What are physical quantities, and in particular, what makes them quantitative? This book presents an original answer to this question through the novel position of substantival structuralism, arguing that quantitativeness is an irreducible feature of attributes, and quantitative attributes are best understood as substantival structured spaces.
Although Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College, Alvin Plantinga has developed a theodicy that is fundamentally Arminian rather than Calvinistic. Anthony Flew, although the son of an Arminian Christian minister, regards the Arminian view of ‘free will’ to be both unacceptable on its own terms and incompatible with classical Christian theism. In this paper I hope to disentangle some of the involved controversy regarding theodicy which has developed between Plantinga and Flew, and between Flew and myself. The major portion of (...) this paper is devoted to showing that Plantinga's theodicy contains some serious flaws and undesirable implications. (shrink)
While it is generally accepted that we need to use our intelligence in order to get what we want, it is thought to be a cardinal error to imagine that by reasoning we can discover what we ought to want. Reason can in no way constrain the choice of ends, it can only constrain the choice of means once an end has been adopted. In Plato's philosophy we find a view strongly opposed to this attitude towards reason. It is widely (...) held, however, that to arrive at a position which is plainly opposed to common sense, Plato must have grossly confused reasoning about means with reasoning about ends. Evidence of this confusion is found in Plato's use of analogies between statecraft and navigation, and between virtue and skill. But the diagnosis of confusion rests on a misunderstanding of how Plato wanted to use the word translated ‘skill’, i.e. ‘ technē ’, and this misunderstanding is shared even by those who see Plato as rejecting the virtue/skill analogy. (shrink)
It may seem strange, in view of the spate of recent literature on the subject, that yet another article should be forthcoming on what is certainly the most familiar, as well as the most vexed, of all Platonic passages. But it is precisely this spate of literature that has impelled me to write. The time seems to have come for an article which, rather than seeking desperately for something new, sets out instead to reaffirm those facts and conclusions that even (...) the most resolutely original of scholars could hardly venture to dispute. This article will therefore be based, not on any of the numerous modern interpretations, but on what Plato himself actually wrote. It will contain a number of tentative suggestions which, to the best of my knowledge, have not been made before. They can, and probably will, be rejected. But its primary purpose remains to restate, whenever possible in Plato's own words, a number of important facts that are at once so simple and so obvious that they seem repeatedly, and especially in recent years, to have been quite forgotten. (shrink)
Recent literature on causation invokes a distinction between deviant and default behavior to account for token causation. Critical examination of two prominent attempts to employ a distinction between deviants and defaults reveals that the distinction is far from clear. I clarify and develop the distinction by appeal to the notion of a modally robust process, and show how the distinction can be employed by causal process theorists to respond to cases of causation by omission. This shows that the default/deviant distinction (...) is not so much a tool for counterfactual accounts of causation, but rather for causal process theory. (shrink)
Potential ethical issues can arise during the process of epidemiological classification. For example, unnatural infant deaths are classified as accidental deaths or homicides. Societal sensitivity to the physical abuse and neglect of children has increased over recent decades. This enhanced sensitivity could impact reported infant homicide rates. Infant homicide and accident mortality rates in boys and girls in the USA from 1940 to 2005 were analysed. In 1940, infant accident mortality rates were over 20 times greater than infant homicide rates (...) in both boys and girls. After about 1980, when the ratio of infant accident mortality rates to infant homicide rates decreased to less than five, and the sum of infant accident and homicide rates became relatively constant, further decreases in infant accident mortality rates were associated with increases in reported infant homicide rates. These findings suggest that the dramatic decline of accidental infant mortality and recent increased societal sensitivity to child abuse may be related to the increased infant homicide rates observed in the USA since 1980 rather than an actual increase in societal violence directed against infants. Ethical consequences of epidemiological classification, involving the principles of beneficence, non-maleficence and justice, are suggested by observed patterns in infant accidental deaths and homicides in the USA from 1940 to 2005. (shrink)
The aim of this study is to describe how hermeneutic photography and one application of hermeneutic photography in particular, namely the photo-instrument, can be used as a health care intervention that fosters meaning (re-)construction of mental illness experiences. Studies into the ways how patients construct meaning in illness narratives indicate that aesthetic expressions of experiences may play an important role in meaning making and sharing. The study is part of a larger research project devoted to understanding the photostories that result (...) from groups of psychiatric patients using the photo-instrument. Within a focused ethnography approach we employed a qualitative design of a single case study. Text analysis of photostories was combined with observational data. Data were analyzed using hermeneutic theory. Participant observations were used for triangulation and complementarity. The interaction and collaboration between health care professionals and patients in the context of a photo group emerged as core concept that underlies the photo-instrument. The interaction triggered a reframing of meaning in the patient’s illness narrative that offered new perspectives on positive identity growth. The role of visualizing meaning in images was found to lend a dynamic power to the process and triggered a dialectic between real life circumstances and imagination played out in the context of situated action. The findings suggest that a positive reframing of meaning in illness narratives is facilitated by the photo-instrument. (shrink)
Written over the last 18 months of his life and inspired by his interest in G. E. Moore's defence of common sense, this much discussed volume collects Wittgenstein's reflections on knowledge and certainty, on what it is to know a proposition for sure.
In a recent number of this journal there appeared an article by Niall Shanks and John King-Farlow on the theory of radical interpretation as developed by Donald Davidson. In that paper Davidson was presented as an opponent of “metaphysical openness in general [and] … idealism in particular” and as a philosopher who has “sought to silence all philosophically challenging talk both about the ordinary speaker’s systematic errors and about the claims of revisionary metaphysicians such as phenomenalists or absolute idealists.” I (...) suspect that Davidson would be somewhat surprised by this description of himself. He might also wonder just what it means to be an “opponent of metaphysical openness in general.” Like any other philosopher, Davidson has his own views on matters philosophical; and, like other philosophers, he criticizes what he sees as false or mistaken in the views of others. One cannot help but suspect that what Davidson’s opposition to “metaphysical openness” really comes down to is his criticism of views associated with idealism. (shrink)
This paper explores The New Rhetoric’s concept of universal audience in the contexts of philosophical and traditional rhetorical discourse. It argues that, since Perelman’s final English-language article, published in 1984 to clarify misunderstandings among rhetorical scholars about his theory, rhetorical scholars have persisted in three primary misconceptions of the concept of universal audience: appeals to the real are made only to universal audiences, only universal audiences are qualified to establish the reasonableness of arguments, and only universal audiences prevent The New (...) Rhetoric’s rhetorical theory from degenerating into relativism. It explains why each of these misconceptions is inaccurate and provides a corrected view of universal audience that places it exclusively in the province of philosophical discourse. Finally, it questions whether constructed audiences in general add explanatory power to rhetorical analyses or are merely unnecessary constructs that should be dispensed with for the sake of theoretical parsimony. (shrink)
In a well-known quotation from Speusippus in the Theologumena Arithmeticae , said to have been derived from Pythagorean sources, especially Philolaus, occur the following sentences: And again a little later: Similarly Sextus Empiricus , drawing evidently on a relatively early Pythagorean source, writes as follows: And Aristotle himself writes of the Pythagoreans : There were, in fact, certain Pythagoreans who equated the number 2 with the line because they regarded the line as ‘length without breadth extended between two points’; and (...) likewise the number 3 was equated with the plane and 4 with the solid. (shrink)