The core argument of this article is that Adorno adopts the distinction between an abstract and a concrete universal from Hegel and criticizes Hegel, on that basis, as abstract. The first two parts of the article outline that both thinkers take the abstract universal to be the form of a false type of knowledge and society, and the concrete universal to be a positive aim. However, as the third part argues, Adorno rejects how the concrete universal is understood in Hegel’s (...) philosophy and formulates a different conception of it. The fourth part questions if Adorno manages to overcome the problems he identifies in Hegel or whether they are inherent to the programme of dialectics both endorse. (shrink)
In this full length review, I create a running parallel between Martin Kern's Text and Ritual in Early China and Mark Edward Lewis' Writing and Authority in Early China. Both books cover the nexus of texts and their sociopolitical milieu, with Kern's book acting as a sort of update to Lewis'. I group the articles in Kern's book under the following headings: Texts and Authority (Nylan, Falkenhausen, Brashier), Textual Emergence (Boltz, Kern), and Ritual in Literary Genres (Schaberg, Csikszentmihalyi, Gentz), summarizing (...) the content of each article and relating it to Lewis' seminal work. Three further sections, under the heading of "Terminological Precision," are dedicated to issues raised by both books: the performative in ritual (gestures that presuppose a common set of cultural norms and that gain their efficacy from general community acceptance of such norms), the ritual (and performative) dimension of divination, and a functionalist perspective on ritual. (shrink)
Subsequent to the transition from the era of natural philosophy to what we now regard as the era of the modern sciences, the latter have often been described as independent of the major philosophical preoccupations that previously informed theorizing about the natural world. The extent to which this is a naïve description is a matter of debate, and in particular, views of the place of metaphysics in the interpretation of modern scientific knowledge have varied enormously. Logical positivism spawned a distaste (...) for metaphysics in the philosophy of science which lasts to this day, but in recent years, a renaissance in analytic metaphysics has been embraced by a growing number of philosophers of science. Those moved by distaste commonly subscribe either to a minimalist Humean metaphysic, or to a quietism about metaphysical questions generally. Those moved by attraction contend that metaphysical investigations into the natures of things like properties, causation, laws, and modality, are required in order to interpret descriptions of the world furnished by our best scientific theories. I consider the presuppositions separating these contemporary approaches to the philosophy of science, and the prospect of their resolution. (shrink)
Unlike feminist ethics, or feminist political philosophy, or even feminist epistemology and philosophy of science, feminist metaphysics cannot be said (yet!) to have standing as a full-fledged sub-discipline of either philosophy or feminist theory. Although one can find both undergraduate and graduate courses devoted to the other sub-fields just mentioned, a course in feminist metaphysics is a rare find; and there are few professional philosophers who would consider listing in their areas of specialization both feminist theory and metaphysics. There are (...) many reasons for this, some having to do with academic politics, e.g., women have not broken into the ranks of metaphysicians in anything like the numbers that can now be found in ethics or political philosophy, and some having to do with tensions between the methods and topics of standard feminist projects and standard metaphysical projects, e.g., feminism is typically taken to be a normative enterprise whereas metaphysics is not. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim argues that one should distinguish naturalism from materialism, and that both should be construed as ontological rather than epistemological. I agree, on both counts. Although I have sometimes tended to slur together materialism and naturalism in of my writings (as is done in much recent philosophy), I do think that it is important to distinguish them. It is a serious philosophical task to get clearer about how each position is best articulated, and about ways that one could embrace (...) naturalism without embracing materialism. British emergentism, for example, seems reasonably classified as a position that is naturalist but not materialist (and evidently the British emergentists themselves construed their view this way). Here are two key tenets of British emergentism, both of which seem to disqualify the view from being a form of materialism without thereby disqualifying it as a form of naturalism: (E.1) There are emergent properties in nature, in the following sense: although (i) these properties are supervenient on certain other properties, the relevant supervenience facts are ontologically sui generis (and hence are unexplainable). (E.2) Emergent properties are fundamental force generating properties , in this sense: they produce additional fundamental forces that affect the distribution of matter, above and beyond the fundamental forces posited in physics. A position worth of the label “materialism,” it seems to me, should preclude both of these emergentist theses. My notion of superdupervenience is intended as a condition that any version of materialism should satisfy, and is supposed to be incompatible with theses (E.1) and (E.2). Although sometimes, as in Horgan and Timmons (1992) and Horgan (1994), the condition is articulated in terms of the need for supervenience to be explainable “in a naturalistically acceptable way” (thereby slurring the naturalism/materialism distinction), what I had in mind was that supervenience relations must be explainable in a materialistically acceptable way.. (shrink)
There is one fundamental and many non-fundamental kinds of existence. Things (material bodies) exist fundamentally. Many other objects exist non-fundamentally: properties, events, relations, states; abstracts (universals), laws of Nature; possible states, virtual particles; minds, mental processes; ideal objects created by minds (Popperian "World 3"). All of them are always based on material bodies, but they exist really.
