Throughout the history of philosophy the concept of unity has presented a problem. What does it mean to say that the cosmos is one, that a thing is one, that an organism is one, that a nation is one, that mind and body are one, that knower and known are one? Exactly what is it that is denoted when unity is postulated of anything? And when two or more entities are conceived as subsisting in unity, exactly what is the relation (...) between that unity on the one hand, and its correlative duality or plurality on the other? (shrink)
In this paper I show that Proclus is an adherent of the Classical Model of Science as set out elsewhere in this issue (de Jong and Betti 2008), and that he adjusts certain conditions of the Model to his Neoplatonic epistemology and metaphysics. In order to show this, I develop a case study concerning philosophy of nature, which, despite its unstable subject matter, Proclus considers to be a science. To give this science a firm foundation Proclus distills from Plato’s (...) Timaeus the basic concepts Being and Becoming and a number of basic propositions, among others the quasi-definitions of the basic concepts. He subsequently explains the use of these quasi-definitions, that are actually epistemic guides, in such a way that he obtains a connection between a rational and an empirical approach to the natural world. A crucial task in establishing the connection is performed by the faculty of doxa and by geometrical conversion. The result is that Proclus secures a universal, necessary and known foundation for all of philosophy of nature. (shrink)
In recent years, a number of philosophers have conducted empirical studies that survey people's intuitions about various subject matters in philosophy. Some have found that intuitions vary accordingly to seemingly irrelevant facts: facts about who is considering the hypothetical case, the presence or absence of certain kinds of content, or the context in which the hypothetical case is being considered. Our research applies this experimental philosophical methodology to Judith Jarvis Thomson's famous Loop Case, which she used to call into question (...) the validity of the intuitively plausible Doctrine of Double Effect. We found that intuitions about the Loop Case vary according to the context in which the case is considered. We contend that this undermines the supposed evidential status of intuitions about the Loop Case. We conclude by considering the implications of our findings for philosophers who rely on the Loop Case to make philosophical arguments and for philosophers who use intuitions in general. (shrink)
When Adam Smith published his celebrated writings on economics and moral philosophy he famously referred to the operation of an invisible hand. Adam Smith's Political Philosophy makes visible the invisible hand by examining its significance in Smith's political philosophy and relating it to similar concepts used by other philosophers, revealing a distinctive approach to social theory that stresses the significance of the unintended consequences of human action. This book introduces greater conceptual clarity to the discussion of the invisible hand and (...) the related concept of unintended order in the work of Smith and in political theory more generally. By examining the application of spontaneous order ideas in the work of Smith, Hume, Hayek and Popper, Adam Smith's Political Philosophy traces similarities in approach and from these builds a conceptual, composite model of an invisible hand argument. While setting out a clear model of the idea of spontaneous order the book also builds the case for using the idea of spontaneous order as an explanatory social theory, with chapters on its application in the fields of science, moral philosophy, law and government. (shrink)
The American environmental philosopher J. Baird Callicott argues that we human beings are ethically obliged to promote and protect the environment as an intrinsic value. To do so, we should adopt a scientifically and philosophically informed postmodern land ethic which protects and nurtures the great chain of being (pyramids of energy) from soil to civilization. The practice of this Leopoldian land ethic requires that we transform our modernist utilitarian and Cartesian ethics which instrumentalize and alienate nature. Two key works by (...) Callicott outline his position as a mainstream academic deep ecologist: Earth’s Insights (1994) and Beyond the Land Ethic (1999). The French cultural and political philosopher, Luc Ferry, argues that deep ecological ideologies, such as Callicott’s, threatenthe historical enterprise of modernist humanism. The appeal of deep ecologists lies in their romantic and anti-Cartesian ideologies. In his book, The New Ecological Order (1995; Le nouvel ordre écologique, 1992), Ferry criticizes the deep ecologists (and he includes Callicott in this group) for their unjustified attacks on the traditions of humanism. In the conclusion to his book, deep ecological radicalism is equated with an anti-cosmopolitan “barbarism”. Ferry feels that the ideals of the European enlightenment and its modernist anthropocentrism which privileges human autonomy, freedom, and democratic ideals, have been undermined by the forces of the political left. (shrink)
The Individual and the Political Order examines major theoretical perspectives, both historical and contemporary, in major issues in social and political philosophy. It combines accessibility with appreciation of philosophical complexity and discusses applied issues, such as morality and war, as well as theoretical approaches to justice, rights, and democratic liberal thought.
