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This volume gathers twelve essays by David Wiggins in an area where his work has been particularly influential. Among the subjects treated are: persistence of a substance through change, the notion of a continuant, the logic of identity, the co-occupation of space by a continuant and its matter, the relation of person to human organism, the metaphysical idea of a person, the status of artefacts, the relation of the three-dimensional and four-dimensional conceptions of reality, and the nomological underpinning of sortal classification. From a much larger body of work the author has selected, edited or annotated, and variously shortened or extended eleven pieces. He has added an Introduction and one completely new essay, on the philosophy of biology and the role there of the idea of process. The collection begins with an essay postdating his Sameness and Substance Renewed (2001), which amends and upstages his earlier presentation of his sortalist conception of identity. In subsequent essays and the introduction Wiggins examines the contributions to these subjects made by Heraclitus, Aristotle, Leibniz, Roderick Chisholm, Hilary Putnam, Sydney Shoemaker, Michael Ayers, Saul Kripke, W. V. Quine, David Lewis, Fei Xu, and others.
One of his great works, and a must-read for any student of philosophy, The Problems of Philosophy was written in 1912 as an introduction to Russell's thought. As an empiricist, Russell starts at the beginning with this question: Is there any knowledge in the world that is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it? This, according to Russell, is where the work of philosophy begins. He covers topics such as reality, the nature of matter, inductive reasoning, truth, and the limits of philosophical knowledge. As one of the greatest minds in Western philosophy, Russell's thoughts are profoundly informative and provocative and suitable for anyone wishing to expand his mind. British philosopher and mathematician BERTRAND ARTHUR WILLIAM RUSSELL (1872-1970) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Among his many works are Why I Am Not a Christian (1927), Power: A New Social Analysis (1938), and My Philosophical Development (1959).
There are various arguments for the metaphysical impossibility of time travel. Is it impossible because objects could then be in two places at once? Or is it impossible because some objects could bring about their own existence? In this book, Nikk Effingham contends that no such argument is sound and that time travel is metaphysically possible. His main focus is on the Grandfather Paradox: the position that time travel is impossible because someone could not go back in time and kill their own grandfather before he met their grandmother. In such a case, Effingham argues that the time traveller would have the ability to do the impossible (so they could kill their grandfather) even though those impossibilities will never come about (so they won't kill their grandfather). He then explores the ramifications of this view, discussing issues in probability and decision theory. The book ends by laying out the dangers of time travel and why, even though no time machines currently exist, we should pay extra special care ensuring that nothing, no matter how small or microscopic, ever travels in time.
In the afterlife you may find that God is the size of a microbe and unaware of your existence. Or you may find the afterlife contains only those people whom you remember. In some afterlives you are split into all your different ages; in some you are recreated based on your credit-card records; and in others you are forced to live with annoying versions of yourself that represent what you could have been. In these wonderfully imagined tales - at once funny, wistful and unsettling - Eagleman kicks over the chessboard of traditional notions and offers us a dazzling lens through which to see ourselves here and now. His stories are rooted in science and romance and awe at our mysterious existence: a mixture of hope, love and death that cuts through human nature at innovative angles.
The triumph of technological rationality and of the sciences as a whole has by no means provided answers to humanity's great questions. Instead, it has raised new and old questions and problems. To orient ourselves in the twenty-first century, we must take a new look at the central categories of philosophy that, often unbeknownst to us, continue to shape our everyday thinking. Future Metaphysics is an attempt at restating the importance of the great metaphysical categories for the present: how our contemporary predicament forces us both to reclaim them and to give them a radically new twist. Armen Avanessian re-examines and displaces categories like substance and accident, form and matter, life and death, giving them an unexpected twist. What if the idea of accident, for instance, had to take into account the many new kinds of glitches, crashes and crises - from finance to ecology, from technological catastrophes to social collapses - that permeate our culture and make everyday news? Can we keep on using this concept as it was traditionally meant to be used when risk and chance have become part of the very substance of our world, so rendering the distinction between substance and accident meaningless? The other concepts and distinctions require a similar interrogation, giving birth to a new metaphysical landscape, where the most urgent realities of the twenty-first century impinge on the most fundamental categories of thought.
