This thesis analyses the ontological nature of quantum particles. In it I argue that quantum particles, despite their indistinguishability, are objects in much the same way as classical particles. This similarity provides an important point of continuity between classical and quantum physics. I consider two notions of indistinguishability, that of indiscernibility and permutation symmetry. I argue that neither sort of indistinguishability undermines the identity of quantum particles. I further argue that, when we understand in distinguishability in terms of permutation symmetry, (...) classical particles are just as indistinguishable as quantum particles; for classical physics also possesses permutation symmetry. (shrink)
Merold Westphal’s new publication, Kierkegaard’s Concept of Faith, gives us an opportunity to explore the many ways in which Kierkegaard has influenced Westphal’s thinking as a whole. This present contribution seeks to show how Kierkegaard helps Westphal discover a concept of faith which holds no ‘reasonable’ foundation as it is entirely dependent upon two different aspects of revelation in tension with each other. Moreover, faith is seen as a willing assent by the believer, and thus it becomes a task and (...) not merely a proposition to behold or to which one’s life conforms. In addition to explicating this notion of faith within his work, this present contribution seeks to situate this faith within Westphal’s philosophy of religion, showing how it is integral to Westphal’s entire project. (shrink)
Despite its small stature, "if" occupies a central place both in everyday language and the philosophical lexicon. In allowing us to talk about hypothetical situations, "if" raises a host of thorny philosophical puzzles about language and logic. Addressing them requires tools from linguistics, logic, probability theory, and metaphysics. Justin Khoo uses these tools to navigate a maze of interconnected issues about conditionals, some of which include: the nature of linguistic communication, the relationship between logical and natural languages, and the (...) relationship between different kinds of modality. According to Khoo's theory, conditionals form a unified class of expressions which share a common semantic core that encodes inferential dispositions. Thus, rather than represent the world, conditionals are devices used to communicate how we are disposed to infer. Khoo shows that this theory can be extended to predict the probabilities of conditionals, as well as how different kinds of conditionals differ both semantically and pragmatically. Khoo's book will make for a significant contribution to the literature on conditionals and should be of interest to philosophers, linguists, and computer scientists. (shrink)
Benedict de Spinoza is one of the most controversial and enigmatic thinkers in the history of philosophy. His greatest work, Ethics (1677), developed a comprehensive philosophical system and argued that God and Nature are identical. His scandalous Theological-Political Treatise (1670) provoked outrage during his lifetime due to its biblical criticism, anticlericalism, and defense of the freedom to philosophize. Together, these works earned Spinoza a reputation as a singularly radical thinker. -/- In this book, Steinberg and Viljanen offer a concise and (...) up-to-date account of Spinoza’s thought and its philosophical legacy. They explore the full range of Spinoza’s ideas, from politics and theology to ontology and epistemology. Drawing broadly on Spinoza’s impressive oeuvre, they have crafted a lucid introduction for readers unfamiliar with this important philosopher, as well as a nuanced and enlightening study for more experienced readers. (shrink)
This book defends the controversial view that Nietzsche is a metaphysician against a tendency to sever Nietzsche from metaphysical philosophy. It shows that for Nietzsche the questions, answers, methods, and subject matters of metaphysics are not only perfectly legitimate, but also crucial for understanding the world and our place within it.
Justin Snedegar develops and defends contrastivism about reasons. This is the view that normative reasons are fundamentally reasons for or against actions or attitudes only relative to sets of alternatives. Simply put, reasons are always reasons to do one thing rather than another, instead of simply being reasons to do something, full stop.
