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Metaphysics

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Articles 1 - 30 of 166

Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

George Berkeley's Idealism: An Examination Of The Idealist Metaphysics And Its Connection To Philosophy Of Mind, Joshua L. Powell May 2020

George Berkeley's Idealism: An Examination Of The Idealist Metaphysics And Its Connection To Philosophy Of Mind, Joshua L. Powell

Honors Theses

The prominent 18th century empirical philosopher George Berkeley espoused a philosophy known as “idealism.” This thesis aims to show that George Berkeley’s idealism is a formidable player in philosophy of mind. The present research unfolds his arguments for idealism as they appear in A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, turning at several points to The Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous for clarification. This research further explores the fundamentals of idealism in light of philosophy of mind, highlighting idealism’s intrinsic connection to this discipline. While this work is far from exhaustive, it provides the reader with ...


Elucidation And The Solipsism Of The Tractatus, Jacob Phillips May 2020

Elucidation And The Solipsism Of The Tractatus, Jacob Phillips

Theses/Capstones/Creative Projects

In Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (TLP) of 1921, Ludwig Wittgenstein presents his metaphysical account of the logical structure of the world and language. He aims to establish the possibility of the connection between “pictures” of the world—including linguistic constructions as sentences—and the constituent elements of the world. The account Wittgenstein promotes yields, by his own admission, a form of solipsism. Underlying the difficulties in interpreting the details of Wittgenstein’s solipsism (which he does little to explicate), there is a fundamental tension between solipsism of any sort and a metaphysical account that relies on language, something which seems essentially shared ...


The Sun Cuts In, Madison Manns Apr 2020

The Sun Cuts In, Madison Manns

Honors Theses

My work seeks to tear down the privileging of the objective at the expense of the subjective—the universal truth at the expense of the knowledge in the body, in the being—in order to restore the fruitful dialogue between the subjective observer as the object of perceived stimuli that become the mover. As a high-achieving individual encouraged in academic endeavors—one intimately acquainted with the language of prestige and intellect—I am seeking a new way to address theory through a return to material language; language connected to, informed by, and describing the world in the way that we ...


Vagueness And The Logic Of The World, Zack Garrett Apr 2020

Vagueness And The Logic Of The World, Zack Garrett

Philosophy Dissertations, Theses, & Student Research

In this dissertation, I argue that vagueness is a metaphysical phenomenon---that properties and objects can be vague---and propose a trivalent theory of vagueness meant to account for the vagueness in the world. In the first half, I argue against the theories that preserve classical logic. These theories include epistemicism, contextualism, and semantic nihilism. My objections to these theories are independent of considerations of the possibility that vagueness is a metaphysical phenomenon. However, I also argue that these theories are not capable of accommodating metaphysical vagueness.

As I move into my positive theory, I first argue for the possibility of metaphysical ...


Simbolismo Y Metáfora: Paralelismos Filosóficos En “La Biblioteca De Babel” De Jorge Luis Borges, Alberto Fernández-Diego Apr 2020

Simbolismo Y Metáfora: Paralelismos Filosóficos En “La Biblioteca De Babel” De Jorge Luis Borges, Alberto Fernández-Diego

Vernacular: New Connections in Language, Literature, & Culture

El relato titulado “La Biblioteca de Babel” de Jorge Luis Borges nos cuenta la historia de un hombre cuya vida ha transcurrido en “la Biblioteca” (sinónimo de “universo”) y que ha pasado sus años buscando algo que ni él ni ningún otro morador de la misma ha podido encontrar: su razón de ser, sus límites, el contenido de sus obras, etc. El texto está narrado en primera persona por el protagonista, que nos hace partícipes de la frustración que se ha apoderado de él en sus últimos años de su vida, después de dedicar toda su biografía a intentar, sin ...


Logical Pluralism And Vicious Regresses, Daniel Boyd Feb 2020

Logical Pluralism And Vicious Regresses, Daniel Boyd

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

This material in this dissertation will be divided into two parts. The first part is a preliminary discussion of vicious regress arguments in the philosophy of logic in the 20th century. The second part will focus on three different versions of logical pluralism, i.e., the view that there are many correct logics. In each case an argument will be developed to show that these versions of logical pluralism result in a vicious regress.

