres

Das vielfältige Denken

Edited by Reinhold Clausjürgens and Kurt Röttgers

Der französische Philosoph Michel Serres ist am 1. Juni 2019 verstorben. Er hat etwa 50 Monographien veröffentlicht. Die Bekanntheit der Vielfältigkeit seines Denkens in Deutschland zu fördern, ist Ziel dieses Bandes.
Die Vielfältigkeit des Denkens von Serres, das Vielfältige zu denken, wird in diesem Band aus unterschiedlichen wissenschaftlichen Perspektiven beleuchtet. Thematische Akzente sind u.a.: Gemische und Gemenge, das Parasitäre, Boten und Mittler, der Mensch in den Netzen und in seiner Körperlichkeit. Außerdem werden die Berührungen mit anderen Philosophen thematisiert, von Henri Bergson über Michel Foucault bis zu Jean-Luc Nancy. Zu den Autoren der einzelnen Artikel gehören neben Philosophen auch Literaturwissenschaftler, Sozialwissenschaftler, Psychologen, Religionswissenschaftler und Mathematiker sowie Wissenschaftshistoriker.

History as a Science

The Philosophy of R.G. Collingwood, 2nd edition

Jan van der Dussen

Since its appearance in 1981 History as a Science, by Jan van der Dussen, has been welcomed as a coherent and comprehensive study of the many aspects of Collingwood’s philosophy of history, including its development and reception. The book was the first to pay attention to Collingwood’s unpublished manuscripts, and to his work as an archaeologist and historian, herewith opening up a new angle in Collingwood studies. The republication of this volume meets an increasing demand to make the book available for future Collingwood scholars, and people interested in Collingwood’s philosophy. The present edition of History as a Science includes updated references to the published manuscripts and an added preface.

Die Einheit des Sinns

Untersuchungen zur Form des Denkens und Sprechens

Christian Georg Martin

Die Untersuchung zielt auf eine systematische Begründung der von Frege und Wittgenstein initiierten sprachphilosophischen Wende. Ihr zentrales Thema ist das Verhältnis zwischen Gedanken und ihrem Ausdruck.
Entwickelt wird eine neuartige Begründung dafür, dass wir im Denken nicht zufällig auf den Gebrauch von Ausdrücken angewiesen sind. Vielmehr sind Gedanken notwendig an Ausdruck gekoppelt, ohne sich mit diesem gleichsetzen zu lassen. Dabei wird die logisch-philosophische Wende zur Sprache zu einer Wende zum Ausdruck verallgemeinert: Dem sprachlich artikulierten Denken muss ein vorsprachliches Denken vorangehen, dessen Ausdruck etwa gestisch-mimischer Art sein kann. Allerdings weist das vorsprachliche Denken aufgrund seiner eigenen Beschränktheit über sich hinaus. Die Untersuchung erweist die Sprache so als Leistung der Vernunft statt als bloß naturhafte Voraussetzung von deren Ausübung.

Cyrill Mamin

Was ist Intuition? Gibt es intuitive Erkenntnis? Intuition beschäftigt Philosophie, Psychologie und Alltagsdenken. Einschätzungen reichen dabei von „höchste Erkenntnisart“ bis „höchst unzuverlässig“.
Cyrill Mamin zeichnet zentrale Bestimmungen der Intuition in Philosophie und Psychologie nach. Wesentliche Fragen sind dabei: Wie ist es, eine Intuition zu haben? Wie kommt eine Intuition zustande? Auf dieser Grundlage bestimmt Mamin Intuition als massgeblich nicht-propositionale Erkenntnisart, welche unsere intuitiven Überzeugungen rechtfertigen kann. Im Zentrum steht ein neuartiges Modell der intuitiven Rechtfertigung, welches psychologische mit erkenntnistheoretischen Elementen verbindet. Dadurch lässt sich Intuition im Verhältnis zu anderen mentalen Akten (u.a. Wahrnehmung, Imagination, Delusion) näher bestimmen sowie ein kritischer Blick auf die philosophische Intuitionsdebatte werfen.

The Development of the Criminal Law of Evidence in the Netherlands, France and Germany between 1750 and 1870

From the system of legal proofs to the free evaluation of the evidence

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Ronnie Bloemberg

This book describes the development of the criminal law of evidence in the Netherlands, France and Germany between 1750 and 1870. In this period the development occurred that the so-called system of legal proofs was replaced with the (largely) free evaluation of the evidence. The system of legal proofs, which had functioned since the late middle ages, consisted of a set of strict evidentiary rules which predetermined when a judge could convict someone. In this book an explanation is given of the question why between 1750 and 1870 the strict evidentiary rules were replaced with the free evaluation of the evidence. The thesis of this research is that the reform was induced by a change in the underlying epistemological and political-constitutional discourses which together provided the ideas which inspired a significant reform of the criminal law of evidence.

Mind and the Present

Outline of an Analytic Transcendental Philosophy

Peter Rohs

In his book, Peter Rohs develops a dualism of process-types founded in a theory of time: a type of mental processes belonging to a time-theoretical ontology and a type of physical processes belonging to a timeless ontology (the ontology of physics). This dualism should be proved as a basis for a non-naturalistic philosophy of mind, through which a libertarian concept of freedom and of personal autonomy can be defended. This theory is, as Rohs tries to demonstrate, compatible with the theory of evolution.

Empiriomonism

Essays in Philosophy, Books 1–3

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Alexander Aleksandrovich Bogdanov

Edited by David Rowley

Empiriomonism is Alexander Bogdanov’s scientific-philosophical substantiation of Marxism. In Books One and Two, he combines Ernst Mach’s and Richard Avenarius’s neutral monist philosophy with the theory of psychophysical parallelism and systematically demonstrates that human psyches are thoroughly natural and are subject to nature’s laws. In Book Three, Bogdanov argues that empiriomonism is superior to G. V. Plekhanov’s outdated materialism and shows how the principles of empiriomonism solve the basic problem of historical materialism: how a society’s material base causally determines its ways of thinking. Bogdanov concludes that empiriomonism is of the same order as materialist systems, and, since it is the ideology of the productive forces of society, it is a Marxist philosophy.

