An essay in two parts published on CastelNews, a fanzine from Mathematics students at La Sapienza University. It is a collection of reflections on an essay by Borges (La esfera de Pascal), and on one by Murray Eden (God, Man and Science): I mention here also the proof of God existence as formulated by Kurt Gödel.
It is a short essay in which I express my personal viewpoints on the vexata quæstio around minds, machines and Gödel theorems, drawing inspiration from my reading of Hofstadter book, which made me violate Wittgenstein wise suggestion (the famous seventh chapter of his Tractatus Logicus-Philosophicus which, according to Russell, deals with mystics):Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen [On what about one cannot tell, it is better to be silent].
Some few remarks around the celebrated logic-mathematical works of Kurt Gœdel: in particular, I expose in it my interpretation of formulas in incomplete theories as synthetical judgements (in the kantian sense of the term) as opposed to analytica judgements, which are formulas belonging in complete theories.
Just after my father's death I've had the occasion to read the de Quincey essay The last days of Immanuel Kant (1827) and I was impressed by the analogy between my father's desease (a form of the Alzheimer's desease) and Kant's symptoms. So I wrote this paper, which appeared in a abridged form in Janus, Autumn 2009 issue.
The following list is just a fragmentary (and continuously growing) collection of books on philosophical subjects I truly found interesting, and which I suggest to read. With the locution "philosophical subjects" I mean not merely metaphysics (!), but in general any reflection about fundamental themes: god, universe, life, man, language, mind, the and so on. Actually these books could be ascribed to the heterogeneous gendre of "treatise", but my attitude toward them, as a reader, is philosophical, and it is the reader who make the book, not vice versa.
Concerning why I publish such a list, explanations are more or less the same I gave about the book's list on literature. Be as it is: here is the list.
AUGUSTINE of Hippo: Confessions; The City of God; The master.
Henri BERGSON: Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience.
BONAVENTURE of Bagnoregio: Itinerary of the Soul to God.
Jared DIAMOND: The Chird Chimpanzee; Guns, Germs, Steel.
René DESCARTES: Metaphysical Meditations
DIONYSIUS the Aeropagyte: Mystical Theology; Letters.
ERASMUS of Rotterdam: Moriae encomium; Adagia; Querela pacis.
al-FARABI: The Virtuous City.
Immanuel KANT: Prolegomena ad ogni futura metafisica che si presenterà come scienza; Critique of Pure Reason.
Soren KIERKEGAARD: Timore e tremore; Enter-Ellen; La malattia mortale.
Karl MARX, Friedrich ENGELS: Manifesto del partito comunista.
Blaise PASCAL: Pensées; Lettere provinciali.
PLATONE: Apology; Timeus; Republic.
Arthur SCHOPENHAUER: The World as Will and Representation; Parerga and paralipomena.
American Philosophical Association which, as they say, is the main professional organization for philosophers in the United States. Founded in 1900, its mission is to promote the exchange of ideas among philosophers, to encourage creative and scholarly activity in philosophy, to facilitate the professional work and teaching of philosophers, and to represent philosophy as a discipline.
EpistemeLinks has miryad of links and philosophical stuffs, a huge bookstore, galleries of images and resources (news, etc.).
Principia Cybernetica Web has the following, ambitious program: Principia Cybernetica tries to tackle age-old philosophical questions with the help of the most recent cybernetic theories and technologies.
Filosofia Blog è il nuovo sito dedicato al pensiero filosofico. Fondato da quattro laureati in Filosofia all'Università degli Studi di Padova, tratta temi come la storia della filosofia antica moderna e contemporanea, logica, filosofia della scienza e filosofia del linguaggio.
Introduzione alla filosofia di Ernesto Riva: una introduzione alla storia del pensiero filosofico in uno stile da manuale scolastico, sintetica ma efficiente.
Muslim Scientists and Islamic Civilization is another site devoted to the golden age of Islamic science (and in particular to great Muslim thinkers); it is a good site which contains also a lot of interesting informations on middle age Islamic civilization.
