What is being asked when one asks about what is philosophy
As a discipline, philosophy is exterritorial, it recreates itself every time by introducing a whole series of new concepts in order to define its own position and purpose within a given society. The answer to the question ‘What is philosophy’ is located outside the realm of philosophy or philosophizing as such. This question can be placed on any of the various horizons of answer expectation, namely, the historic (age); historiographic (event); genealogical (origin and place); disciplinary (institution); affective (passion); or, finally, metaphysical (questioning as a principle) horizon. The metaphysical questioning is linked to politics viewed as an individual cause, as coming back to metaphysics through the freedom of choice understood as a political choice.
How I Understand Philosophy
The paper consists in two parts. In the first part, the author explains his view of philosophy. The basis of a philosophic act is an intense aspiration of the entire human being for truth which is reflected in one’s thought and life as the orientation towards obtaining wisdom as a means of changing one’s life. In the second part, this approach is illustrated with an analysis of Michel Foucault’s and Pierre Hadot’s thesis that philosophy is a particular spiritual practice. The author contends that, in today’s world, the original philosophic reflection is being replaced by the enquiry into modes of philosophy. Back into the 19th century, Henry Thoreau said that there are now many professors of philosophy, but few philosophers. That is why the author pins his hopes for the future of philosophy on the reactivation of the personalist-existentialist type of philosophizing capable of rethinking the experience of a modern individual whose difficult integrity seeks to find here its personal voice.
Growth Points in Philosophy: Some Considerations
Philosophy, on the one hand, is not an extrahistoric and extrasocial enterprise, on the other hand, its mode of existence cannot be viewed from the standpoint of progress: when applied to philosophy, the methods of controlling the growth of scientific knowledge and the procedures of sociology of science (such as bibliometric methods of quotation index) can give no adequate account of it. The paper proposes to use the metaphors of matrix and vector to describe the different strategies of philosophic discourse in which a philosopher’s thought, while originating from his private existence, gets subsequently expanded into a philosophic experience that takes on a supra-individual meaning. The personal forms of philosophic discourse are located within various fields of thematization (for the 20th century, these are the spirit, life, existence, language, communication), and it is here that the growth of philosophy occurs, the research resources are gradually accumulated, the conflicts between philosophies and the pursuit of truth happen.
The Truth of Knowing and the Truth of Being
The paper draws a distinction between the gnoseological and the ontological interpretation of truth. While the first approach assumes that truth must be verified against the outward reality and is thus, in a certain sense, a construct, in the latter case truth is represented as a non-objectifiable existential reality which cannot be conceived in terms of subject-object relations. It is nothing else than a spiritual phenomenon which is by definition immune to any cognitive or practical manipulations.
What is the Distinction between Cultures?
We call ‘consciousness’ our faculty that makes the world make sense to us. I use the word ‘culture’ to denote any of the possible modes of our consciousness sense-constructing activity. Of those modes, some are shared by some people, and none is shared universally. To make the world make sense, we need to carry out the discernment procedure, which boils down to setting up the opposition-and-unity cluster. The quest for discernment as the basis for sense-constructing activity is universal for the human being, yet there is no universal mode of implementing this discernment procedure. This is why cultures, i.e. modes of sense-constructing activity, not only differ in more or less important details, but sometimes are irreducible to one another. The process-based sense-constructing activity of classical Arabic culture is analyzed as irreducibly contrasting with the substance-based Western culture.
On the Concept of ‘Internal’ Truth
The paper shows that the concept of ‘internal’ truth has emerged as a reaction against the notion of truth as a reflection of reality, which has been demonstrated as invalid in modern scientific knowledge. The notion of ‘internal’ truth itself, however, despite all the popularity it has gained with the modern philosophy of science, can be proven to be inefficient for any real scientific cognition. Starting from it, it will be possible neither to solve the problem of plurality of ontologies, nor to give a valid foundation to the cumulative effect characteristic of scientific advance, nor offer a convincing reconstruction of many significant episodes in the history of science. In real science, one looks for truth not as a correspondence of knowledge to the object (the ontology of a theory), but rather to the thing as such. Moreover, even this interpretation of truth is insufficient for the purposes of modern science: today’s scientists put themselves a more ambitious task – not only to discover the structure of being, but to grasp its meaning, i.e., to understand, why its structure is such and no other.
