The multiple commons is an important context in a world facing the eco-challenge. The platform for land use negotiation is a perspective concerning the good governance of the multiple commons. Platforms are devices or procedures for social learning and negotiation about effective collective action. They create collective decision making capacity at eco-system levels at which critical ecological services need to be managed. Taking platforms seriously as an option for designing a more sustainable society assumes a belief in the human capacity (...) to engage in collective action. Unfortunately, human thinking about humans is dominated by perspectives that emphasize either technical solutions to given human ends, or perspectives that emphasize the selfish nature of human ends. This article focuses especially on the latter: the strategic narratives that have become dominant as society increasingly becomes designed on economic principles. The paper seeks to explain the dominance of strategic narratives and provides social science evidence for alternative perspectives. It concludes with cornerstones for an alternative narrative. (shrink)
This article presents a social learning perspective as a means to analyze and facilitate collective decision making and action in managed resource systems such as platforms. First, the social learning perspective is developed in terms of a normative and analytical framework. The normative framework entails three value principles, namely, systems thinking, experimentation, and communicative rationality. The analytical framework is built up around the following questions: who learns, what is learned, why it is learned, and how. Next, this perspective is used (...) to analyze two managed resource systems: Fishery management in Lake Aheme, Benin and water resources management in Gelderland, The Netherlands. To assess platform performance in resource use negotiation, emerging lessons from the case studies are combined with propositions concerning membership of platforms, accessibility of platform meetings, skills and relations of platform members, realization of platforms, and third party facilitation of platform activities. (shrink)
Book synopsis: Passion and Action explores the place of the emotions in seventeenth-century understandings of the body and mind, and the role they were held to play in reasoning and action. Interest in the passions pervaded all areas of philosophical enquiry, and was central to the theories of many major figures, including Hobbes, Descartes, Malebranche, Spinoza, Pascal, and Locke. Yet little attention has been paid to this topic in studies of early modern thought. Susan James surveys the inheritance of ancient (...) and medieval doctrines about the passions, showing how these were incorporated into new philosophical theories in the course of the seventeenth century. She examines the relation of the emotions to will, knowledge, understanding, desire, and power, offering fresh analyses and interpretations of a broad range of texts by little-known writers as well as canonical figures, and establishing that a full understanding of these authors must take account of their discussions of our affective life. Passion and Action also addresses current debates, particularly those within feminist philosophy, about the embodied character of thinking and the relation between emotion and knowledge. This ground-breaking study throws new light upon the shaping of our ideas about the mind, and provides a historical context for burgeoning contemporary investigations of the emotions. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to demonstrate the usefulness of qualitative research for studying the ethics of care, bringing to light the lived experience of health care recipients, together with the importance of methods that allow reconstruction of the processes underlying this lived experience. Lived experiences of families being approached for organ donation, parents facing the imminent death of their child and patients being treated using stem cell transplantation are used to illustrate how ethical principles are differentiated, modified or (...) contradicted by the narrative context of persons concerned. The integration of empirical data into ethics will help caregivers in their ethical decision making and may enrich care ethics as a narrative and interpretative field. (shrink)
In the Monadology Leibniz has us imagine a thinking machine the size of a mill in order to show that matter can’t think. The argument is often thought to rely on the unity of consciousness and the notion of simplicity. Leibniz himself did not see matters this way. For him the argument relies on the view that the qualities of a substance must be intimately connected to its nature by being modifications, limitations of its nature. Leibniz thinks perception is not (...) a modification of matter because it is active and matter is passive. At the same time, there are traces in Leibniz of a different argument that relies on the notion of internal action, which may involve the notion of simplicity. Critics have sometimes charged that the Mill Argument is an argument from ignorance, but Leibniz was aware of this problem and made clear that he did not make that mistake. (shrink)
In this paper I analyze Descartes's puzzling claim that the mind is whole in the whole body and whole in its parts, what Henry More called "holenmerism". I explain its historical background, in particular in scholasticism. I argue that like his predecessors, Descartes uses the idea for two purposes, for mind-body interaction and for the union of body and mind.
