‘Intentio Aristotelis’ or just a bunch of unsubstantiated claims

The Italian Renaissance brought us closer to the writings attributed to Aristotle, no doubt about that, but was the claim of the Italian Renaissance scholars that we should look for ‘intentio Aristotelis’ true? They went so far by saying that becoming acquintated to the Attic Greek of Aristotle we could understand his opinions in a new light, one that has nothing to do with the tradition formed during the High Middle Ages around them. So they studied Aristotle in Greek.

Now, I have read Daniel Dennett’s The Interpretation of Texts, People and Other Artifacts, published in “Philosophy and Phenomenology Research” (vol. 50, 1990, pp. 177-184), and some doubts poped-up in my head. The most important of them: can we really know what Aristotle’s intention was in the Nicomachean Ethics?

If we accept Dennett’s arguments — and we don’t have any reason not to — we will be in big trouble not only when thinking about the Renassaince claim, but also when we account the contemporary claim that we should step aside from any tradition and read Aristotle “nude” (Pierre Aubenque, see his preface to Le Probleme de l’etre chez Aristote). In other words, we will never be able to uncover “Aristotle’s intention” because there is nothing like that. We are in the same position as a medieval or Renaissance scholar was: we have some texts, transmitted in various forms (directly or indirectly; in Greek, Latin or Arabic; along with some commentaries or paraphrases), written down for a certain audience (which we cannot fully understand) almost 2.5 millenia ago.

But I will challenge Dennett’s arguments by simply saying that we do have a privileged epistemic position. Just as we know today what the purpose of the Antikythera mechanism was, we also know what Aristotle may have thought about eudaimonia by bring as much information as possible into account. We might use direct information from other writings or indirect pieces/testimonies about his beliefs.

(unfinished)

Coming Closer to Aquinas’ Writings

In the last twenty years, or since the introduction of Internet, scholars from all over the world had the chance to get closer and closer to Aquinas’ writings. Manuscript repositories from various European and American parts opened their pages via virtual libraries to almost anyone interested. HMML’s Vivarium is making no exception. The Vivarium is hosting an on-line selection of folios from two 14th cent. manuscripts containing Aquinas’ Catena Aurea (Arca Artium; aap2094) and Expositio in Job (Codex Campililiensis 10).

Other mss. of Aquinas’ work:


Why is it important to come closer to Aquinas’ writings in manuscript? I think at least two answers can be offered to this question: first, the paleographical scholarship may help restore an original text reflecting the ideas intended by Thomas Aquinas himself and not those introduced by his editors or copyists.

Weisheipl ([1974] p. 222) wrote that the Summa Theologiae “was the most widely circulated work [of all the writings of Thomas Aquinas] both in manuscript and in print”. But we are still far from appreciating at full extent its circulation and influence. As I have tried to explain in my PhD thesis, which I hope will be printed in fall 2008, the Thomist tradition has had a great influence on our current moral traditions and especially on the modern interpretations of Aristotle’s moral thought. But also the modern Thomists influenced Aquinas’ reading. So, by unfolding the layers of tradition, contrary to the principle exploited by the bee allegory, we will be able to uncover not only Aquinas’ thinking, but also that of Aristotle.

Other useful links:

Aquinas’ works on-line:

PS: I agree with those that say that not everything on the Internet can be useful for research, but there are some reliable sources that any scholar cannot overlook. For example, some respectable researchers have decided to post on the Internet their pre- and post- printed materials. Why not use them if the references are in a standard form?

Istoria filosofiei romanesti: Dictionarul de filosofi romani

In urma cu vreo 7, 8 ani, profesorul M. Balan de la Facultatea de Filosofie din Bucuresti avea initiativa realizarii unui Dictionar de filosofi romani dupa standarde din lumea academica anglo-saxona. Desi multi dintre cei selectati s-au aratat foarte interesati de anumiti autori, rezultatele au fost, intr-o oarecare masura, timide. Foarte putini, mult prea putini, dintre cei care isi asumasera o astfel de sarcina au mers sa desfasoare prima etapa la Biblioteca Academiei, i.e., etapa cercetarii cantitative.

Intentia editorului cu privire la rezultatele cercetarii cantitative, si la intocmirea careia a concurat si Ioan Lucian Muntean (pe atunci, asistent la aceeasi institutie), era aceea de a realiza o baza de date electronica la care sa aiba acces toti cei care lucrau la dictionar si, mai tarziu, oricine ar fi dorit sa se dedice istoriei filosofiei romanesti. Respectiva baza de date capatase un oarecare contur pana la momentul in care proiectul a fost abandonat.