Galileo and the Struggle for the New System of the World
The essay by the eminent Russian historian of philosophy, science and art Vassily Pavlovich Zubov (1900–1963), after following the main events in the life of Galileo, demonstrates that Galileo has always been and remains a reformer of science, not a religious reformer. Galileo’s struggle for a new astronomical system against theologians, aristotelian philosophers, astronomers who defended the system of Ptolemy, astrologists and medical doctors, as well as against Jesuit experimenters and observers, was inextricably connected with his struggle for the new physics. The historical achievement of Galileo, according to the author, was above all to put the problem of the motion of the Earth as a physic-mechanical one; thus his mechanical studies laid foundation for Newton’s work on his celestial mechanics.
Defining the Event
The article focuses on Jean-François Lyotard’s reading of the notion of “historical sign” (Begebenheit) formulated by Immanuel Kant in his Conflict of Faculties. Begebenheit, being an indication of humanity’s progress, is fortuitous with respect to historical time. Moreover, it coincides with the ‘mode of thinking’ of the spectators of the French revolution and is marked by enthusiasm, a modality of the feeling of the sublime. It is thus nothing other than ‘sensus communis’, a rule awaiting its universality. As such, it furnishes an as-if presentation of the Idea of civil society right where it cannot be presented, i.e., in experience.
The Everyday Sublime (J.-F.Lyotard’s Reading of Cinema)
The article draws upon J.-F.Lyotard’s text L’acinéma, in which the French philosopher analyzes cinema as a ‘writing of movements’, i.e., as elements redundant with respect to form that are oriented toward an economy of desire. The author gives a reading of this text through Lyotard’s later lectures devoted to the analytic of the sublime. He shows that the libidinal economy of the image that has to do with the unrepresentable acquires its logic in the sublime, whereas the sublime proper appears to be more of an ethical category displaying a communicative dimension in the world of contemporary media-images.
The Sublime in the Interpretation of Postmodern Art: J.-F. Lyotard’s Conception for the Art Exhibition The Immaterial
The art exhibition The Immaterial that took place in 1985 in Pompidou Centre in Paris was intended to demonstrate the influence the new technologies exert on our attitude towards knowledge, culture and art. As one of the event’s curators, J.-F. Lyotard aimed at creating a representation of his philosophic concept of the postmodern as related to the notion of the sublime. He shows how the modern art practices, by means of associations, of the dialogue between the various technical media, by combining sound, motion, on-screen images, macro- and microshooting, create a gesture clearly pointing to the non-existence of any non-representable form.
On the (In)admissibility of Lying: a Case in Kant
In his essay On the Pretended Right to Lie out of Philanthropy, Immanuel Kant contends that lying is totally inadmissible even when telling the truth might threaten the well-being of a third person. This paper seeks to demonstrate that both the main thesis and the arguments provided by Kant in its support are invalid, and aims to prove that a) ‘do not lie’ cannot be recognized as the dominating moral principle, in particular when compared to such principles as ‘do not harm’, ‘be just’, ‘care for another’s welfare’; b) anyone’s moral obligations to an evildoer are inferior to the obligations the same person has to a friend and a guest; c) the ethical problem does not consist in the choice between philanthropy and honesty, but rather between the honesty in the face of a malefactor and the loyalty to the obligations one has assumed to a friend and guest. The approach here proposed suggests the actualization of other in one’s moral attitude to the world, whereas for Kant’s practical philosophy the other has no relevance.
Sovereignty as a Political Philosophic Category of Modern Times
The paper attempts at analyzing ‘sovereignty’ as a concept in political philosophy that reflects the political realities of the Modern Age. The author traces down the peculiarities of the theoretical evolution of this notion as collateral to the development of a given form of state to which it is related, the entire process being revealed as a set of theoretical moves by means of which the notion of sovereignty from a concept originally intended to designate the autonomy and independence of an absolutist state has been transformed into a category closely linked to the essence of the modern democratic state. This in part accounts for the contradictory nature of sovereignty which has become particularly manifest in today’s globalizing world.