In general historical treatments, one often encounters the idea that Kepler’s and Newton’s discovery of elliptical planetary orbits marked a decisive break with tradition and definitively undermined any possibility of an Aristotelian approach to physics and astronomy. Although Aristotle had no understanding of gravity, I want to demonstrate that elliptical orbits were a refinement of earlier models and that one can produce an Aristotelian account of elliptical orbits once one corrects his crucial mistake about gravity. One interesting side-effect of this (...) straightforwardly Aristotelian approach is that it eliminates the empty, second focal point around which any elliptical system revolves. I should emphasize that the present paper is not intended to contradict, oppose, or replace any aspect of contemporary mathematical physics or astronomy. The point is not to propose a new scientific theory—we all know that planetary orbits are elliptical—but to demonstrate that metaphysical Aristotelianism is more versatile than is generally supposed. (shrink)
Philosophical debate about the problem of evil derives, in part, from differing definitions of almighty power or omnipotence. Modern atheists such as John McTaggart, J. L. Mackie, Earl Condee, and Danny Goldstick maintain that an omnipotent God must be able to accomplish anything, even if it entails a contradiction. On this account, the Christian God cannot be omnipotent and benevolent, for a benevolent, omnipotent God would have forced free agents to desist from evil and this prevented the introduction of suffering (...) into the world. It does not matter if the idea of creating free agents that were forced to be good entails a contradiction. On this account, a God who is truly omnipotent can perform contradictory feats.In this paper, I argue that the atheistic tradition is mistaken. In the first place, even an absolutely omnipotent God could, as an act of benevolence, create a world in which there is suffering. In the second place, I argue that the concept of absolute omnipotence is fatally flawed. An absolutely omnipotent God would lack, in a decisive sense, power. He would be weak rather than strong. So the atheist's argument fails when it is evaluated in light of a more rational account of omnipotence and when it is carefully considered on its own terms. (shrink)
Every day we are faced with moral dilemmas in both our personal and professional lives. The choices we make, the ways in which we behave, and our responses to these dilemmas are grounded in our personal understandings of ethics and morality. But this understanding is not black and white: What is deplorable to one person may be perfectly acceptable to another. In Moral Reasoning: Rediscovering the Ethical Tradition, author Louis Groarke guides readers through a honing of their critical skills in (...) moral analysis by providing a rich, deep, and far-reaching overview of the discipline. He offers a careful, in-depth introduction to the many schools of moral thought that have contributed to Western philosophy and to the teachings of great moral thinkers such as Confucius, Socrates, Epicurus, Aristotle, Jesus, Epictetus, Aquinas, Hobbes, Kant, Mill, and Kierkegaard. This wide-ranging text considers these many different perspectives on morality with the goal of building up one coherent, larger view. Text-wide inclusion of contemporary examples drawing on these classical ideas fosters critical reflection about today's important moral questions and encourages readers to develop their own considered views that go beyond peer pressure and ideology. (shrink)
Comprehensive and accessible, Moral Reasoning introduces students to the historical foundations of moral theory and contemporary ethics. Beginning with Aristotle, the text offers a careful, in-depth introduction to the many schools of moral thought that have contributed to Western philosophy, exploring such topics as utilitarianism, deontology, liberalism, human rights, virtue, and religious ethics. With contemporary examples incorporated throughout, this innovative new book fosters critical reflection on topical moral issues, encouraging students to develop a personal moral compass that transcends peer pressure (...) and ideology. (shrink)
_Readings in Ethics_ offers a vast collection of carefully edited readings arranged chronologically across five historical periods. The selections cover many major Western and non-Western schools of thought, including Daoism, virtue ethics, Buddhism, natural law, deontology, utilitarianism, contractarianism, liberalism, Marxism, feminism, and communitarianism. In addition to texts from canonical philosophers such as Plato, Mill, Wollstonecraft, and Rawls, the volume draws from other sources of wisdom: stories, fables, proverbs, medieval mystical treatises, literature, and poetry. The editors have also written substantial introductions, (...) annotations, discussion questions, and suggestions for further reading, making for a thorough guided tour of our ethical past and present. (shrink)
This discussion article is Louis Groarke's response to “Hildebrand vs. Groarke” by Vlastimil Vohánka. "I defend an Aristotelian account of induction against an analytic challenge that recommends Bernoulllian satistics as a more rigorous foundation for inductive reasoning. If Aristotle defines metaphysical necessity as a causal relation produced by the form inherent in a substance, the modern Humean account construes metaphysical necessity as a matter of exceptionless statistical regularity. I argue that Humean epistemology cannot move beyond relations of ideas to a (...) description of the true nature of things in the world and that Aristotelian realism offers, in comparison, a metaphysical perspective that can serve as a firm foundation for science. Any attempt to prove the validity of induction using mathematical probability is bound to fail for basic principles of all mathematics begin in induction. Any such strategy is viciously circular. In the course of the paper, I argue that logic must begin in an immediate leap of reason, that intuitive insights can be tested in hindsight, that metaphysical essentialism can account for the accidental (or contingent) properties of things, and that phenomenological distinctions between metaphysical, natural, and empirical necessity can be mapped onto Aristotelian categories.". (shrink)
The Good Rebel is a philosophical work, the methodology of which is nonetheless literary and historical. The book provides an original but historically informed and socially relevant commentary on modern conceptions of personal autonomy. Communitarian authors provide effective critiques of a liberal preoccupation with individualistic personal autonomy. Groarke does not contest the liberal emphasis on autonomy: instead he contests the way in which contemporary liberals define the concept of autonomy.
In this paper I argue that a pervasive “religion as tyranny” view has its roots in a philosophical misunderstanding about human freedom. The established liberal view, which is a kind of “empty Protestantism,” conceives of freedom primarily in negative terms as freedom of choice or amoral autonomy. I argue that this approach, which originates in Puritan theology, leads inevitably to a wide‐ranging indifferentism and that indifferentism is incompatible with Christianity. Christians need to elaborate in response a positive definition of freedom (...) as moral autonomy or good rebellion. Insomuch as religion is an essential aspect of human flourishing, it liberates rather than enslaves the individual. (shrink)
The history of Western philosophy and science is marked by numerous moments when a major development has emerged from conditions that are manifestly adverse to intellectual activity. This book surveys a wide range of cases, and considers how these achievements were possible and how adversity helped shape the ideas that emerged.
This is a wide-ranging anthology that examines, in chronological order, several genres that have been prominent in the history of Western philosophy. The programmatic introduction outlines the diverse range of genres used by philosophers and explains how genre-based exegesis can enrich our analysis and interpretation of philosophical texts. The remaining essays examine individual texts from this perspective.