???Everyone agrees that the moral features of things supervene on their natural features??? , 22). Everyone is wrong, or so I will argue. In the first section, I explain the version of moral supervenience that Smith and others argue everyone should accept. In the second section, I argue that the mere conceptual possibility of a divine command theory of morality is sufficient to refute the version of moral supervenience under consideration. Lastly, I consider and respond to two objections, showing, among (...) other things, that while DCT is sufficient to refute this version of moral supervenience it is not necessary. (shrink)
In his book Attention, Professor Alan White says ‘When you see X, it follows that if X is Y, you see Y whether you realise it or not.’ If, in passing through Paris, I saw a tall complex iron structure and that structure is the Eiffel Tower, then I saw the Eiffel Tower whether I realised it or not. I accept this, but because recent philosophical writings and discussions have cast doubt on the validity of the inference-pattern I saw x (...) ; x is y ; so I saw y and certain related patterns, it is clear that we cannot be content with this unvarnished statement. Various entertaining examples are produced to show that some instances of this pattern are invalid and therefore that the pattern itself is invalid. If I saw Jones at noon and at noon Jones was bribing Smith then, it is alleged, I cannot conclude that I saw Jones bribing Smith. Similarly, it is said, from the facts that I saw a man in the far distance and that that man was my father, I cannot conclude that I saw my father in the far distance; from the facts that I saw a foot and that that foot was Lloyd George's I cannot conclude that I saw Lloyd George. (shrink)
Legal and social norms regarding gender relations have undergone dramatic changes in the past 25 years. The changes have come about largely because of the confluence of changing economic and technological realities, the unfolding of the norm dictating equal treatment of individuals, the sexual revolution and its corollaries of improved contraception and legal abortion, the rise of women as a self-conscious group and a presence in the academy, and the interrelations of all of these factors. As men and women have (...) come to share dormitories and workplaces, and as the old mores governing sex—and male-female relations in general—have broken down, there has been struggle and uncertainty over what norms should apply to sexual relations. (shrink)
Mill predicted that “[t]he Liberty is likely to survive longer than anything else that I have written … because the conjunction of [Harriet Taylor’s] mind with mine has rendered it a kind of philosophic text-book of a single truth, which the changes progressively taking place in modern society tend to bring out in ever greater relief.” Indeed, _On Liberty_ is one of the most influential books ever written, and remains a foundational document for the understanding of vital political, philosophical and (...) social issues. In addition to its many useful appendices, this new edition includes a chronology, bibliography, and a substantial introduction which outlines Mill’s life and works, and sets this central work of 1859 in the context of both his own intellectual development and of the play of ideas and political forces in Victorian society. (shrink)
Aristotle sometimes claims that the perception of special perceptibles by their proper sense is unerring. This claim is striking, since it might seem that we quite often misperceive things like colours, sounds and smells. Aristotle also claims that the perception of common perceptibles is more prone to error than the perception of special perceptibles. This is puzzling in its own right, and also places constraints on the interpretation of. I argue that reading Alexander of Aphrodisias on perceptual error can (...) help to make good sense of both of Aristotle’s claims. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Alexander of Aphrodisias’ commentaries on Aristotle’s Organon are valuable sources for both Stoic and early Peripatetic logic, and have often been used as such – in particular for early Peripatetic hypothetical syllogistic and Stoic propositional logic. By contrast, this paper explores the role Alexander himself played in the development and transmission of those theories. There are three areas in particular where he seems to have made a difference: First, he drew a connection between certain passages from Aristotle’s (...) Topics and Prior Analytics and the Stoic indemonstrable arguments, and, based on this connection, appropriated at least four kinds of Stoic indemonstrables as Aristotelian. Second, he developed and made use of a specifically Peripatetic terminology in which to describe and discuss those arguments – which facilitated the integration of the indemonstrables into Peripatetic logic. Third, he made some progress towards a solution to the problem of what place and interpretation the Stoic third indemonstrables should be given in a Peripatetic and Platonist setting. Overall, the picture emerges that Alexander persistently (if not always consistently) presented passages from Aristotle’s logical œuvre in a light that makes it appear as if Aristotle was in the possession of a Peripatetic correlate to the Stoic theory of indemonstrables. (shrink)
This paper argues that while Heidegger showed the importance of architecture in altering people's modes of being to avoid global ecological destruction, the work of Christopher Alexander offered a far more practical orientation to deal with this problem.
