Since G. E. Moore introduced his concept of organicunity there has been some discussion of how one should best understand this notion and whether there actually are any organic unities in the Moorean sense. Such discussions do however often put general questions about part-whole relations to the side and tend to focus on interpreting our intuitive responses to possible cases of organicunity. In this paper the focus lies on the part-whole relation in valuable (...) wholes and it is suggested that we should distinguish between two kinds of wholes, collections and complex unities, where the latter can involve values that do not pass on their value to the greater whole in which they are included. Given this distinction we are then able to distinguish between two kinds of organicunity phenomena, the first involving a form of goodness that emerges on the level of the whole, the second involving a form of goodness that is embedded on the level of parts. In order to properly understand the latter form of goodness, there is also a need to distinguish final value from inherent value. (shrink)
In this paper, I trace a ‘leading thread’ from Kant’s Critique of Judgment to Goethe that involves a shift from a conceptual framework, in which a priori concepts furnish necessity and thereby science, to a framework in which sensible experience plays a far more significant and determining role in the formation of knowledge. Although this shift was not enacted by Kant himself, his elaboration of organicunity or organisms paved the way for this transformation. By considering both the (...) methodological difficulties that Kant encounters in his attempt to articulate the structure of organisms and Goethe’s response to these difficulties, my goal is to locate a specific trajectory in the history of nineteenth century philosophy, in which empirical experience and sensibility play a far more significant role than otherwise acknowledged. (shrink)
The potential of psychiatry as an integrative science has been impeded by an internal schism that derives from the duality of mental and physical. Organicunity theory is proposed as a conceptual framework that brings together the terms of the mind-body duality in one coherent perspective. Organicunity theory is braided of three strands: identity, which describes the relationship between mentally described events and corresponding physically described events; continuity, which describes the linguistic-conceptual system that contains both (...) mental and physical terms; and dialectic, which describes the relationship between the empirical way of knowing that is associated with the physical domain of the linguistic-conceptual system and the hermeneutic way of knowing that is associated with the mental domain. Each strand represents an integrative formulation that resolves an aspect of mental-physical dualism into an underlying unity. After the theory is presented, its implications for psychiatry are briefly considered. (shrink)
This paper distinguishes two interpretations of G. E. Moore''s principle of organic unities, which says that the intrinsic value of a whole need not equal the sum of the intrinsic values its parts would have outside it. A holistic interpretation, which was Moore''s own, says that parts retain their values when they enter a whole but that there can be an additional value in the whole as a whole that must be added to them. The conditionality interpretation, which has (...) been defended by Korsgaard, says that parts can change their values when they enter wholes, so no additional value is needed. The paper shows that the two interpretations, which differ on such apparently important issues as the nature of intrinsic value, can always yield the same conclusions about the overall value in a state of affairs, so there is in that sense nothing to choose between them. At the same time, though, the differences between the interpretations make sometimes one and sometimes the other more appropriate for expressing a given evaluative view. In this last connection the paper considers views about beauty, posthumous achievement, vices of disproportion, deserved and compassionate pain, and undeserved and malicious pleasure. (shrink)
Value is either additive or else it is subject to organicunity. In general we have organicunity where a complex whole is not simply the sum of its parts. Value exhibits organicunity if the value of a complex, whether a complex state or complex quality, is greater or less than the sum of the values of its components or parts. Whether or not value is additive might be thought to be of purely (...) metaphysical interest, but it is also connected with important aspects of evaluative reasoning. Additivity is closely connected with principles of bare difference and separability which are often tacitly assumed in value theory. The author spells out these principles and trace their connections with additivity and organicunity. The author then develops an unpleasant paradox of additivity. Additivity apparently entails nihilism: that nothing is more valuable than anything else. Additivity involves a kind of axiological atomism -- that complexes decompose into components or factors; that these factors possess value independently of their role in valuable complexes; and that the factors do not interact in their production of overall value. In order to avoid the paradox it seems as though the factors have to be akin to the metaphysically privileged states of logical atomism -- a doctrine that does not enjoy widespread support. The paradox poses a problem not only for the notions of organicunity and additivity, but also for the closely related bare-difference principles which lie at the heart of value theory and of its application. The author proposes a way of eliminating the paradox, and thereby saving additivity and separability, without presupposing an unpalatable variant of logical atomism. The author closes with the proposal to treat principles of additivity as regulative ideals in our search for intrinsic values. (shrink)
