Displaying: 201-220 of 422 documents

0.321 sec

201. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Kenneth R. Westphal Sextus Empiricus Contra René Descartes
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
It has become a veritable industry to defend Descartes against the charge of circularity and, to a lesser extent, to argue that he successfully responds to the skepticism of Sextus Empiricus. Since one of Sextus’ main skeptical ploys is to press the charge of circularity against any view, and because Descartes does reply to Sextus, it is worthwhile to criticize these efforts in the same paper. I argue that Descartes did not successfully respond to Sextus’ skeptical arguments. I argue that he is guilty of not one but of five distinct circularities in his defense of empirical knowledge, thst clearing him of such charges can only be had by rendering him naively dogmatic, and that he fails to respond to a Pyrrhonisn contraposition argument. One circle concerns divine logical voluntarism. Another concerns the semantic component of innate ideas. A third arises from his natural inability to disbelieve whatever he clearly and distinctly perceives. A fourth circularity arises in Descartes’ proof that he cannot have generated his idea of God. A final circularity concerns Descartes’ attempt to verify the reliability of his thinking nature by employing that very same thinking nature. To substantiate these claims I review the principles of Sextus’ arguments briefly and I reexamine Descartes’ texts and doctrines in detail. I also take occasion to reflect on why Descartes’ foundationalist program must have failed.
202. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
George Heffernan From “Pure Democracy” to ‘Pure Republic’: Publius on the Unique Character of the American Polity
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
In key numbers of The Federalist Publius argues that the only good form of popular government is republican popular government and that the only good form of republican popular government is federal republican popular government. Essential to both arguments is the distinction between “democracy” and “republic”; By the former Publius means a form of popular government in which the citizens assemble in person and administer the affairs of government directly, so that such a society must be confined to a small number of citizens and a little spot; by the latter he means a form of popular government in which the administration of the affairs of government is delegated to a certain number of citizens elected by the rest, that is, in which the scheme of representation takes place, so that such a society can be extended over a large number of citizens and a big country. Despite the great quantity of material which has been written on The Federalist, no one has ever doubted the validity of this distinction. But the present study shows, first, that--contrary to that which one universally supposes to be the case--the distinction which Publius tries to make is not a logically valid one; then, it proves that--again, contrary to that which one universally believes to be so--the really decisive distinction is not the one between “democracy” and “republic”, but rather the one between ‘bad republics’ and ‘good republics’; next, it demonstrates that--once again, contrary to that which one universally presupposes to be--it is Publius himself in The Federalist itself who says that that is how it is; and finally, it shows what consequences this original and therefore unique, but nonetheless correct understanding of The Federalist entails for Publius’ teaching on republicanism and, by implication, on federalism. Therefore, ‘the standard interpretation’ of The Federalist will never be the same again.
203. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Erdinç Sayan A Closer Look at the Chinese Nation Argument
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
Ned Block’s Chinese Nation Argument is offered as a counterexample to Turing-machine functionalism. According to that argument, one billion Chinese could be organized to instantiate Turing-machine descriptions of mental states. Since we wouldn’t want to impute qualia to such an organized population, functionalism cannot account for the qualitative character of mental states like pain. Paul Churchland and Patricia Churchland have challenged that argument by trying to show that an adequate representation of the complexity of mind requires at least 10 30,000,000 homunculi. As such a large collection of Chinese is beyond comprehension, the intuitive force of Block’s example would be undercut. I argue that Churchland and Church land erroneously assume that every possible input-state combination in the human Turing-machine table must be assigned a homunculus. I attempt to restore the intuitive force of Block’s thought experiment by pointing to a way to simulate the human mind that does not require any such staggering number of homunculi.
204. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Edward Walter A Concept of Happiness
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
I propose a broad concept of happiness as an ultimate moral goal that is consistent with what reflective people desire and what people generally approve. Broad happiness includes many and various pleasures, a minimum of pain, a predominately active life and awareness of what can be attained. Besides these characteristics, which are found in Mill, I add that mental and physical faculties must be developed in accord with biological potential, people must be able to choose activities that exercise their developed faculties and must be able to achieve many of the goals toward which their activities aim. This claim can be established by considering scientific data and analyzing what moralists usually approve. According to it, intellectual activities will be found to be the most important aspects of happiness.My concept will differ from Mill’s in that I reject the notion that happiness is synonymous with pleasure and the absence of pain, although both are part of happiness. Because Mill adopted this definition, his theory produced many anomalies. For example, in order to maintain that intellectual activities are morally superior, Mill was led to introduce qualities of pleasure. This maneuver is inconsistent with his empiricism. Moreover, the activities that are most approved from a moral point of view cannot be explained by the pleasure principle. The broad concept of happiness can account for the primacy of intellectual activities and those activities that are most often morally approved.
205. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Philip N. Lawton, Jr. Nietzsche’s Convalescence
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
Nietzsche wrote that he owed his philosophy to his long sickness, which he called “the teacher of great suspicion”. The present paper considers the related ideas of the will to power and the eternal return in the light of Nietzsche’s concepts of sickness and health. This reading of Nietzsche’s works is guided by the interpretations of Gilles Deleuze and Pierre Klossowski, whose commentaries have been most influential in shaping French neo-Nietzscheanism since 1965; however, those passages literally or metaphorically employing the language of physical and mental illness and health are emphasized. After introducing the key concepts of will, force, affirmation, and self, the paper develops the idea of active and reactive forces, presents the eternal return as a selective doctrine, and considers the meaning of arnor fati. It closes with remarks, based upon Nietzsche’s views, on the interpretation of philosophical texts and on the relationship between the philosopher’s life and works.
206. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13 > Issue: Supplement
Donald A. Cress Canadian and American Dissertations on Descartes and Cartesianism 1865-1984
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
Gregor Sebba's monumental Bibliographia Cartesiana; A Critical Guide to the Descartes Literature 1800-1960 (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1964) is the basic bibliographical tool of pre-1960 Descartes scholarship. While somewhat weak in its coverage of twentieth century Anglo-American analytical literature on Descartes, it is outstanding ic its coverage of continental scholarship. Willis Doney's "Bibliography," in his Descartes: A Collection of Critical Essays (New York: Doubleday, 1967), largely rectifies Sebba’s lack of coverage of pre-1960 analytical work on Descartes. Subsequent to Doney's 1967 bibliography, there have been several useful bibliographical updates, including the excellent "Bulletin Cartésien," published annually in the Archives de Philosophie. However, Vere Chappell and Willis Doney's Twenty-Five Years of Descartes Scholarship, 1960-1984: A Bibliography (forthcoming, New York: Garland, 1987) promises to become the definitive update of Sebba. The present bibliography is designed to supplement the above bibliographies by listing Canadian and American dissertations on Descartes and Cartesianism from 1865 through 1984. It lists dissertations alphabetically by author and provides locations in Dissertations Abstracts as well as University Microfilms order numbers, whenever available.
207. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13 > Issue: Supplement
Robert S. Brumbaugh Plato's Parmenides: The Text of Paris B, Vienna W, and Prague
208. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Adrian M.S. Piper Hume on Rational Final Ends
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
Historically, the view, prevalent in contemporary economics and decision theory as well as philosophy, that rational action consists simply in satisfying one’s desires, whatever they may be, as efficiently as possible, is to be found first in Book II of Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature. This view has counterintuitive and self-refuting implications, in that it recognizes as rational behavior that may reveal a clear degree of irresponsibility or psychological instability. Accordingly, many Hume scholars have tried to show recently that this view was not Hume’s; and that, on the contrary, Hume did supply an account of rational final ends--in his discussion of the calm passions, the “steady and general view” that corrects the biases and contingencies of an individual’s desires and perceptions, and elsewhere. But a detailed reconstruction of Hume’s views on these matters that assembles all the relevant texts does not support this thesis. Instead, it undermines it. Hence the counterintuitive and self-refuting implications of Hume’s view of rational action must be allowed to stand.
209. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Sheldon Wein Humean Minds and Moral Theory
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
Grant that Hume is a contractarian. Justice then arises from more basic features of humans and their circumstances. Among these more basic features from which justice arises Hume includes (in addition to self-interest narrowly construed) the widely held passions of benevolence and sympathy. But it is mysterious why he included them in his contractarian theory for the derivation of justice does not need them, and may even be weaker with them included. This paper suggests that Hume’s philosophy of mind, in particular his account of the imagination, forced him to include benevolence and sympathy along with self-interest as the passions on which justice is based.
210. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Douglas Chismar Hume’s Confusion About Sympathy
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
David Hume argues that the prevalence of human sympathizing justifies our attributing to humans a certain degree of benevolence. This move from sympathy to having a concern for others has been challenged by recent critics. A more fine-grained look at Hume’s concept of sympathy may reveal the reasons why he thought that experiencing sympathy implied having a benevolent attitude. Two arguments from the Treatise are analyzed and found wanting. It is suggested that Hume’s confusion may derive from ambiguities surrounding the term “sympathy” and a lack of attention given to the intentional aspects of sympathizing.
211. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Fred Wilson Was Hume a Subjectivist?
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
In a crucial passage in the Treatise, Hume argues that all our sense impressions are dependent for their existence upon the state of our sense organs. Hume points out that this is not the same as an ontological dependence upon minds; and moreover the argument is clearly causal. Hume uses it to establish the system of the philosophers as opposed to the system of the vulgar. This paper argues that Hume’s case parallels that which, in this century, the critical realists made against the new realists. Consequently, it is also argued, Hume is best construed, in this passage at least, as defending critical realism, rather than, as many critics contend, a version of subjectivistic scepticism.
212. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Sara F. García-Gómez God and Descartes’ Principle of Clear and Distinct Knowledge
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
In the present study of Descartes’ epistemological investigations, I have tried to show that his renowned principle of clarity and distinctness is not, in fact, one but two axioms. Most interpreters and critics have taken the two formulations of such a principle here considered as successive moments of it. At best, this position is insufficient, for each “version” of the principle of clarity and distinctness guarantees different kinds of cognitive content. Moreover, while the validity of one “version” is not dependent on the thesis of God’s veracity, no such thing can be asserted of the validity of the other. These two formulations of the principle of clarity and distinctness are: 1. Whatever is clearly and distinctly perceived is true; 2. whatever we perceive clearly and distinctly as belonging to the nature of something can indeed be predicated of the thing in question. The fust formula corresponds to what I have characterized as “presentative” knowledge; the second one expresses the guarantee of “representative” knowledge. This distinction is all-important for solving the question of whether Descartes’ proofs of God’s existence and veracity---both the a priori and the a posteriori proofs that we find in the Cartesian corpus-are circular. On the basis of such a distinction, it is possible to argue that at least the ontological argument---and possibly as well the proof “par les effets”---is not at all dependent on the principle of clarity and distinctness, which in turn draws its ultimate validity from God’s faithfulness. In other words, as suggested above, only the second “version” needs to be guaranteed by God’s veracity. On the other hand, the first “version” has no normative value, for it merely describes what is the case whenever a clear and distinct cognition occurs. An example of this is our knowledge of God as the most perfect being.
213. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Joan McGregor Bargaining Advantages and Coercion in the Market
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
Does the “free market” foster more freedom for individuals generally and less coercion? Libertarians and other market advocates argue that the unfettered market maximizes freedom and hence has less coercion than any feasible alternative. Welfare liberals, Socialist, and Marxists, in different ways, argue against the claim that the unrestricted market maximizes freedom generally. Both supporters and critics agree that coercion undermines freedom and that that is what is ultimately prima facie wrong with it. Further, they agree that the extent to which an economic system includes coercion provides a serious strike against it. The problem is that there is little consensus on the necessary conditions for coercion. In this paper I will be concerned with the nature of coercive relationships in the market. Market interactions have a particular character and occur within a specific institutional framework. Other accounts of coercion have failed to capture the unique character of coercion in the market because they have failed to take into account certain nontrivial facts about the market which are essential to the analysis of coercive market relations.
214. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Harold Zellner Spinoza’s Temporal Argument for Actualism
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
In three places Spinoza presents an argument from (a) determinism and (b) God’s “eternity” to (c) “actualism”, i.e., the doctrine that this is (in some sense) the only possible world. That he does so shows that he distinguishes (a) from (c), which he has been thought to conflate. On one reading of ‘eternal’, he is claiming that an infinite past entails no other world was a “real” possibility. As might be expected, the argument is a failure, but it may help explain why Spinoza holds that there are no contingencies.
215. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Brent A. Singer Sein und Zeit Revisited
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
In this paper I present the basic outlines of a nonstandard interpretation of Sein und Zeit. The merit of this interpretation is that it brings out and develops some of the radical possibilities contained in this rich text, possibilities which, I believe, have yet to be given their due. On the basis of this interpretation it is clear not only how Heidegger’s ontology departs from its Cartesian and Kantian predecessors, but also how his ontology puts the traditional mind/body problem, and the problem of the external world, onto radically new grounds. However, unlike standard interpretations of Sein und Zeit, I argue that these new grounds neither resolve, nor dissolve, these problems, and that Heidegger’s discussion of the so-called “scandal of philosophy” is misleading at best.
216. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Maryanne J. Bertram No Fool Like an Old Fool: Part IV of Thus Spake Zarathustra
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
Nietzsche published for the public only the first three parts of Thus Spoke Zarathustra. This paper in examining the “tragic wisdom” of that work gives an account of why Nietzsche did not want his public to read Part IV. It shows the evolution in Nietzsche’s thought about tragic wisdom beginning with The Birth of Tragedy where satyric laughter is central to the wisdom of ancient Greek tragedy to Parts I-III of Thus Spoke Zarathustra where the significance of its major idea, eternal recurrence, is the joy occasioned by experiencing that theory to finally Part IV where the pathos engendered by Zarathustra, who has aged to an ugly, old fool, is the sarcastic laughter that kills.
217. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Ash Gobar Erklärung and Begründung in Kantian Epistemology: A Reading of Synthetic Propositions A Priori
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
This essay attempts a re-reading of the meaning and import of “synthetic propositions a priori” in the light of two other background concepts in Kantian epistemology: Erklärung and Begründung. The significance of this pair of concepts lies in the fact that they represent the “philosophical motive” of Kant---leading him, inevitably, to take the “transcendental turn”. (And, on this point, I believe that some commentators have reversed the dialectic of Kant’s thinking: they make him take the “transcendental turn” first, and then envision the Erklärung and the Begründung.) And the distinction between the “sensible world” and the “intelligible world” was the consequence. Did this distinction also provide the ontological matrix for the epistemological distinction between “analytic propositions” and “synthetic propositions”? I take that to be evident. What is less evident is that Kant was more interested in the relation between the two worlds than in these worlds in isolation. He was concerned with demonstrating the possibility (i.e., the “transcendental possibility” and not merely the “logical possibility”) of the sensible in the light of the intelligible. This he sought to do by elucidating (with the help of “transcendental arguments”) the a priori conditions of possible experience. This was the hidden dialectic of the transformation of the image of mind, from the Lockean “mirror” to the Kantian “prism”. The synthetic propositions a priori (I argue) articulate the relation of the a priori conditions of experience to the possible objects of experience. (That is why Kant takes the metaquestion, “How are synthetic propositions a priori possible?”, to be the main problem of the Kritik der reinen Vemunft.) The significance of the work of Kant for what we moderns call the “philosophy of science” is noted in the conclusion.
218. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Chin-Tai Kim A Critique of Kant’s Defense of Theistic Faith
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
Kant’s account of the idea of God in the first Critique prefigures but does not imply a theism. It is in his ethical philosophy that this idea is given a theistic interpretation, and that the postulation (or fideic affirmation) of God’s existence, along with immortality, is practically justified as a condition of the possibility of the summum bonum. This paper argues that Kant’s reasoning from his initially austere conception of morality to the summum bonum and to immortality and God’s existence lacks compelling logic. It also argues that Kant’s practical justification of faith, amounting to no more than the claim that practical reason explicates its own inherent need and satisfies this need by faith, fails to satisfy the demand of religious consciousness for an ontology of reason that includes an account of the grounding of reason in what it postulates.
219. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Quentin Smith The Logical Structure of the Debate About McTaggart’s Paradox
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
This short article aims to illustrate the mutually question-begging arguments that are often presented in debates between opponents and defenderss of McTaggart’s “proof” that A-properties (pastness, presentness and futurity) are logically incoherent. A sample of such arguments is taken from a recent debate between L. Nathan Oaklander (a defender of McTaggart) and myself (an opponent of McTaggart) and a method of escaping the impasse that is often reached in such debates is suggested.
220. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Jon Torgerson Reichenbach and Smart on Temporal Discourse
abstract | view |  rights & permissions
One of the problems which surfaces in philosophical literature as regularly as clockwork is the status of tensed and tenseless discourse. This received its most influential formulation in McTaggart The Nature of Existence. Two philosophers who respond to McTaggart are Hans Reichenbach and J.J.C. Smart. In this paper, I review their analysis of token-reflexive terms. First, I examine Reichenbach’s arguments for translating tensed discourse into tenseless discourse. In order to show its subtlety, I also discuss Smart’s attempt to provide such translations. This analysis is adequate for a limited number of tenseless utterances. Yet even Reichenbach’s analysis fails in certain important instances. That this attempt fails is a strong argument for supposing that any other such attempt will fail as well. If correct, it should put to rest the philosophically tempting quest for a tenseless discourse.