I distinguish four questions within Kant's "problem of reality": (1) What constitutes propositional content? (2) What constitutes truth? (3) What constitutes referential content? (4) What constitutes successful singular reference? I argue that Kant's transcendental idealism applies primarily to (3) - understood as: What makes some mental or linguistic items would-be referential representations - and secondly to (1). But with regard to (4) and (2), we do not create the objects and states of affairs in the world (there are human artifacts, (...) of course, but most of them continue to exist quite independently of our representing activities). However the contents of our representations in (3) and (1) do depend crucially on our conventions and rules, which are almost always socially learned. (shrink)
Objects of representation: Kant's Copernican revolution re-interpreted -- Synthetic unities of experience -- Three ways in which space and time might be said to be transcendentally ideal -- The given, the unconditioned, the transcendental object, and the reality of the past -- A theory of everything?: Kant speaks to Stephen Hawking -- Opinion, belief or faith, and knowledge -- Freedom of judgment in Descartes, Spinoza, Hume and Kant -- Six levels of mentality -- A Kantian defense of freewill.
Over three previous editions, Ten Theories of Human Nature has been a remarkably popular introduction to some of the most influential developments in Western and Eastern thought. This thoroughly revised fourth edition features substantial new chapters on Aristotle and on evolutionary theories of human nature; the latter centers on Edward O. Wilson but also outlines the ideas of Emile Durkheim, B. F. Skinner, Nikolaas Tinbergen, Konrad Lorenz, Noam Chomsky, and recent evolutionary psychology. This edition also includes a rewritten introduction that (...) invites readers (even if inclined toward fundamentalism, or to cultural relativism) to careful, critical thought about human nature; a useful new section that summarizes the history of ideas from the Stoics to the Enlightenment; and a new conclusion that suggests a way to synthesize the various theories. Lucid and accessible, Ten Theories of Human Nature, 4/e, compresses into a small space the essence of such ancient traditions as Confucianism, Hinduism, and the Old and New Testaments as well as the theories of Plato, Immanuel Kant, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Jean-Paul Sartre. The authors juxtapose the ideas of these and other thinkers and traditions in a way that helps readers understand how humanity has struggled to comprehend its nature. To encourage readers to think critically for themselves and to underscore the similarities and differences between the many theories, the book examines each one on four points--the nature of the universe, the nature of humanity, the diagnosis of the ills of humanity, and the proposed cure for these problems. Ideal for introductory courses in human nature, philosophy, religious studies, and intellectual history, Ten Theories of Human Nature, 4/e, will engage and motivate students and other readers to consider how we can understand and improve both ourselves and human society. (shrink)
Is our judgement of the truth-value of propositions subject to the will? Do we have any voluntary control over the formation of our beliefs – and if so, how does it compare with the control we have over our actions? These questions lead into interestingly unclear philosophical and psychological territory which remains a focus of debate today. I will first examine the classic early modern discussions in Descartes, Spinoza and Hume. Then I will review some relevant themes in Kant, including (...) some lesser-known material from his lectures on ‘Logic’. Kant’s critical philosophy makes important appeal to the notion of ‘spontaneity’ or mental activity, but I argue that there are five different kinds of spontaneity in Kant which need distinguishing. I hope thus to achieve some clarification of the differences between theoretical judgements and practical deci- sions. (shrink)
The ability to think of something not presently perceived, but spatio-temporally real. (2) The ability to think of whatever one acknowledges as possible in the spatio-temporal world. (3) The liability to think of something that the subject believes to be real, but which is not. (4) The ability to think of things that one conceives of as fictional. (5) The ability to entertain mental images. (6) The ability to think of anything at all. (7) The non-rational operations of the mind, (...) that is, those explicable in terms of causes rather than reasons. (8) The ability to form perceptual beliefs about public objects in space and time. (9) The ability to sensuously appreciate works of art or objects of natural beauty without classifying them under concepts or thinking of them as useful. (10) The ability to create works of art that encourage such sensuous appreciation. (11) The ability to appreciate things that are expressive or revelatory of the meaning of human life. (12) The ability to create works of art that express something deep about the meaning of life. (shrink)
Examination of recent debates about belief shows the need to distinguish: (a) non-linguistic informational states in animal perception; (b) the uncritical use of language, e.g. by children; (c) adult humans' reasoned judgments. If we also distinguish between mind-directed and object-directed mental states, we have: Perceptual 'beliefs' of animals and infants about their material environment. 'Beliefs' of animals and infants about the mental states of others. Linguistically-expressible beliefs about the world, resulting from e.g. the uncritical tendency to believe what we are (...) told. Uncritically-formed beliefs about the mental states. Beliefs about the material world arrived at by the weighing of evidence. Beliefs about mental states formed by critical assessment. (shrink)
