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Full-Text Articles in Arts and Humanities

Past Desires And The Dead, Steven Luper Jan 2005

Past Desires And The Dead, Steven Luper

Philosophy Faculty Research

I examine an argument that appears to take us from Parfit’s [Reasons and Persons, Oxford: Clarendon Press (1984)] thesis that we have no reason to fulfill desires we no longer care about to the conclusion that the effect of posthumous events on our desires is a matter of indifference (the post-mortem thesis). I suspect that many of Parfit’s readers, including Vorobej [Philosophical Studies 90 (1998) 305], think that he is committed to (something like) this reasoning, and that Parfit must therefore give up the post-mortem thesis. However, as it turns out, the argument is subtly equivocal and does ...


The Essential Functions Of A Plotinian Soul, Damian Caluori Jan 2005

The Essential Functions Of A Plotinian Soul, Damian Caluori

Philosophy Faculty Research

In reading Plotinus one might get the impression that the essential functions of a Plotinian soul are very similar to those of an Aristotelian soul. Plotinus talks of such vegetative functions as growth, nurture and reproduction. He discusses such animal functions as sense perception, imagination and memory. And he attributes such functions as reasoning, judging and having opinions to the soul. In Plotinus' Psychology, Blumenthal bases his whole discussion of the soul on an analysis of these functions. He concludes that Plotinus 'saw the soul's activities as the functions of a series of faculties which were basically those of ...


Against The Ubiquity Of Fictional Narrators, Andrew Kania Jan 2005

Against The Ubiquity Of Fictional Narrators, Andrew Kania

Philosophy Faculty Research

In this paper I argue against the theory – popular among theorists of narrative artworks – that we must posit a fictional narrative agent in every narrative artwork in order to explain our imaginative engagement with such works. I accept that every narrative must have a narrator, but I argue that in some central literary cases the narrator is not a fictional agent, but rather the actual author of the work. My criticisms focus on the strongest argument for the ubiquity of fictional narrators, Jerrold Levinson’s ontological-gap argument. Finally, I outline an alternative “minimal theory” of narrators, and some consequences thereof.


A Question Of Endings, Lawrence Kimmel Jan 2005

A Question Of Endings, Lawrence Kimmel

Philosophy Faculty Research

What is the nature and meaning of death? As a philosophical question, the answer is surely, as it is for every such question: “It depends.” On the context of the asker, among other things: social, cultural, historical, existential…whether young or old, whether under duress or at leisure, whether in harms way or secure, whether in pain or depression or in the bloom of health. We are inclined to think of death, abstractly as well as referentially, as an event, something that happens, or as a state, something that has happened.


Reality And Illusion In The Work Of Art, Lawrence Kimmel Jan 2005

Reality And Illusion In The Work Of Art, Lawrence Kimmel

Philosophy Faculty Research

Two basic intuitions that frame the relation of art and illusion in this essay—a conviction that illusion is essential to art, but also that art is an essential resource of truth—present an apparent conflict that invites or requires resolution. Indeed, conflict and disagreement seem endemic to discussions of art. In philosophy, the question of the relation art and reality invariably begins with Plato's well-known critique of art as mimesis, as imitation, that makes the process of art a second order activity of copying, and thus an essential distraction from the more serious first order business of life ...


Culture And The Philosophy Of Moral Life: The True, The Good, The Beautiful, And The Sacred, Lawrence Kimmel Jan 2005

Culture And The Philosophy Of Moral Life: The True, The Good, The Beautiful, And The Sacred, Lawrence Kimmel

Philosophy Faculty Research

Philosophy as a profession is blessed with leisure and exempt from an obligation to be socially useful or productive, and so has a special obligation to address fundamental questions about the meaning of the human project not otherwise on the contemporary agenda. This is not an undertaking that requires technical language or special skills. William James described the deceptively simple task of philosophy as saying something true about things that matter. That said, it is hardly the prerogative of philosophy to adjudicate which are matters of crucial importance to a given culture. Moreover, philosophical investigations are of a kind that ...