In this work, I discuss the thesis of the infinity of knowledge, starting from the experience of non-knowledge. Does the experience of non-knowledge deny the infinity of knowing? Or doesn’t it? Even the non-knowledge, when affirmed, is in fact something known. The non-knowing that concerns us is always a determinate non-knowledge, that is non-absolute. Moreover, even our knowledge is always a non-absolute knowledge. However, it is also true that we necessarily know something. For example, we can know, in a necessary way that our thinking is not the Absolute, even if our thinking is somehow infinite. We are finite and infinite, according to different points of view. Because of our finitude, our knowing is always a historical knowing, and our experience of the object world is always a historical experience. It is the historical and never-ending experience of the transcendent Absolute.
In real life, examples of people who act against their better judgment in nonmoral as well as moral contexts are not hard to find. However, over the centuries philosophers have often been unable to make sense out of the common phenomenon of weakness of will. If one knows what the right thing to do is and is able to do it, why does not he/she just do it?Although Kant never gave us an explicit discussion of weakness of will, his brief remarks about it bring him closer to ordinary judgment concerning its ubiquity in daily life. Actually, Kant is very concerned with our propensity to fail to do what we morally ought to do even when we clearly know what we morally ought to do and are able to do it. In order to understand how Kant investigates this anthropological dynamic, one key issue that needs to be taken into account at the outset concerns Kant’s particular perspective on action. On the basis of this analysis, we will try to clarify Kant’s conception of the frailty of human will, as well as to assess the possibility to understand this frailty in terms of self-deception or vice.
The reflection about cruelty and barbarism in a philosophical context sets itself as one of the most significant links in a debate which emerged in France at the beginning of the Eighties surrounding the Western civilization crisis. Such a reflection represents a long wave of a discussion originating in the first decades of the last century among the so-called «Literature of the crisis». The analyses on the phenomenon of barbarism elaborated by Michel Henry and Jean-François Mattéi by moving from mixed and heterogeneous philosophical views, inaugurate two original interpretations which are both distant but close and which allow us to identify the genetic place of barbarism itself through the reconstruction of its historical and remote causes. The comparison between the philosophical devices controlling Henry and Mattéi’s parallel judgements leads towards a horizon where the stakes are not only about the final meaning of barbarism but the destiny of Modernity itself.
This paper aims to examine the question, largely debated, of the ontological value of language in Heidegger and the closely related question of its historicity and temporality. This interpretation is developed through an intertextual reading, that relates the reflection on language developed by Heidegger in his essays On the Way to Language and the treatise on The Origin of the Work of Art. The latter presents arguments that can be ‘used’ profitably as real hermeneutical keys to arrive at a critical understanding of those «fundamental words» of Heideggerian thought that appear in the collection of the 1950s, such as «die Sage», the «Geläut der Stille». This intertextual reading leads to an interpretative proposal that highlights the peculiar temporality and contingency linked to the languages of art and in particular to the language of poetry.
The Aristotelian conception of genesis is not only a physical conception but entails an ontological side. Aristotle needs this ontological dimension to grasp the idea of an absolute generation, that is to say a generation where the new being is not a part of a preceding material being. However he also needs a subject of generation in order to reject the idea of a generation from non-being. The combination between the three following points: first, the idea of a prime matter without any actuality, second, the conception of substance as the first absolute being, and third, the link between the corruption of one substance and the genesis of another one, are the solution that Aristotle proposes. This precious conception of the absolute genesis is not equivalent to an ex nihilo creation, nevertheless it furnishes the principles used by St. Thomas in order to understand the absolute beginning of the created being.
Among the reasons that contribute to making the Commentary of Calcidius to the Timaeus a document of considerable interest, the question of the sources and the choice of the text, common to many medioplatonic commentators, should be considered. The Commentary is not only an interesting attestation of the exegesis of the Timaeus in the imperial age and of the presence of the reception of Platonism in the Latin world, but it is also a significant example of the non-integral translation of the Platonic text. The Latin commentator, as we will try to demonstrate in this contribution, seems to have a real exegetical intention: to express the demiurge’s point of view in the construction of the sensitive cosmos. Calcidius does not seem, in fact, to dedicate a relevant space to the description of the characteristics of the intelligible form in itself (species), but rather to its function as an exemplum, a model in the generation of the sensitive cosmos.