Sextus Empiricus was the voice of ancient Greek skepticism for posterity. His writings contain the most subtle and detailed versions of the ancient skeptical arguments known as Pyrrhonism, adding up to a distinctive philosophical approach. Instead of viewing philosophy as valuable because of the answers it gives to important questions, Sextus considered the search for answers itself to be fundamental and offered a philosophy centered on inquiry. Assuming the point of view of an active inquirer, Sextus developed arguments concerning conflicting (...) appearances, infinite regress in argument, dogmatic assertion of premises that are insufficiently justified, and many other ideas that fascinated later philosophers of knowledge across the centuries. He provided a unique perspective on topics of enduring relevance such as perception, language, logical consequence, belief, ignorance, disagreement, and induction. -/- While Sextus's importance to epistemology was appreciated by early modern and modern philosophers, he is underrepresented in contemporary discussions. In order to put Sextus back in the center of epistemology, these essays discuss his influence in the history of modern philosophy as well as contemporary engagements with Sextus's version of Pyrrhonian skepticism. The contributors investigate epistemology after Sextus, addressing four core themes of Sextus's skepticism: appearances and perception, the structure of justification and proof, belief and ignorance, and ethics and action. The arguments presented here bridge the divide between contemporary and ancient debates about knowledge and skepticism and will appeal to philosophers interested in epistemology and philosophy of mind as well as those interested in ancient philosophy and the history of philosophy more generally. (shrink)
For some, biology explains all there is to know about the mind. Yet many big questions remain: is the mind shaped by genes or the environment? If mental traits are the result of adaptations built up over thousands of years, as evolutionary psychologists claim, how can such claims be tested? If the mind is a machine, as biologists argue, how does it allow for something as complex as human consciousness? The Biological Mind: A Philosophical Introduction explores these questions and more, (...) using the philosophy of biology to introduce and assess the nature of the mind. Drawing on the four key themes of evolutionary biology; molecular biology and genetics; neuroscience; and biomedicine and psychiatry Justin Garson addresses the following key topics: moral psychology, altruism and levels of selection evolutionary psychology and modularity genes, environment and the nature-nurture debate neuroscience, reductionism and the relation between biology and free will function, selection and mental representation psychiatric classification and the maladapted mind. Extensive use of examples and case studies is made throughout the book, and additional features such as chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary make this an indispensable introduction to those teaching philosophy of mind and philosophy of psychology. It will also be an excellent resource for those in related fields such as biology. (shrink)
Professionals, it is said, have no use for simple lists of virtues and vices. The complexities and constraints of professional roles create peculiar moral demands on the people who occupy them, and traits that are vices in ordinary life are praised as virtues in the context of professional roles. Should this disturb us, or is it naive to presume that things should be otherwise? Taking medical and legal practice as key examples, Justin Oakley and Dean Cocking develop a rigorous (...) articulation and defence of virtue ethics, contrasting it with other types of character-based ethical theories and showing that it offers a promising new approach to the ethics of professional roles. They provide insights into the central notions of professional detachment, professional integrity, and moral character in professional life, and demonstrate how a virtue-based approach can help us better understand what ethical professional-client relationships would be like. (shrink)
In "Saving One Another: Philodemus and Paul on Moral Formation in Community" Justin Reid Allison compares how the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus and the Christian apostle Paul envisioned the members of their communities helping one another to grow into moral maturity. Allison establishes that Philodemus and Paul are more similar than previously noticed in their conception and practice of moral formation in community, and that these similarities offer a critical opportunity to consider important differences between the two as well. By (...) deepening the comparison to include differences alongside similarities, and to include theological and socio-economic facets of communal moral formation, Allison shows that Philodemus and Paul uniquely shed fresh light on one another's texts when understood in comparative perspective. (shrink)
