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Res Philosophica

Volume 91, Issue 2, April 2014
Neo-Aristotelian Themes in Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Mind

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Displaying: 1-5 of 5 documents

1. Res Philosophica: Volume > 91 > Issue: 2
Robert Koons Staunch vs. Faint-hearted Hylomorphism: Toward an Aristotelian Account of Composition
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A staunch hylomorphism involves a commitment to a sparse theory of universals and a sparse theory of composite material objects, as well as to an ontology of fundamental causal powers. Faint-hearted hylomorphism, in contrast, lacks one or more of these elements. On the staunch version of HM, a substantial form is not merely some structural property of a set of elements—it is rather a power conferred on those elements by that structure, a power that is the cause of the generation (by fusion) and persistence of a composite whole through time. Bernard Williams discussed (and rejected) a faint-hearted version of HM in 1986, and faint-hearted HM has been defended more recently by Mark Johnston (2006) and Kathrin Koslicki (2008). I defend the superiority of the staunch version, in spite of its heavier ontological commitments, as a way of accounting for a real distinction between living organisms and heaps of matter, without recourse to dualism or vitalism, and as a way of combining a powers ontology with the possibility of gunk.
2. Res Philosophica: Volume > 91 > Issue: 2
William Jaworski Hylomorphism and the Metaphysics of Structure
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Hylomorphism claims that structure is a basic ontological and explanatory principle; it accounts for what things are and what they can do. My goal is to articulate a metaphysic of hylomorphic structure different from those currently on offer. It is based on a substance-attribute ontology that takes properties to be powers and tropes. Hylomorphic structures emerge, on this account, as powers to configure the materials that compose individuals.
3. Res Philosophica: Volume > 91 > Issue: 2
Howard Robinson Modern Hylomorphism and the Reality and Causal Power of Structure: A Skeptical Investigation
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In recent years, a significant number of philosophers from an orthodox analytic background have begun to advocate theories of composite objects, which they say are strikingly similar to Aristotle’s hylomorphism. These theories emphasize the importance of structure, or organization—which they say is closely connected to Aristotle’s notion of form—in defining what it is for a composite to be a genuine object. The reality of these structures is closely connected with the fact that they are held to possess powers, again in what is held to be a broadly Aristotelian sense, and so to be genuinely efficacious. Naturally enough, they want to do all this without espousing the discredited aspects of Aristotelian science. It is the purpose of this essay to cast a skeptical eye on whether this objective can be achieved.
4. Res Philosophica: Volume > 91 > Issue: 2
Louise Richardson Non Sense-Specific Perception and the Distinction Between the Senses
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How should interaction between the senses affect thought about them? I try to capture some ways in which non sense-specific perception might be thought to make it impossible or pointless or explanatorily idle to distinguish between senses. This task is complicated by there being more than one view of the nature of the senses, and more than one kind of non sense-specific perception. I argue, in particular, that provided we are willing to forgo certain assumptions about, for instance, the relationship between modes or kinds of experience, and about how one should count perceptual experiences at a time, at least one way of thinking about the senses survives the occurrence of various kinds of non sense-specific perception relatively unscathed.
5. Res Philosophica: Volume > 91 > Issue: 2
Jérôme Dokic Common Sense and Metaperception: A Practical Model
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Aristotle famously claimed that we perceive that we see or hear, and that this metaperception necessarily accompanies all conscious sensory experiences. In this essay I compare Aristotle’s account of metaperception with three main models of self-awareness to be found in the contemporary literature. The first model countenances introspection or inner sense as higher-order perception. The second model rejects introspection altogether, and maintains that judgments that we see or hear can be directly extracted from the first-order experience, using a procedure sometimes called “an ascent routine.” The third model insists that the first-order experience has a twofold intentional structure: it is directed both at the perceived external object and at itself, i.e., reflexively. Although Aristotle’s own account is certainly closer to the third model (as Brentano rightly observed), the latter does not exhaust Aristotle’s insights on metaperception. One function of the common sense in Aristotle’s theory of perception is apparently to monitor the activity of our sensory modalities, and to make us aware that we see or hear independently of the sensory contents of our experience. I shall suggest that the monitoring function of perception is best understood in relation with contemporary cognitive science research on metacognition. Common sense is or involves a metaperceptual practical ability distinct from both object level sensory perception and metarepresentational knowledge about our senses.