Transitioning from a thematic webinar to a publication containing its contributions requires not only a different explanatory approach, but also an accurate comprehensive documentation of sources and methodological and instrumental resources. This article arses precisely from this, and is both a presentation of an ongoing work and a proposition for a demanding turning point toward an interdisciplinary encounter between the philosophy of language and the history of philosophy. The author believes it is time to move explicitly from the theory of meaning to the treatment of the language of philosophy, both to that for which there is an established history and to that of the ongoing work. A task that requires a metalinguistic undertaking (including corpus linguistics) and a decomposition into a unity of research of different origins and objectives, to ensure that the task possesses sustainable continuity and paves the way for a new historiographic and theoretically pertinent approach.
This essay aims to contribute to the discussion concerning the relationship between matter and form in XVII Century, by examining a Conversation about substantial forms (Des formes substantielles) that took place in 1660s at the Bourdelot Academy. On the one hand, this conversation represents a little-known episode in the reception of Descartes’ L’Homme and confirms the success of Cartesian mechanism in scientific circles. On the other hand, however, it shows that the ‘new philosophers’, who think that animal generation can be explained through matter and motion alone, and the ‘old philosophers’, who think that the mixed bodies, like living beings, require an internal principle of motion, can find a common ground in making ‘form’ coincide with ‘subtle matter’.
The problem how to define the nature of the atomistic substance is one of the most exciting questions arising in the interpretation of Presocratic philosophy. Given the fact that Democritus explained all phenomena in nature including the processes of life and consciousness only by means of an – as is generally believed – exclusively materialistic doctrine, there emerges the problem how to bridge the gap between the inanimate physics and the animate processes. For this purpose special interest will be laid on the semantic implications for the concept of atomic matter as they appear in the confrontation of the «full» of the atoms with the void. By this there can be shown that it is the idea of form as an ever existing entity that functions as the essential precondition for composing atomic conglomerations but also of the emerging qualities of life.
This paper deals with Plato’s treatment of the metaphysical and epistemological status of mimesis in Republic 10. A new interpretation of the distinction between form, instrument and imitation is provided. A key role is played by the concept of use. The paper’s central idea is that what differentiates the products of real artisans from the products of painters and poets is that only the former can be used and this is on account of their relation to the form. Accordingly, if this is true, without forms one could not actually distinguish the real difference between material instruments and their imitation. As a result, the paper shows that the critique of mimesis sheds light on a fundamental trait of Plato’s conception of sensible particulars.
In this article we offer a critique of the thesis that considers Aristotle’s theology incompatible with religious piety (eusebeia). This interpretation was imposed in the 19th century by the influence of rationalism and continues to be hegemonic today. Under these conditions the possibility of worship, prayer or piety in the Aristotelian philosophy of religion was rejected. In the article we show how the texts of the corpus manifest a positive attitude towards piety and religious worship, both among esoteric and acroamatic works, especially Politics VII 8-10 and Eudemian Ethics VII and VIII.
The character of Moses has had a great relevance and a symbolic value throughout the history of thought, especially given his mystical experience described in the Scriptures. Moses did not only listen to the Word of God, but he also wrote the tables of Law and reported them to humankind. Therefore, Moses holds a twofold value, the one of Prophet and the one of messenger, which makes Moses’ character the ideal archetype to represent the mediator. In this article, we will track the path of the philosophical reception of Moses’ character in late antiquity, thanks to the figure of Philo of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa and Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. Aim of this article is to show how, in the history of Christian thought, Moses represents both the human capacity to grasp God and, at the same time, the impossibility to embrace the totality of the Absolute.
This paper analyzes the notion of nature according to the analysis developed by Damascius in De Primis Principiis. The study highlights the eclectic character of Damascius’ naturalistic doctrine in which Aristotelian immanentism and Platonic/Neoplatonic transcendentism interact in an original and dialectical manner. The main focus of the study is the dual declination of φύσις in the forms of ἐνέργεια φυσική and φυτικὴ δύναμις. The latter aspect of nature is outlined as the vital and highest manifestation of φύσις itself. This conception acquires significance in light of the fundamental assumptions of Neoplatonic metaphysics, theorized systematically by Proclus. In connection with this theme, it is shown how Damascius perfects Aristotelian naturalism through the psychologization of φύσις. The idea that nature is subordinate to the hypostatic Soul as its own anterior cause, and consequently to the transcendent Principles, is the last object under discussion.
