This book attacks the assumption found in moral philosophy that social control as such is an intellectually and morally destructive force. It replaces this view with a richer and deeper perspective on the nature of social character aimed at showing how social freedom cannot mean immunity from social pressure. The author demonstrates how our competence as rational and social agents depends on a constructive adaptation of social control mechanisms. Our facility at achieving our goals is enhanced, rather than undermined, by (...) social control. The author then articulates sources, contracts, and degrees of legitimate social control in different social and historical settings. Drawing on a wide range of material in moral and political philosophy, law, cognitive and social psychology, anthropology and literature, Professor Schoeman shows how the aim of moral philosophy ought to be to understand our social character, not to establish fortifications against it in the name of rationality and autonomy. (shrink)
This book explores the multiple meaning of the notion of otherness in Søren Kierkegaard’s thought. Leo Stan discusses in detail the threefold structure of human existence in Kierkegaard’s authorship as a whole, both pseudonymous and self-signed.
I explain and assess here Huygens’ concept of relative motion. I show that it allows him to ground most of the Law of Inertia, and also to explain rotation. Thereby his concept obviates the need for Newton’s absolute space. Thus his account is a powerful foundation for mechanics, though not without some tension.
I examine here if Kant can explain our knowledge of duration by showing that time has metric structure. To do so, I spell out two possible solutions: time’s metric could be intrinsic or extrinsic. I argue that Kant’s resources are too weak to secure an intrinsic, transcendentally-based temporal metrics; but he can supply an extrinsic metric, based in a metaphysical fact about matter. I conclude that Transcendental Idealism is incomplete: it cannot account for the durative aspects of experience—or it can (...) do so only with help from a non-trivial metaphysics of material substance. (shrink)
This chapter looks at Euler’s relation to Newton, and at his role in the rise of ‘Newtonian’ mechanics. It aims to give a sense of Newton’s complicated legacy for Enlightenment science, and to raise awareness that some key ‘Newtonian’ results really come from Euler.
much early modern metaphysics grew with an eye to the new science of its time, but few figures took it as seriously as Emilie du Châtelet. Happily, her oeuvre is now attracting close, renewed attention, and so the time is ripe for looking into her metaphysical foundation for empirical theory. Accordingly, I move here to do just that. I establish two conclusions. First, du Châtelet's basic metaphysics is a robust realism. Idealist strands, while they exist, are confined to non-basic regimes. (...) Second, her substance realism seems internally coherent, so her foundational project appears successful.I have two aims in this paper. Historically, I show that du Châtelet's main source of inspiration was Christian... (shrink)
I argue that the key dynamical concepts and laws of Newton's Principia never gained a solid foothold in Germany before Kant in the 1750s. I explain this absence as due to Leibniz. Thus I make a case for a robust Leibnizian legacy for Enlightenment science, and I solve what Jonathan Israel called “a meaningful historical problem on its own,” viz. the slow and hesitant reception of Newton in pre-Kantian Germany.
My thesis in this paper is: the modern concept of laws of motion—qua dynamical laws—emerges in 18th-century mechanics. The driving factor for it was the need to extend mechanics beyond the centroid theories of the late-1600s. The enabling result behind it was the rise of differential equations. -/- In consequence, by the mid-1700s we see a deep shift in the form and status of laws of motion. The shift is among the critical inflection points where early modern mechanics turns into (...) classical mechanics as we know it. Previously, laws of motion had been channels for truth and reference into mechanics. By 1750, the laws lose these features. Instead, now they just assert equalities between functions; and serve just to entail (differential) equations of motion for particular mechanical setups. This creates two philosophical problems. First, it’s unclear what counts as evidence for the laws of motion in the Enlightenment. Second, it’s a mystery whether these laws retain any notion of causality. That subverts the early-modern dictum that physics is a science of causes. (shrink)
Modern philosophy of physics debates whether motion is absolute or relative. The debate began in the 1600s, so it deserves a close look here. Primarily, it was a controversy in metaphysics, but it had epistemic aspects too. I begin with the former, and then touch upon the latter at the end.
