Descartes claims in the Third Meditation that ideas of sense might be materially false. While an accurate interpretation of this claim has the potential of providing some valuable insights into Descartes's theory of ideas in general and his understanding of the epistemic status of sensations in particular, the explanation Descartes provides of the material falsity of ideas is itself obscure and misleading, making accurate interpretation difficult. In this paper an interpretation of material falsity is offered which identifies the fault of (...) materially false ideas in the logical incoherence of their objective content. The implications of this interpretation are also discussed. (shrink)
There are close affinities between James' theory of time as discussed in A Pluralistic Universe and the so-called epochal theory of time offered by Alfred North Whitehead. In this paper I examine James' theory and compare it with the views of Henri Bergson.
_Experience and Value: Essays on John Dewey and Pragmatic Naturalism _brings together twelve philosophical essays spanning the career of noted Dewey scholar, S. Morris Eames. The volume includes both critiques and interpretations of important issues in John Dewey’s value theory as well as the application of Eames’s pragmatic naturalism in addressing contemporary problems in social theory, education, and religion. The collection begins with a discussion of the underlying principles of Dewey’s pragmatic naturalism, including the concepts of nature, experience, and philosophic (...) method. Essays “Experience and Philosophical Method in John Dewey” and “Primary Experience in the Philosophy of John Dewey” develop what Eames believed to be a central theme in Dewey’s thought and provide a theoretical framework for subsequent discussion. The volume continues with specific applications of this framework in the areas of value theory, moral theory, social philosophy, and the philosophy of religion. Eames’s analysis of value exposes the connection between the immediately felt values of experience and the more sophisticated judgments of value that are the product of reflection. From this basis in moral theory, Eames considers the derivation of judgments of obligation from judgments of fact. This discussion provides a grounding for a consideration of contemporary social issues directed by naturalistic and scientific principles. In the third section, with regard to educational theory, Eames considers possible resolutions of the current dichotomy between the factual worldview of science and the humanistic worldview of the liberal arts. The comprehensive article, “Dewey’s Views of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness,” connects the essays of the first and second sections and explores the placement of Dewey’s value theory with respect to morals and aesthetics. With “Creativity and Democracy,” in the fourth section, Eames also considers the concept of democracy from the standpoint of current and historical issues faced by society. This article hints at a major project of Eames’s intellectual life—the theory of democracy. The volume concludes with a discussion of the difficulty of maintaining the values of religious experience in a scientifically and technologically sophisticated world, the very topic that first brought Eames to philosophy—the meaning of religion and the religious life. Suggested solutions are offered in “The Lost Individual and Religious Unity.” _Experience and Value: Essays on John Dewey and Pragmatic Naturalism _illuminates Eames’ life of inquiry, a life that included moral, social, aesthetic, and religious dimensions of value—all suffused with the influence of John Dewey. _ _ __. (shrink)
The primary purpose of this paper is to offer an interpretation of Descartes' proof of the existence of matter as found in Meditation VI--an interpretation that is, I believe, the only one consistent with the relevant texts. The one guiding principle I use in offering this interpretation is the principle of charity, that is, when one interprets any philosopher's argument, and unsound argument should not be accepted as his unless there is no alternative interpretive argument that is both sound and (...) consistent with the relevant texts of that philosopher. (shrink)
Twentieth-century action theory has concentrated on the relationship of intention to action, and thereby the relationship of belief as an occurrent state of the agent to the agent’s action. This stress on belief appears to be predicated on the view that our actions are primarily guided by our understanding of the relevant conditions of action, a view encouraged by the fact that we can and do attribute beliefs to ourselves and others to explain instances of the failure of an action (...) toachieve a desired outcome. I argue that, to the contrary, there is no compelling reason to conclude that such attributions imply that our actions are guided by occurrent beliefs. The alternative view offered is that our actions are typically guided by habit, but in cases of pragmatic failure we attribute putative prefailurebeliefs on the basis of the overall intention of action and relevant background understanding. (shrink)
For Aquinas the vegetative powers of the soul (viz. nutrition, growth, and reproduction) are properties of living organisms: that is, they are characteristics of living organisms which, while not being essential characteristics, can nevertheless be predicated necessarily and convertibly of living organisms. Furthermore, they are active powers in the sense that they are capacities to perform certain actions which can have effects. But such and interpretation of Aquinas leads to the conceptual difficulty of allowing for the possibility of non-active living (...) organisms (i.e., organisms which do nothing). This difficulty can be avoided if we consider at least one of the vegetative powers as being a capacity which is of necessity always exercised, and this not because of what it is, but because of what it is related to. Thus, on this interpretation, all living organisms perform at least one action by consequence of their necessary relation to an end. (shrink)
Historically one of the recurring problems which philosophers have faced when trying to come to some understanding of causation is the temporal relationship of the cause to the effect. Philosophers have as yet not achieved any consensus on this issue. Indeed one is able to appeal to the literature on this subject and fine some support for every position which is logically possible. The goal of this paper is to reduce the number of positions concerning the temporal relationship of cause (...) to effect which can be considered adequate to account for the way that causal relationships occur in the world, and the ordinary understanding we have of them. (shrink)