- philosophical themes -
Edited by A. Calonego



Notes on negation and contradiction

SUMMARY: Conflicts are human situations in which we experience the negative force of an opposition. It depends on the different roles a negation actually plays in it, whether a conflict is a contradiction or it is not. Working out these concepts, the article draws some general conclusions about "contradiction" as dynamic core of a living Totality.

Cartesian skepticism and empirical beliefs

SUMMARY: In the on-line Dictionary of Philosophy of Mind (‹PoM›), Cartesian skepticism is defined as follows:  Any of a class of skeptical views against empirical knowledge based on the claim that claims to empirical knowledge are defeated by the possibility that we might be deceived insofar as we might be, for example, dreaming, hallucinating, deceived by demons, or brains in vats . From this standpoint, Pete Mandik, in the same Dictionary, builds an argument to be used as a representative  for the whole class of skeptical views having the properties stated above. He intends to defend Cartesian skepticism, taken under the form of the given definition, and inquiries into the propositions which constitute the inference: the argument is not only valid, he concludes, it is also sound. But If we distinguished the case of our ordinary language from the case of theoretical or scientific discourse, for instance, would the answer remain the same ?

The problem of scientific abstraction in Marx

SUMMARY: The logical and epistemological status of Marx's work, in Dobb's Theories, appears not to be substantially different from that of the other authors, whose ideas the book explains. Of course, when the motives and the aims of Marx’s work are considered, the contrast between his work and that of the economists appear to be important and deep. Marx intended to draw up a synoptic view of the development of the whole system of human society. His economics was only a part, though a fundamental part, of his all-embracing conceptions, which concerned the unhappiness of man in mass society not less than the way it produces goods and services. But he also thought that any inquiring into the ideas and the culture of a given historical epoch should be backed by a scientific analysis into the empirical forms of its determinate existence.

Dialettica: tre significati ?

SUMMARY: In the attempt to give a characterization of a complex and mostly indefinable idea such as ‘dialectic’, one move may consist in stressing its analytical aspects, i.e. its power to dissolve ‹rigid things› into ‹dynamical relations›. ‘Dialectic’ reveals ‹reification› (by which relations are given the form of a thing ) and so doing it discloses the pattern of connections which lay under the surface of our everyday experience, in the very place where we can see but unrelated particulars. Now, a problem arises with this dissolving power metaphor , when we observe it matches two different models of reasoning at the same time. We say we bring into relation either when relation stands between two elements, whose level of generality is for the one equal or higher than that of the other, either when relation stands between two elements, whose level of generality is for the one lower than that of the other. Either when, to make it clear, we connect humanity with animality (i.e. a class taken as one with another class taken as one) either when we connect humanity with men (a class taken as one with a class taken as many). For instance, dialectically discussing of the thought of God, Hegel brings it into relation with the beauty of fine art and the truth of philosophy. Marx brings religion into relation with a social sufferance , i.e. with something which has to do with existence and the determinate forms of its empirical presence.

Modelli di razionalità non monotonica
(considerazioni su Dobb che espone Marx)

SUMMARY: In his Theories of value, 1973, when explaining the salient features of Marx's thought, M. Dobb stresses its building process regarded as a part of a larger cultural debate and as an intellectual work of an individual mind, still in search of its way to the categories of the system. The fundamental concept of exploitation, for instance, is investigated when it is but an analogy and an assumption, before its turning into an accurate definition. There are scientific contexts, in which systems are taught and learned without even mentioning the earlier moves they were engendered by. But according to what Dobb says about Marx and the other authors of his Theories, this is not the case here. The article assumes this point of view and seeks to trace it back to Marx's idea that object is not a "position" of  thought.

The metaphysical myth of everyday language as «the immaturity of Tought»

SUMMARY: The sphere of our everyday life can be regarded or as a chaotic "matter" to be molded and enlightened by reason or as an organism already bearing a "form", though still in embryo, to be "brought to light" by labor of Philosophy. Focusing on the "bringing to light" metaphor, the article tries to show what an ambiguity lies concealed in it.

Su "che cosa è "

SUMMARY: Despite of its technical appearance the "problem of epistemological adequacy" ("Church’s thesis" being the most famous instance of it) meets the major themes of Western Metaphysics. Pursuing this path and exploring what gap there is between a defined term and the term which corresponds to it in a language already in use, the article draws some general implications concerning existence and the intellectual efforts to get hold of its "inner" meaning.

Verità e ideologia

SUMMARY: The marxian concept of Ideology is here reviewed and revised on a logical thinking base: can it survive the challenge without dropping its distinctive features and loosing its original identity ?

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Christian List

Craig’s Theorem and the Empirical Underdetermination Thesis Reassessed

" This paper proposes to revive the twenty-year old debate on the question of whether Craig’s theorem poses a challenge to the empirical underdetermination thesis. It will be demonstrated that Quine’s account of this issue in his paper "Empirically Equivalent Systems of the World" (1975) is mathematically flawed and that Quine makes too strong a concession to the Craigian challenge. It will further be pointed out that Craig’s theorem would threaten the empirical underdetermination thesis only if the set of all relevant observation conditionals could be shown to be recursively enumerable — a condition which Quine seems to overlook —, and it will be argued that, at least within the framework of Quine’s philosophy, it is doubtful whether this condition is satisfiable. "
From Disputatio

Graham Priest

Dialetheism and paraconsistency

"A dialetheia is a true contradiction, a statement, A, such that both it and its negation, ¬A are true. Hence, dialeth(e)ism is the view that there are true contradictions. Dialetheism opposes the so-called Law of Non-Contradiction (LNC) (sometimes also called the Law of Contradiction): for any A, it is impossible for both A and ¬A to be true. Since Aristotle's defence of the LNC, the Law has been orthodoxy in Western philosophy. Nonetheless, there are some dialetheists in the history of Western Philosophy. Moreover, since the development of paraconsistent logic in the second half of this century, dialetheism has now become a live issue once more [ ... ]".
From Stanford Encyclopedia

Witold Marciszewski

Two Leibniz's Legacies

"[ ... ] Let us start from a comparison of Leibniz views to those of Rene Descartes (1596-1650). Why should we start in this way? The answer is as follows. There are two Leibniz's views, to be discussed in this essay, which oppose each other, namely his (i) explicit belief in the possibility of automation of the processes of producing knowledge, and his (ii) implicit questioning of the same possibility because of the role attributed by him to perception as characteristic of organic life [ ...]".
From Mathesis Universalis

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Texts On-line


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·  W. O. Quine: Two Dogmas of Empiricism

·  Hume's Writings

·  Ockham's Dialogus

·  Works by Aristotle

·  Descartes: Meditationes (Latin text)

·  Descartes: Méditations (French text)

·  Descartes: Meditations (English text)

·  Marx and Engels' Writings

  • Galileo Galilei, "Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche intorno a due nuove scienze" (1638).
  • Extracts: Italian / english (with applets and lectures from: University of Virginia).

·         Whole text.



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·         K. Marx, Introduzione a Per la critica dell'economia politica,
del 1857


Traduzione, introduzione e commento di Stefano Garroni
Visualizzazione della traduzione con testo tedesco a fronte

(German text with Italian and English translations, available)

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