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Karl Jaspers reads Cusanus. Interpretative assumptions and theoretical results


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Žitko, Pavao. (2017). Karl Jaspers reads Cusanus. Interpretative assumptions and theoretical results. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Philosophy.
(Dottorato internazionale cotutella di tesi. Scienze umane, 19. c.) [mentor Moschini, Marco and Veljak, Lino].

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The purpose of this work is to analyze the philosophical and existential interpretation of Nicholas of Cusa with the intent to contribute to the study of certain aspects of Karl Jaspers' speculative thought. He has always been opened to dialogue with the great historical metaphysics that reflected on the first principle of existence. The name that is largely different from the other 'great' metaphysicians who influenced the development of theoretical presuppositions of the philosophy of existence (Plotinus, Spinoza, Anaximander, Heraclitus, Parmenides and Anselm), is exactly the Cusa's one. According to Jaspers, his life was marked by the constant and mutual influence of the contemplative element and his constant commitment to some practical aspects of his service to the Catholic Church as an institution. In the rich critical literature on Jaspers' work, there are only two papers focused on the impact of the presence of Cusa on the development of his philosophical points of view; the first one - R. Wisser, «Nikolaus Cusanus them 'lebendigen Spiegel der Philosophie von Karl Jaspers» , - was necessary immediately after the publication of 342 the monograph K. Jaspers, Nikolaus Cusanus (1964) that led to certain criticism on 343 its chronological and philological character. Wisser defends the speculative nature of Jaspers' work emphasizing its basic intention – modernization of theoretical thinking of Cusa in accordance with the terms and hermeneutic way of modern understanding of reality. «No one is that objective in front of the text that he is interested in, to become immune to the threat to be intellectually involved in its message or to begin to cultivate a certain sympathy for its author, beyond the necessary rigorous approach to the topic» - notes Wisser. 344 After more than four decades, another contribution to the exploration of the relationship Jaspers - Cusa was published: Bocken, I., «Der Kampf um Kommunikation. Karl Jaspers' existentielle Cusanus-Lektüre», (2005) . The author accepts the Wisser's 345 thesis on the a-polemic character of Jaspers' thought in order to develop an open and f r u i t f u l d i a l o g u e w i t h t h e h i s t o r i c a l f i g u r e o f C u s a , b y 'understanding' (Vergegenwärtigen) and 'comprehending' (Aneignen) the metaphysical 346 content of his work. The specificity of the Jaspers' interpretation can be understood as hermeneutical actualization of platonic and augustinian tradition in modern categories of thought. The absence of other critical literature on this thematic framework legitimized the intention to start the doctoral research on the impact of Cusa on speculative development of Jaspers' philosophy of existence, at the University of Perugia (Italy) and the University of Zagreb (Croatia), in Kligenthal (France) and Marbach (Germany). An additional reason for this research was the fact that the presence of Cusa in Jaspers' work may be understood as an indicator of the metaphysical degree of his thought. The first part of this paper analyzes the progressive escalation of Jaspers' ontology, starting from his first extremely scientific topics to his full openness to the ontological issues in his late production. In this gradual stepping toward the metaphysical awareness of philosophical problems, and in the gradual acceptance of non-contaminated metaphysical expression (e.g., God, faith), Cusa was becoming increasingly present: starting from the second edition of Psychologie der Weltanschauung (1922) with its philosophical integration of the scientific content, through the metaphysical transfiguration of 'created' in the fourth edition of the Allgemeine Psychopathologie (1946), up to God as non aliud in Der philosophische Glaube angesichts der Offenbarung (1962), followed by the publication of monograph on Cusanus, as separate part of Die Grossen Philosophen, 1957. One of the most important thesis in the first part of this paper is the affirmation of the Jaspers' gradually opening to the ontological questions. This vision of the ontological profile development of the philosophy of existence explains the context that led to the interpretation of Cusa as the great metaphysician. Through the analysis of Jaspers' first three monumental works and after the examination of his later philosophical achievements, it was concluded that Jaspers had systematically worked on the questioning of the empirical objective level of thought for the proper historical manifestation of Transcendence understanding. Jaspers comprehended history as the modality through which the transcendent is concretized by the temporal categories of human perception. The motives of Cusa's particular differentiation from other metaphysicians of his ontological profile was analyzed in the second part of this study. After examination of some biographical elements and his spiritual and contemplative activities, it became evident that the result of this research was compatible with the original Jaspers' criteria: Cusanus constantly kept together the practical and the contemplative instance in every period of his life. This fact in Jaspers' interpretation has been risen to the ontological level of manifestation of Being in the process of the maturating self-consciousness of existence in its temporal limits. It has been proved on basis of some idealistic elements of Jaspers' Existenzphilosophie and its platonian and augustinian characteristics in the second part of this work, in accordance with the organic structure of the Cardinal's thoughts. The importance of this Jaspers' interpretation of some practical instances as significant biographical elements in his work on Von Kues is in his revaluation of some philosophical aspects of human experience in order to indicate its ontological ulteriority. The highest philosophical Jaspers' request is an invitation to genuine test of existence in accordance with the First principle of thought. The work on Cusanus has to be understood as a memory of the effective possibility of leading a full and self-realized life. His acceptance of the world in its diversity and his willingness to act in the field of complex empirical complexity, contribute to the diversification of his metaphysics from eremitical rejection of the world in its concreteness. The third part of this paper consists of German transcript, then the Italian translation and detailed theoretical analysis of five unpublished manuscript pages of the monograph Nik. Cus., consulted in Deutsches Literaturs Archive in Marbach. These materials were analyzed during my stay in Germany in collaboration with dr. sc. Dirk Fonfara. The photocopies of these five pages are included in the «Appendix» (Appendice) of this work, and their importance is in the clear demonstration of Jaspers' intention to present the problem of 'truth' in very synthetic way. In fact, Jaspers had already recognized the decisive role of the concept of 'Truth' (Wirklichkeit) for the consistent expression of ontological thought, with his publication Von der Wahrheit. One of the important contributions of this paper is the clarification of the motives that led to the exclusion of these five pages from the final version of the text. These separated materials are preparatory and synthetic notes on the problem of 'truth', understood by Jaspers as the central concept of authentic speculative thought. A detailed examination of correspondence Jaspers-Piper is also added here in order to find the reasons of the separate publication of the monograph on Cusanus in 1964. The conclusion is the following: the decision to postpone the publication of this part of Die grossen Philosophen, dedicated to Cusanus and to exclude it from the first German edition of this work was motivated by the external elements, related to its publishing history.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Subjects: Philosophy
Departments: Department of Philosophy
Supervisor: Moschini, Marco and Veljak, Lino
Additional Information: Dottorato internazionale cotutella di tesi. Scienze umane, 19. c.
Date Deposited: 04 May 2018 09:48
Last Modified: 04 May 2018 09:48

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