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Eva Brann examines the great philosophers and their articulations of the idea of "will." The diversity of thought found in the roughly fifty writers considered here suggests that the term refers not to just one fixed constituent of the "soul," but to many senses--perhaps linked, perhaps disparate.
Francesco Filelfo's philosophical dialogue On Exile (ca. 1440) depicts a prominent group of Florentine noblemen and humanists, driven from their city by Cosimo de' Medici, discussing the sufferings imposed by exile such as poverty and loss of reputation, and the best way to endure and even profit from them. This volume contains the first complete edition of the Latin text and the first complete translation into any modern language.
In this book Han Thomas Adriaenssen offers the first comparative exploration of the sceptical reception of representationalism in medieval and early modern philosophy. Descartes is traditionally credited with inaugurating a new kind of scepticism by saying that the direct objects of perception are images in the mind, not external objects, but Adriaenssen shows that as early as the thirteenth century, critics had already found similar problems in Aquinas's theory of representation. He charts the attempts of philosophers in both periods to grapple with these problems, and shows how in order to address the challenges of scepticism and representation, modern philosophers in the wake of Descartes often breathed new life into old ideas, remoulding them in ways that we are just beginning to understand. His book will be valuable for historians interested in the medieval background to early modern thought, and to medievalists looking at continuity with the early modern period.
Beatific Enjoyment in Medieval Scholastic Debates examines the religious concept of enjoyment as discussed by scholastic theologians in the Latin Middle Ages. Severin Kitanov argues that central to the concept of beatific enjoyment (fruitio beatifica) is the distinction between the terms enjoyment and use (frui et uti) found in Saint Augustine's treatise On Christian Learning. Peter Lombard, a twelfth-century Italian theologian, chose the enjoyment of God to serve as an opening topic of his Sentences and thereby set in motion an enduring scholastic discourse. Kitanov examines the nature of volition and the relationship between volition and cognition. He also explores theological debates on the definition of enjoyment: whether there are different kinds and degrees of enjoyment, whether natural reason unassisted by divine revelation can demonstrate that beatific enjoyment is possible, whether beatific enjoyment is the same as pleasure, whether it has an intrinsic cognitive character, and whether the enjoyment of God in heaven is a free or un-free act. Even though the concept of beatific enjoyment is essentially religious and theological, medieval scholastic authors discussed this concept by means of Aristotle's logical and scientific apparatus and through the lens of metaphysics, physics, psychology, and virtue ethics. Bringing together Christian theological and Aristotelian scientific and philosophical approaches to enjoyment, Kitanov exposes the intricacy of the discourse and makes it intelligible for both students and scholars.
This analysis of the human need to persuade offers a new, creative, application of Aristotelian essentialism to human discourse. Using Thomas Aquinas's adaptation of essentialism as a starting point, Jeffrey J. Maciejewski argues that persuasion is natural to human beings and that it possesses dispositional properties that bring about stages of human action that ultimately harmonize the operations of the mind in addition to harmonizing human relationships. Aquinas's philosophy of human nature is reviewed and re-examined in order to discover why it is that humans need to persuade themselves and each other. The book should be of considerable interest to scholars of human nature, Thomist philosophy, and those interested in the history of rhetoric and rhetorical theory.
Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464), widely considered the most important original philosopher of the Renaissance, was born in Kues on the Moselle River. A polymath who studied canon law and became a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, he wrote principally on speculative theology, philosophy, and church politics. As a political thinker he is best known for "De concordantia catholica," which presented a blueprint for peace in an age of ecclesiastical discord.
This volume makes most of Nicholas's other writings on Church and reform available in English for the first time, including legal tracts arguing the case of Pope Eugenius IV against the conciliarists, theological examinations of the nature of the Church, and writings on reform of the papacy and curia. Among the works translated are an early draft of "De concordantia catholica" and the "Letter to Rodrigo Sanchez de Arevalo," which discusses the Church in light of the Cusan idea of "learned ignorance."
Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) was a Dutch humanist, scholar, and social critic, and one of the most important figures of the Renaissance. The Praise of Folly is perhaps his best-known work. Originally written to amuse his friend Sir Thomas More, this satiric celebration of pleasure, youth, and intoxication irreverently pokes fun at the pieties of theologians and the foibles that make us all human, while ultimately reaffirming the value of Christian ideals. No other book displays quite so completely the transition from the medieval to the modern world, and Erasmus's wit, wisdom, and critical spirit have lost none of their timeliness today. This Princeton Classics edition of The Praise of Folly features a new foreword by Anthony Grafton that provides an essential introduction to this iridescent and enduring masterpiece.
