1. NICOLAE BAGDASAR. THEORIES OF TRUTH
Bagdasar’s critique of John St. Mill’s consistent empiricism
[Studii de istorie a filosofiei româneşti, vol. XVII: Teorii ale adevărului, Bucureşti, Editura Academiei Române, 2021, pp. 13–24]
In his Theory of Knowledge, in the chapter on “Empiricism”, Bagdasar presented extensively the consistent empiricist conception of John St. Mill and his arguments against innate knowledge. Moreover, in response to Mill’s criticism, Bagdasar himself outlined some major objections to radical empiricism. The purpose of this research is to provide a reconstruction of the both parts, the expository and the critical one, in order to identify argumentative structures that are specific to those philosophical options. As a result, Mill can be understood as the philosopher who took empiricism to its ultimate consequences. On the other hand, in Bagdasar’s critique we find topical issues organized into a systematic order, such as the influence of theory on observation, the relationship between sensory data and processing mechanisms, the hypothetical nature of scientific research, the nature of the relationship between experience and math.
What is the given and how it can be known. Considerations on the chapter about positivism from Bagdasar’s Theory of Knowledge
[Studii de istorie a filosofiei româneşti, vol. XVII: Teorii ale adevărului, Bucureşti, Editura Academiei Române, 2021, pp. 25–42 ]
In Teoria cunoștinței (Theory of knowledge), the author N. Bagdasar enunciated the following idea: the metaphysics is conditioned by the theory of knowledge, since the first is a knowledge placed from the beginning under rules. After I will emphasise the Kantian sense of this idea and depict the manner in which the author explains Auguste Comte’s positivism in relation with the meaning of ‘positive’ (given) in that context, I will put into discussion two theories about the unknowability of a “fact” that is in its possibility an object of knowledge. The first, belonging to Mircea Florian, can be deemed as “ontologically negative” and privileges the idea of a suspension of knowledge in the front of the given (an object to be known, in its possibility). The second, belonging to J.-L. Marion, which can be labelled as “cognitively negative”, suggests the idea of negative certitudes – in connection to the recognizing, in some situations, of the unknowability of the given (an object to be known, in its possibility). Both theories condition the “power” of knowledge by the nature of object of knowledge, also assuming that this power, when questions its own possibilities, can produce unknowability. In this perspective, the two theories discussed here and Comte’s positive philosophy draw similar conclusions. The references to a possible relation between metaphysics and theory of knowledge will be maintained in the following, but the formal privilege that the last has towards the first in Bagdasar’s view will be relativized.
Bagdasar’s Theory of Knowledge and its unstated epistemological commitments
Marius Augustin Drăghici
[Studii de istorie a filosofiei româneşti, vol. XVII: Teorii ale adevărului, Bucureşti, Editura Academiei Române, 2021, pp. 43–68 ]
Through the filter of his specific two steps method in approaching theories of knowledge, Bagdasar seems to invite his interpreter to consider solely the systematic level. In the following study, I interpret Bagdasar’s conception of knowledge from a perspective that he did not explicitly assume. This approach gives an opportunity to discover not only the methodology of Bagdasar’s epistemological research, or a possible methodology for any “epistemological research”, but even Bagdasar’s own (non-explicit) position in relation to what and how knowledge might be. Of these three main points of my research, a special attention will be paid to Bagdasar’s so called “systematic approach”, in order to reveal the non-explicit commitments on which he built his own conception of knowledge. The pragmatic analysis of the results obtained by Bagdasar in his Theory of knowledge allows the uncovering of some tacit assumptions that seem to contradict the position of neutrality he explicitly assumed.
Knowledge and truth in Vasile Conta’s works: Implications for the theory of history
[Studii de istorie a filosofiei româneşti, vol. XVII: Teorii ale adevărului, Bucureşti, Editura Academiei Române, 2021, pp. 69–78]
The theory of knowledge of the philosopher of universal undulation, in which experience has a leading role, distinguishes between two broad categories of forms of knowledge: the elementary ones – sensations or perceptions – and the abstract ideas. The former represent less elaborate imprints of the data provided by the senses as a result of which, through the specific functions of thought, through the operations of induction, first of all, as well as through deduction, abstract ideas appear. These are second-degree imprints that the higher faculty of abstraction categorizes in general and in particular. According to Conta, laws, for example, are abstract ideas that represent qualities that belong to an indeterminate number of individual units. By their degree of generalization, abstract ideas can be relative or absolute, and the laws, by the maximum degree of generality, belong to the latter category. The theory of knowledge, in its essence, of materialistic, sensualist nature, augmented with the evolutionary theory, in which Spencer and Darwin had an important role, supported Conta in the elaboration of his own theory, of the undulating evolution of the universe. In our work we will analyse the epistemological concepts, as well as the metaphysical ones, of Vasile Conta’s philosophy, seeking to extract some meanings from the point of view of the theory of history.
