Whether or not quantum physics can account for molecular structure is a matter of considerable controversy. Three of the problems raised in this regard are the problems of molecular structure. We argue that these problems are just special cases of the measurement problem of quantum mechanics: insofar as the measurement problem is solved, the problems of molecular structure are resolved as well. In addition, we explore one consequence of our argument: that claims about the reduction or emergence of molecular structure (...) cannot be settled independently of the choice of a particular resolution to the measurement problem. Specifically, we consider how three standard putative solutions to the measurement problem inform our under- standing of a molecule in isolation, as well as of chemistry’s relation to quantum physics. (shrink)
Due to the increasingly heterogeneous trajectories of aging, gerontology requires theoretical models and empirical methods that can meaningfully, reliably, and precisely describe, explain, and predict causes and effects within the aging process, considering particular contexts and situations. Human behavior occurs in contexts; nevertheless, situational changes are often neglected in context-based behavior research. This article follows the tradition of environmental gerontology research based on Lawton’s Person-Environment-Interaction model and the theoretical developments of recent years. The authors discuss that, despite an explicit time (...) component, current P-E models could be strengthened by focusing on detecting P-E interactions in various everyday situations. Enhancing Lawton’s original formula via a situationally based component not only changes the theoretical perspectives on the interplay between person and environment but also demands new data collection approaches in empirical environmental research. Those approaches are discussed through the example of collecting mobile data with smartphones. Future research should include the situational dimension to investigate the complex nature of person environment interactions. (shrink)
The objective of Working Group 4 of the COST Action NET4Age-Friendly is to examine existing policies, advocacy, and funding opportunities and to build up relations with policy makers and funding organisations. Also, to synthesize and improve existing knowledge and models to develop from effective business and evaluation models, as well as to guarantee quality and education, proper dissemination and ensure the future of the Action. The Working Group further aims to enable capacity building to improve interdisciplinary participation, to promote knowledge (...) exchange and to foster a cross-European interdisciplinary research capacity, to improve cooperation and co-creation with cross-sectors stakeholders and to introduce and educate students SHAFE implementation and sustainability. To enable the achievement of the objectives of Working Group 4, the Leader of the Working Group, the Chair and Vice-Chair, in close cooperation with the Science Communication Coordinator, developed a template to map the current state of SHAFE policies, funding opportunities and networking in the COST member countries of the Action. On invitation, the Working Group lead received contributions from 37 countries, in a total of 85 Action members. The contributions provide an overview of the diversity of SHAFE policies and opportunities in Europe and beyond. These were not edited or revised and are a result of the main areas of expertise and knowledge of the contributors; thus, gaps in areas or content are possible and these shall be further explored in the following works and reports of this WG. But this preliminary mapping is of huge importance to proceed with the WG activities. In the following chapters, an introduction on the need of SHAFE policies is presented, followed by a summary of the main approaches to be pursued for the next period of work. The deliverable finishes with the opportunities of capacity building, networking and funding that will be relevant to undertake within the frame of Working Group 4 and the total COST Action. The total of country contributions is presented in the annex of this deliverable. (shrink)
In a recent article entitled “The problem of molecular structure just is the measurement problem”, Alexander Franklin and Vanessa Seifert argue that insofar as the quantum measurement problem is solved, the problems of molecular structure are resolved as well. The purpose of the present article is to show that such a claim is too optimistic. Although the solution of the quantum measurement problem is relevant to how the problem of molecular structure is faced, such a solution is not (...) sufficient to account for the structure of molecules as understood in the field of chemistry. (shrink)
