In order to tackle the question of a meaningful life, the author is firstly concerned with how verbal expressions become meaningful. The meaning of a verbal expression consists in giving reasons for convictions, actions, and emotive attitudes. The giving and taking of reasons implies a permanent self-assurance of our own actions, our own convictions, and our own emotive attitudes. We assure ourselves of the meaning of life by weighing and exchanging reasons. Reasons never express merely subjective preferences or epistemic states. Therefore, they always refer to something objective.
When elements join together in a mixture, those elements remain in the mixture, but only virtually. They are present with their powers, but without their substantial forms. When the mixture corrupts, the elements come to be actually present. And so my question: according to St. Thomas, are the elements that come to be actually present as a result of the corruption of the mixed body numerically identical with the elements that came together to create the mixture? I answer yes. This answer entails not only that St. Thomas believes in the doctrine of “gappy existence”, but that he believes gappy existence can occur purely naturally, with no Divine intervention required. Both entailments are controversial. The second will be widely viewed as entirely indefensible: this paper provides a defense.
The article investigates and defends central elements of Quine’s naturalized epistemology. Davidson’s coherentist attacks on Quine’s empiricismare dismissed. The view is advocated that sensory experience plays an essential epistemic role, and that, therefore, the study of perception must be taken seriously in the theory of knowledge. The author rejects, however, Quine’s behavioristic conception of experience as stimulation of sensory receptors and instead argues for a richer conception, according to which an experience is a sensory state of things appearing in certain ways to us. Finally, it is shown that this standpoint allows us to acknowledge a given element in experience without falling victim to a myth.
‘Having a mind’ is construed as having a variety of mental capacities such as perceiving, memorizing, learning, or reasoning. In cognitive science, these capacities are studied from an integrative trans-disciplinary perspective that combines anthropology, artificial intelligence, computational linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy and psychology. To approach mental phenomena by combining philosophical insights with those from the natural sciences is part of the Aristotelian tradition. Accordingly, the paper also portrays the most salient models of mental processing – the computer model, connectionism and situated cognition. Eventually, an example of an artificial agent – Affective AutoTutor – is introduced that exhibits striking cognitive capacities, but still seems to lack what is expected from someone who ‘has a mind’.
Practical philosophy in the classical German tradition from Kant to Hegel seems to be moralistic and even ascetic. The core of its moral and legal philosophy is a concept of freedom as independence from any longing for pleasure and happiness. Tracing the development of Hegel’s philosophy of subjective, objective and absolute spirit, however, exhibits a deep systematic connection between the forms of freedom and happiness in all their traditional and modern meanings. Many of them can be compared with modern conceptions, but others have to be saved from oblivion and defended against reductive conceptions of freedom and happiness in modern philosophy.
I propose that a logical formalization of a natural language text (especially an argument) may be regarded as adequate if the following three groups of beliefs can be integrated into a wide reflective equilibrium: (1) our initial, spontaneous beliefs about the structure and logical quality of the text; (2) our beliefs about its structure and logical quality as reflected in the proposed formalization, and (3) our background beliefs about the original text’s author, his thought and other contextually relevant factors. Unlike a good part of the literature, I stress the indispensable role of initial beliefs in achieving such a wide reflective equilibrium. In the final sections I show that my approach does not succumb to undue subjectivism or the mere perpetuation of prejudice. The examples I use to illustrate my claims are chiefly taken from Anselm’s Proslogion 2–3 and the various attempts to formalize these texts.
The main objective is an interpretation of the island parody, in particular a logical reconstruction of the parodying argument that stays close to the text. The parodied reasoning is identified as the proof in the second chapter of the Proslogion, more specifically, this proof as it is represented by Gaunilo in the first chapter of his Liber pro insipiente. The second task is a detailed comparison between parodied and parodying argument as well as an account of their common structure. The third objective is a tentative characterization of the nature and function of parodies of arguments. It seems that parodying does not add new pertinent points of view to the usual criticism of an argument.
Using a short excerpt from Anselm’s Responsio as an example, this paper tries to present logical reconstruction as a special type of exegetical interpretation by paraphrase that is subject to (adapted) hermeneutic maxims and presumption rules that govern exegetical interpretation in general. As such, logical reconstruction will be distinguished from the non-interpretative enterprise of formalization and from the development of theories of logical form, which provide a framework in which formalization and reconstruction take place. Yet, even though logical reconstruction is dependent on methods of formalization, it allows us to use formal methods for the analysis and assessment of natural language texts that are not readily formalizable and is thus an important tool when it comes to applying the concepts and methods of formal logic to such texts.