Twilight of the Idols has a main role in Nietzsche’s work, since it represents the opening writing of his project of Transvaluation of all values. The task of this essay is sounding out idols, i.e. to disclose their lack of content, their being hollow. The theme of eternal idols is in this work strictly related to the idea of a ‘true’ world and, consequently, a study on this latter notion can contribute to a better comprehension of what does that emptiness (...) mean and which is the way that Nietzsche wants to follow to set his thought free from any metaphysical heritage. The analysis of the notion of truth Nietzsche concerns with in Twilight of the Idols takes us back to the content of his early writings, when he gives the first sketches of his theory of knowledge. The perspective he exposed in the ‘70s is constructed on the basis of Schopenhauer’s philosophy, that Nietzsche merges with the main ideas of Lange, Spir and other neo-Kantians. The outcome of his reflections on this matter is an evolutionary epistemology, a view that leads Nietzsche to define the historical reconstruction as the only resource through which the fact that concepts are mere thoughts gradually evolved can be point out. These observations correspond in many ways to what the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach wrote in his works, and one can say that Nietzsche agrees with his “anti-metaphysical intent”, i.e. his criticizing a thought still depending on “concepts which we forgot how we’ve reached”. With my paper I’ll try to show that Nietzsche wage his war against metaphysics with the theoretical ‘weapons’ he prepared in the ‘70s, indeed that his last attack to western knowledge arises from some contents he exposed in Human, All Too Human. In this text Nietzsche reflected on the mechanisms of language and world’s representation, and connected human knowledge with the overall development of organic beings. Moreover, in his work from 1878 the philosopher presented a comparison between “metaphysische Philosophie” and “historische Philosophie”, an idea that cannot be found in the following writings, but that comes up again in the Twilight of the Idols. Indeed, in this work Nietzsche repeats his complaining philosopher’s “lack of historical sense” he dealt with in the opening pages of Human, All Too Human, and he reflects on the kind of inquiry western thinkers should adopt to set themselves free from the fixed forms of metaphysics. Thus, Nietzsche’s observation about the role of history in philosophy testifies the connection between this main works, and allow us to define the way he wants to follow to carry his critic to eternal idols out and, in doing so, to show the way forward to his last thoughts. (shrink)
The emergence of modern science is a history of disentanglement, as science detached itself first from religion and then from philosophy. Jennifer Trusted in Physics and Metaphysics argues that science -- in its haste to tear itself from its historical links -- has neglected the various roles religious and philosophical ideas have actually played and continue to play in scientific thinking. This book seeks to redress the balance by exploring how metaphysical beliefs have functioned in the history (...) of scientific inquiry and discovery. By examining the history of science from the eleventh century to the present, this book shows how religious and mystical beliefs, as well as philosophical speculation, have had a considerable role in motivating scientists and inspiring scientific inquiry. Physics and Metaphysics presupposes no technical knowledge of either philosophy or science, and as such it is an ideal introduction to science and the importantforces that have shaped its history and ideas. (shrink)
This book offers a major reassessment of Leibniz's metaphysics. Christia Mercer has exposed for the first time the underlying doctrines of Leibniz's philosophy. By analysing Leibniz's early works she demonstrates that the metaphysics of pre-established harmony developed many years earlier than previously believed and for reasons which have not been understood. As a result of this analysis she has unearthed a philosophical school that Leibniz scholars have not recognized. A much deeper understanding of some of Leibniz's key doctrines (...) emerges. Moreover, since the Leibniz that is revealed here does not fit neatly into the standard accounts of the history of philosophy and science, Christia Mercer's study will prompt scholars to reconsider their basic assumptions about early modern philosophy and science. (shrink)
This collection of fourteen essays, all published here for the first time, offers a stimulating reassessment of the central theme of Descartes's metaphysics. The first section examines Descartes's place in the history of philosophy and his unique influence in shaping the nature of philosophical enquiry. The central sections of the book cover the Cartesian doctrine of substance, the place of God in Descartes's philosophy, and his views on the relationship between reason and will. A concluding section examines the (...) problematice role of sensory awaremess om Descartes's account of our knowledge of ourselves and the world around us, and the implication of that account for an understanding of our nature as human beings. The volume is edited by John Cottingham, a leading authority on Descartes, whose introduction provides a clear overview of the issues addressed. The distinguished international team of contributors includes some of the best-known names in Descartes scholarship. (shrink)
