The rubric “The Late Derrida,” with all puns and ambiguities cheerfully intended, points to the late work of Jacques Derrida, the vast outpouring of new writing by and about him in the period roughly from 1994 to 2004. In this period Derrida published more than he had produced during his entire career up to that point. At the same time, this volume deconstructs the whole question of lateness and the usefulness of periodization. It calls into question the “fact” of his (...) turn to politics, law, and ethics and highlights continuities throughout his oeuvre. The scholars included here write of their understandings of Derrida’s newest work and how it impacts their earlier understandings of such classic texts as Glas and Of Grammatology . Some have been closely associated with Derrida since the beginning—both in France and in the United States—but none are Derrideans. That is, this volume is a work of critique and a deep and continued engagement with the thought of one of the most significant philosophers of our time. It represents a recognition that Derrida’s work has yet to be addressed—and perhaps can never be addressed—in its totality. (shrink)
G. E. Moore famously observed that to assert ‘I went to the pictures last Tuesday but I do not believe that I did’ would be ‘absurd’. Moore calls it a ‘paradox’ that this absurdity persists despite the fact that what I say about myself might be true. Krista Lawlor and John Perry have proposed an explanation of the absurdity that confines itself to semantic notions while eschewing pragmatic ones. We argue that this explanation faces four objections. We give a (...) better explanation of the absurdity both in assertion and in belief that avoids our four objections. (shrink)
G. E. Moore observed that to assert, 'I went to the pictures last Tuesday but I don't believe that I did' would be 'absurd'. Over half a century later, such sayings continue to perplex philosophers. In the definitive treatment of the famous paradox, Green and Williams explain its history and relevance and present new essays by leading thinkers in the area.
Famously, Aristotle in his discussion of friendship in Books 8 and 9 of the Nicomachaean Ethics (EN) introduces a tripartite distinction in friendship. Friendships are either friendships of pleasure or of utility or of character. This typology has struck a responsive chord among many other writers on friendship. Nevertheless it is our contention that there is a fourth important category of friendship that has been overlooked in the philosophical literature. We call this fourth category, asymmetrical friendship. Asymmetrical friendships do not (...) fit the Aristotelian tripartite classification in that they are not friendships of pleasure or of utility nor are they recognizably what Aristotle means by character friendship even though they may hold much in common in various ways with character friendship. We will have little to say about friendships of pleasure or utility. Instead we will elucidate our fourth category of asymmetrical friendships in contradistinction to Aristotle’s notion of character friendships. Aristotle thinks that character friendships are neither friendships of pleasure nor utility but instead are ones in which the friends care for each other for their own sakes. We show that the tradition of Aristotelian thinking requires character friendship to be symmetrical in various ways that we will explain soon. In contrast we argue that asymmetrical friendships are also not friendships of pleasure or utility but like character friendships are ones in which the friends care for each other for their own sakes. Such friendships appear especially valuable to us in the phenomenology of our lives. Thus they are unlike friendships of pleasure or utility that may also be asymmetrical in various ways. And they are therefore also unlike Aristotle’s symmetrical and certainly valuable character friendships that seldom appear at all in our imperfect lives lived as they are in an imperfect world. (shrink)
In this paper, we aim to clarify and evaluate the contention that immortality would be necessarily boring . It will emerge that, just as there are various importantly different kinds of immortality, there are various distinct kinds of boredom. To evaluate the Necessary Boredom Thesis, we need to specify the kind of immortality and the kind of boredom. We argue against the thesis, on various specifications of “immortality” and “boredom.”.
