• How and why did the notion of philosophy as a system evolve in Germany at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries? Otto Casmann’s Modesta Assertio provides new answers to this question. Casmann, Clemens Timpler’s predecessor as professor in Steinfurt refers to other ‘like-minded philosophers’ who believe that philosophy is a ‘structured system of the liberal arts’. Casmann himself states that philosophy is a ‘structured unity of erudite wisdom’. The text is part of the debate between Daniel Hoff…Read more
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    The Young and Clueless?: Wheare, Vossius, and Keckermann on the Study of History
    Journal of Early Modern Studies 6 (2): 27-45. 2017.
    In their debate on whether or not the young should be allowed to study history, Degory Wheare and Gerhardus Vossius quote Bartholomäus Keckermann and state that he wants to exclude the young from studying history, Wheare arguing for Keckermann’s purported position, Vossius opposing it. Their disagreement is part of a larger controversy on the relevance of history for moral instruction in general, contemplating the question whether or not history is best understood as ‘philosophy teaching by exam…Read more
  •  8
    The paper examines controversies over the role of experience in the constitution of scientific knowledge in early modern Aristotelianism. While for Jacopo Zabarella, experience helps to confirm the results of demonstrative science, the Bologna Dominican Chrysostomo Javelli assumes that it also contributes to the discovery of new truths in what he calls ‘beginning science’. Both thinkers use medical plants as a philosophical example. Javelli analyses the proposition ‘rhubarb purges bile’ as the c…Read more
  •  2
    Rezensionen (review)
    with James Wilberding, Ludger Jansen, Gerhard Streminger, and Ernst Michael Lange
    Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 86 (3): 322-353. 2004.
  • The paper discusses Sellars’s view of philosophy and its relation to the sciences. It argues for three interrelated theses. First, philosophy has no specifi c subject matter. Second, we ask ourselves questions which cannot be answered from a purely scientifi c point of view. Third, philosophical standards are contingent, but this does not mean that philosophy is to be abandoned. Pace Sellars, the specifi c achievement of philosophy consists in «a view of the whole», which enables us to «know our…Read more
  •  23
    Early modern commentaries on Aristotle’s Metaphysics contain a lively debate on whether experience is ‘rational’, so that it may count as ‘proto-knowledge’, or whether experience is ‘non-rational’, so that experience must be regarded as a primarily perceptual process. If experience is just a repetitive apprehension of sensory contents, the connection of terms in a scientific proposition can be known without any experiential input, as the ‘non-rational’ Scotists state. ‘Rational’ Thomists believe…Read more
  •  8
    Loci personarum, ‘topics for persons’ were used in Latin rhetoric for the description of persons, their external circumstances, physical attributes, or qualities of character. They stood in the way of fusing rhetoric and dialectic, the goal of sixteenth-century ‘humanistic’ logic: the project of a unified theory of invention depends on the exclusion of loci personarum from the domain of dialectic proper. But still they cannot easily be replaced in the class room. Bartholomaeus Keckermann resolve…Read more
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    Putting Our Soul in Place
    Kant Yearbook 6 (1). 2014.
    The majority of Kant scholars has taken it for granted that for Kant the soul is in some sense present in space and that this assumption is by and large unproblematic. If we read Kant’s texts in the context of debates on this topic within 18th century rationalism and beyond, a more complex picture emerges, leading to the somewhat surprising conclusion that Kant in 1770 can best be characterised as a Cartesian about the mind. The paper first develops a framework for describing the various positio…Read more