G.E. Moore’s principle of organicunity holds that the intrinsic value of a whole may differ from the sum of the intrinsic values of its parts. Moore combined this principle with invariabilism about intrinsic value: An item’s intrinsic value depends solely on its bearer’s intrinsic properties, not on which wholes it has membership of. It is often said that invariabilism ought to be rejected in favour of what might be called ‘conditionalism’ about intrinsic value. This paper is an (...) attempt to show how invariabilism might be ﬁlled out in ways that allow its proponents to answer their conditionalist opponents. The main point consists in identifying how some amount of extrinsic part-value may contribute to whole-value that is nevertheless intrinsic. This enables an invariabilist to explain how the intrinsic value of a whole may differ from the sum of its intrinsic part-values, without abandoning the Moorean doctrine that intrinsic value supervenes on intrinsic properties (the proposal is nevertheless consistent with the view that invariabilist and conditionalist accounts might exist side by side). I ﬁnish with a brief explanation of how the main proposal could help construct invariabilist accounts of particular organic unities, looking beyond the more general argument they have with conditionalists. (shrink)
This article compares the accounts of psychical unity in Freud and Lonergan. Following a detailed account of Freud’s understanding of psychical structure andhis deterministic psycho-biological presuppositions, Lonergan’s understanding of psychical structure in relation to patterns of experience is discussed. As opposed to Freud’s theory, which is based on an imaginative synthesis of the classical laws of natural science, Lonergan considers psychical and organic function as concretely integrated in human functionality according to probabilistic schemes of recurrence. Consequently, Lonergan offers (...) a theory of the psychological problems of repression and inhibition not primarily as functions of subverted organic desires, but more properly according to the functioning of intellectual bias. Lonergan thereby provides a more comprehensive understanding of the unity of the human self at the psychical level. (shrink)
For post-Kantian philosophy, “life” is a transitory concept that relates the realm of nature to the realm of freedom. From this vantage point, the living seems to have the double character of being both already and not yet free: Compared with the external necessity of dead nature, the living already seems to exhibit a basic type of spontaneity and normativity that on the other hand still has to be superseded on the path to the freedom and normativity of spirit. The (...) contributions in the third volume of the series Freedom and Law take their departure from Hegel in order to investigate the extent to which we need figures and concepts of the living to understand the genesis and structure of theoretical and practical self-determination. In these analyses, Hegel’s philosophy reveals itself as a thinking not restricted to a mere opposition between the determinations of life and the freedom of spirit, but rather conceives of a freedom that realizes itself in and through life: a freedom of life. (shrink)
This paper has two parts: In the first part, I give a general survey of the various reasons 17th and 18th century life scientists and metaphysicians endorsed the theory of pre-existence according to which God created all living beings at the creation of the universe, and no living beings are ever naturally generated anew. These reasons generally fall into three categories. The first category is theological. For example, many had the desire to account for how all humans are stained by (...) original sin (we were all there). As another example of a theological motivation, some take the organism as an obvious starting point for a teleological argument for God’s existence, and this staring point is sometimes developed into a full-blown theory of pre-existence. The second category could be thought of as non-theological metaphysical, and paramount here is the desire to deal with the metaphysical problem of individuation. So, for example, Leibniz embraces a version of hylomorphism in order to overcome difficulties with Descartes’ theory of material substance, including the difficulty of how to account for enduring material individuals, and Leibniz’s hylomorphism is closely linked with his embrace of pre-existence. The third category might be termed “biological”, and one example of such