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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.
People have always been xenophobic, but an explicit philosophical and scientific view of human racial difference only began to emerge during the modern period. Why and how did this happen? Surveying a range of philosophical and natural-scientific texts, dating from the Spanish Renaissance to the German Enlightenment, Nature, Human Nature, and Human Difference charts the evolution of the modern concept of race and shows that natural philosophy, particularly efforts to taxonomize and to order nature, played a crucial role. Smith demonstrates how the denial of moral equality between Europeans and non-Europeans resulted from converging philosophical and scientific developments, including a declining belief in human nature's universality and the rise of biological classification. The racial typing of human beings grew from the need to understand humanity within an all-encompassing system of nature, alongside plants, minerals, primates, and other animals. While racial difference as seen through science did not arise in order to justify the enslavement of people, it became a rationalization and buttress for the practices of trans-Atlantic slavery. From the work of Francois Bernier to G. W. Leibniz, Immanuel Kant, and others, Smith delves into philosophy's part in the legacy and damages of modern racism. With a broad narrative stretching over two centuries, Nature, Human Nature, and Human Difference takes a critical historical look at how the racial categories that we divide ourselves into came into being.
The choice of the basis of metaphysics is of capital importance. This basis ought to guarantee the very existence and the validity of metaphysics, while given this science at the same time its formal object and a solid foundation. But if metaphysics is bound up with the study of a universal unity or of the totality of things, and if then, our inquiry ought to be concerned with the whole, how can we determine the choice of a point of departure?
What is it to occupy a first-person stance? Is the first-personal idea one has of oneself in conflict with the idea of oneself as a physical being? How, if there is a conflict, is it to be resolved? The Self recommends a new way to approach those questions, finding inspiration in theories about consciousness and mind in first millennial India. These philosophers do not regard the first-person stance as in conflict with the natural-their idea of nature is not that of scientific naturalism, but rather a liberal naturalism non-exclusive of the normative. Jonardon Ganeri explores a wide range of ideas about the self: reflexive self-representation, mental files, and quasi-subject analyses of subjective consciousness; the theory of emergence as transformation; embodiment and the idea of a bodily self; the centrality of the emotions to the unity of self. Buddhism's claim that there is no self too readily assumes an account of what a self must be. Ganeri argues instead that the self is a negotiation between self-presentation and normative avowal, a transaction grounded in unconscious mind. Immersion, participation, and coordination are jointly constitutive of self, the first-person stance at once lived, engaged, and underwritten. And all is in harmony with the idea of the natural.
When a doctor tells you there's a one percent chance that an operation will result in your death, or a scientist claims that his theory is probably true, what exactly does that mean? Understanding probability is clearly very important, if we are to make good theoretical and practical choices. In this engaging and highly accessible introduction to the philosophy of probability, Darrell Rowbottom takes the reader on a journey through all the major interpretations of probability, with reference to real-world situations. In lucid prose, he explores the many fallacies of probabilistic reasoning, such as the 'gambler's fallacy' and the 'inverse fallacy', and shows how we can avoid falling into these traps by using the interpretations presented. He also illustrates the relevance of the interpretation of probability across disciplinary boundaries, by examining which interpretations of probability are appropriate in diverse areas such as quantum mechanics, game theory, and genetics. Using entertaining dialogues to draw out the key issues at stake, this unique book will appeal to students and scholars across philosophy, the social sciences, and the natural sciences.
Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction provides an overview of Scholastic approaches to causation, substance, essence, modality, identity, persistence, teleology, and other issues in fundamental metaphysics. The book interacts heavily with the literature on these issues in contemporary analytic metaphysics, so as to facilitate the analytic reader's understanding of Scholastic ideas and the Scholastic reader's understanding of contemporary analytic philosophy. The Aristotelian theory of actuality and potentiality provides the organizing theme, and the crucial dependence of Scholastic metaphysics on this theory is demonstrated. The book is written from a Thomistic point of view, but Scotist and Suarezian positions are treated as well where they diverge from the Thomistic position.
A Metaphysics for Freedom argues that agency itself-and not merely the special, distinctively human variety of it-is incompatible with determinism. For determinism is threatened just as surely by the existence of powers which can be unproblematically accorded to many sorts of animals, as by the distinctively human powers on which the free will debate has tended to focus. Helen Steward suggests that a tendency to approach the question of free will solely through the issue of moral responsibility has obscured the fact that there is a quite different route to incompatibilism, based on the idea that animal agents above a certain level of complexity possess a range of distinctive 'two-way' powers, not found in simpler substances. Determinism is not a doctrine of physics, but of metaphysics; and the idea that it is physics which will tell us whether our world is deterministic or not presupposes what must not be taken for granted-that is, that physics settles everything else, and that we are already in a position to say that there could be no irreducibly top-down forms of causal influence. Steward considers questions concerning supervenience, laws, and levels of explanation, and explores an outline of a variety of top-down causation which might sustain the idea that an animal itself, rather than merely events and states going on in its parts, might be able to bring something about. The resulting position permits certain important concessions to compatibilism to be made; and a convincing response is also offered to the charge that even if it is agreed that determinism is incompatible with agency, indeterminism can be of no possible help. The whole is an argument for a distinctive and resolutely non-dualistic, naturalistically respectable version of libertarianism, rooted in a conception of what biological forms of organisation might make possible in the way of freedom.
This volume presents new essays on art, mind, and narrative inspired by the work of the late Peter Goldie, who was Samuel Hall Professor of Philosophy at the University of Manchester until 2011. Its three sections cover Narrative Thinking; Emotion, Mind, and Art; and Art, Value, and Ontology. Within these sections, leading authorities in the philosophy of mind, aesthetics and the emotions offer the reader entry points into many of the most exciting contemporary debates in these areas of philosophy. Topics covered include the role that narrative thinking plays in our lives, our imaginative engagement with fiction, the emotions and their role in the motivation of action, the connection between artistic activity and human well-being, and the appreciation and ontological status of conceptual artworks.
According to dispositional realism, or dispositionalism, the entities inhabiting our world possess irreducibly dispositional properties - often called 'powers' - by means of which they are sources of change. Dispositionalism has become increasingly popular among metaphysicians in the last three decades as it offers a realist account of causation and provides novel avenues for understanding modality, laws of nature, agency, free will and other key concepts in metaphysics. At the same time, it is receiving growing interest among philosophers of science. This reflects the substantial role scientific findings play in arguments for dispositionalism which, as a metaphysics of science, aims to unveil the very foundations of science. The present collection of essays brings together both strands of interest. It elucidates the ontological profile of dispositionalism by exploring its ontological commitments, and it discusses these from the perspective of the philosophy of science. The essays are written by both proponents of dispositionalism and sceptics so as to initiate an open-minded, constructive dialogue.
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.
Proving the existence of God is a perennial philosophical ambition. An armchair proof would be the jackpot. Ontological arguments promise as much. This Element studies the most famous ontological arguments from Anselm, Descartes, Plantinga, and others besides. While the verdict is that ontological arguments don't work, they get us entangled in fun philosophical puzzles, from philosophy of religion to philosophy of language, from metaphysics to ethics, and beyond.
As the pre-eminent Enlightenment philosopher, Kant famously calls on all humans to make up their own minds, independently from the constraints imposed on them by others. Kant's focus, however, is on universal human reason, and he tells us little about what makes us individual persons. In this book, Katharina T. Kraus explores Kant's distinctive account of psychological personhood by unfolding how, according to Kant, we come to know ourselves as such persons. Drawing on Kant's Critical works and on his Lectures and Reflections, Kraus develops the first textually comprehensive and systematically coherent account of our capacity for what Kant calls 'inner experience'. The novel view of self-knowledge and self-formation in Kant that she offers addresses present-day issues in philosophy of mind and will be relevant for contemporary philosophical debates. It will be of interest to scholars of the history of philosophy, as well as of philosophy of mind and psychology.
"Contemporary Materialism" brings together the best recent work on materialism from many of our leading contemporary philosophers. This is the first comprehensive reader on the subject. The majority of philosophers and scientists today hold the view that all phenomena are physical. As a result materialism or 'physicalism' is now the dominant ontology in a wide range of fields. This book collects the key investigations into materialism, to reflect the impact it has had on current thinking in metaphysics, philosophy of mind and the theory of value. The papers in this collection chart contemporary problems, positions and themes in materialism. At the inivitation of the editors, many of the papers have been specially up-dated for this collection: follow-on pieces written by the contributors enable them to appraise the original paper and assess developments since the work was first published. The book's selections are largley non-technical and accessible to advanced undergraduates. The editors have provided a useful general introduction, outlining and contextualising this central system of thought, as well as a topical bibliography.
Our self-understanding as human agents includes a commitment to three crucial claims about human agency: that agents must be active, that actions are part of the natural order of the universe, and that intentional actions can be explained by the agent's reasons for acting. While all of these claims are indispensable elements of our view of ourselves as human agents, they are in continuous conflict and tension with one another, especially once one adopts the currently predominant view of what the natural order must be like. One of the central tasks of philosophy of action consists in showing how, despite appearances, these conflicts can be resolved and our self-understanding as agents be vindicated. The mainstream of contemporary philosophy of action holds that this task can only be fulfilled by an event-causal reductive view of human agency, paradigmatically embodied in the so-called 'standard model' developed by Donald Davidson. Erasmus Mayr, in contrast, develops a new agent-causal solution to these conflicts and shows why this solution is superior both to event-causalist accounts and to Von Wright's intentionalism about agency. He offers a comprehensive theory of substance-causation on the basis of a realist conception of powers, which allows one to see how the widespread rejection of agent-causation rests on an unfounded 'Humean' view of nature and of causal processes. At the same time, Mayr addresses the question of the nature of reasons for acting and complements its substance-causal account of activity with a non-causal account of acting for reasons in terms of following a standard of success.
Too often today it seems we find ourselves communicating from radically different perspectives on the world and we often despair of communication even being possible. Peter Ludlow argues that perspectival content, or what some call indexical content, is ineliminable and ubiquitous, running through our accounts of human action and emotions, perception, normative behaviour, and even our theories of computation and information. While such content may be ineliminable, it also gives rise to philosophical puzzles - particularly those involving reporting these contents from different perspectival positions. Such puzzles have led some to try and abandon perspectival content, and others to despair of communication across diverse perspectival positions. Ludlow argues that communication across diverse perspectival positions is not only possible, but routine, and develops a theory of interperspectival content and cognitive dynamics to explain how it is accomplished.
Occasionalism is the thesis that God alone is the true cause of everything that happens in the world, and created substances are merely "occasional causes." This doctrine was originally developed in medieval Islamic theology, and was widely rejected in the works of Christian authors in medieval Europe. Yet despite its heterodoxy, occasionalism was revived in the 1660s by followers of the philosophy of Rene Descartes, perhaps the most famous among them the French philosopher Nicolas Malebranche, who popularized this doctrine. What led Cartesian thinkers to adopt occasionalism? Since the 1970s has there been a growing body of literature on Malebranche and the movement he engendered. There is also a new and growing body of work on the Cartesian occasionalists before Malebranche-including Arnold Geulincx, Geraud de Cordemoy, and Louis de la Forge. But to date there has not been a systematic, book-length study of the reasoning that led Cartesian thinkers to adopt occasionalism, and the relationship of their arguments to Descartes' own views. This book expands on recent scholarship to provide the first comprehensive account of seventeenth century occasionalism. Part I contrasts occasionalism with a theory of divine providence developed by Thomas Aquinas, in response to medieval occasionalists; it shows that Descartes' philosophy is compatible with Aquinas' theory, on which God "concurs" in all the actions of created beings. Part II reconstructs the arguments of Cartesians-such as Cordemoy and La Forge-who used Cartesian physics to argue for occasionalism. Finally, the book shows how Malebranche's case for occasionalism combines philosophical theology with Cartesian metaphysics and mechanistic science.
Berkeley's Principles: Expanded and Explained includes the entire classical text of the Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge in bold font, a running commentary blended seamlessly into the text in regular font and analytic summaries of each section. The commentary is like a professor on hand to guide the reader through every line of the daunting prose and every move in the intricate argumentation. The unique design helps today's students learn how to read and engage with one of modern philosophy's most important and exciting classics.
In this book Steven Levine explores the relation between objectivity and experience from a pragmatic point of view. Like many new pragmatists he aims to rehabilitate objectivity in the wake of Richard Rorty's rejection of the concept. But he challenges the idea, put forward by pragmatists like Robert Brandom, that objectivity is best rehabilitated in communicative-theoretic terms - namely, in terms that can be cashed out by capacities that agents gain through linguistic communication. Levine proposes instead that objectivity is best understood in experiential-theoretic terms. He explains how, in order to meet the aims of the new pragmatists, we need to do more than see objectivity as a norm of rationality embedded in our social-linguistic practices; we also need to see it as emergent from our experiential interaction with the world. Innovative and carefully argued, this book redeems and re-actualizes for contemporary philosophy a key insight developed by the classical pragmatists.
Process and Analysis brings together an unprecedented collection of the world's leading contemporary process and analytic philosophers to explore philosophical topics of common interest. The contributors examine a wide variety of explicit and implicit commonalities and differences of approach to such central philosophical issues as the nature and status of events, time, space, relations, particulars, and God. This unique collection demonstrates that both traditions have important things to say to one another. In fact, a largely ignored conversation between the two traditions has been carried on since at least the days of Whitehead's influence on early Cambridge analytic philosophy. This long awaited volume is an invaluable research tool for scholars and students alike working in the areas of analytic and process philosophy.
Toward the end of the eighteenth century, a radical change occurred
in notions of self and personal identity. This was a sudden
transformation, says Dror Wahrman, and nothing short of a
revolution in the understanding of selfhood and of identity
categories including race, gender, and class. In this pathbreaking
book, he offers a fundamentally new interpretation of this critical
turning point in Western history.
To be 'soul-filled' has become an expression for intense sensations and experiences. And yet, aren't human beings emotional creatures, feeling impaired when psychological perceptions become dulled? Swiss Psychiatrist Professor Daniel Hell direct-ed the famed Burgholzli Psychiatric Clinic in Zurich for many years. This book, discussing the role of the soul in human existence, is one of the primary fruits of his devoted labours.
Though John Locke set out to write a book that would resolve questions about the origin and scope of human knowledge, his Essay Concerning Human Understanding is also a profound contribution to metaphysics, full of arguments about the fundamental features of bodies, the notions of essence and kind, the individuation of material objects, personal identity, the nature and scope of volition, freedom of action, freedom of will, and the relationship between matter and mind. Matthew Stuart examines a broad range of these arguments, and explores the relationships between them. He offers fresh interpretations of such familiar material as the distinction between primary and secondary qualities, and Locke's account of personal identity; and he also takes us deeper into less familiar territory, including Locke's case against materialism and his philosophy of action. Locke's Metaphysics shows Locke to be a more consistent, systematic and interesting metaphysician than is generally appreciated. It defends him against charges of muddling the definition of 'quality', of waffling between two conceptions of secondary qualities, and of vacillating in his commitment to mechanism. It shows how his rejection of essentialism leads him to embrace relativism about identity, and that his relativism about identity is the key to defending his account of personal identity against several objections. Yet the picture of Locke that emerges is not always a familiar one. Stuart's account reveals that he is a philosopher who denies the existence of relations, who takes bodies to be colored only so long as we are looking at them, and who is not committed to mechanism. He shows that Locke takes persons to be three-dimensional beings whose pasts are 'gappy' rather than continuous. Finally, he shows that Locke is a volitionist who holds that we can will only our own thoughts and bodily motions, and not such episodes as lighting a candle or turning the pages of a book.
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