Although metaphysics as a discipline can hardly be separated from Aristotle and his works, the questions it raises were certainly known to authors even before the reception of Aristotle in the thirteenth century. Even without the explicit use of this term the twelfth century manifested a strong interest in metaphysical questions under the guise of «natural philosophy» or «divine science», leading M.-D. Chenu to coin the expression of a twelfth century «éveil métaphysique». In their commentaries on Boethius and under (...) the influence of Neoplatonism, twelfth century authors not only anticipate essential elements of thirteenth century metaphysics, they also make an original contribution to the history of metaphysics by attempting to integrate the theory of first principles, philosophical theology and ontology. This volume presents and examines the contributions of the twelfth century to metaphysics made by selected Jewish, Christian and Muslim authors of the Iberian Peninsula and Francia. -/- Contributors include Matthias Lutz-Bachmann (Frankfurt am Main), Andreas Speer (Würzburg), Charles Burnett (London), Alexander Fidora (Frankfurt am Main), Thomas Ricklin (Neuchâtel), Yossef Schwartz (Jerusalem), Josep Udina (Barcelona), Jack C. Marler (St. Louis/USA), Gillian R. Evans (Cambridge), Andreas Niederberger (Frankfurt am Main) and Françoise Hudry (Paris). (shrink)
This essay examines Wolfhart Pannenberg’s defense of metaphysics’ foundational importance for philosophy and theology. Among all the modern philosophers whose claims Pannenberg challenges, Martin Heidegger’s discourse against Western metaphysics receives the major portion of criticism. The first thing one concludes from this criticism is an affirmation of a wide intellectual gap that separates Pannenberg’s thought from Heidegger’s, as if each stands at the very opposite corner of the other’s school of thought. The questions this essay tackles are: is (...) this seemingly irreconcilable difference between Pannenberg and Heidegger fully justifiable? What if there is a reading of Panneberg’s and Heidegger’s view of metaphysics that can reveal deeper similarities between the two thinkers than the first reading of Pannenberg’s criticism of Heidegger allows us to see? It then answers these questions by showing that both thinkers actually share a common emphasis on the concepts of ‘time/history’, ‘self-disclosure’ and ‘anticipation’, and their reliance on these notions reveals that Heidegger’s and Pannenberg’s approaches to the phenomenon of understanding and to metaphysical ontology are not fully contradictory but rather hold noticeable hermeneutical similarities. (shrink)
I outline features of the emerging consensus that philosophy has now liberated itself from the horizon of onto-theology with respect to the history of metaphysics. I draw on Jean-Marc Narbonne, Hénologie, Ontologie et Ereignis (Plotin-Proclus-Heidegger), conferences presented at La métaphysique: son histoire, sa critique, ses enjeux held at Laval University in 1998, and other recent work, showingwhy Heidegger’s horizon does not encompass ancient or medieval Platonic or Aristotelian philosophy. Noting that both French Neoplatonic studies after Bréhier and Heidegger (...) in Identität und Diff erenz were opposing Hegelian accounts of the history of philosophy, I suggest that: (1) both were reacting to the same problem, (2) French Neoplatonism was motivated by Heidegger’s questions, (3) Heidegger’s account of Being beyond the diff erence of Being and beings resembles the Neoplatonic account of the One. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant is one of the most influential philosophers in the history of Western philosophy. His contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics have had a profound impact on almost every philosophical movement that followed him. This portion of the Encyclopedia entry will focus on his metaphysics and epistemology in one of his most important works, The Critique of Pure Reason . (All references will be to the A (1781) and B(1787) edition pages in Werner Pluhar's translation. (...) Indianapolis: Hackett, 1996.) A large part of Kant's work addresses the question "What can we know?" The answer, if it can be stated simply, is that our knowledge is constrained to mathematics and the science of the natural, empirical world. It is impossible, Kant argues, to extend knowledge to the supersensible realm of speculative metaphysics. The reason that knowledge has these constraints, Kant argues, is that the mind plays an active role in constituting the features of experience and limiting the mind's access to the empirical realm of space and time. (shrink)
This is an updated (25 April 2013) and revised version (after one iteration with referees) of a draft of the book on the notion of fundamental length I have been writing for the last couple of years, covering issues in the philosophy of math, metaphysics, and the history and the philosophy of modern physics, from classical electrodynamics to current theories of quantum gravity.
