The classical view of the relationship between necessity and apriority, defended by Leibniz and Kant, is that all necessary truths are known a priori. The classical view is now almost universally rejected, ever since Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam discovered that there are necessary truths that are known only a posteriori. However, in recent years a new debate has emerged over the epistemology of these necessary a posteriori truths. According to one view – call it the neo-classical view – knowledge (...) of a necessary truth always depends on at least one item of a priori knowledge. According to the rival view – call it the neoempiricist view – our knowledge of necessity is sometimes broadly empirical. In this paper I present and defend an argument against the neo-empiricist view. I argue that knowledge of the necessity of a necessary truth could not be broadly empirical. (shrink)
Knowledge can be transmitted by a valid deductive inference. If I know that p, and I know that if p then q, then I can infer that q, and I can thereby come to know that q. What feature of a valid deductive inference enables it to transmit knowledge? In some cases, it is a proof of validity that grounds the transmission of knowledge. If the subject can prove that her inference follows a valid rule, then her inference transmits knowledge. (...) However, this only pushes the question back to the inference that was made in this proof. What feature of that inference enables it to transmit knowledge? A vicious regress looms here. Every proof requires a valid inference, and every valid inference must follow at least one rule of inference. So every proof must follow at least one rule of inference. Therefore not every valid inference that transmits knowledge can acquire this power through a proof, on pain of vicious infinite regress. So it must be possible to transmit knowledge by making an inference that follows an underived rule. A deductive inference that follows an underived rule is what I will call a basic deductive inference. It must be possible to transmit knowledge by making a basic deductive inference. But how is this possible? What feature of a basic deductive inference gives it this power to transmit knowledge? (shrink)
In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in property dualism—the view that some mental properties are neither identical with, nor strongly supervenient on, physical properties. One of the principal objections to this view is that, according to natural science, the physical world is a causally closed system. So if mental properties are really distinct from physical properties, then it would seem that mental properties never really cause anything that happens in the physical world. Thus, dualism threatens to (...) lead inexorably to epiphenomenalism. In this paper, I will argue that the only way for a property dualist to avoid epiphenomenalism is to deny that the human body is strictly identical with the sum of its microphysical parts. I will go on to argue that the only way to sustain such anti-reductionism about the human body is to embrace some sort of substance-hylomorphism. (shrink)
In a recent address to the American Catholic Philosophical Association, Alfred Freddoso has claimed that dualism is both religiously and morally pernicious. He contends that dualism runs afoul of the Catholic teaching that the soul is the form of the body, and that dualism leaves the body with nothing more than instrumental moral worth. On the contrary, I argue that dualism per se is neither religiously nor morally pernicious. Dualism is compatible with a rich teleology of embodiment that will underwrite (...) all of the same moral insights about the body that traditional hylomorphism supports. (shrink)
Christian orthodoxy essentially involves the acceptance of the New Testament as authoritative in matters of faith and conduct. However, the New Testament instructs slaves and women to accept a subordinate status that denies their equality with other human beings. To accept such a status is to have the vice of servility, which involves denying the equality of all human beings. Therefore the New Testament asserts that slaves and women should deny their equality with other human beings. This is false. Moreover, (...) these same passages in the New Testament implicitly assert that slavery and the subordination of women are morally permissible. This isalso false. Therefore orthodox Christianity is false. (shrink)
Christopher Hill and Joseph Levine have argued that the conceivabilities involved in anti-materialist arguments are defeated as evidence of possibility. Their strategy assumes the following principle: the conceivability of a state of affairs S constitutes evidence for the possibility of S only if the possibility of S is the best explanation of the conceivability of S. So if there is a better explanation of the conceivability of S than its possibility, then the conceivability of S is thereby defeated as evidence (...) of possibility. Hill and Levine proceed to offer alternative explanations of these conceivabilities, concluding that these conceivabilities are thereby defeated as evidence. However, this strategy fails because their explanations generalize to all conceivability judgments concerning phenomenal states. Consequently, one could defend absolutely any theory of phenomenal states against conceivability arguments in just this way. This result conflicts with too many of our common sense beliefs about the evidential value of conceivability with respect to phenomenal states. The general moral is that the application of such principles of explanatory defeat is neither simple nor straightforward. (shrink)
With this understanding, children are better able to anticipate the behavior of others and to attune their own behavior accordingly. In mentally retarded children with Down's syndrome, attainment of such competence is delayed, but it is generally acquired by the time they reach the mental age of 4, as measured by tests of nonverbal intelligence. Thus from a developmental perspective, attainment of the mental age of 4 appears to be of profound significance for acquisition of what we shall call psychological (...) competence : possession of the skills and resources people routinely call on in the.. (shrink)
Truth, etc. is a wide-ranging study of ancient logic based upon the John Locke lectures given by the eminent philosopher Jonathan Barnes in Oxford. The book presupposes no knowledge of logic and no skill in ancient languages: all ancient texts are cited in English translation; and logical symbols and logical jargon are avoided so far as possible. Anyone interested in ancient philosophy, or in logic and its history, will find much to learn and enjoy here.
