• Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size


September 2015


Rearticulating Being, ALAN WHITE

It is often noted, by philosophers concerned with being, that problems arise for the articulation of being in English from the fact that the infinitive “to be” often cannot—without enormous awkwardness—be used to translate such counterpart infinitives as the Greek einai, the Latin esse, and the German Sein. Hence, to translate two distinct terms from those other languages—einai and to on, esse and ens, Sein and Seiende—English must often make do with the single term “being.” The term “being” is indeed ambiguous. As a first step toward disambiguating it—and a first step in my rearticulation of being—I introduce the technical term “be-er.” This term is comparable to such terms as “runner,” “swimmer,” “writer,” and “philosopher.” According to the structural-systematic philosophy (SSP), systematic philosophies require theories of be-ers—the SSP calls such theories “ontologies”—but they also require theories of being. Virtually throughout the history of philosophy, the status of theories of be-ers is far clearer than the status of theories of being. Philosophers disagree about which theory of be-ers is best, but it is at least relatively clear what they are disagreeing about. With theories of being, on the other hand, there is so little clarity about what a theory of being that is not a theory of be-ers could or should be that the majority of philosophers—including virtually all analytic philosophers—do not recognize developing theories of being as a genuine task for philosophy.

Uninstantiated Properties and Semi-Platonist Aristotelianism, JAMES FRANKLIN

Once the reality of properties is admitted, there are two fundamentally different realist theories of properties. Platonist or transcendent realism holds that properties are abstract objects in the classical sense, of being nonmental, nonspatial, and causally inefficacious. By contrast, Aristotelian or moderate realism takes properties to be literally instantiated in things (physical particulars or whatever other particular things may exist). An apple’s color and shape are as real and physical as the apple itself. The most direct reason for taking an Aristotelian realist view of properties is that we perceive them. We perceive an individual apple, but only as a certain shape, color, and weight, because it is those properties that confer on it the power to affect our senses. It is in virtue of being blue that a body reflects certain light and looks blue. Since “causality is the mark of being,” the properties that confer causal power are real. And that means a reality, not in a Platonic and acausal world of “abstract objects,” but in the ordinary concrete world in which we live. On an Aristotelian view, it is the business of science to determine which properties there are and to classify and understand the properties we perceive (and those which we infer to explain what we perceive), and to find the laws connecting them.

Aristotle’s Contrary Psychology: The Mean in Ethics and Beyond, LOUIS GROARKE

Contemporary commentators such as Rosalind Hursthouse misconstrue Aristotle’s doctrine of the ethical mean. They propose a monist account of his moral psychology, explaining each virtue in terms of the presence or absence of a single psychological trait. In contrast, the author argues that Aristotle depicts virtue as a balancing of two opposed psychological inclinations that push and pull in different directions. Each inclination is a positive force in its own right; neither is mere privation. This dualistic account of moral psychology is a more specific application of a recurrent explanatory model one finds elsewhere in Aristotle’s wide-ranging philosophy. In discussing the virtuous mean, moral success can be attributed to the human agent as composite whole or to the indivisible soul.

Sartre and Sertillanges on Creation, PAUL CLAVIER

Before setting up the notion of “creation of the self,” Sartre intends to defeat the very concept of creation on the ontological level. He makes the statement that the created entity would not enjoy the least autonomy because it would depend wholly upon its creator. Sartre maintains that a created being cannot escape divine subjectivity, unless it is self-supported and self-sustained, that is, uncreated. Catholic scholar Sertillanges completely changes the deal: in his view, it is because of its existential autonomy that some entity may be described in terms of dependence upon a creator, which does not jeopardize the autonomy of the creature. Focusing on the arguments rather than on the broader topic of self-creation in existentialism, this paper compares these two accounts of what the metaphysical thesis of creation amounts to.

Congruency and Evil in Plato’s Timaeus, COLIN DAVID PEARS

While there is no principle of evil (archē kakou) for Plato, evil does exist in the Platonic framework in various ways, and these help to illuminate other important and overlooked features of Platonic thought: human freedom and the ability to choose and act. Using the Timaeus as the basis of investigation, this paper examines the world-soul and its relation to the human soul in order to understand Plato’s notion of congruency between parts and the whole. It specifically highlights the importance of the three fundamental characteristics of the cosmos—singularity, proportionalism, and completeness—and their ability to explain the human being. The paper argues that Plato understands evil as basic incongruence on all levels, but specifically active incongruence on the human level. The incongruence between the human and the cosmic levels of evil reveals perhaps the most important aspect of the Platonic framework, the possibility for progress toward the good.


Last Updated ( Monday, 24 August 2015 19:38 )