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‘Why else does slippery Fortune change
Written in prison before his brutal execution in AD 524, Boethius’s The Consolation of Philosophy is a conversation between the ailing prisoner and his ‘nurse’ Philosophy, whose instruction restores him to health and brings him to enlightenment. Boethius was an eminent public figure who had risen to great political heights in the court of King Theodoric when he was implicated in conspiracy and condemned to death. Although a Christian, it was to the pagan Greek philosophers that he turned for inspiration following his abrupt fall from grace. With great clarity of thought and philosophical brilliance, Boethius adopted the classical model of the dialogue to debate the vagaries of Fortune, and to explore the nature of happiness, good and evil, fate and free will.
Victor Watts’s English translation makes The Consolation of Philosophy accessible to the modern reader while losing nothing of its poetic artistry and breadth of vision. This edition includes an introduction discussing Boethius’s life and writings, a bibliography, glossary and notes.
The first two decades of the twenty-first century witnessed a rapid change in Western societal acceptance of homosexual activity. This change, however, remains fundamentally unstable unless founded upon an adequate moral theory. Today many within the Western world assume that any argument against homosexual activity must be founded upon religious premises. This book questions that narrative; for the history of philosophical thought manifests a strong non-religious consensus against such practices. This book bridges the gap within current philosophical scholarship by painstakingly examining the non-religious argument as found within the great philosopher Thomas Aquinas. In the process the author advances a novel claim: the traditional account against homosexual activity also applies to untruthful assertive speech acts. Lying and homosexual activity are both wrong for mutually illuminating reasons.
Born near Einsiedeln in 1493, Philip Theophrastus von Hohenheim, who later called himself Paracelsus, was the son of a physician. His thirst for knowledge led him to study arts in Vienna, then medicine in Italy, but the instruction left him disillusioned. He had learned to see nature with his own eyes, undiluted by the teachings of books. He was a rebellious spirit, hard-headed and stubborn, who travelled all over Europe and the British Isles to practice medicine, study local diseases, and learn from any source he could, humble as it might be. In these years of wanderings, Paracelsus developed his own system of medicine and a philosophy of theology all his own. Though he wrote a great many books that covered a wide range of subjects, only a few of his works were ever published in his lifetime. When he died in Salzburg in 1541, one of the most forceful personalities of the Renaissance died with him.
Here are collected four treatises which illustrate four different aspects of Paracelsus' work. The first gives a passionate justification of his character, activities, and views, and gives a picture of the man and his basic ideas. The second treatise is a study of the diseases of miners, with whom Paracelsus had spent a great deal of time. Then follows a treatise on the psychology and psychiatry of Paracelsus. Written at a time when mental diseases were beginning to be studied and treated by physicians, this pioneering essay anticipates a number of modern views. The last essay, entitled "A Book on Nymphs, Sylphs, Pygmies, and Salamanders, and on the Other Spirits," is a fanciful and poetic treatment of paganism and Greek mythology, as well as a good sample of Paracelsus' philosophy and theology. Together these essays show one of the most original minds of the Renaissance at the height of his powers.
Theophrastus von Hohenheim (1493-1541), better known as Paracelsus, was a physician, natural magician, radical activist of the early Reformation, and commentator on the social and religious issues of his day. This elegantly written book is the defining account of the man known as "Paracelsus the Great." Drawing on the whole range of relevant manuscript and printed sources, Charles Webster considers Paracelsus's life and works, explores his advocacy for total reform of the clerical, legal, and medical professions, and describes his precise expectations for the Christian church of the future, focusing on his affinity with the spiritualist Anabaptists. The author concludes with the apocalyptic speculations of Paracelsus, who vividly portrayed the sense of endtime crisis that constituted one of the defining characteristics of his era.
