In this paper I critique two popular, non-scientific attitudes toward genetically engineered foods. In doing so, I will be employing the concepts of ambiguity, purity/impurity, control/resistance, and unity/diversity as developed by Latina feminist metaphysicians. I begin by casting a critical eye toward a specific anti-biotech account of transgenic food crops, an account that I will argue relies on an anti-feminist metaphysics. I then cast that same critical eye toward a specific pro-biotech account, arguing that it also relies on such (...) an anti-feminist metaphysics. I will argue further that this metaphysics yields a less accurate account of genetics. I end by arguing that if we adopt a Latina feminist metaphysics we can more accurately understand plants, genetics, and genetic engineering. (shrink)
Recent advances in genomic research have led to the development of new diagnostic tools, including tests which make it possible to predict the future occurrence of monogenetic diseases (e.g. Chorea Huntington) or to determine increased susceptibilities to the future development of more complex diseases (e.g. breast cancer). The use of such tests raises a number of ethical, legal and social issues which are usually discussed in terms of rights. However, in the context of predictive genetic tests a key question (...) arises which lies beyond the concept of rights, namely, What should we want to know about our future? In the following I shall discuss this question against the background of Kant’s Doctrine of Virtue. It will be demonstrated that the system of duties of virtue that Kant elaborates in the second part of his Metaphysics of Morals offers a theoretical framework for addressing the question of a proper scope of future knowledge as provided by genetic tests. This approach can serve as a source of moral guidance complementary to a justice perspective. It does, however, not rest on the – rather problematic – claim to be able to define what the “good life” is. (shrink)
￼In this paper, I defend Husserl against Derrida's critique that Husserl's phenomenology is of a piece with the "the metaphysics of presence." I show much of Derrida's critique can be met by what Husserl calls "genetic phenomenology.".
With the help of the natural history of “zero,” and the use of “zero” as a starting point, one may consider two types of metaphysics. On the one hand, the epistemological metaphysics, based on the perceptual/rational dichotomy, is related to the zero as a vacancy between numbers. On the other hand, the geneticmetaphysics, based on the dichotomy of source-evolution (or origin and derivate), has much to do with the zero as a number between negative and (...) positive numbers. In this respect, zero represents the horizon of metaphysics: we can forever approach it, but we cannot ultimately arrive at it. Though serving as the point of convergence and divergence for all relationships, zero has no definable content of its own. Such is the essence of zero, and of metaphysics as well. (shrink)
Vitalism was long viewed as the most grotesque view in biological theory: appeals to a mysterious life-force, Romantic insistence on the autonomy of life, or worse, a metaphysics of an entirely living universe. In the early twentieth century, attempts were made to present a revised, lighter version that was not weighted down by revisionary metaphysics: “organicism”. And mainstream philosophers of science criticized Driesch and Bergson’s “neovitalism” as a too-strong ontological commitment to the existence of certain entities or “forces”, (...) over and above the system of causal relations studied by mechanistic science, rejecting the weaker form, organicism, as well. But there has been some significant scholarly “push-back” against this orthodox attitude, notably pointing to the 18th-century Montpellier vitalists to show that there are different historical forms of vitalism, including how they relate to mainstream scientific practice. Additionally, some trends in recent biology that run counter to genetic reductionism and the informational model of the gene present themselves as organicist. Here, we examine some cases of vitalism in the twentieth century and today, not just as a historical form but as a significant metaphysical and scientific model. We argue for vitalism’s conceptual originality without either reducing it to mainstream models of science or presenting it as an alternate model of science, by focusing on historical forms of vitalism, logical empiricist critiques thereof and the impact of synthetic biology on current theorizing of vitalism. (shrink)
My article is a rejoinder to Gert Biesta’s, ‘“This is My Truth, Tell Me Yours”. Deconstructive pragmatism as a philosophy of education.’ Biesta attempts to place Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction in ‘the very heart’ of John Dewey’s pragmatism. My article strives to impress Deweyan pragmatism in the heart of Derridian deconstruction. It does so by offering Dewey’s denotative, naturalistic, empirical perspectivalism as an alternative to Derrida’s anti-empirical quasi-transcendentalism for understanding otherness and difference. The first section of my article shows Biesta offers (...) a catastrophically mistaken and confused argument. The second section imprints Deweyan pragmatism in the heart of Derrida’s deconstruction. Dewey specifically makes philosophical use of a version of the genetic method he calls the ‘empirical denotative method’ to trace the exclusions as well as the inclusions of our perspectival selections driven by our finite embodied needs, interest, desires, and purposes. We may derive the trace of quasi-transcendental différance from the trace of empirically perspectival inclusions and exclusions. Specifically, différance is a reified hypostatic abstraction. Next, I respond to Biesta’s claim that since the metaphysics of presence still entangles Dewey, he cannot appreciate the fact that presence depends on absence. Actually, presence in Dewey always depends on absence. Finally, we will find that Biesta’s own deconstructive pragmatism flounders on his commitment to self-refuting relativism. (shrink)
