In the first two editions of the Principia, Newton makes two pronouncements about the scope of natural philosophy that appear to be in tension with one another. In the first (1687) edition Preface to the Reader, Newton writes, “the basic problem of [natural] philosophy seems to be to discover the forces of nature from the phenomena of motions and then to demonstrate the other phenomena from these forces” (Janiak 60). …
Prior used our emotions to argue that tensed language cannot be translated by tenseless language. However, it is widely accepted that Mellor and Mac- Beath have shown that our emotions do not imply the existence of tensed facts. I criticise this orthodoxy. There is a natural and plausible view of the appropriateness of emotions which in combination with Prior’s argument implies the existence of tensed facts. The Mellor/MacBeath position does nothing to upset this natural view and therefore is not sufficient to block one drawing conclusions for the metaphysics of time from the nature of our emotions.
We report two experiments exploring the perception of how contemporary philosophy is often conducted. We find that (1) participants associate philosophy with the practice of conducting thought experiments and collating intuitions about them, and (2) that this form of inquiry is viewed much less favourably than the typical form of inquiry in psychology: research conducted by teams using controlled experiments and observation. We also found (3) an effect whereby relying on intuition is viewed more favorably in the context of team inquiry than in individual inquiry and (4) that greater prior exposure to philosophy lowered one’s opinion of inquiry driven by intuitions and thought experiments. Finally with respect to participant gender, we found that (5) women favored observation over intuition more than men did, and (6) tended to view a question pursued by a research team as more important than men viewed it.
For a man so revered, so attentively studied, so plentifully adorned with silverware, Pep Guardiola cuts a remarkably dour figure. Constantly anxious and frequently frustrated on the sidelines, he gives the impression of a tortured soul in a quixotic quest for footballing perfection, bored by the accolades routinely showered upon him by his peers and painfully aware of the dispiriting gap between his teams’ concrete performances and the Platonic Idea of football.
This essay argues that both the normative worth and practicality of conservatism depend on how much there is to enjoy and value in actual historical circumstances. I use examples from Russian history in the Tsarist period to show that if they live in times of great hardship, or under arbitrary political rule, political actors and thinkers with conservative sympathies (such as respect for tradition, and predilection for slow, gradual improvements) will face painful moral dilemmas, and perhaps even be justified in renouncing conservative behaviors altogether. For this reason, the Russian example helps us to better understand why being conservative can sometimes be impossible.
The idea of justice occupies centre stage both in ethics, and in
legal and political philosophy. We apply it to individual
actions, to laws, and to public policies, and we think in each case
that if they are unjust this is a strong, maybe even conclusive, reason
to reject them. Classically, justice was counted as one of the
four cardinal virtues (and sometimes as the most important of the
four); in modern times John Rawls famously described it as ‘the
first virtue of social institutions’ (Rawls 1971, p.3; Rawls,
1999, p.3). We might debate which of these realms of practical
philosophy has first claim on justice: is it first and foremost a
property of the law, for example, and only derivatively a property of
individuals and other institutions?
Loop quantum gravity has formalized a robust scheme in resolving classical singularities in a variety of symmetry-reduced models of gravity. In this essay, we demonstrate that the same quantum correction which is crucial for singularity resolution is also responsible for the phenomenon of signature change in these models, whereby one effectively transitions from a ‘fuzzy’ Euclidean space to a Lorentzian space-time in deep quantum regimes. As long as one uses a quantization scheme which respects covariance, holonomy corrections from loop quantum gravity generically leads to non-singular signature change, thereby giving an emergent notion of time in the theory. Robustness of this mechanism is established by comparison across large class of midisuperspace models and allowing for diverse quantization ambiguities. Conceptual and mathematical consequences of such an underlying quantum-deformed space-time are briefly discussed.
Harvey Brown’s Physical Relativity defends a view, the dynamical perspective, on the nature of spacetime that goes beyond the familiar dichotomy of substantivalist/relationist views. A full defense of this view requires attention to the way that our use of spacetime concepts connect with the physical world. Reflection on such matters, I argue, reveals that the dynamical perspective affords the only possible view about the ontological status of spacetime, in that putative rivals fail to express anything, either true or false. I conclude with remarks aimed at clarifying what is and isn’t in dispute with regards to the explanatory priority of spacetime and dynamics, at countering an objection raised by John Norton to views of this sort, and at clarifying the relation between background and effective spacetime structure.
