Introduction A brief look at the competing present-day interpretations of Hume's philosophy will leave the uninitiated reader completely baffled. On the one hand , Hume is seen as a philosopher who attempted to analyse concepts with ...
Broad, C. D. Leibniz's predicate-in-notion principle and some of its alleged consequences.--Couturat, L. On Leibniz's metaphysics.--Friedrich, C. J. Philosophical reflections of Leibniz on law, politics, and the state.--Curley, E. M. The root of contingency. Furth, M. Monadology.--Hacking, I. Individual substance.--Hintikka, J. Leibniz on plenitude, relations, and the "reign of law."--Ishiguro, H. Leibniz's theory of the ideality of relations.--Kneale, M. Leibniz and Spinoza on activity.--Koyré, A. Leibniz and Newton.--Lovejoy, A. O. Plenitude and sufficient reason in Leibniz and Spinoza.--Mates, B. Leibniz on (...) possible worlds.--Russell, B. Recent work on the philosophy of Leibniz.--Wilson, M. D. On Leibniz's explication of "necessary truth.". (shrink)
Skepticism gives a pessimistic reply to questions on whether we really know the things we think we know, and whether our beliefs are reasonable. The theoretical and practical difficulties presented by the skeptical challenge--in that the skeptical life cannot be lived, and the doctrine seems self-defeating--are in fact superficial, according to Ruth Weintraub. Her study looks at several famous skeptical arguments of Descartes, Hume, and the ancient Greek skeptic, Sextus Empiricus. She argues that by drawing on philosophy, rather than science, (...) the skeptical challenge can be answered. (shrink)
Offering a new approach to teaching the philosophy of religion, this anthology is organized around ten of the most widely read texts in the field. Presented in their entirety, these classics serve as a framework for a variety of accessible contemporary essays that are also included. The book's unique structure gives students the opportunity to study in depth complete historical works while also conveying a sense of how today's philosophers have explored related issues. Editor Steven M. Cahn has annotated each (...) text to clarify all unfamiliar references. He has also provided introductions that contain biographical profiles of the authors and philosophical commentaries on their writings. Ten Essential Texts in the Philosophy of Religion: Classics and Contemporary Issues may be supplemented by Questions about God: Today's Philosophers Ponder the Divine, a provocative collection of recent articles on the nature of God, edited by Steven M. Cahn and David Shatz (OUP, 2002). Ten Essential Texts in the Philosophy of Religion includes the following unabridged classic works: Euthyphro, Plato The Consolation of Philosophy (V), Boethius Proslogion, Anselm; On Behalf of the Fool, Gaunilo; and Reply to Gaunilo, Anselm Summa Theologiae, Thomas Aquinas Of Miracles, David Hume Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, David Hume Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Soren Kierkegaard The Will to Believe, William James The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James Theology and Falsification, Antony Flew, R.M. Hare, and Basil Mitchell. (shrink)
This book is the most comprehensive, rigorous critique of contemporary Hobbesian contractarianism as expounded in the work of Jean Hampton, Gregory Kavka, and David Gauthier. Professor Kraus argues that the attempts by these three philosophers to use Hobbes to answer current political and moral questions fail. The reasons why they fail are related to fundamental problems intrinsic to Hobbesian contractarianism: first, the problem of collective action arising out of the tension in Hobbes' theory between individual and collective rationality; second, the (...) classical problem of explaining the normative force of hypothetical action, a problem that can be traced to the conflicting strategies of hypothetical justification found in Rawls' and Hobbes' theories. Given the deep interest in Hobbesian contractarianism among philosophers, political theorists, game theorists in economics and political science, and legal theorists, this book is likely to attract wide attention and infuse new life into the contractarian debate. (shrink)
This book is a penetrating study of the theory of mind and morality that Hume developed in his Treatise of Human Nature and other writings. Hume rejects any conception of moral beliefs and moral truths. He understands morality in terms of distinctive desires and other sentiments that arise through the correction of sympathy. Hume's theory presents a powerful challenge to recent cognitivist theories of moral judgement, Bricke argues, and suggests significant limitations to recent conventionalist and contractarian accounts of morality's content.
This is a collection of new, specially written essays on the flowering of modern philosophy on the continent of Europe. The eight leading contributors focus on the work of Descartes, later Cartesians, Leibniz, and Bayle, reassessing the influence of Augustine on Descartes and of the Reformed tradition on Leibniz, and tracing anticipations of Leibniz's monadology in the cabbalistic notions of van Helmont, the preformationist theories of Malebranche, and the experimental work of Dutch microscopists.
