Modality, morality and belief are among the most controversial topics in philosophy today, and few philosophers have shaped these debates as deeply as Ruth Barcan Marcus. Inspired by her work, a distinguished group of philosophers explore these issues, refine and sharpen arguments and develop new positions on such topics as possible worlds, moral dilemmas, essentialism, and the explanation of actions by beliefs. This 'state of the art' collection honours one of the most rigorous and iconoclastic of philosophical pioneers.
In this article I develop a case for a theory of intelligence incorporating transpersonal dimensions, namely integrated intelligence. Some recent expanded theories of intelligence move into concepts like creativity, wisdom, and emotional intelligence. Yet they remain embedded within mainstream intelligence theory and its reductionist and materialist presuppositions. Although various theorists in consciousness theory have developed transpersonal models that are beginning to be discussed in some mainstream circles, mainstream intelligence theory is yet to address the broader implications of this. Recent changes (...) in the global economy and the needs of populations have created a need for an expanded theory of intelligence, and more intuitive thinking. (shrink)
Marcus argues that moral dilemmas are real, but that they are not the result of inconsistent moral principles. Moral principles are consistent just in case there is some world where all principles are 'obeyable.' They are inconsistent just in case there is no world where all are 'obeyable.' What this logical point is meant to show is that moral dilemmas do not make moral codes inconsistent. She also discusses guilt, and argues that guilt is still appropriate even in cases (...) of conflict, even when the agent thinks the right thing to do is clear. (shrink)
Based on her earlier ground-breaking axiomatization of quantified modal logic, the papers collected here by the distinguished philosopher Ruth Barcan Marcus cover much ground in the development of her thought, spanning from 1961 to 1990. The first essay here introduces themes initially viewed as iconoclastic, such as the necessity of identity, the directly referential role of proper names as "tags", the Barcan Formula about the interplay of possibility and existence, and alternative interpretations of quantification. Marcus also addresses the (...) putative puzzles about substitutivity and about essentialism. The collection also includes influential essays on moral conflict, on belief and rationality, and on some historical figures. Many of her views have been incorporated into current theories, while others remain part of a continuing debate. (shrink)
Author Meets Critics Panel: Paul B. Thompson’s (2010) The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9340-4 Authors Raymond Anthony, Department of Philosophy, University of Alaska Anchorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
Abstract I consider Paul Thompson’s Agrarian Vision from the perspective of the philosophy of technology, especially as it relates to certain questions about public engagement and deliberative democracy around food issues. Is it able to promote an attitudinal shift or reorientation in values to overcome the view of “food as device” so that conscientious engagement in the food system by consumers can become more the norm? Next, I consider briefly, some questions to which it must face up in order to (...) move closer in dismantling the barriers that inhibit the capacity for virtuous caretaking of the food system at various levels. Lastly, and more deeply, how successful might agrarianism be in inculcating citizenship values (ones that go beyond food ethics as a private affair), for the democratization of agricultural technologies? Might the Jeffersonian foundation to which the agrarianism (a la) Thompson appeals need something like a contemporary theory of justice in order to facilitate the reconstitution of our politico-moral selves? How can it help guide appropriate ruminations on the intra and intergenerational question, “What do we want the shape of our current and future social and political institutions to look like in relation to food?” Content Type Journal Article Category Articles Pages 1-10 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9339-x Authors Raymond Anthony, Department of Philosophy, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863. (shrink)
Metaphysics and language: Quine, W. V. O. On the individuation of attributes. Körner, S. On some relations between logic and metaphysics. Marcus, R. B. Does the principle of substitutivity rest on a mistake? Van Fraassen, B. C. Platonism's pyrrhic victory. Martin, R. M. On some prepositional relations. Kearns, J. T. Sentences and propositions.--Basic and combinatorial logic: Orgass, R. J. Extended basic logic and ordinal numbers. Curry, H. B. Representation of Markov algorithms by combinators.--Implication and consistency: Anderson, A. R. Fitch (...) on consistency. Belnap, N. D., Jr. Grammatical propaedeutic. Thomason, R. H. Decidability in the logic of conditionals. Myhill, J. Levels of implication.--Deontic, epistemic, and erotetic logic: Bacon, J. Belief as relative knowledge. Wu, K. J. Believing and disbelieving. Kordig, C. R. Relativized deontic modalities. Harrah, D. A system for erotetic sentences. (shrink)
