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The entries are detailed enough that after consulting it, users should always know what they need to think about or read next. But they are a good deal less detailed than those in Stich and Warfield , McLaughlin, et al. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind. A huge collection of specially commissioned critical surveys of cutting-edge work, written by leading philosophers of mind.

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The eleven essays in Part 1 are especially relevant here. The Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Mind. A useful collection of sixteen specially commissioned critical surveys of key topics in the philosophy of mind. This is less comprehensive than McLaughlin, et al. Stone, Thomas Ryan, ed. A useful directory of online philosophy of mind resources, many concerning the metaphysical issues discussed here.

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The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. This is by far the best source of detailed up-to-date survey articles on issues in analytic philosophy generally. It contains hundreds of entries on philosophy of mind and related topics, many of which concern the metaphysical issues focused on here. The entries are generally written for a readership of professional researchers and postgraduate students, so undergraduates may sometimes find the articles difficult.

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Publications Pages Publications Pages. Related Articles about About Related Articles close popup. Export Citations Print Email Share. Introduction Philosophy of mind addresses fundamental questions about mental or psychological phenomena. General Overviews As the philosophy of mind has long been a central area of philosophical inquiry, a great many resources exist to guide and assist researchers.

How to Subscribe Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. Jump to Other Articles: Aesthetics Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich: Metaphysics Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich: Philosophy of Politics Heidegger, Martin: But they were important ones. Like most medieval accounts of knowledge, Ockham's is not much concerned with answering skeptical doubts. One recent author, describing the theory as it occurs in Aquinas, puts it like this: Depending on the sense modality, it may also be found in an intervening medium.

For example, with vision and hearing, the species is transmitted through the air to the sense organ. Ockham rejected this entire theory of species. For him, species are unnecessary to a successful theory of cognition, and he dispenses with them. But their theories of intuitive and abstractive cognition are so different that it is hard to see any one thing they are all supposed to be theories of.

Nevertheless, to a first approximation, intuitive cognition can be thought of as perception, whereas abstractive cognition is closer to imagination or remembering. The fit is not exact, however, since authors who had a theory of intuitive and abstractive cognition usually also allowed the distinction at the intellectual level as well. By contrast, intuitive cognition is very much tied up with the existence or non-existence of the object.

Here is how Ockham distinguishes them: Abstractive cognition, however, is that by virtue of which it cannot be evidently known of the thing whether it exists or does not exist. Ockham's main point here is that an intuitive cognition naturally causes in the mind a number of true contingent judgements about the external thing s that caused this intuitive cognition; for example, that this thing exists, or that it is white, and so on.

This does not prevent God from deceiving any particular creature if He wants to, even when an intuitive cognition is present, but in such a case, God would have to neutralize the natural causal effect of this intuitive cognition this is something He can always do, according to Ockham and directly cause instead a false judgement.

Intuitive cognitions, on the other hand, can sometimes induce false beliefs, too, if the circumstances are abnormal in cases of perceptual illusions in particular , but even then, they would still cause some true contingent judgements. The latter at any rate is their distinctive feature. Abstractive cognitions, by contrast, are not such as to naturally cause true judgements about contingent matters.

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Ockham's ethics combines a number of themes. For one, it is a will -based ethics in which intentions count for everything and external behavior or actions count for nothing. In themselves, all actions are morally neutral. Again, there is a strong dose of divine command theory in Ockham's ethics. Nevertheless, despite the divine command themes in Ockham's ethics, it is also clear that he wanted morality to be to some extent a matter of reason. There is even a sense in which one can find a kind of natural law theory in Ockham's ethics; one way in which God conveys his divine commands to us is by giving us the natures we have.

But while moral virtue is possible even for the pagan, moral virtue is not by itself enough for salvation. Salvation requires not just virtue the opposite of which is moral vice but merit the opposite of which is sin , and merit requires grace, a free gift from God. In short, there is no necessary connection between virtue—moral goodness—and salvation. For Ockham, acts of will are morally virtuous either extrinsically, i.

