The mental: [I] The unconscious: A totally unconscious man has a mind and the mind is in various states. ___ He does not lack knowledge and beliefs. ___ He may be credited with memories and skills. ___ He may be credited with likes and dislikes, attitudes and emotions, current desires and current aims and purposes. He may be said to have certain traits of character and temperament. He may be said to be in certain moods..... [The mental states of a (...) totally unconscious person are thus "causally quiescent": ___ knowledge and beliefs may be said to be causally quiescent while they are not producing any mental effect in the person.]. (shrink)
*[Intertheoretic Reduction]: ___ When a new and very powerful theory turns out to entail a set of propositions and principles that mirror perfectly the propositions of some older theory or conceptual framework, we can conclude that the old terms and the new terms refer to the very same thing, or express the very same properties. (e.g. heat = high average molecular kinetic energy) The old theory is then said to be "reducible" to the new theory.
1. Recent findings in neuropsychology are forcing us to revise this notion of the relation between perception and conscious awareness. Brain-damaged people may manifest considerable knowledge of stimuli, or of particular properties of stimuli, of which they deny any conscious perceptual experience.
Kripke's puzzle is an old and familiar story. It was put forward in Kripke's 'A puzzle about Belief.' But even today it still has such a charm that people are drawn to it time and time again. In this paper I shall use his puzzle as the stepping stone for developing a new description theory of proper names. Kripke tries to defend his direct reference theory against the charge that it cannot explain the role of proper names in an epistemic (...) context (such as belief, thought, etc.). There are many famous puzzles involving substitution salva veritate for different names of the same referent, and the description theory can easily dissolve them by suggesting that different names have different senses. These puzzles were considered to be defeating the direct reference theory of proper names. Kripke thus tries to demonstrate a similar puzzle that does not involve different names, and thus does not involve different senses. Using his principle of disquotation and principle of translation,1 Kripke presents a puzzle which involves a Frenchman Pierre who is attributed the following set of beliefs: (1) Pierre believes that London is pretty. (2) Pierre believes that London is not pretty. According to Kripke, the two belief reports attribute a contradiction to Pierre, even though Pierre himself cannot be interpreted as being inconsistent.2 Kripke also discusses another puzzle which invokes only the principle of disquotation and no translation is involved. This is the example of Peter’s two beliefs concerning the politician/musician Paderewski. In this case, we get a similar set of contradictory belief reports: (3) Peter believes that Paderewski has musical talent. (4) Peter believes that Paderewski has no musical talent. (shrink)
This paper calls for a reconstruction of Chinese metaphysics that recognizes the distinct features of Chinese worldview, while at the same time explores the speculative thinking behind the dominant ethical concerns in Chinese philosophy. It suggests some research topics for constructing a Chinese moral metaphysics, without turning it into a metaphysical ethics – the difference between the two is that the former is fundamentally “truth-pursuing” while the latter is “good-pursuing.” This paper argues that even though Chinese metaphysics is deeply connected (...) with concerns for human flourishing, it is not just a study of nature for the sake of practical living. Furthermore, although Chinese metaphysics is different from traditional Western metaphysics, it is not incommensurable with it. There are many interesting metaphysical topics that can be investigated within Chinese philosophical texts. This is a project that looks in to the future of the development of Chinese metaphysics, not a backward-looking study into the history of Chinese cosmological thinking. (shrink)
Tian-tai Buddhism and Hua-yan Buddhism can be viewed as the two most philosophically important schools in Chinese Buddhism. The Tian-tai school was founded by Zhi-yi (Chih-i) (538-597 A.D.). The major Buddhist text endorsed by this school is the Lotus Sutra, short for “the Sutra of the Lotus Blossom of the Subtle Dharma.” Hua-yan Buddhism derived its name from the Hua-yan Sutra, translated as “The Flower Ornament Scripture” or as “The Flowery Splendor Scripture.”1 The founder of the Hua-yan school was a (...) Chinese monk named Du-shun (557-640 A.D.). The second patriarch of Hua-yan is Zhi-yan (602-668 A.D.), who studied with Du-shun. However, it is generally acknowledged that the real founder of Hua-yan Buddhism is its third patriarch, Fa-zang (643-712 A.D.). He introduced the division of “the Realm of Principle” and “the Realm of Things,”2 which was developed by Hua-yan’s fourth patriarch Cheng-guan (738-839? A.D.) into the defining thesis for Hua-yan Buddhism – the “four dharma realms”: the Realm of Principle, the Realm of Things,3 the Realm of the Noninterference between Principle and Things, and the Realm of the Noninterference of All Things. (shrink)
1. To refute this theory: consciousness is intrinsic to being an intentional or sensory mental state; one cannot understand what it is for states to have sensory or intentional character without knowing what it is for those states to be conscious.