In The Principles of Mathematics, Russell writes: Whatever may be an object of thought, or may occur in any true or false proposition, or can be counted as one, I call a term. This, then, is the widest word in the philosophical vocabulary. I shall use as synonymous with it the words unit, individual and entity. The first two emphasize the fact that every term is one, while the third is derived from the fact that every term has being, i.e. (...) is in some sense. A man, a moment, a number, a class, a relation, a chimera, or anything else that can be mentioned, is sure to be a term'. Now in this remark, a certain extremely general, topic-neutral use of ‘object’ is singled out, a use in which the expression is treated as equivalent to (equally neutral) uses of ‘term’, ‘entity’, ‘unit’, ‘individual’, and ‘thing’. In addition, a claim is made to the effect that the content of the expression, with its emphasis on one, is such as to be adequate to comprehend the sum-total of existence, to include whatever there may be. The paper addresses the question of what this claim means, and whether it might be true. (shrink)
This article investigates the question of why there is emotional resistance to research results such as the theory of evolution and to philosophical naturalism. A depiction of how this emotional resistance expresses itself is followed by a brief account of the core theses of philosophical naturalism. The emotional reactions to research results then are differentiated from reactions to philosophical naturalism and a first overview of the irritant positions of naturalism is given. Finally two misunderstandings about the aims of philosophical naturalism (...) are addressed. (shrink)
This key collection of essays sheds new light on long-debated controversies surrounding Kant’s doctrine of idealism and is the first book in the English language that is exclusively dedicated to the subject. Well-known Kantians Karl Ameriks and Manfred Baum present their considered views on this most topical aspect of Kant's thought. Several essays by acclaimed Kant scholars broach a vastly neglected problem in discussions of Kant's idealism, namely the relation between his conception of logic and idealism: The standard view that (...) Kant's logic and idealism are wholly separable comes under scrutiny in these essays. A further set of articles addresses multiple facets of the notorious notion of the thing in itself, which continues to hold the attention of Kant scholars. The volume also contains an extensive discussion of the often overlooked chapter in the Critique of Pure Reason on the Transcendental Ideal. Together, the essays provide a whole new outlook on Kantian idealism. No one with a serious interest in Kant's idealism can afford to ignore this important book. Papers by Karl Ameriks, Manfred Baum, Ido Geiger, Lucy Allais, Gary Banham, Steven M. Bayne, Marcel Quarfood, Dennis Schulting, Dietmar Heidemann, Christian Onof and Jacco Verburgt. (shrink)
Preliminaries : the context of modern matter. The visible and the intelligible ; Plato's early and late methods ; Matter and division -- Analysis. Analysis and clarity and distinctness ; A general theory of clarity and distinctness ; The general theory continued ; Enumeration, quantity, and measurement -- Synthesis. Synthesis and system building ; Synthesis and the principle of addition ; Metaphysics, mathematics, and metaphor ; Material structure and calculating machines ; How analysis and synthesis are related -- Sensible and (...) intelligible matter. Is matter real? ; Empirical ideality, reality, and matter ; Empirical reality and intelligible matter ; Transcendental matter -- Tying up the loose ends : closing remarks. (shrink)
Although I reject his argument, I defend Bernard Williams’s claim that we would lose reason to go on if we were to live forever. Through a consideration of Borges’s story "The Immortal," I argue that immortality would be motivationally devastating, since our decisions would carry little weight, our achievements would be hollow victories of mere diligence, and the prospect of eternal frustration would haunt our every effort. An immortal life for those of limited ability will inevitably result in endless frustration, (...) since the number of significant projects that one is capable of completing is finite, but the span of time is infinite. (shrink)
