Since the appearance of Plato’s Dialogues, philosophers have been preoccupied with the identity of Socrates and have maintained that successful interpretation of the work hinges upon a clear understanding of what thoughts and ideas can be attributed to him. In Descent of Socrates, PeterWarnek offers a new interpretation of Plato by considering the appearance of Socrates within Plato’s work as a philosophical question. Warnek reads the Dialogues as an inquiry into the nature of Socrates and in (...) doing so opens up the relationship between humankind and the natural world. Here, Socrates appears as a demonic and tragic figure whose obsession with the task of self-knowledge transforms the history of philosophy. In this uncompromising work, Warnek reveals the importance of the concept of nature in the Platonic Dialogues in light of Socratic practice and the Ancient ideas that inspire contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
The paper explores a connection between Schelling’s celebrated Freedom Essay and Plato’s Timaeus by considering the importance of Schelling’s translation of a phrase found in the Platonic dialogue in which Timaeus expresses the limits of human discourse, speaking of it as a kind of “bastard reasoning.” These limits are said to arise necessarily through the progression of the inquiry carried out by Timaeus. Schelling’s own resistance to viewing his inquiry determined by such limits and such necessity is highlighted by the (...) fact that he curiously translates the phrase as “false imagination” or sin. The paper questions the reasons for such resistance given the striking structural similarity between the Timaeus and Schelling’s own essay. The paper concludes that Schelling’s thinking of the “unground” is comparable to the chorological interruption enacted in the Timaeus, but that Schelling does not consider how such an interruption bears upon God’s word. The paper thus points to a self-estranging necessity at the heart of all discourse and thought. (shrink)
"Platonism" is not only an example of this movement, the first "in" the whole history of philosophy. It commands it, it commands this whole history. [But the "whole" of this history is conflictual, heterogenous; it gives place to only relatively stabilizable hegemonies. Thus, it is never totalized, never totalizes itself.] A philosophy as such (an effect of hegemony) would henceforth always be "Platonic." Hence the necessity to continue to try to think what takes place in Plato, with Plato, what is (...) shown there, what is hidden, so as to win there or lose there.1. (shrink)
The paper asks about the difficulty of reading Schelling's work today given the historical biases that dominate contemporary philosophical inquiry. But if we cannot succeed as the readers Schelling himself appears to be looking for, this does not already have to mean that his work cannot speak to our time. Such a possibility, however, presupposes that we consider Schelling's work as it is inseparably connected to a critique of the modern project and as it points thereby to the monstrous discord (...) that defines human philosophical discourse as such. In particular, the paper considers the Kantian opposition between faith and knowledge and claims that this opposition itself appears to establish a kind of limit for philosophical inquiry today. In this context, some reflections are offered on the history of European nihilism and the death of God. The paper concludes by giving several indications of how Schelling's thought promises to subvert this opposition and this limit. (shrink)
The paper considers the legacy of Empedocles as it bears upon the difficulty confronted by Hölderlin in his Death of Empedocles: how are we to understand Hölderlin’s failure to complete this ‘mourning play’ despite his continued and repeated efforts? This difficulty is elaborated through a reading of Hölderlin’s own understanding of “elemental tragedy” as it is presented and developed in the three dense so-called Homburg essays on tragedy. It is evident that the understanding of tragedy that emerges here entails a (...) dramatic poetry that would break with the prevailing tradition and its determination of poetry according to a mimetic operation. Aristotle’s own account of Empedocles and his apparent refusal to consider Empedocles as a poet is considered alongside other ancient accounts of Empedoclean poetry, notably those provided by Plutarch, Diogenes Laertius, and Lucretius. In this context, Nietzsche’s account of the end of tragedy through his interpretation of another philosophical death, that of Socrates, is introduced as a counterpoint to help elucidate the difficulties faced by Hölderlin. This Nietzschean account of ‘the image of the dying Socrates’ also proves to be related to Nietzsche’s own brief but provocative statements concerning what is eclipsed with the loss of Empedoclean tragic philosophy and emergence of Socratism. The paper concludes by returning to Hölderlin’s letters to Böhlendorff as these letters make thematic an ‘elemental’ difference in the impossible recovery of the tragic in our time. (shrink)