The material in part one will be divided into three chapters, and there are a few reasons for having a preliminary discussion of vicious regress arguments ...


On What Is Real In Nāgārjuna’S “Middle Way”, Richard H. Jones Jan 2020

On What Is Real In Nāgārjuna’S “Middle Way”, Richard H. Jones

Comparative Philosophy

It has become popular to portray the Buddhist Nāgārjuna as an ontological nihilist, i.e., that he denies the reality of entities and does not postulate any further reality. A reading of his works does show that he rejects the self-existent reality of entities, but it also shows that he accepts a "that-ness" (tattva) to phenomenal reality that survives the denial of any distinct, self-contained entities. Thus, he is not a nihilist concerning what is real in the final analysis of things. How Nāgārjuna’s positions impact contemporary discussions of ontological nihilism and deflationism in Western philosophy is also discussed.


St. Augustine And St. Thomas Aquinas On The Mind, Body, And Life After Death, Christopher Choma Jan 2020

St. Augustine And St. Thomas Aquinas On The Mind, Body, And Life After Death, Christopher Choma

Williams Honors College, Honors Research Projects

Historical and philosophical investigation of the thoughts of two of philosophy's most innovative Christian thinkers. The thesis primarily deals with the relationship between the mind and the body through the lenses of St. Augustine of Hippo and St. Thomas Aquinas. Thesis also includes theological discussions of life after death, and how one can be certain that the soul survives the corruption of the body.


The Ontological Significance Of Consciousness, Corydon Diamond Jan 2020

The Ontological Significance Of Consciousness, Corydon Diamond

CMC Senior Theses

Providing a wholly physical description of consciousness in nature is an elusive process. Unlike all other physical systems, consciousness seems to be explainable only if it is considered as non-physical. However, the arguments for a materialist view of consciousness, with consciousness prioritized as a process which creates imperfect dependence relations in reality, eliminates the need for a dualist understanding of reality. Through an explanation of imperfect dependence, materialist consciousness overcomes all relevant dualist arguments, while simultaneously retaining an epistemic gap, denying the conceivability of zombies, and providing convincing explanations of seemingly dualist positions in a materialist fashion.


On The Question Of Thinking: A Study Of Heidegger's Later Philosophy, Shishir Budha Jan 2020

On The Question Of Thinking: A Study Of Heidegger's Later Philosophy, Shishir Budha

Honors Theses

This thesis explores the writings of the 20th-century German philosopher Martin Heidegger to understand what “thinking” is and how thinking needs to be undertaken. I examine Heidegger’s commitments to phenomenology in his early writings, his revaluation of the meaning of truth in traditional Western metaphysics, his criticism of calculative thinking and scientific rationality, his diagnosis of the human alienation and homelessness, and his evocation of the redemptive power of art and poetry through which we can find our place in the world. By questioning through all these themes, I attempt to trace Heidegger’s path towards a deeper and ...


A Theory Of Constitutive Tropes, Anthony Parisi Aug 2019

A Theory Of Constitutive Tropes, Anthony Parisi

Theses and Dissertations

The purpose of this work is to provide a metaphysical theory of properties and scientific laws. This sentence will require some unpacking. By a ‘metaphysical’ theory here, I mean a theory of what exists in the world. In this investigation I am primarily concerned with a theory of what properties there are in the world and the role they play in scientific laws. This may be contrasted with a linguistic or epistemic project, as it is not primarily about our language, ideas, or theorizing but rather about what is in the world itself. Properties are what we may pre-philosophically think ...


The Province Of Conceptual Reason: Hegel's Post-Kantian Rationalism, William Clark Wolf Jul 2019

The Province Of Conceptual Reason: Hegel's Post-Kantian Rationalism, William Clark Wolf

Dissertations (2009 -)

In this dissertation, I seek to explain G.W.F. Hegel’s view that human accessible conceptual content can provide knowledge about the nature or essence of things. I call this view “Conceptual Transparency.” It finds its historical antecedent in the views of eighteenth century German rationalists, which were strongly criticized by Immanuel Kant. I argue that Hegel explains Conceptual Transparency in such a way that preserves many implications of German rationalism, but in a form that is largely compatible with Kant’s criticisms of the original rationalist version. After providing background on Hegel’s relationship to the traditional rationalist ...