Chinese philosophy has its roots in religion, and has spread to the general Chinese public as a mixture of attitudes in life, cultural spirit, as well as religious practices. However, Chinese philosophy is not just a collection of wisdom on life or a religious discourse on how to lead a good life; it is also a form of philosophy. And yet its philosophical import has often been slighted in the Western philosophical world. Two hundred years ago, Hegel remarked that there (...) is no separation between philosophy and religion in the East: “That which we call Eastern Philosophy is more properly the religious mode of thought and the conception of the world belonging generally to the Orientals and approximates very closely to Philosophy.” (Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy, Vol. 1) Under this conception, Hegel’s attitude with Chinese philosophy was completely dismissive. He described Confucius as “only a man who has a certain amount of practical and worldly wisdom — one with whom there is no speculative philosophy,” and “it would have been better had [his works] never been translated.” With Laozi’s conception of ‘dao,’ Hegel commented: “to the Chinese what is highest and the origin of things is nothing, emptiness, the altogether undetermined, the abstract universal,” and “if.. (shrink)
Peloponnesian War (Hackett) 2. Plato, The Republic, translated by Grube & revised by Reeve (Hackett) 3. The Bible, Revised Standard Version (Meridian) 4. Dante, Inferno (Penguin) 5. Sophocles, Three Theban Plays (Penguin) 6. Cicero, On Friendship in his On The Good Life (Penguin Classics) 7. Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy (Macmillan) 8. Christine de Pisan, The Book of the City of Ladies (Persea) 9. Machiavelli, The Prince (Penguin) 10. Shakespeare, Hamlet (Signet Classic).
This paper begins with Thomas Nagel’s investigation of the possibility of altruism.1 Altruism, by Nagel’s definition, is “merely a willingness to act in consideration of the interests of other persons, without the need of ulterior motives.” (Nagel: 79) The fundamental question Nagel investigates is: how is altruism possible? The reason why we need to investigate the possibility of altruism is exactly that an altruistic act is not readily exercised; it requires some effort on the part of the agent. Nagel discusses (...) various cases of “motivational interference,” such as weakness of the will, cowardice, laziness, panic, etc. (Nagel: 66). In addition, we can also imagine that attitudes such as procrastination, apathy, inconsistency, and consideration for one’s future self all pose an obstacle to the causal efficacy of altruistic motivation. Therefore, a successful motivational theory of altruism must explain how altruism is possible under all these motivational interferences. However, in this paper I want to push the question further: how can altruism be realized in our contemporary society? When the pursuit of the gratification of one’s own desires generally has an immediate causal efficacy, how can one also be motivated to care for others and to act towards the wellbeing of others? The paper will begin with an.. (shrink)
Course Description: This course is designed as an introduction to contemporary metaphysics. The issues in metaphysics, such as what kinds of things exist and how they exist, began with ancient Greek philosophers. In this course we will take a look at how contemporary analytic philosophers deal with these same old issues. Course Objectives: 1. Students will demonstrate general understanding of several key..
Course Description: This course is designed as an upper-level seminar, with heavy emphasis on reading and writing. The reading materials are all from contemporary sources. We will cover topics such as the definitions of 'consciousness,' the neurophysiological basis of consciousness, the explanation of consciousness, and the possibility of forming a unified theory of consciousness. Student participation in class discussion is greatly encouraged.
Course Description: This course is intended to stimulate the student to reflect philosophically on the nature of knowledge by surveying several prominent topics of concern to contemporary (i.e., 20th century) philosophers of the analytic tradition. Topics include the concept of knowledge, theories of justification, and the possibility of knowledge or its impossibility (skepticism). Although concentrated on problems surrounding the concept of knowledge, the course should further the student's understanding of the general methods of analytic philosophy, and develop the student's ability (...) to think and to write philosophically. This course will be conducted in the lecture/discussion style with heavy emphasis on the latter. (shrink)
Under [A]: Under [B]: (i) “Moses” means the same (i) ‘Moses’ refers to the “the man who did such man who did such and and such”. such. (ii) “ Moses did not exist” = (ii) “Moses did not exist” = ? “The man who did such (the set of descriptions and such did not exist” or do not refer?) “that no one person did such and such.”.