This article offers an analysis of the argumentative method of two treatises by Alexander of Aphrodisias, On Fate and On Providence, the latter of which is preserved only in Arabic translation. It is argued that both texts use techniques from Aristotelian dialectic, albeit in different ways, with On Fate adhering to methods outlined in Aristotle's Topics whereas On Providence uses the ‘aporetic’ method familiar from texts such as MetaphysicsΒ. This represents a revision of a previous study of Alexander's (...) method in On Fate by Jaap Mansfeld, which emphasized parallels between that method and the techniques of ancient scepticism. It is, however, suggested that Alexander does reflect developments in epistemology during the Hellenistic period, especially in so far as he ‘upgrades’ the status of endoxa to play something like the role of common conceptions in the dogmatic Hellenistic schools. (shrink)
The cognizability of the world according to Alexander von Humboldt: the experience of landscape. According to Alexander von Humboldt, geography ought to aim to go beyond the modern attitude of seeing knowledge as being the result of a spatial and temporal abstraction from the real world. Von Humboldt wishes to create a new theory of knowledge, one that instead of just simplifying, schematizing, and categorizing reality is able to highlight its multiple meanings, its diversity of perspectives, and its (...) hermeneutical keys. Von Humboldt’s project strives to achieve a universal cognition of the world (or a universal geography) by claiming the centrality of the experience of landscape. This is evidence for von Humboldt’s far-sightedness, since he anticipated the present day trend of considering landscape as a corner stone of interdisciplinary enquiries into the meaning of the world. (shrink)
Experimental radiobiology represented a long-standing priority for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), but organizational issues initially impeded the laboratory progress of this government-funded work: who would direct such interdisciplinary investigations and how? And should the AEC support basic research or only mission-oriented projects? Alexander Hollaender's vision for biology in the post-war world guided AEC initiatives at Oak Ridge, where he created and presided over the Division of Biology for nearly two decades (1947-1966). Hollaender's scheme, at once entrepreneurial and (...) system-oriented, made good use of the unique resources provided by the AEC and by Oak Ridge's national laboratory setting, while at the same time it restructured wartime research practices to better reflect biologists' own priorities. Because Hollaender offered many academic experimental biologists a way of envisioning military-related patronage as integral - rather than antithetical - to their professional identities, his work provides an important lens through which to examine the early post-war intellectual and institutional development of radiobiology. (shrink)
According to Alexander of Aphrodisias, our potential intellect is a purely receptive capacity. Alexander also claims that, in order for us to actualise our intellectual potentiality, the intellect needs to abstract what is intelligible from enmattered perceptible objects. Now a problem emerges: How is it possible for a purely receptive capacity to perform such an abstraction? It will be argued that even though Alexander's reaction to this question causes some tension in his theory, the philosophical motivation for (...) it is a sound one. Rather than a calculation of actualities and potentialities, the doctrine of receptivity is supposed to explain how human beings come to grasp universal aspects of reality in an accurate manner. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: English translation of the 2nd/3rd century Peripatetic Philosopher's Alexander of Aphrodisias commentary on Aristotle's non-modal syllogistic, i.e. on one of the most influential logical texts of all times. -/- Volume includes introduction on Alexander of Aphrodisias and the early commentators, translation with notes and comments, appendices with a new translation of Aristotle's text, a summary of Aristotle's non-modal syllogistic and textual notes.
Group selection is increasingly being viewed as an important force in human evolution. This paper examines the views of R.D. Alexander, one of the most influential thinkers about human behavior from an evolutionary perspective, on the subject of group selection. Alexander's general conception of evolution is based on the gene-centered approach of G.C. Williams, but he has also emphasized a potential role for group selection in the evolution of individual genomes and in human evolution. Alexander's views are (...) internally inconsistent and underestimate the importance of group selection. Specific themes that Alexander has developed in his account of human evolution are important but are best understood within the framework of multilevel selection theory. From this perspective, Alexander's views on moral systems are not the radical departure from conventional views that he claims, but remain radical in another way more compatible with conventional views. (shrink)
This paper focuses on the figure of Alexander the Great in Augustine's City of God. It argues that Alexander is used to as a negative exemplar, showing the short coming of Roman virtue. It is easier for Augustine's interlocutors to recognize the flaws in Alexander (a non-Roman) than to recognize flaws in Roman heroes. However, once the flaws in Alexander are identified, the flaws in Rome are easier to discern.
