The distinction between the essential and the accidental characteristics of a thing should be understood not in modal terms (the received view) nor in definitional terms (Fine’s recent proposal) but as follows: an essential characteristic of a thing is one that is not explained by any other of that thing’s characteristics, and an accidental characteristic of a thing is one that is so explained. Various versions of this proposal can be formulated.
In this paper I explain Thomas Aquinas's view that Christ is a composite person, and then I explain the role of Christ's compositeness in Thomas‘s solutions to a range of Christological problems. On the topics I will be discussing, Thomas‘s views did not change significantly over the course of his career; for the sake of simplicity, then, I will focus on texts from the Summa theologiae, citing parallels in the notes.
The traditional claim that Christ is one person who is both divine and human might seem inconsistent with classical conceptions of understanding divinity and humanity. For example, the classical understanding of divinity would seem to require us to hold that divine beings are immaterial, while the classical understanding of humanity would seem to require us to hold that human beings are material, leaving us unable to speak consistently of one person who is divine and human both. This paper argues that (...) revised versions of classical theism and classical anthropology can be developed, versions that avoid these problems. (shrink)
The societal and ethical impacts of emerging technological and business systems cannot entirely be foreseen; therefore, management of these innovations will require at least some ethicists to work closely with researchers. This is particularly critical in the development of new systems because the maximum degrees of freedom for changing technological direction occurs at or just after the point of breakthrough; that is also the point where the long-term implications are hardest to visualize. Recent work on shared expertise in Science & (...) Technology Studies (STS) can help create productive collaborations among scientists, engineers, ethicists and other stakeholders as these new systems are designed and implemented. But collaboration across these disciplines will be successful only if scientists, engineers, and ethicists can communicate meaningfully with each other. The establishment of a trading zone coupled with moral imagination present one method for such collaborative communication. (shrink)
The paper takes up a traditional view that has also been a part of some recent analytic metaphysics, namely, the view that substance is to be understood in terms of independence. Taking as my point of departure some recent remarks by Kit Fine, I propose reviving the Aristotelian-scholastic idea that the sense in which substances are independent is that they are non-inherent, and I do so by developing a broad notion of inherence that is more usable in the context of (...) contemporary analytic metaphysics than the traditional notion is. I end by showing how non-inherence, while necessary for being a substance, cannot be taken as sufficient without some qualifying remarks. (shrink)
A modified version of Michael Gorman's comments on Peter King’s paper at the 2004 Henle Conference. Above all, an account of Augustine’s purposes in discussing Neoplatonism in Confessions VII, showing why Augustine does not tell us certain things we wish he would. In my commentary I will address the following topics: (i) what it means to speak of the philosophically interesting points in Augustine; (ii) whether Confessions VII is really about the Trinity; (iii) Augustine‘s intentions in Confessions VII; (iv) King‘s (...) hypostatic interpretation‖;(v) Christology. (shrink)
An overview of Hugh’s thought, focusing on philosophical issues. Specifically it gives a summary of his overall vision; the sources he worked from; his understanding of: the division of the science, biblical interpretation, God, creation, providence and evil, human nature and ethics, salvation; and his spiritual teachings.
According to Christian belief, Jesus Christ is a divine person who became “incarnate,” i.e., who became human. A key event in the second act of the drama of creation and redemption, the incarnation could not have failed to interest Aquinas, and he discusses it in a number of places. A proper understanding of what he thought about it is thus part of any complete understanding of his work. It is, furthermore, a window into his ideas on a variety of other (...) topics: God, human nature, language, substance, and so on. Finally, it forces us to come to grips with what is at stake in acknowledging that Aquinas was not only a philosopher but a theologian as well. (shrink)
A certain theory of substance, one that grows out of Aristotelian philosophy but which has adherents today as well, draws a distinction between the features a substance has by instantiating a universal and the features it has by possessing a trope. An adherent of this theory might say that a certain cat is red because it possesses a redness-trope, but that it is a cat because it instantiates the universal CAT. A problem that must be faced by philosophers who hold (...) this sort of view is the following: Which features are which? In other words, which features are the ones had in virtue of trope-possession, and which are the ones had in virtue of instantiation? In this paper I discuss this problem, consider and reject a competing view, and propose my own Aristotelian solution. I also raise and answer an objection. (shrink)
Discusses the old problem of how to characterize apparently intentional states that appear to lack objects. In tandem with critically discussing a recent proposal by Tim Crane, I develop the line of reasoning according to which talking about intentional objects is really a way of talking about intentional states—in particular, it’s a way of talking about their satisfaction-conditions.
This article reviews the public health and environmental regulations applicable to nanotechnology using a life cycle model from basic research through end-of-life for products. Given nanotechnology's immense promise and public investment, regulations are important, balancing risk with the public good. Trading zones and earth systems engineering management assist in explaining potential solutions to gaps in an otherwise complex, overlapping regulatory system.
