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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.
A central bond, a cherished value, a unique relationship, a
profound human need, a type of love. What is the nature of
friendship, and what is its significance in our lives? How has
friendship changed since the ancient Greeks began to analyze it,
and how has modern technology altered its very definition? In this
fascinating exploration of friendship through the ages, one of the
most thought-provoking philosophers of our time tracks historical
ideas of friendship, gathers a diversity of friendship stories from
the annals of myth and literature, and provides unexpected insights
into our friends, ourselves, and the role of friendships in an
ethical life. A. C. Grayling roves the rich traditions of
friendship in literature, culture, art, and philosophy, bringing
into his discussion familiar pairs as well as unfamiliar--Achilles
and Patroclus, David and Jonathan, Coleridge and Wordsworth, Huck
Finn and Jim. Grayling lays out major philosophical interpretations
of friendship, then offers his own take, drawing on personal
experiences and an acute awareness of vast cultural shifts that
have occurred. With penetrating insight he addresses internet-based
friendship, contemporary mixed gender friendships, how friendships
may supersede family relationships, one's duty within friendship,
the idea of friendship to humanity, and many other topics of
This book addresses the philosophy of Kant and the poetry of Shelley as historical starting points for a new way of thinking in the modern age. Fusing together critical philosophy and visionary poetry, Bassler develops the notion of visionary critique, or paraphysics, as a model for future philosophical endeavor. This philosophical practice is rooted in the concept of the indefinite power associated with the sublime in both Kant and Shelley's work, to which the notion of the parafinite or indefinitely large is extended in this book.
Philosophy of language has a rich and varied history stretching back to the Ancient Greeks. Twelve specially written essays explore this richness, from Plato and Aristotle, through the Stoics, to medieval thinkers, both Islamic and Christian; from the Renaissance and the early modern period, all the way up to the twentieth Century. Among the many topics that arise across this 2500-year trajectory are metaphysical questions about linguistic content. A first focal point of the volume is the issue of which broad ontological family linguistic contents belong to. Are linguistic contents mental ideas, physical particulars, abstract Forms, social practices, or something else again? And do different sorts of linguistic contents belong to different ontological categories-e.g., might it be that names stand for ideas, whereas logical terms stand for mental processes? The second focal point is the metaphysical grounding of linguistic content: that is, in virtue of what more basic facts do content facts obtain? Do words mean what they do because of natural resemblances? Because of causal relations? Because of arbitrary conventional usage? Or because of some combination of the above?
This volume is the first of a trilogy which investigates, from a broadly realist perspective, the place, and challenges, of the human in contemporary social orders. The authors, all members of the Centre for Social Ontology, ask what is specific about humanity's nature and worth, and what are their main challenges in contemporary societies? Examining the ways in which recent advances in technology threaten to blur and displace the boundaries constitutive of our shared humanity, Realist Responses to Post-Human Society: Ex Machina explores the philosophical and ethical questions raised by these developments, and discusses the dangers posed by the combination of transhumanism with post-humanist social theories and antihumanist practices, institutions and ideologies.
Humans are extraordinary creatures, with the unique ability among animals to imitate and so copy from one another ideas, habits, skills, behaviours, inventions, songs, and stories. These are all memes, a term first coined by Richard Dawkins in 1976 in his book The Selfish Gene. Memes, like genes, are replicators, and this enthralling book is an investigation of whether this link between genes and memes can lead to important discoveries about the nature of the inner self. Susan Blackmore makes a compelling case for the theory that the inner self is merely an illusion created by the memes for the sake of replication.
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.
The Subject of Experience is about the self, the person. It takes the form of a series of essays which draw on literature and psychology as well as philosophy. Galen Strawson discusses the phenomenology or experience of having or being a self (What is the character of self-experience?) and the fundamental metaphysics of the self (Does the self exist? If so, what is its nature? How long do selves last?): he develops an approach to the metaphysical questions out of the results of the phenomenological investigation. He argues that it is legitimate to say that there is such a thing as the self as distinct from the human being. At the same time he raises doubts about how long selves can be supposed to last, insofar as they are distinct from human beings. He also raises a doubt about whether a self (or indeed a human being) can really be said to lose anything in dying. He criticizes the popular notion of the narrative self, and considers the differences between 'Endurers' or 'Diachronic' people, who feel that they are the same person when they consider their past and future, and 'Transients' or 'Episodic' people, who do not feel this. He considers the first-person pronoun 'I' and a number of puzzles raised by the phenomena of self-reference and self-knowledge. He examines Locke's, Hume's and Kant's accounts of the mind and personal identity, and argues that Locke and Hume have been badly misunderstood.
