This collection features books and book contributions written by faculty in the Department of Philosophy at Fairfield University.
This book argues that it can be both reasonable and appropriate to adopt a certain kind of misanthropy. The author defends a cognitivist version of misanthropy, an attitude whose central feature is the judgment that humanity is morally bad.
Misanthropy is often dismissed on moral grounds. Many people hold that malice toward human persons is problematic and vulnerable to moral objections. In this book, the author advocates for cognitivist misanthropy. He defends an Asymmetry Thesis, according to which a morally bad deed carries more weight than a morally good deed, even if the harm of the former is exactly equal to the benefit of the latter. He makes the case that being misanthropic in the cognitivist sense is morally permissible and compatible with a broad range of moral reasons for action. He also considers the role of misanthropy in environmental thought, arguing that charges of misanthropy against certain "non-anthropocentric" views do not have the force they are typically thought to carry. Finally, the author investigates the practical implications of adopting cognitivist misanthropy, asking what living with such an attitude would involve.
A Philosophical Defense of Misanthropy will appeal to researchers and advanced students working in ethics and the philosophy of human nature.
According to the terms of Aristotle's Politics, to be alive is to instantiate a form of rule. In the growth of plants, the perceptual capacities and movement of animals, and the impulse that motivates thinking, speaking, and deliberating Aristotle sees the working of a powerful generative force come to expression in an array of forms of life, and it is in these, if anywhere, that one could find the resources needed for a philosophic account of the nature of life as such. Aristotle on the Concept of Shared Life explores this intertwining of power and life in Aristotle's thought, and argues that Aristotle locates the foundation of human political life in the capacity to share one's most vital activities with others. A comprehensive study of the relationality which shared life reveals tells us something essential about Aristotle's approach to human political phenomena; namely, that they arise as forms of intimacy whose political character can only be seen when viewed in the context of Aristotle's larger inquiries into animal life, where they emerge not as categorically distinct from animal sociality, but as intensifications of it. Tracing the human capacity to share life thus illuminates the interrelation between the zoological, ethical, and political lenses through which Aristotle pursues his investigation of the polis. In following this connection, this volume also examines — and critically evaluates — the reception of Aristotle's political thought in some of the most influential concepts of contemporary critical theory.
Creolizing the Nation identifies the nation-form as a powerful resource for political struggles against colonialism, racism, and other manifestations of Western hegemony in the Global South even as it acknowledges the homogenizing effects of the politics of nationalism. Drawing on Caribbean, decolonial, and Latina feminist resources, Kris F. Sealey argues that creolization provides a rich theoretical ground for rethinking the nation and deploying its political and cultural apparatus to imagine more just, humane communities.
Analyzing the work of thinkers such as Édouard Glissant, Frantz Fanon, Gloria Anzaldúa, María Lugones, and Mariana Ortega, Sealey shows that a properly creolizing account of the nation provides an alternative imaginary out of which collective political life might be understood. Creolizing practices are always constitutive of anticolonial resistance, and their ongoing negotiations with power should be understood as everyday acts of sabotage. Sealey demonstrates that the conceptual frame of the nation is not fated to re-create colonial instantiations of nationalism but rather can support new possibilities for liberation and justice.
This groundbreaking neo-Maimonidean work establishes, on independently philosophical grounds, the intellectual warrant of Jewish religious thinking as “devotional intelligence.” It demonstrates the purchase and intellectual authority of such thinking by appeal to two dialectically interrelated principles: on the one hand, the metaphysical principle that knowing is of being; and, on the other, “sacral attunement,” a normative principle.
Part I distinguishes this study from leading work in contemporary philosophy of Judaism. It introduces the game-changing bid to privilege “intelligence” in the onto-epistemological Aristotelian sense, over epistemologically orchestrated, post-Enlightenment “reason” when it comes to assessing the intellectual soundness of religious thinking.
