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Gila Sher approaches knowledge from the perspective of the basic human epistemic situation - the situation of limited yet resourceful beings, living in a complex world and aspiring to know it in its full complexity. What principles should guide them? Two fundamental principles of knowledge are epistemic friction and freedom. Knowledge must be substantially constrained by the world (friction), but without active participation of the knower in accessing the world (freedom) theoretical knowledge is impossible. This requires a grounding of all knowledge, empirical and abstract, in both mind and world, but the fall of traditional foundationalism has led many to doubt the viability of this aclassicala project. Sher challenges this skepticism, charting a new foundational methodology, foundational holism, that differs from others in being holistic, world-oriented, and universal (i.e., applicable to all fields of knowledge). Using this methodology, Epistemic Friction develops an integrated theory of knowledge, truth, and logic. This includes (i) a dynamic model of knowledge, incorporating some of Quineas revolutionary ideas while rejecting his narrow empiricism, (ii) a substantivist, non-traditional correspondence theory of truth, and (iii) an outline of a joint grounding of logic in mind and world. The model of knowledge subjects all disciplines to demanding norms of both veridicality and conceptualization. The correspondence theory is robust and universal yet not simplistic or naive, admitting diverse forms of correspondence. Logicas grounding in the world brings it in line with other disciplines while preserving, and explaining, its strong formality, necessity, generality, and normativity.
Logic of Sense is one of Deleuze's seminal works. First published in 1969, shortly after Difference and Repetition, it prefigures the hybrid style and methods he would use in his later writing with Felix Guattari. In an early review Michel Foucault wrote that Logic of Sense 'should be read as the boldest and most insolent of metaphysical treatises'. The book is divided into 34 'series' and five appendices covering a diverse range of topics including, sense, nonsense, event, sexuality, psychoanalysis, paradoxes, schizophrenia, literature and becoming and includes fascinating close textual readings of works by Lewis Carroll, Sigmund Freud, Seneca, Pierre Klossowski, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Emile Zola. Logic of Sense is essential reading for anyone interested in post-war continental thought.
"With its signal distinction between 'intuition' and 'analysis' and its exploration of the different levels of Duration (Bergson's term for Heraclitean flux), An Introduction to Metaphysics has had a significant impact on subsequent twentieth century thought. The arts, from post-impressionist painting to the stream of consciousness novel, and philosophies as diverse as pragmatism, process philosophy, and existentialism bear its imprint. Consigned for a while to the margins of philosophy, Bergson's thought is making its way back to the mainstream. The reissue of this important work comes at an opportune time, and will be welcomed by teachers and scholars alike." --Peter A. Y. Gunter, University of North Texas
This book investigates what change is, according to Aristotle, and how it affects his conception of being. Mark Sentesy argues that change leads Aristotle to develop first-order metaphysical concepts such as matter, potency, actuality, sources of being, and the teleology of emerging things. He shows that Aristotle's distinctive ontological claim-that being is inescapably diverse in kind-is anchored in his argument for the existence of change. Aristotle may be the only thinker to have given a noncircular definition of change. When he gave this definition, arguing that change is real was a losing proposition. To show that it exists, he had to rework the way philosophers understood reality. His groundbreaking analysis of change has long been interpreted through a Platonist lens, however, in which being is conceived as unchanging. Offering a comprehensive reexamination of the relationship between change and being in Aristotle, Sentesy makes an important contribution to scholarship on Aristotle, ancient philosophy, the history and philosophy of science, and metaphysics.
Tim Button explores the relationship between words and world; between semantics and scepticism. A certain kind of philosopherthe external realistworries that appearances might be radically deceptive; we might all, for example, be brains in vats, stimulated by an infernal machine. But anyone who entertains the possibility of radical deception must also entertain a further worry: that all of our thoughts are totally contentless. That worry is just incoherent. We cannot, then, be external realists, who worry about the possibility of radical deception. Equally, though, we cannot be internal realists, who reject all possibility of deception. We must position ourselves somewhere between internal realism and external realism, but we cannot hope to say exactly where. We must be realists, for what that is worth, and realists within limits. In establishing these claims, Button critically explores and develops several themes from Hilary Putnam's work: the model-theoretic arguments; the connection between truth and justification; the brain-in-vat argument; semantic externalism; and conceptual relativity. The Limits of Realism establishes the continued significance of these topics for all philosophers interested in mind, logic, language, or the possibility of metaphysics.
