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Chapter one introduces my exploration. Here I set forth my thesis, offer some methodological reflections and assess the state of the question. I establish the conceptual framework within which I seek to understand ancient near eastern conceptions of the human self and its relationship to the divine.
Chapter 10 argues that Latin American philosophy, when broadly construed to include the philosophical thought of a number of academic and nonacademic philosophers, is a type of applied philosophy devoted to issues related to Latin America. Philosophical inquiry into its issues has resulted in the development of a number of ‘isms,’ as illustrated by the chapters in the present book. Some are homegrown ‘isms,’ others amount to novel twists on well-known doctrines of Western philosophy. Many concern matters of practical ethics and social and political philosophy, such as Lascasianism, Arielism, Bolivarism, modest and immodest feminism, republicanism, positivism, Marxism, and liberationism. There are also meta-philosophical ‘isms,’ such as originalism and perspectivism. Evidence from these ‘isms’ helps debunk a number of skeptical positions about Latin American philosophy that are reviewed in this chapter (by Frondizi, Cannabrava, Pereda, Hurtado, Rabossi, and Ezcurdia among others). But not all the anti-skeptics succeed in making a strong case for their view, as shown in the analysis of Zea’s perspectivism and Gracia’s ethnic-philosophy view. More plausible than any of these is the applied-philosophy view of the author – or so she argues here.
After a brief summary of the book’s argument, I suggest how understanding Proverbs as a tradition of virtue helps to address other questions about the ethics of the book, such as recent discussions about character. Specifically, I draw together and draw out the book’s conception of human nature, moral action and character, the relation of moral and theological virtue, the human problem, and how Proverbs relates to its moral rivals.
Chapter seven concludes this study. I begin the conclusion with a chapter-by-chapter summary of what we have found in the foregoing chapters. After this, I offer a more synthetic analysis of near eastern and Mediterranean ideas about the human self and its relationship to the divine. I also offer some thoughts on the implications of my study on near eastern and biblical studies, as well as on the study of early Judaism and Christianity.
This chapter tells the fascinating story of how human motivational processes evolved from the humblest of creatures, starting with “primordial” goals and precursors of basic emotions. In addition to explaining how our capabilities for self-direction and self-regulation evolved, this chapter provides a way of understanding the complexly organized motivational systems we see in humans in a way that transcends specific motivation theories. It is thus a chapter about the fundamental properties of human nature as they relate to motivation and optimal functioning rather than a chapter about a particular theoretical approach to human motivation. That is an essential framing, as one of the basic premises of this book is that efforts to motivate self and others can best succeed if they are consistent with basic human nature.
This essay argues that the traditional (and not just Romantic) association of Shakespeare with nature and passion ties his work to a non-doctrinaire politics and morals. As ‘the poet of nature’, in Dr Johnson’s phrase, Shakespeare is linked to an anti-systematic, open, essentially tolerant worldview. The essay brings this point into sharper focus by recounting how one of the poet’s strangest and most ardent admirers, the twentieth-century French-Rumanian writer E.M. Cioran, understood Shakespeare as an artist fundamentally hostile to philosophy and even to reason itself. For Cioran, Shakespeare, along with kindred authors such as Dostoievsky and Nietzsche, exploded systems and the pretensions of thought. It was Shakespeare’s commitment to the passions and experience, his basic irrationalism, that made his work such a powerful antidote to the murderous and programmatic utopianism that, Cioran believed, had blighted so much of human existence, not least in the twentieth century.
In early modern England the theory of the emotions set out in classical rhetoric provides a context for understanding how they work in Shakespeare which is at least as important as Galenic humoral theory. The key concepts that link oratory and drama are ethos and pathos, where ethos may be understood in terms of character delineation and pathos as the emotion which character representation is intended to arouse in the audience. The key term used to describe the way rhetoric works on an audience is movere, ‘moving’. Rhetoric provided Shakespeare with a model of how to move the affections of his audience, but there are many points in his plays that reveal an awareness of the dangers of rhetoric – that the obvious deployment of artifice risks sounding insincere – and it is this that lies behind his development of more naturalistic forms of expression in his drama. This is also what lies behind the construction of Shakespeare’s reputation as the supreme exponent of the passions in the 150 years after his death, as ‘nature’ became the third term in the relationship between rhetoric and the emotions and the essential principle on which ‘moving’ is based.
