Volume IX Number 1

Ottawa, Canada

Spring 1997


Message from the President

Francis Peddle

This issue of ELEUTHERIA contains pieces by Peter McCormick and myself. McCormick’s essay “Relatively Objective?” was an invited presentation at the University of Ottawa’s Philosophy Colloquium, “Realism and Anti-Realism,” March 15, 1997. My article on Hegel and music was originally read at the Canadian Society for Aesthetics annual meeting during the Learned Societies Conference, Laval University, Quebec City, May 31, 1989.

McCormick considers primarily the views of Putnam, Rorty and Wittgenstein is his essay on relationalism and relativism. Interpreting Putnam as suggesting that “the language that enables us to say that some things are true, warranted, reasonable, that some things are objective, is relative in the sense that it rests on something else; it rests on–trust” leads us to difficult issues of alienation and acknowledgment. McCormick questions whether trust is sufficient to undergird an objectivism. This short discussion of the relative and the objective demonstrates that any consideration of the two appears to involve ineliminable side excursions into scepticism, cultural alienation and doubt about any principle that gives off the ambience of the foundational.

In Hegelian philosophy the underlying principles of rational philosophical speculation, or what twentieth century critics tend to characterize as foundational, are in continual dialectical tension with individuated thought-determinations. In my brief consideration of Hegel’s treatment of music in his Aesthetics this tension often gets onesidedly interpreted by commentators insofar as it is said that Hegel does not consider music an art form which stands forth in its own right but is submerged in the indeterminateness of the transition in his system to the poetical arts. Such an interpretation is inimical to the forceful analytical component that Hegel generally delineates in most thought-determinations (Denkbestimmungen).

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The Internet is rapidly becoming a vast storehouse of information on philosophy as well as providing access to all the major texts of our philosophical and cultural traditions. Most university philosophy departments have websites, often with links to other philosophically interesting homepages. For those who focus on Greek speculative philosophy and literature the Perseus Project at Tufts University (http://www.perseus.- tufts.edu) is a must. There are also discussion groups which can keep you appraised of the latest debates on such thinkers as Kant and Hegel. Just E-mail to listserv@bucknell.edu and write SUBSCRIBE HEGEL-L to become a part of the Hegel discussion group.

For many connections with other organizations and sites see in particular: http://ww2.valdosta.edu/~rbarnett/phi/resource.html and Episteme Links at http://www.arrowweb.com/philo/. A colleague of my mine in Australia recently mused that the Internet may very well be a manifestation of absolute mind. Your comments are welcome, but please use the Institute’s E-mail address: isp@raynon.com.

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