Thucydides

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Thucydides

Thucydides wrote a history of the epic struggle between Athens and Sparta. His work has proved to be—as he hoped—a “possession for all time,” though perhaps not in quite the way he intended. Virtually every age, every occasion, every interpreter, has appropriated a different Thucydides and a different masterpiece. Both the author and the work remain enigmatic.

The reliable biographical details are few, and all derive from his own account. Thucydides son of Olorus was an Athenian, born around 460 BCE. In his analysis of the causes, symptoms, and consequences of the plague that devastated Athens a few years after the outbreak of hostilities with Sparta, Thucydides drew on his own experience of the illness. He was for a time prominent in Athenian public life.

During the war, he attained the office of general, one of the very few elected positions in the Athenian democracy (most offices were allocated by lot), and was sent to Thrace, perhaps because of his connections and influence there. In 423 BCE, his fellow citizens banished him for failing to reach the Athenian colony of Amphipolis in time to rescue it from the Spartans.

Paul Tillich

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Paul Tillich

Paul Tillich, the German American theologian, was born in Starzeddel in eastern Germany, the son of a Lutheran pastor. He received a theological and philosophical education and was ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1912. He served as an army chaplain during World War I and then taught theology and philosophy at Berlin, Marburg, Dresden, and Frankfurt.

On Adolf Hitler’s advent to power in 1933, Tillich immigrated to the United States, serving as professor of systematic theology and philosophy of religion at Union Theological Seminary from 1933 to 1956. From 1956 until his death he held chairs at Harvard and at the University of Chicago.

Anxiety

Tillich’s religious thought has been enormously influential, particularly in English-speaking countries. He was strongly influenced by existentialism, and he held, as did Søren Kierkegaard, that religious questions are appropriately raised only in relation to problems that are inherent in the “human situation” and that theological claims are not mere responses to theoretical puzzles.

Time

Sweet time
Time

Time has frequently struck philosophers as mysterious. Some have even felt that it was incapable of rational discursive treatment and that it was able to be grasped only by intuition.

This defeatist attitude probably arises because time always seems to be mysteriously slipping away from us; no sooner do we grasp a bit of it in our consciousness than it has slipped away into the past. This entry will argue, however, that this notion of time as something that continually passes is based on a confusion.

St. Augustine’s Puzzles

The apparent mysteriousness of time can make puzzles about time seem more baffling than they are, even though similar ones arise in the case of nontemporal concepts. St. Augustine, in his Confessions, asks, “What is time?” When no one asks him, he knows; when someone asks him, however, he does not know.

Consciousness of Time

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Consciousness of Time

William James’s discussion of the perception of time in Principles of Psychology provides a convenient starting point for a discussion of the “consciousness of time.” James’s main concern was to give an empiricist account of our temporal concepts.

This is clear from the Lockean question with which he started: “What is the original of our experience of pastness, from whence we get the meaning of the term?” and from his answer that the “prototype of all conceived times is the specious present, the short duration of which we are immediately and incessantly sensible”.

A contemporary empiricist might formulate James’s thesis thus: that all other temporal concepts can be defined in terms of the relation “earlier than” and that this relation is sense given or can be ostensively defined so that even if a person does not use the term specious present, he is obliged to say that some earlier events are still, in some sense, present to us when we are sensing a later event.

Time in Continental Philosophy

Time in Continental Philosophy
Time in Continental Philosophy

The attempt to conceive time, time’s relation to human experience, and the makeup of the universe is perhaps the central problem of twentieth-century Continental philosophy. Time emerged as a central problem in late nineteenth century German philosophy where temporality became increasingly identified with consciousness and mind.

Franz Brentano’s work provided an impetus for Edmund Husserl’s analyses of internal time-consciousness, and Wilhelm Dilthey and Husserl were both influential for Martin Heidegger’s fundamental ontology. In France, before these phenomenological approaches had been worked out, Henri Bergson reconceived time in a way that anticipated them and profoundly influenced later French thought.

In general, Bergson calls on metaphysics (that is, Platonism and its latest version in Kant) to embrace the reality of movement, change, becoming, and time. The originality of this thinking consists in differentiating between abstract representations of time and the immediate givenness of pure duration in consciousness.

Time in Physics

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Time in Physics

No one conception of time emerges from a study of physics. One’s understanding of physical time changes as science itself changes, either through the development of new theories or through new interpretations of a theory.

Each of these changes and resulting theories of time has been the subject of philosophical scrutiny, so there are many philosophical controversies internal to particular physical theories. For instance, the move to special relativity gave rise to debates about the nature of simultaneity within the theory itself, such as whether simultaneity is conventional.

Nevertheless, there are some philosophical puzzles that appear at every stage of the development of physics. Perhaps most generally, there is the perennial question, Is there a “gap” between the conception of time as found in physics and the conception of time as found in philosophy?