The Consolation of Philosophy occupies a central place in the history of Western thought. Its author, Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (ca. 476-526 c.e.), was a Roman philosopher, scholar, and statesman who wrote The Consolation of Philosophy while in a remote prison awaiting his execution on dubious political charges. The text of this Norton Critical Edition is based on the translation by Richard H. Green. It is accompanied by the editor's preface and full-scale introduction to the work, the translator's preface, and explanatory annotations. "Contexts" reprints selections from the texts that Boethius drew upon for his own work. These include excerpts from two of Plato's Dialogues (Gorgias and Timaeus), from Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, and from Augustine's On Free Choice of the Will. "Criticism" collects five wide-ranging essays by major scholars of Boethius. Henry Chadwick presents a general introduction to Boethius's life and works. Nelson Pike presents a clear and insightful interpretation of what Boethius means by writing that God is eternal (timeless). The final three essays-by William Bark, Edmund Reiss, and John Marenbon-all depart from traditional readings of The Consolation of Philosophy in significant ways and are sure to stimulate classroom discussion. A Chronology of Boethius's life and work and a Selected Bibliography are also included.
Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed has traditionally been read as an attempt to harmonize reason and revelation. Another, more recent interpretation takes the contradiction between philosophy and religion to be irreconcilable, and concludes that the Guide prescribes religion for the masses and philosophy for the elite. Moving beyond these familiar debates, Josef Stern argues that the perplexity addressed in this famously enigmatic work is not the conflict between Athens and Jerusalem but the tension between human matter and form, between the body and the intellect. Maimonides' philosophical tradition takes the perfect life to be intellectual: pure, undivided contemplation of all possible truths, from physics and cosmology to metaphysics and God. According to the Guide, this ideal cannot be realized by humans. Their embodied minds cannot achieve scientific knowledge of metaphysics, and their bodily impulses interfere with exclusive contemplation. Closely analyzing the arguments in the Guide and its original use of the parable as a medium of philosophical writing, Stern articulates Maimonides' skepticism about human knowledge of metaphysics and his heterodox interpretations of scriptural and rabbinic parables. Stern shows how, in order to accommodate the conflicting demands of the intellect and the body, Maimonides creates a repertoire of spiritual exercises, reconceiving the Mosaic commandments as training for the life of the embodied mind. By focusing on the philosophical notions of matter and form, and the interplay between its literary form and subject matter, Stern succeeds in developing a unified, novel interpretation of the Guide.
The texts edited in this volume deal with angelology and anthropology, and particularly with the nature and the functions of immaterial substances like angels and the human rational soul. Marchia discusses such controversial issues as whether angels and the rational soul are composed of both matter and form, the immortality of the soul, and the nature and the object of the intellect and will, as well as the functionality of the angelic intellect whether angels understand through discursive reasoning, and how they can speak with each other.
The problematic nature of the relationship between the material and the immaterial is approached through asking whether an angel can produce a material object and whether a material object can be the source of an angel's understanding of that object. A particularly interesting treatment concerns how angels, immaterial substances, can be in a place; this treatment includes Marchia's attempt to provide a physical theory explaining why an angel cannot move over some distance instantaneously.
Marchia challenges the ideas of some of the best minds of the later Middle Ages, not only major figures of the thirteenth century like Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, Henry of Ghent, and Giles of Rome but also fourteenth-century authors like John Duns Scotus, Hervaeus Natalis, Walter Burley, and Peter Auriol."
This book presents an introduction and English translation of articles 31 & 32 from Henry of Ghent's Summa of Ordinary Questions, mainly on God's eternity and the divine attributes in general.
