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61. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Paul Richard Blum The Epistemology of Immortality: Searle, Pomponazzi, and Ficino
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The relationship between body and mind was traditionally discussed in terms of immortality of the intellect, because immateriality was one necessary condition for the mind to be immortal. This appeared to be an issue of metaphysics and religion. But to the medieval and Renaissance thinkers, the essence of mind is thinking activity and hence an epistemological feature. Starting with John Searle’s worries about the existence of consciousness, I try to show some parallels with the Aristotelian Pietro Pomponazzi (1462–1525), and eventually show the Neoplatonic approach in Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499). The guiding question is: how can one philosophically address the problem of cognition in terms of corporeality and incorporeality? Searle maintains there is mind, although essentially related to a biological basis, and he is comparable to the Renaissance thinkers for his taking the interaction of the mental and the corporeal seriously.
62. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Lidia Lanza, Marco Toste Sixteenth-Century Sentences Commentaries from Coimbra: The Structure and Content of Some Manuscripts
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In the second half of the sixteenth century, many universities influenced by Salamanca adopted the Summa theologiae as the textbook for teaching scholastic theology. At the same time, the universities decided that some minor chairs should teach one of the Sentences commentaries written by one of the following authors: Duns Scotus, Durand of Saint-Pourçain, or Gabriel Biel. As a result, some commentaries on these commentaries (so-called supercommentaries) started to appear. This is most notably the case when it comes to the University of Coimbra, where Aquinas’s Summa became the textbook only very late and where the chairs of Scotus, Durand and Biel were instituted in the second half of the century. This article provides a list of questions making up thirteen commentaries produced in Coimbra, where, unlike what happened in Salamanca, the professors belonged to different religious orders (the commentaries presented here were written by one Cistercian, one Carmelite, two Augustinians, one Franciscan and one secular). It also presents the list of questions of one commentary connected with a Franciscan convent. Some reflections on the need to study late-scholastic manuscripts as well as on the structure of these commentaries are also offered.
63. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Tero Tulenheimo Johannes Rudbeckius’s View on the Nature of Logic
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Johannes Rudbeckius (1581–1646), one of Sweden’s most influential figures in theology, pedagogy, and church-state relations in the 17th century, published two books on logic: Logica ex optimis et præstantissimis autoribus collecta & conscripta (1625) and Controversiæ logices vel potius earum epitome (1629). In this paper, I present and critically discuss Rudbeckius’s view on the nature of logic as it can be reconstructed from these two works. This requires, in particular, identifying the larger intellectual framework within which Rudbeckius operated. The single most important philosopher having affected Rudbeckius’s ideas on logic is Jacopo Zabarella (1533–1589), which leads me to consider at some length the views on logic that Zabarella puts forward in his De Natura Logicæ (1578).
64. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Vlastimil Vohánka Love or Contemplation?: Hildebrandian and Aristotelian Ways to High Happiness
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This is an article in the philosophy of happiness — but one with an untypical focus. It clarifies the claim of the phenomenologist Dietrich von Hildebrand that (H) high happiness comes especially from loving others, and compares it with the apparently rival Aristotelian claim that (A) high happiness comes especially from contemplating God. The former claim is understood to be about felt love (love defined as an emotional rather than volitional state). Both claims are understood to be about felt happiness (happiness defined as an emotional state rather than a state of objective flourishing). The article argues that, in fact, the two claims are not rival but mutually consistent, since the beloved person can be God, and the contemplation can be a loving one. Both claims are also consistent with scientific evidence, although it is tangential and tentative. Moreover, both claims are plausible, since both are backed up by intuitive explanations of why they should be regarded as true. However, both are in need of a further philosophical or scientific research that could confirm them even more.
65. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Michele Paolini Paoletti Respects of Dependence
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In this paper I consider respects of dependence, namely, the fact that some entities depend on other entities in some respect or another. In the first section, I provide a characterization of contemporary debates on dependence based on respects of dependence. I also single out seven desiderata a good theory of dependence should satisfy and three ways of interpreting respects of dependence. In the second section, I criticize two such ways and, in the third section, I defend the remaining option, namely, that respects of dependence correspond to different dependence-relations between entities (e.g., existence-dependence, identity-dependence, and so on). In the fourth section, I develop my theory of Respect-of-Dependence (RD ) Relations in order to distinguish between partial and full dependence and between specific and generic dependence, and to qualify RD -relations in temporal and modal terms. Finally, in the last section, I anticipate and reply to three objections against dependence pluralism.
66. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
David S. Oderberg On a So-called Demonstration of the Causal Power of Absences
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Tyron Goldschmidt has recently published a non-paper in which he claims to demonstrate the causal power of absences. His non-paper is, precisely, an empty page. The non-paper is ingenious and at first “glance” the “reader” might think that the absence of words on the page does prove that negative beings can literally cause states such as surprise or disappointment. Closer analysis, however, shows that Goldschmidt’s clever non-paper not only lacks words but also lacks causal power. Serious metaphysical problems pile up if we suppose otherwise.
67. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Louis Groarke A Response to “How (Not) to Be an Aristotelian with Regard to Contemporary Physics”
68. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
David Botting Aristotle and Hume on the Idea of Natural Necessity
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There is a tension in scholarship about Aristotle’s philosophy, especially his philosophy of science, between empiricist readings and rationalist readings. A prime site of conflict is Posterior Analytics II.19 where Aristotle, after having said that we know the first principles by induction suddenly says that we know them by nous. Those taking the rationalist side find in nous something like a faculty of “intuition” and are led to the conclusion that by “induction” Aristotle has some kind of idea of “intuitive induction”. Those taking the empiricist side resist this temptation but then struggle to explain how we can know first principles by induction and usually end by relegating induction to a mere subsidiary role; well-known problems of induction, with which Aristotle shows some familiarity, militate against taking anything we learn from induction to be a first principle or even certain. I am on the side of the empiricists, and would like to adopt as a methodological assumption that no concept of intuition occurs in any of Aristotle’s works. That is a far more ambitious project than I am attempting here, however. Here, I want to defend a non-intuitive, enumerative kind of induction against a raft of criticisms raised against it in the collection Shifting the Paradigm: Alternative Approaches to Induction (Biondi & Groarke 2014). I want to defend the position that Hume and Aristotle have basically the same conception of induction and of what it can and cannot do. What it cannot do, for both, is prove natural necessities. A paradigm shift is neither necessary nor desirable for a proper understanding of Aristotle’s philosophy of science. Aristotle is still the empiricist philosopher we all thought he was before reading Posterior Analytics II.19
69. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Davis Kuykendall Leibniz on Spontaneity, The Eduction of Substantial Forms, and Creaturely Interaction: A Tension
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Leibniz argued that (i) substantial forms only begin to exist via Divine creation; (ii) created substances cannot transeuntly cause accidents in distinct substances; and yet (iii) created substances immanently produce their accidents. Some of Leibniz’s support for (i) came from his endorsement of a widely-made argument against the eduction of substantial forms. However, in defense of eduction, Suárez argued that if creatures cannot produce substantial forms, they also cannot produce accidents, threatening the consistency of (i) and (iii). In this paper, I argue that Leibniz successfully defends the consistency of (i) and (iii) against Suárez’s argument, but at the expense of the consistency of (ii) and (iii).
70. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
David Svoboda, Prokop Sousedík The Emergence of (Instrumental) Formalism and a New Conception of Science
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According to formalism, a mathematician is not concerned with mysterious metaphysical entities but with mathematical symbols. As a result, mathematical entities become simply sensible signs. However, the price that has to be paid for this move seems to be too high, for mathematics, at present considered to be the queen of sciences, turns out to be a to a contentless game. That is why it seems absurd to regard numbers and all mathematical entities as mere symbols. The aim of our paper is to show the reasons that have led some philosophers and mathematicians to adopt the view that mathematical terms in the proper sense refer to nothing and mathematical propositions have no real content. At the same time we want to explain how formalism helped to overcome the traditional concept of science.
71. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
T. Allan Hillman, Tully Borland Duns Scotus on the Nature of Justice
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Duns Scotus has a remarkably unique and comprehensive theory concerning the nature of justice. Alas, commentators on his work have yet to full flesh out the details. Here, we begin the process of doing so, focusing primarily on his metaethical views on justice, i.e., what justice is or amounts to. While Scotus’s most detailed account of justice can be found in his Ordinatio (IV, q. 46 especially), we find further specifics emerging in a number of other contexts and works. We argue that Scotus offers a unique contribution in the history of philosophy: justice in God is a formality (formalitas), in humans a virtue, and when attributed to actions, a relation. Even though formalities, virtues, and relations are ontologically distinct items, each can satisfy Scotus’s preferred Anselmian definition of justice—rectitude of will preserved for its own sake—since each characterizes a will aimed at rendering to goodness what is its due.
72. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Christopher Byrne Reply to Jiayu Zhang
73. 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.
74. 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.
75. 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
76. 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.
77. 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.
78. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Tianyue Wu The Ontological Status of the Body in Aquinas’s Hylomorphism
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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.
79. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Miroslav Hanke The Closure Principle for Signification: (An Outline of a Dynamic Version)
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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.
80. Studia Neoaristotelica: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Ľuboš Rojka A Probabilistic Argument for the Reality of Free Personal Agency
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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.