In this fully revised and updated version of the highly successful first edition, Michael J. Loux provides a fresh look at the central topics in metaphysics rendering this essential reading for anyone interested in metaphysics. Wherever possible, the author relates contemporary views to their classical sources in the history of philosophy.Some of the topics addressed include: the problem of universals; the nature of abstract entities; the problem of individuation; the nature of modality; identity through time; the nature (...) of time and a new chapter on the realism/antirealism debate. (shrink)
Heidegger’s deconstruction of the history of Western metaphysics has been a major influence behind poststructural critiques of modernity as well as more apologetic attempts to maintain a dialogue with historical sources, such as Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics. This bifurcation has intensified the ambiguity of Heidegger’s project: was it an attempt to relinquish philosophical ties to the past or a call for a fundamental reinterpretation of them? In this article I argue the latter,focusing my analysis on Heidegger’s notions of appropriation (...) and historicity. On the one hand, appropriation is the hermeneutical event by which ontology is reinfused into a reading of historical sources. On the other hand, historicity is the self-reflexive historical involvement by which we become aware of what contemporary, philosophical conditions necessitate this reengagement. In the end, Heidegger’s critique of metaphysics arises from this self-reflexivity. It deconstructs the prevailing misunderstandings of philosophical sources in order to allow for reinterpretation at a revivified ontological level constantly in view of the question of being. (shrink)
No single text could be considered more important in the history of philosophy than Descartes' Meditations. This unique collection of background material to this magisterial philosophical text has been translated from the original French and Latin. The texts gathered here illustrate the kinds of principles, assumptions, and philosophical methods that were commonplace when Descartes was growing up. The selections are from: Francisco Sanches, Christopher Clavius, Pierre de la Ramee (Petrus Ramus), Francisco Suárez, Pierre Charron, Eustachius a Sancto Paulo, Scipion Dupleix, (...) Marin Mersenne, Pierre Gassendi, Jean de Silhon, François de la Mothe le Vayer, Charles Sorel, and Jean-Baptiste Morin. (shrink)
When I say that my conception of metaphysics is Aristotelian, or neo-Aristotelian, this may have more to do with Aristotle’s philosophical methodology than his metaphysics, but, as I see it, the core of this Aristotelian conception of metaphysics is the idea that metaphysics is the first philosophy . In what follows I will attempt to clarify what this conception of metaphysics amounts to in the context of some recent discussion on the methodology of metaphysics (...) (e.g. Chalmers et al . (2009), Ladyman and Ross (2007)). There is a lot of hostility towards the Aristotelian conception of metaphysics in this literature: for instance, the majority of the contributors to the Metametaphysics volume assume a rather more deflationary, Quinean approach towards metaphysics. In the process of replying to the criticisms towards Aristotelian metaphysics put forward in recent literature I will also identify some methodological points which deserve more attention and ought to be addressed in future research. (shrink)
Perhaps no one has done more in the last 30 years to advance thinking in the metaphysics of modality than has Alvin Plantinga. Collected here are some of his most important essays on this influential subject. Dating back from the late 1960's to the present, they chronicle the development of Plantinga's thoughts about some of the most fundamental issues in metaphysics: what is the nature of abstract objects like possible worlds, properties, propositions, and such phenomena? Are there possible (...) but non-actual objects? Can objects that do not exist exemplify properties? Plantinga gives thorough and penetrating to all of these questions and many others. This volume contains some of the best work in metaphysics from the past 30 years, and will remain a source of critical contention and keen interest among philosophers of metaphysics and philosophical logic for years to come. (shrink)
Samkhya and Yoga are two of the oldest and most influential systems of classical Indian philosophy. This book provides a thorough analysis of the systems in order to fully understand Indian philosophy. Placing particular emphasis on the metaphysical schema which underlies both concepts, the author aptly develops a new interpretation of the standard views on Samkhya and Yoga. Drawing upon existing sources and using insights from both eastern and western philosophy and religious practice, this comprehensive interpretation is respectful to (...) the underlying spiritual purpose of the Indian systems. It serves to illuminate the relation between the theoretical and practical dimensions of Samkhya and Yoga. The book fills a gap in current scholarship. It will be of interest to those concerned with Indology as well as philosophies in general and their similarities and differences with other traditions. (shrink)