The idea that God, understood as the most perfect being, must create the best possible world is often underacknowledged by contemporary theologians and philosophers of religion. This book clearly demonstrates the rationale for what Justin Daeley calls Theistic Optimism and interacts with the existing literature in order to highlight its limitations. While locating Theistic Optimism in the thought of Gottfried Leibniz, Daeley argues that Theistic Optimism is consistent with divine freedom, aseity, gratitude, and our typical modal intuitions. By offering (...) plausible solutions to each of the criticisms levelled against Theistic Optimism, he also provides a vigorous and original defence against the charge that it deviates from the Christian tradition. Engaging with both the Christian tradition and contemporary theologians and philosophers, Why God Must Do What is Best positions the idea of Theistic Optimism firmly within the language of contemporary philosophy of religion. (shrink)
We are all guilty of it. We call people terrible names in conversation or online. We vilify those with whom we disagree, and make bolder claims than we could defend. We want to be seen as taking the moral high ground not just to make a point, or move a debate forward, but to look a certain way--incensed, or compassionate, or committed to a cause. We exaggerate. In other words, we grandstand. Nowhere is this more evident than in public discourse (...) today, and especially as it plays out across the internet. To philosophers Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke, who have written extensively about moral grandstanding, such one-upmanship is not just annoying, but dangerous. As politics gets more and more polarized, people on both sides of the spectrum move further and further apart when they let grandstanding get in the way of engaging one another. The pollution of our most urgent conversations with self-interest damages the very causes they are meant to forward. Drawing from work in psychology, economics, and political science, and along with contemporary examples spanning the political spectrum, the authors dive deeply into why and how we grandstand. Using the analytic tools of psychology and moral philosophy, they explain what drives us to behave in this way, and what we stand to lose by taking it too far. Most importantly, they show how, by avoiding grandstanding, we can re-build a public square worth participating in. (shrink)
This book is a critical survey of and guidebook to the literature on biological functions. It ties in with current debates and developments, and at the same time, it looks back on the state of discourse in naturalized teleology prior to the 1970s. It also presents three significant new proposals. First, it describes the generalized selected effects theory, which is one version of the selected effects theory, maintaining that the function of a trait consists in the activity that led to (...) its differential persistence or reproduction in a population, and not merely its differential reproduction. Secondly, it advances “within-discipline pluralism” (as opposed to between-discipline pluralism) a new form of function pluralism, which emphasizes the coexistence of function concepts within diverse biological sub-disciplines. Lastly, it provides a critical assessment of recent alternatives to the selected effects theory of function, namely, the weak etiological theory and the systems-theoretic theory. The book argues that, to the extent that functions purport to offer causal explanations for the existence of a trait, there are no viable alternatives to the selected effects view. -/- The debate about biological functions is still as relevant and important to biology and philosophy as it ever was. Recent controversies surrounding the ENCODE Project Consortium in genetics, the nature of psychiatric classification, and the value of ecological restoration, all point to the continuing relevance to biology of philosophical discussion about the nature of functions. In philosophy, ongoing debates about the nature of biological information, intentionality, health and disease, mechanism, and even biological trait classification, are closely related to debates about biological functions. (shrink)
The biological functions debate is a perennial topic in the philosophy of science. In the first full-length account of the nature and importance of biological functions for many years, Justin Garson presents an innovative new theory, the 'generalized selected effects theory of function', which seamlessly integrates evolutionary and developmental perspectives on biological functions. He develops the implications of the theory for contemporary debates in the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of medicine and psychiatry, the philosophy of biology, and biology (...) itself, addressing issues ranging from the nature of mental representation to our understanding of the function of the human genome. Clear, jargon-free, and engagingly written, with accessible examples and explanatory diagrams to illustrate the discussion, his book will be highly valuable for readers across philosophical and scientific disciplines. (shrink)
The world is swimming in misinformation. Conflicting messages bombard us every day with news on everything from politics and world events to investments and alternative health. The daily paper, nightly news, websites, and social media each compete for our attention and each often insist on a different version of the facts. Inevitably, we have questions: Who is telling the truth? How would we know? How did we get here? What can we do? Beyond Fake News answers these and other queries. (...) It offers a technological and market-based explanation for how our informational environment became so polluted. It shows how purveyors of news often have incentives to mislead us, and how consumers of information often have incentives to be misled. And it chronicles how, as technology improves and the regulatory burdens drop, our information-scape becomes ever more littered with misinformation. Beyond Fake News argues that even when we really want the truth, our minds are built in such a way so as to be incapable of grasping many facts, and blind spots mar our view of the world. But we can do better, both as individuals and as a society. As individuals, we can improve the accuracy of our understanding of the world by knowing who to trust and recognizing our limitations. And as a society, we can take important steps to reduce the quantity and effects of misinformation. (shrink)