The paper studies the receptions of Proslogion’s unum argumentum in the first anselmian tradition between the 11th and the 12th centuries, by authors and texts who have variously acquired, interpreted and reformulated it.
In Inferno’s XXVII Canto, Dante meets Guido da Montefeltro. His story is related to a crucial dilemma. Asked by Boniface VIIIth to give a fraudulent advice for conquering Palestrina, with the promise of a pre-emptively forgiveness of his sin, Guido faces a conflict between two acts of the will: to want x (to give the advice) and to repent wanting x, one of which (repentance) will be not produced by Guido’s will but rather imposed by an external source. So Guido wants to do and not to do x at the same time, even if he knows that the best choice is not doing x: a logical contradiction that defines what seems to be a particular case of weakness of will (akrasia). The paper analyzes this case within the framework of akrasia as reading key, making use, for his conceptual definition, of the tools employed in Saarinen’s, Davidson’s and Elster’s studies.
The 14th-century Dominican theologian and philosopher Durand of Saint Pourçain played a seminal role in the medieval debate on future contingents by stirring up great controversy with his original views. This essay is an analytical study of the d. 38, q. 3 of the Sentences Commentary (Book I), in which Durand poses the question of «whether it is possible to have certain knowledge of the contingent» (de modo cognoscendi contingens). Moreover, the Durandian question of «whether divine science imposes necessity on known things» will also be analysed, stressing how the science of God relates to things as a cause and as certain and infallible knowledge. This study aims to show that Durand uses the notion of necessitas ex suppositione to answer the tricky question: «how is it possible that things happen differently from the way they were foreseen and that, at the same time, divine science can never fail?».
In The Christian Religion, As Profess’d by a Daughter of the Church of England (London 1705) by Mary Astell, the author challenges many aspects of John Locke’s philosophy concerning theology, politics, ethics and religion. This manuscript focuses on one of her main criticisms against Locke, that is, her rejection of his view on thinking matter. Adopting a dualistic ontology, clearly inspired by Descartes, Astell contests Locke’s substantial agnosticism, and its potentially heretical implications, including materialism and soul’s mortality. She detects a sort of repugnancy between matter and thought, and, consequently, she argues that thought exclusively pertains to immaterial and immortal beings, such as minds. Following Astell’s reasoning, this paper aims to spotlight her argumentative strategy, which makes use of Locke’s language and philosophy against him, showing the inconsistency of his hypothesis. Interestingly, she comes to justify her ontology of mind on the basis of Lockean epistemology.
Plotinus was a crucial author for the Russian philosopher Lev Shestov (1866-1938). He represented to him in many ways a real «philosophical alter ego» of Dostoevsky, since both – in Shestov’s view – indicated a way of internal rebellion of thought against the excessive power of the Western logos. The Plotinian ecstasy is, for Shestov, the highest moment in the historical development of Greek thought and at the same time it is its breaking point. A breaking point that in the subsequent centuries only Luther, Pascal, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard would have been able to understand in its decisive consequences. This article – the first entirely devoted to this problem – analyzes the relationship of Lev Shestov with Plotinus’ thought by examining all of Shestov’s writings, including his unpublished manuscripts.
This contribution aims to retrace the intellectual context in which the idea of «neoliberalism» during the so-called Walter Lippmann Colloque of 1938 was born, paying attention to some of its philosophical and ethical assumptions. The guiding thread of the analysis will be delimited by the conceptions of Wilhelm Röpke (1899-1966), one of the protagonists and witnesses of the birth of the concept of «neoliberalism», supporter of the renewal of an authentic liberal tradition. In particular, the debate and the comparison with the views of Benedetto Croce and Francesco Vito will be examined, representing on the one hand authoritative interlocutors of Röpke but also important exponents of the liberal tradition in the European context of the 20th century. The analyses will also be enriched by reference to the correspondence – mostly unpublished – with the above-mentioned thinkers. Finally, the relation between (neo)liberalism and Christian ethics regarding the defense of the ethical reasons for human, economic, and political freedom will be taken into account and critical assessed.
