Since the ages of the Old Testament, the Homeric myths, the tragedies of Sophocles and the ensuing theological speculations of the Christian millennium, the theme of loneliness has dominated and haunted the Western world. In this wide-ranging book, philosopher Ben Lazare Mijuskovic returns us to our rich philosophical past on the nature of consciousness, lived experience, and the pining for a meaningful existence that contemporary social science has displaced in its tendency toward material reduction. Engaging key metaphysical discussions on causality, (...) space, time, subjectivity, the mind body-problem, personal identity, freedom, religion, and transcendence in ancient, scholastic, modern, and contemporary philosophy, he highlights the phenomenology of loneliness that lies at the very core of being human. In challenging psychoanalytic and neuroscientific paradigms, Mijuskovic argues that isolative existence and self-consciousness is not so much of a problem of unconscious conflict or the need for psychopharmacology as it is the loss of a sense of personal intimacy. The issue of the criteria of "personal identity" in relation to loneliness has long engaged and consumed the interest of theologians, ethicists, philosophers, novelists and psychologists. This book will be of great interests to academics and students of the humanities, and all those with an interest in the philosophy of loneliness.. (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Hume on Space (and Time) BEN MIJUSKOVIC HUME'S LABYRINTHINE ANALYSES of our ideas of space and time, textually occuring so early in the Treatise, 1clearly testify to his conviction of their central role in the physical sciences, then making such fantastic progress. Furthermore, quite early in the Treatise, Hume indicates his ambition to effect a revolution in the mental sciences comparable to the one Newton had achieved in the (...) physical disciplines, through the latter's conception of the force and effects of gravity. Accordingly, Hume regards the three principles or laws of the association of ideas as a "kind of ATTRACTION, which in the mental world will be found to have as extraordinary effects as in the natural" (T, 12-13). In pursuit of his investigations Hume commences, in the first part of the Treatise, by insisting on the principle that all our simple ideas are derived from simple impressions and that impressions always precede their correspondent ideas (T, 4, 7). This being firmly established, Hume nevertheless immediately proceeds in the very next part of the work to declare, paradoxically enough, that our ideas of space and time are complex ideas that lie beyond the nature of each and all of our simple impressions. Differently put, Hume is insisting that our ideas of space and time, unlike our idea of, say, a shade of blue, are not derived unproblematically from a precedent, simple mental impression (or physiological sensation, ~ la Locke). Thus, according to Hume, our idea of space is not sensationally given; it is not traceable to an antecedent extended impression as our idea of blue is derived from a precedent impression of blue. Hume's insistence that our conception of space is nonsensational has perplexed competent commentators on Hume. Consequently, even so able an interpreteter as Kemp Smith has been puzzled "why it was that [Hume] did not take the more easy line of allowing 'extensity' to the sensations of sight and touch. ''2 Or again, "How is it that [Hume] has not taken what would seem to be for him the easier and more obvious course, at least as regards space--the course usually taken by those who hold a sensationalist theory of knowledge--that extensity is a feature of certain of our sensations (those given through the senses of touch and sight), and in consequence sensibly imaged?" (PDH, 280). Of this simpler solution both Hobbes (Leviathan, Pt. I, 1; De Corpore, Pt. II, 7, 8) and Locke (Essay, II, 8) had availed themselves prior to Hume. Hence, Kemp Smith has found the section to be tough going indeed and has contented himself, to a great extent, in simply offering a number of historical appendices, suggesting lines of influence on Hume, through passages discovered in the works of Pierre Bayle, Nicholas de Malezieu, and Isaac Barrow. Now, without denying that Hume studied and was influenced in part by the ' A Treatise of Hurnan Nature, ed. L. A. Selby-Bigge (Oxford, 1888); hereafter cited as T. 2 The Philosophy of David Hume (New York, 1964), p. 277; hereafter cited as PDH. [3871 388 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY thinking of these authors (as well as by Francis Hutcheson), I wish to take up and develop in this paper a "historical" suggestion first offered by a student of Kemp Smith's, Charles Hendel; and I shall extend Hendel's point and try to argue a "theoretic" one, namely, that Hume's phenomenalism in the section devoted to space and time is derived from, and closely akin to, a form of Leibnizian idealism. In 1925, Hendel argued that Hume was directly influenced by the Leibniz-Clarke debate over the ontological and epistemological status of space and time; and he held that for Hume space and time, as appearances, were ultimately grounded in the associative power of the imagination.' Thirty years later, in a second edition, Hendel disavowed his earlier claim concerning the imagination and avoided discussion of his prior view that Hume was influenced by the Leibniz-Clarke correspondence (1963 edition, pp. 501, 503). In Hume's Philosophy of Human Nature, which first appeared in 1932 (reissued by Archon, 1967; see pp. 64-65, 67, 73, 77), John Laird also intimated that... (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Philosophy and Literature 31.1 (2007) 133-141MuseSearchJournalsThis JournalContents[Access article in PDF]Virtue EthicsBen Lazare Mijuskovic California State University, Dominguez HillsIt has been suggested that the roots of virtue or character ethics ultimately reach back to Plato and especially to Aristotle's discussion of moral character as proposed by G. E. M. Anscombe's essay, "Modern Moral Philosophy," originally published in 1958.1 Thus it was maintained that virtue or character ethics emphasized traditionally neglected (...) topics, such as