Medieval Perceptual Puzzles

Theories of Sense Perception in the 13th and 14th Centuries

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Edited by Elena Băltuță

In our daily lives, we are surrounded by all sorts of things – such as trees, cars, persons, or madeleines – and perception allows us access to them. But what does ‘to perceive’ actually mean? What is it that we perceive? How do we perceive? Do we perceive the same way animals do? Does reason play a role in perception? Such questions occur naturally today. But was it the same in the past, centuries ago? The collected volume tackles this issue by turning to the Latin philosophy of the 13th and 14th centuries. Did medieval thinkers raise the same, or similar, questions as we do with respect to perception? What answers did they provide? What arguments did they make for raising the questions they did, and for the answers they gave to them? The philosophers taken into consideration are, among others, Albert the Great, Roger Bacon, William of Auvergne, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, John Pecham, Richard Rufus, Peter Olivi, Robert Kilwardby, John Buridan, and Jean of Jandun.

Contributors are Elena Băltuță, Daniel De Haan, Martin Klein, Andrew LaZella, Lukáš Lička, Mattia Mantovani, André Martin, Dominik Perler, Paolo Rubini, José Filipe Silva, Juhana Toivanen, and Rega Wood.

Edited by Philip MacEwen

Idealist Alternatives to Materialist Philosophies of Science (ed. Philip MacEwen) makes the case that there are other, and arguably better, ways of understanding science than materialism. Philosophical idealism leads the list of challengers but critical realism and various forms of pluralism are fully articulated as well. To ensure that the incumbent is adequately represented, the volume includes a major defence of materialism/naturalism from Anaxagoras to the present. Contributors include Leslie Armour, John D. Norton, and Fred Wilson with a Foreword by Nicholas Rescher. For anyone interested in whether materialism has a monopoly on science, this volume presents a good case for materialism but a better one for its alternatives.

Plato’s Timaeus and the Missing Fourth Guest

Finding the Harmony of the Spheres

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Donna M. Altimari Adler

In Plato's Timaeus and the Missing Fourth Guest, Donna M. Altimari Adler proposes a new Timaeus scale structure. She finds the harmonic cosmos, mathematically, at 35 A-36 D, regarding the text as a number generator. Plato's primary number sequence, she argues, yields a matrix defining a sophisticated harmony of the spheres. She stresses the Decad as the pattern governing both human perception and the generation of all things, in the Timaeus, including the World Soul and musical scale symbolizing it. She precisely identifies Plato's "fabric" and its locus of severance and solves other thorny problems of textual interpretation.

K.M. Ziebart

Abstract

In Chapter 8, “Bradleyan Idealism and Philosophical Materialism,” K.M. Ziebart argues that the historical polarization between philosophical materialism and idealism is not really helpful, as evidenced by F.H. Bradley’s metaphysics in which the ideal and the material coexist and even overlap. According to Bradley, material and ideal processes are fundamentally embodied, natural phenomena. One way in which this coexistence is manifested is the development of the function of judgment. Judgment may be what distinguishes human beings from other creatures but it has evolved out of other physical processes and thus should not be regarded as a clear or essential dividing line between the two. Judgment is a “late acquisition” of human beings, indicating that the possession of mind is really a matter of degree. Bradley’s analysis of mental development is indicative of his overall metaphysics. Not only is it empirical in method but it regards ideal operations as continuous with the physical without reducing them to it. This careful balancing of the ideal and the material highlights the realism of Bradley’s metaphysics as well. It is both idealist and materialist, Ziebart maintains, since there is nothing that falls outside reality in its idealist and materialist instantiations. Furthermore, the careful balancing of the ideal and the material as jointly constituting reality highlights the realism of Bradley’s metaphysics. Indeed, Bradley’s metaphysics might best be described as empirical in methodology, idealist in development, materialist in embodiment, and realist in totality.

Elizabeth Trott

Abstract

In Chapter 6, “Charles De Koninck, John Leslie, and the Parameters of Science,” Elizabeth Trott shows how De Koninck, a transplanted Belgium philosopher who made his career at Université Laval from 1934 onwards, and John Leslie who immigrated from Canada to England and spent the bulk of his career at the University of Guelph, both devoted their energies to delineating the limits of science with very different, though not incompatible, results. For De Koninck, this project consisted in rethinking the world in terms of the work of Einstein and other major scientists of the 20th century and examining its implications for nature and thought. De Koninck concluded that the new scientific outlook produced a “hollow universe,” both physically and mentally, where scientific research was conducted without the concept of the good. For Leslie, modern science reveals that the worlds of human experience, scientific experience, and divine causal intervention are basically the same world. Using the Platonic Forms as a necessary and eternal realm of abstract truths and the principle of ethical requiredness, Leslie argues that scientists use patterns to study the world. These patterns enable prediction and hence further discovery in science. Patterns and their recognition, however, are peculiar to the minds of persons in which case the existence of patterns requires the existence of beings who can recognize them. From the existence of beings who recognize patterns, Leslie infers the existence of a cosmic or divine mind whose thoughts give existence to the patterns. The divine mind makes comprehensible to our minds abstract and eternal Platonic truths, including the truth that the existence of a good world is undeniably more rationally convincing than the existence of an evil world. Thus, the worlds of scientific experience, human experience, and divine causal intervention are the same world and De Koninck’s “hollow universe” is filled in by a universe whose terms are related by ethical requiredness.

Fred Wilson

Abstract

In Chapter 7, “Idealism and Naturalism: A Really Old Story Retold with Variations,” Fred Wilson argues that naturalism cannot accept Socratic forms and necessary connections and the legacy they have bequeathed to later forms of philosophical idealism because they all violate the Principle of Acquaintance. According to this Principle, we may justifiably introduce something into our ontology only if we are acquainted with it in sensible experience or inner awareness (our passions and feelings along with reflecting on what we are acquainted with through sensible experience). Wilson uses this Principle to defend naturalism and critique philosophical idealism from Anaxagoras to Brand Blanshard. The result is a tour de force which should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand the history, logic, and ontology of the debate between naturalism and philosophical idealism in the philosophy of science.

Hugo Meynell

Abstract

In Chapter 3, “Idealism and the Philosophy of Science,” Hugo Meynell argues that philosophical idealism is an enormously important half-truth, significantly improving upon materialism, which makes science impossible, but falling well short of critical realism, the position Meynell endorses, and its standard of true judgments. Philosophical idealism rightly emphasizes the constructive role of intelligence in our apprehension of what we take to be “reality” or “the actual world.” However, it is not the correct position for determining under what conditions, precisely, judgments are true. Critical realism does have such a criterion. Judgments are true insofar as they are well-founded and they are well-founded insofar as they are reached attentively (entertaining the relevant evidence in experience), intelligently (envisaging the possibilities or hypotheses which could explain the case at hand), and reasonably (judging in each case as probable or certain which hypothesis adequately explains the evidence).