Die Untersuchung analysiert deswegen nach einem einleitenden Vorschlag zur Bestimmung des Verhältnisses von Logik und Metaphysik im Anschluss an Leibniz Baumgartens Erkenntnistheorie in ihrer charakteristischen Komplementarität von Ästhetik und Logik, die das gesamte Feld aller möglichen Gewissheit, d. h. des Bewusstseins der Wahrheit der verschiedensten Erkenntnisse, abdecken. Darüber hinaus erörtert sie auch deren mögliche Gegenstände, nämlich die Beschaffenheit der Dinge, wie sie das Wissen Gottes als eine ideale Metaphysik enthielte. Auf der Grundlage einer Ontologie teilweise unbestimmer aktualer Existenz kommt Baumgarten (...) zu einer kosmologischen Theorie monadischer Bewegtheit aller körperlichen Dinge. Sie führt zu einer Psychologie des Erkennens und Handelns, aus der ein indeterministischer Begriff menschlicher Willensfreiheit folgt, die auch von Gottes Allwissen nicht beschränkt wird. (shrink)
This book presents some of the most recent trends and developments in Presocratic scholarship. A wide range of topics are covered - from the metaphysical to the moral to the methodological - as well as a broad a range of authors: from recognized figures such as Heraclitus and Parmenides to Sophistic thinkers whose place has traditionally been marginalized, such as Gorgias and the author of the Dissoi Logoi. Several of the pieces are concerned with the later reception and influence of (...) the Presocratics on ancient philosophy, an area of study important both for the light it sheds on our evidence for Presocratic thought and for understanding the philosophical power of their ideas. Drawing together contributions from distinguished authorities and internationally acclaimed scholars of ancient philosophy, this book offers new challenges to traditional interpretations in some areas of Presocratic philosophy and finds new support for traditional interpretations in other areas. (shrink)
For a novice this book is a mathematically-oriented introduction to modal logic, the discipline within mathematical logic studying mathematical models of reasoning which involve various kinds of modal operators. It starts with very fundamental concepts and gradually proceeds to the front line of current research, introducing in full details the modern semantic and algebraic apparatus and covering practically all classical results in the field. It contains both numerous exercises and open problems, and presupposes only minimal knowledge in mathematics. A specialist (...) can use the book as a source of references. Results and methods of many directions in propositional modal logic, from completeness and duality to algorithmic problems, are collected and systematically presented in one volume. (shrink)
Do the sciences aim to uncover the structure of nature, or are they ultimately a practical means of controlling our environment? In Instrumental Biology, or the Disunity of Science, Alexander Rosenberg argues that while physics and chemistry can develop laws that reveal the structure of natural phenomena, biology is fated to be a practical, instrumental discipline. Because of the complexity produced by natural selection, and because of the limits on human cognition, scientists are prevented from uncovering the basic structure (...) of biological phenomena. Consequently, biology and all of the disciplines that rest upon it--psychology and the other human sciences--must aim at most to provide practical tools for coping with the natural world rather than a complete theoretical understanding of it. (shrink)
Laws of nature take center stage in philosophy of science. Laws are usually believed to stand in a tight conceptual relation to many important key concepts such as causation, explanation, confirmation, determinism, counterfactuals etc. Traditionally, philosophers of science have focused on physical laws, which were taken to be at least true, universal statements that support counterfactual claims. But, although this claim about laws might be true with respect to physics, laws in the special sciences (such as biology, psychology, economics etc.) (...) appear to have—maybe not surprisingly—different features than the laws of physics. Special science laws—for instance, the economic law “Under the condition of perfect competition, an increase of demand of a commodity leads to an increase of price, given that the quantity of the supplied commodity remains constant” and, in biology, Mendel's Laws—are usually taken to “have exceptions”, to be “non-universal” or “to be ceteris paribus laws”. How and whether the laws of physics and the laws of the special sciences differ is one of the crucial questions motivating the debate on ceteris paribus laws. Another major, controversial question concerns the determination of the precise meaning of “ceteris paribus”. Philosophers have attempted to explicate the meaning of ceteris paribus clauses in different ways. The question of meaning is connected to the problem of empirical content, i.e., the question whether ceteris paribus laws have non-trivial and empirically testable content. Since many philosophers have argued that ceteris paribus laws lack empirically testable content, this problem constitutes a major challenge to a theory of ceteris paribus laws. (shrink)
