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1. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1/2
Daniel Heider Leibnizova Disputatio metaphysica De Principio Individui A F. Suárez: A Journal of Analytic Scholasticism
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The article examines the first fruit of Leibniz´s philosophical endeavour, which is his baccalaureate thesis Disputatio metaphysica de Principio Individui, on thebackground of the comparison with Suárez´s conception of individual unity in his Disputationes Metaphysicae. Despite Suárez´s more differentiated attitude to the issue of individuation in general, the author is convinced that one can find strong parallels between both authors, namely the following: purely ontological treatment of the problem of the principle of individuation; search for a single principle which is common both to material and nonmmaterial substances; nominalist tendency, which is apparent not only in the positive statements of the two authors, but also in their criticisms of rival solutions in general, and theScotist conception in particular. The similarities are not limited only to the principle of individuation or to the problem of individual unity in general but they also extend to the problem of the distinction between essence and existence, the conception of transcendental unity and its relation to ens, or to the problem of reification of hylemorphic components of material substances.
2. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Theodore Scaltsas Relations as Plural-Predications in Plato
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Plato was the first philosopher to discover the metaphysical phenomenon of plural-subjects and plural-predication; e.g. you and I are two, but neither you, nor I are two. I argue that Plato devised an ontology for plural-predication through his Theory of Forms, namely, plural-partaking in a Form. Furthermore, I argue that Plato used plural-partaking to offer an ontology of related individuals without reifying relations. My contention is that Plato’s theory of plural-relatives has evaded detection in the exegetical literature because his account of plural-subjects through the Theory of Forms had not been recognised for what it is. I further submit that Plato’s handling of related individuals through plural-predication is not only a “first” in philosophy, but also an “only”, having remained a unique account in the metaphysics of relations. I hope that Plato’s account will introduce a fresh approach to contemporary debates on the subject.
3. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Derek von Barandy How to Save Aristotle from Modal Collapse
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On Jaakko Hintikka’s understanding of Aristotle’s modal thought, Aristotle is committed to a version of the Principle of Plenitude, which is the thesis that no genuine possibility will go unactualized in an infinity of time. If in fact Aristotle endorses the Principle of Plenitude, everything becomes necessary. Despite the strong evidence that Aristotle indeed accepts that Principle of Plenitude, there are key texts in which Aristotle seems to contradict it. On Hintikka’s final word on the matter, Aristotle either endorses the Principle of Plentitude or Aristotle is simply inconsistent. Without challenging Hintikka’s interpretation of the relevant texts, I show how Aristotle may accept a form of the Principle of Plenitude that allows for genuine unactualized possibilities in the world. What allows me to reconcile theseemingly inconsistent data is to show how Aristotle is only committed to a de re version of the Principle of Plenitude. After I lay out my proposal, I show how it opens up new ways in which we might understand Aristotle’s attempt to reject fatalism in his De interpretatione 9.
4. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Lukáš Novák, Daniel D. Novotný “Let Us Think the Tradition Through Anew!” A Philosophical Interview with Prof. Stanislav Sousedík
5. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Richard Swinburne A Posteriori Arguments for the Trinity
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There is a good a priori argument for the doctrine of the Trinity, from the need for any divine being to have another divine being to love suffi ciently to provide for him a third divine being whom to love and by whom to be loved. But most people who have believed the doctrine of the Trinity have believed it on the basis of the teaching of Jesus as interpreted by the church. The only reason for believing this teaching would be if Jesus led the kind of life which a priori we would expect an incarnate God to live in order to identify with our suffering, make atonement for our sins, and to reveal truth to us; culminated by a miracle which God alone could do and which would also authenticate the teaching. Given good a posteriori evidence for the existence of God, there is enough historical evidence to make it probable that Jesus did live that sort of life, and so to believe the doctrine of the Trinity.
6. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Miroslav Hanke John Mair on Semantic Paradoxes: Alethic Modalities and Validity in Paradoxical Contexts
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Conceptual analysis of logical consequence can be regarded as a crucial part of any logical theory. The present paper focuses on John Mair’s approach to this issue from both historical and systematic point of view. Mair’s task is to analyse the concepts of modality and validity in universal token-based languages with non-compositional semantics based on network evaluation. To fulfil it, Mair addresses modal paradoxes, validity paradoxes and inferences with paradoxical components. Both truth and modality and truth and validity, when conceived as semantic properties, turn out to be mutually independent as a result of Mair’s semantics: there are true impossible propositions and possible propositions which cannot be true and truth-preservation turns out to be neither a sufficient nor a necessary condition for validity.
7. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Miroslav Hanke Insolubilia Novissima: Analysis of an Anonymous Insolubilia-Treatise with a Working Edition
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Insolubilia novissima is a short anonymous fifteenth-century treatise on semantic paradoxes printed in the Cambridge compendium Libellus sophistarum. Along with a working edition of this treatise, basic information about its content and historical and systematic context is offered. Insolubilia novissima endorses the Swyneshedian contextualist solution to paradoxes based on distinguishing between compositional and contextual meaning of sentences.
8. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Stefan Heßbrüggen-Walter Scientific Knowledge and the Metaphysics of Experience The Debate in Early Modern Aristotelianism
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Early modern commentaries on Aristotle’s Metaphysics contain a lively debate on whether experience is ‘rational’, so that it may count as ‘proto-knowledge’, or whether experience is ‘non-rational’, so that experience must be regarded as a primarily perceptual process. If experience is just a repetitive apprehension of sensory contents, the connection of terms in a scientific proposition can be known without any experiential input, as the ‘non-rational’ Scotists state. ‘Rational’ Thomists believe that all principles of scientific knowledge must rely on experiential data, because experience consists in an apprehension of facts rather than objects. And it is only apprehension of facts that can justify knowledge of principles. In this context, the role of mathematical knowledge is special, because it is self-evident. So Thomists must either show that mathematical principles do rely on experience, or that they do not express knowledge claims.
9. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Mark K. Spencer Transcendental Order in Suárez
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Francisco Suárez’s account of the transcendentals in Disputationes Metaphysicae 3 has been noted by Aertsen, Courtine, Darge, and Sanz for its reductionism; Suárez argues that all proposed transcendentals reduce to unum, verum, and bonum. This scholarship overlooks a key feature of Suárez’s account. In addition to providing his own theory, Suárez also works out a meta-metaphysical framework with which it can be shown how any proposed metaphysical item, including those that do not fit into Suárez’s own theory, relates to Being; he also works out rules for ordering these items. The way in which Suárez orders and reduces items related to Being involves several different kinds of reduction, and is more complex than current interpretations allow. Suárez’s framework and rules providea neutral standard for assessing the truth of any theory of transcendentals; this is shown through examining four accounts of the proposed transcendental aliquid using Suárez’s framework and rules.
10. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Nicholas Rescher Aristotle’s Precept on Precision
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As Aristotle saw it, the modus operandi of nature is frequently irregular and unruly. And this accords with the structure of the universe, with regularity predominant in the trans-lunar realm and regularity prominent in the cis-lunar. This circumstance opens the way to the different sorts of natural laws: those which are strictly universal and those which function only normally and “for the most part.” And knowing to what extent exactness, regularity, and universality can be expected in different areas of inquiry was, for Aristotle, the very touchstone of scientific wisdom and sophistication.
11. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Vlastimil Vohánka Why Peter van Inwagen Does Not Help in Showing the Logical Possibility of the Trinity
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I conceive the Trinity doctrine as the proposition that there are three persons each of whom is God but just one being (substance) which is God. In two papers by Peter van Inwagen I distinguish three potential candidates for a reason that the Trinity doctrine is logically possible. First, a particular conjunction entailing the Trinity doctrine is formally consistent in relative identity logic. Second, the conjunction is formally consistent in the standard logic. Third, the conjunction shares a form in relative identity logic with another logically possible conjunction. I explain how all these three reasons fail because of the distinction between logical possibility and formal consistency. In contrast to previous critiques, I dispense with epistemological and metaphysical assumptions about absolute and relative identity. Instead, I employ modal distinctions endorsed even by the inspirer of van Inwagen’s relative identity of the Trinity — the pioneering analytic scholastic Peter Geach.
12. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Vlastimil Vohánka Are Standard Lawlike Propositions Metaphysically Necessary? Hildebrand vs. Groarke
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I discuss Dietrich von Hildebrand, a realist phenomenologist, and Louis Groarke, an Aristotelian. They are close in epistemology and modal metaphysics, but divided about the metaphysical necessity of standard lawlike propositions – i.e., standard natural laws and standard truths about natural kinds. I extract and undermine the reasons of both authors. Hildebrand claims that no standard lawlike proposition is metaphysically necessary, since none is in principle knowable solely by considering essences. I undermine this when I argue that the explanation of positive instances of at least some standard lawlike propositions by the metaphysical necessity of these propositions is quite plausibly (though not probably) true. Groarke claims that some standard lawlike propositions are metaphysically necessary, since their positive instances exemplify natural kinds that make all their members necessarily similar in relevant ways. I undermine this, too, as I point out the obscurity of relevant similarity. Finally I argue against Groarke’s suggestion that an appeal to relevant similarity is presupposed in all acceptable inductive arguments from samples.
13. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
John Peterson Creation and Consciousness
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Defenders of the evolutionary origin of human beings hold that humankind has in its entirety evolved out of lower life forms. This opposes the idea of creation under which at least one aspect of human beings has not evolved out of pre-existing material things or states of thing but has been produced out of nothing by God. It is here argued that creation is correct. For whatever might be said of other aspects or elements in our natures, our consciousness, taken per se or just as consciousness, is something which could not possibly have evolved out of pre-existing things or states of thing. That is because consciousness is ultimately simple and only what is composite can come to be by evolution out of pre-existing things or states of thing.
14. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
John A. Demetracopoulos Purchotius Græcus II: Vikentios Damodos’ Concise Metaphysics, Part I (“Ontology”) And II (“Pneumatology”)
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Vikentios Damodos (1700–1754) was a private teacher of philosophy and theology in Cephalonia (Kephallênia), Ionian Islands (Greece), when they were under Venetian rule. He had studied in Venice and Padua and elaborated a Greek Concise Metaphysics, which forms a part of his hefty Philosophy. Concise Metaphysics is a selective translation or adaptation of passages from the respective parts of Institutiones philosophicæ by Edmond Pourchot, a Scholastico-Cartesian professor of philosophy (1651–1734); namely from Metaphysics of Vol. I (Logic and Metaphysics); as well as from the respective parts(Compendium Metaphysicæ; Exercitationes scholasticæ) of Vol. V (Exercitationes scholasticæ… sive Series disputationum ontologicarum or Exercitationes ontologicæ) of Pourchot’s textbook. Damodos’ work is enriched by an Appendix, which includes some Metaphysical Questions. Like Damodos’ Concise Ethics, where the respective parts of the same textbook were plagiarized, the main body (Part I: “Ontology”; Part II: “Pneumatology”, sc. on spiritual beings) of the Concise Metaphysics testifies to his good apprehension of the content of the Latin original. Yet too, it shows no traces of philosophical thought on the part of the plagiarist. Damodos modified the content of the Latin text only with regard to Filioque and Trinitarian terminology, which was not acceptable to himself and his fellow Orthodox addressees. Damodos seems further to have been aware of the issue of whether theological topics (such as those regarding angels, which, as ‘spiritualbeings’, fall under the subject matter of metaphysics) should be admitted into metaphysical handbooks. He shares Pourchot’s view that this is in principle forbidden, although it can be accepted for practical reasons, just as another Scholastico-Cartesian, Jean-Baptiste du Hamel (1624–1706) had done in his own Metaphysics. Du Hamel, in his turn, had been a latent yet basic source of Pourchot’s Institutiones philosophicæ. Damodos enriched his own handbook by means of some additional material (e.g., on the various sorts of metaphysical ‘distinctions’), which he drew from du Hamel’s Logic and Metaphysics (from the Philosophia vetus et nova) and, probably, from the metaphysical part of the handbook of Thomistic philosophy by Antonius Goudinus (1639–1695).
15. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Jan Palkoska Inesse and Concipi in Spinoza’s Ethics
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In this paper I examine the prospects of the two major approaches to interpreting the ‘inesse’ relation in Spinoza’s definitions of substance and mode in the Ethics – the ‘inherence’ interpretation and the ‘causal’ interpretation. I argue that these interpretations will find it difficult to reconcile the claim that modes ‘are in’ substance with the claim that modes are conceived through substance. I consider a number of strategies that proponents of these readings might use to overcome the problem, and conclude that none is satisfactory.
16. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Louis Groarke Response to “Hildebrand vs. Groarke” by Vlastimil Vohánka
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I defend an Aristotelian account of induction against an analytic challenge that recommends Bernoulllian satistics as a more rigorous foundation for inductive reasoning. If Aristotle defines metaphysical necessity as a causal relation produced by the form inherent in a substance, the modern Humean account construes metaphysical necessity as a matter of exceptionless statistical regularity. I argue that Humean epistemology cannot move beyond relations of ideas to a description of the true nature of things in the world and that Aristotelian realism offers, in comparison, a metaphysical perspective that can serve as a firm foundation for science. Any attempt to prove the validity of induction using mathematical probability is bound to fail for basic principles of all mathematics begin ininduction. Any such strategy is viciously circular. In the course of the paper, I argue that logic must begin in an immediate leap of reason, that intuitive insights can be tested in hindsight, that metaphysical essentialism can account for the accidental (or contingent) properties of things, and that phenomenological distinctions between metaphysical, natural, and empirical necessity can be mapped onto Aristotelian categories.
17. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Miguel García-Valdecasas Givens and Foundations in Aristotle’s Epistemology
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Aristotle’s epistemology has sometimes been associated with foundationalism, the theory according to which a small set of premise-beliefs that are deductively valid or inductively strong provide justification for many other truths. In contemporary terms, Aristotle’s foundationalism could be compared with what is sometimes called “classical foundationalism”. However, as I will show, the equivalent to basic beliefs in Aristotle’s epistemology are the so-called first principles or “axiómata”. These principles are self-evident, but not self-justificatory. They are not justified by their act of understanding, but by the arguments that satisfactorily prove them. In addition, these principles are intellectual, rather than perceptual, so that no basic belief that is about our immediate experience or sensorydata is apt to provide the required foundation of knowledge. In spite of this, I argue that Aristotle’s foundationalism has no givens, and that his epistemology resists the objections usually leveled against givens.
18. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Dale Jacquette Toward a Neoaristotelian Inherence Philosophy of Mathematical Entities
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The fundamental idea of a Neoaristotelian inherence ontology of mathematical entities parallels that of an Aristotelian approach to the ontology of universals. It is proposed that mathematical objects are nominalizations especially of dimensional and related structural properties that inhere as formal species and hence as secondary substances of Aristotelian primary substances in the actual world of existent physical spatiotemporal entities. The approach makes it straightforward to understand the distinction between pure and applied mathematics, and the otherwise enigmatic success of applied mathematics in the natural sciences. It also raises an interesting set of challenges for conventional mathematics, and in particular for the ontic status of infinity, infinite sets and series, infinitesimals, and transfinite cardinalities. The final arbiter of all such questions on an Aristotelian inherentist account of the nature of mathematical entities are the requirements of practicing scientists for infinitary versus strictly finite mathematics in describing, explaining, predicting and retrodicting physical spatiotemporal phenomena. Following Quine, we classify all mathematics that falls outside of this sphere of applied scientific need as belonging to pure, and, with no prejudice or downplaying of its importance, ‘recreational’, mathematics. We consider a number of important problems in the philosophy of mathematics, and indicate how a Neoaristotelian inherence metaphysics of mathematical entities provides a plausible answer to Benacerraf’s metaphilosophical dilemma, pitting the semantics of mathematical truth conditions against the epistemic possibilities for justifying an abstract realist ontology of mathematical entities and truth conditions.
19. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Vlastimil Vohánka Necessary laws? Seifert vs. Oderberg
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I discuss Josef Seifert, a realist phenomenologist, and David Oderberg, an Aristotelian. Both endorse essences, understood as objective quiddities. Both argue that no (a posteriori) law of nature is strongly (metaphysically) necessary: i.e. true in every possible world. But they disagree about weak necessity of laws: Seifert argues that no law is true in every possible world in which its referring expressions are non-empty, while Oderberg argues that some (indeed, any) is. I restate, relate, and review reasons of both authors for each of those theses. Seifert’s reasons include God’s ability to do miracles, conceivability of counterinstances to laws, and many others. Oderberg’s reasons include dependence of laws on particulars, depiction of laws as truths about properties necessarily connected with essences, and explanation of persistent regularities by means of that necessary connection. I argue that no reason of either Seifert or Oderberg is convincing, as its stands. But I also argue that given God and his ability to do miracles, the idea of “meaningful” but non-necessary connection between essences — an idea endorsed but insuffi ciently utilized by Seifert — is a better essentialist explanation of persistent regularities. This explanation implies that no law is necessary, be it weakly or strongly.
20. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Miroslav Hanke Analysis of Self-Reference in Martin Le Maistre’s Tractatus Consequentiarum
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Martin Le Maistre’s Tractatus consequentiarum presents an analysis of self-reference based upon the principle that sentential meaning is closed under entailment. A semantics based on such principle off ers a conservative treatment of self-referential sentences compatible with the principle of bivalence and classical rules of inference. Le Maistre’s crucial arguments are formally reconstructed in the framework recently defended by Stephen Read and Catarina Dutilh Novaes as part of an analysis of Bradwardinian semantics.