In the last decades, the writings of Severinus Boethius, from the Opuscula Sacra to the De consolatione philosophiae, not forgetting the works dedicated to the liberal arts, have aroused and continue to inspire an intense and multifaceted debate that concerns not only the hermeneutics of individual problems but also more generally Boethius’ conception of theology, philosophy and the system of sciences as a whole. Here are presented three studies dedicated to the re-examination of some aspects of Boethius’ work, which represent progress in the research dedicated to one of the founding fathers of medieval philosophy, from which emerge the deep links with Aristotelianism, Platonism, and Neoplatonism.
This article aims to indicate the unity of Boethius’s thought, which is often overlooked. It focuses on how the contingency of some future events can be compatible with God’s foreknowledge of everything. It argues that the complex and elusive discussion of this issue in the last four prose sections of the Consolation of Philosophy is closely linked to discussions in two of Boethius’s earlier logical commentaries, the second commentary on Aristotle’s On Interpretation and the second commentary on Porphyry’s Isagoge. A connected reading of the three texts shows that the notion of divine prescience in the Consolation should not be understood, as they are by most historians, in metaphysical terms, but rather in logical and epistemological ones: it is only relative to God’s eternal power of cognition that future events, which in themselves remain contingent, are known as if they were necessary.
The article investigates how Boethius, following Augustine (especially his De Trinitate) but going far beyond him, combines reason and faith by making use of Neoplatonic vocabulary and concepts within his Trinitarian theology, specially in three Opuscula theologica (with an eye also to the Consolatio). Whilst in the De sancta Trinitate and in the Utrum Pater Boethius focuses on the problem of reconciling God’s absolute simplicitas with the plurality implied by the Trinity, in the De hebdomadibus this concern gives way to explaining how all things that exist, insofar as they exist, can be said to be good, without being essentially good. Thus, the Neoplatonic idea of participation to (intended as emanation from) the Supreme Good (i.e. God), takes center stage, although, unlike Neoplatonic thinkers, Boethius avoids any ‘pantheistic’ implication of participation without, at the same time, making goodness a mere accident of created substances.
In the fourth treatise, Boethius does not propose to elaborate a logical elucidation or an apologetic defence of Christianity or of a truth of faith, but rather offers a confession of faith that finds much of its inspiration in the preceding, mainly Augustinian, theological tradition. Two facts indicate that we are faced with a work that is different from the others: the use of Scripture, which in the De fide catholica constitutes the guiding thread of the treatise, and the exposition of the fundamental contents of the Christian faith, not only the Trinitarian and Christological aspects. Accustomed as we are to reading a different Boethius, full of logical and rhetorical elaborations that could seem cold and abstract, in this treatise we see how he also considers the fundamental aspects of the Christian faith according to another perspective, with a diverse method, no less technical, although surely more personal and vital.
God’s incarnation is both a historical fact and a doctrine: in Johannes Climacus/Kierkegaard’s view, the fault of the so-called «objective view» – the Hegelian – is to have neutralized the «Living Word» of Christianity. A historical truth is useless in order to establish the truth of Christian religion (Lessing); it is useless if the Subject is not «infinitely interested» in such a truth. A possible way to regain the single individual’s authentic infinite interest in Christianity is to re-tell its history as a story; i.e., a narrative approach to the communication of the «Living Word». The past as «fiction of the present» (De Certeau) might be able to maintain the relationship between «lived meaning» and «designated fact» to repeat the miracle of salvation in the present.
An exhausted philosophical place, put into circulation by Sartre itself, concerns the domains of the philosophies of existence: atheist with Heidegger and Sartre, Christian with Jaspers and Marcel. What unites (existence) divides (domains) and what divides unites, but in very different ways. All the protagonists reject Sartre’s categories. Thus, other proximities (Heidegger, Marcel, the being) and other differences (others) are created. However, it should not be believed that everything ends in controversy, because the unit is hidden in the division like the division in the unit. The relationship between Marcel and Sartre, in particular, finally gives the impression of a clear and unshakable divide. While the points of contact remain and the same controversy originates in the different way of practicing the phenomenology of existence, which nevertheless kept them close. Not just dissensions and contrasts, clashes and regrets. But also a fundamental reflection on the correct exercise of the phenomenological method around the experiences of existence.
Feminist thinkers have commonly interpreted Edith Stein’s «dual anthropology» as a form of essentialism and difference feminism. For them, men and women have (or should have) different functions and capabilities. The article argues against this traditional account. Starting from two distinct criticisms of difference feminism – that of Judith Butler and that of Martha Nussbaum – it claims that the best way to read Stein’s position is to consider it a liberal feminism, for the emphasis that she puts on the uniqueness of every single human being.
In Martin Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit, the name of Friedrich Nietzsche appears just three times. While the first two references are not particularly significant, in the case of the third the focus is rather more interesting. In the paragraph 76 of his masterpiece, Heidegger drew inspiration from Nietzsche’s cutting remarks of his second Unzeitgemässe Betrachtung. In Heidegger’s eyes, Nietzsche is a masterful precursor of a genuine relationship between life and history. Generally seen as a glorious but infertile burden relegated to museum status, history needs to be once more linked to life, as a resource for the present and, above all, for the future. Such an attempt can pave the way for philosophical liberation and bring back history into the service of life. Despite different horizons, Heidegger and Nietzsche may again be read with a view to reviving the inevitable relationship between history and life, constantly in danger of becoming pathological.