In this ambitious study, Alexander W. Hall examines the two preeminent figures of the golden age of natural theology: Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus. Hall is not so much concerned with retracing particular proofs of the existence of God and derivations of the divine attributes—well-worn paths in discussions of medieval natural theology—as with investigating the larger philosophical issues that are raised by the project of natural theology, such as the nature of scientia and demonstrative arguments, and accounts (...) of signification and the meaningfulness of theological discourse.Hall's opening chapter offers an overview of natural theology in the High Middle Ages, summarizing the conclusions he will defend at greater length over the course of the book. In chapter 2 Hall relies primarily on Aquinas's commentary on the Posterior Analytics to get clear on his account of scientia, or scientific knowledge. "For Aquinas," Hall writes,"paradigmatic scientia is the result of syllogistic reasoning . . . Syllogisms productive of scientia use either real or nominal definitions as their middle, and thus the conclusion tells us what belongs to the subject through itself or per se". (shrink)
Although Thomas, Scotus, and Ockham are all broadly Aristotelian, their different Aristotelian accounts reflect underlying disagreements in these three areas. These trends may represent a shift from an earlier to a later medieval intellectual culture, but they also reflect views that continued to exist in different schools. Thomists continued to exist alongside Scotists through the end of the eighteenth century, and Ockham’s views had a more varied but continued influence through the modern period. The different views of Thomas, (...) Scotus, and Ockham are not only in themselves plausible attempts at understanding human action, but they formed the background to late medieval and early modern descriptions of human action. (shrink)
Even amongst those with only a cursory knowledge of the moral philosophy of John Duns Scotus, the association of Scotus's thought with voluntarism is well known. Next to his much-discussed, highly controversial theory of the univocity of being, Scotus's ethical thought, particularly his interpretation of the role of God's will in dictating moral norms, remains one of the most disputed – and arguably most misunderstood – areas of his philosophical synthesis. As Efrem Bettoni noted many years ago, Scotus's understanding (...) of the relationship between the divine will and the created moral order is one of the 'most badly treated' areas of his thought. Not surprisingly, therefore, no general consensus has emerged... (shrink)
An experimental, conceptually driven foray into the Patrician field, Ireland’s ubiquitous national apostle – a former captive – is utilised as a vehicle through which to explore a trinity of salient and interrelated themes within the Catholic and Protestant hinterlands of the Irish imagination: visions of imprisonment; of the island; and of imperialism. The reader is guided through aspects of Patrician literature, visits the island’s hallowed Patrician shrines, and is thus shown Purgatory. Insights into the imaginations exhibited by a range (...) of influential Irish ideologues and intellectuals – Gerry Adams; J.B. Bury; John Hume; Eóin MacNeill; Michael McCarthy; John Mitchel; Peadar O’Donnell; Tomás Ó Fiaich; John Ryan; William Ryan; Ian Paisley; Patrick Pearse; Oscar Wilde – are generated. The cognitive (and conspicuously Platonic) terraforming of the prison-cell into an island, and of the island into a giant prison – of either British or Vatican construction – that recurs in much Irish political thought and reflection, is observed. The concluding section involves historiographical reflection: Bury’s, and by extension St. Patrick’s, influence with regards the development of the discipline of Irish history is highlighted. That the island exhibits a distinctive intellectual micro-climate, one in which visions of Patrick act as a formidable ideological force, is implicit throughout. (shrink)
Thomas Williams presents the most extensive collection of John Duns Scotus's work on ethics and moral psychology available in English. This accessible and philosophically informed translation includes extended discussions on divine and human freedom, the moral attributes of God, and the relationship between will and intellect.
This book is a collection of secondary essays on America's most important philosophic thinkers—statesmen, judges, writers, educators, and activists—from the colonial period to the present. Each essay is a comprehensive introduction to the thought of a noted American on the fundamental meaning of the American regime.
There are two general routes that Augustine suggests in De Trinitate, XV, 14-16, 23-25, for a psychological account of the Father's intellectual generation of the Word. Thomas Aquinas and Henry of Ghent, in their own ways, follow the first route; John Duns Scotus follows the second. Aquinas, Henry, and Scotus's psychological accounts entail different theological opinions. For example, Aquinas (but neither Henry nor Scotus) thinks that the Father needs the Word to know the divine essence. If we compare (...) the theological views entailed by their psychologies we find a trajectory from Aquinas, through Henry, and ending with Scotus. This theological trajectory falsifies a judgment that every Augustinian psychology of the divine persons amounts to a pre-Nicene functional Trinitarianism. This study makes clear how one's awareness of the theological views entailed by these psychologies enables one to assess more thoroughly psychological accounts of the identity and distinction of the divine persons. (shrink)
John Duns Scotus (1265/66-1308) was one of the most important and influential philosophertheologians of the High Middle Ages. His brilliantly complex and nuanced thought, which earned him the nickname "the Subtle Doctor," left a mark on discussions of such disparate topics as the semantics of religious language, the problem of universals, divine illumination, and the nature of human freedom. This essay first lays out what is known about Scotus's life and the dating of his works. It then offers an (...) overview of some of his key positions in four main areas of philosophy: natural theology, metaphysics, the theory of knowledge, and ethics and moral psychology. (shrink)
Basic issues in the recent ‘death-of-God’ movement can be illuminated by comparison and contrast with the relevant ideas of two American philosophers, John Dewey and William James. Dewey is an earlier spokesman for ideas that are central to the ‘radical theology’ of Thomas J. J. Altizer, William Hamilton, and Paul Van Buren. His reasons for rejecting theism closely resemble propositions maintained by these ‘death-of-God’ theologians. James, on the other hand, points toward a theological alternative. He takes (...) cognizance of ideas similar to those in the ‘radical theology’, but he does not opt for either a metaphorical or real elimination of God. Thus, the contentions of this paper are that there has been a version of the ‘death-of-God’ perspective in American thought before, and that there are resources in the American tradition that suggest a viable option to this perspective. (shrink)
In this essay, I examine the structure and language of More's letter to William Gonell, the tutor to More's children, so as to understand what More takes to be most important in the education of his children. Indeed, the circumstances of the letter's composition suggest that More writes in reply to Gonell's objection to More's educational directives. More's reply from court suggests that he viewed Gonell's opposition as a family crisis that required More to articulate his fundamental principles of (...) humanist education. (shrink)