Within this paper, I critique the history of the modification of the broiler chicken through selective breeding and possible future genetic modification. I utilize Margaret Atwood’s fictitious depiction of genetically engineered chickens, from her novel Oryx and Crake , in order to forward the argument that modifications that eliminate animal telos either move beyond the range of current ethical frameworks or can be ethically defended by them. I then utilize the work of feminist epistemologists to argue that understanding what (...) it means to be a chicken shapes our conceptions of what modifications are or are not acceptable. Taking into account justifications stemming from practical knowledge when making ontological claims can help to shift our understanding of what animal modifications can or cannot be justified. The paper ends by addressing three possible problems brought about by accepting such justifications. (shrink)
Reale’s monumental work establishes the exact dimensions of Aristotle’s concept of first philosophy and proves the profound unity of concept that exists in Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Reale’s opposition to the genetic interpretation of the Metaphysics is an updated return to a more traditional view of Aristotle’s work, one which runs counter to nearly all contemporary scholarship. Reale argues that Aristotle’s first philosophy includes a study of being, a study of substance, a study of divine substance, and a study (...) of principles and causes, all of which are integrated and dialectically reconciled. (shrink)
This paper examines the complexity and fluidity of maternal identity through an examination of narratives about "real motherhood" found in children's literature. Focusing on the multiplicity of mothers in adoption, I question standard views of maternity in which gestational, genetic and social mothering all coincide in a single person. The shortcomings of traditional notions of motherhood are overcome by developing a fluid and inclusive conception of maternal reality as authored by a child's own perceptions.
Mendelian genes have become molecular genes, with increasing puzzlement about locating them, due to increasing complexity in genomic webworks. Genome science finds modular and conserved units of inheritance, identified as homologous genes. Such genes are cybernetic, transmitting information over generations; this too requires multi-leveled analysis, from DNA transcription to development and reproduction of the whole organism. Genes are conserved; genes are also dynamic and creative in evolutionary speciation—most remarkably producing humans capable of wondering about what genes are.
Piaget's dream was to establish an empirical epistemology alongside, if not as a replacement of, its philosophical counterpart. He called it "genetic" epistemology, where "genetic" refers to knowledge in fieri. This was the crucial switch from the philosophical "what is knowledge?" to the empirical "how does it come about?" or "how is new knowledge possible?" As a biologist Piaget treated knowledge as something alive, relating organism to environment, subject to object. He envisioned a threefold approach: growth of knowledge (...) as observed in individual development, in the history of science, and in biology and evolution. He devoted two large works to this project. Introduction à l'épistémologie génétique comprised three volumes on mathematical, physical and biological, psychological, sociological thought respectively. Later Piaget reformulated his program, this time with the collaboration of many specialists. Logique et connaissance scientifique appears as a volume in the Encyclopédie de la Pléiade ; it added logic to the earlier topics, also chapters on the nature, method and current trends in epistemology and on the classification of the sciences. (shrink)
Although Hume has no developed semantic theory, in the heyday of analytic philosophy he was criticized for his “meaning empiricism,” which supposedly committed him to a private world of ideas, led him to champion a genetic account of meaning instead of an analytic one, and confused “impressions” with “perceptions of an objective realm.” But another look at Hume’s “meaning empiricism” reveals that his criterion for cognitive content, the cornerstone both of his resolutely anti-metaphysical stance and his naturalistic “science of (...) human nature,” provides the basis for a successful response to his critics. Central to his program for reforming philosophy, Hume’s use of the criterion has two distinct aspects: a critical or negative aspect, which assesses the content of the central notions of metaphysical theories to demonstrate their unintelligibility; and a constructive or positive aspect, which accurately determines the cognitive content of terms and ideas. (shrink)
