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Cosmos and History : The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.211
Number of Followers: 6  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 1832-9101
Published by Open Humanities Press Homepage  [5 journals]
  • Civilization in Crisis

    • Authors: Arran Gare
      Pages: 1 - 7
      Abstract: This is the editorial introduction to the edition of Cosmos & History on Civilization in Crisis.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • Arnold Toynbee and the Process of Civilizations

    • Authors: Daniel A. Dombrowski
      Pages: 8 - 32
      Abstract: It is now common to hear discourse about “the decline of civilization” and to learn about people’s fears that civilization might even be on the verge of collapse. In one sense, such discourse is nothing new in that at least since the time of Oswald Spengler and World War One there have been concerns and/or predictions about the decline (and perhaps fall) of “the West.” But in another sense, there are more proximate causes for the recent popularity of decline and fall discourse. It will serve us well, I think, to reconsider a thinker who thought long and hard about the rise and fall of civilizations in the past, Arnold Toynbee. It will be the purpose of the present article to argue for the claim that Toynbee can be fruitfully seen as a process thinker who was specifically concerned with the dramatic changes that have occurred historically to various civilizations around the globe. In this regard, he is in many ways a philosopher or historian of civilization, much like Alfred North Whitehead, Henri Bergson, and Teilhard de Chardin, all of whom are cited favorably by Toynbee. He is also similar to the process philosopher Charles Hartshorne in this regard. I will claim that Toynbee can provide valuable insight to us at this moment in history. That is, the sense that civilized life is threatened is not a new phenomenon, hence it will be useful to consider Toynbee’s scholarship so as to help us gain some much-needed historical perspective on civilizational change.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • Humanity and the Disruption of the Cosmos: How Berdyaev Foresaw our
           Reliance on Machines

    • Authors: Alexei Anisin
      Pages: 33 - 59
      Abstract: In his final work, the Realm of Spirit and the Realm of Caesar (1952), Nikolai Berdyaev categorized five historical periods on the relationship between humanity and nature. This meta-historical framework was articulated due to his concern about an obstructive imbalance between spirituality, materialism, and modern industrial technology. This essay overviews the framework and considers it with relation to eras subsequent his passing. It finds that Berdyaev's projection was not only theoretically plausible, but turned out to be remarkably accurate in predicting the transition from a technical industrial society to one based around autonomous spheres of operation including the internet and artificial intelligence. The final stage of the fourth period, our current era, was predicted by Berdyaev to be marked by a new form of global subjugation – in the merging of technology with the state and our enslavement to our own discoveries. Attention is also given to a future, eschatological fifth period in which Berdyaev believed a spiritual revolution would accompany widespread dissolution of state power and the emancipation of labor.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • Kasparov versus Deep Blue

    • Authors: Alex Hankey
      Pages: 60 - 67
      Abstract: This article concerns philosophy of mind, in particular the question, is the human mind more than a digital machine' A previous article took up that question from the perspective of the Lucas Gödelian Argument, which proposed an answer to the question from the point of view of metamathematics. That article pointed out that, the present full scientific status for direct mind-to-mind communication, demonstrates a field of phenomena where no computer can hope to imitate human and animal abilities. This article aims to disprove the argument put forward by the IBM team that programmed the Deep Blue computer, that because their computer beat World Champion at Chess, Garry Kasparov, Deep Blue was more powerful than the human mind. To do this, the article recounts the events of the 1997 IBM challenge, following Kasparov’s 1996 defeat of Deep Blue. It seeks to support Kasparov’s own account of the two chess matches, and also to present a brief version of the reasoning presented in the previous article.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • Epistemology, Technology, and Spiritual Science

    • Authors: Bo Dahlin
      Pages: 68 - 103
      Abstract: This paper has two main parts; one about epistemology and another about technology. Both are related to the possibility of a spiritual science. Over the latter decades a new paradigm of science has been slowly emerging, containing various strands such as post-materialism, panpsychism, or panspiritism. One basic presumption of the paper is that this new paradigm must be consolidated with a participatory epistemology, as well as a revival of the Aristotelian concept of causality as a basis for a new technological rationality. Participatory epistemology overcomes the dualism of consciousness and world and the Kantian notion of limits to knowledge. Aristotelian causality builds on the notion of Form and the formative forces of Nature. This can be taken as the basis for a technology that cooperates with Nature rather than strives to conquer it. Throughout the paper the spiritual science of Rudolf Steiner (Anthroposophy) is used as an example of how this alternative epistemology and technology can be formulated and expressed. At the end the anthroposophical technologies of water purification and Waldorf pedagogy are shortly presented as illustrations.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • Nietzsche’s Greek Theoria and Spectral Elevation

