This thesis examines the alethic modal concepts of possibility and necessity. It is argued that one cannot do justice to all our modal talk without possible worlds, i.e., complete ways that a cosmos might have been. I argue that not all of the proposed applications of possible worlds succeed but enough remain to give one good theoretical reason to posit them. The two central problems now are: What feature of reality makes correct alethic modal claims true and What are possible (...) worlds? ;David Lewis makes possible worlds be concretely existing universes. Unfortunately, I show Lewis's account involves set-theoretic, ethical, inductive and probabilistic paradoxes, and commits Lewis to an objectionable form of primitive modality that governs the choice of the counterpart relation. The most promising contemporary alternatives to Lewis's theory have been the worlds of Adams and Plantinga constructed out of Platonic entities such as maximal collections of consistent propositions. However, these approaches fail to provide a satisfactory answer to the question of what makes true modal claims true. I also criticize some alternative accounts. ;Finally, I discuss and combine two historical approaches. The first is an Aristotelian approach that says a non-actual event is possible is to say that some actual substances could have initiated a causal chain that could lead up to the event in question. However, it can be shown that some plausible global possibility claims can be made true on this account only if there is a necessarily existent first cause capable of initiating very different universes. On the other hand, Leibniz made possible worlds be ideas in the mind of an omniscient necessarily existent deity. Leibniz fails to explain what it is that makes these possible worlds possible, but if we were willing to combine his story with the conclusion drawn from the Aristotelian one, we could get the following story: Possible worlds are ideas in the mind of an omniscient deity and what makes them possible is that this deity has the Aristotelian capability of initiating causal chains that can lead to them being actualized. (shrink)
We have invented, discovered as we were shaping it, and set free from Marc Richir’s philosophy a fundamental element of comprehensibility regarding his phenomenology, which we have called ogkorhythm. The pertinence of this fundamental ogkorhythmic element is also to be found in its great problematic density, giving clarity to that which should be understood by space/time itself in contemporary French phenomenology and, in the context of this contribution, in the work of Max Loreau and Henri Maldiney. Our work mainly concerns (...) the analysis of notions of inherent volume in the work of the former and of rhythm in the work of the latter. Rhythm and volume whose meaning is, in part, derived in the light of ogkorhythm. (shrink)
Need considerations play an important role in empirically informed theories of distributive justice. We propose a concept of need-based justice that is related to social participation and provide an ethical measurement of need-based justice. The β-ε-index satisfies the need-principle, monotonicity, sensitivity, transfer and several »technical« axioms. A numerical example is given.
In this essay, I examine Robert Boyle's strategies for making imperceptible entities accessible to the senses. It is well known that, in his natural philosophy, Boyle confronted the challenge of making imperceptible particles of matter into objects of sensory experience. It has never been noted, however, that Boyle confronted a strikingly similar challenge in his natural theology – he needed to make an equally imperceptible God accessible to the senses. Taking this symmetrical difficulty as my starting point, I propose (...) a new approach to thinking about the interconnections between Boyle's natural philosophy and natural theology. For the most part, studies of science and religion in the early modern period work by seeking out the influence of explicitly stated religious beliefs on scientific ideas. I argue, by contrast, that we need to focus on Boyle's representational practices, using his attempts to represent imperceptible entities as a means of uncovering metaphysical and theological presuppositions that he did not always articulate when stating his religious beliefs. With new interpretations of bothA Discourse of Things Above Reason andSome Physico-Theological Considerations about the Possibility of the Resurrection, I show that there were crucial similarities between Boyle's practices for representing both God and atoms. I go on to show, moreover, that Boyle used these practices to enact an ontological stance at odds with one of his most important professed beliefs. (shrink)
In her article, Pascale Hess raises the issue of whether her proposed model may be extrapolated and applied to clinical research fields other than stem cell-based interventions in the brain (SCBI-B) (Hess 2012). Broadly summarized, Hess’s model suggests prioritizing efficacy over safety in phase 1 trials involving irreversible interventions in the brain, when clinical criteria meet the appropriate population suffering from “degenerative brain diseases” (Hess 2012). Although there is a need to reconsider the traditional phase 1 model, especially with respect (...) to first-in-human clinical trials involving novel technologies, the question arises as to whether it is appropriate to advocate for a new model that prioritizes efficacy over safety across all phase 1 clinical research trials involving irreversible interventions in the brain. -/- . (shrink)
Although not universally accepted at the time, the atomic hypothesis during the 19th century provided a definite ordering scheme for certain relatively sophisticated chemical phenomena. As such, it was conceptually responsible for the formulation and precise articulation of important seminal ideas in chemical studies. In this paper we will explore this claim with regard to the views of the British chemist Alexander W. Williamson.