This paper clarifies the way Aristotle uses generation to establish the priority of activity in time and in being. It opens by examining the concept of genetic priority. The argument for priority in beinghood has two parts. The first part is a synthetic argument that accomplishment is the primary kind of source, an argument based on the structure of generation. The second part engages three critical objections to the claim that activity could be an accomplishment: activity appears to lack (...) its own structure; activity is different in kind from the object it accomplishes; and activity is external to its accomplishment. Aristotle responds to these objections by analyzing the structure of generation. In the course of the argument, Aristotle establishes that beinghood and form are activity. (shrink)
Central to Husserl's investigation of the foundations of logic is the notion of the identity of the judgment. Every theoretical enterprise, including logic, presupposes that its judgments are stable and enduring acquisitions which can be understood in the same sense by anyone at any time. In order fully to understand logic and its foundational role for all the other sciences Husserl believed it necessary to examine how this sense of the identical judgment is constituted. It is within this context that (...) Moneta carries out her study of identity. The results she arrives at are significant for Husserl's investigation of logic and also for his theory of perception. (shrink)
In this essay, we consider the formal and ontological implications of one specific and intensely contested dialectical context from which Deleuze’s thinking about structural ideal genesis visibly arises. This is the formal/ontological dualism between the principles, ἀρχαί, of the One (ἕν) and the Indefinite/Unlimited Dyad (ἀόριστος δυάς), which is arguably the culminating achievement of the later Plato’s development of a mathematical dialectic.3 Following commentators including Lautman, Oskar Becker, and Kenneth M. Sayre, we argue that the duality of the One and (...) the Indefinite Dyad provides, in the later Plato, a unitary theoretical formalism accounting, by means of an iterated mixing without synthesis, for the structural origin and genesis of both supersensible Ideas and the sensible particulars which participate in them. As these commentators also argue, this duality furthermore provides a maximally general answer to the problem of temporal becoming that runs through Plato’s corpus: that of the relationship of the flux of sensory experiences to the fixity and order of what is thinkable in itself. Additionally, it provides a basis for understanding some of the famously puzzling claims about forms, numbers, and the principled genesis of both attributed to Plato by Aristotle in the Metaphysics, and plausibly underlies the late Plato’s deep considerations of the structural paradoxes of temporal change and becoming in the Parmenides, the Sophist, and the Philebus. After extracting this structure of duality and developing some of its formal, ontological, and metalogical features, we consider some of its specific implications for a thinking of time and ideality that follows Deleuze in a formally unitary genetic understanding of structural difference. These implications of Plato’s duality include not only those of the constitution of specific theoretical domains and problematics, but also implicate the reflexive problematic of the ideal determinants of the form of a unitary theory as such. We argue that the consequences of the underlying duality on the level of content are ultimately such as to raise, on the level of form, the broader reflexive problem of the basis for its own formal or meta-theoretical employment. We conclude by arguing for the decisive and substantive presence of a proper “Platonism” of the Idea in Deleuze, and weighing the potential for a substantive recuperation of Plato’s duality in the context of a dialectical affirmation of what Deleuze recognizes as the “only” ontological proposition that has ever been uttered. This is the proposition of the univocity of Being, whereby “being is said in the same sense, everywhere and always,” but is said (both problematically and decisively) of difference itself. (shrink)
Hillel Steiner's objective in this remarkable book is to give an account of justice based on rights. He argues that rights must be conceived as property, and proposes that property be conceived in terms of freedom as the power of unimpeded action. The political philosophy involved is as he says a classical laissez-faire liberalism. However, on the basis of an argument against a natural right to bequeath property, Steiner proposes that such a liberalism requires radical redistribution of natural resources in (...) each generation, a redistribution which provides equal shares in such resources or their monetary equivalent for each individual when he attains majority. Steiner follows Henry George in holding that the earth is a "commons" and holds that our possession of it is subject to the condition that we leave "as much and as good," in Locke's phrase, for others. The genetic endowment of individuals, as well as the germ lines from which they emerge, are among the natural resources of the earth, and possession of a child endowed with good genes should obligate his parents to compensate others for their possession of him as of other natural resources by payment into a global common fund. Steiner proceeds to this striking conclusion by means of a steady march through successively more concrete domains of investigation: from a discussion of the metaphysics of liberty, through a discussion of the logic of rights, of moral reasoning, economic reasoning, and justice as the adjudication of competing claims. He deploys the technical apparatus of these fields with wit and rigor, as well as a deep knowledge of older authors. (shrink)
