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Vladimir N. Porus
The paper deals with St. Basil's distinction between κήρυγμα (kerygma) and δόγμα (dogma), which has been the subject of much discussion over the last sixty years (Spir. XXVII.66-67).
Hans Blumenberg’s Legitimacy of the Modern Age makes a powerful case for the autonomy of modernity with regard to the preceding Christian epoch – but it also emphasizes at least one continuity between the two, which can be framed via what Blumenberg casts as their common enemy: Gnosticism. Far from being external or secondary, this opposition to Gnosticism structurally defines both of these epochs as their task. What is, however, at stake in this common task? Reading with and against Blumenberg – and following his own account of the epochal shift to modernity – we will shed light, first, on the genealogy and, secondly, the political theology of Blumenbergian modernity, its structure of sovereignty, and key related concepts, such as the world, position, possibility, legitimation, theodicy, immanence, and self-assertion.
This is my review of the 'Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, and the School of London' exhibtion at the Pushkin Museum
Two years ago, the International Laboratory for the study of Russian and European
intellectual dialogue was established in the National Research University
“The Higher School of Economics” by professor Vladimir Kantor on the Russian
side and by the German professor Leonid Luks on the Western European side. In
the two years of its work the Laboratory has organized six international conferences.
The first three events were held under the auspices of the commemorative
project “Russia one hundred years after the revolution of 1917,” which analyzed
and discussed not only the spiritual, cultural and social-political causes of the
emergence of the revolutionary situation in Russia, but also its historical and civilizational
consequences for the fate of Russia, Europe and the world. A review of
these conferences was published in the first issue of the journal Zeitschrift für
Slawistik in 2018.
This article is about the conception of the tyranny in the European Political Thought of the Middle Ages. The author begins with the traditional distinction between a good and a bad governor. Within this dichotomy, the king is a good and fair ruler, whose thoughts are about a commonweal and a public good; in turn, the tyrant is a governor whose thoughts and acts are towards his personal good and interests. But - the author stresses this point - this conception in effect appeared late enough, at 12th or 13th cent.
The author analyses this fact, stressing that within the European Political thought of the Middle Ages it seems possible to define two principal modes of speaking on the Political: the theological and the juridical one. In turn, within the theological mode, we find two main branches, which are the political Augustinism and the political Thomism. The first one is a direct successor of the Roman Republican tradition developed by Cicero and, later, by the Roman jurists. Within this tradition, the main hero of the political theory is a people, which is considered as an autonomous subject, able to legislate and to define his proper public good. The other, Thomistic paradigm, interprets a people as a multitude united by a common area, laws and mode of life, a pure object of the political action, exercised by kings and other rulers. The author stresses, including on the ground of the Siete Partidas, that the real theory of the tyranny is possible only within the frames of the Thomistic paradigm.
We investigate the parallelism between aesthetic experience and the practice of phenomenology using Viktor Shklovsky's theory of 'estrangement' (ostranenie). In his letter to Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Husserl claims that aesthetic and phenomenological experiences are similar; in the perception of a work of art we change our attitude in order to concentrate on how the things appear to us instead of what they are. A work of art 'forces us into' the aesthetic attitude in the same way as the phenomenological epoché drives us into the phenomenological one. The change of attitudes is a condition of possibility of aesthetic and/or phenomenological experience. Estrangement is an artistic device that breaks the routinised forms of perception: one sees the thing as new and does not just "recognise" it automatically. Shklovsky insists that it is possible if one experiences or feels the form of the work of art - in an affective and even sensuous way. We claim that this is similar to the phenomenological seeing, or intuition, which, according to Husserl, should be devoid of all understanding. Phenomenological epoché can also be described as a philosophical technique that aims to arrest the 'ready-made', 'taken for granted', 'pre-given' meanings in order to access a new meaning which is not yet stabilised, the "meaning-in-formation". It is not enough to turn from what appears to how it appears; one has to oscillate between these conflicting attitudes, or rather to keep them both at the same time thus gaining a kind of a 3D-vision of meaning in its becoming. This double life in two different attitudes (or, following a Husserlian metaphor, 'double bookkeeping') can be clarified in terms of Roman Jakobson's theory of antinomic coexistence between the poetic and communicative functions of language. The notion of 'double life in two attitudes' uncovers the role that ostranenie can play in the philosophical transformation of the subject based on variety and essential mobility of the affective components involved. Proposing a phenomenological interpretation of a passage from Samuel Beckett we show how the radicalisation of ostranenie can lead even to 'meta-estrangement': to estrangement of the everyday 'lack of estrangement'. We conclude with a remark on the productivity of this form of estrangement in the phenomenological context.
