The paper proposes a novel understanding of how Aristotle’s theoretical works complement each other in such a way as to form a genuine system, and this with the immediate (and ostensibly central) aim of addressing a longstanding question regarding Aristotle’s ‘first philosophy’—namely, is Aristotle’s first philosophy a contribution to theology, or to the science of being in general? Aristotle himself seems to suggest that it is in some ways both, but how this can be is a very difficult question. (...) My answer is in some respects a version of one that goes back at least to the middle ages—i.e., that first philosophy is concerned with the gods (and to that extent offers a theology) because the gods are causes and principles of beings precisely insofar as they are beings. The more original aspect of my position lies in my claim that the sort of tension found in the Metaphysics is likewise to be found in many of Aristotle’s physical works. Thus, for example, the De caelo is (I argue) concerned generally with natural beings (= beings susceptible of change), but its discussions are focused largely on the heavenly bodies and the Aristotelian elements insofar as they admit of change with respect to place. Here I claim that the particular objects of discussion are dealt with precisely because they are causes and principles of natural beings as such. Something similar goes, I claim, for the De generatione et corruptione, the general concern of which is a particular species of natural being—i.e., natural beings susceptible of generation and corruption. In this way, I argue, Aristotle successively deals in his theoretical works with those causes and principles of (say) a horse which attach to it insofar as it is a being, those causes and principles of a horse which attach to it insofar as it is a natural being, those causes and principles of a horse which attach to it insofar as it is a perishable natural being, and so on for the lower genera under which the species horse is subsumed. (shrink)
I offer truth conditions for propositions about being qua being in Aristotle's philosophy. I show that in general Aristotle views expressions of the form "qua S" in "S qua S is P" (or "S is P qua S") as making a claim not about the subject "S", but about the predication of "P" of "S". I develop necessary and sufficient truth conditions for propositions of the form "S qua S is P". Finally, I show how this analysis satisfactorily (...) covers what Aristotle says about being qua being in the Metaphysics. (shrink)
This essay attempts to redefine the role and functioning of Aristotle’s πρός έν universals in a way that reveals the structural and thematic unity of the Metaphysics. In particular, I argue five points: (1) that πρός έν universals are analogical, but not four-term analogical; (2) things are πρός έν analogous when they share a transgenic λόγος (3) that four-term analogies may foster discovery of πρός έν analogies; (4) that analogy reveals God as supremely One and Universal; and (5) that the (...) same table of contraries headed by One and many in Met. Γ 2 surfaces again in Met. Λ 7 to describe the properties of the divine nature; and that this parallel between Γ 2 and Λ 7 accounts for much of the literary unity of the Metaphysics. (shrink)
Musical Platonists identify musical works with abstract sound structures but this implies that they are not created but only discovered. Jerrold Levinson adapts Platonism to allow for creation by identifying musical works with indicated sound structures. In this paper I explore the similarities between Levinson's view and Kit Fine's theory of qua objects. Fine offers the theory of qua objects as an account of constitution, as it obtains, for example, between a statue and the clay the statue is made out (...) of. I argue that Fine's theory does not adequately characterize the constitution relation and that the problems it faces extend to Levinson's account of musical works as indicated structures. I develop an alternative theory of constitution, based on the notion of being made out of. This approach to constitution enables me to offer an account of musical works as abstract objects that are constituted by sound structures. I argue that my account has several advantages over the Levinson/Fine approach. (shrink)
(Book Epsilon): Macroscopic overview -- E 1 (English translation) -- The role of book epsilon in the Metaphysics -- Pure actuality and primacy in being -- Aristotelian sciences and their starting points (E 1.1025b3-1026a23) -- The universality of being qua being -- (Book Zeta): Microscopic investigation -- Z I (English translation) -- The meanings of ousia -- Essential being (to ti en einai) -- "Essential being" and singular thing -- "Essential being" and form -- (...) Form and universal -- Form and cause of being. (shrink)
The aim of this work is to show that the reality is not only the world of being, it is equally the world of non-being. Such an approach, as I think, is not nihilism, on the contrary - it helps to resolve many problems and contradictions confusing the philosophical mind. The reader will not find any citations or references in this work because I tried to bring it closer to Philosophy as it used to be in its early (...) stages and from which it has departed so far nowadays. (shrink)
There is a common belief that non-being and nothingness are identical, a widespread, even general delusion the wrongness of which I will try to demonstrate in this work. And which I consider even more important, that is to define nothingness for further determination of “its” place and role in the reality and especially in human life.