In God, the Flesh, and the Other, the philosopher Emmanuel Falque joins the ongoing debate about the role of theology in phenomenology. An important voice in the second generation of French philosophy's "theological turn," Falque examines philosophically the fathers of the Church and the medieval theologians on the nature of theology and the objects comprising it. Falque works phenomenology itself into the corpus of theology. Theological concepts thus translate into philosophical terms that phenomenology should legitimately question: concepts from contemporary phenomenology such as onto-theology, appearance, reduction, body/flesh, inter-corporeity, the genesis of community, intersubjectivity, and the singularity of the other find penetrating analogues in patristic and medieval thought forged through millennia of Christological and Trinitarian debate, mystical discourses, and speculative reflection. Through Falque's wide-ranging interpretive path, phenomenology finds itself interrogated--and renewed.
"Machiavelli's Ethics" challenges the most entrenched understandings of Machiavelli, arguing that he was a moral and political philosopher who consistently favored the rule of law over that of men, that he had a coherent theory of justice, and that he did not defend the "Machiavellian" maxim that the ends justify the means. By carefully reconstructing the principled foundations of his political theory, Erica Benner gives the most complete account yet of Machiavelli's thought. She argues that his difficult and puzzling style of writing owes far more to ancient Greek sources than is usually recognized, as does his chief aim: to teach readers not how to produce deceptive political appearances and rhetoric, but how to see through them. Drawing on a close reading of Greek authors--including Thucydides, Xenophon, Plato, and Plutarch--Benner identifies a powerful and neglected key to understanding Machiavelli.
This important new interpretation is based on the most comprehensive study of Machiavelli's writings to date, including a detailed examination of all of his major works: "The Prince, The Discourses, The Art of War, " and "Florentine Histories." It helps explain why readers such as Bacon and Rousseau could see Machiavelli as a fellow moral philosopher, and how they could view "The Prince" as an ethical and republican text. By identifying a rigorous structure of principles behind Machiavelli's historical examples, the book should also open up fresh debates about his relationship to later philosophers, including Rousseau, Hobbes, and Kant.
This monumental, line-by-line commentary makes Thomas Aquinas's classic Treatise on Happiness and Ultimate Purpose accessible to all readers. Budziszewski illuminates arguments that even specialists find challenging: What is happiness? Is it something that we have, feel, or do? Does it lie in such things as wealth, power, fame, having friends, or knowing God? Can it actually be attained? This book's luminous prose makes Aquinas's treatise transparent, bringing to light profound underlying issues concerning knowledge, meaning, human psychology, and even the nature of reality.
A friend of Galileo and author of the renowned utopia The City of the Sun, Tommaso Campanella (Stilo, Calabria,1568- Paris, 1639) is one of the most significant and original thinkers of the early modern period. His philosophical project centred upon the idea of reconciling Renaissance philosophy with a radical reform of science and society. He produced a complex and articulate synthesis of all fields of knowledge - including magic and astrology. During his early formative years as a Dominican friar, he manifested a restless impatience towards Aristotelian philosophy and its followers. As a reaction, he enthusiastically embraced Bernardino Telesio's view that knowledge could only be acquired through the observation of things themselves, investigated through the senses and based on a correct understanding of the link between words and objects. Campanella's new natural philosophy rested on the principle that the books written by men needed to be compared with God's infinite book of nature, allowing them to correct the mistakes scattered throughout the human 'copies' which were always imperfect, partial and liable to revisions. It is in the light of these principles that he defended Galileo's right to read the book of nature while denouncing the mistake of those - be they Aristotelian philosophers or theologians - who wanted to stop him from carrying on his natural investigations. However, Campanella maintained that the book of nature, far from being written in mathematical characters, was a living organism in which each natural being was endowed with life and a degree of sensibility that was appropriate for its preservation and propagation. Nature as a whole was an organism in which each single part was directed towards the common good. This is the reason why Campanella thought that nature had to be regarded as an ideal model for any political organisation. Political structures were often ruled by injustice and violence precisely because they had departed from that natural model. This book charts Campanella's intellectual life by showing the origin, development and persistence of some of the fundamental tenets of his thought.
Acclaimed as a man "who inspires the world," (Maclean's) and a "nation builder" (Globe and Mail), Jean Vanier has made a difference in the lives of countless people. In this provocative book, Vanier shares his profoundly human vision for creating a common good that radically changes our communities, our relationships, and ourselves. He proposes that by opening ourselves to outsiders, those we perceive as weak, different, or inferior, we can achieve true personal and societal freedom. Becoming Human is not only a book of extraordinary ideas, but a revolutionary call to action. The 10th anniversary edition includea a new Introduction by the author.
