The author argues in this article that it is possible to have a consistent and coherent version of the doctrine of divine timelessness. Towards the objection that a timeless God cannot act it is defended that a timeless God can certainly act in the world and can love human people. In spite of the consistency and coherence of the doctrine of divine timelessness, however, the author has serious problems with the fruitfulness of this doctrine when it comes to essential practices (...) of the Christian faith, such like seeking help from God, loving God, and prayer. (shrink)
Is the assessment of a view of life only a matter of personal preference? I argue that there is more than personal preference. I defend the position that a view of life must be useful for the ascription of meaning and therefore needs to fulfil the requirements of the process of ascribing meaning. In this article I analyse this process and its requirements and deduce from them a set of criteria by which views of life can be assessed.
Introduction, by R. A. Markus.--St. Augustine and Christian Platonism, by A. H. Armstrong.--Action and contemplation, by F. R. J. O'Connell.--St. Augustine on signs, by R. A. Markus.--The theory of signs in St. Augustine's De doctrina Christiana, by B. D. Jackson.--Si fallor, sum, by G. B. Matthews.--Augustine on speaking from memory, by G. B. Matthews.--The inner man, by G. B. Matthews.--On Augustine's concept of a person, by A. C. Lloyd.--Augustine on foreknowledge and free will, by W. L. Rowe.--Augustine on (...) free will and predestination, by J. M. Rist.--Time and contingency in St. Augustine, by R. Jordan.--Empiricism and Augustine's problems about time, by H. M. Lacey.--Political society, by P. R. L. Brown.--The development of Augustine's ideas on society before the Donatist controversy, by F. E. Cranz.--De Civitate Dei, XV, 2, and Augustine's idea of the Christian society, by F. E. Cranz.--Chronological table.--Note on further reading (p. -423). (shrink)
Condorcet's arguments concerning the dependence of unhindered scientific development on the presence of democratic conditions still sounds relevant today, because they are based on specific and complex considerations concerning the character of the social enterprise of science that articulates problems that still continue. The implicit dispute between Condorcet and Rousseau is also the first great historical example of the conflict between the Enlightenment and Romanticism, which accompanies the history of modernity, as an unresolved and indeed irresolvable opposition that belongs to (...) the prehistory of our own confusions and quandaries concerning the relations between culture, science, politics and society. (shrink)
One of the many themes to which Agnes Heller's philosophy returns again and again is the theme of the home of the moderns. Although not necessarily her central philosophical theme, nonetheless, it opens onto the existential and multi-dimensional nature of the human condition in modernity, which her work permanently addresses.
This paper is a response to an objection that Markus Seidel has made to my analysis of epistemic relativism. Seidel argues that the epistemic relativist is unable to base a relativist account of justification on the sceptical problem of the criterion in the way that I have suggested in earlier work. In response to Seidel, I distinguish between weak and strong justification, and argue that all the relativist needs is weak justification. In addition, I explain my reasons for employing (...) the idiom of objectivity rather than that of absolutism which Seidel prefers. -/- . (shrink)
This essay attempts to demonstrate that it is doubtful if Galileo's famous thought experiment concerning falling bodies in his 'Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences' (Galileo 1954: 61-64) actually does succeed in proving that Aristotle was wrong in claiming that "bodies of different weight […] move […] with different speeds which stand to one another in the same ratio as their weights," (Galileo 1954: 61). (Part I); and further that it is likewise doubtful that that argument does or even can establish (...) Galileo's own famous 'Law of Falling Bodies,' viz., that regardless of their weight all bodies fall with the same speed. (Part II). (shrink)
Benjamin Libet's empirical challenge to free will has received a great deal of attention and criticism. A standard line of response has emerged that many take to be decisive against Libet's challenge. In the first part of this paper, I will argue that this standard response fails to put the challenge to rest. It fails, in particular, to address a recent follow-up experiment that raises a similar worry about free will (Soon, Brass, Heinze, & Haynes, 2008). In the second part, (...) however, I will argue that we can altogether avoid Libet-style challenges if we adopt a traditional compatibilist account of free will. In the final section, I will briefly explain why there is good and independent reason to think about free will in this way. (shrink)
This paper concerns anti-Humean intuitions about connections in nature. It argues for the existence of a de re link that is not necessity.Some anti-Humeans tacitly assume that metaphysical necessity can be used for all sorts of anti-Humean desires. Metaphysical necessity is thought to stick together whatever would be loose and separate in a Hume world, as if it were a kind of universal superglue.I argue that this is not feasible. Metaphysical necessity might connect synchronically co-existent properties—kinds and their essential features, (...) for example—but it is difficult to see how it could also serve as the binding force for successions of events. That is, metaphysical necessity seems not to be fit for diachronic, causal affairs in which causal laws, causation, or dispositions are involved. A different anti-Humean connection in nature has to do that job.My arguments focus mainly on a debate which has been the battleground for Humean vs. anti-Humean intuitions for many decades—namely, the analysis of dispositional predicates—yet I believe (but do not argue here) that the arguments generalise to causation and causal laws straightforwardly. (shrink)
