Volume X Number 2

Ottawa, Canada

Fall 1998


Message from the President

Francis Peddle

With this issue of ELEUTHERIA the Institute completes its tenth year of publication. It is noteworthy that the first volume in the Spring of 1989 contained an announcement that the scholarly and philosophical work of the Institute would be accessible by members while a computer was in “host” mode on Monday evenings between 7:00 and 10:00pm. The intervening years have witnessed an unheard proliferation of journals, semi-journals, newsletters, monographs, bulletins and assorted intellectual efforts. Then in recent years the Internet, E-mail, electronic journals, philosophical news services and websites have supplanted much traditional publishing. Many of the well known print journals still retain their prestige and honour. Their permanency may, however, be somewhat less resilient than those wanting publication within may surmise.

Financial considerations are not the only reasons driving these developments. There is an air of democracy, of freedom and anarchic revelry on the Internet that is almost irresistible. Its blandishments are what one cares to make of them, without the coercive rot and peer group sidling that bedevils much of institutional scholastic life. As a cursory acquaintance with the history of ideas reveals, most great writing, such as Giambattista Vico’s New Science or Henry George’s Progress and Poverty , have been Sisyphean exercises in self-publication. Conventional wisdom dismisses vanity publishing. It is nonetheless integral to our cultural and philosophical traditions. If the Internet lightens the task of the mute Beethovens, Platos and Dantes lurking in our midst, then it is worthy of support and respect.

In the near future the Institute will have a website and join the ranks of global instantaneity and but hopefully not spontaneity – one of the Internet’s more beguiling but counter-intellectual attributes. It is not yet clear if humanity has moved on to another sequence, or perhaps moment, in the articulation of absolute mind. Certainly technology as an external force and instrumentality must always remain subordinate to our moral and spiritual consciousness.

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In Volume IX, Number 2, Fall 1997 I declared our intention to produce the ten volumes ofELEU­THERIA in a bound edition. The Board of Directors has since then revisited this issue and has decided to reproduce selected thematic essays to be published in theMonograph Series . ELEUTHERIA has evolved over the years from its original inception as a more philosophical newsletter to a philosophical journal with the occasional reference to newsworthy items relevant to Institute activities. Issues of the Monograph Series will be announced herein with the usual discounts to Institute members.

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This issue of ELEUTHERIA contains the continuation of articles by James Lowry and myself of essays published in Volume X, Number 1, Spring, 1998 and Volume IX, Number 2, Fall, 1997 respectively. The metaphysical problem of dialectic as understood by the ancients requires the suspension of modern scientific and Christian assumptions. To confront the metaphysics of modernity through Kant and Hegel also necessitates a thorough survey of the many presuppositions associated with the concept of nothing. How one can reconcile or metaphysically integrate the ancients and the moderns, if such a reconciliation is possible, is an important undertaking of speculative philosophy.

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