This text begins by applying the critique of phrenology to contemporary neuro-science in order to raise, once again, the question of consciousness. I then argue that consciousness is a process and product of the body, driven by history; like the work (and a work) of art. This becomes clearer with Hegel’s differentiation between human and animal consciousness, that is, in how our language and thought can tolerate contradiction, even grasp it as true. Thus, as Aristotle knew: consciousness is to the body as the sign is to the referent—and this has implications for our very survival.
This paper provides a foundation for a form of phenomenology, namely
phenomenological, that rejects the traditional phenomenology of religion in order to
provide a cognitive and non-theological discipline in the study of religion. Proposed
amendments to phenomenology are based on the ideas of E. Husserl. The simultaneous
strict distinction and necessary cooperation between facts and phenomena provided by the
impurity of pure consciousness in admitting the outside world might enable the extension
of scientific criteria to this reimagined phenomenology. Pure consciousness is considered
irreducible to thought and cognitivity (feeling and accordingly, faith, might thus be viewed
as a non-cognitive, purely emotional stream). This new comprehension of the
phenomenology of religion could represent religion in all its contexts (God, supernatural
forces as well as holy places, churches, utensils, texts etc) in the pure consciousness of the
believer, as the effects of its structures, namely feeling and thought and their interactions
Although largely neglected in Schelling scholarship, the concept of bliss (Seligkeit) assumes central importance throughout Schelling's oeuvre. Focusing on his 1810-11 texts, the Stuttgart Seminars and the beginning of the Ages of the World, this paper traces the logic of bliss, in its connection with other key concepts such as indifference, the world or the system, at a crucial point in Schelling’s thinking. Bliss is shown, at once, to mark the zero-point of the developmental narrative that Schelling constructs here (from God before creation, via the natural, historical, and spiritual world, to the fully actualized, "true pantheism") and to interrupt it at every step. As a result, bliss emerges here in its real utopian force but also its all-too-real ambivalence, indifference, and even violence, despite Schelling's best efforts to theorize it as "love"; and Schelling himself emerges, in these texts, as one of modernity's foremost thinkers not just of nature or freedom, but also of bliss in its modern afterlives. At stake in Schelling's conception of bliss, I argue, is the very relationship between history and eternity, the not-yet and the already-here, the present and the eschatological – as well as between Spinozian immanence and the Christian temporality of salvation, so important for modernity (with what is often called its process of "secularization") – not to mention the complex entanglement of indifference, violence, and love or the ideas of totality, nonproductivity, and nonrelation that Schellingian bliss involves.