Nicolae Bagdasar: On truth as a stake in the European culture
Henrieta Anișoara Șerban
[Studii de istorie a filosofiei româneşti, vol. XVII: Teorii ale adevărului, Bucureşti, Editura Academiei Române, 2021, pp. 79–86]
The subject of truth in philosophy has the role of generating multi-faceted aspects having logical, epistemological, cultural and cultural-historical relevance. Nicolae Bagdasar (1896–1971), as an epistemologist interested in the delimitation of logical from the psychological aspects, sustained an epistemology centred on logic and truth in a period in which knowledge was emerging as an autonomous concept and as a scientific, objective and formal discipline. In this context, Nicolae Bagdasar considers the truth a problem to be analysed in correlation with reality and inseparable from the latter. The following paper identifies in his work Din problemele culturii europene (Among the problems of European culture) a dual approach, epistemological and cultural. The paper concludes with a comparison of Nicolae Bagdasar’s and Constantin Noica’s views on European culture in order to emphasize a substantial synonymy between the terms Europe” and “culture”.
Ignorabimusstreit in 19th century Romania: Consciousness as a limit
of natural science
[Studii de istorie a filosofiei româneşti, vol. XVII: Teorii ale adevărului, Bucureşti, Editura Academiei Române, 2021, pp. 87–103]
Du Bois-Reymond’s Ignorabimus could have been a game changer in the last decades of 19th century, but it wasn’t. The sound argument of the German physiologist concerning the limits of natural science, although it was indeed taken seriously and confronted by all means, was in fact so severely distorted by opponents that one could hardly recognize it in the straw men generated in the process. By scrutinizing three less known approaches dug up from 19th century Romanian literature, the present paper focuses on the theoretical commitments that prevented the consciousness issue to be properly addressed.
Truth and political power. Between post-truth’s Scylla and epistocracy’s Charybdis
[Studii de istorie a filosofiei româneşti, vol. XVII: Teorii ale adevărului, Bucureşti, Editura Academiei Române, 2021, pp. 107–124 ]
This paper proposes a standard position of the conjunction between knowledge and democracy. It describes the evolutions towards and against this standard position. It analyses the present situation of the conjunction which slipped into cognitive relativism and rejection of democracy and proposes to rebalance knowledge and democracy through a special setting of the contract between the voters and their representatives.
Romanian philosophers on truth
Bibliography by Titus Lates
[Studii de istorie a filosofiei româneşti, vol. XVII: Teorii ale adevărului, Bucureşti, Editura Academiei Române, 2021, pp. 127–139]
Dossier: Nicolae Bagdasar
[Introductory note, Bibliography and Notes by Titus Lates; pp. 141–170]
Nicolae Bagdasar, The energetic personalism
[Studii de istorie a filosofiei româneşti, vol. XVII: Teorii ale adevărului, Bucureşti, Editura Academiei Române, 2021, pp. 143–155]
Nicolae Bagdasar’s bibliography
[Studii de istorie a filosofiei româneşti, vol. XVII: Teorii ale adevărului, Bucureşti, Editura Academiei Române, 2021, pp. 156–170]
2. PHILOSOPHICAL ARCHIVES
The reception and image of yoga in Romanian lexicography (II)
[Studii de istorie a filosofiei româneşti, vol. XVII: Teorii ale adevărului, Bucureşti, Editura Academiei Române, 2021, pp. 173–192]
The first part of this paper gave an overall and detailed survey of the reception and image of yoga in various types of Romanian dictionaries (linguistic, encyclopaedic, specialised, etc.). The second part is devoted to a focused discussion of the dictionaries on religion published during the Communist era. As in the first part, three words, with their derivatives, have been taken into consideration: „fakir”, „yoga”, and „tantra”. The dictionaries discussed here offer – even more than those considered previously – ample material for a discussion of the impact of political contexts on understanding yoga and the interpretative patterns which survive political eras. They illustrate three different theoretical paradigms of approaching religion under Socialism. While „religiology” and „general mythology” were understood as Marxist approaches to the religious phenomenon, and thus ideologically subordinated to scientific atheism, the „materialistic-scientific and humanist-revolutionary education” (a name coined in order to replace the older „scientific-atheistic education”) was conceived as a practical, pedagogical extension of scientific atheism. All of these dictionaries were published late, in the ’80s, and only one – devoted to „general mythology” – was destined for mass consumption. The reasons for which the Party ideologists considered that such dictionaries are not a desirable item of anti-religious propaganda has to be clarified by further inquiry, especially through archival research.
The history of Romanian philosophy in 2020
[Bibliography by] Titus Lates
[Studii de istorie a filosofiei româneşti, vol. XVII: Teorii ale adevărului, Bucureşti, Editura Academiei Române, 2021, pp. 195–197]