This book provides a comprehensive guide to the conceptual methodological, and epistemological problems of biology, and treats in depth the major developments in molecular biology and evolutionary theory that have transformed both biology and its philosophy in recent decades. At the same time the work is a sustained argument for a particular philosophy of biology that unifies disparate issues and offers a framework for expectations about the future directions of the life sciences. The argument explores differences between autonomist and anti-autonomist (...) views of biology. The result is a vindication of reductionism, but one that is unexpectedly hollow. For it leaves the exponents of the autonomy of biology from physical science with as much as their view of biology really requires - and rather more than the reductionist might comfortably concede. Professor Rosenberg shows how the problems of the philosophy of biology are interconnected and how their solutions are interdependent, However, this book focuses more on the direct concerns of biologists, rather than the traditional agenda of philosophers' problems about biology. This departure from earlier books on the subject results both in greater understanding and relevance of the philosophy of science to biology as a whole. (shrink)
For much of its history, philosophy was not merely a theoretical discipline but a way of life, an "art of living." This practical aspect of philosophy has been much less dominant in modernity than it was in ancient Greece and Rome, when philosophers of all stripes kept returning to Socrates as a model for living. The idea of philosophy as an art of living has survived in the works of such major modern authors as Montaigne, Nietzsche, and Foucault. Each of (...) these writers has used philosophical discussion as a means of establishing what a person is and how a worthwhile life is to be lived. In this wide-ranging, brilliantly written account, Alexander Nehamas provides an incisive reevaluation of Socrates' place in the Western philosophical tradition and shows the importance of Socrates for Montaigne, Nietzsche, and Foucault. Why does each of these philosophers—each fundamentally concerned with his own originality—return to Socrates as a model? The answer lies in the irony that characterizes the Socrates we know from the Platonic dialogues. Socratic irony creates a mask that prevents a view of what lies behind. How Socrates led the life he did, what enabled or inspired him, is never made evident. No tenets are proposed. Socrates remains a silent and ambiguous character, forcing readers to come to their own conclusions about the art of life. This, Nehamas shows, is what allowed Montaigne, Nietzsche, and Foucault to return to Socrates as a model without thereby compelling them to imitate him. This highly readable, erudite study argues for the importance of the tradition within Western philosophy that is best described as "the art of living" and casts Montaigne, Nietzsche, and Foucault as the three major modern representatives of this tradition. Full of original ideas and challenging associations, this work will offer new ways of thinking about the philosophers Nehamas discusses and about the discipline of philosophy itself. (shrink)
Economics today cannot predict the likely outcome of specific events any better than it could in the time of Adam Smith. This is Alexander Rosenberg's controversial challenge to the scientific status of economics. Rosenberg explains that the defining characteristic of any science is predictive improvability--the capacity to create more precise forecasts by evaluating the success of earlier predictions--and he forcefully argues that because economics has not been able to increase its predictive power for over two centuries, it is not (...) a science. (shrink)
After the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953, scientists working in molecular biology embraced reductionism—the theory that all complex systems can be understood in terms of their components. Reductionism, however, has been widely resisted by both nonmolecular biologists and scientists working outside the field of biology. Many of these antireductionists, nevertheless, embrace the notion of physicalism—the idea that all biological processes are physical in nature. How, Alexander Rosenberg asks, can these self-proclaimed physicalists also be antireductionists? With clarity (...) and wit, Darwinian Reductionism navigates this difficult and seemingly intractable dualism with convincing analysis and timely evidence. In the spirit of the few distinguished biologists who accept reductionism—E. O. Wilson, Francis Crick, Jacques Monod, James Watson, and Richard Dawkins—Rosenberg provides a philosophically sophisticated defense of reductionism and applies it to molecular developmental biology and the theory of natural selection, ultimately proving that the physicalist must also be a reductionist. (shrink)