This paper examines the origin, range and meaning of the Principle of Action and Reaction in Kant’s mechanics. On the received view, it is a version of Newton’s Third Law. I argue that Kant meant his principle as foundation for a Leibnizian mechanics. To find a ‘Newtonian’ law of action and reaction, we must look to Kant’s ‘dynamics,’ or theory of matter. I begin, in part I, by noting marked differences between Newton’s and Kant’s laws of action and reaction. I (...) argue that these are explainable by Kant’s allegiance to a Leibnizian mechanics. I show (in part II) that Leibniz too had a model of action and reaction, at odds with Newton’s. Then I reconstruct how Jakob Hermann and Christian Wolff received Leibniz’s model. I present (in Part III) Kant’s early law of action and reaction for mechanics. I show that he devised it so as to solve extant problems in the Hermann-Wolff account. I reconstruct Kant’s views on ‘mechanical’ action and reaction in the 1780s, and highlight strong continuities with his earlier, pre-Critical stance. I use these continuities, and Kant’s earlier engagement with post-Leibnizians, to explain the un-Newtonian features of his law of action and reaction. (shrink)
Newton had a fivefold argument that true motion must be motion in absolute space, not relative to matter. Like Newton, Kant holds that bodies have true motions. Unlike him, though, Kant takes all motion to be relative to matter, not to space itself. Thus, he must respond to Newton’s argument above. I reconstruct here Kant’s answer in detail. I prove that Kant addresses just one part of Newton’s case, namely, his “argument from the effects” of rotation. And, to show that (...) rotation is relative to matter, Kant changes the meaning of ‘relative motion.’ However, that change puts Kant’s doctrine in deep tension with Newton’s science. Based on my construal, I correct earlier readings of Kant by John Earman and Martin Carrier. And, I argue that we need to revise Michael Friedman’s influential view of Kant. Kant’s struggle, I conclude, illustrate the difficulties that early modern relationists faced as they turned down Newtonian absolute space ; and it typifies their selective engagement with Newton’s case for it. (shrink)
This volume of original essays addresses a range of issues concerning the responsibility individuals have for their actions and for their characters. Among the central questions considered are the following: What scope is there for regarding a person as responsible for his or her character given genetic and environmental factors? Does an account of responsibility provide a legitimate basis for the retributive emotions? Are we ever justified in feeling guilty for occurences over which we have no control? Does responsibility for (...) the consequences of our acts require that they were intended or simply expected? How have a number of influential previous philosophers, including Aristotle, Maimonides, and Spinoza, approached these questions? (shrink)
This paper examines the young Kant’s claim that all motion is relative, and argues that it is the core of a metaphysical dynamics of impact inspired by Leibniz and Wolff. I start with some background to Kant’s early dynamics, and show that he rejects Newton’s absolute space as a foundation for it. Then I reconstruct the exact meaning of Kant’s relativity, and the model of impact he wants it to support. I detail (in Section II and III) his polemic engagement (...) with Wolffian predecessors, and how he grounds collisions in a priori dynamics. I conclude that, for the young Kant, the philosophical problematic of Newton’s science takes a back seat to an agenda set by the Leibniz-Wolff tradition of rationalist dynamics. This results matters, because Kant’s views on motion survive well into the 1780s. In addition, his doctrine attests to the richness of early modern views of the relativity of motion. (shrink)
I uncover here a conflict in Kant’s natural philosophy. His matter theory and laws of mechanics are in tension. Kant’s laws are fit for particles but are too narrow to handle continuous bodies, which his doctrine of matter demands. To fix this defect, Kant ultimately must ground the Torque Law; that is, the impressed torque equals the change in angular momentum. But that grounding requires a premise—the symmetry of the stress tensor—that Kant denies himself. I argue that his problem would (...) not arise if he had kept his early theory of matter as made of mass points, or “physical monads.”. (shrink)
I examine here if Kant’s metaphysics of matter can support any late-modern versions of classical mechanics. I argue that in principle it can, by two different routes. I assess the interpretive costs of each approach, and recommend the most promising strategy: a mass-point approach.