    • Authors: John Mandalios
      Pages: 104 - 112
      Abstract: This paper argues Nietzsche conceived knowing not as a contemplative ‘spectator’ who distances himself from experience or the surfaces of the world. Instead, the knower engages the festival of knowing which unfolds the spectra of worlds through which Logos is transformed and made transformative.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • Aesthetic Ideology in the Anthropocene

    • Authors: Daniel Andersson
      Pages: 113 - 144
      Abstract: In light of the radical change to the reach and range of technical alteration, the co-evolution of mankind and the biosphere has become one of the principal questions of our age. As we find that man has altered the planet at just about every scale we are capable of measuring, the question concerning the essence of technology, in its power to not only imitate but in many ways even surpass the forces of nature, has become critical for the discussion about global environmental change. Often, the empirical findings of the geosciences have been interpreted as a motive to question the long-standing dualism between nature and artifice that itself has served, during almost the entirety of the history of Western philosophy, as the productive tension through which concepts such as technology and history have hitherto been conceptualized. But if much of our contemporary discourse on global environmental change is premised upon the functional and formal similarities between natural and artificial organs, I argue that returning to the intellectual current of 1920s and 30s Weimar Culture, where the relationship between globalization and industrialization first became of central hermeneutic concern, may shed new light on the Anthropocene as the conceptual site for a resurged geoaesthetics that denotes the ontological ubiquity of the designed environment, making the technological the foundation for a modern typological cosmology. Examining Ernst Jünger’s early work on the meaning of the planetary impact of modern technology, I caution that by reifying the cybernetic disclosure of the earth as a natural-artificial hybrid into a naturalistic ontology of work, we are liable to render our planet perfectly functional to its sustained instrumental appropriation as standing-reserve.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • The Problem of Political Sovereignty: Hegel and Schmitt

    • Authors: Markos Haile Feseha
      Pages: 145 - 170
      Abstract: Both G.F.W. Hegel and Carl Schmitt took seriously the problem of political sovereignty entailed by liberal political theories. In Dictatorship (1919) and Political Theology (1922), Schmitt rejects liberal political theories that argue for the immediate unity of democracy and legality i.e., popular sovereignty, because he thinks they cannot secure political sovereignty. In the Philosophy of Right, Hegel denounces popular sovereignty for similar reasons. Yet given Schmitt’s negative assessment of Hegel their positions are seldom related to one another. I argue in this paper that Schmitt’s analysis of liberal political theories is similar to Hegel’s analysis of Rousseau’s liberal ideas. I contend, however, that Schmitt’s solution, which collapses the distinction between the executive and the legislative power in favor of the former, fails to secure political sovereignty. Contrary to Schmitt, Hegel conceives of the liberal predicament as a basic determination of any political state that rests on the division of the legislative and executive power. Hegel argues that the constitutional monarchy is a genuine instantiation of political sovereignty that can maintain not only the division of these powers, but also their unity. In this regard, I argue that Hegel’s conception of the division of powers provides a more convincing theory of the problem afflicting modern states than Schmitt’s and at least deserves to be taken more seriously by critics of Schmitt’s solution such as Hannah Arendt, Leo Strauss, Jurgen Habermas, Andreas Kalyvas and Chantal Mouffe.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • Life and Actuality

    • Authors: Ekin Erkan
      Pages: 171 - 195
      Abstract: This paper looks at dialectical inferences as they relate to Hegel’s modal metaphysics, closely examining the Actuality section of Hegel’s Science of Logic and positing a reading of Hegel’s modal actualism that engages with two strains of secondary commentary. Responding to commentators, we make the case that Hegel’s ‘das Logische’ avoids presupposing possibility’s being prior to actuality insofar as actuality and the derivation of possibility is considered as the in-itselfness of actuality, an implicit inner moment whereby actuality further determines itself. Actuality is immediate yet derived as an identity from the logic of inner and outer. If actuality as immediacy is explicit/outer, then its opposition, its implicitness/innerness, has to be possibility in the logic of modality. In order to conceive of actuality as existence, and particularly as an emerging process, we must already conceive the problem of presupposing an alien form within the logic of actuality.
      PubDate: 2021-12-31
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • Hegel and Bichat on Symmetry and Life