The Principle of Sufficient Reason says that all contingent facts must have explanation. In this 2006 volume, which was the first on the topic in the English language in nearly half a century, Alexander Pruss examines the substantive philosophical issues raised by the Principle Reason. Discussing various forms of the PSR and selected historical episodes, from Parmenides, Leibnez, and Hume, Pruss defends the claim that every true contingent proposition must have an explanation against major objections, including Hume's imaginability argument (...) and Peter van Inwagen's argument that the PSR entails modal fatalism. Pruss also provides a number of positive arguments for the PSR, based on considerations as different as the metaphysics of existence, counterfactuals and modality, negative explanations, and the everyday applicability of the PSR. Moreover, Pruss shows how the PSR would advance the discussion in a number of disparate fields, including meta-ethics and the philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
Some of the greatest writers on moral philosophy have claimed that their theories about morality do not run counter to the moral views of ordinary men, but on the contrary are an elucidation of such views, or provide them with a sound philosophical underpinning. Aristotle, for example, made it quite clear that he could not take seriously a moral view that was at odds with the heritage of moral wisdom deeply imbedded in his society. His doctrine of the mean was (...) based on a philosophical consideration of such wisdom. And Immanuel Kant thought that his moral philosophy articulated the moral views of ordinary men. (shrink)
This is an expanded and thoroughly revised edition of the widely adopted introduction to the philosophical foundations of the human sciences. Ranging from cultural anthropology to mathematical economics, Alexander Rosenberg leads the reader through behaviorism, naturalism, interpretativism about human action, and macrosocial scientific perspectives, illuminating the motivation and strategy of each.Rewritten throughout to increase accessibility, this new edition retains the remarkable achievement of revealing the social sciences’ enduring relation to the fundamental problems of philosophy. It includes new discussions of (...) positivism, European philosophy of history, causation, statistical laws, quantitative models, and postempiricist social science, along with a completely updated literature guide that keys chapters to widely anthologized papers. (shrink)
There is an underlying assumption in the social sciences that consciousness and social life are ultimately classical physical/material phenomena. In this ground-breaking book, Alexander Wendt challenges this assumption by proposing that consciousness is, in fact, a macroscopic quantum mechanical phenomenon. In the first half of the book, Wendt justifies the insertion of quantum theory into social scientific debates, introduces social scientists to quantum theory and the philosophical controversy about its interpretation, and then defends the quantum consciousness hypothesis against the (...) orthodox, classical approach to the mind-body problem. In the second half, he develops the implications of this metaphysical perspective for the nature of language and the agent-structure problem in social ontology. Wendt's argument is a revolutionary development which raises fundamental questions about the nature of social life and the work of those who study it. (shrink)
Neither art nor philosophy was kind to beauty during the twentieth century. Much modern art disdains beauty, and many philosophers deeply suspect that beauty merely paints over or distracts us from horrors. Intellectuals consigned the passions of beauty to the margins, replacing them with the anemic and rarefied alternative, "aesthetic pleasure." In Only a Promise of Happiness, Alexander Nehamas reclaims beauty from its critics. He seeks to restore its place in art, to reestablish the connections among art, beauty, and (...) desire, and to show that the values of art, independently of their moral worth, are equally crucial to the rest of life.Nehamas makes his case with characteristic grace, sensitivity, and philosophical depth, supporting his arguments with searching studies of art and literature, high and low, from Thomas Mann's Death in Venice and Manet's Olympia to television. Throughout, the discussion of artworks is generously illustrated.Beauty, Nehamas concludes, may depend on appearance, but this does not make it superficial. The perception of beauty manifests a hope that life would be better if the object of beauty were part of it. This hope can shape and direct our lives for better or worse. We may discover misery in pursuit of beauty, or find that beauty offers no more than a tantalizing promise of happiness. But if beauty is always dangerous, it is also a pressing human concern that we must seek to understand, and not suppress. (shrink)
Assuming S5, the main controversial premise in modal ontological arguments is the possibility premise, such as that possibly a maximally great being exists. I shall offer a new way of arguing that the possibility premise is probably true.