I argue that zombies are inconceivable. More precisely, I argue that the conceivability-intuition that is used to demonstrate their possibility has been misconstrued. Thought experiments alleged to feature zombies founder on the fact that, on the one hand, they _must_ involve first-person imagining, and yet, on the other hand, _cannot_. Philosophers who take themselves to have imagined zombies have unwittingly conflated imagining a creature who lacks consciousness with imagining a creature without also imagining the consciousness it may or may not (...) possess. (shrink)
Abstract: It is generally accepted that the most serious threat to the possibility of mental causation is posed by the causal self-sufficiency of physical causal processes. I argue, however, that this feature of the world, which I articulate in principle I call Completeness, in fact poses no genuine threat to mental causation. Some find Completeness threatening to mental causation because they confuse it with a stronger principle, which I call Closure. Others do not simply conflate Completeness and Closure, but (...) hold that Completeness, together with certain plausible assumptions, _entails_ Closure. I refute the most fully worked-out version of such an argument. Finally, some find Completeness all by itself threatening to mental causation. I argue that one will only find Completeness threatening if one operates with a philosophically distorted conception of mental causation. I thereby defend what I call naïve realism about mental causation. (shrink)
There has been much written in recent years about whether a pair of subjects could have visual experiences that represented the colors of objects in their environment in precisely the same way, despite differing significantly in what it was like to undergo them, differing that is, in their qualitative character. The possibility of spectrum inversion has been so much debated1 in large part because of the threat that it would pose to the more general doctrine of Intentionalism, according to which (...) the representational content of an experience fixes what it. (shrink)
The thesis that mental states are physical states enjoys widespread popularity. After the abandonment of typeidentity theories, however, this thesis has typically been framed in terms of state tokens. I argue that token states are a philosopher’s fiction, and that debates about the identity of mental and physical state tokens thus rest on a mistake.
In recent decades, a view of identity I call Sortalism has gained popularity. According to this view, if a is identical to b, then there is some sortal S such that a is the same S as b. Sortalism has typically been discussed with respect to the identity of objects. I argue that the motivations for Sortalism about object-identity apply equally well to event-identity. But Sortalism about event-identity poses a serious threat to the view that mental events are token identical (...) to physical events: A particular mental event m is identical with a particular physical event p only if there is a sortal S such that m and p are both Ss. If there is no such sortal, the doctrine of token-identity is not true. I argue here that we have no good reason for thinking that there is any such sortal. (shrink)
_metaphysically transparent_: we do not arrive at a better understanding of the realm of facts that make such talk true or false when we abandon ordinary mental concepts in favor of naturalistic concepts—or, for that matter, in favor of supernaturalistic concepts, although _super_naturalism will not be my concern here. Rather, it is ordinary mental concepts themselves that provide the best framework for understanding the metaphysics of mind. In this essay, I will be concerned just with naïve realism about mental _properties_. (...) 1 I will defend naïve realism first in relation to the view that mental properties are (ultimately) realized by fundamental physical properties (property-physicalism), and, second, in relation to the broader view that mental properties are realized by the non- rational properties of some natural science or other (property-naturalism).2 Plainly, the construction of an impenetrable defense of naïve realism would be a foolhardy ambition for a single essay. Ultimately, my aim here is thus significantly more modest: I hope just to show that naïve realism is a legitimate contender in the philosophy of mind, one which is for the most part completely overlooked, but which deserves serious consideration. (shrink)
Fodor and LePore's reconstruction of the semantic holism debate in terms of "atomism" and "anatomism" is inadequate: it fails to highlight the important issue of how intentional contents are individuated, and excludes or obscures several possible positions on the metaphysics of content. One such position, "weak sociabilism" is important because it addresses concerns of Fodor and LePore's molecularist critics about conditions for possession of concepts, without abandoning atomism about content individuation. Properties like DEMOCRACY may be "theoretical" in the following sense: (...) only devices capable of inference can come to be selectively sensitive to such properties. Thus, such concepts cannot be punctate, although their contents are individuated, as atomism requires, independently of their conceptual connections. (shrink)
Pathological morphogenesis on leaves of Fraxinus ornus (ash) and Solanum lycopersicum (tomato) under the influence of mites (Aceria fraxinivora and Eriophyes cladophthirus respectively) leads to a range of structures whose morphology and development cannot be reduced to the classical categories of plant morphology, but present a heterogeneous continuum which links fundamental structural categories. These findings support the pyramid model of plant construction.
