I explore some of the ways that assumptions about the nature of substance shape metaphysical debates about the structure of Reality. Assumptions about the priority of substance play a role in an argument for monism, are embedded in certain pluralist metaphysical treatments of laws of nature, and are central to discussions of substantivalism and relationalism. I will then argue that we should reject such assumptions and collapse the categorical distinction between substance and property.
The structure of Chiodi's book is based on Vuillemin's important hermeneutical thesis that existentialism is one more step in the program of the romantics to give an absolute foundation to finite reality through the establishment of necessary relations between subjectivity and being. These relations, once revealed, would dispel the facticity and contingency in which the natural world is enshrouded. The role of Heidegger in this tradition involves one further dialectical twist, since Heidegger centers all Western Philosophy, including his own, around (...) the problem of ground in the manner proposed by the romantics. The suggested dialectical twist is then Heidegger's Kehre, a step beyond the radical contingency of Dasein in Sein und Zeit. Indeed, this contingency, once reached, shows unequivocally the failure of the romantic program. The ground cannot be ontologically connected with any object nor with the subject; it is rather the necessary history of the ground that determines all categorial differentiations in the world, including the reflective differentiation of subject-objects. Thus it becomes important to distinguish Heidegger from Hegel since, in both, history and necessity are characteristics of the ground. Chiodi gets to the bottom of this matter by pointing to the transfer of negativity from the process of history to the end of history. For Heidegger what is necessary is the repeated withdrawal of the ground so that it may never be confused with that which is known in any revelation or through all of them. This move, though clear, would still leave a fundamental ambiguity in the later philosophy of Heidegger: language, which acts as messenger from the ground to the world, must reflect the superabundance of Being from the standpoint of the ground while it only reflects possibilities of being from the standpoint of the world. This is an ambiguity that Heidegger would want to maintain. Chiodi's interpretation of Heidegger as a neo-platonist totally destroys this ambiguity and with it the very delicate balance created by Heidegger between infinite meaning and the ability of finite words to dwell upon it.--A. de L. M. (shrink)
G. Deledalle is the author of a Histoire de la philosophie américaine, and of some excellent studies on Dewey, such as La pédagogie de Dewey, philosophie de la continuité, and "Durkheim et Dewey". These are all works that deserve full attention by students of the Golden Age of American philosophy. For a European, Deledalle has an unusual capacity to detect the vitality and freshness, but also the depth, of the growth of higher education in the U.S. in the first half (...) of this century. At the heart of this growth were philosophical ideas, and in particular those of Dewey. Philosophy did not have then dictatorial or competitive designs regarding education, the social and political sciences, psychology, or the natural sciences. It freely mingled with them, not just imparting methodological or epistemological rigor but also contributing some insights and giving the hypotheses and conclusions in these fields the character of "experiences." Experience is the guiding theme of this rich and complicated work, covering a multitude of subjects and positions. The treatment is divided into six parts dealing respectively with Dewey's leanings toward unitary experience, organic experience, dynamic experience, functional experience, instrumental experience, and transactional experience. In the study of the intellectual of Dewey's life practically all of his production is critically examined by Deledalle: a monumental task in itself, made possible by the critical bibliography of Milton Hasley Thomas. There is enough early biographical detail to make this work an effective and affectionate intellectual portrait. The best pages of this work are devoted to a thorough explication and comparative study of Dewey's final synthesis of experience. There are very helpful comparative references to Marx, Freud, Bergson, and Heidegger, and also indispensable parallels and contrasts with Peirce, James, and Whitehead. This is not a modest contribution from a regional point of view: Deledalle is, perhaps more than anybody else, aware of an ongoing international dialogue on Dewey, a dialogue that is preserving experience as a problem-complex at the front line of contemporary reflection.--A. de L. M. (shrink)
Kasm does not offer any concept of proof which is regulative for all metaphysics, for he is convinced that each metaphysical approach requires its own proper logic and methodology. Within this pluralistic framework he seeks to discern the structure of formal truth as expressed in the concept of proof inherent in various metaphysical approaches.--L. S. F.