The Singular Voice Of Being [Table Of Contents], Andrew Lazella May 2019

The Singular Voice Of Being [Table Of Contents], Andrew Lazella

Philosophy

The Singular Voice of Being reconsiders John Duns Scotus’s well-covered theory of the univocity of being in light of his less explored discussions of ultimate difference. Ultimate difference is a notion introduced by Aristotle and known by the Aristotelian tradition, but one that, the book argues, Scotus radically retrofits to buttress his doctrine of univocity. Ultimate difference for Aristotle meant the last difference in a line of specific differences whereby all the preceding differences would be united into a single substance rather than remain a heapish multiplicity. LaZella argues that Scotus both broadens and deepens the term such that ...


A Critical Analysis Of The Metaphysics Of Limit And Unlimited In Plato's Philebus, Ashley Lascano May 2019

A Critical Analysis Of The Metaphysics Of Limit And Unlimited In Plato's Philebus, Ashley Lascano

Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

This paper examines several key passages within Plato’s Philebus and analyses the underlying metaphysics that exists at the heart of the dialogue. Plato implements the metaphysics in the dialogue by utilizing the terminology of “the limit” and “the unlimited”. This paper examines the Pythagorean origins of the limit and unlimited and depicts how Plato has adapted the terms from their original intent. The Philebus is examined to show the metaphysical importance of the limit and unlimited. The dialogue displays an example of the metaphysics of the limit and the unlimited through the debate between pleasure and intelligence, which is ...


How To Distinguish Qualities And Dispositions, Seth Reed Apr 2019

How To Distinguish Qualities And Dispositions, Seth Reed

Theses

There is an intuitive difference between a qualitative and a dispositional predicate. Qualitative predicates seemingly refer to inherent features of an object, while dispositional predicates point outward to possible interactions. Attempts to further spell this distinction have proven difficult, however. Past approaches have either started from metaphysical assumptions or compared paradigmatic cases of each side-by-side. In this paper I offer a new approach to solving this puzzle. Starting with a qualitative or dispositional predicate of a property, we can examine how that differs from a predicate of the other kind that applies, in virtue of that property, to the same ...


The Denial Of Transcendental Freedom Is Self-Refuting, Theodore Kahn Jan 2019

The Denial Of Transcendental Freedom Is Self-Refuting, Theodore Kahn

CMC Senior Theses

The questions of what kind of freedom morality requires and how to reconcile the capacity for free agency within a determined temporal sequence represent the crux of the free will debate. Traditional compatibilists claim that determinism does not preclude our capacity for moral agency. Nuanced determinists, such as Derk Pereboom, deny the existence of moral agency and argue that free will is not required to save the basic modes of our practical lives, such as our capacity to affect each other and to lead practically morallives. I will argue in favor of Kant’s view, which holds that since freedom ...


The Metaphysics Of The Collective Unconscious, Oscar B. Jablon Jan 2019

The Metaphysics Of The Collective Unconscious, Oscar B. Jablon

Honors Undergraduate Theses

This thesis shows how the metaphysical features of the Jungian collective unconscious can be demystified by viewing the collective unconscious through the lens of functionalism. The features of the collective unconscious that will be investigated in this thesis are the possibility of the collective unconscious being present in every person, the archetypes as being the formal feature of some of our modes of perception, psychic energy, and synchronicity. By admitting functionalism, Jung doesn't need to posit synchronicity to explain how it is possible for the archetypes to interact with the body. This is because functionalism can view mental states ...


The Refutation Of Existing Proofs For The Existence Of God And The Continued Search For A Valid Proof Of The Existence Of God: A Defense And Interpretation Of Kant, Emma Houston Jan 2019

The Refutation Of Existing Proofs For The Existence Of God And The Continued Search For A Valid Proof Of The Existence Of God: A Defense And Interpretation Of Kant, Emma Houston

CMC Senior Theses

In this thesis, I use Kant's Transcendental Ideal and Fourth Antinomy in the Critique of Pure Reason as a bedrock to understand mistakes in popular spatio-temporal and transcendental proofs for the existence of God and develop a discussion of the necessity of the continued search for, and potential foundation of, an alternative proof of the existence of God. I will first attempt to instill the thought of the necessity of a commitment to the idea of the existence of God. I will then explain and clarify a) the three transcendental proofs for the existence of God and b) what ...