This anthology looks at the early sages of Western philosophy and science who paved the way for Plato and Aristotle and their successors. Democritus's atomic theory of matter, Zeno's dazzling "proofs" that motion is impossible, Pythagorean insights into mathematics, Heraclitus's haunting and enigmatic epigrams-all form part of a revolution in human thought that relied on reasoning, forged the first scientific vocabulary, and laid the foundations of Western philosophy. Jonathan Barnes has painstakingly brought together the surviving Presocratic fragments in their (...) original contexts, utilizing the latest research and a major new papyrus of Empedocles. Translated and edited by Jonathan Barnes. (shrink)
Existence in Black is the first collective statement on the subject of Africana Philosophy of Existence. Drawing upon resources in Africana philosophy and literature, the contributors explore some of the central themes of Existentialism as posed by the context of what Frantz Fanon has identified as "the lived-experience of the black." Among questions posed and explored in the volume are: What is to be done in a world of near universal sense of superiority to, if not universal hatred of, black (...) folk?; What is black suffering?; What is the meaning (if any) of black existence? The introduction argues that a response to these questions requires a journey through the resources of identity questions in critical race theory and the teleological dimensions of liberation theory. The contributors address these questions through an analysis of nearly every dimension of Africana phiosophy. In the first half of the book, they address Black Philosophies of Existence in terms of Traditional African Philosophy, the Harlem Renaissance, Du Boisian Double-Consciousness, and Fanonian and Sartrean Philosophies of Existence. In the second half of the book, contributors consider racial identity through examinations of such concepts as equality, death, mimesis, property, embodiment, technology, disappointment, and dread. Part II is an exploration of postmodern challenges to "black existence" through discussions of postmodern conservatism, Nietzsche's thoughts on blacks, Richard Wright and fragmented consciousness, and feminist critiques of race. And Part IV is an examination of problems of historical responsibility and constructing black liberation theories. Contributors are: Ernest Allen, Jr., Robert Birt, Bernard Boxill, George Carew, Bobby Dixon, G.M. James Gonzales, Lewis R. Gordon, Leonard Harris, Floyd Hayes, III, Paget Henry, Patricia Huntington, Joy Ann James, Clarence Shole Johnson, Bill E. Lawson, Howard McGary, Roy D. Morrison, William Preston, Jean-Paul Sartre, T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, Gary Schwartz, Robert Westley, and Naomi Zack. (shrink)
In the works of Sextus Empiricus, scepticism is presented in its most elaborate and challenging form. This book investigates - both from an exegetical and from a philosophical point of view - the chief argumentative forms which ancient scepticism developed. Thus the particular focus is on the Agrippan aspect of Sextus' Pyrrhonism. Barnes gives a lucid explanation and analysis of these arguments, both individually and as constituent parts of a sceptical system. For, taken together, these forms amount to a (...) formidable and systematic challenge to any claim to knowledge or rational belief. The challenge had a great influence on the history of philosophy. And it has never been met. This study reflects the growing interest in ancient scepticism. Quotations from the ancient sources are all translated and Greek terms are explained. Notes on the ancient authors give a brief guide to the sources, both familiar and unfamiliar. (shrink)
What is it to deceive someone? And how is it possible to deceive oneself? Does self-deception require that people be taken in by a deceitful strategy that they know is deceitful? The literature is divided between those who argue that self-deception is intentional and those who argue that it is non-intentional. In this study, Annette Barnes offers a challenge to both the standard characterisation of other-deception and current characterizations of self-deception, examining the available explanations and exploring such questions as (...) the self-deceiver's false consciousness, bias, and the irrationality and objectionability of self-deception. She arrives at a non-intentional account of self-deception that is deeper and more complete than alternative non-intentional accounts and avoids the reduction of self-deceptive belief to wishful belief. (shrink)