Great Voyages in the history of western philosophy from 1492 to 1776.
Proyecto filosofía en español, una vasta collección de textos y crítica que, como dicen ellos mismos, pretende potenciar el desarrollo, la difusión y el conocimiento de la filosofía construida y pensada en la lengua que hablamos cientos de millones de personas. Le invitamos a formar parte y colaborar en una iniciativa que quiere ser tan universal e internacional como lo son sus vehículos principales: la lengua española e internet.
Storia della filosofia medievale II (1995/96) Il materiale qui presentato è stato prodotto dagli studenti che hanno partecipato al lavoro di discussione seminariale del De ente et essentia di Tommaso d'Aquino, tema centrale del corso.
Hereinafter I leave some philosophical texts, mainly in their original version: they are taken from the Net or scanned from old editions (because of the copyright!). In particular they are not critical editions, indeed they are not editions at all, since I just reproduced these texts verbatim and, because of the incompetence of who writes, with no notes nor comments. Moreover, the texts could not be the standard text as far the modern criticism established it.
Perhaps, I will dare to temp some translation, with the aid of the existing ones, produced by professional scholars, I'll see if time will allows me to do that: for the moment I just put at disposal these "rough texts" which may constitute a useful complement, a mere curiosity or also an help to the reading of those texts in modern translations or paper editions.
This text, truly a classic, needs no presentations: it is a self-analysis aimed at trigger deep and beautiful reflections. What Augustine says about time in book XII, for instance, today is well understood, after physicists taught us Big-Bang theory: but Augustine wrote in the late IV century A.D.! Note: This latin version was produced by using the text downloaded by the site by James J. O'Donnell, who recognizes in it the editio minor by Knöll, 1898.
I collect here some link and notices about thinkers I appreciate most, or better whom I appreciated and loved works and books.
Shaykh Muhyiddin IBN AL-'ARABI [1165-1240]
I have heard about ibn-Arabi after reading a delightful book by Abd el-Kader, namely the excerpts from Kitab al-Mawaqif, translated by Michel Chodkiewicz (Escrits spirituels, Paris, 1984) and, of course, in the classic history of islamic philosophy by Henri Corbin. el-Kader moved me to learn about this great master of Islamic mysticism.
Ibn 'Arabi Society. The Society was founded in 1977 to promote a greater understanding of the work of Ibn 'Arabi and his followers. This international association has its headquarters in Oxford, England, with a branch in the United States.
'Ilm al Yaqin is a site about Islam and Sufism, and in particular on Ibn 'Arabi.
The Islam Website: Islam, Islamic Studies, Arabic, Religion, Resources for Studying Islam, etc. It is a complete site on Islam with an interesting page about Islam vs. terrorism which has to be read.
Al Amir Abd el Kader contains extracts fomr Abd-El-Kader life by Charles-Henry Churchill (1867): introduction, traduction et notes de Michel Habart, and also some Écrits spirituels présentés et traduits de l'arabe par Michel Chodkiewicz from the Kitab Al Mawaqif by Adb el-Kader, a XIX century mystic follower of Ibn 'Arabi's doctrine.
Augustine of Hippo is the foudner of latin catholicism as we conceive it: his chiefwork, The city of God, is indeed an encyclopedia of catholicism which had, when it was published, normative value. As all Christian authors of his age, Augustine has been constantly involved in polemics (also very hard) against pagans (The city of God is written mainly with to aim), in the debate inside the Church (for instance on the canon) and in the contemplation of the end of the ancient world (he asked to Horosius the compilation of Historiae adversos paganos).
His work as father of the church is out of question, and his work as thinker makes of him the most penetrating philosopher of lating tongue of the late empire.
Berkeley is understimated in my country: I remember philosophy texts of high school talking briefly about him and his thought, just before Hume, and defining the latter as en empiricist and Berkeley as an idealist, and, with dialectic brutality, coming to Kant viewing his efforts as a synthesis or an overcoming of the doctrine of these two british philosophers. It suffices, instead, to study Berkeley position about the infinitesimals quarrel to understand not only the deepness of his thought, but also its originality: why the doom of the though of a philosopher must always be bound to the subsequent developments in the history of philosophy?