This paper proposes and defends an account of what it is to act for reasons. In the first part, I will discuss the desire-belief and the deliberative model of acting for reasons. I will argue that we can avoid the weaknesses and retain the strengths of both views, if we pursue an alternative according to which acting for reasons involves taking something as a reason. In the main part, I will develop an account of what it is to take something (...) as a reason for action. On the basis of this, I will then offer a new account of what it is to act for reasons. (shrink)
Empirical evidence, it has often been argued, undermines our commonsense assumptions concerning the efficacy of conscious intentions. One of the most influential advocates of this challenge has been Daniel Wegner, who has presented an impressive amount of evidence in support of a model of "apparent mental causation". According to Wegner, this model provides the best explanation of numerous curious and pathological cases of behavior. Further, it seems that Benjamin Libet's classic experiment on the initiation of action and the empirical evidence (...) concerning the confabulation of reason explanations provide further support for this view. In response, I will propose an alternative model of "real mental causation" that can accommodate the empirical evidence just as well as Wegner's. Further, we will see that there is plenty of evidence in support of the assumption that intentions are causally efficacious. This will provide us with ample reason to endorse the model of real mental causation. (shrink)
Given some reasonable assumptions concerning the nature of mental causation, non-reductive physicalism faces the following dilemma. If mental events cause physical events, they merely overdetermine their effects (given the causal closure of the physical). If mental events cause only other mental events, they do not make the kind of difference we want them to. This dilemma can be avoided if we drop the dichotomy between physical and mental events. Mental events make a real difference if they cause actions. But actions (...) are neither mental nor physical events. They are realized by physical events, but they are not type-identical with them. This gives us non-reductive physicalism without downward causation. The tenability of this view has been questioned. Jaegwon Kim, in particular, has argued that non-reductive physicalism is committed to downward causation. Appealing to the nature of actions, I will argue that this commitment can be avoided. (shrink)
This paper explores the trade-off between cognitive effort and cognitive effects during immediate metaphor comprehension. We specifically evaluate the fundamental claim of relevance theory that metaphor understanding, like all utterance interpretation, is constrained by the presumption of optimal relevance (Sperber and Wilson, 1995, p. 270): the ostensive stimulus is relevant enough for it to be worth the addressee's effort to process it, and the ostensive stimulus is the most relevant one compatible with the communicator's abilities and preferences. One important implication (...) of optimal relevance is that listeners follow a path of least effort and stop processing at the first interpretation that satisfies their expectation of relevance. They do this by trying to minimize cognitive effort while maximizing cognitive effects. Some relevance theory scholars suggest that metaphors should require additional cognitive effort to be understood, and that in return they yield more cognitive effects than does literal speech. Others claim that metaphors may be understood quickly, as soon as people infer enough effects for the speaker's utterance to meet their expectation of optimal relevance. Our analysis of the experimental evidence suggests that there is no systematic relationship between cognitive effort and cognitive effects in metaphor comprehension. We conclude that relevance theory need not make any general predictions about the effort needed to comprehend metaphors. Nevertheless, relevance theory is consistent with many of the findings in psycholinguistics on metaphor understanding, and can account for aspects of metaphor understanding that no other theory can explain. (shrink)
In their recent book Every Thing Must Go Ladyman and Ross (Ladyman et al. 2007) claim: (1) Physics is analytically complete since it is the only science that cannot be left incomplete (cf. Ladyman et al. 2007, 283). (2) There might not be an ontologically fundamental level (cf. Ladyman et al. 2007, 178). (3) We should not admit anything into our ontology unless it has explanatory and predictive utility (cf. Ladyman et al. 2007, 179). In this discussion note I aim (...) to show that the ontological commitment in (3) implies that the completeness of no science can be achieved where no fundamental level exists. Therefore, if claim (1) requires a science to actually be complete in order to be considered as physics, (1), and if Ladyman and Ross’s “tentative metaphysical hypothesis […] that there is no fundamental level” (178) is true, (2), then there simply is no physics. Ladyman and Ross can, however, avoid this unwanted result if they merely require physics to ever strive for completeness rather than to already be complete. (shrink)
