Avicenna e la sinistra aristotelica By Ernst Bloch

Felsefi bir kitabı çevirirken bu kadar eski Türkçe kullanmanın sebebi nedir, bilmiyorum. Anlamakta baya zorlandım fakat son bölümdeki açıklamalar ve bahsi geçen filozoflardan alıntılar muazzamdı. Faydalı bir kaynak fakat okuması zor. Paperback I love this essay. Bloch explicating his relation to the Aristotelian tradition and situating himself in that project. A good introduction to his thought. Paperback An anomalous book, but I love it. This text was Bloch's attempt to salvage the Aristotelian tradition; the end result is sloppy and messy, but it worked! There's a lot of historical details I won't go into. There's only one big concept here, but it's a doozy: Aristotelianism isn't just the misogynistic slaver ideology we know and love. Bloch suggests that the tradition bifurcates into a right wing tendency, which restricts matter to mere potentiality incapable of effectuating itself in the world (Thomas Aquinas) and a left wing tendency that emphasizes the active potentiality of matter (Avicenna, Avicebron). In the left Aristotelian case, matter is not dead, it is a generative matrix that cannot be exhausted or saturated. This enables a distinction between the horizon of the currently possible and the utopian futures that don't yet fit in our horizon. Bloch's lasting virtue is that he bet the farm on the latter.

The last word, in this case, belongs to Hegel, specifically his criticism of Aristotle in the history of philosophy lectures. Bloch doesn't cite this, but he should have, since it supports his argument. The quote is a wall of text, but I promise it's worth it:

here again we come across the drawback pertaining to the whole Aristotelian manner, as also to all succeeding logic – and that indeed in the highest degree that in thought and in the movement of thought as such, the individual moments fall asunder; there are a number of kinds of judgment and conclusion, each of which is held to be independent, and is supposed to have absolute truth as such. Thus they are simply content, for they then have an indifferent, undistinguished existence, such as we see ill the famous laws of contradiction. conclusions, &c. In this isolation they have., however, no truth; for their totality alone is the truth of thought, because this totality is at once subjective and objective. Thus they are only the material of truth, the formless content; their deficiency is hence not that they are only forms but rather that form is lacking to them, and that they are in too great a degree content... However little this logic of the finite may be speculative in nature, yet we must make ourselves acquainted with it, for it is everywhere discovered in finite relationships. There are many sciences, subjects of knowledge, &c., that know and apply no other forms of thought than these forms of finite thought, which constitute in fact the general method of dealing with the finite sciences. Mathematics, for instance, is a constant series of syllogisms; jurisprudence is the bringing of the particular under the general, the uniting together of both these sides... Aristotle is thus the originator of the logic of the understanding; its forms only concern the relationship of finite to finite, and in them the truth cannot be grasped. But it must be remarked that Aristotle’s philosophy is not by any means founded on this relationship of the understanding; thus it must not be thought that it is in accordance with these syllogisms that Aristotle has thought. If Aristotle did so, he would not be the speculative philosopher that we have recognized him to be; none of his propositions could have been laid down, and he could not have made any step forward, if he had kept to the forms of this ordinary logic.

Aristotle divides the world into isolated finite contents. Our task as left Aristotelians is to rearrange his impressive empirical work into a consistent speculative system, open to novel possibilities. Paperback

Pubblicato per la prima volta a Berlino nel 1952 e ancora inedito in traduzione italiana, il saggio ripercorre il tortuoso cammino che da Aristotele, attraverso Avicenna, Avicebron e Averroè, giunge a delineare un concetto qualitativo di materia, intesa come grembo infinitamente fecondo di forme, fornendo così una base ontologica a quel principio speranza che ha rappresentato uno dei cardini della riflessione di Bloch. In queste dense pagine, il filosofo tedesco ci conduce nell’antica terra vergine di una materia utopica, una lontananza che vale la pena riscoprire perché “è fecondo solo quel ricordo che al contempo ci rammenta quanto ancora resta da fare”. Avicenna e la sinistra aristotelica

Excellent and challenging book. I’m not sure I agree with it’s conclusions, and the Aristotelian Right/Left dichotomy (while its taxonomical, I still think it’s anachronistic); likewise, I can’t say I fully agree with how he positions the Medieval Islamic thinkers apropos of the Enlightenment, more broadly. Still, a great a text, very informative for those who have never studied the Islamic Medievals (which many have not). Paperback More like 3 1/2 stars. Bloch provides a helpful reading of not only Avicenna but Averroes, Avicebron and Bruno as a school of Aristotelian materialists who helped collapse the form/content distinction into a proto-emergentist vitalism. This is all very good, I just wish there was a little more here. The book is divided into two parts: first, an overview of the historical relationship between left (mostly Arab and Islamic) and right (mostly Scholastic) Aristotelians, and second a close-reading of several left Aristotelian texts. What I wanted was for Bloch to delve more into his own explication and original thesis; it seems that what motivates his vitalist reading of Avicenna is a theory of surplus-being, that is, potentia as a necessary excess at the heart of actuality; this surplus-being is what makes progress, subjective and political, possible for Bloch. It’s unfortunate that this feels tacked on.

I’d like to write something relating Bloch’s concepts here to Zizek’s Schelling as found in The Indivisible Remainder — we’ll see if I get around to it. Paperback That was one hell of a hard book to read, but I think my fault was having no clue about the topic I t was discussing. I would definitely do a follow-up readings to get a better understanding of what I read/saw. Paperback Intriguing. Paperback Protochronism has had very bad name in Romanian historiography circles, it usually designates a re-writing of history in favor of one's narrow interest (making everything comply with local greatness). Usually quite blunt and ridiculous attempts at finding predecessors of nativist new technologies, movements, ideas in eras long gone by, protichronists shamelessly pursue a contemporary agenda in spite of all historical common sense & anachronic warnings. Seeking the beginning of rocket technology in fairy tale flying horses or even reconstructing scenes from a middle ages proto-rocket workshop (as in a aviation museum display I've seen from the 90s) might be more or less concrete examples.
What is needed is another type of protochronism - less parochial and one eager to find try identifying the New in the Old, one that does not just confirm what was expected, or what was deemed just possible within bounds. How can one recover the revolutionary core of an abandoned thesis? Is there some way to enliven or avoid mechanistic materialism?
Against any vulgar materialism, Bloch creatively reclaims the primacy of matter over form, locates its in-the-process dynamic constitution, tracing an early version of what would later feed the pantheist/magick-scientific tradition of Giordano Bruno and Renaissance hermeticism. Bloch is glossing over various Aristotelian schools mobilizing great stylistic force & with the help of seemingly ungainly, hyphenated concepts. He is always on the lookout not to preempt but awaken emancipative-anticipative tendencies, latent energies to be acknowledged by posterity.
In spite of some Orientalist clichees or Avicenna (not Ibn Sina), he is one of the foremost to recognize the dialectic and dependent relation of Christian scholastics (Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinus) and Islamic and Jewish medieval scholars (Avicenna, Averroes, Avicebron).
The translators take on E Bloch forgotten text - Avicenna and the Aristotelian Left in the same vein as Bloch himself took on the Aristotelian metaphysics of matter.
Difficult to read and/or translate Bloch from German even for native speakers, Loren Goldman and Peter Thompson manage a great job.

It's my first Bloch text, although he was probably the first modern philosopher that stayed with me consciously throughout young adulthood, and then only as a small excerpt in a German pocket encyclopedia about the history of western philosophy, received as a gift in early 90s from abroad.
Bloch was singled out from the rest of the German Frankfurter Schule as philosopher (the others I remembered being mentioned where - Horkheimer and Marcuse), but I never got why at the time. Prinzip Hoffnung was presented on one full page - on the other there was a B&W photo of a ray of light (shimmer?!) visible along a forest pathway. Now I got a glimpse to why.

This small 2019 Columbia University book is a great introduction to his thinking & core of his metaphysics - a concrete example of why it is important to search for promissory potentials at the very material basis of reality. I kept it close to my mind and mentioned it as often as I could to friends. After visiting a show at the Frankfurt Kunstverein late in 2019 I got puzzled over why the German curators completely missed out Ernst Bloch when referring to the recent lively feminist materialism (Karen Barad, Jane Bennett, and many others). He somehow anticipates and delineates for the first time why materialism is politically relevant. His prophetic messianism rings true in apocalyptic times. His dialectical take on matter & form or the role of art in uncovering these anticipative traces (Spuren) does not always fit within orthodox Marxist tradition, but nevertheless in spite of his many critics Bloch merits renewed attention.

He seems to be the philosopher and thinker of preconditions of thinking, of natura naturans, one that seeks the unrealized slef generating potentials of matter. As he is critical of cognitive elites, he recovers a train of thought free of Godly interference or ecclesiastical dogmas, happily avoiding all manner of top-down molding. While an overall amazing reading, I felt certain recurring conceptual trappings - more becose of recent new materialist penchant for excess ontology. Everything becomes 'pregnant', blossoming, nascent etc Yes, i like this emphasis on the fruitful, bountiful wetware (especially during times of austerity), but there's always the looming (absent) questions of the stunted potentials, those that never arrive, of pause and welcome sterility. While discussing latent tendencies and predispositions of matter, which I am thankful for, I am also consciously, even taken aback (?) by all the (not referring to Bloch here) talk about sheer vibrancy & abundance, the overflowing & inexhaustible procreative character of it all. Recent vital materialists or speculative realists seem to shape the theoretical landscape around naturalism & realism. Blochian excess ontology is thus now a default feature, material animatedness is more and more convincing and sensible. What about the excess of cold thinking, since the real procreative excess is one of analytic dimensions, of financial instruments, algorithmic mismeasure and computational frenzy that seems to overcome and overrun any material promises. Exclusive focus on dispositions, tendencies and latency seem to completly expel any human agency, at the same time as art retains a preponderent exploratory role - for Bloch was always interested in art, always sensible to the collaborative role played by humans. That is why this is important, while he animates matter he does this without deanimating humans or relegating them to the status of receptors. Paperback

Avicenna

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