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Critics have long been puzzled by aspects of William Wordsworth’s “The Discharged Soldier” (1798), such as the abrupt opening, the soldier’s disinterest in telling his story in a genre that requires it, and the speaker’s lack of effusive sympathy. Wordsworth’s theory of desert provides a new way to understand the poem, and a key to understanding the poem’s interplay between capacity and aesthetics. The chapter focuses on the military body and, in particular, the stories about the acquisition of impairments that fictional disabled soldiers are required to tell. Disabled soldiers’ stories often make persuasive cases for desert (in that soldiers are deemed worthy of charity or reward).
The third chapter focuses on the Iranian doctor Abū Bakr al-Rāzī (sometimes called the 'Arab Galen'), who was attacked by later Islamicate thinkers for his disciplinary overreach, and his bid to replace Galenism with his more theologically informed system of medicine and philosophy. In particular, it argues that al-Rāzī seeks to weaken the epistemic authority of Galenism through his critiques of Galen’s explanations of certain ideas from Plato’s Timaeus. I first consider the Middle Platonic and Neoplatonic sources on which al-Rāzī may have drawn to elaborate his 'anti-Platonism' – his Platonism in response to Galen's Platonism. Turning finally to the Doubts about Galen, I demonstrate that al-Rāzī attacks Galen on the subjects of creation, pleasure, and the soul for neglecting God's role in the cosmos in his interpretations of the Timaeus. In reformulating the boundaries of medicine to include theological knowledge, which belonged in ancient epistemological schemes to metaphysics, al-Rāzī, I conclude, promotes the doctor-metaphysician in opposition to Galen’s more limited philosopher-doctor as the most reliable investigator of the cosmos.
The introduction asserts that the different causal, spatial, and comparative relations in Plato's Timaeus generated a model of knowledge that denies a strict separation between the disciplines. I contrast the dialogue's epistemic vision with the prevailing hierarchies of knowledge developed by ancient thinkers, including Plato himself, which ranks medicine below philosophy because it is a technē ('art'), deals with the body, and its practitioners were often enslaved or freedpersons. I argue that Galen's expansive refiguring of medicine's boundaries -- his 'boundary work' -- is part of a tactic to improve his profession's credibility and his own authority. After outlining my approach to science as a discursive practice, I consider how Galen's philosophical training enabled him to exploit the epistemic possibilities of the Timaeus, which seems to recognize that knowledge can be divided and bounded differently by each knower. I conclude by proposing that Galen’s own role in interfacing Arabic readers with the dialogue called for Arabic doctors and philosophers to reevaluate their own categories and taxonomies of knowledge, which had been shaped by late-antique epistemologies.
Chapter five concentrates on the Rabbi Moses Maimonides' reformist project to rid Galenism of its Timaean elements. As I establish, while Maimonides' affiliation with Aristotelianism put him in conflict with Galen, the Platonic lines in Galen's thought also generated problems for his own conception of Jewish belief. I show that Maimonides rejected Galen's reading of the Timaeus' cosmogony as heterodox in the Guide for the Perplexed and Medical Aphorisms because of its denial of creation ex nihilo and the omnipotence of God. Therefore, Maimonides had theological reasons for wishing to curtail Galen's philosophical reach. Giving special attention to the Medical Aphorisms, I uncover the various polemical tactics that Maimonides employs, which include giving more limited meanings to Galen's philosophically loaded terminology and mobilizing his own anatomical experience to dispute Galen's brain-centred theory of sensation, to dephilosophize Galenism and recentre it on the body.
Chapter six considers Greek and Roman conceptions of human nature. Greeks and Romans had wide-ranging views on humanity’s relation with the divine. However, in philosophical and scientific circles, it was common to find talk of humanity’s intrinsic share in the divine nature even in its natural condition. Certain groups thought of the self as a space comprising different material bodies, some nondivine and some divine. Others imagined it as a space comprising material and immaterial parts, the former being mortal and the latter having a latent share in the divine state. There was thus general agreement that, regardless of the nature of the different parts or aspects of the self, the human enjoyed some share in the divine nature. Many seem to have imagined some rulers to have had an exalted ontology. Unfortunately, the evidence is simply not conclusive. In any case, Greeks and Romans quite widely thought that the regular human self participated in the divine state.
“Cynics and Stoics” is an investigation into ecological aspects of both schools’ injunction that individuals should practice “self-sufficiency” (autarkeia) and live “according to Nature.” The relationship of autarky to the sustainability of systems on a global scale is considered in light of Cynic and Stoic cosmopolitanism and virtue ethics. The relationship of subsistence to sustainability is illuminated by Cynic practice and grounded in the modern concept of “appropriate technology.” The Stoic doctrine of oikeiōsis (“proprioception”) is presented as an early instance of an “environmental ethics” that still speaks to the manifold relationships that human beings have to one another and that our species has to the rest of the natural world.
