These rhetorical texts by Apuleius, second-century Latin writer and author of the famous novel Metamorphoses or Golden Ass, have not been translated into English since 1909. They are some of the very few Latin speeches surviving from their century, and constitute important evidence for Latin and Roman North African social and intellectual culture in the second century AD, a period where there is increasing interest amongst classicists and ancient historians. They are the work of a talented writer who is being (...) increasingly viewed as the major literary artist of his time in Latin. (shrink)
Amongst Kant's lesser known early writings is a short treatise with the curious title Dreams of a Spirit-Seer Explained by Dreams of Metaphysics , in which, with considerable acumen and brilliance, and not a little irony, Kant exposes the empty pretensions of his contemporary, the Swedish visionary and Biblical exegete, Emanuel Swedenborg, to have access to a spirit world, denied other mortals. Despite his efforts, it must be feared, however, that Kant did not, alas, succeed in laying the spirit of (...) Swedenborg himself to rest once and for all, for there has arisen in our own day, and within philosophy itself, a movement of thought, if such it can be called, which, like that of Swedenborg, is founded upon an unbridled and unhealthy exercise of the imagination, and apparently believes that philosophical problems can be discussed and resolved by the elaboration of fantastical, and at times repulsive, examples; if we require a name for this contemporary pretence at philosophy, we could take as our model the Italian word for science fiction, fantascienza , and call it ‘fantaphilosophy’: it is my aim to show that this fantaphilosophy is a phantom philosophy. (shrink)
Chris Tucker's paper on the hiddenness argument seeks to turn aside a way of defending the latter which he calls the value argument. But the value argument can withstand Tucker's criticisms. In any case, an alternative argument capable of doing the same job is suggested by his own emphasis on free will.
What if human joy went on endlessly? Suppose, for example, that each human generation were followed by another, or that the Western religions are right when they teach that each human being lives eternally after death. If any such possibility is true in the actual world, then an agent might sometimes be so situated that more than one course of action would produce an infinite amount of utility. Deciding whether to have a child born this year rather than next is (...) a situation wherein an agent may face several alternatives whose effects could well ramify endlessly on such suppositions, for the child born this year would be a different person—one who preferred different things, performed different actions, and had different descendants—from a child born next year. It has recently been suggested that traditional utilitarianism stumbles on such cases of infinite utility. Specifically, utilitarianism seems to require, for its application, that all experience of pleasure and pain cease at some time in the future or asymptotically approach zero.2 If neither of these conditions holds, then the utility produced by each of two alternative actions may turn out to be infinite, and utilitarianism thus loses its ability to discriminate morally between them. (shrink)
Mark McCreary has argued that I cannot consistently advance both the hiddenness argument and certain arguments for religious scepticism found in my book The Wisdom to Doubt . This reaction was expected, and in WD I explained its shortsightedness in that context. First, I noted how in Part III of WD , where theism is addressed, my principal aim is not to prove atheism but to show theists that they are not immune from the scepticism defended in Parts I and (...) II. To the success of this aim, McCreary's arguments are not so much as relevant, for a thoroughgoing scepticism embracing even the hiddenness argument is quite compatible with its success. But I also explained how someone convinced that the hiddenness argument does prove atheism escapes the grip of religious scepticism because of that argument's reliance on apparent conceptual truths. McCreary's critique obscures this point but does not defuse it. (shrink)
There are doubtless many with personal experience of suffering, or of comforting others in distress, who would agree with Milton thus far that philosophic argument is powerless to satisfy those who in their anguish ask the question ‘Why did it happen to me?’ Yet to think so is to underestimate both the necessity and the power of reason: clarity of mind and the disposition to argue are commonly enhanced rather than diminished by suffering; and if reason is an essential part (...) of man's nature, it should serve him, if anywhere, in the trials of life. We have every justification, therefore, despite common opinion, for seeking a rational answer to the question proposed. It must, however, be admitted at the outset that there is no direct answer to the question which can both withstand critical scrutiny and bring genuine comfort to the afflicted, an answer, that is, which accepts the question as it stands with its attendant presuppositions; but there is an indirect answer, which, precisely by rejecting one or more of these presuppositions and restating the question, can indeed satisfy these two requirements. Before such an answer can be outlined, however, the question in its traditional form must be examined and the traditional answers to it critically reviewed. (shrink)
