Exceptions are often cited as a counterargument against formal causation. Against this I argue that Aristotle explicitly allows for exceptions to essences in his biological writings, and that he has a means of explaining them through formal causation – though this means that he has to slightly elaborate on his general case theory from the Posterior Analytics, by supplementing it with a special case application in the biological writings. Specifically for Aristotle an essential predication need not be a universal predication. (...) Rather an essential predication is where a property belongs essentially to a species or genus. This essential predication serves a causal and explanatory role, and is not dependent on a corresponding universal predication. (shrink)
I argue that Aristotle’s account of scientific demonstrations in the Posterior Analytics is centred upon formal causation, understood as a demonstration in terms of essence (and as innocent of the distinction between form and matter). While Aristotle says that all four causes can be signified by the middle term in a demonstrative syllogism, and he discusses at some length efficient causation, much of Aristotle’s discussion is foremost concerned with the formal cause. Further, I show that Aristotle had very detailed procedures (...) for identifying the formal cause, and that he is aware of several problems which might lead one to erroneously identify the wrong form as the cause of a property. Finally, I show that Aristotle’s account can easily be adapted to material causation, and through some modifications (introduction of process universals related through parthood), hinted at in II 11-12 and 16-17, to efficient and final causation. (shrink)
I present three critical points against G.E.R. Lloyd's ‘The Fortunes of Analogy’. First, I argue that Lloyd unduly criticises Aristotle's view of analogies. Second, I argue that Lloyd needs to discuss the means of limiting the semantic stretch of terms, for instance through the distinction between fiat and bona fide boundaries. Third, I point out some terminological issues in Lloyd's account, especially concerning the applicability of validity, soundness, and fallaciousness to analogies.
It is widely accepted that if a property is essential then it is necessary. Against this I present numerous counterexamples from biology and chemistry, which fall into two groups: (I) A property is essential to a genus or species, yet some instances of this genus or species do not have this essential property. (II) A property is essential to a genus, yet some species of this genus do not have this essential property. I discuss and reject four minor objections. Then (...) I discuss in depth whether a distinction between constitutive essence and consequential essence is able to handle these counterexamples. I conclude that this distinction is better put as one between (1) the essence, which is necessary, and (2) the essential properties, which are not formally necessary. An essence of an object X is the substantial universal expressed by its real definition. An object X has a property P essentially iff the property P is explanatory and non-trivial, and P follows from the essence of X. (shrink)
Socrates’ expert-analogies is frequent both in Plato’s dialogues and in the Socratic writings of Xenophon, and is also ascribed to Socrates by Aristotle and Aeschines. Socrates makes an analogy from a non-controversial expert (or an expertise) like the cobbler or ship-captain, to another (often controversial) expert (or expertise) like the statesman. This paper defends an interpretation of the expert-analogy as valid deductions. It infers from one type of expert (such as the ship-captain) to another type of expert (such as the (...) statesman), and the attribute inferred (for instance ‘should not be selected by lot’) belongs to these types of experts because they are experts. The general logical form, which makes no mention of the expert and which is valid in virtue of its form, infers from one or more species to another species of the same genus, and the attribute inferred is presupposed to belong as such to the genus and only accidentally to the species. (shrink)
A Norwegian translation is here offered of Eugenie Ginsberg’s paper «Zur Husserlschen Lehre von den Ganzen und den Teilen» (in Archiv für systematische Philosophie und Soziologie 32, 1929, 108–120). The paper discusses Husserl’s six theorems from Logical Investigations III, §14. Ginsberg provides new proofs for theorems 1 and 3, and also endorses theorem 5. In contrast, a counter example is given to theorems 2, 4, and 6: However, proofs are supplied for a modified version of these theorems. Furthermore, an additional (...) three theorems are defended based upon Ginsberg’s modified theorems. Also, a brief introduction is given discussing Ginsberg’s pioneering role as part of the Lvov-Warsaw school—in spite of her being murdered by the Nazis in 1942—especially her role as the first commentator on Husserl’s third logical investigations, which is a pioneering work on mereology and ontology; but also her later publication from 1931 where she developed several notions of ontological dependence (for instance foreshadowing the work of Roman Ingarden as well as Kit Fine). (shrink)
Introducing formal causation / Ludger Jansen and Petter Sandstad -- Form, intention, information : from scholastic logic to artificial intelligence / Gyula Klima -- Formal causation : accidental and substantial / David S. Oderberg -- A non-hylomorphic account of formal causation / Petter Sandstad and Ludger Jansen -- Formal causes for powers theorists / Giacomo Giannini and Stephen Mumford -- Away with dispositional essences in trope theory / Jani Hakkarainen and Markku Keinänen -- Functional powers / Michele Paolini Paoletti -- (...) An Aristotelian approach to existential dependence / Benjamin Schnieder and Jonas Werner -- Finean feature dependence and the Aristotelian alternative / Wolfgang Sattler -- A problem for natural-kind essentialism and formal causes / José Tomás Alvarado and Matthew Tugby -- Form as cause and the formal cause : Aristotle's answer / James G. Lennox -- Form, cause, and explanation in biology : a neo-Aristotelian perspective / Christopher J. Austin -- Formal explanation and mechanisms of conceptual representation / Sandeep Prasada. (shrink)
Sparrows fly because they are birds. This mushroom is poisonous because it is an Amanita muscaria. Pointing out the kind to which things belong explains many of their properties. Jonathan Lowe’s four-category ontology and his account of laws of nature provide a framework to account for the explanatory appeal of referring to kind membership. For Lowe, “Electron has Unit-negative charge” is a typical example for a law of nature: a kind universal characterized by a property universal. We present both Lowe’s (...) original account of laws of nature and later developments, and show how Lowe’s account can help to solve notorious problems of other accounts, namely, the regularity view and the Armstrong-Dretske-Tooley view. We argue that there are two challenges that Lowe’s view cannot master. First, Lowe conflates generics and dispositions, which is a considerable problem for Lowe, because his account of dispositional predication and his account of laws of nature are intimately connected. Second, there is the identification problem of fully specifying and identifying the formal ontological relation of characterization between kind universals and property universals. In order to solve these problems, we develop an account of formal causation inspired by Aristotle’s theory of explanation in his Posterior Analytics. Though very close to Lowe’s own account, our neo-Aristotelian account avoids Lowe’s confusion regarding dispositions, avoids overdetermination through several similar laws of nature, and provides an answer to the identification problem: The characterization of a kind universal by a property universal constitutes the relation of formal causation. By virtue of this relation, the kind Amanita muscaria is the formal cause of this mushroom having the attribute of being poisonous. (shrink)