Philip MacEwen

Edward L. Schoen

Abstract

In Chapter 5, “Nature, God, and Scientific Method,” Edward L. Schoen challenges a strictly idealist, naturalistic, or any other monolithic approach to science. He argues that scientific methods counsel a tentative, rather open-ended pluralist, stance to the history of their development. After surveying the history of philosophy of science from A.J. Ayer to the present, Schoen concludes that there are only three methodological practices which characterize science typically and persistently: 1) the drive to uncover and identify scientific laws; 2) the empirical nature of science, and 3) the methodological constitution of kinds. Even these do not stem from any distinctively metaphysical commitments about the objects that science studies nor, on the subject side, does any of them preclude the possibility of supernatural agency or divine intervention, contrary to what some philosophers of science like E.O. Wilson have maintained.

John D. Norton

Abstract

In Chapter 4, “Philosophy in Einstein’s Science,” John D. Norton shows how Einstein, who read, wrote, and appreciated philosophy but was not a dogmatic philosopher, nevertheless used philosophy pragmatically to 1) legitimate an extraordinary new physical proposal concerning time in relativity, 2) find what he called an “epistemological defect” in earlier theories which, in turn, motivated him to seek a general theory of relativity, 3) ground his theorizing in principles that distinguish the real from the unreal, 4) adopt a form of mathematical Platonism as the way to find new theories, such as the unified field theory, and 5) portray himself, correctly and unapologetically, as an “unscrupulous opportunist” to the systematic epistemologist by combining realism, idealism, and positivism in order to advance his theorizing.

Philip MacEwen

Abstract

In Chapter 2, “Science and the Humanities in Hume’s Philosophy of Religion,” Philip MacEwen contends that, unlike our “two-culture” view of science and the humanities, David Hume had a “one-culture” view, treating all human learning under the rubric of “the science of man” which he divided into seven disciplines: mathematics, natural philosophy, natural religion, logic, morals, criticism, and politics. One can still detect a dividing line between the first three disciplines and the last four. According to Hume, the first three are in some measure dependent on the science of man, since they are mediated to a certain extent by human thought and judged accordingly, while the last four are entirely dependent on it. Thus, it is possible to read our two- culture view of science and the humanities into Hume’s one-culture view of the sciences. Applying this insight to Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, MacEwen argues that we can makes sense of two competing strands of thought in it (Philo’s skepticism regarding natural religion and his heartfelt confession that no one has a deeper sense of [natural] religion than he.) and resolve the competition between them. If we put these two strands together, we get Philo’s one-culture verdict at the end of the Dialogues which is remarkable for both its rationality and sensitivity: the causes of the order of the universe probably have some remote analogy to human intelligence, to which the most inquisitive, contemplative, and religious person must admit that the supporting evidence exceeds the contrary.

Leslie Armour

Abstract

In Chapter 1, “The Things that Fill the World,” Leslie Armour tries to determine of what “the world,” construed as the amalgam of objects we think we encounter directly and the theoretical entities of physics, consists. He argues that even the objects we think we encounter directly---chickens, works of art, coins, account books, automobiles, etc.—require a good deal of “making” on our part if we are even to perceive them. It takes a lot of concepts and mental activity to see an automobile. As Gilbert Ryle was fond of saying, “seeing” is an achievement verb. In this sense, the things that physicists talk about—electrons, protons, neutrons, quarks, etc.—are not unlike the objects we think we encounter directly since the mental apparatus required to understand both types of objects is considerable.

Kirk Lougheed

The epistemology of disagreement examines the question of how an agent ought to respond to awareness of epistemic peer disagreement about one of her beliefs. The literature on this topic, ironically enough, represents widespread disagreement about how we should respond to disagreement. I argue for the sceptical conclusion that the existence of widespread disagreement throughout the history of philosophy, and right up until the present day indicates that philosophers are highly unreliable at arriving at the truth. If truth convergence indicates progress in a field, then there is little progress in philosophy. This sceptical conclusion, however, need not make us give up philosophizing: That we should currently be sceptical of our philosophical beliefs is a contingent fact. We are an intellectually immature species and given the existence of the deep future we have some reason to think that there will be truth-convergence in philosophy in the future.

Michael Veber

What constitutes a solution to the problem of skepticism? It has been traditionally held that one must produce an argument that would rationally persuade skeptical philosophers that they are mistaken. But there is a trend in recent epistemology toward the idea that we can solve the problem without giving skeptics any good reason to change their minds. This is what I call unambitious epistemology. This paper is a critique of that project.

David W. Johnson

Abstract

One of the hallmarks of the Japanese psychiatrist and philosopher Kimura Bin’s (b. 1931) philosophical approach is the conversion of ordinary words into philosophical concepts. Here we focus on the way he appropriates the Japanese words onozukara and mizukara, ordinary terms associated, respectively, with things that occur naturally, spontaneously, or by themselves, and those that come from oneself. This re-reading of these terms as philosophical concepts furnishes an interpretive frame that brings together and makes sense of large and important concepts in philosophy and psychology such as self and nature, perception and sensation, collective subjectivity and individual subject, schizophrenia and self-realization. His appropriation of these two Japanese terms also uncovers a general and impersonal form of subjectivity that underlies our experience of ourselves as individuated subjects and stands at the center of his philosophical and psychological investigations into these phenomena.

Dōgen and Continental Philosophy

An Essay on the Powers of Thinking

Jason M. Wirth

Abstract

Continental philosophy, beginning with Kant, has found itself exposed to the abyss of reason. This crisis makes it a more ready dialogue partner with some of the Zen tradition. I explore this opening by bringing Eihei Dōgen (1200–1253) into an encounter with Continental thought, broadly construed. Rather than demonstrate how Dōgen already fits within Continental thought or re-engineering the latter so that he can fit, I argue that this encounter, already precipitated by Continental philosophy’s own acknowledgement of the felix culpa of Western philosophy’s otherwise indefensible overreach, transforms and expands the manners in which thinking counts as philosophical. This is no less than to recover a sense of philosophy as genetic and creative, rather than a shopworn tool kit of universal insights.