Dupa nu foarte mult timp, am aflat intamplator ca Institutul de Filosofie al Academiei Romane incepuse un proiect similar cu informatii si material de la cativa dintre cei care lucrasera la proiectul dlui Balan. Dar nu asta m-a uimit cel mai tare, ci faptul ca indivizii care inainte de ’89 se ocupasera de “materialism dialectic” aveau acum pretentia de a intreprinde in mod exclusiv un astfel de proiect. Evident ca pe langa acestia se aciuasera si cativa tineri, dar dezamagirea era legata de personajele care isi faceau veacu’ — si sa nu-si faca nimeni iluzii ca nu se mai perinda si acum — pe la Institutul de Filosofie. Aproape toti acesti indivizi nu au avut niciodata nimic in comun cu filosofia, cu exceptia faptului ca aveau o ‘origine sociala buna’. Iar acum, comportamentul lor neschimbat reclama exclusivitate asupra proiectului. In felul acesta, usa Bibliotecii Academiei Romane, la momentul respectiv controlata in mod direct de directorul institutiei,* s-a ferecat bine pentru cei mai tineri, care nu erau cadre didactice sau cercetatori angajati la Institutul de Filosofie.

Insa nu as cadea in extrema lui Liiceanu si sa spun ca acesti indivizi ar trebui sa se retraga din viata publica, sa-si faca bagajele si sa elibereze Institutul. Nu, nu. Cred ca o astfel de viziune e la fel de bolnava — asa cum spunea profesorul A.-P. Iliescu in recenta scrisoare deschisa catre persoana tocmai mentionata — ca si cea profesata de legionarii care doreau epurarea universitatilor de profesorii evrei sau cea a comunistilor care au trimis inlectualii romani la Canal. Mai degraba avem nevoie de dialog si nu de exclusivisme, avem nevoie de comunicare si nu de dialoguri ale surzilor. Avem nevoie de receptare si recenzare critica, avem nevoie de inclestari pe argumente si nu pe istorii personale. Iar “clubul de la Academie”, la fel ca si cel de la “Universitate”, nu este dispus nici la colaborare, nici la dialog.
Insuficienta cea mai mare pe care am resimtit-o toti cei care am lucrat la proiectul dlui Balan a fost legata de lipsa instrumentelor (bibliografii si biografii, dictionare si indexuri). Nici astazi nu ne putem lauda ca avem instrumente, mai ales ca piata de carte nu ar putea sustine nici macar un tiraj de 50 de exemplare.

Apoi, nu poti sa pornesti un astfel de proiect cu persoane care sunt doar accidental sau insuficient legate de preocupari inspre un “filosof” roman sau altul. Este nevoie de o anumita expertiza pentru a scrie 15 randuri despre ontologia lui Noica, expertiza ce se obtine prin studiu indelungat si publicatii consistente pe aceasta tema. Nu oricine poate realiza un articol de dictionar, nu orice profesor de filosofie sau cercetator de la Institut are capacitatea de a scrie intr-o anumita maniera (concis, argumentat, explicit formulat, intr-o limita anume de cuvinte etc.). Poate de aceea a esuat proiectul initial, poate de aceea a esuat si proiectul Academiei. Nu am avut un spirit critic indeajuns de puternic pentru a ne vedea limitele. Sper sincer sa nu fie si cazul proiectului “Enciclopediei On-line a Filosofiei Romanesti“.


* Imi amintesc cum am fost introdus de secretara in cabinetul directorului, o camera slab iluminata si dominata de mobilierul vechi, din lemn masiv, si am fost luat la intrebari cu privire la scopul cererii de a obtine permis de cititor. Dupa ce am fost mustruluit bine pe tema insuficientei mele maturizari (aveam vreo 22 de ani) si impertinentei mele juvenile (la refuzul obscen pe care mi l-a transmis i-am replicat ca e un securist care traieste bine mersi pe spinarea contribuabililor – o tema mai veche: daca Biblioteca Academiei Romane este publica sau nu de vreme ce Academia Romana este institutie publica), secretara s-a induiosat de mine si mi-a semnat ea in locul directorului.


Revista de filosofie (Bucuresti, 1907-1943). Indice bibliografic de Martin Bodinger; B.C.U. “Mihai Eminescu”, Iasi, 1975.

Iarasi despre plagiat

Revin dupa ceva timp de absenta doar ca sa semnalez o recenzie la un volum care plagiaza o lucrare de licenta sustinuta la Babes-Bolyai in 2004. Recenzia este semnata de Alexander Baumgarten si a aparut numarul din Mai 2009 al revistei “Dilematica”. Aici veti gasi integral recenzia la “Toleranta in filosofia lockeeana”, publicata sub egida necunoscutei edituri “Realitatea Romaneasca” in 2006.