In this paper, I shall present a comparative study of two leading Daoists’ different conceptions of truth in the context of modern metaphysical debate on realism and antirealism. My basic contention in this paper is that both Laozi and Zhuangzi embrace the realist's thesis that the world is largely independent of us and the way we are; it has its own objective nature.
This paper begins with Thomas Nagel's (1970) investigation of the possibility of altruism to further examine how to motivate altruism. When the pursuit of the gratification of one's own desires generally has an immediate causal efficacy, how can one also be motivated to care for others and to act towards the well-being of others? A successful motivational theory of altruism must explain how altruism is possible under all these motivational interferences. The paper will begin with an exposition of Nagel's proposal, (...) and see where it is insufficient with regard to this further issue. It will then introduce the views of Zhang Zai and Wang Fuzhi, and see which one could offer a better motivational theory of altruism. All three philosophers offer different insights on the role of human reason/reflection and human sentiments in moral motivation. The paper will end with a proposal for a socioethical moral program that incorporates both moral reason and moral sentiments as motivation. (shrink)
It has been noted in recent literature (e.g., Ross & Spurrett 2004, Kim 2006, McLaughlin 2006 and Cohen 2005) that functionalism can be separated into two varieties: one that emphasizes the role state, the other that emphasizes the realizer state. The former is called “role functionalism” while the latter has been called “realizer functionalism” (Ross & Spurrett 2004, Kim 2006, Cohen 2005) or “filler functionalism” (McLaughlin 2006). The separation between role functionalism and realizer functionalism mars the distinction traditionally made between (...) functionalism and the identity theory, because realizer functionalism can be seen as the synthesis of functionalism and the identity theory. In this paper, I begin with an analysis of the distinction between role and realizer functionalism. I shall further develop realizer functionalism as a viable, or arguably the best, explanatory model for the mind-brain relation. Finally, I will argue that under realizer functionalism, we can give an account of how mind is placed in the material world without at the same time giving up on the autonomy of psychology. The autonomy of psychology is tantamount to the thesis that mental properties are not type-identical with, nor type-reducible to, physical properties of the brain. In the philosophical debate on reductive and nonreductive physicalism, reductivism seems to be gaining the upper hand these days. In the final section of this paper, Ishall sketch my defense of nonreductive physicalism. I believe that the current enthusiasm for reductionism is misguided, and I shall show that under realizer functionalism, reductionism in the sense of reductive explanation, i.e., providing explanation of the psychological in terms of the underlying physical properties, is not a feasible project. (shrink)
In this paper I construct Confucian moral realism as a metaethical theory that is compatible with, or even derivable from, traditional Confucianism. The paper is at once interpretative and constructive. In my analysis, Confucians can establish the realist's claims on moral properties because they embrace the view of a moralistic universe. Moral properties in Confucian ethics not only are presented as objective, naturalistic properties, but also are seen as 'causally efficacious'. There are several theses commonly endorsed by contemporary moral realists. (...) I will explain how many of the remarks by Confucius, Mencius, in Yijing, The Great Learning and The Doctrine of the Mean can be understood as implicit endorsements of these theses. I will also analyze the theses specific to Confucian moral realism. The paper will end with a brief defense of this form of realism. (shrink)
An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy unlocks the mystery of ancient Chinese philosophy and unravels the complexity of Chinese Buddhism by placing them in the contemporary context of discourse. Elucidates the central issues and debates in Chinese philosophy, its different schools of thought, and its major philosophers. Covers eight major philosophers in the ancient period, among them Confucius, Laozi, and Zhuangzi. Illuminates the links between different schools of philosophy. Opens the door to further study of the relationship between Chinese and Western (...) philosophy. (shrink)
