Primitives are both important and unavoidable, and which set of primitives we endorse will greatly shape our theories and how those theories provide solutions to the problems that we take to be important. After introducing the notion of a primitive posit, I discuss the different kinds of primitives that we might posit. Following Cowling (2013), I distinguish between ontological and ideological primitives, and, following Benovsky (2013) between functional and content views of primitives. I then propose that these two distinctions cut (...) across each other leading to four types of primitive posits. I then argue that theoretical virtues should be taken to be meta-theoretical ideological primitives. I close with some reflections on the global nature of comparing sets of primitives. (shrink)
Edward Jonathan Lowe (usually cited as E. J. Lowe) was one of the most significant philosophers of the twentieth and early twenty-first century. He made sustained and significant contributions to debates in metaphysics, ontology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophical logic, and philosophy of religion, as well as contributing important scholarly work in early modern philosophy (most notably on Locke). -/- Over the length of his career, Lowe published eleven single-authored books, four co-edited collections, and well over 300 papers (...) and book reviews in journals and edited volumes. The range of topics covered in his published work is highly eclectic. Given this, and his prolific rate of publication, this article cannot aim to cover all of the questions that Lowe contributed work on. Instead, it will focus on some of his most significant contributions in metaphysics and ontology, and related topics in other areas of philosophy. -/- This choice of focus stems, in part, from Lowe’s strong belief in the inescapability of metaphysical questions. Lowe argued for the need to approach metaphysics, and philosophy more broadly, in a serious, systematic fashion, likening metaphysics to putting together the pieces of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle, working with, rather than trying to overrule or being secondary to, natural science. -/- Although the sections in this article focus on different topics, the highly systematic nature of Lowe’s work means that there are many potential points of intersection that could be drawn between them. In the interests of providing a navigable summary of Lowe’s work, this article highlights only some of these connections. (shrink)
A crucial question for both philosophy and for science concerns the kind of relationship that obtains between entities—objects, properties, states, processes, kinds and so on—that exist at apparently higher and lower ‘levels’ of reality. According to reductionism, seeming higher-level entities can in fact be fully accounted for by more fundamental, lower-level entities. Conversely, emergentists of various stripes hold that whilst higher-level entities depend in some important sense on lower-level entities, they are nevertheless irreducible to them. This introductory paper outlines the (...) context of the debate between emergentists and reductionists; offers a broad characterisation of ‘strong’ or ontological emergence, and provides summaries of each of the papers to come in this special issue. (shrink)
The idea that two words can be instances of the same word is a central intuition in our conception of language. This fact underlies many of the claims that we make about how we communicate, and how we understand each other. Given this, irrespective of what we think words are, it is common to think that any putative ontology of words, must be able to explain this feature of language. That is, we need to provide criteria of identity for word-types (...) which allow us to individuate words such that it can be the case that two particular word-instances are instances of the same word-type (on the assumption that there are such types). One solution, recently further developed by Irmak (2018), holds that words are individuated by their history. In this paper, I argue that this view either fails to account for our intuitions about word identity, or is too vague to be a plausible answer to the problem of word individuation. (shrink)
An opinion piece discussing the role of the realist novel and the concept of realism itself when reality seems so deranged in light of Trump, Brexit and the present Anglo-American crisis of legitimacy. The essay also acts as a critical-reflective 'companion' to my novel 'UnAmerican Activities' as the final part - calling for writers to respond with a 'deranged realism' - articulate the aesthetic behind my latest novel.
In the last decade, it has become something of a cliché to note that Marxism lacks a theory of politics. As Jürgen Habermas said more than 15 years ago: “Due to the introduction of the superstructure into the base itself, the classical dependency relationship of politics to the economy was disrupted.” Similar theses have taken a variety of forms. For some, the inadequacy of Marxist political theory is the result of recent developments, particularly the appearance of the welfare state in (...) place of the watchdog state; the novel political arrangements characterizing this new historical epoch require a new theory of the state. (shrink)
Originally published in 1938. This compact treatise is a complete treatment of Aristotle’s logic as containing negative terms. It begins with defining Aristotelian logic as a subject-predicate logic confining itself to the four forms of categorical proposition known as the A, E, I and O forms. It assigns conventional meanings to these categorical forms such that subalternation holds. It continues to discuss the development of the logic since the time of its founder and address traditional logic as it existed in (...) the twentieth century. The primary consideration of the book is the inclusion of negative terms - obversion, contraposition etc. – within traditional logic by addressing three questions, of systematization, the rules, and the interpretation. (shrink)
It is hard to believe that the ancient philosophers were as rationally consistent in word and deed as they appear in the surviving lore about their lives. The myths are certainly charming – but they also make Socrates, Plato, and Diogenes the Cynic feel alien, remote, more like polished marble statues than fallible creatures of flesh and blood.
The development and changes in Merleau-Ponty's Marxism are analyzed by an examination of the relationship of his phenomenology to the rationalism and determinism of the Marxist dialectic. From Humanism and Terror to Adventures of the Dialectic Merleau-Ponty made explicit and worked out the philosophical dilemmas in his own Marxism and eventually abandoned the determinism of the Hegelian-Marxist autonomous dialectic of history. This rejection of a determinism "executed behind humanity's back" was the heart of Merleau-Ponty's social thought, and meant that the (...) teleological meaning of history incarnate in the proletariat had to be criticized. Merleau-Ponty put the practical focus of the emancipatory social philosophy on the individual conceived concretely "as a potential participant in a universal history.". (shrink)
From the Introduction: The present essay provides an introduction to the treatment of human existence and individuality in Marxist thought. The work will be primarily concerned with two related topics: the evaluation by Marxists of individual emancipation and their assessment of subjective factors in social theory. By taking up these taking up these topics within a systematic and historical framework, I hope to generate some fresh light on several familiar issues. First, I pursue a reading of Marx focused on his (...) treatment of subjectivity, individuation, and related methodological and practical matters; second, I apply this interpretation to analyzing the dispute between Marxist orthodoxy and heterodoxy over such matters as class consciousness and the philosophy of materialism; finally, I employ this historical context to clarify the significance of "existential Marxism," Maurice Merleau-Ponty's and Jean-Paul Sartre's contribution to Marxist thought. (shrink)
Metaphysical and epistemological dualism informs much contemporary discussion of the relationships of science and religion, in particular in relation to the neurosciences and the religious understanding of the human person. This dualism is a foundational artifact of modern culture; however, contemporary scientific research and historical theological scholarship encourage a more holistic view wherein human personhood is most fittingly understood as an emergent phenomenon of, but not simply reducible to, evolutionary and developmental neurobiology.
Research on children raises major ethical issues, the most important being the inability of the subjects to provide freely given informed consent. Committees in Canada and the United States charged with formulating recommendations for the protection of human subjects in research came to some fundamentally different conclusions. Two of these are discussed as they apply to children: first the distinction between therapeutic and non-therapeutic research, recognized implicitly by the National Commission (U.S.A.) and deliberately avoided by the Medical Research Council Working (...) Group (Canada); and second, the looser relation between local committees and Council as defined by guidelines in Canada and the tighter relation between the institutional review committees and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare defined by regulations in the United States. (shrink)