"All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone," Blaise Pascal wrote in 1654. But then there's Walt Whitman, in 1856: "Whoever you are, come forth! Or man or woman come forth! / You must not stay sleeping and dallying there in the house." It is truly an ancient debate: Is it better to be active or contemplative? To do or to think? To make an impact, or to understand the world more deeply? Aristotle argued for contemplation as the highest state of human flourishing. But it was through action that his student Alexander the Great conquered the known world. Which should we aim at? Centuries later, this argument underlies a surprising number of the questions we face in contemporary life. Should students study the humanities, or train for a job? Should adults work for money or for meaning? And in tumultuous times, should any of us sit on the sidelines, pondering great books, or throw ourselves into protests and petition drives? With Action vs. Contemplation, Jennifer Summit and Blakey Vermeule address the question in a refreshingly unexpected way: by refusing to take sides. Rather, they argue for a rethinking of the very opposition. The active and the contemplative can--and should--be vibrantly alive in each of us, fused rather than sundered. Writing in a personable, accessible style, Summit and Vermeule guide readers through the long history of this debate from Plato to Pixar, drawing compelling connections to the questions and problems of today. Rather than playing one against the other, they argue, we can discover how the two can nourish, invigorate, and give meaning to each other, as they have for the many writers, artists, and thinkers, past and present, whose examples give the book its rich, lively texture of interplay and reference. A This is not a self-help book. It won't give you instructions on how to live your life. Instead, it will do something better: it will remind you of the richness of a life that embraces action and contemplation, company and solitude, living in the moment and planning for the future. Which is better? Readers of this book will discover the answer: both.
The third volume of The Hackett Aquinas, a series of central philosophical treatises of Aquinas in new, state-of-the-art translations accompanied by a thorough commentary on the text.
Lorenzo Valla (1407 1457) ranks among the greatest scholars and thinkers of the Renaissance. He secured lasting fame for his brilliant critical skills, most famously in his exposure of the Donation of Constantine, the forged document upon which the papacy based claims to political power. Lesser known in the English-speaking world is Valla s work in the philosophy of language the basis of his reputation as the greatest philosopher of the humanist movement.
"Dialectical Disputations, " translated here for the first time into any modern language, is his principal contribution to the philosophy of language and logic. With this savage attack on the scholastic tradition of Aristotelian logic, Valla aimed to supersede it with a new logic based on the actual historical usage of classical Latin and on a commonsense approach to semantics and argument. Valla provides a logic that could be used by lawyers, preachers, statesmen, and others who needed to succeed in public debate one that was stylistically correct and rhetorically elegant, and thus could dispense with the technical language of the scholastics, a tribe of Peripatetics, perverters of natural meanings. Valla s reformed dialectic became a milestone in the development of humanist logic and contains startling anticipations of modern theories of semantics and language.
Volume 2 contains Books II III, in which Valla refutes Aristotle s logical works on propositions, topics, and the syllogistic."
Despite our admiration for Renaissance achievement in the arts and sciences, in literature and classical learning, the rich and diversified philosophical thought of the period remains largely unknown. This volume illuminates three major currents of thought dominant in the earlier Italian Renaissance: classical humanism (Petrarch and Valla), Platonism (Ficino and Pico), and Aristotelianism (Pomponazzi). A short and elegant work of the Spaniard Vives is included to exhibit the diffusion of the ideas of humanism and Platonism outside Italy. Now made easily accessible, these texts recover for the English reader a significant facet of Renaissance learning.
Brian Davies offers the first in-depth study of Saint Thomas
Aquinas's thoughts on God and evil, revealing that Aquinas's
thinking about God and evil can be traced through his metaphysical
philosophy, his thoughts on God and creation, and his writings
about Christian revelation and the doctrines of the Trinity and the
In Imagination, Meditation, and Cognition in the Middle Ages, Michelle Karnes revises the history of medieval imagination with a detailed analysis of its role in the period's meditations and theories of cognition. Karnes here understands imagination in its technical, philosophical sense, taking her cue from Bonaventure, the thirteenth-century scholastic theologian and philosopher who provided the first sustained account of how the philosophical imagination could be transformed into a devotional one. Karnes examines Bonaventure's meditational works, the Meditationes vitae Christi, the Stimulis amoris, Piers Plowman, and Nicholas Love's Myrrour, among others, and argues that the cognitive importance that imagination enjoyed in scholastic philosophy informed its importance in medieval meditations on the life of Christ. Emphasizing the cognitive significance of both imagination and the meditations that relied on it, she revises a long-standing association of imagination with the Middle Ages. In her account, imagination was not simply an object of suspicion but also a crucial intellectual, spiritual, and literary resource that exercised considerable authority.