Eric S. Nelson

Abstract

Heidegger’s “Evening Conversation: In a Prisoner of War Camp in Russia, between a Younger and an Older Man” (1945), one of three dialogues composed by Heidegger after the defeat of National Socialist Germany published in Country Path Conversations (Feldweg-Gespräche) explores the being-historical situation and fate of the German people by turning to the early Daoist text of the Zhuangzi. My article traces how Heidegger interprets fundamental concepts from the Zhuangzi, mediated by way of Richard Wilhelm’s translation Das wahre Buch vom südlichen Blütenland (1912), such as naturalness, letting/releasement (Gelassenheit/wuwei), the unnecessary (wuyong zhi wei yong) and the useless (wuyong zhi yong) in the context of his hermeneutical and political situation. I consider to what extent this dialogue, along with his other discussions of the Zhuangzi and intensive engagement with the Daodejing from 1943 to 1950, constitute a “Daoist turn” in Heidegger’s thinking that helped shape his Postwar thought.

Hiding Between Basho and Chōra

Re-imagining and Re-placing the Elemental

Brian Schroeder

Abstract

This essay considers the relation between two fundamentally different notions of place—the Greek concept of χώρα and the Japanese concept of basho 場所—in an effort to address the question of a possible “other beginning” to philosophy by rethinking the relation between nature and the elemental. Taking up a cross-cultural comparative approach, ancient through contemporary Eastern and Western sources are considered. Central to this endeavor is reflection on the concept of the between through an engagement between, on the one hand, Plato, Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida, Edward Casey, and John Sallis, and on the other, Eihei Dōgen, Nishida Kitarō, and Watsuji Tetsurō.

Knowing Limits

Toward a Versatile Perspectivism with Nietzsche, Heidegger, Zhuangzi and Zen

Bret W. Davis

Abstract

This essay is about “knowing limits,” both in the sense of acknowledging the inevitable perspectival limits of our knowledge, and in the sense in which the act of knowing delimits the parameters of that which is known. Moreover, it aims to cultivate a versatile perspectivism that is ethically oriented by a capacity for ecstatic empathy rather than an egocentric will to power. The essay begins with an examination of the mind/body problem as a paradigmatic case of perspectival ambiguity, making reference to a wide range of authors. The focus of the central sections of the essay is on Nietzsche and Heidegger, while the final sections are devoted to developing a phenomenological reading of Zhuangzi and Zen. At issue throughout is the articulation of a versatile perspectivism responsive to both the demarcative and disclosive senses of knowing limits.

Metaphorical Bridges

Paul Ricoeur’s Theory of the Interanimation of Discourses for Phenomenology of Religion

Jacob Benjamins

Abstract

This study considers Paul Ricoeur’s theory of discourses within the context of a phenomenology of religion. I focus on the eighth study of La métaphore vive, wherein Ricoeur explores the possibility of interanimation between speculative and poetic discourses. While Ricoeur is willing to consider the interactions between religious and philosophical discourse in a number of essays, he does not develop the further possibility of the interanimation between religious and speculative thought. I take up this unexplored possibility by suggesting that metaphors are capable of slipping between discourses and animating speculative and religious discourses. Specifically, I use Jean-Louis Chrétien’s metaphor of “wounding” as a case study wherein the phenomenal form of paradox defines one meaning of wounding, while another meaning is connected to a poetic expression that refers to our belonging in the world. Together, the two meanings of the metaphor enliven Chrétien’s phenomenology of religion.

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Laura Rediehs

Quakerism (the Religious Society of Friends) emerged in the seventeenth century, during a time when philosophical debates about the nature of knowledge led to the emergence of modern science. The Quakers, in conversation with early modern philosophers, developed a distinctive epistemology rooted in their concept of the Light Within: a special internal sense giving access to divine insight. The Light Within provided illumination both to properly understand the Bible and to ‘read’ the Book of Nature. In , L. Rediehs argues that Quaker epistemology can be thought of as an expanded experiential empiricism, integrating ethical and religious knowledge with scientific knowledge. This epistemology has carried through in Quaker thought to the present day and can help address today’s epistemological crisis. This work will be of great interest to both philosophers interested in the epistemological implications of Quaker thought, and scholars of Quaker Studies interested in connecting Quaker thought to philosophical historical epistemology.

Majid Davoody Beni

The paper aims to evaluate the success of two different philosophical interpretations of prediction error minimisation theory in dissolving a notorious problem of philosophy, i.e., the New Evil Demon Problem (ned). In this paper, I argue that the inferentialist interpretation could not dissolve the strong form of ned. Alternatively, the embodied construaldissolves ned. However, in doing so, i.e., in dispensing with the cognitive judgment, the embodied construal might also eliminate some basic concepts of epistemology.

Charles Raff

The current standard interpretation of Moore’s proof assumes he offers a solution to Kant’s famously posed problem of an external world, which Moore quotes at the start of his 1939 lecture “Proof of an External World.” As a solution to Kant’s problem, Moore’s proof would fail utterly. A second received interpretation imputes an aim of refuting metaphysical idealism that Moore’s proof does not at all achieve. This study departs from received interpretations to credit the aim Moore announced for the proof Moore performed in his 1939 lecture. Moore’s aim was to impose a counter-example to a stated presupposition of Kant’s problem of an external world. Moore’s lecture nevertheless neither endorses a replacement for Kant’s problem nor acknowledges that an immediate implication of achieving his announced aim would subvert Kant’s famously posed problem of an external world.

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Jerry H. Gill

Words, Deeds, Bodies by Jerry H. Gill concentrates on the interrelationships between speech, accomplishing tasks, and human embodiment. Ludwig Wittgenstein, J. L. Austin, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Michael Polanyi have all highlighted these relationships. This book examines the, as yet, unexplored connections between these authors’ philosophies of language. It focuses on the relationships between their respective key ideas: Wittgenstein’s notion of “language game,” Austin’s concept of “performative utterances,” Merleau-Ponty’s idea of “slackening the threads,” and Polanyi's understanding of “tacit knowing,” noting the similarities and differences between and amongst them.

Genia Schönbaumsfeld

The overarching aim of this paper is to persuade the reader that radical scepticism is driven less by independently plausible arguments and more by a fear of epistemic limitation which can be overcome. By developing the Kierkegaardian insight that knowledge requires courage, I show that we are not, as potential knowers, just passive recipients of a passing show of putatively veridical information, we also actively need to put ourselves in the way of it by learning to resist certain forms of epistemic temptation: the Cartesian thought that we could be ‘imprisoned’ within our own representations, and, hence permanently ‘out of touch’ with an ‘external’ world, and the Reasons Identity Thesis, which has us believe that whether we are in the good case or in the bad case, our epistemic grounds are the same.

