The Gelukpa (or Geluk) tradition of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy is
inspired by the works of Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), who set out a
distinctly nominalist Buddhist tradition that differs sharply from
other forms of Buddhist thought not only in Tibet, but elsewhere in
the Buddhist world. The negative dialectics of the Middle Way
(madhyamaka) is the centerpiece of the Geluk intellectual
tradition and is the philosophy that is commonly held in Tibet to
represent the highest view. The Middle Way, a philosophy systematized
in the second century by Nāgārjuna, seeks to chart a
“middle way” between the extremes of essentialism and
nihilism with the notion of two truths: the ultimate truth of
emptiness and the relative truth of dependent existence.
Joseph Butler is best known for his criticisms of the hedonic and
egoistic “selfish” theories associated with Hobbes and
Bernard Mandeville and for his positive arguments that self-love and
conscience are not at odds if properly understood (and indeed promote
and sanction the same actions). In addition to his importance as a
moral philosopher Butler was also an influential Anglican theologian. Unsurprisingly his theology and philosophy were connected — his
main writings in moral philosophy were published sermons, a work of
natural theology, and a brief dissertation attached to that work. Although most of Butler’s moral arguments make rich use of passages
from scripture and familiar Christian stories and concepts, they make
little reference to — and depend little on the reader having
— any particular religious commitments.
This article follows on the introductory article “Direct Logic for Intelligent Applications” [Hewitt 2017a]. Strong Types enable new mathematical theorems to be proved including the Formal Consistency of Mathematics. Also, Strong Types are extremely important in Direct Logic because they block all known paradoxes[Cantini and Bruni 2017]. Blocking known paradoxes makes Direct Logic safer for use in Intelligent Applications by preventing security holes.
. As part of the week of recognizing R.A.Fisher (February 17, 1890 – July 29, 1962), I reblog a guest post by Stephen Senn from 2012/2017. The comments from 2017 lead to a troubling issue that I will bring up in the comments today. …
Traditionally philosophical discussions on moral responsibility have
focused on the human components in moral action. Accounts of how to
ascribe moral responsibility usually describe human agents performing
actions that have well-defined, direct consequences. In today’s
increasingly technological society, however, human activity cannot be
properly understood without making reference to technological
artifacts, which complicates the ascription of moral responsibility
(Jonas 1984; Waelbers
2009).[ 1 ]
As we interact with and through these artifacts, they affect the
decisions that we make and how we make them (Latour 1992).
Autonomous agents are self-governing agents. But what is a
self-governing agent? Governing oneself is no guarantee that one will
have a greater range of options in the future, or the sort of
opportunities one most wants to have. Since, moreover, a person can
govern herself without being able to appreciate the difference between
right and wrong, it seems that an autonomous agent can do something
wrong without being to blame for her action. What, then, are the
necessary and sufficient features of this self-relation? Philosophers
have offered a wide range of competing answers to this question.
In ‘Freedom and Resentment’ P. F. Strawson argues that reactive attitudes like resentment and indignation cannot be eliminated altogether, because doing so would involve exiting interpersonal relationships altogether. I describe an alternative to resentment: a form of moral sadness about wrongdoing that, I argue, preserves our participation in interpersonal relationships. Substituting this moral sadness for resentment and indignation would amount to a deep and far-reaching change in the way we relate to each other – while keeping in place the interpersonal relationships, which, Strawson rightfully believes, cannot be eliminated.
International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Louis Pierre Althusser (1918–1990) was one of the most
influential Marxist philosophers of the 20th Century. As
they seemed to offer a renewal of Marxist thought as well as to render
Marxism philosophically respectable, the claims he advanced in the
1960s about Marxist philosophy were discussed and debated
worldwide. Due to apparent reversals in his theoretical positions, to
the ill-fated facts of his life, and to the historical fortunes of
Marxism in the late twentieth century, this intense interest in
Althusser’s reading of Marx did not survive the 1970s. Despite the
comparative indifference shown to his work as a whole after these
events, the theory of ideology Althusser developed within it has been
broadly deployed in the social sciences and humanities and has
provided a foundation for much “post-Marxist”
In Japan, Confucianism stands, along with Buddhism, as a major religio-philosophical teaching introduced from the larger Asian cultural arena at the dawn of civilization in Japanese history, roughly the mid-sixth century. Unlike Buddhism which ultimately hailed from India, Confucianism was first and foremost a distinctly Chinese teaching. It spread, however, from Han dynasty China, into Korea, and then later entered Japan via, for the most part, the Korean peninsula. In significant respects, then, Confucianism is the intellectual force defining much of the East Asian identity of Japan, especially in relation to philosophical thought and practice.
