In his book Gabriele Lolli discusses the notion of proof, which is, according to him, the most important and at the same time the least studied aspect of mathematics. According to Lolli, a theorem is a conditional sentence of the form ‘if T then A’ such that A is a logical consequence of T, where A is a sentence and T is a sentence or a conjunction or set of sentences. Verifying that A is a consequence of T generally involves (...) considering infinitely many interpretations; so it is something which is impossible to do in finite terms. Proofs may serve as ‘shortcuts’ in this respect. A proof is defined by Lolli as any finite argument certifying that A is a consequence of T. A proof is a shortcut in the sense that it spares us considering infinitely many interpretations.The reason for such a very general definition of proof is Lolli's strong belief that mathematics is not a rigid system of explicit rules, but rather a set of tools; as a consequence, there is no prescription as to what a proof should or should not be. Actually, mathematics is historically situated and not timeless, and the history of mathematics is the …. (shrink)
Hans-Georg GADAMER, Hermeneutische Entwürfe. Vorträge und Aufsätze ; Pascal MICHON, Poétique d’une anti-anthropologie: l’herméneutique deGadamer ; Robert J. DOSTAL, The Cambridge Companion to Gadamer ; Denis SERON, Le problème de la métaphysique. Recherches sur l’interprétation heideggerienne de Platon et d’Aristote ; Henry MALDINEY, Ouvrir le rien. L’art nu ; Dominique JANICAUD, Heidegger en France, I. Récit; II. Entretiens ; Maurice MERLEAU-PONTY, Fenomenologia percepţiei ; Trish GLAZEBROOK, Heidegger’s Philosophy of Science ; Richard WOLIN, Heidegger’s Children. Hannah Arendt, Karl Löwith, Hans Jonas (...) and Herbert Marcuse ; Ivo DEGENNARO, Logos – Heidegger liest Heraklit ; O. K. WIEGAND, R. J. DOSTAL, L. EMBREE, J. KOCKELMANS and J. N. MOHANTY, Phenomenology on Kant, German Idealism, Hermeneutics and Logic ; James FAULCONER and Mark WRATHALL, Appropriating Heidegger. (shrink)
This paper presents a functional genealogy of essentialist authenticity. The essentialist account maintains that authenticity is the result of discovering and realizing one’s ‘true self’. The genealogy shows that essentialist authenticity can serve the function of supporting continuity in one’s individual characteristics. A genealogy of essentialist authenticity is not only methodologically interesting as the first functional genealogy of a contingent concept. It can also deepen the functional understanding of authenticity used in neuroethics, provide a possible explanation for the prevalence of (...) the idea of an essentialist true self and justify the use of the ideal of authenticity. First, essentialist authenticity is defined and explained through the work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Second, a general need to have steady characteristics is derived from basic human practices. Third, circumstances that make it more challenging to steady oneself are identified and shown to have become more prevalent in the age of modernity when the ideal of authenticity emerged. Finally, it is shown how essentialist authenticity helps to steady the self. (shrink)
Supervenience is a topic-neutral, broadly logical relation between classes of properties or facts. In a slogan, A supervenes on B if and only if there cannot be an A-difference without a B-difference. The first part of this paper considers different ways in which that slogan has been cashed out. The second part discusses applications of concepts of supervenience, focussing on the question whether they may provide an explication of determination theses such as physicalism.
I am very grateful to Stephan Leuenberger, Erica Shumener and Naomi Thompson for their excellent and thoughtful commentaries on Making Things Up. I have learned a lot from thinking through their replies. As it happens, they focus on pretty disparate aspects of the book: necessitation, relative fundamentality, and what builds the building facts, respectively. I will thus engage with their remarks separately.
The elucidations and regimentations of grounding offered in the literature standardly take it to be a necessary connection. In particular, authors often assert, or at least assume, that if some facts ground another fact, then the obtaining of the former necessitates the latter; and moreover, that grounding is an internal relation, in the sense of being necessitated by the existence of the relata. In this article, I challenge the necessitarian orthodoxy about grounding by offering two prima facie counterexamples. First, some (...) physical facts may ground a certain phenomenal fact without necessitating it; and they may co-exist with the latter without grounding it. Second, some instantiations of categorical properties may ground the instantiation of a dispositional one without necessitating it; and they may co-exist without grounding it. After arguing that these may be genuine counterexamples, I ask whether there are modal constraints on grounding that are not threatened by them. I propose two: that grounding supervenes on what facts there are, and that every grounded fact supervenes on what grounds there are. Finally, I attempt to provide a rigorous formulation of the latter supervenience claim and discuss some technical questions that arise if we allow descending grounding chains of transfinite length. (shrink)
Fundamentality plays a pivotal role in discussions of ontology, supervenience, and possibility, and other key topics in metaphysics. However, there are two different ways of characterising the fundamental: as that which is not grounded, and as that which is the ground of everything else. I show that whether these two characterisations pick out the same property turns on a principle—which I call “Dichotomy”—that is of independent interest in the theory of ground: that everything is either fully grounded or not even (...) partially grounded. I then argue that Dichotomy fails: some facts have partial grounds that cannot be complemented to a full ground. Rejecting Dichotomy opens the door to recognising a bifurcation in our notion of fundamentality. I sketch some of the far-reaching metaphysical consequences this might have, with reference to big-picture views such as Humeanism. Since Dichotomy is entailed by the standard account of partial ground, according to which partial grounds are subpluralities of full grounds, a non-standard account is needed. In a technical “Appendix”, I show that truthmaker semantics furnishes such an account, and identify a semantic condition that corresponds to Dichotomy. (shrink)
Gabriel Richardson Lear presents a bold new approach to one of the enduring debates about Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics: the controversy about whether it coherently argues that the best life for humans is one devoted to a single activity, namely philosophical contemplation. Many scholars oppose this reading because the bulk of the Ethics is devoted to various moral virtues--courage and generosity, for example--that are not in any obvious way either manifestations of philosophical contemplation or subordinated to it. They argue that (...) Aristotle was inconsistent, and that we should not try to read the entire Ethics as an attempt to flesh out the notion that the best life aims at the "monistic good" of contemplation. In defending the unity and coherence of the Ethics, Lear argues that, in Aristotle's view, we may act for the sake of an end not just by instrumentally bringing it about but also by approximating it. She then argues that, for Aristotle, the excellent rational activity of moral virtue is an approximation of theoretical contemplation. Thus, the happiest person chooses moral virtue as an approximation of contemplation in practical life. Richardson Lear bolsters this interpretation by examining three moral virtues--courage, temperance, and greatness of soul--and the way they are fine. Elegantly written and rigorously argued, this is a major contribution to our understanding of a central issue in Aristotle's moral philosophy. (shrink)
Does the global supervenience of one class on another entail reductionism, in the sense that any property in the former class is definable from properties in the latter class? This question appears to be at the same time formally tractable and philosophically significant. It seems formally tractable because the concepts involved are susceptible to rigorous definition. It is philosophically significant because in a number of debates about inter-level relationships, there are prima facie plausible positions that presuppose that there is no (...) such entailment: standard versions of non-reductive physicalism and of normative non-naturalism accept global supervenience while rejecting reductionism. I identify a gap in an influential argument for the entailment, due to Frank Jackson and Robert Stalnaker, and draw on the model theory of infinitary languages to argue that some globally supervening properties are not reducible. (shrink)
GJ: We've talked a lot about critics who are hostile toward you. Do you ever feel the need to make a stand against those who are favourably inclined toward your plays but whose comments seem to you to be stupid? EI: Well, for better or worse, that's what I've always done: I wrote Notes and Counter-Notes, had discussions with Claude Bonnefoy, I've written articles; and in each case what I've said, in short, is that critics who gave me their approval, (...) did so because they misunderstood me and were mistaken about my intentions. GJ: Finally, are you at all bitter about the critics? EI: No. Many have become good friends of mine. But it is a bit disheartening; when I began, a critic who, shall we say, is on the Right, a conservative critic who is very well-known and has since become a friend of mine, called me an impostor, a fraud, and a dummy; and now, twenty-five years later, the Leftists still call me an impostor, a fraud, and a dummy. GJ: But less often? EI: Well, I suppose so. Eugene Ionesco, renowned by playwright , recently was awarded the International Writer's Prize by the Welsh Arts Council. While in Wales, he was interviewed by Gabriel Jacobs, lecturer in French at University College of Swansea; the interview represents Ionesco's most concerted attempt yet to deal with his critics. He is completing a book on the subject which Gabriel Jacobs will translate into English. (shrink)
