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  • Author or Editor: Guido Giglioni x
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In Victor Cousin’s history of philosophy, and especially his Histoire générale de la philosophie, Leibniz and Maine de Biran are hailed as pioneers in the domain of metaphysics for the ways in which they conceptualized the interplay of matter, life, and consciousness. However, in order to qualify the nature of Leibniz’s and Biran’s contributions, Cousin also decided to dwell on the works of the Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid (1710–1706), while assigning a minor but decisive role to the English physician and philosopher Francis Glisson (1599–1677). In particular, by looking at the way in which Cousin made use of Glisson’s De natura substantiae energetica (1672), this chapter focuses on several key issues that characterize Cousin’s historiography of philosophy: the philosophical contribution of the Renaissance described as a haphazard and jumbled reflection on life, force, and freedom; the persistence of the Cartesian framework used as a lens to magnify the evolution of ideas from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century; and, finally, the ambivalent relationship between Biran’s spiritualism and Cousin’s own variation on the same tradition.

In: L’institution philosophique française et la Renaissance : l’époque de Victor Cousin
In: Medical Empiricism and Philosophy of Human Nature in the 17th and 18th Century
In: Platonism

Distancing himself from both Aristotelian and Epicurean models of natural change, and resisting delusions of anthropocentric grandeur, Cardano advanced a theory of teleology centred on the notion of non-human selfhood. In keeping with Plato, he argued that nature was ruled by the mind, meaning by “mind” a universal paragon of intelligibility instantiated through patterns of purposive action (“noetic” teleology). This allowed Cardano to defend a theory of natural finalism in which life was regarded as a primordial attribute of being, already in evidence in the most elementary forms of nature, whose main categories were ability to feign, self-interest, self-preservation and indefinite persistence.

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In: Gesnerus
In: Nuncius


In Campanella’s philosophy, the Bible serves a variety of functions: it works as an ontological template (in which the notions of code and encoding play a crucial role), an epistemological canon (centred on the concept of historia as direct testimonium and demonstratio through the senses) and a heuristic outline of natural philosophical investigations (based on the mirroring of scripture and nature). It doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, therefore, if the great fault lines of Campanella’s metaphysics run through a philosophical landscape that is constantly punctuated by countless biblical references and reminiscences. The sacred book, which he knew from end to end, is the matrix of the inner book of his memory, whose power – trained by the celebrated Dominican arts of recollection – managed to build a monumental edifice that was in his mind before finding expression in his astounding feats of reading, writing and knowledge retrieval. Finally, the principal divisions of Campanella’s philosophical experience – prophecy, poetry and politics – are interwoven with narrative elements that derive directly from the staggering epic of salvation recounted in the holy book.

In: The Philosophers and the Bible
In: Fate and Fortune in European Thought, ca. 1400–1650