My topic lies on conceptual terrain that is quite familiar to philosophers. For others, a bit of background may be in order. In light of what has filtered down from quantum mechanics, few philosophers today believe that the universe is causally deterministic. That is, to use Peter van Inwagen's succinct definition of “determinism,” few philosophers believe that “there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future.” Even so, partly for obvious historical reasons, philosophers continue to argue about whether free (...) will and moral responsibility are compatible with determinism. Compatibilists argue for compatibility, and incompatibilists argue against it. Some incompatibilists maintain that free will and moral responsibility are illusions. But most are libertarians, libertarianism being the conjunction of incompatibilism and the thesis that at least some human beings are possessed of free will and moral responsibility. (shrink)
Herbert Davidson's critique of my thesis regarding the relation between Averroes' Middle and Long commentaries on De anima contrasts my reading and translation of Middle Commentary passages with his own. I leave it to the informed reader to judge whether one translation is more “neutral” than the other, excluding the specific denotation which I give to sharh, which is the point at issue.
This article claims that Averroes wrote his Middle Commentary on the De anima after he composed both his Short and Long commentaries. A close comparison of the two texts proves that he had the Long commentary before him when composing the Middle. This has implications both for the development of Averroes' doctrine of the intellect, and for understanding Averroes' style of composing commentaries. On se propose d'établir dans cet article qu'Averroès a rédigé son Moyen commentaire sur le De Anima après (...) son Épitomé et son Grand commentaire. Une comparaison minutieuse des deux textes montre qu'il avait sous les yeux son Grand commentaire lorsqu'il composait son Moyen commentaire. Ceci est de grande conséquence tant pour notre appréciation du développement de la doctrine de l'intellect chez Averroès que pour notre compréhension du mode de composition de ses commentaires. (shrink)
Values and the scope of scientific inquiry, by M. Farber.--The phenomenology of epistemic claims: and its bearing on the essence of philosophy, by R. M. Zaner.--Problems of the Life-World, by A. Gurwitsch.--The Life-World and the particular sub-worlds, by W. Marx.--On the boundaries of the social world, by T. Luckmann.--Alfred Schutz on social reality and social science, by M. Natanson.--Homo oeconomicus and his class mates, by F. Machlup.--Toward a science of political economics, by A. Lowe.--Some notes on reality-orientation in contemporary (...) societies, by A. Brodersen.--The eclipse of reality, by E. Voegelin.--Alienation in Marx's Political economy and philosophy, by P. Merlan.--The problem of multiple realities: Alfred Schutz and Robert Musil, by P. L. Berger.--Phenomenology, history, myth, by F. Kersten.--The role of music in Leonardo's Paragone, by E. Winternitz.--Alfred Schutz bibliography (p. -306). (shrink)
Autonomous Agents addresses the related topics of self-control and individual autonomy. "Self-control" is defined as the opposite of akrasia-weakness of will. The study of self-control seeks to understand the concept of its own terms, followed by an examination of its bearing on one's actions, beliefs, emotions, and personal values. It goes on to consider how a proper understanding of self-control and its manifestations can shed light on personal autonomy and autonomous behaviour. Perspicuous, objective, and incisive throughout, Alfred Mele makes (...) a convincing case for the value of individual autonomy. (shrink)
The mathematical background and content of Greek philosophy, by F. S. C. Northrop.--The one and the many in Plato, by R. Demos.--An introduction to the De modis significandi of Thomas of Erfurt, by S. Buchanan.--Truth by convention, by W. V. Quine.--Logical positivism and speculative philosophy, by H. S. Leonard.--The nature and status of time and passage, by P. Weiss.--Causality, by S. Kerby--iller.--The compound individual, by C. Hartshorne.--The good, by O. H. Lee.
