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Author: Michael Wallner

Abstract

Husserl famously argues that it is essential to perception to present the perceived object in perspectives. Hence, there is no – and there cannot be – perception without perspectival givenness. Yet, it seems that there are counterexamples to this essentialist claim, for we seem to be able to imagine beings that do not perceive in perspectives. Recently, there have been some accounts in the literature that critically discuss those counterexamples and assess to what extent they succeed in challenging Husserl’s essentialist claim. In this paper I discuss three different answers to these counterexamples, all of them are found wanting. I offer a novel solution, taking into account some crucial findings of the contemporary debate about imagination and modality. I argue that this new solution is capable of fully vindicating Husserl’s essentialist claim. Finally, I reconstruct Husserl’s own way to treat such counterexamples, in order to showcase the notion of modality Husserlian phenomenology relies on. I argue for the hitherto widely underappreciated point that Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology cannot appeal to strictly absolute modality but that the kind of modality in Husserlian phenomenology is conditional on the facticity that we have the transcendental structure we do in fact have.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis

Abstract

Plato’s partition argument infers that the soul has parts from the fact that the soul experiences mental conflict. Alasdair MacIntyre poses a dilemma for the argument that highlights an ambiguity in the concept of mental conflict. According to the first sense of conflict, a soul is in conflict when it has desires whose satisfaction conditions are logically incompatible. According to the second sense of conflict, a soul is in conflict when it has desires which are logically incompatible even when they are unsatisfied. The dilemma is therefore this: if the mental conflict is supposed to be the latter kind of conflict, then the partition argument is valid but is likely unsound; if it’s supposed to be the former kind, then the partition argument has true premises but is invalid. We explain this dilemma in detail and defend a dispositionalist solution to it.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis

Abstract

A natural reading of Hume’s distinction between impressions and ideas is that impressions are forceful perceptions whereas ideas are faint. A problem emerges, however, when Hume countenances the possibility of faint impressions and forceful ideas. In this paper, I attempt a resolution to the problem. I argue that Hume characterizes impressions and ideas intensionally and extensionally, and sometimes uses the term in only one of the two senses. I argue that Hume intensionally defines impressions and ideas as forceful perceptions and weak perceptions, respectively, but takes these to be extensionally equivalent to original and copied perceptions, respectively. Hume recognizes that his two characterizations—the intensional and extensional—don’t perfectly match up, and that there are exceptions to the purported equivalences (the exceptions being disease, sleep, madness, and enthusiasm). Nonetheless, I argue that Hume’s willing to proceed with his definitions.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Jacob Browning

Abstract

Over the last thirty years, a group of philosophers associated with the University of Pittsburgh—Robert Brandom, James Conant, John Haugeland, and John McDowell—have developed a novel reading of Kant. Their interest turns on Kant’s problem of objective purport: how can my thoughts be about the world? This paper summarizes the shared reading of Kant’s Transcendental Deduction by these four philosophers and how it solves the problem of objective purport. But I also show these philosophers radically diverge in how they view Kant’s relevance for contemporary philosophy. I highlight an important distinction between those that hold a quietist response to Kant, evident in Conant and McDowell, and those that hold a constructive response, evident in Brandom and Haugeland. The upshot is that the Pittsburgh Kantians have a distinctive approach to Kant, but also radically different responses to his problem of objective purport.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Marcel Buß

Abstract

Immanuel Kant states that indirect arguments are not suitable for the purposes of transcendental philosophy. If he is correct, this affects contemporary versions of transcendental arguments which are often used as an indirect refutation of scepticism. I discuss two reasons for Kant’s rejection of indirect arguments. Firstly, Kant argues that we are prone to misapply the law of excluded middle in philosophical contexts. Secondly, Kant points out that indirect arguments lack some explanatory power. They can show that something is true but they do not provide insight into why something is true. Using mathematical proofs as examples, I show that this is because indirect arguments are non-constructive. From a Kantian point of view, transcendental arguments need to be constructive in some way. In the last part of the paper, I briefly examine a comment made by P. F. Strawson. In my view, this comment also points toward a connection between transcendental and constructive reasoning.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Robert Audi

