Publishing a collection of fragments from a classical author is a risky business: the moment the book appears in print, it may already be outdated, as new fragments could have come to light. Or, in the words of Ecclesiasticus 18:7: ‘When a man hath done, then he beginneth; and when he leaveth off, then he shall be doubtful’. The same fate befell me shortly after the publication of my collection of fragments from Rufus of Ephesus' On Melancholy. Manfred Ullmann wrote (...) to me that the late Rainer Degen had discovered a new fragment; in the course of my research, I came across some relevant quotations in the Hippocratic Treatments by the tenth-century author aṭ-Ṭabarī; and recently, Klaus-DietrichFischer published two related fragments. The following short note contains these new fragments together with an English translation and commentary. At the end, I also offer some addenda and corrigenda, partly in light of the reviews that have since appeared. (shrink)
In Our Stories, John Martin Fischer offers readers a characteristically thoughtful and engaging presentation of his views on a variety of topics, most notably death, immortality and self-expression. Having come to this collection familiar primarily with Fischer's work on freedom and responsibility, I was impressed with the range of issues treated in this latest volume. While each essay is independently appealing, perhaps the most compelling aspect of Our Stories is its cohesiveness. Fischer discerns a variety of subtle (...) connections among the diverse array of subjects he treats; this imbues his work with a degree of continuity that is remarkable in light of the extensiveness of his subject matter. Here, I focus mainly on self-expression, and discuss other topics covered in Our Stories principally in relation to this central concept.According to Fischer, the value of self-expression is ‘the value of acting freely, or acting in such a way as to be morally responsible … this value is a kind of aesthetic value, or akin to an aesthetic value’. The sense of freedom at issue here does not require alternative possibilities; rather, it involves guidance control, which agents possess when their behaviour is appropriately responsive to reasons and they take ‘ownership’ of the causal mechanism that produces this behaviour. While the value of free action is, …. (shrink)
Dietrich von Hildebrand seeks to pursue the idea that the discipline of phenomenology can offer a way of surmounting what Kant saw as the intrinsic limitations of human metaphysical enquiry. In this book review of the 2021 edition of Hildebrand’s What is Philosophy?, Hildebrand’s train of thought is reconstructed in some detail, from his opening remarks about knowing in general through to his account of the intuition of essences, the question of objectivity, and the overarching purpose of philosophy. Hildebrand’s (...) argument culminates in the claim that philosophy is not only the fundamental activity of a mind turned toward God, but is properly a preamble to religious faith. The review concludes by raising a number of objections to Hildebrand’s version of phenomenological realism. (shrink)
John Martin Fischer’s core project in Our Fate (2016) is to develop and defend Pike-style arguments for theological incompatibilism, i. e., for the view that divine omniscience is incompatible with human free will. Against Ockhamist attacks on such arguments, Fischer maintains that divine forebeliefs constitute so-called hard facts about the times at which they occur, or at least facts with hard ‘kernel elements’. I reconstruct Fischer’s argument and outline its structural analogies with an argument for logical fatalism. (...) I then point out some of the costs of Fischer’s reasoning that come into focus once we notice that the set of hard facts is closed under entailment. (shrink)
In a recent paper, John Fischer develops a new argument against the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP) based on a deterministic scenario. Fischer uses this result (i) to rebut the Dilemma Defense - a well-known incompatibilist response to Frankfurt-type counterexamples to PAP; and (ii) to maintain that: If causal determinism rules out moral responsibility, it is not just in virtue of eliminating alternative possibilities. In this article, we argue that Fischer's new argument against PAP fails, thus leaving (...) points (i) and (ii) unsupported. (shrink)
In a recent exchange, John M. Fischer and David Widerker have debated whether or not it is appropriate to employ Frankfurt-style examples in efforts to challenge the intuitively plausible “principle of alternative possibilities.” Most recently, David Widerker and Charlotte Katzoff have tried to defend Widerker’s initial claim that such examples beg the question against libertarianism. As a libertarian sympathizer, I would like very much for these arguments to go through. However, I argue here that their “molinist” critique is off-target, (...) their demonstration of the general falsity of Fischer’s libertarianism misses the point, and they infer the relevance of alternative possibilities from the mere existence of such alternatives in a way that requires unprovided justification. (shrink)
Die Einordnung der Rechtsphilosophie als akademische Disziplin reicht vom reinen Grundlagenfach mit «Service-Funktion» für die praktischen Rechtswissenschaften über ein interdisziplinäres Verständnis, das die Bezüge zu anderen ...
