Meeting 26

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DATE: Tuesday, February 23

TIME: 1 PM Princeton time (EST) / 8 PM Bucharest time (GMT+2)

PANEL: Panpsychism in the Renaissance

SPEAKERS: Paul Richard Blum (Loyola University Maryland), Elisabeth Blum (Palacký University Olomouc), Tomáš Nejeschleba (Palacký University Olomouc), Martin Žemla (Charles University, Prague)


  1. A lecture (20-30 minutes) by Paul Richard Blum on the metaphor of God in Giordano Bruno.
    Hans Blumenberg stated that philosophical theology cannot avoid what he called absolute metaphors because, by definition, it cannot reach the ultimate referent the unspeakable God. Metaphor is all there is. Therefore, images are concepts of reason, and ideas, substances, attributes, etc. are to be seen as images and, consequently, they share the properties of imagination such as relationality. Seeing God in images and metaphors, therefore, is not inappropriate but, rather, the divine way of knowing. This has consequences for the structure of the world: for Bruno, cognition is idealized causation to the extent that the cognitive principles are also the powers of reality. This amounts to panpsychism. Panpsychism is more than some sort of animation in the world; it is the intelligence of creation. This intelligence – in the active and passive meaning – is what makes the world real and the condition for the understandability of the world and the divine. Therefore, panpsychism and pantheism are two aspects of the same philosophy, in which ‘god’ is a metaphor for the recognizability of the world, and things are metaphors for the presence of God.
  2. Comments and contributions to the discussion by
    • Martin Žemla on Paracelsus: The “light of nature” and the “signaturae rerum” are concepts that imply all things to be endowed with an animating principle.
    • Elisabeth Blum on Tommaso Campanella: Panpsychism relates to magic, theism, pantheism or panentheism, and the Christian notion of a trinitarian God.
    • Tomáš Nejeschleba on Jan Amos Comenius: Comenius borrowed the term “panspychia” from Francesco Patrizi; panpsychism was the philosophical background of his pedagogy.

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