Tooley here sets out and defends realist accounts of traditional empiricist explanations of causation and laws of nature, arguing that since reductionist accounts of causation are exposed to decisive objections, empiricists must break with that tradition.
Human beings have the unique ability to consciously reflect on the nature of the self. But reflection has its costs. We can ask what the self is, but as David Hume pointed out, the self, once reflected upon, may be nowhere to be found. The favored view is that we are material beings living in the material world. But if so, a host of destabilizing questions surface. If persons are just a sophisticated sort of animal, then what sense is there (...) to the idea that we are free agents who control our own destinies? What makes the life of any animal, even one as sophisticated as Homo sapiens, worth anything? What place is there in a material world for God? And if there is no place for a God, then what hold can morality possibly have on us--why isn't everything allowed? Flanagan's collection of essays takes on these questions and more. He continues the old philosophical project of reconciling a scientific view of ourselves with a view of ourselves as agents of free will and meaning-makers. But to this project he brings the latest insights of neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychiatry, exploring topics such as whether the conscious mind can be explained scientifically, whether dreams are self-expressive or just noise, the moral socialization of children, and the nature of psychological phenomena such as multiple personality disorder and false memory syndrome. What emerges from these explorations is a liberating vision which can make sense of the self, agency, character transformation, and the value and worth of human life. Flanagan concludes that nothing about a scientific view of persons must lead to nihilism. (shrink)
This major new work by David Armstrong is a contribution to recent philosophical discussions about possible worlds. Taking Wittgenstein's Tractatus as his point of departure, Armstrong argues that non-actual possibilities and possible worlds are recombinations of actually existing elements and as such are useful fictions. Included is an extended criticism of the alternative possible worlds approach championed by the American philosopher David Lewis.
Whenever a thing changes, however slightly, it becomes in some ways unlike what it was. But how it is possible for anything to be both like and unlike itself? The possibility of change is a typically philosophical puzzle to which naturalistic science has no answer. In this book, Pivcevic examines the conditions that make the idea of change intelligible--in particular the connection between the possibility of change and the existence of selves.
Are propositions of law true or false? If so, what does it mean to say that propositions of law are true and false? This book takes up these questions in the context of the wider philosophical debate over realism and anti-realism. Despite surface differences, Patterson argues that the leading contemporary jurisprudential theories all embrace a flawed conception of the nature of truth in law. Instead of locating that in virtue of which propositions of law are true, Patterson argues that lawyers (...) use forms of argument to show the truth of propositions of law. Additionally, Patterson argues that the realism/anti-realism debate in jurisprudence is part of a larger argument over the role of postmodernism in jurisprudence. For this, Patterson offers an analytic account of postmodernism and charts its implications for legal theory. This book will be of interest to those in legal theory, philosophy, social and political theory, and ethics. (shrink)
Katherine Hawley explores and compares three theories of persistence -- endurance, perdurance, and stage theories - investigating the ways in which they attempt to account for the world around us. Having provided valuable clarification of its two main rivals, she concludes by advocating stage theory.
This study provides a unified theory of properties, relations, and propositions (PRPs). Two conceptions of PRPs have emerged in the history of philosophy. The author explores both of these traditional conceptions and shows how they can be captured by a single theory.
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)
Modern philosophical thought has a manifold tradition of emphasizing "the moment". "The moment" demands questioning all-too-common notions of time, of past, present and future, uniqueness and repetition, rupture and continuity. This collection addresses the key questions posed by "the moment", considering writers such as Nietzsche, Husserl, Benjamin and Badiou, and elucidates the connections between social theory, philosophy, literary theory and history that are opened up by this notion.
That space and time should be integrated into a single entity, spacetime, is the great insight of Einstein's special theory of relativity, and leads us to regard spacetime as a fundamental context in which to make sense of the world around us. But it is not the only one. Causality is equally important and at least as far as the special theory goes, it cannot be subsumed under a fundamentally geometrical form of explanation. In fact, the agent of propagation of (...) causal influence is electromagnetic radiation. In this examination, the authors find support for a rationalist approach to physics, never neglecting experimentation, but rejecting a simple empiricist or positivist view of science. (shrink)
Raymond Martin and John Barresi trace the development of Western ideas about personal identity and reveal the larger intellectual trends, controversies, and ideas that have revolutionized the way we think about ourselves.
Pragmatist Metaphysics proposes a pragmatist re-articulation of the nature, aims and methods of metaphysics. Rather than regarding metaphysics as a ‘first philosophy’, an inquiry into the world independent of human perspectives, the pragmatist views metaphysics as an inquiry into categorizations of reality laden with human practices. Insofar as our categorizations of reality are practice-laden, they are also, inevitably, value-laden. Sami Pihlström argues that metaphysics does not, then, study the world’s ‘own’ categorial structure, but a structure we, through our conceptual and (...) practical activities, impose on the reality we experience and interact with. Engaging with the classical American pragmatists, in particular William James, and neopragmatists, including Hilary Putnam, the author seeks to correct long-held misconceptions regarding the nature of the relationship between metaphysics and pragmatism. He argues that a coherent metaphysical alternative to the currently fashionable realist metaphysics emerges from pragmatism and that pragmatism itself should be reinterpreted in a metaphysically serious manner. Moreover, the book argues that, from a pragmatist perspective, metaphysics must be inextricably linked with ethics. (shrink)
In this moderate realist account of the whole range of issues facing contemporary analytic philosophy, J. K. Swindler aims to fill the gap in the literature between extreme realism and extreme nominalism. He discusses such fundamental concepts as existence, property, universality, individual, and necessity; analyzes the paradoxes of negative existentials and the substitutivity of co-referential terms; and defends objectivity in philosophy. The study moves through three phases: first, an argument that objective philosophical truth is attainable; second, an extended realist analysis (...) of fundamental ontological concepts; and finally, a demonstration of advantages of this ontology over leading alternatives. Weaving: An Analysis of the Constitution of Objects will be of interest to all philosophers working in contemporary philosophy, philosophy of language, logic, and metaphysics, and will serve as an excellent text for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in metaphysics. (shrink)