Tim Bayne draws on philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience in defence of the claim that consciousness is unified. He develops an account of what it means to say that consciousness is unified, and then applies this account to a variety of cases - drawn from both normal and pathological forms of experience - in which the unity of consciousness is said to break down. He goes on to explore the implications of the unity of consciousness for theories of consciousness, (...) for the sense of embodiment, and for accounts of the self. The Unity of Consciousness draws on a wide range of findings within philosophy and the sciences of the mind to construct an account of the unity of consciousness that is both conceptually sophisticated and scientifically informed. (shrink)
The unity of consciousness has so far been studied only as a relation holding among the many experiences of a single subject. I investigate whether this relation could hold between the experiences of distinct subjects, considering three major arguments against the possibility of such ‘between-subjects unity’. The first argument, based on the popular idea that unity implies subsumption by a composite experience, can be deflected by allowing for limited forms of ‘experience-sharing’, in which the same token experience (...) belongs to more than one subject. The second argument, based on the phenomenological claim that unified experiences have interdependent phenomenal characters, I show to rest on an equivocation. Finally, the third argument accuses between-subjects unity of being unimaginable, or more broadly a formal possibility corresponding to nothing we can make sense of. I argue that the familiar experience of perceptual co-presentation gives us an adequate phenomenological grasp on what between-subjects unity might be like. (shrink)
Grounding, understood as a primitive posit operative in contexts where metaphysical dependence is at issue, is not able on its own to do any substantive work in characterizing or illuminating metaphysical dependence---or so I argue in 'No Work for a Theory of Grounding' (Inquiry, 2014). Such illumination rather requires appeal to specific metaphysical relations---type or token identity, functional realization, the determinable-determinate relation, the mereological part-whole relation, and so on---of the sort typically at issue in these contexts. In that case, why (...) posit 'big-G' Grounding in addition to the 'small-g' grounding relations already in the metaphysician's toolkit? The best reasons for doing so stem from the Unity argument, according to which the further posit of Grounding is motivated as an apt unifier of the specific relations, and the Priority argument, according to which Grounding is needed in order to fix the direction of priority of the specific relations. I previously considered versions of these arguments, and argued that they did not succeed; in two papers, however, Jonathan Schaffer aims to develop a better version of the Unity argument, and offers certain objections to my reasons for rejecting the Priority argument. Here I consider these new arguments for Grounding. (shrink)
According to conventional wisdom, the split-brain syndrome puts paid to the thesis that consciousness is necessarily unified. The aim of this paper is to challenge that view. I argue both that disunity models of the split-brain are highly problematic, and that there is much to recommend a model of the split-brain—the switch model—according to which split-brain patients retain a fully unified consciousness at all times. Although the task of examining the unity of consciousness through the lens of the split-brain (...) syndrome is not a new one—such projects date back to Nagel’s seminal paper on the topic—the time is ripe for a re-evaluation of the issues. (shrink)
I argue—contra moderate grounding pluralists such as Kit Fine and more extreme grounding pluralists such as Jessica Wilson—that there is fundamentally only one grounding/in-virtue-of relation. I also argue that this single relation is indispensable for normative theorizing—that we can’t make sense of, for example, the debate over consequentialism without it. It follows from what I argue that there is no metaethically-pure normative ethics.
