Philosophy Begins in Wonder: An Introduction to Early Modern Philosophy, Theology, and Science

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Philosophy begins with wonder, according to Plato and Aristotle. Yet Plato and Aristotle did not expand a great deal on what precisely wonder is. Does this fact alone not raise curiosity in us as to why this passion or concept is important? What is wonder's role in science, philosophy, or theology except to end thinking or theorizing as soon as one begins? The primary purpose of this book is to show how seventeenth- and eighteenth-century developments in natural theology, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, and the philosophy of science resulted in a complex history of the passion of wonder-a history in which the elements of continuation, criticism, and reformulation are equally present. Philosophy Begins in Wonder provides the first historical overview of wonder and changes the way we see early modern Europe. It is intended for readers who are curious-who wonder-about how modern philosophy and science were born. The book is for scholars and educated readers alike.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556357824
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Pages: 390
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Funk Deckard is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Lenoir-Rhyne College in North Carolina. He has taught History of Ideas, Philosophy, and Ethics at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), North Central College (Naperville, Illinois) and Wheaton College (Wheaton, Illinois). He also has published articles and reviews in journals such as The Heythrop Journal; British Journal of Aesthetics; Eighteenth-Century Thought; Bijdragen: International Journal in Philosophy and Theology; Philosophy in Review; Tijdschrift voor Filosofie, and Verbum: Analecta Neolatina. Péter Losonczi is an associate professor at the Department of Philosophy, University of West Hungary. His publications include essays and books, among others the co-edited volumes Reflecting Diversity (LIT, Wien-Berlin-London, 2007), Religio Academici (Akadémiai/Wolters Kluwer, Budapest, 2009) and From Political Theory to Political Theology (Continuum, London-New York, forthcoming 2010).

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Table of Contents

List of Figures ix

Preface-Michael Funk Deckard xi

Abbreviations xv

Introduction Péter Losonczi Michael Funk Deckard xvii

Part 1 Historical, Scientific, and Religious Contexts

1 Wonder and Wondering in the Renaissance Elisabeth Blum Paul Richard Blum 1

2 Wonder, Magic, and Natural Philosophy: The Disenchantment Thesis Revisited Koen Vermeir 43

3 Religious Awe at the Origin of Eighteenth-Century Physico-Theology Miklós Vassónyi 72

Part 2 Wonder in Seventeenth-Century Europe

4 Descartes on the Excellent Use of Admiration Dorottya Kaposi 107

5 Admiration, Fear, and Infinity in Pascal's Thinking Tamás Pavlovits 119

6 On Thomas Hobbes's Concept of Wonder Jianhong Chen 127

7 "Straight toward Heaven": Natural Theology and Politics in Milton's Paradise Lost Veronika Szántó 143

8 Malebranche on Restlessness and Curiosity Roland Breeur 158

9 Wonder in the Age of the Saeculum: Spinoza Gábor Boros 175

Part 3 Wonder in Eighteenth-Century Europe

10 Berkeley's Wonderful Divine Language: Apology and Biblical Realism Péter Losonczi 190

11 "Of Curiosity, or the Love of Truth": David Hume on Wonder in A Treatise of Human Nature Michael Funk Deckard 211

12 A Risk of Testimony: Astonishment and the Sublime Baldine Saint Girons 234

13 Two Sources of Wonder in Early Modern Judaism Roberta Sabbath 261

14 Kant and the End of Wonder Patrick Frierson 285

15 Ways of Wondering: Beyond the Barbarism of Reflection William Desmond 310

List of Contributors 349

Index of Authors 353

Index of Subjects 359

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