Modality and Anti-Metaphysics critically examines the most prominent approaches to modality among analytic philosophers in the twentieth century, including essentialism. Defending both the project of metaphysics and the essentialist position that metaphysical modality is conceptually and ontologically primitive, Stephen McLeod argues that the logical positivists did not succeed in banishing metaphysical modality from their own theoretical apparatus and he offers an original defence of metaphysics against their advocacy of its elimination. -/- Seeking to assuage the sceptical worries (...) which underlie modal anti-realism, McLeod provides an original contribution to essentialist epistemology, engaging with current debates about modality and suggesting that standard essentialist approaches to some issues in the philosophies of logic and language require revision. -/- This book offers valuable insights to professional philosophers, postgraduates and advanced undergraduates interested in metaphysics, philosophy of logic or the history of twentieth-century analytic philosophy. (shrink)
This article addresses Franklin Gamwell's critique of Alasdair MacIntyre's account of the nature of rational justification. I argue that MacIntyreans have good reasons to take seriously Gamwell's critique, and thus to reformulate MacIntyre's position to make clear that that position does not rest on a denial of all a priori claims. The author outlines such a reformulation, drawing heavily on MacIntyre's account (in his 1990 Aquinas Lecture) of the place of a priori claims within the development of rational traditions of (...) inquiry. When thus rethought, MacIntyre's position grounds a twofold response to Gamwell's critique. (shrink)
This study of Hegel and Nietzsche evaluates and compares their work through their common criticism of the metaphysics for operating with conceptual oppositions such as being/becoming and egoism/altruism. Dr Houlgate exposes Nietzsche's critique as employing the distinction of Life and Thought, which itself constitutes a metaphysical dualism of the kind Nietzsche attacks. By comparison Hegel is shown to provide a more profound critique of metaphysical dualism by applying his philosophy of the dialectic, which sees such alleged opposites as defining (...) components of a dynamic. In choosing to study a theme so fundamental to both philosophers' work, Houlgate has established a framework within which to evaluate the Hegel-Nietzsche debate; to make the first full study of Nietzsche's view of Hegel's work; and to compare Nietzsche's Dionysic philosophy with Hegel's dialectical philosophy by focusing on tragedy, a subject central to the philosophy of both. (shrink)
Preliminaries : the context of modern matter. The visible and the intelligible ; Plato's early and late methods ; Matter and division -- Analysis. Analysis and clarity and distinctness ; A general theory of clarity and distinctness ; The general theory continued ; Enumeration, quantity, and measurement -- Synthesis. Synthesis and system building ; Synthesis and the principle of addition ; Metaphysics, mathematics, and metaphor ; Material structure and calculating machines ; How analysis and synthesis are related -- Sensible (...) and intelligible matter. Is matter real? ; Empirical ideality, reality, and matter ; Empirical reality and intelligible matter ; Transcendental matter -- Tying up the loose ends : closing remarks. (shrink)
Irigaray demonstrates that metaphysics depends upon the specific negation and exclusion of the female body. Readings of Irigaray's Speculum of the Other Woman tend to highlight the status of this excluded materiality: is there an essential female body which precedes negation or is the feminine only an effect of exclusion? I approach Irigaray's work by way of another question: is it possible to move beyond a feminist critique of metaphysics and towards a feminist philosophy?
Georges Dicker provides an exceptionally clear introduction to the key themes in Hume's Treatise on Human Nature and Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding . He clarifies Hume's views on meaning, knowledge, causality and sense perception step-by-step and shows how philosophical thinking has been influenced by Hume.