“Debts to Nature” explores Greek myths about overreach and encroachment involving the operational deity the Greeks variously described as Potnia Therōn (“Mistress of the Animals”), the Great Goddess, or Mother of All, whose domain is Nature. It also concerns the implications of some sustainability principles embedded and at work in Greek cult, especially acts of reciprocity and exchange in sacrificial ritual, which are ultimately explained by way of Albert Schweitzer’s philosophy of “Reverence for Life” (Ehrfurcht vor dem Leben). The poet Hesiod is proffered as an adherent to this kind of worldview and as an early systems thinker, deeply concerned about sustainable living.
In “Bald Naturalism and McDowell’s Hylomorphism,” Rorty distinguishes between two views of the mind’s relation to the world. One view, which he calls “bald naturalism” and attributes to Donald Davidson, sees the mind as a network of intentional states profitable to attribute to certain complexly behaving objects to predict and control their interactions with the environment. The other view, which he dubs “naturalized Platonism” or “hylomorphism” and attributes to John McDowell, sees the mind as a device for getting the world right, where this process consists in the reproduction of the world in the mind. Rorty then uses the distinction to assess the force of McDowell’s criticisms of Davidson’s bald naturalism in Mind and the World. He argues, first, that those criticisms rely on attributing to Davidson a set of views only expressible in terms for which there is no place in his bald naturalism. Second, Rorty holds that those terms belong to McDowell’s hylomorphism and that this view needs to be abandoned, along with the intuitions it expresses. The paper makes this case by pointing to various counterintuitive consequences of McDowell’s view, such as its implication that the world has its own language.
Chapter 1 exposes and examines the movement of narratives, and cultural imaginaries, about cinchona across the Atlantic World around 1800, by studying the circulation of ‘origin myths’ about how the ‘wonderful’, ‘admirable’ medicinal properties of cinchona had first come to the knowledge of mankind. The chapter scrutinizes the various story elements present in contemporary origin stories – the natives’ alleged secrecy, closeness to nature and unlettered simplicity – exposing them as widespread, and long-lived, topoi, woven from the epistemic fabric of the Atlantic World. Laying ground for subsequent chapters, it argues that these topoi ultimately served to make sense of, promote and propagate the bark’s ‘wonderful properties’ – as much, or more so, as the discerning appreciation of its supposed medical ‘effects’, or the support of prominent regal and religious advocates historians have tended to privilege in their accounts of the bark’s rise.
“Philosophy as Epistemology: Reply to Hacking and Kim” replies to criticisms of Rorty’s work made by Ian Hacking and Jaegwon Kim. While both expressed some sympathy with Rorty’s rejection of foundationalism about knowledge, they believed, pace Rorty, that philosophy can still say something interesting about knowledge that other fields cannot say. The paper tries to show that these two positions cannot be consistently held at the same time. Philosophy can either have something distinctive and interesting to say about knowledge, but only at the price of succumbing to foundationalism, or it can avoid foundationalism, but only at the price of being unable to say anything interesting and distinctive about knowledge. The paper also addresses a few more specific points made by Kim and Hacking in their criticisms, clarifying, correcting or refining Rorty’s position on issues such as conventions, truth-makers, and hermeneutics, as well as on Kant and Foucault.
This chapter provides an overview of the concept of “mediatization” and its different applications. It distinguishes “institutional,” “social constructionist” and “linguistic-anthropological” understandings of the concept. After defining and discussing each understanding, the chapter draws attention to how the linguistic-anthropological approach may be employed in discourse-analytical research. Specifically, the approach is argued to be highly amenable with a focus on metapragmatics. Much like a focus on metapragmatics reflects language users’ awareness of language use, mediatization may reflect their understanding of the nature of the communication they are engaged in. After providing several examples, the chapter discusses how discourse-analytic methods may further complement the development of mediatization frameworks. Looking ahead, these developments will need to take into account a surge in multimodal content, the increasingly global reach of communications, and ever-shifting social media potentials.
This chapter traces a history of British Decadent sexualities as elemental, pre-normative attractions and fulfilments, considering how early sexological discourse encouraged conceptions of Decadent sexuality to arise and then likewise feed into more recent, posthumanist notions of eco-sexuality. But recognizing a non-binary Decadence of dissemination, proliferation and contagion requires one to imagine attractions and repulsions that do not merely decentre the human, but operate with a conceptual core that itself is not built in response to human identity, culture or politics in the first place. One possibility lies in Heinrich Kaan’s theory, articulated in his study Psycopathia Sexualis (1844), that a natural excess of imagination fosters realms of ‘chaos’ in plant and animal (including human) sexualities. Early sexological works such as Kaan’s encourage one to understand non-normative sexuality not as one of various deviations characterizing the Decadent movement, in fact not as a deviation at all, but as a natural phenomenon that preceded and gave shape to the cultural paradigms that Victorians and those who followed came to see as Decadent.
