For most us, learning which quantum theory correctly describes human bodies will not affect our attitudes towards our loved ones. On the other hand, a child’s discovery of the nature of meat (or an adult’s discovery of the nature of soylent green) can have a great effect. In still other cases, it is hard to say how one would, or should, react to new information about the underlying nature of what we value—think of how mixed our reactions are to evidence (...) of cultural determinism or atheism, or of how mixed our reactions would be to learning that we all live in the Matrix. (Indeed, maybe there is no objective fact about how we should react. Derek Par t’s ( , section ) fear of death diminished when he became convinced of certain theses about the metaphysics of personal identity. Perhaps there is no objective fact of the matter as to whether this was rational; perhaps it was rational for him but would not be for others.) What can metaphysics contribute to the question of the evil of death? It cannot, on its own, settle the question, since there is no simple rule telling us how to adjust value in light of new information about underlying nature. Given a clear view of the nature of death, there will remain the question of its disvalue. However, metaphysics can help us attain this clear view. Moreover, a clear conception of what metaphysical positions do and don’t say, and a clear conception of how metaphysics works in general, can remove impediments to a rational appraisal of the evil of death. (shrink)
Of course, I do not mean by the title of this paper to deny the existence of something called ‘the mind’. But I do mean to call into question appeals to it in analyzing cognitive notions such as understanding and knowing, where its domain is taken to be independent of what one might ﬁnd out in cognitive science. In this respect, I am expressing the skepticism of Sellars in “Empiricism and the philosophy of mind” , where he explodes, not (...) only the ‘Myth of the Given’, but also, as part of that myth, theorizing about thoughts, intentions and the like, where such theorizing is regarded as something more than a nascent cognitive science, in which such entities enter as theoretical entities, in aid of accounting for our cognitive abilities. The myth is that these entities present themselves in consciousness, available to us by introspection—and, perhaps, a priori reasoning. But, even among authors who claim to embrace Sellars’ critique of the Myth of the Given, his message about the mind is ignored.1 As an example, I want to consider and disarm an inﬂuential line of thought, by John McDowell, which implicates the mind in the analysis of knowing and understanding, not in the legitimate sense of suggesting causal accounts of our cognitive abilities in terms of mental or physiological structures, but in the sense of claiming that these abilities are mental or essentially involve the mental in a way that escapes the net of cognitive science. The ground on which I stand in this discussion is one which I attribute to Wittgenstein in his Philosophical Investigations. Basically, the position.. (shrink)
Introduction: "Know yourself" -- The revelation of God's wisdom -- Credo ut intellegam -- Intellego ut credam -- The relationship between faith and reason -- The interventions of the Magisterium in philosophical matters -- The interaction between philosophy and theology -- Current requirements and tasks -- Conclusion.