Implicit in the scottish tradition is a metaphilosophy of commonsense which deserves as much attention as that recently given to scottish presentative realism and agent causality. The author articulates this metaphilosophy by (a) sketching a systematic metaphilosophy of commonsense, (b) considering to what extent thomas reid fits this pattern, And (c) deciding to what extent asa mahan, One of the ablest of the american realists, Fits it. The result is a characterization of a coherent scottish metaphilosophy still worthy of consideration. (...) He also explores the question whether the metaphilosophy that emerges from (b) and (c) is part of an ongoing tradition. It has been suggested that there are important similarities between the scottish view and g e moore's concept of analysis. While he agrees that there are analogies he stresses the disanalogies as more enlightening about the nature of both. (shrink)
To begin with, there is a conceptual necessity implied in the very concept of cause itself, and in all concepts that have a causal element; and this definitional "must," far from being conventional or arbitrary, reflects the natural necessity of those physical systems which in fact constitute the nature of our universe. The conceptual necessity of the concept of cause can be pointed up in the following way. Assume that we have good reason for saying at to that f, g, (...) h, and i are jointly sufficient to E and hence C of E. What would we say at t1 if f, g, h, and i occurred but not E? We would clearly not say then, or ever, that while ordinarily these conditions are jointly sufficient for E, this time they were not; rather we would say that somehow we were mistaken in thinking that f, g, h, and i at t1 were identical with f, g, h, and i at t0. We might have been mistaken in either of two ways. We might have mis-identified one of the conditions at t1, erroneously thinking, say, that p was an f; or one or more of the conditions might have had its nature altered, losing some capacity or power it once had. In either case, we would withdraw the claim at t1 that C was the cause of E. Since we would withdraw the use of C at t1 and would never admit that f, g, h, and i at any t, if genuine instances of f, g, h, and i, would not produce E, we are clearly using C in such a way that actually producing E is part of its meaning. On the assumption that the conditions are genuinely the same, it follows, so to speak, from the principle of identity that they must produce the same effect. (shrink)
IN the recent past there has been a resurgence of interest in the work of Thomas Reid; several new editions of his work have appeared as well as a series of articles concerning various aspects of his systematic philosophy. Interest has generalized to the whole Scottish tradition, including numerous figures in the history of American philosophy who were deeply influenced by Reid and Dugald Stewart. In addition, several recent and contemporary philosophers have used Reid's epistemic views as a point of (...) departure in developing their own adverbial theories of sensing and appearing. Others have used Reid's theory of agency in formulating their own views on freedom and responsibility. (shrink)
Irregularity is fundamental to both Wright's and Peirce's positions but they interpret it in radically different ways. The occurrence of things by absolute chance, Peirce's tychism, is his explanation of irregularity; chance, for him, is ontologically irre- ducible--"an objective reality, operative in the cosmos." Wright, on the other hand, interpreted irregularity as a function of causal complexity; it does not constitute an abridgement of causality but only an abridgement of our knowledge of it.
There are a standard number of replies to the riddle of induction, none of which has gained ascendency. It seems that a new approach is needed that concedes less to the Humean dialectic. Humeans, both traditional and contemporary, unwittingly play on the ambiguity of the phrase "change in the course of nature," and that is why `C· ∼ E' appears to be self-consistent, though in fact it is not. I provide an analysis of 'cause' and 'natural necessity' which gives inductive (...) inference that internal warrant we assume it to have in ordinary and scientific thinking and rebut in advance contemporary Humean objections based on the erroneous assumption that 'x is necessary' and 'x is a priori' are materially equivalent. (shrink)
There are a number of possible strategies open to one in meeting this problem. He can try to show that God's unlimited power and goodness are, in fact, compatible; or show, through linguistic analysis, that the problem is meaningless; or show, through the use of the notions of commitment and mysticism, that the problem can be safely ignored. There are, however, grave difficulties with all these moves. So the most reasonable alternative move for one who wishes to remain more or (...) less within the theistic tradition is to try to modify the notion of unlimited power in a way that neither does violence to this tradition nor founders on the problem of evil. Whitehead and Hartshorne are the best examples of this interesting and complicated strategy. This strategy requires careful analysis before effective criticism can be advanced. After careful analysis, however, the criticisms of this strategy can be seen to be as effective as the criticisms of all the other strategies. The ultimate result is driving another nail into the coffin of religious cosmology. (shrink)
Most philosophers of science nowadays hold a network or postulational view of the meaning of theoretical words. However, there are many nuances to this view, and after explicitly separating them, we show what we take to be wrong with each one. While we reject the postulational view we do not defend its traditional alternatives either; rather we show the pointlessness of insisting on a single source for the meaning of theoretical words. We also point out the shortcomings of Carnap's newest (...) meaning criterion which depends upon a network view. But, again, we suggest not only that this new rendition of the criterion is faulty but also that there is something misguided about any search at all for such a criterion. (shrink)