On pain of infinite regress, therefore, extrinsically virtuous acts of will must ultimately lead back to an intrinsically virtuous act of will. In his early work, On the Connection of the Virtues , Ockham distinguishes five grades or stages of moral virtue, which have been the topic of considerable speculation in the secondary literature: The difficulty in understanding this hierarchy comes at the fourth stage, where it is not clear exactly what moral factor is added to the preceding three stages. And, whether they realize it or not, that is what all human beings are ultimately aiming at in their actions.

We are not free to choose for or against our final end; that is built into us by nature. But we are free to choose various mean s to that end. All our choices, therefore, are made under the aspect of leading to that final goal. To be sure, sometimes we make the wrong choices, but when that occurs it is because of ignorance, distraction, self-deception, etc. In an important sense, then, someone like Aquinas accepts a version of the so called Socratic Paradox: No one knowingly and deliberately does evil. Ockham's view is quite different. Although he is very suspicious of the notion of final causality teleology in general, he thinks it is quite appropriate for intelligent, voluntary agents such as human beings.

Thus the frequent charge that Ockham severs ethics from metaphysics by denying teleology seems wrong. For Ockham, as for Aristotle and Aquinas, I can choose the means to achieve my ultimate good. But in addition, for Ockham unlike Aristotle and Aquinas, I can choose whether to will that ultimate good.

The natural orientation and tendency toward that good is built in; I cannot do anything about that. But I can choose whether or not to to act to achieve that good. I might choose, for example, to do nothing at all, and I might choose this knowing full well what I am doing. I can choose to act knowingly directly against my ultimate good, to thwart it.

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For Ockham, this is required if I am going to be morally responsible for my actions. But for Ockham these conclusions are not just required by theory; they are confirmed by experience.

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The Spirituals, among whom were Ockham, Michael of Cesena, and the other exiles who joined them in fleeing Avignon, tried to preserve the original ideal of austere poverty practiced and advocated by St. The Conventuals, on the other hand, while recognizing this ideal, were prepared to compromise in order to accommodate the practical needs of a large, organized religious order; they were by far the majority of the order.

The issue between the two parties was never one of doctrine; neither side accused the other of heresy. Rather, the question was one of how to shape and run the order—in particular, whether the Franciscans should or even could renounce all property rights. The ideal of poverty had been and still is a common one in religious communities.

Typically, the idea is that the individual member of the order owns no property at all. If a member buys a car, for instance, it is not strictly his car, even though he may have exclusive use of it, and it was not bought with his money; he doesn't have any money of his own.

Rather it belongs to the order. The original Franciscan ideal went further. Not only did the individual friar have no property of his own, neither did the order. Anything donated to the order, such as a house or a piece of land, strictly speaking remained the property of the original owner who merely granted the use of it to the Franciscans. Or, if that would not work—as, for example, in the case of a bequest in a will, after the original owner had died—the ownership would go to the Papacy. Both the Spirituals and the Conventuals thought this ideal of uncompromising poverty was exhibited by the life of Jesus and the Apostles, who—they said—had given up all property, both individually and collectively.

Francis regarded this as the clear implication of several Scriptural passages: Of course, if everyone lived according to this ideal, so that no one owned any property either individually or collectively, then there would be no property at all. The Franciscan ideal, then, shared by Conventuals and Spirituals alike, entailed the total abolition of all property rights. Not everyone shared this view. Outside the Franciscan order, most theoreticians agreed that Jesus and the Apostles lived without individual property, but thought they did share property collectively.

Nevertheless, Pope Nicholas III, in , had officially approved the Franciscan view, not just as a view about how to organize the Franciscan order, but about the interpretation of the Scriptural passages concerning Jesus and the Apostles. His approval did not mean he was endorsing the Franciscan reading as the correct interpretation of Scripture, but only that it was a permissible one, that there was nothing doctrinally suspect about it.