Engagement with natural environments is associated with improved health and well-being in the general population. This has implications for mental healthcare. Implementation of targeted nature-based interventions (green care) meets recovery needs and would enable research to develop, clarifying what works best for whom.
The rapid emergence of rights of Nature over the past decade across multiple contexts has fostered increasing awareness, recognition, and, ultimately, acceptance of rights of Nature by the global community. Yet, too often, both scholarly publications and news articles bury the lede – namely, that the most transformative cases of rights of Nature have been consistently influenced and often actually led by Indigenous peoples. In this article we explore the ontologies of rights of Nature and earth jurisprudence, and the intersections of these movements with the leadership of Indigenous peoples in claiming and giving effect to their own rights (while acknowledging that not all Indigenous peoples support rights of Nature). Based on early observations, we discern an emerging trend of increased efficacy, longevity, and transformative potential being linked to a strongly pluralist approach of lawmaking and environmental management. A truly transformative and pluralist ecological jurisprudence can be achieved only by enabling, and empowering, Indigenous leadership.
This monograph is the first study to assess in its entirety the fourth-century CE Latin translation of and commentary on Plato's Timaeus by the otherwise unknown Calcidius. The first part examines the authorial voice of the commentator and the overall purpose of the work; the second part provides an overview of the key themes; and the third part reassesses the commentary's relation to Stoicism, Aristotle, potential sources, and the Christian tradition.
The representation of nature is central to Wagner’s Ring cycle on a number of levels. The Nordic-mythic sources and setting, the role of original or partially re-invented nature deities (Erda, Donner, and Froh, and the three Rhinemaidens) or semi-divine beings linked to the natural world (Valkyries, Norns) inspired a range of sophisticated Romantic musical nature “painting” throughout the score, including some of the best-known passages. Classical-Romantic traditions of pastoral or other imitative nature topics in music of the Classical and Romantic eras play an important role in the development of the network of leitmotifs in the Ring cycle. Readings of the Ring as an allegorical critique of modern industrial capitalism connect the traditional mythography of a lost golden age with a potential parable of environmental degradation driven by the loveless, reckless profit motive of modern capitalism. Alberich’s forging of the Ring from the Rhinegold and Wotan’s violation of the World Ash Tree to create the symbol of his divine legal authority (his spear) project parallel symbols of the transgression of a natural order. Mythographic vs. modern environmental readings of the apocalyptic conclusion of the cycle are also discussed.
This chapter examines the principles of Calcidius’ commentary (and to a lesser extent of the translation); he adopts a sequential reading of the Timaeus itself, in contrast to the mode preferred by the Neo-Platonists, and reads the Timaeus as a sequel to Plato’s Republic and a prequel to the Parmenides.
In “’There’s No One Thing That’s True’: Hemingway Criticism and the Environmental Humanities,“ Lisa Tyler examines the role of Hemingway scholarship in the rise and proliferation of ecocriticism that has accompanied growing anxieties over (and accompanying denial of) climate change since 2000. Noting in particular the groundbreaking work of Susan F. Beegel and essays by the prolific Ryan Hediger, Tyler argues that critics have been appropriately attentive to both the pros and cons of Hemingway’s awareness of nature and conservation. On the one hand he was acutely aware of the ecological devastation of industrialism and yet at the same time he was famous for traveling the world as a collector of animal trophies. Tyler also explores Hemingway’s compatibility with such core ecocritical concepts as “the mesh” and the “anthropocene” while also documenting how contemporary criticism has redefined traditional notions of his pastoralism. She concludes by noting areas that await analysis, including the relevance of climatology to his fiction and of feminist ecology to his depiction of landscape.
E. T. A. Hoffmann famously lauded Beethoven’s ability to separate his ego from the world of tones, an image of autonomy that resonated with Idealist celebrations of human will. This essay challenges the underlying principle of sovereignty so central to Beethoven reception by examining the composer’s attitudes towards nature, both the natural world around him and his own physical nature. By examining contemporaneous notions of hypochondria, it links the interrelationship between physiology and psychology to Beethoven and his contemporaries’ artistic aspirations and works. If Idealists celebrated the power of spirit and the sovereignty of the will, they often did so in response to powerful experiences of their own physical nature.