Volume XVIII (2013), no. 1

IDEAS • BOOKS • SOCIETY • READINGS

Contents

Studies

KIRÁLY V. István
Institution:
Department of Philosophy, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj
Email:
kiraly_philobib@yahoo.com
Abstract

The study searches for, and breaks open, paths to the philosophical understanding of human historicality which may reveal both the ontological-historical identity and particularity of man, and the ontological origins of historiology, making them more comprehensible at the same time. The research reveals and articulates these divergent roots or origins in the finitude of human existence, or in the multiplicity of man’s all-time existential relation to it, in a critical dialogue with both tradition and contemporary philosophies of history. Within these, pre-eminently with the dialogues which scholarly research – albeit in a perhaps surprising way and horizon – undertakes nowadays with both Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan, and Martin Heidegger’s pertaining thoughts. The summary of the meditations leads in fact to the recognition that: history exists because human death exists; or, more precisely, because there exists living being which relates to its death in its being, in and by its modes of being – explicitly or implicitly – in a being-like way. For which death, its own death is not a mere givenness but – by how it relates to it – a possibility in fact. And a possibility which, together with its all-time “substantive” occurrence, that is, dying – precisely by it yet always also above it! – originates as well as structures, articulates, permeates and colours all (other) being modes and possibilities of this living being’s being. That is, it opens them up, structures them open in reality, in, and precisely by, its finitude. By this, it also lends them an articulate gravity – open onto this finitude – constitutive of history. Thus, it articulates these modes of being truly as living history. [*]

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[*] The study was written with the financial support of Domus Hungarica Artium et Scientiarum of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

The quotation marks around the expression “philosophy of history” are to highlight the fundamental situation that the subject of what follows here is not the “philosophy of history” in any kind of disciplinary sense – that is, as a particularly outlined and defined “branch” of philosophy or philosophical research – but precisely the nature of philosophical inquiry about history – together with its thematic peculiarities, outlines, weight and motivations – as outstandingly a mode of being, which existentially and ontologically pertains to the inquiring subject itself, to its being, with particular regard to the possibilities of this being. This is why I added the term ontology of history as clarification, without quotation marks.

 

FEHÉR István M.
Institution:
Eötvös Loránd Univetsity, Budapest, Andrássy University, Budapest
Email:
feher@ella.hu
Abstract

In the following paper Richard Rorty’s legacy is discussed according to the significance he contributed to 20th century philosophy. After a brief characterization of Rorty's thought in general, a selection of themes follows by highlighting certain aspects characteristic of his interests with reference, respectively, to pragmatism and hermeneutics, and to the interconnections of pragmatism, solidarity, and globalisation. As an autonomous research field, closely connected to Rorty’s anti-foundationalism, I propose to draw on Hegel’a criticism of Kant with regard to the concept of deposit. This may be called an argumentation against the obligation of providing arguments, very much in line with Rorty’s dismissal of any neutral and ahistorical point of view. At the end of the paper I shortly assess the comprehensive significance of Rorty’s philosophy and attempt to show an internal tension in his thought. [*]

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[*] A first version of this paper was read to a symposium in memory of Richard Rorty, organized by the Faculty of Humanities and the Philosophy Department of the University of Pécs, in cooperation with several European and overseas universities, in Pécs (Hungary), in May 2008. The text which is published here is a revised and enlarged version. I am grateful to the Hungarian National Reserch Fund for its support (Project number: T 75840)

Horia PĂTRAŞCU
Institution:
Faculty of Philosophy and Socio-Political Sciences, “Al. I. Cuza” University, Iasi
Email:
h_patrascu@yahoo.com
Abstract

