William Norris Clarke, S.J., one of the leading Thomist scholars in the United States, came to the Philippines recently and delivered a series of lectures in the Ateneo de Manila University and the University of Santo Tomas on various philosophical topics inspired by the thought of St. Thomas. Fr. Clarke is now a Professor Emeritus of Philosophy in Fordham University. He was co-founder and editor (l961-85) of the International Philosophical Quarterly and is the author of some 60 articles, (...) plus the following books: The Philosophical Approach to God, The Universe as Journey, Person and Being, Explorations in Metaphysics: Being—God—Person, and The One and the Many: A Contemporary Thomistic Metaphysics (Fall, 2000).He continues to fulfill his mission of propagating the thoughts of St. Thomas—-the “creative retrieval of St. Thomas,” as he puts it—-in and out of the U.S.An brief excerpt from this interview was originally published in Budhi: A Journal of Ideas and Culture1/3, 1997. (shrink)
W. Norris Clarke's metaphysics of the universe as a journey rests on six major positions: the unrestricted dynamism of the mind, the primacy of the act of existence, the participation structure of reality, and the person, considered as both the starting point of philosophy and the source of the categories needed for a flexible contemporary metaphysics. Reflecting on his conscious life and the universe around him, the finite person mounts by a two-fold path to its Infinite source, who, though (...) immutable in His natural being, is mutable in the intentional being of His personal knowledge and love. The personal God is the efficient cause from whom the universe comes and the final cause to whom it returns.Less optimistic than Norris Clarke, John Caputo wonders about his metaphysics of the person. In a hermeneutical interpretation of the human face, the person through whom Being "sounds" discloses an ambiguous Being that both reveals and conceals itself. Far from grounding a casual ascent to God, hermeneutical phenomenology allows us no more than the right to interpret the world and its transcendent source through our own free decision.Although impressed by Norris Clarke's attempt to introduce mutability into God, Lewis Ford still finds Clarke's Thomistic God unacceptable. As a Whiteheadian, he proposes in place of Thomas' God, whose perfection consists in static unity, a God whose perfection consists in a never-ending process of unification. John Smith argues against the traditional dichotomy made between the ontological and cosmological arguments. Rather than opposed methods of proving God's existence, they should be taken as complementary journeys to the divine presence which discloses itself, although diversely, in the soul and in the world. There are parallels between Smith's historical study of two arguments and Clarke's two-fold path to God. Yet Smith is critical of Thomas' cosmological journey to God and does not share Clarke's confidence in its validity. Significant studies in their own right, the three essays as a group challenge Clarke's whole metaphysics of the universe as a journey. Meeting the challenge, Clarke clarifies and refines his own thought.An account of Clarke's philosophy by Gerald A. McCool, S.J. preceds this unified and stimulating philosophical discussion. (shrink)
Abstract Following Clarke (2002), a Lakatosian approach is used to account for the epistemic development of conspiracy theories. It is then argued that the hypercritical atmosphere of the internet has slowed down the development of conspiracy theories, discouraging conspiracy theorists from articulating explicit versions of their favoured theories, which could form the hard core of Lakatosian research pro grammes. The argument is illustrated with a study of the “controlled demolition” theory of the collapse of three towers at the World (...) Trade Center on September 11, 2001. (shrink)
Part I: Reprinted articles -- Twenty-fourth award of Aquinas medal by the American Catholic Philosophical Association to W. Norris Clarke, SJ -- Interpersonal dialogue : key to realism -- Causality and time -- System : a new category of being -- A curious blind spot in the Anglo American tradition of antitheistic argument -- The problem of the reality and multiplicity of divine ideas in Christian neoplatonism -- Is the ethical eudaimonism of Saint Thomas too self-centered? -- Conscience and (...) the person -- Democracy, ethics, religion : an intrinsic connection -- What cannot be said in Saint Thomas's essence-existence doctrine -- Living on the edge : the human person as frontier being and microcosm -- The metaphysics of religious art : reflections on a text of Saint Thomas -- Part II: New articles -- The immediate creation of the human soul by God and some contemporary -- Challenges -- The creative imagination : unique expression of our soul-body unity -- The creative imagination as treated in western thought -- The integration of personalism and thomistic metaphysics in twenty-first-century Thomism. (shrink)
Descartes is possibly the most famous of all writers on the mind, but his theory of mind has been almost universally misunderstood, because his philosophy has not been seen in the context of his scientific work. Desmond Clarke offers a radical and convincing rereading, undoing the received perception of Descartes as the chief defender of mind/body dualism. For Clarke, the key is to interpret his philosophical efforts as an attempt to reconcile his scientific pursuits with the theologically orthodox (...) views of his time. (shrink)
