Of the many nineteenth-century writers who have come to be known collectively as the American Renaissance, none, writes David Van Leer, 'aspired so relentlessly to the mantle of philosopher as did Ralph Waldo Emerson'. In this, the first book to treat Emerson as a serious philosopher, Dr Van Leer explores Emerson's interest in the subject, while remaining sensitive to the unfolding of Emerson's own complex career. He argues that Emerson's essays can be read quite seriously in terms (...) of their philosophical content; and that in fact such philosophical readings show the individual works to be far more carefully structured than has usually been assumed. (shrink)
David Hitchcock and Bart Verheij (eds): Arguing on the Toulmin Model. New Essays in Argument Analysis and Evaluation Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-13 DOI 10.1007/s10503-011-9214-y Authors Lester C. van der Pluijm, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Jacky C. Visser, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Journal Argumentation Online ISSN 1572-8374 Print ISSN 0920-427X.
During the mid-18th century, when electricity was coming into its own, natural philosophers began to entertain the possibility that electricity is the mysterious nerve force. Their attention was first drawn to several species of strongly electric fish, namely torpedoes, a type of African catfish, and a South American "eels." This was because their effects felt like those of discharging Leyden jars and could be transmitted along known conductors of electricity. Moreover, their actions could not be adequately explained by popular mechanical (...) theories. Many of the early documents supportive of the hypothesis of animal electricity were associated with the Dutch colonies in South America. This article presents and examines those documents, and shows how Dutch scientists on both sides of the Atlantic conducted experiments and communicated with each other in the 1750s and 1760s. It reveals the important roles played by inquisitive physicians and lovers of nature in South America, and by natural philosophers and collectors of exotic specimens in the Netherlands—learned men who began to make a credible case for animal electricity in some exciting places at a pivotal moment in time. (shrink)
van Gend, David It was to be the "new dawn" of stem cell science, but it was a false dawn. Every year for a decade the press releases of Geron Corp, a stem cell company in the US, reassured investors that their world-first treatment using embryonic stem cells (ESCs) in spinal injury was going to be approved "next year".1 And every year the regulating authority in the US, the FDA, failed to give approval, asking instead for further reassurance about (...) the safety of the trial. Finally, coinciding with the election of President Obama and the prospect of a new, liberated era of embryonic research, the FDA overcame its qualms and gave the go-ahead. (shrink)
In What is a Law of Nature? (1983) David Armstrong promotes a theory of laws according to which laws of nature are contingent relations of necessitation between universals. The metaphysics Armstrong develops uses deterministic causal laws as paradigmatic cases of laws, but he thinks his metaphysics explicates other sorts of laws too, including probabilistic laws, like that of the half-life of radium being 1602 years. Bas van Fraassen (1987) gives seven arguments for why Armstrong’s theory of laws is incapable (...) of explicating probabilistic laws. The main thrust of the arguments is that Armstrong’s metaphysical apparatus serves to drive up the initial probability values stated by probabilistic laws. Armstrong replies .. (shrink)
In [HKL00] (henceforth HKL), Hamm, Kamp and van Lambalgen declare ‘‘there is no opposition between formal and cognitive semantics,’’ notwithstanding the realist/mentalist divide. That divide separates two sides Jackendo¤ has (in [Jac96], following Chomsky) labeled E(xternalized)-semantics, relating language to a reality independent of speakers, and I(nternalized)-semantics, revolving around mental representations and thought. Although formal semanticists have (following David Lewis) traditionally leaned towards E-semantics, it is reasonable to apply formal methods also to I-semantics. This point is made clear in HKL (...) via two computational approaches to natural language semantics, Discourse Representation Theory (DRT, [KR93]) and the Event Calculus (EC) presented in [LH05]. In this short note, I wish to raise certain questions about EC that can be traced to the applicability of formal methods to E-semantics and I-semantics alike. These opposing orientations suggest di¤erent notions of time, event and representation. (shrink)
In this paper I provide a brief reconstruction of Otto Hölder’s conception of proof. My reconstruction focuses on Hölder’s critical assessment of David Hilbert’s account of axiomatics in general, and of Hilbert’s conception of metamathematics in particular. I argue that Hölder’s analysis of Hilbert’s general methodological ideas and, more importantly, Hölder’s analysis of the logical structure of the proofs provided by Hilbert in his Grundlagen der Geometrie of 1899 are helpful in reaching a clearer understanding of van der Waerden’s (...) claim linking Hölder’s conception of proof to the tradition established by Kurt Gödel. (shrink)
David Lewis's book 'On the Plurality of Worlds' mounts an extended defense of the thesis of modal realism, that the world we inhabit the entire cosmos of which we are a part is but one of a vast plurality of worlds, or cosmoi, all causally and spatiotemporally isolated from one another. The purpose of this article is to provide an accessible summary of the main positions and arguments in Lewis's book.