Social and behavioral scientists — that is, students of human nature — nowadays hardly ever use the term ‘human nature’. This reticence reflects both a becoming modesty about the aims of their disciplines and a healthy skepticism about whether there is any one thing really worthy of the label ‘human nature’. For some feature of humankind to be identified as accounting for our ‘nature’, it would have to reflect some property both distinctive of our species and systematically influential enough to (...) explain some very important aspect of our behavior. Compare: molecular structure gives the essence or the nature of water just because it explains most of its salient properties. Few students of the human sciences currently hold that there is just one or a small number of such features that can explain our actions and/or our institutions. And even among those who do, there is reluctance to label their theories as claims about ‘human nature’. Among anthropologists and sociologists, the label seems too universal and indiscriminant to be useful. The idea that there is a single underlying character that might explain similarities threatens the differences among people and cultures that these social scientists seek to uncover. Even economists, who have explicitly attempted to parlay rational choice theory into an account of all human behavior, do not claim that the maximization of transitive preferences is ‘human nature’. I think part of the reason that social scientists are reluctant to use ‘human nature’ is that the term has traditionally labeled a theory with normative implications as well as descriptive ones. (shrink)
Alexander R. Pruss examines a large family of paradoxes to do with infinity - ranging from deterministic supertasks to infinite lotteries and decision theory. Having identified their common structure, Pruss considers at length how these paradoxes can be resolved by embracing causal finitism.
Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten grenzt sich in seinem Ius Naturae, das einen knappen Kommentar zu den Exercitationes Iuris Naturalis Heinrich Köhlers darstellt, nach über zwanzigjähriger Auseinandersetzung mit dieser Vorlage entschieden von einer der zentralen Thesen Köhlers ab. Baumgarten löst nämlich dessen Identifikation der Stimmen der Vernunft, des Gewissens, der Natur und Gottes in der Moral auf und zeigt, daß im Gegenteil göttlicher und irdischer Bereich vollständig disjunkt sind.Dies folgt aus der Einsicht in die prinzipielle Ungewißheit eines jeden möglichen moralischen Urteils, (...) das von Menschen gefällt werden kann. Baumgarten begreift solche Urteile als Akte der Zurechnung, die wiederum syllogistische Schlüsse darstellen. Die Gewißheit eines moralischen Urteils hängt demnach von der Gewißheit der Prämissen ab, aus denen es gewonnen wurde. Nun entwickelt Baumgarten hinsichtlich der verschiedenen möglichen Typen moralisch relevanter Handlungen und jeweils in Anschlag zu bringender Gesetze eine differenzierte Theorie zurechnender Instanzen, die er „Foren“ nennt und nach dem Grad der Gewißheit der durch sie möglichen Schlüsse hierarchisiert sind. Dabei zeigt sich, daß keiner jener Zurechnungsschlüsse vollständige Gewißheit beanspruchen kann, auch nicht derjenige, bei der das eigene Gewissen eine eigene Vorstellung unter ein rein aus der Vernunft erkennbares Gesetz bringt. Moralische Urteile über einzelne Handlungen können demzufolge nach Baumgarten immer nur mehr oder weniger wahrscheinlich sein.In his Ius Naturae, which is a short commentary on Heinrich Köhler's Exercitationes Iuris Naturalis, Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten departs significantly from one of Köhler's central theses after spending more than twenty years dealing with this work. Baumgarten dissolves Köhler's identification of the voices of reason, of conscience, of nature, and of God into morality and illustrates, contrary to Köhler's position, that the realms of God and of the earth are completely disjunctive.Baumgarten's position follows from his realization that any possible moral judgment human beings reach is in principle uncertain. Baumgarten characterizes such judgments as acts of imputation, which represent syllogistic conclusions. The certainty of a moral judgment depends, according to Baumgarten, on the certainty of the premises from which it is drawn. Baumgarten develops a differentiated theory of imputing instances, which he calls "fora," depending on the variety of possible types of morally relevant actions and applicable laws. Baumgarten then places these instances in a hierarchy according to the degree of certainty of the conclusions they might reach. He then shows that none of these conclusions on imputation can claim complete certainty, not even one for which one's own conscience subsumes one's own imagination under a law that can be recognized purely from reason. Moral judgments about individual actions can thus be only more or less probable according to Baumgarten. (shrink)
This is a rewarding book. In terms of area, it has one foot firmly planted in metaphysics and the other just as firmly set in the philosophy of science. Nature's Metaphysics is distinctive for its thorough and detailed defense of fundamental, natural properties as essentially dispositional and for its description of how these dispositional properties are thus suited to sustain the laws of nature as (metaphysically) necessary truths.