One of the problems for the traditional ‘Rationalists and Empiricists’ story of early modern philosophy is that it is surprisingly difficult to define ‘rationalism’ and ’empiricism’ appropriately (see here for a previous discussion). …
I argue that Emilie du Châtelet’s metaphysics of corporeal substance in the 1740s was a species of realism. This result challenges the ruling consensus, which takes her to have been decisively influenced by Leibniz, an idealist. In addition, I argue that du Châtelet’s ontology of body is a mixture of realism and idealism, likewise non-Leibnizian. This too questions the scholarly consensus; and opens the way for a long due and careful reassessment of her overall doctrine. I suggest that her view is best understood as dualism, a two-substance metaphysics that puts du Châtelet relatively close to Christian Wolff.
Jonathan Greig (LMU Munich) posted the picture above to Twitter the other day, crediting Laura Castelli with finding it. It’s from a 14th Century illuminated manuscript by Thomas Le Myésier, Breviculum ex artibus Raimundi Lulli electum, and depicts Aristotle, Averroes, and Ramon Llull leading an army charging the Tower of Falsehood. …
There are good reasons to believe that the classical structure of space-time, as it appears in general relativity, breaks down at small length scales of the order of the Planck scale . This poses a problem in particular for any theory of quantum gravity, which should extend to such short length scales. Assuming that the classical concept of space-time (described as a manifold) is no longer viable as a fundamental concept in such a theory, one needs to explain how it emerges as an approximate concept in the appropriate (long distance) limit.
Wiggins’ (2012) argument against propositional accounts of knowing how is based on a development of some considerations taken from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle argued that the knowledge needed for participation in an ethos cannot be codified in propositional form so as to let it be imparted to someone who did not already have it. This is because any putative codification would be incomplete, and require that knowledge in order to extend it to novel cases. On a reasonable interpretation of his argument, Wiggins claims that the same goes for practical knowledge in general, and that this shows that a propositional view of knowing how is incorrect. This paper shows that this argument is unsound.
Omnipotence is maximal power. Maximal greatness (or perfection)
includes omnipotence. According to traditional Western theism, God is
maximally great (or perfect), and therefore is omnipotent. Omnipotence
seems puzzling, even paradoxical, to many philosophers. They wonder,
for example, whether God can create a spherical cube, or make a stone
so massive that he cannot move it. Is there a consistent analysis of
omnipotence? What are the implications of such an analysis for the
nature of God?
Until fairly recently secession has been a neglected topic among
philosophers. Two factors may explain why philosophers have now begun
to turn their attention to secession. First, in the past two decades
there has been a great increase not only in the number of attempted
secessions, but also in successful secessions, and philosophers may
simply be reacting to this new reality, attempting to make normative
sense of it. The reasons for the frequency of attempts to secede are
complex, but there are two recent developments that make the prospect
of state-breaking more promising: improvement in national security and
liberalization of trade.
Are you a liberal, socialist or conservative? Are you fiscally conservative but socially liberal? Or socially conservative and fiscally liberal? Are you a classical liberal or a neo-liberal? Are you a Marxist socialist or a neo-Marxist socialist? …
The paper has a twofold aim. On the one hand, it provides what appears to be the first game-theoretic modeling of Napole´on’s last campaign, which ended dramatically on June 18, 1815, at Waterloo. It is specifically concerned with the decision Napole´on made on June 17, 1815, to detach part of his army and send it against the Prussians, whom he had defeated, though not destroyed, on June 16 at Ligny. Military strategists and historians agree that this decision was crucial but disagree about whether it was rational. Hypothesizing a zero-sum game between Napole´on and Blu¨cher, and computing its solution, we show that dividing his army could have been a cautious strategy on Napole´on’s part, a conclusion which runs counter to the charges of misjudgment commonly heard since Clausewitz. On the other hand, the paper addresses some methodological issues relative to ‘‘analytic narratives’’. Some political scientists and economists who are both formally and historically minded have proposed to explain historical events in terms of properly mathematical game-theoretic models. We liken the present study to this ‘‘analytic narrative’’ methodology, which we defend against some of objections that it has
This paper responds to a new objection, due to Ben Bramble, against attitudinal theories of sensory pleasure and pain: the objection from unconscious pleasures and pains. According to the objection, attitudinal theories are unable to accommodate the fact that sometimes we experience pleasures and pains of which we are, at the time, unaware. In response, I distinguish two kinds of unawareness and argue that the subjects in the examples that support the objection are unaware of their sensations in only a weak sense, and this weak sort of unawareness of a sensation does not preclude its being an object of one’s attitudes.
