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Ethics was a central preoccupation of medieval philosophers, and medieval ethical thought is rich, diverse, and inventive. Yet standard histories of ethics often skip quickly over the medievals, and histories of medieval philosophy often fail to do justice to the centrality of ethical concerns in medieval thought. This volume presents the full range of medieval ethics in Christian, Islamic, and Jewish philosophy in a way that is accessible to a non-specialist and reveals the liveliness and sophistication of medieval ethical thought. In Part I there is a series of historical chapters presenting developmental and contextual accounts of Christian, Islamic, and Jewish ethics. Part II offers topical chapters on such central themes as happiness, virtue, law, and freedom, as well as on less-studied aspects of medieval ethics such as economic ethics, the ethical dimensions of mysticism, and sin and grace. This will be an important volume for students of ethics and medieval philosophy.
Boethius composed the De Consolatione Philosophiae in the sixth century AD whilst awaiting death under torture, condemned on a charge of treason which he protested was manifestly unjust. Though a convinced Christian, in detailing the true end of life which is the soul's knowledge of God, he consoled himself not with Christian precepts but with the tenets of Greek philosophy. This work dominated the intellectual world of the Middle Ages; writers as diverse as Thomas Aquinas, Jean de Meun, and Dante were inspired by it. In England it was rendered in to Old English by Alfred the Great, into Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer, and later Queen Elizabeth I made her own translation. The circumstances of composition, the heroic demeanour of the author, and the 'Menippean' texture of part prose, part verse have combined to exercise a fascination over students of philosophy and literature ever since. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Peter Adamson presents a lively introduction to six hundred years of European philosophy, from the beginning of the ninth century to the end of the fourteenth century. The medieval period is one of the richest in the history of philosophy, yet one of the least widely known. Adamson introduces us to some of the greatest thinkers of the Western intellectual tradition, including Peter Abelard, Anselm of Canterbury, Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, and Roger Bacon. And the medieval period was notable for the emergence of great women thinkers, including Hildegard of Bingen, Marguerite Porete, and Julian of Norwich. Original ideas and arguments were developed in every branch of philosophy during this period - not just philosophy of religion and theology, but metaphysics, philosophy of logic and language, moral and political theory, psychology, and the foundations of mathematics and natural science.
Think of the Renaissance and you might only picture the work of fine artists such as Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Van Eyck. Or architecture could spring to mind and you might think of St Peter's in Rome and the Doge's Palace in Venice. Or you might consider scientists like Galileo and Copernicus. But then let's not forget the contribution of thinkers like Machiavelli, Thomas More or Erasmus. Someone else, though, might plump for music or poets and dramatists - after all, there was Dante and Shakespeare. Because when it comes to the Renaissance, there's an embarrassment of riches to choose from. From art to architecture, music to literature, science to medicine, political thought to religion, The Renaissance expertly guides the reader through the cultural and intellectual flowering that Europe witnessed from the 14th to the 17th centuries. Ranging from the origins of the Renaissance in medieval Florence to the Counter- Reformation, the book explains how a revival in the study in Antiquity was able to flourish across the Italian states, before spreading to Iberia and north across Europe. Nimbly moving from perspective in paintings to Copernicus's understanding of the Universe, from Martin Luther's challenge to the Roman Catholic Church to the foundations of modern school education, The Renaissance is a highly accessible and colourful journey along the cultural contours of Europe from the Late Middle Ages to the early modern period.
Ramon Llull (1232-1316), mystic, missionary, philosopher and author of narrative and poetry, wrote both in Latin and in the vernacular claiming he had been given a new science to unveil the Truth. This book shows why his Latin and vernacular books cannot be read as if they had been written in isolation from one another. Llull was an atypical 'scholar' because he enjoyed a form of access to knowledge that differed from the norm and because he organized the production and dissemination of his writings in a creative and unconventional fashion. At a time when learned texts and university culture were conveyed for the most part using the vehicle of Latin, he wrote a substantial proportion of his theological and scientific works in his maternal Catalan while, at the same time, he was deeply involved in the circulation of such works in other Romance languages. These circumstances do not preclude the fact that a considerable number of the titles comprising his extensive output of more than 260 works were written directly in Latin, or that he had various books which were originally conceived in Catalan subsequently translated or adapted into Latin. Lola Badia is a professor in the Catalan Philology Departament at the University of Barcelona. Joan Santanach is Lecturer of Catalan Philology at the University of Barcelona. Albert Soler (1963) is Lecturer of Catalan Philology at the University of Barcelona.