This paper offers some suggestions on, and encouragement for, how to be better at risk communication in times of agricultural crisis. During the foot and mouth epizootic, the British public, having no precedent to deal with such a rapid and widespread epizootic, no existing rules or conventions, and no social or political consensus, was forced to confront the facts of a perceived "economic disease. Foot and mouth appeared as an economic disease because the major push to eradicate it was motivated (...) exclusively by trade and economic reasons and not because of threats it posed to the lives of human beings and livestock. The British public deferred responsibility to their elected officials for a speedy end to this non-life threatening viral epizootic. The latter, however, did not have a contingency plan in place to tackle such an extensive outbreak. The appeal to an existing policy, i.e., mass eradication, as the exclusive strategy of containment was a difficult pill for the public to swallow well before the end of the 226-day ordeal. Public outcry reflected (in part) serious misgivings about the lack of effective communication of risk-informed decisions between government agents and all concerned. The government''s handling of the matter underestimated concerns and values about animal welfare, public trust, and the plight of farmers and rural communities. A general loss of trust by some segments of the public was exacerbated by perceived mismanagement and early fumbles by government agents.Public moral uneasiness during the crisis, while perhaps symbolic of growing discontent with an already fractured relationship with farmed animals and the state of animal farming today, arguably, also reflected deep disappointment in government agents to recognize inherently and conditionally normative assumptions in their argument as well as recognize their narrow conception of risk. Furthermore, broader stakeholder participation was clearly missing from the outset, especially with respect to the issue of vaccination. A greater appreciation for two-way risk communication is suggested for science-based public policy in agriculture, followed by suggestions on how to be more vigilant in the future. (shrink)
The great contribution Marcus has made to several of intensely discussed topics in philosophy might not have been noticed fully without this collection of some of her most important articles that makes it evident that her achievement is not limited to inventing the famous Barcan formula.
[Richard Glauser] Shaftesbury's theory of aesthetic experience is based on his conception of a natural disposition to apprehend beauty, a real 'form' of things. I examine the implications of the disposition's naturalness. I argue that the disposition is not an extra faculty or a sixth sense, and attempt to situate Shaftesbury's position on this issue between those of Locke and Hutcheson. I argue that the natural disposition is to be perfected in many different ways in order to be exercised in (...) the perception of the different degrees of beauty within Shaftesbury's hierarchy. This leads to the conclusion that the exercise of the disposition depends, from case to case, on many different cognitive and affective conditions, that are realised by the collaborative functionings of our ordinary faculties. Essential to Shaftesbury's conception of aesthetic experience is a disinterested, contemplative love, that causes (or contains) what we may call a 'disinterested pleasure', but also an interested pleasure. I argue that, within any given aesthetic experience, the role of the disinterested pleasure is secondary to that of the disinterested love. However, an important function of the disinterested pleasure is that, in combination with the interested pleasure, it leads one to aspire to pass from the aesthetic experience of lower degrees of beauty to the experience of higher ones in the hierarchy. /// [Anthony Savile] (1) If Shaftesbury is to be seen as the doyen of modern aesthetics, his most valuable legacy to us may not so much be his viewing aesthetic response as a sui generis disinterested delight as his insistence on its turning 'wholly on [experience of] what is exterior and foreign to ourselves'. Not that we cannot experience ourselves, or what is our own, as a source of such admiration. Rather our responses, favourable or no, are improperly grounded in any essentially reflexive, or first-personal, ways of taking what engages us. The suggestion is tested against the case of Narcissus. (2) Glauser interestingly emphasizes Shaftesbury's neo-Platonic conception of a hierarchy of aesthetic experience that culminates in the joyful contemplation of God. That hierarchy must be something that is less unitary and systematic than Shaftesbury himself had supposed, even when his emphasis on the tie between aesthetic pleasure and contemplative experience is allowed to extend beyond perception and to encompass episodes of thought itself. (shrink)
Sir Anthony Kenny here tells the fascinating story of the birth of philosophy and its remarkable flourishing in the ancient Mediterranean world. This is the initial volume of a four-book set in which Kenny will unfold a magisterial new history of Western philosophy, the first major single-author history of philosophy to appear in decades. Ancient Philosophy spans over a thousand years and brings to life the great minds of the past, from Thales, Pythagoras, and Parmenides, to Socrates, Epictetus, (...) class='Hi'>Marcus Aurelius, and Augustine. The book's great virtue is that it is written by one of the world's leading authorities on the subject. Instead of an uncritical, straightforward recitation of known facts--Plato and his cave of shadows, Aristotle's ethics, Augustine's City of God--we see the major philosophers through the eyes of a man who has spent a lifetime contemplating their work. Thus we do not simply get an overview of Aristotle, for example, but a penetrating and insightful critique of his thought. Kenny offers an illuminating account of the various schools of thought, from the Pre-Socratics to the Epicureans. He examines the development of logic and reason, ancient ideas about physics ("how things happen"), metaphysics and ethics, and the earliest thinking about the soul and god. Vividly written, but serious and deep enough to offer a genuine understanding of the great philosophers, Kenny's lucid and stimulating history will become the definitive work for anyone interested in the people and ideas that shaped the course of Western thought. (shrink)
This new edition brings Farquharson's authoritative 1944 translation up to date and includes a helpful introduction and notes for the student and general reader. Rutherford includes a selection of letters from Marcus to his tutor Fronto--most of which date from his earlier years--that offer personal detail and help to fill out the somber portrait of the emperor that is found in the Meditations.