In this paper, I will argue that metaphysicians ought to utilize quantum theories of gravity (QG) as incubators for a future metaphysics. In §2, I will argue why this ought to be done. In §3, I will present case studies from the history of science where physical theories have challenged both the dogmatic and speculative metaphysician. In §4, I will present two theories of QG and demonstrate the challenge they pose to certain aspects of our current metaphysics; in particular, how they challenge our understanding of the abstract-concrete distinction. The central goal of this paper is to encourage metaphysicians to look to physical theories, especially those involving cosmology such as string theory and loop quantum gravity, when doing metaphysics.
In Colin Maclaurin’s four-volume An Account of Sir Issac Newton’s Philosophical Discoveries, published posthumously by his wife Anne, he responds in a footnote to Spinoza’s “Epistle 15,” the so-called “worm in the blood” letter. …
In his An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke’s primary aim is to provide an empiricist theory of ideas that can support interesting results about the nature of language and knowledge. Within this theory, Locke distinguishes between simple ideas and complex ideas (E II.ii.1: 119). Roughly, an idea is complex if it has other ideas as parts; otherwise, it is simple. For Locke, as is well known, all simple ideas derive from sensation (perception through sight, taste, smell, hearing, or touch) or reflection (a form of introspection directed at mental acts) (E II.i.2-4: 104-106). Aetiology also plays a role in Locke’s classification of complex ideas: ideas of modes, ideas of substances, and ideas of relations. All complex ideas are formed by a voluntary act of combination or composition. Ideas of modes, such as numbers, beauty, and theft (E II.xii.5: 165) are formed without considering whether the combinations conform to real patterns existing in the world (E II.xi.6: 158, E II.xxii.1: 288, E II.xxxi.3: 376). Ideas of substances (such as human beings, sheep, and armies – E II.xii.6: 165), by contrast, are formed with a desire “to copy Things, as they really do exist” (E II.xxxi.3: 377). Ideas of relations are like ideas of modes (E II.xxxi.14: 383-384), except that their aetiology includes, in addition to the mental act of composition, the distinct mental act of comparison on the basis of some respect or dimension (E II.xi.4: 157, E II.xxv.1: 319).
Ugliness is a neglected topic in contemporary analytic aesthetics. This is regrettable given that this topic is not just genuinely fascinating, but could also illuminate other areas in the field, seeing as ugliness, albeit unexplored, does feature rather prominently in several debates in aesthetics. This paper articulates a ‘deformity-related’ conception of ugliness. Ultimately, I argue that deformity, understood in a certain way, and displeasure, jointly suffice for ugliness. First, I motivate my proposal, by locating a ‘deformity-related’ conception of ugliness in aesthetic tradition, offering examples in support, and rejecting related alternative suggestions. Second, I argue that the proposal boasts considerable merits. Not only does it capture much of what we ordinarily think of as ugly, but it also comprises an objective criterion for ugliness, offers unity and comprehensiveness, and is informative and explanatorily potent. Third, I discuss a number of objections, thereby demonstrating that the proposal withstands reflective scrutiny.
Is the Christian doctrine of the Trinity consistent with a very strong version of the thesis of divine simplicity? Yes, so long as the simple divine nature is a relational nature, a nature that could be characterized in terms of such relations as knowing and loving. This divine nature functions simultaneously as agent, patient, and action: as knower, known and knowledge, and lover, beloved, and love. We can then distinguish three really distinct aspects of the one simple reality: God-qua-knower-simpliciter, God-qua-known-simpliciter, and God-quaknower-cum-known, which can be identified with Father, Son, and Spirit, respectively. However, it would be a mistake to suppose that God-qua-knower knows but is not known, or that God-qua-known is known but does not know, since it is essential that each of the three Persons both knows and is known (loves, and is beloved). Instead, we must attach the qualifications also to the action and not just to the agent or patient. So, the Father (God-qua-knower) knows-qua-knower, and similarly the Spirit loves-qua-knower-and-known. I will draw on work on qua-objects by Kit Fine and Nicholas Asher and on my own account of relational facts to elucidate this model more fully.