Most research on perception has focused on the perceptual experience of three-dimensional, solid, bounded, and coherent material objects - items like tables and tomatoes. But as well as having perceptual experience of such objects, we also experience such aspects of the world as, for instance, rainbows and surfaces, shadows and absences: things that are ephemeral by contrast with material objects. This book presents fifteen new essays on the perceptual experience of such ephemera. The editors' introduction provides a detailed guide to the topic as a whole, setting out the thematic background to this emerging area of research in contemporary philosophy of perception. The volume winds a path through the ephemeral, considering such topics as sounds, smells, transparency, reflection, camouflage, solidity, and ambient vision. A general aim of the volume is to make a case that the broad range of ephemera it catalogues is far from marginal, or insubstantial with respect to their philosophical interest and value. Philosophical attention to perceptul ephemera may well suggest novel routes to arriving at a more developed understanding of perceptual experience at large and its characteristic features.
Much of the most interesting work in philosophy today is metaphysical in character. Oxford Studies in Metaphysics is a forum for the best new work in this flourishing field. OSM offers a broad view of the subject, featuring not only the traditionally central topics such as existence, identity, modality, time, and causation, but also the rich clusters of metaphysical questions in neighbouring fields, such as philsophy of mind and philosophy of science. Besides independent essays, volumes will often contain a critical essay on a recent book, or a symposium that allows participants to respond to one another's criticisms and questions. Anyone who wants to know what's happening in metaphysics can start here.
Consciousness and Physicalism: A Defense of a Research Program explores the nature of consciousness and its place in the world, offering a revisionist account of what it means to say that consciousness is nothing over and above the physical. By synthesizing work in the philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of science from the last twenty years and forging a dialogue with contemporary research in the empirical sciences of the mind, Andreas Elpidorou and Guy Dove advance and defend a novel formulation of physicalism. Although physicalism has been traditionally understood to be a metaphysical thesis, Elpidorou and Dove argue that there is an alternative and indeed preferable understanding of physicalism that both renders physicalism a scientifically informed explanatory project and allows us to make important progress in addressing the ontological problem of consciousness. Physicalism, Elpidorou and Dove hold, is best viewed not as a thesis (metaphysical or otherwise) but as an interdisciplinary research program that aims to compositionally explain all natural phenomena that are central to our understanding of our place in nature. Consciousness and Physicalism is replete with philosophical arguments and informed, through and through, by findings in many areas of scientific research. It advances the debate regarding the ontological status of consciousness. It will interest students and scholars in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, philosophy of cognitive science, and philosophy of science. And it will challenge both foes and friends of physicalism.
The purpose of this book is to serve as an introduction to the metaphysical study of life in undergraduate colleges. It presupposes that the student has made a study of general metaphysics or at least has been given a good introduction to the general problems of philosophy. At the end of each chapter a summary has been added to make it easier for the student to obtain a comprehensive view of the matter.
This book argues that definite descriptions ('the table', 'the King of France') refer to individuals, as Gottlob Frege claimed. This apparently simple conclusion flies in the face of philosophical orthodoxy, which incorporates Bertrand Russell's theory that definite descriptions are devices of quantification. Paul Elbourne presents the first fully-argued defence of the Fregean view. He builds an explicit fragment of English using a version of situation semantics. He uses intrinsic aspects of his system to account for the presupposition projection behaviour of definite descriptions, a range of modal properties, and the problem of incompleteness. At the same time, he draws on an unusually wide range of linguistic and philosophical literature, from early work by Frege, Peano, and Russell to the latest findings in linguistics, philosophy of language, and psycholinguistics. His penultimate chapter addresses the semantics of pronouns and offers a new and more radical version of his earlier thesis that they too are Fregean definite descriptions.
This volume, the fourth in the series "Edinburgh Leventis Studies," comprises a selection of papers from the conference held in Edinburgh in March 2005, when Professor Terry Penner was the visiting Leventis Research Professor of Greek.
It brings together contributions from leading Plato scholars from Britain, Europe and North America on a closely defined topic central to Plato's thought and to Ancient Philosophy --Plato's "Form of the Good," The importance of the collection lies in the combination and presentation in one place of a range of different approaches to the good in Plato's "Republic," and different solutions to the problems posed and proposed by these approaches. The two central issues, which form an underlying thread throughout the collection, are: first whether Plato's "Republic" is centred on what is good for individual humans, or on some quasi-moral good; and secondly, what the Form of the Good is.
"Pursuing the Good" goes beyond recent studies in the field, and will appeal to Classicists and Philosophers alike. To the advanced student, it represents a wide-ranging introduction to central issues of Plato's philosophy; for the academic it will provide stimulus through antithetical and controversial solutions to questions old and new.
This volume presents a selection of the Proceedings of the Workshop on Anticipation, Agency and Complexity held in Trento (Italy) on April 2017. The contributions contained in the book brilliantly revolve around three core concepts: agency, complexity and anticipation, giving precious insights to further define the discipline of anticipation. In a world that moves increasingly fast, constantly on the verge of disruptive events, more and more scholars and practitioners in any field feel in need of new approaches to make sense of the complexity and uncertainty that the future seems to bear. The theory of anticipation tries to describe how possible futures are intrinsically intertwined with the present.
