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The metaphysics of ordinary objects is an increasingly vibrant field of study for philosophers. This volume gathers insights from a number of leading authors, who together tackle the central issues in contemporary debates about the subject. Their essays engage with topics including composition, persistence, perception, categories, images, artifacts, truthmakers, metaontology, and the relationship between the manifest and scientific images. Exploring the nature of everyday things, the contributors situate their arguments and the latest research against the background of the field's development. Moreover, many essays propose new ideas and approaches, looking ahead to the future of the metaphysical study of ordinary objects. Featuring numerous clearly explained examples and with thoughtful links drawn to other, related disciplines such as pragmatism, this wide-ranging volume fills a major gap in the literature and will be important for scholars working in metaphysics.
Economists increasingly recognise that engagement with social ontology - the study of the basic subject matter and constitution of social reality - can facilitate more relevant analysis. This growing recognition amongst economists of the importance of social ontology is due very considerably to the work of members of the Cambridge Social Ontology Group. This volume brings together important papers by members of this group, some previously unpublished, in a collection that reveals the breadth and vitality of this Cambridge project. It provides a brilliant introduction to the central themes explored, perspectives sustained, insights achieved and how the project is moving forward. An initial set of papers examine how ontology is understood and justified within this Cambridge project and consider how it compares with prominent historical and contemporary alternatives. The majority of the included papers involve social ontological analysis being put to work directly in underlabouring for specific types of development in economics. The papers are grouped according to their contribution to clarifying and developing (i) various competing traditions and projects of modern economics, (ii) history of thought contributions, (iii) methodological concerns, (iv) ethics and (v) conceptions of particular aspects of social reality, including money, gender, technology and institutions. Background to and a brief history of the Cambridge group is provided in the Introduction. Social Ontology and Modern Economics will be of interest not only to economists but also philosophers of social science, social theorists and those eager to explore the nature of gender, social institutions and technology.
'To thine own self be true.' From Polonius's words in Hamlet right
up to Oprah, we are constantly urged to look within. Why is being
authentic the ultimate aim in life for so many people, and why does
it mean looking inside rather than out? Is it about finding the
'real' me, or something greater than me, even God? And should we
welcome what we find?
While Kant is commonly regarded as one of the most austere philosophers of all time, this book provides quite a different perspective of the founder of transcendental philosophy. Kant is often thought of as being boring, methodical, and humorless. Yet the thirty jokes and anecdotes collected and illustrated here for the first time reveal a man and a thinker who was deeply interested in how humor and laughter shape how we think, feel, and communicate with fellow human beings. In addition to a foreword on Kant's theory of humor by Noel Carroll as well as Clewis's informative chapters, Kant's Humorous Writings contains new translations of Kant's jokes, quips, and anecdotes. Each of the thirty excerpts is illustrated and supplemented by historical commentaries which explain their significance.
Are there such things as merely possible people, who would have lived if our ancestors had acted differently? Are there future people, who have not yet been conceived? Questions like those raise deep issues about both the nature of being and its logical relations with contingency and change. In Modal Logic as Metaphysics, Timothy Williamson argues for positive answers to those questions on the basis of an integrated approach to the issues, applying the technical resources of modal logic to provide structural cores for metaphysical theories. He rejects the search for a metaphysically neutral logic as futile. The book contains detailed historical discussion of how the metaphysical issues emerged in the twentieth century development of quantified modal logic, through the work of such figures as Rudolf Carnap, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Arthur Prior, and Saul Kripke. It proposes higher-order modal logic as a new setting in which to resolve such metaphysical questions scientifically, by the construction of systematic logical theories embodying rival answers and their comparison by normal scientific standards. Williamson provides both a rigorous introduction to the technical background needed to understand metaphysical questions in quantified modal logic and an extended argument for controversial, provocative answers to them. He gives original, precise treatments of topics including the relation between logic and metaphysics, the methodology of theory choice in philosophy, the nature of possible worlds and their role in semantics, plural quantification compared to quantification into predicate position, communication across metaphysical disagreement, and problems for truthmaker theory.