2. The Contingency and A posteriority Constraint: A formulation of the thesis must make physicalism come out contingent and a posteriori. First, physicalism is a contingent truth, if it is a truth. This means that physicalism could have been false, i.e. there are counterfactual worlds in which physicalism is false, for example, counterfactual worlds in which there are miracle -performing angels. Moreover, if physicalism is true, our knowledge of its truth is a posteriori. This is to say that there are (...) ways the world could turn out to be such that physicalism is false. For example, if there are miracle -performing angels, then physicalism is false. So there are worlds considered as actual in which physicalism is false. For short, call this ‘the a posteriority constraint’.. (shrink)
According to evolutionary accounts of distinct emotions, these emotions are shaped by natural selection to adjust the physiological, psychological, cognitive, and behavioral parameters of an organism to facilitate its capacity to respond adaptively to threats and opportunities present in the environment. This account has a number of implications, most notably: each distinct emotion serves, or served, an adaptive function, and emotions are comprised of multiple components, all of which should be functional. In this article, I briefly outline an evolutionary approach (...) to understanding distinct emotions, then explain how this approach could be falsified, how one’s own emotion experience differs from the observation of an emotion experience in someone else, and why variability in emotional responding should be expected. (shrink)
The influence of J. L. Austin on contemporary philosophy was substantial during his lifetime, and has grown greatly since his death, at the height of his powers, in 1960. Philosophical Papers, first published in 1961, was the first of three volumes of Austin's work to be edited by J. O. Urmson and G. J. Warnock. Together with Sense and Sensibilia and How to do things with Words, it has extended Austin's influence far beyond the circle who knew him or read (...) the handful of papers he published in journals. (shrink)
William Alston's Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience is a most significant contribution to the philosophy of religion. The product of 50 years' reflection on its topic , this work provides a very thorough explication and defence of what Alston calls the ‘mystical perceptual practice’ – the practice of forming beliefs about the Ultimate on the basis of putative ‘direct experiential awareness’ thereof . Alston argues, in particular, for the rationality of engaging in the Christian form of MP . (...) On his view, those who participate in CMP are justified in forming beliefs as they do because their practice is ‘socially established’, has a ‘functioning overrider system’ and a ‘significant degree of self-support’; and because of the ‘lack of sufficient reasons to take the practice as unreliable’. (shrink)
One strategy for blocking Chalmers's overall case against physicalism has been to deny his claim that showing that phenomenal properties are in some sense physical requires an a priori entailment of the phenomenal truths from the physical ones. Here I avoid this well-trodden ground and argue instead that an a priori entailment of the phenomenal truths from the physical ones does not require an analysis in the Jackson/Chalmers sense. This is to sever the dualist's link between conceptual analysis and a (...) priori entailment by showing that the lack of the former does not imply the absence of the latter. Moreover, given the role of the argument from conceptual analysis in Chalmers's overall case for dualism, undermining that argument effectively undermines that case as a whole in a way that, I'll argue, undermining the conceivability arguments as stand-alone arguments does not. (shrink)
This book is the one to put into the hands of those who have been over-impressed by Austin 's critics....[Warnock's] brilliant editing puts everybody who is concerned with philosophical problems in his debt.
In a single volume intended for philosophy students of all levels as well as their teachers, this reader provides modern, accurate translations of the texts necessary for a careful study of most aspects of Aristotle's philosophy. Professor Ackrill has drawn on his broad experience of teaching graduate classes in selecting the texts, and his choice reflects issues of current philosophical interest as well as the perennial themes. Only recent translations which achieve a high level of accuracy have been chosen: the (...) aim is to place the reader without Greek, as nearly as possible, in the position of a reader of Greek. As an aid to study, a valuable guide to the key topics covered is also suppied, giving references to works or passages contained in the reader, an indication of their interrelation, and a currnet bibliography. (shrink)
Analytical philosophers, if they are true to their training, never forget the first lesson of analytical philosophy: philosophers have no moral authority. In so far as analytical philosophers believe this, they find it easy to live with. For them even to assert, let alone successfully lay claim to, moral authority would require, first, hard work of some non-analytical and probably mistaken kind and, secondly, personality traits of leadership or confidence or even charisma, which philosophers may accidentally have but which they (...) are certainly not trained to have and had better not rely upon, while they live by analytical standards. Yet a further reason why analytical philosophers find the denial of their moral authority easy to accept is that they never forget the second lesson of analytical philosophy, either: nobody else has any moral authority. (shrink)
1. Causal knowledge is an indispensable element in science. Causal assertions are embedded in both the results and the procedures of scientific investigation. 2. It is therefore worthwhile to investigate the meaning of causal statements and the ways in which we can arrive at causal knowledge.
