Lucian Blaga: Selected Philosophical Extracts
R. T. Allen, Henrieta Anișoara Șerban, Angela Botez (Eds.)
"Blaga is a significant voice within European philosophy from the inter-war years. Philosophy was at that time – as since – something of a battleground. Modernist sceptical Viennese voices (often in exile) were ringing loudly, whilst more personalist, metaphysical and religiously-informed voices such as those of Mounier in France, Macmurray in the UK, and Blaga in Romania, were less influential. Now, as modernist philosophy shrinks in influence, it is important to listen again to those philosophers who were providing critical alternatives well before modernism was ‘deconstructed’. The academic battles of the 1930s were political as much as philosophical, and the challenges of nationalism and of universalism are well represented in Blaga’s work. Avoiding the unapologetic extremism of Heidegger, whilst recognising the ways in which lives are embedded in traditions of religion and of place, Blaga provides a historicist metaphysics that is as lively and important in the twenty-first century as it was in the middle of the twentieth, one that not only admits but celebrates the mystery, crudely described by Rumsfeld as the known unknowns and the unknown knowns. This careful selection of writings, complemented by a scholarly introduction and notes, will help renew interest in an important philosophical and cultural voice."
Professor Julian Stern,
York St. John University, UK
"The Introduction is helpful, embedding Blaga within the wider philosophical landscape of the 20th century. Blaga was a highly original thinker, in almost all his works. The current extracts are representative of his originality. They will appeal the professional philosophers interested in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of culture, art and history, and also to students and those parts of the general public curious about these areas. The texts collected here are likely to make readers reflect in a more thorough way about the connections between disparate phenomena and between the corresponding philosophical disciplines, thus contributing to a better understanding of the unity of the human spirit."
Dr. Edward Kanterian,
Department of Philosophy, University of Kent, UK
"The chapters selected for translation and the order in which they are presented is very good: they provide a nice overview of Blaga’s thought in a way that’s amazingly cohesive. This must have been a very difficult task: Blaga wrote a lot and choosing what little would best represent his entire corpus is an extremely difficult task. The editors of this volume are to be commended! The inclusion of a glossary and a sort of annotated bibliography of primary sources is nice. Overall the translations are satisfactory. This will be an excellent addition to the small but growing body of Blaga literature available in English."
Michael Scott Jones,
Professor of Philosophy and Theology, Liberty University, USA
After the Editor's General Introduction, the extracts include central elements of Blaga’s metaphysics, general epistemology, philosophies of science, history, religion, language and especially metaphor, the experience of space and time, art, and finally culture which includes all of them, especially the presence in all of ‘style’ and distinctive ways of practising them. All these extracts are linked by his general epistemology, especially his distinction between two types of knowledge: ‘paradisiac’ or Type 1, which is that of everyday awareness and the current methods, concepts and presuppositions of the sciences of nature and humanity, plus mathematics and philosophy, and accumulates in ‘plus knowledge’ and resolves problems in standard ways; and ‘Luciferican’ or Type 2, which opens up the ‘mysteries’ of new realms of reality which do not fit the current methods, concepts and presuppositions, and so results in ‘minus’ knowledge, the awareness that there are things which at the moment we cannot understand. For these ‘mysteries’ new methods, concepts and presuppositions are required, which ‘abyssal’ categories can supply, ones below those we normally employ and may be aware of. It is part of man’s role in the cosmos to reveal such mysteries. They are also linked by Blaga's awareness of historical changes, especially ‘dogmatic aeons’ in which a prevailing framework of categories, etc., guides knowledge and research, and ones in which Type 2 knowledge dominates and new frameworks are eventually created. Each extract has its own Introduction which places it in the context of the rest of his interlinked philosophy.
They show how Blaga, with both general themes and concepts and also with particular examples, combines much of the concerns and methods of Analytic and Continental philosophy, and how his historical perspective applied especially to modern times long before anyone spoke of 'postmodernism', and thus as in his lifetime.
Foreword by Calvin O. Schrag
1. Introduction: Lucian Blaga: Life and philosophy
2. Philosophical Self-Presentation
3. The Dogmatic Aeon (1931):
The Dogmatic Aeon
4. The Divine Differentials (1940):
The Great Anonym, the Generator; The Divine Differentials
5. Transcendental Censorship (1937):
Integration with Mystery
6. Luciferian Knowledge (1933):
7. Science and Creation (1942):
Two Types of Knowledge; The Stylistic Field
8. The Genesis of Metaphor and the Meaning of Culture (1937):
The Genesis of Metaphor; The Uniqueness of Man
9. Horizon and Style (1936):
The Phenomenon of Style and Methodology; The Stylistic Matrix; The Axiological Accent.
10. The Mioritic Space (1936):
The Mioritic Space.
Index of names
Professor Angela Botez has recently retired as Head of the Department of Philosophy of Science in the Institute of Philosophy at the Romanian Academy of Sciences in Bucharest, and also as Editor-in-Chief of La Revue Roumaine de Philolosophie. Currently Professor, Senior Researcher and President of the Section of Philosophy, Psychology, Theology and Journalism at the Academy of Romanian Scientists, Bucharest, and Editor-in-Chief of its journal, Annals of the Academy of Romanian Scientists. She has spoken at conferences, published articles on Blaga in Romanian and English journals, and referred to Blaga in her books.
Dr Henrieta Anișoara Șerban is a Senior Researcher at the Institute of Political Sciences and International Relations "Ion I. C. Brătianu" of the Romanian Academy, and at the Institute of Philosophy and Psychology "Constantin Rădulescu-Motru" of the Romanian Academy and Correspondent Member of the Academy of Romanian Scientists. She has spoken on Blaga at conferences.
Dr R.T. Allen, now retired, was a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Education, the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad. He has published 7 books, edited and co-edited 4 others, and written more than 50 articles for books and academic journals on philosophy in Britain, USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Spain, Australia, and China, including 3 papers on Blaga, and referred to him in some of his articles and books.