In this paper, the author defends Peter van Inwagen’s modal skepticism. Van Inwagen accepts that we have much basic, everyday modal knowledge, but denies that we have the capacity to justify philosophically interesting modal claims that are far removed from this basic knowledge. The author also defends the argument by means of which van Inwagen supports his modal skepticism, offering a rebuttal to an objection along the lines of that proposed by Geirrson. Van Inwagen argues that Stephen Yablo’s recent and (...) influential account of the relationship between conceivability and possibility supports his skeptical claims. The author’s defence involves a creative interpretation and development of Yablo’s account, which results in a recursive account of modal epistemology, what the author calls the “safe explanation” theory of modal epistemology. (shrink)
I. Introduction “We can and do see the truth about many things: ourselves, others, trees and animals, clouds and rivers—in the immediacy of experience.”1 Absent from Bas van Fraassen’s list of those things we see are paramecia and mitochondria. We do not see such things, van Fraassen has long maintained, because they are unobservable, that is, they are undetectable by means of the unaided senses.2 But notice that these two notions—what we can see in the “immediacy” of experience and what (...) is detectable by means of the unaided senses—are not the same. There is no incoherence in maintaining that the immediacy of experience is capable of disclosing to us truths concerning entities that are not detectable by the naked eye. And so, I claim, it does; science and technology provide us with the means to see things we have never seen before. Some of those things are van Fraassen’s unobservables. That suggestion is nothing new. Grover Maxwell long ago emphasized the continuity between seeing with and without instrumentation.3 Van Fraassen originally provided two responses to Maxwell’s arguments: some things that you can see with instruments you can also see without instruments (and those are the observables); and.. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue against Peter van Inwagen’s claim (in “Free Will Remains a Mystery”), that agent-causal views of free will could do nothing to solve the problem of free will (specifically, the problem of chanciness). After explaining van Inwagen’s argument, I argue that he does not consider all possible manifestations of the agent-causal position. More importantly, I claim that, in any case, van Inwagen appears to have mischaracterized the problem in some crucial ways. Once we are clear on (...) the true nature of the problem of chanciness, agent-causal views do much to eradicate it. (shrink)
Peter van Inwagen’s argument for incompatibilism uses a sentential operator, “N”, which can be read as “No one has any choice about the fact that . . . .” I show that, given van Inwagen’s understanding of the notion of having a choice, the argument is invalid. However, a different interpretation of “N” can be given, such that the argument is clearly valid, the premises remain highly plausible, and the conclusion implies that free will is incompatible with determinism.