The West has long had an ambivalent attitude toward the philosophical traditions of the East. Voltaire claimed that the East is the civilization "to which the West owes everything", yet C.S. Peirce was contemptuous of the "monstrous mysticism of the East". And despite the current trend toward globalizations, there is still a reluctance to take seriously the intellectual inheritance of South and East Asia. Oriental Enlightenment challenges this Eurocentric prejudice. J. J. Clarke examines the role played by the ideas (...) of Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism in the intellectual life of the West and how these ideas, far more than exotic distractions, or even instruments of colonial domination, have been the means towards serious self-questioning and self-renewal, used to dispute and even to undermine Western orthodoxies. (shrink)
Victorian bodies in heat Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9489-x Authors Bruce Clarke, Department of English, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409-3091, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Samuel Clarke was by far the most gifted and influential Newtonian philosopher of his generation, and A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, which constituted the 1704 Boyle Lectures, was one of the most important works of the first half of the eighteenth century, generating a great deal of controversy about the relation between space and God, the nature of divine necessary existence, the adequacy of the Cosmological Argument, agent causation, and the immateriality of the soul. Together (...) with the other texts presented in this edition, it also provides the best introduction to Clarke's philosophical views, which, in addition to their intrinsic interest, are historically important for the light they shed both on the philosophical positions within the Newtonian circle and on the exchange between Clarke and Leibniz, the most famous philosophical controversy of the eighteenth century. (shrink)
The late Hellenistic period witnessed the rise of an imperial power whose dominion extended across almost the whole known world. The Roman empire radically affected geographical conceptions, evoking new ways of describing the earth and of constructing its history. Katherine Clarke explores the writings of three literary figures of the age - the History of Polybius, two fragmentary works of Posidonius, and the universal Geography of Strabo. Analysis in terms of the philosophical concepts of time and space reveals the (...) generic fluidity of such `geographical' and `historical' works. Furthermore, these broadly conceived accounts are shown to be appropriate literary media for the response to Roman power. They use, but transform, pre-existing Greek traditions in order to describe the new world of Rome, making them fitting products of a transitional age. This book provides a new approach to Roman imperialism by considering its impact on historiography and geographical thought. (shrink)
This book analyses the concept of scientific explanation developed by French disciples of Descartes in the period 1660-1700. Clarke examines the views of authors such as Malebranche and Rohault, as well as those of less well-known authors such as Cordemoy, Gadroys, Poisson and R'egis. These Cartesian natural philosophers developed an understanding of scientific explanation as necessarily hypothetical, and, while they contributed little to new scientific discoveries, they made a lasting contribution to our concept of explanation--generations of scientists in subsequent (...) centuries followed their lead. (shrink)
Nonreductive physicalism is currently one of the most widely held views about the world in general and about the status of the mental in particular. However, the view has recently faced a series of powerful criticisms from, among others, Jaegwon Kim. In several papers, Kim has argued that the nonreductivist's view of the mental is an unstable position, one harboring contradictions that push it either to reductivism or to eliminativism. The problems arise, Kim maintains, when we consider the causal powers (...) that mental properties are held to carry on the nonreductivist's view and the causal transactions into which mental events are said to enter. My aim here is less than that of defending nonreductive physicalism against all of Kim's criticisms. I wish primarily to call into question the claim that nonreductive physicalism is committed to emergentism with respect to the causal powers of the mental. As subsidiary points, I shall offer a limited defense of nonreductivism against two related objections that Kim raises. However, even if my conclusions are correct, problems remain for the nonreductivist's treatment of mental causation. I shall close the paper with a brief discussion of these difficulties. (shrink)