Citind comentariul din “Dilematica”, nu pot sa nu remarc tripla asociere a autorului cartii incriminate: Stefan Nemecsek, <<master al Facultatii de Filosofie si Jurnalism [de la Universitatea Spiru Haret], doctorand al Institutului de Filosofie si Psihologie “Constantin Radulescu-Motru” [al Academiei Romane], doctorand al Facultatii de Filologie si Istorie a Universitatii “1 Decembrie 1918” din Alba Iulia.>>

Nu vi se pare culmea ca tripla asociere se face numai prin institutii care de-a lungul anilor au atras doar indivizii eliminati pe motive de competenta din universitatile de stat?

Cercetarea in Romania

Declaratia unuia dintre membrii echipei de informaticieni SYTECH, care a castigat Imagine Cup de anul acesta, ar trebui sa-i puna pe ganduri pe guvernantii nostri. Din pacate, traim intr-o tara condusa de indivizi care nu vad decat propriul interes si nu vor face nimic pentru welfare-ul general.

Citez declaratia data Evenimentului Zilei:

“O să fim proprii noştri şefi, intenţionăm să dezvoltăm o firmă care să lucreze numai cu guvernele mai multor ţări, să vindem diverse platforme create de noi. Vrem să deschidem o firmă într-un paradis fiscal şi sperăm să fim şi proprii noştri impresari şi manageri. Aici am primit mai mult strângeri de mână, avem câţiva oameni cărora le suntem recunoscători, dar nu cred că vom rămâne în ţară.”

Bucharest Conference in Applied Ethics ’09

BUCHAREST CONFERENCE IN APPLIED ETHICS ’09
“Ethics Committees and Other Ethical Tools”
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest
October 30-31, 2009

We are delighted to invite you at the 2nd edition of the BUCHAREST CONFERENCE IN APPLIED ETHICS, 2009. The event will be hosted by the Faculty of Bucharest, University of Bucharest, during October 30-31, 2009.

The BCAE has been developed as a debate platform, where theorists and practicians meet together and discuss the most important topics in the fields of Applied Ethics. The main aim of these conferences is the advancement of significant solutions for the real world.

This year topic, “Ethics Committees and Other Ethical Tools”, reflects the growing interest in institutionalizing ethics. And though there has been some discussions on the role of ethics committees or on the function of some other ethical tools (especially, ethics training and social audit) — mainly in the form of academic papers –, we consider that the debate is insufficient and too localized. In practice, the theoretical developments are rarely taken into consideration (e.g., in Southern and Eastern Europe, ethics committees function as ‘intuitive’ bodies, where decision is influenced more by its members’ biases, while the Northern European pattern depends heavily on procedures).

Our aim is to bring into light those aspects that can make the ethics tools really work. The ethics committees and the codes of ethics are not individual tools; so we hope to see them working together in integrated ethics (and compliance) frameworks or management systems.

The conference organizers are looking for papers that consider either the integrative model or individual tools. The later approach may discuss topics such as:

* the ethics committees and their role in developing effective policies;
* codes of ethics: typology, role, structure;
* ethics (and compliance) trainings;
* ethics audit, social audit, CSR reporting;
* ethics (and compliance) policies;
* awareness programs;
* other ethical tools.

Early submissions are highly encouraged. This way, the prospective participants may receive the acceptance letters faster.

Prospective participants must send final papers to the conference organizers by September 10, 2009. All papers will circulate before conference and will be temporarily published on the official website. After the conference, the papers will be published in the BCAE Proceedings.

Official language is English, but there will be a Romanian speaking panel.

All papers must observe the editorial guidelines and must be prepared for blind-review (one Word file containing the title, author’s name, and an English 200-words abstract + a separate Word file containing the title, the abstract and the paper).

There is no participation fee.

For general inquiries, all correspondence should be sent to:
bcae /AT/ bcae / DOT/ ro.

The BCAE official website: www.bcae.ro

Site nou, blog nou

In urma cu cateva luni am decis sa-mi schimb site-ul cu totul si sa-i ofer o locatie cat mai potrivita. Asa ca am achizitionat cristian-ducu.ro, iar apoi m-am pus pe creat noul layout. Acum, lucrurile au evoluat putin. Daca site-ul tot a prins contur si exista informatii cat sa ofere oricarui internaut o imagine despre mine si proiectele mele, atunci de ce sa nu renunt la cele 2 bloguri gratuite si sa tin unul singur, gazduit pe ‘tarlaua’ mea?! Zis si facut…

Inca un lucru: voi pune aici cateva dintre comentariile publicate pe blogurile anterioare. Sper sa foloseasca. Daca nu voua, macar mie. Pentru indexare/trafic :D