In a discussion-note in Mind, Father P. M. Farrell, O.P., gave an account, in what he admitted to be an embarrassingly brief compass, of the Thomist doctrine concerning evil. There is one sentence in this discussion which at first glance appears paradoxical. Father Farrell has been arguing that a universe containing ‘corruptible good’ as well as incorruptible is better than one containing ‘incorruptible good’ only. He continues: ‘If, however, they are to manifest this corruptible good, they must be corruptible and (...) they must sometimes corrupt.’ The final words, despite Father Farrell's italics, strike one as expressing, not a self-evident truth, but a non sequitur. The fact that I am capable of committing murder does not entail that I will at some time commit it. It is not immediately obvious that a similar entailment holds in the case of corruption and corruptibility. (shrink)
Christology seems to fall fairly clearly into two divisions. The first is concerned with the truth of the two propositions: ‘Christ is God’ and ‘Christ is a man’. The second is concerned with the mutual compatibility of these propositions. The first part of Christology tends to confine itself to what is sometimes called ‘positive theology’: that is to say, it is largely given over to examining the Jons revelationis —let us not prejudge currently burning issues by asking what this is—to (...) see what evidence can be found for the truth of these propositions. Clearly, the methods used will be above all those of New Testament exegesis. The second part of Christology will necessarily consist entirely of that speculative theology which is contrasted with positive theology. Even if the earliest speculation on this topic is to be found in the New Testament itself and thus becomes fair game for the exegetes, any attempt to relate the primary truths, ‘Christ is God’ and ‘Christ is a man’, to eachother is a work of reflection, and in the terminology I am using speculative. (shrink)
ἆρ' ∈ἰ kaì ⋯γ ∈´νητον … πρòς τò ɸθαρτόν, ⋯ϕ' ᾧΘ . Aristotle claims so far to have proved that the eternal is incorruptible and that it is ungenerated. He has still to prove the converse of each of these propositions, namely, that whatever is incorruptible is eternal and that whatever is ungenerated is eternal also. After putting the thesis in question form he gives a further definition of ⋯γ∈´νητος and ἄɸθαρτος in the parenthesis of 282 a 27–30. Unfortunately in (...) both cases he uses the assertoric form of the definiens , although in chapter 11 he had used a modal form in the relevant passages ; but this confusion does not seem to affect the immediate trend of the argument. He then shows that his thesis follows necessarily from the convertibility of ⋯γ∈´νητος and ἄɸθαρτος. The additional premiss that is necessary in order to secure this inference, namely, that that which is both ungenerated and incorruptible is eternal, is clear from the definition of the terms. It is also clear from the convertibility of ɸθαρτóς and γ∈ νητóς, which itself is entailed by the supposed convertibility of their contradictories. This last inference seems too trivial to deserve a mention, but Aristotle devotes 282 b 2–5 to proving it. Then, having demonstrated to his satisfaction that the convertibility of ἄɸθαρτος and ⋯γ∈´νητος necessarily implies the eternity of both the incorruptible and the ungenerated, he adds, for good measure, that if the terms are not convertible the implication is no longer necessary. (shrink)
The purpose of this article should become plain during the reading of it, but perhaps some prior explanation is needed. Almost from the beginning of my study of the paṭiccasamuppāda I have had the notion that it could not have come into existence in the form the usual twelvefold formulation takes. For reasons which I try to make clear this twelvefold formulation is not a satisfactory statement of what it is supposed to explain, namely the reasons for each individual's continued (...) rebirths. I feel - and sadly I have to emphasize, before someone else does it for me, that in the final analysis I am relying more or less on intuition for my attitude towards the twelvefold formulation - that if one person alone had been responsible for the usually referred to formulation, and especially if that one person had been the Buddha, then those anomalies that now prevail would never have existed. (shrink)
Patricia Williams made a number of claims concerning the methods and practise of cladistic analysis and classification. Her argument rests upon the distinction of two kinds of hierarchy: a divisional hierarchy depicting evolutionary descent and the Linnean hierarchy describing taxonomic groups in a classification. Williams goes on to outline five problems with cladistics that lead her to the conclusion that systematists should eliminate cladism as a school of biological taxonomy and to replace it either with something that is (...) philosophically coherent or to replace it with pure methodology, untainted by theory (Williams 1992, 151). Williams makes a number of points which she feels collectively add up to insurmountable problems for cladistics. We examine Williams' views concerning the two hierarchies and consider what cladists currently understand about the status of ancestors. We will demonstrate that Williams has seriously misunderstood many modern commentators on this subject and all of her five persistent problems are derivable from this misunderstanding. Some persons believe and argue, on grounds approaching faith it seems to me, that phylogeny comes from our knowledge of evolution. Others have found to their surprise, and sometimes dismay, that phylogeny comes from our knowledge of systematics. Nelson (1989, 67). (shrink)
In the same year, 1961, Peter D. Mitchell and Robert R.J.P. Williams both put forward hypotheses for the mechanism of oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria and photophosphorylation in chloroplasts. Mitchell's proposal was ultimately adopted and became known as the chemiosmotic theory. Both hypotheses were based on protons and differed markedly from the then prevailing chemical theory originally proposed by E.C. Slater in 1953, which by 1961 was failing to account for a number of experimental observations. Immediately following the publication of (...)Williams 's hypothesis and before his own was published, Mitchell initiated a correspondence. Examination of the letters shows the development of a dispute based on the validity of the proposals, who should have priority and particularly whether Mitchell had drawn on Williams 's work without acknowledgement. We have concluded that Mitchell's proposals were original although it is evident that prior to the correspondence Williams had considered and rejected a proposition similar to Mitchell's theory. However, a major cause of the dispute was the difference in disciplinary backgrounds of Mitchell, a microbial biochemist and Williams, a chemist. (shrink)
J.M. Coetzee’s book, 'Elizabeth Costello' is one of the stranger works to appear in recent years. Yet if we focus our attention on the book’s two chapters dealing with animals, two preoccupations emerge. The first sees Coetzee use animals to evoke a particular conception of ethics, one similar to that of the philosopher Mary Midgley. Coetzee’s second theme connects animals to the phenomena of scapegoating, as it has been characterized by the philosophical anthropologist René Girard. While both themes involve human (...) interactions with animals, each transcends application to that particular issue and raises deeper questions, respectively concerning the foundations of morality and the therapeutic allure of political violence. Making explicit these two preoccupations enhances our understanding of Coetzee’s fiction, particularly Disgrace. However, when Coetzee’s two philosophical strands are analyzed in their own terms, the ethics of sympathy is shown to be a more coherent notion than the understanding of politics he takes over from Girard. (shrink)
Theophrasti Characteres recensuit Hermannus Diels. Oxford Classical Texts. 1909. 3s. 6d. net. Pp. xxviii + .Θεοφρστου Xαρακτxs22EFρες. The Characters of Theophrastus. An English Translation from a Revised Text. With Introduction and Notes by R. C. Jebb, M.A. A new edition. Edited by J. E. Sandys, Litt.D. Macmillan. 1909. 7s. 6d. net. c. 23×14½. Pp. xvi+229.
I propose that the passage of time is the successive occurrence of sets of simultaneous events (assuming classical or Newtonian spacetime structure as background). This conception of passage, I claim, is lean enough to survive the criticisms of passage-deniers while robust enough to satisfy the needs of passage-affirmers. I undertake to describe and defend this minimal notion of passage.