I argue that a dual-aspect theory of consciousness, associated with a particular class of quantum states, can provide a consistent account of consciousness. I illustrate this with the use of coherent states as this class. The proposal meets Chalmers 'requirements of allowing a structural correspondence between consciousness and its physical correlate. It provides a means for consciousness to have an effect on the world (it is not an epiphenomenon, and can thus be selected by evolution) in a way that supplements (...) and completes conventional physics, rather than interfering with it. I draw on the work of Hameroff and Penrose to explain the consistency of this proposal with decoherence, while adding details to this work. The proposal is open to extensive further research at both theoretical and experimental levels. (shrink)
This paper examines the libertarian account of free choice advanced by Robert Kane in his recent book, The Significance of Free Will. First a rather simple libertarian view is considered, and an objection is raised against it the view fails to provide for any greater degree of agent-control than what could be available in a deterministic world. The basic differences between this simple view and Kane's account are the requirements, on the latter, of efforts of will and of an agent's (...) wanting more to do a certain thing than he wants to do anything else. It is argued here that neither of these features yields any improvement over the simple libertarian view; neither helps to meet the objection that was raised against the simple view. Finally, it is suggested that a modest defense of that view might be available. (shrink)
Dispositions can be finkish, prone to disappear in circumstances that would commonly trigger their characteristic manifestations. Can a disposition be finkish because of something intrinsic to the object possessing that disposition? Sungho Choi has argued that this is not possible, and many agree. Here it is argued that no good case has been made for ruling out the possibility of intrinsic finks; on the contrary, there is good reason to accept it.
Much of contemporary epistemology proceeds on the assumption that tracking theories of knowledge, such as those of Dretske and Nozick, are dead. The word on the street is that Kripke and others killed these theories with their counterexamples, and that epistemology must move in a new direction as a result. In this paper we defend the tracking theories against purportedly deadly objections. We detect life in the tracking theories, despite what we perceive to be a premature burial.
It is sometimes suggested that new research in such areas as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and genetic engineering should be halted or otherwise restricted because of concerns about possible catastrophic scenarios. Proponents of such restrictions typically invoke the precautionary principle, understood as a tool of policy formulation, as part of their case. Here I examine the application of the precautionary principle to possible catastrophic scenarios. I argue, along with Sunstein (Risk and Reason: Safety, Law and the Environment. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, (...) 2002) and Manson (Environmental Ethics, 24: 263–274, 2002), that variants of the precautionary principle that appear strong enough to support significant restrictions on future technologies actually lead to contradictory policy recommendations. Weaker versions of the precautionary principle, which do not have this feature, do not appear strong enough to support restrictions on future technologies. (shrink)
The dominance in normal awareness of visual percepts, which are linked to space, obscures the fact that most thoughts are non-spatial. It is argued that the mind is intrinsically non-spatial, though in perception can become compresent with spatial things derived from outside the mind. The assumption that the brain is entirely spatial is also challenged, on the grounds that there is a perfectly good place for the non-spatial in physics. A quantum logic approach to physics, which takes non-locality as its (...) starting point, offers a non-reductive way of reconciling the experience of mind with the world description of physics. For further progress it is necessary to place mind first as the key aspect of the universe. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that accurate indexical representations have been crucial for the survival and reproduction of homo sapiens sapiens. Specifically, I want to suggest that reliable processes have been selected for because of their indirect, but close, connection to true belief during the Pleistocene hunter-gatherer period of our ancestral history. True beliefs are not heritable, reliable processes are heritable. Those reliable processes connected with reasoning take the form of Darwinian Algorithms: a plethora of specialized, domain-specific inference rules designed (...) to solve specific, recurrent, adaptive problems in social exchange contexts. Humans do not reason logically, but adaptively. (shrink)
In another paper published here, I criticized Stephen Mumford's causation-based analysis of miracles on the grounds of its failure to produce results that are consistent with ordinary intuitions. In a response to me, intended as a defence of Mumford's position, Morgan Luck finds fault with my rival approach to miracles on three grounds. In this response to Luck I argue that all three of his criticisms miss their mark. My response to Luck's final line of criticism helps shed (...) light on the difference between my approach to the definition of miracles and that due to Mumford. While my approach is driven by both metaphysical and epistemological considerations, Mumford's approach appears to be driven exclusively by metaphysical considerations. (shrink)