The article below is the summary of two earlier works of mine, An Endeavor of New Concept of Being and Non-Being and Non-Being and Nothingness. Only being and nothingness in their unity characterize the environment in which the human being is finding itself, and any non-metaphysical philosophy must consider such an understanding of Reality as the utmost category which is above being, Universe, etc.
The one-world interpretation of Kant's idealism holds that appearances and things in themselves are, in some sense, the same things. Yet this reading faces a number of problems, all arising from the different features Kant seems to assign to appearances and things in themselves. I propose a new way of understanding the appearance/thing in itself distinction via an Aristotelian notion that I call, following Kit Fine, a ‘qua-object.’ Understanding appearances and things in themselves as qua-objects provides a clear sense in (...) which they can be the same things while differing in many of their features. (shrink)
This essay in the comparative metaphysic of nothingness begins by pondering why Leibniz thought of the converse question as the preeminent one. In Eastern philosophical thought, like the numeral 'zero' (śūnya) that Indian mathematicians first discovered, nothingness as non-being looms large and serves as the first quiver on the imponderables they seem to have encountered (e.g., 'In the beginning was neither non-being nor being: what was there, bottomless deep?' RgVeda X.129). The concept of non-being and its (...) permutations of nothing, negation, nullity, etc., receive more sophisticated treatment in the works of grammarians, ritual hermeneuticians, logicians, and their dialectical adversaries variously across Jaina and Buddhist schools. The present analysis follows the function of negation/the negative copula, nãn, and dialetheia in grammar and logic, then moves onto ontologies of non-existence and extinction and further suggestive tropes that tend to arrest rather than affirm the inexorable being-there of something. After a discussion of interests in being (existence), non-being and nothingness in contemporary metaphysics, the article examines Heidegger’s extensive treatment of nothingness in his 1929 inaugural Freiburg lecture, 'Was ist Metaphysik?', published later as 'What is Metaphysics?' The essay however distances itself from any pretensions toward a doctrine of Metaphysical Nihilism. (shrink)
In this article I examine some of the issues involved in taking psychiatric disorders as natural kinds. I begin by introducing a permissive model of natural kind-hood that at least prima facie seems to allow psychiatric disorders to be natural kinds. The model, however, hinges on there in principle being some grounding that is shared by all members of a kind, which explain all or most of the additional shared projectible properties. This leads us to the following question: what (...) grounding do psychiatric disorders qua natural kinds have? My principal method for examining the issue is a case study of a particular psychiatric disorder: the so-called “apathetic children.” I argue that there appear to be at least two competing models that both appeal to non-organic a grounding of the disorder. However, for other psychiatric disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, the evidence points toward an organic explanation of the disorder. I contend that what unites psychiatric disorders is not a distinctive type of grounding that all psychiatric disorders share, but the distinctive set of determinable properties that is shared by all psychiatric disorders. (shrink)
What's the relation between being a P and being called 'P', for example, between being a cat and being called 'cat'? Surely something might be a cat without being called 'cat'; indeed, cats as such might not be called 'cats'. If the word 'cat' disappeared from the language, the event would not entail the disappearence of cats. What about the converse implication? Does being called 'cat' entail being a cat? It would seem so. (...) For suppose 'cat' refers to certain objects, and let Moon be one such object. Consider the statement that Moon is a cat. The statement is true just in case Moon is one of the objects that 'cat' refers to, which she is. Hence, the statement is true, therefore Moon is a cat. Being among the objects that 'cat' refers to entails being a cat. However, it is one thing to say that 'cat' refers to certain objects, and (possibly) a different