Giacomo (Jacopo) Zabarella (b. 1533 in Padua, d. 1589 in Padua) is
considered the prime representative of Renaissance Italian
Aristotelianism. Known most of all for his writings on logic and
methodology, Zabarella was an alumnus of the University of Padua,
where he received his Ph.D. in philosophy. Throughout his teaching
career at his native university, he also taught philosophy of nature
and science of the soul (De anima). Among his main works are
the collected logical works Opera logica (1578) and writings
on natural philosophy, De rebus naturalibus (1590). Zabarella
was an orthodox Aristotelian seeking to defend the scientific status
of theoretical natural philosophy against the pressures emanating from
the practical disciplines, i.e., the art of medicine and anatomy.
Modern medicine is often said to have originated with 19th century germ theory, which attributed diseases to particular bacterial contagions. The success of this theory is often associated with an underlying principle referred to as the “doctrine of specific etiology,” which refers to the theory’s specificity at the level of disease causation or etiology. Despite the perceived importance of this doctrine the literature lacks a clear account of the types of specificity it involves and why exactly they matter. This paper argues that the 19th century germ theory model involves two types of specificity at the level of etiology. One type receives significant attention in the literature, but its influence on modern medicine has been misunderstood. A second type is present in this model, but it has been overlooked in the extant literature. My analysis clarifies how these types of specificity led to a novel conception of etiology, which continues to figure in medicine today.
Karl Leonhard Reinhold (1757–1823), Austrian philosopher and first
occupant of the chair on Critical Philosophy established at the
University of Jena in 1787, first achieved fame as a proponent of
popular Enlightenment and as an early and effective popularizer of the
Kantian philosophy. During his period at the University of Jena
(1787–94), Reinhold proclaimed the need for a more
“scientific” and systematic presentation of the Critical
philosophy, one based upon a single, self-evident first principle. In
an effort to satisfy this need, he expounded his own “Elementary
Philosophy” in a series of influential works between 1789 and
[The following is a guest post by Bob Lockie. — JS]He who says that all things happen of necessity can hardly find fault with one who denies that all happens by necessity; for on his own theory this very argument is voiced by necessity (Epicurus 1964: XL).Lockie, Robert. …
For the past few weeks, people on- and offline have spoken up to question Winston Churchill’s legacy. They generally highlight his racism, his support for the use of concentration camps, his treatment of Ireland, his complicity in the Bengal famine, and more. …
In my book Understanding Scientific Progress (Maxwell 2017), I argue that fundamental philosophical problems about scientific progress, above all the problem of induction, cannot be solved granted standard empiricism (SE), a doctrine which most scientists and philosophers of science take for granted. A key tenet of SE is that no permanent thesis about the world can be accepted as a part of scientific knowledge independent of evidence. For a number of reasons, we need to adopt a rather different conception of science which I call aim-oriented empiricism (AOE). This holds that we need to construe physics as accepting, as a part of theoretical scientific knowledge, a hierarchy of metaphysical theses about the comprehensibility and knowability of the universe, these theses becoming increasingly insubstantial as we go up the hierarchy. Fundamental philosophical problems about scientific progress, including the problems of induction, theory unity, verisimilitude and scientific discovery, which cannot be solved granted SE, can be solved granted AOE.