Part II distills contemporary elements of Aristotle’s onto-epistemological psychology of intelligence that Maimonides incorporated in his philosophy of Jewish religious thinking. Further, it finds in Hegel a bridge between Maimonides’ account of devotional intelligence and a modern Maimonidean “science of knowing” dedicated to religious thinking.
Part III turns to “sacral attunement,” foregrounding the normative “devotional” aspect of devotional intelligence. It probes the intentionality of both onto-epistemological attunement and the “sacred” relative to “the factor of the transcendent.” In the process it identifies and applies elements of an existential phenomenology of “fundamental attunement” that thematize defining realities of the sacral attunement unique to normative Jewish covenantal praxis. A related analysis of “the sacred” in religious thinking follows, which segues to a chapter on the “factor of the transcendent” as a seminal constituent of meaning in both the sciences and religion.
Part IV applies and amplifies key findings in light of a signature Jewish devotional theme: the divine names, approached from a signally Maimonidean, apophatic position indexed to the factor of the transcendent as the “unconditioned condition” (Kant) of intelligible meaning as such. Distinguishing what the divine names indicate from what they refer to, the essay concludes by substantiating the intellectual warrant of Jewish religious thinking as a devotional intelligence of the relation—of identity-in-difference—between the attributive names and the Tetragrammaton.
Winner of the 2018 Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title
From Learning to Love: Schools, Pastoral Care and Canon Law in the Middle Ages. Essays in Honour of Joseph W. Goering
Tristan Sharp, Isabelle Cochelin, Greti Dinkova-Bruun, Abigail Firey, Giulio Silano, and R. James Long
R. James Long is a contributing author, "The Plurality of Platonic Forms and Trinitarian Simplicity: A Conundrum and its Resolution by the Early Oxford Masters."
Book description: The essays in this volume show how the teaching of law and theology in the medieval schools was part of a pastoral project to foster a just Christian society and to lead souls to contemplation of God. With subjects ranging from scholastic debates about divine simplicity to disputes between parishioners over their reputations, these studies take us across Europe, from the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries, although the heart of the volume covers England and northern France in the decades around 1200. The collection reveals a culture with many threads of mutual influence connecting the learning of the schools, the administration of the Church, the perspectives of professionals in law and theology, and the stories, practices, and devotion of the laity. The first section of the volume considers medieval masters and examines both their subjects of intellectual inquiry and their pedagogical methods, as reflected in the particular textual and manuscript practices developed in the schools. The second section considers how clerics applied learning acquired in the schools in their roles as pastors, judges, and administrators. The final section gathers essays on those aspects of religious culture manifested in popular piety, liturgy, and hagiography. Diverse in methods and scope, these essays nevertheless share a common aim: to honour the remarkable scholarly achievement of Joseph Ward Goering. Although best known for his work on scholastic theology and pastoralia, his interests have ranged from hagiography to visual culture, and this volume reflects the interdisciplinary breadth and coherence of his work. This book presents original studies from many fields, including history, law, language and literature, theology, philosophy, and musicology, along with some editions of hitherto unpublished texts, as a tribute to Joe’s role as a beloved mentor to medievalists from many disciplines.
R. James Long
Fishacre, like his contemporaries Albert the Great (ca. 1200-1280) and Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) looked at ways that the newly-translated natural philosophy of Aristotle, with its empirical emphasis and a belief that knowledge begins in sense perception, could supplement the more otherworldly Neoplatonic approach to philosophy and the sciences inherited from St. Augustine. Hagar's Vocation is a collection of fifteen essays which focus on the contributions of Richard Fishacre, the first Dominican theologian at Oxford to have left a written legacy. The questions addressed by Fishacre include his arguments for God's existence, the multi-faceted problem of the human soul, the eternity of the world, the nature of light, the free choice of the will, angels and "spiritual matter," interiority and self-knowledge, undoing the past and God's absolute power, the magical arts, and the role of philosophy in a theology of creation. --Publisher description.
Michael Naas, Jeremy Bell, and Sara Brill
Sara Brill is a contributing author, "Animality and Sexual Difference in the Timaeus."
