This article spells out the reasons for calling God a substance and argues that theism nevertheless does not require substance ontology. It is compatible with an alternative ontology which I call stuff ontology.
It is widely thought that mind–body substance dualism is implausible at best, though mere “property” dualism is defensible and even flourishing. This paper argues that substance dualism is no less plausible than property dualism and even has two advantages over it.
Substance dualism, that most unpopular of current theories of mind, continues to find interesting and able defenders.1 I shall focus on one set of arguments supplied by one of the current defenders, and I shall argue that these arguments fail. That in itself is a matter of some interest, since it is always reassuring to be able to demonstrate that unpopular doctrines are rightly unpopular. But I hope that a further interest will attach to the refutation, in that it (...) will invoke some relatively unfamiliar thoughts about the nature of perception. (shrink)
Unger has recently argued that if you are the only thinking and experiencing subject in your chair, then you are not a material object. This leads Unger to endorse a version of Substance Dualism according to which we are immaterial souls. This paper argues that this is an overreaction. We argue that the specifically Dualist elements of Unger’s view play no role in his response to the problem; only the view’s structure is required, and that is available to Unger’s (...) opponents. We outline one such non-Dualist view, suggest how to resolve the dispute, respond to some objections, and argue that ours is but one of many views that survive Unger’s challenge. All these views are incompatible with microphysicalism. So Unger’s discussion does contain an insight: if you are the only conscious subject in your chair, then microphsyicalism is false. Unger’s mistake was to infer Substance Dualism from this; for microphysicalism is not the only alternative to Dualism. (shrink)
Abstract Substance dualism is widely rejected by philosophers of mind, but many continue to accept some form of property dualism. The assumption here is that one can consistently believe that (1) mental properties are not physical properties, while denying that (2) mental particulars are not physical particulars. But is this assumption true? This paper considers several analyses of what makes something a physical particular (as opposed to a non-physical particular), and it is argued that on any plausible analysis, accepting (...) (1) requires accepting (2) as well. (shrink)
The *Tractatus* contains an argument that there are simple, necessarily existent objects, which, being simple, are suited to be the referents of the names occuring in the final analysis of propositions. The argument is perplexing in its own right, but also for its invocation of the notion of "substance". I argue that if one locates Wittgenstein's conception of substance in the Kantian tradition to which his talk of "substance" alludes, what emerges is an argument that is very (...) nearly--but not quite--cogent. (shrink)
Descartes claims that God is a substance, and that mind and body are two different and separable substances. This paper provides some background that renders these claims intelligible. For Descartes, that something is real means it can exist in separation, and something is a substance if it does not depend on other substances for its existence. Further, separable objects are correlates of distinct ideas, for an idea is distinct (in an objective sense) if its object may be easily (...) and clearly separated from everything that is not its object. It follows that if our idea of God is our most distinct idea, as Descartes claims, then God must be a substance in the Cartesian sense of the term. Also, if we can have an idea of a thinking subject which does not in any sense refer to bodily things, and if bodily things are substances, then mind and body must be two different substances. (shrink)
Locke’s conception of substance in general or substratum has two relatively widespread interpretations. According to the traditional one, substance in general is the bearer of properties, a pure subject, something which sustains properties but itself has no properties. According to the other interpretation, substance is general is something like real essence: an underlying structure which is responsible for the fact that certain observable properties form stable, recurrent clusters. I will argue that both interpretation are partly right, and (...) what is good in them can be reconciled. The traditional interpretation captures the purpose and signficanc of the idea of substance in general, i.e. the reason why Locke says we have this idea. The real essence view is right about the real world counterpart of the idea, i.e. what sort of entity the idea corresponds to. The paper starts with a review of the strengths and weaknesses of the rival interpretations (I, II). Then I examine which part of the traditional interpretation can be sustained in light of the problems it faces (III). Thereafter I will show that the part of the traditional interpretation which can be sustained cannot stand on its own and needs to be supplemented at one point, and the real essence view can provide what is needed. This, as it were, mixed interpretation will be supported by sketching an argument which is plausible within the context of Locke’s teachings and which explains how Locke could have arrived from the view which the traditional interpretation correctly attributes to him to the view which the real essence interpretation takes him to espouse (IV). The two problematic points in this argument will be taken up in the following two sections. (V, VI). Finally, I will provide some evidence from the Drafts for Locke’s identification of substance and essence (VII). (shrink)