At least since Russell’s influential discussion in The Principles of Mathematics, many philosophers have held there is a problem that they call the problem of the unity of the proposition. In a recent paper, I argued that there is no single problem that alone deserves the epithet the problem of the unity of the proposition. I there distinguished three problems or questions, each of which had some right to be called a problem regarding the unity of the (...) proposition; and I showed how the account of propositions formulated in my book The Nature and Structure of Content [2007 Oxford University Press] solves each of these problems. In the present paper, I take up two of these problems/questions yet again. For I want to consider other accounts of propositions and compare their solutions to these problems, or lack thereof, to mine. I argue that my account provides the best solutions to the unity problems. (shrink)
The Unity of Reason is the first major study of Kant's account of reason. It argues that Kant's wide-ranging interests and goals can only be understood by redirecting attention from epistemological questions of his work to those concerning the nature of reason. Rather than accepting a notion of reason given by his predecessors, a fundamental aim of Kant's philosophy is to reconceive the nature of reason. This enables us to understand Kant's insistence on the unity of theoretical and (...) practical reason as well as his claim that his metaphysics was driven by practical and political ends. Neiman begins by discussing the historical roots of Kant's conception of reason, and by showing Kant's solution to problems which earlier conceptions left unresolved. Kant's notion of reason itself is examined through a discussion of all the activities Kant attributes to reason. In separate chapters discussing the role of reason in science, morality, religion, and philosophy, Neiman explores Kant's distinctions between reason and knowledge, and his difficult account of the regulative principles of reason. Through examination of these principles in Kant's major and minor writings, The Unity of Reason provides a fundamentally new perspective on Kant's entire work. (shrink)
The problem of the unity of the proposition asks what binds together the constituents of a proposition into a fully formed proposition that provides truth conditions for the assertoric sentence that expresses it, rather than merely a set of objects. Hanks’ solution is to reject the traditional distinction between content and force. If his theory is successful, then there is a plausible extension of it that readily solves the Frege–Geach problem for normative propositions. Unfortunately Hanks’ theory isn’t successful, but (...) it does point to significant connections between expressivism, unity, and embedding. (shrink)
In the section ‘Unity and Objectivity’ of The Bounds of Sense, P. F. Strawson argues for the thesis that unity of consciousness requires experience of an objective world. My aim in this essay is to evaluate this claim. In the first and second parts of the essay, I explicate Strawson's thesis, reconstruct his argument, and identify the point at which the argument fails. Strawson's discussion nevertheless raises an important question: are there ways in which we must think of (...) our experiences if we are to self-ascribe them? In the third part of the essay, I use Kant's remarks concerning the passivity of experience to suggest one answer to this question: in self-ascribing experiences, we must be capable of thinking of them as passive to their objects. This can be used to provide an alternative route from unity to objectivity. (shrink)
In Consciousness and Persons: Unity and Identity, Michael Tye takes on the thorny issue of the unity of consciousness and answers these important questions: What exactly is the unity of consciousness? Can a single person have a divided consciousness? What is a single person? Tye argues that unity is a fundamental part of human consciousness -- something so basic to everyday experience that it is easy to overlook. For example, when we hear the sound of waves (...) crashing on a beach and at the same time see a red warning flag, there is an overall unity to our experience; the sound and the red shape are presented together in our consciousness. Similarly, when we undergo a succession of thoughts as we think something through, there is an experience of succession that unifies the thoughts into a conscious whole. But, Tye shows, consciousness is not always unified. Split-brain subjects, whose corpus callosum has been severed, are usually taken to have a divided or disunified consciousness. Their behavior in certain situations implies that they have lost the unity normal human subjects take for granted; it is sometimes even supposed that a split-brain subject is really two persons.Tye begins his account by proposing an account of the unity of experience at a single time; this account is extended over the succeeding chapters to cover bodily sensations at a single time and perceptual experience, bodily sensations, conscious thoughts, and felt moods at a single time. Tye follows these chapters with a discussion of the unity of experience through time. Turning to the split-brain phenomenon, he proposes an account of the mental life of split-brain subjects and argues that certain facts about these subjects offer support for his theory of unity. Finally, addressing the topic of the nature of persons and personal identity, Tye finds the two great historical accounts -- the ego theory and the bundle theory -- lacking and he makes an alternative proposal. He includes an appendix on the general representational approach to consciousness and its many varieties, because of the relevance of representationalism to the theory of unity being adanced. (shrink)