Besides the categories of major and minor cultures, Cioran introduces the category of intermediary culture, innovatively modifying the dichotomy “major – minor culture.” The idea passed hardly noticed among the exegetes of Cioran’s work, although it plays a crucial role in the entire demonstrative endeavour in The Transfiguration of Romania. In the absence of this premise, the thesis of the transfiguration of Romania could be read as the utopic product of a radical thinking. In fact, the ideal proposed by Cioran is the entrance of Romania in history, the escape from the ahistorical or, changing the title of another of Cioran’s books, the ascension in time. Compared with this ideal, the departure from the minor register of the Romanian culture is only a necessary means, a relative purpose and not a purpose in itself because the stage of history grants no role to minor cultures. Only that, it is not exclusively major cultures that play on the stage of the grand history, as we could think considering the dichotomist classification, but also the intermediary cultures (e.g. Spain, Italy). Considering this linking element, this intermediary step represented by the category of the “intermediary cultures”, Romania’s leap in history can be read, better, as a “weak” transfiguration. Another idea of the article is that the publishing of The Transfiguration of Romania is, to a great extent, a reply to the theory of culture elaborated by Lucian Blaga, who, in the same year, 1936, publishes The Mioritic Space and is admitted in the Romanian Academy. This proximity (temporal, thematic and professional) between Blaga and Cioran has not drawn attention so far, although we consider that the fathoming of its implications is more clarifying than the positioning of Cioran in the line of Şcoala Ardeleană or even Ion Budai–Deleanu, as Marta Petreu does. [*]

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[*] Acknowledgements: Funding was made by Human Resources Development Operational Programme, under the project “Capacity Development for Innovation and Growth Impact Postdoctoral Research Programs” POSDRU/89/1.5/S/49944

Ioana COSMA
Institution:
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Letters
Email:
ioanacosma@rocketmail.com
Abstract

This essay discusses Elie Wiesel’s Les portes de la forêt and the author’s exploration of apophatic discourse. It argues that Wiesel problematizes four aspects of apophasis: de-naming, alterity, secrecy, and joy. This signifies that the experience of absence (from language, from the world, from the self) is not merely a uniform and monochrome experience but a layered and textured darkness, interspersed with profane and sacred illuminations. Through the apophatic experience of Wiesel’s character, we bear witness to the extreme richness of our shadow and to its relation with the question of the divine. [*] [1]

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[*] This work was supported by the strategic grant POSDRU/89/1.5/S/62259, Project “Applied social, human and political sciences” co-financed by the European Social Fund within the Sectorial Operational Program Human Resources Development 2007-2013.

 

[1] In the Islamic tradition, i.e. the writings of Sohrawardi, the Archangel Gabriel is portrayed as having a dark wing (pertaining to the terrestrial realm) and a light wing (pertaining to the spiritual realm).

Ioana COSMAN
Institution:
Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj
Email:
ioanaco@hotmail.com
Abstract

The present study aims to investigate the relationship between the concentration camps experience and Holocaust survivors’ dreams during and after their imprisonment. It is an interdisciplinary approach, which brings together history with philosophy and psychology, trying to identify how dreaming in Holocaust survivors was affected by traumatic events. Twenty-two Holocaust survivors from Northern Transylvania were interviewed during the years 2006–2009. Their memory of past events was investigated both through their post-Holocaust discourse, as well as through the dreams described by the survivors in the interviews conducted by the author of the proposed study. [*]

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[*] This work was made possible by the financial support of the Sectoral Operational Program for Human Resources Development 2007-2013, co-financed by the European Social Fund, within the project POSDRU 89/1.5/S/60189 with the title “Postdoctoral Programs for Sustainable Development in a Knowledge-Based Society”.