I argue that Descartes treated the action of body on mind differently from the action of mind on body, as was common in the period. Descartes explicitly denied that there is a problem for interaction but his descriptions of interaction seem to suggest that he thought there was a problem. I argue that these descriptions are motivated by a different issue, the seemingly arbitrary connections between particular physical states and the particular mental states they produce. Within scholasticism there was already (...) a (yet different) problem concerning action of body on mind. I offer a comparison between Descartes and the scholastics. (shrink)
In recent years more and more scholars of early modern philosophy have come to acknowledge that our understanding of Descartes’s thought benefits greatly from consideration of his intellectual background. Research in this direction has taken off, but much work remains to be done. Dennis Des Chene offers a major contribution to this enterprise. This erudite book is the result of a very impressive body of research into a number of late Aristotelian scholastics, some fairly well known, such as Suárez, others (...) quite obscure. Two thirds of the book is devoted to the Aristotelians, with occasional references to Descartes; the last third focuses on Descartes, although there still much Aristotelian ground is covered. Des Chene indicates three major themes for his book: natural change and agency, the structure of material substance, and finality. (shrink)
The Clarke-Collins correspondence was widely read and frequently printed during the 18th century. Its central topic is the question whether matter can think. Samuel Clarke defends the immateriality of the human soul against Anthony Collins’ materialism. Clarke argues that consciousness must belong to an indivisible entity, and matter is divisible. Collins contends that consciousness could belong to a composite subject by emerging from material qualities that belong to its parts. While many early modern thinkers assumed that this is not possible, (...) this correspondence offers an unusually detailed discussion of this issue. Clarke rejects emergentism because real qualities of a composite must be homogeneous with the qualities of the parts. This rejection is based on considerations about the nature of causation. In addition, the disagreement derives in part from a disagreement between Clarke and Collins about the limits of our knowledge. (shrink)
For Descartes different substances are really distinct. He frequently connects real distinction with mutual separability. I examine this connection and the notion of real distinction. I then apply the results of this analysis to the controversy over the question whether Descartes held that there is a multiplicity of corporeal substances or only one. I argue that there are several ways of defending the pluralist interpretation against the monist charge that Cartesian bodies are not separable and so not really distinct substances.
The Clarke-Collins correspondence was widely read and frequently printed during the 18th century. Its central topic is the question whether matter can think, or be conscious. Samuel Clarke defends the immateriality of the subject of the mental against Anthony Collins’ materialism. This paper examines important assumptions about the nature of body that play a role in their debate. Clarke argued that consciousness requires an “individual being”, an entity with some sort of significant unity as its subject. They agree that body (...) does not have this type of unity, because it consists of actually distinct parts. (shrink)
Descartes argued that the eternal truths, most prominently the truths of mathematics, are created by God. He was not explicit, however, about the ontological status of these truths. Interpreters have proposed interpretations ranging from Platonism and conceptualism. I argue for an intermediate interpretation: Descartes held they have objective being in God’s mind. In this regard his view was line with a prominent view in Aristotelian scholasticism. I defend this interpretation against objections based on divine simplicity and concerns about causation. I (...) raise questions about the philosophical merit of these objections, but in addition I argue that there is good reason to think that Descartes himself did not think they were problems for the view. Seemingly conceptualist passages in the Principles, I argue, in fact address issues different from the ontological status of the eternal truths. (shrink)
Suárez held that the vital faculties of the soul are really distinct from the soul itself and each other and that they cannot causally interact. This means that he needed to account for the connections between the activities of the faculties: they both interfere with and contribute to each other’s activities. Suárez does so by giving the soul a direct causal role in these activities. This role requires the unity of the soul of a living being and Suárez used it (...) to argue against the view that a living being, in particular a human being, has more than one soul. This line of thought displays some affinity with arguments for the simplicity of the soul from the unity of consciousness. One important difference is that Suárez was talking not just about mental activities but about all vital activities. (shrink)
In Descartes's Method of Doubt Janet Broughton examines in depth Descartes's well-known use of the method of doubt in the Meditations. This is a very stimulating book. The book is rich in subtle, interesting ideas, and the writing is engaging in perhaps the best sense for philosophy. It is not only extremely lucid, but in addition one senses Broughton think the issues through on the page in a way that strongly draws the reader in. Broughton pursues the historian's aim of (...) offering an interpretation of Descartes's method of doubt that accounts for the texts. She does so while pursuing the issues with philosophical intensity and depth and connecting her interpretation to contemporary investigations in skepticism. Her evaluation of Descartes's use of the method is mixed: she thinks his ambitions in using it are ‘splendid but doomed, and highly instructive’. After describing the contents of the chapters of the book, I will focus on two issues: Broughton's interpretation of Descartes's anti-skeptical strategy and her treatment of transparency of the mental. (shrink)
IN this paper I explain how Descartes's conception of the mind was novel in relation to Aristotelian scholasticism. I also argue against the standard view that Descartes believed in transparency of the mental, the view that one cannot make mistakes about one's own mental states.
