I will argue that Aristotle’s fourfold division of fourcauses naturally arises from a combination of two distinctions (a) between things and changes, and (b) between that which potentially is something and what it potentially is. Within this scheme, what is usually called the “efficient cause” is something that potentially is a certain natural change, and the “final cause” is, at least in a basic sense, what the efficient cause potentially is. I will further argue that the essences (...) of things and changes are not features or attributes of them, but paradigms that set the standards according to which these things and changes may be judged to be natural or typical. The “formal cause” of a natural thing will be shown to be its essence in this sense: it sets the standards of typicality that apply to instances of its kind. The final cause will be shown to set the standard of typicality for natural changes. When we understand Aristotle’s doctrine of the fourcauses in this way, it becomes clear on what basis he could convincingly argue that final causality is operative in the whole of nature. (shrink)
Modern philosophy is, for what appear to be good reasons, uniformly hostile to sui generis final causes. And motivated to develop philosophically and scientifically plausible interpretations, scholars have increasingly offered reductivist and eliminitivist accounts of Aristotle's teleological commitment. This trend in contemporary scholarship is misguided. We have strong grounds to believe Aristotle accepted unreduced sui generis teleology, and reductivist and eliminitivist accounts face insurmountable textual and philosophical difficulties. We offer Aristotelians cold comfort by replacing his apparent view with failed (...) accounts. And so we ought to admit Aristotle’s prima facie commitments and deal with — if not accept — the consequences. (shrink)
Many philosophers are persuaded by familiar arguments that free will is incompatible with causal determinism. Yet, notoriously, past attempts to articulate how the right type of indeterminism might secure the capacity for autonomous action have generally been regarded as either demonstrably inadequate or irremediably obscure. This volume gathers together the most significant recent discussions concerning the prospects for devising a satisfactory indeterministic account of freedom of action. These essays give greater precision to traditional formulations of the problems associated with indeterministic (...) accounts and to the range of theoretical avenues for pursuing resolutions. The first four essays set out different challenges (from both compatibilists and those skeptical of the possibility of free will) to the adequacy of standard indeterministic theories. The next seven essays meet one or more of these challenges. Each of the fundamental types of approach--simple indeterminism, causal indeterminism, and agent causation--is represented in these novel and sophisticated proposals. The collection finishes with two essays that debate whether compatibilism entails that freedom of choice is a comparatively rare phenomenon within an individual's life. Eloquently presenting some of the most compelling and accessible arguments surrounding this central philosophical issue, Agents, Causes, and Events makes a valuable contribution to courses in free will/action theory and metaphysics. (shrink)
Derk Pereboom's Four-Case Argument is among the most famous and resilient manipulation arguments against compatibilism. I contend that its resilience is not a function of the argument's soundness but, rather, the ill-gotten gain from an ambiguity in the description of the causal relations found in the argument's foundational case. I expose this crucial ambiguity and suggest that a dilemma faces anyone hoping to resolve it. After a thorough search for an interpretation which avoids both horns of this dilemma, I (...) conclude that none is available. Rather, every metaphysically coherent interpretation invites either a hard- or soft-line reply to Pereboom's argument. I then consider a recharacterization of the dilemma which seems to clear the way for the defence of a revised Four-Case Argument. I address this rejoinder by identifying a still more fundamental problem shared by all viable interpretations of the manipulation cases, showing that each involves a type of manipulation which undermines the victim's agency. Because this diagnosis supports a soft-line reply to every viable interpretation of the argument and can be endorsed by any compatibilist, I consider it the final piece of the Soft-line Solution to the Four-Case Argument. Finally, I suggest a new taxonomy of manipulation arguments, arguing that none that employs the suppressive variety of manipulation found in Pereboom's argument offers a threat to compatibilism. (shrink)
I demonstrate that the theory of persistence defended in Sider  does not accommodate our intuitions about counting sentences. I develop two theories that improve on Sider's: a contextualist theory and an error theory. I argue that the latter is stronger, simpler, and better fitted to some important ordinary language judgments than rival four-dimensionalist theories of persistence.
