This thesis studies the development of empiricist Scottish moral philosophy from its origins in the work of GershomCarmichael through the works of Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, and Adam Smith. Impressed by the successes of the new sciences, particularly Newtonian science, these philosophers each sought to bring this modern scientific method to bear upon the pursuit of moral theory. By tracing the development of moral philosophy through these four authors, we find important changes in how they understand the (...) questions, methodology, aim, and even the very nature of moral philosophy. ;Carmichael introduced this tradition to Scotland by rejecting then current moral philosophies. In their stead, he introduced a conception of moral philosophy as empirically derived natural law. ;Seeking to mirror not only Newton's method but also, by analogy, Newton's results, Hutcheson argued that the moral world was structured by a divinely designed balance between the powerful but opposing forces of benevolence and self-interest. ;Next, Hume felt that religious belief was not only philosophically unjustifiable, but also practically harmful. He sought, therefore, to change moral theory by rendering it entirely secular. Furthermore, he aimed to change moral practices by rejecting the religious-grounded, personally and socially harmful 'monkish' virtues, and rehabilitating pride as a virtue rather than a vice. ;Finally, Smith was distrustful of such grand schemes. Arguing that philosophy is not so much the discoverer of truth as the fabricator of truth, Smith sought to woo men away from outmoded moral schemes, and to lead them to trust in their natural moral sentiments. This, Smith believed, was the most effective and beneficial way of leading men, as social beings, into the modern, commercial society. The only real areas in which moral philosophy can constructively offer concrete contributions are jurisprudence and political economy. ;In conclusion, we should understand that moral philosophy changes its complexion from time to time and place to place. Accepting this can be a step towards questioning our own preconceptions of what moral philosophy is or should be. (shrink)
This paper argues that the founding fathers of the tradition of Scottish Enlightenment natural jurisprudence, Gersholm Carmichael (1672–1729) and Francis Hutcheson (1694–1746), articulated a view of rights that is pertinent to the contemporary dominance of the language of rights. Maintaining a metaphysical foundation for rights while drawing upon the early-modern Protestant natural law tradition, their conception of rights is more significantly indebted to the pre-modern scholastic natural law tradition than often realized. This is illustrated by exploring some of the (...) background to their respective theories of rights, detailing the precise reasoning that Carmichael and Hutcheson brought to bear upon their conception of rights, and then exploring their application of their understanding of rights to the question of property. (shrink)
The special composition question is the question, ‘When do some things compose something?’ The answers to this question in the literature have largely been at odds with common sense, either by allowing that any two things compose something, or by denying the existence of most ordinary composite objects. I propose a new ‘series-style’ answer to the special composition question that accords much more closely with common sense, and I defend this answer from van Inwagen's objections. Specifically, I will argue that (...) the proposed answer entails the transitivity of parthood, that it is non-circular, and that it casts some light on the ancient puzzle about the Ship of Theseus. (shrink)
According to the traditional bundle theory, particulars are bundles of compresent universals. I think we should reject the bundle theory for a variety of reasons. But I will argue for the thesis at the core of the bundle theory: that all the facts about particulars are grounded in facts about universals. I begin by showing how to meet the main objection to this thesis (which is also the main objection to the bundle theory): that it is inconsistent with the possibility (...) of distinct qualitative indiscernibles. Here, the key idea appeals to a non-standard theory of haecceities as non-well-founded properties of a certain sort. I will then defend this theory from a number of objections, and finally argue that we should accept it on the basis of considerations of parsimony about the fundamental. (shrink)
When some objects are the parts of another object, they compose that object and that object is composite. This article is intended as an introduction to the central questions about composition and a highly selective overview of various answers to those questions. In §1, we review some formal features of parthood that are important for understanding the nature of composition. In §2, we consider some answers to the question: which pluralities of objects together compose something? As we will see, the (...) dominant answers are all of them and none of them. In §§3-4, we examine one of the main arguments that has driven philosophers to these extreme answers: the argument from vagueness. In §5, we turn to the question of whether composition is unique: is it sometimes the case that some things compose more than one thing? Finally, in §6, we turn from the question of which composites exist to the question of which composites exist fundamentally. (shrink)
This book serves as a concise introduction to some main topics in modern formal logic for undergraduates who already have some familiarity with formal languages. There are chapters on sentential and quantificational logic, modal logic, elementary set theory, a brief introduction to the incompleteness theorem, and a modern development of traditional Aristotelian Logic.