Introduction Although Anthony Giddens describes his approach as “social” rather than “critical” theory, and although there is little obvious Frankfurt School influence in his writing, he believes “social theory is inevitably critical theory.”1 While he might aim at such a critical position, it is far from obvious that he succeeds. On the contrary, his later writings have become an apology for the status quo.2 Failing to consider his prejudices, perhaps because he thinks critique is inevitable, Giddens has increasingly vindicated (...) predominant relations of domination. He celebrates the rise of post-traditional individuals, who have the freedom of choice to create and…. (shrink)
Partindo das reflexões de Habermas e sua concepção de modernidade, compreendida como um projeto inacabado, Giddens salienta que, em todas as sociedades, a manutenção da identidade pessoal e sua conexão com identidades sociais mais amplas é um requisito primordial para a segurança ontológica. Para alcançar a segurança ontológica, a modernidade teve que (re)inventar tradições e se afastar de "tradições genuínas", isto é, aqueles valores radicalmente vinculados ao passado pré moderno. Este é um caráter de descontinuidade da modernidade - a separação (...) entre o que se apresenta como o novo e o que persiste como herança do velho. É sobre a relação entre tradição e modernidade e sobre um diálogo entre Giddens e Habermas que trata este texto. O objetivo é identificar os pontos de contato e as diferenças das teses defendidas por ambos, a fim de avaliar as contribuições de cada um para se pensar a racionalização das sociedades contemporâneas. A modernidade tardia ou reflexiva é um processo de mudanças ininterruptas que afetam as bases da sociedade ocidental. Frente a uma realidade em constante alteração, faz-se necessário escolher entre uma certeza do passado e uma nova realidade, em contínua mutação. Nesse sentido, e segundo a perspectiva habermasiana, o caráter reflexivo da modernidade está nesse processo de escolha entre as certezas herdadas do passado e as novas formas sociais que conduz à reflexão ou, até mesmo, à reformulação das práticas sociais, provocando a racionalização e a (re)invenção de diversos aspectos da vida em sociedade. (shrink)
Graham N. Stanton, University of Cambridge ?Anthony Thiselton is one of our leading theologians, equally at home in both New Testament studies and in philosophical and theological hermeneutics, and a collection of this major articles will ...
