The popular impression of Epicurean hedonism is that it advocates a life of sensual delights. Scholars know, however, that this impression is mistaken, both because of the overall conceptual structure of Epicurus’ ethics and because Epicurus prominently and repeatedly expressed such ideas as this.
Do our lives have meaning? Should we create more people? Is death bad? Should we commit suicide? Would it be better if we were immortal? Should we be optimistic or pessimistic? Life, Death, and Meaning brings together key readings, primarily by English-speaking philosophers, on such 'big questions.'.
Do our lives have meaning? Should we create more people? Is death bad? Should we commit suicide? Would it be better to be immortal? Should we be optimistic or pessimistic? Since Life, Death, and Meaning: Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions first appeared, David Benatar's distinctive anthology designed to introduce students to the key existential questions of philosophy has won a devoted following among users in a variety of upper-level and even introductory courses.
James cornman and r routley and v macrae have argued that the principle of identity (alias leibniz's law) is inconsistent with certain plausible and widely accepted identity statements; e.G., "the temperature of a gas is identical with the mean kinetic energy of the molecules of the gas." they argue on this ground that the principle of identity should be modified to remove this appearance of inconsistency. The requisite modification however, Removes whatever "metaphysical teeth" the unmodified version might have had. I (...) argue in this paper that such attacks on the principle of identity are utterly unwarranted. (shrink)
What is art's relationship to play? Those interested in this question tend to look to modern philosophy for answers, but, as this book shows, the question was already debated in antiquity by luminaries like Plato and Aristotle. Over the course of eight chapters, this book contextualizes those debates, and demonstrates their significance for theoretical problems today. Topics include the ancient child psychology at the root of the ancient Greek word for 'play', the numerous toys that have survived from antiquity, and (...) the meaning of play's conceptual opposite, the 'serious'. What emerges is a concept of play markedly different from the one we have inherited from modernity. Play is not a certain set of activities which unleashes a certain feeling of pleasure; it is rather a certain feeling of pleasure that unleashes the activities we think of as 'play'. As such, it offers a new set of theoretical challenges. (shrink)
Marshalling psychological and sociological theory and research, and drawing upon extensive clinical experiences as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, the author explores the various dimensions of cloning. Clone Being attempts to anticipate possible consequences for a clone, his or her 'parents' and family, and society.
The essay discusses the March 5, 1944 "Discussion on Sin," an event that was held between French intellectual Georges Bataille and the Jesuit priest and patristics scholar Jean Daniélou, along with other important Christian and non-Christian intellectuals. I argue that the event is the best recorded wartime intellectual encounter between the founders of contestation (subsequently so important in deconstructive thought) and serious practitioners of Christianity. Aspects of the thought of French thinker Maurice Blanchot and Swiss theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar (...) are also profiled. (shrink)
While humanists have pondered the subject of love to the point of obsessiveness, philosophers have steadfastly ignored it. One might wonder whether the discipline of philosophy even recognizes love. The word _philosophy _means “love of wisdom,” but the absence of love from philosophical discourse is curiously glaring. So where did the love go? In _The Erotic Phenomenon,_ Jean-Luc Marion asks this fundamental question of philosophy, while reviving inquiry into the concept of love itself. Marion begins his profound and personal book (...) with a critique of Descartes’ equation of the ego’s ability to doubt with the certainty that one exists—“I think, therefore I am”—arguing that this is worse than vain. We encounter being, he says, when we first experience love: I am loved, therefore I am; and this love is the reason I care whether I exist or not. This philosophical base allows Marion to probe several manifestations of love and its variations, including carnal excitement, self-hate, lying and perversion, fidelity, the generation of children, and the love of God. Throughout, Marion stresses that all erotic phenomena, including sentimentality, pornography, and even boasts about one’s sexual conquests, stem not from the ego as popularly understood but instead from love. A thoroughly enlightening and captivating philosophical investigation of a strangely neglected subject, _The Erotic Phenomenon _is certain to initiate feverish new dialogue about the philosophical meanings of that most desirable and mysterious of all concepts—love. (shrink)