This title was first published in 2002: JArg Breu belonged to the generation of German Renaissance artists that included DA1/4rer, Cranach, GrA1/4newald, Altdorfer, and, in his own city of Augsburg, Hans Burgkmair the Elder. His art registered the early reception of Italian art in Germany and spanned the dramatic years of the Reformation in Augsburg, when the city was riven with social and religious tensions. Uniquely, for a German artist, Breu left a diary chronicling his reaction to the massive social and cultural forces that engulfed him, including his own conversion to the Protestant cause. His story is representative of the condition of many artists during the Reformation years living through this watershed between two cultural eras, which witnessed the transfer of creative energies from religious painting to secular and applied forms of art. In this wide ranging and original study, Andrew Morrall examines the effect of these events on the nature and practice of JArg Breu's art and its reception, not just in his own period, but right up to the present day.
Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109 CE), in his work Proslogion, originated the "ontological argument" for God's existence, famously arguing that "something than which nothing greater can be conceived," which he identifies with God, must actually exist, for otherwise something greater could indeed be conceived. Some commentators have claimed that although Anselm may not have been conscious of the fact, the Proslogion as well as his Reply to Gaunilo contains passages that constitute a second independent proof: a "modal ontological argument" that concerns the supposed logical necessity of God's existence. Other commentators disagree, countering that the alleged second argument does not stand on its own but presupposes the conclusion of the first. Anselm's Other Argument stakes an original claim in this debate, and takes it further. There is a second a priori argument in Anselm (specifically in the Reply), A. D. Smith contends, but it is not the modal argument past scholars have identified. This second argument surfaces in a number of forms, though always turning on certain deep, interrelated metaphysical issues. It is this form of argument that in fact underlies several of the passages which have been misconstrued as statements of the modal argument. In a book that combines historical research with rigorous philosophical analysis, Smith discusses this argument in detail, finally defending a modification of it that is implicit in Anselm. This "other argument" bears a striking resemblance to one that Duns Scotus would later employ.
This is a fully revised edition of one of the most successful volumes in the Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought series. Incorporating extensive updates to the editorial apparatus, including the introduction, suggestions for further reading, and footnotes, this third edition of More's Utopia has been comprehensively re-worked to take into account scholarship published since the second edition in 2002. The vivid and engaging translation of the work itself by Robert M. Adams includes all the ancillary materials by More's fellow humanists that, added to the book at his own request, collectively constitute the first and best interpretive guide to Utopia. Unlike other teaching editions of Utopia, this edition keeps interpretive commentary - whether editorial annotations or the many pungent marginal glosses that are an especially attractive part of the humanist ancillary materials - on the page they illuminate instead of relegating them to endnotes, and provides students with a uniquely full and accessible experience of More's perennially fascinating masterpiece.
There is an ever-increasing number of books on improvisation, ones that richly recount experiences in the heat of the creative moment, theorize on the essence of improvisation, and offer convincing arguments for improvisation's impact across a wide range of human activity. This book is nothing like that. In a provocative and at times moving experiment, Gary Peters takes a different approach, turning the philosophy of improvisation upside-down and inside-out. Guided by Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, and especially Deleuze--and exploring a range of artists from Hendrix to Borges--Peters illuminates new fundamentals about what, as an experience, improvisation truly is. As he shows, improvisation isn't so much a genre, idiom, style, or technique--it's a predicament we are thrown into, one we find ourselves in. The predicament, he shows, is a complex entwinement of choice and decision. The performativity of choice during improvisation may happen "in the moment," but it is already determined by an a priori mode of decision. In this way, improvisation happens both within and around the actual moment, negotiating a simultaneous past, present, and future. Examining these and other often ignored dimensions of spontaneous creativity, Peters proposes a consistently challenging and rigorously argued new perspective on improvisation across an extraordinary range of disciplines.
Philosophy Bites Back is the second book to come out of the hugely successful podcast Philosophy Bites. It presents a selection of lively interviews with leading philosophers of our time, who discuss the ideas and works of some of the most important thinkers in history. From the ancient classics of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, to the groundbreaking modern thought of Wittgenstein, Rawls, and Derrida, this volume spans over two and a half millennia of western philosophy and illuminates its most fascinating ideas. Philosophy Bites was set up in 2007 by David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton. It has had over 12 million downloads, and is listened to all over the world.