Process and Reality, Whitehead’s magnum opus, is one of the major philosophical works of the modern world, and an extensive body of secondary literature has developed around it. Yet surely no significant philosophical book has appeared in the last two centuries in nearly so deplorable a condition as has this one, with its many hundreds of errors and with over three hundred discrepancies between the American and the English editions, which appeared in different formats with divergent paginations. The work itself (...) is highly technical and far from easy to understand, and in many passages the errors in those editions were such as to compound the difficulties. The need for a corrected edition has been keenly felt for many decades. (shrink)
Libertarians hold that free action and moral responsibility are incompatible with determinism and that some human beings occasionally act freely and are morally responsible for some of what they do. Can libertarians who know both that they are right and that they are free make sincere promises? Peter van Inwagen, a libertarian, contends that they cannot—at least when they assume that should they do what they promise to do, they would do it freely. Probably, this strikes many readers as a (...) surprising thesis for a libertarian to hold. In light of van Inwagen's holding it, the title of his essay—‘Free Will Remains a Mystery’—may seem unsurprising. (shrink)
In this book, his major work, Alfred Schutz attempts to provide a sound philosophical basis for the sociological theories of Max Weber. Using a Husserlian phenomenology, Schutz provides a complete and original analysis of human action and its "intended meaning.".
Many aestheticians and ethicists are interested in the similarities and connections between aesthetics and ethics (Nussbaum 1990; Foot 2002; Gaut 2007). One way in which some have suggested the two domains are different is that in ethics there exist obligations while in aesthetics there do not (Hampshire 1954). However, Marcia Muelder Eaton has argued that there is good reason to think that aesthetic obligations do exist (Eaton 2008). We will explore the nature of these obligations by asking whether acts of (...) aesthetic supererogation (acts that go beyond the call of our aesthetic obligations) are possible. In this paper, we defend the thesis that there is good reason to think such acts exist. (shrink)
Mele's ultimate purpose in this book is to help readers think more clearly about free will. He identifies and makes vivid the most important conceptual obstacles to justified belief in the existence of free will and meets them head on. Mele clarifies the central issues in the philosophical debate about free will and moral responsibility, criticizes various influential contemporary theories about free will, and develops two overlapping conceptions of free will--one for readers who are convinced that free will is incompatible (...) with determinism (incompatibilists), and the other for readers who are convinced of the opposite (compatibilists). Luck poses problems for all believers in free will, and Mele offers novel solutions to those problems--one for incompatibilist believers in free will and the other for compatibilists. An early chapter of this empirically well-informed book clearly explains influential neuroscientific studies of free will and debunks some extravagant interpretations of the data. Other featured topics include abilities and alternative possibilities, control and decision-making, the bearing of manipulation on free will, and the development of human infants into free agents. Mele's theory offers an original perspective on an important problem and will garner the attention of anyone interested in the debate on free will. (shrink)
Almost thirty years ago, in an attempt to undermine what he termed "the principle of alternate possibilities" (the thesis that people are morally responsible for what they have done only if they could have done otherwise), Harry Frankfurt offered an ingenious thought-experiment that has played a major role in subsequent work on moral responsibility and free will. Several philosophers, including David Widerker and Robert Kane, argued recently that this thought-experiment and others like it are fundamentally flawed. This paper develops a (...) new Frankfurt-style example that is immune to their objections. [Reprinted in Laura Waddell Ekstrom, ed., Agency and Responsibility: Essays on the Metaphysics of Freedom (Westview Press, 2001), pp. 241-54; and in John Martin Fischer, ed., Free Will, Vol. III (Routledge, 2005), pp. 330-42.]. (shrink)
We provide for the first time an exact translation into English of the Polish version of Alfred Tarski's classic 1936 paper, whose title we translate as ?On the Concept of Following Logically?. We also provide in footnotes an exact translation of all respects in which the German version, used as the basis of the previously published and rather inexact English translation, differs from the Polish. Although the two versions are basically identical, to an extent that is even uncanny, we (...) note more than 400 differences. Several dozen of these are substantive differences due to revisions by Tarski to the Polish version which he did not incorporate in the German version. With respect to these revisions the Polish version should be regarded as more authoritative than the German. Hence scholars limited to an English translation should use ours. (shrink)