Book Description: Plato's Animals examines the crucial role played by animal images, metaphors, allusions, and analogies in Plato's Dialogues. These fourteen lively essays demonstrate that the gadflies, snakes, stingrays, swans, dogs, horses, and other animals that populate Plato's work are not just rhetorical embellishments. Animals are central to Plato's understanding of the hierarchy between animals, humans, and gods and are crucial to his ideas about education, sexuality, politics, aesthetics, the afterlife, the nature of the soul, and philosophy itself. The volume includes a comprehensive annotated index to Plato’s bestiary in both Greek and English.
In this book, Toby Svoboda develops and defends a Kantian environmental virtue ethic, challenging the widely-held view that Kant's moral philosophy has little to offer environmental ethics. On the contrary, Svoboda contends that on Kantian grounds, there is good moral reason to care about non-human organisms in their own right and to value their flourishing independently of human interests, since doing so is constitutive of certain (environmental) virtues. Svoboda argues that Kant’s account of indirect duties regarding nature can ground a compelling environmental ethic: the Kantian duty to develop morally virtuous dispositions strictly proscribes unnecessarily harming organisms, and it also gives us moral reason to act in ways that benefit such organisms. Svoboda’s account engages the recent literature on environmental virtue (including Rosalind Hursthouse, Philip Cafaro, Ronald Sandler, Thomas Hill, and Louke van Wensveen) and provides an original argument for an environmental ethic firmly rooted in Kant’s moral philosophy.
Book description: By focusing on the immortal character of the soul in key Platonic dialogues, Sara Brill shows how Plato thought of the soul as remarkably flexible, complex, and indicative of the inner workings of political life and institutions. As she explores the character of the soul, Brill reveals the corrective function that law and myth serve. If the soul is limitless, she claims, then the city must serve a regulatory or prosthetic function and prop up good political institutions against the threat of the soul’s excess. Brill’s sensitivity to dramatic elements and discursive strategies in Plato’s dialogues illuminates the intimate connection between city and soul.
Angela Doolin and Kris Sealey
Kris Sealey is a contributing author, “Nationalism as an Anti-Racist Racism: A Critique of Paul Gilroy”.
Book description: In more than 1,800 pages of alphabetical entries, each ranging from 500 to 12,000 words, The Encyclopedia Of Race And Racism, 2nd Edition, provides critical information and context on the underlying social, economic, geographical, and political conditions that gave rise to, and continue to foster, racism. Religion, political economy, social activism, health, concepts, and constructs are explored. Given the increasingly diverse population of the United States and the rapid effects of globalization, as well as mass and social media, the issue of race in world affairs, history, and culture is of preeminent importance. This work is designed to bring vetted and accessible facts and analysis to experts and students as well as lay readers.
John Flood, James R. Ginther, Joseph W. Goering, and R. James Long
R. James Long is a contributing author, "Adam’s Rib. A Test Case for Natural Philosophy in Grosseteste, Fishacre, Rufus, and Kilwardby," 153.
Book description: Fourteen papers on the works and intellectual context of Robert Grosseteste, bishop, philosopher, and theologian, including new editions and English translations of Grosseteste's De luce, his Latin translation of John of Damascus, and his Sermon 86.
Eric Sanday, Gregory Recco, and Sara Brill
Sara Brill is a contributing author, ‘A Soul Superlatively Natural’: Psychic Excess in Laws 10, pp. 189-214.
Book description: Readers of Plato have often neglected the Laws because of its length and density. In this set of interpretive essays, notable scholars of the Laws from the fields of classics, history, philosophy, and political science offer a collective close reading of the dialogue "book by book" and reflect on the work as a whole. In their introduction, editors Gregory Recco and Eric Sanday explore the connections among the essays and the dramatic and productive exchanges between the contributors. This volume fills a major gap in studies on Plato’s dialogues by addressing the cultural and historical context of the Laws and highlighting their importance to contemporary scholarship.
This book explores the ethical and political implications of Levinas’s and Sartre’s accounts of human existence.
