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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 32, Issue 1, 2022
Do We Need a New Enlightenment for the Twenty-First Century? Part III

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Displaying: 1-15 of 15 documents

1. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1
Robert Elliott Allinson Editorial
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iconic figures of the enlightenment
2. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1
David Bevan, Patricia Werhane Adam Smith, the Enlightenment, and His Relevance for the 21st Century
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In this article we reconsider strands of Adam Smith’s contribution to the project of the Enlightenment. Many of these, as we shall identify, remain poignant, and valuable observations for the twenty-first century. This sampled reconsideration touches both on (i) how Smith is identified, as well as occasionally misread, as an Enlightenment philosopher/economist; and (ii) the extent to which t/his enlightenment survives.
3. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1
Tom L. Beauchamp David Hume’s Universalism of Moral Precepts
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This article presents an original interpretation of David Hume’s eighteenth-century writings in moral philosophy as universalistic and normative, and not as merely psychological, metaethical, empirical, and the like, which has been common in many interpretations of Hume. Whether his views should or should not be regarded as a type of general moral theory such as utilitarianism is not considered, although I argue that Hume is deeply committed to a form of virtue ethics. I also argue that Hume sees the fundamentals of morality as a human phenomenon that is universally applicable to, and universally shared across, cultures and geographical regions. In this way Hume relies heavily on his conception of a universally shared common morality, which he refers to as the morality present “in common life.” This morality is a major foundation of his moral philosophy.
4. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1
Tatsuya Sakamoto Hume’s Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth Revisited
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This paper examines Hume’s theory of republicanism from the perspective of the history of ancient and modern thought. Hume criticized ancient republicanism for its implicit assumption of institutional slavery, and sought the possibility of a republican constitution based on the freedom and equality of citizens. Despite the title “Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth,” its content was a concrete theory and discussed the British society as it existed in the 18th century. His conclusion was the realistic proposal of a highly democratic federal republic, which not only became the origin of the U.S. Constitution through James Madison, but also serves as a valuable source of enlightenment and inspiration for our time, when the challenges and problems of party politics and mass democracy have become extremely serious.
5. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1
Lawrence J. Kaplan Between Action and Reflection: Moses Mendelssohn as an Enlightenment Philosopher and Traditional Jew
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Among the many criticisms advanced against the enlightenment is that its emphasis on rational reflection and commitment to universal moral truths serve as solvents of tradition and community. Here, I wish to show how the German Jewish enlightenment figure, Moses Mendelssohn in his classic work, Jerusalem succeeded in bringing together universal rational religious reflection and Halakhah, Jewish ceremonial law. Essentially, the ceremonial law for Mendelssohn, forms a traditional mimetic society, whose members absorb the Halakhah naturally and intuitively both from the community at large and from its teachers through a process of total immersion. If we see religious practice as a language, then members of this halakhic mimetic community, for whom the Halakhah is a first language practiced fluently and intuitively, are able to use this language to intelligently discuss the great truths of religion. In this way, tradition and community and rational reflection turn out to be mutually supportive.
6. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1
Igor Kaufman The Reception of Spinoza and Mendelssohn in the Russian Enlightenment and the Russian-Jewish Haskalah
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My general objective in this paper is to provide (1) the outlines of the reception of Baruch Spinoza and Moses Mendelssohn in the Russian Enlightenment of the late 18th century as well as (2) in the Russian-Jewish Haskalah. In part (1) of the paper I consider Gavrila (Gavriil) Derzhavin’s mention of Mendelssohn in his “Opinion,” the translation of Mendelssohn’s Phaedon in Nikolay Novikov’s Masonic-inspired journal Utrennyi Svet, and the readings of Spinoza’s view on God and then-shared interpretation of his views as an “atheism” in Feofan Propovich, Vasily Trediakovskiy, and Alexander Sumarokov. In the part on the late Russian-Jewish Haskalah of 1860s I examine two intellectual biographies appeared in the period—Saveliy (Saul) Kovner on Spinoza and Yakov Gurliand on Mendelssohn, which aim to interpret positions of Spinoza and Mendelssohn as exemplary strategies of the Jewish emancipation within the framework of claims and prospects of the modern European culture. I also rediscover and reinterpret Spinoza’s approach to religion as the late Russian Haskalah’s authors strongly object to label Spinoza’s philosophy of religion as “atheistic” and consider it as close to the “pure, or true Judaism.”