Genia Schönbaumsfeld

This introduction provides an overview of the content of the papers published in the special issue on epistemic vice and forms of scepticism.

Yuval Avnur

Is there something wrong with the way we form beliefs about our surroundings? Most people assume not. But there is a character, the skeptic, who disagrees. What, exactly, is this skeptic claiming, and why should this concern us? We are, after all, just humans doing what humans do: forming beliefs on the basis of our faculties. In what sense could this be wrong, and how could it matter if it is? By considering the way in which the notions of vice and criticism can express these questions, we can clarify them and discern some potential answers. These answers, I will suggest, can explain not only why we shouldn’t worry too much, but also the lasting appeal of skeptical problems. The idea is that we can accept, or grant for the sake of argument, that we fall short of some important standard while insisting that it is entirely unreasonable to criticize people, or ourselves, on that basis.

J. Adam Carter

The lack of knowledge—as Timothy Williamson famously maintains—is ignorance. Radical sceptical arguments, at least in the tradition of Descartes, threaten universal ignorance. They do so by attempting to establish that we lack any knowledge, even if we can retain other kinds of epistemic standings, like epistemically justified belief. If understanding is a species of knowledge, then radical sceptical arguments threaten to rob us categorically of knowledge and understanding in one fell swoop by implying universal ignorance. If, however, understanding is not a species of knowledge, then three questions arise: (i) is ignorance the lack of understanding, even if understanding is not a species of knowledge? (ii) If not, what kind of state of intellectual impoverishment best describes a lack of understanding? (iii) What would a radical sceptical argument look like that threatened that kind of intellectual impoverishment, even if not threatening ignorance? This paper answers each of these questions in turn. I conclude by showing how the answers developed to (i–iii) interface in an interesting way with Virtue Perspectivism as an anti-sceptical strategy.

Aidan McGlynn

My aim in this paper is to closely examine José Medina’s account of socially-situated knowledge and ignorance in terms of epistemic virtues and vices in his 2013 book The Epistemology of Resistance. First, I’ll offer a detailed examination of the similarities and differences between Medina’s account and both standpoint epistemology and epistemologies of active ignorance. Medina presents his account as capturing and integrating the insights of both, but I will argue that, for better or worse, his account differs from familiar forms of standpoint epistemology in significant respects, and so should be treated as related but distinct. Second, I’ll expand on Medina’s brief suggestion that his vice-theoretic account of active ignorance reveals interesting analogues of traditional forms of skepticism about the external world, comparing and contrasting Medina’s proposal with both other analogues of skepticism found in the philosophical literature on oppression and with traditional forms of skepticism inspired by Descartes.

Pierre Le Morvan

I articulate and defend a conception of skepticism inspired by Aristotle’s doctrine of the mean. On it, skepticism is vicious when deficient (as in gullibility) and when excessive (as in closedmindedness). Virtuous skepticism lies as a mean between these two extremes.

Alejandro A. Vallega

Jason M. Wirth

Exordio: Towards a Hermeneutics of Liberation

Understanding Liberatory Thought Out of the Movement of Effected Historical Consciousness in Hans-Georg Gadamer

Alejandro A. Vallega

Abstract

Liberatory thought in Latin American philosophy leads to the question of the reinterpretation of historical time consciousness. In the following pages I first introduce the challenge as articulated out of Latin American thought, particularly with reference to Enrique Dussel and Aníbal Quijano, and then I develop a reinterpretation of historical time consciousness in its happening as understood through Hans-Georg Gadamer’s discussion of effected historical consciousness (Wirkungsgeschichtliches Bewußtsein) in Truth and Method. As already marked by this trajectory, this essay is not comparative, but, through a dialogue with these thinkers, seeks to rethink the temporalizing-historical movement that is historical consciousness as a possible path to engaging in and understanding liberatory philosophy.

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Edited by Esmaeil Zeiny

In The Rest Write Back: Discourse and Decolonization, Esmaeil Zeiny brings together a collection of essays that interrogate the colonial legacies, the contemporary power structure and the geopolitics of knowledge production. The scholars in this collection illustrate how the writing-back paradigm engages in a conversation and paves the way for a “dialogical and pluri-versal” world where the Rest is no longer excluded. Among the important features of this book is that it presents ways for “decoloniality” and “epistemic disobedience.” This book will be of interest to scholars and students of all Social Science and Humanities disciplines but it is particularly important for those in the disciplines of sociology, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, literature, and theory and philosophy of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Contributors include: Dustin J. Byrd, Ciarunji Chesaina, Hiba Ghanem, Mladjo Ivanovic, Masumi Hashimoto Odari, Arjuna Parakrama, JM. Persánch, Andrew Ridgeway, Rudolf J. Siebert, and Esmaeil Zeiny.

The Verge of Silence

Gadamer on Celan and the Poetic Word

Daniel L. Tate

Abstract

Gadamer’s question “Are Poets Falling Silent?” is motivated by the “linguistic need” (Sprachnot) of modern lyric indicative of the “forgetfulness of language” (Sprachvergessenheit) that prevails today. In Paul Celan’s late work, Gadamer finds poetry that, bordering on the cryptic, stands on the verge of silence. Nevertheless, he insists that these poems do speak and that the title of Celan’s poem series, Breath-crystal, figures the truth of the poetic word. From this standpoint the paper discusses Gadamer’s hermeneutic understanding of the poetic word treating the constitutive elements of the poetic word as an event of language, the way this conception of the poetic word both embraces and yet departs from the usual understanding of the radical turn to language in modern lyric, and the meaning of Gadamer’s claim regarding the truth of the poetic word that fulfills the original saying power of language.

The Virtue of Joy

Spinoza in Jean-Luc Nancy’s Deconstruction of Christianity

Ashok Collins

Abstract

In this article, I examine the presence of Spinoza within Jean-Luc Nancy’s deconstruction of Christianity project. Although the debt Nancy owes to other philosophers such as Derrida and Heidegger has been recognized, less well known is his reliance on a Spinozist frame of reference throughout his writings on Christianity. Analyzing Nancy’s reading of key moments within the deconstruction of Christianity—the doctrines of creation ex nihilo and the incarnation—I explore how the coupling of transcendence and immanence in a Heideggerian ontological mode can be enlightened by Spinoza’s philosophy. What takes shape is a profoundly embodied and affective relationality that I argue is the central resource Nancy wishes to expose at the heart of both Christianity and the secular West.