This paper aims to contribute to the analysis of the nature of mathematical modality, and to the applications of the latter to unrestricted quantification and absolute decidability. Rather than countenancing the interpretational type of mathematical modality as a primitive, I argue that the interpretational type of mathematical modality is a species of epistemic modality. I argue, then, that the framework of multi-dimensional intensional semantics ought to be applied to the mathematical setting. The framework permits of a formally precise account of the priority and relation between epistemic mathematical modality and metaphysical mathematical modality. The discrepancy between the modal systems governing the parameters in the multi-dimensional intensional setting provides an explanation of the difference between the metaphysical possibility of absolute decidability and our knowledge thereof. I demonstrate, finally, how the duality axioms of the epistemic logic for the semantics can be availed of, in order to defuse the paradox of knowability.
In Q2, article 3 of the first part of the Summa Theologica, Aquinas argues that we can in fact demonstrate God’s existence, using only our natural reason (without resort to faith). His main argument in favor of this conclusion is an appeal to the authority of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans 1:20. Aquinas considers three objections to his position: 1. The existence of God is an article of faith, revealed by the Scriptures, not a matter of rational proof. 2. We cannot know God’s essence or nature (as Aquinas himself concedes). How can we prove the existence of an utterly unknown thing? 3. Since we cannot see God directly in this life (as, again, Aquinas would concede), we can know God only on the basis of His effects (i.e., creation). However, creation is finite, and God is infinite, and we cannot infer an infinite cause from a finite effect.
Aristotle's theory of nature offered a number of advantages from a Christian point of view. It allowed for a profound difference between human beings and other material entities based on a distinction between rationality and sub-rationality, which fit nicely with the Biblical conception of humans as the unique bearers of the divine image in the physical world. At the same time, Aristotelianism conceived of human desires and aspirations as continuous with the striving of all natural entities to their essence-determined ends, providing an objective and scientific basis for objective norms in ethics, aesthetics, and politics. The Scientific Revolution of the last three hundred years, while clearly enabling an amazing degree of progress in our understanding of the physical basis of the world (both at the very small and very large ends of the scale), occasioned the unnecessary loss of many metaphysical insights of Aristotle and the Aristotelian tradition, insights which remain essential to the understanding of middle-sized objects-- like human beings. The quantum revolution of the last one hundred years has gradually transformed the imaginative landscape of natural science, creating new opportunities for the recovery of those same Aristotelian themes. (191)
In a series of at least ten books and articles over the last twenty-two years, Timothy O’Connor and his collaborators have developed one of the most rigorous, subtle, and influential accounts of the relation between mind and body, which for present purposes we can call ‘emergent individualism’. My own work has been shaped and enriched by this body of work. Consequently, the critique I offer here is a decidedly friendly, intended to advance our understanding of the mind while building on the contributions of O’Connor and his co-authors (Wong, Churchill, Theiner, and Jacobs).
[Editor's Note: The following new entry by Thomas Nickles replaces the
on this topic by the previous authors.] Many scientists, philosophers, and laypersons have regarded science as
the one human enterprise that successfully escapes the contingencies
of history to establish eternal truths about the universe, via a
special, rational method of inquiry. Historicists oppose this view. In
the 1960s several historically informed philosophers of science
challenged the then-dominant accounts of scientific method advanced by
the Popperians and the positivists (the logical positivists and
logical empiricists) for failing to fit historical scientific practice
and failing particularly to account for deep scientific change.
Ideas are among the most important items in Descartes’
philosophy. They serve to unify his ontology and epistemology. As he
says in a letter to Guillaume Gibieuf (1583–1650), dated 19
January 1642, “I am certain that I can have no knowledge of what
is outside me except by means of the ideas I have within
me.”[ 1 ]
Descartes never published anything that specifically worked out a
theory of ideas. Even so, he said enough in published and unpublished
work, as well as in correspondence, that allows for a basic
reconstruction of a theory. This entry will focus principally on the
theory of ideas and how it relates to Descartes’ ontology,
though in Section 6 of this entry, which includes discussion of simple
natures and Descartes’ concepts of clarity and distinctness,
certain components of his epistemology are briefly considered.
Kant is known for having said relatively little about truth in Critique of Pure Reason (1781/7), and most commentators have followed suit. Many (including Bennett 1966, Strawson 1966, Wolff 1973, Hossenfelder 1978, Allison 1983, Guyer 1987, Longueness 1993, Gardner 1999, and others) have no entry for “truth” in their index, and others have only few references for this term. Nevertheless, there are important lessons to be learned from Kant about truth, lessons