This paper presents an interpretation of the early thought of Putnam about a priori knowledge, after Quine’s Two Dogmas of Empiricism. While Quine’s rejection of the distinction between analytic and synthetic statements and his epistemological holism involved the denial of a priori knowledge, this paper will show how, according to Putnam, they are coherent, underlining the epistemological value of pragmatic and extra-theoretical warrented assertibility criteria in the justification of empirical and formal scientific theories. Reminding C.I. Lewis «pragmatic conception of a priori», this paper will define Putnam’s theory as a «pragmatic-trascendental» theory of a priori knowledge, because it reveals within scientific practices «quasi-a priori principles», which are necessary conditions, in order to conceive reality and pragmatic experience. Moreover, this paper will suggest that Putnam’s claim about «quasi-empirical methods» seems to renew also the idea of synthetic a priori in a pragmatic way and so in connection with realism.
A hermeneutics of finitude not insensitive to religious concerns may be expressed as a «temerarious discourse», which runs the risk of not pleasing either the disciples of an intangible Absolute that can never be endangered or questioned, or the supporters of a finitude destined without alternatives to the natural law of death. Such a hermeneutics, while not lacking in mildness, seems constitutively and doubly rebellious: an anarchic thought, refractory both to the natural law of finitude (passing away without ever coming back) and to the grammar of the Absolute, which is supposed either to be intangible or at least to be able to heal without any scars from the adventures of history. Philosophical hermeneutics would thus be a metaphysics in rebellion, a philosophy that is thorny both for the world, whose correction it invokes, and for the Absolute, which it solicits with daring amendments.
This work aims to explore the eschatological theme of salvation with reference to our relationship with the natural order. First, we will delve into the thought of theologian Sallie McFague, who presents a reflection centered on the idea of Earth as the body of God. Through this metaphor, the Author intends to outline a theological perspective that leverages the unifying and ontologically relational bond that unites human beings and creation to God’s saving love. We will then analyze the thought of Elizabeth Johnson. The latter will lead us into a reflection within which the Cross is taken up as a symbol of salvation for the whole of creation, both human and natural. Finally, we will formulate a brief conclusion not only to highlight the theoretical confluences between the two authors but, also, to outline some criticisms of the perspectives of ecological salvation they propose.
The publication of Christophe Grellard’s recent volume La possibilità dell’errore presents the Late-Medieval debates on erroneous conscience as a basis for the developments of the modern notion of tolerance. This work proposes a fruitful historiographical way of approaching the relationship between late-medieval debates and modern innovations; it also makes a reflection on the role that Thomas Aquinas played in the history of the idea of tolerance. In addition to addressing the issue of erroneous conscience, Thomas indicates divine providence as the highest and most perfect model of tolerance. Reflecting on the divine government of the world, tolerance results from a deeper promotion of the common good. Such a consideration seems particularly stimulating today, when the need to respond with strength and timeliness to the global emergencies makes the practice of this virtue more difficult.
This essay traces the main stages in Maria Rosa Antognazza’s research path, from her doctoral thesis on Leibniz to her latest, still unpublished volume on epistemology, and highlights that her work is a shining example of how the history of philosophy, properly understood, can be of great benefit to philosophy.
This paper aims to draw attention to Himbertus de Garda, a little known Franciscan theologian who studied in Paris around 1320, in order to reduce the undeserved obscurity into which he has fallen. It provides a critical edition of two questions of the Prologue to the Commentary on the Sentences of Himbertus, devoted to the object and the scientific status of theology.
R. Di Ceg lie, Aquinas on Faith, Reason, and Charity (F.L. Gallo), p. 511 – F. Minazzi, Epistemologia storico-evolutiva e neo-realismo logico (A. Lizzadri), p. 512 – H. Nowotny, Le macchine di Dio (R. Pozzo), p. 515 – F. Tomatis, Il Dio vivente (T. Mauri), p. 517 – S. Weil, La rivelazione indiana (E. Simonotti), p. 520 – Zenone di Elea, Frammenti e testimonianze (F. Eustacchi), p. 524