The problem, or cluster of problems, of the unity of the proposition, along with the cluster of problems that tend to go under the name of Bradley’s regress, has recently again become a going concern for philosophers, after having for some time been regarded as primarily of historical interest. In this paper, I distinguish between the different problems that tend to be brought up under the heading of the unity of the proposition, and between different related regress arguments. (...) I present my favored solutions to these problems. (shrink)
Perception is our key to the world. It plays at least three different roles in our lives. It justifies beliefs and provides us with knowledge of our environment. It brings about conscious mental states. It converts informational input, such as light and sound waves, into representations of invariant features in our environment. Corresponding to these three roles, there are at least three fundamental questions that have motivated the study of perception. How does perception justify beliefs and yield knowledge of our (...) environment? How does perception bring about conscious mental states? How does a perceptual system accomplish the feat of converting varying informational input into mental representations of invariant features in our environment? -/- This book presents a unified account of the phenomenological and epistemological role of perception that is informed by empirical research. So it develops an account of perception that provides an answer to the first two questions, while being sensitive to scientific accounts that address the third question. The key idea is that perception is constituted by employing perceptual capacities - for example the capacity to discriminate instances of red from instances of blue. Perceptual content, consciousness, and evidence are each analyzed in terms of this basic property of perception. Employing perceptual capacities constitutes phenomenal character as well as perceptual content. The primacy of employing perceptual capacities in perception over their derivative employment in hallucination and illusion grounds the epistemic force of perceptual experience. In this way, the book provides a unified account of perceptual content, consciousness, and evidence. (shrink)
As a working hypothesis for philosophy of science, the unity of science thesis has been decisively challenged in all its standard formulations; it cannot be assumed that the sciences presuppose an orderly world, that they are united by the goal of systematically describing and explaining this order, or that they rely on distinctively scientific methodologies which, properly applied, produce domain-specific results that converge on a single coherent and comprehensive system of knowledge. I first delineate the scope of arguments against (...) global unity theses. However implausible old-style global unity theses may now seem, I argue that unifying strategies of a more local and contingent nature do play an important role in scientific inquiry. This is particularly clear in archaeology where, to establish evidential claims of any kind, practitioners must exploit a range of inter-field and inter-theory connections. At the same time, the robustness of these evidential claims depends on significant disunity between the sciences from which archaeologists draw background assumptions and auxiliary hypotheses. This juxtaposition of unity with disunity poses a challenge to standard positions in the debate about scientific unity. (shrink)
The question of the unity of consciousness is often treated as the question of how different conscious experiences are related to each other in order to be unified. Many contemporary views on the unity of consciousness are based on this bottom-up approach. In this paper I explore an alternative, top-down approach, according to which (to a first approximation) a subject undergoes one single conscious experience at a time. From this perspective, the problem of unity of consciousness becomes (...) rather the problem of how we can distinguish a multiplicity of goings-on within our conscious experience at any time, given that it is unique. I will present three possible top-down approaches to unity of consciousness, which I call Priority unity monism, Existence unity monism, and Brentanian unity monism. Priority monism and Existence monism are defined in analogy with the homonymous metaphysical theories of object constitution. Brentanian monism retraces Franz Brentano’s view on unity of consciousness, and is defined by appeal to some of his mereological ideas. I will argue that the latter is the best top-down approach to unity of consciousness. (shrink)
The focus of Norton's book is the distinction between objectives and values in developing environmental policies. Norton argues that environmentalism is a coalition of many groups working toward common objectives, but unlike other social action movements the environmental coalition does not have shared moral principles.
As a leading member of the Vienna Circle, Rudolph Carnap's aim was to bring about a "unified science" by applying a method of logical analysis to the empirical data of all the sciences. This work, first published in English in 1934, endeavors to work out a way in which the observation statements required for verification are not private to the observer. The work shows the strong influence of Wittgenstein, Russell, and Frege.