This paper is about the causal exclusion argument against non-reductive physicalism. Many philosophers think that this argument poses a serious problem for non-reductive theories of the mind — some think that it is decisive against them. In the first part I will outline non-reductive physicalism and the exclusion argument. Then I will distinguish between three versions of the argument that address three different versions of non-reductive physicalism. According to the first, the relation between mental and physical events is token-identity. According (...) to the second, mental events are distinct from physical events, but the latter metaphysically include and determine the former. And on the third version, mental and physical events are entirely distinct. I will argue that the causal exclusion argument is not decisive against non-reductive physicalism in any of the three versions. According to non-reductive physicalism, mental events are dependent on physical events. Causal exclusion and overdetermination, however, requires distinct and independent causes. I will argue that the burden of proof lies with the opponents of non-reductive physicalism, who have to explain how metaphysically dependent events can possibly overdetermine an effect or exclude each other from being causally efficacious. (shrink)
The verification theory of meaning aims to characterise what it is for a sentence to be meaningful and also what kind of abstract object the meaning of a sentence is. A brief outline is given by Rudolph Carnap, one of the theory's most prominent defenders: If we knew what it would be for a given sentence to be found true then we would know what its meaning is. [...] thus the meaning of a sentence is in a certain sense identical (...) with the way we determine its truth or falsehood; and a sentence has meaning only if such a determination is possible. [4: 420] In short, the verification theory of meaning claims that the meaning of a sentence is the method of its verification. (shrink)
According to what I call the reductive standard-causal theory of agency, the exercise of an agent's power to act can be reduced to the causal efficacy of agent-involving mental states and events. According to a non-reductive agent-causal theory, an agent's power to act is irreducible and primitive. Agent-causal theories have been dismissed on the ground that they presuppose a very contentious notion of causation, namely substance-causation. In this paper I will assume, with the proponents of the agent-causal approach, that substance-causation (...) is possible, as I will argue against that theory on the ground that it fails as a theory of agency. I will argue that the non-reductive agent-causal theory fails to account for agency, because it fails to account for agential control: it cannot explain why the stipulated irreducible relation between the agent and an action constitutes the agent's exercise of control over the action. This objection, I will argue, applies to the agent-causal theory in particular, and to the non-reductive approach in general. (shrink)
This paper proposes a causal-dispositional account of rule-following as it occurs in reasoning and intentional agency. It defends this view against Kripke’s (1982) objection to dispositional accounts of rule-following, and it proposes a solution to the problem of deviant causal chains. In the first part, I will outline the causal-dispositional approach. In the second part, I will follow Martin and Heil’s (1998) realist response to Kripke’s challenge. I will propose an account that distinguishes between two kinds of rule-conformity and two (...) kinds of rule-following, and I will defend the realist approach against two challenges that have recently been raised by Handfield and Bird (2008). In the third part, I will turn to the problem of deviant causal chains, and I will propose a new solution that is partly based on the realist account of rule-following. (shrink)
The causal theory of action has been the standard view in the philosophy of action and mind. In this chapter, I will present responses to two challenges to the theory. The first says, basically, that there is no positive argument in favour of the causal theory, as the only reason that supports it consists in the apparent lack of tenable alternatives. The second challenge says that the theory fails to capture the phenomenon of agency, as it reduces activity to mere (...) happenings (events and event-causal processes). This is often referred to as the problem of "disappearing agency". My main aim is to show that there is no problem of disappearing agency, and we will see that my response to the first challenge will be conducive to this end. I will present a positive argument for the causal theory on the basis of considerations concerning the metaphysics of agency, and I will suggest that we "own" the agency that springs from our mental states and events "by default". (shrink)
This volume comprises original articles by leading authors – from philosophy as well as sociology – in the debate around relativism in the sociology of (scientific) knowledge. Its aim has been to bring together several threads from the relevant disciplines and to cover the discussion from historical and systematic points of view. Among the contributors are Maria Baghramian, Barry Barnes, Martin Endreß, Hubert Knoblauch, Richard Schantz and Harvey Siegel.