The biological functions debate is a perennial topic in the philosophy of science. In the first full-length account of the nature and importance of biological functions for many years, Justin Garson presents an innovative new theory, the 'generalized selected effects theory of function', which seamlessly integrates evolutionary and developmental perspectives on biological functions. He develops the implications of the theory for contemporary debates in the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of medicine and psychiatry, the philosophy of biology, and biology itself, addressing issues ranging from the nature of mental representation to our understanding of the function of the human genome. Clear, jargon-free, and engagingly written, with accessible examples and explanatory diagrams to illustrate the discussion, his book will be highly valuable for readers across philosophical and scientific disciplines.
Certain representations are bound in a special way to our sensory capacities. Many pictures show things as looking certain ways, for instance, while auditory mental images show things as sounding certain ways. What do all those distinctively sensory representations have in common, and what makes them different from representations of other kinds? Dominic Gregory argues that they are alike in having meanings of a certain special type. He employs a host of novel ideas relating to kinds of perceptual states, sensory perspectives, and sensory varieties of meaning to provide a detailed account of the special nature of the contents which belong to distinctively sensory representations. The resulting theory is then used to shed light on a wide range of intellectual issues. Some of the topics addressed in Showing, Sensing, and Seeming relate to distinctively sensory representations in general, but many of them concern distinctively sensory representations of more specific kinds. The book contains detailed philosophical examinations of sensory mental imagery and pictures, for instance, and of memory, photography, and analogous nonvisual phenomena.
Alone among Thomas Aquinas' works, the Summa Theologiae contains well-developed and integrated discussions of metaphysics, ethics, law, human action, and the divine nature. The essays in this volume, by scholars representing varied approaches to the study of Aquinas, offer thorough, cutting-edge expositions and analyses of these topics and show how they relate to Aquinas' larger system of thought. The volume also examines the reception of the Summa Theologiae from the thirteenth century to the present day, showing how scholars have understood and misunderstood this key text - and how, even after seven centuries of interpretation, we still have much to learn from it. Detailed and accessible, this book will be highly important for scholars and students of medieval philosophy and theology.
Reductionism is a widely endorsed methodology among biologists, a metaphysical theory advanced to vindicate the biologist's methodology, and an epistemic thesis those opposed to reductionism have been eager to refute. While the methodology has gone from strength to strength in its history of achievements, the metaphysical thesis grounding it remained controversial despite its significant changes over the last 75 years of the philosophy of science. Meanwhile, antireductionism about biology, and especially Darwinian natural selection, became orthodoxy in philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and philosophy of biology. This Element expounds the debate about reductionism in biology, from the work of the post-positivists to the end of the century debates about supervenience, multiple realizability, and explanatory exclusion. It shows how the more widely accepted 21st century doctrine of 'mechanism' - reductionism with a human face - inherits both the strengths and the challenges of the view it has largely supplanted.
For much of his life Pascal (1623-62) worked on a magnum opus which was never published in its intended form. Instead, he left a mass of fragments, some of them meant as notes for the Apologie. These were to become known as the Pensees, and they occupy a crucial place in Western philosophy and religious writing. Pascal's general intention was to confound scepticism about metaphysical questions. Some of the Pensees are fully developed literary reflections on the human condition,, some contradict others, and some remain jottings whose meaning will never be clear. The most important are among the most powerful aphorisms about human experience and behaviour ever written in any language. This translation is the only one based on the Pensees as Pascal left them. It includes the principal dossiers classified by Pascal, as well as the essential portion of the important Writings on Grace. A detailed thematic index gives access to Pascal's areas of concern, while the selection of texts and the introduction help to show why Pascal changed the plan of his projected work before abandoning the book he might have written. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Few would question that Albert Camus (1913-1960), novelist, playwright, philosopher and journalist, is a major cultural icon. His widely quoted works have led to countless movie adaptions, graphic novels, pop songs, and even t-shirts. In this Very Short Introduction, Oliver Gloag chronicles the inspiring story of Camus' life. From a poor fatherless settler in French-Algeria to the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Gloag offers a comprehensive view of Camus' major works and interventions, including his notion of the absurd and revolt, as well as his highly original concept of pure happiness through unity with nature called "bonheur". This original introduction also addresses debates on coloniality, which have arisen around Camus' work. Gloag presents Camus in all his complexity a staunch defender of many progressive causes, fiercely attached to his French-Algerian roots, a writer of enormous talent and social awareness plagued by self-doubt, and a crucially relevant author whose major works continue to significantly impact our views on contemporary issues and events. 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.