In Moments of Disruption, Kris Sealey considers Emmanuel Levinas and Jean-Paul Sartre together to fully realize the ethical and political implications of their similar descriptions of human existence. Focusing on points of contact and difference between their writings on transcendence, identity, existence, and alterity, Sealey presents not only an understanding of Sartrean politics in which Levinas’s somewhat apolitical program might be taken into the political, but also an explicitly political reading of Levinas that resonates well with Sartre’s work. In bringing together both thinkers accounts of disrupted existence in this way, a theoretical place is found from which to question the claim that politics and ethics are mutually exclusive.
Jack P. Cunningham and R. James Long
R. James Long is a contributing author, “Between Idolatry and Science: The Magical Arts in the Grosseteste School” , pp. 167-197.
Book description: The first section examines Grosseteste's work in the field of translation and commentary. In the opinion of Roger Bacon, Grosseteste was the best Latin translator of Greek since Boethius. The Bishop's ability to combine linguistic expertise with philosophical insight made him very valuable. The second section delves into the territory of science and magic. In his treatment of light, Grosseteste traces his line of reasoning to the pre-Aristotelian physicists, thereby becoming a mentor to later generations of British Aristotelian commentators. The Dominican's musings on the nature and abilities of magi and devils furnish us with a forerunner of similar speculations in Bonaventure and Aquinas. Section three treats the theme of impact and legacy. The effect of Grosseteste's intellectual capital is noticeable in the work of Geoffrey Chaucer and Wyclif. His philosophical theories, especially those concerning universals and the notion of unequal infinities, had an overpowering influence on fourteenth-century thinkers. The last section offers ample proof that as profound and far-reaching as Grosseteste's scholarly contributions were, remarkably he did not allow them to prevent him from taking his pastoral duties seriously.
Adam of Bockenfield, Glossae super De vegetabilibus et plantis : A Critical Edition with Introduction by R. James Long
R. James Long
Complementing the growing list of editions and translations which have appeared in the series Aristoteles Semitico-Latinus, this is the first critical edition of Adam of Bockenfield’s commentary on the pseudo-Aristotelian treatise on plants. The leading Arts master at Oxford in the middle decades of the thirteenth century, Adam crafted a comprehensive and highly organized commentary, which enjoyed wide circulation on the continent. Professor Long’s introduction also explores the relationship between Adam’s commentary and the gloss that was the established classroom text at Oxford.
Universalità della Ragione. Pluralità delle Filosofie nel Medioevo / Universality of Reason. Plurality of Philosophies in the Middle Ages
Alessandro Musco, Salvatore D'Agostino, Giuliana Musotto, Pietro Palmeri, Patrizia Spallino, and R. James Long
R. James Long is a contributing author, "The Anonymous De anima of Assisi, Biblioteca Communale Cod. 138."
Book description: Nel 2007, dal 16 al 22 settembre, l’Officina di Studi Medievali ha curato a Palermo l’organizzazione del XII Congresso Internazionale della Société International Pour l’Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale (S.I.E.P.M.), sul tema generale Universalità della ragione. Pluralità delle Filosofie nel Medioevo. Si tratta di un evento che si tiene ogni cinque anni in una grande città sede universitaria; nel 2002, si è tenuto ad Oporto, dove viene posta, con altre, la candidatura di Palermo per il 2007. La raccolta degli Atti consta di tre volumi in quattro tomi che pubblicano oltre a 181 tra relazioni e comunicazioni, redatte nelle lingue ufficiali del congresso: vol. I Sessioni Plenarie; vol. II (diviso in 2 tomi) Medioevo Latino, Franciscana, Lulliana; vol. III Araba, Indiana, Ebraica, Greco-Bizantina. Ciascun volume è corredato da Indici dei nomi antichi e moderni ed Indici dei manoscritti.
Kent Emery, Russell Friedman, Andreas Speer, and R. James Long
R. James Long is a contributing author, “The Division of the Waters (Gen. 1,6-7): The History of a Conundrum and its Resolution by the Early Oxford Masters” , pp. 41-62.
