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Many significant problems in metaphysics are tied to ontological questions, but ontology and its relation to larger questions in metaphysics give rise to a series of puzzles that suggest that we don't fully understand what ontology is supposed to do, nor what ambitions metaphysics can have for finding out about what the world is like. Thomas Hofweber aims to solve these puzzles about ontology and consequently to make progress on four metaphysical debates tied to ontology: the philosophy of arithmetic, the metaphysics of ordinary objects, the problem of universals, and the question of whether the fact-like aspect of reality is independent of us. Crucial parts of the proposed solution involve considerations about quantification and its relationship to ontology, the place of reference in natural languages, the relationship between syntactic form and focus, whether there could be any ineffable facts, and others. Overall, Hofweber defends a rationalist account of arithmetic, an empiricist picture in the philosophy of ordinary objects, a restricted from of nominalism, and realism about reality, understood as all there is, but idealism about reality, understood as all that is the case. He defends metaphysics as having some questions of fact that are distinctly its own, with a limited form of autonomy from other parts of inquiry, but rejects several metaphysical projects and approaches as being based on a mistake.
Brian Skyrms presents a set of influential essays on the nature of quantity, probability, coherence, and induction. The first part explores the nature of quantity and includes essays on tractarian nominalism, combinatorial possibility, and coherence. Part Two proceeds to examine coherent updating of degrees of belief in various learning situations. Finally, in Part Three, Skyrms develops an account of aspects of inductive reasoning, which proceeds from specific problems to general considerations. These essays span the breadth of Skyrms's illustrious career and will be essential reading for scholars and advanced students in philosophy of science and formal epistemology.
Half an hour after swallowing the drug I became aware of a slow dance of golden lights . . .
Among the most profound explorations of the effects of mind-expanding drugs ever written, here are two complete classic books--The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell--in which Aldous Huxley, author of the bestselling Brave New World, reveals the mind's remote frontiers and the unmapped areas of human consciousness. This new edition also features an additional essay, "Drugs That Shape Men's Minds," which is now included for the first time.
Metaphysics is one of the traditional four main branches of philosophy, alongside ethics, logic and epistemology. It is also an area that continues to attract and hold a fascination for many people yet it is associated with being complex and abstract. For some it is associated with the mystical or religious. For others it is known through the metaphysical poets who talk of love and spirituality. This Very Short Introduction goes right to the heart of the matter, getting to the basic and most important questions of metaphysical thought in order to understand the theory: What are objects? Do colours and shapes have some form of existence? What is it for one thing to cause another rather than just being associated with it? What is possible? Does time pass? By using these questions to initiate thought about the basic issues around substance, properties, changes, causes, possibilities, time, personal identity, nothingness and emergentism, Stephen Mumford provides a clear and simple path through this analytical tradition at the core of philosophical thought. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Quantum theory launched a revolution in physics. But we have yet to understand the revolution's significance for philosophy. Richard Healey opens a path to such understanding. Most studies of the conceptual foundations of quantum theory first try to interpret the theory - to say how the world could possibly be the way the theory says it is. But, though fundamental, quantum theory is enormously successful without describing the world in its own terms. When properly applied, models of quantum theory offer good advice on the significance and credibility of claims about the world expressed in other terms. This first philosophical lesson of the quantum revolution dissolves the quantum measurement problem. Pragmatist treatments of probability and causation show how quantum theory may be used to explain the non-localized correlations that have been thought to involve "spooky" instantaneous action at a distance. Given environmental decoherence, a pragmatist inferentialist approach to content shows when talk of quantum probabilities is licensed, resolves any residual worries about whether a quantum measurement has a determinate outcome, and solves a dilemma about the ontology of a quantum field theory. This approach to meaning and reference also reveals the nature and limits of objective description in the light of quantum theory. While these pragmatist approaches to probability, causation, explanation and content may be independently motivated by philosophical argument, their successful application here illustrates their practical importance in helping philosophers come to terms with the quantum revolution.
In Defense of Extended Conciliar Christology: A Philosophical Essay examines the logical consistency and coherence of Extended Conciliar Christology-the Christological doctrine that results from conjoining Conciliar Christology, the Christology of the first seven ecumenical councils of the Christian Church, with five additional theses. These theses are the claims that multiple incarnations are possible; Christ descended into Hell during his three days of death; Christ's human will was free; Christ was impeccable; and that Christ, via his human intellect, knew all things past, present, and future. These five theses, while not found in the first seven ecumenical councils, are common in the Christian theological tradition. The main question Timothy Pawl asks in this book is whether these five theses, when conjoined with Conciliar Christology, imply a contradiction. This study does not undertake to defend the truth of Extended Conciliar Christology. Rather, it shows that the extant philosophical objections to Extended Conciliar Christology fail.
Actuality and potentiality, substantial form and prime matter, efficient causality and teleology are among the fundamental concepts of Aristotelian philosophy of nature. Aristotles Revenge argues that these concepts are not only compatible with modern science, but are implicitly presupposed by modern science. Among the many topics covered are the metaphysical presuppositions of scientific method; the status of scientific realism; the metaphysics of space and time; the metaphysics of quantum mechanics; reductionism in chemistry and biology; the metaphysics of evolution; and neuroscientific reductionism. The book interacts heavily with the literature on these issues in contemporary analytic metaphysics and philosophy of science, so as to bring contemporary philosophy and science into dialogue with the Aristotelian tradition.
In this book, Masooda Bano presents an in-depth analysis of a new movement that is transforming the way that young Muslims engage with their religion. Led by a network of Islamic scholars in the West, this movement seeks to revive the tradition of Islamic rationalism. Bano explains how, during the period of colonial rule, the exit of Muslim elites from madrasas, the Islamic scholarly establishments, resulted in a stagnation of Islamic scholarship. This trend is now being reversed. Exploring the threefold focus on logic, metaphysics, and deep mysticism, Bano shows how Islamic rationalism is consistent with Sunni orthodoxy and why it is so popular among young, elite, educated Muslims, who are now engaging with classical Islamic texts. One of the most tangible results of this revival is that Islamic rationalism - rather than jihadism - is emerging as one of the most influential movements in the contemporary Muslim world.
The starting point for this book is a particular answer to a question that grips many of us: what kind of thing are we? The particular answer is that we are animals (of a certain sort)-a view nowadays called 'animalism'. This answer will appear obvious to many but on the whole philosophers have rejected it. Paul F. Snowdon proposes, contrary to that attitude, that there are strong reasons to believe animalism and that when properly analysed the objections against it that philosophers have given are not convincing. One way to put the idea is that we should not think of ourselves as things that need psychological states or capacities to exist, any more that other animals do. The initial chapters analyse the content and general philosophical implications of animalism-including the so-called problem of personal identity, and that of the unity of consciousness-and they provide a framework which categorises the standard philosophical objections. Snowdon then argues that animalism is consistent with a perfectly plausible account of the central notion of a 'person', and he criticises the accounts offered by John Locke and by David Wiggins of that notion. In the two next chapters Snowdon argues that there are very strong reasons to think animalism is true, and proposes some central claims about animal which are relevant to the argument. In the rest of the book the task is to formulate and to persuade the reader of the lack of cogency of the standard philosophical objections, including the conviction that it is possible for the animal that I would be if animalism were true to continue in existence after I have ceased to exist, and the argument that it is possible for us to remain in existence even when the animal has ceased to exist. In considering these types of objections the views of various philosophers, including Nagel, Shoemaker, Johnston, Wilkes, and Olson, are also explored. Snowdon concludes that animalism represents a highly commonsensical and defensible way of thinking about ourselves, and that its rejection by philosophers rests on the tendency when doing philosophy to mistake fantasy for reality.
This book is the first comprehensive attempt to explain Ibn 'Arabi's distinctive view of time and its role in the process of creating the cosmos and its relation with the Creator. By comparing this original view with modern theories of physics and cosmology, Mohamed Haj Yousef constructs a new cosmological model that may deepen and extend our understanding of the world, while potentially solving some of the drawbacks in the current models such as the historical Zeno's paradoxes of motion and the recent Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox (EPR) that underlines the discrepancies between Quantum Mechanics and Relativity.
The Quality of Life: Aristotle Revised presents a philosophical theory about the constituents of human well-being. The principal idea is that what Aristotle calls 'external goods' - wealth, reputation, power - have at most an indirect bearing on the quality of our lives. Starting with Aristotle's thoughts about this topic, Kraut increasingly modifies (and occasionally rejects) that stance. He argues that the way in which we experience the world is what well-being consists in. A good internal life comprises, in part, pleasure but far more valuable is the quality of our emotional, intellectual, social, and perceptual experiences. These offer the potential for a richer and deeper quality of life than that which is available to many other animals. A good human life is immeasurably better than that of a simple creature that feels only the pleasures of nourishment; even if it felt pleasure for millions of years, human life would be superior. In opposition to contemporary discussions of well-being, which often appeal to a thought experiment devised by Robert Nozick, Kraut concludes that the quality of our lives consists entirely in the quality of our experiences. While others hold that we must live in 'the real world' to live well and that one's interior life has little or no value on its own, Kraut's interpretation of this thought experiment supports the opposite conclusion.
This is an open access title available under the terms of a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International licence. It is free to read at Oxford Scholarship Online and offered as a free PDF download from OUP and selected open access locations. We need to understand the impossible. Francesco Berto and Mark Jago start by considering what the concepts of meaning, information, knowledge, belief, fiction, conditionality, and counterfactual supposition have in common. They are all concepts which divide the world up more finely than logic does. Logically equivalent sentences may carry different meanings and information and may differ in how they're believed. Fictions can be inconsistent yet meaningful. We can suppose impossible things without collapsing into total incoherence. Yet for the leading philosophical theories of meaning, these phenomena are an unfathomable mystery. To understand these concepts, we need a metaphysical, logical, and conceptual grasp of situations that could not possibly exist: Impossible Worlds. This book discusses the metaphysics of impossible worlds and applies the concept to a range of central topics and open issues in logic, semantics, and philosophy. It considers problems in the logic of knowledge, the meaning of alternative logics, models of imagination and mental simulation, the theory of information, truth in fiction, the meaning of conditional statements, and reasoning about the impossible. In all these cases, impossible worlds have an essential role to play.
This book provides a fresh reading of Aquinas' metaphysics in the light of insights from the works of Frege. In particular, Ventimiglia argues that Aquinas' doctrine of being can be better understood through Frege's distinction between the 'there is' sense and the 'present actuality' sense of being, as interpreted by Peter Geach and Anthony Kenny. Aquinas' notion of essence becomes clearer in the light of Frege's distinction between objects and concepts and his account of concepts as functions. Aquinas' doctrine of trancendentals is clarified with the help of Frege's accounts of assertion and negation. Aquinas after Frege provides us with a new Aquinas, which pays attention to his texts and their historical context. Ventimiglia's development of 'British Thomism' furnishes us with a lucid and exciting re-reading of Aquinas' metaphysics.
Bernard Bolzano (1781-1850) is increasingly recognized as one of the greatest nineteenth-century philosophers. A philosopher and mathematician of rare talent, he made ground-breaking contributions to logic, the foundations and philosophy of mathematics, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion. Many of the larger features of later analytic philosophy (but also many of the details) first appear in his work: for example, the separation of logic from psychology, his sophisticated understanding of mathematical proof, his definition of logical consequence, his work on the semantics of natural kind terms, or his anticipations of Cantor's set theory, to name but a few. To his contemporaries, however, he was best known as an intelligent and determined advocate for reform of Church and State. Based in large part on a carefully argued utilitarian practical philosophy, he developed a program for the non-violent reform of the authoritarian institutions of the Hapsburg Empire, a program which he himself helped to set in motion through his teaching and other activities. Rarely has a philosopher had such a great impact on the political culture of his homeland. Persecuted in his lifetime by secular and ecclesiastical authorities, long ignored or misunderstood by philosophers, Bolzano's reputation has nevertheless steadily increased over the past century and a half. Much discussed and respected in Central Europe for over a century, he is finally beginning to receive the recognition he deserves in the English-speaking world. This book provides a comprehensive and detailed critical introduction to Bolzano, covering both his life and works.
Samuel C. Rickless presents a novel interpretation of the thought of George Berkeley. In A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710) and Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous (1713), Berkeley argues for the astonishing view that physical objects (such as tables and chairs) are nothing but collections of ideas (idealism); that there is no such thing as material substance (immaterialism); that abstract ideas are impossible (anti-abstractionism); and that an idea can be like nothing but an idea (the likeness principle). It is a matter of great controversy what Berkeley's argument for idealism is and whether it succeeds. Most scholars believe that the argument is based on immaterialism, anti-abstractionism, or the likeness principle. In Berkeley's Argument for Idealism, Rickless argues that Berkeley distinguishes between two kinds of abstraction, 'singling' abstraction and 'generalizing' abstraction; that his argument for idealism depends on the impossibility of singling abstraction but not on the impossibility of generalizing abstraction; and that the argument depends neither on immaterialism nor the likeness principle. According to Rickless, the heart of the argument for idealism rests on the distinction between mediate and immediate perception, and in particular on the thesis that everything that is perceived by means of the senses is immediately perceived. After analyzing the argument, Rickless concludes that it is valid and may well be sound. This is Berkeley's most enduring philosophical legacy.
What is reality, really? Are humans more special or important than the non-human objects we perceive? How does this change the way we understand the world? We humans tend to believe that things are only real in as much as we perceive them, an idea reinforced by modern philosophy, which privileges us as special, radically different in kind from all other objects. But as Graham Harman, one of the theory's leading exponents, shows, Object-Oriented Ontology rejects the idea of human specialness: the world, he states, is clearly not the world as manifest to humans. At the heart of this philosophy is the idea that objects - whether real, fictional, natural, artificial, human or non-human - are mutually autonomous. In this brilliant new introduction, Graham Harman lays out the history, ideas and impact of Object-Oriented Ontology, taking in everything from art and literature, politics and natural science along the way. Graham Harman is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at SCI-Arc, Los Angeles. A key figure in the contemporary speculative realism movement in philosophy and for his development of the field of object-oriented ontology, he was named by Art Review magazine as one of the 100 most influential figures in international art.
Propositions has two main goals. The first is to show that there are propositions. The second is to defend an account of their nature. While pursuing these goals, Trenton Merricks draws a variety of controversial conclusions about related issues, including, among others, supervaluationism, the nature of possible worlds, truths about non-existent entities, and whether and how logical consequence depends on modal facts. An argument is modally valid just in case, necessarily, if its premises are true, then its conclusion is true. Propositions begins with the assumption that some arguments are modally valid. Merricks then argues that the premises and conclusions of modally valid arguments are not sentences. Instead, he argues, they are propositions. So, because there are modally valid arguments, there are propositions. Merricks defends the claim that propositions are not structured and are not sets of possible worlds. He thereby presents arguments against the two leading accounts of the nature of propositions. Those arguments are intended not only to oppose those accounts, but also to deliver conclusions about what a satisfactory account of the nature of propositions should say. Of particular importance in this regard are arguments concerning the alleged explanations of how a set of possible worlds or a structured proposition would manage to represent thing as being a certain way. Merricks then defends his own account of the nature of propositions, which says only that each proposition is a necessary existent that essentially represents things as being a certain way.
Death has long been a pre-occupation of philosophers, and this is especially so today. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Death collects 21 newly commissioned essays that cover current philosophical thinking of death-related topics across the entire range of the discipline. These include metaphysical topics-such as the nature of death, the possibility of an afterlife, the nature of persons, and how our thinking about time affects what we think about death-as well as axiological topics, such as whether death is bad for its victim, what makes it bad to die, what attitude it is fitting to take towards death, the possibility of posthumous harm, and the desirability of immortality. The contributors also explore the views of ancient philosophers such as Aristotle, Plato and Epicurus on topics related to the philosophy of death, and questions in normative ethics, such as what makes killing wrong when it is wrong, and whether it is wrong to kill fetuses, non-human animals, combatants in war, and convicted murderers. With chapters written by a wide range of experts in metaphysics, ethics, and conceptual analysis, and designed to give the reader a comprehensive view of recent developments in the philosophical study of death, this Handbook will appeal to a broad audience in philosophy, particularly in ethics and metaphysics.
Proclus' commentary on Plato's dialogue Timaeus is arguably the most important commentary on a text of Plato, offering unparalleled insights into eight centuries of Platonic interpretation. It has had an enormous influence on subsequent Plato scholarship. This edition offers the first new English translation of the work for nearly two centuries, building on significant recent advances in scholarship on Neoplatonic commentators. It provides an invaluable record of early interpretations of Plato's dialogue, while also presenting Proclus' own views on the meaning and significance of Platonic philosophy. The present volume, the fifth in the edition, presents Proclus' commentary on the Timaeus, dealing with Proclus' account of static and flowing time; we see Proclus situating Plato's account of the motions of the stars and planets in relation to the astronomical theories of his day. The volume includes a substantial introduction, as well as notes that will shed new light on the text.
This book identifies and expands upon the link between ontology and education, exposing a lack of ontological inquiry as the vital missing element in the study and practice of modern education today. In this book, Roy aims to reintroduce ontological thinking and reasoning that grounds historical and modern educational understandings and practice. Beginning with a historical perspective, he then turns to examine the results of his scholarship into practical concerns of education such as language, dialogue, and curriculum: ultimately proposing a new way forward emphasizing a balance in the education effort between epistemic content and ontological disclosure.
In this imaginative and comprehensive study, Edward Casey, one of the most incisive interpreters of the Continental philosophical tradition, offers a philosophical history of the evolving conceptualizations of place and space in Western thought. Not merely a presentation of the ideas of other philosophers, "The Fate of Place" is acutely sensitive to silences, absences, and missed opportunities in the complex history of philosophical approaches to space and place. A central theme is the increasing neglect of place in favor of space from the seventh century A.D. onward, amounting to the virtual exclusion of place by the end of the eighteenth century. Casey begins with mythological and religious creation stories and the theories of Plato and Aristotle and then explores the heritage of Neoplatonic, medieval, and Renaissance speculations about space. He presents an impressive history of the birth of modern spatial conceptions in the writings of Newton, Descartes, Leibniz, and Kant and delineates the evolution of twentieth-century phenomenological approaches in the work of Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Bachelard, and Heidegger. In the book's final section, Casey explores the postmodern theories of Foucault, Derrida, Tschumi, Deleuze and Guattari, and Irigaray.
Symbolism is the intuitive means of overcoming the limitations of reason.? Here Schwaller explains how true progress in human thought can be made only if we call upon the "symbolizing" faculty of intelligence, developed and refined in the temple culture of ancient Egypt and reflected in its hieroglyphs.
Published in 1918, The View of Life is Georg Simmel's final work. Famously deemed "the brightest man in Europe" by George Santayana, Simmel addressed diverse topics across his essayistic writings, which influenced scholars in aesthetics, epistemology, and sociology. Nevertheless, certain core issues emerged over the course of his career - the genesis, structure, and transcendence of social and cultural forms, and the nature and conditions of authentic individuality, including the role of mindfulness regarding mortality. Composed not long before his death, The View of Life was, Simmel wrote, his "testament," a capstone work of profound metaphysical inquiry intended to formulate his conception of life in its entirety. Now Anglophone readers can at last read in full the work that shaped the argument of Heidegger's Being and Time and whose extraordinary impact on European intellectual life between the wars was extolled by Jurgen Habermas. Presented alongside these seminal essays are aphoristic fragments from Simmel's last journal, providing a beguiling look into the mind of one of the twentieth century's greatest thinkers.
Carolina Sartorio argues that only the actual causes of our behaviour matter to our freedom. Although this simple view of freedom clashes with most theories of responsibility, including the most prominent 'actual sequence' theories currently on offer, Sartorio argues for its truth. The key, she claims, lies in a correct understanding of the role played by causation in a view of that kind. Causation has some important features that make it a responsibility-grounding relation, and this to the success of the view. Also, when agents act freely, the actual causes are richer than they appear to be at first sight; in particular, they reflect the agents' sensitivity to reasons, where this includes both the existence of actual reasons and the absence of other (counterfactual) reasons. So acting freely requires more causes and quite complex causes, as opposed to fewer causes and simpler causes, and is compatible with those causes being deterministic. The book connects two different debates, the one on causation and the one on the problem of free will, in new and illuminating ways.
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