Abstract

Kant influentially distinguished analytic from synthetic a priori propositions, and he took certain propositions in the latter category to be of immense philosophical importance. His distinction between the analytic and the synthetic has been accepted by many and attacked by others; but despite its importance, a number of discussions of it since at least W. V. Quine’s have paid insufficient attention to some of the passages in which Kant draws the distinction. This paper seeks to clarify what appear to be three distinct conceptions of the analytic (and implicitly of the synthetic) that are presented in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and in some other Kantian texts. The conceptions are important in themselves, and their differences are significant even if they are extensionally equivalent. The paper is also aimed at showing how the proposed understanding of these conceptions—and especially the one that has received insufficient attention from philosophers—may bear on how we should conceive the synthetic a priori, in and beyond Kant’s own writings.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Luca Gili

Abstract

According to Philoponus, the activity of drawing syllogisms is a dynamic operation. Following the classical idea that actions are specified by their objects and habitual powers by their actions, Philoponus concludes that only a dynamic power can elicit the act of syllogizing. This power is identified with discursive reasoning (dianoia). Imagination, on the contrary, is a static power, that cannot elicit that particular motion of drawing a syllogistic inference. The issue, however, is not entirely uncontroversial, because Ammonius maintains that sophistical syllogisms can only be formed by imagination, since they involve “empty concepts” as terms and only imagination can form such concepts. In this paper I will reconstruct Philoponus’ and Ammonius’ theories about the “activity” of syllogizing, and I shall explain how Philoponus can deal with sophistical syllogisms in a consistent way.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Jonathan Greig

Abstract

Damascius has become well-known in recent scholarship for his unique, radical use of the aporetic method, both to highlight the inherent limits of human thought and to reveal crucial tensions in Neoplatonic metaphysics. Though much attention has been paid to the subjective or skeptical aspects of Damascius’ aporiai, little has been noted of the parallels between Damascius’ aporetic strategy in the De Principiis and Aristotle’s own in Metaphysics B. This article analyzes the parallel by looking at Aristotle’s aim for aporiai in Metaphysics B.1 and closely comparing, as a case study, the De Principiis’ first aporia alongside Metaphysics B’s first aporia. Despite Damascius’ aporia dealing with different principles compared to Aristotle’s, the aporetic method for both ultimately exposes the limitations of thought and, exactly in the domain of these limitations, clarifies our concepts in relating to reality and attaining determinate understanding of principles.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Bernd Hene

Abstract

The present paper investigates the question as to how and for what purposes the Middle Platonic author of the Anonymous Commentary on Plato’s Theaetetus uses Aristotelian and Stoic syllogistic in his interpretation of the Platonic text. This investigation shows that the commentator employs Aristotelian categorical syllogistic as an exegetical tool for reconstructing arguments in the Platonic text, enabling him not only to uncover doctrinal statements that are in his view hidden in the Platonic text, but also to dissociate Plato from unwelcome propositions. By contrast, the commentator uses Stoic hypothetical syllogistic as a polemical tool for constructing ad hominem arguments against the Stoics. More precisely, the author exploits the Stoic type of deductive reasoning to draw anti-Stoic conclusions from premises that are accepted by the Stoics, and in doing so, he manages not only to refute Stoic doctrines, but also to corroborate the corresponding Platonic theories.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis

Abstract

In this paper I explore the ways in which Alexander of Aphrodisias employs and develops so-called ‘common notions’ as reliable starting points of deductive arguments. He combines contemporary developments in the Stoic and Epicurean use of common notions with Aristotelian dialectic, and axioms. This more comprehensive concept of common notions can be extracted from Alexander’s commentary on Metaphysics A 1–2. Alexander puts Aristotle’s claim that ‘all human beings by nature desire to know’ in a larger deductive framework, and adds weight to Aristotle’s use of the common understanding of the notion of ‘wisdom’. Finally I will indicate how these upgraded common notions are meant to play an important role in the general framework of metaphysics as a science.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis