Current Issue Article Abstracts

Volume 82, Number 4, October 2021 




Anselm’s Predicament: The Proslogion and Anti-intellectual Rhetoric in the Aftermath of the Berengarian Controversy
Samu Niskanen

The contention informing this essay is that the side-effects of the so-called Berengarian controversy about the Eucharist jeopardized the first steps Anselm of Bec, later of Canterbury († 1109), was taking as a learned author in the late 1070s. Anselm wrote his first treatises, Monologionand Proslogion, in an atmosphere heated by the exploitation of anti-intellectual rhetoric and the public condemnation of Berengar’s teaching by his enemies. This identification of Anselm’s predicament prompts a re-evaluation of the subject matter and literary aspect of Proslogion, the work that delivers his famous ontological argument for the existence of God.

The “Urbild” of “Einbildung”: The Archetype in the Imagination in Eighteenth-Century German Aesthetics
Julian Johannes Immanuel Koch

This article outlines what is arguably the uniquely German trajectory of the imagination, focusing on the relation between the imagination and “Urbild” in eighteenth-century German aesthetics, particularly in Kant and Schelling. I contend that shared German roots of the “Einbildung” (imagination) and “Urbild” (archetype) in “Bild” led German aesthetic thinkers to conceive of the imagination much more in (Neo-)Platonic terms. This article therefore argues that there is a perceptible rift in how the imagination is conceived in eighteenth-century discourse which follows a linguistic fault line between the Latin-origin “imagination” and the German “Einbildung.”

The Logician in the Archive: John Venn’s Diagrams and Victorian Historical Thinking
David E. Dunning

Like the overlapping circles of his famous diagrams, English probability theorist, logician, and historian John Venn (1834–1923) operated at a site of productive intersection. Across a career comprising seemingly disparate pursuits, Venn exhibited an epistemic apparatus shaped by a mathematical probability, formal logic, and British historicism. Scholarly interest in Venn has tended to isolate these elements; I argue that a deep continuity joined his projects. The unappreciated coherence of his work reveals larger convergent currents in Victorian historical thinking, a kind of statistical attitude according to which large series of elite individuals constituted the most illuminating historical subject.

Epistemological Battles on the Home Front: Early Neoliberals at War against the Social Relations of Science Movement
Martin Beddeleem

During the Second World War, fighting the growing influence of left-leaning British scientists became the focal point of the publications of Friedrich Hayek, Karl Popper, and Michael Polanyi. Doing so, they elaborated key epistemological principles of neoliberalism: the indeterminate nature of knowledge, the shortcomings of holistic and determinist theories of society, and the spontaneous aspects of human organizations. Although at odds on the ideological spectrum, they shared with their adversaries the idea that the production of knowledge depended on economic and social conditions. Their view of what science and scientists should do informed the birth of the Mont-Pèlerin Society.

The Capital of Race Capitals: Toward a Connective Cartography of Black Internationalisms
Sarah C. Dunstan

A great deal of ink has been spilled reflecting upon the historically contingent nature of race as a category, and as a lived experience. Bringing together the case studies of the interwar sites of Harlem, Paris, and London and, in the post–World War Two period of decolonization, the cities of Algiers and Dakar, this article is a contribution to ongoing conversations about how we might develop a critical conceptual apparatus for understanding the relationship between historical examples of black internationalism and the racial assumptions that underpin it by linking it to notions of place.

Planning the American Future: Daniel Bell, Future Research, and the Commission on the Year 2000
Jenny Andersson

This article examines the sociologist Daniel Bell's interest in future research. Future research, to Bell, had as its particular purpose to ensure forms of coordination and steering acceptable to a liberal society. By examining Bell’s interest in future research and the activities of the Commission on the Year 2000, the essay proposes that future research played a role in Cold War intellectual history as a particular form of planning for the liberal polity. This idea of planning a liberal society changed decisively, however, between 1965 and 1975.

The Immeasurability of the Monastic Mind: Writing about Peter Abelard (1079–1142)
Babette Hellemans

The work of Peter Abelard (1079–1142) leaves no one indifferent. Why should the writings stir up such emotions long after he became a point of reference in the history of ideas? Perhaps the most important reason is that Abelard has always been more than the author of his books. For the historians of ideas he served as an example of what it is to lead an intellectually independent life, against the standards set by society and church. It is to the credit of scholars discussed in this review essay that this historical question arising from “doing philosophy” is addressed.

Books Received