It is sometimes alleged that the study of emotion and the study of value are currently pursued as relatively autonomous disciplines. As Kevin Mulligan notes, “the philosophy and psychology of emotions pays little attention to the philosophy of value and the latter pays only a little more attention to the former.” (2010b, 475). Arguably, the last decade has seen more of a rapprochement between these two domains than used to be the norm (cf. e.g. Roeser & Todd 2014). But there (...) still seems to be considerable potential for exchange and dialogue if the situation is compared with their intimate relationship in central strands of early realist phenomenology. The philosopher perhaps most representative of this ecumenical approach is Husserl’s early student Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889-1977). From the very early stages of his philosophical career, Hildebrand has developed one of the most original, comprehensive and nuanced accounts of emotions at whose core is a detailed examination of their connection to value. While his central concern with the ethical significance of our affective life is in many ways continuous with Scheler’s work and draws crucially on Reinach’s philosophy of mind, Hildebrand’s own reflections considerably expand on and substantially modify the picture of the ontology and normative role of emotions defended by these authors. In this article, I reconstruct Hildebrand’s view of emotions with a particular focus on those aspects which represent his most distinctive contribution to this subject. (shrink)
The author argued elsewhere that a necessary condition that John Fischer and Mark Ravizza offer for moral responsibility is too strong and that the sufficient conditions they offer are too weak. This article is a critical examination of their reply. Topics discussed include blameworthiness, irresistible desires, moral responsibility, reactive attitudes, and reasons responsiveness.
In this collection of essays on the metaphysical issues pertaining to death, the meaning of life, and freedom of the will, John Martin Fischer argues that death can be a bad thing for the individual who dies. He defends the claim that something can be a bad thing--a misfortune--for an individual, even if he never experiences it as bad. Fischer also defends the commonsense asymmetry in our attitudes toward death and prenatal nonexistence: we are indifferent to the time (...) before we are born, but we regret that we do not live longer. Further, Fischer argues, that immortal life could be desirable, and shows how the defense of the badness of death and the goodness of immortality exhibit a similar structure; on Fischer's view, the badness of death and the goodness of life can be represented on spectra that display certain continuities. Building on Fischer's previous book, My Way a major aim of this volume is to show important connections between issues relating to life and death and issues relating to free will. More specifically, Fischer argues that we endow our lives with a certain distinctive kind of meaning--an irreducible narrative dimension of value--by exhibiting free will. Thus, in acting freely, we transform our lives so that our stories matter. (shrink)
According to the Dilemma Defense, it is question-begging against the incompatibilist defender of the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) to assume that the agent in a deterministic Frankfurt-style case (FSC) cannot do otherwise in light of causal determinism, but is nevertheless morally responsible. As a result, Fischer (Philos Rev 119:315–336, 2010; Analysis 73:489–496, 2013) attempts to undermine PAP in a different manner via a deterministic FSC. More specifically, Fischer attempts to show that if causal determinism rules out an (...) agent’s moral responsibility, it is not in virtue of its eliminating the agent’s alternative possibilities. I contend that, once we focus upon the distinction between entailment and explanation, the incompatibilist defender of PAP can successfully rebut Fischer’s argument. I argue for this claim while granting Fischer a number of assumptions that only render a defense of PAP more difficult. Additionally, I cast doubt upon Palmer’s (Synthese 191:3847–3864, 2014) critique of Fischer’s argument, which in turn renders my defense of PAP all the more critical. (shrink)
The Christian does not live in a vacuum, says the author, but in a world of government, politics, labor, and marriage. Hence, Christian ethics cannot exist in a vacuum what the Christian needs, claims Dietrich Bonhoeffer, is concrete instruction in a concrete situation. Although the author died before completing his work, this book is recognized as a major contribution to Christian ethics. The root and ground of Christian ethics, the author says, is the reality of God as revealed in (...) Jesus Christ. This reality is not manifest in the Church as distinct from the secular world such a juxtaposition of two separate spheres, Bonhoeffer insists, is a denial of God's having reconciled the whole world to himself in Christ. On the contrary, God's commandment is to be found and known in the Church, the family, labor, and government. His commandment permits man to live as man before God, in a world God made, with responsibility for the institutions of that world. (shrink)