Meaning, feeling and expression - the experience of inwardness - matter most in human existence. The perspective of biopoetics shows that this experience is shared by all organisms. Being alive means to exist through relations that have existential concern, and to express these dimensions through the body and its gestures. All life takes place within one poetic space which is shared between all beings and which is accessible through subjective sensual experience. We take part in this through our empirical subjectivity, which arises from the experiences and needs of living beings, and which makes them open to access and sharing in a poetic objectivity. Biopoetics breaks free from the causal-mechanic paradigm which made biology unable to account for mind and meaning. Biology becomes a science of expression, connection and subjectivity which can understand all organisms including humans as feeling agents in a shared ecology of meaningful relations, embedded in a symbolical and material metabolism of the biosphere.
A provocative new look at concepts of the present, their connection to ideas about time, and their effect on literature, art, and culture The problem of the present-what it is and what it means-is one that has vexed generations of thinkers and artists. Because modernity places so much value on the present, many critics argue that people today spend far too much time in the here and now-but how can we tell without first knowing what the here and now actually is? What Is the Present? takes a provocative new look at this moment in time that remains a mystery even though it is always with us. Michael North tackles puzzles that have preoccupied philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, history, and aesthetic theory and examines the complex role of the present in painting, fiction, and film. He engages with a range of thinkers, from Aristotle and Augustine to William James and Henri Bergson. He draws illuminating examples from artists such as Fra Angelico and Richard McGuire, filmmakers like D. W. Griffith and Christopher Nolan, and novelists such as Elizabeth Bowen and Willa Cather. North offers a critical analysis of previous models of the present, from the experiential present to the historical period we call the contemporary. He argues that the present is not a cosmological or experiential fact but a metaphor, a figurative relationship with the whole of time. Presenting an entirely new conception of the temporal mystery Georg Lukacs called the "unexplained instant," What Is the Present? explores how the arts have traditionally represented the present-and also how artists have offered radical alternatives to that tradition.
Many have been attracted to the idea that for something to be good there just have to be reasons to favour it. This view has come to be known as the buck-passing account of value. According to this account, for pleasure to be good there need to be reasons for us to desire and pursue it. Likewise for liberty and equality to be values there have to be reasons for us to promote and preserve them. Extensive discussion has focussed on some of the problems that the buck-passing account faces, such as the 'wrong kind of reason' problem. Less attention, however, has been paid as to why we should accept the buck-passing account or what the theoretical pay-offs and other implications of accepting it are. The Normative and the Evaluative provides the first comprehensive motivation and defence of the buck-passing account of value. Richard Rowland argues that the buck-passing account explains several important features of the relationship between reasons and value, as well as the relationship between the different varieties of value, in a way that its competitors do not. He shows that alternatives to the buck-passing account are inconsistent with important views in normative ethics, uninformative, and at odds with the way in which we should see practical and epistemic normativity as related. In addition, he extends the buck-passing account to provide an account of moral properties as well as all other normative and deontic properties and concepts, such as fittingness and 'ought', in terms of reasons.
This book presents a new way to understand human-animal interactions. Offering a profound discussion of topics such as human identity, our relationship with animals and the environment, and our culture, the author channels the vibrant Italian traditions of humanism, materialism, and speculative philosophy. The research presents a dialogue between the humanities and the natural sciences. It challenges the separation and oppression of animals with a post-humanism steeped in the traditions of the Italian Renaissance. Readers discover a vision of the human as a species informed by an intertwining with animals. The human being is not constructed by an onto-poetic process, but rather by close relations with otherness. The human system is increasingly unstable and, therefore, more hybrid. The argument it presents interests scholars, thinkers, and researchers. It also appeals to anyone who wants to delve into the deep animal-human bond and its philosophical, cultural, political instances. The author is a veterinarian, ethologist, and philosopher. He uses cognitive science, zooanthropology, and philosophy to engage in a series of empirical, theoretical, and practice-based engagements with animal life. In the process, he argues that animals are key to human identity and culture at all levels.