This is an excellent book that deserves careful attention from anyone whose work touches on issues in the philosophy of mind and action. In it, Marcus challenges the dominant philosophical conception of the mind’s place in nature, according to which mentalistic explanations hold true only when mental states or events cause things to happen in the same way as physical states and events do. Against this conception, Marcus argues that mental causation is utterly dissimilar to most of the (...) causation we find in the physical realm, and that psychological achievements like believing and acting for reasons should be understood as manifestations of the rational ability self-consciously to represent good-making relations as holding between propositions and actions. (shrink)
Gary Marcus has written a very interesting book about mental development from a nativist perspective. For the general readership at which the book is largely aimed, it will be interesting because of its many informative examples of the development of cognitive structures and because of its illuminating explanations of ways in which genes can contribute to these developmental processes. However, the book is also interesting from a theoretical point of view. Marcus tries to make nativism compatible with the (...) central arguments that anti-nativists use to attack nativism and with many recent discoveries about genetic activity and brain development. In so doing, he reconfigures the nativist position to a considerable extent. (shrink)
In his Philosophical Inquiry concerning Human Liberty (1717), the English deist Anthony Collins proposed a complete determinist account of the human mind and action, partly inspired by his mentor Locke, but also by elements from Bayle, Leibniz and other Continental sources. It is a determinism which does not neglect the question of the specific status of the mind but rather seeks to provide a causal account of mental activity and volition in particular; it is a ‘volitional determinism’. Some decades (...) later, Diderot articulates a very similar determinism, which seeks to recognize the existence of “causes proper to man” (as he says in the Réfutation d’Helvétius). The difference with Collins is that now biological factors are being taken into account. Obviously both the ‘volitional’ and the ‘biological’ forms of determinism are noteworthy inasmuch as they change our picture of the nature of determinism itself, but my interest here is to compare these two determinist arguments, both of which are broadly Spinozist in nature – and as such belong to what Jonathan Israel called in his recent book “the radical Enlightenment,” i.e. a kind of underground Enlightenment constituted by Spinozism – and to see how Collins’ specifically psychological vision and Diderot’s specifically biological vision correspond to their two separate national contexts: determinism in France in the mid-1750s was a much more medico-biological affair than English determinism, which appears to be on a ‘path’ leading to Mill and associationist psychology. (shrink)
In this paper, presented at an APA colloquium in Boston on December 28, 1994, it is argued that Ruth Barcan Marcus' 1961 article on Modalities and Intensional Languages originated many of the key ideas of the New Theory of Reference that have often been attributed to Saul Kripke and others. For example, Marcus argued that names are directly referential and are not equivalent to contingent descriptions, that names are rigid designators, and that identity sentences with co-referring names are (...) necessary if true. She also first presented the modal argument that names are directly referential, the epistemic argument that names are directly referential, and the argument that there area posteriori necessities. (shrink)
What is the impact of science on philosophy? In “Experiments in Ethics”, Kwame Anthony Appiah addresses this question for morality and ethics. Appiah suggests that scientific results may undermine moral intuitions by undermining our confidence in the actual sources of our intuitions, or by invalidating our factual assumptions about the causes of human behavior. Appiah worries that scientific results showing situational causes on human behavior force us to abandon the intuition, formalized in virtue ethics, that what matters is “who (...) you are on the inside”. In this review, we agree with Appiah that scientific results at once force and do not force us to abandon this intuition. We also propose that Appiah’s worry is due in part to an over-simplified conception of “internal causes”, shared widely among scientists and philosophers. By re-introducing the true richness of internal causes invoked in moral judgments, we hope to relax the tension between scientific results and moral intuitions. Ultimately, we propose that science can undermine and constrain but cannot affirm our commitment to specific moral intuitions. (shrink)
In The Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS) Adam Smith draws on the Stoic idea of a Providence that uses everything for the good of the whole. The process is often painful, so the Stoic ethic insisted on conscious cooperation. Stoic ideas contributed to the rise of science and enjoyed wide popularity in Smith's England. Smith was more influenced by the Stoicism of his professors than by the Epicureanism of Hume. In TMS, Marcus Aurelius's "helmsman" becomes the "impartial spectator," who (...) judges actions in terms of the way they are seen by others. This is the key to justice, without which society collapses. Business school students should be taught that Smith's "invisible hand" is best understood as a universal rationality that uses just actions for the benefit of the whole. (shrink)