The lives of persons are valuable, but are all humans persons? Some humans—the immature, the damaged, and the defective—are not capable, here and now, of engaging in the rational activities characteristic of persons, and for this reason, one might call their personhood into question. A standard way of defendingit is by appeal to potentiality: we know they are persons because we know they have the potentiality to engage in rational activities. In this paper I develop acomplementary strategy based on normativity. (...) We know that the humans in question are persons because we know that lacking the here-and-now ability to engage in rational activities is—for them, unlike for tulips or kittens—a falling-short of some norm. Their personhood, in other words, is established on the basis of their being subject to the norm of having those here-and-now capacities. (shrink)
Metaphysicians have not always been sufficiently attentive to the problem of dependence. Those who have paid attention to it have disagreed over what depends on what: do minds depend on brains, or vice versa? accidents on substances? creatures on God? Even less attention, however, has been paid to the question of what dependence actually is; usually, some answer to this question is taken for granted, and consideration is given only to the subsequent questions of which things depend on which. The (...) present paper discusses what dependence is, not for its own sake, but, rather, as a case study concerning the question of form in metaphysical inquiry. Distinguishing logical from metaphysical form, one can say that certain difficulties in twentieth-century theories of dependence can be traced to the error of trying to answer a metaphysical question by making use of logical form instead of metaphysical form. The paper will proceed in three steps. First, it will discuss the leading twentieth-century theory of dependence, point out the difficulties with that theory, and make explicit the presuppositions about form that give rise to those difficulties. Second, the paper will show how those difficulties can be avoided by using a properly metaphysical form to understand dependence. Finally, the paper will reflect on the implications for metaphysical inquiry that can be drawn from the difference between the two approaches. (shrink)
There is no consensus on how to define substance, but one popular view is that substances are entities that are independent in some sense or other. E. J. Lowe’s version of this approach stresses that substances are not dependent on other particulars for their identity. I develop the meaning of this proposal, defend it against some criticisms, and then show that others do require that the theory be modified.
Although the idea of intellectual property (IP) rights—proprietary rights to what one invents, writes, paints, composes or creates—is firmlyembedded in Western thinking, these rights are now being challenged across the globe in a number of areas. This paper will focus on one of these challenges: government-sanctioned copying of patented drugs without permission or license of the patent owner in the name of national security, in health emergencies, or life-threatening epidemics. After discussing standard rights-based and utilitarian arguments defending intellectual property we (...) will present another model. IP is almost always a result of a long history of scientific or technological development and numbers of networks of creativity, not the act of a single person or a group of people at one moment in time. Thus thinking about and evaluating IP requires thinking about IP as shared rights. A network approach to IP challenges a traditional model of IP. It follows that the owner of those rights has some obligations to share that information or its outcomes. If that conclusion is applied to the distribution of antiretroviral drugs, what pharmaceutical companies are ethically required to do to increase access to these medicines in the developing world will have to be reanalyzed from a more systemic perspective. (shrink)
Anyone who tries to understand categories soon runs into the problem of giving an account of the unity of a category. Call this the “unity problem.” In this essay, I describe a distinctive and under-studied version of the unity problem and discuss how it might be solved. First, I describe various versions of the unity problem. Second, I focus on one version and argue that it is best dealt with by thinking of at least some categories as “norm-constituted,” in a (...) sense that I try to make clear. Third, I discuss some objections to my proposal. Fourth, I compare norm -constituted categories to categories that are normative in a different sense. Fifth, I briefly discuss the possibility of grounding the normativity of norm-constituted categories. Finally, I raise a few questions for further research. (shrink)
Patrick Toner has recently criticized accounts of substance provided by Kit Fine, E. J. Lowe, and the author, accounts which say (to a first approximation) that substances cannot depend on things other than their own parts. On Toner’s analysis, the inclusion of this parts exception results in a disjunctive definition of substance rather than a unified account. In this paper (speaking only for myself, but in a way that would, I believe, support the other authors that Toner discusses), I first (...) make clear what Toner’s criticism is, and then I respond to it. Including the parts exception is not the adding of a second condition but instead the creation of a new single condition. Since it is not the adding of a condition, the result is not disjunctive. Therefore, the objection fails. (shrink)
According to authoritative Christian teaching, Jesus Christ is a single person existing in two natures, divinity and humanity. In attempting to understand this claim, the high-scholastic theologians often asked whether there was more than one existence in Christ. John Duns Scotus answers the question with a clear and strongly-formulated yes, and Thomists have sometimes suspected that his answer leads in a heretical direction. But before we can ask whether Scotus‘s answer is acceptable or not, we have to come to a (...) clear understanding of what his answer is. And before we can ask what his answer is, we have to come to a clear understanding of what question or questions he is trying to answer. In this paper I begin by explaining that the question about Christ‘s existence is ambiguous, i.e., that there are actually two questions hidden behind one formulation. Next I look at Scotus‘s writings on the topic in order to determine which question he is really trying to answer, and I argue that he is trying to answer both of them, even though he does not make this clear. Third, I provide an initial look at the answers that he gives. Fourth, I explain why these answers might seem problematic, especially from a Thomistic perspective. Fifth, I explain Scotus‘s answers in more detail and show that they are not problematic in the way that some Thomists have held. Indeed, at least some of Scotus‘s ideas are the very same ideas that Thomas spells out in one of his works. (shrink)