In recent years, developments in experimental philosophy have led many thinkers to reconsider their central assumptions and methods. It is not enough to speculate and introspect from the armchair - philosophers must subject their claims to scientific scrutiny, looking at evidence and in some cases conducting new empirical research. "The Theory and Practice of Experimental Philosophy" is an introduction and guide to the systematic collection and analysis of empirical data in academic philosophy. This book serves two purposes: first, it examines (...) the theory behind “x-phi,” including its underlying motivations and the objections that have been leveled against it. Second, the book offers a practical guide for those interested in doing experimental philosophy, detailing how to design, implement, and analyze empirical studies. Thus, the book explains the reasoning behind x-phi and provides tools to help readers become experimental philosophers. (shrink)
As a philologist, Nietzsche had to be a materialist – a materialist of letters. If letters are not life, however, they are the indices of its limits. You can’t live except at the limit; to get to a limit, you have to reconstruct a genealogy for yourself; once you know where you are, you have the opportunity to lose yourself again, this time effectively. Life is whatever will have greeted you in that loss, the disappearance at the limit.
Various deficits in the cognitive functioning of people with autism have been documented in recent years but these provide only partial explanations for the condition. We focus instead on an imitative disturbance involving difficulties both in copying actions and in inhibiting more stereotyped mimicking, such as echolalia. A candidate for the neural basis of this disturbance may be found in a recently discovered class of neurons in frontal cortex, 'mirror neurons' (MNs). These neurons show activity in relation both to specific (...) actions performed by self and matching actions performed by others, providing a potential bridge between minds. MN systems exist in primates without imitative and ‘theory of mind’ abilities and we suggest that in order for them to have become utilized to perform social cognitive functions, sophisticated cortical neuronal systems have evolved in which MNs function as key elements. Early developmental failures of MN systems are likely to result in a consequent cascade of developmental impairments characterised by the clinical syndrome of autism. (shrink)
Criticism plays an essential role in the growth of scientific knowledge. In some cases, however, criticism can have detrimental effects; for example, it can be used to ‘manufacture doubt’ for the purpose of impeding public policy making on issues such as tobacco consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., Oreskes & Conway 2010). In this paper, we build on previous work by Biddle and Leuschner (2015) who argue that criticism that meets certain conditions can be epistemically detrimental. We extend and refine (...) their account by arguing that such criticism can be epistemically corrupting—it can create social conditions that are conducive to the development of epistemic vice by agents operating within them. (shrink)
McDonnell, Justin The psychologist wishes to balance man psychologically. The spiritual father aims at his divinisation... the psychologist employs the method of questioning and listening and tries to make man aware of his problem and to mature psychologically. The spiritual father, illumined by the grace of God, locates the problem-which is the darkness of the nous-and tries to lead man to the theoria of God by the means of the Orthodox method of purification and illumination. The psychologist acts anthropocentrically (...) using thoughts and ideas. The spiritual father acts in a theocentric way. He uses the therapeutic method, but also the mysteries through which the heart receives the grace of God. (shrink)
Conventional wisdom holds that C. S. Lewis was uninterested in politics and public affairs. The conventional wisdom is wrong. As Justin Buckley Dyer and Micah J. Watson show in this groundbreaking work, Lewis was deeply interested in the fundamental truths and falsehoods about human nature and how these conceptions manifest themselves in the contested and turbulent public square. Ranging from the depths of Lewis' philosophical treatments of epistemology and moral pedagogy to practical considerations of morals legislation and responsible citizenship, (...) this book explores the contours of Lewis' multi-faceted Christian engagement with political philosophy generally and the natural-law tradition in particular. Drawing from the full range of Lewis' corpus and situating his thought in relationship to both ancient and modern seminal thinkers, C. S. Lewis on Politics and the Natural Law offers an unprecedented look at politics and political thought from the perspective of one of the twentieth century's most influential writers. (shrink)