Like all causal theories in philosophy, the causal theory of action is plagued by the problem of deviant causal chains. I have proposed a solution on the basis of the assumption that mental states and events are causally efficacious in virtue of their contents. This solution has been questioned by Torbjörn Tännsjö (2009). First, I will reply to the objection, and then I will discuss Tännsjö’s alternative.
Many philosophers of science think that most laws of nature (even those of fundamental physics) are so called ceteris paribus laws, i.e., roughly speaking, laws with exceptions. Yet, the ceteris paribus clause of these laws is problematic. Amongst the more infamous difficulties is the danger that 'For all x: Fx ⊃ Gx, ceteris paribus' may state no more than a tautology: 'For all x: Fx ⊃ Gx, unless not'. One of the major attempts to avoid this problem (and others concerning (...) ceteris paribus laws) is to claim that the subject matter of laws are ascriptions of dispositions, powers, capacities etc., and not the regular behaviour we find in nature. That we do not know whether the cetera are paria in a specific situation does not matter to the dispositionalist because the objects have the disposition regardless of the circumstances. The defence of the latter claim is that dispositions can be instantiated without being manifested. Hence, the laws that ascribe dispositions are strict and it looks as if they do not face the above mentioned problems of ceteris paribus laws. In this essay I attempt to show that these assumptions are wrong. I hope to illustrate that not only does the ceteris paribus clause reoccur inside the dispositions, moreover, there are laws—laws about non-fundamental entities with instable dispositions—which bear a ceteris paribus clause that cannot be hidden in a disposition. (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)
The striking difference between the orthodox nomological necessitation view of laws and the claims made recently by Scientific Essentialism is that on the latter interpretation laws are metaphysically necessary while they are contingent on the basis of the former. This shift is usually perceived as an upgrading: essentialism makes the laws as robust as possible. The aim of my paper—in which I contrast Brian Ellis’s Scientific Essentialism and David Armstrong’s theory of nomological necessity—is threefold. (1) I first underline the familiar (...) fact that metaphysical necessity (of Kripkean “water is necessarily H2O” kind) is not a stronger kind of necessity than nomological necessity but an entirely different kind of thing: nomological, but not metaphysical necessity, is an intra-world necessitation which Armstrong (almost) identifies with causation; metaphysical, but not nomological necessitation, has a canonical link to possible world considerations and counterfactual reasoning. Hence, the change from one necessity to the other is not an upgrading but a substantial shift. (2) I will explain how the essentialists, who promote this shift, are nonetheless able to retain the features of nomological necessity. (3) I also explore, for both the essentialist and the Armstrongian, whether they could extract a modal force from intra-world nomological necessity which it does not have per se. I argue that such a modal force is, indeed, obtainable for them. I will close the paper with some remarks and questions about the relation between Kripkean metaphysical necessity and the modal version of nomological necessity as defined in (3). (shrink)
The luck argument raises a serious challenge for libertarianism about free will. In broad outline, if an action is undetermined, then it appears to be a matter of luck whether or not one performs it. And if it is a matter of luck whether or not one performs an action, then it seems that the action is not performed with free will. This argument is most effective against event-causal accounts of libertarianism. Recently, Christopher Franklin (2011) has defended event-causal libertarianism against (...) four formulations of the luck argument. I will argue that three of Franklin’s responses are unsuccessful and that there are important versions of the luck challenge that his defense has left unaddressed. (shrink)
Mainstream philosophy of action and mind construes intentional behaviour in terms of causal processes that lead from agent-involving mental states to action. Actions are construed as events, which are actions in virtue of being caused by the right mental antecedents in the right way. Opponents of this standard event-causal approach have criticised the view on various grounds; they argue that it does not account for free will and moral responsibility, that it does not account for action done in the light (...) of reasons, or, even, that it cannot capture the very phenomenon of agency. The thesis defends the standard event-causal approach against challenges of that kind. (shrink)