Renewed worries about the unity of the proposition have been taken as a crucial stumbling block for any traditional conception of propositions. These worries are often framed in terms of how entities independent of mind and language can have truth conditions: why is the proposition that Desdemona loves Cassio true if and only if she loves him? I argue that the best understanding of these worries shows that they should be solved by our theory of truth and not our (...) theory of content. Specifically, I propose a version of the redundancy theory according to which ‘it is true that Desdemona loves Cassio’ expresses the same proposition as ‘Desdemona loves Cassio’. Surprisingly, this variant of the redundancy theory treats ‘is true’ as an ordinary predicate of the language, thereby defusing many standard criticisms of the redundancy theory. (shrink)
An enormous intellectual adventure. In this groundbreaking new book, the American biologist Edward O. Wilson, considered to be one of the world's greatest living scientists, argues for the fundamental unity of all knowledge and the need to search for consilience --the proof that everything in our world is organized in terms of a small number of fundamental natural laws that comprise the principles underlying every branch of learning. Professor Wilson, the pioneer of sociobiology and biodiversity, now once again breaks (...) out of the conventions of current thinking. He shows how and why our explosive rise in intellectual mastery of the truths of our universe has its roots in the ancient Greek concept of an intrinsic orderliness that governs our cosmos and the human species--a vision that found its apogee in the Age of Enlightenment, then gradually was lost in the increasing fragmentation and specialization of knowledge in the last two centuries. Drawing on the physical sciences and biology, anthropology, psychology, religion, philosophy, and the arts, Professor Wilson shows why the goals of the original Enlightenment are surging back to life, why they are reappearing on the very frontiers of science and humanistic scholarship, and how they are beginning to sketch themselves as the blueprint of our world as it most profoundly, elegantly, and excitingly is. (shrink)
John Collins presents a new analysis of the problem of the unity of the proposition-how propositions can be both single things and complexes at the same time. He surveys previous investigations of the problem and offers his own novel and uniquely satisfying solution, which is defended from both philosophical and linguistic perspectives.
My primary aim in this article is to provide a philosophical account of the unity of hallucinations, which can capture both perceptual hallucinations (which are subjectively indistinguishable from perceptions) and non-perceptual hallucinations (all others). Besides, I also mean to clarify further the division of labour and the nature of the collaboration between philosophy and the cognitive sciences. Assuming that the epistemic conception of hallucinations put forward by M. G. F. Martin and others is largely on the right track, I (...) will focus on two main tasks: (a) to provide a satisfactory phenomenology of the subjective character of perceptions and perceptual hallucinations and (b) to redress the philosophers’ neglect of non-perceptual hallucinations. More specifically, I intend to apply one of the central tenets of the epistemic conception—that hallucinations can and should be positively characterised in terms of their phenomenological connections to perceptions—to non-perceptual hallucinations as well. That is, I will try to show that we can positively specify the class of non-perceptual hallucinations by reference to the distinctive ways in which we first-personally experience them and perceptions in consciousness. The task of saying more about their underlying third-personal nature may then be left to the cognitive sciences. (shrink)
Many philosophers hold that the phenomenology of thinking (also known as cognitive phenomenology) reduces to the phenomenology of the speech, sensory imagery, emotions or feelings associated with it. But even if this reductionist claim is correct, there is still a properly cognitive dimension to the phenomenology of at least some thinking. Specifically, conceptual content makes a constitutive contribution to the phenomenology of at least some thought episodes, in that it constitutes what I call their thematic unity. Often, when a (...) thought episode has a phenomenal character, the various associated speech, sensory imagery, emotions or feelings are often organized around a common theme, constituted by the conceptual content of one's thinking. (shrink)
It is common to hold that our conscious experiences at a single moment are often unified. But when consciousness is unified, what are the fundamental facts in virtue of which it is unified? On some accounts of the unity of consciousness, the most fundamental fact that grounds unity is a form of singularity or oneness. These accounts are similar to Newtonian views of space according to which the most fundamental fact that grounds relations of co-spatiality between various points (...) (or regions) of a space is the fact that these points (or regions) are parts of the same single space. In this paper, I sketch and defend an alternative account of unity of consciousness. Very roughly, the view holds that experiences are unified when they are connected in the right way. In this respect, the view is analogous to Leibnizian views of space according to which the oneness of space emerges from certain conditions over spatial relations. The Leibnizian alternative has significant implications for our understanding of the metaphysics of conscious experience, the cognitive architecture of the mind and our assessment of the conditions under which unity of consciousness breaks. (shrink)
