Goethe had quite an important influence on Otto Maier. Goethe, a poet and at the same time a scholar, who seemed to offer the model of an approach to nature that was both scientific and aesthetic. Let’s take a look at a peculiar dedicatory page in a published book of Humboldt and Bonpland. From July 16, 1799, to March 7, 1804, the German scholar Alexander von Humboldt, together with the french botanist Bonpland, had embarked...
Aletheia
Aletheia, the Greek word for truth, typically stands for the correctness of a thought, perception, or assertion, and, in fact, as early as Homer, a cognate of correctness, homoiosis, served as a synonym for it. According to Heidegger, this construal of aletheia derives from its more basic meaning as un-hiddenness, where the privative prefix ‘un-’ apes the corresponding privative Greek prefix ‘a-’ in ‘a-letheia’ and ‘letheia’ derives from words for the hidden or forgotten. For...
brain conscious mind
Penfield’s classic brain experiments of the 1930s inspired a certain famous riddle, long since dubbed “brains in vats” by philosophy students. It goes like this: You think you’re sitting there reading this post. Actually, you could be a disembodied brain in a laboratory somewhere, soaking in a vat of nutrients. Electrodes are attached to the brain. And a mad scientist feeds it with a stream of electrical impulses that exactly simulates the experience of reading...
Contradictions and paradox
When it is exclaimed that contradictions may very well be true, numerous analytic philosophers will screw up their face into an appearance of discomfort, and say ‘But I just don’t see what it could be for a contradiction to be true’. They could mean numerous things by this. ‘See’ might just mean ‘understand’, by which case they might be complaining that traditional two-valued semantics leaves no room, as it were, for something to be both...
Ishtar
It was Rodin who stated that “Man never invented anything new, only discovered things.” Although it’s correct to say that certain symbols have been man-made for a particular purpose, it’s just as correct to argue that everything is somehow inspired by the natural world around us, by the forms of nature, plants, animals, the elements. Even a reaction against the fluid forms of nature is usually inspired by a desire to offer an alternative. Occasionally...
Descartes
If you have been the proverbial fly on the wall in Descartes’s bed-room in La Flèche, in southern France, in 1636, you may have watched Descartes laying in bed observing you. His most remarkable idea came to him while observing a fly crawl along a curved path, which he thought about illustrating in terms of its distance from the walls. A revolution in thought was in the making; mathematics would certainly never be similar. The...
Rothbard
Rothbard’s “Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature” displays a remarkable organic unity: the book is much more than the sum of its parts. Points made in the various essays included in the book mesh together to form a consistent worldview. The system of thought set forward in these essays, moreover, illuminates both history and the contemporary world. In the book’s initial essay, whose title has been adopted for the whole book, Murray Rothbard raises a...
Novalis
Ulva Naumann stated in episode 9: “Knowing Ultimate Truth is only possible when you’re able to embrace paradox.” Your logical mind may find this impossible, but life itself has no problem in being paradoxical regardless. Good fortune always seems to bring happiness, but deceives you with her smiles, whereas bad fortune is always truthful because by changing she shows her true fickleness. Good fortune deceives, but bad fortune enlightens. Dualists hate paradox but in the...