This article interprets Newton’s De gravitatione as presenting a reductive account of substance, on which divine and created substances are identified with their characteristic attributes, which are present in space. God is identical to the divine power to create, and mind to its characteristic power. Even bodies lack parts outside parts, for they are not constructed from regions of actual space, as some commentators suppose, but rather consist in powers alone, maintained in certain configurations by the divine will. This (...) interpretation thus specifies Newton’s meaning when he writes that bodies subsist ‘through God alone’; yet bodies do qualify as substances, and divine providence does not extend so far as occasionalism. (shrink)
Is the self a substance, as Descartes thought, or is it 'only' a bundle of perceptions, as Hume thought ? In this paper I will examine these two views, especially with respect to two central features that have played a central role in the discussion, both of which can be quickly and usefully explained if one puts them as an objection to the bundle view. First, friends of the substance view have insisted that only if one conceives of (...) the self as a substance is it possible to account for genuine particularity of selves and genuine persistence through time of them. I will discuss in detail this claim as well as a special case of persistence - the case of a fission of a self - and I will ask, as Shoemaker (1997) did, how such a case can be handled by the two competing theories. The second central point of traditional disagreement concerns independence : it is often said that only a substance, but not a mere bundle, is independent enough of its properties to play properly the role of a self, and I will have something to say about this. Concerning all these points, my thesis will be a meta-theoretical one : contrary to appearances, both views can accommodate all of them (particularity at a time, persistence, fission, independence) in the same way, and I will examine two possible conclusions to be drawn from this : either that the differences between the two views are no more than terminological and that they turn out to be equivalent views, or that the differences are metaphysical but that it is epistemically under-determined which one of the views we should choose. (shrink)
Russell’s critique of substance monism is an ideal starting point from which to understand some main concepts in Spinoza’s difficult metaphysics. This paper provides an in-depth examination of Spinoza’s proof that only one substance exists. On this basis, it rejects Russell’s interpretation of Spinoza’s theory of reality as founded upon the logical doctrine that all propositions consist of a predicate and a subject. An alternative interpretation is offered: Spinoza’s substance is not a bearer of properties, as Russell (...) implied, but an eternally active, self-actualizing creative power. Eventually, Spinoza the Monist and Russell the Pluralist are at one in holding that process and activity rather than enduring things are the most fundamental realities. (shrink)
Individual substances are the ground of Aristotle’s ontology. Taking a liberal approach to existence, Aristotle accepts among existents entities in such categories other than substance as quality, quantity and relation; and, within each category, individuals and universals. As I will argue, individual substances are ontologically independent from all these other entities, while all other entities are ontologically dependent on individual substances. The association of substance with independence has a long history and several contemporary metaphysicians have pursued the connection. (...) In this chapter, I will discuss the intersection of these notions of substance and ontological dependence in Aristotle. I will canvass a few contemporary formulations of ontological dependence and discuss some of the interpretative difficulties in ascribing any of these formulations to Aristotle’s characterization of individual substances as ontologically independent. My aim is not to resolve fully these difficulties but to locate the topics of substance and independence relative to certain other controversies in Aristotle studies. However, I will sketch a position. In particular, elsewhere I have speculated that Aristotle is both a primitivist and a pluralist with respect to ontological dependence, and I will develop this line of interpretation a bit further later in the chapter. (shrink)
This paper examines an often-ignored aspect of the evaluation of metaphysical analyses, namely, their ontological commitments. Such evaluations are part of metaphysical methodology, and reflection on this methodology is itself part of metametaphysics. I will develop a theory for assessing what these commitments are, and then I will apply it to an important historical and an important contemporary metaphysical analysis of the concept of an individual substance (i.e., an object, or thing). I claim that in evaluating metaphysical analyses, we (...) should not only rule out counterexamples, but also compare them with respect to their ontological commitments, and we should hold that if they are comparable in other respects, then an analysis with fewer such commitments is preferable to one with more (There is, of course, a connection between counterexamples and ontological commitments. If the existence or possible existence of something one is committed to the existence or possible existence of is incompatible with an analysis, then one should reject that analysis as inadequate to the data. On the other hand, if one is uncertain about the existence or possible existence of something that is incompatible with an analysis, then while this does not refute the analysis for one, it raises doubts about it. The fewer such doubts are raised by an analysis, the better it is.). (shrink)
