Thinking about Persons: Loci Personarum in Humanist Dialectic Between Agricola and Keckermann
Loci personarum, ‘topics for persons’ were used in Latin rhetoric for the description of persons, their external circumstances, physical attributes, or qualities of character. They stood in the way of fusing rhetoric and dialectic, the goal of sixteenth-century ‘humanistic’ logic: the project of a unified theory of invention depends on the exclusion of loci personarum from the domain of dialectic proper. But still they cannot easily be replaced in the class room. Bartholomaeus Keckermann resolved these difficulties: he proposed to abandon the notion that loci personarum could play a role in finding new arguments concerning persons. So they pose no risks for a unified theory of invention, because they can only be used for the exposition of information that we already have. Since loci personarum are concerned with individuals, the knowledge about individuals that is available to us is inescapably circumstantial and contingent, defying the claim of generality or necessity of dialectic made by Keckermann’s sixteenth-century predecessors. However, our thinking about persons is primarily interested in those aspects that we do not share with other members of our species. For Keckermann, persons are therefore logically different from most individuals belonging to other species.
In their debate on whether or not the young should be allowed to study history, Degory Wheare and Gerhardus Vossius quote Bartholomäus Keckermann and state that he wants to exclude the young from studying history, Wheare arguing for Keckermann’s purported position, Vossius opposing it. Their disagreement is part of a larger controversy on the relevance of history for moral instruction in general, contemplating the question whether or not history is best understood as ‘philosophy teaching by example.’ But the interpretation of Keckermann’s position presupposed by both Wheare and Vossius is wrong. Keckermann’s Ramist predecessors argued against a central presupposition of Wheare’s views, i.e., the exclusion of the young from studying moral philosophy. Keckermann’s own position in this regard is not fully clear. But a closer analysis of his distinction between methods for writing and for reading history shows that Keckermann did want the young to study history. If Keckermann had believed that such exclusion were necessary, it could only have been related to reading historical texts, not to writing them: writing texts about historical figures or events does not require moral precepts, but only the application of certain logical tools. But a view that implies that writing a historical text should be possible for students, whereas reading such a text would go beyond their capabilities, is absurd. Hence, we can assume that Keckermann expected the young to study both history and moral philosophy.
The paper addresses the controversial question to which extent Augustine's views on dialectic have changed during his intellectual development. It argues that there is a high probability that Augustine changed his views in response to apparent misuse of dialectical tools by defenders of the Arian heresy – a misuse explicitly criticised by Ambrose of Milan whose influence on Augustine should not be underestimated. In De Doctrina Christiana Augustine abandons his earlier view that dialectic is a tool for gaining new knowledge. But it can nevertheless have a valid role in Christian education and hermeneutics, because it allows to test the formal validity of inferences.
Jan Lukasiewicz (1878-1956) was one of the most important members of the Lwow-Warsaw school of logic. The thirteen translated articles in this volume demonstrate the protean form of Lukasiewiczs work, from his texts on Aristotle and the principle of non-contradiction and syllogistics to modal logic, intuitionism, and multivalent logics. The articles show in particular his preoccupations with logical precision and the problem of human liberty.
The contribution analyses Wolff's definition of philosophy in his German Logic in the context of natural philosophy. It defends the thesis that for Wolff philosophy is the only arbiter in conflicts between natural and supernatural truths. Theologians have no standing to object to philosophical argument.
“Let's be Logical” is a double invitation. Although logic often refers to a disposition of mind that we all share, this disposition might be confused once its theoretical sources are questioned. The present volume offers thirteen articles that address various aspects of the discipline of logic and its methods, notably formalism, the theory of opposition, mathematical truth, and history of logic. This volume has been prepared with the pedagogical concern of making it accessible to a wide audience of logic and philosophy readers.
The paper examines the interpretation of action in Bartholomaeus Keckermann's applied logic. It defends the thesis that Keckermann makes important and innovative distinctions: the description of a particular action does not focus on its moral evaluation, but on its circumstances, antecedents, and consequences. The reading of such a text containing descriptions, narrations, or interpretations of actions, however, must take the moral dimension of the actions described into account. Keckermann's distinction may have important implications for Keckermann’s understanding of history and the pre-history of hermeneutics in general.
The paper discusses the concept of a subject as an actor’s category in early modern philosophy and asks whether contemporary notions of subjectivity can be meaningfully related to this early modern understanding of the concept. It defends the thesis that crucial elements of subjectivity in the modern sense, namely reflexivity and self-awareness, are at the same time characteristic features of a certain understanding of the subject of philosophy as a discipline in the early modern sense: namely for conceptions of philosophy as a transformation of the soul, most notably as a ‘medicine of the soul’. The paper traces conceptions of the subject of philosophy not only in various Ramist tracts, but also in writings of Melanchthon’s son-inlaw Heinrich Paxmann, the Helmstedt professor Duncan Liddell, and Reformed thinkers like Fortunatus Crell and Bartholomaeus Keckermann.
The article considers the Views of L. N. Tolstoy not only as a representative, but also as a accomplisher of the Enlightenment. A comparison of his philosophy with the ideas of Spinoza and Diderot made it possible to clarify some aspects of the transition to the unique Tolstoy’s religious and philosophical doctrine. The comparison of General and specific features of the three philosophers was subjected to a special analysis. Special attention is paid to the way of thinking, the relation to science and the specifics of the worldview by Tolstoy and Diderot. An important aspect is researched the contradiction between the way of thinking and the way of life of the three philosophers.
Tolstoy's transition from rational perception of life to its religious and existential bases is shown. Tolstoy gradually moves away from the idea of a natural man to the idea of a man, who living the commandments of Christ. Starting from the educational worldview, Tolstoy ended by creation of religious and philosophical doctrine, which were relevant for the 20th century.
This important new book offers the first full-length interpretation of the thought of Martin Heidegger with respect to irony. In a radical reading of Heidegger's major works (from Being and Time through the ‘Rector's Address' and the ‘Letter on Humanism' to ‘The Origin of the Work of Art' and the Spiegel interview), Andrew Haas does not claim that Heidegger is simply being ironic. Rather he argues that Heidegger's writings make such an interpretation possible - perhaps even necessary.
Heidegger begins Being and Time with a quote from Plato, a thinker famous for his insistence upon Socratic irony. The Irony of Heidegger takes seriously the apparently curious decision to introduce the threat of irony even as philosophy begins in earnest to raise the question of the meaning of being. Through a detailed and thorough reading of Heidegger's major texts and the fundamental questions they raise, Haas reveals that one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century can be read with as much irony as earnestness. The Irony of Heidegger attempts to show that the essence of this irony lies in uncertainty, and that the entire project of onto-heno-chrono-phenomenology, therefore needs to be called into question.
The article is concerned with the notions of technology in essays of Ernst and Friedrich Georg Jünger. The special problem of the connection between technology and freedom is discussed in the broader context of the criticism of culture and technocracy discussion in the German intellectual history of the first half of the 20th century.