: This paper interprets Descartes's use of the Scholastic doctrine of divine concurrence in light of contemporaneous sources, and argues against two prevailing occasionalist interpretations. On the first occasionalist reading God's concurrence or cooperation with natural causes is always mediate (i.e., concurrence reduces to God's continual recreation of substances). The second reading restricts God's immediate concurrence to his co-action with minds. This paper shows that Descartes's metaphysical commitments do not necessitate either form of occasionalism, and that he is more (...) plausibly and charitably read as appropriating elements of Scholastic views on concurrence to bridge the gap between his metaphysics and physics. (shrink)
This study aims to propose a rational reconstruction of the theory-core ofWittgenstein's Tractatus, in order to bring into prominence its theoreticaland philosophical sources, its epistemological nature and metaphysical significance.The main idea of my approach is that when we take due account of the scientific andphilosophical context of the Tractatus, we see that its central philosophicalinnovation is a new form of metaphysics, namely a structural theory of representation.``I am not interested in constructing a building,so much as in having a (...) perspicuous view of the foundation of possible buildings.''. (shrink)
Exploring the central ideas of traditional metaphysics--such as the simplicity of nature, its comprehensibility, or its systematic integrity--this book analyzes looking at such notions from a scientific point of view. It seeks to describe in a clear, accessible manner the metaphysical situation that characterizes the process of inquiry in natural science, aiming to shed light on reality by examining the modus operandi of natural science itself and focusing as much on its findings as on its conceptual and methodological presuppositions. (...) Written by an eminent scholar of philosophy, this book is the culmination of many years of penetrating work. It is the definitive presentation of some of Nicholas Rescher's most fascinating ideas and is an engaging source for philosophers and non-philosophers alike. (shrink)
Since Descartes, the nature of doubt has played a central role in the development of metaphysics both positively and negatively. Despite this fact, there has been very little discussion centering round the specific nature of doubt which led, for example, to the Cartesian discovery of the cogito. Certainly, the role of doubt has been well recognized: through doubt Descartes arrives at his indubitable first principle. But what can it mean to doubt the existence of the sensible world? This would (...) seem to rest upon the assumption that we have clear and distinct knowledge of the precise nature of what it means to exist and indeed of what it means to be. As it stands, Descartes’ initiates his Meditations upon certain definite assumptions that demand more thorough interrogation. In this paper and presentation, I examine the possible assumptions inherent in the Cartesian method of doubt within the first and second meditation and the manner in which this leads to the discovery of the cogito. I consider a number of essential questions in light of this: What presuppositions lie at bottom to Cartesian doubt? What is the precise nature of metaphysical doubt? What can it mean to doubt the existence of the sensible world? (shrink)
Metaphysics and Transcendence takes up this story for the future. Arthur Gibson presents a new metaphysics with a genealogy based on counter-intuition and locates counter-intuition and complexity at the foundations of truth. Having devised fresh concepts on the basis of the new frontiers of science and philosophy, the author presents original explanations of transcendence arguing that just as we need revolutionary and original ways of depicting the physical world, so it is with such topics as God, (...) miracles, the resurrection, the source and identity of consciousness and reason itself. (shrink)
This paper offers two related refl ections on the questions of metaphysics after critique. The first is an analysis of the project of critique since Kant and its influence on the disputed status of metaphysics. It explores the theoretical and practical aspects of this by claiming that an understanding of thinking as negativity, whether in Hegelian form as determinate negation or in more radical deconstructive forms, lies at the heart of this disputed status. Not least, the relation of (...) philosophy to religion and to previous practices of metaphysics is at stake. The paper argues that there is more at work in critique than critique can account for through itself. In a second reflection, the arguments bearing on this “more” are explored in a more constructive spirit. On the basis of an account of the sources of metaphysical thinking beyond the resources of critique alone, the lineaments of what is needed for a metaxological metaphysics after critique are sketched. (shrink)
Badiou claims Deleuze’s thinking is pre-critical metaphysics that can-not be understood in relation to Kant. I argue that Deleuze is indeed a metaphysical thinker, but precisely because he is a kind of Kantian. Badiou is right that Deleuze rejects the overwhelmingly epistemic problems of critical thought in its canonical sense, but he is wrong to claim that Deleuze completely rejects Kant. Instead, Deleuze is interested in developing a metaphysics that prolongs Kant’s conception of a productive synthesis irreducible to (...) empirical causation. Where Badiou’s criticism might hold, however, is in the risk that Deleuze’s strategy runs of contaminating his new metaphysics with a new kind of transcendental idealism. This reading has recently been developed by Ray Brassier and I explore and evaluate it, concluding that in Difference and Repetition this accusation may be correct, but that by the time of Anti-Oedipus, Deleuze (now with Guattari) has the intellectual re-sources to resist it. (shrink)