We-Synthesis

Husserl and Henry on Empathy and Shared Life

Joseph Rivera

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is threefold: (1) To show the basic contours of transcendental subjectivity in the later work of Edmund Husserl, especially the Cartesian Meditations and the Crisis, and in the strictly phenomenological work of Michel Henry, especially Material Phenomenology; (2) to highlight Henry’s radical critique of Husserlian intersubjectivity and show that such critique, while valuable in its intention, is ultimately misguided because it neglects the important contribution Husserl’s complicated vocabulary of lifeworld makes to the study of intersubjectivity; and (3) to point toward a phenomenological conception of intersubjective practice we may call the realm of we-synthesis that prioritizes the first-person perspective rooted in empathy, which enables meaningful engagement with the second-person perspective. Working in conjunction with Husserl and Henry on the phenomenological conception of shared life enables the recuperation of the fragile line between subjectivity and intersubjectivity.

Dennis J. Schmidt

Jan Forsman

Descartes’s meditator thinks that if she does not know the existence of God, she cannot be fully certain of anything. This statement seems to contradict the cogito, according to which the existence of I is indubitable and therefore certain. Cannot an atheist be certain that he exists? Atheistic knowledge has been discussed almost exclusively in relation to mathematics, and the more interesting question of the atheist’s certainty of his existence has not received the attention it deserves. By examining the question of atheistic knowledge in relation to the cogito, I articulate the advantage Descartes sees in having knowledge of God. I challenge a long-held reading of the cogito where “I exist” is the first full certainty and argue that while atheistic cogito is more certain than atheistic knowledge in mathematics, it cannot be a starting point for lasting and stable science, because science requires knowing the existence of the non-deceiving God.

Drew Johnson

This paper explores how hinge epistemology (specifically, Duncan Pritchard’s brand of hinge epistemology) might fruitfully be applied not only to the problem of radical skepticism, but also to certain domain specific (or ‘local’) skepticisms, and in particular, moral skepticism. The paper explains the idea of a domain specific skepticism, and how domain specific skepticisms contrast with radical skepticism. I argue that a domain specific skeptical problem can be resolved in just the same way as radical skepticism, if there are hinge commitments within that domain. I then suggest that there are hinge commitments in the moral domain, and use this to address a moral skeptical problem due to our apparent inability to know moral nihilism to be false.

Mark Walker

Following Wittgenstein’s lead, Crispin Wright and others have argued that hinge propositions are immune from skeptical doubt. In particular, the entitlement strategy, as we shall refer to it, says that hinge propositions have a special type of justification (entitlement justification) because of their role in our cognitive lives. Two major criticisms are raised here against the entitlement strategy when used in attempts to justify belief in the external world. First, the hinge strategy is not sufficient to thwart underdetermination skepticism, since underdetermination considerations lead to a much stronger form of skepticism than is commonly realized. Second, the claim that hinge propositions are necessary to trust perception is false. There is an alternative to endorsing a particular hinge proposition about the external world, external world disjunctivism, which permits us to trust perception (to a point), while skirting the difficulties raised by skepticism.

Rico Gutschmidt

Pyrrhonian skepticism is usually understood as a form of quietism, since it is supposed to bring us back to where we were in our everyday lives before we got disturbed by philosophical questions. Similarly, the ‘therapeutic’ and ‘resolute’ readings of Wittgenstein claim that Wittgenstein’s ‘philosophical practice’ results in the dissolution of the corresponding philosophical problems and brings us back to our everyday life. Accordingly, Wittgenstein is often linked to Pyrrhonism and classified as a quietist. Against this reading, I will employ Laurie Paul’s notion of epistemically transformative experience and argue that Pyrrhonian skepticism and Wittgenstein’s philosophy can be interpreted as a philosophical practice that changes our self-understanding in significant ways. I will argue that this practice can evoke transformative experiences and is thereby able to yield a non-propositional insight into the finitude of the human condition. This shows that Pyrrhonian skepticism and Wittgenstein’s philosophy go beyond quietism.

Peter Baumann

This article discusses Keith DeRose’s treatment of the lottery problem in Chapter 5 of his recent The Appearance of Ignorance. I agree with a lot of it but also raise some critical points and questions and make some friendly proposals. I discuss different ways to set up the problem, go into the difference (quite relevant here) between knowing and ending inquiry, propose to distinguish between two different kinds of lotteries, add to the defense of the idea that one can know lottery propositions, give a critical discussion of DeRose’s contextualist solution to the problem, and support his defense against an absurdity objection with additional arguments.

Elke Brendel

The paper focuses on the problem of how to account for the phenomena of disagreement and retraction in disputes over skepticism in a contextualist framework. I will argue that nonindexical versions of contextualism are better suited to account for those phenomena than DeRose’s indexical form of contextualism. Furthermore, I will argue against DeRose’s “single scoreboard” semantics and against his solution of ruling that in a dispute over skepticism, both parties to the conversation are expressing something truth-valueless. At the end, I will briefly address the question of whether DeRose’s contextualism combined with his double-safety account and his rule of sensitivity provide an epistemically satisfying answer to the skeptical challenge. It will be argued that by merely explaining (away) the attractiveness of skeptical arguments, DeRose’s contextualism seems to lack the resources to explain some important epistemic issues, as, for example, the question of what knowledge is and when a true belief turns into knowledge.

Robin McKenna

Keith DeRose’s new book The Appearance of Ignorance is a welcome companion volume to his 2009 book The Case for Contextualism. Where latter focused on contextualism as a view in the philosophy of language, the former focuses on how contextualism contributes to our understanding of (and solution to) some perennial epistemological problems, with the skeptical problem being the main focus of six of the seven chapters. DeRose’s view is that a solution to the skeptical problem must do two things. First, it must explain how it is that we can know lots of things, such as that we have hands. Second, it must explain how it can seem that we don’t know these things. In slogan form, DeRose’s argument is that a contextualist semantics for knowledge attributions is needed to account for the “appearance of ignorance”—the appearance that we don’t know that skeptical hypotheses fail to obtain. In my critical discussion, I will argue inter alia that we don’t need a contextualist semantics to account for the appearance of ignorance, and in any case that the “strength” of the appearance of ignorance is unclear, as is the need for a philosophical diagnosis of it.

