Category Archives: philosophers

Zeno of Citium on Flute-Playing Olives and Harp-Bearing Trees

In his On the Nature of the Gods Cicero alludes to Zeno of Citium‘s discussion of flute-playing olives and harp-bearing trees: “If melodiously piping flutes sprang from the olive, would you doubt that a knowledge of flute-playing resided in the olive? And what if plane trees bore harps which gave forth rhythmical sounds? Clearly you […]

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Hamann and Benjamin on the Concept of Experience

Next month I’ll be giving a paper at the upcoming The Philosophy of Walter Benjamin conference at Goldsmiths, University of London. Here’s the abstract: In his 1917 essay “On the Program of the Coming Philosophy”, Benjamin wrote: “The great transformation and correction which must be performed upon the concept of experience, oriented so one-sidedly along […]

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When Leibniz met Spinoza

In 1676 Leibniz found a pretext to visit Spinoza in The Hague, having learned that Spinoza was at work on a philosophical treatise of great importance. Spinoza showed Leibniz the manuscript of the Ethics, and the two men discussed philosophy together over several days. Although there is no written record of their conversation, it seems […]

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