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a cancer of the hematopoietic system initiated by a single genetic mutation which results in the oncogenic fusion protein Bcr-Abl. Untreated, patients pass through different phases of the disease beginning with the rather asymptomatic chronic phase and ultimately culminating into blast crisis, an acute leukemia resembling phase with a very high mortality. Although many processes underlying the chronic phase are well understood, the exact mechanisms of disease progression to blast crisis are not yet revealed. In (...) this paper we develop a mathematical model of CML based on causal Bayesian networks in order to study possible disease progression mechanisms. Our results indicate that an increase of Bcr-Abl levels alone is not sufficient to explain the phenotype of blast crisis and that secondary changes such as additional mutations are necessary to explain disease progression and the poor therapy response of patients in blast crisis. (shrink)
This article reconstructs a pragmatist conception of political conviction from the works of William James. Pragmatism is often criticized for failing to account for the force of moral convictions to motivate risky and confrontational political action. This article argues that such criticisms presume a conception of conviction as an experience of moral command that pragmatism rejects. In its place, pragmatism portrays the experience of conviction as acting on faith. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze’s notion of the stutter, I argue that this (...) experience of faith is neither a deliberative justification nor a form of decisionism but rather a style of moral deliberation that is experimental, social and affective. I consider the sole piece of political oratory in James’ corpus, his 1897 oration to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, as a significant example of stuttering conviction. James’ oration seeks to demonstrate the ways that convictions can take hold of actors without relying on deep philosophical foundations or justifications. Although James places his argument squarely within the context of the politics of race, he himself does not attend to the ways his celebration of Shaw obscures the moral experiences of the African–American soldiers of the 54th. In response to this blindness, the final section considers whether or not the martyrdom of John Brown provides a more appropriate conception of conviction than James’ Shaw. (shrink)
This study presents a substantial and often radical reinterpretation of some of the central themes of Locke's thought. Professor Alexander concentrates on the Essay Concerning Human Understanding and aims to restore that to its proper historical context. In Part I he gives a clear exposition of some of the scientific theories of Robert Boyle, which, he argues, heavily influenced Locke in employing similar concepts and terminology. Against this background, he goes on in Part II to provide an account (...) of Locke's views on the external world and our knowledge of it. He shows those views to be more consistent and plausible than is generally allowed, demonstrating how they make sense and enable scientific explanations of nature. In examining the views of Locke and Boyle together, the book throws light both on the development of philosophy and the beginnings of modern science, and in particular it makes a considerable and original contribution to our understanding of Locke's philosophy. (shrink)
The "Supplement" transmitted as the second book of "On the Soul" by Alexander of Aphrodisias is a collection of short texts on a wide range of topics from psychology, including the general hylomorphic account of soul and its faculties, and the theory of vision; questions in ethics ; and issues relating to responsibility, chance and fate. One of the texts in the collection, "On Intellect", had a major influence on medieval Arabic and Western thought, greater than that of (...) class='Hi'>Alexander's "On the Soul" itself. The treatises may all be by Alexander himself; certainly the majority of them are closely connected with his other works. Many of them, however, consist of collections of arguments on particular issues, collections which probably incorporate material from earlier in the history of the Peripatetic school. This translation is from a new edition of the Greek text based on a collation of all known manuscripts and comparison with medieval Arabic and Latin translations. (shrink)
Richard Sorabji, in his introduction to the series, Ancient Commentators on Aristotle, of which this volume is a part, claims that these works "represent a missing link in the history of philosophy: the Latin-speaking Middle Ages obtained their knowledge of Aristotle at least partly through the medium of the commentaries. Without an appreciation of this, medieval interpretations of Aristotle will not be understood". If this remark is true of any volume in the series, it is certainly true of this one, (...) which presents R. W. Sharples' translation of the second half of Alexander's Quaestiones, a group of inquiries, 69 in total, on Aristotle's work and thought regarding the nature of providence, the soul, coming-to-be and passing-away, the finiteness of the universe, the nature of magnetism, and other topics. (shrink)
Are faith and knowledge mutually incompatible in the sense that it is not possible for someone both to know something to be the case and also, and at the same time, to accept as a matter of faith that it is the case? Robert Baron, one of the group of early seventeenth-century Episcopalians known as the ‘Aberdeen doctors’, examines this question and provides an answer full of philosophical interest. This article discusses his answer, focusing in particular on his account (...) of the nature of and the relation between the assent of knowledge, assent of faith, and assent of will. (shrink)
This important philosophical reflection on love and sexuality from a broadly Christian perspective is aimed at philosophers, theologians, and educated Christian readers. Alexander R. Pruss focuses on foundational questions on the nature of romantic love and on controversial questions in sexual ethics on the basis of the fundamental idea that romantic love pursues union of two persons as one body. _One Body_ begins with an account, inspired by St. Thomas Aquinas, of the general nature of love as constituted by (...) components of goodwill, appreciation, and unitiveness. Different forms of love, such as parental, collegial, filial, friendly, fraternal, or romantic, Pruss argues, differ primarily not in terms of goodwill or appreciation but in terms of the kind of union that is sought. Pruss examines romantic love as distinguished from other kinds of love by a focus on a particular kind of union, a deep union as one body achieved through the joint biological striving of the sort involved in reproduction. Taking the account of the union that romantic love seeks as a foundation, the book considers the nature of marriage and applies its account to controversial ethical questions, such as the connection between love, sex, and commitment and the moral issues involving contraception, same-sex activity, and reproductive technology. With philosophical rigor and sophistication, Pruss provides carefully argued answers to controversial questions in Christian sexual ethics. "This is a terrific—really quite extraordinary—work of scholarship. It is quite simply the best work on Christian sexual ethics that I have seen. It will become the text that anyone who ventures into the field will have to grapple with—a kind of touchstone. Moreover, it is filled with arguments with which even secular writers on sexual morality will have to engage and come to terms." —_Robert P. George, Princeton University __ "_One Body_ is an excellent piece of philosophical-theological reflection on the nature of sexuality and marriage. This book has the potential to become a standard go-to text for professors and students working on sex ethics issues, whether in philosophy or theology, both for the richness of its arguments, and the scope of its coverage of cases. " — Christopher Tollefsen, University of South Carolina_ "Alexander Pruss here develops sound and humane answers to the whole range of main questions about human sexual and reproductive choices. His principal argument for the key answers is very different from the one I have articulated over the past fifteen years. But his argumentation is at every point attractively direct, careful, energetic in framing and responding to objections, and admirably attentive to realities and the human goods at stake." —_John Finnis, University of Oxford _. (shrink)