A school of idealism: meditatio laici, by J. Cappon.--Beati possidentes, by R. M. Wenley.--Moral validity: a study in Platonism, by R. C. Lodge.--Plato and the poet's eidōla, by A. S. Ferguson.--Some reflections on Aristotle's theory of tragedy, by G. S. Brett.--The function of the phantasm in St. Thomas Aquinas, by H. Carr.--The development of the psychology of Maine de Biran, by N. J. Symons.--A plea for eclecticism, by H. W. Wright.--Some present-day tendencies in philosophy, by J. M. MacEachran.--Evolution and personality, (...) J. G. Hume.--Emergent realism, by J. Muirhead.--Bibliography of publications by Dr. John Watson (p. 343-346). (shrink)
In Think, Issue 7, Brendan Larvor took the Archbishop of Canterbury to task for suggesting that atheism and humanism should not be taught in schools alongside the major faiths. Here, Brenda Watson defends the Archbishop's position.
Paul Kurtz's article ‘Morality is natural’ in THINK 15 was most stimulating. It left me, however, somewhat dissatisfied. Whilst he is clearly right that that there is a fund of moral wisdom that has been developed by humankind, I question whether distancing morality from religion is the important priority for us today.
Laurence Peddle's article ‘the Meaning and the Mystery of Life’ poses fascinating questions concerning the purpose or non-purpose of life and the interpretation of experience. My response questions his use of terms such as meaning, mystery and life-after-death, and his appeal to Hume on personal identity. Reason per se cannot take us all the way, nevertheless I enumerate reasons for caution in dismissing other people's self-understanding. The link between interpretation of experience and assumptions already held argues strongly for accepting the (...) limits to human knowledge, thus enabling an openness which avoids premature foreclosure whether atheistic or religious. (shrink)
One of the common and commonsensical ways to distinguish cinema from every other art and semiotic system, and to define the property of its uniqueness, is to claim that cinema is the only art/”language” that links images. This “linking” can imply three different yet complementary operations. First, cinema links individual still photographs into an apparently continuous sequence of movement by pushing the individual frames or photographs through a camera or projector at sixteen or twenty-four or however many frames per second. (...) Second, cinema links images by editing , by splicing together individual shots, which are continuous chains of linked frames. Finally, cinema links images with sounds, synchronously or otherwise. The only problem with such an apparently unrestrictive and unprescriptive definition of cinema and the “cinematic” is that it obscures an essentially cinematic operation that precedes the linking of cinema images: the image must first be framed before it can be linked with another.But is framing unique to cinema? Don’t paintings have frames? Aren’t photographs frames? Isn’t the theater’s proscenium arch a frame? A consequence of such perfectly sensible questions is a consistent undervaluing of the cinema frame as an essentially and uniquely cinematic tool, unlike that of any other art, producing serious errors in the writing of film theory and serious misunderstandings of the processes of film history. The goal of this article is to diagnose some of these errors so they might someday be cured. Gerald Mast is professor of English and general in the humanities at the University of Chicago. Among his many books are A Short History of the Movies, The Comic Mind: Comedy and the Movies, Film/Cinema/Movie, The Movies in Our Midst, and Howard Hawks, Storyteller. His previous contributions to Critical Inquiry are “What Isn’t Cinema?” and “Kracauer’s Two Tendencies and the Early History of Film Narrative”. (shrink)
Proofs from assumptions are amongst the most fundamental reasoning techniques. Yet the precise nature of assumptions is still an open topic. One of the most prominent conceptions is the placeholder view of assumptions generally associated with natural deduction for intuitionistic propositional logic. It views assumptions essentially as holes in proofs, either to be filled with closed proofs of the corresponding propositions via substitution or withdrawn as a side effect of some rule, thus in effect making them an auxiliary notion subservient (...) to proper propositions. The Curry–Howard correspondence is typically viewed as a formal counterpart of this conception. I will argue against this position and show that even though the Curry–Howard correspondence typically accommodates the placeholder view of assumptions, it is rather a matter of choice, not a necessity, and that another more assumption-friendly view can be adopted. (shrink)
