Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Journal of the History of Philosophy: Vol. 46, No. 3, July 2008

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Journal of the History of Philosophy: Vol. 46, No. 3, July 2008

Article excerpt

Inquiry Without Names in Plato's Cratylus, CHRISTINE J. THOMAS

The interlocutors of Plato's Cratylus agree that "it is far better to learn and to inquire from the things themselves than from their names" (439b6-8). Although surprisingly little attention has been paid to these remarks, at least some commentators view Plato as articulating a preference for direct, nonlinguistic cognitive access to the objects of inquiry. Another commentator takes Plato simply to recommend first-hand, yet linguistic, experience in addition to instruction from experts. This paper defends, in contrast to both interpretations, the view that inquiry without names is dialectical, linguistic inquiry into metaphysical first principles. As such, inquiry without names is (logically) prior to inquiry from or through names. Inquiry without names is a form of transcendental metaphysics.

An Intensional Interpretation of Ockham's Theory of Supposition, CATARINA DUTILH NOVAES

According to a widespread view in medieval scholarship, theories of supposition are the medieval counterparts of theories of reference, and are thus essentially extensional theories. The author proposes an alternative interpretation: theories of supposition are theories of properties of terms, but whose aim is to allow for the interpretation of sentences. This holds especially of Ockham's supposition theory, which is the main object of analysis in this paper. In particular, she argues for my intensional interpretation of his theory on the basis of two key-phrases in his Summa Logicae: 'denotatur' and 'propositio est distinguenda'. Finally, she offers a reconstruction of his theory as a set of instructions to be carried out in order to generate the possible readings of (certain) sentences.

The Young Marx and German Idealism: Revisiting the Doctoral Dissertation, MARTIN McIVOR

Recent discussions of "German Idealism" have laid new emphasis on its central concern with the self-determining or "unconditioned" status of self-consciousness, its critique of "reflective" or "foundationalist" epistemologies and metaphysics, and its account of "Reason" or conceptuality as immanent in all human experience and social life. This article contends that this revaluation throws new light upon Karl Marx's 1841 doctoral dissertation on ancient Greek atomism. It argues that Marx's interest in comparing the atomistic theories of Democritus and Epicurus lies in their being historical species of reflective or "essentialist" thinking that attempts to identify an underlying "principle" behind or "beyond" sensible "appearance." Epicurus is accorded (relative) praise by Marx on account of his clear awareness of the necessary contradiction at the heart of any such structure, and his oblique demonstration of its internal link with the individualism and alienation of the post-Hellenic world. Intimately related themes are then shown to animate the rhetorical declarations against religion, in the name of "Reason" and "Self-consciousness", that frame the dissertation. The precise manner in which Marx formulates this opposition, it is argued, indicate a closer and more conscious affinity with the original project of post-Kantian Idealism than has hitherto been appreciated. …

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