Kant's masterpiece, Critique of Pure Reason, is universally recognized to be among the most difficult of all philosophical writing, and yet it is required reading in almost every course that covers modern philosophy. Most students find Critique of Pure Reason impenetrable without the help of secondary sources. While there are numerous advanced scholarly works on the topic, Dicker's is the first treatment explicitly designed for undergraduates to read alongside the primary text, rendering Kant's views accessible without oversimplifying them. His book (...) will be useful to both undergraduate and graduate students tackling this notoriously difficult yet highly influential thinker in courses in modern philosophy, epistemology, and Kant. (shrink)
A solid grasp of the main themes and arguments of the seventeenth century philosopher Rene Descartes is an essential tool towards understanding modern thought, and a necessary entree to the work of the empiricists and Immanuel Kant, and to the study of contemporary epistemology and philosophy of mind. Clear and accessible, this book serves as an introduction to Descartes's ideas for undergraduates and as a sophisticated companion to his Meditations for more advanced readers. After a thorough discussion of the main (...) themes and arguments of the Meditations, the historical background of the work, and its critical reception, the author offers his own reflections on Cartesian doubt, the cogito, the causal and ontological proofs of God's existence, the Cartesian circle, Cartesian dualism, and Descartes' views of the material world. The commentary includes and cross-references the full text of Meditations I, II, and V, and most of Meditations III and VI, employing John Cottingham's highly-praised translation. (shrink)
David Hume's _Treatise on Human Nature_ and _Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding_ are amongst the most widely-studies texts on philosophy. _Hume's Epistemology and Metaphysics: An Introduction_ presents in a clear, concise and accessible manner the key themes of these texts. Georges Dicker clarifies Hume's views on meaning, knowledge, causality, and sense perception step by step and provides us with a sharp picture of how philosophical thinking has been influenced by Hume. Accessible to anyone coming to Hume for the first time, _Hume's (...) Epistemology and Metaphysics_ is an indispensible guide to Hume's philosophical thinking. (shrink)
Dans son Discours de Métaphysique‚ Leibniz maintient que le concept individuel d'une substance comprend et permet la déduction de tous ses prédicats, et certains prédicats d'une substance lui appartiennent néanmoins d'une manière contingente. Arnauld objecta contre Leibniz que implique la fausseté de — ce qui démontre, selon Arnauld, l'absurdité de . En puisant les réponses de Leibniz à Arnauld dans leur Correspondence, l'auteur soutient que la position de Leibniz, pourvu qu'elle soit interprétée à la lumière des principes générales de sa (...) métaphysique, peux tenir compte d'une distinction véritable entre les propositions nécessaires et contingentes touchant les substances individuelles. Les prédicats d'une substance qui sont liés avec d'autres prédicats de la même substance grâce à une vérité gouvernée par le Principe de Contradiction sont nécessaires ; tandis que ceux qui sont liés avec d'autres prédicats grâce seulement aux principes de Raison Suffisante et de Perfection sont contingents. Mais ceci n'empêche pas que les prédicats contingents autant que les prédicats nécessaires peuvent être déduits du concept individuel complet d'une substance. (shrink)
ABSTRACT E. M. Curley has said that Descartes’ cogito, ergo sum “is as obscure on examination as it is compelling at first glance.” Why should that be? Maybe because the cogito raises so many textual and interpretive questions. Is it an argument or an intuition? If it is an argument, does it require an additional premise? Is it best interpreted as a “performance?” Is it best seen as the discovery that any reason proposed for doubting its success entails the meditator’s (...) existence? And so on. But all these questions typically arise in the wake of worries about the cogency of the cogito when it is treated as an argument and worded in its canonical form, “I think, therefore I exist.” In this essay, I focus on what I take to be the most fundamental reason for questioning the cogito’s cogency when it is so treated—namely that the “I” in its premise is question-begging. I distinguish that reason from other reasons that are sometimes conflated with it, and I argue that it is not a good reason. I then comment on some of the questions mentioned above in light of my defense of the cogito seen in that traditional way. (shrink)
In William L. Rowe’s “The Ontological Argument,” an essay that appears in the most recent editions of Feinberg’s Reason and Responsibility and as a chapter in Rowe’s Philosophy of Religion, Rowe reconstructs Anselm’s Proslogium II argument for the existence of God, surveys critically several standard objections to it, and presents an original critique. Although Rowe’s reconstruction is perspicuous and his criticisms of the standard objections are judicious, his own critique, I argue, leaves Anselm’s argument unscathed. I conclude with some programmatic (...) remarks about what a more adequate critique of Anselm’s argument should do. (shrink)
Abstract:The purpose of Hume’s argument about induction, contra “literalist” interpretations that see it merely as psychology, is to show that induction cannot be justified. Hume maintains that the only way to justify induction would be to demonstrate or to produce a good inductive argument for the uniformity principle (UP). His most famous point is that any attempt to justify UP inductively would be circular. One may retort that no inductive argument can be circular, for a circular argument must be deductively (...) valid. But there is a sense in which a purely inductive argument for UP is circular: it uses induction for the purpose of justifying induction. Therefore, the literalist interpretation cannot be right. For if the argument can be circular only if its purpose is to justify induction, and Hume has shown that it is circular, then its purpose must be to justify induction, and Hume shows that this cannot be done. (shrink)
In ‘Kant's Refutation of Idealism’ (Noûs, 47), I defend a version of the Refutation, pioneered by Paul Guyer inKant and the Claims of Knowledge, whose core idea is that the only way that one can know the order of one's own past experiences, except in certain rare cases, is by correlating them with the successive states of perceived external objects that caused the experiences. Andrew Chignell has offered a probing critique of my reconstruction of Kant's argument (Philosophical Quarterly, 60), and (...) I have responded (Philosophical Quarterly, 61). In a rebuttal of my response, Chignell raises three new objections (Philosophical Quarterly, 61). My purpose in this paper is to reply to these. (shrink)
I argue that philonous gives two versions of the argument from perceptual relativity--One for the secondary qualities and another for the primary. Further, Both versions ultimately turn on the epistemological assumption that every case of perceiving, Regardless of the conditions of observation, Is a case of "knowing" the character of some "object". This assumption is made in order to avoid a vicious regress that arises when one tries to understand how perceptual knowledge is possible.
