New work undertaken in St Andrews has created new bibliographies of Latin books published in France (FB volumes 3 & 4) and of books published in the Low Countries (NB). The project team will also collect and analyse information on books published in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. Meanwhile, partners in University College, Dublin have created a bibliography of books published in the Iberian Peninsula (IB).
In 2011 this was brought together with information on books published in Italy, Germany and Britain to create a fully searchable resource covering all of Europe. This provides access to the full bibliographic information, locations of surviving copies and, where available, digital full text editions that can be accessed through the database. All told, this information will encompass approximately 355,000 editions and around 1.5 million surviving copies, located in over 5,000 libraries worldwide.
8:35 AM: I check the newly digitized works from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. A newly digitized manuscript, cgm 414, includes a “Schmähschrift auf Kaiser Friedrich III.,” which sounds interesting. I pull it up, then go teach my literature course.
10:25 AM: Practicas are ephemeral. Entire editions can easily get lost. I might just have a previously unknown incunbable edition in front of me. I start thinking about journals I can publish this discovery, and take a closer look at the text.
11:30 AM: […] the first line of text on the first leaf of the second gathering as recorded in GW looks familiar: […] It’s more than familiar. […] The publication plans get shelved in time for me to teach my 101 course.
Legal Issues in Mass Digitization: A Preliminary Analysis and Discussion Document http://ping.fm/vMVd9
From the introduction to the document:
The Copyright Office has published a Preliminary Analysis and Discussion Document that addresses the issues raised by the intersection between copyright law and the mass digitization of books. The purpose of the Analysis is to facilitate further discussions among the affected parties and the public – discussions that may encompass a number of possible approaches, including voluntary initiatives, legislative options, or both. The Analysis also identifies questions to consider in determining an appropriate policy for the mass digitization of books.
Public discourse on mass digitization is particularly timely. On March 22, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York rejected a proposed settlement in the copyright infringement litigation regarding Google’s mass book digitization project. The court found that the settlement would have redefined the relationship between copyright law and new technology, and it would have encroached upon Congress’s ability to set copyright policy with respect to orphan works. Since then, a group of authors has filed a lawsuit against five university libraries that participated in Google’s mass digitization project. These developments have sparked a public debate on the risks and opportunities that mass book digitization may create for authors, publishers, libraries, technology companies, and the general public. The Office’s Analysis will serve as a basis for further policy discussions on this issue.
early modern philosophy of nature must be troubled by angels, because mechanistic physics reaches an impasse when trying to integrate angels into its world view and that
some misconceptions about early modern angelology should be abandoned (Descartes was interested in angels, to believe that angels have bodies is in itself no indication for atheist or heretical tendencies).
The second aspect will be dealt with in the next and last post of this series. Now I want to dwell a bit on the ‘fundamental angelological problem’: How do we explain that supernatural beings can serve as the (efficient) cause of changes in the natural world.
Two approaches can be distinguished: Descartes proposes a partial ‘reenchantment’ of nature (if it is appropriate to borrow this term from John McDowell). Nature is thought as something that is to a certain extent susceptible to supernatural influence - matter has a (supernatural) receptivity for acts of the angelic will. Hobbes and Leibniz try to naturalise the supernatural by applying the ‘principle of locality’: Only those things are part of the world (Leibniz) or universe (Hobbes) that are (Hobbes) or stand in a relation to (Leibniz) a body. But for Hobbes, only the angels in the Old Testament can be explained away as supernaturally caused natural phenomena that are similar to spectres or delusions. Leibniz is closer to Hobbes than some may have suspected beforehand: Angels are natural phenomena (minds that can change their bodies more easily than humans).
Nevertheless, there are limits for such rationalisations: Hobbes must bow to the authority of Scripture. Spiritual embodied substances (angels in the New Testament) may exist. So we cannot be sure that all changes in the world can be explained by the movement of bodies. Leibniz has to take God’s omnipotency into account. He is forced to concede the possibility that angelic entelechies may exist even though they stand in no relation to a phenomenal body. Such angels may not be part of this world (depending on how we interpret the requirement that the activity of an entelechy must be limited by prime matter). Hence, we cannot deny that there may be ‘supernatural’ angels. Their status within the worldview of natural philosophy is as dubious as it is in Hobbes.