John Toland

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John Toland

John Toland was an English deist, philosopher, diplomat, political controversialist, secular and biblical scholar, and linguist. Christened “Janus Junius” in the Roman Catholic Church, Toland later took the name of John.

He was born near Londonderry, Ireland, possibly of partial French extraction. At the age of sixteen he ran away from school to become a Protestant Whig. In 1687 he turned up at Glasgow University and in 1690 was awarded an MA at Edinburgh University.

For two years he studied at the University of Leiden under Friedrich Spanheim the younger, and in 1694 he settled at Oxford for some time to carry on research in the Bodleian Library. “The Character you bear in Oxford,” he was informed by a correspondent, “is this; that you are a man of fine parts, great learning, and little religion.”

Toleration

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Toleration

“Toleration” is a policy of patient forbearance in the presence of something that is disliked or disapproved of. Toleration must thus be distinguished from freedom or liberty precisely because it implies the existence of something believed to be disagreeable or evil.

When freedom or liberty is said to prevail, no criticism, moral or otherwise, is entailed of the people who are said to be free or of the use to which such people put their freedom. Indeed, there are some writers who would reserve the words liberty and freedom for the rightful exercise of human choice, thinking, with the poet John Milton, that “only the good man can be free.”

Toleration, on the other hand, has an element of condemnation built into its meaning. We do not tolerate what we enjoy or what is generally liked or approved of. We speak of freedom of speech, of worship, and of movement—speech, worship, and movement being good or ethically neutral things.

Touch

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Touch

Two bodies are said to be touching if there is no spatial gap between some point on the surface of one and some point on the surface of the other. If one of the touching bodies is that of a sentient being, it may be aware of certain properties of the other body: for instance, that it is hot or cold, rough or smooth, wet or dry, hard or soft, sweet or sour.

The sentient being is said to be aware of an object’s sweetness or sourness by taste. (Aristotle attributes our distinguishing taste from touch to the fact that only a part of our flesh is sensitive to flavor.)

The remaining properties the sentient being is said, in common speech, to be aware of by touch. Accordingly, touch appears in the traditional list of senses, with sight, hearing, and so on.

Lev (Leo) Nikolaevich Tolstoy

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Lev (Leo) Nikolaevich Tolstoy

Lev (Leo) Nikolaevich Tolstoy, the renowned Russian novelist, won worldwide fame as a moralist and sage for his antiecclesiastical interpretation of Christianity and fervent preaching of nonviolence.

A well-read amateur in philosophy from the age of fifteen, Tolstoy displayed serious philosophical interests in his greatest novel, War and Peace (1865–1869), and in 1874 he began an increasingly anguished philosophical and religious quest, seeking a reason for living.

His spiritual crisis, dramatically described in My Confession (1879), was resolved by a return to the Christian faith of his youth, but in a radically different form based on his reading of selected New Testament texts.

Arnold Joseph Toynbee

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Arnold Joseph Toynbee

Arnold Joseph Toynbee was in the twentieth century the foremost contemporary representative of what is sometimes termed “speculative philosophy of history.” In some respects he occupied a position analogous to that of Henry Thomas Buckle in the nineteenth century.

Like Buckle, he sought to discover laws determining the growth and evolution of civilization and to do so within the context of a wide comparative survey of different historical societies; like Buckle again, the results of his investigation became a storm center of controversy and criticism.

To support his hypotheses, Toynbee, however, was able to draw on a vast fund of material of a kind unavailable to his Victorian predecessor, and the imposing examples and illustrations in which his work abounds make Buckle’s much-vaunted erudition look strangely threadbare. As a consequence, Toynbee’s historical theory is worked out in far greater detail; in fact, it represents a highly articulated and complex structure with many ramifications and appendages.

Traditionalism

Traditionalism
Traditionalism

“Traditionalism” was a philosophy of history and a political program developed by the Counterrevolutionists in France. It was ultramontane in politics and antiindividualistic in epistemology and ethics.

It was the common belief of both those who favored the French Revolution and those who opposed it that the revolution was prepared by the philosophes. Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau were invoked by both parties as having been either the initiators of much-needed reforms or the corrupters of youth. The intellectual differences among the philosophes were minimized.

The Revolutionary Party believed that Voltaire and Rousseau were the leaders of two schools of thought, both of which removed the seat of authority from the group—society or the nation or the church—to the individual, and that the two schools disagreed only on the question of whether authority was vested in the reason or in feeling (sentiment). The Voltairians were said to be individualistic rationalists; the Rousseauists individualistic sentimentalists.

Tragedy

Tragedy
Tragedy

The two main strands in the history of philosophical reflection on tragedy, as a genre of art, can both be seen as having their origins in Plato’s critique of tragic poetry in the Republic and other dialogues. It is there that we find their first sustained philosophical treatment; and with respect to this small part of it, at least, Alfred North Whitehead’s characterization of the history of philosophy as a series of footnotes to Plato is not too fanciful.

