Volume VIII Number 2

Ottawa, Canada

Fall 1996

Message from the President

Francis Peddle

This issue of ELEUTHERIA contains diverse pieces by James Lowry, Peter McCormick and myself. McCormick’s article “Reddish in Noth-ing but Night” was read in a shorter version, under the title “Reasonably Interpreting Fic­tions”, at Montreal, where there was, October 16-19, 1996, a joint annual meeting of the Canadian Society for Aesthetics and the Ameri­can Society for Aesthetics. Both societies have cordial relations with a number of scholars holding dual memberships. On occasion the two societies hold their annual meetings together here in Canada.

McCormick’s panoramic excursion through thinking about fictions, and more particularly through thinking about what counts as reason­ably interpreting fictions, goes beyond instru­mental, procedural and relativistic terms. His focus is on “the more substantive terms that specify a cardinal role for more speculative accounts of meaning, truth, and objectivity as aspects of the fictional.” Reflecting on these accounts in the poetry of suffering in the twentieth century is a principal element of McCormick’s work on philosophy, poetry and fictions.

Speculative accounts of the history of philoso­phy have traditionally formed a significant component of the major systems of speculative philosophy. James Lowry’s “Speculative Philoso­phy and the History of Philosophy” treats the two subphrases as contraries which on their own create fundamental obstacles to the perennial philosophical endeavour. Lowry maintains that followers of system-builders such as Aristotle, Aquinas or Hegel invariably become either “historical” traditionalists or “ahistorical” dogmatists. Philosophical speculation avoids this trap by working speculatively and rationally through the history of philosophy. The perennial lesson to be learned, not simply intuited, is the recognition of “the necessity of knowing what has been thought in order to think systemati­cally and anew.”

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With the first publication of ELEUTHERIA in the Spring of 1989 we made available access to a computer via modem, which was left in “host” mode for a specified time one day a week. Communications technology has taken a quantum leap since then with the development of the Internet and E-mail. We now have an E-mail address: isp@raynon.com. We also hope to have a home page on the world wide web in 1997. It will primarily contain information about the Institute, ELEUTHERIA, papers on speculative philosophy and other occasional items of interest to those who keep track of what is going on in the discipline.

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With the Fall issue of ELEUTHERIA we once again enclose our annual request for membership renewal. If anyone has professional questions about charitable donations for the Institute, or about how to contribute to the Insti­tute’s Endowment Fund, they should contact me.