Animus: A Philosophical Journal for Our Time, the first professional online philosophy journal in Canada, was founded in 1996 as an alternative to the mainstream continental and analytical journals, which in their distinction give expression to a central division in post-modern thought. One of the facets of post-modernity is the confidence among many artists, philosophers, theologians, historians etc. that we have grasped the essentials of the western tradition. And there is likewise the resolve to exhibit contemporary thought in its contrast with its modern, medieval and ancient forebearers. The post-modern thus begins with the critique of the western philosophical tradition from Plato to Hegel, yet in this critique post-modernity fundamentally preserves our interest in this fascinating history, even when in a negative light.
The journal’s founders, Floy Andrews Doull, Paul Epstein, Dennis House, F.L. Jackson and Angus Johnston, were motivated as an editorial board by the desire to enter into the dialogue of post-modernity. It was thought, however, that in the contemporary divide the nuances and depth of much of the philosophical tradition were presented in a one-sided manner reflecting more the insights of contemporary notions than the spirit and logic of the historical positions to which they are applied. And so the desire was to engage contemporary debate by providing a scholarly journal which would be both open to the insights of post-modernity and critical of its distortions.
While the original as the current board owes a debt to Hegel’s thought, and specifically to its development in the writing and teaching of the Canadian philosopher and classicist James Doull, Animus has striven to avoid being a mouthpiece for any one school of thought. Rather the editorial board throughout its history has been governed by the conviction that philosophical engagement takes many forms and is expressed in many voices, a view as true of Aristotle and Hegel as it is of Derrida and Rawls.
With the publication of Volume 11, the original board retired from its editorial labours and a new board was formed under the direction of David Peddle, who had joined the editorial board in 1999. The New Board comprises Eli Diamond (Classics, Dalhousie), Ken Jacobsen (English, Memorial), Ken Kierans (Contemporary Studies, King's), David Peddle (Philosophy, Memorial) and Neil Robertson (Early Modern Studies, King's). With the publication of Volume 12 the Journal's name has been changed to Animus: The Canadian Journal of Philosophy and Humanities to express more fully the breadth of our mandate. As is fitting, the new board has expressed the original mandate of the journal in its own way, and this may be found in the section entitled Raison d’Etre.
We include here the original Raison d’Etre to which we are deeply indebted:
This Journal aims at an understanding of the works of Western civilization and contemporary views of these works. It seeks to promote a standpoint which is critical of dogmatic positions both within contemporary views and within the Western tradition itself. Twentieth century culture in great part has come to regard itself as distinctively post-Christian, post-modern and post-philosophical, as having achieved in every sphere a virtual overthrow of the Western tradition. Yet all post-philosophical arguments entail a remarkable ambiguity in that they sustain themselves through an explicit critique of the intellectual legacy from which they have nonetheless sprung and upon whose conservation they thus still depend. Moreover, the counter-traditionalist argument portrays the substance of the Western tradition in a great variety of conflicting ways, with the result that in the present time appreciation in depth of its actual accomplishment has become greatly fragmented and obscured
Animus invites essays aimed at contributing toward a restored comprehension of the chief works and arguments of the Western tradition, considered on their own terms. It especially encourages reflection on the relation of the authentic historical legacy to its contemporary post-philosophical critique. As it is the standpoint of the journal that the critique of philosophy is itself a part of the history of philosophy, we likewise encourage accounts of contemporary positions on their own terms.
The Journal would clarify the post-philosophical spirit of the present time as it takes itself to be, and aims to situate it within a continuous historical development and accomplishment. It considers relevant to its purpose not only studies of philosophical works in a stricter sense but also contributions to a clarification in the same spirit of theological, literary, political, scientific and other expressions of the tradition.