Peter K. J. Park: Africa, Asia, and the History of Philosophy: Racism in the Formation of the Philosophical Canon, 1780–1830 (2013)
Filed under book | Tags: · africa, asia, china, egypt, empiricism, history of philosophy, idealism, india, pantheism, persia, philosophy, race, racism, religion, science
“A historical investigation of the exclusion of Africa and Asia from modern histories of philosophy.
In this provocative historiography, Peter K. J. Park provides a penetrating account of a crucial period in the development of philosophy as an academic discipline. During these decades, a number of European philosophers influenced by Immanuel Kant began to formulate the history of philosophy as a march of progress from the Greeks to Kant—a genealogy that supplanted existing accounts beginning in Egypt or Western Asia and at a time when European interest in Sanskrit and Persian literature was flourishing. Not without debate, these traditions were ultimately deemed outside the scope of philosophy and relegated to the study of religion. Park uncovers this debate and recounts the development of an exclusionary canon of philosophy in the decades of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. To what extent was this exclusion of Africa and Asia a result of the scientization of philosophy? To what extent was it a result of racism?
This book includes the most extensive description available anywhere of Joseph-Marie de Gérando’s Histoire comparée des systèmes de philosophie, Friedrich Schlegel’s lectures on the history of philosophy, Friedrich Ast’s and Thaddä Anselm Rixner’s systematic integration of Africa and Asia into the history of philosophy, and the controversy between G. W. F. Hegel and the theologian August Tholuck over ‘pantheism.'”
Publisher SUNY Press, 2013
Philosophy and Race series
David Freedberg: The Eye of the Lynx: Galileo, His Friends, and the Beginnings of Modern Natural History (2002)
Filed under book | Tags: · animal, art history, astronomy, botany, data visualisation, empiricism, history of science, image, natural history, nature, plants
“Some years ago, David Freedberg opened a dusty cupboard at Windsor Castle and discovered hundreds of vividly colored, masterfully precise drawings of all sorts of plants and animals from the Old and New Worlds. Coming upon thousands more drawings like them across Europe, Freedberg finally traced them all back to a little-known scientific organization from seventeenth-century Italy called the Academy of Linceans (or Lynxes).
Founded by Prince Federico Cesi in 1603, the Linceans took as their task nothing less than the documentation and classification of all of nature in pictorial form. In this first book-length study of the Linceans to appear in English, Freedberg focuses especially on their unprecedented use of drawings based on microscopic observation and other new techniques of visualization. Where previous thinkers had classified objects based mainly on similarities of external appearance, the Linceans instead turned increasingly to sectioning, dissection, and observation of internal structures. They applied their new research techniques to an incredible variety of subjects, from the objects in the heavens studied by their most famous (and infamous) member Galileo Galilei—whom they supported at the most critical moments of his career—to the flora and fauna of Mexico, bees, fossils, and the reproduction of plants and fungi. But by demonstrating the inadequacy of surface structures for ordering the world, the Linceans unwittingly planted the seeds for the demise of their own favorite method—visual description-as a mode of scientific classification.
Profusely illustrated and engagingly written, Eye of the Lynx uncovers a crucial episode in the development of visual representation and natural history. And perhaps as important, it offers readers a dazzling array of early modern drawings, from magnificently depicted birds and flowers to frogs in amber, monstrously misshapen citrus fruits, and more.”
Publisher University of Chicago Press, 2002
ISBN 0226261476, 9780226261478
Review (Peter Campbell, London Review of Books)
Review (Eileen Reeves, The Art Bulletin)
Review (Pamela O. Long, Technology and Culture)
Review (Steven F. Ostrow, The International History Review)
Review (The New York Review of Books)
Review (PD Smith, The Guardian)
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Filed under book | Tags: · 1800s, biography, empiricism, enlightenment, history of science, music, neurophysiology, neuroscience, physiology, psychology, science, vision
“Although Hermann von Helmholtz was one of most remarkable figures of nineteenth-century science, he is little known outside his native Germany. Helmholtz (1821-1894) made significant contributions to the study of vision and perception and was also influential in the painting, music, and literature of the time; one of his major works analyzed tone in music. This book, the first in English to describe Helmholtz’s life and work in detail, describes his scientific studies, analyzes them in the context of the science and philosophy of the period—in particular the German Naturphilosophie—and gauges his influence on today’s neuroscience.
Helmholtz, trained by Johannes Müller, one of the best physiologists of his time, used a resolutely materialistic and empirical scientific method in his research. This puts him in the tradition of Kant and the English empirical philosophers and directly opposed to the idealists and naturalists who interpreted nature based on metaphysical presuppositions. Helmholtz’s research on color vision put him at odds with Goethe’s more romantic theorizing on the subject; but at the end of his life, Helmholtz honored Goethe’s contributions, acknowledging that artistic intuition could reveal truths about the human mind that are inaccessible to science.
Helmholtz’s work, eclipsed at the beginning of the twentieth century by new ideas in neurophysiology, has recently been rediscovered. We can now recognize in Helmholtz’s methods–which were based on his belief in the interconnectedness of physiology and psychology–the origins of neuroscience.”
Originally published as Helmholtz: Des lumières aux neurosciences, Odile Jacob, Paris, 2001
Translated and edited by Laurence Garey
Publisher MIT Press, 2010
ISBN 0262014483, 9780262014489