Locke’s conception of substance in general or substratum has two relatively widespread interpretations. According to one, substance in general is the bearer of properties, a pure subject, something which sustains properties but itself has no properties. I will call this interpretation traditional, because it has already been formulated by Leibniz. According to the other interpretation, substance is general is something like real essence: an underlying structure which is responsible for the fact that certain observable properties form stable, (...) recurrent clusters. I will argue that both interpretation are partly right, and what is good in them can be reconciled. The traditional interpretation captures the purpose and signficanc of the idea of substance in general, i.e. the reason why Locke says we have this idea. The real essence view is right about the real world counterpart of the idea, i.e. what sort of entity the idea corresponds to. The paper starts with a review of the strengths and weaknesses of the rival interpretations (I, II). Then I examine which part of the traditional interpretation can be sustained in light of the problems it faces (III). Thereafter I will show that the part of the traditional interpretation which can be sustained cannot stand on its own and needs to be supplemented at one point, and the real essence view can provide what is needed. This, as it were, mixed interpretation will be supported by sketching an argument which is plausible within the context of Locke’s teachings and which explains how Locke could have arrived from the view which the traditional interpretation correctly attributes to him to the view which the real essence interpretation takes him to espouse (IV). The two problematic points in this argument will be taken up in the following two sections. (V, VI). Finally, I will provide some evidence from the Drafts for Locke’s identification of substance and essence (VII). (shrink)
Substance: Its Nature and Existence investigates the very nature and existence of individual substances, including both living things and inanimate objects. It provides an accessible introduction to the history and contemporary debates of this important and often complex issue. Starting with a critical survey of the main historical attempts by Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Locke and Hume to provide an analysis of substance, the authors present the view that a substance must satisfy an independence condition which could not (...) be satisfied by an insubstantial entity. Throughout the book, the authors also consider problems for the notion of substance raised by the unity of the parts of organisms and explore the problem of how we can actually know what kinds of physical substance there are. (shrink)
According to the theory of intrinsic value and moral standing called the ‘substance view,’ what makes it prima facie seriously wrong to kill adult human beings, human infants, and even human fetuses is the possession of the essential property of the basic capacity for rational moral agency – a capacity for rational moral agency in root form and thereby not remotely exercisable. In this critique, I cover three distinct reductio charges directed at the substance view's conclusion that human (...) fetuses have the same intrinsic value and moral standing as adult human beings. After giving consideration to defenders of the substance view's replies to these charges, I then critique each of them, ultimately concluding that none is successful. Of course, in order to understand all of these things – the reductio charges, defenders of the substance view's replies to them, and my criticisms of their replies – one must have a better understanding of the substance view (in particular, its understanding of rational moral agency) as well as its defense. Accordingly, I address the substance view's understanding of rational moral agency as well as present its defense. (shrink)
A striking feature of Newton’s thought is the very broad reach of his empiricism, potentially extending even to immaterial substances, including God, minds, and should one exist, a non-perceiving immaterial medium. Yet Newton is also drawn to certain metaphysical principles—most notably the principle that matter cannot act where it is not—and this second, rationalist feature of his thought is most pronounced in his struggle to discover ‘gravity’s cause’. The causal problem remains vexing, for he neither invokes primary causation, nor accepts (...) action at a distance by locating active powers in matter. To the extent that he is drawn to metaphysical principles, then, the causal problem is that of discovering some non-perceiving immaterial medium. Yet Newton’s thought has a third striking feature, one with roots in the other two: he allows that substances of different kinds might simultaneously occupy the very same region of space. I elicit the implications of these three features. For Newton to insist upon all three would transform the causal question about gravity into an insoluble problem about apportioning active powers. More seriously, it would undermine his means of individuating substances, provoking what I call ‘Newton’s Substance Counting Problem’. (shrink)
In his well-known Discourse on Metaphysics , Leibniz puts individual substance at the basis of metaphysical building. In so doing, he connects himself to a venerable tradition. His theory of individual concept, however, breaks with another idea of the same tradition, that no account of the individual as such can be given. Contrary to what has been commonly accepted, Leibniz’s intuitions are not the mere result of the transcription of subject-predicate logic, nor of the uncritical persistence of some old (...) metaphysical assumptions. They grow, instead, from an unprejudiced inquiry about our basic ontological framework, where logic of truth, linguistic analysis, and phenomenological experience of the mind’s life are tightly interwoven. Leibniz’s struggle for a concept capable of grasping concrete individuals as such is pursued in an age of great paradigm changes – from the Scholastic background to Hobbes’s nominalism to the Cartesian ‘way of ideas’ or Spinoza’s substance metaphysics – when the relationships among words, ideas and things are intensively discussed and wholly reshaped. This is the context where the genesis and significance of Leibniz’s theory of ‘complete being’ and its concept are reconstrued. The result is a fresh look at some of the most perplexing issues in Leibniz scholarship, like his ideas about individual identity and the thesis that all its properties are essential to an individual. The questions Leibniz faces, and to which his theory of individual substance aims to answer, are yet, to a large extent, those of contemporary metaphysics: how to trace a categorial framework? How to distinguish concrete and abstract items? What is the metaphysical basis of linguistic predication? How is trans-temporal sameness assured? How to make sense of essential attributions? In this ontological framework Leibniz’s further questions about the destiny of human individuals and their history are spelt out. Maybe his answers also have something to tell us. This book is aimed at all who are interested in Leibniz’s philosophy, history of early modern philosophy and metaphysical issues in their historical development. (shrink)
In this book, which thoroughly revises and greatly expands his classic work Sameness and Substance (1980), David Wiggins retrieves and refurbishes in the light of twentieth-century logic and logical theory certain conceptions of identity, of substance and of persistence through change that philosophy inherits from its past. In this new version, he vindicates the absoluteness, necessity, determinateness and all or nothing character of identity against rival conceptions. He defends a form of essentialism that he calls individuative essentialism, and (...) then a form of realism that he calls conceptualist realism. In a final chapter he advocates a human being-based conception of the identity and individuation of persons, arguing that any satisfactory account of personal memory must make reference to the life of the rememberer himself. This important book will appeal to a wide range of readers in metaphysics, philosophical logic, and analytic philosophy. (shrink)
This book takes up the central themes of Aristotle's metaphysical theory and the various transformations they undergo prior to their full expression in the Metaphysics. Aristotle's metaphysics is bedevilled by classic puzzles involving such notions as form, predication, universal, and substance, which result from his attempt to adapt the various requirements on primary substance developed in his earlier works so that they fit the very different metaphysical picture in his later work. Professor Lewis argues that Aristotle is himself (...) aware of most if not all of these difficulties and in the Metaphysics works hard to ensure the coherence of his theory. He presents Aristotle's views as a formal theory complete with axioms, definitions, and theorems. (shrink)
The question of substance in the philosophy of physics has three branches: logical, physical, and epistemological. The first is a problem in pure philosophy: is the notion of “ substance ” in any sense a “ category,” i.e. forced upon us by the general nature either of facts or of knowledge? The second is a question of the interpretation of mathematical physics: is it (a) necessary, or (b) convenient to interpret our formulae in terms of permanent entities with (...) changing states and relations? The third concerns the relation of perception to the physical world. (shrink)
I critically examine the view that Descartes’s independence conception (IC) of substance plays a crucial role in his “separability argument” for substance dualism. I argue that IC is a poisoned chalice. I do so by considering how an IC-based separability argument fares on two different ways of thinking about principal attributes. On the one hand, if we take principal attributes to be universals, then a separability argument that deploys IC establishes a version of dualism that is unacceptably strong. (...) On the other hand, if we take principal attributes to be tropes, then IC introduces challenges which undermine the argument. This is partly because the assumption of tropes makes it possible to distinguish several versions of substance dualism, versions which differ with respect to their degree of generality. I argue that taking principal attributes to be tropes makes it challenging to establish any of these versions by way of an IC-based separability argument. I conclude the paper by suggesting a way forward for the proponent of the separability argument. (shrink)
This book offers an original new account of one of Aristotle's central doctrines. Freudenthal He recreates from Aristotle's writings a more complete theory of material substance which is able to explain the problematical areas of the way matter organizes itself and the persistence of matter, to show that the hitherto ignored concept of vital heat is as central in explaining material substance as soul or form.
My aim in this article is to contribute to the larger project of assessing the relative merits of different theories of substance. An important preliminary step in this project is assessing the explanatory resources of one main theory of substance, the so-called bundle theory. This article works towards such an assessment. I identify and explain three distinct explanatory challenges an adequate bundle theory must meet. Each points to a putative explanatory gap, so I call them the Gap Challenges. (...) I consider three bundle-theoretic strategies for meeting these challenges. I argue that none of them goes very far. The upshot is that, absent other strategies for meeting the challenges, bundle theory involves a significant amount of stipulation. This black box makes bundle theory relatively weak with respect to its explanatory power—unless, of course, rival theories of substance are unable to do better. (shrink)
This book revives a neglected but important topic in philosophy: the nature of substance. The belief that there are individual substances, for example, material objects and persons, is at the core of our common-sense view of the world yet many metaphysicians deny the very coherence of the concept of substance. The authors develop a novel account of what an individual substance is in terms of independence from other beings. In the process many other important ontological categories are (...) explored: property, event, space, time. The authors show why alternative theories of substance fail, and go on to defend the intelligibility (though not the existence) of interacting spiritual and material substances. (shrink)
For Berkeley, minds are not Cartesian spiritual substances because they cannot be said to exist (even if only conceptually) abstracted from their activities. Similarly, Berkeley's notion of mind differs from Locke's in that, for Berkeley, minds are not abstract substrata in which ideas inhere. Instead, Berkeley redefines what it means for the mind to be a substance in a way consistent with the Stoic logic of 17th century Ramists on which Leibniz and Jonathan Edwards draw. This view of mind, (...) I conclude, is definitely not the bundle theory that some critics have portrayed it as being. (shrink)
Attempts to explicate the substance-property nexus are legion in the philosophical literature both historical and contemporary. In this paper, I shall attempt to impose some structure into the discussion by exploring ways to combine two unlikely bedfellows—Platonic properties and Aristotelian substances. Special attention is paid to the logical structure of substances and the metaphysics of property exemplification. I shall argue that an Aristotelian-Platonic account of the substance-property nexus is possible and has been ably defended by contemporary philosophers.
There is no consensus on how to define substance, but one popular view is that substances are entities that are independent in some sense or other. E. J. Lowe’s version of this approach stresses that substances are not dependent on other particulars for their identity. I develop the meaning of this proposal, defend it against some criticisms, and then show that others do require that the theory be modified.
Substance dualism has received much attention from philosophers and theologians in contemporary literature. Whilst it may have been fashionable in the recent past to dismiss substance dualism as an unviable and academically absurd position to hold, this is no longer the case. My contention is not so much the merits of substance dualism in general, but a more specified variation of substance dualism. My specific contribution to the literature in this article is that I argue for (...) the viability of pure substance dualism as a more satisfactory option in contrast to compound or composite varieties of substance dualism. I put forth one argument and tease out the implications that make compound dualism less than satisfactory. I conclude that, minimally, more work is required on compound variations of dualism to make it a more appealing and a philosophically satisfactory option. (shrink)
Book Review of Paul Ricœur, Être, essence et substance chez Platon et Aristote. Cours professé à l’université de Strasbourg en 1953-1954. Texte vérifié et annoté par Jean-Louis Schlegel , (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2011), 348 pp.
Spinoza searched for a language that could help him to create a monistic system of ethics. Latin was in the 17th century a fairly malleable medium of communication. In its philosophical use it was largely a creation of Descartes. Spinoza wanted to use it in a way that would resemble Euclid's treatment of geometry. He needed a language that would clearly and precisely describe the process by which a man could liberate himself from the power of affection that hamper naturaly (...) propensity for social peace and mental equaenimity. He decided to begin by describing nature, which was responsible for man's proclivities and abilities. Consequently he needed a new conception of substance which on the one hand could be definied by some initial axioms, and on the other hand would sufficiently flexible to include various aspects of human thought. It is interesting that when Spinoza had to make a choice between flexibility and content, he resolved to adopt a strict method of reasoning at the cost of the received understanding of substance. It is possible that these linguistic considerations led him to adopt the view that substance is identical with God and as such encompasses all principles of operations of the human mind and premises for the deriving of all fundamental notions popular in his times. (shrink)
Enquanto estudiosos debatem os termos “espiritualizado/a” e “religioso/a”, surgem no cenário pessoas que prontamente se auto-identificam como sendo “espiritualizadas mas não religiosos/as” (SNR) ou “religiosas mas não espiritualizadas” (RNS) ou ainda como sendo, simultaneamente, “espiritualizadas e religiosas” (BSR), ou então, “nem espiritualizadas nem religiosas (NONE). Este estudo investigou como estas categorias auto identificatórias relacionam-se à essência e estilo das orações das pessoas e outras características com base em crenças religiosas. Participantes ( N = 103) responderam a uma pesquisa via internet. (...) RNS e SNR não apresentaram respondentes suficientes para uma análise. Não houve distinção entre os BSR e SNR em relação à essência de suas orações e percepções de Deus como amor ou controle. Igualmente, os dois grupos valorizaram suas posições de fé para se auto-identificarem. BSR relataram maior proximidade de Deus. Os respondentes das categorias BSR e SNR foram significativamente diferentes em muitas características relacionadas aos estilos (por exemplo, frequência aos cultos; frequência e duração da oração; idade da primeira oração). Estes dois grupos foram semelhantes em suas preferências pela prática da oração a sós. Tais resultados sugerem que as diferenças que designam as categorias “espiritualizado/a” e/ou “religioso/a” podem ter mais a ver com o estilo do que a essência do sistema de fé abraçado. Key words : Religioso/a. Espiritualizado/a. Oração. Essência. Estilo.While scholars debate the terms “spiritual” and “religious,” people readily self-identify as “spiritual not religious (SNR),” “religious not spiritual (RNS),” “both spiritual and religious (BSR),” or “neither spiritual nor religious (NONE).” This study investigated how these self labels related to the substance and style of people’s prayers and other faith-based features. Respondents ( N = 103) completed an internet survey. RNS and NSR did not have enough respondents for analysis. BSR and SNR groups were indistinguishable with regard to the substance of their prayers and perceptions of God as loving or controlling. Likewise the two groups equally valued their faith positions as important for self-identity. BSR reported greater nearness to God. BSR and SNR respondents were significantly different on many style related characteristics (e.g., attendance at formal services; frequency and duration of prayer; age at first prayer). They were similar in their preferences for praying alone. These results suggest that the differences between claiming the designation of “religious” and / or “spiritual” may have more to do with the style than the substance of the faith system embraced. Palavras-chave: Religious. Spiritual. Prayer. Substance. Style. (shrink)
In 1931 eminent chemist Fritz Paneth maintained that the modern notion of “element” is closely related to (and as “metaphysical” as) the concept of element used by the ancients (e.g., Aristotle). On that basis, the element chlorine (properly so-called) is not the elementary substance dichlorine, but rather chlorine as it is in carbon tetrachloride. The fact that pure chemicals are called “substances” in English (and closely related words are so used in other European languages) derives from philosophical compromises made (...) by grammarians in the late Roman Empire (particularly Priscian [fl. ~520 CE]). When the main features of the constitution of isotopes became clear in the first half of the twentieth century, the formal (IUPAC) definition of a “chemical element” was changed. The features that are “essential” to being an element had previously been “transcendental” (“beyond the sphere of consciousness”) but, by the mid-twentieth century the defining characteristics of elements, as such, had come to be understood in detail. This amounts to a shift in a “horizon of invisibility” brought about by progress in chemistry and related sciences. Similarly, chemical insight is relevant to currently-open philosophical problems, such as the status of “the bundle theory” of the coherence of properties in concrete individuals. (shrink)