In sum, an integration of angels into a mechanistic philosophy of nature comes at a prize: Descartes’ approach seems to water down the explanatory force of mechanism, because matter is endowed with a receptivity for the supernatural. Hobbes must bow to the authority of Scripture and admit the possibility of embodied spiritual substances, even though his philosophy is built on the presupposition that the universe is but an aggregate of bodies.
In 1706, Leibniz discussed his views on angelology in his a series of letters to the Jesuit des Bosses, giving him the opportunity to discuss his views with a correspondent who was thoroughly acquainted with orthodox Catholic teachings on the subject and at the same time sympathetic to Leibniz’s system.
In these letters, Leibniz gives two main reasons why angels require a body:
Angels need a body in order to be part of the universe.
Only if angels have a body, we can account for the specific differences between humans, angels, and God.
Angels and the ‘principle of locality’
In a draft that was not sent to des Bosses, Leibniz remarks that completely incorporeal substances would need a perpetual miracle in order to occupy a place:
…] et substantiae creatae a materia prorsus secretae meo judicio non nisi per miracula perpetua locum habere possent. (G II 316)
But what precisely would be the divine intervention needed here? Since, for Leibniz, all substances perceive the states of all other substances, all other substances in the universe would have to entertain a representation of the incorporeal substance in question as being in the place it is supposed to be in, even though ‘in fact’ this incorporeal substance does not occupy a place.
So, for Leibniz, incorporeal substances can’t be a part of the world, unless God produces corresponding representations in all other substances, namely the illusion that the incorporeal question is a part of the world, even though this is not the case. In other words, everything that is a part of the world needs a body, because only something that ‘has’ a body can be represented as being in space, unless God engenders the illusion in all beings that an incorporeal substance is a part of the world, even though it is not.
And this is exactly what Leibniz does state. Those who assume that there are incorporeal substances, deny that such substances can be in the world:
Has [sc. intelligentias] enim removere a corporibus et loco, est removere ab universali connexione atque ordine Mundi, quem faciunt relationes ad tempus et locum. (Ibid.)
Incorporeal substances have no body. Things that have no body are not spatial (i. e. they do not occupy a place). Things that do not occupy a place have no natural connection to other things. What has no natural connection to other things, is no part of the world.
The specific differences between humans, angels, and God
In order to be present in space, angels must be able to interact with their environment. For Leibniz, angelic interaction with other spatial objects is similar to how humans act in space. This must be so, because, as we have seen, angels are not pure spirits:
Angeli non sunt Entelechiae corporum, sed ipsi et Entelechias, nempe Mentes, et Corpora etiam, […] (Ibid.)
Hence, there is no difference in how angels and humans move around in the world (presumably because the link between mind and bodies is in both cases mediated by God, i. e. the relationship between mind and body is in both cases merely ideal rather than real):
Angeli ergo corpora movent prorsus, ut nos facimus, […] (Ibid.)
This is a risky statement, because angels are generally supposed to be present in a portion of space in virtue of what they can do in it rather than in virtue of what they are, whereas the human soul is present in a human body because of what it is, namely the substantial form of this body. Pre-established harmony suspends this common notion of how angels and humans differ.
Leibniz finds an ingenious alternative: The main difference between angels and humans is that angels can easily leave the body they are related to and migrate into another:
Arbitror enim cum naturaliter possibile sit […] esse Entelechias, quae facillime mutent corpus, seu de corpore in corpus transeant, […] (G II 320)
Interestingly, this ‘metempsychosis’ is itself a natural phenomenon, because humans can modify their body as well (i. e. add or subtract parts that thus are (or are no more) parts of their body). Leibniz illustrates this with a somewhat gruesome example: It is possible for humans to cut of their foot and replace it with a wooden substitute (cf. ibid.).
So even though there is no difference in how humans and angels are present in space, this need not imply that angels are incorporated in the same way as humans are:
An vero necesse sit Angelum esse formam informantem seu Animam corporis organici eique personaliter unitam, alia quaestio est, et certo sensu in praecedente Epistola exposito negari potest. (G II 325)
If angels can migrate from one body to another with a higher degree of volatility than humans, angelic existence does not rest on a ‘personal unity’ of mind and body that is characteristic for humans. This is what makes angels different from humans.