Book description: This book is a gift to Stephen Brown in honor of his 75th birthday. The 35 contributions to this Festschrift are disposed in five parts: Metaphysics and Natural Philosophy, Epistemology and Ethics, Philosophy and Theology, Theological Questions, Text and Context. These five headings articulate Stephen Brown’s underlying conception and understanding of medieval philosophy and theology, which the editors share: The main theoretical and practical issues of the ‘long medieval’ intellectual tradition are rooted in an epistemology and a metaphysics, which must be understood not as separated from theology but as being in a fruitful exchange with theological conceptions and questions; further, in order to understand the longue durée of this tradition of philosophical and theological discourse, scholars must engage the textual traditions that conveyed it. Contributors are Jan A. Aertsen, Carlos Bazan, Oliva Blanchette, Olivier Boulnois, Anthony Celano, William J. Courtenay, Anne A. Davenport, Alain de Libera, Thomas Dewender, John P. Doyle, Stephen D. Dumont, Kent Emery, Jr., Juan Carlos Flores, Christopher D. Schabel, Fritz S. Pedersen, Russell L. Friedman, André Goddu, Wouter Goris, Michael Gorman, Simo Knuuttila, Theo Kobusch, Paul Joseph LaChance, Matthew Lamb, Matthew Levering, R. James Long, Steven P. Marrone, Lauge Nielsen, Timothy Noone, Thomas M. Osborne,.Klaus Rodler, Risto Saarinen, John T. Slotemaker, Jean Céleyrette, Jean-Luc Solere, Andreas Speer, Carlos Steel, Eileen Sweeney, Jeremy Wilkins, John F. Wippel.
Henrik Lagerlund and R. James Long
R. James Long is a contributing author, "Richard Fishacre”.
Book description: The Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy covers all areas of philosophy in the Middle Ages and part of the Renaissance, ranging from 500 to 1500 CE. It contains general entries on medieval philosophers and medieval philosophies and on the key terms and concepts in the subject area, but it also provides more in-depth details and analyses of particular theories. Furthermore, in order to gain an insight into the social and cultural context of the material, entries are included on the teaching of philosophy, the career of philosophers, and the place of philosophy within the universities. Complete with cross-references between key words and related essays to enable efficient searches.
William Wians and Sara Brill
Sara Brill is a contributing author, “Violence and Vulnerability in Aeschylus’ Suppliants”, pp. 161-180.
Book description: Explores the philosophical dimensions present in the works of ancient Greek poets and playwrights. What are the connections between ancient Greek literary and philosophical texts? Are they in fact two rival forms of discourse mutually opposed to one another? Concentrating on literary authors such as Homer, Hesiod, the Archaic poets, and the tragic playwrights, the contributors in this pioneering volume examine the concerns that such literary authors shared with their philosophical contemporaries. Equal attention is given also to the extent to which each group of authors shows an awareness of the demands and limitations of their forms, and how the study of nonphilosophical authors illuminates the goals and characters of ancient philosophizing. These essays reveal a dynamic range of interactions, reactions, tensions, and ambiguities, showing how Greek literary creations impacted and provided the background against which Greek philosophy arose in more intricate and complex ways than previously believed.
R.E. Houser and R. James Long
R. James Long is a contributing author, “Undoing the Past. Fishacre and Rufus on the Limits of God’s Power", pp. 60-74.
Bartholomaeus Anglicus: De proprietatibus rerum , Volume I: Introduction générale, Prohemium, et Libri I-IV
Baudouin van den Abeele, Heinz Meyer, Michael Twomey, Bernd Roling, and R. James Long
Intellect and Imagination in Medieval Philosophy. Actes du XIe Congrès International de Philosophie Médiévale de la S.I.E.P.M.
M.C. Pacheco, J.F. Meirinhos, and R. James Long
R. James Long is a contributing author, “Interiority and Self-Knowledge according to Richard Fishacre", volume 2, pp. 1269-1277.