I present an analogy between analytic philosophy and a particular sort of computer game, and analyze some aspects of John Martin Fischer's My Way in the light of this analogy. I set out the different levels of the free will question, and explore how well Fischer does on them. On the compatibility level, he succeeds, in my view, in confronting the "metaphysical challenge" and the "manipulation challenge", but does less well with the "moral arbitrariness challenge". The compatibilist perspective (...) captures only part of the moral and personal truth on the compatibility issue, and is shown to be inherently shallow. On the next levels we see that Fischer confronts particular dangers: the very virtues that make his minimalist position so resilient on the second level, render it too impoverished when it comes to the third, which asks about the very importance of taking moral responsibility seriously. Connecting to other positions may be an imperative, but would also be risky. Likewise, on the fourth level, where we confront the difficulty of deciding how to deal with the previous conclusions, it is doubtful how well Fischer can do, given his previous philosophical commitments. (shrink)
. In a number of papers I have sought to discuss and cast some doubt on a certain strategy of response to an argument that purports to show that God's foreknowledge is incompatible with human freedom. This argument proceeds from the alleged ‘fixity of the past’ to the conclusion that God's foreknowledge is incompatible with human freedom. William Lane Craig has criticized my approach to these issues. Here I should like to respond to some of Craig's claims. My goal is (...) to attempt to achieve a clearer, more penetrating view of some of the issues pertaining to the relationship between God's foreknowledge and human freedom. The focus here will be on a strategy of response to the incompatibilist's argument which is associated with William of Ockham. (shrink)
Called by Karl Barth the brilliant Ethics of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, this book is finally being recognized as Bonhoeffers magnum opus and one of the most important works of Christian ethics of the last century.
I explore several issues raised in John Martin Fischer’s Our Fate: Essays on God and Free Will. First I discuss whether an approach to the problem of freedom and foreknowledge that appeals directly to the claim that God’s beliefs depend on the future is importantly different from Ockhamism. I suggest that this dependence approach has advantages over Ockhamism. I also argue that this approach gives us good reason to reject the claim that the past is fixed. Finally, I discuss (...)Fischer’s proposal regarding God’s knowledge of future contingents. I suggest that it may be able to secure comprehensive foreknowledge. (shrink)
Behaviourism is the view that preferences, beliefs, and other mental states in social-scientific theories are nothing but constructs re-describing people's behaviour. Mentalism is the view that they capture real phenomena, on a par with the unobservables in science, such as electrons and electromagnetic fields. While behaviourism has gone out of fashion in psychology, it remains influential in economics, especially in ‘revealed preference’ theory. We defend mentalism in economics, construed as a positive science, and show that it fits best scientific practice. (...) We distinguish mentalism from, and reject, the radical neuroeconomic view that behaviour should be explained in terms of brain processes, as distinct from mental states. (shrink)
Nik Byle argues that Dietrich Bonhoeffer theologically adapts Heideggerian concepts about human existence such as temporality. Bonhoeffer is thus able to provide a positive account of Christ’s relation to time and history moving, Bonhoeffer beyond impasses found in both dialectical and liberal theology.
Originally published in 1936 as part of the 'Medieval Epics' series for Cambridge Contact Readers, this book contains the stories of the folk heroes Dietrich von Bern and Tannhäuser in German. The text is illustrated with beautiful black and white drawings, and a vocabulary list is provided at the end of the volume. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in German folklore or the history of German education in Britain.
This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections (...) in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book. (shrink)