ABSTRACT: A systematic reconstruction of Chrysippus’ theory of causes, grounded on the Stoic tenets that causes are bodies, that they are relative, and that all causation can ultimately be traced back to the one ‘active principle’ which pervades all things. I argue that Chrysippus neither developed a finished taxonomy of causes, nor intended to do so, and that he did not have a set of technical terms for mutually exclusive classes of causes. Rather, the various adjectives (...) which he used for causes had the function of describing or explaining particular features of certain causes in particular philosophical contexts. I challenge the sometimes assumed close connection of Chrysippus’ notion of causation with explanation. I show that the standard view that the distinction between proximate and auxiliary causes and perfect and principal causes corresponds to the distinction between internal and external determining factors is not born out by the evidence, and argue that causes of the two types were not thought to co-operate, but rather conceived of as alternatives. (shrink)
Derk Pereboom has advanced a four-case manipulation argument that, he claims, undermines both libertarian accounts of free action not committed to agent-causation and compatibilist accounts of such action. The first two cases are meant to be ones in which the key agent is not responsible for his actions owing to his being manipulated. We first consider a “hard-line” response to this argument that denies that the agent is not morally responsible in these cases. We argue that this response invites (...) a dialectically uncharitable reading of the argument. We then propose an alternative interpretation; it affirms that, at least prima facie, the manipulated agent in the first two cases is not responsible. Finally, we question Pereboom’s rationale for why the manipulation in these cases subverts responsibility. (shrink)
The four-principle approach to biomedical ethics is used worldwide by practitioners and researchers alike but it is rather unclear what exactly people do when they apply this approach. Ranking, specification, and balancing vary greatly among different people regarding a particular case. Thus, a sound and coherent applicability of principlism seems somewhat mysterious. What are principlists doing? The article examines the methodological strengths and weaknesses of the applicability of this approach. The most important result is that a sound and comprehensible (...) application of the four principles is additionally ensured by making use of the organizing meta-principle of common morality, which is the starting point and constraining framework of moral reasoning. (shrink)
I argue that four-dimensionalism and the desire satisfaction account of well-being are incompatible. For every person whose desires are satisfied, there will be many shorter-lived individuals (‘person-stages’ or ‘subpersons’) who share the person’s desires but who do not exist long enough to see those desires satisfied; not only this, but in many cases their desires are frustrated so that the desires of the beings in whom they are embedded as proper temporal parts may be fulfilled. I call this the (...) frustrating problem for four-dimensionalism. In the first half of the paper I lay the groundwork for understanding the frustrating problem, and then in the second half, I will examine six possible responses to the frustrating problem on behalf of the four-dimensionalist, (i) the Parfit (1984) inspired claim that identity is not what matters, (ii) the personal pronoun revisionism of Noonan (2010), (iii) the indirect concern account of Hudson (2001), (iv) the sensible stages account of Lewis (1986), (v) a multiple-concepts account of desire satisfaction, and (vi) a No Desire View according to which subpersons have no mental states and thus no desires to frustrate. I argue that none of these solutions will help the four-dimensionalist; she does better to reject the desire satisfaction theory, while the defender of the desire satisfaction theory does better to reject four-dimensionalism. (shrink)
Four-dimensionalism, the stage theory version in particular, has been defended as the best solution for avoiding vagueness in regards to composition, persistence and identity. Stage theory is highly problematic by itself, and the two views usually packed with it, unrestricted composition and counterpart theory, are a heavy burden. However, dispensing with these two views, four-dimensionalism could avoid vague persistence by issuing a criterion that would establish sharp temporal boundaries for the existence of genuine entities (simples, molecules and living (...) organisms). This would avoid vague existence and vague identity, but in a way that is still compatible with endurantism. Nevertheless, a minimal (substantialist) four-dimensionalism, a worm perdurantist ontology, would fit better with the unique way in which organisms persist: by retaining both identity and intrinsic change. (shrink)
The paper argues that four-dimensionalism is incompatible with the existence of additively cumulative properties, including mass, volume, and electrical charge. These properties add up over disjoint objects: for example, the mass of a whole composed of two disjoint objects is a sum of the individual masses of the objects. The difficulty with such properties for four-dimensionalism stems from the way this theory makes persistence depend on the existence of disjoint objects at disjoint times. I consider various possible responses (...) to this difficulty and conclude that they all fail. (shrink)
ukasiewicz''s four-valued modal logic is surveyed and analyzed, together with ukasiewicz''s motivations to develop it. A faithful interpretation of it in classical (non-modal) two-valued logic is presented, and some consequences are drawn concerning its classification and its algebraic behaviour. Some counter-intuitive aspects of this logic are discussed in the light of the presented results, ukasiewicz''s own texts, and related literature.