Being And Structure In Plato’S Sophist, Colin C. Smith Jan 2019

Being And Structure In Plato’S Sophist, Colin C. Smith

Theses and Dissertations--Philosophy

Being and Structure in Plato’s Sophist is a study of the metaphysical notion of being as it is at play in Plato’s dialogue the Sophist, and the senses in which Plato’s conception of being entails further accounts of ontological structure and goodness. While modern metaphysics primarily concerns existence, ancient metaphysics primarily concerns what grounds what, and in this dissertation I consider the nature and value of Plato’s understanding of being as a notion of ground rather than a principle of existence. I argue that Plato conceives of being in the fundamentally unified sense of participation, which ...


Conceiving As Evidence Of Possibility, Benjamin Faltesek May 2018

Conceiving As Evidence Of Possibility, Benjamin Faltesek

Theses and Dissertations

In this thesis I argue that at least one type of conceiving, namely imagining, provides reliable

evidence of non-actual metaphysical possibility. My argument requires two main tasks. I need to

show that conceiving can provide evidence at all of mere (non-actual) metaphysical possibilities.

To put it another way, how could what we imagine or otherwise conceive stand in any

representational relation whatsoever to a mere possibility? I argue by analogy with perception

that the contents of our imaginings correspond with (some) merely possible states of affairs.

Imagination is not perception of merely possible objects, of course. If one imagines that ...


Meaning And Modality, Jesse Fitts Mar 2018

Meaning And Modality, Jesse Fitts

Doctoral Dissertations

I intended to write four papers whose topics faintly concerned separate issues in meaning and modality. As it turned out, chapters 1-3 all roughly concern the same topic: propositions. While I argue for two different theses in chapters 1 and 2, I try to understand the changing propositions literature in both. In addition to arguing for the respective theses in chapters 1 and 2, accounting for this change is a parallel goal for the chapters taken together. Chapter 3 examines particular propositional roles---the objects of the attitudes and the objects of credence. Finally, chapter 4 changes the subject to the ...


Justifying A Standard Of Death, Michael Milhim Jan 2018

Justifying A Standard Of Death, Michael Milhim

Honors Projects

There are three major positions in the legal definition of death debate: the cardio-pulmonary standard, the whole-brain standard, and the higher-brain standard. Prominent arguments for each standard appeal to a theory of human persistence. I’ll contend that these arguments fail for two reasons: the metaphysical underpinnings of the arguments are not decisive, and even if they are decisive, they may not be the right policy to enact. The later of these is more practically important than the former.


Aquinas’ De Malo And The Ostensibly Problematic Status Of Natural Evil As Privation, Iñaki Xavier Larrauri Pertierra Jan 2018

Aquinas’ De Malo And The Ostensibly Problematic Status Of Natural Evil As Privation, Iñaki Xavier Larrauri Pertierra

Aristos

Arguments concerning the nature of natural evil vary in their conclusions depending on the particular approach with which they commence inquiry; one of the most contested conclusions regards evil as privation, sourcing its justification primarily from Aquinas’ metaphysical conception of good as being and evil as non-being. It should be of no surprise, then, that the dismissal of natural evil’s privative nature comes about when the understanding of natural evil favours a phenomenological approach rather than a metaphysical one. Proponents of said dismissal generally centre their claims around the notion of pain and suffering as substantially contentful – as in ...


Gneiss, Nicholas Bias Jan 2018

Gneiss, Nicholas Bias

Honors Theses

GNEISS (pronounced nice) is a 23 min short film. It tells the story of Gneiss and his relocation. Gneiss after spending a nondescript amount of time at his grandmother's house in New Mexico moves with his mother, Mary, to a suburban home in Salem. During the trip Gneiss finds a stone he is inexplicably drawn to. Despite pleas from his emotionally distant mother to connect with him, he instead worships the stone. Missing class and isolating himself three weeks go by then Gneiss has an emotionally charged fight with his Mother about her leaving after his Dad died. As ...