Early modern philosophers rejected various important aspects of Aristotelianism. Current scholarship debates the question to what extent the early moderns rejected final causation. Leibniz explicitly endorsed it. I argue that his notion of final causation should be understood in connection with his resurrection of substantial forms and his seeing such forms on the model of the soul. I relate Leibniz’ conception of final causation to the Aristotelian background as well as Descartes’s treatment of teleology. I argue that he agreed with (...) a view found in Aristotelianism that genuine efficiently causal powers require immanent teleology and with Descartes that immanent teleology presupposes cognition in the agent. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThe most prominent early modern argument against materialism is to be found in Descartes. Previously I had argued that this argument relies crucially on a robust conception of substance, according to which it has a single principal attribute of which all its other intrinsic qualities are modes. In the present paper I return to this claim. In Section 2, I address a question that is often raised about that conception of substance: its commitment to the idea that a substance has (...) a single such principal attribute. Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra and Daniel Garber have argued that this claim relies on Descartes's identification of substance with attribute. But I argue that it relies on his view that a substance has a single, unitary nature. In Section 3, I examine the role of this conception of substance in arguments found in Malebranche and Leibniz and compare these arguments with Descartes's. (shrink)
Locke claimed that God superadded various powers to matter, including motion, the perfections of peach trees and elephants, gravity, and that he could superadd thought. Various interpreters have discussed the question whether Locke's claims about superaddition are in tension with his commitment to mechanistic explanation. This literature assumes that for Locke mechanistic explanation involves deducibility. We argue that this is an inaccurate interpretation and that mechanistic explanation involves a different type of intelligibility for Locke.
Descartes held that the human mind or soul is indivisible, unlike body. In this paper I argue that his treatment of this feature of the soul is intimately connected to his engagement with Aristotelian scholasticism. I discuss two strands in Descartes. There is a long tradition of arguing for the immortality of the human soul on the basis of this view. Descartes did use this view in defense of dualism, but I argue that he held that the soul’s immortality should (...) be established rather on the basis of its status as a substance. This line of thought, I contend, is connected to his rejection of (most) Aristotelian substantial forms. Furthermore, the indivisibility of the human soul emerges repeatedly in connection to the union and interaction of mind and body in ways that connect to Aristotelian scholastic treatments of these issues. (shrink)
In this paper I explain several ways in which Descartes denied that the human soul or mind is composite and the role this idea played in his thought. The mind is whole in the whole and whole in the parts of the body because it has no parts. Unlike body, the mind is indivisible, and this is a different idea from the thought that mind and body are incorruptible. Descartes connects the immortality of the soul with its status as a (...) substance and as incorruptible rather than with its indivisibility. (shrink)
Leibniz took pride in the Pre-established Harmony as an account of mind-body union. On the other hand, he sometimes claimed that he did not have a good account of such a union. I explain the tension by distinguishing between two importantly different issues that concern the union: body-soul interaction and the per se unity of the composite. Furthermore, I argue that, contrary to R.M. Adams, Leibniz did have the philosophical resources to account for a per se unity of the body-soul (...) composite by invoking Aristolian scholastic solutions to that problem. (shrink)