T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets is foremost a meditation on the significance of place. Each quartet is named for a place which holds importance for Eliot, either because of historical or personal memory. I argue that this importance is grounded in an ontological topology, by which I mean that the poem explores the fate of the individual and his/her heritage as inextricably bound up with the notion of place. This sense of place extends beyond the borders of a single life (...) to encompass the remembered past and the unknown future. How this broader narrative of the passing and enduring of human existence can be better understood is a primary concern of the work of Martin Heidegger, in whose Being and Time the historical, situated context of an individual within a community is an important theme. Even more important is his later work in which this theme is extended to include place and dwelling. Dwelling is a particularly rich and poetic idea, weaving the narratological, topological and temporal aspects of human existence together, offering a challenge to modern technology thinking. This paper explores Heidegger’s thoughts on the topology of Being within the context of a poem which, I contend, is also telling the story of human situatedness, and attempting to understand what it means to truly dwell. (shrink)
For quantum systems, whose energy ratios En/E0 are integers, and |E0| is the smallest energy, the time dependent wavefunctions and expectation values of time independent operators have time periodicitiy with a time period T equal to T = h/|E0|, where h is the Planck constant. This periodicity is imposed on the wavefunctions due to undersampling in energy, but following a similarity with aliasing in signal analysis, it may allow to probe future and past events under the condition that our world (...) is in reality a true four-dimensional, “static” space–time. We suggest an experiment to test that possibility. A positive result will indicate that we live in a four-dimensional space–time. A negative result (not getting signals from the future) will indicate that four-dimensional space–time is not physical one and that we live in a three-dimensional space with a time. (shrink)
The aim of the present study was to compare and examine how medical students on term one and nine understand and adopt ideas and reasoning when estimating death-causes. Our hypothesis was that compared to students in the beginning of their medical curriculum, term nine students would be more inclined to adopt ideas about causality that allows physicians to alleviate an imminently dying patient, without being suspected for manslaughter—a practice referred to as proficiency creativity. We used a questionnaire containing two (...) similar cases describing an imminently dying patient who receive a drug in order to treat seizures. The treatment has the foreseen effect of shortening the patient’s life. In one version of the vignette the patient dies immediately and in the other one the patient dies 5 h after having received the drug. We asked medical students in their first term (n = 149) and ninth term (n = 106) to fill in the two randomly distributed questionnaires. We used a χ2 test to examine our hypothesis and choose as significance level 0.05. A majority of term-one students (53 %) stated that the patient died because of the provided drugs when dying immediately after and 32 % stated it when the patient died 5 h after providing the drug. The difference was significant (p = 0.007). A minority of term-nine students (20 vs. 16 %) stated the patient died because of the provided drug. The difference was not significant. The study indicates that term-nine students have espoused the idea that death-causes in such cases should always be classified as the underlying disease—even though another straightforward explanation could be the drug provided. To clinicians this might be a proficiency-creative strategy for managing a difficult legal dilemma. As hypothetical explanation we suggest that experienced clinicians might have transformed a normative issue of shortening life into an empirical issue about death-causes and tacitly transferred this strategy to term-nine students. If our hypothesis is supported by future studies, this kind of transferring proficiency creativity tacitly might impede changing the Penal Code even though it may be needed. (shrink)
Hobbesian war primarily arises not because material resources are scarce; or because humans ruthlessly seek survival before all else; or because we are naturally selfish, competitive, or aggressive brutes. Rather, it arises because we are fragile, fearful, impressionable, and psychologically prickly creatures susceptible to ideological manipulation, whose anger can become irrationally inflamed by even trivial slights to our glory. The primary source of war, according to Hobbes, is disagreement, because we read into it the most inflammatory signs of contempt. Both (...) cause and remedy are therefore primarily ideological: The Leviathan's primary function is to settle the meaning of the most controversial words implicated in social life, minimize public disagreement, neutralize glory, magnify the fear of death, and root out subversive doctrines. Managing interstate conflict, in turn, requires not only coercive power, but also the soft power required to shape characters and defuse the effects of status competition. (shrink)