To what extent are the subjects of our thoughts and talk real? This is the question of realism. In this book, Justin Clarke-Doane explores arguments for and against moral realism and mathematical realism, how they interact, and what they can tell us about areas of philosophical interest more generally. He argues that, contrary to widespread belief, our mathematical beliefs have no better claim to being self-evident or provable than our moral beliefs. Nor do our mathematical beliefs have better claim to being empirically justified than our moral beliefs. It is also incorrect that reflection on the genealogy of our moral beliefs establishes a lack of parity between the cases. In general, if one is a moral antirealist on the basis of epistemological considerations, then one ought to be a mathematical antirealist as well. And, yet, Clarke-Doane shows that moral realism and mathematical realism do not stand or fall together - and for a surprising reason. Moral questions, insofar as they are practical, are objective in a sense that mathematical questions are not, and the sense in which they are objective can only be explained by assuming practical anti-realism. One upshot of the discussion is that the concepts of realism and objectivity, which are widely identified, are actually in tension. Another is that the objective questions in the neighborhood of factual areas like logic, modality, grounding, and nature are practical questions too. Practical philosophy should, therefore, take center stage.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) is one of the most important and influential philosophers of the modern period. He offered a wealth of original ideas in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and philosophical theology, among them his signature doctrines on substance and monads, pre-established harmony, and optimism. This volume contains introductory chapters on eleven of Leibniz's key philosophical writings, from youthful works ("Confessio philosophi", "De summa rerum"), seminal middle-period writings ("Discourse on Metaphysics", "New System"), to masterpieces of his maturity ("Monadology", "Discourse on the Natural Theology of the Chinese"). It also covers his two main philosophical books (New Essays on Human Understanding and Theodicy), and three of his most important philosophical correspondences with Antoine Arnauld, Burcher De Volder, and Samuel Clarke. Written by internationally-renowned experts on Leibniz, the chapters offer clear, accessible accounts of the ideas and arguments of these key writings, along with valuable information about their composition and context. By focusing on the primary texts, they enable readers to attain a solid understanding of what each text says and why, and give them the confidence to read the texts themselves. Offering a detailed and chronological view of Leibniz's philosophy and its development through some of his most important writings, this volume is an invaluable guide for those encountering Leibniz for the first time.
Highlights the relevance of Nietzsche's thinking about human nature for contemporary debates in biopolitics and posthumanism Nietzsche coins the enigmatic term homo natura to capture his understanding of the human being as a creature of nature and tasks philosophy with the renaturalisation of humanity. Following Foucault's critique of the human sciences, Vanessa Lemm discusses the reception of Nietzsche's naturalism in philosophical anthropology, psychoanalysis and gender studies. Lemm offers an original reading of homo natura that brings back the ancient Greek idea of nature and sexuality as creative chaos and of the philosophical life as outspoken and embodied truth, perhaps best exemplified by the Cynics' embrace of social and cultural transformation.
If the sentence 'my cat is on the mat' is true how does it get to be true? Sentences are made true by what exists. But what about claims such as 'There were dinosaurs?' and '2+2=4'. How do they get to be true? Metaphysics: An Introduction uses the idea of truth and the quest for truth-makers to unravel philosophical problems in contemporary metaphysics. From the nature of properties and time to causation and objects, truth becomes a guiding theme to understanding metaphysical concepts and debates. In response to feedback from students and instructors, the Second Edition has been updated with new material in a range of chapters, including discussions of recent research concerning the nature of physical objects, time and modality. Recommended readings have been revised to ensure an improved gender balance while explanations and ideas are easier to follow. Together with a glossary and discussion questions, each chapter concludes with a series of mind maps to help visualise the logical space being explored and how the arguments push in different directions. Metaphysics: An Introduction is suitable for anyone studying metaphysical problems for the first time.
Metaphysics, almost entirely neglected by experimental philosophers, is the central focus of Experimental Metaphysics. The volume brings together a range of views aimed at addressing the question of how cognitive science might be relevant to metaphysics. With contributions from cognitive scientists and philosophers, chapters focus on theoretical and empirical issues involving the potential role of cognitive science in metaphysics. Alongside topics such as free will, objects and causation, in which relevant empirical evidence is discussed and connected to relevant metaphysical issues, more programmatic papers explore theoretical issues centered on the connection between cognitive science and metaphysics. This balanced approach exposes metaphysicians to philosophically relevant work in cognitive science, while showing cognitive scientists the ways in which their work might be important for philosophers. Presenting cutting-edge empirical and theoretical research, Experimental Metaphysics pushes forward the discussion and encourages further engagement with issues at the intersection of cognitive science and metaphysics.