It is widely believed that at least two developments in the last third of the 20th century have given dispositionalism—the view that powers, capacities, potencies, etc. are irreducible real properties—new credibility: (i) the many counterexamples launched against reductive analyses of dispositional predicates in terms of counterfactual conditionals and (ii) a new anti-Humean faith in necessary connections in nature which, it is said, owes a lot to Kripke’s arguments surrounding metaphysical necessity. I aim to show in this paper that necessity is, (...) in fact, of little help for the dispositionalists. My argument makes use of one of the above mentioned counterexamples against Humean reduction: antidotes. Turning the tables, I ask how the dispositionalists themselves can deal with antidotes. The result will be to show that if the dispositionalists are to demystify antidote cases, they must make plausible a conceptualisation of dispositions that does not invoke any kind of necessity. I will cautiously suggest that the anti-Humean link dispositions bring to the world has to be thought of in terms of (Newtonian) forces. (shrink)
Empirical evidence challenges many of the assumptions that underlie traditional philosophical and commonsense conceptions of human agency. It has been suggested that this evidence threatens also to undermine free will and moral responsibility. In this paper, I will focus on the purported threat to moral responsibility. The evidence challenges assumptions concerning the ability to exercise conscious control and to act for reasons. This raises an apparent challenge to moral responsibility as these abilities appear to be necessary for morally responsible agency. (...) I will argue that this challenge collapses once the underlying conditions on moral responsibility are specified in sufficient detail. I will argue, in other words, that the empirical evidence does not support a challenge to the assumption that we are, in general, morally responsible agents. In the final section, I will suggest that empirical research on human agency is nevertheless relevant to various questions about moral responsibility. (shrink)
Since causal processes can be prevented and interfered with, law-governed causation is a challenge for necessitarian theories of laws of nature. To show that there is a problematic friction between necessity and interference, I focus on David Armstrong's theory; with one proviso, his lawmaker, nomological necessity, is supposed to be instantiated as the causation of the law's second relatum whenever its first relatum is instantiated. His proviso is supposed to handle interference cases, but fails to do so. In order to (...) be able to handle interferences, any theory which utilizes a kind of necessitation as lawmaker has to downgrade what it treats as necessity to something more akin to (Newtonian) forces. (shrink)
This paper explores whether it is possible to reformulate or re-interpret Lewis’s theory of fundamental laws of nature—his “best system analysis”—in such a way that it becomes a useful theory for special science laws. One major step in this enterprise is to make plausible how law candidates within best system competitions can tolerate exceptions—this is crucial because we expect special science laws to be so called “ceteris paribus laws”. I attempt to show how this is possible and also how we (...) can thereby make the first step towards a solution for the infamous difficulties surrounding the troublesome ceteris paribus clause. The paper outlines the general ideas of the theory but also points out some of its difficulties and background assumptions. (shrink)
J.L. Schellenberg’s Argument from Divine Hiddenness maintains that if a perfectly loving God exists, then there is no non-resistant non-belief. Given that such nonbelief exists, however, it follows that there is no perfectly loving God. To support the conditional claim, Schellenberg presents conceptual and analogical considerations, which we subject to critical scrutiny. We also evaluate Schellenberg’s claim that the belief that God exists is logically necessary for entering into a relationship with the Divine. Finally, we turn to possible variants of (...) Schellenberg’s case, and argue that the modifications necessary to accommodate our criticismas leave those variants with much less of a sting than originally suggested by his provocative formulation. (shrink)