In this work, Henry Vyverberg traces the evolution and consequences of a crucial idea in French Enlightenment thought--the idea of human nature. Human nature was commonly seen as a broadly universal, unchanging entity, though perhaps modifiable by geographical, social, and historical factors. Enlightenment empiricism suggested a degree of cultural diversity that has often been underestimated in studies of the age. Evidence here is drawn from Diderot's celebrated Encyclopedia and from a vast range of writing by such Enlightenment notables as Voltaire, (...) Rousseau, and d'Holbach. Vyverberg explains not only the age's undoubted fascination with uniformity in human nature, but also its acknowledgment of significant limitations on that uniformity. He shows that although the Enlightenment's historical sense was often blinkered by its notions of a uniform human nature, there were also cracks in this concept that developed during the Enlightenment itself. (shrink)
The use and abuse and critique of Kant has generated a huge literature among contemporary political theorists; his work has been surreptitiously kept by some critics of the Enlightenment to exeplify starndards of modernity. Kimberly Hutchings reevaluates Kant's work in terms of its significance in the writings of Habersmas, Arendt, Lyotard and Foucault. This is not an exercise in the history of ideas; through her extremely lucid presentation of Kant's critical philosophy, Hutchings reveals the critique to be a complex, ambiguous (...) political practice. The common Kantian heritage in the thought of the four contemporary theorists challenges orthodox distinctions between modernist and postmodernist theorizing. Kant, Critique and Kant addresses why Kant's legacy is inescapable for current debates about both "critique" and politics. This reading sheds a new light on continental and political philosophy, international relations theory and feminist theory. (shrink)
Whereas previous studies have made George Berkeley (1685-1753) the object of philosophical study, Peter Walmsley assesses Berkeley as a writer, offering rhetorical and literary analyses of Berkeley's four major philosophical texts, A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, Alciphron, and Siris. Berkeley emerges from this study as an accomplished stylist who builds structures of affective imagery, creates dramatic voices in his texts, and masters the range of philosophical genres--the treatise, the dialogue, and the (...) essay. (shrink)
John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding is among the most important books in philosophy ever written. It is a difficult work dealing with many themes, including the origin of ideas; the extent and limits of human knowledge; the philosophy of perception; and religion and morality. This volume focuses on the last two topics and provides a clear and insightful survey of these overlooked aspects of Locke's best-known work. Four eminent Locke scholars present authoritative discussions of Locke's view on the ethics (...) of belief, personal identity, free will and moral theory. (shrink)
This book argues that science and metaphysics are closely and inseparably interwoven in the work of Descartes, such that the metaphysics cannot be understood without the science and vice versa. In order to make his case, Thomas Vinci offers a careful philosophical reconstruction of central parts of Descartes' metaphysics and of his theory of perception, each considered in relation to Descartes' epistemology. Many authors of late have written on the relation between Descartes' metaphysics and his physics, especially insofar as the (...) former was intended to justify the latter. Vinci's work does not focus on this relation. It takes as a broad interpretive principle that Descartes wanted to justify a certain picture of matter with his metaphysics, but it focuses its own efforts on the way in which metaphysics and science meet in Descartes' theory of sense-perception. Vinci aims to show that Descartes gave an important positive role to sense-perception in his epistemology, and also that he used his reflections on sense-perception to frame his criticism of previous theories of the sensory qualities of objects. (shrink)
Noah Lemos defends the common sense tradition--the view that permits us to justify the philosophical inquiry of many of the things we ordinarily think we know. He discusses the main features of this tradition as expounded by Thomas Reid, G.E. Moore and Roderick Chisholm in a text that will appeal to students and philosophers in epistemology and ethics.
