In this article, I start by examining the myth of the «great ruin» contained in Francesco Patrizi’s Dialoghi della retorica (Venice, 1562), highlighting one particular aspect of this story: the theme of «vestiges», that is, of what remains after the destructive occurrence of a catastrophe. I then explore the different meanings of that story by using Patrizi’s previously published Dialoghi della historia (Venice, 1560) and I point out how the theme of the erosion, recovery and restoration of cultural traditions constitutes a leitmotif that runs through Patrizi’s whole oeuvre. In the last part of the article, finally, I focus on the specific interplay of nature and history, as this clarifies the equivalence between history and memory advocated by Patrizi as well as his conception of the relationship between the past and the future.
Natural theology was one of the most important teaching in the academic curricula during the whole Scottish Enlightenment. One of the core topics was the demonstration of the existence of an intelligent ‘design’ or project of divine origin in the arrangement of the different parts of the natural world and of the sentient beings. This article aims at exploring how two of the most prominent figures of the Scottish common sense tradition, Thomas Reid and Dugald Stewart, dealt with this topic. While Reid was more interested in giving solid metaphysical foundation to the ‘argument from final causes’, Stewart pointed out the importance of final causes and the design argument for the advancement both of natural philosophy and the philosophy of the human mind. However, even with different goals, both authors maintained that the topic at stance was fundamental for the development and the attainment of moral virtues.
In his letter to Henry Oldenburg, which can be dated 1-11 January 1676, Spinoza argues that the concept of fatalis necessitas represents the main foundation of his Ethica. Known by Oldenburg, Boyle and Leibniz, the phrase gave rise to the first attempts to both define and oppose Spinozian determinism. By briefly reexamining the sources of Spinoza’s concept of fatalis necessitas, starting with the elements already highlighted by Oldenburg, Boyle and Leibniz, the article discusses a decisive shift in the history of modern thought. In the years 1675-1676, the crucial topics of predestination and voluntarism, taken up by Spinoza in his frequent references to St Paul, were reread by him and interpreted as «concatenation of causes» and fatalis necessitas, that is to say: reality is thoroughly knowable without resorting to the notion of mystery, i.e., that which goes beyond reason (supra rationem) and constitutes the central nucleus of Christian tradition.
Aim of the paper is to analyze the conception of the human nature in Vico’s Diritto universale. The main proposal is to understand that Vico had an essential view of human nature intended as animal rationis particeps and that this definition had a foundational role into his jurisprudence book. In fact, in order to understand myths, laws and facts from the past it’s necessary to understand the natural relationship between the human mind and the eternal truth. It is precisely the disproportion between finite and infinite, that by this relationship are united in human beings, that founds the inexhaustible course of history.
According to the Italian philosopher Paolo D’Angelo, aesthetics must be understood primarily as a branch of philosophy that investigates the nature of that particular form of experience which we obtain mainly, although not exclusively, from works of art, and which is labelled aesthetic experience. By dealing with a vast tradition of philosophical thought, he defines aesthetic experience as both a duplication and a reshaping of the forms and meanings that characterize ordinary experience. In this essay I will try to see to what extent a notion of this kind can account for our appreciation of nature, and what is, among the functional definitions of art that have been offered over the last few decades, the most suited to express the central role that aesthetic experience plays in the activities of art creation, interpretation, enjoyment, and enhancement.
With one eye on his sources and another on his production, in this contribution we would like to present Henrich Steffens' philosophy as an “enhanced” naturalism. After explaining the meaning of this definition, we will examine some topical places in Steffens' philosophical, political, and psychological-anthropological production. There the naturalistic perspective will prominently emerge, so as to demonstrate how it is central to the author's understanding and unusual with respect to its context. Finally, we will propose some general considerations on the heuristic fruitfulness of Steffens' original point of view.
The following issue of Esercizi Filosofici aims to provide some inputs for a re-discussion of philosophical naturalism. In particular, the issue focuses on naturalism as it has been expressed in modernity, from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century. The goal of this re-discussion is to broaden the semantics of naturalism, which to date has been exclusively referred to the sole “physicalist” meaning. Since the semantics of naturalism appears to be irretrievably linked to that of the term “nature”, such a re-discussion seems to open up new vistas in contemporary debate, creating room for thinking.
In the three editions of his De rerum natura (1565; 1570; 1586), Bernardino Telesio (1509-1588) provided a complex and nuanced account of nature understood as a vital self. I argue that his distinction between a «nature that remains» (quae remanet natura) and a «nature that comes and goes» (accedens recedensque natura), discussed in particular in the 1570 edition, helped qualify the conceptual tension between matter and force that underlies Telesio’s metaphysics. Nature can therefore be seen as a kind of self grafted on to a unique variety of monism, in which the eternity and immutability of matter is reconciled with the impermanent character of life.