Luminita FLOREA
Institution:
Eastern Illinois University, Charleston
Email:
l_florea@yahoo.com
Abstract

This article analyzes three analogies based on monstrous anomaly described in late medieval music theory treatises. Jacques of Liège’s 14th-century diatribe against the proponents of abnormal notational values such as larga (or duplex longa) invoked multicephalic or multi-limbed creatures, possibly recalling the Hydra of Lerna, Cerberus, or Medusa Gorgona. Fifteenth-century music theorist Ugolino of Orvieto’s analysis of the eight ecclesiastical modes posited that the occurrence of structural anomalies within interval species engendered a monstrous, composite animal: Chimera. The third example, still from Ugolino, introduces a surgically “manufactured,” anthropomorphic monster. Its origin, traceable to actual 14th- and 15th-century surgical practice, suggests Ugolino’s familiarity with contemporary surgical writings such as Guy de Chauliac’s Chyrurgia magna. Furthermore, the monster also suggests Ugolino’s actual connection with Michele Savonarola, physician to both Borso and Lionello d’Este at the court of Ferrara, and believed to have performed one of the two types of surgery present in Ugolino’s analogy. [*]

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[*] Earlier versions of this article were presented at the Seventeenth Interdisciplinary Conference of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, University of Arizona at Tempe, February 2011; and the Annual Conference of the UK Art Historians, University of Warwick, April 2011. I would like to thank Richard Aspin at the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division, the Wellcome Library for the History of Medicine, London for providing access to the medical manuscripts, incunabula, and early books referred to in the second section of this article.

Cristina-Georgiana VOICU
Institution:
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iaşi
Email:
voicucristina2004@yahoo.fr
Abstract

In this article, I intend to argue that cultural identities fit the term diaspora in all senses of the term. Firstly, I intend to discuss the term identity itself exploring arguments by different critics on the concept. Secondly, I intend to apply the concept of diaspora[1] to the cultural identity formation to attempt to compensate for the western perspective. The concept of identity is complex and different meanings are evident to offer good starting points for its investigation.

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[1] Diaspora (namely a collective memory and myth about the homeland) refers to those social groups which share a common ethnic and national origin, but live outside the territory of origin. These groups have a strong feeling of attachment to their “homeland”, making no specific reference to ethnicity, or to a particular place of settlement. All diasporas, either independent of national and ethnic background or treated as a single group in which ethnical boundaries are crossed are considered as being hybrid and globally oriented.

Vasile PĂDUREAN
Institution:
Independent Researcher, Doctor of Albert-Ludwigs University, Freiburg im Breisgau
Email:
bujorel@web.de
Abstract

Diotima’s speech is not only one of Plato’s teachings, it also comprises the teachings and the decisive event that Socrates experienced as his great initiation at around thirty years of age. These teachings remained his secret until the time of the symposium. He experimented with their philosophical implications for twenty-five years before giving this speech in the symposium. The main difference between Diotima’s understanding and all other speakers at the symposium is that Diotima regards Eros as a daemon and not as a god. However, she presents the Eros-daemon as a paradigm for the philosophers. What is a philosopher? How do mortals teach themselves to be philosophers? Diotima develops the essence of Eros from the love of physical beauty to participation in beauty itself. The self-education of a philosopher is illustrated in the sophisticated example of the love of beauty. The teachings of the love of beauty to the highest degree can be learned like Socrates, who learned from Diotima; but the contemplation of beauty itself can only be experienced personally – like Socrates. This last step relies neither on the teacher’s expertise, nor solely on the aspirant’s initiative – it simply occurs suddenly. Through the contemplation of the beautiful, the thinker attains a metamorphosis when he/she beholds beauty itself. The aspirant, who has perceived beauty itself, simultaneously becomes a philosopher. The difference between philosophers and all other types of aspirants and lovers is that the philosophers not only love the many beautiful people and things, they also perceive beauty itself. What is distinctive about Diotima’s speech is that it clarifies the limits of her teachings as well as those of all theories with respect to philosophy. She discloses the sphere of self-education for the philosopher, who at the last stage is no longer taught, but can only experience for himself.

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Miscellanea

Florina ILIS
Reviewed by
Adriana STAN
Institution:
Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj, Faculty of Letters
Email:
adrstan@yahoo.ca
Abstract
Corin BRAGA
Reviewed by
Călina BORA
Institution:
Babeş-Bolyai University Cluj, Dept. of Comparative Literature
Email:
calinabora@yahoo.com
Abstract