This paper argues that an examination of the ontology that underpins Descartes?s Fifth Meditation ontological proof of God?s existence will contribute to a better understanding of the nature and structure of the proof. Attention to the Cartesian meditator?s development of this ontology in earlier meditations also makes clear why this proof could not have been asserted before the Fifth Meditation. Finally, it is argued that Kant?s objections against the ontological proof have no force against Descartes? particular version of the proof.
Confucius uses the term xin 信 in about twenty passages in the Analects. The frequency of his usage would suggest that xin has a significant place within his ethics. The main aim of this essay is to offer an account of the roles played by xin within the ethics of Confucius. To have a clear understanding of these roles, however, we need first to understand what is encompassed within his notion of xin. This essay thus begins with an attempt to (...) delineate the Confucian conception of xin, as it is presented in the Analects. The notion of xin is frequently taken to be largely isomorphic with the notion of trust, and passages involving xin are commonly translated in terms of “trust” (and its cognates). This essay .. (shrink)
Environmental ethicists who look toward East Asian philosophies in their quest for a fruitful way of conceiving the relationship of humans to nature often turn to Taoism and Buddhism for inspiration. They rarely turn to Confucianism. Moreover, among those who do look to Confucianism for inspiration, almost no attention is given to the early Confucians, most likely because they are seen as embracing a humanist perspective—that is, they are concerned with how humans should relate to other humans and with the (...) flourishing of human societies. An initial examination of an early Confucian, Mencius, who did consider his attitude toward nature, suggests that he viewed the natural world only as an instrument to promote human welfare. However, this account is not entirely fair to him, for an expansion of Mencius’ fundamental tenets can lead to an interesting account of the relation of humans and nature—one that balances human concerns with respect for nature. Mencius would very likely have endorsed this expansion. (shrink)
After drawing a distinction between two kinds of dualism -- numerical dualism (defined in terms of identity) and modal dualism (defined in terms of supervenience) -- we argue that Descartes is a numerical dualist, but not a modal dualist. Since most contemporary dualists advocate modal dualism, the relation of Descartes' views to the contemporary philosophy of mind are more complex than is commonly assumed.
The Confucian tradition is often held to have accorded the family a prominent place in their ethics. This paper distinguishes three different senses in which the family is held to be primary in Confucian morality. It then explores Hsun Tzu's views on the family and familial relations. I argue that, while other early Confucians such as Confucius and Mencius would have held the family to be primary in all three senses, Hsun Tzu held the family to be primary in only (...) one of the three senses. In particular, there is textual evidence that Hsun Tzu holds that one's primary obligation is to the ruler of the state, rather than to the immediate family. (shrink)
Material Falsity and Error in Descartes' Meditations approaches Descartes' Meditations as an intellectual journey, wherein Descartes' views develop and change as he makes new discoveries about self, God and matter. The first book to focus closely on Descartes' notion of material falsity, it shows how Descartes' account of material falsity and correspondingly his account of crucial notions such as truth, falsehood and error evolves according to the epistemic advances in the Meditations. It also offers important new insights on the crucial (...) role of Descartes' Third Meditation discussion of material falsity in advancing many subsequent arguments in the Meditations. This book will be of interest to those working on Descartes and early modern philosophy. It offers an independent reading on issues of perennial interest, such as Descartes' views on error, truth and falsehood. It also makes important contributions to topics that have been the focus of much recent scholarship, such as Descartes' ethics and his theodicy. Those working on the interface between medieval and modern philosophy will find the discussions on Descartes' debt to predecessors like Suárez and Augustine useful. (shrink)
In her well-known In A Different Voice, Gilligan argues that the male and female approaches to morality are fundamentally opposed to each other. The masculine approach emphasizes impartial justice, and the application of a 'hierarchy' of rules. In contrast, the feminine approach is grounded in care and concern for others, and emphasizes flexibility and attention to context when making moral decisions. This paper offers a critique of Gilligan's views through a consideration of Mencian morality. Mencius inhabits the 'feminine' perspective insofar (...) as his morality is grounded in care and responsibility. However, he develops from this a philosophy of government which recognizes the need for impartial justice to apply among citizens. Mencius's views show that, pace Gilligan, there is no inherent incompatibility between 'feminine' care and concern and 'male' impartial justice. It is possible for the latter to be founded upon the former. (shrink)
René Descartes is often thought to have exerted a pernicious influence on our views concerning the relationship of humans to the environment. The view that because animals are machines, “thoughtless brutes,” they have no moral standing, and we thus have a right to use them to further our own interests, is attributed to him. A celebrated passage from the Discourse on Method adds fuel to the view that he subscribes to the “dominion” theory. I argue that this picture is misleading (...) and unfair. Descartes does not hold the dominion theory, and there is evidence that he accords animals (and plants) moral standing. Most importantly, Descartes holds that it is a human good to subordinate one’s interests to those of the larger universe. He can, in fact, be seen as a forerunner of modern ecocentrism. (shrink)
In Descartes's _Third Meditation, the mediator states that he may have unknown faculties that could cause his ideas of corporeal things. His proof of the external world in the _Sixth Meditation, however, clearly relies on the assumption that he does not have such unknown faculties. This paper examines Lex Newman's attempt to resolve this apparent inconsistency. I argue that the attempt is not altogether successful.