A careful analysis of Salmon’s Theoretical Realism and van Fraassen’s Constructive Empiricism shows that both share a common origin: the requirement of literal construal of theories inherited by the Standard View. However, despite this common starting point, Salmon and van Fraassen strongly disagree on the existence of unobservable entities. I argue that their different ontological commitment towards the existence of unobservables traces back to their different views on the interpretation of probability via different conceptions of induction. In fact, inferences to (...) statements claiming the existence of unobservable entities are inferences to probabilistic statements, whence the crucial importance of the interpretation of probability. (shrink)
My research work title is “A Philosophical Study of the Concept of Mind (with special reference to Rene Descartes, David Hume and Gilbert Ryle).” In this study we have discussed three conceptions of mind presented by Rene Descartes, David Hume and Gilbert Ryle. All the three thinkers are related to different philosophical traditions known as Rationalism, Empiricism and Analytical Philosophy respectively. Each of these various approaches can be seen as at least partly successful, each provides answers to questions (...) regarded as especially pressing, each apparently solved certain problems. Notoriously, however, each leaves unanswered and unsolved a host of distinct problems as well. (shrink)
David Phillips’s Sidgwickian Ethics is a penetrating contribution to the scholarly and philosophical understanding of Henry Sidgwick’s The Methods of Ethics. This note focuses on Phillips’s understanding of (aspects of) Sidgwick’s argument for utilitarianism and the moral epistemology to which he subscribes. In § I, I briefly outline the basic features of the argument that Sidgwick provides for utilitarianism, noting some disagreements with Phillips along the way. In § II, I raise some objections to Phillips’s account of the epistemology (...) underlying the argument. In § III, I reply to the claim that there is a puzzle at the heart of Sidgwick’s epistemology. In § IV, I respond to Phillips’s claim that Sidgwick is unfair in his argument against the (deontological) morality of common sense. (shrink)
The concept of the self is a highly contested topic. Traditionally it belonged to speculative metaphysics. Almost every philosopher, whether Western or Indian, has tried to explore the nature of self. Generally, the self is taken as a substance which has permanent existence, which is eternal and non-specio-temporal. In some traditions, like the Hindu tradition, it is believed to take rebirth as the body perishes. Many Western philosophers also think that it is immortal. The nature of the self also has (...) then ethical implications. The views of David Hume and Gautama Buddha on the self, which I have chosen to discuss here, are similar. Though both belong to different traditions, both are skeptical of any permanent existence of self. This is not to say that one has borrowed from the other. For the nature and purpose of denial of the self in both the philosophers is different. So a comprehensive and comparative study of their views is very interesting. It is the intention of this article to analyze and compare the philosophical positions of Gautama and Hume on the self—a problem which was of central concern to both and which has since exercised a continuing fascination for philosophers, both of the East and the West. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine Takashi Yagisawa’s response to van Inwagen’s ontic objection against David Lewis. Van Inwagen criticizes Lewis’s commitment to the absolutely unrestricted sense of ‘there is,’ and Yagisawa claims that by adopting modal tenses he avoids commitment to absolutely unrestricted quantification. I argue that Yagisawa faces a problem parallel to the one Lewis faces. Although Yagisawa officially rejects the absolutely unrestricted sense of a quantifying expression, he is still committed to the absolutely unrestricted sense of ‘is (...) a real.’. (shrink)
The anti-reductionist who wants to preserve the causal efficacy of mental phenomena faces several problems in regard to mental causation, i.e. mental events which cause other events, arising from her desire to accept the ontological primacy of the physical and at the same time save the special character of the mental. Psychology tries to persuade us of the former, appealing thereby to the results of experiments carried out in neurology; the latter is, however, deeply rooted in our everyday actions and (...) beliefs and despite the constant opposition of science still very much alive. Difficulties, however, arise from a combination of two claims that are widely accepted in philosophy of mind, namely, physical monism and mental realism, the acceptance of which leads us to the greatest problem of mental causation: the problem of causal exclusion. Since physical causes alone are always sufficient for physical effects mental properties are excluded from causal explanations of our behaviour, which makes them “epiphenomenal”. The article introduces Van Gulick’s solution to the exclusion problem which tries to prove that physical properties, in contrast to mental properties, do not have as much of a privileged status with respect to event causation as usually ascribed. Therefore, it makes no sense to say that physical properties are causally relevant whereas mental properties are not. This is followed by my objection to his argument for levelling mental and physical properties with respect to causation of events. I try to show that Van Gulick’s argument rests on a premise that no serious physicalist can accept. (shrink)