understanding the intellectual history of the enlightenment
7. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1
David Poggi The Issue of Translation: Translation of Concepts or Compositio between Cultures? The Case of John Locke
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It was plain long before the 20th century that both the act of translation and the translator’s task were quite complex: it became clear and evident during the Enlightenment, within the République des Lettres, with the emergence and gradual affirmation of national languages. In this general framework, the French translation of John Locke’s Essay concerning Humane Understanding is one of the main protagonists of the circulation of texts and ideas: Pierre Coste’s solutions follow the strategy adopted by Jean Le Clerc in his Extrait of the Essay published in the “Bibliotheque universelle et historique” in 1688 and, in primis, by Locke himself, as a theorist of communication/translation (in the Third Book of the Essay): the French translation is thus the exemplar par excellence and the embodiment of Locke’s theories of language, communication, and communicative ethics, all axed on the concepts of “agreement” and “consensual rationality.”
8. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1
Hiroki Ueno Adam Smith between the Scottish and French Enlightenments
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This paper discusses Adam Smith’s intellectual relationship with the French Enlightenment, with a particular focus on his view of French culture as conveyed in The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). Compared to England at that time, eighteenth-century Scotland is considered as having a closer affiliation with France in terms of their intellectual and cultural life during what has been dubbed the Enlightenment. While David Hume was representative of the affinity between the French and Scottish literati, Smith also held an enduring interest in the French philosophy, literature, and other aspects of its civilisation, long before the historic visit to Toulouse and Paris (1764–1766) that would shape his political economy greatly. While this paper shall examine Smith’s Francophile and Europeanist tendency within his moral argument, it also emphasises that he was abundantly aware of the moral cultural tensions between these two branches of the European Enlightenment.
9. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1
Wojciech Starzyński Three Enlightenments of Modernity in the Historico-Philosophical Conception of Kazimierz Twardowski
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The aim of this article is to discuss the reflection on the history of philosophy conceived as a cycle of enlightenments in the thought of Kazimierz Twardowski. In 1895 Twardowski adopts Franz Brentano’s model of the cyclical character of the history of philosophy. In the cycle of modern philosophy, the traditional Enlightenment period of the 18th century is shown critically as the one in which the original forces of the scientific revolution of the 17th century weakened, while the philosophy of the beginning of modernity is to be seen as the proper Enlightenment. Critical reflections are crowned with a sharp critique of Immanuel Kant’s philosophy which is supposed to be responsible for a further weakening, or even degeneration, of 19th century philosophy. Twardowski when lecturing on the history of modern philosophy in Lvow in 1896–1923, softened the four-phase conception of the modern cycle as well as the key role played by Kant’s thought. But in 1904, in the context of the motto of the “return to Kant” and the formation of the Polish Philosophical Society, Twardowski delivered an important speech in which the figure of Kant was instrumentalized for the purposes of what we may call the third modern enlightenment, this time taking place in Polish philosophy.
10. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1
Alexandra Cook The “Demarcation Problem” in Science: What Has Enlightenment Got to Do with It? Part I
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Steven Pinker’s recent Enlightenment Now (2018) aside, Enlightenment values have been in for a rough ride of late. Following Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno’s critique of Enlightenment as the source of fascism, recent studies, amplified by Black Lives Matter, have laid bare the ugly economic underbelly of Enlightenment. The prosperity that enabled intellectuals to scrutinize speculative truths in eighteenth-century Paris salons relied on the slave trade and surplus value extracted from slave labor on sugar plantations and in other areas Europeans controlled. Indeed, deprived of its ugly economic underbelly, Enlightenment was barely conceivable; furthermore, its reliance on surplus value extraction from oppressed labor was accompanied by a racism that, with the exception of the thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and a few other thinkers, was arguably inherent to Enlightenment. However, I am not proposing yet another revelation of Enlightenment’s complicity in exploitation of, or disregard for, the Other. Rather, I want to highlight the damage being done today by an insidious strategy of labelling as “pseudo-science” entire domains of non-Western knowledge such as Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, thereby rendering them no-go zones for serious minds. Even though the term pseudo-science had yet to be coined, the beginnings of this tendency are already evident in Enlightenment-era works such as Jean-Baptiste Du Halde’s Description … de la Chine (1735). The perpetuation of this dismissive treatment of non-Western natural knowledge creates a significant obstacle to superseding a “scientific revolution” whose confines have long been burst: it is increasingly recognized that traditional/indigenous knowledge affords a vast reservoir of materials, skills and insights of which the world has desperate need, no more urgently than in response to the covid-19 pandemic.
11. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1
Alexandra Cook The “Demarcation Problem” in Science: What Has Enlightenment Got to Do with It? Part II: Race, Color and Philosophy
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pointing the way toward a new enlightenment: undiscovered treasures and eastern directions
12. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1
Paul Lodge Leibniz’s Philosophical Dream of Rational and Intuitive Enlightenment
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This paper is a new translation and interpretation of the essay by Leibniz which has come to be known as “Leibniz’s Philosophical Dream.” Leibniz used many different literary styles throughout his career, but “Leibniz’s Philosophical Dream” is unique insofar as it combines apparent autobiography with a dreamscape. The content is also somewhat surprising. The essay is reminiscent of Plato, insofar as Leibniz describes a transition from existence in a cave to a more enlightened mode of being outside of it. But, in contrast with the usual identification of Leibniz as a “rationalist,” the mode of being that is valorised involves cognition that is intuitive and supra-rational. The paper begins with the translation followed by an interpretation of the essay. I conclude by considering the ramifications of my interpretation for our conception of Leibniz’s philosophy.
13. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1
Tanishe Otabe Kakuzô Okakura and Another Enlightenment in Early Twentieth-Century Japan
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Western Enlightenment ideas had already been introduced to Edo-period Japan in the early nineteenth century. However, it was not until the Meiji Restoration in 1868 that the modern Japanese Enlightenment movement really took off, when Japan left the sinocentric sphere and adopted Western civilization as its frame of reference. In this paper, I focus on two contrasting thinkers: Yukichi Fukuzawa (1835–1901) and Kakuzô Okakura (pseudonym: Tenshin) (1863–1913). Fukuzawa, one of the leading thinkers of the Japanese Enlightenment, internalized the Eurocentric view of the history of civilization as a norm and made a significant contribution to the Westernization of Japan. In contrast, in the face of the oncoming modernization, or Westernization, Okakura sought on the one hand to revive the ideals of the East, which were in danger of being forgotten, and on the other hand, to relativize Western modernity itself. He thus reveals the possibility of another Enlightenment.
14. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1
Monique Whitaker The Content/Object Equivocation: Shepherd’s Neglected Contribution
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John Searle roundly rejects what he calls the Bad Argument: a long-standing equivocation in philosophy over the contents and the objects of perception. But, as Josh Armstrong points out, this insight is not unique to Searle. By the late 19th Century the equivocation had been observed by Franz Brentano and students of his, such as Alexius Meinong and Kazimierz Twardowski, and was highlighted too in the 20th century by G. E. M. Anscombe. What Armstrong does take to be a novel to Searle is his use of this observation to undermine some of the primary objections to a realist theory of perception. In fact, though, it had already been put to much the same use by Mary Shepherd in her 1827 book Essays on the Perception of an External Universe and Other Subjects Connected with the Doctrine of Causation. Shepherd not only argues that the equivocal use of the term “things we perceive” is a crucial flaw in Berkeley’s case for Idealism, but also goes on to use this in service of her own, largely realist, theory of perception.
15. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1
Michael Slote Against Psychological Atomism
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Total permissiveness can be captured by the phrase “anything goes.” Psychological atomism can be informally characterized by the idea that in the mind anything goes with anything. There is a strong tendency toward such thinking in Western philosophical thought—both in classical antiquity and during and since the Enlightenment. Perhaps the two most important philosophers of the Enlightenment, Hume and Kant, accepted more or less limited forms of atomism, and I shall explain in what follows in the main text and footnotes, why and how I think their atomism goes astray. Since much of Western philosophy since the Enlightenment to some extent bears its imprint, we shall also be seeing some recent examples of ill-conceived atomism. However, and despite the main themes of the present volume, I shall go well beyond the task of dealing with themes in Enlightenment thinking. In fact, I shall be relying on some unfamiliar aspects of Chinese thought to correct quite generally what I take to be erroneous atomistic thinking.