In this text, I provide an Introduction to the edited volume, Boris Hessen and the Dialectics of Natural Science. I enumerate the tasks of the volume which are as follows: (1) to better familiarize the reader with Hessen’s biography, (2) to assess his legacy and propose new interpretations of his thought and, finally, (3) to encourage study of his still largely untapped oeuvre. The first aim is admirably taken up in the volume by Paul Josephson in his “Boris Hessen as Philosopher and Polemicist”, a sprawling recreation of the context of physics research in the early Soviet Union. Josephson masterfully paints a picture of the figures, schools of thought and the conflicts between them against the backdrop of Russia in the post-October years. Here, one gets a sense of the tectonic shifts in the nascent Soviet experiment and how the context in which Hessen rose to prominence, so suddenly became the one in which he perished. Josephson also provides an analysis of some of Hessen’s lesser-studied works, assessing that while Hessen’s contributions to theoretical physics may have been modest, those to the philosophy of science remain of considerable worth. Gerardo Ienna & Giulia Rispoli and Ioannis Trisokkas take up the second task of the volume in their respective papers, each striking out new ground in the interpretation of Hessen’s thought. In “Boris Hessen at the Crossroads of Science and Ideology”, Ienna & Rispoli take up where Josephson leaves off, by providing a comprehensive account of the reception of Hessen’s work up to the present day. They explain that the circumstances of Hessen’s reception call for a reevaluation of his legacy, contending that, while Hessen was a Marxist, he was not a dialectical/historical materialist, but rather an empirio-monist. Like the founder of empirio-monism, Alexandr Bogdanov, Hessen disagreed with Lenin’s reflection theory of knowledge, instead arguing in favor of the mutual interaction and co-constitution of subject and object. Also like Bogdanov, Hessen believed that Einsteinian relativity theory provided not only the necessary natural scientific confirmation of empirio-monism and but a new scientific foundation for Marxism as well. In “Boris Hessen and Newton’s God”, Trisokkas offers his own reassessment, as he contends that externalism is an improper label for Hessen’s 1931 study of Newton. A successful externalist account, Trisokkas argues, would have to provide an exhaustive proof that the internal logic of a scientific theory is incomplete, showing that its sufficient reason only lies outside of it. Newton’s resorting to God is not, he maintains, a product of external factors, but rather, a product of the internal logic of his mechanics and effort to explain the organization of matter. To accomplish the third aim of this volume, we have provided an English translation of Hessen’s “Preface to Articles by A. Einstein and J.J. Thomson” (1927), which is the first new, complete text of Hessen’s to appear in English translation since his 1931 Newton paper. Written in commemoration of the bicentennial of Newton’s death, the work is a fascinating counterpoint to Hessen’s better-known text. In the 1927 piece, Hessen reflects upon the legacy of Newtonian mechanics in light of the crisis of early 20th-century physics, arguing that just as Newtonianism had played an integral role in usurping Scholastic Aristotelian physics, Newton’s thought was now being replaced by quantum mechanics. Hessen also maintains that quantum mechanics on its own could not singlehandedly remedy the crisis of contemporary physics, but rather, needed to be supplanted by dialectical/historical materialism. At the end of this volume, we have also provided a brief “Selected Bibliography” of some of Hessen’s most relevant works related to the theme of the dialectics of natural science.
Pavel V. Sokolov’s “Lucis an caliginis theatrum: Theatrical Metaphors in the Early Modern historia literaria” is another one of those essays in this volume which remind readers of the frequently forgotten fact that the metaphor at issue here is present in non-theatrical texts also. Sokolov makes the striking observation that there is an intense discussion of the problem of plagiarism in an age without copyright regulations. The intricacies involved in the question of what is an “original” and what is a (perhaps plagiarized) “copy” were highlighted in contemporary treatises by drawing on the resources offered by theatrical metaphors, especially on one specific semantic strand inherent to this metaphorical complex, namely, the difficulty to decide between what is “real” action and what is (only) an imitation of real action.
In this paper we set ourselves the goal of examining the figure of the female protagonist of Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft’s historical tragedy Geeraerdt van Velsen (1613), Machtelt van Velsen, in its connection with the classical “archetypical rape victim” Lucretia, transformed by Livy into an exemplum of republican virtus, feminine gloria, conjugal modestia, and castitas.
Basil of Caesarea’s treatment of the life of Moses in his Hexaemeron is traditionally taken to be dependent on Philo of Alexandria and the Jewish exegetical tradition. Without questioning the fact that Basil knew Philo’s Life of Moses, this paper seeks to demonstrate, however, that in this respect Basil was more indebted to Origen and his tripartite division of philosophy into ethics, physics, and epoptics. This allows not only to make a more balanced assessment of Origen’s influence on Basil, increasingly stressed in recent scholarship, but also to suggest a more nuanced interpretation of Basil’s Address to the youth and his program of the Christian paideia.