The aim of compiling the various essays presented here is to make readily accessible many of the most significant and influential discussions of privacy to be found in the literature. In addition to being representative of the diversity of attitudes toward privacy, this collection has a coherence that results from the authors' focus on the same issues and theories. The main issue addressed in this book is the moral significance of privacy. Some social science and legal treatments are included because (...) of their direct bearing on the moral issues that privacy raises. In addition to the classics on privacy, the author has included an interpretative essay on the privacy literature, which provides a philosophical guideline as to what the issues are and how various thinkers have contributed to their resolution. (shrink)
L. Jonathan Cohen has written a number of important books and articles in which he argues that mathematical probability provides a poor model of much of what paradigmatically passes for sound reasoning, whether this be in the sciences, in common discourse, or in the law. In his book, The Probable and the Provable, Cohen elaborates six paradoxes faced by advocates of mathematical probability (PM) when treating issues of evidence as they would arise in a court of law. He argues that (...) his system of inductive probability (PI) satisfactorily handles the issues that proved paradoxical for mathematical probability, and consequently PI deserves to be thought of as an important standard of rational thinking. I argue that a careful look at each of the alleged paradoxes shows that there is no conflict between mathematical probability and the law, except when for reasons of policy we opt for values in addition to accuracy maximization. Recognizing the role of such policies provides no basis for questioning the adequacy of PM. The significance of this critical treatment of Cohen's work is that those interested in revising the laws of evidence to allow for more explicitly mathematical approaches ought to feel that such revisions will not violate the spirit of forensic rationality. (shrink)
On an influential view, Newton's mechanics is built into Kant's very theory of exact knowledge. However, Newtonian dynamics had serious explanatory limits already known by 1750. Thus, we might worry that Kant's Analytic is too narrow to ground enough exact knowledge. In this paper, I draw on Enlightenment dynamics to show that Kant's notion of determinate objecthood is sufficiently broad, non-trivial, and still relevant to the present.
This paper argues that liberal tenats that justify intervention to promote the welfare of an incompetent do not suffice as a basis for analyzing parent-child relationships, and that this inadequacy is the basis for many of the problems that arise when thinking about the state's role in resolving family conflicts, particularly when monitoring parental discretion in medical decision-making on behalf of a child. The state may be limited by the best interest criterion when dealing with children, but parents are not. (...) The state's relation with the child is formal while the parental relation is intimate, having its own goals and purposes. While the liberal canons insist on the incompetent one's best interest, parents are permitted to compromise the child's interests for ends related to these familial goals and purposes. Parents decisions should be supervened, in general, only if it can be shown that no responsible mode of thinking warrants such treatment of a child. Keywords: proxy medical consent, children's rights, state's protection of children, parental authority and the state's intervention, paternalism, liberalism, parental values CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Newton rested his theory of mechanics on distinct metaphysical and epistemological foundations. After Leibniz's death in 1716, the Principia ran into sharp philosophical opposition from Christian Wolff and his disciples, who sought to subvert Newton's foundations or replace them with Leibnizian ideas. In what follows, I chronicle some of the Wolffians' reactions to Newton's notion of absolute space, his dynamical laws of motion, and his general theory of gravitation. I also touch on arguments advanced by Newton's Continental followers, such as (...) Leonhard Euler, who made novel attempts to defend his mechanical foundations against the pro-Leibnizian attack. This examination grants us deeper insight into the fate of Newton's mechanics on the Continent during the early eighteenth century and, more specifically, sheds needed light on the conflicts and tensions that characterized the reception of Newton's philosophy of mechanics among the Leibnizians. (shrink)
Leibniz is committed to a form of cosmic eternity, on account of his natural theology and foundations for dynamics. However, his views on perpetuum mobiles entail that a particularly attractive type of cosmic eternity is out of reach for Leibniz.