Nevertheless, this interpretation was a clear reproach to the Papacy, which at Avignon was wallowing in wealth to a degree it had never seen before. But, as Mollat [] puts it perhaps not without some taking of sides: It was this act that provoked John XXII to issue his first contribution to the dispute, his bull Ad conditorem in There he put the whole matter in a legal framework. For example, it is one thing for me to own a book but to let you use it for a while. Ownership in that case means that I can recall the book, and even if I do not do so, you should return it to me when you are done with it.

But it is quite another matter for me to own the book but to grant you permanent use of it, to agree not to recall it as long as you want to keep it, and to agree that you have no obligation to give it back ever. There is no practical difference in that case between your having the use of the book and your owning it; for all intents and purposes, it is yours. Notice the criticism here. It is a legal argument against the claim that the Papacy as an institution can own something and yet the Franciscans as an order, collectively, have a permanent right to use it.

The complaint is not against the notion that an individual friar might have a right to use something until he dies, at which time use reverts to the order or as the Franciscans would have it, to the Papacy. This would still allow some distinction between ownership and mere use. Rather the complaint is against the notion that the order would not own anything outright, but would nevertheless have permanent use of it that goes beyond the life or death of any individual friar, so that the ownership somehow remained permanently with the Papacy, even though the Pope could not reclaim it, use it, or do anything at all with it.

John XXII argues that this simply abolishes the distinction between use and ownership. Special problems arise if the property involved is such that the use of it involves consuming it—e. In that case, it appears that there is no real difference between ownership and even temporary use. For things like food, using them amounts for practical purposes to owning them; they cannot be recalled after they are used. In short, for John XXII, it follows that it is impossible fully to live the life of absolute poverty, even for the individual person much less for a permanent institution like the Franciscan order.

Instead, Adam and Eve there had a natural right to use anything at hand. This natural right did not amount to a property right, however, since it could not have been used as the basis of any kind of legal claim. But John says there was such property in the Garden of Eden, whereas Ockham claims there was not; there was only a natural right, so that Adam and Eve's use of the goods there was legitimate.

The owners can then give permission to others to use what the owners own, but that permission does not amount to giving them a legal right they could appeal to in a court of law; it can be revoked at any time. For Ockham, this is the way the Franciscans operate. Their benefactors and donors do not give them any legal rights to use the things donated to them—i. Rather the donation amounts only to a kind of permission that restores the original natural not legal right of use in the Garden of Eden.

A fair number of Ockham's writings are available in English, in whole or in part. For a complete list of translations to , see Spade [], pp. The following major items deserve particular mention:. The following list includes all works cited in this article, plus several other noteworthy items:. Aquinas, Saint Thomas causation: For the update to this entry published in the summer of , Claude Panaccio has become a co-author, having made significant revisions to Sections 3.

He will continue maintain and keep the entry current. Logic and Semantics 3. Theory of Knowledge 6. Life Ockham led an unusually eventful life for a philosopher. Clearly, things had become intolerable for Ockham in Avignon. Writings Ockham's writings are conventionally divided into two groups: Among Ockham's most important writings are: Book I survives in an ordinatio or scriptum —a revised and corrected version, approved by the author himself for distribution.

Seven Quodlibets based on London disputations held in —24, but revised and edited in Avignon — Summa of Logic c.

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A large, independent and systematic treatment of logic and semantics. A detailed, close commentary. Questions on Aristotle's Books of the Physics before Not strictly a commentary, this work nevertheless discusses a long series of questions arising out of Aristotle's Physics.

The Work of Ninety Days — Letter to the Friars Minor Several lesser items are omitted from the above list. Logic and Semantics Ockham is rightly regarded as one of the most significant logicians of the Middle Ages. In the "Prefatory Letter" to his Summa of Logic, for example, he praises it in striking language: For logic is the most useful tool of all the arts.

Without it no science can be fully known. It is not worn out by repeated use, after the manner of material tools, but rather admits of continual growth through the diligent exercise of any other science. For just as a mechanic who lacks a complete knowledge of his tool gains a fuller [knowledge] by using it, so one who is educated in the firm principles of logic, while he painstakingly devotes his labor to the other sciences, acquires at the same time a greater skill at this art. For Ockham, there are three main kinds of supposition [ 19 ]: Personal supposition, in which a term supposits for refers to what it signifies in either of the first two senses of signification described above.

