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The fullest expression of the distinguished French philosopher's ideas about the meaning of life appear in this extended essay, his most famous and influential work. In propounding his distinctive theory of evolution, Bergson considers nature and intelligence, examines mechanisms of thought and illusion, and presents a criticism of philosophical systems from those of the ancients to those of his 19th-century contemporaries.
In the early period of Ancient Egyptian history, earlier than in any other culture, before the Hindus, Buddhists, Kabbalists and Taoists, there was a teaching of the TREE OF LIFE. This was a special teaching describing the secret wisdom about the nature of the universe and of the soul as well as a path to make the journey, through varied phases of spiritual evolution, from mortal to immortal and from earth to heaven and beyond. The goal is to regain one's divine stature and transcendental place. In its earliest form, originated in Ancient Egypt, it was related to theurgical religious system developed in the priests and priestesses of the Ancient Egyptian city of Anu and the Tree was seen as the source of life. This book explains that teaching, which has been available to all, but missed by those who did not possess the keys to unlock its mystic formula. In this volume the Creation teaching of Anu, the TREE OF LIFE metaphysical teachings, disciplines and techniques, from the hieroglyphic texts, for activating the Tree, are given.
The Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) is widely regarded as the greatest and most significant English-speaking philosopher and often seen as having had the most influence on the way philosophy is practiced today in the West. His reputation is based not only on the quality of his philosophical thought but also on the breadth and scope of his writings, which ranged over metaphysics, epistemology, morals, politics, religion, and aesthetics. The Handbook's 38 newly commissioned chapters are divided into six parts: Central Themes; Metaphysics and Epistemology; Passion, Morality and Politics; Aesthetics, History, and Economics; Religion; Hume and the Enlightenment; and After Hume. The volume also features an introduction from editor Paul Russell and a chapter on Hume's biography.
Individual objects have potentials: paper has the potential to burn, an acorn has the potential to turn into a tree, some people have the potential to run a mile in less than four minutes. Barbara Vetter provides a systematic investigation into the metaphysics of such potentials, and an account of metaphysical modality based on them. In contemporary philosophy, potentials have been recognized mostly in the form of so-called dispositions: solubility, fragility, and so on. Vetter takes dispositions as her starting point, but argues for and develops a more comprehensive conception of potentiality. She shows how, with this more comprehensive conception, an account of metaphysical modality can be given that meets three crucial requirements: (1) Extensional correctness: providing the right truth-values for statements of possibility and necessity; (2) formal adequacy: providing the right logic for metaphysical modality; and (3) semantic utility: providing a semantics that links ordinary modal language to the metaphysics of modality. The resulting view of modality is a version of dispositionalism about modality: it takes modality to be a matter of the dispositions of individual objects (and, crucially, not of possible worlds). This approach has a long philosophical tradition going back to Aristotle, but has been largely neglected in contemporary philosophy. In recent years, it has become a live option again due to the rise of anti-Humean, powers-based metaphysics. The aim of Potentiality and Possibility is to develop the dispositionalist view in a way that takes account of contemporary developments in metaphysics, logic, and semantics.
"Philosophical Perspectives Volume 20, Metaphysics," contains over
15 articles from leading philosophers of Metaphysics.
Much contemporary thinking about language is animated by the idea that the core function of language is to represent how the world is and that therefore the notion of representation should play a fundamental explanatory role in any explanation of language and language use. Leading thinkers in the field explore various ways this idea may be challenged as well as obstacles to developing various forms of anti-representationalism. Particular attention is given to deflationary accounts of truth, the role of language in expressing mental states, and the normative and the natural as they relate to issues of representation. The chapters further various fundamental debates in metaphysics-for example, concerning the question of finding a place for moral properties in a naturalistic world-view-and illuminate the relation of the recent neo-pragmatist revival to the expressivist stream in analytic philosophy of language.
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.
Our engagement with time is a ubiquitous feature of our lives. We are aware of time on many scales, from the briefest flicker of change to the way our lives unfold over many years. But to what extent does this encounter reveal the true nature of temporal reality? To the extent that temporal reality is as it seems, how do we come to be aware of it? And to the extent that temporal reality is not as it seems, why does it seem that way? These are the central questions addressed by Simon Prosser in Experiencing Time. These questions take on a particular importance in philosophy for two reasons. Firstly, there is a view concerning the metaphysics of time, known as the B-theory of time, according to which the apparently dynamic quality of change, the special status of the present, and even the passage of time are all illusions. Instead, the world is a four-dimensional space-time block, lacking any of the apparent dynamic features of time. If the B-theory is correct, as the book argues, then it must be explained why our experiences seem to tell us otherwise. Secondly, experiences of temporal features such as changes, rates and durations are of independent interest because of certain puzzles that they raise, the solutions to which may shed light on broader issues in the philosophy of mind.
Building on the seminal work of Kit Fine in the 1980s, Leon Horsten here develops a new theory of arbitrary entities. He connects this theory to issues and debates in metaphysics, logic, and contemporary philosophy of mathematics, investigating the relation between specific and arbitrary objects and between specific and arbitrary systems of objects. His book shows how this innovative theory is highly applicable to problems in the philosophy of arithmetic, and explores in particular how arbitrary objects can engage with the nineteenth-century concept of variable mathematical quantities, how they are relevant for debates around mathematical structuralism, and how they can help our understanding of the concept of random variables in statistics. This fully worked through theory will open up new avenues within philosophy of mathematics, bringing in the work of other philosophers such as Saul Kripke, and providing new insights into the development of the foundations of mathematics from the eighteenth century to the present day.
There are two main ways in which things with minds, like us, differ from things without minds, like tables and chairs. First, we are conscious-there is something that it is like to be us. That is, we instantiate phenomenal properties. Second, we represent, in various ways, our world as being certain ways. That is, we instantiate representational properties. Jeff Speaks attempts to make progress on three questions: What are phenomenal properties? What are representational properties? How are the phenomenal and the representational related?
More than two hundred years after the publication of his seminal The World as Will and Representation, Arthur Schopenhauer's influence is still felt in philosophy and beyond. As one of the most readable and central philosophers of the 19th century, his work inspired the most influential thinkers and artists of his time, including Nietzsche, Freud, and Wagner. Though known primarily as a herald of philosophical pessimism, the full range of his contributions is displayed here in a collection of thirty-one essays on the forefront of Schopenhauer scholarship. Essays written by contemporary Schopenhauer scholars explore his central notions, including the will, empirical knowledge, and the sublime, and widens to the interplay of ethics and religion with Schopenhauer's philosophy. Authors confront difficult aspects of Schopenhauer's work and legacy-for example, the extent to which Schopenhauer adopted ideas from his predecessors compared to how much was original and visionary in his central claim that reality is a blind, senseless "will," the effectiveness of his philosophy in the field of scientific explanation and extrasensory phenomena, and the role of beauty and sublimity in his outlook. Essays also challenge prevailing assumptions about Schopenhauer by exploring the fundamental role of compassion in his moral theory, the Hindu, Christian, and Buddhist aspects of his philosophy, and the importance of asceticism in his views on the meaning of life. The collection is an internationally constituted work that reflects upon Schopenhauer's philosophy with authors presently working across the globe. It demonstrates fully the richness of Schopenhauer's work and his lasting impact on philosophy and psychoanalysis, as well as upon music, the visual arts, and literature.
Eternity is a unique kind of existence that is supposed to belong to the most real being or beings. It is an existence that is not shaken by the common wear and tear of time. Over the two and half millennia history of Western philosophy we find various conceptions of eternity, yet one sharp distinction between two notions of eternity seems to run throughout this long history: eternity as timeless existence, as opposed to eternity as existence in all times. Both kinds of existence stand in sharp contrast to the coming in and out of existence of ordinary beings, like hippos, humans, and toothbrushes: were these eternally-timeless, for example, a hippo could not eat, a human could not think or laugh, and a toothbrush would be of no use. Were a hippo an eternal-everlasting creature, it would not have to bother itself with nutrition in order to extend its existence. Everlasting human beings might appear similar to us, but their mental life and patterns of behavior would most likely be very different from ours. The distinction between eternity as timelessness and eternity as everlastingness goes back to ancient philosophy, to the works of Plato and Aristotle, and even to the fragments of Parmenides' philosophical poem. In the twentieth century, it seemed to go out of favor, though one could consider as eternalists those proponents of realism in philosophy of mathematics, and those of timeless propositions in philosophy of language (i.e., propositions that are said to exist independently of the uttered sentences that convey their thought-content). However, recent developments in contemporary physics and its philosophy have provided an impetus to revive notions of eternity due to the view that time and duration might have no place in the most fundamental ontology. The importance of eternity is not limited to strictly philosophical discussions. It is a notion that also has an important role in traditional Biblical interpretation. The Tetragrammaton, the Hebrew name of God considered to be most sacred, is derived from the Hebrew verb for being, and as a result has been traditionally interpreted as denoting eternal existence (in either one of the two senses of eternity). Hence, Calvin translates the Tetragrammaton as 'l'Eternel', and Mendelssohn as 'das ewige Wesen' or 'der Ewige'. Eternity also plays a central role in contemporary South American fiction, especially in the works of J.L. Borges. The representation of eternity poses a major challenge to both literature and arts (just think about the difficulty of representing eternity in music, a thoroughly temporal art). The current volume aims at providing a history of the philosophy of eternity surrounded by a series of short essays, or reflections, on the role of eternity and its representation in literature, religion, language, liturgy, science, and music. Thus, our aim is to provide a history of philosophy as a discipline that is in constant commerce with various other domains of human inquisition and exploration.
This monograph presents Azzouni's new approach to the rule-following paradox. His solution leaves intact an isolated individual's capacity to follow rules, and it simultaneously avoids replacing the truth conditions for meaning-talk with mere assertability conditions for that talk. Kripke's influential version of Wittgenstein's rule-following paradox-and Wittgenstein's views more generally-on the contrary, make rule-following practices and assertions about those practices subject to community norms without which they lose their cogency. Azzouni summarizes and develops Kripke's original version of Wittgenstein's rule-following paradox to make salient the linchpin assumptions of the paradox. By doing so, Azzouni reveals how compelling Kripke's earlier work on the paradox was. Objections raised over the years by Fodor, Forbes Ginsborg, Goldfarb, Tait, Wright, and many others, are all shown to fail. No straight solution (a solution that denies an assumption of the paradox) can be made to work. Azzouni illustrates this in detail by showing that a popular family of straight solutions due to Lewis and refined by Williams, "reference magnetism," fail as well. And yet an overlooked sceptical solution is still available in logical space. Azzouni describes a series of "disposition-meaning" private languages that he shows can be successfully used by a population of speakers to communicate with one another despite their ideolectical character. The same sorts of languages enable solitary "Robinson Crusoes" to survive and flourish in their island habitats. These languages-sufficiently refined-have the same properties normal human languages have; and this is the key to solving the rule-following paradox without sacrificing the individual's authority over her self-imposed rules or her ability to follow those rules. Azzouni concludes this unusual monograph by uncovering a striking resemblance between the rule-following paradox and Hume's problem of induction: he shows the rule-following paradox to be a corollary of Hume's problem that arises when the problem of induction is applied to an individual's own abilities to follow rules. "The book is clearly and engagingly written, and the conclusions are well-argued-for. (Depressingly well-argued-for in the case of Chapter 3, as I've always been partial to Lewisian responses to Putnam's model-theoretic argument--I'm rethinking that now.) And the proposed solution to the rule-following paradox really is novel." Joshua Brown - Gustavus Adolphus College
Systematic metaphysics is defined by its task of solving metaphysical problems through the repeated application of single, fundamental ontology. The dominant contemporary metaphysic is that of neo-Humeanism, built on a static ontology typified by its rejection of basic causal and modal features. This book offers a radically distinct metaphysic, one that turns the status quo on its head. Starting with a foundational ontology of inherently causal properties known as 'powers', Neil E. Williams develops a metaphysic that appeals to powers in explanations of causation, persistence, laws, and modality. Powers are properties that have their causal natures internal to them: they are responsible for the effects in the world. A unique account of powers is advanced, one that understands this internal nature in terms of blueprint of potential interaction types. After the presentation of the powers ontology, Williams offers solutions to broad metaphysical puzzles, some of which take on different forms in light of the new tools that are available. The defence of the ontology comes from the virtues of metaphysic it can be used to develop. Particular attention is paid to the problems of causation and persistence, simultaneously solving them as is casts them in a new light. The resultant powers metaphysic is offered as a systematic alternative to neo-Humeanism.
Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility is a series of volumes presenting outstanding new work on a set of connected themes, investigating such questions as: * What does it mean to be an agent? * What is the nature of moral responsibility? Of criminal responsibility? What is the relation between moral and criminal responsibility (if any)? * What is the relation between responsibility and the metaphysical issues of determinism and free will? * What do various psychological disorders tell us about agency and responsibility? * How do moral agents develop? How does this developmental story bear on questions about the nature of moral judgment and responsibility? * What do the results from neuroscience imply (if anything) for our questions about agency and responsibility? OSAR thus straddles the areas of moral philosophy and philosophy of action, but also draws from a diverse range of cross-disciplinary sources, including moral psychology, psychology proper (including experimental and developmental), philosophy of psychology, philosophy of law, legal theory, metaphysics, neuroscience, neuroethics, political philosophy, and more. It is unified by its focus on who we are as deliberators and (inter)actors, embodied practical agents negotiating (sometimes unsuccessfully) a world of moral and legal norms.
Every Thing Must Go aruges that the only kind of metaphysics that
can contribute to objective knowledge is one based specifically on
contemporary science as it really is, and not on philosophers' a
priori intuitions, common sense, or simplifications of science. In
addition to showing how recent metaphysics has drifted away from
connection with all other serious scholarly inquiry as a result of
not heeding this restriction, they demonstrate how to build a
metaphysics compatible with current fundamental phsyics ("ontic
structural realism"), which, when combined with their metaphysics
of the special sciences ("rainforet realism"), can be used to unify
physics with the other sciences without reducing these sciences to
physics intself. Taking science metaphysically seriously, Ladyman
and Ross argue, means that metaphysicians must abandon the picture
of the world as composed of self-subsistent individual objects, and
the paradigm of causation as the collision of such objects.
This book explores the dispositional and categorical debates on the metaphysics of properties. It defends the view that all fundamental properties and relations are contingently categorical, while also examining alternative accounts of the nature of properties. Drawing upon both established research and the author's own investigation into the broader discipline of the metaphysics of science, this book provides a comprehensive study of the many views and opinions regarding a most debatable topic in contemporary metaphysics. Science in Metaphysics will be of interest to metaphysicians of science, analytic metaphysicians and philosophers of science and physics alike.
Since the ground-breaking work of Saul Kripke, David Lewis, and others in the 1960s and 70s, one dominant interest of analytic philosophers has been in modal truths, which concerns the questions of what is possible and what is necessary. However, there is considerable controversy over the source and nature of necessity. In Modality and Explanatory Reasoning, Boris Kment takes a novel approach to the study of modality that places special emphasis on understanding the origin of modal notions in everyday thought. Kment argues that the concepts of necessity and possibility originate in a common type of thought experiment-counterfactual reasoning-that allows us to investigate explanatory connections. This procedure is closely related to the controlled experiments of empirical science. Necessity is defined in terms of causation and other forms of explanation such as grounding, the relation that connects metaphysically fundamental facts to non-fundamental ones. Therefore, contrary to a widespread view, explanation is more fundamental than modality. The study of modal facts is important for philosophy, not because these facts are of much metaphysical interest in their own right, but because they provide evidence about explanatory relationships. In the course of developing this position, the book offers new accounts of possible worlds, counterfactual conditionals, essential truths and their role in grounding, and a novel theory of how counterfactuals relate to causation and explanation.
In 1924 Rudolf Steiner established the School of Spiritual Science within the framework of the newly refounded Anthroposophical Society. This volume represents a first attempt at describing the character, intentions and working methods of this pioneering School, and its place within modern cultural life. It describes the School's three prerequisites for membership and studies its connection with the Anthroposophical Society and movement. It also examines the role of its 'First Class' in relation to Rudolf Steiner's original intentions, and the responsibilities of its representatives. The bulk of the book is taken up with descriptions of the various sections within the School of Spiritual Science, contributed by the individuals currently responsible for their leadership. These descriptions indicate how the School connects with daily work in various areas of life, in keeping with an esotericism based on the idea that 'life and its depths can be confronted in the most energetic way'. Also featured is much practical information, including a description of the process for becoming a member, and an appendix containing significant statements by Rudolf Steiner. In keeping with the transparency that Rudolf Steiner requested from the outset, this book is suitable for anyone interested in the School of Spiritual Science.
A strong and growing intuition in society today is the idea that our thoughts create our own reality. Yet it seems obvious that, try as we might, our lives are not quite what we fantasize. Is the intuition thus wrong? Through a rational, methodic interpretation of meditative insights, the validity of which is substantiated with a compelling scientific literature review, the author constructs hypotheses that reconcile facts with intuition. Mesmerizing narratives of his expeditions into the unconscious suggest an amazing possibility: just as dreams are seemingly autonomous manifestations of our psyche, reality may be an externalized combination of the subconscious dreams of us all, mixed as they are projected onto the fabric of space-time. Perhaps the laws of physics are an emergent by-product of such synchronization of thoughts. Through computer simulations, the author explores the implications of these hypotheses, with conclusions uncannily reminiscent of observed phenomena.
'The god wanted everything to be good, marred by as little
imperfection as possible.'
Erik J. Wielenberg draws on recent work in analytic philosophy and empirical moral psychology to defend non-theistic robust normative realism and develop an empirically-grounded account of human moral knowledge. Non-theistic robust normative realism has it that there are objective, non-natural, sui generis ethical features of the universe that do not depend on God for their existence. The early chapters of the book address various challenges to the intelligibility and plausibility of the claim that irreducible ethical features of things supervene on their non-ethical features as well as challenges from defenders of theistic ethics who argue that objective morality requires a theistic foundation. Later chapters develop an account of moral knowledge and answer various recent purported debunkings of morality, including those based on scientific research into the nature of the proximate causes of human moral beliefs as well as those based on proposed evolutionary explanations of our moral beliefs.
Peter van Inwagen, author of the classic book An Essay on Free Will (1983), has established himself over the last forty years as a leading figure in the philosophical debate about the problem of free will. This volume presents eleven influential essays from throughout his career, as well as two new and previously unpublished essays, 'The Problem of Fr** W*ll' and 'Ability'. The essays include discussions of determinism, moral responsibility, 'Frankfurt counterexamples', the meaning of 'the ability to do otherwise', and the very definition of free will, as well as critiques of writings on the topic by Daniel Dennett and David Lewis. An introduction by the author discusses the history of his thinking about free will. The volume will be a valuable resource for those looking to engage with van Inwagen's significant contributions to this perennially important topic.
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