During the last decades, Ingvar Johansson has made a formidable contribution to the development of philosophy in general and perhaps especially to the development of metaphysics. This volume consists of original papers written by 50 philosophers from all over the world in honour of Ingvar Johansson to celebrate his 70th birthday. The papers cover traditional issues in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, applied ethics and applied metaphysics, the nature of human rights, the philosophy of economics and sports. Some of (...) the papers study the philosophy of Ingvar Johansson. All of them studies subjects which he has shown an interest in. The variety of subjects covered, testifies to the extraordinary wide range of issues his thought has had a bearing on. (shrink)
Le argomentazioni presentate in questo testo costituiscono le conclusioni ultime e definitive di un lavoro di ricerca, che ha investito l’insieme dei "Dialoghi Italiani", riuscendo a reperire ed a far emergere quello che pare il nucleo più profondo ed importante – il vero e proprio elevato fondamento – della speculazione bruniana: la presenza attiva di un concetto triadico teologico-politico – il "Padre", il "Figlio" e lo "Spirito" della tradizione trinitaria cristiana – però riformulato attraverso il capovolgimento rivoluzionario di questa stessa (...) tradizione, attuato attraverso il concetto creativo e dialettico dell’infinito. In questo modo la stessa tradizione platonica pare subire una trasformazione essenziale, abbandonando qualunque forma di alienazione e negazione, per riaprirsi invece verso soluzioni che paiono riprendere moniti ed osservazioni suscitati dalle prime, grandi e maestose, speculazioni dei filosofi presocratici. Talete, Anassimandro, Anassimene, Parmenide, Eraclito ed Empedocle sembrano rivivere nei testi bruniani, riproponendo una soluzione ben diversa a quei nodi e problemi teoretico-pratici – fondamentale il rapporto Uno-molti e tutto ciò che da esso consegue, sia sul piano naturale che politico – apparentemente risolti e codificati dal pensiero postsocratico, prima platonico e poi aristotelico. L’inscindibilità del principio di libertà (la figura teologica del "Padre") ed eguaglianza (il "Figlio"), attraverso il richiamo alla fonte amorosa infinita ed universale (lo "Spirito"), consente alla riflessione bruniana di presentare per la prima volta nel panorama filosofico mondiale di tutti i tempi la possibilità di salvaguardare sia l’aspetto creativo naturale, che la diversità politica, presentando nel contempo un concetto di ragione capace di esprimere un movimento infinito sempre aperto ed attento alla molteplicità. In questa liberazione della potenza e della volontà dalle strettoie ordinate e gerarchiche della tradizione il pensiero e la riflessione di Giordano Bruno danno inizio alla modernità, ripresentandosi quale mirabile soluzione ogni qual volta potere e violenza paiono assestarsi e reciprocamente incrementarsi, in un circolo apparentemente indistruttibile. Allora i capitoli di questo libro – attraverso l’analisi di concetti importanti nella filosofia bruniana, quali quelli del desiderio e dell’immaginazione, della materia e della ragione – riattraversano la storia della definizione filosofica delle entità reali più importanti – Dio, Natura, Ragione, Uno – per mostrare un’opposizione fondamentale: l’opposizione fra la fusione speculativa apportata dal pensiero neoplatonico-aristotelico (antico, moderno e contemporaneo), attenta alla difesa della necessità ordinata di un mondo unico, e la liberazione speculativo-pratica bruniana, attenta a far rivivere la coscienza dell’infinito, in noi e fuori di noi. (shrink)
