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1. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Tianyue Wu, The Ontological Status of the Body in Aquinas’s Hylomorphism
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Doctrina de materia et forma, quae “hylemorphismus” nuncupatur, principalem partem habet in Thomistarum de natura hominis doctrina. Attamen ab auctoribus non satis explicatum est de corpore, quemnam statum ontologicum habeat iuxta hanc doctrinam. Haecce tractatio ostendere conatur corpus in D. Thomae ontologia hylemorfica non esse nisi materiam primam prout puram potentiam. Auctor, notans impugnationes quasdam notionis materiae primae a recentioribus factas, huiusce conceptus controversi fundamenta examinat philosophica doctrinamque D. Thomae de corpore ut materia prima explicando vindicat. Auctor etiam difficultates quasdam prae oculis ponit quas corporis cum materia prima identificatio prae se fert, ipsarum tamen solutionem adumbrans. His exactis patet possibilitas bonam D. Thomae de corpore doctrinae cohaerentiam defendendi recentesque impetus in hylemorphismum, quos “philosophiae mentis” cultores (ut B. Williams) facere solent, reprimendi: ostendendo nempe, quomodo hylemorphismus cohaerenti se praebet explicationi, in qua tam Scylla materialismi vitatur quam dualismi Charybdis.Hylomorphism is central to Thomistic philosophical anthropology. However, little attention has been paid to the ontological status of the body in this theoretical framework. This essay aims to show that in Aquinas’s hylomorphic ontology, the body as a constituent part of the compound is above all prime matter as pure potentiality. In view of the contemporary criticisms of prime matter, it examines the fundamental theoretical presuppositions of this controversial concept and offers a defensive reading of Aquinas’s conception of the body as prime matter. It also displays possible difficulties in identifying the body with prime matter and gives a clue indicating the way out. This effort will make it possible to defend the consistency of Aquinas’s conception of the body and to react to the severe criticism of hylomorphism in the philosophy of mind by contemporary philosophers such as Bernard Williams, namely by showing how hylomorphism can be formally consistent without slipping into the materialism or dualism it bitterly opposes.
2. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Ľuboš Rojka, A Probabilistic Argument for the Reality of Free Personal Agency
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Si humana sese gerendi ratio vere a libero arbitrio afficitur, frequentia nonnullorum actuum libere electorum discrepabit ab ipsorum occurrendi probabilitate quae ex numeris rationariis una cum neurobiologiae observationibus ac legibus licet deduci. D. Pereboom credit liberi arbitrii efficaciam a naturali nostri temporis scientia probari non posse. Secundum P. van Inwagen liberi arbitrii exertitium semper aliquid fortuiti in se habeat, quapropter opus liberi arbitrii nos lateat. Notat tamen R. Swinburne male concludi solere liberum arbitrium physico in mundo nihil efficere: sed solummodo concludi licet huiusmodi volitiones non esse neurologice reales. Homines aliquando ex principiis abstractis agere eligunt, quod regulariter fieri potest ac diutinus. Humana sese gerendi ratio igitur ut operatio personae de rationibus agendi libere arbitrantis et praedici licet et explicari. Calculationes probabilisticae corroborant hoc argumentum: quod scil. huiusmodi operationes rationabiles optime explicentur ac praedicantur ex suppositione verae liberi arbitrii efficaciae, quae motivas corporis condiciones neuropsychologicas superare potest, rationalem quendam determinismum respectu longi temporis stabiliens.If the influence of libertarian free will on human behaviour is real, the frequency of certain freely chosen actions will differ from the probability of their occurrences deduced from the statistical calculations and neuroscientific observations and laws. According to D. Pereboom, contemporary science does not prove the efficacy of libertarian free will. According to P. van Inwagen, there is always a random element in free decisions, and hence the effect of the free will remains unknown. Swinburne observes that it is not correct to conclude that libertarian free will has no causal effect in the physical world. One can only conclude that these choices are not neurologically real. People sometimes choose to act on abstract principles, and they can do so on a regular and long-term basis. Consequently, human behaviour can be predicted and explained in terms of personal agency and the reasons upon which the people have chosen to act. Probabilistic calculations strengthen the argument that the best way to explain and predict such rational behaviour is to affirm the efficacy of the libertarian free will, which can overcome neurophysiological motivational states of the body and which guarantees a kind of long-term rational determinism.
3. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Miroslav Hanke, The Closure Principle for Signification: (An Outline of a Dynamic Version)
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Insolubilium (seu paradoxon semanticorum) solutio “de significatione multiplicata”, quam Thomas Bradwardinus a.d. 1320 excogitavit Stephanusque Read post annum 2000 elaboravit, principio fundamentali innixa est, significationem scil. sententiarum esse “deductive clausam”. Sensus huiusce principii est, quamlibet sententiam ea omnia significare quae ex se sequuntur: quamobrem sententiae paradoxae sese esse veras significare demonstrantur, quamobrem ad simpliciter falsas contradictiones reduci possunt. Haec tamen solutio nonnullas prae se fert difficultates, quarum praecipua est, dictum principium nimium probare, nisi relatio consequentiae, secundum quam fit illa clausura deductiva, restringatur. In hac tractatione auctor restrictionem quandam proponit, quae super “clausurae principium dynamicum” fundatur. In hoc proposito significatio sententiarum concipitur ut clausa secundum singulos gradus processus inferendi, prout scil. huiusce sentetiae valor veritativus graduatim aut de facto aestimatur, aut optime aestimari possit.The Bradwardine-Read multiple-meanings solution to paradoxes invented in 1320s and formally reconstructed and developed in 2000s is based on the so-called “closure principle for signification”, in particular, for sentential meaning. According to this principle, sentences are assumed to signify whatever they imply. As a consequence, paradoxical sentences are proved to signify their own truth and thereby are reduced to simply false self-contradictions. One of the problems of this solution to paradoxes is that the closure principle over-generates if sentences are closed under unrestricted entailment. The present proposal will introduce a restriction based on what will be called the “dynamic closure principle”: sentential meaning will be regarded as closed under the inference steps performed in the (actual or optimal) process of evaluating the respective sentence’s truth-value.
discussion article
4. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Lukáš Novák, How (Not) to Be an Aristotelian With Respect to Contemporary Physics
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Haec tractatio est responsio critica ad tractationem Ludovici Groarke, titulo “Orbitae ellipticae, possintne Aristotelice explicari?”, necnon ad commentationem Jacobi Franklin, cui titulus “De orbitis ellipticis ac Aristotelica revolutione scientifica”. Auctor imprimis ostendit (ultra censuram a J. Franklin factam procedens) explanationem “Aristotelicam” orbitarum ellipticarum a L. Groarke propositam non solum analysi Newtonianae repugnare, sed etiam in se esse incohaerentem. Porro auctor alia L. Groarke proposita impugnat: scil. nostri temporis physicam mathematicam esse essentialiter Platonicam, item Newtonianam orbitarum ellipticarum explicationem assymetriam prae se ferre inexplicabilem (cui sententiae J. Franklin quoque assentit). Auctor e contra arguit, textibus nonnulis S. Thomae Aquinatis innixus, physicam modernam, mathematica sui methodo non exclusa, realisticae epistemologiae Aristotelicae esse congruam, immo pure Aristotelice intelligi posse (ac debere). Auctor tamen reicit quod J. Franklin insinuat, scil. physicam modernam nunc Aristotelicae philosophiae naturalis explere munia. Physica mathematica enim, methodo sua constricta, quaestiones genuine philosophicas (nempe ad essentias rerum spectantes) movere non potest, ac proinde philosophiae naturalis vice fungi nequit.This discussion article is a critical reaction to L. Groarke’s paper “Can Aristotelianism Make Sense of Perihelion–Aphelion Orbits?” and J. Franklin’s comment “Elliptical Orbits and the Aristotelian Scientific Revolution”. In the first place, the author shows (going beyond Franklin’s criticism) that Groarke’s proposed “Aristotelian” explanation of elliptical planetary orbits is inconsistent both in itself and with the Newtonian analysis. Furthermore, he challenges Groarke’s claims that modern mathematical physics is inherently Platonic and that the Newtonian explication of elliptical orbits involves unexplained assymmetries (a claim endorsed by Franklin as well). With the help of several Aquinas’s texts the author argues that modern physics, including its maths-driven methodology, is not incompatible with Aristotelian realist epistemology but can (and should) be interpreted in a purely Aristotelian vein. On the other hand, the author rejects the view implied by Franklin that modern physics is an up-to-date replacement of Aristotelian philosophy of nature. Due to its methodological limits, mathematical physics is incapable of asking genuinely philosophical questions concerning the essence of bodies, and so it cannot be expected to do the job of natural philosophy.