A proper understanding of the moral and political significance of migration requires a focus on global inequalities. More specifically, it requires a focus on those global inequalities that affect people’s ability to participate in the production of economic goods and non-economic goods (e.g., relationships of intimacy and care, opportunities for self-expression, well-functioning institutions, etc.). We call cooperative infrastructures the complex material and immaterial technologies that allow human beings to cooperate in order to generate human goods. By enabling migrants to access high-quality cooperative infrastructures, migration contributes to the diffusion of technical and socio-political innovations; in this way, it positively affects the ability of individuals from poorer countries to participate in the production of human goods. However, migration can also damage the material and immaterial components of the cooperative infrastructures accessible in both host countries and sending countries; these potential downsides of migration should not be ignored, although arguably they can often be neutralized, alleviated, or compensated.
John Austin is considered by many to be the creator of the school of
analytical jurisprudence, as well as, more specifically, the approach
to law known as “legal positivism.” Austin’s particular
command theory of law has been subject to pervasive criticism, but its
simplicity gives it an evocative power that continues to attract
Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe was one of the most gifted
philosophers of the twentieth century. Her work continues to strongly
influence philosophers working in action theory and moral
philosophy. Like the work of her friend Ludwig Wittgenstein,
Anscombe’s work is marked by a keen analytic sensibility.
[Editor's Note: The following new entry by Ana María
Mora-Márquez replaces the
on this topic by the previous author.] Simon of Faversham († 1306) was a thirteenth-century scholar,
mainly known as a commentator on Aristotle’s logic and natural
philosophy. He is considered a modist, among other things because of
his use of the notions of modi praedicandi and modi
essendi in his commentary on Aristotle’s
Categories (cf. Marmo 1999). Simon’s work as an
Aristotelian commentator heavily relies on Albert the Great’s
paraphrases on the Aristotelian corpus. Simon’s
question-commentaries often portray key medieval discussions in a
somewhat undeveloped state.
This contribution is devoted to addressing the question as to whether the methodology followed in building/assessing string theory can be considered scientific – in the same sense, say, that the methodology followed in building/assessing the Standard Model of particle physics is scientific – by fo-cussing on the ”founding” period of the theory. More precisely, its aim is to argue for a positive answer to the above question in the light of a historical analysis of the early developments of the string theoretical framework. The paper’s main claim is a simple one: there is no real change of scientific status in the way of proceeding and reasoning in fundamental physical research. Looking at the developments of quantum field theory and string theory since their very beginning, one sees the very same strategies at work both in theory building and theory assessment. Indeed, as the history of string theory clearly shows (see Cappelli et al., 2012), the methodology characterising the theoretical process leading to the string idea and its successive developments is not significantly different from the one characterising many fundamental developments in theoretical physics which have been crowned with successful empirical confirmation afterwards (sometimes after a considerable number of years, as exemplified by the story of the Higgs particle).
The central question of my paper is whether there is a coherent logical theory in which truth is construed in epistemic terms and in which also some version of the law of excluded middle is defended. Brentano in his later writings has such a theory. My first question is whether his theory is consistent. I also make a comparison between Brentano’s view and that of an intuitionist at the present day, namely Per Martin-Löf. Such a comparison might provide some insight into what is essential to a theory that understands truth in epistemic terms.
Dom Robert Desgabets (1610–1678) was an early defender and
teacher of the Cartesian philosophy at St. Maur in the region of
Lorraine, France. He was born in Ancemont and in 1636 became a monk
in the Benedictine order. He taught theology at Saint-Evre at Toul
between 1635–1655, and served as Procurer General of Mihiel to Paris
during 1648–49. Although he is little-known today, he played an
important role in the development and transmission of the Cartesian
philosophy, especially in Paris and Toulouse. He is best known for his
role in the theological controversy over the Cartesian explication of
the Eucharist (Desgabets, 1671), and for his defense of Nicolas
Malebranche against the skeptic Simon Foucher (Desgabets, 1675).
Antoine Le Grand (1629–1699) was a philosopher and catholic theologian
who played an important role in propagating the Cartesian philosophy in
England during the latter half of the seventeenth century. He was born
in Douai, (at the time under rule by the Spanish Hapsburgs), and early
in life was associated with an English community of Franciscans who had
a college there. Le Grand became a Franciscan Recollect friar prior to
leaving for England as a missionary in 1656. In England, he taught
philosophy and theology, advocating Catholicism and eventually
Cartesianism, the latter being as unpopular as the former was perilous.