"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 versus 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. 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.
Thomas Aquinas (1224/6-1274) lived an active, demanding academic and ecclesiastical life that ended while he was still comparatively young. He nonetheless produced many works, varying in length from a few pages to a few volumes. The present book is an introduction to this influential author and a guide to his thought on almost all the major topics on which he wrote. The book begins with an account of Aquinas's life and works. The next section contains a series of essays that set Aquinas in his intellectual context. They focus on the philosophical sources that are likely to have influenced his thinking, the most prominent of which were certain Greek philosophers (chiefly Aristotle), Latin Christian writers (such as Augustine), and Jewish and Islamic authors (such as Maimonides and Avicenna). The subsequent sections of the book address topics that Aquinas himself discussed. These include metaphysics, the existence and nature of God, ethics and action theory, epistemology, philosophy of mind and human nature, the nature of language, and an array of theological topics, including Trinity, Incarnation, sacraments, resurrection, and the problem of evil, among others. These sections include more than thirty contributions on topics central to Aquinas's own worldview. The final sections of the volume address the development of Aquinas's thought and its historical influence. Any attempt to present the views of a philosopher in an earlier historical period that is meant to foster reflection on that thinker's views needs to be both historically faithful and also philosophically engaged. The present book combines both exposition and evaluation insofar as its contributors have space to engage in both. This Handbook is therefore meant to be useful to someone wanting to learn about Aquinas's philosophy and theology while also looking for help in philosophical interaction with it.
In On Machiavelli: The Search for Glory, Alan Ryan illuminates the political and philosophical complexities of the often-reviled godfather of realpolitik. Thought by some to be the founder of Italian nationalism, regarded by others to be a reviver of the Roman Republic as a model for the modern Western world, Machiavelli remains a contentious figure. Often outraging popular opinion with his insistence on the amoral nature of power, Machiavelli eschewed the world as it ought to be in favor of a forthright appraisal of the one that is. Perhaps more than any other thinker, Machiavelli has suffered from being taken out of context, and Ryan places him squarely within his own time and the politics of a Renaissance Italy riven by near-constant warfare among rival city-states and the papacy.
A well-educated son of Florence, Machiavelli was originally in charge of the Florentine Republic s militia, but in 1512 the city fell to papal forces led by Cardinal Giovanni de Medici, who thus restored the Medici family to power. Machiavelli was accused of conspiracy, imprisoned, tortured, and eventually exiled from his beloved Florence, and it was during this period that he produced his most famous works. While attempting to ingratiate himself to the Medicis, the historically minded Machiavelli looked to the imperial ambitions and past glories of the Roman Republic as a contrast to the perceived failures of his contemporaries.
For Machiavelli, the hunger for power and glory was inextricable from human nature, and any serious attempt to rule must take this into account. In his revolutionary The Prince and Discourses both excerpted here Machiavelli created the first truly modern analysis of power."
Thomas More remains one of the most enigmatic thinkers in history, due in large part to the enduring mysteries surrounding his best-known work, Utopia. He has been variously thought of as a reformer and a conservative, a civic humanist and a devout Christian, a proto-communist and a monarchical absolutist. His work spans contemporary disciplines from history to politics to literature, and his ideas have variously been taken up by seventeenth-century reformers and nineteenth-century communists. Through a comprehensive treatment of More's writing, from his earliest poetry to his reflections on suffering in the Tower of London, Joanne Paul engages with both the rich variety and some of the fundamental consistencies that run throughout More's works. In particular, Paul highlights More's concern with the destruction of what is held 'in common', whether it be in the commonwealth or in the body of the church. In so doing, she re-establishes More's place in the history of political thought, tracing the reception of his ideas to the present day. Paul's book serves as an essential foundation for any student encountering More's writing for the first time, as well as providing an innovative reconsideration of the place of his works in the history of ideas.