The relevance of analytic metaphysics has come under criticism: Ladyman & Ross, for instance, have suggested do discontinue the field. French & McKenzie have argued in defense of analytic metaphysics that it develops tools that could turn out to be useful for philosophy of physics. In this article, we show first that this heuristic defense of metaphysics can be extended to the scientific field of applied ontology, which uses constructs from analytic metaphysics. Second, we elaborate on (...) a parallel by French & McKenzie between mathematics and metaphysics to show that the whole field of analytic metaphysics, being useful not only for philosophy but also for science, should continue to exist as a largely autonomous field. (shrink)
A modest proposal concerning laws, counterfactuals, and explanations - - Why be Humean? -- Suggestions from physics for deep metaphysics -- On the passing of time -- Causation, counterfactuals, and the third factor -- The whole ball of wax -- Epilogue : a remark on the method of metaphysics.
There is an old meta-philosophical worry: very roughly, metaphysical theories have no observational consequences and so the study of metaphysics has no value. The worry has been around in some form since the rise of logical positivism in the early twentieth century but has seen a bit of a renaissance recently. In this paper, I provide an apology for metaphysics in the face of this kind of concern. The core of the argument is this: pure mathematics detaches from (...) science in much the same manner as metaphysics and yet it is valuable nonetheless. The source of value enjoyed by pure mathematics extends to metaphysics as well. Accordingly, if one denies that metaphysics has value, then one is forced to deny that pure mathematics has value. The argument places an added burden on the sceptic of metaphysics. If one truly believes that metaphysics is worthless (as some philosophers do), then one must give up on pure mathematics as well. (shrink)
George Molnar came to see that the solution to a number of the problems in contemporary philosophy lay in the development of an alternative to Hume's metaphysics, with real causal powers at its center. Molnar's eagerly anticipated book setting out his theory of powers was almost complete when he died, and has been prepared for publication by Stephen Mumford, who provides a context-setting introduction.
This volume is devoted to Lewis's work in metaphysics and epistemology. Topics covered include properties, ontology, possibility, truthmaking, probability, the mind-body problem, vision, belief, and knowledge. The purpose of this collection, and the volumes that precede and follow it, is to disseminate more widely the work of an eminent and influential contemporary philosopher. The volume will serve as a useful work of reference for teachers and students of philosophy.
When I say that my conception of metaphysics is Aristotelian, or neo-Aristotelian, this may have more to do with Aristotle’s philosophical methodology than his metaphysics, but, as I see it, the core of this Aristotelian conception of metaphysics is the idea that metaphysics is the first philosophy . In what follows I will attempt to clarify what this conception of metaphysics amounts to in the context of some recent discussion on the methodology of metaphysics (...) (e.g. Chalmers et al . (2009), Ladyman and Ross (2007)). There is a lot of hostility towards the Aristotelian conception of metaphysics in this literature: for instance, the majority of the contributors to the Metametaphysics volume assume a rather more deflationary, Quinean approach towards metaphysics. In the process of replying to the criticisms towards Aristotelian metaphysics put forward in recent literature I will also identify some methodological points which deserve more attention and ought to be addressed in future research. (shrink)
What is the rationale for the methodological innovations of experimental philosophy? This paper starts from the contention that common answers to this question are implausible. It then develops a framework within which experimental philosophy fulfills a specific function in an otherwise traditionalist picture of philosophical inquiry. The framework rests on two principal ideas. The first is Frank Jackson’s claim that conceptual analysis is unavoidable in ‘serious metaphysics’. The second is that the psychological structure of concepts is extremely intricate, much (...) more so than early practitioners of conceptual analysis had realized. This intricacy has implications for the activity of analyzing concepts: while the central, coarser, more prominent contours of a concept may be identified from the armchair, the finer details of the concept’s structure require experimental methods to detect. (shrink)
This provocative book refurbishes the traditional account of freedom of will as reasons-guided "agent" causation, situating its account within a general metaphysics. O'Connor's discussion of the general concept of causation and of ontological reductionism v. emergence will specially interest metaphysicians and philosophers of mind.
Imagine a world where everyone is healthy, intelligent, long living and happy. Intuitively this seems wonderful albeit unrealistic. However, recent scienti c breakthroughs in genetic engineering, namely CRISPR/Cas bring the question into public discourse, how the genetic enhancement of humans should be evaluated morally. In 2001, when preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF), enabled parents to select between multiple embryos, Julian Savulescu introduced the principle of procreative bene cence (PPB), stating that parents have the (...) obligations to choose the child that is expected to have the best life. In this paper I argue that accepting the PPB and the consequentialist principle (CP) that two acts with the same consequences are morally on par, commits one to accepting the parental obligation of genetically enhancing one's children. (shrink)
Recent philosophy of science has been seized by what may appear a schizophrenic attitude towards analytic metaphysics. Some philosophers of science have embraced metaphysical theorizing as an important tool for interpreting and extending scientific theories, while others reject analytic metaphysics as misguided, futile, or epistemically impotent. The idea of naturalized metaphysics—metaphysics appropriately ‘grounded’ in the details of empirical science—offers one possibility of a rapprochement between these seemingly conflicting attitudes. In this chapter, however, it is argued that (...) the crucial notion of ‘grounding’, and hence the idea of naturalized metaphysics itself, have not yet been articulated in a compelling manner. The beginnings of an articulation are sketched. (shrink)
This chapter examines the status of inference to the best explanation in naturalistic metaphysics. The methodology of inference to the best explanation in metaphysics is studied from the perspective of contemporary views on scientific explanation and explanatory inferences in the history and philosophy of science. This reveals serious shortcomings in prevalent attempts to vindicate metaphysical "explanationism" by reference to similarities between science and naturalistic metaphysics. This critique is brought out by considering a common gambit of methodological unity: (...) (1) Both metaphysics and science employ inference to the best explanation. (2) One has no reason to think that if explanationism is truth-conducive in science, it is not so in metaphysics. (3) One has a positive reason to think that if explanationism is truth-conducive in science, it is also so in metaphysics. (shrink)
Critics of contemporary metaphysics argue that it attempts to do the hard work of science from the ease of the armchair. Physics, not metaphysics, tells us about the fundamental facts of the world, and empirical psychology is best placed to reveal the content of our concepts about the world. Exploring and understanding the world through metaphysical reflection is obsolete. In this paper, I will show why this critique of metaphysics fails, arguing that metaphysical methods used to make (...) claims about the world are similar to scientific methods used to make claims about the world, but that the subjects of metaphysics are not the subjects of science. Those who argue that metaphysics uses a problematic methodology to make claims about subjects better covered by natural science get the situation exactly the wrong way around: metaphysics has a distinctive subject matter, not a distinctive methodology. The questions metaphysicians address are different from those of scientists, but the methods employed to develop and select theories are similar. In the first section of the paper, I will describe the sort of subject matter that metaphysics tends to engage with. In the second section of the paper, I will show how metaphysical theories are classes of models and discuss the roles of experience, common sense and thought experiments in the construction and evaluation of such models. Finally, in the last section I will discuss the way these methodological points help us to understand the metaphysical project. Getting the right account of the metaphysical method allows us to better understand the relationship between science and metaphysics, to explain why doing metaphysics successfully involves having a range of different theories, to understand the role of thought experiments involving fictional worlds, and to situate metaphysical realism in a scientifically realist context. (shrink)
Jonathan Lowe argues that metaphysics should be restored to a central position in philosophy, as the most fundamental form of inquiry, whose findings underpin those of all other disciplines. He portrays metaphysics as charting the possibilities of existence, by identifying the categories of being and the relations between them. He sets out his own original metaphysical system, within which he seeks to answer many of the deepest questions in philosophy. 'a very rich book... deserves to be read carefully (...) by anyone interested in any of the many subjects he discusses.' Katherine Hawley, British Journal of the Philosophy of Science. (shrink)
In this chapter I offer an interpretation of Judith Butler’s metaphysics of sex and gender and situate it in the ontological landscape alongside what has long been the received view of sex and gender in the English speaking world, which owes its inspiration to the works of Simone de Beauvoir. I then offer a critique of Butler’s view, as interpreted, and subsequently an original account of sex and gender, according to which both are constructed—or conferred, as I would put (...) it— albeit in different ways and subject to different constraints. (shrink)
This is a critical, but sympathetic, examination of the manifesto for naturalized metaphysics that forms the first chapter of James Ladyman and Don Ross's 2006 book, Every Thing Must Go, but it has wider implications than this description suggests.
The paper outlines a tentative genealogy of the Platonic metaphysics of sight by thematizing pre-Platonic thought, particularly Heraclitus and Parmenides. By “metaphysics of sight” it understands the features of Platonic-Aristotelian metaphysics expressed with the help of visual metaphors. It is argued that the Platonic metaphysics of sight can be regarded as the result of a synthesis of the Heraclitean and Parmenidean approaches. In pre-Platonic thought, the visual paradigm is still marginal. For Heraclitus, the basic structure of (...) being is its discursive articulation (logos) into conceptual pairs of binary opposites, an articulation that at the same time binds differences together into a tensional unity. The fundamental grasping of this ultimate unity-in-difference is conceived primarily through acoustic terms as a non-sensory “hearing.” For Parmenides, the ultimate unity of contraries is based on the capacity of thinking (noos) to intend anything as present; in fragment B 4, the exclusive relationship of thinking to intelligible presence is finally visualized in terms of a seeing or looking (leusso). (shrink)
Analyzing the position of two philosophers whose views are recognizably divergent, W. O. Quine and M. Dummett, we intend to support a striking point of agreement between them: the idea that our logical principles constitute our principles about what there is, and therefore, that logic is metaphysics.
The viability of metaphysics as a field of knowledge has been challenged time and again. But in spite of the continuing tendency to dismiss metaphysics, there has been considerable progress in this field in the 20th- and 21st- centuries. One of the newest − though, in a sense, also oldest − frontiers of metaphysics is the grounding project. In this paper I raise a methodological challenge to the new grounding project and propose a constructive solution. Both the (...) challenge and its solution apply to metaphysics in general, but grounding theory puts the challenge in an especially sharp focus. The solution consists of a new methodology, holistic grounding or holistic metaphysics. This methodology is modeled after a recent epistemic methodology, foundational holism, that enables us to pursue the foundational project of epistemology without being hampered by the problems associated with foundationalism. (shrink)
In Metaphysics A, Aristotle offers some objections to Plato’s theory of Forms to the effect that Plato’s Forms would not be explanatory in the right way, and seems to suggest that they might even make the explanatory project worse. One interesting historical puzzle is whether Aristotle can avoid these same objections to his own theory of universals. The concerns Aristotle raises are, I think, cousins of contemporary concerns about the usefulness and explanatoriness of abstract objects, some of which have (...) recently been receiving attention in the philosophy of mathematics. After discussing Aristotle’s objections and their contemporary cousins, the paper discusses some of the main available lines of response to these sorts of challenges, before concluding with an examination of whether these responses could assist Plato or Aristotle in responding to these challenges. (shrink)
Since Descartes, the nature of doubt has played a central role in the development of metaphysics both positively and negatively. Despite this fact, there has been very little discussion centering round the specific nature of doubt which led, for example, to the Cartesian discovery of the cogito. Certainly, the role of doubt has been well recognized: through doubt Descartes arrives at his indubitable first principle. But what can it mean to doubt the existence of the sensible world? This would (...) seem to rest upon the assumption that we have clear and distinct knowledge of the precise nature of what it means to exist and indeed of what it means to be. As it stands, Descartes’ initiates his Meditations upon certain definite assumptions that demand more thorough interrogation. In this paper and presentation, I examine the possible assumptions inherent in the Cartesian method of doubt within the first and second meditation and the manner in which this leads to the discovery of the cogito. I consider a number of essential questions in light of this: What presuppositions lie at bottom to Cartesian doubt? What is the precise nature of metaphysical doubt? What can it mean to doubt the existence of the sensible world? (shrink)
