It is fortunate for my purposes that English has the two words ‘almighty’ and ‘omnipotent’, and that apart from any stipulation by me the words have rather different associations and suggestions. ‘Almighty’ is the familiar word that comes in the creeds of the Church; ‘omnipotent’ is at home rather in formal theological discussions and controversies, e.g. about miracles and about the problem of evil. ‘Almighty’ derives by way of Latin ‘omnipotens’ from the Greek word ‘ pantokratōr ’; and both this (...) Greek word, like the more classical ‘ pankratēs ’, and ‘almighty’ itself suggest God's having power over all things. On the other hand the English word ‘omnipotent’ would ordinarily be taken to imply ability to do everything; the Latin word ‘omnipotens’ also predominantly has this meaning in Scholastic writers, even though in origin it is a Latinization of ‘ pantocratōr ’. So there already is a tendency to distinguish the two words; and in this paper I shall make the distinction a strict one. I shall use the word ‘almighty’ to express God's power over all things, and I shall take ‘omnipotence’ to mean ability to do everything. (shrink)
In recent years philosophers have given much attention to the ‘ontological problem’ of events. Donald Davidson puts the matter thus: ‘the assumption, ontological and metaphysical, that there are events is one without which we cannot make sense of much of our common talk; or so, at any rate, I have been arguing. I do not know of any better, or further, way of showing what there is’. It might be thought bizarre to assign to philosophers the task of ‘showing what (...) there is’. They have not distinguished themselves by the discovery of new elements, new species or new continents, nor even of new categories, although there has often been more dreamt of in their philosophies than can be found in heaven or earth. It might appear even stranger to think that one can show what there actually is by arguing that the existence of something needs to be assumed in order for certain sentences to make sense. More than anything, the sober reader will doubtlessly be amazed that we need to assume , after lengthy argument, ‘that there are events’. (shrink)
The incredible achievements of modern scientific theories lead most of us to embrace scientific realism: the view that our best theories offer us at least roughly accurate descriptions of otherwise inaccessible parts of the world like genes, atoms, and the big bang. In Exceeding Our Grasp, Stanford argues that careful attention to the history of scientific investigation invites a challenge to this view that is not well represented in contemporary debates about the nature of the scientific enterprise. The historical record (...) of scientific inquiry, Stanford suggests, is characterized by what he calls the problem of unconceived alternatives. Past scientists have routinely failed even to conceive of alternatives to their own theories and lines of theoretical investigation, alternatives that were both well-confirmed by the evidence available at the time and sufficiently serious as to be ultimately accepted by later scientific communities. Stanford supports this claim with a detailed investigation of the mid-to-late 19th century theories of inheritance and generation proposed in turn by Charles Darwin, Francis Galton, and August Weismann. He goes on to argue that this historical pattern strongly suggests that there are equally well-confirmed and scientifically serious alternatives to our own best theories that remain currently unconceived. Moreover, this challenge is more serious than those rooted in either the so-called pessimistic induction or the underdetermination of theories by evidence, in part because existing realist responses to these latter challenges offer no relief from the problem of unconceived alternatives itself. Stanford concludes by investigating what positive account of the spectacularly successful edifice of modern theoretical science remains open to us if we accept that our best scientific theories are powerful conceptual tools for accomplishing our practical goals, but abandon the view that the descriptions of the world around us that they offer are therefore even probably or approximately true. (shrink)
A compilation of all previously published writings on philosophy and the foundations of mathematics from the greatest of the generation of Cambridge scholars that included G.E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Maynard Keynes.