Georges Dicker here provides a commentary on John Locke's masterwork, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding-the foundational work of classical Empiricism. Dicker's commentary is an accessible guide for students who are reading Locke for the first time; a useful research tool for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students; and a contribution to Locke scholarship for professional scholars. It is designed to be read alongside the Essay, but does not presuppose familiarity with it.
In this chapter, the author shows how certain deep points about temporal experience drive both versions of Kant's transcendental deduction of the categories – a transcendental argument that he called a “Deduction” not because of its deductive structure but because in German the term “Deduktion” had a legal meaning signifying establishment of the right or title to something, in this case the right to apply Kant's categorical concepts – and their sequel in the Analogies of Experience. The author also discusses (...) Kant's “Refutation of Idealism,” a famous transcendental argument in which time also plays a key role. Kant produced two versions of his Transcendental Deduction, one for the First Edition of the Critique of Pure Reason (“the A‐Deduction”) and one for the Second Edition (“the B‐Deduction”). The author also presents responses to the Stroudean objection to these transcendental arguments. (shrink)
In this paper I explore the relationship between the “Humean” regularity view of causation, the view that a cause is a necessary condition of its effect, and the asymmetry of causation—the principle that if an event e1 causes e2, then it is false that e2 causes e1. I argue that the regularity view, in combination with the view that a cause is a necessary condition of its effect, is inconsistent with the asymmetry of causation, and that the inconsistency can be (...) removed by a modification of the view that a cause is a necessary condition of its effect that captures what is plausible in that view. I defend Hume, then, against the objection that he cannot accommodate a cause as being a necessary condition of its effect without absurdly denying the asymmetry of causation. This is only a limited defense, though, for I do not address the issue on which the tenability of the regularity view ultimately depends: viz., whether it can distinguish between causal laws and accidental generalizations without appealing to natural necessity. (shrink)
Peter Abelard (1079–1142 ce) was the most wide‐ranging philosopher of the twelfth century. He quickly established himself as a leading teacher of logic in and near Paris shortly after 1100. After his affair with Heloise, and his subsequent castration, Abelard became a monk, but he returned to teaching in the Paris schools until 1140, when his work was condemned by a Church Council at Sens. His logical writings were based around discussion of the “Old Logic”: Porphyry's Isagoge, aristotle'S Categories and (...) On Interpretation and boethius'S textbook on topical inference. They comprise a freestanding Dialectica (“Logic”; probably c.1116), a set of commentaries (known as the Logica [Ingredientibus], c. 1119) and a later (c. 1125) commentary on the Isagoge (Logica Nostrorum Petititoni Sociorum or Glossulae). In a work Abelard called his Theologia, issued in three main versions (between 1120 and c.1134), he attempted a logical analysis of trinitarian relations and explored the philosophical problems surrounding God's claims to omnipotence and omniscience. The Collationes (“Debates,” also known as “Dialogue between a Christian, a Philosopher and a Jew”; probably c.1130) present a rational investigation into the nature of the highest good, in which the Christian and the Philosopher (who seems to be modeled on a philosopher of pagan antiquity) are remarkably in agreement. The unfinished Scito teipsum (“Know thyself,” also known as the “Ethics”; c.1138) analyses moral action. (shrink)
Dewey defines knowledge as the outcome of competent inquiry. but knowledge is for dewey fundamentally predictive. this gives rise to a difficulty: should the course of nature change, a man might both know something (having carried out the relevant inquiry) and not know it (his relevant predictions being false). this difficulty is set out formally, and a solution is proposed in terms of dewey's concept of warranted assertibility.