We have contemplated how angels relate to the physical world at large, i. e. to phenomenal bodies that are aggregates of substances. But Leibniz points out that angels are in a more radical way dependent on matter. Like all other created substances, their entelechies require ‘prime matter’ (materia prima). This requirement is conceptual, so that even if we may concede that an omnipotent God may deprive angels of the phenomenal body they are related to, their relation to ‘prime matter’ would remain unaffected.
Etsi ergo Deus per potentiam absolutam possit substantiam creatam privare materia secunda, non tamen potest eam privare materia prima; nam faceret inde Actum purum qualis ipse est solus. (G II 324f)
An angelic entelechy must be limited by ‘prime matter’, because substances are always active. It is matter that serves as a passive counterpart to this persistent activity. If an entelechy was freed from this, it would be ‘pure act’. This however would imply that God would be able to create a second deity which is logically impossible. So whereas angels are distinguished from humans by their ‘metempsychotic’ capabilities, their difference from God consists in their dependence on ‘prime matter’.
This argument has interesting implications: The question is whether an angel that is supernaturally deprived of its relation with secondary matter, would be perceivable. If it is possible to perceive an angel that consists only of an entelechy and its prime matter, this angel is still a part of the world. But then prime matter (and the entelechy it belongs to) can be represented as a part of the world, i. e. as a phenomenon. This is in agreement with Leibniz’s view of angels discussed here, but it seems to run contrary to the strict separation of phenomena and the substances constituting these phenomena that is central to Leibniz’s thought.
But the alternative is even less palatable: If an angel that is supernaturally separated from the phenomenal world, is imperceivable, it stands in no relations to other substances. Then it is no more part of the universe. Such a being would then form a world of its own, dependent only on its creator. So if we want to save prime matter from being perceivable, this seems to be only possible, if we concede that God may create a multiplicity of actual worlds (the question being whether such a multiverse of actual worlds may not be more perfect than a universe containing only one such world).
Angels, for Leibniz, must be explainable as a natural phenomenon. As such, they must be minds which stand in a relation to a body. This relation differs only in degree from the relation between human minds and their body, since it is more tenuous: Angels can leave the body they occupy more easily than humans. Nevertheless, both human and angelic entelechies are bound to ‘prime matter’. Divine omnipotency may create supernatural angels which stand in no relation with phenomenal bodies. But their reliance on ‘prime matter’ is a conceptual necessity. Nevertheless, ‘supernatural’ angels pose a problem for Leibniz: If they are perceivable, ‘prime matter’ renders entelechies perceivable even though they stand in no relation to phenomenal bodies. If ‘supernatural’ angels are imperceivable, they are a world of their own.
Connected Histories is one of the case studies, for those interested in how the project turned out. It’s also interesting to see it in the context of the projects funded by this JISC programme!
This eBook presents case studies from 11 digital projects managing digital resources for Higher Education. One strand of case studies look at the skills required to build and sustain digital collections, with a focus on how universities embed digitisation as a strategic activity within their core work. The second strand draws on case studies examining how digital silos can be broken down, as users demand increasingly sophisticated resources that cluster or aggregate related content from different areas of the Internet. The projects were funded under the JISC eContent Programme for 2009-11.
Using the simple technology of the wiki allowed Wikipedia’s founders to focus on the encyclopedia’s content — to focus on soliciting article contributions rather than building technology.
Wikipedia offered low transaction costs to participation, and it de-emphasized the social ownership of content. Editing Wikipedia is easy, and instant, and virtually commitment-free. ”You can come along and do a drive-by edit and never make a contribution again,” Hill pointed out. And the fact that it’s difficult to tell who wrote an article, or who edited it—rather than discouraging contribution, as you might assume—actually encouraged contributions, Hill found. ”Low textual ownership resulted in more collaboration,” he put it.
Great news: One of the important libraries in EMTO, the University Libary in Granada, provides the opportunity to download their digital books via a Dspace repository. So if you find a book in EMTO coming from there, search the repository if you want to get the pdf. All old prints seem to be available via a Creative Commons License: So they can be freely redistributed (for details see the license text for each file).