The paper begins by taking seriously Heidegger's provocative claims concerning Hegel's relationship to the Greeks. Most notably, the enigmatic assertion that Hegel, as the "last Greek," brings Greek philosophy to its completion through a historical thinking is considered in terms of the strange sense of repetition it opens up: the Hegelian presentation of Greek philosophy must both present that philosophy, repeat its movement, but also, in the repetition, present the truth of that movement for the first time. It thus must (...) remain undecided whether Hegel's presentation only opens up a necessity already at work in Greek philosophical history or whether that presentation, in fact, first grants such necessity to that history. The singularity of Hegel's relation to the Greeks is then explored through an examination of Hegel's own statements concerning the singularity of Aristotle. In this way, it becomes apparent that Hegel's own thought, in its entirety, asserts itself as nothing other that a decisive repetition of the Aristotelian speculative thought of actuality. This exceptional position of Aristotle in Hegel's logic of history suggests that there is a need for another sense of history's movement, in which that movement does not simply progress but unfolds as the sin- gular dialogue between one Greek and one German. (shrink)
The paper begins by raising once again the question of the possible unity of Schelling’s work, despite the undeniable transformations the work undergoes. It isproposed that such unity is best considered by taking seriously the primacy of the philosophical task that Schelling confronts, rather than by emphasizing whatever doctrinal or doxographical positions he espouses. Such a view of Schelling’s work is confirmed if one considers his continual critique of predicative discourse. Philosophical thought remains irreducible to propositional content because the matter (...) of philosophy must already be presupposed if such propositions are to arise. This matter or “unprethinkable” source, given to thinking, can only be addressed in an explicit affirmation of freedom and life. Thus, Schelling’s work as it raises the question of freedom has to be encountered as itself a manifestation of freedom, and such an interpretation of Schelling for its part also must presuppose the freedom of the interpreter. The paper argues that this approach to Schelling makes it necessary to be attentive to the “performative dimension” of his work, to the way in which what is at issue in it becomes manifest indirectly. Schelling’s demand for a positive philosophy thus also calls for and makes possible a different relation to language and the word. The word can no longer be taken as the sensible marker for an intelligible content, but becomes the living bond of what is. (shrink)
The paper revisits the discussion of freedom in the Phenomenology of Perception and considers how according to Merleau-Ponty a phenomenology of freedom must challenge the tradition that attempts to account for experience and appearance through the filter of reflective consciousness. The paper begins by posing this problem in broad historical terms, as a distinctly modern predicament, and briefly considers Schelling’s philosophical engagement with negative philosophy as a provocation and historical precedent for reading the phenomenological work of Merleau-Ponty. It is noted (...) that Schelling’s criticism of the formal freedom of Kant prefi gures Merleau-Ponty’s polemic against Sartrean freedom, although the claim is also made that Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological account of freedom remains irreducible to the terms established by this polemic, since what appears is a freedom no longer determined by consciousness and reflection. Before turning to the reading of the Phenomenology of Perception, a single passage is also adduced from The Visible and Invisible in order to demonstrate how the concern elaborated in the Phenomenology runs throughout Merleau-Ponty’s work, namely, that a phenomenological interrogation of experience must break down the boundaries of what is properly one’s own as this would be defined in and by the reflective act. The reading of the Phenomenology then proceeds by showing how the entire work is framed by the possibility of transforming philosophical practice through an overturning of the dominant paradigm of reflection. The paper interrogates in this light the Preface, the chapter on Descartes’ cogito and the concluding chapter on freedom. A connection is drawn between the appearance of the “tacit” cogito and the elaboration of freedom that ends by insisting upon the necessity of silence. (shrink)