Michael Blome-Tillmann

In The Appearance of Ignorance, Keith DeRose develops a version of epistemic contextualism that combines aspects of both safety and sensitivity theories of knowledge. This paper discusses some potential problems for DeRose’s account stemming from his Rule of Sensitivity, which is meant to model upwards shifts in epistemic standards.

Ad vivum?

Visual Materials and the Vocabulary of Life-Likeness in Europe before 1800

Series:

Edited by Thomas Balfe, Joanna Woodall and Claus Zittel

The term ad vivum and its cognates al vivo, au vif, nach dem Leben and naer het leven have been applied since the thirteenth century to depictions designated as from, to or after (the) life. This book explores the issues raised by this vocabulary and related terminology with reference to visual materials produced and used in Europe before 1800, including portraiture, botanical, zoological, medical and topographical images, images of novel and newly discovered phenomena, and likenesses created through direct contact with the object being depicted. The designation ad vivum was not restricted to depictions made directly after the living model, and was often used to advertise the claim of an image to be a faithful likeness or a bearer of reliable information. Viewed as an assertion of accuracy or truth, ad vivum raises a number of fundamental questions in the area of early modern epistemology – questions about the value and prestige of visual and/or physical contiguity between image and original, about the kinds of information which were thought important and dependably transmissible in material form, and about the roles of the artist in that transmission. The recent interest of historians of early modern art in how value and meaning are produced and reproduced by visual materials which do not conform to the definition of art as unique invention, and of historians of science and of art in the visualisation of knowledge, has placed the questions surrounding ad vivum at the centre of their common concerns.

Contributors: Thomas Balfe, José Beltrán, Carla Benzan, Eleanor Chan, Robert Felfe, Mechthild Fend, Sachiko Kusukawa, Pieter Martens, Richard Mulholland, Noa Turel, Joanna Woodall, and Daan Van Heesch.

A Philosophy of the Possible

Modalities in Thought and Culture

Series:

Mikhail Epstein

In this book, Mikhail Epstein offers a systematic theory of modalities (the actual, possible, and necessary), as applied to the discourse of philosophy in its post-Kantian and especially post-Derridean perspectives. He relies on his own experience of living in the USSR and the US, dominated respectively by imperative and possibilist modalities. Possibilism assumes that a thing or event acquires meaning only in the context of its multiple possibilities, inviting counterfactual and conditional modes of description. The author focuses on the creative potentials of possibilistic thinking and its heuristic value. The book demonstrates the range of modal approaches to society, culture, ethics, and language, and outlines potentiology as a new philosophical discipline interacting with ontology and epistemology.

Series:

Valentina Lepri

Knowledge Transfer and the Early Modern University focuses on the teaching and cultural activities of the Akademia Zamojska, one of the most renowned universities of Central-Eastern Europe in the Early Modern Age. The Akademia Zamojska played its own part in the debate on the methodology of politics as a discipline, also offering an original contribution to the development of the concept of ‘political prudence’ which was to become so popular in the universities of Central Europe in this period. The institution embodied a largely successful attempt to knit up closer connections between the world of intellectual culture and that of political praxis.

Philosophie des Geistes im Spätmittelalter

Intellekt, Materie und Intentionalität bei Johannes Buridan

Series:

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.

Series:

Edited by Mauro Bonazzi, Angela Ulacco and Filippo Forcignanò

The volume Thinking, Knowing, Acting: Epistemology and Ethics in Plato and Ancient Platonism aims to offer a fresh perspective on the correlation between epistemology and ethics, a topic of central importance in the Platonic tradition which has not yet received the attention it deserves. The first part deals with the social, juridical premises of Plato’s philosophy, with particular regard to the relation between science and practical reason. The second part investigates the reception and development of these problems in Aristotle and the Platonic tradition. Other papers, on Solon and Galen, show that the conflict between knowledge and political action was also a central topic for the other Greek thinkers and contribute by contrast to a better evaluation of the originality of Platonism.

Series:

Rudolf Schuessler

In The Debate on Probable Opinions in the Scholastic Tradition, Rudolf Schuessler portrays scholastic approaches to a qualified disagreement of opinions. The book outlines how scholastic regulations concerning the use of opinions changed in the early modern era, giving rise to an extensive debate on the moral and epistemological foundations of reasonable disagreements. The debate was fueled by probabilism and anti-probabilism in Catholic moral theology and thus also serves as a gateway to these doctrines. All developments are outlined in historical context, while special attention is paid to the evolution of scholastic notions of probability and their importance for the emergence of modern probability.

Series:

Rosa Maria Calcaterra

Richard Rorty’s “neo-pragmatism” launched a powerful challenge to entrenched philosophical certainties of modernity, articulating a powerful picture of normativity as a distinctive activity of human beings. This “contingentism,” with its emphasis on indeterminacy, ambiguity, uncertainty, and chance, depicts normativity as a practical human possibility rather than a metaphysical bottleneck which we must overcome at the cost of repudiating the concrete ways we grant epistemic and ethical meaning to our activities. The book is a critical survey of Rorty’s philosophy, in light of contemporary theoretical debates around language, truth, justification, and naturalism, as well as his own resourceful attempts to renew philosophy from within by using the conceptual tools and argumentative techniques of both analytic philosophy and pragmatism.

Ruth Weintraub

In the “diminution argument,” which Hume adduces in the Treatise section “Scepticism with Regard to Reason,” he infers from our universal fallibility that “all the rules of logic require a continual diminution, and at last a total extinction of belief and evidence.” My aim in this paper is, first, to show that on all extant interpretations of the argument, it turns out to be very weak, and, second, that there is in the vicinity a significant sceptical argument in support of the conclusion that all our beliefs are totally unjustified, an argument that cannot be easily dismissed.

Kevin McCain

A promising response to the threat of external world skepticism involves arguing that our commonsense view of the world best explains the sensory experiences that we have. Since our commonsense view of the world best explains our evidence, we are justified in accepting this commonsense view of the world. Despite the plausibility of this Explanationist Response, it has recently come under attack. James Beebe has argued that only a version of the Explanationist Response that provides an a priori justification of inference to the best explanation can hope to respond to two serious objections. Additionally, he has argued that providing such an a priori justification requires an acceptable account of a priori probability and that it is unclear whether such an account can be developed. In this paper I argue that Beebe fails to provide adequate support for either of these claims.

