Category Archives: Historical episodes

On the Other Delphic Maxims

Now up at Aeon. The conclusion: The fact that the great majority of maxims on the list can still serve us today is itself worth further reflection. There is no denying that our lives have changed a lot in the … Continue reading

Posted in Historical episodes, Meanings of life / death / social & moral stuff, Stacks of Books | Leave a comment

Say, whatever happened to Caesarius?

Readers of Spinoza’s letters will recall the name “Caesarius”. Johannes Caesarius lived in the same house in Rijnsburg as Spinoza, and Spinoza taught him Cartesian philosophy, an effort which led in part to Spinoza’s book, The Principles of Cartesian Philosophy. … Continue reading

Posted in Historical episodes | Leave a comment

A New Liberal Arts

The traditional liberal arts (logic, rhetoric, dialectic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music) arose for two reasons: to preserve knowledge and to render young men fit for positions of influence. Knowledge had pretty much been wiped out in western Europe with … Continue reading

Posted in Historical episodes, Items of the academy / learning | 3 Comments

Artefactual language as the enabler of Spirit

Cultural information rains down on the landscape of our genetically endowed mental capacities, mouldering the paths along which future information must travel, eroding and shaping the patterns of our thoughts and reactions (Distin 2011, 177-8) Chasing down some of Sloterdijk’s … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Historical episodes | Leave a comment

Enlightenment now

(Reading Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now) I am totally down with this book. Its main thesis is that the core values of the Enlightenment – Reason, Science, and Humanism – have resulted in human life being better in every measurable way. … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Historical episodes, Items of the academy / learning | Leave a comment

Philosophy as an art of concepts

Around the beginning of the 20th century, the intellectual landscape changed radically and forever. The old view, let’s say, presumed the intelligibility of a God’s eye perspective: a vision of Things as They Are, or Things as They Really Are … Continue reading

Posted in Historical episodes, Items of the academy / learning, Meanings of life / death / social & moral stuff | 1 Comment

Work in progress

I’m slowly working on a book that tries to integrate what I’m learning about history with what I know (or think I know!) about early modern philosophy, and thought I’d post an excerpt that covers, in a general way, putting … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Historical episodes | Leave a comment