This paper concerns the role that reference to subjects of experience can play in individuating streams of consciousness, and the relationship between the subjective and the objective structure of consciousness. A critique of Tim Bayne’s recent book indicates certain crucial choices that works on the unity of consciousness must make. If one identifies the subject of experience with something whose consciousness is necessarily unified, then one cannot offer an account of the objective structure of consciousness. Alternatively, identifying the subject (...) of experience with an animal means forgoing the conceptual connection between being a subject of experience and having a single phenomenal perspective. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to raise a few questions about Bayne s mereological account of the unity of consciousness. In Section 1, I raise a few clarificatory questions about the account and the thesis that consciousness is necessarily unified. In Sections 2 and 3, I offer an alternative view of unity of consciousness and contrast it with Bayne's view. I call this view the connectivity account. These sections prepare the ground for the main question of this (...) article: why should we prefer Bayne's mereological view to the connectivity view? (shrink)
This paper is an articulation and defense of a trope-bundle theory of material objects. After some background remarks about objects and tropes, I start the main defense in Section III by answering a charge frequently made against the bundle theory, namely that it commits a conceptual error by saying that properties are parts of objects. I argue that there’s a general and intuitive sense of “part” in which properties are in fact parts of objects. This leads to the question of (...) qualitative unity: in virtue of what are certain properties unified as parts of an object? In Section IV I defend an account of unity for complex material objects. It turns on the thesis that the properties of such objects are structural properties. After addressing some objections, I turn in Section V to the question of unity for simple material objects. Here a different and more radical account is needed, for simples, since they do not have structural properties, are not subsumed by the account of Section IV. I defend the view that a simple object just is a simple property, so that identity delivers the desired unity. (shrink)
relation between, say, a lump of clay and a statue that it makes up, or between a red and white piece of metal and a stop sign, or between a person and her body? Assuming that there is a single relation between members of each of these pairs, is the relation “strict” identity, “contingent” identity or something else?1 Although this question has generated substantial controversy recently,2 I believe that there is philo- sophical gain to be had from thinking through the (...) issues from scratch. Many of the charges and countercharges are based on the following dichotomy: For any x and y that are related as the lump of clay is to the statue that it makes up, either x is identical to y, or x and y are separate entities, independent of each other. By giving up this dichotomy, we will be able to begin to make sense, I hope, of an intermediate unity relation that holds promise for solving a raft of philosophical problems, including the problem of how persons are related to their bodies.3 And if I am correct, then this relation—constitution without identity—is ubiquitous and interesting in its own right, apart from the light that it sheds on human persons. (shrink)
Consciousness has many elements, from sensory experiences such as vision and bodily sensation, to nonsensory aspects such as memory and thought. All are presented as experiences of a single subject, and all seem to be contained within a unified field of experience. This unity raises many questions: How do diverse systems in the brain co-operate to produce a unified experience? Are there conditions under which this unity breaks down? Is conscious experience really unified at all? Such questions are (...) addressed in this thought-provoking book. (shrink)
Cases of reasonable, mistaken belief figure prominently in discussions of the knowledge norm of assertion and practical reason as putative counterexamples to these norms. These cases are supposed to show that the knowledge norm is too demanding and that some weaker norm ought to put in its place. These cases don't show what they're intended to. When you assert something false or treat some falsehood as if it's a reason for action, you might deserve an excuse. You often don't deserve (...) even that. (shrink)
This essay chiefly concerns the unity of self-consciousness expounded under the heading "the original synthetic unity of apperception" in Kant's transcendental deduction. It focuses mainly on Kant's identification of this unity with the understanding, the faculty of knowledge, with the aim of throwing light on the understanding and on knowledge as well as on synthetic unity.
The so-called unity of consciousness consists in the compelling sense we have that all our conscious mental states belong to a single conscious subject. Elsewhere I have argued that a mental state's being conscious is a matter of our being conscious of that state by having a higher-order thought (HOT) about it. Contrary to what is sometimes argued, this HOT model affords a natural explanation of our sense that our conscious states all belong to a single conscious subject. HOTs (...) often group states together, so that each HOT is about a cluster of target states; single HOTs represent qualitative states as spatially unified and intentional states as unified inferentially. More important, each HOT makes one conscious of oneself in a seemingly immediate way, encouraging a sense of unity across HOTs. And the same considerations that make us assume that our first-person thoughts all refer to the same self apply also to HOTs; becoming conscious of our HOTs in introspection thus leads to a sense that our conscious states are unified in a single self. I argue that neither essential-indexical reference to oneself nor the alleged immunity to error through misidentification conflicts with this account. I close by discussing the apparent connection of unity with free agency. (shrink)
This essay argues that Plato in the Republic needs an account of why and how the three distinct parts of the soul are parts of one soul, and it draws on the Phaedrus and Gorgias to develop an account of compositional unity that fits what is said in the Republic.
A number of contemporary philosophers have suggested that the recent revival of interest in panpsychism within philosophy of mind could reinvigorate a pantheistic philosophy of religion. This project explores whether the combination and individuation problems, which have dominated recent scholarship within panpsychism, can aid the pantheist’s articulation of a God/universe unity. Constitutive holistic panpsychism is seen to be the only type of panpsychism suited to aid pantheism in articulating this type of unity. There are currently no well-developed solutions (...) to the individuation problem for this type of panpsychism. Moreover, the gestures towards a solution appear costly to the religious significance of pantheism. This article concludes that any hope that contemporary panpsychism might aid pantheists in articulating unity is premature and possibly misplaced. (shrink)
The thesis of this book is that Kant employs a single conception of reason throughout his analysis of the fundamental principles of natural science, morality and politics, rational religion, and the practice of philosophy itself, and that this conception is that reason is the source of the ultimate goals or ideals for our conduct of both inquiry and action, but never a faculty that yields cognition of objects that exist independently of us, whether sensible or supersensible. In Neiman’s words, “The (...) basis of Kant’s reconception” of reason “is the denial that the rational is, or is centrally concerned with, the cognitive”, and the heart of his thesis of the unity of reason is his view that “the regulative principles of reason... shape our actions in science, morality, religion and philosophy itself”. Neiman’s work is refreshingly ambitious in its attempt to demonstrate that these generalities hold for all four of the areas she lists, but the general claims themselves will not come as a surprise to contemporary students of Kant. So for the work to succeed, it would have to break new ground in either the detailed analysis of the regulative functions of reason or in our understanding of reason’s general function in unifying the several branches of philosophy as Kant understands it. In my view, the book does neither. Neiman offers some interesting insights about Kant’s treatment of science, morality, and religion, but does not offer a rigorous analysis of the structure of Kant’s thought in any of these areas that goes beyond what many others have already provided. More importantly, she misses the opportunity to make a major advance in our understanding of the general structure of Kant’s thought. For what she describes is really similarities in our use of reason in the various areas of our inquiry and conduct; she does not show how Kant uses his conception of reason to unify the apparently disparate realms of theory and practice, or, in his terms, of nature and freedom. This task dominates the Critique of Judgment, where, far from merely recapitulating his previous accounts of the regulative use of reason in both science and morality, Kant argues as he never did before that we must be able to see the realms of nature and freedom not merely as compatible but as unified, yet also makes explicit the regulative status of reason and of this vision of unity precisely by stating his theory of the unity of reason as the culmination of a theory of reflective judgment. Neiman largely ignores Kant’s own most mature account of the unity of reason. (shrink)
Human consciousness usually displays a striking unity. When one experiences a noise and, say, a pain, one is not conscious of the noise and then, separately, of the pain. One is conscious of the noise and pain together, as aspects of a single conscious experience. Since at least the time of Immanuel Kant (1781/7), this phenomenon has been called the unity of consciousness . More generally, it is consciousness not of A and, separately, of B and, separately, of (...) C, but of A-and-B- and-C together, as the contents of a single conscious state. (shrink)
ne of the leading problems for Cartesian dualism is to provide an account of the union of mind and body. This problem is often construed to be one of explaining how thinking things and extended things can causally interact. That is, it needs to be explained how thoughts in the mind can produce motions in the body and how motions in the body can produce sensations, appetites, and emotions in the mind. The conclusion often drawn, as it was by three (...) of Descartes's illustrious successors, Malebranche, Spinoza, and Leibniz, is that mind and body cannot causally interact.' I mention this problem of the interaction between thinking things and extended things only to distinguish it from the problem concerning the union of mind and body which I wish to discuss. Some commentators, such as Daisie Radner, maintain that the.. (shrink)
Philosophers have recently revived the study of the ancient Greek topics of virtue and the virtues—justice, honesty, temperance, friendship, courage, and so on as qualities of mind and character belonging to individual people. But one issue at the center of Greek moral theory seems to have dropped out of consideration. This is the question of the unity of virtue, the unity of the virtues. Must anyone who has one of these qualities have others of them as well, indeed (...) all of them—all the ones that really do deserve to be counted as virtues? Even further, is there really no set of distinct and separate virtuous qualities at all, but at bottom only a single one—so that the person who has this single condition of “virtue” is entitled also to the further descriptions “honest” and “well-controlled” and “just” and “friendly” and “courageous” and “fostering” and “supportive,” and so on, as distinguishable aspects or immediate effects of his unitary “virtue”? (shrink)
I develop a Latin Social model of the Trinity that is an extension of my previous article on indexicals and the Trinity. I focus on the theological desideratum of the necessity of the divine persons’ unity of action. After giving my account of this, I compare it with Swinburne’s and Hasker’s social models and Leftow’s non-social model. I argue that their accounts of the divine persons’ unity of action are theologically unsatisfactory and that this unsatisfactoriness derives from a (...) modern conception of personhood according to which distinct and incommunicable intellectual acts and volitional acts are necessary conditions for one’s being a person. I argue that the Latin Social model is preferable to the modern-personhood models because it is simpler in explanatory economy with regard to securing the necessity of the divine persons’ unity of action. (shrink)
The Dead Donor Rule holds that removing organs from a living human being without their consent is wrongful killing. The rule still prevails in most countries, and I assume it without argument in order to pose the question: is it possible to have a metaphysically correct, clinically relevant analysis of human death that makes organ donation possible? I argue that the two dominant criteria of death, brain death and circulatory death, are both empirically and metaphysically inadequate as definitions of human (...) death, and therefore of no epistemic value in themselves. I first set out a neo-Aristotelian theory of death as separation of soul and body, which is then fleshed out as loss of organismic integrity. The brain and circulatory criteria are shown to have severe weaknesses as physiological manifestations of loss of integrity. Given the mismatch between what death is metaphysically speaking, and the dominant criteria accepted by clinicians and philosophers, it turns out that only actual bodily decomposition is a sure sign of death. In this I differ from Alan Shewmon, whose important work I discuss in detail. (shrink)
Studies of Plato’s metaphysics have tended to emphasise either the radical change between the early Theory of Forms and the late doctrines of the Timaeus and the Sophist, or to insist on a unity of approach that is unchanged throughout Plato’s career. The author lays out an alternative approach. Focussing on two metaphysical doctrines of central importance to Plato’s thought – the Theory of Forms and the doctrine of Being and Becoming – he suggests a continuous progress can be (...) traced through Plato’s works. He presents his argument through an examination of the metaphysical sections of six of the dialogues: the Euthyphro, Phaedo, Republic, Parmenides, Timaeus, and Sophist. (shrink)
In "The Disunity of Consciousness," Gerard O'Brien and Jon Opie argue that human consciousness is not synchronically unified. They suggest that the orthodox conception of the unity of consciousness admits of two readings, neither of which they find persuasive. According to them, "a conscious individual does not have a single consciousness, but several distinct phenomenal consciousnesses, at least one for each of the senses, running in parallel." They call this conception of consciousness the _multi-track account. I make three points (...) in reply: (1) O'Brien and Opie's characterization of the orthodox conception of the unity of consciousness is problematic; (2) their arguments in support of the multitrack account are unpersuasive; and (3) the phenomenon of intersensory integration suggests that O'Brien and Opie are wrong to claim that "the only sense in which it is correct to talk of a 'unified' consciousness (...) is that in which the representational contents of the various components coincide.". (shrink)
A careful reading of the initial posing of the issue to be debated with Protagoras and of its subsequent restatement when the debate resumes after a break will show that Socrates employs three distinct formulae, only the first of which answers at all closely to the term "Unity of the Virtues" which has been commonly used in the scholarly literature as a label for the position which Socrates upholds in the debate. The other two formulae, perfectly distinguishable from the (...) first, I shall call the "Similarity" and "Biconditionality" Theses. I shall discuss the three Theses seriatim. But let me emphasize from the start that they are not treated in the text as logically disjoint tenets, but as successive moments in the elucidation of a single doctrine. That is how Protagoras himself understands them. At no point does he try to drive a wedge between them or play off one against another. He accepts them as complementary expressions of a theory which he rejects and combats as a whole. (shrink)
Plato's "laches" is an investigation into the nature of courage with the intention of demonstrating the difficulty of singling out one virtue, namely courage, and defining it separately from the other cardinal virtues such as bravery, wisdom, justice, temperance, and piety. As the dialogue proceeds it becomes evident that socrates not only relates courage with the battlefield, but also with other spheres of life. Of special interest is his reference of being courageous regarding desires and pleasures where an overlap of (...) virtues is anticipated. This extension of the range of manifestations of courage indicates that his conception of courage transcends the traditional one in which he hints at a new sort of unity of courage and temperance, and on the other of courage and justice. One of plato's main aims in writing this dialogue was to mark out the intellectual limits of the two generals' positions, especially that of nicias, whose philosophical position could appear to be deceptively similar to the socratic one which he did not fully understand. (shrink)
Stauffer demonstrates the complex unity of Plato's Gorgias through a careful analysis of the dialogue's three main sections. This includes Socrates' famous argumentative duel with Callicles, a passionate critic of justice and philosophy, showing how the seemingly disparate themes of rhetoric, justice and the philosophic life are woven together into a coherent whole. His interpretation of the Gorgias sheds new light on Plato's thought, showing that Plato and Socrates had a more favourable view of rhetoric than is usually supposed. (...) Stauffer also challenges common assumptions concerning the character and purpose of some of Socrates' most famous claims about justice. Written as a close study of the Gorgias, Stauffer also treats broad questions concerning Plato's moral and political psychology and uncovers the view of the relationship between philosophy and politics that guided Plato as he wrote his dialogues. (shrink)
Plato's later dialogue, the Sophist, is deemed one of the greatest works in the history of philosophy, but scholars have been shy of confronting the central problem of the dialogue. For Plato, defining the sophist is the basic philosophical problem: any inquirer must face the 'sophist within us' in order to secure the very possibility of dialogue, and of philosophy, against sophistic counterattack. Examining the connection between the large and difficult philosophical issues discussed in the Sophist in relation to the (...) basic problem of defining the sophist, Dr Notomi shows how Plato struggles with and solves all these problems in a single line of inquiry. His interpretation of the whole dialogue finally reveals how the philosopher should differ from the sophist. (shrink)