This book examines the many faces of philosophy of time, including the metaphysical aspects, natural science issues, and the consciousness of time. It brings together the different methodologies of investigating the philosophy of time. It does so to counter the growing fragmentation of the field with regard to discussions, and the existing cleavage between analytic and continental traditions in philosophy. The book's multidirectional approach to the notion of time contributes to a better understanding of time's metaphysical, physical and phenomenological aspects. It helps clarify the presuppositions underpinning the analytic and continental traditions in the philosophy of time and offers ways in which the differences between them can be bridged.
An illuminating celebration of more than 80 of the world's most important thinkers, this book explores the fascinating stories of their lives, their loves, and their pioneering ideas. Introduced with a stunning portrait of each featured philosopher, entries trace the ideas and beliefs, and the relationships and rivalries that inspired the great thinkers and influenced their work, providing revealing insights into what drove them to question the meaning of life and come up with new ways of understanding the world. Lavishly illustrated with photographs and paintings of philosophers, their homes, friends, studies, and their personal belongings, together with pages from original manuscripts, first editions, and correspondence, this book introduces the key ideas, themes, and working methods of each featured individual, setting their ideas within a wider historical and cultural context. Charting the development of ideas across the centuries in both the East and West, from ancient Chinese philosophy to the work of contemporary thinkers, Philosophers provides a compelling glimpse into the personal lives, loves, and influences of the great philosophers as they probed into life's "big ideas".
"Routledge Philosophy Guidebooks" introduce students to the classic works of philosophy. Each guidebook considers a major philosopher and a key area of their philosophy by focusing upon an important text - situating the philosopher and work in a historical context, considering the text in question and assessing the philosopher's contribution to contemporary thought.;Leibniz is a major figure in western philosophy and, with Descartes and Spinoza, one of the most influential philosophers of the Rationalist School. The "Monadology" is his most famous work and one of the most important works of modern philosophy. This text introduces and assesses: Leibniz's life and the background to the "Monadology"; the ideas and text of the "Monadology"; and Leibniz's continuing importance to philosophy.
One of the greatest challenges in fundamental physics is to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity in a theory of quantum gravity. A successful theory would have profound consequences for our understanding of space, time, and matter. This collection of essays written by eminent physicists and philosophers discusses these consequences and examines the most important conceptual questions among philosophers and physicists in their search for a quantum theory of gravity. Comprising three parts, the book explores the emergence of classical spacetime, the nature of time, and important questions of the interpretation, metaphysics, and epistemology of quantum gravity. These essays will appeal to both physicists and philosophers of science working on problems in foundational physics, specifically that of quantum gravity.
Take 25 of the liveliest philosophers of our time. Talk to each about one of the most intriguing topics you can think of-from ethics to aesthetics to metaphysics. The result is a Philosophy Bite-a lively, informal conversation that brings the subject into focus. First made public on the enormously popular Philosophy Bites podcast, these entertaining, personal, and illuminating conversations are presented in print. The result is a book that is a taster for the whole enterprise of philosophy, and gives unexpected insights into hot topics spanning ethics, politics, metaphysics, aesthetics, and the meaning of life.
First Published in 1999. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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.
How can we find solace when we face the death of loved ones? How can we find solace in our own death? When philosopher Joshua Glasgow's mother was diagnosed with cancer, he struggled to answer these questions for her and for himself. Though death and immortality introduce some of the most basic and existentially compelling questions in philosophy, Glasgow found that the dominant theories came up short. Recalling the last months of his mother's life, Glasgow reveals the breakthrough he finally arrived at for himself, from which readers can learn and find solace. When we are grateful for life, we value all of it, and this includes death, its natural culmination. Just as we are grateful for the value in our lives, we can affirm this value in death. This is how to face death in a way that is both rational and comforting-in a way that provides solace. Too often we think about death as nothing but a loss. But if we shift our thinking, we can focus on how the goodness of life radiates to all its parts, even to death itself. In this way, we can find solace in death without having to resort to sentimentalism, and we can do so in a way that is equally relevant for the religious and non-religious. This path to solace provides a reassuring and significant tool for those grappling with the fact that we pass away.
