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Displaying: 1-12 of 12 documents

1. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Peter Adamson Al-Ghazâlî, Causality, and Knowledge
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Few passages in Arabic philosophy have attracted as much attention as al-Ghazâlî's discussion of causality in the seventeenth discussion of Tahâfut al-Falsafa, along with the response of Ibn Rushd (Averroës) in his Tahâfut al-Tahâfut. A question often asked is to what extent al-Ghazâlî can be called an occasionalist; that is, whether he follows other Kalâm thinkers in restricting causal agency to God alone. What has not been thoroughly addressed in previous studies is a question which al-Ghazâlî and Ibn Rushd both see as decisive in the seventeenth discussion: what theory of causality is sufficient to explain human knowledge? In this paper I show that al-Ghazâlî's and Ibn Rushd's theories of causality are closely related to their epistemologies. The difference between the two thinkers can be briefly summerized as follows. For Ibn Rushd, the paradigm of human knowledge is demonstrative science; for al-Ghazâlî, in contrast, the paradigm of human knowledge is (or at least includes) revelation. Yet both remain committed to the possibility of Aristotelian science and its underlying principles. Thus, I suggest that al-Ghazâlî's stance in the seventeenth discussion sheds light on his critique of philosophy in the Tahâfut: namely, philosophy is not inherently incoherent, but simply limited in scope. I also briefly compare this position to that of Thomas Aquinas, in order to place the view in a more familiar context.
2. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Johannes Brachtendorf Self-knowledge and the Sciences in Augustine’s Early inking
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The idea of a firm connection of the seven artes liberales came first into being in Augustine's early concept of education (I. Hadot). Whereas this idea has been analyzed primarily in view of its philosophical sources, this paper is supposed to clarify its internal logic. The main feature of Augustine's concept is the distinction between the two projects of a critique of reason and of a metaphysics, and the coordination of these projects within a treatise on theodicy. Augustine systematizes the disciplinae in the perspective of reason's self-recognition. Reason manifests itself in culture and nature. Through the sciences, reason is led to a reflection upon its own products and, finally, to an understanding of them as reason's self-manifestations. Thus, reason becomes able to comprehend itself. Augustine distinguishes language-based disciplinae (grammar, dialectic, rhetoric) from number-oriented ones (music, geometry, astronomy, philosophy). The first group (with dialectic as its top-disciplina) leads to a critical reflection upon the conditions of knowledge and into the insight to reason's power of creating sciences. The second group helps carry out a metaphysical ascent from the material to the intelligible world. In philosophy, reason comprehends its ability to constitute knowledge as a synthetic capacity that points to a transnumerical unity as the main ontological feature of the intelligible world. The insight into this kind of unity reveals the meaningful interwovenness of all beings and events and, thus, leads to a refutation of all objections against divine providence.
3. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Darien C. DeBolt George Gemistos Plethon on God: Heterodoxy in Defense of Orthodoxy
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In this paper I examine George Gemistos Plethon's defense in his De Differentiis of Plato's conception of God as superior to that of Aristotle's. Plethon asserts that the Platonic conception of God is more consistent with Orthodox Christian theology than the Aristotelian conception. This claim is all the more interesting in light of the fact that Plethon is, as it turns out, a pagan. I argue that Plethon takes the position he does because his interpretation of the Platonic God better fits his own neo-pagan theological conceptions. Part of the evidence for this is supplied by the first English translation of Plethon's Summary of the Doctrines of Zoroaster and Plato.
4. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Victoria Erhart The Context and Contents of Priscianus of Lydia’s Solutionum ad Chosroem
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Priscianus of Lydia’s Solutionum ad Chosroem is a series of answers to questions asked at a philosophical debate held at the Sasanian court c. 530 CE. Priscianus of Lydia was one of seven non-Christian philosophers from the Byzantine Empire who journeyed to the Sasanian Empire to take part in the debate. Long overlooked in the history of philosophy, Priscianus of Lydia’s text represents a branch of Neoplatonism that survived for centuries uninfluenced by the official Christianization of the Roman Empire. Priscianus of Lydia was one of the last remaining representatives of non-Christian Neoplatonism in Late Antiquity. Solutionum ad Chosroem provides a record of the world of Neoplatonism shortly before it disappeared under a tide of officially Christian philosophy and theology. I discusses the context of Priscianus’ work and its relation to activities in the Byzantine Empire, such as Emperor Justinian’s suppression of paganism and the closing of the Academy in Athens in 529 CE. I also discuss the specific contents of the Solutionum ad Chosroem, including questions on first principles, generation, natural history, and the relationship between the soul and the body.
5. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Sharon Kaye Russell, Strawson, and William of Ockham
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Realism and conventionalism generally establish the parameters of debate over universals. Do abstract terms in language refer to abstract things in the world? The realist answers yes, leaving us with an inflated ontology; the conventionalist answers no, leaving us with subjective categories. I want to defend nominalism — in its original medieval sense, as one possibility that aims to preserve objectivity while positing nothing more than concrete individuals in the world. First, I will present paradigmatic statements of realism and conventionalism as developed by Russell and Strawson. Then, I will present the nominalist alternative as developed by William of Ockham.
6. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Douglas C. Langston Aquinas on Conscience, the Virtues, and Weakness of Will
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The intellectualistic analysis of conscience Aquinas provides appears to regard conscience as mechanistic and undynamic. Such understanding fails to place Aquinas’s remarks on conscience in the context of the virtue ethics he offers in the Summa and his Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics. In fact, there is an intricate connection between the virtues and conscience in Aquinas’s thought, and this connection relates directly to his remarks on weakness of will. His connecting conscience to issues in Aristotelian virtue ethics affects subsequent discussions of conscience in significant ways.
7. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Giovanna Lelli Avicennisme et averroïsme dans la poétique et la rhétorique islamiques médiévales: La tradition persane
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The study of medieval Islamic philosophy is necessary in order to understand Islamic thought, both medieval and contemporary. I propose that the distinction within Islamic thought between two great paradigms, the Avicennian and the Averroistic, is a fertile approach. It is true that in the field of Islamic poetics and rhetoric we find nothing that corresponds to the philosophical and religious opposition between Avicennism and Averroism. Nevertheless, in the medieval Islamic world, besides the official rhetoric which was linked to the legal culture, we can find several elements of these two great cultural paradigms even in the theory of literature. Today, a renewed interest in Islamic aesthetics and philosophy might help the West recompose its fragmented postmodernism, while it could in turn help the Islamic world construct a new, critical and non-fundamentalist approach to its classical authors.
8. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Woosuk Park Toward a Scotistic Modal Metaphysics
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The problem I tackle in this article is: Do we have in Scotus a modal logic or a counterpart theory? We need to take a rather roundabout path to handle this problem. This is because, whether it be in Lewis's original formulation or in others' applications, the crucial concept of 'counterpart' has never been clearly explicated. In section two, I shall therefore examine the recent controversy concerning Leibniz's views on modalities which centers around the counterpart relation. By fully exploiting the lessons learned from such an examination, I shall then launch a trilemma against a Leibnizian in section three. Section four shall make the claim that unlike Leibniz's case, Scotus's position is not endangered by the trilemma. One important premise will be adopted from my thesis presented elsewhere regarding the different between Scotus's haecceitas and Leibniz's individual essence. Another will be secured from a brief report on Scotus's views on similarity, which might be utterly original to modern eyes jaundiced by contemporary set theories.
9. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Miguel Angel Rossi El concepto de paz terrena en el pensamiento agustiniano
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Agustín comienza a reflexionar en el libro XIX de la Ciudad de Dios, acerca de la importancia de la paz, como uno de los mayores bienes no sólo de la vida eterna, sino también de la vida terrenal: ‘Porque es tan singular el bien de la paz, que aún en las cosas terrenas y mortales no sabemos oír cosa de mayor gusto, ni desear objeto más agradable, ni finalmente podemos hallar cosa major.’ Al respecto, nos parece pertinente señalar que, como constante del pensamiento agustiniano, sólo puede haber paz definitiva en la vida eterna, mientras que en la Civitas Terrena la paz la experimentamos, parafraseando al hiponense, como un bien incierto y dudoso. Tal afirmación cobra sentido sobre todo en perspectiva ontológica, en la medida en que el orden de lo creado, en el estado temporal, reviste el sello de la corruptibilidad. Sin embargo, es esencial destacar que ambas paces (celestial-terrenal), si bien son cualitativamente diferentes, no existe una intención por parte de Agustín de divorciarlas o desvincularlas. Por el contrario, creemos que pueden establecerse múltiples relaciones dialógicas entre ambas paces, que ponen como eje teórico decisivo la propia actitud y disposición de los hombres. Actitud que se objetiviza en la articulación medio-fin, en la medida que para los ciudadanos de la Civitas Dei, por lo menos la parte que peregrina en la tierra, la paz terrenal es medio para alcanzar la paz eterna; en cambio, para los ciudadanos de la Civitas Terrena, la paz terrena es un fin absoluto.
10. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Laura Smit The Aesthetic Pedagogy of Francis of Assisi
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Despite his anti-intellectualism, Francis of Assisi was an effective teacher who intentionally illustrated the life of virtue in his own way of living. He was a teacher in the sense that the Hebrew prophets, Socrates or Gandhi were teachers. He was a performance artist for whom drama functioned pedagogically. His life was not always meant to be an example to his followers; sometimes it was a dramatic lesson, meant to be watched, not imitated. All drama is inherently a distortion of reality because it focuses the attention on one aspect of reality. Francis’ dramatized life distorts the importance of poverty, but this is a distortion from which we may be able to learn if we are able to imaginatively identify with Francis. For Francis, asceticism was a form of obedience, and obedience a mode of knowledge. Such ‘personalized,’ lived teaching is the only way in which virtue (as opposed to ethics) may be effectively taught. Francis followed the same model of paideia as Gandhi, bringing together the physical discipline of radical asceticism with the aesthetic experience of a dramatic life in which he played the roles of troubadour and fool.
11. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
John Tomarchio The Emergence of the ‘Supposit’ in a Metaphysics of Creation
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Aquinas held that the metaphysical consideration of beings as being consists in the consideration of being as created, i.e., the consideration of things in their complete reality, and the reduction of this complete reality to its complete cause. When existence displaces form as the primary sense of being, the thing’s act of existing is conceived of as ‘formal’ with respect to its essence. Consequently, the primary object of metaphysical consideration becomes the complete entity, a composite of essence and existence, and the primary sense of being becomes the subsistence of the complete entity. In Aquinas’s creationist discourse, the term supposit denotes the concept of the entitative whole or complete entity. What this concept of the supposit adds to the Aristotelian conception of the concrete individual derives from the contingency of existence in every being beyond the first being. The subject of a nature and of categorical accidents is now also conceived of as the subject of a received act of existing. Aquinas reduces the distinctions of finite entities to their possession of acts of existing that are diverse absolutely, in virtue of a ‘privation’ of the fullness of existence, just as Aristotle reduces formal contrariety to the possession or ‘privation’ of differences that are diverse absolutely. And as Plato traced the negations constitutive of formal contrariety to a correlative participation between being and otherness, Aquinas analogously traced the distinctions of finite entities to a transcendental duality between participated existence and receiving essence. The necessary participation of each of these principles of finite being in divine and infinite existence constitutes the ultimate metaphysical reduction and horizon of a creationist metaphysics.
12. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 9
Yiwei Zheng Ockham on Connotative Terms
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Ockham’s connotation theory is essential to his ontological program. To carry out and justify his ontological project of eliminating alleged entities falling under eight Aristotelian categories, Ockham needs and in effect uses a connotation theory which provides him a recursive semantics for the mental language. Another important thesis about Ockham’s connotation theory, pointed out recently by Claude Panaccio and now widely accepted, is that Ockham allowed simple connotative terms in the mental language. However, among current interpretations of Ockham’s connotation theory, none is able to accommodate both theses. In this paper, I offer a new interpretation, based upon a distinction between metaphysical simplicity and semantic complexity of connotative terms, which I argue can accommodate both.