Saturday, September 21, 2019

On the Divinities of Samothrace (Frank Scalambrino, 2019 translation)

F.W.J. Schelling (1775-1854) believed he had found, in the ancient initiation rites performed on the Greek island of Samothrace, the information lost to modernity with which to decode the “the original system of belief” celebrated and preserved in the Sacred Mysteries of the ancient Greeks, that is: the Dionysian, the Eleusinian, the Orphic, and the Samo-Thracian. The Sacred Mysteries revered the cosmos as the revelation of divinities communicating through nature. This origin-al revelation illuminates the mystery of the unified spiritual system of nature in which human reality participates.

“On the Divinities of Samothrace” (1815) was originally an address delivered to the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, and is counted by scholars as the beginning of the final “existential” phase of Schelling’s philosophy. For, the philosophical ground of the sacred teachings is that we exist (ex-sistare) by “standing-out-of” the primal eternally-cyclical nature of the cosmos and into chronological time: a teaching not completely unlike the Amor Fati of Nietzsche’s Eternal Return. Thus, this essay invokes the nature of indeterminate pre-history as more original than rational characterizations of time. And, yet, despite the philosophical depth into which Schelling thinks, his essay is strikingly lucid and concise.

This publication includes a new translation of Schelling’s essay, along with its exposition and discussion, by Frank Scalambrino (2019).

More information HERE. This is a wonderful opportunity for Schelling enthusiasts, scholars in German idealism, or even more generally Continentalists to read some of Schelling's more rare pieces, especially because of price - the original publication of this translation is priced to match its rarity, in fact.  In making this available Scalambrino has accomplished such a service, and I wholeheartedly commend him

As an aside, I met Frank a few years back at a conference about Ecstatic Naturalism. As it turns out, he knows quite a few people that I know from the Duquesne crowd.  One person in particular is a former friend of mine, one who stabbed me in the back, incidentally - the worst form of betrayal in the sense that he wished (rather weakly) to remain my friend while he sought his own fame, power, and glory chasing the - at that time - latest fad.  I sit back and wonder how in the world he could he not see that what he was chasing was a flash in the pan?  If you look at the scene today, it's all gone, Tom. All...gone. No well known or scholarly reputable journals.  No seminars or courses.  Most folks have simply moved on to greener pastures. Heck, it's just one guy who is a pathetic, washed up internet wizard who refuses to realize that his time passed him by.  Still shouting from the sidelines, he is like that old middle-aged quarter-back who thinks he's still part of the game. I am so sorry that you still follow him.  I am even more sorry that you chose him, knowing what he's done, knowing his crimes, over me.  Time has told who was the more virtuous.

In any case, for quite awhile I thought I was alone in refusing to bow to the fad gate-keepers. I thought that the people who hurt me were corrupted and selfish.  But I found out about how these people behave behind closed doors, and I know now that I was right.

Back to Schelling. I'm sure that the pain that I feel because of such a sad outcome with this former friend of mine is similar to at least some of the pain felt by the prince of melancholy, F.W.J. Schelling.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Plato's Threefold City and Soul (NDPR Reviews)

Plato's Threefold City and Soul
Joshua I. Weinstein, Plato's Threefold City and Soul, Cambridge University Press, 2018, 292pp., $99.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781107170162.