This book is concerned with the role of economic philosophy ("ideas") in the processes of belief-formation and social change. Its aim is to further our understanding of the behavior of the individual economic agent by bringing to light and examining the function of non-rational dispositions and motivations ("passions") in the determination of the agent's beliefs and goals. Drawing on the work of David Hume and Adam Smith, the book spells out the particular ways in which the passions come to affect (...) our ordinary understanding and conduct in practical affairs and the intergenerational and interpersonal transmission of ideas through language. Concern with these problems, it is argued, lies at the heart of an important tradition in the British moral philosophy. This emphasis on the non-rational nature of our belief-fixation mechanisms has important implications: it helps to clarify and qualify the misleading claims often made by utilitarian, Marxist, Keynesian, and neo-liberal economic philosophers, all of whom stress the overriding power of ideas to shape conduct, policy, and institutions. (shrink)
A major contribution to Descartes studies, this book provides a panorama of cutting-edge scholarship ranging widely over Descartes's own primary concerns: metaphysics, physics, and its applications. It is at once a tool for scholars and--steering clear of technical Cartesian science--an accessible resource that will delight nonspecialists. The contributors include Edwin Curley, Willis Doney, Alan Gabbey, Daniel Garber, Marjorie Grene, Gary Hatfield, Marleen Rozemond, John Schuster, Dennis Sepper, Stephen Voss, Stephen Wagner, Margaret Welson, Jean Marie Beyssade, Michelle Beyssade, Michel Henry, Evert (...) van Leeuwen, Jean-Luc Marion, Genevieve Rodis-Lewis, and Jean-Pierre Seris. Combining new textual sensitivity with attentiveness to history, they represent the best established scholars and most exciting new voices, including both English speaking and newly-translated writers. Part I examines the foundations of Descartes's philosophy: Cartesian certainty; the phenomenology of the cogito and its modulations in the passions; and the defensibility and comprehensibility of the Cartesian God. The second part examines Descartes's groundbreaking metaphysics: mind's distinctness from and interaction with body; imagination; perception; and language. Part III examines Cartesian science: the revolutionary rhetoric of the Rules and the Discourse; the metaphysical foundations of physics; the interplay of rationalism and empiricism; the mechanics and human biology that flow from Descartes's physics. (shrink)
The third Earl of Shaftesbury was a pivotal figure in eighteenth-century thought and culture. Professor Klein's study is the first to examine the extensive Shaftesbury manuscripts and offer an interpretation of his diverse writings as an attempt to comprehend contemporary society and politics and, in particular, to offer a legitimation for the new Whig political order established after 1688. As the focus of Shaftesbury's thinking was the idea of politeness, this study involves the first serious examination of the importance (...) of the idea of politeness in the eighteenth century for thinking about society and culture and organising cultural practices. Through politeness, Shaftesbury conceptualised a new kind of public and critical culture for Britain and Europe, and greatly influenced the philosophical and cultural models associated with the European Enlightenment. (shrink)
George Berkeley -- On missing the wrong target -- Enlightenment and counter-Enlightenment in Irish philosophy -- The culmination and causation of Irish philosophy -- Francis Hutcheson on Berkeley and the Molyneux problem -- The impact of Irish philosophy on the American Enlightenment -- Irish ideology and philosophy -- An early essay concerning Berkeley's immaterialism -- Mrs. Berkeley's annotations in An account of the life of Berkeley (1776) -- Some new Bermuda Berkeleiana -- The good bishop : new letters -- Beckett (...) and Berkeley. (shrink)
Brian Wormald provides a fundamental reappraisal of one of the most complex and innovative figures of the late-Elizabethan and Jacobean age. In the centuries since his death, Francis Bacon (1561-1626) has been perceived and studied as a promoter and prophet of the philosophy of science--natural science--but he saw himself also as a clarifier and promoter of what he called "policy" or the study and improvement of the structure and function of civil states. Mr. Wormald shows that Bacon was concerned equally (...) with the knowledge of the world of nature and with that of policy. The junction between the two enterprises was effected by his work in history; and in the end it was Bacon's conception and practice of history that provided the answer to his efforts to advance policy and natural philosophy. (shrink)
This exciting new text presents the first overview of Jean Jacques Rousseau's work from a political science perspective. Was Rousseau--the great theorist of the French Revolution--really a conservative? This original study argues that the he was a constitutionalist much closer to Madison, Montesquieu, and Locke than to revolutionaries. Outlining his profound opposition to Godless materialism and revolutionary change, this book finds parallels between Rousseau and Burke, as well as showing how Rousseau developed the first modern theory of nationalism. The book (...) presents an integrated political analysis of Rousseau's educational, ethical, religious and political writings, and will be essential reading for students of politics, philosophy and the history of ideas. (shrink)
This book investigates the link Kant discerned between our experience of beauty and our experience of the moral law. By examining Kant's relation to Greek philosophy, to Plato and Pythagoras, as found in Kant's own writings, the author sheds new light on one the most intriguing and mysterious doctrines of Kant's third Critique.