a concern is how to explain the organicunity of living beings where the whole seems to ontologically precede the parts. This is frequently translated into a temporal priority of whole to parts, and thus pre-existence is posited. Of course, many natural philosophers of the early modern period embrace pre-existence for more than one reason, but in general, these are the three classes of motivations one might have for embracing the theory. In the second part of the paper I examine in detail one argument that appears in the work of Malebranche. On the face of it, this argument seems to be a biological one, specifically the biological or organic holism argument mentioned above. But upon closer examination, I shall argue, Malebranche’s reasons for endorsing pre-existence bring together several of the arguments discussed in the first part of the paper. I conclude with some considerations about what we can learn about Malebranche as a natural philosopher from his motivations for holding the pre-existence doctrine of generation. (shrink)
Inasmuch as unmitigated pain and suffering areoften thought to rob human beings of theirdignity, physicians and other care providersincur a special duty to relieve pain andsuffering when they encounter it. When pain andsuffering cannot be controlled it is sometimesthought that human dignity is compromised.Death, it is sometimes argued, would bepreferred to a life without dignity.Reasoning such as this trades on certainpreconceptions of the nature of pain andsuffering, and of their relationships todignity. The purpose of this paper is to laybare these (...) preconceptions. The duties torelieve pain and suffering are clearly mattersof moral obligation, as is the duty to respondappropriately to the dignity of other persons.However, it is argued that our understanding ofthe phenomena of pain and suffering and theirrelationships to human dignity will be expandedwhen we explore the aesthetic dimensions ofthese various concepts. On the view presentedhere the life worth living is both morally goodand aesthetically beautiful. Appropriate``suffering with'''' another can help to maintainand restore the dignity of the relationshipsinvolved, even as it preserves and enhances thedignity of patient and caregiver alike. (shrink)
An attractive admirer of George Bernard Shaw once wrote to him with a not-so modest proposal: ``You have the greatest brain in the world, and I have the most beautiful body; so we ought to produce the most perfect child.'' Shaw replied: ``What if the child inherits my body and your brains?''What if, indeed? Shaw's retort is interesting not because it revealsa grasp of elementary genetics, but rather because it suggests his grasp of an interesting and important principle of axiology. (...) Since the brainy but ugly Shaw and his beautiful but apparently dim admirer both fall short of the ideal, she suggests that the best thing would be to genetically recombine his intelligence with her beauty. But what then would be the value of another genetic possibility: that of recombining his ugliness with her stupidity? Underlining the prompted inference is a fundamental principle of the theory of value which, perhaps surprisingly, has so far gone largely unnoticed in the ethical literature. I will call it the principle of recombinant values. (shrink)
Philosophers, scientists, and other researchers have increasingly characterized humanity as having reached an epistemic and technical stage at which “we can control our own evolution.” Moral–philosophical analysis of this outlook reveals some problems, beginning with the vagueness of “we.” At least four glosses on “we” in the proposition “we, humanity, control our evolution” can be made: “we” is the bundle of all living humans, a leader guiding the combined species, each individual acting severally, or some mixture of these three involving (...) a market interpretation of future evolutionary processes. While all of these glosses have difficulties under philosophical analysis, how we as a species handle our fate via technical developments is all-important. I propose our role herein should be understood as other than controllers of our evolution. (shrink)
In eighteenth-century French natural history, the notion of preformation was not only a model for a small preexisting embryo that gradually extended its shape through the influx of particles, but also for an order that coordinated the dynamic relation between organic parts. Preformation depended therefore also on a hidden order behind the continuity of visible forms. Louis Bourguet, Charles Bonnet, and Georges Cuvier distinguished three organizational levels: First, the synchronic or functional order of organic systems; second, the diachronic (...) order of the initiation of mechanical processes; and third, the hierarchical order that regulates the interaction of organic parts. In this essay, I reconstruct and compare the three organizational levels in the writings of Bourguet, Bonnet and Cuvier, relate their models of organicunity to the principle of perfection, and contrast these models with Georges Buffon's critique of system theories. (shrink)
