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June 2016


Aristotle, the Pythagoreans, and Structural Realism, OWEN GOLDIN

Aristotle’s main objection to Pythagorean number ontology is that it posits as a basic subject what can exist only as inherent in a subject.  The author then shows how contemporary structural realists posit an ontology much like that of Aristotle’s Pythagoreans.  Both take the objects of knowledge to be structure, not the subject of structure.  He discusses both how pancomputationalists such as Edward Fredkin approach the Pythagorean account insofar as on their account all reality can in principle be expressed as one (very big) number, made up of discrete units, and even more moderate varieties of structural realism, like that of Floridi, share with pancomputationalism the aspect of “Pythagorean” ontology that Aristotle finds so objectionable: positing structure or form with no substrate. He concludes by arguing that Aristotle himself is drawn to something close or (identical) to a structural realist ontology in Metaphysics 7.3.

Aquinas, Kant, and the Eclipse of Practical Reason, GEORGE DUKE

Contemporary debates on the nature and scope of practical reason are often framed in terms of the viewpoints of a few major figures in the history of philosophy. Whereas advocates of skeptical or procedural approaches to practical reason generally seek historical support from Hume, defenders of more substantive conceptions of practical rationality tend to draw inspiration from Aristotle or Kant. This paper argues that it is in fact the work of Aquinas which offers the best material for a defense of a substantive conception of practical rationality. After outlining the distinction between procedural and substantive conceptions, the author turns to Christine M. Korsgaard’s rearticulation of a Kantian viewpoint on practical reason. The advocate of a Kantian framework, he argues, is less well equipped than the defender of the Thomistic conception to meet necessary constraints on a substantive account. The paper closes with a discussion of the way contemporary versions of natural law theory can meet these constraints.

From Dreamland “Humanism” to Christian Political Reality, or from Nusquama to Utopia, JOHN M. RIST

Relative Unity in an Undone World: Paraconsistence and the Meaning of Being, CLAYTON SHOPPA

What makes something a unity? In his 2014 monograph One Graham Priest alleges the Socratic tradition was aware of a problem it never completely solves. Plato, Aristotle, and their medieval expositors contend the form of something is what makes it a unity. These authorities, however, have only multiplied what they meant to explain, for form is now a part of something that stands in need of unification. Taking up the issue on their behalf, Priest argues for the existence of “paraconsistent” material components instead of forms to explain the unity of things. Gluons, as he designates them, are contradictory objects that solve the enduring problem of unity without generating infinite regresses he associates with other accounts of unity. Replying especially to the historical dimension of Priest’s argument, this paper summarizes Priest’s view but finds in Aristotle’s work that which Priest overlooks. Gluons superadd the unity Aristotle discovers further upstream. The source of unity is to be detected instead in the intelligent reach for an understanding of what makes something what it is.


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 31 May 2016 17:14 )