The Structure of Emotions argues that emotion concepts should have a much more important role in the social and behavioural sciences than they now enjoy, and shows that certain influential psychological theories of emotions overlook the explanatory power of our emotion concepts. Professor Gordon also outlines a new account of the nature of commonsense (or ‘folk’) psychology in general.
In this undergraduate textbook Lewis R. Gordon offers the first comprehensive treatment of Africana philosophy, beginning with the emergence of an Africana (i.e. African diasporic) consciousness in the Afro-Arabic world of the Middle Ages. He argues that much of modern thought emerged out of early conflicts between Islam and Christianity that culminated in the expulsion of the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula, and from the subsequent expansion of racism, enslavement, and colonialism which in their turn stimulated reflections on reason, (...) liberation, and the meaning of being human. His book takes the student reader on a journey from Africa through Europe, North and South America, the Caribbean, and back to Africa, as he explores the challenges posed to our understanding of knowledge and freedom today, and the response to them which can be found within Africana philosophy. (shrink)
In this essay, Mordechai Gordon interprets Martin Buber's ideas on dialogue, presence, and especially his notion of embracing in an attempt to shed some light on Buber's understanding of listening. Gordon argues that in order to understand Buber's conception of listening, one needs to examine this concept in the context of his philosophy of dialogue. More specifically, his contention is that closely examining Buber's notion of embracing the other is critical to making sense of his conception of listening. (...)Gordon's analysis suggests that, in Buber's model, listening involves a kind of active attentiveness to another's words or actions, engaging them as though they are directed specifically at us. Gordon's discussion of dialogue and listening also indicates that the relation between speaking and listening is one of reciprocity and mutual dependence and that listening plays an essential role in initiating many dialogues by creating a space in which two people can embrace each other as complete individuals. (shrink)
Barnes focuses and examines Plato’s ideals on life through “Allegory of the Cave”. The nature of selfhood, moral/ political issues, and enlightenment demonstrate in any classroom the alternatives to a dry session on philosophy to young children through an engaging discussion.
Is human freedom and choice exaggerated in recent social theory? Should agency be the central in sociology? In this, penetrating and assured book, one of the leading commentators in the field asks where social theory is going. Barnes argues that social theory has taken the wrong turn in over-stating individual freedom. The result is that social contexts in which all individual actions are situated, is dangerously under-theorized. Barnes calls for a form of social theory that recognizes that sociability (...) is the essential characteristic of human life. It is our capacity to communicate with each other, and plan for each other’s welfare, that makes us truly human. Once this is allowed, notions of “agency”, “freedom”, and “choice” lose their connotation with free-floating individualism. Instead the embedded character of agency is starkly revealed. This is a model of well-informed and balanced analysis. It will be of interest to students of sociology, philosophy and social theory. (shrink)
The influence of Aristotle, the prince of philosophers, on the intellectual history of the West is second to none. In this book, Jonathan Barnes examines Aristotle's scientific researches, his discoveries in logic and his metaphysical theories, his work in psychology and in ethics and politics, and his ideas about art and poetry, placing his teachings in their historical context.