Reshaping the neo-Aristotelian doctrines about the human soul was Descartes’s most spectacular enterprise, which gave birth to some of the sharpest debates in the Republic of Letters. Neverthe- less, it was certainly Descartes’s intention, as already expressed in the Discours de la méthode, to show that his new metaphysics could be supplemented with experimental research in the field of medicine and the conservation of life. It is no surprise then that several natural philosophers and doctors, such as Henricus Regius from (...) Utrecht, who had studied in Padua with William Harvey, rallied in support, in order to gain a more substantial theoretical basis for their research. Taking as his ground some general metaphysical assumptions, such as the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, and perhaps the separability of the pure understanding, Regius intended to secure a new philosophy of man, which was able to reflect his medical interests and complement his account of human nature. This is the story that is now gaining currency, and it is surely accurate, at least in part. Desmond Clarke has recently defended the same view1, based on the remarkable studies of the Utrecht scholars Theo Verbeek and Erik-Jan Bos. Here I would like to challenge some aspects of this view and ask how Regius, who was perceived as the philosopher most closely associated with Descartes, became a betrayer of his mentor. (shrink)
The intentionality of sensation -- The first person -- Substance -- The subjectivity of sensation -- Events in the mind -- Comments on Professor R.L. Gregory's paper on perception -- On sensations of position -- Intention -- Pretending -- On the grammar of "Enjoy" -- The reality of the past -- Memory, "experience," and causation -- Causality and determination -- Times, beginnings, and causes -- Soft determinism -- Causality and extensionality -- Before and after -- Subjunctive conditionals -- "Under a (...) description" -- Analysis competition--tenth problem -- A reply to Mr. C.S. Lewis's argument that "naturalism" is self-refuting. (shrink)
Leibniz notoriously insisted that no two individuals differ solo numero, that is, by being primitively distinct, without differing in some property. The details of Leibniz’s own way of understanding and defending the principle –known as the principle of identity of indiscernibles (henceforth ‘the Principle’)—is a matter of much debate. However, in contemporary metaphysics an equally notorious and discussed issue relates to a case put forward by Max Black (1952) as a counter-example to any necessary and non-trivial version of the principle. (...) Black asks us to imagine, via one of the fictional characters of his dialogue, a world consisting solely of two completely resembling spheres, in a relational space. The supporter of the principle is then forced to admit that although there are ex hypothesi two objects in that universe, there is no property (except trivial ones), not even relational ones, to distinguish them, and hence the necessary version of the principle is falsified. In this essay I will argue that Black’s possible world, together with the dialectic between the potential friends and foes of the Principle as expounded by Black himself.. (shrink)
Anselm’s argument for the existence of God in Proslogion 2 has a little-noticed feature: It can be properly formulated only by beings who have the ability to think of things and refer to things independently of whether or not they exist in reality. The authors explore this cognitive ability and try to make clear the role it plays in the ontological argument. Then, we offer a new version of the ontological argument, which, we argue, is sound: it is valid, has (...) true premises, and does not beg any questions against the atheist. However, the new reconstruction of the argument falls short of Anselm’s goal of producing “a single argument that would require no other for its proof than itself alone; and alone would suffice to demonstrate that God exists.” The new reconstruction requires a subsidiary argument to show that God exists in the understanding. The subsidiary argument relies on premises that are both contingent and known a posteriori. However, the somewhat amplified argument, if it is sound as the authors believe it to be, does show that God exists in reality. Moreover, the new reconstruction escapes an important recent criticism by Peter Millican (2004, 2007) against ontological arguments generally. (shrink)
I come not to clarify Aristotle’s defence of the principle of non-contradiction, but to put it in its proper context. I argue that remarks in Metaphysics IV.3 together with the argument of IV.4, 1006a11-31 show that Aristotle practises Plato’s method of dialectic in his defence of PNC. I mean this in the strong sense that he uses the very methodology described in the middle books of the Republic and, I claim, illustrated in such dialogues as Parmenides, Sophist and Theaetetus.