"Cognitive psychology," "cognitive neuroscience," and "philosophy of mind" are names for three very different scientific fields, but they label aspects of the same scientific goal: to understand the nature of mental phenomena. Today, the three disciplines strongly overlap under the roof of the cognitive sciences. The book's purpose is to present views from the different disciplines on one of the central theories in cognitive science: the theory of mental models. Cognitive psychologists report their research on the representation and processing of (...) mental models in human memory. Cognitive neuroscientists demonstrate how the brain processes visual and spatial mental models and which neural processes underlie visual and spatial thinking. Philosophers report their ideas about the role of mental models in relation to perception, emotion, representation, and intentionality. The single articles have different and mutually complementing goals: to introduce new empirical methods and approaches, to report new experimental results, and to locate competing approaches for their interpretation in the cross-disciplinary debate. The book is strongly interdisciplinary in character. It is especially addressed to researchers in any field related to mental models theory as both a reference book and an overview of present research on the topic in other disciplines. However, it is also an ideal reader for a specialized graduate course. (shrink)
We present an argument against physicalism in two steps: 1) Physics reduces the world to a mathematical structure; 2) The notion of 'structure' only makes sense when carried by something and interpreted by something else. Physicalism does not allow such a carrier and interpreter at a fundamental level, hence it must be wrong. An extended notion of Mind is presented as the fundamental 'hardware' which is necessary by the argument. In particular, qualia correspond to the 'monitor component' of mind. Some (...) ideas are presented on how to extend this mind-matter relation to a more elaborate picture: (1) A system of two complementary reductionisms (one physical, the other mental) may hint toward a deeper reality in which mind and the physical world are closely entangled. (2) A division of mind into a conscious 'monitor' and an unconscious 'processor' is suggested using the analogy of dreams. Finally, the problem of Solipsism and the existence of 'minds other than my own' is discussed. (shrink)
The doctrine that meanings are entitieswith a determinate and independent reality is often believed tohave been undermined by Quine's thought experiment of radicaltranslation, which results in an argument for the indeterminacy oftranslation. This paper argues to the contrary. Starting fromQuine's assumption that the meanings of observation sentences arestimulus meanings, i.e., set-theoretical constructions of neuronalstates uniquely determined by inter-subjectively observable facts,the paper shows that this meaning assignment, up to isomorphism,is uniquely extendable to all expressions that occur inobservation sentences. To do so, (...) a theorem recently proven byHodges is used. To derive the conclusion, one only has to assumethat languages are compositional, abide by a generalized contextprinciple and by what I call the category principle. Theseassumptions originating in Frege and Husserl are coherent withQuine's overall position. It is concluded that Quine'snaturalistic approach does not justify scepticism with regard tomeaning, but should rather result in a view that affiliatessemantics with neuroscience. (shrink)
Since the mid-90s dispositionalism, the view that dispositions are irreducible, real properties, gained strength due to forceful counterexamples (finks and antidotes) that could be launched against Humean anti-dispositionalist attempts to reductively analyse dispositional predicates. -/- In the light of these anti-Humean successes, and in combination with ideas surrounding metaphysical necessity put forward by Kripke and Putnam, some dispositionalists felt encouraged to propose a strong anti-Humean view under the name of “Dispositional Essentialism”. -/- In this paper, I show that, ironically, the (...) counterexamples dispositionalists have used against the Humean reductive analysis of dispositional predicates also prove to be problems for a strong form of dispositional essentialism that assimilates dispositionality and metaphysical necessity. -/- Help comes from an unlike ally—Carnapian reductions sentences—but the alliance is not unproblematic. (shrink)
The paper reconstructs Hegel’s repudiation of any kind of transcendent metaphysics. Hegel argues that transcendent metaphysics is dialectically incoherent because it mistakes its own reflection for an absolute independent of reflection. Hence, it is subject to a reification of philosophical thought. This entails that the relation between logic and philosophy of nature in Hegel must not be interpreted as any kind of emanation. Otherwise, Hegel would himself be subject to his effective critique of transcendent metaphysics.