motives, education, training, temperance (phronesis), happiness, (eudaimonia), magnanimity, and especially the cardinal virtue of friendship as all deriving from certain dispositional qualities in the person, from a relatively constant state of character, from a stable personality.2In terms of Plato, it is the early, aporetic, Socratic dialogues that are indicated as especially concerned with character. And that may be but clearly in these conversations Socrates concludes, as a negative revelation, that a condition for virtue (Virtue as Knowledge of the Good) requires the realization that one does not know what virtue is, that conceited ignorance (amathia) first must be recognized before proceeding positively toward the unchanging Form of Goodness. And just as certainly, although, in the Republic, Socrates does emphasize the relation of happiness to justice, nevertheless it is fairly obvious that for Plato the truly happy and just man is so only in so far as he is able to intellectually and intuitively grasp the eternal Form of the Good as his criterion. However, this is hardly an emphasis on character. Similarly, we can say that as far as Aristotle is concerned, despite the fact that he does focus on the dispositional attributes of a virtuous or happy [End Page 133] character (or life), nevertheless the Philosopher is very specific in stating that there is an absolutely right thing to do in each circumstance and it is grounded in the mean between two vices. The mean, for instance, between cowardice and rashness is courage. Thus, there is an absolute (albeit contextual) criterion for a boy, a girl, a man, a woman, an old man, an old woman, etc., an objective measure for each in various situations requiring courage. This standard, which is based in the immediate perception of pleasure or pain, which directly follows an act, may be developed by training; but certainly Aristotle has more to say about the mean and how to achieve it than he does about training, except for the brief statements that we become virtuous by doing virtuous acts and good by the practically wise choices we make. Thus, for Aristotle, it is possible to evaluate specific, particular acts by invoking the measure of the mean. Essentially for both Plato and Aristotle, the criteria "subsist" independently of the act, person or polis. Hence, both Plato and Aristotle remain predominantly rule-oriented.By contrast, in Homerian ethics—as opposed to Platonic or Peripatetic guidelines—it is the whole person who is admirable, not the act; it is the "being" of Achilles, it is his "substance" that is praiseworthy and not whether or not he weeps for his departed companion. It is the entire man that expresses the standard of value. And just as obviously there are times and instances when an agent or an action misses the Aristotelian mark or the "mean" and yet we do not criticize the individual as either morally or psychologically deficient precisely because we consider instead the overall person, we take other factors into consideration, features deeply embedded in his or her personality, including how he or she handled the situation and not whether or not the individual measured up to some abstract, independent, theoretical standard. The noble or laudable hero or heroine does not concern himself or herself with dissecting and separating himself or heself from their actions, from their motives or emotions, as if the latter could stand apart from themselves. And thus it appears to be a mistake to think that the Homeric character would obsess about either the consistency, conformity, or applicability of a rule in regard to their actions and responses.And here we might interject an interesting... (shrink)
Current research claims loneliness is passively _caused_ by external conditions: environmental, cultural, situational, and even chemical imbalances in the brain and hence avoidable. In this book, the author argues that loneliness is actively _constituted_ by acts of reflexive self-consciousness and transcendent intentionality and therefore unavoidable.
"The present work explores not only the nature of loneliness but also its ultimate origins and whether in its beginning, as well as in its end, it is grounded in the mechanisms of the brain or instead centered in the creations of the mind."--Introduction (page xiv)..
In this book, Ben Lazare Mijuskovic uses both an interdisciplinary and History of Ideas approach to discuss four forms of intertwined theories of human consciousness and reflexive self-consciousness (Plato, Augustine, Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, and Hegel; Schopenhauer’s subconscious irrational Will; Brentano and Husserl’s transcendent intentionality; and Freud’s dynamic ego). Mijuskovic explores these theories within the context of psychological issues, where the discussion is undergirded by the conflict between loneliness and intimacy. He also explores them in the context of ethics, where the (...) dynamic is between the values of good and evil. The book historically traces these issues in both a personal as well as a political framework. (shrink)
I argue that Kant’s four Paralogistic conclusions concerning (a) substantiality; (b1) unity and (b2) immortality, in the famous “Achillesargument”; (c) personal identity; and (d) metaphysical idealism, in the first edition Critique of Pure Reason (1781), are all connectedby being grounded in a common underlying rational principle, an a priori (universal and necessary) presupposition, namely, that boththe mind and its essential attribute of thinking are immaterial and unextended, i.e., simple. Consequently, despite Kant’s predilectionfor architectonic divisions and separations, I show that in (...) fact the simplicity assumption grounds all four Paralogisms and reinforcesKant’s corresponding commitments to the principles of continuity and coherence. Further, I maintain that Kant, under the influence ofhis earlier Leibnizian and subjective idealist leanings, continued to be guided in the first edition Critique, not only in the Paralogismsbut also in certain sections of the Analytic, by emphasizing unconscious activities, which once more reinforced his commitments to aparadigm of the simplicity, unity, and identity of self-consciousness or apperception. (shrink)