Gadamer profoundly appreciates Collingwood’s Logic of Question and Answer (LQA). But while he grants its innovative serviceability, he contends that it has not been fully developed, and that its function in historical re-enactment is an exercise in historicism. Attempts have been made to defend Collingwood from Gadamer’s charge of historicism. But they have not documented the source ofGadamer’s alleged misunderstanding of Collingwood. This article will do the task. I will argue that Gadamer came up with a wrong conclusion about Collingwood’s (...) doctrine of re-enactment because he overlooked the context of a passage in The Idea of History where he examined Collingwood’s discussion of Plato’s argument in Theaetetus. I will argue that Gadamer’s lack of perspective of the overall context of Collingwood’s discussion caused him to focus on a wrong aspect of the argument. This is quite unfortunate. Because of this, Gadamer is unable to appreciate more Collingwood’s LQA and its special role in hermeneutics. (shrink)
To the medieval thinker, man was the center of creation and all of nature existed purely for his benefit. The shift from the philosophy of the Middle Ages to the modern view of humanity's less central place in the universe ranks as the greatest revolution in the history of Western thought, and this classic in the philosophy of science describes and analyzes how the profound change occurred. A fascinating analysis of the works of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, Hobbes, Gilbert, (...) Boyle, and Newton, it not only establishes the reasons for the triumph of the modern perspective but also accounts for certain limitations that characterize contemporary scientific thought. (shrink)
This is the first book-length study of Descartes's metaphysics to place it in its immediate historical context, the Late Scholastic philosophy of thinkers such as Suárez against which Descartes reacted. Jorge Secada views Cartesian philosophy as an 'essentialist' reply to the 'existentialism' of the School, and his discussion includes careful analyses and original interpretations of such central Cartesian themes as the role of scepticism, intentionality and the doctrine of the material falsity of ideas, universals and the relation between sense (...) and understanding, causation and the proofs of the existence of God, the theory of substance, and the dualism of mind and matter. His study offers a picture of Descartes's metaphysics that is both novel and philosophically illuminating. (shrink)
In this article I propose a resolution to the history issue for responsible agency, given a moderate revisionist approach to responsibility. Roughly, moderate revisionism is the view that a plausible and normatively adequate theory of responsibility will require principled departures from commonsense thinking. The history issue is whether morally responsible agency – that is, whether an agent is an apt target of our responsibility-characteristic practices and attitudes – is an essentially historical notion. Some have maintained that responsible agents (...) must have particular sorts of histories, others have argued that no such history is required. Resolution of this contentious issue is connected to a wide range of concerns, including the significance and culpability of different forms of manipulation, the plausibility of important incompatibilist criticisms of compatibilism, and of course, a satisfactory account of moral responsibility. As it turns out, history matters sometimes, but less frequently than we might think. (shrink)
This study argues that Descartes's conception of rationality presupposes that the order of reasoning essentially obeys his metaphysical categories. It takes to the next level the current trend in de-emphasizing his purported epistemology in favor of his unique metaphysics of cognition.
Three kinds of concepts can be distinguished in Plato and Aristotle, empirical genera and species, transcendental concepts such as being and unity, and polarized meanings of being such as power and actuality. Both Kant and Hegel break with the traditional dominance of polarized meanings of being, but they do so in different ways which are at work as competing trends inside both Continental and analytic philosophy today.
How can we, or should we, talk about God? What concepts are involved in the concept of a Supreme Being? This book is about the search to reconcile modern metaphysics with traditional theism--focusing on the seminal work of Austin Farrer who was Warden of Keble College, Oxford until his death in 1968, and one of the most original and important philosophers of religion of this century. Conti traces the evolution of Ferrar's thought and shows why he preferred a (...) "personalist" approach over Aristotle's metaphysics of "being.". (shrink)
"Heidegger's way of understanding the originary phenomenon of truth is to "make clear the mode of being of the cognition itself." His starting point is a proposition that is not based on intuition. Someone says with his or her back to the wall: this picture hangs askew. The proposition embodies the claim to have discovered the picture (as a being) in the "how" (the mode) of its being. The proposition displays this "how" of being in language. In the attempt to (...) verify the proposition by sensuous experience, the recognition, according to Heidegger, is directed only to the intended being (the picture) and not to the proposition. It is directed to the being itself (which is to be veriﬁed by perception) in its mode of uncoveredness (Entdeckt-heir), i.e., in its showing-itself. Conﬁrmation (Bewährung) means this showing-itself of the being in the same way in which it is intended in the proposition. A true proposition shows the being in its mode of uncoveredness. The phenomenon of "originary truth" does not have the character of correspondence. It is the ground of the concept of truth in the sense of correspondence and propositional truth. By unfolding the meaning of alétheia Heidegger shows us a more originary sense of truth as unconcealment (Unverborgenheit). He wants to show that this concept coincides with the ﬁrst and originary concept of truth in Greek thinking. In this primary sense only the discovering human Dasein can be "true" while it is Being-discovering (Entdeckend-Sein). On the other hand, beings (Seiendes) that we can ﬁnd in the world can only "be" in a secondary mode, i.e., as being-discovered (Entdecktsein). They can only make a claim to uncoveredness. Their fundament is the Being-discovering of the human Dasein. The being-true of a discovered being is only possible as being discovered by human Dasein as being-in-the-world. The authentic Being of Dasein, the being-in-the truth, presupposes disclosedness (Erschlossenheit) of the world in states-of-mind (Beﬁndlichkeiten), understanding, and discourse, i.e., the constitution of the being (Seinsverfassung) of human Dasein as thrownness (Geworfenheit) and project (Entwurf).. (shrink)
Early modern natural law and the law of nations (jus naturae et gentium) has been criticised for the Eurocentric character of its conception of law and justice, which has been in turn linked to its role in providing an ideological justification for European imperialism and colonialism. In questioning this account, the present chapter begins by noting that this historical critique presumes that a non-Eurocentric (universal or cosmopolitan) conception of law and justice was in principle available to the early moderns, which (...) they culpably ignored for ideological reasons. If such a non-Eurocentric conception was not available, though, then we will have to acknowledge that the early modern law of nature and nations was actually far more profoundly Eurocentric than even its most strident postcolonial critics have grasped. If the early modern law of nature and nations turns out to be wholly within the horizon of European cultures and designed to address fundamentally European political and religious problems, then its colonial uses might turn out to be both less central and less culpable than is presumed by postcolonial critique. These are the revisionist questions that the chapter explores. (shrink)
From scientific revolutions to Boston AA : philosophy and the speaking of matter -- What is the history of philosophy? -- Aristotle, oppression, and metaphysics -- Modernism in philosophy : fulfillment and subversion in Kant -- The malleability of reason : Hegel's return to Heracleitus -- The fragility of reason : earth, art, and politics in Heidegger -- Dialectics, thermodynamics, and the end of critique -- Critical practice and public goods : the role of philosophy.