Is integrative biology a good idea, or even possible? There has been much interest lately in the unifica- tion of biology and the integration of traditionally separate disciplines such as molecular and develop- mental biology on one hand, and ecology and evolutionary biology on the other. In this paper I ask if and under what circumstances such integration of efforts actually makes sense. I develop by example an analogy with Aristotle’s famous four “causes” that one can investigate concerning (...) any object or phenomenon: material (what something is made of), formal (what distinguishes that particular object from others), efficient (how was the object made) and final (why was the object made). The example is provided by ongoing research on different aspects of flowering time in the model system Arabidop- sis, a small weed belonging to the mustard family. I show that understanding how flowering time is controlled is an epistemologically different sort of question from why and how it evolved, and that the two research agendas can be pursued largely independently of each other. Toward the end, I propose that the real goal of integrative biology is to understand the boundary layers between levels of biologi- cal analysis, something to which modern philosophy of science can contribute significantly. (shrink)
In thinking about Aristotle in relation to the idea of natural kinds it is useful to begin with his definition of nature or what is natural, and then to consider his discussion of biological kinds or ?????. In recent philosophy, there is a tendency to contrast natural kinds with linguistic or conventional kinds, but we do not find that contrast in Aristotle. Instead, he distinguishes natural beings from artifacts, and that contrast, in turn, draws upon his theory of causation or (...) explanation. Natural beings, animals and plants for example, have an internal origin of motion and change whereas the origin of motion and change of artifacts is external. (Phys. ii, 1 192b 8-23) The origin of motion, or efficient cause, is one of Aristotle’s fourcauses; it is grouped by Aristotle with the formal and final causes and contrasted with the material cause. To call something natural in Aristotle’s parlance, then, is to locate its causal or explanatory principles within the thing itself. In the Parts of Animals, Aristotle emphasizes and explains the importance of the final cause in relation to understanding animals, although the material cause also plays a secondary role. Animal parts, like other instruments, are “for the sake of” a goal or end, and Aristotle identifies that end with an action or activity that is central to the life of the animal. Aristotle illustrates this point with an artifact: “For sawing is not for the sake of the saw, but the saw for sawing; for sawing is a certain use. So the body too is in a way for the sake of the soul, and the parts are for the sake of the functions in relation to which each of them has naturally developed.” (P.A. 645b 17-20) For example, eyes naturally develop for the sake of seeing, and it is for the sake of that activity that Aristotle thinks we should explain the development of eyes in animals. Unlike the artifact (the saw), however, the parts of animals have an internal teleological principle because the activity of seeing (the final cause) is just one of the life activities of the animal itself. In contrast, the shaping of the saw’s parts for the sake of sawing is accomplished by an external agent, who must be mentioned in an explanation of its creation and its purpose. Combining Aristotle’s notion of a natural being with his understanding of the “for the sake of which”, or final cause, a picture of animals (and their functional parts) emerges.. (shrink)
Each Aristotelian science consists in the causal investigation of a specific department of reality. If successful, such an investigation results in causal knowledge; that is, knowledge of the relevant or appropriate causes. The emphasis on the concept of cause explains why Aristotle developed a theory of causality which is commonly known as the doctrine of the fourcauses. For Aristotle, a firm grasp of what a cause is, and how many kinds of causes there are, is (...) essential for a successful investigation of the world around us. (shrink)
In the Principles, Descartes declares that of the four Aristotelian causes, he will retain only one: the efficient. Though some natural philosophers argued on behalf of the final cause, and others held that form could be rehabilitated, the efficient cause was in fact the only one of the four to flourish in the new philosophy. Descartes’ claim would lead one to believe that he preserved the efficient cause—that here, at least, we find continuity. But it is reasonable (...) to wonder whether, when from a fourfold classification three members are removed, the fourth can remain unaltered. The theory of the efficient cause in late Aristotelianism is a kind of bundle. Among its components are a group of what I will call “formal characters”. These are features of efficient causation that are, or so I will argue, relatively independent both of what is said to be the essence of the efficient cause and of the hylomorphic principles of Aristotelian natural philosophy. (shrink)