    • Authors: Emmanuel Chaput
      Pages: 196 - 223
      Abstract: Drawing from Bichat’s distinction between the asymmetrical organic life and the symmetrical animal life of the living individual, Hegel introduces an element of freedom through dissymmetry. This element points toward a new norm of life which transcend its strictly natural, organic and physiological dimension to emerge as this life of spirit (Leben des Geistes) which defines itself through the autonomy of human agency. But the importance of Bichat does not limit itself to the sphere of physiology and the issue of life within Hegel’s Philosophy of nature. Hegel also draws important conclusions from Bichat’s distinction and the issue of symmetry for his aesthetic theory.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • Breaking Free from Material Terrestrial Contingency

    • Authors: Oriane Elsa Marina Petteni
      Pages: 224 - 249
      Abstract: This article explores Hegel's Philosophy of Nature in the light of his Philosophy of Mind. It claims that the Absolute Spirit (or Mind) should be understood as the ultimate stage of the series teleologically driving the gradual scale of the natural products. Looking closely at the articulation between the second and third tome of the Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences, the paper shows that the natural products are hierarchized according to their vicinity with the main features of the Absolute Spirit, namely inner centration and self-referentiality. Those two properties, according to Hegel, grant the Spirit access to absolute freedom. As a consequence, inorganic exteriority – or what we call the initial universal environment from which natural products, including the human organism, originate – should be understood as representing the lowest point of the graduated path toward absolute freedom. I thus propose to understand the movement of disentanglement of Idea from nature, namely its alien medium, as a progressive emancipation from terrestrial contingency via a process of artificialization. Consequently, we make the suggestion that the notion of Life closely associated to the notion of the Concept throughout Hegel's work should be understood less in reference to carbon-based/organic life – that is, the form taken by life under contingent terrestrial conditions – than as a general, logical and relational movement, characterized by absolute self-organization, self-referentiality and self-closure. This broad understanding of the concept of Life, I argue, is closely related to contemporary forms taken by artificial life, which actualizes the life process in a
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • To Come Into Being: Hegel, Deleuze, and the Theater of Movement

    • Authors: Daniel Sacilotto
      Pages: 250 - 282
      Abstract: This paper explores two attempts to conceive of a genetic model of cognition and ontology of becoming through divergent accounts of the relation between conceptual and non-conceptual difference: Hegel’s conceptual realist account of becoming as the movement of radical negativity, and Deleuze’s structural realist account of Ideas as the individuation of intensive difference. I show how both attempts organize their respective accounts in relation to the perceived limitations of representation, understood either as an impure kind of cognition, or as a dogmatic model of thought as recognition. In both cases, representation is pathologized as preventing philosophy from grasping the creative dimension of thought, and its place within a dynamic reality. Nevertheless, I argue that just like the conceptual realist strategy surreptitiously relies on an unintelligible criterion of non-conceptual difference to set the dialectical movement of conceptual contradiction in motion, so the structural realist attempt to subtract becoming from the concept surreptitiously relies on the conceptual hypostasis by philosophy in order to assign an ontological valence to specific mathematical paradigms. By showing their disavowed dependence on what they presumably overcome, I finally indicate the necessity to elucidate the inextricability between the conceptual, structural, and the ontological dimensions of the “universe of discourse,” within which the semantic and epistemological scope of philosophy become integral to a revisionary account of representational cognition.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • Schelling and Huxley

    • Authors: Darcy Lyle Forster
      Pages: 283 - 298
      Abstract: A major problem associated with researching the psychedelic experience is that it is often described as ineffable. Scientific approaches have discovered that this ineffable component of the psychedelic experience is associated with positive therapeutic results and feelings of meaning and significance making it of central importance to psychedelic research. However, this paper argues that such scientific approaches are inadequate for providing any further account of the ineffable aspect of psychedelic experiences and that an alternative approach is needed. By returning to Aldous Huxley's experience as detailed in The Doors of Perception, it will be argued that an aesthetic approach is an adequate alternative. In establishing this aesthetic approach, the philosophy of Friedrich Schelling as presented in his two works System of Transcendental Idealism (1800) and The Philosophy of Art will be drawn from. In its application Schelling's philosophy will provide an example of how a philosophy of psychedelics might be successful.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • Metaphysics Between Contradictions and Paradoxes:

    • Authors: Michel Weber
      Pages: 299 - 308
      Abstract: In order to contextualize the stakes of some of the most venerable philosophical conundrums, it is expedient to remember Whitehead’s own adventures of ideas. Five steps are important to do understand why is Whitehead the post-modern Plato: (i) how does he differentiate metaphysics and cosmology' (ii) what does “onto-logic” involve' (iii) why should we articulate the coherence and applicability of any philosophical system' (iv) what are, in a nutshell, the specificities of Whitehead’s ontology' (v) how does radical empiricism provide elements of a solution to contradictions and paradoxes' Since I have already published on all these matters, only a synoptic reminder of these issues is provided here.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • Deleuze and Guattari's Conceptual Persona Revisited:

    • Authors: Mathias Schönher
      Pages: 309 - 339
      Abstract: This article focuses on the distinction between psychosocial types and conceptual personae advanced by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in What is Philosophy' The conceptual persona is the tool that a philosopher invents in order to create new concepts with which to bring forth new events. Although they present it as one of the three elements of philosophy, its nature and function and, above all, its conjunctions with psychosocial types have been overlooked by scholars. What is Philosophy' contains a list of character traits of which each conceptual persona is composed. The central argument of this article is that this list can well be regarded as a table of categories that make possible the exercise and experience of philosophy's creative thinking. Since the character traits of a conceptual persona match the characteristics of the given psychosocial types, it is necessary to keep inventing new conceptual personae always starting from the historical presuppositions. The philosopher requires the conceptual persona to transfer his or her movements of thought to philosophy's plane of immanence and thereby transform them in such a manner that philosophy can unfold as a creative power. It emerges as the subject of creative thinking at the same time as the concepts that subject creates, with which it coincides in the moment of creation. With the conceptual persona in What is Philosophy', Deleuze and Guattari determine the one element of philosophy that makes the transcendental empiricism a method of creation that appears as a precise operation with all its convincing and transparent results.
      PubDate: 2021-12-31
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • The Generic Politics of Extinction Rebellion:

    • Authors: Evan Supple
      Pages: 340 - 364
      Abstract: In this paper, I argue that for an emancipatory environmental politics to be fundamentally distinct from the liberal democratic tradition, it must take the form of what Alain Badiou terms a ’truth procedure’. This form of processual politics structured around an affirmative norm disclosed by an Event — which I here claim to be the emerging ecological crises vis-a-vis modern States — and determined by what Badiou designates the generic will, has the potential to maintain a receptive and reciprocal relation with the environment within which it is situated. To justify this claim, I enlist Alain Badiou’s formalist ontology and political thought. I begin with an exegesis of the latter and then, following a discussion of what I designate as the ecological Event, proceed to introduce the environmental activism movement, Extinction Rebellion — one of the first examples of a Badiouian political truth procedure in the 21st century — to animate Badiou’s abstract political thought. By referencing Extinction Rebellion and its indubitable success, I demonstrate the contemporary relevance of Badiou’s politics and articulate why it ought to guide future environmental-political theories and praxes. In pleading this case, I simultaneously affirm the emancipatory potential that inheres in XR, giving heed to its ontological form.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • Morphogenesis, Forces and the Universal Constants

    • Authors: Michael Lieber
      Pages: 365 - 396
      Abstract: Previous studies of in vitro and in vivo morphogenesis in plants may suggest a more inclusive principle governing biological and physical processes. Forces, including those of adhesion and cohesion, may reflect and enable the deep role of the dimensional, universal physical constants of physics through a constant, regenerative-defining, dimensionless component of those constants. It is the existence of such universal constants from which comes and reflects stability, coherence and constancy in nature through constraints or forces enabled within a neo-aether, and occurring through a non-uniform space-time. These are situations most displayed in biological processes. And a further study of the connections between such universal constants may give us deep insights into such natural processes and situations. Such as, the morphogenic becoming of such situations may thus be shown to reflect specifically a unifying principle governing the stabilization of physical and biological phenomena, with relevance for human society. Published and unpublished information, pertaining to the physical, dimensional universal constants and forces, which indirectly illustrate this proposed principle, is presented. This may serve a heuristic function for devising and conceptualizing new experimental approaches and designs, where an investigation of biological processes becomes a unifying study of and approach to all natural processes through all scales. A biological-based epistemology is also suggested, which should serve the constructive evolution and stabilization of science, especially social science. In this connection, the issue of indeterminacy and determinacy in science is also addressed.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • Internalizing Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic

    • Authors: Arran Gare
      Pages: 397 - 420
      Abstract: It is clear that environmentalist are failing in their efforts to avert a global ecological catastrophe. It is argued here that Aldo Leopold had provided the foundations for an effective environmental movement, but to develop his land ethic, it is necessary first to interpret and advance it by seeing it as a form of communitarianism, and link it to communitarian ethical and political philosophy. This synthesis can then be further developed by incorporating advanced ideas in ecology and human ecology. Overcoming the division between the sciences and humanities and granting a place to narratives as a highly developed form of eco-semiosis, these provide the foundation for a new grand narrative committed to creating an ecological civilization, a civilization organized to augment the life of ecosystems, including human ecosystems, by augmenting the conditions for its members to flourish and develop their full potential to augment life.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • Living a Non-Anthropocentric Future

    • Authors: Gennady Shkliarevsky
      Pages: 421 - 461
      Abstract: Abstract: The climate change is one of the most contentious issues discussed in the public arena today. Environmental activists contend that the climate change is not an act of nature or God but is a result of human actions. Environmental critics do not see the degradation of the environment as merely a result of wrongheaded or misguided policies. Their critique goes much deeper. For many environmental activists, this degradation of reflects a fundamental flaw that is deeply rooted in our culture. They identify this flaw as anthropocentrism, or a worldview that assigns to humans and human values the primary place in the cosmic order. Their proposed solution is to reject this worldview and adopt a new egalitarian vision in which humans and the rest of nature will have equal value. This article agrees with the view that anthropocentrism presents a real problem for our civilization. However, it takes a much broader approach to this problem that goes beyond the critique of environmentalists. First, it sees that the source of anthropocentrism lies much deeper than the environmentalists think. The source is the pattern in human thinking that emerged when early humans began to walk the face of this earth. Early humans did not see the important role of the process of creation in the way they perceive, interpret, and represent reality. The article explains the importance of the process of creation in the way we think. The article sees the source of anthropocentrism in the failure to recognize the importance of the process of creation and in the way this failure affects our thinking. This failure has resulted in a view of reality that is limited, exclusionary, and ultimately subjective. This failure has left humans no choice but to view reality through the prism of mental constructs that they create, which is the main source of anthropocentrism. Also, environmentalists see the problem of anthropocentrism primarily in its relationship to the environment. This article emphasizes that anthropocentrism is a broad phenomenon that affect many areas of our life. Finally, the article examines major solutions that address the problem of anthropocentrism and offers their critique. It sees their principal common shortcoming in their exclusionary approach and outlines a new and inclusive approach.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • The Four Elements and Their Characteristics according to the Schema in the
           Early Medieval Anonymous Fragment De Quattuor Elementis

    • Authors: Marek Otisk
      Pages: 462 - 500
      Abstract: The paper is an attempt to interpret a schema that is part of an early medieval fragment known as the Excerptum de quattuor elementis. In this schema, the individual elements (fire, air, water, earth) are presented as the elements which form the material world using several characterisations typical of the period: as the sum of their natural physical properties in accordance with the Platonic and Aristotelian traditions, as geometric shapes (to put it simply, using the so-called Platonic solids) and as numerical values connected by a 2:1 ratio. The aim of this paper is to propose a possible interpretation of the numerical values and connections found in this schema using contemporary texts and diagrams (especially Calcidius and Isidore of Seville, as well as other sources available at the time), which would include a consistent yet complex characterisation of the elements, their properties and their mutual interconnectedness, as found in the fragmentary text of the Excerptum de quattuor elementis and in the schema itself.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
  • Fire in Three Images, from Heraclitus to the Anthropocene

    • Authors: Carlos Segovia
      Pages: 501 - 521
      Abstract: This paper aims at reassessing three of fire’s most thought-provoking metaphors throughout the history of Western thought, from Heraclitus to the present. It shows that fire functions as conceptual figure for the analysis of human situatedness. Each image is extracted from a series of texts, referred to a conceptual issue, and explored in relation to a contemporary discussion. The first is Kosmos; the issue, physis and time; the texts, Heraclitus’s and Parmenides’s fragments; the discussion turns around Bachelard’s, Deleuze’s, and Severino’s interpretations of the present. The second is Hybris; the issue is the replacement of physis by technology; the texts, Aeschylus’s Prometheus and Heraclitus’s fragments; the discussion turns around modern misrepresentations of Prometheus. The third is Innigkeit; the issue is that of the re-tuning in to physis; the texts are Empedocles’s and Heraclitus fragments, Hölderlin’s Empedocles and Essays, and Heidegger’s The Origin of the Work of Art; the discussion turns around Hegel’s sources and legacy, with a reference to works of Malabou and Negarestani reread in light of Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition. The paper concludes with a brief reflection on hybris and the Anthropocene.
      PubDate: 2021-12-30
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 3 (2021)
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