The Analyst at Melbourne University; it's a deep and classic example of how a good philosopher can be useful to mathematicians.
The Querist should be read by those unaware which think to Berkeley only as a metaphysical philosopher: he also was a mathematician and an economist, at high levels.
René DESCARTES [1596-1650]
Descartes revolutionized both scientific and philosophical thought: as far as science is concerned, he just changed the course of mathematics, by introducing analytic geometry, which not only proved the coherence of the axioms of Euclidean geometry, but which also traced the modern road to geometry. From a philosophical point of view, he started the awakening of reason in the west, after centuries of scholastic daze (it is ironical that scholastic was born just to awake reason...). Only Copernicus, a bit earlier, and Kant, somewhat later, contributed with similar revolutions in the history of western science and thought.
Nessuno sa chi ha scritto sul finire del VI secolo l'opera che la tradizione attribuisce (erroneamente) a quel Dionigi dell'Areopago citato negli Atti degli apostoli (17,34): chiunque fosse (magari si tratta di più di una persona) ha lasciato le più alte pagine della mistica cristiana altomedievale.
Erasmus is commonly considered a philologist, an erudite, etc. Actually, on reading his works according to their content, and not only for their very elegant umanistic latin, one can appreciate their profundity of thought, or at least this is the effect they have over me.
I have read just one book (to my own blame) by this great muslim thinker, the translation of his al-Madina al-fadila (The Virtuous City), and I was delighted by this deep and thorough essay: Islamic philosophy is absurdly neglected in our western education, so I have had to discover by myself the flourishing flowers of this majestic garden.
Islamic Philosophy Online is an interesting site with many informations, texts, links, etc. on Islamic philosophy: as they say, This site contains hundreds of full-length books and articles on Islamic philosophy, ranging from the classical texts in the canon of Islamic philosophy to modern works of Muslim philosophy. And they are right!
Al-farabi page with many texts (mainly in Arabic but also in English) both original sources and criticism.
FATHERS OF THE CHURCH [II-VII century]
Biblical Resources Page contains many biblical resources: several links to texts, versions, exegeses and on Christian religion, Greek and Hebrew tongues, etc...
Patrologia Latina Database is the electronic version of the first edition of Patrologia Latina (1844-1855) by Jacques-Paul Migne, and of the four index books (1862-1865). The Patrologia contains works by the Fathers of the Church spanning from Tertullian (200) until the death of Pope Innocent III (1216); this database contains the complete Patrologia, included the prefatory material, original texts, criticism and indexes. There also included original column numbers by Migne, an essential reference for any scholar; it is available under annual subscription.
Gnosticism has been one of the most philosophical oriented religious movement (inside Christianity), a phantasmagoric mixture of mystic and metaphysics.
Beware of sites devoted to Gnosticism, so to avoid ravings and superstitious nonsenses so widely scattered on the Net: the philosophical and theological interest in gnosis is very different from the vain misunderstanding of its form and content.
Metalogos: Thomas, Philip and Valentine is a site of the Ecumenical Coptic Project (Athens), no-profit e no-sectarian, which contains learned editions of Nag Hammadi Gospels put at disposal of the academic and religious community: a good starting point.
The Gospel of Thomas Homepage is a huge site devoted mainly to Thomas Gospel, but also with several links and resources on ancient Christian sources and gnostic texts.
The Gnosis Archive from The Gnostic Society of Los Angeles: as they say: The Gnosis Archive offers a vast collection of primary texts and resources relating to Gnosticism and the Gnostic Tradition, both ancient and modern. Contains several texts, links and informations.
The classical portal to religious Hebrew thought is Scholem's book The Great Currents of Hebrew Mysticism: Scholem's scholarly books aside, I have been delighted by The Tales of Chassidim collected by Martin Buber. In any case, it is not possible to ignore Hebrew thought, whose origins and foundations are in the Bible itself, at least for people whose cultural horizon is the west, being them Hebrews, Christians, Muslims, Atheists, etc.