Aristotle’s Motivation for Matter Why does Aristotle make matter so central to his account of the natural world, making it a principle of nature and one of the fourcauses? Although there is considerable interest in how Aristotle conceives of matter, scholars rarely investigate why he thinks of it as fundamental to the natural world. Some simply ask why Aristotle thinks there must be matter (without asking how this fits into his account of the natural world). Other interpreters (...) do not even agree that we should ask this question; they claim that Aristotle does not give reasons for needing matter because matter is an everyday notion we need not motivate. I think that in Physics I Aristotle gives us good reasons – perhaps even compelling ones – for thinking that matter is necessary for any understanding of the natural world. We, as interpreters, can use these reasons to understand <span class='Hi'>what</span> matter is for Aristotle, making progress where scholars have offered many incompatible interpretations. The first chapter of the dissertation presents my basic account of why Aristotle needs matter and <span class='Hi'>what</span> it is. I argue that Aristotle makes matter central to his natural philosophy because it is needed in order to understand change. Specifically, in order for there to be change, there must be something whose very nature is to undergo change. This is <span class='Hi'>what</span> matter is for Aristotle: the thing whose very nature is to undergo change (i.e., the thing whose proper activity is undergoing change). Since matter is picked out by its role in change, the very <span class='Hi'>same</span> thing will be matter and other things, based on <span class='Hi'>what</span> other roles it has. Just as the <span class='Hi'>same</span> <span class='Hi'>person</span> can be a doctor and a builder, so the <span class='Hi'>same</span> <span class='Hi'>person</span> can be a doctor and matter. This chapter also highlights the strength of my account by arguing against a rival interpretation of Aristotle’s motivation for matter, according to which matter is needed so that something persists through change. The second chapter argues for my interpretation through a close reading of Aristotle’s Physics I.. (shrink)
Central to Aristotle's metaphysics and epistemology is the claim that ‘ aitia ’ – ‘cause’ – is “said in many ways”, i.e., multivocal. Though the importance of the fourcauses in Aristotle's system cannot be overstated, the nature of his pluralism about aitiai has not been addressed. It is not at all obvious how these modes of causation are related to one another, or why they all deserve a common term. Nor is it clear, in particular, whether the (...)causes are related to one another as species under a single genus, such that there is a univocal definition of ‘ aitia ’ which applies to all of them, or whether Aristotle means to assert that the fourcauses are homonyms. It is argued here that although there are strong reasons to group the fourcauses together, there are also powerful considerations on the side of homonymy. It is further argued that the fourcauses are more closely tied to the ontological theory of categories and predication than is often recognized. As a result, we can reconcile the competing demands of unity and plurality by taking one mode of causation, the formal cause, as basic, and accounting for the other modes with reference to it, in the manner of so-called pros hen homonyms. (shrink)
A synthesis of the two primary theory structures in Robert Rosenâ€™s relational complexity, (1) relational entailment mapping based on category theory as described by Rosen and Louie, and (2) relational holism based on modeling relations, as described by Kineman, provides an integral foundation for relational complexity theory as a natural science and analytical method. Previous incompatibilities between these theory structures are resolved by re-interpreting Aristotleâ€™s fourcauses, identifying final and formal causes as relations with context. Category theory (...) is applied to introduce contextual entailment algebra needed to complete the synthesis. The modeling relation is represented as a recursive four-cause hierarchy, which is a unit of both whole and part analysis (a â€˜holonâ€™) that relates realized and contextual domains of nature as complementary inverse entailments between structure and function. Context is a non-localized domain of distributed potentials (models) for existence, as contrasted with the realized domain of localized interactive and measurable events. Synthesis is achieved by giving modeling relations an algebraic form in category theory and by expanding relational analysis to include contextual entailments. The revised form of analysis is applied and demonstrated to examine Rosenâ€™s M-R diagram, showing that structureâ€“function relations imply adaptive interaction with the environment, and that contextual relations imply three forms of the M-R entailment corresponding with the generally known three forms of life; Archaea , Bacteria , and Eukaryota , which can be represented by their holon diagrams. The result of this synthesis is a consistent foundation for relational science that should have important implications in many disciplines. (shrink)
I introduce a range of examples of different causal hypotheses about human mate selection. The hypotheses I focus on come from evolutionary psychology, fluctuating asymmetry research and chemical signaling research. I argue that a major obstacle facing an integrated biology of human behavior is the lack of a causal framework that shows how multiple proximate causal mechanisms can act together to produce components of our behavior.
