During the seventeenth century Francisco Surez was considered one of the greatest philosophers of the age: he is now reemerging as a major subject of critical and historical investigation. A leading team of scholars explore his work on ethics, metaphysics, ontology, and theology. This will be the starting-point for future research on Surez.
Sixteenth Century philosophy was a unique synthesis of several philosophical frameworks, a blend of old and new, including but not limited to scholasticism, humanism, Neo-Thomism, Aristotelianism, and Stoicism. It was a century that witnessed culturally and philosophically significant moments whose impact still is felt today—some examples include the emergence of Jesuits, the height of the witchcraze, the Protestant Reformation, the rise of philosophical skepticism, Pietro Pomponazzi’s controversial reexamination of traditional understandings of the soul’s mortality, and the deflation of the metaphysical (...) status of substantial forms. Unlike most historical overviews of this moment in philosophy’s history, The Routledge Companion to Sixteenth Century Philosophy does not simplify this colorful period with the application of the dichotomies traditionally applied to this century, such as the misguidingly clear line once drawn between scholasticism and humanism. The Companion includes essays covering the following astonishingly diverse set of topics: philosophical methodologies of the time, the importance of the discovery of the new world, the rise of classical scholarship, trends in logic and logical theory, Nominalism, Avveroism, Neo-Thomism, the Jesuits, the Reformation, Neo-stoicism, the soul’s immortality, witchcraft, Skepticism, the philosophies of language and science and politics, Cosmology, women’s rights, the nature of the understanding, causality, ethics, freedom of the will, natural law, the emergence of the individual in society, the nature of wisdom, and the love of god. And, throughout, the Companion seeks not to compartmentalize these philosophical matters, but instead to show that close attention paid to their continuity may help reveal both the diversity and the profound coherence of the philosophies that emerged in the sixteenth century. (shrink)
A common criticism of Locke’s ideational definition of knowledge is that it contradicts his accounts of knowledge’s reality and sensitive knowledge. Here it is argued that the ideational definiton of knowledge is compatible with knowledge of idea-independent reality. The key is Locke’s notion of the signification. Nominal agreements obtain if and only if the ideas’ descriptive contents are the ground for truth; real agreements obtain only if their total denotation are the grounds for truth. The signification of the ideas determine (...) whether they denote real or fantastical objects. Three types of ideas, simple quality-ideas, modal ideas, and relational ideas, necessarily signify real objects. The fourth type, the ideas of substances, are real only if those particular combinations of qualitites have been perceived to co-exist. Locke’s ideas are intrinsically either real or fantastical and thus, it is argued, his models of truth and knowledge’s reality are far from typical correspondence theories. (shrink)
With the publication of Walter Ott’s Locke’s Philosophy of Language and Michael Losonsky’s Linguistic Turns in Modern Philosophy, serious scholarly attention has returned to Locke’s philosophy of language. In this exhaustively-researched book, Hannah Dawson presents a dark vision of language and the desperate seventeenth-century struggles against it, culminating in Locke’s complete and catastrophic capitulation. She argues that the dominant issue is something called “the problem of language in philosophy.” Seventeenth-century philosophers started seeing the language they used in philosophy as unstable (...) and, consequently, as a veil cutting us off from reality. Prior to Locke, most believed that this “semantic instability” was accidental and remediable, but Dawson argues that Locke viewed it as inherent to language and that he abandoned any hope of reforming language. It turns out that what dissolves the semantic ties between words and reality, making “the problem of language in philosophy” intractable, is the old problem of skepticism and the radical subjectivism entailed by it. Because words signify ideas and. (shrink)
The most pedigreed line of thought about mind is the simplicity argument: that the unity of thinking entails the simplicity, immateriality, and immortality of soul. It is widely taken to be a rationalist argument, as opposed to an empiricist or peripatetic argument (see Mijuskovic, The Achilles of Rationalist Arguments), which was completely destroyed by Kant in the First Critique. In this paper it is argued that there is a conceptual connection between the downfall of the Aristotelian conception of soul as (...) substantial form and the downfall of this argument in that in the downfall of the Aristotelian conception of soul it became acceptable to view the functional unity of a material system as constituting a genuine unity per se. This then undermined all philosophical motivation for the postulation of substantial forms. As a result, there was no longer reason for rooting the unity of apperception in the simplicity of a subsistence soul as opposed to some simply emergent power of thinking. (shrink)
Early modern historians and philosophers interested in human freedom can profitably read this book, which provides a synoptic view of the eighteenth-century British free will debate from Locke through Dugald Stewart. Scholars have not ignored the debate, but as they have tended to focus on canonical figures , the author’s inclusion of lesser-known yet significant thinkers such as Lord Kames, Jonathan Edwards, and James Beattie is especially welcome. The main thesis of James Harris’s book is that the eighteenth-century British debate (...) was animated by a general commitment to “experimentalism,” i.e., the view that we should be faithful to the data of our experiences of willing. Locke initiated the turn to experimentalism, but in Harris’s judgment it was Hume who first fully adopted it. Of course, Hume’s deflationary moves did nothing to slow the debate, let alone settle it, and necessitarians continued to battle libertarians. (shrink)
In this book, Robert Fogelin revisits much that was covered in his Hume’s Skepticism in the Treatise of Human Nature . Even so, there is a wealth of new material here, reflecting a number of developments in Fogelin’s thinking about Hume’s THN. I shall highlight three.In the earlier book, Fogelin had pushed a strongly skeptical interpretation of THN. Now, however, he has mitigated his reading somewhat, and is offering “a more balanced account of the relationship between Hume’s naturalism and his (...) skepticism” . Naturalist themes were present in the earlier book, but Fogelin downplayed them and perhaps overplayed the skeptical themes to counteract the dominance of naturalistic interpretations. But the difference now is largely a matter of emphasis rather than orientation: Fogelin now recognizes Hume’s naturalism is one of four “voices” that were each sincere and heartfelt, and which all deserve equal emphasis and weight .The most significant addition is Fogelin’s claim that “Hume’s pursuit of a science of human nature itself generates a skeptical challenge that calls his naturalistic program into question” . In Skepticism in the Treatise of Human Nature. (shrink)
Jolley’s slim book joins a slew of recent work on Locke’s metaphysics of persons. The two “touchy subjects” of the title were the immortality of an immaterial soul and the resurrection of the same body. Jolley’s interpretive thesis is that Locke propounded a form of weak materialism, that is, property dualism. He set this up as a corrective to the common reading that Locke was agnostic about the metaphysical state of the soul. As Jolley sees it, Locke’s thinking in support (...) of weak materialism is spread across four works. His defense consists of tracing the arc of Locke’s thinking.... (shrink)
The most pedigreed line of thought about mind is the simplicity argument: that the unity of thinking entails the simplicity, immateriality, and immortality of soul. It is widely taken to be a rationalist argument, as opposed to an empiricist or peripatetic argument, which was completely destroyed by Kant in the First Critique. In this paper it is argued that there is a conceptual connection between the downfall of the Aristotelian conception of soul as substantial form and the downfall of this (...) argument in that in the downfall of the Aristotelian conception of soul it became acceptable to view the functional unity of a material system as constituting a genuine unity per se. This then undermined all philosophical motivation for the postulation of substantial forms. As a result, there was no longer reason for rooting the unity of apperception in the simplicity of a subsistence soul as opposed to some simply emergent power of thinking. (shrink)
This introduction argues for the importance of Suárez’s philosophy for historians of medieval philosophy as well as historians of early modern philosophy. It also provides synopses of each of the essays in the volume and a brief biography of Suárez, placing his life and works into some historical context.