This paper examines one of the central complaints regarding Locke’s Essay, namely, its supposed incoherence. The question is whether Locke can successfully maintain a materialistic conception of matter, while advancing a theory of knowledge that will constrain the possibilities for a cognitive accessto matter from the start. In approaching this question I concentrate on Locke’s account of unity. While material unity can be described in relation to Locke’s account of substance, real essence, and nominal essence, a separate discussion (...) will be called for altogether in the case of organicunity. In closing, I turn to Kant as a model for locating Locke’s purported incoherence, suggesting that his “skeptical idealism” yields the same epistemic advantages as those won by Kant’s “empirical realism.”. (shrink)
Many philosophers have endorsed G. E. Moore’s principle of organic unities – according to which the value of a whole must not be assumed to be the same as the sum of the values of its parts – claiming this principle to be of fundamental importance to ethics. In this paper, I cast doubt on the principle. In Section 1, I provide a provisional reformulation of the principle of organic unities and contrast such unities with mere sums of (...) value. In Section 2, I do some groundwork in order to arrive at an account of the part–whole relation with which the principle of organic unities is concerned. In so doing, I provide some further reformulations of that principle. In Section 3, I discuss the isolation method that Moore proposes for determining the value of something, and then, in Section 4, I begin an extended discussion of a particular example of an alleged organicunity, namely, Schadenfreude. I explain why some philosophers claim that such pleasure constitutes an organicunity, but I also present reasons for denying this claim. In Section 5, I pursue one of these reasons in particular, a reason that appeals to the concept of what I call evaluative inadequacy, and, in Section 6, I seek to motivate this appeal by drawing on the relation between value and fitting attitudes. In so doing, I provide still further reformulations of the principle of organic unities. In Section 7, I entertain objections to my account of Schadenfreude, one of which requires one final reformulation of the principle of organic unities, and then, in Section 8, I discuss the more general objection that, even if my reasons for denying that Schadenfreude constitutes an organicunity are cogent, these reasons do not extend to other alleged organic unities, such as the related phenomenon of Mitleid. In the final section, I address the significance of the debate about whether the principle of organic unities is true. (shrink)
This paper concerns Hegel's early treatment of the productive imagination in his 1803–1804 Faith and Knowledge. I show how he articulates that activity in terms of a pair of speculative unities, which solve lingering problems of self-knowledge and self-constitution from Kant's B-deduction. On the one hand, I argue that the familiar unity of spontaneity and receptivity makes possible knowledge of the moment of self-positing. On the other hand, I contend that Hegel's talk of imagination as both an “organic (...) idea” and an “intuitive intellect” refers to a self-constituting capacity that intellects like ours possess. I show that self-constitution is possible, for Hegel, only in so far as intellects like ours possess a capacity to unify possibility and actuality in thought, or to think themselves into being. (shrink)
Over the past few years, even before the Brexit campaign and the outcome of the 2016 referendum in the United Kingdom, Europe has been haunted by the spectre of an impending split and disintegration of the Union. Self-appointed “kings” and “philosophers” of greater Europe seem to have been competing for the “unity award,” with more and more of them failing dramatically. One indicator of the public alarm at the prospect of the Union’s split is the exaggerated use of the (...) word “unity” and its cognates. But can the rhetoric of unity act as a cure for the disease? This essay suggests that, ironically, the constant use of organic metaphors and invocations of European unity seems to be paving the way for—rather than preventing—the rise of neo-authoritarian forces. (shrink)
Aesthetic experience is that in which the participation of our senses is elevated to the highest possible position; thus, the aesthetic experience offers us a chance to better recognize the fact that the human being is a composite yet unitary substance integrating matter and spirit. Aesthetic experience is also that in which not only the senses but other human powers—imagination, emotion, and intellect—are involved in aesthetic perception; thus, this helps us better realize the organic interplay of our powers as (...) a whole. In this paper, I employ a Thomistic approach to illustrate aesthetic experience, because the truth that the human being is an undividable unity of matter and spirit.. (shrink)
The paper deals with the approach to the so called psychophysical unity as deve_loped by the Slovak philosopher Svätopluk Štúr in the 1940s. The approach is examined in the context of current conceptions of psychophysical reductionism, parallelism and interactionalism. The author shows S. Štúr as indicating the possible resolution in his philosophy of the "organic whole".
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