On The Knowledge Of God And The Metaphysics Of Aquinas, Tom Green Jan 2018

On The Knowledge Of God And The Metaphysics Of Aquinas, Tom Green

Aristos

Thomas Aquinas argues in his seminal work, the Summa Theologiae, that one can come to know the existence of God through rational argumentation alone. As a theologian writing a work of theology, he makes his demonstrations concerning God’s existence from the point of view of his Christian faith. And in this, it will be argued, Aquinas is not necessarily mistaken. For his project is to present a grand scheme of reality and man’s place within it. Philosophers have often tried the same, and, like Aquinas, their attempts have been made from a certain point of view. That, it ...


Review Of Tsarnia Doyle, Nietzsche's Metaphysics Of The Will To Power: The Possibility Of Value, Justin Remhof Jan 2018

Review Of Tsarnia Doyle, Nietzsche's Metaphysics Of The Will To Power: The Possibility Of Value, Justin Remhof

Philosophy Faculty Publications

[First paragraph]

Tsarina Doyle's new book is required reading for those interested in Nietzsche's metaphysics, ethics, and metaethics. Doyle argues that for Nietzsche nihilism arises upon the recognition that our values are not objectively valid because they are not instantiated by a mind-independent world. Nietzsche responds to the threat of nihilism, according to Doyle, by developing will to power as a metaphysical view of reality. On this view, the world is constituted by mind-independent causal powers. For Doyle, Nietzsche believes values are metaphysically continuous with will to power because they are causal-dispositional properties of human drives. Will to ...


In The Mind Of The Machine, Marcia Yang Jan 2018

In The Mind Of The Machine, Marcia Yang

CMC Senior Theses

As technology becomes more sophisticated, it becomes increasingly important to understand how we should ethically use technology. One question within this area of study is whether we should treat certain types of technology, like artificial intelligence, with more respect. If we do owe these machines some sort of moral status, another question is what level of moral status they have. In order to answer these questions, I argue that machines can be considered as minds under the view of machine functionalism. A significant problem for machine functionalism is whether it can account for emotions within the system it suggests. First ...


Indispensability Arguments For Non-Existents., Jason Messerschmitt Jan 2018

Indispensability Arguments For Non-Existents., Jason Messerschmitt

Honors Theses at the University of Iowa

This essay is chiefly concerned with two fields of philosophy in which non-existent objects appear in indispensability claims for their existence, namely philosophy of mind and truthmaker theory. In the former, indispensability claims are derived from the apparent data of intentionality, understood as the mind’s direction upon objects. An intuitive survey of the apparent objects of thought will reveal an apparent array of non-existents, either coherent or incoherent. We may, for instance, apparently think of objects of fiction such as Sherlock Holmes or Pegasus, to name some famous examples from the literature. We may also apparently think of objects ...


Tian As Cosmos In Zhu Xi's Neo-Confucianism, Stephen C. Angle Dec 2017

Tian As Cosmos In Zhu Xi's Neo-Confucianism, Stephen C. Angle

Stephen C. Angle


Tian” is central to the metaphysics, cosmology, and ethics of the eight-hundred-year-long Chinese philosophical tradition we call “Neo-Confucianism,” but there is considerable confusion over what tian means—confusion which is exacerbated by its standard translation into English as “Heaven.” This essay analyzes the meaning of tian in the works of the most influential Neo-Confucian, Zhu Xi (1130-1200), presents a coherent interpretation that unifies the disparate aspects of the term’s meaning, and argues that “cosmos” does an excellent job of capturing this meaning, and therefore should be adopted as our translation of tian.


Ordinary Disorder, Jonathan S. Tracy Dec 2017

Ordinary Disorder, Jonathan S. Tracy

School of Arts & Sciences Theses

The pictorial spaces in my paintings are found through many drawings, based on memories. In these drawings I use the architectural technique of paraline drawing, in pointed contrast to one or two point perspective. With a fixed point of view unavailable, the viewer or reader becomes the writer too. This is what I intend. The paraline method also engages specific corners of art history to which I relate, including woodblock prints of Japanese interiors, Chinese brush painting landscapes with houses, and the shifting, rotating perspectives found in Baroque painting. My intensely personal memories/drawings are transfused into highly material finished ...