The article takes up the question of the “truth” of images by means of a somewhat playful reflection upon our human kinship with canine life and by considering the recurrent images of dogs of all shapes and sizes within the philosophical tradition. Here there is occasion to consider both Socrates and Confucius, who had a special fondness for dogs and who were at times compared to dogs themselves. The paper begins with a reading of Kant’s schematism in the First Critique, (...) as an operation that would establish a mediating relation between the concepts of the understanding and sensible intuitions, and ends with a meditation upon the dog-themed painting, “Dark Room,” by the contemporary artist, Alan Loehle. Kant accounts for our ability to grasp that we see a dog by introducing a mysterious distortional skewing or Verzeichnung, which as a power of the imagination is able to freely sketch what appears for it within the sensible. The sense of this Kantian skewing or sketching thereby anticipates what Heidegger names the essential Verunstaltung belonging originally to the event of truth. The last half of the paper turns to Jean-Luc Nancy’s difficult but provocative work on the abysmal ground of images and attempts to show in this way how our human kinship with canine life exposes us to what Nancy would think, following Heidegger, as the elemental strife between earth and sky. (shrink)
This paper seeks to steer a way between a dogmatic and a skeptical reading of the Meno by taking up the performative dimension of Socrates’ responseto Meno. How does the philosophical inquiry into the definition of virtue promise to radicalize Meno’s alleged concern with the genesis of virtue? The paper shows that Socrates is acting, in a way, as an educator, in the sense that he attempts to awaken Meno to the task of self-knowledge as it bears upon the possibility (...) of virtue in his own life. Thus, a dogmatic response to Meno’s question could not succeed in interrupting his tendentious memorizing approach to philosophical questions. But the paper also develops this reading by retracing the way in which nature undergoes a transformation, or a doubling, during the course of the dialogue. It becomes evident that the apparently inconclusive answer at the end of the dialogue, which states that the origin of virtue is to be found in “divine dispensation” and “correct opinion,” is only understandable in light of this transformation or doubling of nature that is made manifest dialogically andmythically in Socrates’ interaction with the young and handsome Meno. Socrates thus appears as a kind of “Teiresias in Athens,” but his clear failure inimpacting Meno in any lasting way only demonstrates that the possibility of political health is irreducible to any and all technical production. (shrink)
Martin Heidegger’s sustained reflection on Greek thought has been increasingly recognized as a decisive feature of his own philosophical development. At the same time, this important philosophical meeting has generated considerable controversy and disagreement concerning the radical originality of Heidegger’s view of the Greeks and their place in his groundbreaking thinking. In Heidegger and the Greeks, an international group of distinguished philosophers sheds light on the issues raised by Heidegger’s encounter and engagement with the Greeks. The careful and nuanced essays (...) brought together here shed light on how core philosophical concepts such as phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, and ethics are understood today. For readers at all levels, this volume is an invitation to continue the important dialogue with Greek thinking that was started and stimulated by Heidegger. Contributors are Claudia Baracchi, Walter A. Brogan, Günter Figal, Gregory Fried, Francisco J. Gonzalez, Drew A. Hyland, John Panteleimon Manoussakis, William J. Richardson, John Sallis, Dennis J. Schmidt, and PeterWarnek. (shrink)
I. On the morning of 28 November 1979 flight TE-901, a DC-10 operated by Air New Zealand Limited, took off from Auckland, New Zealand, on a sightseeing passenger flight over a portion of Antarctica. The pilot in command was Captain Collins. The following are paragraphs from the official Report of the Royal Commission that inquired into the events surrounding that flight.
This book, written by well-known students of Étienne Gilson and especially dedicated to Armand A. Maurer, helps inaugurate a long-overdue special series in philosophy honoring Gilson’s legendary scholarship. It presents wide-ranging expositions of Thomist realism in the tradition of Gilsonian humanism covering themes related to philosophy in general, historical method, aesthetics, metaphysics, epistemology, and politics.
It was a little over ten years ago, 1967–8, that H. D. Lewis delivered the first series of Gifford lectures, The Elusive Mind, in the University of Edinburgh. It was my privilege that year to be an auditor in the Seminar at King's College that Professor Lewis was conducting with his students in the area of this topic. I had already read the works in which, in the midst of neo-orthodox and existentialist religious movements, he had devoted himself to critical (...) valuation of those doctrines - witness his Morals and the New Theology, and Morals and Revelation. This earlier work prepared for a comprehensive interpretation of religious experience in his book in 1960: Our Experience of God. (shrink)
A Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind is designed both to provide a selection of core readings on the subject and to make those readings accessible by providing commentaries to guide the reader through initially intimidating material. Each commentary explains technical concepts and provides background on obscure arguments as they arise, setting them in the historical and intellectual milieu from which they emerged. The readings concentrate on providing the student with a solid grounding in the theories of representative figures (...) of the major philosophical movements, from Plato and Aristotle to important recent figures such as Fodor and Dennett. A glossary of key terms is also included. (shrink)
In this paper I sketch an account of moral blame and blameworthiness. I begin by clarifying what I take blame to be and explaining how blameworthiness is to be analyzed in terms of it. I then consider different accounts of the conditions of blameworthiness and, in the end, settle on one according to which a person is blameworthy for φ-ing just in case, in φ-ing, she violates one of a particular class of moral requirements governing the attitudes we bear, and (...) our mental orientation, toward people and other objects of significant moral worth. These requirements embody the moral stricture that we accord to these others a sufficient level of respect, one that their moral worth demands. This is a familiar theme which has its roots in P. F. Strawson’s pioneering views on moral responsibility. My development of it leads me to the conclusion that acting wrongly is not a condition of blameworthiness: violating a moral requirement to perform, or refrain from performing, an action is neither necessary nor sufficient for being blameworthy. All we are ever blameworthy for, I will argue, are certain aspects of our mental bearing toward others. We can be said to be blameworthy for our actions only derivatively, in the sense that those actions are the natural manifestations of the things for which we are strictly speaking blameworthy. (shrink)
_The Scope of Morality _ was first published in 1980. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions. The scope of morality, Peter A. French contends, is much narrower than many traditional and contemporary works in ethical theory suggest. We trivialize morality if we think it has something to say about everything we do; it touches us all, but not at all times. (...) This essay in philosophical ethics focuses upon the origin, purpose, and function of the various concepts to be found in a more or less mature morality. The author draws a distinction between moral concepts that arise from an individual's wish to live a worthwhile life and those directed towards the development of virtue in the moral community. Moral concepts, in his view, are subjective creations of human beings rather than laws with an objective basis in nature. The ethics of sociobiology, of the lifeboat and spaceship models, and of game theory all come under his critical eye in this useful and progressive work. _The Scope of Morality_, says Hector-Neri Castaneda, "represents a serious effort at discussing the nature of morality, taking into account the most important contributions of recent writers.". (shrink)
It would be useful to have a category of extensive-form games whose isomorphisms specify equivalences between games. Since working with entire games is too large a project for a single paper, I begin here with preforms, where a “preform” is a rooted tree together with choices and information sets. In particular, this paper first defines the category \, whose objects are “functioned trees”, which are specially designed to be incorporated into preforms. I show that \ is isomorphic to the full (...) subcategory of \ whose objects are converging arborescences. Then the paper defines the category \, whose objects are “node-and-choice preforms”, each of which consists of a node set, a choice set, and an operator mapping node-choice pairs to nodes. I characterize the \ isomorphisms, define a forgetful functor from \ to \, and show that \ is equivalent to the full subcategory of \ whose objects are perfect-information preforms. The paper also shows that many game-theoretic entities can be derived from preforms, and that these entities are well-behaved with respect to \ morphisms and isomorphisms. (shrink)
Ethics and College Sports is a careful analysis of the root problems in intercollegiate athletics in American universities. It examines the prevalent myths that are regularly used to justify the inclusion of intercollegiate athletics, and all of the abuses and scandals it has brought to university campuses, from a moral perspective.
This book challenges the presupposition among professional philosophers that René Descartes is the Father of Modern Philosophy. It demonstrates by intensive textual analysis of Descartes's Discourse and Meditations that he inaugurated a new type of sophistry rather than a new way of conducting philosophy. Transcendental Sophistry is a synthesis of Renaissance humanism and Christian theology, especially the theology of creation. This striking re-evaluation of the achievement of Descartes opens the history of Western philosophy to radical reinterpretation.
David Lewis has offered a reply to the standard argument for the claim that the truth of determinism is incompatible with anyone’s being able to do otherwise than she in fact does. Helen Beebee has argued that Lewis’s compatibilist strategy is untenable. In this paper I show that one recent attempt to defend Lewis’s view against this argument fails and then go on to offer my own defense of Lewis’s view.
There is a debate in normative ethics about whether or not our moral obligations depend solely on either our evidence concerning, or our beliefs about, the world. Subjectivists maintain that they do and objectivists maintain that they do not. I shall offer some arguments in support of objectivism and respond to the strongest argument for subjectivism. I shall also briefly consider the significance of my discussion to the debate over whether one’s future voluntary actions are relevant to one’s current moral (...) obligations. (shrink)
Good Science, Bad Science, Pseudoscience, and Just Plain Bunk teaches readers to think like scientists—to critically evaluate the truth of scientific claims. Filled with provocative real-life examples, from the effects of Bisphenol-A to examining some of the alleged causes of cancer, the book helps readers build their tools of scientific literacy.
End-of-life issues and questions are complex and frequently cause confusion and anxiety. In _Death with Dignity_,_ _theologian, medical ethicist, and pastoral caregiver Peter A. Clark examines numerous issues that are pertinent to patients, family members, and health care professionals, including physiology, consciousness, the definition of death, the distinction between extraordinary and ordinary means, medical futility, “Do Not Resuscitate” orders, living wills, power of attorney, pain assessment and pain management, palliative and hospice care, the role of spirituality in end-of-life care, (...) and physicians’ communication with terminal patients. Patients, family members, medical students, and health care professionals will find in _Death with Dignity _the_ _practical and ethical knowledge they need to capably and confidently cope with end-of-life challenges. (shrink)
Truth and Its Deformities is the 32nd volume in the Midwest Studies in Philosophy series. It contains major new contributions on a range of topics related to the general theme of the volume by some of the most important philosophers writing on truth in recent years.
Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Volume XXIV, Life and Death: Metaphysics and Ethics is an important contribution to the literature on the intersection of issues of metaphysics and issues of ethics. In the Midwest Studies tradition, twenty of the more important philosophers writing in this area have contributed original papers that extend the boundaries of philosophical discussion of issues that are of both theoretical and practical concern to a wide-ranging audience. Topics considered include the concept of human life, the relationship between (...) the concept of personal identity and the understanding of death, normative appraisals of death, capital punishment, euthanasia, the postponement of death and the impact of a theory of death and afterlife on one's ethical perspective. (shrink)
__The Concept of Evil__ is dedicated to the analysis of the concept of evil. The term "evil" is used widely in ordinary language and yet philosophers have disagreed on what, if anything, distinguishes an evil act from a wrong act or an evil person from a bad one. Is "evil" a distinct and important moral category? Which agents and acts can and should be classified as "evil"? In which areas of practice does evil arise? These questions indicate three essential categories (...) that belong to a thorough analysis of the concept of evil: meta-evil, the nature of evil, and applied evil. The articles presented in this volume provide insight into these categories. (shrink)
This Volume illuminates the notion of meaning in the arts-in literature, painting, music, and dance. Specific topics include theory in the arts; interpretations of meaning; objectivity in meaning; and the consumer as a participant in art. Brings together articles from prominent philosophers and practitioners of the arts, which illuminate the notion of meaning in the arts. Addresses meaning in literature, painting, music, and dance. Explores the relationship between authorial intentions and the viewer's interpretation of meaning; the possibility of objective meaning; (...) and the role of the consumer as a participant in the work of art. (shrink)