Ali Hossein Khani

Davidson’s later philosophy of language has been inspired by Wittgenstein’s Investigations, but Davidson by no means sympathizes with the sceptical problem and solution Kripke attributes to Wittgenstein. Davidson criticizes the sceptical argument for relying on the rule-following conception of meaning, which is, for him, a highly problematic view. He also casts doubt on the plausibility of the sceptical solution as unjustifiably bringing in shared practices of a speech community. According to Davidson, it is rather success in mutual interpretation that explains success in the practice of meaning something by an utterance. I will argue that Davidson’s objections to the sceptical problem and solution are misplaced as they rely on a misconstrual of Kripke’s Wittgenstein’s view. I will also argue that Davidson’s alternative solution to the sceptical problem is implausible, since it fails to block the route to the sceptical problem. I will then offer a problematic trilemma for Davidson.

Nenad Popovic

One common problem with anti-skepticism and skepticism alike is their failure to account for our sometimes conflicting epistemic intuitions. In order to address this problem and provide a new direction for solving the skeptical puzzle, I consider a modified version of the puzzle that is based on knowledge claims about appearances and does not result in a paradox. I conclude that combining the elements of both the original and modified puzzle can potentially guide us towards solutions that can fully explain the conflict of epistemic intuitions.

Daniela Vallega-Neu

Abstract

Comparisons between Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty’s writings on the body tend to focus on the earlier works of these philosophers, i.e. on Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception, and Heidegger’s Zollikon Seminars in the context of Being and Time. This paper focuses on their later works in order to show how each philosopher respectively opens venues to think the human body non-subjectively and as emerging from being, where being includes the being also of other bodies, things, or events. This thinking of bodies “from being” articulates them in terms of spatio-temporal events. The article shows that in thinking from being, both Heidegger’s and Merleau-Ponty’s accounts harbor a sense of being with a unifying force, which is tied to meaning or sense. The article ends by questioning the possibility of accounts of bodies as spatio-temporal events not bound by a unifying force of being, bodies that may carry both sense and non-sense.

Jason W. Alvis

Abstract

Although Eugen Fink often reflected upon the role religion, these reflections are yet to be addressed in secondary literature in any substantive sense. For Fink, religion is to be understood in relation to “play,” which is a metaphor for how the world presents itself. Religion is a non-repetitive, and entirely creative endeavor or “symbol” that is not achieved through work and toil, or through evaluation or power, but rather, through his idea of play and “cult” as the imaginative distanciation from a predictable lifeworld. This paper describes Fink’s understanding of religion and its most relevant aspects found in Spiel als Weltsymbol. The paper is organized into five sections—1: An introduction to his phenomenological approach in general, and description of the role of “play”; 2: investigations into the relation between play and world; 3: a description of his phenomenology of religion; 4: engagements in the idea of cult-play and the sacred sphere, and 5: reflection on his idea of the play of God.

“In an Unbounded Way”

After Kant on Genius

Andrew Benjamin

Abstract

The project of this paper is present a specific engagement with Kant’s account of genius in the Critique of the Power of Judgment. Genius is a theory of production. Moreover, once genius is linked to production (and not to a personified agent) the philosophical moves way from the centrality of both the given and the subject and thus towards the produced. Such a possibility locates Kant’s engagement with genius at the threshold between aesthetics and a philosophy of art. The latter only emerges when centrality is attributed to the object: the object as the locus of presentation. This necessitates a move beyond the cognitive. Kant on genius is therefore at that threshold, on the other side of which is Hegel.

Richard Kearney

Abstract

This essay examines the recent critical debate on the hermeneutics of hospitality. It explores the philosophical and ethical implications of Paul Ricoeur’s notion of linguistic hospitality as a translation between host and guest, enemy and friend, and compares it to Derrida’s notion of impossible hospitality.

Nothing Else Matters

Towards an Ontological Concept of the Materiality of the Earth in the Age of Global Warming

Vincent Blok

Abstract

If the world in which we are intentionally involved is threatened by climate change, this raises the question about our place on Earth. In this article, we argue that the ecological crisis we face today draws our attention to the Earth as ontic-ontological condition of our being-in-the-world. Because the Earth is often reflected upon in relation to human existence, living systems or material entities in the philosophical tradition, we argue for an ontological concept of the materiality of the Earth as un-correlated being in this article. We develop five principles of the materiality of the Earth: the conativity, non-identity, responsiveness, performativity and eventuality of the Earth. We will argue that it is this notion of Earth that matters to us in the age of global warming.

Peter Warnek

Abstract

The article takes up the question of the “truth” of images by means of a somewhat playful reflection upon our human kinship with canine life and by considering the (perhaps surprisingly) recurrent images of dogs of all shapes and sizes within the philosophical tradition. Here there is occasion to consider both Socrates and Confucius, who had a special fondness for dogs and who were at times compared to dogs themselves. The paper begins with a reading of Kant’s schematism in the First Critique, as an operation that would establish a mediating relation between the concepts of the understanding and sensible intuitions, and ends with a meditation upon the dog-themed painting, “Dark Room,” by the contemporary artist, Alan Loehle. Kant accounts for our ability to grasp that we see a dog (his example!) by introducing a mysterious distortional skewing or Verzeichnung, which as a power of the imagination is able to freely sketch what appears for it within the sensible. The sense of this Kantian skewing or sketching thereby anticipates what Heidegger names the essential Verunstaltung belonging originally to the event of truth. The last half of the paper turns to Jean-Luc Nancy’s difficult but provocative work on the abysmal ground of images and attempts to show in this way how our human kinship with canine life exposes us to what Nancy would think, following Heidegger, as the elemental strife between earth and sky.

The School of Doubt

Skepticism, History and Politics in Cicero's Academica

Series:

Orazio Cappello

The School of Doubt conducts a close philological and philosophical reading of Cicero’s Academica, a fragmentary work on sense-perception and Academic history written in the wake of Caesar’s victory in the civil wars (45 BCE). Focusing in turn on the author’s letters discussing the process of composition, the historiographical treatment of the Platonic tradition and the critical exploration of philosophical doubt, this volume presents Cicero as an original and sophisticated historian of philosophy and a radical figure in Western skeptical thought. Widely misconstrued as a technical treatise and a mere chronicle of the Greek debates on which it draws, the Academica here emerges as a key work in the evolution of Ciceronian philosophy and of ancient skepticism – and one that responds directly to the disintegration of Republican Rome.