Reviewed by Roslyn Weiss, Lehigh University

In this astutely written, thoughtful, and stimulating book, Joshua Weinstein makes the case for the indispensability of the third, thumotic (spirited) part of the city and soul to the attainment of political and psychic justice. Offering a rich and deep analysis of (mainly) the human soul and the essential place in it of an element distinct from both reason and appetite, the book tracks this tripartition as it develops through three separate and sequential arguments: the argument from diversity of character, the argument from opposition of motivation, and the argument from sufficiency of function. It further explains how and why the city-soul analogy is vital in advancing the cause of tripartition in the soul. 
The book contains three parts. The first is devoted to the first two arguments for tripartition, namely, the arguments from character and from opposition; the second, to the third tripartition argument, the argument from function; and the third, to a full treatment of the work of thumos. In Part I Weinstein shows that "observational anthropology" (43) yields three basic character-types: the wisdom and knowledge-loving, the victory and honor-loving, and the profit and pleasure-loving. Weinstein then explains why there are not more than three basic types -- in particular, why further division into male and female is not helpful, and why two of the five character-types discussed in Books 8 and 9, namely, the democratic and tyrannic, do not "define specific characters . . . [since] they lack identifiable expressions at the shorter time-scales" (51). Weinstein next turns to the argument from opposition, contending that it is not intended to stand alone but rather relies on the three character-types already identified: "The three oppositions that appear in book four Socrates takes to represent the three main possibilities open to us when we choose how to live our lives: the life of acquisition, the life of ambition and the life of curiosity" (10). He then goes on to discuss the argument from opposition at great length and with much care. 
In Part II Weinstein directs his attention to the three needs that a city must satisfy if it is to be self-sufficient ("autarkic"), namely, sustenance, defense, and guidance. He follows Socrates' imagined city as it proceeds from its initial healthy state to a feverish one and finally to a state of self-sufficiency that exhibits justice (112-13). Justice as conceived on this large scale can then be transferred to the smaller scale, the individual soul: once Socrates constructs a city that addresses its three needs, non-isolated individuals are seen to have the same needs and to require souls designed to address them. In Part III Weinstein focuses on the work thumos performs. In this "rather speculative" part (235) Weinstein looks to Homer to help account for how thumos, whose essential role is that of "preserver," is unified, that is, how it encompasses, as preserver, love of victory (philonikia) and love of honor (philotimia), as well as other phenomena regularly associated with it, such as anger, shame, resentment, and ambition. 
There is much to admire in Weinstein's book. The following are several points meant to encourage further reflection.

Read the rest HERE

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Quote of the day

"The Dasein in the human being is nothing human."

- Heidegger, "On the Question of Being" (1955)

Monday, June 24, 2019

Object Oriented Ontology could probably use the following argument...

"John Locke explains that the idea of substance is how we know things exist outside of our minds. He believed that substance is 'what can exist on it’s own,' not dependent on another”(Philosophical Conversations, Melchert, Chapter 10, page 281). He believed this was a crucial piece to proving that things we experienced actually existed outside of our minds. He spoke to the power of substances, using the example of a magnet attracting iron fillings. If we know that something has a power to change another thing, we know it has substance and exists."

So by virtue of affect we can abduce that the originator of the affect is a.) certainly different from me, an external agent acting upon me in some way; and b.) there must be a power behind the affect that is both of some substance (not a "hanging-on-nothing" sensate quality) and which is capable of expressing or externalizing that power. Thus we have a sensate yet semiotic expression of some different external power, generated by an agent of some kind.

Discerning exactly what that substance is, however, is an entirely different quality. If sensate qualities are all that we can perceive (without possessing in any way entrance into, or observation of, the substance) then we are left with the problem that Hume had concerning qualities and then what stands behind them. Hegel addresses Hume's problem in The Phenomenology of Spirit (the sugar cube example).

It is for this reason that I believe German Idealism was "already beyond this problem" and indeed has already moved beyond any correlationist-appearance nonsense. A close study of Fichte, or Hegel for that matter, clearly proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

After Nature world tour -Speaking engagements for this summer

No other way to get your attention I suppose, but I'll be giving some talks this summer spanning the globe in my travels.  The first week of July I'll be in Reykjavík, Iceland (and surrounding areas for sight-seeing) followed by Shanghai, China; Kyoto, Japan; and then back to the U.S. for an environmental philosophy conference in Maine where I'll be giving the keynote. If you are living in or near these locations and want to meet for coffee or talk shop just let me know.

Oh, before I forget, my YouTube channel is now up and operational with my first video uploaded! For the address please get in touch and I'll gladly give it to you. I also upload the videos to BitChute (in fear of YouTube's egregious censorship) in case you want to find me there as well.

Here is some Orplid - fantastic music - if you happen to need something to listen to. Der Heiligen Leben!