The correspondence between Samuel Clarke and Anthony Collins of 1706–8, while not well known, is a spectacularly good debate between a dualist and a materialist over the possibility of giving a materialist account of consciousness and personal identity. This article puts the Clarke Collins Correspondence in a broader context in which it can be better appreciated, noting that it is really a debate between John Locke and Anthony Collins on one hand, and Samuel Clarke and Joseph Butler on (...) the other. Anthony Collins argues on behalf of John Locke's claim that it would be as easy for God to superadd the power of thinking to matter as for him to connect a soul to a body. Locke did not believe that matter could naturally produce thought or consciousness, but it was in God's power to make matter think. To defend Locke's claim Collins must defend the claim that there are emergent properties in the world – properties of a whole that are not possessed by the parts. Collins also defends a materialist version of Locke's account of personal identity against a variety of charges. Because the topics of debate in the correspondence are of such great interest to us, it deserves to be rescued from the neglect into which it fell and from which intellectual historians and philosophers have only recently and partially removed it. (shrink)
This paper is a reply to some of Scott Soames' comments on my colloquium paper Marcus, Kripke, and the Origin of the New Theory of Reference. Except for the indicated parts added in May, 1995, this paper was written on December 16th–25th, 1994 as my reply to Soames for the APA colloquium in Boston, December 28, 1994. In this paper, I argue that Soames' contention that Marcus is not one of the primary founders of contemporary (...) nondescriptivist theories of reference is false. Soames presents numerous arguments for his thesis that Marcus did not originate ideas later elaborated upon by Kripke, but his arguments are unsound; they are based in part on a misunderstanding of Marcus' theory and in part on an inadequate grasp of some of the key notions of the New Theory of Reference, such as the notion of a posteriori necessities and the notion of reference-fixing descriptions. (shrink)
Published in 1891, Edmund Husserl’s ﬁrst book, Philosophie der Arithmetik, aimed to “prepare the scientiﬁc foundations for a future construction of that discipline.” His goals should seem reasonable to contemporary philosophers of mathematics: . . . through patient investigation of details, to seek foundations, and to test noteworthy theories through painstaking criticism, separating the correct from the erroneous, in order, thus informed, to set in their place new ones which are, if possible, more adequately secured. [7, p. 5]2 But the (...) ensuing strategy for grounding mathematical knowledge sounds strange to the modern ear. For Husserl cast his work as a sequence of “psychological and logical investigations,” providing a psychological analysis.. (shrink)
Honor has been in disrepute among intellectuals for almost a century now. The standard explanation for honor’s demise is its role in driving young men and their countries to surpass the limits of acceptable human slaughter in the First World War, the trenches of which became ‘a mass grave for honor’ (Welsh 2008: x). Academic interest in honor revived in the 1950s among anthropologists and sociologists, where it was treated with a studied moral distance. Literary scholars, historians, and political scientists (...) took up the subject a generation later, and broached the question of whether honor should be rehabiliated. So it was only a matter of time until philosophers turned their attention to honor (by name) in any sustained way. Fortunately for our field, one of the first to do so was Kwame Anthony Appiah. The Honor Code is an enjoyable, approachable, and yet immensely learned book in which all of Appiah’s many capabilities—as a philosopher, a historian of ideas, a cosmopolitan, and a prose stylist—are on full display in the service of honor and our understanding of it. (shrink)
Abstract Kwame Anthony Appiah has devoted much scholarly work to exploring the problems surrounding racial and cultural identities in the USA. He defends the position that such identities need not be centrally significant in the psyche of the subject, and that black demands for blacks to be recognised having a black (race) identity, is symptomatic of black racism. Like other racisms, black racism has a tendency to ?go imperial?, affecting the autonomy of the individual to decide which identity constructs (...) she is willing to endorse as her own. Appiah believes that free association, as the locus of social solidarities and the formation of individual and social identities, should be upheld as a counterweight to the imperialism of racisms in the USA. He believes, furthermore, that the cosmopolitan state best caters for free associations of this kind. In this article I offer a comprehensive view of Appiah's support for cosmopolitanism as the best answer to the problems of identity which race and culture generate in multicultural USA. (shrink)
Situating the subject -- Hermeneutics and spech-act theory -- Hermeneutics, semantics, and conceptual grammar -- Lexicography, exegesis, and reception history -- Parables, narrative-worlds, and reader-response theories -- Philosophy, language, theology, and postermodernity -- Hermeneutics, history, and theology.
Anthony Kenny's book is one of the best of its genre, exemplifying the kind of introduction into (some field of) Aquinas's thought that endeavors to make his ideas accessible to the philosophically interested contemporary reader in terms of such philosophical, scientific and everyday concepts with which the reader can safely be assumed to be familiar. Indeed, Kenny's book provides us with such a good example of this genre that it brings into sharp focus the problems of the genre itself. (...) Therefore, while duly acknowledging the book's virtues of clarity of presentation, and its highly readable, almost conversational style, let me concentrate in this brief review on this problematic aspect of Kenny's book, as someone who is just as much concerned with making Aquinas accessible to a contemporary audience as the author is. (shrink)
Mark Morford provides a lively, succinct, and comprehensive survey of the philosophers of the Roman World, from Cato the Censor in 155 BCE to the death of Marcus Aurelius in 180 CE. These men were asking philosophical questions whose answers had practical effects on people's lives in antiquity--and still do today--yet this is an era of philosophy somewhat neglected in recent decades. Morford puts this right by discussing the writings and ideas of numerous famous and lesser-known figures. Using extensive (...) and fully-translated quotations from their works, he illuminates each of the philosopher's meanings within the historical, political, and cultural contexts of their day. This book serves as the ideal introduction to the newcomer to Roman philosophy. (shrink)