Dealing with the metaphysical foundations of modern physical science, this book demonstrates that not only is classical metaphysics not in conflict with the principles of modern experimental science but that, when analogously transferred to the different divisions of modern science, the metaphysical principle of unity makes intelligible all the laws of modern science. This revolutionary book provides the means for reestablishing the unity of science by interpreting the whole of modern experimental science from the perspective of an analogous transfer of (...) the metaphysical principle of unity rather than in terms of efficient causality. (shrink)
This volume of _Midwest Studies_ focuses on the currently hot topic in ethics and action theory of shared intentions and relates it to issues in collective responsibility. Each of the essays in the volume is by an internationally known scholar who has published seminal pieces on various aspects of the concepts of shared intention and collective responsibility. Features all new essays that expand the discussion and invite those interested in the topic to examine a variety of ways for understanding the (...) basic idea and the application of the notion of shared intention to a range of contemporary issues in the ethics of responsibility. (shrink)
__Early Modern Philosophy Reconsidered: Essays in Honor of Paul Hoffman __is an international collection of essays from both well-established and younger scholars. In keeping with the example of Hoffman’s own work, the essays are written in the spirit of promoting serious philosophical engagement with the historical figures they discuss. Among the philosophers whose views are explored in the collection are Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Berkeley, and Kant.
The essays in this volume explore various issues pertaining to human agency, such as the relationship between free will and causal determinism, and the nature and conditions of moral responsibility. Builds on and extends some of the very best recent work in the field. Features lively and vigorous debate. Forges connections between abstract philosophical theorizing and applied work in neuroscience and even criminal law.
_Philosophy and Poetry_ is the 33rd volume in the _Midwest Studies in Philosophy_ series. It begins with contributions in verse from two world class poets, JohnAshbery and Stephen Dunn, and an article by Dunn on the creative processthat issued in his poem. The volume features new work from an internationalcollection of philosophers exploring central philosophical issues pertinent topoetry as well as the connections between the two domains.
In this volume leading contemporary philosophical historians of the Renaissance and Early Modern periods examine the works of important figures of the fifteenth through the eighteenth century. While Midwest Studies in Philosophy has produced other volumes devoted to historical periods in philosophy, this is the first to offer such extensive and focused original materials on specific crucial figures as this volume. Original papers by twenty contemporary philosophers writing about the works of the major philosophers of the Fifteenth through the Eighteenth (...) centuries This historically and philosophically broad collection extends from such fifteenth century figures as Ficino, Machiavelli, and Pompanazzi to the work of Montesquieu in the eighteenth century. (shrink)
This collection of essays endeavors to generate a dialogue between Eric Voegelin and other prominent twentieth-century thinkers and explore some of the more perplexing issues in contemporary political theory. Each essay rests on the underlying question: is it possible or desirable to construct or discover political foundations without resorting to metaphysical or essentialist constructs? The introduction focuses on the two nineteenth-century thinkers, Nietzsche and Husserl, who have framed the debate about modernity and postmodernity; thereafter, the book examines Voegelin's ideas as (...) compared to those of other twentieth-century thinkers. Discussed within the volume are Levinas and the precedence of ethics, Ricoeur's theory of narrative representation, Deleuze and the philosophy of immanence, Voegelin's relationship to a speech- dimension theory of human behavior, and Patocka's theory of pre- metaphysical transcendence in Socrates. What will impress scholars most about this collection is the provocative dialogue created between Voegelin and other major thinkers of postmodernism that addresses the issue of establishing foundations without foundationalism. (shrink)