Meaning Diminished examines the complex relationship between semantic analysis and metaphysical inquiry. Kenneth A. Taylor argues that we should expect linguistic and conceptual analysis of natural language to yield far less metaphysical insight into what there is - and the nature of what there is - than many philosophers have imagined. Taking a strong stand against the so-called linguistic turn in philosophy, Taylor contends that philosophers as diverse as Kant, with his Transcendental Idealism, Frege, with his aspirational Platonism, Carnap with his distinction between internal and external questions, and Strawson, with his descriptive metaphysics, have placed too much confidence in the ability of linguistic and conceptual analysis to achieve deep insight into matters of ultimate metaphysics. He urges philosophers who seek such insight to turn away from the interrogation of language and concepts and back to the more direct interrogation of reality itself. In doing so, he maps out the way forward toward a metaphysically modest semantics, in which semantics carries less weighty metaphysical burdens, and toward a revisionary and naturalistic metaphysics, untethered to the a priori analysis of ordinary language.
In his philosophical reflections on the art of lingering, acclaimed cultural theorist Byung-Chul Han argues that the value we attach today to the vita activa is producing a crisis in our sense of time. Our attachment to the vita activa creates an imperative to work which degrades the human being into a labouring animal, an animal laborans. At the same time, the hyperactivity which characterizes our daily routines robs human beings of the capacity to linger and the faculty of contemplation. It therefore becomes impossible to experience time as fulfilling. Drawing on a range of thinkers including Heidegger, Nietzsche and Arendt, Han argues that we can overcome this temporal crisis only by revitalizing the vita contemplativa and relearning the art of lingering. For what distinguishes humans from other animals is the capacity for reflection and contemplation, and when life regains this capacity, this art of lingering, it gains in time and space, in duration and vastness. With his hallmark ability to bring the resources of philosophy and cultural theory to bear on the conditions of modern life, Byung-Chul Han's meditation on time will interest a wide readership in cultural theory, philosophy and beyond.
As the study of time has flourished in the physical and human sciences, the philosophy of time has come into its own as a lively and diverse area of academic research. Philosophers investigate not just the metaphysics of time, and our experience and representation of time, but the role of time in ethics and action, and philosophical issues in the sciences of time, especially with regard to quantum mechanics and relativity theory. This Handbook presents twenty-three specially written essays by leading figures in their fields: it is the first comprehensive collaborative study of the philosophy of time, and will set the agenda for future work.
In the fifth century BCE, Melissus of Samos developed wildly counterintuitive claims against plurality, change, and the reliability of the senses. This book provides a reconstruction of the preserved textual evidence for his philosophy, along with an interpretation of the form and content of each of his arguments. A close examination of his thought reveals an extraordinary clarity and unity in his method and gives us a unique perspective on how philosophy developed in the fifth century, and how Melissus came to be the most prominent representative of what we now call Eleaticism, the monistic philosophy inaugurated by Parmenides. The rich intellectual climate of Ionian enquiry in which Melissus worked is explored and brought to bear on central questions of the interpretation of his fragments. This volume will appeal to students and scholars of early Greek philosophy, and also those working on historical and medical texts.
Despite the overuse of the word in movies, political speeches, and news reports, "evil" is generally seen as either flagrant rhetoric or else an outdated concept: a medieval holdover with no bearing on our complex everyday reality. In "A Philosophy of Evil," however, acclaimed philosopher Lars Svendsen argues that evil remains a concrete moral problem: that we're all its victims, and all guilty of committing evil acts. "It's normal to be evil," he writes -- the problem is, we have lost the vocabulary to talk about it.
Taking up this problem -- how do we speak about evil? -- "A Philosophy of Evil" treats evil as an ordinary aspect of contemporary life, with implications that are moral, practical, and above all, political. Because, as Svendsen says, "Evil should neither be justified nor explained away -- evil must be fought."
In this book Timothy Clarke examines Aristotle's response to Eleatic monism, the theory of Parmenides of Elea and his followers that reality is 'one'. Clarke argues that Aristotle interprets the Eleatics as thoroughgoing monists, for whom the pluralistic, changing world of the senses is a mere illusion. Understood in this way, the Eleatic theory constitutes a radical challenge to the possibility of natural philosophy. Aristotle discusses the Eleatics in several works, including De Caelo, De Generatione et Corruptione, and the Metaphysics. But his most extensive treatment of their monism comes at the beginning of the Physics, where he criticizes them for overlooking the fact that 'being is said in many ways' - in other words, that there are many ways of being. Through a careful analysis of this and other criticisms, Clarke explains how Aristotle's engagement with the Eleatics prepares the ground for his own theory of the principles of nature. Aristotle is commonly thought to be an unreliable interpreter of his Presocratic predecessors; in contrast, this book argues that his critique can shed valuable light on the motivation of the Eleatic theory and its influence on the later philosophical tradition.
