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Displaying: 21-40 of 423 documents


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21. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Maryanne J. Bertram No Fool Like an Old Fool: Part IV of Thus Spake Zarathustra
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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.
22. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Ash Gobar Erklärung and Begründung in Kantian Epistemology: A Reading of Synthetic Propositions A Priori
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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.
23. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Chin-Tai Kim A Critique of Kant’s Defense of Theistic Faith
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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.
24. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Quentin Smith The Logical Structure of the Debate About McTaggart’s Paradox
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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.
25. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Jon Torgerson Reichenbach and Smart on Temporal Discourse
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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.
26. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Dan Passell Individuation
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In Sameness and Substance David Wiggins bas indicated difficulties with individuating objects. By confining attention to material objects, I show how spatio-temporal features will do the job for them. I construct the explanation by examining how we coordinate sensations of several senses to produce an apprehension of the three spatial dimensions. I also search out grounds for distinguishing between apprehensions of objects and apprehension of the space in which they reside. Several necessary truths that apply are also distinguished from each other, and from the basic process, which is not itself necessary.
27. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Raja A. Bahlul Ockham’s Razor and the Identity of Indiscernables
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In this paper it is argued that The Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles can be justified as a concrete application of Ockham’s Razor, the maxim which enjoins us not to multiply entities beyond necessity. First, a statement of the Principle is presented, according to which the Principle, while interesting enough, is not logically necessary. It is then argued that the assumption of the falsity of the Principle prescribes an epistemological situation where it seems to be impossible to find grounds for thinking that the Principle is indeed false. Hence it is to be accepted as an epistemological necessity of sorts, one that recommended by the desire not to multiply entities beyond need.
28. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Thomas W. Smythe Disembodied Minds and Personal Identity
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Discussion of the human soul has bulked large in the literature of philosophy and religion. I defend the possibility of disembodied Cartesian minds by examining the criticisms of three philosophers who argue that there are serious difficulties about any attempt to account for the identity of such Cartesian minds through time. I argue that their criticisms of the possibility of disembodied minds are damaging but not fatal. I hold that the central issue behind their criticisms of Cartesian minds is whether any nonphysical mental criterion can be formulated for the identity of such entities. Even though no such criterion can be given, disembodied minds that persist through time remain logical possibilities.
29. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Stephen Friedman Ultimate Homogeneity: A Dialog
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Throughout his metaphysical writings, Sellars maintains that current microtheory, with its particulate paradigm, can never depict adequately---even in principle---a universe populated with sentient beings like us. Why not? Experience for us involves the presence of an occurrent perceptual core of ultimately homogeneous secondary qualities. Sellars’ “Grain Argument” demonstrates (1) that physical objects qua clouds of discrete particles cannot instantiate such qualities and (2) that they cannot be assigned to an intrasentient realm construed as clusters of discrete, particulate neurons. Neither, contends Sellars, can they simply be eliminated from the inventory of any theory claiming to be both empirical and conceptually independent of common sense. And since common sense fails to provide an adequate picture of reality, our only course is to abandon the particulate paradigm of current microtheory in favor of a process paradigm. This paper traces and develops, in dialog form, these arguments.
30. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Charles J. Kelly Why God is Not Really Related to the World
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The first part of the paper sketches the rationale for the classical theistic thesis that, though God is not really related to the world, the world is really related to God. Part II delineates four sets of recent criticisms ofthis thesis: (a) an objection which assesses it as conflating transparent and opaque construals of intentional propositions, (b) a dilemma which regards it as undermining either free divine creativity or God’s knowledge of the contingent, (c) arguments which view its adherence to an absolute divine immutability and independence as in conflict both with God’s knowledge of a changing creation and with human knowledge of God, and (d) two religiously inspired objections which contend that the thesis is contradictory to the biblical claim that God is personally related to the world. Part III develops the linguistic essence of the classical thesis through the syntactical insights of Sommers’ logic and defends it against the objections posed.
31. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Philip Bashor Creation-Science Rhetoric: A Philosophical Examination
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This article presumes to achieve a relatively definitive philosophical treatment of the creation-science issue (concerning teaching evolution in the schools) identified as a complex and troublesome piece of public rhetoric requiring careful attention to a number of distinct points to gain an adequate response to it. Questions of fact, theory, logic, professional responsibility, human being, metaphysics, education, law, religion, and ethics are all critically examined with a sampling of pertinent sources. As an unexpected movement in our time creation-science rhetoric represents many conflicting interests, most significantly a confused but legitimate call for philosophical thinking which should not go unheeded.
32. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
David B. Boersema Is the Descriptivist / Cluster Theory of Reference “Wrong from the Fundamentals”?
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In this paper I suggest that Searle’s theory of reference is immune to the specific criticisms that have been levelled against it. I first present an overview of Searle’s “cluster” theory, followed by an overview of the Kripkean critique. I then examine in detail Kripke’s objections and suggest that they are not sufficient for a rejection of Searle’s theory. Finally, I consider several general objections to the cluster theory and argue that they, too, do not suffice to reject it.
33. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Diane Barense On the Tense Structure of Conditionals
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When philosophers and linguists theorize about the nature of conditionals, they tend to make a number of assumptions about the linguistic structure of these sentences. For example, they almost invariably assume that conditionals have “antecedents” and “consequents” and that these have the structure of independent clauses. With a few exceptions, they assume that conditionals are categorized according to whether they are in the “indicative” or the “subjunctive” “mood”. However, rarely do they formulate criteria for identifying these moods, or for distinguishing between indicative and subjunctive conditionals.Through an analysis of the coordinated verb tense structures of the clauses of English conditionals, I challenge these and other related assumptions and show that the one relatively well-developed attempt to provide criteria for distinguishing between indicative and subjunctive conditionals---that of Gibbard (1980)---fails in its task. I then offer an alternative account of the linguistic structure of conditional constructions. To represent their structure I use first-order predicate logic with added devices to indicate deictic and anaphoric reference.
34. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Douglas Lackey Modes of Individuation in Art
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Philosophers have developed various systems of individuation for handling questions of identity regarding works of art. But even a casual survey of different arts reveals that questions of individuation in one art form are markedly different from questions of individuation in another. Though distinctively philosophical concepts can go a short way in clarifying these issues, it is hardly likely that any single philosophical system can do justice to them all.
35. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 14
Edwin Curley Cavell and the Comedy of Remarriage
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This paper deals critically with Stanley Cavell’s Pursuits of Happiness, a study of seven film comedies from the 30’s and 40’s, among them The Philadelphia Story, His Girl Friday, Adam’s Rib, and It Happened One Night. Negatively, I argue that Cavell’s interpretations of the films he deals with are often extravagant, if held to any objective standard; that his conception of the genre of the comedy of remarriage is highly arbitrary, both in its inclusions and exclusions, and in its contention that the genre does not have a history; and that the philosophy of marriage implicit in Cavell’s criticism is unsatisfactory in implying the illegitimacy of most existing marriages. Positively, I support his contentions that the genre has its roots in Shakespearean comedy and that the films often (sometimes quite consciously) raise the very difficult philosophical questions Cavell takes them to raise. Though I find much to disagree with, I contend that Cavell is writing criticism of the highest order.
36. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
George Heffernan From “Pure Democracy” to ‘Pure Republic’: Publius on the Unique Character of the American Polity
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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.
37. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13 > Issue: Supplement
Donald A. Cress Canadian and American Dissertations on Descartes and Cartesianism 1865-1984
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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.
38. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13 > Issue: Supplement
Robert S. Brumbaugh Plato's Parmenides: The Text of Paris B, Vienna W, and Prague
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39. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
Thomas A. Michaud Schutz’s Theory of Constitution: An Idealism of Meaning
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Alfred Schutz formulated his phenomenology with the aim of circumventing what he perceived to be the idealistic character of Husserl’s theory of meaning constitution. Schutz contended that constitution for Husserl was idealistically creationistic in the sense that the meanings and very being of phenomena were merely the created products of the constitutive acts of consciousness itself. This article argues, however, that Schutz’s theory of constitution is not without an idealistic character in that the meanings which consciousness constitutes and predicates to phenomena are simply created by consciousness itself. This argument is articulated through 1) a delineation of the basic principles of Schutz’s phenomenology, 2) an explication of his theory of constitution, and finally, 3) an exposition of its idealistic character with, by way of contrast, a brief account of how and why Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s existential phenomenology expunged all features of idealistic constitution.
40. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 13
John Meixner Frequencies and Possibility
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A popular conception of probability for many years now has been the relative frequency interpretation, made famous by the work of Reichenbach and von Mises, and more recently by Salmon and others. The frequency view has played important roles of various sorts in virtually every area in epistemology and the philosophy of science, including explanation, causation, the justification of induction, the nature of laws and lawlike statements, and so on. A major attraction of the frequency conception has been its claim to be a strictly empirical view. In this paper we argue that on prima facie grounds the frequency view violates some of our deepest intuitions regarding the notions of probability and possibility.