The Curry-Howard isomorphism states an amazing correspondence between systems of formal logic as encountered in proof theory and computational calculi as found in type theory. For instance, minimal propositional logic corresponds to simply typed lambda-calculus, first-order logic corresponds to dependent types, second-order logic corresponds to polymorphic types, sequent calculus is related to explicit substitution, etc. The isomorphism has many aspects, even at the syntactic level: formulas correspond to types, proofs correspond to terms, provability corresponds to inhabitation, proof normalization corresponds (...) to term reduction, etc. But there is more to the isomorphism than this. For instance, it is an old idea---due to Brouwer, Kolmogorov, and Heyting---that a constructive proof of an implication is a procedure that transforms proofs of the antecedent into proofs of the succedent; the Curry-Howard isomorphism gives syntactic representations of such procedures. The Curry-Howard isomorphism also provides theoretical foundations for many modern proof-assistant systems (e.g. Coq). This book give an introduction to parts of proof theory and related aspects of type theory relevant for the Curry-Howard isomorphism. It can serve as an introduction to any or both of typed lambda-calculus and intuitionistic logic. Key features - The Curry-Howard Isomorphism treated as common theme - Reader-friendly introduction to two complementary subjects: Lambda-calculus and constructive logics - Thorough study of the connection between calculi and logics - Elaborate study of classical logics and control operators - Account of dialogue games for classical and intuitionistic logic - Theoretical foundations of computer-assisted reasoning · The Curry-Howard Isomorphism treated as the common theme. · Reader-friendly introduction to two complementary subjects: lambda-calculus and constructive logics · Thorough study of the connection between calculi and logics. · Elaborate study of classical logics and control operators. · Account of dialogue games for classical and intuitionistic logic. · Theoretical foundations of computer-assisted reasoning. (shrink)
The indexical thesis says that the indexical terms, “I”, “here” and “now” necessarily refer to the person, place and time of utterance, respectively, with the result that the sentence, “I am here now” cannot express a false proposition. Gerald Vision offers supposed counter-examples: he says, “I am here now”, while pointing to the wrong place on a map; or he says it in a note he puts in the kitchen for his wife so she’ll know he’s home even though (...) he’s gone upstairs for a nap, but then he leaves the house, forgetting to remove the note. The first sentence is false by virtue of “here” not necessarily referring to the place of utterance, the second sentence, by virtue of “now” not necessarily referring to the time of utterance. We argue that these sentences express falsehoods only because the terms are being used demonstratively, not indexically – the distinction pertains not to words simpliciter, but to uses of words. When used indexically, the terms refer in accord with the indexical thesis; but when used demonstratively, their referents depend on how devices of ostension are used with their utterance – pointings, and the like. Thus Vision’s first sentence really says, “I am there now”, referring to the place on the map the finger is pointing to. As for his second sentence, we distinguish the time of utterance or production of a sentence from the time of its uptake. Due to the pragmatics of interpretation, the sentence really says “I” – the person ‘uttering’ the note – “am here” – here where the note is, with the note serving as a kind of proxy ‘finger’ – “now” – where “now” refers to the time of uptake of the note, i.e., when it is read. “I” refers indexically, “here”, demonstratively, and “now”, indexically, but indexically to the time of uptake. Since the sentence is not purely indexical, its falsehood doesn’t threaten the indexical thesis. A similar treatment is given of teletyped messages about the typer’s location. (shrink)
The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal Test is one of the oldest, most frequently used, multiple-choice critical-thinking tests on the market in business, government, and legal settings for purposes of hiring and promotion. I demonstrate, however, that the test has serious construct-validity issues, stemming primarily from its ambiguous, unclear, misleading, and sometimes mysterious instructions, which have remained unaltered for decades. Erroneously scored items further diminish the test’s validity. As a result, having enhanced knowledge of formal and informal logic could well (...) result in test subjects receiving lower scores on the test. That’s not how things should work for a CT assessment test. (shrink)
During the 1960s, Howard M. Temin (1934-1994), dared to advocate a "heretical" hypothesis that appeared to be at variance with the central dogma of molecular biology, understood by many to imply that information transfer in nature occurred only from DNA to RNA. Temin's provirus hypothesis offered a simple explanation of both virus replication and viral-induced cancer and stated that Rous sarcoma virus, an RNA virus, is replicated via a DNA intermediate. Popular accounts of this scientific episode, written after the (...) discovery of an RNA-directed DNA polymerase in 1970, tend to describe the reaction to his proposition as ardent opposition. Typically these accounts use a 'molecular biology' standpoint emphasizing the central dogma's part in its rejection. In this article, however, this episode will be examined from a joint perspective of virology and experimental cancer research. From this perspective it is clear that Temin's work was well within the epistemological and methodological boundaries of virology and cancer research. Still, scientists did have reasons to doubt the provirus hypothesis, but these do not seem to be good enough to either justify an account that portrays Temin as a renegade or his ideas as heretical. (shrink)
It's an obituary of Jordan Howard Sobel, a prominent American-Canadian moral philosopher and a decision theorist who died in 2010. The obituary focuses on Sobels' close contacts with the Swedish philosophical community and on his contributions to Theoria.