Yi-Ping Ong's The Art of Being: Poetics of the Novel and Existentialist Philosophy is a highly innovative book. It teases out from essays by Søren Kierkegaard, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir an existentialist poetics of the novel, which then inspires thoughtful readings of freedom and self-consciousness, situated worldhood, and unfinished works of art in nineteenth-century novels. At every step, Ong carefully articulates the insights that set her study apart from established ways of understanding the novel as form, the legacy (...) of existentialism, and the generative potential of literary form for philosophy. This book will likely delight and intrigue in equal measure. The argument is bold, the scholarship... (shrink)
Classical theories of truth are monistic, since they fundamentally search for the essence of truth. The correspondence theory of truth is the most representative in this regard. There are several difficulties with the essentialist theories of truth, which led to the emergence of several alternatives. The purpose of this article is to critically evaluate three of them: the pragmatic theory of truth, the deflationary theory and the pluralistic approach. I argue for overcoming monism and for accepting pluralism in our understanding (...) of truth. At the same time, I argue – from a wittgensteinian point of view – for abandoning the attempt to build a general philosophical theory of truth. I plead for limiting the philosopher’s role to the clarification of the specific ways in which the concept of truth is used in various forms of life and areas of scientific investigation. Multiple uses of the concept of truth in different thematic areas cannot be synthesized, properly speaking, through a particular philosophical theory. (shrink)
Nietzsche's ethics is basically an ethics of virtue. In his own unique way, and in accordance with his extra-moral view of life, Nietzsche recovers and re-appropriates certain virtues – notably pagan, aristocratic virtues – as part of his project to reconceptualise (‘rehabilitate') the virtues in terms of virtù (virtuosity and vitality), to which he also refers as his ‘moraline-free' conception of the virtues. The virtue of generosity (in the sense of magnanimity) plays a central role in Nietzschean ethics. According to (...) Nietzsche, the truly noble or virtuous person is one who lives beyond resentment and feelings of remorse and guilt. He lives his life from the fullness and plenitude of his own being and what he is able to bestow on others. Nietzsche seeks to rekindle and rehabilitate the aristocratic ‘pathos of distance' as the true origin of ethical life. This pathos of distance basically emanates from self-respect: ‘The noble soul has reverence for itself' (1974b: §287). For Nietzsche, this means that one should realize the greatest multiplicity of drives and form-giving forces in oneself, in the most tension-fraught but ‘controlled' manner. This control, this imposing a form on oneself without neglecting the multiplicity in oneself, is a creative, artistic activity. Nietzsche also refers to this as a process of transforming the self into a work of art, of giving style to one's own existence. Thus we free ourselves from guilt, resentment and the rage against contingency. It is of the utmost importance for Nietzsche that one should attain satisfaction with oneself, for ‘only then is a human being at all tolerable to behold. Whoever is dissatisfied with himself is continually ready for revenge, and we others will be his victims, if only by having to endure his ugly sight.' (1974a: §290). To attain satisfaction with oneself ultimately means to affirm life in its totality. This implies a life beyond resentment, i.e. a life that is characterised by generosity or magnanimity ( megalopsychia, magnanimitas ), which is for Nietzsche the ‘crown' of all the virtues. South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 26 (1) 2007: pp. 17-30. (shrink)
In his Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, Kant presents the “pure part” of natural science – that is, the a priori principles holding of matter. This special metaphysics of matter is, Kant claims, grounded on the general metaphysics of nature described in the System of Principles of his first Critique. This chapter develops a comprehensive account of Kant’s framework for natural science that touches on interpretive issues that arise in the transition from general to special metaphysics and that outlines his (...) dynamics and its limitations. (shrink)