Recurrent questions about space have dogged philosophers since ancient times. Can an ordinary person draw from his or her perceptions to say what space is? Or is it rather a technical concept that is only within the grasp of experts? Can geometry characterize the world in which we live? What is God's relation to space? In Ancient Greece, Euclid set out to define space by devising a codified set of axioms and associated theorems that were then passed down for centuries, thought by many philosophers to be the only sensible way of trying to fathom space. Centuries later, when Newton transformed the 'natural philosophy' of the seventeenth century into the physics of the eighteenth century, he placed the mathematical analysis of space, time, and motion at the center of his work. When Kant began to explore modern notions of 'idealism' and 'realism,' space played a central role. But the study of space was transformed forever when, in 1915, Einstein published his general theory of relativity, explaining that the world is not Euclidean after all. This volume chronicles the development of philosophical conceptions of space from early antiquity through the medieval period to the early modern era. The chapters describe the interactions at different moments in history between philosophy and various other disciplines, especially geometry, optics, and natural science more generally. Fascinating central figures from the history of mathematics, science and philosophy are discussed, including Euclid, Plato, Aristotle, Proclus, Ibn al-Haytham, Nicole Oresme, Kepler, Descartes, Newton, Leibniz, Berkeley, and Kant. As with other books in the series, shorter essays, or Reflections, enrich the volume by characterizing perspectives on space found in various disciplines including ecology, mathematics, sculpture, neuroscience, cultural geography, art history, and the history of science.
This edited volume brings together contributions from prominent scholars to discuss new approaches to Plato's philosophy, especially in the burgeoning fields of Platonic ontology and psychology. Topics such as the relationship between mind, soul and emotions, as well as the connection between ontology and ethics are discussed through the analyses of dialogues from Plato's middle and late periods, such as the Republic, Symposium, Theaetetus, Timaeus and Laws. These works are being increasingly studied both as precursors for Aristotelian philosophy and in their own right, and the analyses included in this volume reveal some new interpretations of topics such as Plato's attitude towards artistic imagination and the possibility of speaking of a teleology in Plato. Focusing on hot topics in the area, Psychology and Ontology in Plato provides a good sense of what is happening in Platonic scholarship worldwide and will be of interest to academic researchers and teachers interested in ancient philosophy, ontology and philosophical psychology.
Necessary Beings is concerned with two central areas of metaphysics: modality-the theory of necessity, possibility, and other related notions; and ontology-the general study of what kinds of entities there are. Bob Hale's overarching purpose is to develop and defend two quite general theses about what is required for the existence of entities of various kinds: that questions about what kinds of things there are cannot be properly understood or adequately answered without recourse to considerations about possibility and necessity, and that, conversely, questions about the nature and basis of necessity and possibility cannot be satisfactorily tackled without drawing on what might be called the methodology of ontology. Taken together, these two theses claim that ontology and modality are mutually dependent upon one another, neither more fundamental than the other. Hale defends a broadly Fregean approach to metaphysics, according to which ontological distinctions among different kinds of things (objects, properties, and relations) are to be drawn on the basis of prior distinctions between different logical types of expression. The claim that facts about what kinds of things exist depend upon facts about what is possible makes little sense unless one accepts that at least some modal facts are fundamental, and not reducible to facts of some other, non-modal, sort. He argues that facts about what is absolutely necessary or possible have this character, and that they have their source or basis, not in meanings or concepts nor in facts about alternative 'worlds', but in the natures or essences of things.
This book examines the phenomenological anthropology of Edith Stein. It specifically focuses on the question which Stein addressed in her work Finite and Eternal Being: What is the foundational principle that makes the individual unique and unrepeatable within the human species? Traditional analyses of Edith Stein's writings have tended to frame her views on this issue as being influenced by Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, while neglecting her interest in the lesser-known figure of Duns Scotus. Yet, as this book shows, with regard to the question of individuality, Stein was critical of Aquinas' approach, finding that of Duns Scotus to be more convincing. In order to get to the heart of Stein's readings of Duns Scotus, this book looks at her published writings and her personal correspondence, in addition to conducting a meticulous analysis of the original codexes on which her sources were based. Written with diligence and flair, the book critically evaluates the authenticity of Stein's sources and shows how the position of Scotus himself evolved. It highlights the originality of Stein's contribution, which was to rediscover the relevance of Mediaeval scholastic thought and reinterpret it in the language of the Phenomenological school founded by Edmund Husserl.
This edited collection presents the latest cutting-edge research in the philosophy and cognitive science of temporal illusions. Illusion and error have long been important points of entry for both philosophical and psychological approaches to understanding the mind. Temporal illusions, specifically, concern a fundamental feature of lived experience, temporality, and its relation to a fundamental feature of the world, time, thus providing invaluable insight into investigations of the mind and its relationship with the world. The existence of temporal illusions crucially challenges the naive assumption that we can simply infer the temporal nature of the world from experience. This anthology gathers eighteen original papers from current leading researchers in this subject, covering four broad and interdisciplinary topics: illusions of temporal passage, illusions and duration, illusions of temporal order and simultaneity, and the relationship between temporal illusions and the cognitive representation of time.
Metaphysics--the philosophical study of the nature of reality--is a dynamic sub-field which encompasses many of the most fundamental and elusive questions in contemporary analytic philosophy. A concise and focused introduction to contemporary metaphysics, This is Metaphysics: An Introduction takes readers with minimal technical knowledge of the field on a guided tour of the intellectual landscape of the discipline. Approachable and engaging, the book covers a broad range of key topics and principles in metaphysics, including classification, the nature and existence of properties, ontology, the nature of possibility and necessity, and fundamental questions concerning being and existence. Each chapter challenges readers to grapple with thought-provoking examples that build upon the seminal theoretical contributions of contemporary metaphysicians like Peter van Inwagen and David Lewis, and concludes with a "Doing Metaphysics" section encouraging readers to think through substantive metaphysical questions while weighing possible arguments and objections. A thoughtful and comprehensive introduction provides a framework for author Kris McDaniel's pedagogical approach, and each section incorporates multi-platform online resources and plentiful footnotes to support further reading and deeper conceptual engagement. A welcome addition to the popular This is Philosophy series, This is Metaphysics is a reader-friendly survey of metaphysics for philosophy majors, undergraduates in introductory philosophy courses, and curious members of the general public interested in investigating this expansive and enigmatic area of study.
Religion and the Philosophy of Life considers how religion as the source of civilization transforms the fundamental bio-sociology of humans through language and the somatic exploration of religious ritual and prayer. Gavin Flood offers an integrative account of the nature of the human, based on what contemporary scientists tell us, especially evolutionary science and social neuroscience, as well as through the history of civilizations. Part one contemplates fundamental questions and assumptions: what the current state of knowledge is concerning life itself; what the philosophical issues are in that understanding; and how we can explain religion as the driving force of civilizations in the context of human development within an evolutionary perspective. It also addresses the question of the emergence of religion and presents a related study of sacrifice as fundamental to religions' views about life and its transformation. Part two offers a reading of religions in three civilizational blocks-India, China, and Europe/the Middle East-particularly as they came to formation in the medieval period. It traces the history of how these civilizations have thematised the idea of life itself. Part three then takes up the idea of a life force in part three and traces the theme of the philosophy of life through to modern times. On the one hand, the book presents a narrative account of life itself through the history of civilizations, and on the other presents an explanation of that narrative in terms of life.
An entertaining and provocative investigation of friendship in all its variety, from ancient times to the present day A central bond, a cherished value, a unique relationship, a profound human need, a type of love. What is the nature of friendship, and what is its significance in our lives? How has friendship changed since the ancient Greeks began to analyze it, and how has modern technology altered its very definition? In this fascinating exploration of friendship through the ages, one of the most thought-provoking philosophers of our time tracks historical ideas of friendship, gathers a diversity of friendship stories from the annals of myth and literature, and provides unexpected insights into our friends, ourselves, and the role of friendships in an ethical life. A. C. Grayling roves the rich traditions of friendship in literature, culture, art, and philosophy, bringing into his discussion familiar pairs as well as unfamiliar-Achilles and Patroclus, David and Jonathan, Coleridge and Wordsworth, Huck Finn and Jim. Grayling lays out major philosophical interpretations of friendship, then offers his own take, drawing on personal experiences and an acute awareness of vast cultural shifts that have occurred. With penetrating insight he addresses internet-based friendship, contemporary mixed gender friendships, how friendships may supersede family relationships, one's duty within friendship, the idea of friendship to humanity, and many other topics of universal interest.
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