Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

David Butorac on ancient and mediaeval conceptions of nature

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I’ll be giving a talk at Istanbul University in the department of philosophy tomorrow (Wednesday), Oct 30 (Seminar room 206, starting at 15:30). The talk is entitled, “‘The heavens declare the glory of the Lord’? Reflections on the instability of Nature in the Ancient and Mediaeval World”. The paper will discuss both the positive and negative sides of the pre-early modern concept of nature, where, on one hand, everything is full of gods (Thales) and nature is considered as divine (Greek) or created ‘good’ (Abrahamic). One would think that, as such, it provides the mind with a stable object of thought. However, on the other hand, I will argue it is precisely its possession of some imbued content, even if it is divine, that renders nature unstable. Flight from nature is the result. I will argue that Descartes by reducing the natural world to res extensa resolves precisely this instability and which thereby allows the secrets of nature of be revealed.



Written by davidbutorac

October 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm

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