The essays in this collection are not confined to any one period or any one subject. Nearly every one, in the author's words, is "an attempt to understand some short passage from the work of some philosopher, teasing the passage with analogies of sense. If one were to describe the method, as Descartes described his method, the method of doubt, perhaps it might best be described as the method of failure."
Kurt Gödel, together with Bertrand Russell, is the most important name in logic, and in the foundations and philosophy of mathematics of this century. However, unlike Russel, Gödel the mathematician published very little apart from his well-known writings in logic, metamathematics and set theory. Fortunately, Gödel the philosopher, who devoted more years of his life to philosophy than to technical investigation, wrote hundreds of pages on the philosophy of mathematics, as well as on other fields of philosophy. It was only possible to learn more about his philosophical works after the opening of his literary estate at Princeton a decade ago. The goal of this book is to make available to the scholarly public solid reconstructions and editions of two of the most important essays which Gödel wrote on the philosophy of mathematics. The book is divided into two parts. The first provides the reader with an incisive historico-philosophical introduction to Gödel's technical results and philosophical ideas. Written by the Editor, this introductory apparatus is not only devoted to the manuscripts themselves but also to the philosophical context in which they were written. The second contains two of Gödel's most important and fascinating unpublished essays: 1) the Gibbs Lecture ("Some basic theorems on the foundations of mathematics and their philosophical implications", 1951); and 2) two of the six versions of the essay which Gödel wrote for the Carnap volume of the Schilpp series The Library of Living Philosophers ("Is mathematics syntax of language?", 1953-1959).
Donald Davidson has prepared a new edition of his classic 1980 collection of Essays on Actions and Events, including two additional essays. In this seminal investigation of the nature of human action, Davidson argues for an ontology which includes events along with persons and other objects. Certain events are identified and explained as actions when they are viewed as caused and rationalized by reasons; these same events, when described in physical, biological, or physiological terms, may be explained by appeal to natural laws. The mental and the physical thus constitute irreducibly discrete ways of explaining and understanding events and their causal relations. Among the topics discussed are: freedom to act; weakness of the will; the logical form of talk about actions, intentions, and causality; the logic of practical reasoning; Hume's theory of the indirect passions; and the nature and limits of decision theory. The introduction, cross-references, and appendices emphasize the relations between the essays and explain how Davidson's views have developed.
This volume is a collection of thirteen seminal essays on ethics, free will, and the philosophy of mind. The essays deal with such central topics as freedom of the will, moral responsibility, the concept of a person, the structure of the will, the nature of action, the constitution of the self, and the theory of personal ideals. By focusing on the distinctive nature of human freedom, Professor Frankfurt is ale to explore fundamental problems of what it is to be a person and of what one should care about in life.
Meaning, Understanding, and Practice is a selection of the most notable essays of a leading contemporary philosopher on a set of central topics in the subject. Barry Stroud offers penetrating studies of meaning, understanding, necessity, and the intentionality of thought. One question running through many of the essays is how much can be expected from a philosophical account of a person's understanding the meaning of something, and whether it can succeed without implying that the person understands many other things as well. Five of the essays focus on the philosophy of Wittgenstein, and at least that many others work with ideas derived from Wittgenstein. In a helpful introduction Stroud explains how the essays are related to one another and how some of his ideas about these questions developed over the years.
Although Leibniz's writing forms an enormous corpus, no single work stands as a canonical expression of his whole philosophy. In addition, the wide range of Leibniz's work--letters, published papers, and fragments on a variety of philosophical, religious, mathematical, and scientific questions over a fifty-year period--heightens the challenge of preparing an edition of his writings in English translation from the French and Latin.
Two countervailing trends mark the intellectual tenor of our age – the spread of naturalistic worldviews and religious orthodoxies. Advances in biogenetics, brain research, and robotics are clearing the way for the penetration of an objective scientific self-understanding of persons into everyday life. For philosophy, this trend is associated with the challenge of scientific naturalism. At the same time, we are witnessing an unexpected revitalization of religious traditions and the politicization of religious communities across the world. From a philosophical perspective, this revival of religious energies poses the challenge of a fundamentalist critique of the principles underlying the modern Wests postmetaphysical understanding of itself. The tension between naturalism and religion is the central theme of this major new book by Jürgen Habermas. On the one hand he argues for an appropriate naturalistic understanding of cultural evolution that does justice to the normative character of the human mind. On the other hand, he calls for an appropriate interpretation of the secularizing effects of a process of social and cultural rationalization increasingly denounced by the champions of religious orthodoxies as a historical development peculiar to the West. These reflections on the enduring importance of religion and the limits of secularism under conditions of postmetaphysical reason set the scene for an extended treatment the political significance of religious tolerance and for a fresh contribution to current debates on cosmopolitanism and a constitution for international society.
This is an expanded edition of Sydney Shoemaker's seminal collection of his work on interrelated issues in the philosophy of mind and metaphysics. It reproduces all of the original papers, many of which are now regarded as classics, and includes four papers published since the first edition appeared in 1984. Themes include the nature of self-knowledge and self-reference, personal identity, persistence over time, properties, mental states, and perceptual experience. A number of the papers, including 'Self-Reference and Self-Awareness', 'Persons and Their Pasts', 'Causality and Properties', and 'The Inverted Spectrum', have remained at the centre of discussion of their topics. Several of the essays in the original collection discuss the ways in which causal considerations enter into the individuation of properties, and three of the added essays - 'Causal and Metaphysical Necessity', 'Realization and Mental Causation', and 'On What There Are' - deal with related themes. The neo-Lockean view of personal identity presented in 'Persons and Their Pasts' is developed with a different emphasis in the added paper 'Self and Substance'. Identity, Cause, and Mind's reappearance will be warmly welcomed by scholars and students alike.