Desmond M. Clarke presents a thematic history of French philosophy from the middle of the sixteenth century to the beginning of Louis XIV's reign. While the traditional philosophy of the schools was taught throughout this period by authors who have faded into permanent obscurity, a whole generation of writers who were not professional philosophers-some of whom never even attended a school or college-addressed issues that were prominent in French public life. Clarke explores such topics as the novel political theory espoused by monarchomachs, such as Beze and Hotman, against Bodin's account of absolute sovereignty; the scepticism of Montaigne, Charron, and Sanches; the ethical discussions of Du Vair, Gassendi, and Pascal; innovations in natural philosophy that were inspired by Mersenne and Descartes and implemened by members of the Academie royale des sciences; theories of the human mind from Jean de Silhon to Cureau de la Chambre and Descartes; and the novel arguments in support of women's education and equality that were launched by De Gournay, Du Bosc, Van Schurman and Poulain de la Barre. The writers involved were lawyers, political leaders, theologians, and independent scholars and they acknowledged, almost unanimously, the authority of the Bible as a source of knowledge that was claimed to be more reliable than the fragile powers of human understanding. Since they could not agree, however, on which books of the Bible were canonical or how that should be understood, their discussions raised questions about faith and reason that mirrored those involved in the infamous Galileo affair.
This book is divided into three main parts: an introduction to theories of culture, a section on Chinese culture, and one on cultural construction. The first part can be interpreted as an attempt to explore the meta-theoretical system of culture at the philosophical level. Based on the concept of "culture as ways of living," the book further defines "culture" as "the preparation of people," including the processes by which people adapt to local cultural and social customs. It stresses the subjectivity of culture, and the cultural rights and responsibilities of humankind. The second part takes on the subjective perspective of contemporary Chinese culture, interpreting it within the context of the historical situation of the Chinese people and nation, before engaging in a systematic reflection on several fundamental issues of Chinese culture. It closes by evaluating Chinese cultural practices and formulating a type of contemporary cultural self-identity. The book's third part focuses on the interconnection between the revival of the Chinese nation and the modernization of Chinese society, analyzing the conditions and challenges for the three primary types of contemporary Chinese culture: material culture, political culture and spiritual culture. Lastly, the book puts forward suggestions concerning several of the critical problems facing a society in transition.
Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy showcases the best scholarly research in this flourishing field. The series covers all aspects of medieval philosophy, including the Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew traditions, and runs from the end of antiquity into the Renaissance. It publishes new work by leading scholars in the field, and combines historical scholarship with philosophical acuteness. The papers will address a wide range of topics, from political philosophy to ethics, and logic to metaphysics. OSMP is an essential resource for anyone working in the area.
This is the first book dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci's commission for The Virgin of the Rocks. Leonardo completed fewer than twenty paintings in his lifetime, yet he returned twice to this same mysterious subject over the course of a twenty-five year period. Identical in terms of iconography, stylistically these paintings are worlds apart. The first, of c.1482-4, was Leonardo's magnum opus, catapulting the young artist from obscurity to fame. When, in 1508, he finished the second painting, he was nearing the end of his artistic career and had become an international celebrity. Why did he revisit The Virgin of the Rocks? What was the meaning behind the cavernous subterranean landscape? What lies behind the colder monumentality of the second version?This book opens up Leonardo's world, setting the scene in Republican Florence and the humanist court of the Milanese warlord Ludovico Sforza, to answer these questions. Through lyrical yet scholarly analyses of Leonardo's paintings, notebooks and technical experimentation, it unveils the secret realms of human dissection and Neo-Platonic philosophy that inspired the creation of the two masterpieces. In doing so, the book reveals that The Virgin of the Rocks holds the key to the greatest philosophical, scientific and personal transformations of Leonardo's life.Images and links to figures are available at www.virginoftherocks.com.
"This is one of the few books on Montaigne that fuses analytical skill with humane awareness of why Montaigne matters."--Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of Humanities, Yale University
"In this exhilarating and learned book on Montaigne's essays, Lawrence D. Kritzman "contemporizes" the great writer. Reading him from today's deconstructive America, Kritzman discovers Montaigne always already deep into a dialogue with Jacques Derrida and psychoanalysis. One cannot but admire this fabulous act of translation."--H?l?ne Cixous
"Throughout his career, Lawrence D. Kritzman has demonstrated an intimate knowledge of Montaigne's essays and an engagement with French philosophy and critical theory. "The Fabulous Imagination" sheds precious new light on one of the founders of modern individualism and on his crucial quest for self-knowledge."--Jean Starobinski, professor emeritus of French literature, University of Geneva
Michel de Montaigne's (1533-1592) "Essais" was a profound study of human subjectivity. More than three hundred years before the advent of psychoanalysis, Montaigne embarked on a remarkable quest to see and imagine the self from a variety of vantages. Through the questions How shall I live? How can I know myself? he explored the significance of monsters, nightmares, and traumatic memories; the fear of impotence; the fragility of gender; and the act of anticipating and coping with death. In this book, Lawrence D. Kritzman traces Montaigne's development of the Western concept of the self. For Montaigne, imagination lies at the core of an internal universe that influences both the body and the mind. Imagination is essential to human experience. Although Montaigne recognized that the imagination can confuse the individual, "the fabulous imagination" can be curative, enabling the mind's "I" to sustain itself in the face of hardship.
