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articles
1. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 4
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2. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 4
Daniel F. Lim Causal Exclusion and Overdetermination
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Jaegwon Kim argues that if mental properties are irreducible with respect to physical properties, then mental properties are epiphenomenal. I believe that this conditional is false and argue that mental properties, along with their physical counterparts, may causally overdetermine their effects. Kim contends, however, that embracing causal overdetermination in the mental case should be resisted for at least three reasons: (1) it is implausible, (2) it makes mental properties causally dispensable, and (3) it violates the Causal Closure Principle. I believe, however, that each of these reasons can be defeated. Moreover, further reflection on (3), according to Kim’s implicit logic, may lend support to the claim that physical properties, and not mental properties, are in danger of losing their causal relevance.
3. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 4
Christoph Hanisch An Autonomy-Centered Defense of Democracy
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According to Thomas Christiano, autonomy-centered arguments for democratic rights are not successful. These arguments fail to show that there is anything wrong with citizens who want to trade-off their political rights in exchange for more autonomy regarding their private affairs. The trade-off problem suggests that democratic participation is not necessary for leading a free life. My reply employs recent work in the republican tradition. The republican conception of freedom as non-domination supports the incommensurability of the public and the private aspects of autonomy. Christiano overlooks that trading-off the normative conditions of one’s public autonomy results in agents who are mere subjects to the dominating will of those citizens who retain their democratic rights. Since democratic decisions apply to all citizens, the privatized members end up being dominated, especially with respect to the collective determination of the very border separating the private from the public realm.
4. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 4
Eric LaRock Aristotle and Agent-Directed Neuroplasticity
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I propose an Aristotelian approach to agent causation that is consistent with the hypothesis of strong emergence. This approach motivates a wider ontology than materialism by maintaining (1) that the agent is generated by the brain without being reducible to it on grounds of the unity of experience and (2) that the agent possesses (formal) causal power to affect (i.e., mold, sculpt, or organize) the brain on grounds of agent-directed neuroplasticity. These claims are motivated by recent evidence in neuroscience. The broader theoretical implication is that the agent is not an impotent by-product of the brain but rather something that makes an explanatory difference in virtue of the unity of experience and the capacity to affect the brain. Therefore, the agent cannot be eliminated on parsimonious grounds alone.
5. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 4
Philippe Gagnon An Improbable God Between Simplicity and Complexity: Thinking about Dawkins’s Challenge
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Richard Dawkins has popularized an argument that he thinks sound for showing that there is almost certainly no God. It rests on the assumptions (1) that complex and statistically improbable things are more difficult to explain than those that are not and (2) that an explanatory mechanism must show how this complexity can be built up from simpler means. But what justifies claims about the designer’s own complexity? One comes to a different understanding of order and of simplicity when one considers the psychological counterpart of information. In assessing his treatment of biological organisms as either self-programmed machines or algorithms, I show how self-generated organized complexity does not fit well with our knowledge of abduction and of information theory as applied to genetics. I also review some philosophical proposals for explaining how the complexity of the world could be externally controlled if one wanted to uphold a traditional understanding of divine simplicity.
6. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 4
James Giles The Metaphysics of Awareness in the Philosophy of Laozi
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This paper shows that a careful reading of Laozi’s The Way and Its Power enables one to come up with a metaphysics of awareness. This is done by rejecting those accounts that paint Laozi as a mystic or cosmologist and by arguing for the human-centeredness of his approach. It is shown that three central ideas in Laozi’s work can all be understood as referring to properties of awareness. These three ideas are the Way (Dao), return (gui gen, fa, fan), and non-action (wuwei). The “Way” refers to awareness itself, “return” refers to the way in which awareness oscillates between activity and stillness, and “non-action” refers to how awareness expresses itself in action. This interpretation fits with the Daoist project of articulating a way of living that brings human existence into harmonious relation to the world.
7. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 4
Kevin E. O’Reilly, O.P. The Significance of Worship in the Thought of Thomas Aquinas: Some Reflections
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This article appeals to Thomas Aquinas in order to offer a construal of the nature of reason arguably preferable to that prominent in the Enlightenment. Thomas’s account neither espouses the notion that reason is devoid of any appetitive influence nor so conflates reason and will as to suggest that thinking becomes essentially a form of willing. His view does respect that the activity of willing is of fundamental import for the life of reason. Since the ultimate object of the will is union with God, it follows that the virtue that specifically promotes the attainment of this end—the virtue of religion—has particular import because it aims at rectifying the will and is the most excellent among the moral virtues. In brief, this virtue promotes the optimal intellectual and moral flourishing of individuals as well as the realization of justice in society.
book reviews
8. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 4
Brian Johnson Belief and Truth: A Skeptic Reading of Plato. By Katja Maria Vogt
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9. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 4
Joseph W. Koterski, S.J. Thomas Aquinas on the Passions: A Study of Summa Theologiae Ia2ae 22–48. By Robert Miner; and The Logic of Desire: Aquinas on Emotion. By Nicholas E. Lombardo, O.P.
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10. International Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 53 > Issue: 4
James Lehrberger, O.Cist. Lessons from Aquinas: A Resolution of the Problem of Faith and Reason. By Creighton Rosental
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