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? No one has written more insightfully on the promises and perils of human agency than Gary Watson, who has spent a career thinking about issues such as moral responsibility, blame, free will, weakness of will, addiction, and psychopathy. This special edition of OSAR pays tribute to Watson's work by taking up and extending themes from his pioneering essays.
Because of the difficulty posed by the contrast between the search
for truth and truth itself, Michael Polanyi believes that we must
alter the foundation of epistemology to include as essential to the
very nature of mind, the kind of groping that constitutes the
recognition of a problem.
Plato's Parmenides is regarded as a canonical work in ontology. Depicting a conversation between Parmenides of Elea and a young Socrates, the dialogue presents a rigorous examination of Socrates' theory of the forms, the most influential account of being in the philosophic tradition. In this commentary on the Parmenides, Alex Priou argues that the dialogue is, in actuality, a reflection on politics. Priou begins from the accepted view that the conversation consists of two discrete parts -- a critique of the forms, followed by Socrates' philosophical training -- but finds a unity to the dialogue yet to be acknowledged. By paying careful attention to what Parmenides calls the "greatest impasse" facing Socrates' ontology, Priou reveals a political context to the conversation. The need in society for order and good rule includes the need, at a more fundamental level, for an adequate and efficacious explanation of being. Recounting here how a young Socrates first learned of the primacy of political philosophy, which would become the hallmark of his life, Becoming Socrates shows that political philosophy, and not ontology, is "first philosophy." Alex Priou is an instructor in the Herbst Program in the Humanities in Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder.
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.
The Reason for all Existence endeavours to explain why there is existence, rather than nothingness, by dissecting the fundamental principles/concepts of all existence, such as infinity, absolute zero and the ideas of good and evil. Familiar, earthly examples of these concepts are used along with their basic descriptions, so that the reader can better see how these concepts work and relate to the entirety of existence. The Reason for all Existence should give individuals a clear idea of the reason why they exist at all, while aiding them to direct their life in a positive way.
This book gives a succinct explanation of Schopenhauer's metaphysical system, concentrating on the original aspects of thought which inspired many artists and thinkers such as Nietzsche, Wagner, Freud, and Wittgenstein. Schopenhauer's central notion is that of the will - a blind, irrational force which he uses to interpret both the human mind and the whole of nature. Christopher Janaway confronts Schopenhauer's uncompromising, pessimistic view that for the human individual non-existence would be preferable, and his claim that only aesthetic experience and saintly self-denial - escape from the will - can give life value. Schopenhauer is revealed as a challenging, progressive,
Thomas Pink offers a new approach to the problem of free will. Do we have control of how we act, so that we are free to act in more than one way, and does it matter to morality whether we do? Pink argues that what matters to morality is not in fact the freedom to do otherwise, but something more primitive - a basic capacity or power to determine for ourselves what we do. This capacity might or might not take the form of a freedom to act in more than one way, and it might or might not be compatible with causal determinism. What really matters to morality is that it is we who determine what we do. What we do must not simply be a function of powers or capacities for which we are not responsible, or a matter of mere chance. At the heart of moral responsibility is a distinctive form of power that is quite unlike ordinary causation - a power by which we determine outcomes in a way quite differently from the way ordinary causes determine outcomes. Pink examines how this power is involved in action, and how the nature of action permits the operation of such a power to determine it.
New translations of the central mediaeval texts on the problem of universals are presented here in an affordable edition suitable for use in courses in mediaeval philosophy, history of mediaeval philosophy, and universals. Includes a concise Introduction, glossary of important terms, notes, and bibliography.
The Philosophy of Living Nature focuses on the approach of the Western philosophical tradition to physis, or nature. Zdenek Kratochvil reveals, on a philosophical level, the roots of today's environmental crisis, presenting an etymological investigation of the concept of "nature" itself and arguing for the necessity of focusing on the world and its plurality as the background for phenomena and the context of things, as a unity of horizons, as a paradigm for understanding nature. However, as Kratochvil makes clear, questions about the natural world have stakes far beyond the realm of philosophy: chapters in this wide-ranging and richly nuanced book deal with the identity of living organisms and the relation of life and being. Together, they provide an analysis of Darwinian and neo-Darwinian evolution and question in what sense we may know living beings.
