philosophy

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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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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Christian Wolff and the German Enlightenment

Christian Wolff and the German Enlightenment

On January 24, 1679, German philosopher Christian Wolff was born. One of the most important philosophers of the Enlightenment between Leibniz and Kant, he is one of the most important representatives of natural law and is regarded as the actual founder of 19th-century jurisprudence on concepts. German philosophy owes its terminological foundation to him; many of the terms he defined, such as consciousness, meaning, or attention, were later adopted into everyday language.…
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Thomas Carlyle and his Obsession with “Great Man”

Thomas Carlyle and his Obsession with “Great Man”

On December 4, 1795, Scottish philosopher, satirical writer, essayist, translator, historian, mathematician, and teacher Thomas Carlyle was born. Best known for his famous work On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History, he argued that the key role in history lies in the actions of the “Great Man“. However, Carlyle is considered one of the most important social commentators of the Victorian era. “The weakest living creature, by concentrating his powers on…
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John Duns Scotus – the Subtle Doctor

John Duns Scotus – the Subtle Doctor

On November 8, 1308, Scottish Catholic priest and Franciscan friar, university professor, philosopher, and theologian John Duns aka Duns Scotus passed away. He is one of the three most important philosopher-theologians of Western Europe in the High Middle Ages, together with Thomas Aquinas [1] and William of Ockham.[2] Amongst others, he is best known for the “univocity of being”, that existence is the most abstract concept we have, applicable to everything that exists;…
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Elena Cornaro Piscopia – About the Difficulties to Receive a PhD in a Male Dominated Academia

Elena Cornaro Piscopia – About the Difficulties to Receive a PhD in a Male Dominated Academia

On June 25, 1678, Venetian philosopher of noble descent Elena Cornaro Piscopia, was the first woman to receive a Doctor of Philosophy degree. An extraordinary Child Elena Cornaro Piscopia was the fifth of seven children of the procurator of San Marco (Sestiere di Venezia), Gianbattista Corner, and his later wife Zanetta Boni. Her intellectual ability was noticed early, wherefore the local priest encouraged her family to enable Piscopia a formal education. She was then…
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