In this refreshingly original and accessible investigation into the nature of metaphysics, Heather Dyke argues that for too long philosophy has suffered from a language fixation. Where this language fixation leads philosophers to reason badly, she calls it the ‘‘representational fallacy’’. She illustrates the various ways it can lead philosophers astray and argues that metaphysics can be better done without it. She discusses the philosophy of time as an illustration of how a metaphysical debate about the nature of (...) time was needlessly transformed into a sterile debate about language and of how, once the focus on language is dropped, a new metaphysical strategy emer- ges. Dyke shows how the same applies to other debates in metaphysics and how this promises fruitful new research programmes, where the focus is on ontology rather than on language. The clear and accessible way in which current practice in metaphysics is brought under the spotlight will challenge philosophers to examine their own methodology. (shrink)
Method and Metaphysics presents twenty-six essays in ancient philosophy by Jonathan Barnes, one of the most admired and influential scholars of his generation. The essays span four decades of his career, and are drawn from a wide variety of sources: many of them will be relatively unknown even to specialists in ancient philosophy. Several essays are now translated from the original French and made available in English for the first time; others have been substantially revised for republication here. (...) The volume opens with eight essays about the interpretation of ancient philosophical texts, and about the relationship between philosophy and its history. The next five essays examine the methods of ancient philosophers. The third section comprises thirteen essays about metaphysical topics, from the Presocratics to the late Platonists. This collection will be a rich feast for students and scholars of ancient philosophy. (shrink)
This article argues that Fichte is correct in claiming, as he does in the Foundations of Natural Right, that a derivation of the law of right from the moral law is impossible because the former relies on lex permissiva. I focus on Kant’s deduction of the concept of merely intelligible possession in the Metaphysics of Morals precisely because Kant attempts what Fichte says is not possible. By illustrating the problems involved in the concept of the lex permissiva, one is (...) then in a position to see why Fichte believes the derivations mustremain separate and why Fichte stresses that the law of right must be argued for without reference to morality or the moral law. (shrink)
In this chapter I offer an interpretation of Judith Butler’s metaphysics of sex and gender and situate it in the ontological landscape alongside what has long been the received view of sex and gender in the English speaking world, which owes its inspiration to the works of Simone de Beauvoir. I then offer a critique of Butler’s view, as interpreted, and subsequently an original account of sex and gender, according to which both are constructed—or conferred, as I would put (...) it— albeit in different ways and subject to different constraints. (shrink)
Process metaphysics has had a more limited impact in Roman Catholic theology than it has had in Protestant theology. In The One, the Many, and the Trinity, Marc Pugliese traces the development of Roman Catholic theology synthesized with process theology as it is found in the thought of Joseph A. Bracken, S. J. As the title indicates, Bracken’s process perspective concerning the Trinity is the main focus of the book. The One, the Many, and the Trinity consists of four (...) chapters wherein Pugliese carefully surveys Bracken’s philosophy, explaining how it incorporates a sweeping array of sources, including classical Greek thought, Thomism, modern philosophy, German idealism, American pragmatism, and .. (shrink)
The contemporary secularism is found to be a philosophy of life “as if there were no God” or a kind of ideology, which demands an absolute autonomy of human being to shape his destination. In the philosophy of Descartes at least three sources of secularism could be found: his theory of cognition which resulted in developing other than the classical concept of truth and rationality; his metaphysics; his arguments for the existence of God and in his concept of (...) the nature of God. Karl Marx’s criticism of religion was a next powerful factor on the advance of secularism. Marx makes the charge against the religion that it acts to reinforce the break down the conscience of man living in the modern society, into a public and a private realm. The widest criticism of religion was made by Marx in: Acontribution to the Hegel’s criticism on the philosophy of law”. Especially its first seven paragraph, are particularly important in view of the advance of secularism. F. Nietzsche undermines metaphysics by showing that knowledge of a non-empirical world is cognitively superfluous. He makes clear that he has moved beyond the assumption that there might be a metaphysical world to a positing of the empirical world as the only one. Nietzsche considers that the notion of God is inimical to human nature and human life. Is this really so in reality? Is Nietzsche’s consideration about God and religion in any way applicable to our own age? (shrink)
Situating Lotze in the School of Speculative Theology, I use debates about Schelling’s critique of Hegel—then and now—to understand Lotze’s critique of Hegel. Lotze’s early metaphysics seems to employ a version of Hegel’s dialectical analysis of being, phenomena, and mind emphasizing “the interconnection of things.” One can equally argue that he proceeds in an analytic style of reviewing and testing alternative theories. My tentative conclusion is that he assumes the existence of reality (the Absolute) like Schelling, and makes cognition (...) a process subordinate to that reality. In this respect, he goes beyond his Kantian mentors J. F. Fries and E. F. Apelt. From all these sources came a radically original Gestalt metaphysics. For example, he reverses Kant’s forms of intuition (Anschauung) into “forms of intuitability”(Anschaulichkeit), including the relational categories of space, time, motion, mechanism, organism, law, and event. He then makes the categories into ethical levels of a “teleological idealism.” In this way he overcomes his Herbartian teachers’ separation of metaphysics from ethics, evincing his center Hegelian roots. (shrink)
This paper shows that our principal ancient source for the metaphysical views of the second-century Platonist Harpocration of Argos drew on his interpretation of Plato's Cratylus. This is important because there is no other evidence of the Cratylus being read for its metaphysical content until Proclus, 300 years later. It also changes our understanding of Harpocration: he is generally supposed to share the metaphysical views of Numenius, but his exegesis of the Cratylus reveals him to be a faithful student of (...) Atticus. (shrink)
A modest proposal concerning laws, counterfactuals, and explanations - - Why be Humean? -- Suggestions from physics for deep metaphysics -- On the passing of time -- Causation, counterfactuals, and the third factor -- The whole ball of wax -- Epilogue : a remark on the method of metaphysics.
In this classic, exciting, and thoughtful text, Metaphysics , Peter van Inwagen examines three profound questions: What are the most general features of the world? Why is there a world? and What is the place of human beings in the world? Metaphysics introduces to readers the curious notion that is metaphysics, how it is conceived both historically and currently. The author's work can serve either as a textbook in a university course on metaphysics or as an (...) introduction to metaphysical thinking for the interested reader. This second edition, revised though not fundamentally changed, includes the basis of the first edition with a new chapter on the nature of time. (shrink)
Mysticism claims of its logical scheme that it is Euclidean, that from its first axiom or principle the remainder of its doctrine follows, but it makes this claim in so many languages and in such a variety of obscure and self-contradictory ways that it is difficult to discern how this could be possible, and it is rarely considered a plausible claim in metaphysics. I believe it is plausible, and in this essay I try to explain why.
We divide analytic metaphysics into naturalistic and non-naturalistic metaphysics. The latter we define as any philosophical theory that makes some ontological (as opposed to conceptual) claim, where that ontological claim has no observable consequences. We discuss further features of non-naturalistic metaphysics, including its methodology of appealing to intuition, and we explain the way in which we take it to be discontinuous with science. We outline and criticize Ladyman and Ross's 2007 epistemic argument against non-naturalistic metaphysics. We (...) then present our own argument against it. We set out various ways in which intellectual endeavours can be of value, and we argue that, in so far as it claims to be an ontological enterprise, non-naturalistic metaphysics cannot be justified according to the same standards as science or naturalistic metaphysics. The lack of observable consequences explains why non-naturalistic metaphysics has, in general, failed to make progress, beyond increasing the standards of clarity and precision in expressing its theories. We end with a series of objections and replies. (shrink)
In this paper I examine what exactly is ‘Aristotelian metaphysics’. My inquiry into Aristotelian metaphysics should not be understood to be so much concerned with the details of Aristotle's metaphysics. I am are rather concerned with his methodology of metaphysics, although a lot of the details of his metaphysics survive in contemporary discussion as well. This warrants an investigation into the methodological aspects of Aristotle's metaphysics. The key works that we will be looking at (...) are his Physics, Metaphysics, Categories and De Interpretatione. Perhaps the most crucial features of the Aristotelian method of philosophising are the relationship between science and metaphysics, and his defence of the principle of non-contradiction (PNC). For Aristotle, natural science is the second philosophy, but this is so only because there is something more fundamental in the world, something that natural science – a science of movement – cannot study. Furthermore, Aristotle demonstrates that metaphysics enters the picture at a fundamental level, as he argues that PNC is a metaphysical rather than a logical principle. The upshot of all this is that the Aristotelian method and his metaphysics are not threatened by modern science, quite the opposite. Moreover, we have in our hands a methodology which is very rigorous indeed and worthwhile for any metaphysician to have a closer look at. (shrink)
A personal view is presented of how metaphysics and ontology stand at the beginning of the twenty-first century, in the light of developments during the twentieth. It is argued that realist metaphysics, with serious ontology at its heart, has a promising future, provided that its adherents devote some time and effort to countering the influences of both its critics and its false friends.