Some, notably Peter van Inwagen, in order to avoid problems with free will and omniscience, replace the condition that an omniscient being knows all true propositions with a version of the apparently weaker condition that an omniscient being knows all knowable true propositions. I shall show that the apparently weaker condition, when conjoined with uncontroversial claims and the logical closure of an omniscient being's knowledge, still yields the claim that an omniscient being knows all true propositions.
In an enlightening dialogue with Descartes, Kant, Husserl and Gadamer, Professor Seifert argues that the original inspiration of phenomenology was nothing other than the primordial insight of philosophy itself, the foundation of philosophia perennis. His radical rethinking of the phenomenological method results in a universal, objectivist philosophy in direct continuity with Plato, Aristotle and Augustine. In order to validate the classical claim to know autonomous being, the author defends Husserl's methodological principle "Back to things themselves" from empiricist and idealist (...) critics, including the later Husserl, and replies to the arguments of Kant which attempt to discredit the knowability of things in themselves. Originally published in 1982, this book culminates in a phenomenological and critical unfolding of the Augustinian cogito, as giving access to immutable truth about necessary essences and the real existence of personal being. (shrink)
The rule-following debate, in its concern with the metaphysics and epistemology of linguistic meaning and mental content, goes to the heart of the most fundamental questions of contemporary philosophy of mind and language. This volume gathers together the most important contributions to the topic, including papers by Simon Blackburn, Paul Boghossian, Graeme Forbes, Warren Goldfarb, Paul Horwich, John McDowell, Colin McGinn, Ruth Millikan, Philip Pettit, George Wilson, and José Zalabardo. This debate has centred on Saul Kripke's reading of the rule-following (...) sections in Wittgenstein and his consequent posing of a "sceptical paradox" that threatens our every day notions of linguistic meaning and mental content. These essays are attempts to respond to this challenge and represent some of the most important work in contemporary theory of meaning. They examine the notion of meaning; whether it is possible to find a suitable meaning-constituting fact from our previous behaviour or mental histories; objections to, and defenses of, dispositional accounts of meaning; the plausibility of non-factualism about meaning; our attempts to develop non-reductionist accounts of meaning; and the sources of the normativity which attaches to meaning, such as the linguistic practice of the community or the dispositions of the individual. With an introductory essay and a comprehensive guide to further reading the book is an excellent resource for courses in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, Wittgenstein, and metaphysics, as well as for all philosophers, linguists, and cognitive scientists with interests in these areas. Contributors include Simon Blackburn, Paul Boghossian, Graeme Forbes, Warren Goldfarb, Paul Horwich, John McDowell, Colin McGinn, Alexander Miller, Ruth Garrett Millikan, Philip Pettit, George. M. Wilson, Crispin Wright, and José L. Zalabardo. (shrink)
Der Jenenser Philosoph Heinrich Köhler versucht in seinen Exercitationes Juris Naturalis, eiusque cumprimis cogentis, methodo systematica propositi eine rationalistische Begründung des Naturrechts auf der Basis der Metaphysik von Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Die Rekonstruktion dieser metaphysischen Begründung, die mit dem Aufweiß der Erkennbarkeit des obersten Prinzips des Naturrechts rein aus der Vernunft zusammenfällt, ist Gegenstand der vorliegenden Studie. Ausgehend von der Identifikation jenes Erkenntnisgrundes mit der Natur des Menschen zeigt sich vermittels einer Analyse der von Köhler in Anschlag gebrachten Methode, daß (...) diese Begründung unter Ausschluß bloßer empirischer Erkenntnis auf einen metaphysisch fundierten teleologischen Begriff der menschlichen Natur führt. Der verpflichtende Charakter des Naturrechtsprinzips erwächst demnach daraus, daß seine Achtung dem Menschen eine artgemäße Existenz aller erst ermöglicht. Vor diesem Hintergrund erweist sich auch die Schwäche einer solchen Theorie bei der Beurteilung einzelner Handlungen als moralisch, auf die Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten in seinem Ius Naturae indirekt und kritisch aufmerksam macht. In his Exercitationes Juris Naturalis, eiusque cumprimis cogentis, methodo systematica propositi , the Jena philosopher Heinrich Köhler attempts to provide a rational foundation for natural law based on Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz's metaphysics. This paper examines a reconstruction of this metaphysical foundation, which coincides with demonstrating that pure reason can recognize the supreme principle of natural law. Assuming that this recognition can be identified with human nature, an analysis of Köhler's methodology shows that if mere empirical recognition is excluded his foundation leads to a metaphysically based teleological concept of human nature. The principle of natural law imposes obligations because only through respecting it can a human being live in a manner adequate for his species. Against this background, the weakness of this type of theory for determining whether an act is moral becomes apparent, which Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten indirectly and critically notes in his Ius Naturae. (shrink)
Explanations are very important to us in many contexts: in science, mathematics, philosophy, and also in everyday and juridical contexts. But what is an explanation? In the philosophical study of explanation, there is long-standing, influential tradition that links explanation intimately to causation: we often explain by providing accurate information about the causes of the phenomenon to be explained. Such causal accounts have been the received view of the nature of explanation, particularly in philosophy of science, since the 1980s. However, philosophers (...) have recently begun to break with this causal tradition by shifting their focus to kinds of explanation that do not turn on causal information. The increasing recognition of the importance of such non-causal explanations in the sciences and elsewhere raises pressing questions for philosophers of explanation. What is the nature of non-causal explanations – and which theory best captures it? How do non-causal explanations relate to causal ones? How are non-causal explanations in the sciences related to those in mathematics and metaphysics? This volume of new essays explores answers to these and other questions at the heart of contemporary philosophy of explanation. The essays address these questions from a variety of perspectives, including general accounts of non-causal and causal explanations, as well as a wide range of detailed case studies of non-causal explanations from the sciences, mathematics and metaphysics. (shrink)
The free-will defence holds that the value of significant free will is so great that God is justified in creating significantly free creatures even if there is a risk or certainty that these creatures will sin. A difficulty for the FWD, developed carefully by Quentin Smith, is that God is unable to do evil, and yet surely lacks no genuinely valuable kind of freedom. Smith argues that the kind of freedom that God has can be had by creatures, without a (...) risk of creatures doing evil. I shall show that Smith's argument fails – the case of God is disanalogous to the case of creatures precisely because creatures are creatures. (shrink)
A. G. Baumgarten's foundation of aesthetics as a branch of philosophical reflection is itself deeply rooted in Leibnizian metaphysics. From this starting-point Baumgarten comes to a kind of monadological concept of the work of art, that gets now an inexhaustible and thruthrepresenting meaning. This truth of the work of art however cannot be recognized rationally, for it is impossible for human beings to be aware of a beautiful object's 'metaphysical truth', which can only be perceived by the senses as - (...) to quote Baumgarten - 'aesthetical truth'. Still it is possible, by rational and scientific hermeneutics, to transfer some aspects of aesthetical to logical truth. The interest in art is therefore at the same time an interest in the cognition of the metaphysical cosmic order, and Baumgarten's aesthetics similarly are the first foundation of philosophical hermeneutics of art. (shrink)
Necessary Existence breaks ground on one of the deepest questions anyone ever asks: why is there anything? Pruss and Rasmussen present an original defence of the hypothesis that there is a necessarily existing being capable of providing an ultimate foundation for the existence of all things.