The second edition of this exceptional anthology provides an introduction to a wide variety of views on human nature. Drawing from diverse cultures over three millennia, Leslie Stevenson has chosen selections ranging from ancient religious texts to contemporary theories based on evolutionary science. An ideal companion to the editor's recent book, Ten Theories of Human Nature, 3/e (OUP, 1998), this interdisciplinary reader can also be used independently. The Study of Human Nature, 2/e offers substantial selections illustrating the ten perspectives discussed (...) in Ten Theories of Human Nature, 3/e--The Bible, Hinduism, Confucianism, Plato, Kant, Marx, Freud, Sartre, B.F. Skinner's behaviorism, and Konrad Lorenz's ethological diagnosis of human aggression. The Islamic tradition is represented by a selection from the 20th-century Iranian philosopher Ayatullah Murtaza Mutahhari. The 17th- and 18th-century philosophers Descartes, Hobbes, Hume, Rousseau, and Kant are also represented. Selections from Rousseau, J.S. Mill, and Nancy Holmstrom discuss alleged differences between women and men, and a paper by Henry Bracken deals with racial issues. Examples from E.O. Wilson's sociobiology and his critics are also included, together with material from Chomsky and from recent evolutionary psychology. This new edition includes more substantial selections from the Hindu, Confucian, and Christian traditions and provides more accessible extracts from Marx, Sartre, and Lorenz. An excellent reader for introductory courses in philosophy, religious studies, human nature, and intellectual history, The Study of Human Nature, 2/e, is also an essential resource for anyone interested in ancient, modern, and contemporary perspectives on human nature. (shrink)
The basic alternatives seem to be either a Humean reductionist view that any particular assertion needs backing with inductive evidence for its reliability before it can retionally be believed, or a Reidian criterial view that testimony is intrinscially, though defeasibly, credible, in the absence of evidence against its reliability.Some recent arguments from the constraints on interpreting any linguistic performances as assertions with propositional content have some force against the reductionist view. We thus have reason to accept the criterial view, at (...) least as applied to eyewitness reports. But these considerations do not establish that any rational enquirer must have the concept of other minds or testimony. The logical possibility of the lone enquirer, who uses symbols and thereby expresses some knowledge of his world, remains open — but it is a question we have no need to pronounce upon. (shrink)
Drawing on philosophy, psychology, sociology, politics, biology, and theology, Stevenson introduces readers to the endlessly fascinating subject of human nature. He outlines background theories of the universe, basic approaches to human nature, diagnoses of what is wrong with humankind and prescriptions for putting it right while offering clear, critical analyses of the ideas of Plato, Christianity, Karl Marx, Freud, Sartre, Skinner, and Lorenz. Including completely revised and updated bibliographies, the second edition also provides a new interdisciplinary final chapter suggesting areas (...) of further inquiry. (shrink)
I first criticize strawson's account of the transcendental deduction, And then argue that wittgenstein's considerations (in his later work) of the rule-Governed nature of judgment can be used to reconstruct a valid argument for a certain kind of objectivity, Which excludes solipsims. I suggest how kant's talk of synthesis can be reinterpreted in the light of this, As indeed can the doctrine of empirical realism and transcendental idealism.
This book is not aimed at exhuming Kant, but resurrecting him. It is inspired by the Critique of Pure Reason , yet is not about it: perhaps over-ambitiously, it tries to delineate not Kant's metaphysics of experience but the truth of the matter. The author shows rather than says where he agrees and disagrees with the first Critique , in so far as he understood that profound but obscure, over-systematic yet carelessly written, inspiring and infuriating, magnificent but flawed masterpiece. The (...) book attempts a highly systematic presentation, in which the very form of the work reflects the content of the arguments. Kant is often derided for the extent to which he allows his penchant for architectonic structure to distort his insights, but it is argued that he had the right instinct in assuming that there must be some systematic way in which the necessary conditions for experience fit together. The contemporary trend in analytical philosophy seems to be towards ever more specialized, jargon-infested work, and there is a need to draw things together into a wider view that can be more generally appreciated. (shrink)
The indiscernibility of identicals is incompatible with geach's theory of 'relative' identity, But consistent with the view that x is identical with y iff x is the same a as y, For some count-Noun 'a'. 'x is the same a as y' expresses identity only if x is an a, Otherwise it is merely an equivalence relation.