A major contribution to Descartes studies, this book provides a panorama of cutting-edge scholarship ranging widely over Descartes's own primary concerns: metaphysics, physics, and its applications. It is at once a tool for scholars and--steering clear of technical Cartesian science--an accessible resource that will delight nonspecialists. The contributors include Edwin Curley, Willis Doney, Alan Gabbey, Daniel Garber, Marjorie Grene, Gary Hatfield, Marleen Rozemond, John Schuster, Dennis Sepper, Stephen Voss, Stephen Wagner, Margaret Welson, Jean Marie Beyssade, Michelle Beyssade, Michel Henry, (...) Evert van Leeuwen, Jean-Luc Marion, Genevieve Rodis-Lewis, and Jean-Pierre Seris. Combining new textual sensitivity with attentiveness to history, they represent the best established scholars and most exciting new voices, including both English speaking and newly-translated writers. Part I examines the foundations of Descartes's philosophy: Cartesian certainty; the phenomenology of the cogito and its modulations in the passions; and the defensibility and comprehensibility of the Cartesian God. The second part examines Descartes's groundbreaking metaphysics: mind's distinctness from and interaction with body; imagination; perception; and language. Part III examines Cartesian science: the revolutionary rhetoric of the Rules and the Discourse; the metaphysical foundations of physics; the interplay of rationalism and empiricism; the mechanics and human biology that flow from Descartes's physics. (shrink)
Descartes's dualism, and his argument for it, are often understood in terms of the modal notion of separability. I argue that the central notions, substance and real distinction, should not be understood this way. Descartes's well-known argument for dualism relies implicitly on views he spells out in the Principles of Philosophy, where he explains that a substance has a nature that consists in a single attribute, and all its qualities are modes of that nature. The argument relies ultimately on a (...) deeply rationalistic view of substance. (shrink)
One question that has created controversy among interpreters is just how much is in doubt at the end of the Dream Argument in Meditation I. I argue that there is doubt about the existence of composite bodies not yet about the existence of a physical world. I also caution against using later parts of the Meditations to interpret the First Meditation on account of the order of reasons in this work. I connect the Omnipotent God argument to Descartes's views about (...) innate ideas and analyze the First Meditation in relation to Descartes's anti-aristotelian purposes. (shrink)
Donald Rutherford and Jan Cover have put together an excellent volume of essays on Leibniz. Cover and Rutherford begin the volume with a clear and informative introduction, that should serve the less initiated extremely well. They explain the developments of Leibniz scholarship over the course of the twentieth century: the early twentieth century saw a focus on logic, truth and closely connected issues sparked by Russell and Couturat. In the second half of the century the scholarship changed course: issues central (...) to metaphysics and theology became prominent in Leibniz scholarship. Furthermore, in the last 30 years or so, Leibniz scholarship has exemplified a more historical turn in history of philosophy in the English-speaking world. Scholars started to look at the historical background of Leibniz’s thought, and take an interest in the development of Leibniz’s thought over time, and in his very early work, where his thought seems to be quite different from the later, more familiar writings. The present volume exemplifies these newer tendencies. (shrink)
Robert M. Adams claims that Leibniz’s rehahilitation of the doctrine of incomplete entities is the most sustained etlort to integrate a theory of corporeal substances into the theory of simple substances. I discuss alternative interpretations of the theory of incomplete entities suggested by Marleen Rozemond and Pauline Phemister. Against Rozemond, I argue that the scholastic doctrine of incomplete entities is not dependent on a hylomorphic analysis of corporeal substances, and therefore can be adapted by Leibniz. Against Phemister, I claim (...) that Leibniz did not reduce the passivity of corporeal substances to modifications of passive aspects of simple substances. Against Adams, I argue that Leibniz’s theory of the incompleteness of the mind cannot be understood adequately without understanding the reasons for his assertion that matter is incomplete without minds. Composite substances are seen as requisites for the reality of the material world, and therefore cannot be eliminated from Leibniz’s metaphysics. (shrink)
I argue that Descartes's best known argument for dualism relies on claims about intellectual activity and not on claims about mental states generally to establish dualism. I explain that this must be so give his historical context, where arguments for the immateriality of the mind on the basis of the intellect were common. But sensation and other non-intellectual states were regarded as pertaining to the body-soul composite.
In Metaphysical Themes: 1274–1671, Robert Pasnau compares the medieval and early modern approaches to the material-immaterial divide and suggests the medievals held the advantage on this issue. I argue for the opposite conclusion. I also argue against his suggestion that we should approach the divide through the notion of a special type of extension for immaterial entities, and propose that instead we should focus on their indivisibility.