This article addresses the doctrine of radical moisture in the natural philosophy of John Buridan († 1361 ca.). It particularly examines a question in Buridan’s commentary on Aristotle’s Parva naturalia (De morte et vita, q.5) focused on life’s maintenance and the natural death of the body. Buridan’s text works as a relevant example of the use of the concepts of bodily moistures in the fourteenth century. Moreover, it testifies for the influence of medical doctrines on Buridan’s natural philosophy.
This paper proposes an introduction to the notion of objetctum as suppositum of speculative sciences with special emphasis on metaphysics, as Suarez mentions it in D.M., I, IV, 14. This short passage reveals the speculative turn in the transition from the Parisian scholasticism of the Middle Ages to the baroque scholasticism of the Spanish Renaissance. There, Dr. Eximio presents his own position regarding the subiectum of theoretical sciences by mentioning it as obiectum. The change of terms would indicate a possible uprooting of the metaphysics of esse that would lead to a metaphysics of gnoseological style. Also, this movement would be summarized in three moments since Suarez based his opinion on the interpretation of Thomas de Vio Cajetan on the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas.
The aim of this paper is an enquiry on Flavio Querenghi’s point of view about the traditional debate between ‘vita attiva’ and ‘vita contemplativa’. In his philosophical work, Discorsi morali politici et naturali (1644), the Paduan author dedicates two chapters to this issue, from where it emerges a clear distinction between «Vita della Città», «Vita della Villa» and «Vita Solitaria». Through the analysis of these arguments, I will show how Querenghi delves into the notions of ‘solitude’, ‘country life’, ‘otium’ and ‘negotium’ in order to clarify the best way to live in accordance with human nature.
In the Principia philosophiæ Descartes admonishes not only against «having a high opinion of yourself», but also against believing that everything was created for us. Is Descartes therefore a precursor of the current anti-anthropocentric view? It is not easy to provide a positive answer. Nonetheless it ought to be expressed the need to correct the preconception that Descartes was insensitive to the value of nature and justified animal cruelty. Indeed, anthropocentrism is for Descartes a thesis with theological value, but not a truth with scientific significance. Leaving aside the functional merit of anthropocentrism with respect to the ethical and religious orientation of human behaviour, Descartes’ philosophy criticises anthropocentric arrogance, with the intent both to condemn the illusion that mankind is the purpose of divine creation and to avoid ridiculous and inappropriate effects on physics of such an illusion.
The metaphysical foundation of Christian Wolff’s ethics has not been explored enough. Many of the Latin expressions and definitions he used for ethics seem very similar to those of scholastic philosophy. Their meaning though is quite different. The reason for this conceptual abyss is found in the metaphysical ground on which the entire philosophy of Wolff is constructed. His metaphysical ground is determined by mathematical method (that links Wolff directly with the Cartesian tradition) and it is guided only by rational activity (the power of the representation of the world). His ethics depends completely on these two bases and they explain the complex and coherent system that Wolff laid down for posterity in jurisprudence and ethics, in which law plays the role of a necessary bridge between good and freedom. This paper tries to give the basic starting points from which more research on Wolffian ethics could be done.
Polemical preoccupation with modern philosophy and its reception does not constitute for the Peruvian thinker Bartolomé Herrera (1808-1864) in his almost unknown Tratado de Teodicea (1872), a mere theoretical matter, but an act of reflexive importance: the reception of enlightened and post-enlightened European thought in a horizon of identity construction sometimes truncated. Hence the special attention, virulence and erudition that Herrera demonstrates in the second part of the Treaty on modern philosophy. There, far from encountering a mere chapter in a text of natural theology, we are before one of the most meaningful cores of the book, where philosophers like Cousin, Spinoza, Fichte, Kant and Hegel, among others, are discussed. Herrera’s intention is always to save the transcendence of God and His nature of necessary Being, against the philosophical pantheism and its «horribly absurd» moral consequences.
During the last decades, the research and the debate in analytic metaphysics developed mainly in two different directions: branching out into more and more specific inquiries on the one hand, and comparing general meta-metaphysical models, questioning the methodology, the scope, and the aim of metaphysical inquiry on the other hand. Among these philosophical approaches, particularly relevant are the Quinean quantificational and the neo-Aristotelic grounding approaches. This paper aims at offering a first methodological guide within the debate in contemporary analytic metaphysics. The idea is that every critical reconstruction of this debate has to acknowledge the distinction among the spectrum of definitions of a metaphysical debate and the auto-representation that a philosopher may give of the same debate when she tries to provide it with a solution. In order to show the meta-metaphysical influence over the redefinition of metaphysical issues, we focus on the debate between endurantism and perdurantism concerning the persistence of material entities.