Kritzman begins with Montaigne's study of the fragility of gender and its relationship to the peripatetic movement of a fabulous imagination. He then follows with the essayist's examination of the act of mourning and the power of the imagination to overcome the fear of death. Kritzman concludes with Montaigne's views on philosophy, experience, and the connection between self-portraiture, ethics, and oblivion. His reading demonstrates that the mind's I, as Montaigne envisioned it, sees by imagining that which is not visible, thus offering an alternative to the logical positivism of our age.
Calvin's 1559 Institutes is one of the most important works of theology that emerged at a pivotal time in Europe's history. As a movement, Calvinism has often been linked to the emerging features of modernity, especially to capitalism, rationalism, disenchantment, and the formation of the modern sovereign state. In this book, Michelle Sanchez argues that a closer reading of the 1559 Institutes recalls some of the tensions that marked Calvinism's emergence among refugees, and ultimately opens new ways to understand the more complex ethical and political legacy of Calvinism. In conversation with theorists of practice and signification, she advocates for reading the Institutes as a pedagogical text that places the reader in the world as the domain in which to actively pursue the 'knowledge of God and ourselves' through participatory uses of divine revelation. Through this lens, she reconceives Calvin's understanding of sovereignty and how it works in relation to the embodied reader. Sanchez also critically examines Calvin's teaching on providence and the incarnation in conversation with theorists of political theology and modernity who emphasize the importance of those very doctrines.
For his insistence on the amoral character of successful government, Machiavelli remains a contentious figure. Often reviled as a teacher of evil, Machiavelli's influence on the modern state is explored in this book. In On Machiavelli, Alan Ryan illuminates the political and philosophical complexities of the godfather of realpolitik. Often outraging popular opinion, Machiavelli eschewed the world as it ought to be in favour of a forthright appraisal of the one that is. Thought by some to be the founder of Italian nationalism, regarded by others to be a reviver of the Roman Republic, Machiavelli has suffered from being taken out of context. Placing him squareley in his own time, this essential, comprehensive and accessible guide to Machiavelli's life and works includes a new introduction by Ryan.
The late scholastics, writing in the Baroque and Early Modern periods, discussed a wide variety of moral questions relating to political life in times of both peace and war. Is it ever permissible to bribe voters? Can tax evasion be morally justified? What are the moral duties of artists? Is it acceptable to fight in a war one believes to be unjust? May we surrender innocents to the enemy if it is necessary to save the state? These questions are no less relevant for philosophers and politicians today than they were for late scholastic thinkers. By bringing into play the opinions and arguments of numerous authors, many of them little known or entirely forgotten, this book is the first to provide an in-depth treatment of the dynamic and controversial nature of late scholastic applied moral thinking which demonstrates its richness and diversity.
T. M. Rudavsky presents a new account of the development of Jewish philosophy from the tenth century to Spinoza in the seventeenth, viewed as part of an ongoing dialogue with medieval Christian and Islamic thought. Her aim is to provide a broad historical survey of major figures and schools within the medieval Jewish tradition, focusing on the tensions between Judaism and rational thought. This is reflected in particular philosophical controversies across a wide range of issues in metaphysics, language, cosmology, and philosophical theology. The book illuminates our understanding of medieval thought by offering a much richer view of the Jewish philosophical tradition, informed by the considerable recent research that has been done in this area.
John Perry revisits the cast of characters of his classic A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality in this absorbing dialogue on consciousness. Cartesian dualism, property dualism, materialism, the problem of other minds . . . Gretchen Weirob and her friends tackle these topics and more in a dialogue that exemplifies the subtleties and intricacies of philosophical reflection. Once again, Perry's ability to use straightforward language to discuss complex issues combines with his mastery of the dialogue form. A Bibliography lists relevant further readings keyed to topics discussed in the dialogue. A helpful Glossary provides a handy reference to terms used in the dialogue and an array of clarifying examples.
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