For Descartes different substances are really distinct. He frequently connects real distinction with mutual separability. I examine this connection and the notion of real distinction. I then apply the results of this analysis to the controversy over the question whether Descartes held that there is a multiplicity of corporeal substances or only one. I argue that there are several ways of defending the pluralist interpretation against the monist charge that Cartesian bodies are not separable and so not really distinct substances.
Written by one of today's most creative and innovative philosophers, Ruth Garrett Millikan, this book examines basic empirical concepts; how they are acquired, how they function, and how they have been misrepresented in the traditional philosophical literature. Millikan places cognitive psychology in an evolutionary context where human cognition is assumed to be an outgrowth of primitive forms of mentality, and assumed to have 'functions' in the biological sense. Of particular interest are her discussions of the nature of abilities as different (...) from dispositions, her detailed analysis of the psychological act of reidentifying substances, and her critique of the language of thought for mental representation. In a radical departure from current philosophical and psychological theories of concepts, this book provides the first in-depth discussion on the psychological act of reidentification. (shrink)
Aristotle's criticism of Platonic Forms in the Metaphysics has been a major source for the understanding and developments of the theory of Forms in later Antiquity. One of the cases in point is Aristotle's argument, in Metaphysics I 9, 990b22-991a2, against Forms of non-substances. In this paper, I will first provide a careful analysis of this passage. Next, I will discuss how the argument has been interpreted - and refuted - by the fifth-century Neoplatonists Syrianus and Proclus. This interpretation has (...) played an important role in the broader context of the Neoplatonic debates on the range of Plato's theory of Forms, which was one of the traditional problems discussed about the Forms in later Platonism. (shrink)
Questions about Leibniz's views on the ontological status of the corporeal world have been at the center of debate in Leibniz scholarship for more than two decades, and one of the major players in these debates has been Daniel Garber. Having sketched his influential position in a number of articles over the years, he now gives full expression to his view in this highly anticipated and long-awaited book.
Michael Wedin argues against the prevailing notion that Aristotle's views on the nature of reality are fundamentally inconsistent. According to Wedin's new interpretation, the difference between the early theory of the Categories and the later theory of the Metaphysics reflects the fact that Aristotle is engaged in quite different projects in the two works--the earlier focusing on ontology, and the later on explanation.
This book examines Aristotle's metaphysics and his account of nature, stressing the ways in which his desire to explain observed natural processes shaped his philosophical thought. It departs radically from a tradition of interpretation, in which Aristotle is understood to have approached problems with a set of abstract principles in hand, principles derived from critical reflection on the views of his predecessors. A central example of the book interprets Aristotle's essentialism as deriving from an examination of the kinds of unity (...) that various sorts of things have: elemental motion, alteration, transformation and the growth of organisms. An important conclusion of this argument is that an essence may, under certain circumstances, lack some of its essential attributes. This is a major re-evaluation of Aristotle's metaphysics that will interest philosophers, classicists and historians of science. (shrink)
Oxford Scholarly Classics is a new series that makes available again great academic works from the archives of Oxford University Press. Reissued in uniform series design, the reissues will enable libraries, scholars, and students to gain fresh access to some of the finest scholarship of the last century.