The Lysis is one of Plato's most engaging but also puzzling dialogues; it has often been regarded, in the modern period, as a philosophical failure. The full philosophical and literary exploration of the dialogue illustrates how it in fact provides a systematic and coherent, if incomplete, account of a special theory about, and special explanation of, human desire and action. Furthermore, it shows how that theory and explanation are fundamental to a whole range of other Platonic dialogues and indeed to (...) the understanding of the corpus as a whole. Part One offers an analysis of, or running commentary on, the dialogue. In Part Two Professors Penner and Rowe examine the philosophical and methodological implications of the argument uncovered by the analysis. The whole is rounded off by an epilogue on the relation between the Lysis and some other Platonic (and Aristotelian) texts. (shrink)
The following paper is an exposition and analysis of Deleuze and Guattari's (hereafter called D&G) vision for philosophy. In sections I and II I discuss two defining features of this vision: respectively, the philosopher as creator and the concept as the philosopher's creation. In the final section I argue that D&G's vision is supported by a normative principle that is itself not intuitively obvious. I conclude that while D&G's vision for philosophy charts out a brave space for philosophy, one may (...) adopt the spirit of their vision without embracing their normative principle. (shrink)
In “The Natural Ontological Attitude,” Arthur Fine attempts to provide a way out of the realist/antirealist dichotomy in philosophy of science. Says Fine, the natural way of treating the ontological status of theoretical entities is not to form speculative metaphysical theories, be they realist or antirealist, but instead is to apply a homely version of Tarskian semantics. I argue that Fine’s position depends on two deficient maxims, and therefore does not provide a compelling way out of the realist/antirealist dichotomy. Fine’s (...) Maxim (FM) prohibits the possibility of inferring justified metaphysical theses from the truth-value of existence claims. Hilbert’s Maxim (HM) asserts that metatheoretic arguments are cogent only if they adhere to stricter standards than their constituent theories. I argue that (FM) is likely false, but even if true cannot be rationally believed. I further argue that (HM) is a deficient standard for theory justification due to the problem of infinite regress. (shrink)
Even for persons who hold to the ethical acceptance of abortion practices in general, questions of detail often arise. If you assume the distinction between the physical human organism alone and the person that is associated with that organism, then you must face the question of whether it is permissible to abort a fetus if the corresponding person has come into being. We take the position that the abortion of a fetus that has achieved this level of development should be (...) declared unethical except in special circumstances. Our purpose here is to identify the point in the development of the fetus that serves as the marker for this level. (shrink)
Klaas J. Kraay argues that the rational choice model for divine creation—according to which God chooses to actualize one world among possible alternatives based on its axiological properties—cannot succeed given failures of comparability across possible worlds. I argue that failure of comparability across worlds would not undermine the rationality of choosing one world to create among possible alternatives.
In this paper, I make two claims: an opera’s music, both vocal and instrumental, is part of the ontology of its fictional world, and song constitutes the normative mode of communication and expression in the fictional world. I refute Carolyn Abbate’s influential arguments that both of these claims are untrue. Abbate’s contention that opera characters do not have epistemic access to the music is based on false premises and gives rise to serious interpretive problems. My account of operatic metaphysics refines (...) and extends the work of Edward T. Cone and Peter Kivy. Where I diverge from their respective accounts is in my contention that the orchestral music typically does not have a fictional author. Often its real author is the only agent to which it may be logically attributed. (shrink)
Arriaga is an early modern scholastic who recognizes the importance of relations to philosophical discussions. He offers a classification of different kinds of relations, focusing on the distinction between categorial relations and transcendental relations. I suggest that this distinction might be seen as akin to one version of the modern distinction between external and internal relations. Like Suárez, whom he characterizes as a “giant among the scholastics,” Arriaga offers a reductionist account of categorial relations. He criticises Suárez’s account, however, for (...) formally identifying a relation with the foundation in one relatum, something Suárez does in order to preserve a real distinction between converse relations. Arriaga, in contrast, argues that a categorial relation is formally identical to the foundation and terminus. Arriaga gives less attention to transcendental relations, even though he thinks they are real relations, but I offer some suggestions for how he may be thinking about them. (shrink)
By building upon Raz's analysis of the spectrum of voluntary obligations, the author produces a typology of agreements, and then assesses the extent to which these different kinds of agreements underpin the common law of contract. While recognizing that the law of contract purports to deal with a broad range of voluntarily undertaken obligations, the typology of agreements suggests that the present law is primarily suited to dealing only with bargains. This suggests that there are situations in which agreements should (...) be legally recognized, but which should not be dealt with by all of the conceptual tools of contract law, for these agreements and voluntary undertakings serve the interests of those undertaking them in significantly different ways than do bargains. (shrink)
This paper lays out some of the empirical evidence for the importance of neural reuse—the reuse of existing (inherited and/or early-developing) neural circuitry for multiple behavioral purposes—in defining the overall functional structure of the brain. We then discuss in some detail one particular instance of such reuse: the involvement of a local neural circuit in finger awareness, number representation, and other diverse functions. Finally, we consider whether and how the notion of a developmental homology can help us understand the relationships (...) between the cognitive functions that develop out of shared neural supports. (shrink)
This paper elaborates a novel hypothesis regarding the observed predictive relation between finger gnosis and mathematical ability. In brief, we suggest that these two cognitive phenomena have overlapping neural substrates, as the result of the re-use (“redeployment”) of part of the finger gnosis circuit for the purpose of representing numbers. We offer some background on the relation and current explanations for it; an outline of our alternate hypothesis; some evidence supporting redeployment over current views; and a plan for further research.