Helen Beebee has recently argued that David Lewis’s account of compatibilism, so-called local miracle compatibilism (LMC), allows for the possibility that agents in deterministic worlds have the ability to break or cause the breaking of a law of nature. Because Lewis’s LMC allows for this consequence, Beebee claims that LMC is untenable and subsequently that Lewis’s criticism of van Inwagen’s Consequence Argument for incompatibilism is substantially weakened. I review Beebee’s argument against Lewis’s thesis and argue that Beebee has (...) not refuted LMC and concomitantly has not demonstrated that Lewis’s criticism of the Consequence Argument fails. (shrink)
David Lewis claims that his theory of modality successfully reduces modal items to nonmodal items. This essay will clarify this claim and argue that it is true. This is largely an exercise within ‘Ludovician Polycosmology’: I hope to show that a certain intuitive resistance to the reduction and a set of related objections misunderstand the nature of the Ludovician project. But these results are of broad interest since they show that would-be reductionists have more formidable argumentative resources than is (...) often thought. Lewis’s reduction depends on a set of methodological commitments each of which is fairly plausible or at least currently popular, and none of which is particular to modality. The choice of which of these commitments to reject I leave to the discerning antireductionist. The essay proceeds as follows: §1 discusses reduction generally and one or two relevant puzzles; §2 discusses Lewis’s reduction in particular; the longest section, §3 replies to four objections. (shrink)
In this paper I do two things: (1) I support the claim that there is still some confusion about just what the Quine-Putnam indispensability argument is and the way it employs Quinean meta-ontology and (2) I try to dispel some of this confusion by presenting the argument in a way which reveals its important meta-ontological features, and include these features explicitly as premises. As a means to these ends, I compare Peter van Inwagen’s argument for the existence of properties with (...) Putnam’s presentation of the indispensability argument. Van Inwagen’s argument is a classic exercise in Quinean meta-ontology and yet he claims – despite his argument’s conspicuous similarities to the Quine-Putnam argument – that his own has a substantially different form. I argue, however, that there is no such difference between these two arguments even at a very high level of specificity; I show that there is a detailed generic indispensability argument that captures the single form of both. The arguments are identical in every way except for the kind of objects they argue for – an irrelevant difference for my purposes. Furthermore, Putnam’s and van Inwagen’s presentations make an assumption that is often mistakenly taken to be an important feature of the Quine-Putnam argument. Yet this assumption is only the implicit backdrop against which the argument is typically presented. This last point is brought into sharper relief by the fact that van Inwagen’s list of the four nominalistic responses to his argument is too short. His list is missing an important – and historically popular – fifth option. (shrink)
I discuss van inwagen's "first formal argument" for the incompatibility of causal determinism and freedom to do otherwise. I distinguish different interpretations of the important notion, "s can render p false." I argue that on none of these interpretations is the argument clearly sound. I point to gaps in the argument, Although I do not claim that it is unsound.
Primary Works -/- Hume, David(1997) An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, from Philosophical Classics from Plato to Nietzsche, Ed. By Forrest E. Baired & Walter Kaufmann, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. -/- ___________ (1978) A Treatise of Human Nature, Edited by L.A. Selby-Bigge Oxford University Press, London. -/- :___________( 2006) The Understanding(Treatise :Book I), Ed. by Bennettt, Jonathan , The, Radical Academy, -/- Link:http;//www.earlymoderntexts.com/pdf/humebig.pdf.Citation:20-10-2006 -/- Flew, Antony(1962) Hume on Human Nature and the Understanding, Edi. ,Collier Books, New York.
This article argues that there is a great divide between semantics and metaphysics. Much of what is called metaphysics today is still stuck in the linguistic turn. This is illustrated by showing how Fraser MacBride misunderstands David Armstrong's theory of modality.
In "Supervenience, Necessary Coextension, and Reducibility" (Philosophical Studies 49, 1986, 163-176), among other results, I showed that weak or ordinary supervenience is equivalent to Jaegwon Kim's strong supervenience, given certain assumptions: S4 modality, the usual modal conception of properties as class-concepts, and diagonal closure or resplicing of the set of base properties. This last means that any mapping of possible worlds into extensions of base properties counts itself as a base property. James Van Cleve attacks the modal conception of property (...) and diagonal closure. To me it seems desperate to reject diagonal closure merely in order to save supervenience-materialism. But I concede that it may be unacceptable in the context of a sparser theory of properties. (shrink)