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1. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 73 > Issue: 1
Charlie Gustafson-Barrett The Lógos of Agency (or the Agency of Lógos): On Plato’s Ion
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This article considers the relationship between lógos and agency in Plato’s Ion. It argues the dialogue’s concern with its own agency as a dialogic text is a portrait of the rational structure of human action. The Ion stages this concern in two ways – it has a reflexive plot that mirrors the psychology of the titular character and it yokes together war and poetry. Ion’s performative art is competitive recitation, and the Ion begins with Homer as divine poet, and ends with Ion as unacknowledged military general. Thus the dialogue seems to structurally aim at overcoming the tension between action and reflection, even as it raises the stakes: violence requires no words; poetry requires no deeds. This, the author suggests, frames a question about the agency of lógos itself by highlighting the Ion’s way of investigation. The medium and the object of the dialogue are the same; poetry and prose are not distinguished by mónon tà ěpē – words alone (530c1).
2. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 73 > Issue: 1
Daniel Schillinger Aristotle’s Psychological Approach to the Idea of Luck
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The author’s reading of Physics 2.4–6 shows that, for Aristotle, the idea of luck (tuchē) refers to an explanation or a description of action as opposed to a cause of it. More precisely, the idea of luck is invoked when an unexpected outcome appears to have a striking effect on human flourishing in the eyes of some agent or observer. Aristotle’s psychological approach to the idea of luck has important implications for his ethical thought. Viewed as an explanation, luck does not necessarily nullify voluntary action. On the author’s interpretation of Nicomachean Ethics 3.1, Aristotle argues for an expansive conception of voluntariness that encompasses all actions knowingly initiated – even many actions undertaken in lucky or unlucky circumstances or issuing in lucky or unlucky effects. Aristotle thereby illuminates the seriousness of agency and the task of practical wisdom – to deliberate and to act in accordance with circumstance and to take responsibility for one’s own actions without invoking bad luck as an excuse.
3. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 73 > Issue: 1
María Elton The Metaphysics of Free Will and Moral Freedom in Thomas Reid
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The contemporary agent-cause theory inspired by Thomas Reid has faced the problem of how to resolve the issue of the regress to infinity of acts of the will to explain human moral freedom. The question is resolved, according to my proposal, by investigating its historical origin in the Enlightenment. We have to consider, on the one hand, Reid's rigorous Newtonianism, which allows him access to the knowledge of the existence of the will as a metaphysical faculty, against the tradition of Hobbes and Hume that took shape in his time. On the other hand, we must bear in mind that the same methodology does not allow Reid to make a metaphysical analysis of this faculty, leaving the problem mentioned above unresolved. But, we argue, it is possible to establish some connection between Bramhall and Reid. Thus, Bramhall explains metaphysically the activity of the will, against Hobbes, and his explanation solves the problem that Reid leaves unresolved.
4. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 73 > Issue: 1
Zachary Calhoun Kant on Positing: Being as Self-determination
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“Positing” is a technical term of art with many meanings and uses in German philosophy. For Wolff and Baumgarten, positing is an indeterminate function of general logic; but for Fichte and the later Idealists, positing is a metaphysical term denoting the basic activity of the “I.” This paper argues that Kant largely initiated the metaphysical interpretation of positing as an active verb that refers to the basic function of apperceptive existence. In his rejection of the ontological proof, Kant says that “being” is “merely the positing of a thing.” Kant’s statement prepares the way for a moral interpretation of being. Being is always an object of concern for the disquieted experiential subject who ceaselessly asks metaphysical questions that cannot be answered. The thinking subject lies somewhere between passivity and activity, always dissatisfied with the very world that its categories help to articulate. It is morality that resolves this ontological tension.
5. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 73 > Issue: 1
Eli Dresner, Johan Siebers I Interpret You: Davidson and Buber
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The authors bring the philosophies of Davidson and Buber, representative of very different philosophical traditions, into relation with each other as far as the nature of intersubjectivity is concerned. For Davidson, intersubjective contact between speakers is both necessary and sufficient for linguistic meaning and mental content to arise, and this in a way that does not presuppose social convention. Similarly, for Buber, the dialogical I–you relation arises intersubjectively, does not lean on social structure, and is essential for our humanity. Following this trajectory, the authors first review Davidson’s general outlook on linguistic communication. Then they pursue a comparison between Davidson’s system of ideas and some themes that can be found in Buber. They show how the philosophy of each of these thinkers can help enrich and develop the philosophy of the other, especially with respect to the dialogical nature of radical interpretation and the ethical commitments arising in the nonconventional, interpretive encounter.
book reviews
6. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 73 > Issue: 1
Chad Engelland The Inconspicuous God: Heidegger, French Phenomenology & the Theological Turn
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7. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 73 > Issue: 1
Tano S. Posteraro Bergson: Thinking Beyond the Human Condition
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8. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 73 > Issue: 1
Edward C. Halper Metaphysics
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9. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 73 > Issue: 1
Kevin M. Cherry A Wolf in the City: Tyranny and the Tyrant in Plato’s Republic
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10. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 73 > Issue: 1
Jude P. Dougherty Converts to the Real: Catholicism and the Making of Continental Philosophy
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