In The Business of Alchemy, Pamela Smith explores the relationships among alchemy, the court, and commerce in order to illuminate the cultural history of the Holy Roman Empire in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In showing how an overriding concern with religious salvation was transformed into a concentration on material increase and economic policies, Smith depicts the rise of modern science and early capitalism. In pursuing this narrative, she focuses on that ideal prey of the cultural historian, an intellectual of the second rank whose career and ideas typify those of a generation. Smith follows the career of Johann Joachim Becher (1635-1682) from university to court, his projects from New World colonies to an old-world Pansophic Panopticon, and his ideas from alchemy to economics. Teasing out the many meanings of alchemy for Becher and his contemporaries, she argues that it provided Becher with not only a direct key to power over nature but also a language by which he could convince his princely patrons that their power too must rest on liquid wealth. Agrarian society regarded merchants with suspicion as the nonproductive exploiters of others' labor; however, territorial princes turned to commerce for revenue as the cost of maintaining the state increased. Placing Becher's career in its social and intellectual context, Smith shows how he attempted to help his patrons assimilate commercial values into noble court culture and to understand the production of surplus capital as natural and legitimate. With emphasis on the practices of natural philosophy and extensive use of archival materials, Smith brings alive the moment of cultural transformation in which science and the modern state emerged.
As the 'father' of the English literary canon, one of a very few writers to appear in every 'great books' syllabus, Chaucer is seen as an author whose works are fundamentally timeless: an author who, like Shakespeare, exemplifies the almost magical power of poetry to appeal to each generation of readers. Every age remakes its own Chaucer, developing new understandings of how his poetry intersects with contemporary ways of seeing the world, and the place of the subject who lives in it. This Handbook comprises a series of essays by established scholars and emerging voices that address Chaucer's poetry in the context of several disciplines, including late medieval philosophy and science, Mediterranean Studies, comparative literature, vernacular theology, and popular devotion. The volume paints the field in broad strokes and sections include Biography and Circumstances of Daily Life; Chaucer in the European Frame; Philosophy and Science in the Universities; Christian Doctrine and Religious Heterodoxy; and the Chaucerian Afterlife. Taken as a whole, The Oxford Handbook of Chaucer offers a snapshot of the current state of the field, and a bold suggestion of the trajectories along which Chaucer studies are likely to develop in the future.
The ten essays in this collection approach the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas not merely as an object of scholarly interest but also as a framework for addressing perennial philosophical questions, even as they are raised and debated in our own times. The first five articles are expositions of important philosophical themes as developed in Aquinas's own works. In the last five, the authors bring Aquinas's thought to bear on contemporary philosophical discussions of metaphysical, ethical, and social issues.
The name Erasmus of Rotterdam conjures up a golden age of scholarly integrity and the disinterested pursuit of knowledge, when learning could command public admiration without the need for authorial self-promotion. Lisa Jardine, however, shows that Erasmus self-consciously created his own reputation as the central figure of the European intellectual world. Erasmus himself--the historical as opposed to the figural individual--was a brilliant, maverick innovator, who achieved little formal academic recognition in his own lifetime. What Jardine offers here is not only a fascinating study of Erasmus but also a bold account of a key moment in Western history, a time when it first became possible to believe in the existence of something that could be designated "European thought."
Viennese modernism is often described in terms of a fin-de-siecle fascination with the psyche. But this stereotype of the movement as essentially cerebral overlooks a rich cultural history of the body. The Naked Truth, an interdisciplinary tour de force, addresses this lacuna, fundamentally recasting the visual, literary, and performative cultures of Viennese modernism through an innovative focus on the corporeal. Alys X. George explores the modernist focus on the flesh by turning our attention to the second Vienna medical school, which revolutionized the field of anatomy in the 1800s. As she traces the results of this materialist influence across a broad range of cultural forms--exhibitions, literature, portraiture, dance, film, and more--George brings into dialogue a diverse group of historical protagonists, from canonical figures such as Egon Schiele, Arthur Schnitzler, Joseph Roth, and Hugo von Hofmannsthal to long-overlooked ones, including author and doctor Marie Pappenheim, journalist Else Feldmann, and dancers Grete Wiesenthal, Gertrud Bodenwieser, and Hilde Holger. She deftly blends analyses of popular and "high" culture, laying to rest the notion that Viennese modernism was an exclusively male movement. The Naked Truth uncovers the complex interplay of the physical and the aesthetic that shaped modernism and offers a striking new interpretation of this fascinating moment in the history of the West.
