philosophy

Georg Simmel – First Generation Sociologist

Georg Simmel – First Generation Sociologist

On March 1, 1858, German sociologist, philosopher and critic Georg Simmel was born. Along with Max Weber and Emile Durkheim, Simmel was one of the first generation sociologists, questioning the definition of society, nature, and culture. “That man overcomes himself means that he reaches out beyond the bounds that the moment sets for him. There must be something at hand to be overcome, but it is only there in order to be overcome.…
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The World according to Arthur Schopenhauer

The World according to Arthur Schopenhauer

On February 22, 1788, famous and most influential German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was born. He is best known for his book, The World as Will and Representation, in which he claimed that our world is driven by a continually dissatisfied will, continually seeking satisfaction. “It is the courage to make a clean breast of it in the face of every question that makes the philosopher.” — Arthur Schopenhauer, Letter to Johann Wolfgang…
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Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Crime and Punishment

On February 9, 1881, famous Russian novelist, short story writer, and essayist Fyodor Dostoyevsky passed away in St. Petersburg, Russia. Dostoyevsky‘s literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social and spiritual context of 19th-century Russia and is considered to be one of the greatest and most prominent psychologists in world literature. The Grand Inquisitor The very first piece of literature I read from Dostoyevsky was the short parable ‘The Grand…
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Francisco de Enzinas and the Translation of the New Testament

Francisco de Enzinas and the Translation of the New Testament

On December 30, 1552, classical scholar, translator, author, and Protestant apologist of Spanish origin Francisco de Enzinas, also known by the humanist name Francis Dryander, passed away. De Enzinas was the first to translate the New Testament from Greek to Spanish. Early Years Francisco de Enzinas was born in Burgos, Spain, probably on 1 November 1518, as one of ten children of the successful wool merchant Juan de Enzinas and his wife…
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George Edward Moore and the Naturalistic Fallacy

George Edward Moore and the Naturalistic Fallacy

On November 4, 1873, English philosopher George Edward “G. E.” Moore was born. Moore was, with Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and  Gottlob Frege, one of the founders of the analytic tradition in philosophy. Along with Russell, he led the turn away from idealism in British philosophy, and became well known for his advocacy of common sense concepts, his contributions to ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics.[7] Youth and Education George Edward Moore was born in…
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Denis Pétau and the Science of Chronology

Denis Pétau and the Science of Chronology

On August 21, 1583, French Jesuit scholar Denis Pétau was born. Pétau, also known as Dionysius Petavius, was one of the most brilliant scholars in a learned age. Carrying on and improving the chronological labors of Joseph Justus Scaliger,[2] he published in 1627 an Opus de doctrina temporum. Denis Pétau was born at Orléans, where he had his initial education. He attended the University of Paris, where he successfully defended his theses…
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Jean de La Bruyère and the Power of Money in a Demoralized Society

Jean de La Bruyère and the Power of Money in a Demoralized Society

On August 16, 1645, French philosopher and moralist Jean de La Bruyère was born. La Bruyère is best known for one work, Les Caractères de Théophraste traduits du grec avec Les Caractères ou les moeurs de ce siècle (1688; The Characters, or the Manners of the Age, with The Characters of Theophrastus), which is considered to be one of the masterpieces of French literature. “Life is a tragedy for those who feel,…
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Nicolas Malebranche’s Dualism of Religion and Science

Nicolas Malebranche’s Dualism of Religion and Science

On August 6, 1638, French priest and rationalist philosopher Nicolas Malebranche was born. Malebranche sought to synthesize the thought of St. Augustine and Descartes, in order to demonstrate the active role of God in every aspect of the world. Malebranche is best known for his doctrines of Vision in God, Occasionalism and Ontologism. “I am not my own light unto myself.” – Nicholas Malebranche, Dialogues on Metaphysics (1688) Family Background and Education Malebranche’s father…
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Ludwik Fleck and the Thought Collective

Ludwik Fleck and the Thought Collective

On July 11, 1898, Polish and Israeli physician Ludwik Fleck was born. Fleck did important work in epidemic typhus in Lwów, Poland, with Rudolf Weigl and in the 1930s developed the concepts of the “Denkstil” (“thought style”) and the “Denkkollektiv” (“thought collective”). The concept of the “thought collective” defined by him is important in the philosophy of science and in logology (the “science of science”), helping to explain how scientific ideas change over…
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Garrett Hardin and the Tragedy of the Commons

Garrett Hardin and the Tragedy of the Commons

On April 21, 1915, American ecologist and philosopher Garrett James Hardin was born. Hardin warned of the dangers of overpopulation. His exposition of the tragedy of the commons, in a famous 1968 paper in Science, called attention to “the damage that innocent actions by individuals can inflict on the environment“. He is also known for Hardin’s First Law of Human Ecology: “We can never do merely one thing. Any intrusion into nature…
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