The "only pretension, of which I am tenacious," wrote Hazlitt, "is that of being a metaphysician"; but his metaphysics, and particularly what this book identifies as his power principle, has until now been neglected. This exciting book studies Hazlitt's development of the power principle as a counter to the pleasure principle of the Utilitarians, and examines the revelation of power in his philosophy of discourse, his account of imaginative structure, his theory of genius, and his moral theory.
This collection of new essays put the debates on the mind-body problem into historical context. The discussions range from Aristotle, Aquinas and Descartes to the origins of the qualia and intentionality.
Newly updated study surveys concept of space from standpoint of historical development. Space in antiquity, Judeo-Christian ideas about space, Newton’s concept of absolute space, space from 18th century to present. Extensive new chapter (6) reviews changes in philosophy of space since publication of second edition (1969). Numerous original quotations and bibliographical references. "...admirably compact and swiftly paced style."—Philosophy of Science. Foreword by Albert Einstein. Bibliography.
The problem of explaining consciousness today depends on the meaning of language: the ordinary language of consciousness in which we define and express our sensations, thoughts, dreams and memories. Paul Livingston argues that this contemporary problem arises from a quest that developed over the twentieth century, and that historical analysis provides new resources for understanding and resolving it. Accordingly, Livingston traces the application of characteristic practices of analytic philosophy to problems about the relationship of experience to linguistic meaning.
Nicolai Hartmann was one of the most prolific and original, yet sober, clear and rigorous, 20th century German philosophers. Hartmann was brought up as a Neo-Kantian, but soon turned his back on Kantianism to become one of the most important proponents of ontological realism. He developed what he calls the “new ontology”, on which relies a systematic opus dealing with all the main areas of philosophy. His work had major influences both in philosophy and in various scientific disciplines. The contributions (...) collected in this volume from an international group of Hartmann scholars and philosophers explore subjects such as Hartmann's philosophical development from Neo-Kantianism to ontological realism, the difference between the way he and Heidegger overcame Neo-Kantianism, his Platonism concerning eternal objects and his interpretation of Plato, his Aristotelianism, his theoretical relation to Wolff's ontology and Meinong's theory of objects, his treatment and use of the aporematic method, his metaphysics, his ethics and theory of values, his philosophy of mind, his philosophy of mathematics, as well as the influence he had on 20th century philosophical anthropology and biology. (shrink)
Heidegger is now widely recognized as one of the most influential and controversial philosophers of the twentieth century, yet much of his later philosophy remains shrouded in confusion and controversy. Restoring Heidegger's understanding of metaphysics as 'ontotheology' to its rightful place at the center of his later thought, this book demonstrates the depth and significance of his controversial critique of technology, his appalling misadventure with Nazism, his prescient critique of the university, and his important philosophical suggestions for the future (...) of higher education. It will be required reading for those seeking to understand the relationship between Heidegger's philosophy and National Socialism, as well as the continuing relevance of his work. (shrink)
This book studies Wallace Stevens and pre-Socratic poetic philosophy, showing how concepts that animate Stevens’ poetry parallel concepts found in the works of Parmenides, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Xenophanes.
Martin Heidegger's dispute with metaphysics -- The Heidegerrian arbitration of first philosophy -- The rejection of metaphysics as ontotheology -- An illusory extra-metaphysical thinking about Sein -- The replacement of metaphysics by an ontologistic gnosis -- A metaphysical cataloguing of Heidegger's thought about Sein -- The rejection of metaphysics as a regression to gnosticism.