In this paper, I attempt to make use of Western metaphysical taxonomy to explicate the cosmological variances in Chinese philosophical schools, especially with regard to the debates among the Neo-Confucian thinkers. While I do not presume that Chinese philosophers dealt with the same Western issues, I do believe that a comparative study of this nature can point to a new direction of thinking concerning the metaphysical debates in Neo-Confucianism. This paper is divided into three parts. In Part I, I employ (...) Robert Nozick’s notion of natural cosmic state to analyze the fundamental difference between the Confucian and Daoist cosmologies. Even though this notion of natural cosmic state has no comparable match in Chinese philosophy, it may serve as a schematizing device for our comparative study of Chinese cosmology. In Part II, I employ Nicholas Rescher’s distinction between “laws of nature” and “laws for nature” to analyze the debate on the status of cosmic principle (li)a between Zhou Dunyib and Zhu Xic on the one hand, and Zhang Zaid and Wang Fuzhie on the other. 1 In Part III, I employ the notion of supervenience, as defined by Jaegwon Kim, to argue that in the debate on the status of cosmic principle, it is Zhang Zai and Wang Fuzhi’s view that better preserves the causal relevance of cosmic principle.. (shrink)
Putnam and Burge have been viewed as launching a joint attack on individualism, the view that the content of one's psychological state is determined by what is in the head . Putnam argues that meanings are not in the head while Burge argues that beliefs are not in the head either, and both have come up with convincing arguments against individualism. It is generally conceived that Putnam's view is a version of physical externalism, which argues that factors in the physical (...) environment play a role in determining the meanings of natural kind terms. Burge, on the other hand, is regarded as following up Putnam's argument to bring in factors in the social environment for the determination of belief. Burge's view has been commonly referred to as 'social externalism.' The general consensus in the field is that physical externalism and social externalism are compatible views. Furthermore, both Putnam and Burge seem to endorse each other’s position for the most part. In this paper, however, I shall argue against this general view to show that the two theories are deep down incompatible. (shrink)
In numerous papers Jaegwon Kim argues that nonreductive materialists (i.e., those philosophers who believe that there are no irreducible non-physical objects in the universe, and yet there are irreducible psychological properties which are indispensable in intentional psychological explanations) face two problems. One is that intentional mental properties are not causally relevant; the other is that explanations appealing to these properties are excluded by explanations appealing to physical, in particular, microphysical, properties.1 The first problem can be called the problem of epiphenomenalism. (...) The second problem is what Kim calls the problem of explanatory/causal exclusion. Epiphenomenalism is not just a problem for nonreductive materialists, but a problem for psychology (as a science of psychological explanation), and for anyone who believes that our thought is the cause of our action. Kim argues that the exclusion problem, on the other hand, is especially a problem for nonreductive materialists. Nonreductive materialists typically buy into the principle of the causal closure of the physical domain, according to which "any physical event that has a cause at time t has a physical cause at t..... [I]f we trace the causal ancestry of a physical event, we need never go outside the physical domain." [Kim 1989b, p. 280] One cannot reject this principle unless one is willing to go back to Cartesian dualism. But the problem is, if all causation is done at the physical level, then there is no causal work left for mental kinds. If mental kinds do not play any causal role, then intentional psychological explanations that appeal to mental properties are not warranted. Therefore, Kim concludes, nonreductive materialism is an untenable position. Some nonreductionists (Davidson, Dretske, LePore & Loewer, Jackson & Pettit, for example) have tried to argue for the causal relevancy of mental properties from an.. (shrink)
In traditional Chinese cosmology, this pattern could be very well explained in terms of the fluctuation of yin and yang, or as the natural order of Heaven. This cosmological explanation fits natural history well. There are natural phenomena such as floods, draughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc., that are beyond human control. These events have their determining factors. Once those factors are present, a natural disaster, however unfavorably viewed by humans, is doomed to take place. The view that natural history is (...) determined by factors outside the human world can be accepted without much controversy. However, when applied to human history, the role of man in human history becomes problematic under this kind of cosmology. How much of our success or failure is due to our larger cosmological environment -- the ongoing development of the chi'? Can a single individual reverse the flow of yin and yang or the emergence of good times and bad times? On a larger scale, is human history predestined? If there is a necessary rotation of prosperity and chaos, then it can be argued that.. (shrink)
___ (i) There is a difference between hearing Clyde play the piano and seeing him play the piano. ___ (ii) A perceptual belief that he is playing the piano must also be distinguished from a perceptual experience of this same event.