This paper is concerned with the notion of ambiguity—or what I shall refer to more generally as homonymy—and its bearing upon various familiar puzzles about intensional contexts. It would hardly of course be a novel claim that the unravelling of such puzzles may well involve recourse to something like ambiguity. After all, Frege, who bequeathed to us one of the most enduring of the puzzles, proposed as part of his solution an analysis of intensional contexts according to which all expressions (...) change their sense when embedded in such contexts. And many contemporary philosophers who have discussed the puzzles, while not perhaps endorsing Frege's own somewhat extreme view, nevertheless take ambiguities in the contained sentences to be the key to the puzzles. In this paper, however, I wish to follow those who take the crucial source of homonymy, at least in the most difficult of the puzzles, to lie primarily not in the embedded sentences, but rather in the intensional verbs that embed them. I begin with a brief examination of certain aspects of ambiguity and homonymy. (shrink)
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Introduction: -/- It is likely that Boethius (480-524ce) inaugurates, in Latin Christian theology, the consideration of personhood as such. In the Treatise Against Eutyches and Nestorius Boethius gives a well-known definition of personhood according to genus and difference(s): a person is an individual substance of a rational nature. Personhood is predicated only of individual rational substances. This chapter situates Boethius in relation to significant Christian theologians before and after him, and the way in which his definition of personhood is a (...) particular answer to the question, “Jesus has two natures, a divine nature and a human nature, but is one what?” Among Greek (and Syriac) speaking theologians, the typical answer is that Jesus is one ‘hypostasis’. Among Latin speaking theologians, the typical answer is that Jesus is one ‘persona’. It is Boethius’s definition of ‘persona’ that inaugurates personhood as such in Latin speaking theology. Although the Greek and Syriac theologians that I survey come close to a concept of personhood as a distinct category, they do not have such a concept and did not need it for their theological purposes. I show that Rusticus the Deacon is an early witness to this Latin theological invention, and also show that for later Latin theologians, the rationality condition for personhood does very little metaphysical work for their Trinitarian theology or Christology. -/- Further, this chapter surveys Patristic and Medieval Christian theologians’ answers to the question, “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are one God, but each is one what?” The same replies as above are typically given by Christian theologians. These two theological questions frame the discussion about personhood (and ‘hypostasis’) and put a boundary around what a satisfying account of personhood (and ‘hypostasis’) would be. -/- In contemporary philosophy, there is a lot of attention paid to the rationality condition for personhood. But if we look at the text in which Boethius defines a person, we do not find any precise criteria for it. In other texts, he says that a rational being is one compatible with (capable of) thought and free choice of the will. What we find is that detailed discussion of personhood shows up in theological questions about the Trinity and Incarnation, but not in e.g., applied ethics. The intrusion of personhood into contemporary applied ethics with a focus on detailed and disputed criteria for rationality as a condition for personhood seems to be a modern development. From a Patristic and Medieval Christian theology point of view, trying to find just the right detailed criteria for rationality in order to define personhood is a wild goose chase. This chapter makes clear another contribution that Christian theology had for personhood. Given the theological issues at play in developing a notion of personhood, Christian theologians came to posit that e.g., an individual human is a person contingently (i.e. not essentially), but God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are each a person essentially. The contingency for created persons is not based on whether e.g., an individual human has conscious acts (as might be the case for John Locke) but on the possibility of a divine person’s assuming e.g., an individual human nature. -/- This sampling of Christian intellectual history spans over one thousand years. I make no claim of being exhaustive. The chapter consists of six sections, where each section covers significant historical conversation partners who together represent the sorts of things that Patristic and Medieval Christian theologians where concerned with in theorizing about ‘persona’ or ‘hypostasis’. -/- 1. Origen of Alexandria and the Cappadocians: Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa 2. Miaphysites: Severus of Antioch, John Philoponus, and Peter of Callinicum 3. Boethius and Rusticus the Deacon: Rationality, Subsistence, and the Invention of Personhood 4. Neo-Chalcedonians (II): Leontius of Byzantium 5. Scholastic Neo-Chalcedonians (I): Gilbert of Poitiers, Richard of St. Victor, William of Auxerre, Alexander of Hales, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, and William of Ware 6. Scholastic Neo-Chalcedonians (II): Henry of Ghent, John Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham . (shrink)
It would not be an exaggeration to say that pluralism was central to the philosophical thought of William James. Repeatedly, James claimed that the difference between monism and pluralism was the "most pregnant" in philosophy.1 Radical empiricism, James's distinctive metaphysical vision, was first introduced as the view that pluralism was a plausible hypothesis about the permanent state of the world, and this pluralism continued to be a central feature of his philosophy in later years.2The assertion that pluralism was a (...) valid philosophical hypothesis was not merely theoretical, but practical. James often connected pluralism with democracy, and monism with "despotism" (James... (shrink)
Since the term ‘pragmatism’ was first coined, there have been debates about who is or is not a ‘real’ pragmatist, and what that might mean. The division most often drawn in contemporary pragmatist scholarship is between William James and Charles Peirce. Peirce is said to present a version of pragmatism which is scientific, logical and objective about truth, whereas James presents a version which is nominalistic, subjectivistic and leads to relativism. The first person to set out this division was (...) in fact Peirce himself, when he distinguished his own ‘pragmaticism’ from the broad pragmatism of James and others. Peirce sets out six criteria which defines ‘pragmaticism’: the pragmatic maxim; a number of ‘preliminary propositions’; prope-positivism; metaphysical inquiry; critical common-sensism; and scholastic realism. This paper sets out to argue that in fact James meets each of these criteria, and should be seen as a ‘pragmaticist’ by Peirce’s own lights. (shrink)