The great crisis of twentieth-century philosophy has been the loss of meaning as a criterion for conduct. With the collapse of the historical sociologies of the nineteenth century and their replacement by relativistic doctrines, contemporary thought has retreated to the fleeting present moment as the ground for describing action. In Meaning and Appreciation, Michael Weinstein traces the history of the failure of historical meaning, showing how the disappearance of collective purpose has altered our sense of time and made us aware that we are the creators of our time perspectives. Drawing upon the vitalistic tradition of Bergson, Weinstein returns to the intuition of the dur6e and argues that beneath practical life, we are rooted in successive lived presents. Weinstein identifies the lived present with appreciation, arguing that the life of expression, not nihilism, lies beyond the wreckage of historical teleology, The climax of Weinstein's work is an original vision of human existence, in which our essence is to express one another to ourselves. Vindicating our intrinsic sociality against the abstract and mechanistic claims of both individualism and collectivism, the author argues that our destiny is not to project meanings into a symbolic future, but to attend to and care for one another in the present. Weinstein's sensitive analysis offers new insights into such contemporary movements as existentialism, the sociology of knowledge, and cultural philosophy, evaluating all of them in terms of the fundamental tension in our society.
Cahiers de l'Institut du Moyen-ge Grec et Latin (CIMAGL) publishes work done in the Department of Greek and Latin at the University of Copenhagen, or in collaboration with the Department. The researchpresented in multi-ligual essaysmainly focuses on the Latin trivium and quadrivium, and Byzantine music.
With Hobbes and Locke, Spinoza is arguably one of the most important political philosophers of the modern era, a premier theoretician of democracy and mass politics. In this revised and augmented English translation of his 1985 classic, Spinoza et la Politique, Etienne Balibar presents a synoptic account of Spinoza's major works, admirably demonstrating relevance to his contemporary political life. Balibar carefully situates Spinoza's major treatises in the period in which they were written. In successive chapters, he examines the political situation in the United Provinces during Spinoza's lifetime, Spinoza's own religious and ideological associations, the concept of democracy developed in the Theologico-Political Treatise, the theory of the state advanced in the Political Treatise and the anthropological basis for politics established in the Ethics.
Steven Nadler presents the first English translation of a seminal work in the history of early modern philosophy. Geraud de Cordemoy's Six Discourses on the Distinction Between the Soul and the Body (originally published in French in 1666) offers an account of the mind and the body in a human being. Cordemoy is an unorthodox Cartesian who opts for an atomist conception of body and matter. In this groundbreaking treatise, he also presents one of the earliest arguments for an occasionalist account of causation, with God serving as the true cause of bodily motions in the world and of ideas in the mind. Nadler also includes the first English translation of Cordemoy's short Treatises on Metaphysics, which were probably written soon after the Discourses, and extend his discussion of mind-body union with consideration of human freedom and happiness. The introduction provides a biographical and historical context for Cordemoy's work and a study of his main philosophical doctrines, including his influence on later thinkers (such as Leibniz and Malebranche).
Richard J. Regan's new translation of texts from Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica IIaII--on the virtues prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance--combines accuracy with an accessibility unmatched by previous presentations of these texts. While remaining true to Aquinas' Latin and preserving a question-and-answer format, the translation judiciously omits references and citations unessential to the primary argument. It thereby clears a path through the original especially suitable for beginning students of Aquinas. Regan's Introduction carefully situates Aquinas' analysis of these virtues within the greater ethical system of the Summa Theologica , and each selection is introduced by a thoughtful headnote. A glossary of key terms and a select bibliography are also included.
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