While many recognize that rigid historical and compositional goals are inadequate in a world where climate and other global systems are undergoing unprecedented changes, others contend that promoting ecosystem services and functions encourages practices that can ultimately lower the bar of ecological management. These worries are foregrounded in discussions about Novel Ecosystems (NEs); where some researchers and conservationists claim that NEs provide a license to trash nature as long as some ecosystem services are provided. This criticism arises from what we (...) call the " anything goes " problem created by the release of historical conditions. After explaining the notion of NE, we identify numerous substantive motivations for worrying about the anything-goes-problem and then go on to show the problem can be solved by correcting two mistaken assumptions. In short, we argue that the problem is a product of adopting an overly sparse functional perspective and one that assumes an unrealistically high degree of convergence in the trajectories of natural processes. Our analysis illuminates why such assumptions are unwarranted. Finally, we further argue that adopting an appropriate ethical framework is essential to overcoming the anything-goes-problem and suggest that a certain virtue ethics conception of ecological management provides useful resources for framing and resolving the problem. (shrink)
Moral grandstanding is a pervasive feature of public discourse. Many of us can likely recognize that we have engaged in grandstanding at one time or another. While there is nothing new about the phenomenon of grandstanding, we think that it has not received the philosophical attention it deserves. In this essay, we provide an account of moral grandstanding as the use of public discourse for moral self-promotion. We then show that our account, with support from some standard theses of social (...) psychology, explains the characteristic ways that grandstanding is manifested in public moral discourse. We conclude by arguing that there are good reasons to think that moral grandstanding is typically morally bad and should be avoided. (shrink)
In the United States, it is common for people entering christian organizations to receive explanation of what the Bible means before being handed the book and asked to read. Religious ideological transfer stems from this strict codification, and the Story of Abraham highlights the effective blending between original text and interpretation. Recognizing how the Story of Abraham calls for, as Kierkegaard suggested, a suspension of the ethical for obedience, it justifies entrance into a religious state of exception, a fully subjective (...) moment into which the sole sovereign of “divine will” is the self. The social ramifications, beyond a-logical relativism, involve the historic and continued justification of religious otherization and dehumanization, shrined in a belief of divinity. In contemporary debate, the religious hunker down, entrenching themselves within their ideology, while many in deconstructivist camps want to tear these institutions apart. I suggest a middle-ground: a radical reinterpretation — through philosophical, linguistic and literary theory methods — of the Story of Abraham as a narrative reflecting the Tower of Babel motif, to work within the christian ideological system to create strategic biblical interpretations for positive social effect. (shrink)
I present Ned Markosian's episodic account of identity under a sortal, and then use it to sketch a new model of the Trinity. I show that the model can be used to solve at least three important Trinitarian puzzles: the traditional ‘logical problem of the Trinity’, a less-discussed problem that has been dubbed the ‘problem of triunity’, and a problem about the divine processions that has been enjoying increased attention in the recent literature.
This essay* takes two notions of autonomy and two notions of explanation and argues that colours occur in explanations that fall under all of them. The claim that colours can be used to explain anything at all may seem to some people an outrage. But their pessimism is unjustified and the orthodox dispositional view which may seem to support it, I shall argue, itself has difficulties. In broad terms, Section 2 shows that there exist good straight scientific laws of colour, (...) constituting what one might call a phenomenal science. Section 3 offers a larger view of what we are doing when we attribute colours to things, a view which makes it a case of holistic explanation, similar in many ways to psychological explanation. Section 2 emphasizes the model of scientific explanation, and Section 3 the holistic model found in rational explanation; but it will emerge that colour explanation in different ways fits both models, as it also does the two principal notions of autonomy that the first section identifies. (shrink)
Since the time of Hippocrates, madness has typically been viewed through the lens of disease, dysfunction, and defect. In 'Madness', philosopher of science Justin Garson presents a radically different paradigm for conceiving of madness and the forms that it takes. In this paradigm, which he calls madness-as-strategy, madness is neither a disease nor a defect, but a designed feature, like the heart or lungs.