Rose and Schaffer (forthcoming) argue that teleological thinking has a substantial influence on folk intuitions about composition. They take this to show (i) that we should not rely on folk intuitions about composition and (ii) that we therefore should not reject theories of composition on the basis of intuitions about composition. We cast doubt on the teleological interpretation of folk judgments about composition; we show how their debunking argument can be resisted, even on the assumption that folk intuitions have a (...) teleological source; and we argue that, even if folk intuitions about composition carry no weight, theories of composition can still be rejected on the basis of the intuitions of metaphysicians. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that there are universals. I begin (Sect. 1) by proposing a sufficient condition for a thing’s being a universal. I then argue (Sect. 2) that some truths exist necessarily. Finally, I argue (Sects. 3 and 4) that these truths are structured entities having constituents that meet the proposed sufficient condition for being universals.
David Lewis (1986) criticizes moderate views of composition on the grounds that a restriction on composition must be vague, and vague composition leads, via a precisificational theory of vagueness, to an absurd vagueness of existence. I show how to resist this argument. Unlike the usual resistance, however, I do not jettison precisificational views of vagueness. Instead, I blur the connection between composition and existence that Lewis assumes. On the resulting view, in troublesome cases of vague composition, there is an object, (...) which definitely exists, about which it is vague whether the relevant borderline parts compose it. (shrink)
Wealth and Virtue reassesses the remarkable contribution of the Scottish Enlightenment to the formation of modern economics and to theories of capitalism. Its unique range indicates the scope of the Scottish intellectual achievement of the eighteenth century and explores the process by which the boundaries between economic thought, jurisprudence, moral philosophy and theoretical history came to be established. Dealing not only with major figures like Hume and Smith, there are also studies of lesser known thinkers like Andrew Fletcher, Gershom (...)Carmichael, Lord Kames and John Millar as well as of Locke in the light of eighteenth century social theory, the intellectual culture of the University of Edinburgh in the middle of the eighteenth century and of the performance of the Scottish economy on the eve of the publication of the Wealth of Nations. While the scholarly emphasis is on the rigorous historical reconstruction of both theory and context, Wealth and Virtue directly addresses itself to modern political theorists and economists and throws light on a number of major focal points of controversy in legal and political philosophy. (shrink)
Relative to an ordinary context, an utterance of the sentence ‘Everything is in the car’ communicates a proposition about a restricted domain. But how does this work? One possibility is that quantifier expressions like 'everything' are context sensitive and range over different domains in different contexts. Another possibility is that quantifier expressions are not context sensitive, but have a fixed, absolutely general meaning, and ordinary utterances communicate a restricted content via Gricean mechanisms. I argue that, contrary to received opinion, the (...) latter view has both a number of methodological and also intuitive advantages over the former. I then reply to three objections to the latter view: the binding argument (due to Stanley and Szabo), the availability-based attack (due to Recanati), and an argument based on Recanati’s scope principle. (shrink)
In this ambitious work, John Heil presents a fundamental ontology (chapters 1-8) consisting of finitely many substances and their properties (which he thinks of as particular, trope-like things), together with an account of causation, truthmaking, and a chapter on relations generally. He then applies this ontology (chapters 9-12) to a number of outstanding problems about reductionism, kinds, essences, emergence, consciousness, cognition, and much else. A final chapter reprises the main points about fundamental ontology from the first chapters.
Philosophy was at the core of the eighteenth century movement known as the Scottish Enlightenment. The movement included major figures, such as Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Reid and Adam Ferguson, and also many others who produced notable works, such as GershomCarmichael, George Turnbull, George Campbell, James Beattie, Alexander Gerard, Henry Home (Lord Kames) and Dugald Stewart. I discuss some of the leading ideas of these thinkers, though paying less attention than I otherwise would to (...) Hume, Smith and Reid, who have separate Encyclopedia entries. Amongst the topics covered in this entry are aesthetics (particularly Hutcheson's), Moral philosophy (particularly Hutcheson's and Smith's), Turnbull's providential naturalism, Kames's doctrines on divine goodness and human freedom, Campbell's criticism of the Humean account of miracles, the philosophy of rhetoric, Ferguson's criticism of the idea of a state of nature, and finally the concept of conjectural history, a concept especially associated with Dugald Stewart. (shrink)