Experiments are described, using electroencephalography (EEG) and simple tests of performance, which support the hypothesis that collapse of a quantum field is of importance to the functioning of the brain. The theoretical basis of our experiments is derived from Penrose (1989) who suggested that conscious decision-making is a manifestation of the outcome of quantum computation in the brain involving collapse of some relevant wave function. He also proposed that collapse of any wave function depends on a gravitational criterion. As different (...) brain areas are known to subserve different functions, we argue that `Penrose collapse' must occur in a particular brain area when performing a task that uses it. Further, taking an EEG from the area should amplify the gravitational prerequisite for collapse, so affecting task performance. There are no non-quantum theories which could lead one to expect that taking an EEG could directly affect task performance by subjects. The results of both pilot and main experiments indicated that task performance was indeed influenced by taking an EEG from relevant brain areas. Control experiments suggested that the influence was quantum mechanical in origin, and was not due to any experimental artefact. The results are statistically significant and merit attempts at replication in an independent laboratory, preferably with more sophisticated equipment than was available to us. (shrink)
Stephen Mumford concludes a recent paper in Religious Studies, in which he advances a new causation-based analysis of miracles, by stating that the onus is ‘on rival accounts of miracles to produce something that matches it’. I take up Mumford's challenge, defending an intention-based definition of miracles, which I developed earlier, that he criticizes. I argue that this definition of miracles is more consistent with ordinary intuitions about miracles than Mumford's causation-based alternative. I further argue that (...) class='Hi'>Mumford has failed to demonstrate any advantages that his approach to miracles has over an intention-based approach. (shrink)
Currently, the common theoretical models of "preferred" decision-making relationships do not correspond well with clinical experience. This interview study of congestive heart failure (CHF) patients documents the variety of patient preferences for decision-making, and the necessity for attention to family involvement. In addition, these findings illustrate the confusion as to the designation of surrogate decision-makers and physicians in charge. We conclude that no single model of physician-patient decision-making should be preferred, and that physicians should first ask patients how they want (...) medical information and decision-making to be handled. (shrink)
It is widely held that any justifying reason for making a decision must also be a justifying reason for doing what one thereby decides to do. Desires to win decision prizes, such as the one that figures in Kavka’s toxin puzzle, might be thought to be exceptions to this principle, but the principle has been defended in the face of such examples. Similarly, it has been argued that a command to intend cannot give one a justifying reason to intend as (...) commanded. Here it is argued that ordinary agents in ordinary cases can have justifying reasons for deciding that are not and will not be justifying reasons for doing what, in making those decisions, they come to intend to do. The paper concludes with some brief observations on the functions of decision-making. (shrink)
This paper argues that the provision of effective informed consent by surgical patients requires the disclosure of material information about the comparative clinical performance of available surgeons. We develop a new ethical argument for the conclusion that comparative information about surgeons' performance - surgeons' report cards - should be provided to patients, a conclusion that has already been supported by legal and economic arguments. We consider some recent institutional and legal developments in this area, and we respond to some common (...) objections to the use of report cards on the clinical performance of surgeons. (shrink)
Interpretations, or generalizations, of quantum theory that are applicable to cosmology are of interest because they must display and resolve the "paradoxes" directly. The Everett interpretation is reexamined and compared with two alternatives. Its "metaphysical" connotations can be removed, after which it is found to be more acceptable than a theory which incorporates collapse, while retaining some unsatisfactory features.
An example is presented of a model of consciousness based on a description of the world which integrates the material and psychological aspects from the start. An indication is given of work under way to test the model.
This paper examines recent attempts to revive a classic compatibilist position on free will, according to which having an ability to perform a certain action is having a certain disposition. Since having unmanifested dispositions is compatible with determinism, having unexercised abilities to act, it is held, is likewise compatible. Here it is argued that although there is a kind of capacity to act possession of which is a matter of having a disposition, the new dispositionalism leaves unresolved the main points (...) of dispute concerning free will. (shrink)