: I argue that for Aquinas philosophy is a necessary tool of theology and that philosophy is not changed by its theological context. Rather, the subalternation of disciplines results in a reciprocal relation between philosophy and theology. This is understood in terms of the distinction between what is better known in itself and what is better known to us. This view is defended by (1) reinterpreting Aquinas' use of the metaphor of the water of philosophy being transformed into the wine (...) of theology; and (2) his position that the theological use of philosophy is an instance of grace perfecting nature. (shrink)
In many places and times, and for many people, God's existence has been rather less than a clear fact. According to the hiddenness argument, this is actually a reason to suppose that it is not a fact at all. The hiddenness argument is a new argument for atheism that has come to prominence in philosophy over the past two decades. J. L. Schellenberg first developed the argument in 1993, and this book offers a short and vigorous statement of its central (...) claims and ideas. Logically sharp but so clear that anyone can understand, the book addresses little-discussed issues such as why it took so long for hiddenness reasoning to emerge in philosophy, and how the hiddenness problem is distinct from the problem of evil. It concludes with the fascinating thought that retiring the last of the personal gods might leave us nearer the beginning of religion than the end. (shrink)
On Kratzer’s canonical account, modal expressions (like “might” and “must”) are represented semantically as quantifiers over possibilities. Such expressions are themselves neutral; they make a single contribution to determining the propositions expressed across a wide range of uses. What modulates the modality of the proposition expressed—as bouletic, epistemic, deontic, etc.—is context.2 This ain’t the canon for nothing. Its power lies in its ability to figure in a simple and highly unified explanation of a fairly wide range of language use. Recently, (...) though, the canon’s neat story has come under attack. The challenge cases involve the epistemic use of a modal sentence for which no single resolution of the contextual parameter appears capable of accommodating all our intuitions.3 According to these revisionaries, such cases show that the canonical story needs to be amended in some way that makes multiple bodies of information relevant to the assessment of such statements. Here I show that how the right canonical, flexibly contextualist account of modals can accommodate the full range of challenge cases. The key will be to extend Kratzer’s formal semantic account with an account of how context selects values for a modal’s.. (shrink)
Le XIVe siècle peut sans nul doute être considéré comme «l’âge d’or» de la mystique en Angleterre. Parmi les noms de R. Rolle, W. Hilton, J. de Norwich, l’auteur du Nuage d’Inconnaissance occupe une place importante, gardant un anonymat manifestement recherché. Il apparaît très vraisemblable que cet Anonyme ait longtemps et assidûment fréquenté les milieux cartusiens, s’il n’a pas été lui-même chartreux, avant peut-être de choisir une vie plus radicalement érémitique. Le but de son œuvre est l’union à Dieu (...) par le détachement absolu, union au Tout-Autre selon le mode apophatique légué par Denys le pseudo-Aréopagite dont il se réclame explicitement, et auquel il emprunte le titre de son principal ouvrage. Il revendique également l’influence de Grégoire de Nysse, de saint Augustin, de Richard de Saint-Victor dont il traduira en anglais le Benjamin minor, et laisse clairement entendre qu’il a lu Thomas d’Aquin, saint Bernard et Guillaume de Saint-Thierry. Mais il est une influence profonde et non avouée qu’il nous a semblé intéressant de dégager ici; il s’agit de celle du Miroir des Simples âmes anéanties de Marguerite Porete. (shrink)
This exchange provides an array of perspectives on the questions of what emotions are, how they function, and how they should be studied. While my approach is evolutionary and functionalist—viewing each distinct emotion as having evolved to serve a particular function —this approach is not the only one needed to fully understand emotions. Furthermore, several of the accounts offered here might be effectively synthesized by accepting the importance of both universal evolutionary factors and sociocultural particulars in shaping emotion experiences.
When people speak of ‘the law of the jungle’, they usually mean unions restrained and ruthless competition, with everyone out solely for his own advantage. But the phrase was coined by Rudyard Kipling, in The Second Jungle Book , and he meant something very different. His law of the jungle is a law that wolves in a pack are supposed to obey. His poem says that ‘the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is (...) the Pack’, and it states the basic principles of social co-operation. Its provisions are a judicious mixture of individualism and collectivism, prescribing graduated and qualified rights for fathers of families, mothers with cubs, and young wolves, which constitute an elementary system of welfare services. Of course, Kipling meant his poem to give moral instruction to human children, but he probably thought it was at least roughly correct as a description of the social behaviour of wolves and other wild animals. Was he right, or is the natural world the scene of unrestrained competition, of an individualistic struggle for existence? (shrink)
In this volume, Savas L. Tsohatzidis brings together a team of leading experts to provide up-to-date perspectives on the work of J. L. Austin, a major figure in twentieth-century philosophy and an important contributor to theories of language, truth, perception, and knowledge. Focusing on aspects of Austin's writings in these four areas, the volume's ten original essays critically examine central elements of his philosophy, exploring their interrelationships, their historical context, their reception, and their implications for key issues of contemporary philosophical (...) research. The volume deepens our understanding of Austin's philosophy while illustrating its continuing significance, and will appeal to students and scholars of modern philosophy, particularly to those interested in the philosophy of language and epistemology. (shrink)