In hume's dialogues, Part x, Philo presents the trilemma attributed to epicurus: "is God willing but unable to prevent evil? able but unwilling? both willing and able? whence, Then is evil?" some critics say philo is trying to disprove god's existence. Some say he is not. I say he grants God exists as the first cause in order to show natural religion is impossible. For natural religion must establish god's benevolence, But it cannot combat "moderate scepticism" to establish any moral (...) attribute of god. It would have to show first that men are for the most part happy--A proposition no one can prove both because it is contrary to everyone's feeling and experience and because it is impossible to compute all the pains and pleasures of all men. Philo's argument stands independently of the more frequently discussed fourcauses argument of part xi. (shrink)
Silence in organizations refers to a state in which employees refrain from calling attention to issues at work such as illegal or immoral practices or developments that violate personal, moral, or legal standards. While Morrison and Milliken (Acad Manag Rev 25:706–725, 2000) discussed how organizational silence as a top-down organizational level phenomenon can cause employees to remain silent, a bottom-up perspective—that is, how employee motives contribute to the occurrence and maintenance of silence in organizations—has not yet been given much research (...) attention. In this paper, we argue that this perspective is a meaningful complementation of the existing literature and that it is sensible to conceptualize distinct forms of employee silence (Pinder and Harlos, Research in personnel and human resources management. JAI Press, Greenwich, 2001; van Dyne et al., J Manag Stud 40:1359–1392, 2003). Drawing on past research and theory we conceptualize four forms of employee silence, namely quiescent, acquiescent, prosocial, and opportunistic silence. We present scales to assess the four forms and provide empirical tests for their distinctiveness and patterns of relationships to various correlates and potential antecedents and consequences. (shrink)
The Causation Debate in Modern Philosophy examines the debate that began as modern science separated itself from natural philosophy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The book specifically explores the two dominant approaches to causation as a metaphysical problem and as a scientific problem. As philosophy and science turned from the ideas of Aristotle that dominated western thought throughout the renaissance, one of the most pressing intellectual problems was how to replace Aristotelian science with its doctine of the four (...)causes. This is the first book to look at the historical discussion as a debate that surrounds certain themes and ideas, and combines classical discussions of causation with recent thinking on the topic. (shrink)
Aristotle's fourcauses frame Webb's question. Comprehension requires specification of trigger, function, mechanism, and representation. Robots are real models of function. Physical, biological, and epigenetic constraints delimit the hypothesis space for candidate mechanisms. Robots constitute a simplified system more susceptible to formal representation than the target system. They thus constitute an important tool in a constructivist development of scientific knowledge.