The Secret Doctrine comprises a virtual encyclopaedia of the "anciently universal wisdom-tradition" -- scarcely an issue of consequence in the broad range of human experience is left untouched. As part of the Secret Doctrine Centenary project, this 441-page Index provides ready access to the vast quantity of material from many cultures set forth in the SD's original two volumes published in 1888. Due to the topics covered, it is as much an index of ideas as it is of subjects, works, (...) persons, and proper names. To aid the reader, major subject entries are cross-referenced; foreign terms are identified by language and, where possible, given in both their 1888 spelling(s) and as modernly transliterated, often with one or two word definitions. Subentries are arranged alphabetically. Cited works and authors, whose titles or names are not given in the SD are placed in brackets for convenient identification. Also included is an Appendix of foreign phrases with translation and source reference -- all helping to make this Index an invaluable reference tool for students of The Secret Doctrine. (shrink)
Since its publication in 1959, Individuals has become a modern philosophical classic. Bold in scope and ambition, it continues to influence debates in metaphysics, philosophy of logic and language, and epistemology. Peter Strawson's most famous work, it sets out to describe nothing less than the basic subject matter of our thought. It contains Strawson's now famous argument for descriptive metaphysics and his repudiation of revisionary metaphysics, in which reality is something beyond the world of appearances. Throughout, Individuals advances some highly (...) influential and controversial ideas, such as 'non-solipsistic consciousness' and the concept of a person a 'primitive concept'. (shrink)
Bhattacharyya, K. The Advaita concept of subjectivity.--Deutsch, E. Reflections on some aspects of the theory of rasa.--Nakamura, H. The dawn of modern thought in the East.--Organ, T. Causality, Indian and Greek.--Chatterjee, M. On types of classification.--Lacombe, O. Transcendental imagination.--Bahm, A. J. Standards for comparative philosophy.--Herring, H. Appearance, its significance and meaning in the history of philosophy.--Chang Chung-yuan. Pre-rational harmony in Heidegger's essential thinking and Chʼan thought.--Staal, J. F. Making sense of the Buddhist tetralemma.--Enomiya-Lassalle, H. M. The mysticism of Carl Albrecht (...) and Zen.--Parrinder, G. The nature of mysticism.--Cairns, G. E. Axiological contributions of East and West to the spiritual development of mankind.--Mayeda, S. Śaṇkara's view of ethics.--Mercier, A. On peace.--Barlingay, S. S. A discussion of some aspects of Gaudapāda's philosophy. (shrink)
This major study examines the most fundamental categories in terms of which we conceive of ourselves, critically surveying the concepts of substance, causation, agency, teleology, rationality, mind, body and person, and elaborating the conceptual fields in which they are embedded. The culmination of 40 years of thought on the philosophy of mind and the nature of the mankind Written by one of the world’s leading philosophers, the co-author of the monumental 4 volume _Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations_ Uses broad (...) categories, such as substance, causation, agency and power to examine how we think about ourselves and our nature Platonic and Aristotelian conceptions of human nature are sketched and contrasted Individual chapters clarify and provide an historical overview of a specific concept, then link the concept to ideas contained in other chapters. (shrink)
Throughout its history philosophy has been thought to be a member of a community of intellectual disciplines united by their common pursuit of knowledge. It has sometimes been thought to be the queen of the sciences, at other times merely their under-labourer. But irrespective of its social status, it was held to be a participant in the quest for knowledge – a cognitive discipline.
My topic is personal identity, or rather, our identity. There is general, but not, of course, unanimous, agreement that it is wrong to give an account of what is involved in, and essential to, our persistence over time which requires the existence of immaterial entities, but, it seems to me, there is no consensus about how, within, what might be called this naturalistic framework, we should best procede. This lack of consensus, no doubt, reflects the difficulty, which must strike anyone (...) who has considered the issue, of achieving, just in one's own thinking, a reflective equilibrium. The theory of personal identity, I feel, provides a curious contrast. On the one side, it seems highly important to know what sort of thing we are, but, on the other, it is hard to find any answer which has a ‘solid’ feel. (shrink)
This is a transcript of a conversation between P F Strawson and Gareth Evans in 1973, filmed for The Open University. Under the title 'Truth', Strawson and Evans discuss the question as to whether the distinction between genuinely fact-stating uses of language and other uses can be grounded on a theory of truth, especially a 'thin' notion of truth in the tradition of F P Ramsey.