State Violence, Coalitions, Subjects After a consideration of the reception of her work in France , Judith Butler assesses the political contribution of queer movements and minority struggles. She addresses the need for the left to reappropriate the forthright critique of the State and its violence and to examine the way minorities are produced. To do so, her analysis starts from the question of immigrant persons. She highlights the issues and the difficulties which are involved, if there is to be (...) a productive critique of the State, the aim of which is to contest it. As part of a dynamic political perspective, she proposes the creation of coalitions. She outlines the main lines of such a coalition, its dynamics and singularities, its articulation with the subject, but also its limits. In conclusion, she examines the issue of revolution and her relation to Marxist thought, indicating the outlines of her current thinking. (shrink)
The profound changes in personality, mood, and other features of the self that neural interventions can induce can be disconcerting to patients, their families, and caregivers. In the neuroethical debate, these concerns are often addressed in the context of possible threats to the narrative self. In this paper, I argue that it is necessary to consider a dimension of impacts on the narrative self which has so far been neglected: neural interventions can lead to a loss of meaning of actions, (...) feelings, beliefs, and other intentional elements of our self-narratives. To uphold the coherence of the self-narrative, the changes induced by neural interventions need to be accounted for through explanations in intentional or biochemical terms. However, only an explanation including intentional states delivers the content to directly ascribe personal meaning, i.e., subjective value to events. Neural interventions can deprive events of meaning because they may favor a predominantly biochemical account. A loss of meaning is not inherently negative but it can be problematic, particularly if events are affected one was not prepared or willing to have stripped of meaning. The paper further examines what it is about neural interventions that impacts meaning by analyzing different methods. To which degree the pull towards a biochemical view occurs depends on the characteristics of the neural intervention. By comparing Deep Brain Stimulation, Prozac, Ritalin, psychedelics, and psychotherapy, the paper identifies some main factors: the rate of change, the transparency of the causal chain, the involvement of the patient, and the presence of an acute phenomenological experience. (shrink)
Gabriele Taylor presents a philosophical investigation of the "ordinary" vices traditionally seen as "death to the soul": sloth, envy, avarice, pride, anger, lust, and gluttony. In the course of a richly detailed discussion of individual and interrelated vices, which complements recent work by moral philosophers on virtue, she shows why these "deadly sins" are correctly so named and grouped together.
This paper extends the definition of strong supervenience to cover classes of relations of any adicity, including transworld relations. It motivates that project by showing that not all interesting supervenience claims involving relations are global supervenience claims. The proposed definition has five welcome features: it reduces to the familiar definition in the special case where the classes contain only monadic properties; it equips supervenience with the expected formal properties, such as transitivity and monotonicity; it entails that a relation supervenes on (...) its converse; it classifies certain paradigms correctly; it makes distinctions even in the realm of the non-contingent, as witnessed by the fact that identity does not supervene on any class of relations. Finally, the paper applies the defined concept, and the related concept of orthogonality, to the study of internal and external relations. (shrink)
The concept of supervenience and a regimented concept of grounding are often taken to provide rival explications of pre-theoretical concepts of dependence and determination. Friends of grounding typically point out that supervenience claims do not entail corresponding grounding claims. Every fact supervenes on itself, but is not grounded in itself, and the fact that a thing exists supervenes on the fact that its singleton exists, but is not grounded in it. Common lore has it, though, that grounding claims do entail (...) corresponding supervenience claims. In this article, I show that this assumption is problematic. On one way of understanding it, the corresponding supervenience claim is just an entailment claim under a different name. On another way of understanding it, the corresponding claim is a distinctive supervenience claim, but its specification gives rise to what I call the "reference type problem": to associate the classes of facts that are the relata of grounding with the types of facts that are the relata of supervenience. However it is understood, supervenience rules out prima facie possibilities: alien realizers, blockers, heterogeneous realizers, floaters, and heterogeneous blockers. Instead of being rival explications of one and the same pre-theoretical concept, grounding and supervenience may be complementary concepts capturing different aspects of determination and dependence. (shrink)
What is it for a picture to depict a scene? The most orthodox philosophical theory of pictorial representation holds that depiction is grounded in resemblance. A picture represents a scene in virtue of being similar to that scene in certain ways. This essay presents evidence against this claim: curvilinear perspective is one common style of depiction in which successful pictorial representation depends as much on a picture's systematic differences with the scene depicted as on the similarities; it cannot be analyzed (...) in terms of similarity alone. The same problem arises for many other kinds of depiction. The essay concludes that depiction in general is not grounded in resemblance but geometrical transformation. (shrink)
This discussion of pride, shame, and guilt centers on the beliefs involved in the experience of any of these emotions. Through a detailed study, the author demonstrates how these beliefs are alike--in that they are all directed towards the self--and how they differ. The experience of these three emotions are illustrated by examples taken from English literature. These concrete cases supply a context for study and indicate the complexity of the situations in which these emotions usually occur.