Thought, according to Hegel, is not only the product of a faculty of a subject, or a means by which a thinking subject tries to grasp a world that is alien to him. It is also the very structure of the world, that is disclosed to a subject through the thinking activity of a subject. The fundamental question that crosses the whole post-Kantian philosophy is that of the relation between thought and reality, i.e. the question of whether reality depends on (...) the categorial requirements imposed by the thinking subject, or whether reality maintains some form of independence from the thinking subject. Seen from this standpoint, Hegel can be read both as an author who radicalizes Kant’s transcendental perspective, and also as a critic of that perspective. In other words, he can be seen as an idealist: according to Hegel, any philosophy is idealist if it claims that something finite, qua finite, is essentially connected with something other. He can also be seen as an anti-idealist: insofar as his philosophy aims to overcome a hyper-transcendentalist perspective, i.e. it is so since it rejects idealism as subjective idealism. Moreover, Hegel’s anti-idealism can be characterized as realism. This is because, if we admit that overcoming transcendentalism without falling back again on a pre-critical conception of thought and of reality involves an idea of thought which is not reducible to a "mentalistic" conception of it, we need to conceive of thought as something that is not alien to reality. Hegel conceives of thought as intimately connected with the world, as its own rational structure. This “realism” of thought is what makes Hegelian idealism, so to speak, anti-idealistic. Through this "realism" of thought Hegel pursues two goals. On the one hand, Hegel attempts to overcome a subjectivistic and instrumentalistic conception of thought, according to which a subject talks and relates to a reality that is always only a construction of him, and so it is necessarily the simulacrum of something that remains inaccessible in its truth. On the other hand, Hegel attempts to overcome a conception of reality characterized merely as alien and opposite to thought itself, and which is the counterpart of the subjectivistic and instrumentalistic conception of thought. By pursuing these two goals it should be gained a conception of reality which could warrant some form of objectivity, but which cannot be equated with the substantialistic conception of the pre-Kantian metaphysics. (shrink)
The object of this article is to focus on a survey on political participation in Belgium in the mid seventies. By political participation, the author refers to a set of political activities - conventional and less conventional, electoral and pre-electoral - which are hierarchical structured on a Guttman scale.Although the research is more or less unique - in Belgian terms - in this respect, the results are at first glance compatible with earlier findings. Most Belgians are rather passive citizens; 30 (...) % of the survey sample performs none of the activities integrated in the scale.A closer look learns that male, middle aged citizens with some education and a decent job are most involved in polities, but it reveals also that gender, age, socio-economie class and educational attainment are not the one and only reliable predictors of political activity. (shrink)
May discovered Diderot's copiously annotated copy of this anti-materialist tract by Hemsterhuis, known to many contemporaries as "the Dutch Plato"; this edition contains May's interesting introduction, a facsimile of the original text, and a transcription of all of Diderot's comments. The comments bear on infelicities of style as well as of thought, though the latter preponderate: the Lettre is not, alas, the product of a first-rate philosophical intellect. Diderot's strong objections to Hemsterhuis' crude theory of a moral organ can be (...) taken as complementing his Refutation of Helvetius, which dates from the same period.—W. L. M. (shrink)
Admitting to some departure from the Aristotelian classification, Jolivet divides human activities into three sorts: labor, play, and contemplation. He warns against the naturalizing effect of the Marxist notion of labor, defends play as the essentially superfluous, and argues for including art in his third category. A proper conception of human wisdom involves all three activities, although the speculative remains the highest, and the love of God is wisdom's fullest perfection. Based on a lecture series, the book is a clear, (...) rather non-technical, and contemporary re-working of some venerable ideas.--W. L. M. (shrink)
For Brun, the separation of men from existence, which expresses itself in various forms of anxiety, is the central concern of philosophy. While the separation of men from one another can be partly overcome by language and by modern technology's "conquests," the ontological separation cannot, the philosophic attitude of wonder can never be entirely replaced by nihil mirari. He takes issue with the philosophies of praxis which regard human action as the potential remedy for all separation. The thesis is defended (...) capably and passionately.--W. L. M. (shrink)
Pucelle tries to show how the idea of personal liberty is central to Green's ethics. Green's criticisms of other philosophers and the historical context of his philosophy are especially well handled. --W. L. M.