When Gilson died in 1978, a great deal of his work on the history of philosophy, and specifically God, the primacy of existence or esse over essence, and the impact of Christianity on philosophy had been translated. A significant amount of material, however, has not yet appeared into English. The publication of Medieval studies represents a vital step in bringing these important works into the English-speaking world. The opening piece revisits a battle now won (and won in great measure by (...) Gilson’s efforts), namely the fight to acknowledge the very existence of medieval philosophy and win its place in the academic world. But the article also makes the effort--which becomes a connecting thread throughout the nine articles--to pinpoint the uniqueness of what Gilson calls Christian philosophy. All the articles give an insight into the great synthetic visions articulated by the better-known works of Gilson like The Spirit of Medieval philosophy. "The Middle Ages and ancient naturalism" contrasts Renaissance humanists and Reformers with the medievals on the defining issue of their attitude toward nature to understand who actually stands closer to the Greeks. In his examination of the Latin Averroist Boethius of Dacia’s book on the eternity of the world, Gilson finds that Boethius never expresses the view attributed to Latin Averroism that there are contradictory truths in religion and philosophy. The closing article studies the profound influence of the great Muslim thinker Avicenna on Latin Europe drawing a parallel between Avicenna’s work and that of the great Christian medievals like Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus. (shrink)
From all this some unexpected results become apparent:Labriola is not the father of Italian Eurocommunism, but rather a thorough-going internationalist.Labriola might reasonably be called a Marxist humanist. In the light of his acknowledged dependence on Engels, this would seem directly to challenge the post-Lukács tendency variously to blame Engels for dialectical materialism, the Soviet scholastic spirit, or even Stalin.Croce's critique of Labriola is telling and Gramsci's direct response is ineffective in so far as he simply tries to revindicate Labriola the (...) classical Marxist.It is at least curious that Gramsci attacks primarily Croce, the liberal idealist, rather than Gentile, the fascist idealist. Much of the criticism is that Croce does not go far enough, is not immanentist and historicist enough.This, in turn, suggests that one should look for Gramsci's original contribution and his overriding concern in political philosophy and not at all in metaphysics. (shrink)
Neither history, nor historiography, nor other fields of inquiry have essences that determine method, Tucker tells us. However, scientific historiography has been successful, and its progress can be studied empirically and descriptively, as distinct from a “phenomenological” approach focused on historiographers’ own and often misleading self-awareness.