The moral and political philosophy of Wilhelm Röpke is among the finest instances of European classical liberalism in the twentieth century, and in many occasions he stated that only a society which understands the importance of markets can be reconciled with human dignity. Röpke elaborated a political theory that focused on the harmony between moral principles and economic law. In this sense, his liberalism is unique not only because it defends private property and competition as pillars of a thriving economy, (...) but above all that it provides the preconditions of a society that can remain secure from the immorality of despotism and subsequent ethical degeneration. To that end he upheld an economic order based on voluntary cooperation as the basis for a more humane society, emphasizing the role of institutional competition and federalism. Röpke’s cultural conservatism should not therefore be misunderstood, as it is very much connected with his defense of the essential role of property. It is only in this sense that he found in liberal humanism a third way, which is not however situated halfway between the market and socialism, but which represents instead a defense of a competitive society that is aware of its own historical and cultural basis. (shrink)
Aristotle attaches particular significance to the homonymy of many central concepts in philosophy and science: that is, to the diversity of ways of being common to a single general concept. His preoccupation with homonymy influences his approach to almost every subject that he considers, and it clearly structures the philosophical methodology that he employs both when criticizing others and when advancing his own positive theories. Where there is homonymy there is multiplicity: Aristotle aims to find the order within this (...) multiplicity, and believes that doing so is crucial to scientific inquiry and philosophical progress.Christopher Shields investigates and evaluates Aristotle's approach to questions about homonymy, characterizing the metaphysical and semantic commitments necessary to establish the homonymy of a given concept. Then, in a series of case-studies, Shields examines in detail some of Aristotle's principal applications of homonymy--to the body, sameness and oneness, life, goodness, and being. Shields's aim is not only to give a fuller understanding of Aristotle's methodology and to illuminate his specific doctrines in a variety of areas, but to show that this methodology remains fruitful today. (shrink)
The philosophical and natural law basis of the American order: remote and immediate ancestors -- The declaration and its constitution: linking first principle to necessary means -- A structurally-divided, but workable, government -- A limited government of enumerated power -- A government mindful of dual sovereignty -- A fair government -- A government commitment to freedom -- A government commitment to equality -- A government of imperfect knowledge of inkblots, liberty and life itself.
The second half of the 19th Century saw a revolution in both European politics and philosophy. Philosophical fervour reflected political fervour. Five great critics dominated the European intellectual scene: Ludwig Feuerbach, Karl Marx, Soren Kierkegaard, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Friedrich Nietzsche. "Nineteenth-Century Philosophy" assesses the response of each of these leading figures to Hegelian philosophy - the dominant paradigm of the time - to the shifting political landscape of Europe and the United States, and also to the emerging critique of modernity (...) itself. Both individually and collectively, these thinkers succeeded in revolutionizing theology, philosophy, psychology, and politics. The period also saw the emergence of new schools of thought and new disciplinary thinking. The volume covers the birth of sociology and the social sciences, the development of French spiritualism, the beginning of American pragmatism, the rise of science and mathematics, and the maturation of hermeneutics and phenomenology. (shrink)
Aristotle attaches particular significance to the homomyny of many of the central concepts in philosophy and science: that is, to the diversity of ways of being that are denoted by a single concept. Shields here investigates and evaluates Aristotle's approach to questions about homonymy, characterizing the metaphysical and semantic commitments necessary to establish the homonymy of a given concept. Then, in a series of case studies, he examines in detail some of Aristotle's principal applications of homonymy--to the body, sameness and (...) and oneness, life, goodness, and being. This first full-length study of a central aspect of Aristotle's thought will interest philosophers working in a number of areas. (shrink)
Although Boyle has been regarded as a champion of the seventeenth century Cartesian mechanical philosophy, I defend the position that Boyle’s views conciliate between a strictly mechanistic conception of fundamental matter and a non-reductionist conception of chemical qualities. In particular, I argue that this conciliation is evident in Boyle’s ontological distinction between fundamental corpuscles endowed with mechanistic properties and higher-level corpuscular concretions endowed with chemical properties. Some of these points have already been acknowledged by contemporary scholars, and I actively engage (...) with their ideas in this paper. However I attempt to contribute to the debate over Boyle’s mechanical philosophy by arguing that Boyle’s writings suggest an emergentist, albeit still mechanistic, notion of chemical properties. I contrast Boyle’s views against those of strict reductionist mechanical philosophers, focusing on the famous debate with Spinoza over the redintegration of niter, and argue that Boyle’s complex chemical ontology provides a more satisfactory understanding of chemical phenomena than is provided by a strictly reductionist and Cartesian mechanical philosophy. (shrink)