philosophy

Emanuel Swedenborg Visions of the Afterlife

Emanuel Swedenborg Visions of the Afterlife

On March 29, 1772, Swedish scientist, philosopher, theologian, and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg passed away. He is best known for his book on the afterlife, Heaven and Hell (1758). From Swedenborg’s inventive and mechanical genius came his method of finding terrestrial longitude by the Moon, new methods of constructing docks and even tentative suggestions for the submarine and the airplane. Swedenborg had a prolific career as an inventor and scientist. In 1741, at…
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Georg Philipp Friedrich von Hardenberg aka Novalis

Georg Philipp Friedrich von Hardenberg aka Novalis

On March 25, 1801, poet, author, and philosopher of early German Romanticism Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg, better known under his pen name Novalis passed away. In spite of his early death at age 28, Novalis left behind a complex philosophical legacy that encompasses discussions of subjectivity and self-consciousness, issues in epistemology, moral theory, political philosophy, problems of interpretation, philosophy of history, philosophy of religion, the proto-existentialist experience of the finality…
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The Influential Timelines of Joseph Priestley

The Influential Timelines of Joseph Priestley

On March 13, 1733 (March 24 according to the new Gregorian calendar), English theologian, Dissenting clergyman, natural philosopher and chemist Joseph Priestley was born. He is usually credited with the discovery of oxygen, having isolated it in its gaseous state, although Carl Wilhelm Scheele [3] and Antoine Lavoisier [4] also have a claim to the discovery. A scholar and teacher throughout his life, Priestley also made significant contributions to pedagogy, including the publication of…
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Michael Polanyi’s Criticism on Positivism

Michael Polanyi’s Criticism on Positivism

On March 11, 1891, Hungarian-British polymath Michael Polanyi was born. Polanyi made important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, economics, and philosophy. He argued that positivism supplies a false account of knowing, which if taken seriously undermines humanity’s highest achievements. “When order is achieved among human beings by allowing them to interact with each other on their own initiative — subject only to the laws which uniformly apply to all of them —…
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Friedrich Schlegel – Towards a unifying Presentation of Philosophy, Prose, Poetry, Genius and Criticism

Friedrich Schlegel – Towards a unifying Presentation of Philosophy, Prose, Poetry, Genius and Criticism

On March 10, 1772, German poet, literary critic, philosopher, philologist and indologist Friedrich Schlegel was born. A zealous promoter of the Romantic movement, together with his older brother, August Wilhelm Schlegel, he was one of the main figures of the Jena romantics. Schlegel was a pioneer in Indo-European studies, comparative linguistics, and morphological typology. “It is equally deadly to the mind to have a system and not to have one. So it…
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Michel de Montaigne and the Art of Writing an Essay

Michel de Montaigne and the Art of Writing an Essay

On February 28, 1533, French philosopher Michel de Montaigne was born. Montaigne was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. His work is noted for its merging of casual anecdotes and autobiography with intellectual insight. His massive volume Essais contains some of the most influential essays ever written. “We are, I know not how, double in ourselves, so that what…
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Frank P. Ramsey and the Ramsey Theory

Frank P. Ramsey and the Ramsey Theory

On February 22, 1903, precocious British philosopher, mathematician and economist Frank Plumpton Ramsey was born. Although he died already at age 26, he had made significant contributions to logic, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of language and decision theory. He remains noted for his Ramsey Theory, a mathematical study of combinatorial objects in which a certain degree of order must occur as the scale of the object becomes large. “The first problem I…
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Isaac Casaubon – The Most Learned Man in Europe

Isaac Casaubon – The Most Learned Man in Europe

On February 15, 1559, French classical scholar and philologist Isaac Casaubon was born. Casaubon is known among philologists and historians of philosophy today above all for his proof in De rebus sacris et ecclesiasticis exercitationes XVI (1614, London) that the so-called Corpus Hermeticum could not have been created earlier than the first century AD. He was regarded by many of his time as the most learned man in Europe. Isaac Causaubon –…
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Immanuel Kant – Philosopher of the Enlightenment

Immanuel Kant – Philosopher of the Enlightenment

On February 12, 1804, the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant passed away. He is widely considered to be a central figure of modern philosophy. He argued that human concepts and categories structure our view of the world and its laws, and that reason is the source of morality. His thought continues to hold a major influence in contemporary thought, especially in fields such as metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics. The problem…
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The Encyclopaedia of Rabanus Maurus

The Encyclopaedia of Rabanus Maurus

On February 4, 856, Frankish Benedictine monk, theologian, poet, encyclopedist and military writer Rabanus Maurus Magnentius passed away. He was the author of the encyclopaedia De rerum naturis (“On the Natures of Things“). He also wrote treatises on education and grammar and commentaries on the Bible. He was one of the most prominent teachers and writers of the Carolingian age, and was called “Praeceptor Germaniae,” or “the teacher of Germany.” How Rabanus…
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