Constituting Freedom focuses on the question at the heart of Machiavelli's thinking, that is 'in what mode a free state, if there is one, can be maintained in corrupt cities; or, if there is not, in what mode to order it?' The book analyses the different solutions thought up by Machiavelli, starting from the hypothesis of the 'civil principality', the definition of the republican ' civil and free way of life' and the examination of the history of the Florentine institutions, to two short writings during the years 1520-1522, the Discursus florentinarum rerum and the Minuta di provisione per la riforma dello Stato di Firenze, in which Machiavelli explored publicly, for the first time, his projects to bring back the republican freedom in Florence after the fall of the first Republic of the City and the Medici's return. The book's main argument is that Machiavelli was always a committed republican, even when he worked for the Medici, and even though he believed that the city's constitution needed to change after the fall of Soderini. In the Discursus and in the Minuta Machiavelli proposed a constitution in which the 'humours' were forced to mix themselves with one another so as to be obliged to generate a new form of 'equality', which according to Machiavelli is the main characteristic of a free, just, and stable republic. The aim was not to obtain equilibrium among parts of the city leaving them unaltered, but to mix them. Only in this way could Florence return to being free.
In the last fifty years the field of Late Antiquity has advanced significantly. Today we have a picture of this period that is more precise and accurate than before. However, the study of one of the most significant texts of this age, Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, has not benefited enough from these advances in scholarship. Antonio Donato aims to fill this gap by investigating how the study of the Consolation can profit from the knowledge of Boethius' cultural, political and social background that is available today. The book focuses on three topics: Boethius' social/political background, his notion of philosophy and its sources, and his understanding of the relation between Christianity and classical culture. These topics deal with issues that are of crucial importance for the exegesis of the Consolation. The study of Boethius' social/political background allows us to gain a better understanding of the identity of the character Boethius and to recognize his role in the Consolation. Examination of the possible sources of Boethius' notion of philosophy and of their influence on the Consolation offers valuable instruments to evaluate the role of the text's philosophical discussions and their relation to its literary features. Finally, the long-standing problem of the lack of overt Christian elements in the Consolation can be enlightened by considering how Boethius relies on a peculiar understanding of philosophy's goal and its relation to Christianity that was common among some of his predecessors and contemporaries.
The old humanistic model, aiming at universalism, ecumenism, and the globalization of various Western systems of values and beliefs, is no longer adequate - even if it pleads for an ever-wider inclusion of other cultural perspectives and for intercultural dialogue. In contrast, it would be wise to retain a number of its assumptions and practices - which it incidentally shares with humanistic models outside the Western world. We must now reconsider and remap it in terms of a larger, global reference frame. This anthology does just that, thus contributing to a new field of study and practice that could be called intercultural humanism.
Written by a leading theologian, this new account of the writings
of Thomas Aquinas and their interpretation by modern commentators
reflects the major revival of interest in his work.
"After Aquinas "makes available in one volume all the material
necessary for a rounded appreciation of Aquinas's work and his
enduring influence. As well as revisiting Aquinas's own work, Kerr
brings together a range of views that have previously appeared in
disparate places, thereby exploring alternatives to the standard
understanding of Aquinas's writings. This book therefore represents
a major revisionist treatment of Thomism and its significance,
combining useful exposition with original, creative thinking.
"After Aquinas" will become essential reading for all undergraduate students and scholars interested in the work of this great theologian.
In the twentieth century, the boundaries between different literary genres started to be questioned, raising a discussion about the various narrative modes of factual and fictional discourses. Moving on from the limited traditional studies of genre definitions, this book argues that the borders between these two types of discourse depend on complex issues of epistemology, literary traditions and social and political constraints. This study attempts a systematic and specific analysis of how literary works, and in particular documentary ones, where the borders are more difficult to define, can be classified as factual or fictional. The book deals with several areas of discourse, including history, travel tales, autobiography and reportage, and opens up perspectives on the very different ways in which documentary works make use of the inescapable presence of both factual and fictional elements.
With an emphasis on exploring measurable aspects of ancient narratives, Maths Meets Myths sets out to investigate age-old material with new techniques. This book collects, for the first time, novel quantitative approaches to studying sources from the past, such as chronicles, epics, folktales, and myths. It contributes significantly to recent efforts in bringing together natural scientists and humanities scholars in investigations aimed at achieving greater understanding of our cultural inheritance. Accordingly, each contribution reports on a modern quantitative approach applicable to narrative sources from the past, or describes those which would be amenable to such treatment and why they are important. This volume is a unique state-of-the-art compendium on an emerging research field which also addresses anyone with interests in quantitative approaches to humanities.
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