The question of what is time, is asked by Augustine: “I know what it is, provided that nobody asks me; but if I want to explain it to an enquirer, I do not know.” Aristotle, however, explains: time is not the cause of generation and corruption, coming to presence and going out into absence, becoming as a whole. Rather, bodies decay, change happens, things move (more or less), physis becomes—and time counts the ways.2 Or, as Elizabeth Barrett Browning put it poetically: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”—that is time, not the loving, but the counting of how so.
In this paper, I argue that Husserl’s phenomenological understanding of the unity of the world can be traced back to the Aristotelian principle of unity in the Metaphysics. This explains how the world is one: accidentally and necessarily, as true and false, potentially and actually, and categorically. But if these four ways of being one may be traced back to presence and absence, it is because they are modifications of implication.
The understanding of human consciousness as a kind of computer is insufficient and even irrelevant, taking into account the modern advances in the development of cognitive science. The author argues that a certain paradigm shift in the understanding of human consciousness and its creative abilities takes place. Consciousness is rather dynamic and autopoietic entity that is embedded into environment and intimately related to the human body. Consciousness is embodied, situated and enactive. A great contribution to this conception of human consciousness (mind) is made by Francisco Varela and his followers. Autopoiesis of consciousness means that it is able to maintain its integrity in the processes of self-organization in the permanently changing environment. An autopoietic activity of consciousness it directed to the search of elements that are missed, it longs for completing integral structures. For these reasons, it is possible to create a new, fresh view on the creative activities of consciousness, if we base our notions on the modern theories of complexity, dynamic chaos and self-organization. In the theoretical frames, chaos acquires a creative image; it is not simply a destroying force. Complex structures emerge in chaos and out of chaos. Chaos is organized and it organizes. When destroying, it builds. Chaos has many facets. Chaos is a way of renovation of complex organizations. A periodical immersion of human consciousness into chaos is a way of stimulation of its cognitive and creative activities.
This article offers a reading of the trail and death of Socrates and explore the importance of death, dialogue, and doubt for human understanding.
In this paper, I would like to examine the meaning of and relationship between ‘practice’ and ‘ideology’ in Boris Hessen’s “The Social and Economic Roots of Newton’s Principia”. I propose that for Hessen, practice can be defined as the transformation of things in-themselves into things for-us, as well as the transformation of things in-themselves into things for-themselves. Ideology, for him, refers to the specific difference between practice and theory, when the practical roots of theory are concealed. In section 1, I explain the Hessen theses and identify means and relations of production as the two kinds of practice presented in the Newton paper. In section 2, I trace the history of the composition and reception of the Hessen theses, showing that any attempt to understand practice and ideology in Hessen’s work requires incorporating his not only Marxist, but Deborinite background. In section 3, I explain conceptions of practice and ideology from previous Marxist thinkers and how Hessen, as a Deborinite, may have integrated aspects of these conceptions into his own view. In section 4, I show that Nikolai Bukharin’s “Theory and Practice from the Standpoint of Dialectical Materialism” provides the proper complement for understanding the remaining elements of Hessen’s account.
It is almost universally accepted that the Frege-Geach Point is necessary for explaining the inferential relations and compositional structure of truth-functionally complex propositions. I argue that this claim rests on a disputable view of propositional structure, which models truth-functionally complex propositions on atomic propositions. I propose an alternative view of propositional structure, based on a certain notion of simulation, which accounts for the relevant phenomena without accepting the Frege-Geach Point. The main contention is that truth-functionally complex propositions do not include as their parts truth-evaluable propositions, but their simulations, which are neither forceful nor truth-evaluable. The view makes room for the idea that there is no such thing as the forceless expression of propositional contents and is attractive because it provides the resources for avoiding a fundamental problem generated by the Frege-Geach Point concerning the relation between forceless and forceful expressions of propositional contents. I further argue that the acceptance of the Frege-Geach Point mars Peter Hanks’ and François Recanati’s recent attempts to resist the widespread idea that assertoric force is extrinsic to the expression of propositional contents. Rejecting this idea, I maintain, requires a deeper break with the tradition than Hanks and Recanati have allowed for.