thing to say that certain objects are called 'cats'. Spiders are often called 'insects', yet 'insect' does not refer to spiders: it is not correct to call spiders 'insects'. "Being called" is often intended as a descriptive notion: whether something is, or is not called 'P' is just a fact that can be stated in terms of people's behavior or patterns of behavior. Reference, on the other hand, may not be descriptive in this sense. Philosophers have often been trying to characterize the quasi-technical notion of reference by suitably restricting or qualifying the everyday, descriptive notion of "being called". Success in such an enterprise would amount to showing that being called* 'P' -a suitably modified version of being called 'P'- entails being P. Whether the enterprise is bound to fail is not the topic of this article. Here, I would like to show that one such attempt did fail, whereas another, more recent attempt that would seem to be bound to fail for analogous reasons does not fail; or not for such reasons, anyway. A few decades ago, some philosophers believed that being called 'P' was (with some qualifications) a sufficient condition for being a P.. (shrink)
Advocates an existential, phenomenological reading of Heraclitus suggested by Hans-Georg Gadamer. Gadamer observes that within the Heraclitean fragments lay a subliminal wonder at the contradiction and groundlessness of the human experience, particularly the unmediated experience of thinking. I take Gadamer to suggest in part that Heraclitus writes the fragments motivated by a sort of phenomenological disclosure, not necessarily of Being (pace Heidegger), but of the human experience as one of contradictory transitions and unrestricted movements between poles of opposition.
Some philosophers have claimed that one must be acquainted with the elements of one's ontology. Also, believing that substrata and universals are required in an adequate ontology, these philosophers have claimed acquaintance with such objects. This paper attempts to analyze what is involved in such claims and to argue that they result from a number of confusions. The paper deals largely with the claim that substrata, or bare particulars, are presented since numerical difference is a simple fact that is presented. (...) It further attempts to argue that while neither substrata nor universals, as such, are objects of acquaintance, there are some distinctions to be drawn between talk of universals as presented objects and talk of substrata being presented. (shrink)
Psychoontology is a philosophical theory of the cognizing subject and various related matters. In this article. I present two approaches to the discipline—the first proposed by Jerzy Perzanowski, the second by Jesse Prinz and Yoram Hazony. I then undertake to bring these into unity using certain ideas from Husserl and Frege. Applying the functor qua, psychoontology can be described as a discipline concerned with: (a) the cognizing subject qua being—this leads to the question: what kind of being is (...) the subject (is it an object?, simple or complex?, a process?) and what makes him/her/it possible; (b) being qua cognized, this leads to the question: under what conditions can we access the world? Since the notion of being qua cognized might seem peculiar, I present its context and discuss it in detail in the last section. (shrink)
The following points, which represent a path to a semiotics of being, are pertinent to various sub-fields at the conjunction of semiotics of nature (biosemiotics, ecosemiotics, zoosemiotics) and semiotics of culture—semioethics and existential semiotics included. 1) Semiotics of being entails inquiry at all levels of biological organization, albeit, wherever there are individuals, with emphasis on the living qua individuals (integrated biological individualism). 2) An Umwelt is the public aspect (cf. the Innenwelt, the private aspect) of a phenomenal/experienced world (...) that is organism-specific (rather than species-specific) and ultimately refers to an existential realm. 3) Existential universals at work on Earth include seeking out the edible, dwelling in a medium, holding a phenomenal world (possibly an Umwelt) and being endowed with life, and consequently being mortal. 4) Human Umwelten include speechless Umwelten, spoken Umwelten and alphabetic Umwelten. 