This book, by two philosophers at Bradford University, immediately strikes the American reader with two differences in the British philosophical scene. One is the enveloping commitment to "Davidsonian linguistics" which still seems the central topic for many of Oxford's younger philosophers. In this slim volume Davidsonian semantics is thought to provide that some measure of cross-cultural understanding is possible, that humanistic descriptions of human activity are irreplaceable and unrevisable since action explanation is non-nomothetic though often causal and inferential, that collectives (...) may have expressive but not explanatory autonomy, and that social descriptions are not irredeemably value-laden. Who would have thought Davidsonian semantics had so much blood in it? Though the Tarskian T-Convention requirement is outlined in the short introductory chapter, one is hard put to see any real connection between the insistence on model theoretic and extensional approaches and the subsequent chapters. Though the introduction briefly allows that intensional notions are to be ignored, we are later assured that we may safely ascribe one classical logic to primitives and humans generally since "only at the highly advanced level of theoretical physics has it been found necessary to experiment with different logics". Ignored are those who think mathematics itself requires an intuitionist or intensional understanding. Also ignored are the many linguists who have recently held that the vast majority of sentences in everyday speech require intensional or modal analysis. The authors also use the label "functionalism" for the view that a society is something like a biological organism rather than a collection of rational agents. One finds this usage disconcerting. Much more unfortunate is that the authors seem innocent of the rich philosophical and psychological and neurological work on mental states and psychological explanation that has grown up around the more recent usage of the term.--Justin Leiber, University of Houston. (shrink)
The many definitions of sophistry at the beginning of Plato’s Sophist have puzzled scholars just as much as they puzzled the dialogue’s main speakers: the Visitor from Elea and Theaetetus. The aim of this paper is to give an account of that puzzlement. This puzzlement, it is argued, stems not from a logical or epistemological problem, but from the metaphysical problem that, given the multiplicity of accounts, the interlocutors do not know what the sophist essentially is. It transpires that, in (...) order to properly account for this puzzle, one must jettison the traditional view of Plato’s method of division, on which divisions must be exclusive and mark out relations of essential predication. It is then shown on independent grounds that, although Platonic division in the Sophist must express predication relations and be transitive, it need not be dichotomous, exclusive, or express relations of essential predication. Once the requirements of exclusivity and essential predication are dropped, it is possible to make sense of the reasons that the Visitor from Elea and Theaetetus are puzzled. Moreover, with this in hand, it is possible to see Plato making an important methodological point in the dialogue: division on its own without any norms does not necessarily lead to the discovery of essences. (shrink)
An exceptional contribution to the teaching and study of Chinese thought, this anthology provides fifty-eight selections arranged chronologically in five main sections: Han Thought, Chinese Buddhism, Neo-Confucianism, Late Imperial Confucianism, and the early Twentieth Century. The editors have selected writings that have been influential, that are philosophically engaging, and that can be understood as elements of an ongoing dialogue, particularly on issues regarding ethical cultivation, human nature, virtue, government, and the underlying structure of the universe. Within those topics, issues of (...) contemporary interest, such as Chinese ideas about gender and the experiences of women, are brought to light. -/- Introductions to each main section provide an overview of the period, while brief headnotes to selections highlight key points. -/- The translations are the works of many distinguished scholars, and were chosen for their accuracy and accessibility, especially for students, general readers, and scholars who do not read Chinese. Special effort has been made to maintain consistency of key terms across translations. -/- Also included are a glossary, bibliography, index of names, and an index locorum of The Four Books. (shrink)