The most accessible paper in this volume, “Philosophy as Ethics” traces the historical origins of philosophy and the initial spur to philosophizing to the desire to justify values. Ethics, on this view, includes “aesthetics, political philosophy, and the philosophical parts of moral theology” and is at the root of the main branches of philosophy – metaphysics, logic, epistemology, even science. Yet it is only when questions cease to have ethical implications, Rorty argues, that they are ceded to these areas of inquiry. In the spirit of William James, Rorty underscores the futility of the two-thousand-year “pathetic history” of failed attempts to justify ethical imperatives. Still, he finds a positive lesson here, arguing that “a bad reason may be a good story.” He uses James’s theory of truth to show that there is a pragmatic way to argue an “ought” to an “is” that avoids problems associated with positivism and foundationalism.
Whereas John Locke (1632–1704) is best known for his "way of ideas" and political theory, he was also a skilled theologian. His theological concerns, interests, and ideas permeate his philosophical, political, and moral thought. Locke’s oeuvre in its different areas is indeed the production of a Christian philosopher. But Locke’s religious views are significant for yet another reason, in that his theological reflections resulted in a unique version of Christianity. Although Locke expounded his religious views in an unsystematic manner, given also his dislike of systems of doctrine and his hostility to claims of religious orthodoxy, an original and internally coherent form of Protestant Christianity emerges from his public as well as private writings. Locke's version of Christianity denotes various similarities with heterodox theological currents such as Socinianism and Arminianism, which Locke knew well. Nonetheless, Locke adhered to the Protestant doctrine of "sola Scriptura," according to which the Scriptures contain all that is needed for salvation. Thus, he always made sure that his conclusions were consistent with, and indeed grounded in, Scripture.
In the years since its inception, Wagner’s Ring has generated significant commentary and controversy. Critics of the Ring asserted its influence in public discourse (beyond music criticism of the work and its performances) and generated ambitious intellectual and ideological debates about art, society, and politics. This chapter charts some milestones in these debates, including the contributions of well-known thinkers such as Nietzsche, Shaw, and Adorno, but also some of their French, German, or Russian contemporaries whose influence has waned since the fin de siècle. In the twentieth century, seminal musicological approaches emerged that transcend analytical-technical matters, such as Alfred Lorenz’s ideologically charged investigations of Wagnerian form or Richard Donington’s psychoanalytic explanations. More recently the task of interpreting the Ring has shifted from the written word to the operatic stage, where directors explore and expose its various and conflicting layers of meaning. Whether formulated by philosophers, writers, musicologists, or artists, two basic approaches emerge from these interpretations: They either develop a social or political interpretation from the Ring outward, or they insert the tetralogy into a preexisting worldview.
The men and women we meet in the Ring, via words, music, and stage gesture, span two generations, various rungs in the cosmic hierarchy (god to human, or vice versa), and four dramas. Every character appearing onstage – and most mentioned in the text – receives attention in this chapter. Opening with roots in the natural world, from which each character in one way or another emerges, context, personality, relationships, motivations, and acts are examined, always bearing in mind that, in the Ring, such issues are explored musically as much as verbally, one sometimes in contradiction with the other, and that Wagner’s broader intellectual framework – philosophical, literary, musical, political, religious – also has much to tell us. We must start and end somewhere, of course, but what becomes quickly apparent is that it is the connections between characters – how their deeds, their words, their music shape and affect one another – that propel Wagner’s drama. As we progress, in Wagner’s conception, from Wotan to Brünnhilde; from male patriarch to female rebel; from power politics, through revolution, to renunciation; from Das Rheingold to Götterdämmerung, none of those categories, none of those characters, remains unchanged.
Comprehensive and quite lengthy introduction to Wagner and the Ring. Covers concept of the volume as well as basic biographical details and intellectual and cultural influences for Wagner. Explains the significance of the Ring in musical, literary, and cultural terms. Sections include mythological sources, musical structure, compositional process, discussion of overall “meaning,” approaches to interpretation, performance history and impact.
The deliberative style of radicals around Godwin and Holcroft was driven by a belief in truth and candour and it was one which was especially prized in its binary form, in contrast to the tendency of public meetings and political associations to fall back on rhetoric. It was a discourse that insisted on deliberative equality, but did so in a powerfully hierarchical society, divided on lines of class, status and gender. Godwin and others were often successful in drawing young men into their circles and engaging in this deliberative practice; but it was much more challenging to do so with women. This chapter examines how a number of women sought to resist and negotiate Godwin’s deliberative dominance using a range of strategies to discomfit him, to challenge his intellectualism and to claim a position of equality.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ continuing professional development (CPD) module on clinical ethics in psychiatry by Pearce & Tan describes some common ethical dilemmas in psychiatric practice and the work of clinical ethics committees in analysing these dilemmas. In this article we build upon their work and offer additional exploration of the nature of ethical dilemmas in psychiatry. We also build upon the models of reasoning that are described in the module and suggest ways for psychiatrists to think about ethical dilemmas when a clinical ethics committee is not available.