This work addresses the problem of the original nature of the multiple in both the sciences of nature and the deductive sciences and critically analyses the solutions that can be proposed. Starting from the experience of becoming, it takes up the ancient need for a foundation of the multiplicity of forms and affirms the scientific indimostrability of the necessity of the multiple. Then, with precise arguments, the work demonstrates the impossibility of considering the multiple as an original condition, as it is also confirmed by the irreducible novelty and creativity of deductive constructs. It is thus proven that scientific structures and dynamics do not have their reason for being in themselves. It also shows that their necessary and different foundation must be simple, unique, unitary and more perfect. From this it follows that it is contradictory to speak of an original structure and that the scientific knowledge is metaphysically founded.
This paper attempts to reappraise the role of politics and utopian projects in Greek thought from early Greek philosophy to Plato. An analysis of the sources reveals utopian elements in Presocratic philosophy, especially in Magna Graecia, not connected to ideal projects concerning nonexistent worlds, but rather to ‘eu-topic’ programs intended for the new colonies made available by Greece’s, and particularly Athens’, expansion. The union of politico-colonial realism and utopia as a concretely achievable model of good government provides a new avenue for interpretation that relies on the perspective of an utopian ‘architecture’. Such a mode of interpretation may also project Plato’s utopian projects onto an ‘architectural’ level, not only in the Republic, but also (and particularly) in the Critias, where, however, the boundaries between utopia and dystopia are weaker than at first appear.
This paper presents and analyses some aspects and issues related to John Duns Scotus’ position about negation and negative terms in his Parva Logicalia. While keeping what the Author upholds about the topic at stake, the work also deals with some aporetic theoretical cases which appear unresolved by the bare littera. A threefold approach is employed to examine the subject: syntactic, semantic and ontological. According to a building principle, the paper is structured in three main and progressive sections concerning negative simple terms, negative complex terms (phrases) and, lastly, rules in which the aforesaid negative forms are displayed, and by which some relevant syntactic relationships between sentences are pointed out.
Some aspects of Fichte-Jacobi dialogue in Jacobi an Fichte (1799) are examined with special reference to religious issues. A main aspect examined is the relevance of person in the question on atheism. For Jacobi, the attribution of atheism presuppose a specific qualification of God, which is represented by theism. Theism supports a determination of the absolute, according to attributions analogous to the human person. Only such a qualification seems appropriate to understand religion. In Jacobi’s text, a philosophical concept of religion emerges, which will be exhibited by the author in his later works.
This paper analyses the influence of Schelling’s thought on a peculiar thesis about the origin of western philosophy expounded by P.A. Florensky during a course of lectures, First Steps of Philosophy, held at Moscow Theological Academy in 1909. Nourished by the lively Russian culture of the early 20th century, Florensky’s thesis, «philosophy was born of the worship of Poseidon», conceals a complex ontological meaning. Tracing it back to its germinal point, at which Naturphilosophie and Philosophy of mythology osculate, the Author reconstructs a powerful cosmo-theogonic interpretation of Thales’ famous conception of water as the first principle of beings.
The suppositional view of the conditionals, and the modal language which derives from it, has a pivotal position in the current debate on probability. In order to clarify better many of the topics under discussion could be useful the resumption of the reflections that Husserl dedicated to probability between 1902 and 1911. Against the background of a verificationist epistemology of quasi-intuitive empirical statements, Husserl elaborates a logic of probability, distinct from the pure logic, which applies to a specific class of empirical statements, suppositions. To this end, he defines different forms of hypotheses and logical modalities; then he elaborates a peculiar concept of a fundamental field, in which it is possible to determine the changes in the modalities of the statements based on motivations, probabilistically measurable. This theory will be abandoned, starting from 1913, to make room for a more markedly foundational position with the demonstration of presentability, which stresses, in a transcendental sense, the principle of phenomenological accessibility.
The article presents a close reading of Finite and Eternal Being by Edith Stein, with a particular emphasis on her explanation of texts by Thomas Aquinas in order to identify her interpretation of beauty as a transcendental. First, the article addresses Stein’s conception of the transcendentals, and in a particular way, of the true and the good insofar as they are related to the beautiful. Second, it proposes the metaphysics of beauty and the divine origin of beauty as a way of reaffirming the transcendentality of the notion, according to statements given in the work. Stein’s does not intend to achieve a systematic Thomist calology, but instead offers a new proposal with original traits, which emerges from her intuitions and readings and takes into account her phenomenological formation. Moreover, her conception may stimulate paths of further development, and with the help of Thomistic texts, yield new responses for the timeless topic of beauty.
In this paper we’ll try to show how deep has been the influence of Heidegger’s thought on Jan Patočka’s phenomenological philosophy, and in particular on his effort to conceptualize an originary and non-objectivistic sense of «movement». One of the main aspects of this theoretical operation consists in Patočka’s definition of the «three movement of the human life», which will be analysed by us as original reconfigurations of the three heideggerian «existentielles» of Befindlichkeit, Verfallen and Verstehen. The recostruction of this process of appropriation will lead us to value the efficacy and even some limits of an existential reading of Patočka’s phenomenology, which however should be considered as an unavoidable basis of whatever consideration of the Czech philosopher’s aim of adopting, criticising and sometimes overcoming Heidegger’s approach even in the historical and political field.
M. Epis (a cura di), Delle cose ultime (P.M. Cattorini) - R.P. Hanley, Our Great Purpose: Adam Smith on Living a Better Life (G. Damele) - E. Husserl, Il bambino (M. Galvani) - S. Johnson, Viaggio alle Isole Occidentali della Scozia (P. Grillenzoni) - G. Matteucci, Estetica e natura umana (M. Portera) - M. Migliori, La bellezza della complessità (F. Eustacchi) - R. Morani, Rileggere Hegel (F.A. Gambini) - S. Plastina - E.M. De Tommaso (a cura di), Filosofe e scienziate in età moderna (R. Pozzo) - R. Schiavolin, Mistica e filosofia nel pensiero di Marco Vannini (G. Catapano)