The intellectual history of the last quarter of this century has been marked by the growing influence of Africana thought--an area of philosophy that focuses on issues raised by the struggle over ideas in African cultures and their hybrid forms in Europe, the Americas, and the Caribbean. Existentia Africana is an engaging and highly readable introduction to the field of Africana philosophy and will help to define this rapidly growing field. Lewis R. Gordon clearly explains Africana existential thought to (...) a general audience, covering a wide range of both classic and contemporary thinkers--from Douglass and DuBois to Fanon, Davis and Zack. (shrink)
D. Miller's demonstrations of the language dependence of truthlikeness raise a profound problem for the claim that scientific progress is objective. In two recent papers (Barnes 1990, 1991) I argue that the objectivity of progress may be grounded on the claim that the aim of science is not merely truth but knowledge; progress thus construed is objective in an epistemic sense. In this paper I construct a new solution to Miller's problem grounded on the notion of "approximate causal explanation" (...) which allows for linguistically invariant progress outside an epistemic context. I suggest that the notion of "approximate causal explanation" provides the resources for a more robust theory of progress than that provided by the notion of "approximate truth.". (shrink)
The Introduction to philosophy written by Porphyry at the end of the second century AD is the most successful work of its kind ever to have been published. It was translated into most respectable languages, and for a millennium and a half every student of philosophy read it as his first text in the subject. Porphyry's aim was modest: he intended to explain the meaning of five terms, 'genus', 'species', 'difference', 'property', and 'accident' - terms which he took to be (...) important to Aristotelian logic and metaphysics, and hence to philosophy in general. Thus in principle the Introduction is simple and elementary. In fact, there are sometimes difficulties and doubts on the surface of the text - and beneath the surface there are frequent depths or profundities. The work raises, directly or indirectly, a number of perennial philosophical questions. In addition, the Introduction became, in Boethius's Latin translation, the point of reference for one of the longest-lasting of philosophical disputes - the dispute over the status of 'universals'. This book contains a new English translation of the Introduction, preceded by a study of the life and works of Porphyry, the purpose and nature of the Introduction, and the history of the text. It is accompanied by a discursive commentary the primary aim of which is to analyse and assess the philosophical theses and arguments which the Introduction puts forward. (But there are also numerous notes of a more philological or historical turn.) The twentieth century turned away from Aristotelian logic, and the Introduction lost its position on the syllabus. Barnes does not argue that it should be put back in its old place; but his commentary - the first to be published in English, and the fullest to be published for a century - suggests that there is blood in the old man yet. -/- CLARENDON LATER ANCIENT PHILOSOPHERS General Editors: Jonathan Barnes and A. A. Long -/- This series, which is modelled on the familiar Clarendon Aristotle and Clarendon Plato series, is designed to encourage philosophers and students of philosophy to explore the fertile terrain of later ancient philosophy. The texts range in date from the first century BC to the fifth century AD, and will cover all the parts and all the schools of philosophy. Each volume contains a substantial introduction, an English translation, and a critical commentary on the philosophical claims and arguments of the text. The translations aim primarily at accuracy and fidelity; but they are also readable and accompanied by notes on textual problems that affect the philosophical interpretation. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is assumed. (shrink)
Gordon P. Barnes has recently argued that presence by power is inadequate as an explanation of the way elements are present in complex bodies, and that it would be better to explain the elements’ presence by claiming that simpler substances—carbon atoms, for example—are actually and substantially present in living things. In order to address his arguments, this paper begins by briefly presenting St. Thomas’s understanding of presence by power, and then argues that Barnes’s proposal—that there is a (...) multiplicity of substantial forms in one matter—is unsatisfactory. First, the paper explains why the scientific facts do not require a plurality of substantial forms. Second, it shows how Barnes’s theory does not adequately explain living things. Third, it argues against Barnes’s claim that St. Thomas’s explanation is insufficient because it denies "the universal causality of nature.". (shrink)
Libertarians oppose coercion and champion a free-market society. Are these two commitments, as libertarians claim, wholly consistent with one another, or is there, by contrast, a tension between them? This paper defends the latter view. Replying to an article by GordonBarnes, the paper casts doubts on the success of an argument aimed at establishing that, while coercion is justice-disrupting, all non-coercive but forced transactions that occur in a free market are justice-preserving.
