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VOLUME LXV, NUMBER 2
December 2011


In Defense of Free Will: a Critique of Benjamin Libet, JOSEF SEIFERT

Libet considers “positive free voluntary acts” as mere illusions, admitting free will only as Veto. This essay shows seven ways by which we can gain evident knowledge about positive and negative free will, through: (1) the immediate evidence of free will in the cogito, (2) the light of the necessary essence of free will, (3) the experience of moral “oughts” in whose experience freedom is co-given, (4) any denial of human free will entails its assertion or recognition, (5) the objects and subjects of certain acts disclose free will, (6) in a world without free agents there would be no explanation of the beginning of efficient causality, and (7) Veto-power of the will logically presupposes positive free will. Libet’s experiments confirm that the free decision to act at a certain time and the preceding and accompanying free acts make new energy to burst forth in the brain.

 

Aristotle on the Philosophical Elements of Historia, SILVIA CARLI

This paper offers an interpretation and a defense of Aristotle’s view of history. According to a common reading of the Poetics, the philosopher intends to establish a dichotomy between history and poetry. On this view, the former speaks only of particulars because it relates events that are accidentally related to one another, whereas the latter speaks of universals because it organizes events according to causal relations of probability and necessity. A careful reading of the relevant passages of the Poetics and the analysis of his conception of historia as a preliminary inquiry that leads to the philosophical investigation of causes and principles, however, show that Aristotle did not confine history to the realm of particulars.  Rather, he acknowledged that it has some connection with universality, and to that extent, that it partakes in the philosophical nature of poetry. At the same time he provided valid indications to the effect that, despite their affinity, historia and poiêtikê differ in kind, because they are defined by different functions (erga).—Correspondence to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Is Phenomenology Necessary as Introduction to Philosophy? RICHARD DIEN WINFIELD

Philosophy can begin neither by making claims about the given nor by investigating knowing, since, in either way, unjustified assumptions must be made.  In the face of this predicament, Hegel presents his Phenomenology of Spirit as the only viable introduction to philosophy, introducing presuppositionless science by immanently critiquing the construal of knowing which presumes that cognition always has assumptions, always confronts some given. Can the challenge of completing this immanent critique in all its daunting complexity be avoided by alternative shortcuts?  The article examines four such options: Hegel’s complementary introductions to the Science of Logic and arguments on how the self-referential inconsistencies of transcendental investigation and foundationalism resolve themselves.  All these alternative shortcuts are shown to rest on assumptions that only the full phenomenological investigation can overcome.Correspondence to:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Liber est causa sui”:  Thomas Aquinas and the Maxim “The Free is the Cause of Itself,”JAMIE ANNE SPIERING

This article asks how we should understand the maxim liber est causa sui when we encounter it in the writings of Thomas Aquinas.  The maxim – most easily translated as “the free is the cause of itself” – is taken from the first book of Aristotle’s Metaphysics,and Thomas uses it when he needs to show that something, or someone, is free.  The first section of this paper shows that Thomas does not intend us to understand the maxim as indicating self-creation: as he himself often says, Nihil est causa sui.  The second part of this paper argues that Thomas intended us to understand something more than agent causality or acting “from oneself” when he cited this maxim.  Thomas’s meaning when citing this maxim includes Aristotle’s meaning in writing it, and Aristotle did not primarily mean that the free being caused itself to act.  Instead, he meant that the free being acted for the sake of an end that was its own – it acted “for its own sake.” Passages in which Thomas cites the maxim – particularly De veritate 24.1 – must be understood to include two senses of causa sui.  When Thomas applies the words causa suito something, he does not simply mean that its actions are from itself or a se; he also intends to signify that its actions are “for its own sake” or propter se.— Correspondence to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Metaphysics: A Traditional Mainstay of Philosophy in Need of Radical Rethinking, LORENZ B. PUNTEL

The article aims to show that current understandings and developments of “metaphysics,” in both analytic and continental philosophy, fail to do justice both to the metaphysical tradition as a whole and to the potentialities inherent in that tradition’s mode and aim of thinking. The root failure is the failure to recognize that Thomas Aquinas, by distinguishing between ens and esse, reveals that metaphysics must thematize Being (esse) as well as being(s) (ens/entia). To be sure, Aquinas’s understanding of Being solely as actus essendi is fundamentally inadequate, but Being is not even a topic for analytic philosophy, for which metaphysical questions concern only being(s).  The article takes seriously Heidegger’s (only partially correct) charge that an “oblivion of Being” pervades metaphysics and, against Heidegger, shows how to conceive of and develop an adequate theory of Being.—Correspondence to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Last Updated ( Thursday, 06 November 2014 03:25 )