5) An Uexküllian phenomenology—stating that semiotic states represent the general class to which all mental/cognitive states belong—can draw on the works of the phenomenologists David Abram and Ted Toadvine (The notion of semiotic states is treated in Tønnessen 2009a: 62–63. For an introduction to eco-phenomenology, see Brown and Toadvine (eds.) 2003). 6) A task for such a phenomenology is to portray the natural history of the phenomenal world. 7) An imperative task in our contemporary world of faltering biological diversity is that of Umwelt mapping, i.e. a mapping of ontological niches. 8) The ecological crisis is an ontological crisis with historical roots in humankind’s domestication of animals and plants, which can be taken as archetypical for our attempted planet-scale taming of the wild. 9) The process of globalization is expressed by correlated trends of depletion of semiotic diversity and semiotic diversification. 10) Semiotic economy is a field which task it is to map the human ontological niche insofar as its semiotic relations are of an economic nature. All ten points will be commented (explicitly or implicitly) in due time. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to undermine a basic assumption of theories of well-being, one that I call well-being invariabilism. I argue that much of what makes existing theories of well-being inadequate stems from the invariabilist assumption. After distinguishing and explaining well-being invariabilism and well-being variabilism, I show that the most widely-held theories of well-being—hedonism, desire-satisfaction, and pluralist objective-list theories—presuppose invariabilism and that a large class of the objections to them arise because of it. (...) My aim is to show that abandoning invariabilism and adopting variabilism is a sensible first step for those aiming to formulate more plausible theories of well-being. After considering objections to my argument, I explain what a variabilist theory of well-being would be like and show that well-being variabilism need not be any threat to the project of formulating theories of well-being that deliver general principles concerning well-being enhancement. (shrink)
Many philosophers with hedonistic sympathies (e.g., Mill, Sidgwick, Sumner, Feldman, Crisp, Heathwood, and Bradley) have claimed that well-being is necessarily experiential. Kagan once claimed something slightly different, saying that, although unexperienced bodily events can directly impact a person’s well-being, it is nonetheless true that any change in a person’s well-being must involve a change in her (i.e., either in her mind or in her body). Kagan elaborated by saying that a person’s well-being cannot float freely of (...) her such that it is affected by events that do not affect her (Kagan 1992, 169–189). These two claims—that well-being is necessarily experiential and that changes in well-being must involve changes in the person—are two different ways of specifying the general intuition that a person’s well-being must be strongly tied to her. This general intuition imposes an adequacy constraint on welfare theorizing: To be adequate, a welfare theory cannot allow that someone can be directly benefited by events that are not strongly tied to her. Call this the strong-tie requirement. The strong-tie requirement is easily satisfied by welfare hedonism, but it poses problems for desire-fulfillment welfare theories and objective-list welfare theories. Though a great deal has been written about desire-fulfillment welfare theories in relation to the strong-tie requirement, not as much has been written about objective-list welfare theories in relation to the strong-tie requirement. This paper argues that objective-list welfare theories can satisfy the strong-tie requirement, though probably only if they take a perfectionist form, as opposed to a brute-list form. (shrink)
The concept of the ‘well-being of the child’ (like the ‘child’s welfare’ and ‘best interests of the child’) has remained underdetermined in legal and ethical texts on the needs and rights of children. As a hypothetical construct that draws attention to the child’s long-term welfare, the well-being of the child is a broader concept than autonomy and happiness. This paper clarifies some conceptual issues of the well-being of the child from a philosophical point of view. The main (...) question is how well-being could in practice acquire a concrete meaning and content for a particular issue or situation. A phenomenological-hermeneutic research perspective will be outlined that allows the child’s well-being to be elucidated and specified as an anthropological and ethical idea. It is based on a contextual understanding of generative relationships, a combination of the theory and practice of making sense, here described as ‘generative insight’, which could provide ethical guidance for decision making in families, legal practice, medicine or biomedical research. (shrink)