According to Christian doctrine as formulated by the Council of Chalcedon (451), Christ is one person (one supposit, one hypostasis) existing in two natures (two essences), human and divine. The human and divine natures are not merged into a third nature, nor are they separated from one another in such a way that the divine nature goes with one person, namely, the Word of God, and the human nature with another person, namely, Jesus of Nazareth. The two natures belong to (...) just one person, and the one person has two distinct natures. Chalcedon‟s justly-famous formula brought the debate into sharper focus and ruled out certain options, but of course it did not bring the arguments to a complete end. More councils,more debates, and more questions were to follow, although the range of disagreement tended to narrow. In the medieval Latin West, Peter Lombard (†1160) identified in book III of the Sententiae three “opinions” on the topic, but by the middle of the thirteenth century, it was widely agreed that only one of them was orthodox teaching. This relative unity of thought provided the space within which more detailed issues could be debated, and one of the most interesting of these concerned existence (esse): how many existences are there in Christ? Since Christ is only one person, it might seem that he has only one existence. On the other hand, he has two natures, so perhaps instead he has more than one existence. In this one paper, my goal is rather modest. I discuss only a few of the relevant authors, and I focus primarily on which questions they were asking. I proceed as follows. I first look at Thomas Aquinas, whose remarks on these topics had such a large influence on the debate later in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Crucial will be certain distinctions that Thomas makes, distinctions we can see as disambiguating the question we began with, namely, „How many existences are there in Christ?‟. After that I will look at how one of those distinctions makes its appearance in the writings of two post-Thomistic authors, Giles of Rome and Godfrey of Fontaines. (shrink)
In his recent "Thomas vs. Thomas: A New Approach to Nagel's Bat Argument", Yujin Nagasawa interprets Thomas Nagel as making a certain argument against physicalism and objects that this argument transgresses a principle, laid down by Thomas Aquinas, according to which inability to perform a pseudo-task does not count against an omnipotence claim. Taking Nagasawa's interpretation of Nagel for granted, I distinguish different kinds of omnipotence claims and different kinds of pseudo-tasks, and on that basis show that Nagasawa's criticism of (...) Nagel is unsuccessful. I also show how his reflections do nonetheless point to a limitation of the approach he means to criticize. (shrink)
The author describes his efforts to become a participant observer while he was a Program Director at the NSF. He describes his plans for keeping track of his reflections and his goals before he arrived at NSF, then includes sections from his reflective diary and comments after he had completed his two-year rotation. The influx of rotators means the NSF has to be an adaptive, learning organization but there are bureaucratic obstacles in the way.
According to the orthodox Christian belief expressed most famously at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, Jesus Christ is one person who is both divine and human. Not surprisingly, many have wondered at this, for it seems impossible for one person to have both divine and human characteristics. There are different versions of this difficulty, which correspond to different human and divine characteristics. In this article, I will defend traditional Christology against an argument that bases itself on one particular difficulty. (...) The argument contends that Christ's omniscience and non-omniscience mean that he cannot be one person; it contends, in short, that Chalcedon is self-undermining. I will begin by making some preliminary remarks. In the second section of the paper, I will show that the anti-Chalcedonian argument cannot simply be avoided or ignored. In the third section, I will examine the argument itself. (shrink)
The paper defends Hume's theory of belief against charges of inconsistency (but does not argue that Hume's theory is correct). It is noted that his statements about belief are actually statements about three different questions: the nature of belief, the effects of belief, and the causes of belief. The question of the nature of belief is analyzed in the most detail. Hume has two theories, which I call his "manner of conception theory" and his "feeling theory," but on Humean assumptions, (...) these theories turn out to mean the same thing. (shrink)
As computating technologies become ubiquitous and at least partly autonomous, they will have increasing impact on societies, both in the developed and developing worlds. This article outlines a framework for guiding emerging technologies in directions that promise social as well as technical progress. Multiple stakeholders will have to be engaged in dialogues over new technological directions, forming trading zones in which knowledge and resources are exchanged. Such discussions will have to incorporate cultural and individual values.
At the forefront of international concerns about global legislation and regulation, a host of noted environmentalists and business ethicists examine ethical issues in consumption from the points of view of environmental sustainability, economic development, and free enterprise.
The philosophical literature understands ontological priority in two ways, in terms of dependence, and in terms of degrees-of-being. These views are not reconcilable in any straightforward manner. However, they can be reconciled indirectly, if both are seen as instances of higher-level concept that is a modification of John Duns Scotus' notion of essential order. The result is a theory of ontological priority that takes the form of a list of membership criteria for the class of "ontological priority relations", of which (...) dependence and degrees-of-being are just two examples. (shrink)