In this groundbreaking work, C. D. C. Reeve uses a fundamental problem--the Primacy Dilemma--to explore Aristotle's metaphysics, epistemology, dialectic, philosophy of mind, and theology in a new way. At a time when Aristotle is most often studied piecemeal, Reeve attempts to see him both in detail and as a whole, so that it is from detailed analysis of hundreds of particular passages, drawn from dozens of Aristotelian treatises, and translated in full that his overall picture of Aristotle emerges. Primarily a book for philosophers and advanced students with an interest in the fundamental problems with which Aristotle is grappling, Substantial Knowledge's clear, non-technical and engaging style will appeal to any reader eager to explore Aristotle's difficult but extraordinarily rewarding thought.
The mainstream approach to the understanding of pain continues to be governed by the biomedical paradigm and the dualistic Cartesian ontology. This Volume brings together essays of scholars of literature, philosophy and history on the many enigmatic shades of pain-experience, mostly from an anti-Cartesian perspective of cultural ontology by scholars of literature, philosophy and history. A section of the essays is devoted to the socio-political dimensions of pain in the Indian context. The book offers a critical perspective on the reductive conceptions of pain and argue that non-substance ontology or cultural ontology supports a more humane and authentic understanding of pain. The general ontological features of the self in pain and culturally imbued dimensions of pain-experience are, thus, brought together in a rare blend in this Volume. The essays dwell on the importance of understanding what cultural, social and political forces outside our control do to our pain-experience. They show why such understanding is necessary, both to humanely deal with pain, and to rectify erroneous approaches to pain-experience. They also explore the thoroughly ambivalent spaces between pain and pleasure, and the cathartic and productive dimensions of pain. The essays in this Volume investigate pain-experiences through the fresh lenses of history, gender, ethics, politics, death, illness, self-loss, torture, shame, dispossession and denial.
The first critical work to attempt the mammoth undertaking of reading Badiou's Being and Event as part of a sequence has often surprising, occasionally controversial results. Looking back on its publication Badiou declared: "I had inscribed my name in the history of philosophy". Later he was brave enough to admit that this inscription needed correction. The central elements of Badiou's philosophy only make sense when Being and Event is read through the corrective prism of its sequel, Logics of Worlds, published nearly twenty years later. At the same time as presenting the only complete overview of Badiou's philosophical project, this book is also the first to draw out the central component of Badiou's ontology: indifference. Concentrating on its use across the core elements Being and Event-the void, the multiple, the set and the event-Watkin demonstrates that no account of Badiou's ontology is complete unless it accepts that Badiou's philosophy is primarily a presentation of indifferent being. Badiou and Indifferent Being provides a detailed and lively section by section reading of Badiou's foundational work. It is a seminal source text for all Badiou readers.
The starting point for this book is a particular answer to a question that grips many of us: what kind of thing are we? The particular answer is that we are animals (of a certain sort)-a view nowadays called 'animalism'. This answer will appear obvious to many but on the whole philosophers have rejected it. Paul F. Snowdon proposes, contrary to that attitude, that there are strong reasons to believe animalism and that when properly analysed the objections against it that philosophers have given are not convincing. One way to put the idea is that we should not think of ourselves as things that need psychological states or capacities to exist, any more that other animals do. The initial chapters analyse the content and general philosophical implications of animalism-including the so-called problem of personal identity, and that of the unity of consciousness-and they provide a framework which categorises the standard philosophical objections. Snowdon then argues that animalism is consistent with a perfectly plausible account of the central notion of a 'person', and he criticises the accounts offered by John Locke and by David Wiggins of that notion. In the two next chapters Snowdon argues that there are very strong reasons to think animalism is true, and proposes some central claims about animal which are relevant to the argument. In the rest of the book the task is to formulate and to persuade the reader of the lack of cogency of the standard philosophical objections, including the conviction that it is possible for the animal that I would be if animalism were true to continue in existence after I have ceased to exist, and the argument that it is possible for us to remain in existence even when the animal has ceased to exist. In considering these types of objections the views of various philosophers, including Nagel, Shoemaker, Johnston, Wilkes, and Olson, are also explored. Snowdon concludes that animalism represents a highly commonsensical and defensible way of thinking about ourselves, and that its rejection by philosophers rests on the tendency when doing philosophy to mistake fantasy for reality.
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