philosophy

Albertus Magnus and the Merit of Personal Observation

Albertus Magnus and the Merit of Personal Observation

On November 15, 1280, German scholar, Dominican friar, Catholic bishop, and Catholic Saint, Albert, Count von Bollstädt a.k.a Abertus Magnus, Albert the Great passed away. As a philosopher Albertus Magnus championed Aristotle‘s philosophy, but adapted it to the medieval outlook, and held that there was merit in the addition of personal observation. He often is referred to as the greatest German philosopher and theologian of the Middle Ages. Even more…
Theophrastus of Eresos – the Father of Botany

Theophrastus of Eresos – the Father of Botany

Theophrastos of Eresos, who studied in Plato’s philosopher’s school, is most famous for his groundbreaking work on plants. Thus, he is often referred to as the ‘father of botany’. His two surviving botanical works, Enquiry into Plants (Historia Plantarum) and On the Causes of Plants, were an important influence on Renaissance science. Theophrastus of Eresos was a native of Eresos in Lesbos and his given name was Tyrtamus. It is…
The World is in Ever-Present Change – Heraclitus of Ephesus

The World is in Ever-Present Change – Heraclitus of Ephesus

Greek pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus was famous for his insistence on ever-present change in the universe, as stated in the famous saying, “No man ever steps in the same river twice”. This position was complemented by his stark commitment to a unity of opposites in the world, stating that “the path up and down are one and the same”. Through these doctrines Heraclitus characterized all existing entities by pairs…
John Locke and the Social Contract

John Locke and the Social Contract

On August 29, 1632, English philosopher and physician John Locke was born. One of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers he became known as the “Father of Classical Liberalism“. He spent over 20 years developing the ideas he published in his most significant work, Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) which analyzed the nature of human reason, and promoted experimentation as the basis of knowledge.  John Locke’s Youth and Education John…
John Venn and the Venn Diagram

John Venn and the Venn Diagram

On August 4, 1834, English logician and philosopher John Venn was born. He is best known for his contribution of the eponymous Venn diagram, used in the fields of set theory, probability, logic, statistics, and computer science. John Venn grew up in a quite religious family and it was expected that he followed his family’s tradition into priesthood. He attended Gonville and Caius College Cambridge and was awarded a mathematics scholarship…
Thomas S. Kuhn and the Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Thomas S. Kuhn and the Structure of Scientific Revolutions

On July 18, 1922, American physicist, historian, and philosopher of science Thomas Samuel Kuhn was born. He is most famous for his controversial 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which was influential in both academic and popular circles, introducing the term “paradigm shift“, which has since become an English-language idiom. Kuhn was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Samuel L. Kuhn, who was trained as a hydraulic engineer at Harvard…
Reality according to Alexius Meinong

Reality according to Alexius Meinong

On July 17, 1853 Austrian philosopher Alexius Meinong was born. He is best known for his contributions to ontology as well as to the philosophy of mind and theory of value. Famous is also his his belief in nonexistent objects. Meinong distinguished several levels of reality among objects and facts about them. Meinong was born in Lemberg, former capital of the Austrian crown land Galicia (before and after the Habsburg period Lwów, Poland; today…
Giambattista Vico and the Scienza Nuova

Giambattista Vico and the Scienza Nuova

On June 23, 1668, Italian political philosopher, rhetorician, historian, and jurist Giambattista Vico was born. An apologist of classical antiquity, Vico is best known for his magnum opus, the Scienza Nuova of 1725, often published in English as The New Science, in which he attempted to bring about the convergence of history, from the one side, and the more systematic social sciences, from the other, so that their interpenetration could form…
Rudolf Carnap and the Logical Structure of the World

Rudolf Carnap and the Logical Structure of the World

On May 18, 1891, German-born philosopher Rudolf Carnap was born. He was a major member of the Vienna Circle and an advocate of logical positivism and made significant contributions to logic and the philosophy of science. To avoid the ambiguities resulting from the use of ordinary language, he made a logical analysis of language. He believed in studying philosophical issues in artificial languages constructed under the rules of logic and…
The Visions of Emanuel Swedenborg

The Visions of Emanuel Swedenborg

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…
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