This article examines Gerald Odonis' view on the nature of place as found in his commentary on the Sentences and in an anonymous question extant in manuscript Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, 4229. Both texts defend a thoroughly un-Aristotelian conception of place as three-dimensional space. Odonis not only deviates from Aristotle's definition of place as the inner surface of a surrounding body, but also from the positions of his contemporaries, including fellow Franciscans. Despite some remarkable doctrinal similarities between Odonis' view and (...) that of Renaissance innovators like Francesco Patrizi and Bernardino Telesio, it seems unlikely that Gerald played a role in the rise of new conceptions of place in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. An edition of the anonymous Quaestio de loco is given in an appendix. (shrink)
Gerald Odonis' logic is generous in its acceptance of ontological counterparts of linguistic expressions. He claims that universals have an objective status and are independent of our mental operations. This article takes a closer look at his views on the meaning of what he calls esse tertio adiacens, i.e., the type of being expressed in propositions of the form 'S is P'. To a certain extent Odonis' analysis resembles Peter of Spain's account of compositio. Unlike his predecessor, however, Odonis (...) thinks that the 'being' used in any true statement, regardless of whether the subject exists or not, is univocal. It turns out that Odonis' account is more in line with John Duns Scotus' intensionalist theory of propositional composition. (shrink)
The apparent tension between the moral codes of the Old and New Testaments constitutes a perennial problem for Christian ethics. Scholars who have taken this problem seriously have often done so in ways that presume sharp discontinuity between the Testaments. They then proceed to devise a system for identifying what is or is not relevant today, or what pertains to this or that particular social sphere. John Howard Yoder brings fresh perspectives to this perennial problem by refuting the presumption (...) of intratestamental discontinuity. Throughout multiple scattered works on the Old Testament, Yoder offers a coherent and provocative narration that culminates in the way of Christ and establishes the ethical continuity of the entire biblical canon. This essay presents the basic parameters of Yoder's Old Testament narration, suggests points where revision is needed, and highlights several implications for social ethics. (shrink)
Part II. Section 1. Recent Accounts of Autonomy: Emphasizing the problematic relationship between autonomy and socialization, Meyers explores prominent views of autonomy, including Robert Young's, Stanley Benn's, Harry Frankfurt's, Gerald Dworkin's, and Gary Watson's. Having identified three main models for "rescuing autonomy from socialization," she identifies a single defect underlying all of them - namely, their assumption that personal autonomy requires transcending socialization through free will.
This collection of essays arose directly from a series of seminars conducted at the Institute of Classical Studies of London University during 1967-1968. Most of the material is published for the first time. Articles by Sandbach and Kidd offer arguments concerning kataleptike phantasia as the test of a true presentation, and Posidonius' conception of the role of the emotions in relation to his scientifically based ethical theory. In addition to the positions held by Rist, Sandbach and Kidd, A. C. Lloyd (...) argues that the Stoic categories, as lekta, should be classified under dialectic and grammar rather than physics. S. G. Pembroke argues most cogently for the central importance of the difficult and controversial concept of oikeiosis in Stoicism. In two essays, editor Long, slanting the conclusion of his discussion of lekta towards its ethical implications, argues first that there is no evidence to show that lekta persist outside of acts of thought and communication distinct from the speaker and his reference; and secondly, that "man," because his logos is equal in quality to all the divine which is outside of it, and because it constitutes a unique substance whose identity is unaffected by external events, "can be free, can act as a man, if and only if the external movements of his body follow from a decision which reconciles his own will and moral choice to what is necessarily the case." Finally, in a not altogether satisfactory concluding essay, "The Natural Law and Stoicism," GeraldWatson discusses among other things some of the practical applications of natural law and its later influence posterior to the Stoic use of it. Although the editor does not attempt either to unify the varying positions presented or to present a comprehensive view of Stoicism, he does bring together some stimulating arguments concerning particular problems in Stoic ethics, metaphysics, epistemology and psychology. This book, truly a statement of "work in progress," is sure to arouse further discussion of the important topics discussed within its carefully documented pages.--T. V. U. (shrink)
