I explore some of the ways that assumptions about the nature of substance shape metaphysical debates about the structure of Reality. Assumptions about the priority of substance play a role in an argument for monism, are embedded in certain pluralist metaphysical treatments of laws of nature, and are central to discussions of substantivalism and relationalism. I will then argue that we should reject such assumptions and collapse the categorical distinction between substance and property.
I claim that Mill has a theory of poetry which he uses to reconcile nineteenth century associationist psychology, the tendency of the intellect to dissolve associations, and the need for educated members of society to desire utilitarian ends. The heart of the argument is that Mill thinks reading poetry encourages us to feel the feelings of others, and thus to develop pleasurable associations with the pleasurable feelings of others and painful associations with the painful feelings of others. Once the associations (...) are developed, they are supported and maintained by our natural capacity for sympathy and by external elements in society, and provide motivation for the pursuit of utilitarian ends. Further, the additional support causes the associations to be strengthened to the extent that they come to be seen as ‘natural and necessary’, and as such are immune from the dissolving force of the intellect. (shrink)
In this expensive but invaluable book, students and scholars of Whitehead's philosophy and those more generally interested in the intersections of philosophy and science will find a treasure trove for gleaning the development, breadth, and depth of Whitehead's thought. This work, which consists of three independent sets of course notes from the previously unpublished lectures that Whitehead gave in his first year at Harvard in 1924–1925, is the first volume in a new and richly important series by Edinburgh University Press: (...) The Edinburgh Critical Edition of the Complete Works of Alfred North Whitehead, overseen by series editors George R. Lucas Jr. and Brian G. Henning. This initial volume, which was skillfully... (shrink)
Literary people have had less difficulty in understanding George Santayana than have philosophers, and it is particularly we Anglo-American philosophers who complain that he is enigmatic. We have read his books as arguments of a professor of philosophy, and failed to recognize that he was a sage, one who sought wisdom and found redemption. Anthony Woodward's Living in the Eternal succeeds as no other book on Santayana in showing how to understand this philosophy as the confessions of the freedom (...) and joy of spiritual ascent. Santayana is like no modern philosopher, save Spinoza, and passing over the medieval and Renaissance wise men who were well known to Santayana, but to whom Woodward has no reference, he is most like "some Gnostic Christian of Alexandria, in the early centuries of the faith, for whom love has been swallowed up in knowledge and the believer consummated in the sage". We are apt, at first reading of the "attempt to be godlike," to explode: "but Santayana was a materialist and an atheist! How can he, more than any other modern philosopher, have more to say about spirit?". (shrink)
Hans-George Gadamer,in Who am I and who are you? Commentary to Cristal de aliento of PaulCelan, extracts a fundamental hermeneutical principle: an interpretation iscorrect just when it is capable to dissapear at the end because it haspenetrated the whole in the new experience of the poem. This make ..
The Prague Philosopher Bernard Bolzano has long been admired for his groundbreaking work in mathematics: his rigorous proofs of fundamental theorems in analysis, his construction of a continuous, nowhere-differentiable function, his investigations of the infinite, and his anticipations of Cantor's set theory. He made equally outstanding contributions in philosophy, most notably in logic and methodology. One of the greatest mathematician-philosophers since Leibniz, Bolzano is now widely recognised as a major figure of nineteenth-century philosophy.Praised by Husserl as “one of the greatest (...) logicians of all times,” he has also been recognised by Michael Dummett as one of the first modern analytic philosophers and by Alberto Coffa as the founder of the “semantic tradition.” This volume contains English translations of the essay “On the Mathematical Method,” a concise introduction to Bolzano’s logic and philosophy of mathematics, as well as substantial selections from his correspondence with Franz Exner, Professor of Philosophy at the Charles University in Prague in the 1830s and 40s. It will be of interest to students of Austrian philosophy, the development of analytic philosophy, the philosophy of language, and the history and philosophy of logic and mathematics. (shrink)
To claim that Hayden White has yet to be read seriously as a philosopher of history might seem false on the face of it. But do tropes and the rest provide any epistemic rationale for differing representations of historical events found in histories? As an explanation of White’s influence on philosophy of history, such a proffered emphasis only generates a puzzle with regard to taking White seriously, and not an answer to the question of why his efforts should be worthy (...) of any philosophical attention at all. For what makes his emphasis on narrative structure and its associated tropes of philosophical relevance? What, it may well be asked, did any theory that draws its categories from a stock provided by literary criticism contribute to explicating problems with regard to the warranting of claims about knowledge, explanation, or causation that represent those concerns that philosophy typically brings to this field? Robert Doran’s anthologizing of previously uncollected pieces, ranging as they do over a literal half-century of White’s published work, offers an opportunity to identify explicitly those philosophical themes and arguments that regularly and prominently feature there. Moreover, White’s essays in this volume demonstrate a credible knowledge of and interest in mainstream analytic philosophers of his era and also reveal White as deeply influenced by or well acquainted with other important philosophers of history. White thus invites a reading of his work as philosophy, and this volume presents the opportunity for accepting it as such. (shrink)
In this essay, I defend theology against a recent argument made by Peter Byrne. According to Byrne, any discipline of thought that can be interpreted realistically shows the accumulation of reliable or widespread belief about the reality it investigates. I challenge this claim, first, by showing how theology, so construed as an exercise of ‘faith seeking understanding’, can and should be interpreted realistically, even if it does not show the accumulation of reliable or widespread belief about divine reality. Second, I (...) give a plausible account of why theology is beset by internal disagreement and division, even if the goal of theological enquiry is to overcome such disagreement and division. (shrink)