This essay expounds Avicenna’s doctrine of the analogy of being and examine the function it plays in his Metaphysics of the Healing. In the first part addresses the question: What is Avicenna’s doctrine of the analogy of being? The essay begins by situating Avicenna’s doctrine of the analogy of being within the epistemological framework of his account of metaphysics as an Aristotelian science. It then explicates Avicenna’s own presentation of analogy within his account of names of univocity, analogy, (...) resemblance, and equivocity, and elucidates his division of absolute and relational analogies. The second part probes the question: Is Avicenna’s doctrine of the analogy of being consistent with his account of the subject of metaphysics as being qua being? This part shows why Avicenna rejects that being is univocal and presents two ways for interpreting consistently his doctrine of the analogical character of being qua being. (shrink)
John Duns Scotus authored two works on Aristotle's metaphysics, the Questions on the Metaphysics and the Remarks on the Metaphysics. The Questions were copied several times and were soon regarded as one of Scotus's major works. A close study of Scotus's views on the nature, method, and limits of metaphysics in the Questions provides an access key to an otherwise intractable work. Scotus had a particularly lofty conception of metaphysics as the discipline that both considers (...) anything whatsoever with regard to its most general features and inquires into the deeper structure of reality. Scotus was acutely aware of some severe cognitive limitations that actually mar our current practice of metaphysics. Scotus developed an original conception of how it is possible to overcome the current cognitive limitations and grasp the deeper structure of reality by the exercise of purely intellectual powers. (shrink)
In his rich and complex narrative of the different routes of Anglo-American philosophy in the past decades, Karl Ameriks diagnoses a recent and growing “interest in the metaphysical side of German philosophy.” What is more, he embraces this “metaphysical turn,” arguing that there is “no responsible way” to approach the merits of the classical German tradition without engaging such metaphysical questions. Since both the content of his diagnosis and his plea for a renewed engagement with ‘metaphysics’ depend on his (...) specific use of this term, I will make two comments meant to clarify Ameriks’ understanding of this concept. I will suggest that, if we abide by his specific conception, much of the ‘new desire for metaphysics’ that the editors of this volume see at work in contemporary philosophy will remain unsatisfied. The first indication of this lies in the fact that, (I) it seems far from obvious that ‘metaphysical’ philosophy as Ameriks understands it is actually opposed to a number of self-proclaimed ‘post-metaphysical’ projects in contemporary philosophy. The second, more substantive point I want to highlight (II) is the specifically modest, defensive, and reflexive understanding of metaphysics that underlies Ameriks’ account. (shrink)
The paper outlines a deflationary interpretation of Hegel’s metaphysics, as presented in the Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences. It focuses mainly on the Science of Logic as a theory of categories, which explores the movement of the Concept. The major idea is to read Hegel’s identification of logic and metaphysics as a thesis on deflating metaphysics into logic and semantics. Hegel’s metaphysics, which may better be called logico-metaphysics, does not describe the objective world directly. Rather, (...) as a second-order theory, it unfolds and makes transparent the fundamental concepts that are necessary for our understanding of the world and our orientation in it. -/- The paper begins with a brief discussion of Hegel’s idea of philosophy as system. The argument is made that Hegel should be interpreted holistically, in contrast to the popular approach of distinguishing between what is living and what is dead in his philosophy. In the second and third parts of the paper, an analysis is given of Hegel’s criticism of Kant, with an explanation of how Hegel’s Logic further develops Kant’s project of transforming traditional metaphysics. Here, the interesting fact that Hegel’s logical categories are not derived from an absolute first principle is pointed out. Instead, the task of Hegel’s Logic is to comprehend and systematize the concepts that have already been evolved in the history of philosophy. In the last part of the paper, the deflationary approach is extended to Hegel’s Realphilosophie. While Hegel’s Logic takes the place of ontology, his Philosophy of Nature and Spirit offers a comprehensive metaphysica specialis, laying conceptual foundations for understanding various dimensions of reality, from nature through the ethical-political world to different cultural domains. The paper takes Hegel’s Philosophy of Objective Spirit as an example to illustrate how the deflationary interpretation sheds light on Hegel’s “practical” philosophy as a second-order theory that does not aim to uncover first-order normative principles for guiding actions, but rather to develop the concepts necessary for normative judgments. (shrink)