Here I collect some material and a warning: mind to nazi and racist sites in which one often is catched on the Net when looking for informationa about Hebrew culture: for example, a simple saerch for the word Talmud leads unbelievably to hateful groups of anti-semitics...
torah.it è un ottimo portale di religione e cultura ebraica in italiano con molti link a testi, tradizioni, musica ed altro.
Chavruta è una yeshiva on-line per italiani dalla scuola talmudica italiana.
A talmudic site at www.sacred-texts.com: Rodkinsons' ten-book edition, the only extensive one currently in the public domain, contains complete translations of the 'Festivals' and 'Jurisprudence' sections of the Talmud. Rodkinson only finished about a third of the Talmud. All ten volumes were prepared at Sacred-texts and are available here in their entirety.
Jüdischen Leben, a site on Hebrew culture, in German, which contains a lot of informations about talmudic traditions.
www.e-daf.com contains the original Hebrew texts: one can also listen to them!
Nishmat a woman's learning community infused with Torah values, which put emphasis on open inquiry and vigorous textual study. They offer a Torah course on line.
To my regret, I did not find much material on the thinker who awakened Kant from his dogmatic sleep... Unjustly he is often considered as a mere skeptic or "empiricist", while actually he was a great and gracious collector of philosophical perplexities, very courageous and not trivial for that period.
Hume Page at McMaster, with many links and writings of the philosopher.
I become interested in Philosophy just after meeting Kant's thought, which made me want to read his original works: I have had the lucky to start with the classic synoptic Italian translation of the Kritik der reinen Vernunft by Giorgio Colli, a precious editorial project: I wonder why it is still floating around the older and worse version of Gentile-Lombardo Radice...
The classical English translation of the Critique of Pure reason by Kemp Smith is at http://humanum.arts.cuhk.edu.hk. It is the most famous translation, for instance Zeko Torbov wrote about it: "Die hervorragenden Übersetzungen von Kemp Smith und Colli haben ausserdem an einigen Stellen der Sinn und die Bedeutung von Varianten" (thus "the best translations, by Kemp Smith and [Giorgio] Colli, have, at certain points, the meaning and the value of variants").
Vida de Kant de Kuno Fischer, desde Revista Contemporánea, Madrid, 15 de diciembre de 1875.
Immanuel Kant in Italia presso l'Università di Milano: un sito serio, ben fatto ed interessante; si presentano così: Progetto nato nel luglio del 1997 al Dipartimento di Filosofia dell'Università degli Studi di Milano Intento principale del progetto, non si rivolge solo alla cerchia degli specialisti e degli studiosi, ma intende coinvolgere un pubblico più vasto, e raccogliere dati ed informazioni storico-filologiche relative alle fonti italiane della filosofia kantiana ed alla presenza del filosofo di Königsberg nella cultura italiana.
It is more and more difficult to find Marx works on the Net, and often one falls into sites from fanatic extremists. Credits to Jen Warner for pointing me to a couple of interesting links!
The Marx-Engels WWW Archive is just what the term suggest: an archive on Marxism, with texts in twelve tongues, and from different authors (also Bordiga, Gramsci, and Labriola, the latter not in Italian...).
The Last Days Of Socrates, as they say: This site is designed to help first year philosophy students read the Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, and the death scene from the Phaedo. Includes material from Eutiphro, Apology, Crito, Fedo [also audio] and even some Spanish translations.
Under the term "presocratic philosophers" founders of philosophy as we intend it are understood: indeed the word "philosophy" just turns out from that world. But in some sense one should call them "scientists", since their main feature was to start thinking in a rational way to questions that were before answered by religion or myth: their attitude toward the world was, for that epoch, scientist, or maybe rationalist. This is, of course, a rough description: a different and simpler way to define presocratics would be to term them as the greek scholars spanning from Thales to Empedocles...
Studia Spinoziana contains the first two halves of the Ethics and other on line texts, documents and links on Spinoza and the XVII-XVIII centuries philosophy: a good starting point to explore Spinoza and his age.