In this engaging and wide-ranging new book, Nikk Effingham provides an introduction to contemporary ontology - the study of what exists - and its importance for philosophy today. He covers the key topics in the field, from the ontology of holes, numbers and possible worlds, to space, time and the ontology of material objects - for instance, whether there are composite objects such as tables, chairs or even you and me. While starting from the basics, every chapter is up-to-date with the most recent developments in the field, introducing both longstanding theories and cutting-edge advances. As well as discussing the latest issues in ontology, Effingham also helpfully deals in-depth with different methodological principles (including theory choice, Quinean ontological commitment and Meinongianism) and introduces them alongside an example ontological theory that puts them into practice. This accessible and comprehensive introduction will be essential reading for upper-level undergraduate and post-graduate students, as well as any reader interested in the present state of the subject.
Nietzsche's controversial will to power thesis is convincingly rehabilitated in this compelling book. Tsarina Doyle presents a fresh interpretation of his account of nature and value, which sees him defy the dominant conception of nature in the Enlightenment and overturn Hume's distinction between facts and values. Doyle argues that Nietzsche challenges Hume indirectly through critical engagement with Kant's idealism, and that in so doing and despite some wrong turns, he establishes the possibility of objective value in response to nihilism and the causal efficacy of consciousness as a necessary condition of human autonomy. Her book will be important for scholars of Nietzsche's metaphysics, and of the history of philosophy and science more generally.
This innovative volume argues that flourishing is achieved when individuals successfully balance their responsiveness to three kinds of normative claim: self-fulfilment, moral responsibility, and intersubjective answerability. Applying underutilised resources in existential phenomenology, Irene McMullin reconceives practical reason, addresses traditional problems in virtue ethics, and analyses four virtues: justice, patience, modesty, and courage. Her central argument is that there is an irreducible normative plurality arising from the different practical perspectives we can adopt - the first-, second-, and third-person stances - which each present us with different kinds of normative claim. Flourishing is human excellence within each of these normative domains, achieved in such a way that success in one does not compromise success in another. The individual virtues are solutions to specific existential challenges we face in attempting to do so. This book will be important for anyone working in the fields of moral theory, existential phenomenology, and virtue ethics.
On Philosophy and Philosophers is a volume of unpublished philosophical papers by Richard Rorty, a central figure in late-twentieth-century intellectual debates and a primary force behind the resurgence of American pragmatism. The first collection of new work to appear since his death in 2007, these previously unseen papers advance novel views on metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, philosophical semantics and the social role of philosophy, critically engaging canonical and contemporary figures from Plato and Kant to Kripke and Brandom. This book's diverse offerings, which include technical essays written for specialists and popular lectures, refine our understanding of Rorty's perspective and demonstrate the ongoing relevance of the iconoclastic American philosopher's ground-breaking thought. An introduction by the editors highlights the papers' original insights and contributions to contemporary debates.
Henri Lefebvre has considerable claims to be the greatest living philosopher. His work spans some sixty years and includes original work on a diverse range of subjects, from dialectical materialism to architecture, urbanism and the experience of everyday life. "The Production of Space" is his major philosophical work and its translation has been long awaited by scholars in many different fields.
The book is a search for a reconciliation between mental space (the space of the philosophers) and real space (the physical and social spheres in which we all live). In the course of his exploration, Henri Lefebvre moves from metaphysical and ideological considerations of the meaning of space to its experience in the everyday life of home and city. He seeks, in other words, to bridge the gap between the realms of theory and practice, between the mental and the social, and between philosophy and reality. In doing so, he ranges through art, literature, architecture and economics, and further provides a powerful antidote to the sterile and obfuscatory methods and theories characteristic of much recent continental philosophy.
This is a work of great vision and incisiveness. It is also characterized by its author's wit and by anecdote, as well as by a deftness of style which Donald Nicholson-Smith's sensitive translation precisely captures.
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