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Thomas Holden [14]Thomas Anand Holden [2]
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Thomas Holden
University of California at Santa Barbara
  1.  54
    The Architecture of Matter: Galileo to Kant.Thomas Holden - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
    Thomas Holden presents a fascinating study of theories of matter in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These theories were plagued by a complex of interrelated problems concerning matter's divisibility, composition, and internal architecture. Is any material body infinitely divisible? Must we posit atoms or elemental minima from which bodies are ultimately composed? Are the parts of material bodies themselves material concreta? Or are they merely potentialities or possible existents? Questions such as these -- and the press of subtler questions hidden (...)
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  2.  72
    Berkeley on Inconceivability and Impossibility.Thomas Holden - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (1):107-122.
    Contrary to a popular reading of his modal epistemology, Berkeley does not hold that inconceivability entails impossibility, and he cannot therefore argue the impossibility of mind-independent matter by appealing to facts about what we cannot conceive. Berkeley is explicit about this constraint on his metaphysical argumentation, and, I argue, does respect it in practice. Popular mythology about the ‘master argument’ notwithstanding, the only passages in which he might plausibly seem to employ the principle that inconceivability entails impossibility are those that (...)
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  3.  62
    Spectres of False Divinity: Hume's Moral Atheism.Thomas Holden - 2010 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Spectres of False Divinity presents a historical and critical interpretation of Hume's rejection of the existence of a deity with moral attributes. In Hume's view, no first cause or designer responsible for the ordered universe could possibly have moral attributes; nor could the existence of such a being have any real implications for human practice or conduct. Hume's case for this 'moral atheism' is a central plank of both his naturalistic agenda in metaphysics and his secularizing program in moral theory. (...)
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  4.  98
    Hume’s Absolute Necessity.Thomas Holden - 2014 - Mind 123 (490):377-413.
    Hume regards the ‘absolute’ necessity attending demonstrable propositions as an expression of the limitations of human imagination. When we register our modal commitments in ordinary descriptive language, affirming that there are such-and-such absolute necessities, possibilities, and impossibilities, we are projecting our sense of what the human mind can and cannot conceive. In some ways the account parallels Hume’s famous treatment of the necessity of causes, and in some respects it anticipates recent expressivist theories of absolute modality. I marshal the evidence (...)
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  5.  36
    Hobbes's First Cause.Thomas Holden - 2015 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 53 (4):647-667.
    can natural human reason establish the existence of a first cause of all things? Hobbes tells us quite plainly that it can. Yet on other occasions he also tells us that our natural reason cannot rule out an eternal chain of causes with no beginning at all. The plot thickens when we consider his ambidextrous treatment of the only proof to which he gives any serious attention. On the one hand, Hobbes seems to endorse a fairly conventional version of the (...)
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  6.  94
    Infinite Divisibility and Actual Parts in Hume’s Treatise.Thomas Holden - 2002 - Hume Studies 28 (1):3-25.
    According to a standard interpretation of Hume’s argument against infinite divisibility, Hume is raising a purely formal problem for mathematical constructions of infinite divisibility, divorced from all thought of the stuffing or filling of actual physical continua. I resist this. Hume’s argument must be understood in the context of a popular early modern account of the metaphysical status of the parts of physical quantities. This interpretation disarms the standard mathematical objections to Hume’s reasoning; I also defend it on textual and (...)
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  7.  40
    Hobbes on the Function of Evaluative Speech.Thomas Holden - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (1):123-144.
    Hobbes’s interpreters have struggled to find a plausible semantics for evaluative language in his writings. I argue that this search is misguided. Hobbes offers neither an account of the reference of evaluative terms nor a theory of the truth-conditions for evaluative statements. Rather, he sees evaluative language simply as having the non-representational function of prescribing actions and practical attitudes, its superficially representational appearance notwithstanding. I marshal the evidence for this prescriptivist reading of Hobbes on evaluative language and show how it (...)
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  8.  45
    Robert Boyle on Things Above Reason.Thomas Holden - 2007 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 15 (2):283 – 312.
    Various early modern philosophers affirm the traditional distinction between ‘things above reason’ and ‘things contrary to reason.’ However, it is Robert Boyle who goes furthest to rework and defend the division, and to explore its ramifications in detail. My aim here is to examine the logical structure of Boyle’s version of the distinction, and his concomitant account of the sphere of truths beyond human understanding. I also weigh the philosophical merits of the account and clarify the relationship between Boyle’s characterization (...)
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  9.  63
    Religion and Moral Prohibition in Hume’s “Of Suicide”.Thomas Holden - 2005 - Hume Studies 31 (2):189-210.
    This paper presents a new analysis of the logical structure of Hume’s attack on the theological objection to suicide. I suggest that Hume intends his reasoning in “Of Suicide” to generalize, covering not just suicide but any arbitrary action: his implied conclusion is that no human action can violate a duty to God. I contrast my reading with a series of recent interpretations, and argue that the various criticisms of Hume’s reasoning are based on a misunderstanding of what he is (...)
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  10. Bayle and the Case for Actual Parts.Thomas Anand Holden - 2004 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (2):145-164.
    : Pierre Bayle is the most forthright and systematic early modern proponent of the actual parts doctrine, the period's counterpart to the 'doctrine of arbitrary undetached parts' familiar from current analytic mereology and metaphysics. In this paper I introduce both the actual parts account of the internal structure of matter and the rival system of potential parts. I then identify Bayle as the leading advocate of the actual parts doctrine and examine his arguments for this account.
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  11. Hobbes on Love and Fear of God.Thomas Holden - 2020 - In Robin Douglass & Johan Olsthoorn (eds.), Hobbes's On the Citizen: A Critical Guide. Cambridge, UK: pp. 161-179.
    Hobbes clearly and consistently maintains that we have a duty to love and fear God. However, he also problematizes love of God and, by implication, other passions putatively directed “to Godward.” We lack any conception of God, and therefore cannot love God in any literal sense. Moreover, even if love of God were psychologically possible, it is not clear that it would be appropriate, since love is apt only when someone is good to us. Love also requires wishing for the (...)
     