This article explores the role of weakness of will in the Indian Buddhist tradition, and in particular within Śāntideva’s Introduction to the Practice of Awakening. In agreement with Jay Garfield, I argue that there are important differences between Aristotle’s account of akrasia and Buddhist moral psychology. Nevertheless, taking a more expanded conception of weakness of will, as is frequently done in contemporary work, allows us to draw significant connections with the pluralistic account of psychological conflict found in Buddhist texts. I (...) demonstrate this by showing how Amélie Rorty’s expanded treatment of akrasia as including emotional response and perceptual classification allows us to recognize that one of the purposes of many of Śāntideva’s meditations is to treat various forms of akratic response. (shrink)
Skepticism has always been a part of the history of Western philosophy. If one were to look at current works focusing on the history of skepticism in philosophy, however, one would get the impression that skepticism disappeared from the philosophical landscape after the work of Sextus Empiricus, only to reappear with the methodological skepticism of Descartes. Yet, did skepticism, which had thus been so prevalent in the ancient period, disappear so completely during the middle Ages? The resounding answer that this (...) dissertation proposes to give to this question is no. To that end, the main focus will be on Nicolaus of Autrecourt, a figure in the waning High Middle Ages who revived skepticism within a peculiarly Christian context. In the first three chapters of the dissertation, the skepticism of Nicolaus of Autrecourt will be studied. Starting in the first chapter with a study of Nicolaus's life and the skeptical elements of his correspondence, the second chapter will continue to look for these same skeptical elements in his Exigit ordo, while the third chapter will look for possible influences on Nicolaus's skepticism. The fourth and fifth chapter will present views similar to Nicolaus's in the works of the Muslim thinker al-Ghazali and the more well-known David Hume concerning the skepticism of causal necessity. In the sixth and final chapter, a major difference between the doctrines of Nicolaus and al-Ghazali on the one hand and Hume on the other concerning the issue of miracles will be examined. From this point, a simplified genealogy of skepticism shall be offered, and it will be contended that the skepticisms of Nicolaus and al-Ghazali deserve a place in that genealogy. By allowing Nicolaus's and al-Ghazali's type of skepticism into this genealogy, the main conclusion shall be that skepticism is in fact a double-edged sword that can be used against religion by attempting to destroy the ability of reason to come to any definitive conclusions about God or against atheistic philosophy in leaving room for faith in the omnipotence of God. (shrink)
Bergson's 1896 theory of perception/memory assumed a framework anticipating the quantum revolution in physics, the still unrealized implications of this framework contributing to the large neglect of Bergson today. The basics of his model are explored, including the physical concepts he advanced before the crisis in classical physics, his concept of perception as ‘virtual action’ with its relativistic implications, and his unique explication of the subject/object relationship. All form the basis for his solution to the ‘hard’ problem. The relation between (...) Bergson and Gibson as natural complements is also explored, with Bergson providing the framework that explicates Gibson's concept of direct perception, with Gibson's resonance model as a precursor to dynamic systems models of the brain and his reliance on invariance laws defining perceived events providing more detail for the mechanisms Bergson only envisioned from afar, and with Bergson providing the basis for an otherwise missing Gibsonian model of direct memory. (shrink)
Evolutionary theory has yet to offer a detailed model of the complex transitions from a living system of one design to another of more advanced, or simply different, design. Hidden within the writings of evolution's expositors is an implicit appeal to AI-like processes operating within the "cosmic machine" that has hitherto been evolving the plethora of functional living systems we observe. In these writings, there is disturbingly little understanding of the deep problems involved, resting as they do in the very (...) heart of AI. The end-state requirements for a system, device, or "machine" with intelligence capable of design are examined. The representational power must be sufficient to support analogical thought, an operation demanding transformations of events in imagery, in turn a function of perception, both dependent on a non-differentiable flow of time. The operational dynamics of the device must inherit this fundamental property of the dynamically transforming matter-field. Whether the evolutionary mechanisms or algorithmics thus far envisioned by biology or AI are coordinate with such requirements is left seriously in doubt. (shrink)