This paper assumes that human choices are determined, and distinguishes among the views of some classical modern philosophers regarding what determines choice.Hobbes and Hume are taken as representatives of choice as determined by subjective propensities; the differences between their views is discussed. Descartes is taken as a major representative of the view that choice is determined by an apprehension of that which is objectively good, and Spinoza, Malebranche, and Leibniz are discussed insofar as they share that view. It is then (...) shown that interpretations of Locke and Mill whieh assimilate their views to those of Hobbes and Hume are mistaken.As a third alternative, the self-determinist positions of Green and Dewey are discussed. The views of James, in which attention and effort are key concepts, are traced, and that aspect of his view whieh stresses attention is accepted, while his emphasis on effort is rejected. (shrink)
The history of ideas deals with the elemental unit-ideas which for Lovejoy are components of systems distinguished by their patterns. Special histories explain how a particular form of human history developed. General histories draw on special histories to document or explain social contexts. Since patterns influence philosophers, the history of ideas contributes little to the history of philosophy, a discontinuous strand within a period's continuous intellectual history. By accepting cultural pluralism, denying the monistic position that there always are internal connections (...) among all or some strands of intellectual and cultural history, both continuity and change in philosophy can be best understood. (shrink)
The belief of Gallie, Danto, and others that history is constructing narratives is too simplistic and neglects the role of inquiry and discovery. Teleology in history - only events relevant to a known outcome find a place in a work -while similar to that in narratives is not decisive, since in any explanation the explicandum controls the explicans to some extent. History is not recounting a linear sequence of intelligible human actions but is an analysis of a complex pattern of (...) change into factors that served to make it what it was. Social backgrounds and conditions that are influences but not actually parts of the story of actions are crucial; the fundamental relationship is part to whole, not antecedent to consequent. (shrink)
Laws through which we explain particular events need not be laws which describe uniform sequences of events; they may be laws stating uniform connections between two types of factor contained within a complex event. Hempel's apparent insistence that laws state the conditions invariably accompanying a type of complex event, that the event be an instance of the laws "covering" it, results from the Humean analysis in which causation obtains between types of events and "the cause" means necessary conditions. But historians (...) often depict sufficient conditions. On the other hand, some knowledge of general laws is a presupposition of Dray's "continuous series" model of historical explanation. (shrink)
Mill's essay on utilitarianism is reinterpreted in the light of his psychological theories. his early anonymous essay on bentham helps to define the form of psychological hedonism to which he subscribed, and this in turn explains his views on the relations of virtue and utility.