Alfred North Whitehead was a prominent English mathematician and philosopher who co-authored the highly influential Principia Mathematica with Bertrand Russell. Originally published in 1919, and first republished in 1925 as this Second Edition, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Natural Knowledge ranks among Whitehead's most important works; forming a perspective on scientific observation that incorporated a complex view of experience, rather than prioritising the position of 'pure' sense data. Alongside companion volumes The Concept of Nature and The Principle of (...) Relativity, it created a framework for Whitehead's later metaphysical speculations. This is an important book that will be of value to anyone with an interest in the relationship between science and philosophy. (shrink)
Most known technology serves to ingeniously adapt the world to the physical and mental limitations of human beings. Humankind has acquired awesome power with its rather limited means. Nanotechnological capabilities further this power. On some accounts, however, nanotechnological research will contribute to a rather different kind of technological development, namely one that changes human beings so as to remove or reduce their physical and mental limitations. The prospect of this technological development has inspired a fair amount of ethical debate. Here, (...) proponents and opponents of such visions of human enhancement are criticized alike for engaging in speculative ethics. This critique exposes a general pattern that extends to other nano-, bio-, or neuroethical debates. While it does not apply to all discussions of “enhancement technologies” it does apply to all ethical discourse that constructs and validates an incredible future which it only then proceeds to endorse or critique. This discourse violates conditions of intelligibility, squanders the scarce and valuable resource of ethical concern, and misleads by casting remote possibilities or philosophical thought-experiments as foresight about likely technical developments. In effect, it deflects consideration from the transformative technologies of the present. (shrink)
Alfred Gell puts forward a new anthropological theory of visual art, seen as a form of instrumental action: the making of things as a means of influencing the thoughts and actions of others. He shows how art objects embody complex intentionalities and mediate social agency, and he explores the psychology of patterns and perceptions, art and personhood, the control of knowledge, and the interpretation of meaning, drawing upon a diversity of artistic traditions--European, Indian, Polynesian, Melanesian, and Australian. Art and (...) Agency was completed just before Alfred Gell's death at the age of 51 in January 1997. It embodies the intellectual bravura, lively wit, vigour, and erudition for which he was admired, and will stand as an enduring testament to one of the most gifted anthropologists of his generation. (shrink)
The Structures of the Life-World is the final focus of twenty-seven years of Alfred Schutz's labor, encompassing the fruits of his work between 1932 and his death in 1959. This book represents Schutz's seminal attempt to achieve a comprehensive grasp of the nature of social reality. Here he integrates his theory of relevance with his analysis of social structures. Thomas Luckmann, a former student of Schutz's, completed the manuscript for publication after Schutz's untimely death.
It is often claimed that all acts of supererogation involve sacrifice. This claim is made because it is thought that it is the level of sacrifice involved that prevents these acts from being morally required. In this paper, I will argue against this claim. I will start by making a distinction between two ways of understanding the claim that all acts of supererogation involve sacrifice. I will then examine some purported counterexamples to the view that supererogation always involves sacrifice and (...) examine their limitations. Next, I will examine how this view might be defended, building on comments by Dale Dorsey and Henry Sidgwick. I will then argue that the view and the argument in favor of it should be rejected. I will finish by showing how an alternative explanation for the limits of moral obligation avoids the problems facing The Sacrifice View. (shrink)
In Manipulated Agents, Alfred R. Mele examines the role one's history plays in whether or not one is morally responsible for one's actions. Mele develops a "history-sensitive" theory of moral responsibility through reflection on a wide range of thought experiments which feature agents who have been manipulated or designed in ways that directly affect their actions.
It has been claimed, by David Heyd, that in order for an act to count as supererogatory the agent performing the act must possess altruistic intentions (1982 p.115). This requirement, Heyd claims, allows us to make sense of the meritorious nature of acts of supererogation. In this paper I will investigate whether there is good reason to accept that this requirement is a necessary condition of supererogation. I will argue that such a reason can be found in cases where two (...) people act in the same way but with only the person who acted with altruistic intent counting as having performed an act of supererogation. In such cases Heyd’s intention requirement plays an important role in ruling out acts that intuitively are not supererogatory. Despite this, I will argue that we should reject Heyd’s requirement and replace it with a moral intention requirement. I will then investigate how to formulate this requirement and respond to two objections that might be raised against it. (shrink)