My goal is to illuminate truth-making by way of illuminating the relation of making. My strategy is not to ask what making is, in the hope of a metaphysical theory about is nature. It's rather to look first to the language of making. The metaphor behind making refers to agency. It would be absurd to suggest that claims about making are claims about agency. It is not absurd, however, to propose that the concept of making somehow emerges from some feature (...) to do with agency. That's the contention to be explore in this paper. The way to do this is through expressivism,. Truth-making claims, and making-claims generfally, are claims in which we express mental states linked to our maipulation of concepts, like truth. In particular, they express disposition to undertake derivations using inference rules, in which introduction rules have a specific role. I then show how this theory explains our intuitions about truth's asymmetric dependence on being. (shrink)
I here develop a specific version of the deflationary theory of truth. I adopt a terminology on which deflationism holds that an exhaustive account of truth is given by the equivalence between truth-ascriptions and de-nominalised (or disquoted) sentences. An adequate truth-theory, it is argued, must be finite, non-circular, and give a unified account of all occurrences of “true”. I also argue that it must descriptively capture the ordinary meaning of “true”, which is plausibly taken to be unambiguous. Ch. 2 is (...) a critical historical survey of deflationary theories, where notably disquotationalism is found untenable as a descriptive theory of “true”. In Ch. 3, I aim to show that deflationism cannot be finitely and non-circularly formulated by using “true”, and so must only mention it. Hence, it must be a theory specifically about the word “true” (and its foreign counterparts). To capture the ordinary notion, the theory must thus be an empirical, use-theoretic, semantic account of “true”. The task of explaining facts about truth now becomes that of showing that various sentences containing “true” are (unconditionally) assertible. In Ch. 4, I defend the claim (D) that every sentence of the form “That p is true” and the corresponding “p” are intersubstitutable (in a use-theoretic sense), and show how this claim provides a unified and simple account of a wide variety of occurrences of “true”. Disquotationalism then only has the advantage of avoiding propositions. But in Ch. 5, I note that (D) is not committed to propositions. Use-theoretic semantics is then argued to serve nominalism better than truth-theoretic ditto. In particular, it can avoid propositions while sustaining a natural syntactic treatment of “that”-clauses as singular terms and of “Everything he says is true”, as any other quantification. Finally, Horwich’s problem of deriving universal truth-claims is given a solution by recourse to an assertibilist semantics of the universal quantifier. (shrink)
The articles in this special issue of the yearbook Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy all concern, in one way or another, Hume’s epistemology and metaphysics. -/- There are discussions of our knowledge of causal powers, the extent to which conceivability is a guide to modality, and testimony; there are also discussions of our ideas of space and time, the role in Hume’s thought of the psychological mechanism of ‘completing the union’, the role of impressions, and Hume’s argument against the (...) claim that our perceptions are ‘locally conjoined’ with any entity (namely, a soul). (shrink)
This survey of metaphysics covers the historical or classical aspects of the subject as well as those currently in the post-Wittgensteinian limelight--principally materialism, platonism, essentialism, and anti-realism. Benardete sees contemporary metaphysical preoccupations as more or less thinly disguised revisitings of those of the past, and explains how metaphysics and mathematical logic are interrelated and how metaphysical studies can illuminate both scinece and the humanities.
Oxford Studies in Metaphysics is the forum for the best new work in this flourishing field. OSM offers a broad view of the subject, featuring not only the traditionally central topics such as existence, identity, modality, time, and causation, but also the rich clusters of metaphysical questions in neighbouring fields, such as philosophy of mind and philosophy of science. Besides independent essays, volumes will often contain a critical essay on a recent book, or a symposium that allows participants to respond (...) to one another's criticisms and questions. Anyone who wants to know what's happening in metaphysics can start here. (shrink)
There is currently a major renaissance of interest in Henri Bergson's unduly neglected texts and ideas amongst philosophers, literary theorists, and social theorists. Introduction to Metaphysics (1903) contains Bergson's classic statement that to philosophize is to reverse the habitual directions of our thinking, as well as his claim that a true empiricism amounts to a true metaphysics.
This book contains a concise introduction to one of the most fundamental branches of philosophy, which deals with reality and its nature. Among the topics discussed are such metaphysical questions as "Are we fundamentally free?", "Does time really pass?", "Are there any abstract objects?", "What is causation?", "What are necessary and possible truths?". The book is aimed at absolute beginners, so it does not presuppose any previous knowledge of philosophy from the reader. For those who would like to pursue the (...) subject a bit deeper, the book comes equipped with an extended list of further reading. (shrink)
Scientific realism is the view that our best scientific theories give approximately true descriptions of both observable and unobservable aspects of a mind-independent world. Debates between realists and their critics are at the very heart of the philosophy of science. Anjan Chakravartty traces the contemporary evolution of realism by examining the most promising recent strategies adopted by its proponents in response to the forceful challenges of antirealist sceptics, resulting in a positive proposal for scientific realism today. He examines the core (...) principles of the realist position, and sheds light on topics including the varieties of metaphysical commitment required, and the nature of the conflict between realism and its empiricist rivals. By illuminating the connections between realist interpretations of scientific knowledge and the metaphysical foundations supporting them, his book offers a compelling vision of how realism can provide an internally consistent and coherent account of scientific knowledge. (shrink)