Tuesday, March 19, 2013

McGinnis on Avicenna's Cosmology

Avicenna's modal ontology yet again provides him with a neat solution to this problem of medieval cosmology. From the necessary Existent there emanantes fro Avicenna the Intellect associated witht eh outermost celestial sphere. This Intellect must itself already be composite, for it is something possible in tiself but necessary through another. Now, continues Avicenna, when this Intellect contemplates the Necessary Existent, there emanates from that first Intellect another Intellect-let this second Intellect be the one associated with the fixed stars. In addition to contemplating the Necessary Existent, the first Intellect also contemplate itself, but, as has already been seen, it si something composite consisting of its won possible existence and the necessary existence it has from another. Thus, according to Avicenna's own unique emanative scheme, when the first Intellect contemplates itself as something merely possible in itself, there emanates from it a certain celestial body, whereas when it contemplates itself as necessary through another, it emanates that celestial body's soul. This process continues at the level of the second Intellect. Now, however, the second Intellect contemplates its relation the first Intellect and the Necessary Existent. This emanative process continues cascading downward with new Intellects, souls, and clestial bodies being produced until reaches the Active Intellect or Giver of Forms, which is the Intellect that produces the Moon and lunar soul. 

(thanks to Michael Chase for posting this on the Neoplatonism list)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

notes for a review of Hanegraaff, Esotericism and the Academy

Hanegraaf does an archaeology of theory of esotericism, looking at
constructions of "magic" and other forms of rejected knowledge in
the early modern philosophical discourse that prefigures and often
haunts modern scholarly understandings of what is now discussed
under the umbrella of "Western Esotericism." Looking at theoretical
approaches from an historical lens with penetrating insight and a
welcome rigor, he explains where his discipline came from and with
great clarity elucidates many problems that still plague the field.
The result is a great success that will be invaluable to both the
theorist and the historian.

Platonic orientalism -- role of Renaissance magical theories
how occult sciences eventually became understood from unifying perspective

tainted terminologies

critiques Brian Vickers' understanding of the occult sciences

navigates the complexities of the historiography of alchemy

examines Faivre's position in relation to the religionism of Esalen

what Segal has done for Myth and Fanger for Theurgy