Wolterstorff on Reid’s Notion of Common Sense

Petr Glombíček

The paper addresses a mainstream contemporary view of the notion of common sense in Tomas Reid’s philosophy, as proposed by Nicholas Wolterstorff who claims that Reid was not clear about the concept of common sense, or about the principles of common sense. In contrast, this paper presents Reid’s conception as a clear and traditional Aristotelian notion of common sense and its principles as presuppositions of particular sense judgments, usually taken for granted. Te alleged confusion about principles is resolved by a distinction between principles of common sense and first principles as such.

Studia Neoaristotelica. 2020, 17(2), 221-238. DOI 10.5840/studneoar20201727

Common Sense and the Natural Light in George Berkeley’s Philosophy

Petr Glombíček – James Hill

It is argued that George Berkeley’s term ‘common sense’ does not indicate shared conviction, but the shared capacity of reasonable judgement, and is therefore to be classed as a mental ability, not a belief-system. Common sense is to be distinguished from theoretical understanding which, in Berkeley’s view, is frequently corrupted either by learned prejudice, or by language that lacks meaning or camouflages contradiction. It is also to be distinguished from the deliverances of divine revelation, which—however enlightening Berkeley supposed them to be—are not necessarily available to all people. This interpretation of common sense is supported both by attention to Berkeley’s own texts, including his sermons, letters and philosophical writings, and by attention to the views of John Locke and René Descartes, who also understand ‘common sense’ as susceptibility to the ‘natural light’. In addition, this interpretation renders Berkeley’s appeal to common sense in support of his immaterialism a straightforward appeal to the reader’s native reason. No longer, then, are we forced to see Berkeley as improbably maintaining that the denial of matter is really the view of ‘the common people’, but rather that those who have least attachment to theory and doctrine will be best able to grasp the case for immaterialism.

Philosophia. Vol. 49, Nr. 2 (2021), pp. 651-665.

Cramer, K., Objekt, soud a sebevědomí v Kantově Kritice čistého rozumu

Přeložil J. Kuneš

(Cramer, K., Object, Judgement and Self-Consciousness in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason)

Table of Contents

Konrad Cramer (1933–2013) was an important representative of the so-called Heidelberg School. Following its founder, Dieter Henrich (*1927), he focused on the philosophical problem of subjectivity and linked current discussions on this subject with various motifs from Modern philosophy. Cramer was an excellent interpreter of Modern philosophy; especially valuable was his contribution to the interpretation of works of Immanuel Kant. Cramer’s studies collected in this book pertain to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. They offer discussions of Kant’s concept of object, judgement, and self-awareness, while interpreting also other important elements of Kant’s theoretical philosophy. The last study included in this volume deals with the relation between Kant’s and Fichte’s concept of self-awareness and documents links between Kant’s philosophy and the nascent philosophy of German idealism.

Prague: OIKOYMENH, 2021, 153 pp. ISBN 978–80–7298–597–5

René Descartes – filosofie a věda

Holger Gutschmidt

(René Descartes – Philosophy and Science)

Table of Contents

René Descartes (1596–1650) is the founder of Modern philosophy and one of the most influential scholars in philosophy and science. We are indebted to his investigations for crucial insights into the very foundation of human spirits and its difference from the material world, for insights into the mathematical structure of nature, or crucial observations regarding non-Euclidean geometry. Descartes is an elegant writer, but his thoughts are not easy to understand. This introduction presents the most important of his thoughts and theories as well as the philosophical background against which Descartes’ work developed from his earliest writings, never published during his life, all the way to his last works. It also addresses some other interesting and important topics, such as what God meant to Descartes, what Descartes was interested in regarding human soul, what his ‘ethics’ was, and what were the basic outlines of his philosophy of nature.

Prague: OIKOYMENH, 2021, 177 pp. ISBN 978–80–7298–599–9

Selbstbewusstsein. Dieter Henrich und die Heidelberger Schule

Manfred Frank – Jan Kuneš

(Self-consciousness. Dieter Henrich and the Heidelberg School)

Table of Contents

Dieter Henrich (*1927), along with Jürgen Habermas and Ernst Tugendhat, is the most important voice of post-war German philosophy. In his contributions to a theory of self-consciousness, especially in the 1960s and 1970s, he forcefully contradicted the prevailing anti-subjectivism of the Heidegger-Gadamer tradition, but he also developed a powerful critique of the ‚Linguistic Turn‘ which had led to a philosophical narrowing of analytic philosophy. Henrich is the only living German philosopher who succeeded, by way of his legendary 1973 lectures at Harvard, in creating an interest in idealist theories of self-consciousness (especially those based on J. G. Fichte) among the important thinkers of the then soon to be called ‚Philosophy of Mind‘. The book offers the first, and as yet the only, existing presentation of the basic theses of Henrich and the so called Heidelberg School. The papers included in this volume analyze Henrich‘s theses in an exploratory but by no means uncritical attitude, and thereby continue the conversation with Henrich‘s American colleagues initiated by him in the 1970s.

