Author Archives: Mary

Vital Organization in Bergson and in Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics

Technical ParadigmsThis paper discusses a Bergsonian concept of organization in the context of the thermodynamics of living systems. It is argued that the concept of organization represents the most basic synthesis of the two fundamental features of living systems—metabolism and homeostasis—and that it must become the center of the ontology of life for this reason.

The relationship between living and non-living systems is then characterized at this basic level, first by describing the thermodynamic and physico-chemical laws underlying the process of organization (metabolism), and then by describing exactly how life becomes qualitatively distinct from non-life through this same process (homeostasis). Continue reading

The Contingency of Experience: Edward Schillebeeckx and the Absolute Limit

Edward_SchillebeeckxThe Flemish theologian, Edward Schillebeeckx O.P. (1914-2009), developed a hermeneutical theology based on his reading of philosophical hermeneutics in the twentieth century and with an experientially mediated anthropology that eschews antiquated Neo-Scholastic terminology.

Schillebeeckx based anthropology on the concept of the “limit experience” and the contingency human beings. The experience of contingency is, for Schillebeeckx, an ontological claim to the precondition for the interpretation of being.

Continue reading

The Role of Recollection in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit

Hegel_portrait45In the last paragraph of absolute knowing, recollection (Erinnerung) comes on the stage as a leading actor which plays a significant role in achieving a whole complete system.

The Phenomenology of Spirit, as the science of experience of consciousness, begins its process with the most primitive form of consciousness and gradually penetrates to true knowing or to absolute knowing.

Throughout its self-educating process, consciousness tests the actuality of its knowledge which means that it tests whether its notion corresponds to its object. Continue reading

Hegel as a Conservative Political Thinker: Elaborations on Roger Scruton’s Project

Hegel_portrait45There is a contemporary scholarly consensus that the Popperian characterization of Hegel’s politics as totalitarian is mistaken.

However, Roger Scruton also rejects the view put forward by many Hegel scholars that Hegel is some form of liberal and or communitarian thinker.

Rather, Scruton argues that Hegel’s vision of the state is best characterized as a form of classical conservative political philosophy. Continue reading

Hegel and Brunonian Medicine

John Brown, Scottish physician, 1791. Brown (1735-1788) proposed the Brunonian system of medicine which had two classes of disease; sthenic (resulting...

John Brown, Scottish physician, 1791. Brown (1735-1788) proposed the Brunonian system of medicine which had two classes of disease; sthenic (resulting…

This paper aims to explore the reception of the biological concept of ‘excitability’ in early nineteenth century German philosophy, in order to examine Hegel’s mobilisation of this concept in his Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences.

Firstly, this will involve addressing John Brown’s introduction of ‘excitability’ [in his Elementa Medicinae, 1780] as an fundamental characteristic of the animal organism which can be brought into play in a theory of medicine.

Secondly, the paper will address the reception of this concept in early nineteenth century German philosophy, which was important in the work of thinkers such as Roschlaub, Kielmayer, Fichte and Schelling. Continue reading

Vil?m Flusser: Is the Devil an Idiot, Mr. Hegel?

flusserThis paper attempts to elucidate Flusser’s understanding of human history, comparing and contrasting it with that given by Hegel.

It is one of Hegel’s central claims that reason rules reality; hence the task of philosophy is to comprehend that world history is nothing but the execution of God’s plans.

Is this account of history one expects –demands, even – from a philosopher who also admits that world history is a slaughter bench? Continue reading

Habitus, Repetition, and the Ego in the Early Pre-Psychoanalytical Thought of Freud

egoistIn Sigmund Freud’s early pre-psychoanalytical monograph, “The Project for a Scientific Psychology,” we find the first formulation of ideas that would become central to his psychoanalytical understanding of mental phenomena.

While interesting from the standpoint of the development of psychoanalytical concepts, this text interests us mainly because of the rather powerful psychophysical account of mental phenomenon that he offers there.

From the beginning, Freud’s main goal in the Project was to offer a compelling account of defense. Continue reading

The Animal House of Lacan

LacanIn his seminar «La b?te et le souverain» Derrida shows that the philosophical position of many thinkers with respect to animality is compound and ambiguous.

The “Lacan case” has especially complicated matters.

The paper analyzes this delicate lacanian stance through its convoluted and retorse arguments. Continue reading

The Implicit Ontology of Thomas Hobbes

Thomas_Hobbes2In the political theories of the “classical” social contract philosophers, the social contract marks a pivotal moment of transformation for mankind.

Rather than simply working out a justification for government, social contract theory provides an explanation for the coming into being of mankind. In other words, while the establishing within reason of a government appears as the purported objective content of the classic texts of the period, namely between Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, that is not the end of the story. Continue reading

Eternal Beatitude and the Devil in Arnold Geulincx’s Ethics

Arnold_GeulincxOne of the more striking aspects of the work of the little-known early modern philosopher Arnold Geulincx (1624-1669) is his incorporation of a conception of ‘beatitude’ into an otherwise strongly rationalistic variant of Cartesianism.

The beatitude Geulincx describes takes the form of a very particular kind of intellectual joy and eternal happiness, beyond (though not cancelling out) our earthly passions and the pleasures of this life.

Accordingly, this paper will explore the metaphysical and physical underpinnings of Geulincx’s ethics from the Continue reading