People have always been xenophobic, but an explicit philosophical and scientific view of human racial difference only began to emerge during the modern period. Why and how did this happen? Surveying a range of philosophical and natural-scientific texts, dating from the Spanish Renaissance to the German Enlightenment, Nature, Human Nature, and Human Difference charts the evolution of the modern concept of race and shows that natural philosophy, particularly efforts to taxonomize and to order nature, played a crucial role. Smith demonstrates (...) how the denial of moral equality between Europeans and non-Europeans resulted from converging philosophical and scientific developments, including a declining belief in human nature's universality and the rise of biological classification. The racial typing of human beings grew from the need to understand humanity within an all-encompassing system of nature, alongside plants, minerals, primates, and other animals. While racial difference as seen through science did not arise in order to justify the enslavement of people, it became a rationalization and buttress for the practices of trans-Atlantic slavery. From the work of François Bernier to G. W. Leibniz, Immanuel Kant, and others, Smith delves into philosophy's part in the legacy and damages of modern racism. With a broad narrative stretching over two centuries, Nature, Human Nature, and Human Difference takes a critical historical look at how the racial categories that we divide ourselves into came into being. (shrink)
Not all of our reasons for belief are epistemic in nature. Some of our reasons for belief are prudential in the sense that believing a certain thing advances our personal goals. When it comes to belief in God, the most famous formulation of a prudential reason for belief is Pascal’s Wager. And although Pascal’s Wager fails, its failure is instructive. Pascal’s Wager fails because it relies on unjustified assumptions about what happens in the afterlife to those who believe in God (...) verses those who do not. A renewed wager can avoid this difficulty by relying solely on well-documented differences between those who believe in God verses those who do not. Social scientists have put together an impressive set of data that shows that theists do better in terms of happiness, health, longevity, inter- personal relationships, and charitable giving. Hence, most people have a strong reason to believe in God regardless of the evidence. (shrink)
It is widely agreed that the intelligibility of modal metaphysics has been vindicated. Quine's arguments to the contrary supposedly confused analyticity with metaphysical necessity, and rigid with non-rigid designators.2 But even if modal metaphysics is intelligible, it could be misconceived. It could be that metaphysical necessity is not absolute necessity – the strictest real notion of necessity – and that no proposition of traditional metaphysical interest is necessary in every real sense. If there were nothing otherwise “uniquely metaphysically significant” about (...) metaphysical necessity, then paradigmatic metaphysical necessities would be necessary in one sense of “necessary”, not necessary in another, and that would be it. The question of whether they were necessary simpliciter would be like the question of whether the Parallel Postulate is true simpliciter – understood as a pure mathematical conjecture, rather than as a hypothesis about physical spacetime. In a sense, the latter question has no objective answer. In this article, I argue that paradigmatic questions of modal metaphysics are like the Parallel Postulate question. I then discuss the deflationary ramifications of this argument. I conclude with an alternative conception of the space of possibility. According to this conception, there is no objective boundary between possibility and impossibility. Along the way, I sketch an analogy between modal metaphysics and set theory. (shrink)
Root kit -- Buffer overflow: the space and time of cyberwar -- Injection attack: writing and the information catastrophe -- Distributed denial of service: cybernetic sovereignty -- Spear phishing: nodal subjects -- Firmware vulnerabilities.
Of hermeneutics and style: how to read Westphal -- Recontextualization: a Westphalian aufhebung? -- Westphal and Hegel: judging religion through politics -- Hegelians in heaven, but on earth ...: an "unfounding," Kierkegaardian faith -- Religiousness: the expression of faith -- Faith seeking understanding: Westphal's postmodernism -- Intermediary conclusions: the believing soul's self-transcendence -- Radical eschatology: Westphal, Caputo, and onto-theology -- Comparative eschatology: Westphal's theology, Kearney's philosophy, and Ricoeurian detours -- Westphal as a theologian and why it matters.