Read e-book online Agency and Integrality: Philosophical Themes in the Ancient PDF

By Michael J. White (auth.), Michael J. White (eds.)

ISBN-10: 9400953399

ISBN-13: 9789400953390

ISBN-10: 9401088578

ISBN-13: 9789401088572

It isn't impressive that it used to be no much less real in antiquity than it truly is at the present time that grownup humans are held to be liable for so much in their activities. certainly, nearly all cultures in all old sessions appear to have had a few belief of human organisation which, within the absence of yes responsibility-defeating stipulations, involves such accountability. Few philosophers have had the temerity to keep up that this entailment is trivial simply because such responsibility-defeating stipulations are regularly current. one other no longer very dazzling truth is that historical thinkers tended to ascribe integrality to "what is" (to on). that's, they generally appeared "what is" as a cosmos or complete with distinguishable elements that healthy jointly in a few coherent or cohesive demeanour, instead of both as a "unity" without elements or as a suite containing individuals (ta onta or "things that are") status in no "natural" kin to each other. 1 The philoso­ phical challenge of determinism and accountability may perhaps, i believe, most sensible be characterised as follows: it's the challenge of retaining the phenomenon of human company (which would appear to require a definite separateness of person humans from the remainder of the cosmos) while one units concerning the philosophical or clinical job of explaining the integrality of "what is" through the improvement of a idea of causation or rationalization ( suggestions that got here to be lumped jointly by means of the Greeks below the time period "aitia") .

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As we shall see later in this book, this objection becomes a common Stoic rejoinder to Aristotle's Meta. 2 anti-determinist argument, adopted by the Peripatetics. It is not clear, I think, what Aristotle's response to the Stoic objection would be. In the remainder of this section I shall consider the principal options that he appears to have. The historical significance of these options will be dealt with in greater detail in later chapters. THE LEGACY OF ARISTOTLE 39 ( 1) The" Proto-Reconciliationist" Option Aristotle might, in effect, admit the objection.

The latter is simply to say that it is possible that it does not exist. , X does not exist at t. Since X was also supposed to be eternal, it follows by universal instantiation that X exists at t. But as Aristotle says, it then follows (by addition), that there is some time t at which X both exists and does not exist. , a contradiction. Hence;'it must be impossible that anything is both eternally existent and corruptible. Since a similar argument applies to eternally existent things that are supposed to be "generable" (geneta), it follows that anything that is eternally existent is necessarily existent (on the assumption that the con junction of "ungenerable" and "incorruptible" is equivalent to "necessarily existent").

The import of the last clause obviously is that there may be unrealized temporally-relative possibilities. The last clause in effect suggests a form of causal indeterminism: there may be "inherently possible" events the occurrence of which is neither prevented nor necessitated by antecedent circumstances. We find, then, at least the preceding three vanetIes of necessity in Aristotle's writings: the "absolute," the "hypothetical" or THE LEGACY OF ARISTOTLE 19 conditional, and the temporally-relative or factual.

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Agency and Integrality: Philosophical Themes in the Ancient Discussions of Determinism and Responsibility by Michael J. White (auth.), Michael J. White (eds.)

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