Philosophica 1/2018

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Paul Richard Blum
Philosophy of Life in Francesco Petrarca’s Poetry

Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch; 1304–1374) composed poetry, most notably the collection known as Canzoniere, and numerous prose works that qualify as philosophy. Based on a select number of poems, this article suggests that Petrarch’s poetry is also equivalent to his essays and letters in presenting a philosophy of life. The narrative elements of the poems, namely, the engagement with the audience and the love story, should be read with the metaphorical, symbolic, or allegorical meaning in mind that aims at the anthropological situation of self-assertion and irritation in the light of the transcendent.

Ludovica Radif
“Outsized” Women: Alessandra Scala and Cassandra Fedele

The purpose of this paper is to focus on philosophical aspects, specifically to examine how the philosophical tradition permeates certain considerations used by the Venetian poet and can shape her picture of woman “outside the category of women.” This paper is primarily focused on two renowned woman scholars, Cassandra Fedele and Alessandra Scala, who, during the period of the Italian Renaissance, achieved fame through their writing, oratorical abilities or their performances.

Jan Herůfek
Sources in Zorzi’s Concept of Occulta Scientia Cabale: A Little Encounter

The paper focuses on Francesco Zorzi’s concept of “scientia cabale“, as it is de- scribed in his work De harmonia mundi totius mundi cantica tria and later in his In scrip- turam sacram Problemata. In both works he gradually reveals his secret philosophy and presents the sources that enabled him to create such a concept. One can speak in this con- text of the Hermetic-Platonic-Pythagorean tradition (infl uenced by Ficino’s view), which is, however, combined with originally Jewish mystical teaching (called Kabbalah). It is there- fore not suprising that Zorzi’s concept is closely associated with Giovanni Pico della Mi- randola’s kabbalistic doctrine (expressed in his Conclusiones, Apologia and Heptaplus, as well as with Reuchlin’s project (included in his De verbo mirifi co and De arte cabalistica in particular).

Elisa Cuttini
The Concept of “Ordo” in the Thought of Philip Melanchthon and the German Jurists of his Time: Christoph Hegendorf, Johann Oldendorp and Jakob Spiegel

Melanchthon referred to the concept of ordo regarding both the natural order of the world and the moral order infused in each person, which enables one to distinguish good from evil. The insistence on the presence of natural law in the mind of man and on the possibility of it being rationally understood links Melanchthon to the tradition represented by Cicero and Thomas Aquinas, despite the fact that intellectuals of the Reformation refused to accept Scholastics. Melanchthon is also in tune with some of the most influential Protestant and Catholic German jurists, who revitalised the reflection on natural law and its relationship with the moral and positive law. Melanchthon believed that the natural order and the moral order had a common origin in the mind of God, thus they are connected to one other in a superior harmony, within which man retains the freedom to choose whether to respect it or not.

Olusola Victor Olanipekun
Perception, Sensitive Knowledge, and the Problem of the Independent Existence of the Material World in Lockean Empiricism

The nature of perception and the challenge of knowing the existence and nature of the material world are problematic issues in philosophy. In fact, the belief that other things exist outside us is what necessitated the quest to perceive and to know them. Do things therefore really exist outside us? If they do, how can we perceive or understand them? Or better still, how can we account for the existence of things outside us granted that they exist? Locke’s account and adoption of representative theory of perception in his epistemology reveals how serious the problem of perception is. Thus for Locke, what we perceive are only “ideas” about an object and not the object itself. This development is what informed the Lockean idea of sensitive knowledge, wherein our account of the knowledge claim of the material world is largely dependent on the information presented to us by our sense organs. My focus in this paper is to critically examine the problems of the independent existence of the material world in Lockean empiricism with the aim of revealing how Locke’s metaphysical claim ensnared his epistemological commitment.

Karel Šebela
Internal Negation and the Universe of Discourse: Kant and Boole

I will focus on so-called internal negation and its philosophical consequences, namely in Kant and Boole. Firstly, the difference between internal and external negation is presented and it is shown that internal negation can be derived from external negation with the help of the so-called Principle of Complete Determination. The Principle states that every object is completely determined with respect to every pair of predicates F and non-F. Kant discusses the Principle in his Critique of Pure Reason. Surprisingly, Kant argued that the Principle does not analytically follow from the law of the excluded middle. He claims this principle is synthetic and that it represents objects as deriving their possibility from the whole of possibility. This strange notion will be clarified, mainly with respect to Kant’s remarks that determination of objects rest only on the limitation of this whole. It will also be argued that Boole’s neologism universe of discourse can be seen as the de-epistemological adaptation of Kant’s whole of possibility, mainly with respect to Boole’s remarks that all other concepts of class are understand as being formed by the limitation of this universe. I will argue that the result of Boole’s adaptation is more formal ontology then formal epistemology and that in these conditions the Principle of Complete Determination can be seen as analytic, or as a matter of choice. As a result, internal negation can be seen as equivalent with external negation. In contrast, logic can lose its connection with the empirical world and is then open to what Kant called transcendental illusion.

Vana Nicolaidou-Kyrianidou
Politics and Cultures in the Thought of Hannah Arendt

The present paper examines the issue of multiculturalism in connection with Hannah Arendt’s view of the public sphere. Section I examines the meaning of culture as directly related to Arendt’s understanding of worldliness. Section II analyses the meanings of plurality and citizenship as defined by Arendt’s anthropology. The aim is to shed light on the antithesis of Arendt to the communitarian cultural homogeneity of communal existence, and also on her clear detachment from political individualism. In Section III, based on the narrative structure of action and personal identity, I conclude that Arendt’s concept of the public sphere, opposing an unconditionally multicultural society, is consequently not characterised by the same relativism with that which exists in the latter. This is only so because the public sphere presupposes a civic culture. Although perceived as universal, civic culture is in fact considered a creation of Europe and it is only in European languages that the genuine meaning of politics survives.

Marek Petrů
A Precognitive Dream is a False Memory

In this article the phenomenon of precognitive (prophetic) dreaming is examined. A precognitive dream is a dream coherently leading to a climax that correlates with an external stimulus. Several possible explanations for this experience are discussed, and the view that the most acceptable explanation resides in understanding the mechanism of (dream) memory is suggested as a result.

Lasse Nielsen
Reconstructing Thought Experiments in Personal Identity

Thought experiments are abundant in the topic of personal identity theory as well as in metaphysics in general. While many of them serve to illustrate and guide us through complicated theories and explain difficult to grasp terms, others are irrelevant and muddle the very discussion they aim to clarify. By building upon the work of John D. Norton and Kathleen V. Wilkes, this paper sets out to establish a formula for a good thought experiment. The paper outlines Norton’s theory that all thought experiments can be reconstructed into arguments. His work in this subject refers mainly to thought experiments in science, but the aim of this paper will be to apply his theory of reconstruction to thought experiments in metaphysics. Along with Norton, the work of Kathleen V. Wilkes and her critique of fission thought experiments will likewise be taken into consideration. The paper concludes that for a thought experiment to be successful it must make sense as an argument, after the impossibilities have been eliminated.