Springer – J. B. Metzler: Berlin 2022, 524 pp. ISBN 978–3–662–63682–4

Principy přírody a milosti: Brockes a německá osvícenská fyzikotheologie

Martin Bojda

(Principles of Nature and Grace: Brockes and the Physicotheology of German Enlightenment)

Table of Contents

The book is the first Czech monograph on the Hamburg thinker and poet B. H. Brockes and perhaps the first purely philosophical one internationally. It reconstructs the philosophical and religious roots of Brockes' poetic cycle "Irdisches Vergnügen in Gott" which was the most extensive work of German poetry in the 18th century and poetically represented (and genuinely developed) many crucial elements of the Enlightenment Rationalism. Brockes' thinking is embedded in the development of the German Enlightenment and modern philosophy in general, and the philosophical analysis is accompanied by a broader cultural-historical, literary-aesthetic synthesis. Brockes is interpreted as a participant of the spiritual history between Leibniz and the Baroque on the one hand, and the late Enlightenment and Weimar classics on the other. His thinking is confronted by thinkers such as Wolff, Reimarus, Herder, Goethe or Lessing.

Prague: Academia, 2022. 375 pp. ISBN 978-80-200-3230-0

Grotius on the Foundation of Natural Law

Jiří Chotaš

The author argues that Grotius may be considered the father of modern natural law only in retrospect, that is, from the perspective of how he was interpreted by his followers and based on the motifs from his work they later developed. It is quite apparent that in the aftermath of the Thirty Years’ War, the idea of religious tolerance had suffered a grave defeat in Europe. The answer to the question whether Grotius bases his concept of natural law on secular or theological foundations thus depends on the perspective from which we pose this question: Grotius builds the natural law on both foundations. His followers, who no longer viewed religion as an integral part of their worldview, interpreted his writings as arguing for natural law’s secular foundations. For us, however, it is his comprehensive approach to a system of international law and the idea of religious tolerance which are the main reasons why Grotius’s writings still deserve to be studied in our times.

In: H. Blom (vyd.), Sacred Polities, Natural Law and the Law of Nations in the 16th-17th Centuries, Leiden: Brill, 2022, pp. 223–241. ISBN 978-90-04-49853-2.


Gottfried W. Leibniz – Samuel Clarke: Korespondence

Jan Palkoska (translation)

(Gottfried W. Leibniz – Samuel Clarke: Correspondence)

Table of Contents

The polemical correspondence between German polymath G. W. Leibniz and English theologian, physicist and Newtonʼs pupil S. Clarke, which bursted out in 1710s, counts among the most famous and influential exchanges in the history of European thought. The correspondence consists of five letters by Leibniz in French and five letters by Clarke in English. The central topics include the foundations of Newtonʼs ground-breaking mathematico-physical explication of reality, and its impact on the areas of mathematics, epistemology, theology, and natural philosophy. The influence of the standpoints of both correspondents reaches up to formulating the theory of General relativity by Einstein. The present Czech edition is thus likely to provide welcome and needed resource even for those involved in theory and history of natural sciences.

Prague: OIKOYMENH, 2020, 311 pp. ISBN 978-80-7298-180-9

Ke genealogii zdravého rozumu

Petr Glombíček

(On the Genealogy of Common Sense)

Table of Contents

The book examines the rich variety of the conceptions of common sense from Aristotle to 18th century philosophy, while it focuses on the reflections of common sense in early modern philosophy. The first part of the book deals with the roots of the modern concept in ancient Greek and Roman thought (Aristotle, Seneca). The early modern period is first approached from the perspective of Descartes’s project, centred on the development of the faculty of judgement, modelled on Seneca’s conception of the the bona mens. It is followed by a treatment of Berkeley’s notion of common sense, which is presented as a variant of the Cartesian notion. The following chapters consider a ‘communal’ notion of common sense (G. Vico, Shaftesbury), the Scottish school of common sense (J. Priestley, J. Oswald, T. Reid) and Kant.

Prague: Togga 2020.

Filosofie Národního divadla a Miroslav Tyrš

Martin Bojda

(The Philosophy of the National Theatre and Miroslav Tyrš)

Table of Contents

The book presents a new general interpretation of the main lines of thought, values and efforts of the Czech Revival with regard to their culmination and real shape in the building of the National Theater. It is a belated appreciation of the 150th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the National Theatre and the premiere of Smetana's Dalibor, held on that occasion, an anniversary which, despite being associated with the largest celebration of the Czech nation in the 19th century, passed almost unnoticed. It shows, in contrast to narrowly identitarian and traditional nationalism, the nation-forming process in its historical course and theoretical reflections in the Enlightenment and Romanticism as a mediator of social and cultural emancipation: as a process of inevitable modernization, which in our country is more strongly intertwined with the ethization of historical development. It meant a progress in the civic self-liberation and creative self-realization of man (nation). The National Theatre and the work of B. Smetana or M. Tyrš serve, among other things, to clarify how the innovation of the art form depends on the progressiveness of the contents, on the value foundation and social integration of the work.

Praha: Academia 2021.