Why an emergentist account of subjectivity? On the one hand, emergentism provides a new paradigm to rethink subjectivity beyond any dualism. At the same time, the issue of subjectivity puts a strain on emergentism itself, and pushes it beyond its limits. To show it, in the present paper I address a fundamental question: How can we describe subjectivity from an emergentist perspective? To answer, I will tackle Samuel Alexander’s and Alfred North Whitehead’s emergentist accounts of subjectivity. Alexander locates (...) subjectivity into a consistent emergentist framework, but his model of subjectivity remains grounded in the classical interpretation of subjectivity as mind. Whitehead gives a more innovative model of subjectivity, which implies a radical revision of its temporality and connection to the world, but this leads him beyond emergentism as a whole. (shrink)
This paper discusses the various rhetorical and argumentative uses to which Augustine puts Alexander the Great in his City of God. I argue that Alexander is a particularly useful figure for Augustine insofar as he is both non-Roman and a figure greatly admired by the Romans. Because of this unique position, Augustine is able to use Alexander to examine and discredit certain ideals and character traits present to the Romans without alienating his audience. I examine, in detail, (...) four instances of Augustine’s use of Alexander: book IV chapter 4, Book VIII chapter 5, Book VIII chapter 27 and book XII chapter 11. Finally, I conclude with some general observations about the role of Alexander in the broader argument of The City of God. I claim that Augustine’s use of Alexander exhibits a double movement. First, he privileges Alexander as an authoritative personification of certain glamorized traits or beliefs; second, he discredits Alexander thereby discrediting those traits or beliefs. (shrink)
Anselm’s Cur Deus homo [CDH hereafter] covers a number of topics related to the doctrine of redemption, but its main contribution to that doctrine is its account of how Christ’s death makes satisfaction for human sin. Anselm’s concept of satisfaction is correlated with his understanding of sin. According to Anselm, sin incurs a debt that one pays by making satisfaction. Anselm’s satisfaction theory of the Atonement came to dominate soteriology in the scholastic period. Despite numerous quotations from and references to (...) CDH among thirteenth- and fourteenth-century authors, we find that scholastics differ in how they interpret Anselm’s teaching on Christ’s satisfaction. This study will contribute to our .. (shrink)
This volume contains the Arabic translations of a lost treatise by Alexander of Aphrodisias (c. AD 200) "On the Principles of the Universe" with English translation, introduction and commentary. It also includes an Arabic and Syriac glossary. The introduction and commentary deal in detail with the manuscripts, the translators and the exegetical tendencies of the text, as well as with its reception in Arabic philosophy. The main theme of the work is the motion of the heavenly bodies and their (...) influence on the physical world. (shrink)
To study the influence of divinity on cosmos, Alexander uses the notions of ‘fate’ and ‘providence,’ which were common in the philosophy of his time. In this way, he provides an Aristotelian interpretation of the problems related to such concepts. In the context of this discussion, he offers a description of ‘nature’ different from the one that he usually regards as the standard Aristotelian notion of nature, i.e. the intrinsic principle of motion and rest. The new coined concept is (...) a ‘cosmic’ nature that can be identified with both ‘fate’ and ‘divine power,’ which are the immediate effect of providence upon the world. In the paper it is exposed how the conception of providence defended by Alexander means a rejection of the divine care of the particulars, since the divinities are only provident for species. Several texts belonging to the Middle Platonic philosophers will convince us that such thinkers (and not directly Aristotle) are the origin of the thesis that will be understood as the conventional Aristotelian position, namely that divinity only orders species but not individuals. (shrink)
Super-substantivalism is the thesis that space is identical to matter; it is currently under discussion ? see Sklar (1977, 221?4), Earman (1989, 115?6) and Schaffer (2009) ? in contemporary philosophy of physics and metaphysics. Given this current interest, it is worth investigating the thesis in the history of philosophy. This paper examines the super-substantivalism of Samuel Alexander, an early twentieth century metaphysician primarily associated with (the movement now known as) British Emergentism. Alexander argues that spacetime is ontologically fundamental (...) and it gives rise to an ontological hierarchy of emergence, involving novel properties such as matter, life and mind. Alexander's super-substantivalism is interesting not just because of its historical importance but also because Alexander unusually attempts to explain why spacetime is identical to matter. This paper carefully unpacks that explanation and shows how Alexander is best read as conceiving of spacetime as a Spinozistic substance, worked upon by evolution. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss two attempts to challenge mainstream liberal education, by Hannah Arendt and by contemporary Israeli philosopher Hanan Alexander. Arendt and Alexander both identify problems in liberal-secular modern politics and present alternatives based on reconnecting politics and education to tradition. I analyze their positions and bring them into a dialogue that suggests a complex conception of education that avoids many of the pitfalls of modern liberal thought. First, I outline Arendt and Alexander’s educational views (...) and discuss their similarities, arguing that both may be understood as opposed to the modern attempt to adopt a «view from nowhere» at the world. Next, I suggest that Alexander’s view may benefit from adopting Arendt’s conceptions of tradition and authority. In the consecutive section, I argue that Alexander sheds light on significant problems in Arendt’s approach to education, problems his understanding of critical dialogue can help solve. The succeeding section joins the two views together to form an approach I call «critical traditionalism», and examines it against prevailing approaches to political education. I conclude by pointing to an important point overlooked by both Arendt and Alexander, namely the need for internal political struggle within each tradition. (shrink)
The Human Eros is an outstanding accomplishment, a work of genuine wisdom. It combines meticulous scholarship with an enviable mastery of cultural and philosophical history to address pressing concerns of human beings, nature, and philosophy itself. While comprised of essays spanning over two decades, the book presents a powerfully coherent philosophical vision which Alexander names, alternately, “eco-ontology,” “humanistic naturalism,” and “ecological humanism.” Whatever the name, the approach is humane and intellectually compelling, offering insight and direction to pragmatism, aesthetics, existentialism, (...) environmental philosophy, and anyone in search of wisdom. It is an immensely readable book, too, leavening .. (shrink)