Simple supposition, in which a term supposits for a concept it does not signify. For Ockham the nominalist, the only real universals are universal concepts in the mind and, derivatively, universal spoken or written terms expressing those concepts. Material supposition, in which a term supposits for a spoken or written expression it does not signify. Metaphysics Ockham was a nominalist, indeed he is the person whose name is perhaps most famously associated with nominalism. But nominalism means many different things: A denial of metaphysical universals.

Ockham was emphatically a nominalist in this sense. An emphasis on reducing one's ontology to a bare minimum, on paring down the supply of fundamental ontological categories. Ockham was likewise a nominalist in this sense. Depending on what one means, Ockham was or was not a nominalist in this sense. On the contrary, there are at least as many distinct whitenesses as there are white things. He certainly believed in immaterial entities such as God and angels. Thus, from the very fact that Socrates is white and Plato is white, Socrates is similar to Plato and conversely.

Likewise, if both are black, or hot, [then] they are similar without anything else added. It is in this sense that the object of a science is universal, and this is what Aristotle had in mind. This is not the sense in which Aristotle was speaking. Theory of Knowledge Like most medieval accounts of knowledge, Ockham's is not much concerned with answering skeptical doubts.

In a blueprint of a library, the configuration of the library itself, that is, the very configuration that will be in the finished library, is captured on paper but in such a way that it does not make the paper itself into a library. Rather, the configuration is imposed on the paper in a different sort of way from the way it is imposed on the materials of the library.

What Aquinas thinks of as transferring and preserving a configuration we tend to consider as a way of encoding information. Ethics Ockham's ethics combines a number of themes. The agent is willing to act in accordance with right reason even in the face of contrary considerations, even—if necessary—at the cost of death.

The third stage adds a certain exclusivity to the motivation; one wills to act in this way only because right reason requires it. It is not enough to will to act in accordance with right reason, even heroically, if one does so on the basis of extraneous, non-moral motives. Meanwhile, Michael of Cesena, acting with insolent audacity, did not await the Holy See's decision: Opera politica , H. Manchester University Press, — Oxford University Press, Contains all the political writings except the Dialogus , ———, Oxford University Press for the British Academy.

See Other Internet Resources , below. In English Translation A fair number of Ockham's writings are available in English, in whole or in part. The following major items deserve particular mention: Predestination, God's Foreknowledge, and Future Contingents , 2nd ed. Includes Ockham's Treatise on Predestination and God's Foreknowledge with Respect to Future Contingents , with introduction and commentary, and translations of related passages from other works of Ockham. Despite Birch's title, these two are not parts of a larger single work De sacramento altaris.

Philosophical Writings , rev. Selections from several texts. Basic Issues in Medieval Philosophy: Includes a translation of On the Eternity of the World and selections from other works of Ockham. Ockham on Aristotle's Physics: Complete translation of the Brief Summa of the Physics. Quodlibetal Questions , New Haven, Conn.: Ockham's Theory of Propositions: University of Notre Dame Press. Kilcullen, John, and Scott, John, trans. Kilcullen, John, and Scott, John, ed.

Dialogus , See Other Internet Resources , below. Introduction and English Translation. Longaway, John Lee, trans. Demonstration and Scientific Knowledge in William of Ockham: Ockham's Theory of Terms: Translation of Ockham's Short Discourse. Spade, Paul Vincent, trans. Five Texts on the Mediaeval Problem of Universals: Includes a complete translation of Ockham's discussion of universals from Sent , I.

Ockham on the Virtues , West Lafayette, Ind.: Contains a translation of Ockham's On the Connection of the Virtues , with the original Latin text, introduction and commentary. Secondary Literature The following list includes all works cited in this article, plus several other noteworthy items: Adams, Marilyn McCord, William Ockham , 2 vols. Late Medieval Oxford , Oxford: The Physics of William of Ockham , Leiden: