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Transcendence and History is an analysis of what philosopher Eric Voegelin described as 'the decisive problem of philosophy': the dilemma of the discovery of transcendent meaning and the impact of this discovery on human self-understanding. The explicit recognition and symbolization of transcendent meaning originally occurred in a few advanced civilizations worldwide during the first millennium. The world's major religious and wisdom traditions are built upon the recognition of transcendent meaning, and our own cultural and linguistic heritage has long since absorbed the postcosmological division of reality into the two dimensions of 'transcendence' and 'immanence.' But the last three centuries in the West have seen a growing resistance to the idea of transcendent meaning; contemporary and 'postmodern' interpretations of the human situation - both popular and intellectual - indicate a widespread eclipse of confidence in the truth of transcendence. In Transcendence and History, Glenn Hughes contributes to the understanding of transcendent meaning and the problems associated with it and assists in the philosophical recovery of the legitimacy of the notion of transcendence. Depending primarily on the treatments of transcendence found in the writings of twentieth-century philosophers Eric Voegelin and Bernard Lonergan, Hughes explores the historical discovery of transcendent meaning and then examines what it indicates about the structure of history. Hughes's main focus, however, is on clarifying the problem of transcendence in relation to historical existence. Addressing both layreaders and scholars, Hughes applies the insights and analyses of Voegelin and Lonergan to considerable advantage. Transcendence and History will be of particular value to those who have grappled with the notion of transcendence in the study of philosophy, comparative religion, political theory, history, philosophical anthropology, and art or poetry. By examining transcendent meaning as the key factor in the search for ultimate meaning from ancient societies to the present, the book demonstrates how 'the decisive problem of philosophy' both illuminates and presents a vital challenge to contemporary intellectual discourse.
Combining Minds is about the idea of minds built up out of other minds, whether this is possible, and what it would mean if it were. Roelofs surveys many areas of philosophy and psychology, analysing and evaluating denials and affirmations of mental combination that have been made in regard to everything from brain structure, to psychological conflict, to social cooperation. In each case, he carefully distinguishes different senses in which subjectivity might be composite, and different arguments for and against them, concluding that composite subjectivity, in various forms, may be much more common than we think. Combining Minds is also the first book-length defence of constitutive panpsychism against all aspects of the 'combination problem'. Constitutive panpsychism is an increasingly prominent theory, holding that consciousness is naturally inherent in matter, with human consciousness built up out of this basic consciousness the same way human bodies are built up out of physical matter. Such a view requires that many very simple conscious minds can compose a single very complex one, and a major objection made against constitutive panpsychism is that they cannot - that minds simply do not combine. This is the combination problem, which Roelofs scrutinizes, dissects, and refutes. It reflects not only contemporary debates but a long philosophical tradition of contrasting the apparently indivisible unity of the mind with the deep and pervasive divisibility of the material world.Combining Mindsdraws together the threads of this problem and develops a powerful and flexible response to it.
'A Theory of the Absolute' develops a worldview that is opposed to the dominant paradigm of physicalism and atheism. It provides powerful arguments for the existence of the soul and the existence of the absolute, showing that faith is not in contradiction to reason.
The volume includes twenty-five research papers presented as gifts to John L. Bell to celebrate his 60th birthday by colleagues, former students, friends and admirers. Like Bell 's own work, the contributions cross boundaries into several inter-related fields. The contributions are new work by highly respected figures, several of whom are among the key figures in their fields. Some examples: in foundations of maths and logic (William Lawvere, Peter Aczel, Graham Priest, Giovanni Sambin); analytical philosophy (Michael Dummett, William Demopoulos), philosophy of science (Michael Redhead, Frank Arntzenius), philosophy of mathematics (Michael Hallett, John Mayberry, Daniel Isaacson) and decision theory and foundations of economics (Ken Bimore). Most articles are contributions to current philosophical debates, but contributions also include some new mathematical results, important historical surveys, and a translation by Wilfrid Hodges of a key work of arabic logic.
The second volume of the introduction in modern Thomistic philosophy includes three parts. Part one is on epistemology, the second part is on general metaphysics and part three on natural theology. "Dr Phillips is to be congratulated on the clear and lucid way he has set forth Thomist doctrines and especially for the manner in which he has rendered the Latin terminology of Schoolman in English, an achievement which makes his book very readable and interesting even for those unacquainted with the great treatises of Schoolman." -- L J Walker, in Philosophy, Volume 11, Issue 43
A systematic historical survey of Chinese thought is followed by an investigation of the historical-metaphysical questions of modern technology, asking how Chinese thought might contribute to a renewed questioning of globalized technics. Heidegger's critique of modern technology and its relation to metaphysics has been widely accepted in the East. Yet the conception that there is only one-originally Greek-type of technics has been an obstacle to any original critical thinking of technology in modern Chinese thought. Yuk Hui argues for the urgency of imagining a specifically Chinese philosophy of technology capable of responding to Heidegger's challenge, while problematizing the affirmation of technics and technologies as anthropologically universal. This investigation of the historical-metaphysical question of technology, drawing on Lyotard, Simondon, and Stiegler, and introducing a history of modern Eastern philosophical thinking largely unknown to Western readers, including philosophers such as Feng Youlan, Mou Zongsan, and Keiji Nishitani, sheds new light on the obscurity of the question of technology in China. Why was technics never thematized in Chinese thought? Why has time never been a real question for Chinese philosophy? How was the traditional concept of Qi transformed in its relation to Dao as China welcomed technological modernity and westernization? In The Question Concerning Technology in China, a systematic historical survey of the major concepts of traditional Chinese thinking is followed by a startlingly original investigation of these questions, in order to ask how Chinese thought might today contribute to a renewed, cosmotechnical questioning of globalized technics.
Who am I? What is a person? What does it take for a person to persist from one time to another? What is the relation between the mind and the body? These are just some of the questions that constitute the problem of personal identity, one of the oldest and most fundamental of philosophical questions. Personal Identity, Third Edition is a clear and comprehensive introduction to these questions and more. Harold Noonan places the problem of personal identity in the context of more general puzzles about identity, discussing the major historical theories and more recent debates. The book also includes essential historical and philosophical background to the problem of personal identity as found in the arguments of Locke, Reid and Hume among others. The third edition of Personal Identity has been thoroughly reviewed in light of advances in the latest literature and research. This includes significant revision to the important problems of the simple and complex distinction and its relation to reductionism; temporal parts; and the distinction between perdurance and endurance theorists. Noonan also includes an up to date examination of personal identity and memory and personal identity and animalism, particularly the work of Shoemaker, Parfit, Olson and hybrid theorists. Including helpful chapter summaries and annotated further reading at the end of each chapter, Personal Identity, Third Edition is essential reading for all students of philosophy of mind and metaphysics, as well as students interested in ethics.
This collection brings together key contemporary texts in
metaphysics and features an interactive commentary which helps
readers engage the texts critically and to use them to develop
their own views.
This volume draws on the significance of the work of Marilyn Strathern in respect of its potential to queer anthropological analysis and to foster the reimagining of the object of anthropology. The authors examine the ways in which Strathern's varied analytics facilitate the construction of alternative forms of anthropological thinking, and greater understanding of how knowledge practices of queer objects, subjects and relations operate and take effect. Queering Knowledge offers an innovative collection of writing, bringing about queer and anthropological syntheses through Strathern's oeuvre. It will be relevant to scholars from anthropology as well as a number of other disciplines, including gender, sexuality and queer studies.
Using the combined tools of science, philosophy and the social sciences, the author sets out to explore the numerous facets of what we understand reality to mean. Close attention is given to the human side, especially to the individual experience of reality as manifested through personality, cognitive power, self-consciousness, and rationalistic and communicative endowments. This micro analysis is contrasted with a macro world view, encompassing our understanding of, and observation of, the outer edges of the universe, and how different levels (scientific and lay) of understanding impact on our relative perception of this particular reality. Three pivotal arguments sustain the micro/macro examination parameters outlined above. First, is the need to view reality in terms of uncertainty. We perennially encounter uncertainty since reality is riddled through with chance, even in the case of deliberate choice of action ostensibly based on rationality, yet unavoidably affected by chance. Second, the limits of knowledge and constant uncertainty means that mankind must always live with the unknown and the unpredictable. Third, it is the human being, whether scientist or layperson, who creates the knowledge and its application to the experience of life, which in turn contributes to the creation of new realities. These complex and infinite processes are difficult to fathom at the personal level, and fraught with challenges for scientists, philosophers and social scientists. But given the centrality of reality to our everyday experience and social intercourse -- for the individual has to face the world, interact with other people and survive -- its importance cannot be underestimated. Ernest Krausz provides the philosophy platform to analyse the complex social interactions of human beings as they wrestle with the reality of everyday life, yet observe the vastness and uncertainty of their galaxy and beyond.
Philosophers working on the ontology of mind have highlighted various distinctions that can be drawn between the ways in which different aspects of our minds fill time. For example, they note that whereas some elements of our mental lives obtain over time, others unfold over time, and some continue to occur throughout intervals of time. Matthew Soteriou explores ways in which such distinctions can be put to work in helping to inform philosophical accounts of both sensory and cognitive aspects of consciousness. Part One of The Mind's Construction argues that work in the ontology of mind that focuses on distinctions of temporal character has much to contribute to philosophical accounts of the phenomenology of various elements of sensory consciousness-e.g. the phenomenology of perceptual experience, bodily sensation, and perceptual imagination. Part Two argues that these ontological considerations can inform our understanding of conscious thinking, and the form of self-conscious consciousness that we have as subjects capable of engaging in such activity, by helping to account for and explain the respect in which agency is exercised in conscious thinking. This in turn, it is argued, can illuminate the more general issue of the place and role of mental action in an account of the metaphysics of mind.
This volume contains essays that offer both historical and contemporary views of nature, as seen through a hermeneutic, deconstructive, and phenomenological lens. It reaches back to Ancient Greek conceptions of physis in Homer and Empedocles, encompasses 13th century Zen master Dogen, and extends to include 21st Century Continental Thought. By providing ontologies of nature from the perspective of the history of philosophy and of contemporary philosophy alike, the book shows that such perspectives need to be seen in dialogue with each other in order to offer a deeper and more comprehensive philosophy of nature. The value of the historical accounts discussed lies in discerning the conceptual problems that contribute to the dominant thinking underpinning our ecological predicament, as well as in providing helpful resources for thinking innovatively through current problems, thus recasting the past to allow for a future yet to be imagined. The book also discusses contemporary continental thinkers who are more critically aware of the dominant anthropocentric and instrumental view of nature, and who provide substantial guidance for a sensible, innovative "ontology of nature" suited for an ecology of the future. Overall, the ontologies of nature discerned in this volume are not merely of theoretical interest, but strategically serve to suspend anthropocentrism and spark ethical and political reorientation in the context of our current ecological predicament.
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 concern the question 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, a 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 and impossible worlds , counterfactual conditionals, essential truths and their role in grounding, and a novel theory of how counterfactuals relate to causation and explanation.
Kant's Revolutionary Theory of Modality is a comprehensive study of Immanuel Kant's views on modal notions of possibility, actuality or existence, and necessity. Abaci locates Kant's views on these notions in their broader historical context, establishes their continuity and transformation across Kant's precritical and critical texts, and determines their role in the substance as well as the development of Kant's philosophical project. He makes two overarching claims. First, Kant's precritical views on modality, which appear in the context of his attempts to revise the ontological argument and are critical of the tradition only from within its prevailing paradigm of modality, develop into a revolutionary theory of modality in his critical period, radicalizing his critique of the ontotheological and rationalist metaphysical tradition. While the traditional paradigm construes modal notions as fundamental ontological predicates, expressing different modes or ways of being of things, Kant's theory consists in redefining them as subjective and relational features of our discursivity, expressing different modes in which our conceptual representations of objects are related to our cognitive faculty. Second, this revolutionary theory of modality is not only a crucial component of Kant's critical epistemology and his radical critique of rationalist metaphysics, but it is in fact directly constitutive of the critical turn itself, as Kant originally formulates the latter in terms of a shift from an ontological to an epistemological approach to the question of possibility. Thus, tracing the development of Kant's understanding of modality comes to fruition in an alternative reading of Kant's overall philosophical development.
The English philosopher Michael Oakeshott (1901-1990) is known as a conservative who rejected philosophically ambitious rationalism and the grand political ideologies of the twentieth century on the grounds that no human ideas have ultimately reliable foundations. Instead, he embraced tradition and habit as the guides to moral and political life. In this book, Aryeh Botwinick presents an original account of Oakeshott's skepticism about foundations, an account that newly reveals the unity of his thought.
Botwinick argues that, despite Oakeshott's pragmatic conservatism, his rejection of all-embracing intellectual projects made him a friend to liberal individualism and an ally of what would become postmodern antifoundationalism. Oakeshott's skepticism even extended paradoxically to skepticism about skepticism itself and is better described as a "generalized agnosticism." Properly conceived and translated, this agnosticism ultimately evolves into mysticism, which becomes a bridge linking philosophy and religion. Botwinick explains and develops this strategy of interpretation and then shows how it illuminates and unifies the diverse strands of Oakeshott's thought in the philosophy of religion, metaphysics, epistemology, political theory, philosophy of personal identity, philosophy of law, and philosophy of history.
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.
Eleven original essays discuss a range of puzzling philosophical questions about fictional characters, and more generally about fictional objects. For example, they ask questions like the following: Do they really exist? What would fictional objects be like if they existed? Do they exist eternally? Are they created? Who by? When and how? Can they be destroyed? If so, how? Are they abstract or concrete? Are they actual? Are they complete objects? Are they possible objects? How many fictional objects are there? What are their identity conditions? What kinds of attitudes can we have towards them? This volume will be a landmark in the philosophical debate about fictional objects, and will influence higher-level debates within metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language.
'All philosophy is a metaphysics of happiness...or it's not worth an hour of trouble' claims Alain Badiou in this lively intervention into one of the most persistent themes in philosophy: what is happiness? And what do I need to do to be happy? The desire to be happy is one of our most universal goals and yet there doesn't seem to be any easy answers or formulas for achieving happiness. And the concept has become so commodified and corrupted to be almost unrecognizable as something worth pursuing. In light of this, should we just give up the aspiration to be happy altogether? Alain Badiou thinks not. While eschewing futile procedures for magically becoming 'happy', Badiou does passionately maintain that in order to be truly happy we need philosophy. And, bolder still, that a life lived philosophically is the happiest life of all!
This book, by one of the most innovative and challenging
contemporary thinkers, consists of an extensive essay from which
the book takes its title and five shorter essays that are
internally related to "Being Singular Plural."
Causal powers are ubiquitous. Electrons are negatively charged; they have the power to repel other electrons. Water is a solvent; it has the power to dissolve salt. We use concepts of causal powers and their relatives-dispositions, capacities, abilities, and so on-to describe the world around us, both in everyday life and in scientific practice. But what is it about the world that makes such descriptions apt? On one view, the neo-Humean view, there is nothing intrinsic about, say, negative charge, that makes its bearers have the power to repel other negatively charged particles. Rather, matters extrinsic to negative charge, the patterns and regularities in which negatively charged particles are embedded, fix the powers its bearers have. But on a different view, the anti-Humean view, causal powers are intrinsically powerful, bringing with them their own causal, nomic, and modal nature independent of extrinsic patterns and regularities-even fixing those patterns and regularities. This collection brings together new and important work by both emerging scholars and those who helped shape the field on the nature of causal powers, and the connections between causal powers and other phenomena within metaphysics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of mind. Contributors discuss how one who takes causal powers to be in some sense irreducible should think about laws of nature, scientific practice, causation, modality, space and time, persistence, and the metaphysics of mind.
This volume is an essential collection of the most influential attempts to depict the fundamental nature of reality or being-from Spinoza's doctrine of a single, indivisible substance to Russell's "logical atomism" and from the Buddha's account of a casual interrelated world to Leibniz's one of causally independent "monads." Among the metaphysical debates are those between monists and pluralist and materialist and idealist. The authors range in time from Lao Tzu and Plato to Heidegger and Whitehead. The selected texts include many classics from 'the golden age' of metaphysics in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. A comprehensive introduction by the editor, together with his preambles to each text, makes this an ideal volume for students on historically informed courses in metaphysics and the more speculative realms of philosophy.
Many different features of the world figure consciously in our perceptual experiences, in the sense that they make a subjective difference to those experiences. These features are thought to range from colours and shapes, to volumes and backsides, from natural or artefactual kinds, to reasons for perceptual belief, and from the existence and externality of objects, to the relationality and wakeful-ness of our perceptual awareness of them. Phenomenal Presence explores the different ways in which features like these may be phenomenally present in perceptual experience. In particular, it focuses on features that are rarely discussed, and the perceptual presence of which is more controversial or less obvious because they are out of view or otherwise easily overlooked; for example, they are given in a non-sensory manner, or they are categorical in the sense that they feature in all perceptual experiences (such as their justificatory power, their wakefulness, or the externality of their objects). The book divides into four parts, each dealing with a different kind of phenomenal presence. The first addresses the nature of the presence of perceptual constancies and variations, while the second investigates the determinacy and ubiquity of the presence of spatial properties in perception. The third part deals with the presence of hidden or occluded aspects of objects, while part four discusses the presence of categorical aspects of perceptual experience. The contributions provide a thorough examination of which features are phenomenally present in perception, and what it is for them to figure in experience in this way.
In Being and Reason, Martin Lin offers a new interpretation of Spinoza's core metaphysical doctrines with attention to how and why, in Spinoza, metaphysical notions are entangled with cognitive, logical, and epistemic ones. For example, according to Spinoza, a substance is that which can be conceived through itself and a mode is that which is conceived through another. Thus, metaphysical notions, substance and mode, are defined through a notion that is either cognitive or logical, being conceived through. What are we to make of the intimate connections that Spinoza sees between metaphysical, cognitive, logical, and epistemic notions? Or between being and reason? Lin argues against idealist readings according to which the metaphysical is reducible to or grounded in something epistemic, logical, or psychological. He maintains that Spinoza sees the order of being and the order of reason as two independent structures that mirror one another. In the course of making this argument, he develops new interpretations of Spinoza's notions of attribute and mode, and of Spinoza's claim that all things strive for self-preservation. Lin also argues against prominent idealist readings of Spinoza according to which the Principle of Sufficient Reason is absolutely unrestricted for Spinoza and is the key to his system. He contends, rather, that Spinoza's metaphysical rationalism is a diverse phenomenon and that the Principle of Sufficient Reason is limited to claims about existence and nonexistence which are applied only once by Spinoza to the case of the necessary existence of God.
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