In this reply, I seek to summarize fairly the criticisms advanced by each of my four critics, Jonathan Schaffer, Gideon Yaffe, John Gardner, and Carolina Sartorio. That there is so little overlap either in the aspects of the book on which they focus or in the arguments they advance about those issues has forced me to reply to each of them separately. Schaffer focuses much of his criticisms on my view that absences cannot serve as causal relata and argues (...) that this commits me to the view that double preventions (such as beheadings) cannot be causal of events such as deaths. I deny that double preventions such as beheadings are not causal, while admitting that other double preventions are not causal but denying that this latter conclusion is unwelcome in its implications. Yaffe criticizes my view that a person substantially causing some harm H is sufficient for that person having performed the activity of H-ing, whereas I affirm that causing H is sufficient for doing the action of H-ing even if it is not sufficient for intentionally H-ing (Yaffe's definition of ). Gardner takes issue with my for the relevance of causation to moral blame; he urges that we cannot infer that we are more guilty (when we cause a harm than when we don't) from either the psychological fact that we feel more guilty or from the moral fact that it is virtuous to feel such heightened guilt, because it is viciously circular: we feel such guilt only because we have already judged that we are more guilty, and it is virtuous to feel such guilt only because we in fact are more guilty. I deny such circularity exists. Sartorio takes issue with my thesis that in omissive overdetermination cases (where each omission is sufficient to fail to prevent some harm, meaning neither is necessary) neither omitter is morally responsible for the harm. I trade intuitions with Sartorio about a range of related cases that we each think bears on the issue. (shrink)
This work is the first monograph devoted to the interpretation of Aristotle’s theory of chance in Physics II 4-6 and its implications and projections in other treatises, including an original and comprehensive account of the Aristotelian conception of chance, of accidental causality in the realm of nature, and of accidental causality in the realm of human action. One of the main interpretative issues around Aristotle’s discussion of chance is its relation to the fourcauses and to teleology. In (...) this sense, it is particularly difficult to find the common features which fortune (tyche) and spontaneity (automaton) share. This work, offers such an interpretation of Aristotle’s general concept of chance (i.e. common to fortune and spontaneity), which shows clearly its relation with his theory of causality (Phys. II 3), with teleology, and with the application of this theory to the study of nature. It also shows how fortune and spontaneity can be interpreted consistently with this general characterization of chance, and how the specific differences between them can be accounted for paying attention to the different structures of causality in the realm of nature and in the realm of human action. Regarding the specific concept of spontaneity (automaton), a crux interpretum, the book offers one of the few independent discussions this issue in Aristotelian literature, and proposes a sub-classification in two kinds of spontaneity based on an analysis of Aristotle’s different examples and characterizations: ‘mixed spontaneity’ (which shares some features with fortune), and ‘pure spontaneity’ (which takes place strictly in the realm of nature). These different structures had not been recognized in specialized literature before. The problem of chance has projections into Aristotle’s natural philosophy, as well as into Aristotle’s theory of action and practical philosophy. This ample perspective of Aristotle’s work, and of the different explanatory models and ontological structures therein involved, constitutes an interesting groundwork for future developments in some or many of these realms of investigation. (shrink)
Clinical primary prevention eliminates or preempts either a susceptibility or risk (synergistically a cause) in order to avoid a specific harm. Philosophically, primary prevention gets caught in the metaphysical controversy of the “hard questions” of whether it is possible to “cause not” both through a positive action (preventive act causes no harm) or no action (avoiding something causes no harm). I examine my previously proposed four-step definition of the process of prevention, discuss its limitations in light of (...) the “hard questions,” and then offer a revised five-step process definition that eliminates the “cause not” concerns by changing the goal of prevention from avoiding harm, a negative state, to achieving optimal health, a positive state. (shrink)
What good is logic? -- Seventeen ways this book is different -- The two logics -- All of logic in two pages : an overview -- The three acts of the mind -- I. The first act of the mind : understanding -- Understanding : the thing that distinguishes man from both beast and computer -- Concepts, terms and words -- The problem of universals -- The comprehension and extension of terms -- II. Terms -- Classifying terms -- Categories -- (...) Predicables -- Division -- III. Material fallacies -- Fallacies of language -- Fallacies of diversion -- Fallacies of oversimplification -- Fallacies of argumentation -- Inductive fallacies -- Procedural fallacies -- Metaphysical fallacies -- Short story : love is a fallacy -- IV. Definition -- The nature of definition -- The rules of definition -- The kinds of definition -- The limits of definition -- V. Second act of the mind : judgment -- Judgments, propositions, and sentences -- What is truth? -- The four kinds of categorical propositions -- Logical form -- Euler's circles -- Tricky propositions -- The distribution of terms -- VI. Changing propositions -- Immediate inference -- Conversion -- Obversion -- Contraposition -- VII. Contradiction -- What is contradiction? -- The square of opposition -- Existential import -- Tricky propositions on the square -- Some practical uses of the square of opposition -- VIII. The third act of the mind : reasoning -- What does reason mean? -- The ultimate foundations of the syllogism -- How to detect arguments -- Arguments vs. explanations -- Truth and validity -- IX. Different kinds of arguments -- Three meanings of because -- The fourcauses -- A classification of arguments -- Simple argument maps -- Deductive and inductive arguments -- Combining deduction and induction : socratic method -- X. Syllogisms -- The structure and strategy of the syllogism -- The skeptics objection to the syllogism -- The empiricist's objection to the syllogism -- Demonstrative syllogisms -- How to construct convincing syllogisms -- XI. Checking syllogisms for validity -- By Euler's circles -- By Aristotle's six rules -- Barbara Celarent : mood and figure -- Venn diagrams -- XII. More difficult syllogisms -- Enthymemes : abbreviated syllogisms -- Sorites : chain syllogisms -- Epicheiremas : multiple syllogisms -- Complex argument maps -- XIII. Compound syllogisms -- Hypothetical syllogisms -- Reductio ad absurdum arguments -- The practical syllogism : arguing about means and ends -- Disjunctive syllogisms -- Conjunctive syllogisms -- Dilemmas -- XIV. Induction -- What is induction? -- Generalization -- Causal induction : Mill's methods -- Scientific hypotheses -- Statistical probability -- Arguments from analogy -- A fortiori and a minore arguments -- XV. Some practical applications of logic -- How to write a logical essay -- How to write a socratic dialogue -- How to have a socratic debate -- How to use socratic method on difficult people -- How to read a book socratically -- XVI. Some philosophical applications of logic -- Logic and theology -- Logic and metaphysics -- Logic and cosmology -- Logic and philosophical anthropology -- Logic and epistemology -- Logic and ethics. (shrink)
In this paper we intend to present briefly the way Fonseca deals with the doctrine of causation in his Commentaries on the Metaphysics of Aristotle. We shall begin with the presentation of the map of the disputations on causation in that work (I), then will refer to the position of Fonseca on the definition of cause (II), the relation between cause and principle (III) and, finally, his defense of the Aristotelian fourcauses (IV).
The Buddha's method of spiritual release is crystallized in the Four Noble Truths. The Four Truths profile the condition of an individual's life. It explains the cause of suffering, the means through which an individual residing in a transient world can extract oneself from samsara and propel oneself into an abiding spiritual reality or nirvana. This four stage method parallels the principles of diagnosis, etiology, recovery or health, and therapeutics, which are employed by physicians in their clinical (...) practice. This article is a reflection on this method and its practical application. (shrink)
lecture 1. A dialectical approach to Greek philosophy -- lecture 2. From myth to philosophy, Hesiod and Thales -- lecture 3. The Milesians and the quest for being -- lecture 4. The great intrusion, Heraclitus -- lecture 5. Parmenides, the champion of being -- lecture 6. Reconciling Heraclitus and Parmenides -- lecture 7. The Sophists, Protagoras, the first "humanist" -- lecture 8. Socrates -- lecture 9. An introduction to Plato's Dialogues -- lecture 10. Plato versus the Sophists, I -- lecture (...) 11. Plato versus the Sophists, II -- lecture 12. Plato's Forms, I -- lecture 13. Plato's Forms, II -- lecture 14. Plato versus the Presocratics -- lecture 15. The Republic, the political implications of the Forms -- lecture 16. Final reflections on Plato -- lecture 17. Aristotle, "The" philosopher -- lecture 18. Aristotle's Physics, What is nature? -- lecture 19. Aristotle's Physics, The fourcauses -- lecture 20. Why plants have souls -- lecture 21. Aristotle's hierarchical cosmos -- lecture 22. Aristotle's teleological Politics -- lecture 23. Aristotle's teleological ethics -- lecture 24. The philosophical life. (shrink)
Science (episteme) -- Division of the sciences according to aims and objects -- Demonstration (apodeixis) -- The axioms of the sciences -- Being or substance (ousia) -- Being before aristotle -- Being in the categories -- The science of being: first philosophy -- Being in metaphysics zeta -- Nature (physis) -- Principles of change -- The fourcauses or explanations (aitiai) -- Defense of teleology -- Soul (psyche) -- Soul as substance, form and actuality -- What the student (...) of soul investigates -- Perception -- Thought -- Success (eudaimonia) -- The practical science of ethics -- The chief and final good for human beings -- Virtues of character -- Virtues of intellect. (shrink)