Systematic dialectic is distinguished from historical dialectic and its logic explored. As a strategy of exposition designed to articulate the forms of a given whole it orders the relevant categories in a linear development. The dialectical justification of the transitions is the central question addressed. What is given progressively as the further determination of the abstract beginning should be read retrogressively as a grounding movement validating the earlier categories from the perspective of the concrete whole.
The failure of the critics of corporate governance to agree on what should be done to improve the governance process can, in most cases, be traced to a different understanding of the role of corporate directors in that process. This article analyzes and contrasts the obligations of directors under two legal theories, the fictional person theory and the organic theory, of the corporation. A comparison of the director's obligations under each theory indicates that the organic theory provides a better basis (...) for assessing the performance of directors and initiating reform.Among the boards of directors of Fortune 500 companies, I estimate that 95% are not fully doing what they are legally, morally, and ethically supposed to do. And they couldn't, even if they wanted to. (shrink)
In Minkowski spacetime, because of the relativity of simultaneity to the inertial frame chosen, there is no unique world-at-an-instant. Thus the classical view that there is a unique set of events existing now in a three dimensional space cannot be sustained. The two solutions most often advanced are (i) that the four-dimensional structure of events and processes is alone real, and that becoming present is not an objective part of reality; and (ii) that present existence is not an absolute notion, (...) but is relative to inertial frame; the world-at-an-instant is a three dimensional, but relative, reality. According to a third view, advanced by Robb, Capek and Stein, (iii) what is present at a given spacetime point is, strictly speaking, constituted by that point alone. I argue here against the first of these views that the four-dimensional universe cannot be said to exist now, already, or indeed at any time at all; so that talk of its existence or reality as if that precludes the existence or reality of the present is a non sequitur. The second view assumes that in relativistic physics time lapse is measured by the time co-ordinate function; against this I maintain that it is in fact measured by the proper time, as I argue by reference to the Twin Paradox. The third view, although formally correct, is tarnished by its unrealistic assumption of point-events. This makes it susceptible to paradox, and also sets it at variance with our normal intuitions of the present. I argue that a defensible concept of the present is nonetheless obtainable when account is taken of the non-instantaneity of events, including that of conscious awareness, as (iv) that region of spacetime comprised between the forward lightcone of the beginning of a small interval of proper time t (e.g. that during which conscious experience is laid down) and the backward lightcone of the end of that interval. This gives a serviceable notion of what is present to a given event of short duration, as well as saving our intuition of the “reality” or robustness of present events.. (shrink)
In contrast with some recent theories of infinitesimals as non-Archimedean entities, Leibniz’s mature interpretation was fully in accord with the Archimedean Axiom: infinitesimals are fictions, whose treatment as entities incomparably smaller than finite quantities is justifiable wholly in terms of variable finite quantities that can be taken as small as desired, i.e. syncategorematically. In this paper I explain this syncategorematic interpretation, and how Leibniz used it to justify the calculus. I then compare it with the approach of Smooth Infinitesimal Analysis (...) (SIA), as propounded by John Bell. Despite many parallels between SIA and Leibniz’s approach —the non-punctiform nature of infinitesimals, their acting as parts of the continuum, the dependence on variables (as opposed to the static quantities of both Standard and Non-standard Analysis), the resolution of curves into infinitesided polygons, and the finessing of a commitment to the existence of infinitesimals— I find some salient differences, especially with regard to higher-order infinitesimals. These differences are illustrated by a consideration of how each approach might be applied to Newton’s Proposition 6 of the Principia, and the derivation from it of the v2/r law for the centripetal force on a body orbiting around a centre of force. It is found that while Leibniz’s syncategorematic approach is adequate to ground a Leibnizian version of the v2/r law for the “solicitation” ddr experienced by the orbiting body, there is no corresponding possibility for a derivation of the law by nilsquare infinitesimals; and while SIA can allow for second order differentials if nilcube infinitesimals are assumed, difficulties remain concerning the compatibility of nilcube infinitesimals with the principles of SIA, and in any case render the type of infinitesimal analysis adopted dependent on its applicability to the problem at hand. (shrink)
In a recent note in this review (Leibniz e gli Zenonisti, n. 3, 2001, pp. 15-22) Paolo Rossi stresses the importance of a philosophical sect that he claims has been unjustly ignored in accounts of the history of modern philosophy, the Jesuit philosophers of Louvain and Spain of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century known as the Zenonists. The occasion for his complaint is Massimo Mugnai’s admirable new introduction to Leibniz’s thought (Introduzione alla filosofia di Leibniz, Torino, Einaudi, 2001), (...) which in all other respects than its failure to mention the Zenonists, Rossi compliments and commends: justly, for in my opinion it is the best introduction to Leibniz yet written. (shrink)
Arthur Danto asserts that Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington embodies the rhetoric paradigm of internal beauty’s meaning. However, the relationship to the Kant’s pulchritudo adhaerens is not an easy one: Danto’s recalls against the self-referent formalism of Greenberg’s Modernism and his tacit issues about the environmental non-monumentality of Richard Serra’s Minimalism, are, most importantly, haunted by the unquestioned spectral logic of the image embodiment. The beholders’ reflecting shape on the funeral Wall is, finally, both a pathetic index (...) and a medial incarnation ( Verkörperung ) of the underworld. (shrink)
“'Ontological Mislocations', Modes of Conciousness and History: Indiscernibles, Displacement and Horizons of Possibility in the Philosophy of Arthur Danto”. In this article my purpose is to trace the links between three key elements in Arthur Danto’s philosophy: first, the capital consideration, for philosophical purposes, of human beings as ens representans , departing from the elucidation of a type of cognitive episode that Danto called “basic”. Secondly,I am concerned with the recurring appeal to a plane of consciousness that supports (...) a dual characterization in terms of the pair inside/outside and enables alogical space that is characteristic of philosophy as a reflective mode. Finally, I will treat a form of cognitive failure that Danto considered fundamental to the philosophical perspective, which leads to a specific type of restructuring of our ordinary system of beliefs. What I contend is that in Danto’s philosophical system these three elements become intelligible from the postulation of an effectual background that the author calls “objective historical structure”, which is characterized in terms of the horizons of possibility and impossibility that it delineates. These figures of historical-temporal possibility and impossibility constitute the matrix of historicity itself and also contribute decisively to shaping the permanent nucleus of dantean philosophical concerns. (shrink)