This chapter traces recurring topics of the entire modern period and its academic treatment, summarizing the differences between subperiods, briefly pointing at domains for further research, and outlining current scholarly trends. Modern Kabbalah has consistently returned to the Lurianic corpus and to the general themes of gender, messianism and experience. It can be divided into three phases: early, high and late modernity. A crisis of authority posed by Sabbateanism and blended with a more general religious crisis distinguishes the early modern period. This was in turn resolved through the high modern canons of the eighteenth century, an era of stabilization and proliferation of Kabbalah. The rapprochement between Kabbalah and philosophy characterizes the late modern period, along with its messianism, modernism and globalization. Possible areas for future research include a survey of the commentaries on Luria, a treatment of the modern kabbalistic exegesis of a handful of earlier binding sources and a discussion on the role of technology — both in the facilitating and propagation of Kabbalah, and as a theme in kabbalistic discourse.
The eighteenth century is defined as the definitive period of modern Kabbalah, echoing revolutionary changes in Europe and America. The natural focus here is on the first three generations of Hasidism, as the first enduring kabbalistic social movement. Magic and sociology join theology and ideology to convey the richness of the movement. Extensive analysis is also devoted to the movement's opponents, spearheaded by R. Eliyahu, the Gaon of Vilna. The chapter's main innovation is the extensive treatment of R. Shalom Shar‘abi (Rashash) and the hegemony that he and his close students established in Near Eastern communities. Here the stress is on the three-dimensional depiction of the kabbalistic universe, and the accompanying doctrines of relativity, interchangeability, temporality and nominalism. Another innovation is the exposure of lesser known circles. The chapter concludes with discussions of the role of Kabbalah in the general and Jewish philosophical wave, as well as a summary of general characteristics of the century's Kabbalah, such as individualization, greater focus on everyday life and a search for totality.
The introduction gives an overview of the Rose’s engagement with thirteenth-century thought. It considers how the text’s game with the literal and allegorical senses of its words frustrate attempts to take unambiguous meaning from its poetry. It considers how the poem’s deliberate ambiguity responds to the context of its composition, both to the context of the University of Paris, racked by philosophical controversies in second half of the thirteen century, and to contemporary trends in satirical, philosophical poetry, strongly influenced by Roman poet Ovid, exemplified by the De amore of Andreas Capellanus. After a consideration of the Rose’s influence on later medieval poetry, the introduction gives an overview of the different chapters in the collection.
Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy was one of the philosophical works best known to Jean de Meun, and later in life, after he had written his part of the Roman de la Rose, he would translate it into French. The Consolation is not, however, a straightforward philosophical treatise, but a work that uses a variety of literary forms (dialogue; the alternation of prose and verse; personification) in order, arguably, to convey a much more complex position than the ostensible conclusion of the argument made by Lady Philosophy. This complexity is due especially to Boethius’s reaction to what I call ‘the Problem of Paganism’. Although the Consolation was widely read, closely studied and imitated or used in a whole variety of ways from the ninth century onwards, most of its medieval readers were not sensitive to these complexities. This contribution will investigate whether the Roman de la Rose shows that Jean de Meun is an exception to the rule. It will do so by looking at the relation between his part of the poem, the Consolation and the Problem of Paganism.
There is a long history in Lucretian scholarship of finding conflict in the DRN between its philosophical content and its poetic form. Recent criticism has emphasized rather how the poem’s poetic form complements its Epicurean message. This chapter argues for important differences between literary and philosophical approaches to the poem, in particular with regard to its relationship with other texts, in order to identify some important differences in common modes of reading the poem. The chapter examines a ‘master-text’ model of reading, in which the DRN is related in strong fashion to another text on which it is dependent. The precise nature and identity of this ‘master-text’ can vary, according to the purpose or use to which the DRN is put. The approach of such ‘master-text’ readings is strikingly different from the dominant intertextual mode. In the examples of intertextual reading examined, the relationship to the other text is not one of subordination, but a tool used by the DRN to serve a particular function within the poem itself. The modes of reading explored in this chapter can lead to real differences in interpretation: e.g., on the end of the DRN, or on how uncompromising or sympathetic we should view certain parts of the poem. One important consequence is the need to acknowledge the differences in our reading practices and theoretical assumptions.
The chapter begins by looking into the absence of the noun frugalitas in authors before the first century BCE and traces the reasons for its rise to prominence as a virtue-label in Cicero. This involves consideration of the adjective frugi: primarily used of slaves and freedmen, it was adopted as an agnomen by Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi (cos. 133 BCE) in an act of onomastic creativity. Piso’s integration of frugi into his nomenclature ennobled the attribute and thereby facilitated Cicero’s investment in the abstract noun: at two specific moments in his career, here analysed in depth, i.e. the speeches against Verres (70 BCE) and the Tusculan Disputations along with the speech on behalf of king Deiotarus (45 BCE), Cicero made the unorthodox decision to promote frugalitas as a quintessential Roman virtue, thereby setting the stage for its stellar career in imperial times and later centuries. The chapter concludes with a survey of the use authors of the early empire (Horace, Valerius Maximus, Seneca the Elder, Petronius, Seneca the Younger, Quintilian and Pliny the Younger) made of frugi, frugaliter and frugalitas.
Most human actions, including suicide, are motivated by variable mixes of rational and irrational factors. Notwithstanding debates about rational suicide, the vast majority of people who die by suicide suffer deeply beforehand. Those who present to mental health services in suicidal crises do so in search of treatment, care and support. It is a privilege to try to provide it.