The word ‘pluralism’ generally refers to the view that
there are many of the things in question (concepts, scientific world
views, discourses, viewpoints etc.) The issues arising from there
being many differ widely from subject area to subject area. This entry
is concerned with moral pluralism—the view that there are many
different moral values. Moral value pluralism should be distinguished from political
pluralism. Political pluralism, which, like moral value pluralism, is
often referred to as ‘value pluralism’, is a view
associated with political liberalism. Political pluralism is concerned
with the question of what sort of restrictions governments can put on
people’s freedom to act according to their values.
Newton’s success sharpened our understanding of the nature of space and time in the XVII century. Einstein’s special and general relativity improved this understanding in the XX century. Quantum gravity is expected to take a step further, deepening our understanding of space and time, by grasping of the implications for space and time of the quantum nature of the physical world. The best way to see what happens to space and time when their quantum traits cannot be disregarded is to look how this actually happens in a concrete theory of quantum gravity. Loop Quantum Gravity (LQG) [1–7] is among the few current theories sufficiently developed to provide a complete and clear-cut answer to this question. Here I discuss the role(s) that space and time play in LQG and the version of these notions required to make sense of a quantum gravitational world. For a detailed discussion, see the first part of the book [ ]. A brief summary of the structure of LQG is given in the Appendix, for the reader unfamiliar with this theory.
Kant’s doctrine of transcendental idealism, as put forth in the first Critique, is best understood as a conceptual or epistemic doctrine. However critics of the conceptual understanding of transcendental idealism argue that it amounts to an arbitrary stipulation and that it does not do justice to the real ontological distinctions that mattered for Kant. Some stipulations are better than others, however. In this paper I argue that Kant’s doctrine, though it should be understood ‘merely epistemically’, is nevertheless full of significance and is motivated through his long-running pre-critical struggle to discover first principles for metaphysical cognition. I further argue that an epistemic understanding of the doctrine of transcendental idealism provides a Kantian with a natural way of understanding the novel epistemic situation presented to us by modern physics and in particular by quantum mechanics. And I argue that considering Kant’s philosophy in the light of the challenges posed by quantum mechanics illuminates, in return, several elements of his philosophical framework, notably the principle of causality, the doctrine of synthetic a priori principles in general, and most generally: the conceptual understanding of transcendental idealism itself. I illustrate this via an analysis of the views of the physicist Niels Bohr as well the views of the (neo-)Kantian philosopher Grete Hermann.
There is an ambiguity in the fundamental concept of deductive logic that went unnoticed until the middle of the 20th Century. Sorting it out has led to profound mathematical investigations with applications in complexity theory and computer science. The origins of this ambiguity and the history of its resolution deserve philosophical attention, because our understanding of logic stands to benefit from an appreciation of their details.
Constantin Brancusi. Socrates
Image © The Museum of Modern Art;
Licensed by Scala/Art Resource, NY
©2005 Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York/ADAGP, Paris
reproduced with permission
of the Brancusi Estate
The philosopher Socrates remains, as he was in his
B.C.E. ),[ 1 ]
an enigma, an inscrutable individual who, despite having written
nothing, is considered one of the handful of philosophers who forever
changed how philosophy itself was to be conceived. All our information
about him is second-hand and most of it vigorously disputed, but his
trial and death at the hands of the Athenian democracy is nevertheless
the founding myth of the academic discipline of philosophy, and his
influence has been felt far beyond philosophy itself, and in every
Inspired by his reading of Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte
(1762–1814) developed during the final decade of the eighteenth
century a radically revised and rigorously systematic version of
transcendental idealism, which he called Wissenschaftslehre
of “Doctrine of Scientific Knowledge.” Perhaps the most
characteristic, as well as most controversial, feature of the
Wissenschaftslehre (at least in its earlier and most
influential version) is Fichte’s effort to ground his entire system
upon the bare concept of subjectivity, or, as Fichte expressed it, the
“pure I.” During his career at the University of Jena (1794–1799)
Fichte erected upon this foundation an elaborate transcendental system
that embraced the philosophy of science, ethics, philosophy of law or
“right.” and philosophy of religion.