Pierre Duhem and Eugenio Randi have investigated the later-medieval history of the problem of whether the existence of more than one world is possible, determining that Aristotle's denial of that possibility was rejected on theological grounds in the second half of the thirteenth century, but it was Nicole Oresme in the mid-fourteenth century who gave the strongest philosophical arguments against the Peripatetic stance, opting instead for Plato's position. For different reasons, neither Duhem nor Randi was able to examine Gerald (...) Odonis' question on the subject. In this text, edited here, Odonis also opposes Aristotle for philosophical reasons and sides explicitly with Plato. Was Oresme aware of Odonis' opinion? (shrink)
The most studied source for Gerald Odonis' doctrine of the beatific vision is the text of his Advent 1333 disputed question known as his Quodlibet. The polemic nature of the question and its structural idiosyncrasies have led to difficulties in interpreting Odonis' theory of the “middle vision” of the divine essence that the separate souls of the blessed have, as well as in understanding his defense of Pope John XXII's controversial opinion . By relating Odonis' 1333 disputation to his (...) earlier commentary on the Sentences, most notably his systematic discussion of the beatific vision in book IV, this paper shows how Odonis tried to fit his doctrine of the “middle vision” with his previous discussion, which itself reflects the influence of the 1317 publication of the acts of the 1311-12 Council of Vienne. (shrink)
Gerald Odonis produced a lengthy commentary on the Ethics, recognized by both his contemporaries and modern scholars as a substantial analysis of Aristotelian thought on the virtues, the will, moral choice, justice, and the nature of ethical inquiry. As recent research on late-medieval ethics has expanded deeper into these discussions, interest in Odonis' contributions has grown, but it has been limited textually to the two early printed editions of the work. The present survey of the commentary's manuscript tradition investigates (...) the codices attributed to Odonis, identifies the incomplete witnesses and misattributions, and clarifies the nature of the manuscripts recently assigned to Odonis. (shrink)
Gerald Odonis' treatise on contracts, restitutions, and excommunication is one of his earliest works, composed in Toulouse ca. 1315-17. Mainly based on Peter John Olivi's De contractibus, but using a variety of other sources and offering some original arguments as well, it is remarkable for its pragmatic approach to economic phenomena. His rejection of the rational argument against usury reveals a casual use of the bull Exiit qui seminat, defining Franciscan poverty, as well as a change of assumptions in (...) the approach to economic exchange. Whereas various explanations can be provided for the provocative aspect of this youthful treatise, all in all, it can best be described as a free and uninhibited interpretation of the scholastic tradition. (shrink)
The Tractatus de suppositionibus, which is cited by Gerald Odonis in his commentary on the Sentences, probably dates from ca. 1315-25. In the Sentences commentary he refers to his treatment of 'suppositio communicabilis' and its species, indicating a type of supposition whose language seems new. This article attempts to find a source for it in contemporary authors and arrives at the conclusion that 'communicabilis' is simply a synonym for 'personalis', the most common form of supposition according to Odonis.
I am the first to admit that my career has not followed a conventional path. But in talking to my colleagues, I am not sure that there is a conventional path to an academic career. This retrospective is both a look at how the profession has changed over the forty years since I began graduate school in the late 1970s, and a reflection on my own trajectory within that profession. Historiographical references reflect my own views and are not meant to (...) be comprehensive. I first discovered the history of science as an undergraduate history major at Connecticut College in the early 1970s. The course of physics for non-majors I took with David Fenton was based on Harvard Project Physics, which had been developed in the 1960s by two professors of science education, F. James Rutherford and Fletcher G. Watson, and the historian of science Gerald Holton. We actually wrote term papers for the class; mine was on the theory that Stonehenge was an astronomical observatory. (shrink)
Gerald Odonis and Francis of Marchia, both Franciscan masters of theology active in the early fourteenth century, played an important role in the controversies that split the Franciscan Order as a result of Pope John XXII's decisions concerning the theory of religious poverty. They fought on opposite fronts: Odonis was elected Minister General after the deposition of Michael of Cesena, whom Francis supported in the struggle against the pope. This paper reconstructs the different stages at which Francis became a (...) target of Odonis' repressive actions against his dissident former confreres, from the first mention of Francis' name in the lists of rebels to the letter Quid niteris, where Odonis reproaches Francis for his purported violations of the Franciscan Rule. Odonis most probably intentionally avoided entering the slippery ground of the poverty controversy and preferred attacking Francis on ecclesio-political issues. (shrink)