This book presents a new view of the relation between metaphysics and the theory of meaning, broadly construed. Christopher Peacocke develops a general claim that metaphysics is always involved, either as explanatorily prior, or in a no-priority relationship, to the theory of meaning and content. Meaning and intentional content are never explanatorily prior to the metaphysics. He aims to show, in successive chapters of The Primacy of Metaphysics, how the general view holds for magnitudes, time, the self, and abstract objects. For each of these cases, the metaphysics of the entities involved is explanatorily prior to an account of the nature of our language and thought about them. Peacocke makes original contributions to the metaphysics of these topics, and offers consequential new treatments of analogue computation and representation. In the final chapter, he argues that his approach generates a new account of the limits of intelligibility, and locates his account in relation to other treatments of this classical conundrum.
In Geontologies Elizabeth A. Povinelli continues her project of mapping the current conditions of late liberalism by offering a bold retheorization of power. Finding Foucauldian biopolitics unable to adequately reveal contemporary mechanisms of power and governance, Povinelli describes a mode of power she calls geontopower, which operates through the regulation of the distinction between Life and Nonlife and the figures of the Desert, the Animist, and the Virus. Geontologies examines this formation of power from the perspective of Indigenous Australian maneuvers against the settler state. And it probes how our contemporary critical languages-anthropogenic climate change, plasticity, new materialism, antinormativity-often unwittingly transform their struggles against geontopower into a deeper entwinement within it. A woman who became a river, a snakelike entity who spawns the fog, plesiosaurus fossils and vast networks of rock weirs: in asking how these different forms of existence refuse incorporation into the vocabularies of Western theory Povinelli provides a revelatory new way to understand a form of power long self-evident in certain regimes of settler late liberalism but now becoming visible much further beyond.
The Poverty of Conceptual Truth is based on a simple idea. Kant's distinction between analytic and synthetic judgments underwrites a powerful argument against the metaphysical program of his Leibnizian-Wolffian predecessors-an argument from fundamental limits on its expressive power. In that tradition, metaphysics promised to reveal the deep rational structure of the world through a systematic philosophy consisting of strictly conceptual truths, which flow from a logically perspicuous relation of 'containment' among concepts. That is, all truths would be 'analytic,' in Kant's sense. Kant's distinction shows to the contrary that far reaching and scientifically indispensable parts of our knowledge of the world (including mathematics, the foundations of natural science, all knowledge from experience, and the central principles of metaphysics itself) are essentially synthetic and could never be restated in analytic form. Thus, the metaphysics of Kant's predecessors is doomed, because knowledge crucial to any adequate theory of the world cannot even be expressed in the idiom to which it restricts itself (and which was the basis of its claim to provide a transparently rational account of things). Traditional metaphysics founders on the expressive poverty of conceptual truth. To establish these claims, R. Lanier Anderson shows how Kant's distinction can be given a clear basis within traditional logic, and traces Kant's long, difficult path to discovering it. Once analyticity is framed in clear logical terms, it is possible to reconstruct compelling arguments that elementary mathematics must be synthetic, and then to show how similar considerations about irreducible syntheticity animate Kant's famous arguments against traditional metaphysics in the Critique of Pure Reason.
At first glance Sufism and Surrealism appear to be as far removed from one another as is possible. Adonis, however, draws convincing parallels between the two, contesting that God, in the traditional sense does not exist in Surrealism or in Sufism, and that both are engaged in parallel quests for the nature of the Absolute, through 'holy madness' and the deregulation of the senses.This is a remarkable investigation into the common threads of thought that run through seemingly polarised philosophies from East and West, written by a man Edward Said referred to as 'the most eloquent spokesman and explorer of Arab modernity'.
Causation is the main foundation upon which the possibility of science rests. Without causation, there would be no scientific understanding, explanation, prediction, nor application in new technologies. How we discover causal connections is no easy matter, however. Causation often lies hidden from view and it is vital that we adopt the right methods for uncovering it. The choice of methods will inevitably reflect what one takes causation to be, making an accurate account of causation an even more pressing matter. This enquiry informs the correct norms for an empirical study of the world. In Causation in Science and the Methods of Scientific Discovery, Rani Lill Anjum and Stephen Mumford propose nine new norms of scientific discovery. A number of existing methodological and philosophical orthodoxies are challenged as they argue that progress in science is being held back by an overly simplistic philosophy of causation.
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