Problems with Rhubarb: Accommodating Experience in Aristotelian Theories of Science
The paper examines controversies over the role of experience in the constitution of scientific knowledge in early modern Aristotelianism. While for Jacopo Zabarella, experience helps to confirm the results of demonstrative science, the Bologna Dominican Chrysostomo Javelli assumes that it also contributes to the discovery of new truths in what he calls ‘beginning science’. Both thinkers use medical plants as a philosophical example. Javelli analyses the proposition ‘rhubarb purges bile’ as the conclusion of a yet unknown scientific proof. Zabarella uses instead hellebore, a plant that is found all over Europe, and defends the view that propositions about purgative powers of plants are based on their ‘identity of substance’, an identity that had become questionable with regard to rhubarb due to new empirical findings in the sixteenth century.
The paper discusses the development of metaphysics understood as a philosophical discipline or science. The author would like to propose that the last period of Greek philosophy, that going from about the 3rd to the 6th centuries A.D., made new and interesting contributions to metaphysics as a philosophical discipline, indeed made metaphysics into a metaphysical science, while also bringing out the limits of such a science. The paper has four parts. In part I, D. O’Meara introduces the way in which the great Aristotelian commentator of the early 3rd century, Alexander of Aphrodisias, in interpreting Aristotle's metaphysical treatise, sought to find in it a metaphysical science. In part II of the paper, he attempts to show how the Neoplatonist philosopher of the early 5th century Syrianus, not only adopted Alexander's reading of Aristotle, but was also inspired by it in finding this same metaphysical science already in Plato. In part III of the paper, the author will show how all of this resulted in a masterpiece of metaphysics, the Elements of Theology written by Syrianus' pupil Proclus. Finally, in part IV, he would like to refer to what is perhaps the last great metaphysical work of Greek philosophy, the Treatise on First Principles written by Damascius, a work in which the limits of metaphysical science are explored with extraordinary subtlety and insistence. In adapting Alexander's formalization of Aristotelian metaphysical science to Platonism, Syrianus knew that such a science was a means towards, not the equivalent of, knowledge of the transcendent. Proclus knew it too, even if his Elements of Theology, in presenting metaphysical science with such systematic beauty, could give the impression of being a definitive statement. And, lest we have any illusions about the adequacy of our metaphysical science, Damascius could cure us of these, opening our minds to what lay behind, or above, our own metaphysical efforts.
This contribution to a volume on the“ultimate why-question” discusses ambiguities in Leibniz’s formulation of the question, “[. . . ] pourquoi il y a plus tôt quelque chose que rien”. This formulation poses two problems: Leibniz does not explain how to understand the concepts of “something” and “nothing”. And it is not clear, whether “something” and “nothing” are contradictory opposites, so that there is either nothing or something, or whether both concepts denote principles which are effective in the world at the same time. My analysis rests on the hypothesis that the relevant context for Leibniz’s question is the theology of creation.
Hence, the paper compares eight different approaches to “creation from nothing” (Thomists, Scotists, Taurellus, Lubinus, Timpler, Keckermann, Kircher, Knorr von Rosenroth, van Helmont). Candidates for the nihil the world was created from include absolute non-being, thoughts in God’s mind, unformed matter, imaginary space, or a self-contraction of the Divine spirit. These different approaches can be translated into different versions of the “ultimate why-question”. The paper concludes that Leibniz’s formulation contains a comparison between two Divine acts of creation, because not only “something”, but “nothing” as well owes its subsistence to the Divine will. This rises substantial questions: either God created first an imperfect entity in order to create the world as a whole, or Leibniz subscribes to an emanative understanding of creation that either levels the difference between creation and (natural) generation or is based on misunderstanding God as a material entity.
This article deals with the critical analysis St. Thomas' cosmological argument which was undertaken by an american theologian and analytical philosopher Alvin C. Plantinga. The ontologies of former and newer scholastics are compared in order to clarify logical and ontological assumptions of Plantinga's criticism.
The present volume is devoted to the 'Open Rusian-Finish Colloquium on Logic' (ORFIC), held at the Saint-Petersburg State University, on June 14-16, 2012. Among the participants there were such prominent Finish logicians as Jaakko Hintikka, Ilkka Niiniluoto ang Gabriel Sandu. The volume covers the most interesting results recently obtained in different areas of research in logic.
This volume is of interest to everyone, concerned in modern logic.
The essay on thinking of thinking. The article is motivated by the 80-th birth anniversary of outstanding psychologist and pedagogue V.V. Davydov who was engaged, in collaboration with D.B. Elkonin, in elaboration of psychological foundations and pedagogical practices of developing education. The program he has devised focused on the advance of schoolchildren’s capacity for theoretical thinking and formation of readiness, inclination and capacity for conceptual thinking. An attempt to apply V.V. Davydov’s ideas to analysis of the thinking per se is made. Special attention is given to reflexion and intuition.