The principle of indifference has fallen from grace in contemporary philosophy, yet some papers have recently sought to vindicate its plausibility. This paper follows suit. In it, I articulate a version of the principle and provide what appears to be a novel argument in favour of it. The argument relies on a thought experiment where, intuitively, an agent’s confidence in any particular outcome being true should decrease with the addition of outcomes to the relevant space of possible outcomes. Put simply: (...) the greater the number of outcomes, the weaker your confidence should be in any one of those outcomes. The argument holds that this intuition favours the principle of indifference. I point out that, in contrast, the intuition is also incompatible with a major alternative to the principle which prescribes imprecise credences: the so-called wide interval view. Consequently, the argument may also be seen as an argument against the wide interval view. (shrink)
Creativity in Whitehead is analogous to prime matter in Aristotle; both principles serve as the counterpart of form. A fundamental difference is that whereas prime matter is purely passive, creativity is pure activity. ;My dissertation focuses on the question whether creativity in some sense exists as numerically one running throughout the entire universe, or only as numerically many in the many individual actual entities which are the basis of his avowed ontological pluralism? ;The most common view in the literature is (...) that creativity exists only as many . Four leading commentators are examined, and each is seen to face a problem with creativity's on-goingness. If creativity exists only in its individuals, then why do new individuals continue to come into existence? Two of the commentators attempt to answer this question by appealing, each in a slightly different way, to creativity's universality; but in both cases it is argued that this form of answer is circular for the pluralist must show that creativity is universal in the future. ;Two other interpreters of creativity are examined who emphasize creativity's causal role in perpetuating the universe. Analysis of their interpretations shows that each in fact requires creativity to be something numerically one throughout the universe , though this view is not made explicit. ;A monistic interpretation is then put forward and defended against a common criticism; namely, that it is inconsistent with Whitehead's ontological pluralism. It is argued that creativity implies process and process implies a plurality of stages. The monistic creativity is not more real than its plurality of stages, since these stages are essential to its being a creating activity. Creativity is merely the counterpart of form; each stage of creativity's process has its own ingredient eternal objects and its own subjective aim at satisfaction in terms of which it is a novel atomic individual . A monistic creativity does not imply ontological monism. Furthermore, since it solves the problem of on-goingness, it should replace the received pluralistic interpretation. (shrink)
What Aphorism Does Nietzsche Explicate in Genealogy of Morals, Essay III ? JOHN T. WILCOX A picture held us captive. Wittgenstein ~ AS EVERYONE KNOWS, the dominant opinion is not always correct. Current scholarship, in all likelihood, makes assumptions which have not yet been questioned; and probably some of them will be seen to be false, once they have been examined. I will argue here that there is a dominant but erroneous assumption concerning the Third Essay in Nietzsche's On the (...) Genealogy of Morals. It will be obvious that correcting this error has some serious implica- tions for almost all current interpretations of the essay. After acknowledging, at the end of his Preface to the Genealogy, that some might find his new book "incomprehensible," Nietzsche warns that "the fault.., is not necessarily mine." He assumes, he says, that readers have already worked hard at his earlier writings, themselves "not easy to pene- trate," and have been "wounded" and "delighted" by his Zarathustra. Then he begins one of several passages we must examine carefully: In other cases, people have difficulty with the aphoristic form: this arises from the fact that today this form is not taken seriously enough. An aphorism, properly stamped and molded, has not been "deciphered" when it has simply been read; rather, one has then to begin its exegesis, for which is required an art of exegesis. I have offered in the third essay of the present book an example of what I.. (shrink)
The principal goal of this essay is to examine the manner and extent to which one actual occasion can have value for others according to Whitehead. This question divides into two, depending upon whether we are considering the relation of an entity to its past or to its future. The essay closes with a defense of the monistic interpretation of creativity in Whitehead.
It is generally accepted that ought-statements can be used to justify other ought-statements. In more familiar language: we can justify our acts, motives, and character by various standards, principles, or criteria; and we can justify those standards by more ultimate standards. But how can we justify our most ultimate standards, if we have any? This act is wrong, I conclude, because it would be the telling of a lie to one who trusts me; and the telling of such a lie (...) is wrong, I may argue, because such lies normally disrupt communication and confidence; and such disruption is wrong, the utilitarian may argue, because it causes distress or pain for the people involved, without compensatory satisfaction or pleasure. Why then, we may ask the utilitarian, is it wrong to cause uncompensated pain? Principles may be justified by higher principles, but if we have a highest principle, then simply by virtue of being highest it cannot be justified in that way. So the is-ought question becomes the more specific question, how can we decide whether to accept anybody's proposal of an ethical first principle? To use J. S. Mill's phrase, what "considerations... capable of determining the intellect either to give or withhold its assent" can be given for such a principle? (shrink)