Descriptions of battles in ancient authors are not mirrors of reality, however dim and badly cracked, but are a form of literary production in which the real events depicted are filtered through the literary, intellectual, and cultural assumptions of the author. By comparing the battle descriptions of Julius Caesar to those of Xenophon and Polybius this paper attempts to place those battle descriptions in their intellectual and cultural context. Here Caesar appears as a military intellectual engaged in controversies with experts (...) in the Greek tradition of military theory-rejecting materialist strains of Greek thinking-and also as a Roman soldier whose military experience and cultural conceptions about how battles work could not be fully accommodated by Greek models. Caesar adapts from the Greeks an intellectual model of tactics based on physical metaphors, but adjusts Greek theory to Roman experience: Caesar's tactical physics ramifies from the crash-impetus-of the legionary charge rather than the push of the phalanx. Caesar also adapts from the Greeks a simplifying model of military psychology, adjusting a Greek binary scheme of morale into a three-level model to accommodate a Roman military ethos of steadiness in combat. Greek military thinking downplayed the role in battle of innate differences in courage between armies or nations, concentrating instead on tactics and stratagems; Roman culture encouraged Caesar to reject this dismissive view and elaborate a detailed understanding of the role of courage-virtus-in the mechanics of battle. The prominence of virtus in Caesar's battle descriptions illustrates its survival as an important Roman cultural norm and tempts speculation as to its historical consequences. Attempts to reconstruct ancient battles must take into account the cultural and intellectual traditions which guide ancient battle descriptions. (shrink)
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)
Limits to Action: The Allocation of Individual Behavior presents the ideas and methods in the study of how individual organisms allocate their limited time and energy and the consequences of such allocation. The book is a survey of individual resource allocation, emphasizing the relationships of the concepts of utility, reinforcement, and Darwinian fitness. The chapters are arranged beginning with plants and general evolutionary considerations, through animal behavior in nature and laboratory, and ending with human behavior in suburb and institution. Topics (...) discussed include operant conditioning; the principle of diminishing returns; and issues in relation to mating strategies. Biologists, sociologists, economists, and psychologists will find the book interesting. (shrink)
This book evaluates Moore's contribution to the discussion of a number of epistemological problems, and arrives at the conclusion that Moore's contribution is not considerable. The author maintains that Moore was able to succeed philosophically in the refutation of Idealism, in the establishment of analytical techniques, and in his recognition of the role of common sense; but in those technical areas which were most interesting to Moore, the author finds little accomplishment, and even some confusion. For example, in considering the (...) problem of the relation between perception and an external world, Moore defends the common sense notions, but only on common sense grounds. The external world, which we know to exist with a high degree of certainty according to our common sense, we do not know to exist with any certainty at all when we approach the problem through an analysis of sense perception; and Moore will only say that we do not know that we do not know that external objects exist. Concerning the problem of truth and falsity the author finds Moore constructive but in need of revision and reconstruction, which the author obligingly attempts where necessary. Moore's position with respect to meaning and analysis is also evaluated with the same critical eye. Finally, the author shows the relative positions of common sense and ordinary language in Moore's thought.--J. J. E. (shrink)
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.
The Legacy of Emotivism.J. E. J. Altham - 1986 - In Graham Frank Macdonald & Crispin Wright (eds.), Fact, science and morality: essays on A.J. Ayer's Language, Truth and Logic. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. pp. 275-288.details
The principle argument of the book is that, given the background of philosophy of mind, it is possible to identify a notion of human agency which goes beyond the limitations which Hume seems to have imposed upon empiricism and which takes advantage of a version of Aristotle's notion of 'soul.' Action, as it has been developed recently, particularly by those of an utilitarian inclination, has been subject to two criticisms: it makes responsibility a rather cheap and ordinary commodity, it makes (...) human agency simple and identifiable. The author accepts this first criticism, but spends most of his effort arguing against the second; he does not contend that action is always simple, but he does argue that the human agent can be identified with precision and that effects can be attributed to him in his role as someone who considered his act and decided to bring about the observed effect. The starting point is a consideration of embodiment, the situation in which considered effects are seen to be situated in the same realm as simple inanimate interactions; any version of human action will have to first of all differentiate itself from inanimate action; the fact that a man is involved in an event is no guarantee that the effect is the result of genuine action. Having done justice to what might be termed the empirical nature of the human condition, the author follows out his announced program: he argues that Hume's empiricism restricts and reduces the human agent and that if we mean by soul nothing much more than what Anscombe means when she typifies the agent as one for whom the question of his own activity arises, then the human agent may be said to have his own unique point of view in virtue of his soul. Whether agent or spectator, there is something uniquely purposeful about the being in the empirical order who manifests this view; it is this view which classical empiricism does not appreciate, and which enables the author to review a set of examples in order to determine what kind of conditions must be satisfied in order to be able to meaningfully attribute an effect to an agent. The examples are intentionally very simple, but the thesis of the argument is not.--J. J. E. (shrink)