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  12.  43
    Hume on Religious Affect.Thomas Holden - 2007 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 89 (3):283-306.
    Although various points of Hume's canonical works hint at a critique of religious affect, his most explicit attack on such sentiments occurs in a letter of June 30th 1743 to his friend William Mure. In this letter Hume sets out an objection to all affective attitudes that are putatively directed toward God, and maintains that the Deity is not in fact the ‘natural object’ of any human passion. I examine this claim and canvass three possible interpretations of Hume's challenge to (...)
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  13. Hobbes on the Authority of Scripture.Thomas Holden - 2019 - Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 8:68-95.
    To understand Hobbes’s handling of Christian scripture in Part 3 of Leviathan we need to see it in the light of his own radical account of the norms controlling public religious speech and practice as set out in Part 2 and in other works such as De Cive and De Corpore. As these texts make clear, Hobbes holds that we ought rationally to venerate the first cause of all, and that the proper way to venerate this awesome and incomprehensible being (...)
     
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  14. Religion and the Perversion of Philosophy in Hume's Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals.Thomas Holden - 2020 - In Jacqueline Taylor (ed.), Reading Hume on the Principles of Morals. Oxford, UK: pp. 238-254.
    I examine Hume’s claim in the Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals that the theistic form of religion tends to distort philosophical thought about the nature of morality. I argue that we can see this thesis as a local application of Hume’s wider claim, intimated in various other works, that theistic religion tends to deform philosophy more generally. Understanding Hume’s account of the general tendency of theistic religion to subjugate and deform philosophy helps us set the moral case in its (...)
     
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  15. The Antinomy of Material Composition: Galileo to Kant.Thomas Anand Holden - 2000 - Dissertation, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    This dissertation is a historical and critical study of a controversy that raged among all the great figures of Enlightenment natural philosophy. The issue at stake is the structure or internal architecture of matter. One the one hand, an array of a priori arguments seems to show that matter must be fundamentally discrete in its fine structure: it must resolve to metaphysical atoms or monads. On the other hand, an opposing battery of a priori arguments seems to show that it (...)
     
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  16.  26
    ‘The Modern Disciple of the Academy’: Hume, Shelley, and Sir William Drummond.Thomas Holden - 2011 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 9 (2):161-188.
    Sir William Drummond (1770?-1828) enjoyed considerable notoriety in the early nineteenth century as the author of the Academical Questions (1805), a manifesto for immaterialism that is at the same time a creative synthesis of ancient and modern forms of scepticism. In this paper I advance an interpretation of Drummond's work that emphasises his extensive employment and adaptation of Hume's own ‘Academical or Sceptical Philosophy’. I also document the impact of the Academical Questions on the contemporary philosophical scene, including its decisive (...)
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