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17th/18th Century Philosophy

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  • Kane Tran, 2015-07-27 : I argue that the received conception of the aim and results of Kant’s Paralogisms must be revised in light of a proper u... (read more)
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Tarski’s convention T: condition beta. South American Journal of Logic. 1, 3–32.

John Corcoran and Leonardo Weber


HISTORICAL NOTE: This paper is the culmination of a years-long joint effort by the two authors. A preliminary report appeared in 2013: Corcoran-Weber, Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, 19 (2013) 510–11. Their co-operative work was conducted by email dialogue in which each author’s work was developed and corrected by the other. Each section went through several iterations. The final version was the result of dozens of reciprocal exchanges; it is impossible to allocate credit. Each author learned from and taught the other. During this time they consulted several other scholars including the Tarski experts David Hitchcock, James Smith, and Albert Visser.

The senior author expresses his deep gratitude to the junior author. Moreover the senior author acknowledges publicly what he has already said privately, viz. that without the junior author’s help and mastery of ... (read more)

REQUEST: Please send errors, omissions, and suggestions. I am especially interested in citations made in non-English publications.



Corcoran’s 2009 ARISTOTLE’S DEMONSTRATIVE LOGIC deals decisively with several issues that had previously been handled by vague speculation and dogmatic pontification if at all. One possible example: Corcoran [2009, p. 13] proves conclusively that the imperfect syllogisms Baroco and Bocardo—which Aristotle completed indirectly [by reductio-ad-impossible]—cannot be completed directly. More generally, Corcoran shows that no valid premise-conclusion argument, regardless of the number of premises,  having an existential negative [“particular negative” or “O-proposition”] as a premise can be completed using a direct deduction—assuming of course that no premises are redundant and that the conclusion is not among the premises. To be clear this means that for no such argument is it possible to deduce the conclusion from the premises without using reductio.

This result, called the EXISTENTIAL-NEGATIVE EXCLUSION [ENE], was circulated informally by Corcoran much earlier but it seem ... (read more)

This is awesome. Tractatus power!
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Dear Professor Ott. I have enjoyed your work on Malebranche and I'm now considering Berkeley's doctrine of the passivity of ideas. In Principles 25 he argues that essentially if we looks closely at our ideas (objects of sense) we'll come to see (1) they are passive, (2) a stronger stronger claim--it's impossible that they be active--thus non-minded nature must be causally inert. (2) Seems the right way to go--the argument as J Bennett (Learning from Six Philosophers) suggests is a priori; from the doctrine that to be is to be perceived it logically follows that nature is causally inert. I don't quite see the deduction--both K Winkler (Berkeley) and G Strawson (The Secret Connexion) have outlined how the argument might go, but I'm not convinced. Recently Jeff McDonough (J Phil argued that with respect to Berkeley's claim that 'against Malebranche we move our limbs ourselves,' a concurrentist account might save Berkeley from the consequent problem that ... (read more)

I am wondering if anyone knows of an English translation of Gueroult's volumes on Spinoza. My present solution to being unable to read these volumes is to learn French, which is not so bad, but requires substantially more effort than reading Gueroult in translation.

Evan Roane
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It's well known that Malebranche, Berkeley, and Hume among others argued that we don't observe strict or efficient causality; rather we just observe correlations (A and B) and confuse strong expectations of B following on the occasion of A with strict causation of B by A. Yet there is a good deal of psychological literature developing Albert Michotte's experiments (Perception of Causality, 1963 English translation) by those like Brian Scholl (Yale Lab on Cognition) and others that there is a robust representation of causality when observing simulations of collisions. Robust means even in cases when there is no regularity in the sequences, (no correlation) people including infants represent in perception that A moves B in that particular case when a launching of one object by another does appear to take place. Michotte admitted that his work might not have convinced Hume, if representing causality in perception required representing that A was necessarily connected to B in a ... (read more)
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It's interesting how historians and philosophers can see the world so differently.  For an example, see Margaret Osler's review of Epicureanism at the Origins of Modernity  and the author's reply.

This is a good attempt from an analytical perspective to examine an interpretation of Kant which has tended to be the preserve of Continental philosophers. However, it seems to have generated little comment that I can trace.  Imagination is the faculty of the gaps in Kant's epistemology - an uncomfortable position if Kant is to be seen as a cognitive realist.  But the transcendental component of his dualism is perhaps a matter ultimately of imagination so Gibbons' work is a useful balance to interpretations of Kant which emphasise his attempt to defeat Humean scepticism.
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