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1. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 62 > Issue: 3
S. Adam Seagrave Cicero, Aquinas, and Contemporary Issues in Natural Law Theory
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This paper contends that the natural law theory of Saint Thomas Aquinas has been inappropriately removed from its foundation in the classical philosophical traditions of Cicero and Aristotle. Critics charge that because it refers to the eternal law, and hence divine revelation, St. Thomas’s natural law theory is not “natural.” The author in reply demonstrates the Ciceronian and Aristotelian—and therefore pagan, naturalist—roots of the Thomistic theory. St. Thomas’s discussion of natural law in the Summa mirrors Cicero’s attempted derivation of natural law from “a rational encounter with objective reality.” Further, St. Thomas’s Summa includes demonstrations that God is the Cause of all objective reality. This truth does not however deny the “naturalness” of human rational consideration of reality, but rather shows that humans internally apprehend an external order which owes its reality to the First Cause of all being. Human reason and natural law thereby necessarily involve a participation in the eternal law. The author concludes that attempts to dissociate Thomistic natural law theory from its Ciceronian and Aristotelian roots lessen the force and persuasive power of the former. The proper approach involves, not an abandonment of the traditional theory, but its further development and its application to present issues.
2. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 62 > Issue: 3
Daniel Guevara The Will as Practical Reason and the Problem of Akrasia
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This article argues for the possibility of aggressive akrasia, or the akrasia rooted in “unqualified knowingness.” The aggressive akratic acts knowledgeably and voluntarily for a bad end. Many philosophers reject the very possibility of aggressive akrasia given a prior commitment to closely identifying the will with practical reason, thereby effectively dismissing the possibility of an agent’s full responsibility for a morally evil act. Hence, these philosophers try to explain akrasia by challenging the voluntariness of the akratic’s action, or his knowledge, or both. Against one such view—that the akratic recognizes at least some rationality even within bad motivations—this paper contends that so long as the agent does indeed recognize the motive as a bad one, he cannot intelligibly appeal to it as the reason for his action. However rational an illusion may appear, if the agent knows it to be an illusion, he cannot intelligibly follow it. Hence this and other accounts fail to dismiss the possibility of aggressive akrasia.
3. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 62 > Issue: 3
Christopher Johns The Grounds of Right and Obligation in Leibniz and Hobbes
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This paper maintains that Hobbes grounds right and obligation in self-interest, and opposes a recent argument that for Hobbes obligation is grounded in the agent’s practical deliberation. In addition, it maintains that for Leibniz right and obligation are grounded in the moral-rational capacity of persons, but not in self-interest. It proceeds by distinguishing among the various senses of jus or “right,” and contrasting Hobbes’s and Leibniz’s understanding of the term—though both see it as a kind of freedom they differ fundamentally as to its kind. The little explored treatment of “right” that appears in Leibniz’s New Method for the Learning and Teaching of Jurisprudence is discussed in the course of the article. In conclusion, the article finds that for Leibniz, obligations are grounded in one’s moral capacity. One ought not to harm others because one is a rational being among others who hold the same rights and obligations. For Hobbes, obligations are grounded in self-preservation and maintained by external coercion. For Leibniz, right is the possibility of doing what is just, maintaining the rights and obligations of others; while for Hobbes, right is a problem for doing what is just—a problem for self-interested agents that requires an external solution.
4. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 62 > Issue: 3
Nicholas Rescher Fallacies Regarding Free Will
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This article identifies and criticizes fallacies found in arguments against the existence of free will. These arguments draw in a variety of issues, including: natural causation, deliberation, the relation of mind and body, agent-internal and agent-external determinism, motivation for action, and the evolutionary role of free-will. The paper contends that, in each case, the misconception at issue can be overcome by drawing appropriate distinctions, the heeding of which makes for a more viable construal of how freedom of the will—if such there is—should be taken to work. So at each stage there is some further clarification of what free will involves. There gradually emerges from the fog an increasingly clear view that what is at issue here is the capacity of intelligent beings to resolve matters of choice and decision through a process of deliberation on the basis of their beliefs and desires, a process that allows for ongoing updates and up-to-the-bitter-end revisability.
5. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 62 > Issue: 3
Lenn E. Goodman An Idea Is Not Something Mute Like a Picture on a Pad
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Boldly describing the mind as the idea of the body – and the body as the most immediate object of our thinking – opens the way to a solution of the mind-body problem that Descartes bequeathed to philosophers discontented with substantial forms: Thought and extension, being of different natures, cannot explain one another. But if the mind intends the body, the congruence of mental and physical events makes sense. The order and connection of ideas parallels the order and connection of their objects. So thoughts can address the world; ideas, in fact, can initiate actions. The lively subjectivity and reflectiveness of ideas helps further, in overcoming skepticism, dissolving the barrier between our thinking and its intellectual objects. The causal interconnectedness of natural objects can thus motivate a level of coherence and system among ideas that speaks up for the correspondence of adequate ideas to what they represent.
book reviews
6. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 62 > Issue: 3
John F. Crosby Levinas and the Wisdom of Love: The Question of Invisibility
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7. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 62 > Issue: 3
H. Daniel Monsour Method in Metaphysics: Lonergan and the Future of Analytical Philosophy
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8. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 62 > Issue: 3
Jude P. Dougherty The Medieval Origins of the Legal Profession: Canonists, Civilians and Courts
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9. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 62 > Issue: 3
Donald C. Lindenmuth Aristotle’s Dialogue with Socrates
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10. The Review of Metaphysics: Volume > 62 > Issue: 3
Brandon Zimmerman Inner Grace: Augustine in the Traditions of Plato and Paul
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