Scarce public resources requiretrade-offs between competing programs indifferent sectors, and the careful allocationof fixed resources within a single sector. Thispaper argues that a general quality of lifeinstrument encompassing health-related andnon-health-related components is suitable fordetermining the best trade-offs betweensectors. Further, this paper suggests thatsubjective well-being shows the propertiescrucial to a general quality of life measureand has additional advantages that makes itparticularly useful for the allocation ofpublic and health care resources. The paperargues that Western societies are in anunusually prosperous situation today (...) whichallows to concentrate efforts not only onreducing harm but also on improving positivestates of health. Further, subjectivewell-being can be evaluated from the patient'sperspective and incorporates a valuation oflife expectancy. Criteria required for anappropriate questionnaire that measuressubjective well-being are presented. (shrink)
The potential of physical activity to improve our health has been the subject of extensive research . The relationship between physical activity and well-being has prompted substantial interest from exercise psychologists in particular , and it seems, is generating increasing interest outside the academic community in healthcare policy and practice inter alia through GP referrals for exercise. Researchers in the field have benefited from a rich tradition within psychology that investigates subjective well-being and its antecedents . We argue (...) that the exercise and health psychology research suffers from this intellectual ancestry specifically in the form of two significant conceptual limitations. First, short-term pleasure and enjoyment which are associated with exercise induced well-being may mask activities that are doing us no good or even harm us . Second, focusing on pleasure entails unacceptable methodological reductionism which undermines the validity of such research by excluding other ways in which our well-being may be enhanced in non-hedonistic terms. (shrink)
In search of good -- A Socratic question -- Flourishing and well-being -- Mind and value -- Utilitarianism -- Rawls and the priority of the right -- Right, wrong, should -- The elimination of moral rightness -- Rules and good -- Categorical imperatives -- Conflicting interests -- Whose good? The egoist's answer -- Whose good? The utilitarian's answer - Self-denial, self-love, universal concern -- Pain, self-love, and altruism -- Agent-neutrality and agent-relativity -- Good, conation, and pleasure -- "Good" and (...) "good for" -- "Good for" and advantage -- "Good that" and "Bad that" -- Pleasure and advantage -- Good for S that P -- The "for" of "good for" -- Plants, animals, humans -- Ross on human nature -- The perspectival reading of "good for" -- The conative approach to well-being -- Abstracting from the content of desires and plans -- The faulty mechanisms of desire formation -- Infants and adults -- The conation of an ideal self -- The appeal of the conative theory -- Conation hybridized -- Strict hedonism -- Hedonism diluted -- Prolegomenon to flourishing -- Development and flourishing: the general theory -- Development and flourishing: the human case -- More examples of what is good -- Appealing to nature -- Sensory un-flourishing -- Affective flourishing and un-flourishing -- Hobbes on tranquility and restlessness -- Flourishing and un-flourishing as a social being -- Cognitive flourishing and un-flourishing -- Sexual flourishing and un-flourishing -- Too much and too little -- Comparing lives and stages of life -- Adding goods: Rawls's principle of inclusiveness -- Art, science, and culture -- Self-sacrifice -- The vanity of fame -- The vanity of wealth -- Making others worse-off -- Virtues and flourishing -- The good of autonomy -- What is good and why -- The sovereignty of good -- The importance of what is good for us -- Good's insufficiency -- Promises -- Retribution -- Cosmic justice -- Social justice -- Pure antipaternalism -- Moral space and giving aid -- Slavery -- Torture -- Moral rightness revisited -- Lying -- Honoring the dead -- Meaningless goals and symbolic value -- Good-independent realms of value -- Good thieves and good human beings -- Final thoughts. (shrink)
In Being and Time, Heidegger affirms that being-with or Mitsein is an essential constitution of Dasein but he does not submit this existential to the same rigorous analyses as other existentials. In this essay, Jean-Luc Nancy points to the different places where Heidegger erased the possibility of thinking an essential with that he himself opened. This erasure is due, according to Nancy, to the subordination of Mitsein to a thinking of the proper and the improper. The polarization of (...)Being-with between an improper face, the Anyone, and a proper one, the people, which is also, as Nancy shows, a polarization between everydayness and historicity, between a being-together in exteriority (indifference and anonymity) and a being-together in interiority (union through destiny), between a solitary dying and the sacrificial death in combat, leaves the essential with unthought. This essay shows not only the tensions that arise out of Heidegger’s own analyses of Mitsein and affect the whole of Being and Time but also underlines in the end a “shortfall in thinking” inherent not only to Heidegger’s work but, as Nancy claims, to our Western tradition, a shortfall which Nancy has attempted to remedy in his Being Singular Plural. (shrink)
It is argued that Nozick's experience machine thought experiment does not pose a particular difficulty for mental state theories of well-being. While the example shows that we value many things beyond our mental states, this simply reflects the fact that we value more than our own well-being. Nor is a mental state theorist forced to make the dubious claim that we maintain these other values simply as a means to desirable mental states. Valuing more than our mental states (...) is compatible with maintaining that the impact of such values upon our well-being lies in their impact upon our mental lives. (shrink)
The work below is the resume of my forthcoming book which I hope to complete in a year or two. As a matter of fact, this is the synthesis of five previous papers of mine, An Endeavor of New Concept of Being and Non-Being, Non-Being and Nothingness, Reality as Being and Nothingness, Presence in Reality, and God and Reality, or to be more correct, the integrity of them, as only in this connection do they acquire their (...) genuine meaning and significance. I would ask the reader to try to catch what I would call the core of the views stated below, regardless of how controversial or unconventional they may seem at the first sight. (shrink)
Abstract The article is a reading, in conjunction with one-another, of Time and Being and What is metaphysics. Its scope is that of raising questions on certain Heideggerian topics that are here formulated as thesis. Namely, first that the turn in Heidegger’s thinking is not a change in his process of thinking, but rather an essential trait of what Heidegger calls the matter at hand (Sachverhalt). Secondly, that this turn of the matter at hand is in itself memory in (...) a twofold way: as metaphysics in its relation to being and time, and as questioning of this metaphysical relation. And finally, that this turn is a technical one, in the sense of technique as this latter is, in Heidegger’s thinking, the original determination of Being as Anwesenheit. (shrink)
Well-Being and Theism is divided into two distinctive parts. The first part argues that desire-fulfillment welfare theories fail to capture the 'good' part of ‘good for’, and that objective list welfare theories fail to capture the 'for' part of ‘good for’. Then, with the aim of capturing both of these parts of ‘good for’, a hybrid theory–one which places both a value constraint and a desire constraint on well-being–is advanced. Lauinger then defends this proposition, which he calls the (...) desire-perfectionism theory, against possible objections. -/- In the second part, Lauinger explores the question of what metaphysics best supports the account of well-being defended in the first part. It is argued that there are two general metaphysical routes that might convincingly be taken here, and that each one leads us toward theism. (shrink)
I display the historical roots of perfect being theology in Greco-Roman philosophy, and the distinctive reasons for Christians to take up a version of this project. I also rebut a recent argument that perfect-being reasoning should lead one to atheism.
Many philosophers have claimed that we might do well to adopt a hybrid theory of well-being: a theory that incorporates both an objective-value constraint and a pro-attitude constraint. Hybrid theories are attractive for two main reasons. First, unlike desire theories of well-being, hybrid theories need not worry about the problem of defective desires. This is so because, unlike desire theories, hybrid theories place an objective-value constraint on well-being. Second, unlike objectivist theories of well-being, hybrid theories need (...) not worry about being overly alienating. This is so because, unlike objectivist theories, hybrid theories place a pro-attitude constraint on well-being. However, from the point of view of objectivists, hybrid theories are not objectivist enough, and this can be seen clearly in missing-desires cases. For instance, hybrid theories entail that, if someone lacks the desire for health, then health is not a component of her well-being. This, objectivists say, is implausible. It is obvious, objectivists say, that someone’s life goes better for herself inasmuch as she is healthy, and hence that health is a component of her welfare. This paper focuses on the missing-desires objection (as leveled by objectivists) to hybrid theories of well-being. My argument is that the missing-desires objection can be answered in a way that is generally convincing and, in particular, in a way that pays a good deal of respect to objectivist intuitions about well-being. My hope, then, is that this paper will help to persuade objectivists about well-being to become hybrid theorists. (shrink)
Critics suggest that without some "objective" account of well-being we cannot explain why satisfying some preferences is, as we believe, better than satisfying others, why satisfying some preferences may leave us on net worse off or why, in a range of cases, we should reject life-adjustment in favor of life-improvement. I defend a subjective welfarist understanding of well-being against such objections by reconstructing the Amartya Sen's capability approach as a preferentist account of well-being. According to the proposed (...) account preference satisfaction alone—possible as well as actual—is of value. States of affairs contribute to well-being because and to the extent that they satisfy actual or nearby possible preferences, and are fruitful, that is, compatible with a range states that satisfy further actual or nearby possible preferences. The proposed account solves the problem of adaptive preference.Individuals whose preferences are "deformed" are satisfied with fruitless states of affairs, which constrain their options so that they are incapable of satisfying a wide range of nearby possible preferences—preferences they "could easily have had." Recognizing the value of capabilities as well as actual attainments allows us to explain why individuals who satisfy "deformed" or perverse preferences may not on net benefit from doing so. More fundamentally, it explains why some states are, as Sen suggests, bad, awful or gruesome while others are good, excellent or superb without appeal to any objective account of value. (shrink)
Previous research on unethical business behavior usually has focused on its impact from a financial or philosophical perspective. While such foci are important to our understanding of unethical behavior, we argue that another set of outcomes linked to individual well-being are critical as well. Using data from psychological, criminological, and epidemiological sources, we propose a model of unethical behavior and well-being. This model postulates that decrements in well-being result from stress or trauma stemming from being victimized (...) by, engaging in, or witnessing unethical behavior, or even from being associated with individuals involved in such behavior. (shrink)
“Laughing at Finitude” interprets Slavoj Žižek’s intellectual project as responding to a challenge left by Being and Time. Setting out from discussions of Heidegger’s book in The Parallax View and The Ticklish Subject, the essay exfoliates Žižek’s response to the Heideggerian version of a “philosophy of finitude”—both finding the central insight of Žižek’s work in Heidegger’s radical proposal for “anticipatory resoluteness” and developing Žižek’s critique of Being and Time as indicating Heidegger’s retreat from that proposal within the very (...) book where it appears. Žižek reads Being and Time’s existential thematic as proposing a radical subjectivism and, unlike other Heidegger-critics, praises this aspect of the project. Indeed, Žižek claims that the weakness of Being and Time as a whole is that it is insufficiently radical in its subjectivism. For him, Heidegger is a thinker of ambiguous value, one who develops a program from whose own demands he hides. “Laughing at Finitude” both articulates this accusation of self-deception in Heidegger and examines the imperatives necessary to avoid it, for a dialectical shift from the “tragic” voice in existential treatments of finitude and for a revolutionary collectivist re-conception of social “Mitsein.” It suggests, in the process, Žižek’s own intellectual itinerary. (shrink)
It is generally assumed that Descartes invokes “objective being in the intellect” in order to explain or describe an idea’s status as being “of something.” I argue that this assumption is mistaken. As emerges in his discussion of “materially false ideas” in the Fourth Replies, Descartes recognizes two senses of ‘idea of’. One, a theoretical sense, is itself introduced in terms of objective being. Hence Descartes can’t be introducing objective being to explain or describe “ofness” understood (...) in this sense. Descartes also appeals to a pretheoretical sense of ‘idea of’. I will argue that the notion of objective being can’t serve to explain or describe this “ofness” either. I conclude by proposing an alternative explanation of the role of objective being, according to which Descartes introduces this notion to explain the mind’s ability to attain clear and distinct ideas. (shrink)
Many among philosophers and non-philosophers would claim that well-being is important in moral theory because it is important to the individual whose well-being it is. The exact meaning of this claim, however, is in need of clarification. Having provided that, I will present a charge against it. This charge can be found in the recent work of both Joseph Raz and Thomas Scanlon. According to the latter the concept of well-being plays an unimportant role in an (...) agent’s deliberation. As I will show, to claim this much is to undermine our initial claim; and to do that is to undermine some of the most central theories in normative ethics. I will focus on Scanlon’s discussion in particular because it affords us with two criteria for the assessment of the importance for a person of a value-concept such as well-being. I will claim that much of Scanlon’s case rests on the idea that well-being is an inclusive good, a good constituted by other things that are good in and for themselves. Then, I will put forward a case against Scanlon’s challenge by (1) showing that inclusiveness, when properly understood, does not lead to the conclusion Scanlon is led to and (2) showing that on at least the reading Scanlon prefers, his criteria are inappropriate. (shrink)
The purpose of professional education programs is to prepare aspiring professionals for the challenges of practice within a particular profession. These programs typically seek to ensure the acquisition of necessary knowledge and skills, as well as providing opportunities for their application. While not denying the importance of knowledge and skills, this paper reconfigures professional education as a process of becoming. Learning to become a professional involves not only what we know and can do, but also who we are (becoming). It (...) involves integration of knowing, acting, and being in the form of professional ways of being that unfold over time. When a professional education program focuses on the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills, it falls short of facilitating their integration into professional ways of being. In addition, through such a focus on epistemology (or theory of knowing), ontology (or theory of being) is overlooked. This paper explores what it means to develop professional ways of being where the focus is becoming, not simply knowing as an end in itself. (shrink)
I develop new paths to the existence of a concrete necessary being. These paths assume a metaphysical framework in which there are abstract states of affairs that can obtain or fail to obtain. One path begins with the following causal principle: necessarily, any contingent concrete object possibly has a cause. I mark out steps from that principle to a more complex causal principle and from there to the existence of a concrete necessary being. I offer a couple alternative (...) causal principles and paths, too. The paths marked out rely on relatively modest causal principles and avoid many obstacles that traditional cosmological arguments face. (shrink)
The ‘adjustment strategy’ currently seems to be the most common approach to incorporating objective elements into one's theory of well-being. These theories face a certain problem, however, which can be avoided by a different approach – namely, that employed by ‘partially objective multi-component theories.’ Several such theories have recently been proposed, but the question of how to understand their mathematical structure has not been adequately addressed. I argue that the most mathematically simple of these multi-component theories fails, so I (...) proceed to investigate more sophisticated ways to formulate such a theory. I conclude that one of these – the Discount/Inflation Theory – is particularly promising. (shrink)
This paper addresses the most fundamental question in metaphysics, Why is there something rather than nothing? The question is framed as a question about concrete entities, Why does a possible world containing concrete entities obtain rather than one containing no concrete entities? Traditional answers are in terms of there necessarily being some concrete entities, and include the possibility of a necessary being. But such answers are threatened by metaphysical nihilism, the thesis that there being nothing concrete is (...) possible, and the subtraction argument for this thesis, an argument that is the subject of considerable recent debate. I summarize and extend the debate about the argument, and answer the threat it poses, turning the tables on it to show how the subtraction argument supports a cosmological argument for a necessary being. (shrink)
Not a lot of work on theistic arguments has been devoted to drawing connections between a necessary being and theistic properties. In this paper, I identify novel paths from a necessary being to certain theistic properties: volition, infinite power, infinite knowledge, and infinite goodness. The steps in those paths are an outline for future work on what William Rowe (The Cosmological Argument, 1975, p. 6) has called “stage II” of the cosmological argument.