It might seem that there are two separate questions about universals, the question of what they are and the question why we should believe that there are such things, and that the former question should be taken first; it might seem that until you know what they are it cannot be sensible to ask whether one should believe in them. How, for example, could one know whether it was sensible or even possible to believe in Father Christmas until one knew (...) who or what he was supposed to be? But appearances could be deceptive. In the case of universals the position is different. What happened was that philosophers found themselves faced with certain problems of which they were inclined to say: this problem is insoluble unless there are some entities which have certain characteristics, the characteristics which would enable the problem to be solved. The things which, if they existed, would solve their problems they called forms or universals. So universals are things which have whatever properties they need to have to solve certain problems. This being so, it is clearly sensible to approach the theory of universals from the problems which led to philosophers postulating their existence. (shrink)
The essays in this volume explore current work in central areas of philosophy, work unified by attention to salient questions of human action and human agency. They ask what it is for humans to act knowledgeably, to use language, to be friends, to act heroically, to be mortally fortunate, and to produce as well as to appreciate art. The volume is dedicated to J. O. Urmson, in recognition of his inspirational contributions to these areas. All the essays but one have (...) been specially written for this volume. (shrink)
Peter Kivy argues that Handel was the first composer to be regarded as a genius and that only in the eighteenth century was the philosophical apparatus in place that would enable any composer to be conceived of as a musical genius. According to Kivy, a Longinian conception of genius transformed Handel into a genius. A Platonic conception of genius was used to classify Mozart as a genius. Then Kant adopted a Longinian conception of genius and this shaped the perception of (...) Beethoven. Kivy is wrong on all counts. Composers were thought to be geniuses long before Handel. The emergence of philosophical aesthetics in the eighteenth century did little to shape conceptions of musical genius. More specifically, Kivy misrepresents Kant's conception of genius and the role that it plays in the recognition of Beethoven as a musical genius. (shrink)
J.O. Urmson's The Greek Philosophical Vocabulary contains some five hundred alphabetically arranged entries, each aiming to provide useful information on a particular word used by Greek philosophers. The book includes a wealth of quotations ranging from the fifth century BC to the sixth century AD.
The Gifford lectures are a series of extended lectures presented at the Scottish Universities by distinguished scholars on the subject of "natural theology in the widest sense." This volume commemorates the first hundred years of Gifford Lectures by presenting short selections from those lectures which have been previously published. The selections are short and non-technical. They cover the whole range of subjects and approaches of the Gifford Lecturers. There is little developed argumentation in the selections. This is consistent with the (...) stated purpose of the volume: to introduce the student and the nonphilosopher to the Gifford Lectures. The title of the volume, together with the headings of the twelve chapters, is taken from the bequest of Adam Gifford who established the lectures. The excerpts in each chapter are only very loosely related to the chapter heading. In fact, the excerpts reveal that many of the Gifford Lectures are natural theology in only the widest sense of the term. Some of the lectures, e.g., those by Barth, Bultmann, Brunner, Tillich, and Niebuhr, are straightforwardly theological. Others, e.g., those by Gilson, Dawson, Frazer, and Toynbee, are historical or anthropological. Others still are on a wide range of philosophical topics not clearly related to the philosophy of religion. For example, Dewey’s Quest for Certainty; R. B. Perry’s Realms of Value; W. D. Ross’ Foundations of Ethics; Heisenberg’s Physics and Philosophy are all Gifford lectures excerpted here. In short, there is little unity to the volume other than the fact that all the excerpts are from Gifford Lectures. Thus it is doubtful that this book will be useful in the classroom or for the professional philosopher. It does, however, achieve its stated purpose of introducing the Gifford Lectures, and it makes for interesting reading from some of the most eminent scholars of the last hundred years.—J.O. (shrink)
An ecumenical effort, sensitive to both the scriptural and dogmatic issues, and directed at laying open the often overlooked, historical and doctrinal affinities underlying Protestant and Catholic Marian theology. As O'Meara correctly points out, while Luther and Calvin did indeed remove Mary from some aspects of the Church, it was some of their later followers who removed her entirely from any essential involvement with the mystery of Christ and the Church. But as in all ecumenical discussions worthy of that name, (...) genuine difficulties are not glossed over. In particular O'Meara questions the prevailing, either/or tendency in Protestant theology not to admit the possibility of a middle range of worship, i.e., hyperdulia, as falling between latria and dulia. While the treatment is for the most part scrupulously fair, O'Meara's defense of the traditional Catholic exegesis of the "I know not man" passage, which is crucial for the Catholic teaching on the virginity of Mary, seems to place an unfair burden of proof on the Protestant interpretation, which is prima facie the more obvious one.—J. J. O. (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)
Tradução para o português do capítulo 5 do livro "Berkeley" (Oxford University Press, 1982), Cap. 5, p. 47-57. Republicado em The British Empiricists: Locke, Berkeley, Hume (Oxford University Press, 1992).