In this paper we aim to disentangle the thesis that the future is open from theses that often get associated or even conflated with it. In particular, we argue that the open future thesis is compatible with both the unrestricted principle of bivalence and determinism with respect to the laws of nature. We also argue that whether or not the future (and indeed the past) is open has no consequences as to the existence of (past and) future ontology.
What is the simulation theory? Arguments for simulation theory Simulation theory versus theory theory Simulation theory and cognitive science Versions of simulation theory A possible test of the simulation theory.
Augustine has an argument which goes like this: (1) Belief is assent; (2) Assent is up to us: therefore (3) Belief is up to us. The conclusion is-or was thought to be-a doctrine essential to Christian eschatology. The two premisses come from pagan philosophy. Sections I-II set out the argument and its background. Section III is theological. Section IV looks at the conclusion, with the help of Aristotle, while section V and VI look at the premisses. The last three sections (...) of the paper consider some Stoic views pertinent to premiss (2), and the reply to those views offered by Alexander of Aphrodisias. (shrink)
Ancient philosophy is in a bad way. Like all other academic disciplines, it is crushed by the embrace of bureaucracy. Like other parts of philosophy, it is infected by faddishness. And in addition it suffers cruelly from the decline in classical philology. There is no cure for this disease.
The miracle argument for scientific realism can be cast in two forms: according to the miraculous theory argument, realism is the only position which does not make the empirical successes of particular theories miraculous. According to the miraculous choice argument, realism is the only position which does not render the fact that empirically successful theories have been chosen a miracle. A vast literature discusses the miraculous theory argument, but the miraculous choice argument has been unjustifiably neglected. I raise two objections (...) to Richard Boyd's defense of the latter: (1) we have no miracle free account of the emergence of take-off theories and (2) the anti-realist can account for the non-miraculous choice of empirically successful theories by attributing mere empirical adequacy to background theory. I argue that the availability of extra-empirical criteria that are arguably truth conductive but not theory-laden suffices to answer (1), and the unavailability of extra-empirical criteria that are conductive to empirical adequacy but not necessarily to truth (and are also not theory-laden) constitutes to reply to (2). The prospects for a realist victory are at least somewhat promising, on a controversial assumption about the rate at which empirically successful theories emerge. (shrink)
I argue that there is no conflict between the simulation theory, once it is freed from certain constraints carried over from theory theory, and Gallagher's view that our primary and pervasive way of engaging with others rests on 'direct', non-mentalizing perception of the 'meanings' of others' facial expressions, gestures, and intentional actions.
Although science was once seen as the product of individual great men working in isolation, we now realize that, like any other creative activity, science is a highly social enterprise, influenced in subtle as well as obvious ways by the wider culture and values of its time. Scientific Knowledge is the first introduction to social studies of scientific knowledge. The authors, all noted for their contributions to science studies, have organized this book so that each chapter examines a key step (...) in the process of doing science. Using case studies from cognitive science, physics, and biology to illustrate their descriptions and applications of the social study of science, they show how this approach provides a crucial perspective on how science is actually done. Scientific Knowledge will be of interest not only to those engaged in science studies, but also to anyone interested in the practice of science. (shrink)
Hill and Levine offer alternative explanations of these conceivabilities, concluding that these conceivabilities are thereby defeated as evidence. However, this strategy fails because their explanations generalize to all conceivability judgments concerning phenomenal states. Consequently, one could defend absolutely any theory of phenomenal states against conceivability arguments in just this way. This result conflicts with too many of our common sense beliefs about the evidential value of conceivability with respect to phenomenal states. The general moral is that the application of such (...) principles of explanatory defeat is neither simple nor straightforward. (shrink)