The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals is Kant's central contribution to moral philosophy, and has inspired controversy ever since it was first published in 1785. Kant champions the insights of 'common human understanding' against what he sees as the dangerous perversions of ethical theory. Morality is revealed to be a matter of human autonomy: Kant locates the source of the 'categorical imperative' within each and every human will. However, he also portrays everyday morality in a way that many readers (...) find difficult to accept. The Groundwork is a short book, but its argument is dense, intricate and at times treacherous. This commentary explains Kant's arguments paragraph by paragraph, and also contains an introduction, a synopsis of the argument, six short interpretative essays on key topics of the Groundwork, and a glossary of key terms. It will be an indispensable tool for anyone wishing to study the Groundwork in detail. (shrink)
The most recent commentators on Edmund Burke have renewed the charge that his political thought lacks the consistency and coherency necessary to even claim the status of a political philosophy and that he is indeed a "utilitarian." They mark him off as an "ideologist," a "rhetorician," and a "deliberate propagandist." Even Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, his most profound statement of a political philosophy, is regarded by some as a work of mere "persuasion," not "philosophy." All this occurs (...) in spite of the seminal work of Stanlis, Canavan, and Wilkins, who in the 1950s and ‘60s, demonstrated the natural law foundations of Burke’s politics. Burke revisionists, forced to acknowledge his use of the "natural law," label such use as a rhetorical means for utilitarian ends. Directly opposed to this renewed "utilitarian" interpretation of Burke is Joseph Pappin’s work The Metaphysics of Edmund Burke. Not only does this work challenge the "utilitarian" view of Burke, it sets out, as not other work on Burke has attempted to do, "to make explicit the implicit metaphysical core of Burke’s political thought." Pappin does this by examining both Burke’s critics and Burke’s own attack on a rationalist, ideologically inspired metaphysics. Drawing from Burke’s vast writings, Pappin establishes as his goal "to demonstrate that Burke’s political philosophy is grounded in a realist metaphysic, one that is basically consonant with the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition." Does the author succeed? According to Francis Canavan, in his Foreword to this work, the "explanatory key" of a realist metaphysics grounding Burke’s politics "is a key that fits the lock better than any other that scholars have offered." Canavan further holds that the author offers "us a more thorough analysis of Burke’s understanding of God, the creation, nature, man, and society than has previously appeared.". (shrink)
John Locke (1632-1704) is a central figure in the history of thought, and in liberal doctrine especially. This major study brings a range of his wider views to bear upon his political theory. Every political theorist has a vision, a view about the basic features of life and society, as well as technique which mediates this into propositions about politics. Locke's vision spanned questions concerning Christian worship, ethics, political economy, medicine, the human understanding, revealed theology and education. This study shows (...) how the character of these wider concerns informed Two Treatises of Government, especially in respect of a view of divine teleology, and situated a distinctive view of politics which treated the state and the church in parallel terms. (shrink)
Different religious traditions offer apparently very different pictures of the world. How are we to make sense of this radical diversity of religious belief? In this book, Professor Godlove argues that religions are alternative conceptual frameworks, the categories of which organise experience in diverse ways. He traces the history of this idea from Kant to Durkheim, and then proceeds to discuss two constraints on the diversity of all human judgment and belief: first that human experience is made possible by shared, (...) a priori rules, and second, that as language-users we must presuppose that we hold the vast bulk of our beliefs in common. Given these unavoidable constraints, it is clear how religions may offer encompassing symbolic systems that often diverge dramatically from one another. 'An original and brilliant critique of Durkheim and Kant from within the framework of Davidson's semantic theory. This book is required reading for anyone interested in the academic study of religion, and the problems of relativism and the diversity of belief.' -- Hans H. Penner, Dartmouth CollegeDifferent religious traditions offer apparently very different pictures of the world. How are we to make sense of this radical diversity of religious belief? In this book, Professor Godlove argues that religions are alternative conceptual frameworks, the categories of which organise experience in diverse ways. He traces the history of this idea from Kant to Durkheim, and then proceeds to discuss two constraints on the diversity of all human judgment and belief: first that human experience is made possible by shared, a priori rules, and second, that as language-users we must presuppose that we hold the vast bulk of our beliefs in common. Given these unavoidable constraints, it is clear how religions may offer encompassing symbolic systems that often diverge dramatically from one another. 'An original and brilliant critique of Durkheim and Kant from within the framework of Davidson's semantic theory. This book is required reading for anyone interested in the academic study of religion, and the problems of relativism and the diversity of belief.' -- Hans H. Penner, Dartmouth College. (shrink)