Tragedy and Emotion

One strand of thought focuses on the character and value of our experience of tragedy, and can be seen in Plato’s charge that tragedy (and indeed mimetic poetry in general) “gratifies and indulges the instinctive desires ... with its hunger for tears and for an uninhibited indulgence in grief”; that “it waters [passions] when they ought to be allowed to wither, and makes them control us when we ought, in the interests of our own greater welfare and happiness, to control them”).

Plato’s thought that the emotional dimension of our experience of tragedy is particularly significant has been taken up in a variety of directions by other philosophers.

Ernst Troeltsch

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Ernst Troeltsch

Ernst Troeltsch, the German theologian and social scientist, was born near Augsburg in Bavaria. He studied Protestant theology at the universities of Erlangen, Göttingen, and Berlin, and after three years as a Lutheran curate in Munich, he returned to the University of Göttingen as a lecturer in theology.

He became extraordinary professor at Bonn in 1892, and in 1894 ordinary professor of systematic theology at Heidelberg, a position that he held for twenty-one years. He also served as a member of the Bavarian upper legislative house. In 1915 he moved to a chair of philosophy in the University of Berlin, serving concurrently as a member of the Prussian Landtag and as undersecretary of state for religious affairs.

Troeltsch contributed to the philosophy and sociology of religion and also to cultural and social history, ethics, and jurisprudence. His work raised in many related fields the much-debated questions of the extent and limitations of the historicosociological method.

Evgenii Nikolaevich Trubetskoi

Evgenii Nikolaevich Trubetskoi
Evgenii Nikolaevich Trubetskoi

A Russian philosopher, law specialist, religious and political figure, Evgenii Trubetskoi was a member of one of the oldest aristocratic families of Russia. He received an excellent education, graduating from the Department of Law of Moscow University (1885) and earning a master’s degree in philosophy for his work on St. Augustine (1892) and a doctorate for his work on Pope Gregory VII (1897).

He taught law and philosophy in Iaroslavl’ (1886–1897), Kiev (1897–1905), and Moscow (1905–1917), where he was elected chair of philosophy after the sudden death of its former head, his brother Sergei Trubetskoi (1862–1905). Parallel to his teaching career, he was active in Russian cultural, academic, and political circles.

Trubetskoi was one of founders of several philosophical associations (Psychological Society at Moscow University, Vladimir Solov’ev Religious-Philosophical Society, and others); he was a leading figure of the publishing house Put (The Way) and of the group of religious thinkers affiliated with it, who represented the so-called “neoSlavophile” current in Russian culture.

Nikolai Sergeevich Trubetskoi

Nikolai Sergeevich Trubetskoi
Nikolai Sergeevich Trubetskoi

A Russian linguist, ethnologist, and student of culture, Nicolai Trubetskoi was one of the founders of Eurasianism. His father, Sergei Trubetskoi, was a well-known philosopher and the first elected rector of Moscow University.

Although a descendant of an old aristocratic family, he played an outstanding role in the democratization of Russian life. Unfortunately, his life was cut short: He died less than a month after his election at the age of forty-three; the same fatal ailment (heart disease) killed his son, who lived to be only forty-eight.

It is hard to determine to what extent Trubetskoi’s family was responsible for his future scholarly and political views, but certain influences are apparent. He grew up in a devout Orthodox family and owed a great deal to his religious upbringing.

Sergei Nikolaevich Trubetskoi

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Sergei Nikolaevich Trubetskoi

Sergei Nikolaevich Trubetskoi was a Russian philosopher, socially conscious essayist, and man of public affairs. After graduating from the historico-philological department of Moscow University in 1885, he remained at the university.

In 1890 he defended his master’s dissertation, “Metafizika v Drevnei Gretsii” (Metaphysics in ancient Greece), and in 1900 he defended his doctoral dissertation, “Uchenie o Logose v ego istorii” (The doctrine of the logos in its history).

From 1900 to 1905 he served as one the editors of the journal Voprosy filosofii i psikhologii (Questions of philosophy and psychology). He actively participated in the Zemstvo movement, becoming one of its spiritual leaders. Starting in 1901, at the beginning of the student disturbances, he came out for the institution of university autonomy.

Olduvai Gorge

Olduvai Gorge
Olduvai Gorge

Olduvai Gorge remains one of the most recognized archaeological sites in the world. It has provided, and continues to provide, vital information to researchers seeking answers about the origins of humanity and its evolution through time.

Wilhelm Kattwinkel, a German entomologist, stumbled across Olduvai Gorge in 1911 in northern Tanzania. The location is a canyon approximately 40 kilometers long with walls standing nearly 100 meters high that showcase nearly 2 million years of history.

Extensive investigations at Olduvai Gorge began shortly afterward, yielding an array of lithic tools and fossilized animal remains amongst which were the remains of early hominids, including those of Australopithecine (boisei) and Homo habilis specimens.

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