This paper explores the relation between two ways of thinking about the sources of self-consciousness. We can think about the sources of self-consciousness either in genetic terms (as the origins or precursors of self-conscious thoughts) or in epistemic terms (as the grounds of self-conscious judgements). Using Christopher Peacocke's account of self-conscious judgements in Being Known as a foil, this paper brings out some important ways in which we need to draw upon the sources of self-consciousness in the (...) genetic sense for a proper understanding of the sources of self-consciousness in the epistemic sense. (shrink)
The view that metaphysics is a waste of time appears to be gaining in popularity with every passing day. It is held openly by many scientists and even by many philosophers. I argue here that this is a consequence of the way metaphysics is often done, the futility of a certain approach to it, and not a reason to suppose that there is no useful knowledge to be acquired in metaphysics.
In this paper, I suggest an outline of a new interpretation of core issues in Spinoza’s metaphysics and philosophy of mind. I argue for three major theses. (1) In the first part of the paper I show that the celebrated Spinozistic doctrine commonly termed “the doctrine of parallelism” is in fact a confusion of two separate and independent doctrines of parallelism. Hence, I argue that our current understanding of Spinoza’s metaphysics and philosophy of mind is fundamentally flawed. (2) (...) The clarification and setting apart of the two doctrines will also put us in a position to present my second major thesis and address one of the more interesting and enduring problems in Spinoza’s metaphysics: how can the attribute of thought be, on the one hand, isomorphic with any other attribute, and yet, on the other hand, be isomorphic with God himself, who has infinitely many attributes? In the second part of the paper, I present Spinoza’s solution to this problem. I argue that the number and order of modes is the same in all attributes. Yet, modes of Thought, unlike modes of any other attribute, have an infinitely-faceted internal structure so that one and the same idea represents infinitely many modes by having infinitely many facets (or aspects). (3) This new understanding of the inner structure of ideas in Spinoza will lead us to my third thesis in which I explain and solve another old riddle in Spinoza’s metaphysics: his insistence on the impossibility of the human mind knowing any of God’s infinite attributes other than Thought and Extension. In the third part, I show some of the major ramifications of my new interpretation and respond to some important objections. In my conclusion I discuss the philosophical importance of my interpretation. I explain why Spinoza could not embrace reductive idealism in spite of the preeminence he grants to the attribute of Thought. I argue that Spinoza is a dualist -- not a mind-body dualist, as he is commonly conceived to be, but rather a dualist of Thought and Being. Finally, I suggest that Spinoza’s position on the mind-body issue breaks with the traditional categories and ways of addressing the subject by suggesting a view which grants clear primacy to Thought without accepting any idealist reduction of bodies to thought. (shrink)
This challenging study places fiction squarely at the center of the discussion of metaphysics. Philosophers have traditionally treated fiction as involving a set of narrow problems in logic or the philosophy of language. By contrast Amie Thomasson argues that fiction has far-reaching implications for central problems of metaphysics. The book develops an 'artifactual' theory of fiction, whereby fictional characters are abstract artifacts as ordinary as laws or symphonies or works of literature. By understanding fictional characters we come to (...) understand how other cultural and social objects are established on the basis of the independent physical world and the mental states of human beings. (shrink)
Lowe argues in this fascinating new study that metaphysics should be restored to centrality in philosophy, as the most fundamental form of inquiry, whose findings underpin those of all other disciplines. He portrays metaphysics as charting the possibilities of existence, by identifying the categories of being and the relations between them. He then sets out his own metaphysical system, with which he seeks to answer many of the most vexed questions in philosophy.
In this piece I address the question of how the two parts of the *Metaphysics of Morals* are to be related to each other through invocation of the notion of practical schematism. In the process I argue that understanding the notion of moral teleology will help us address the relationship between Kant's principles of right, virtue and the categorical imperative.
Abstract The article is a reading, in conjunction with one-another, of Time and Being and What is metaphysics. Its scope is that of raising questions on certain Heideggerian topics that are here formulated as thesis. Namely, first that the turn in Heidegger’s thinking is not a change in his process of thinking, but rather an essential trait of what Heidegger calls the matter at hand (Sachverhalt). Secondly, that this turn of the matter at hand is in itself memory in (...) a twofold way: as metaphysics in its relation to being and time, and as questioning of this metaphysical relation. And finally, that this turn is a technical one, in the sense of technique as this latter is, in Heidegger’s thinking, the original determination of Being as Anwesenheit. (shrink)