Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

The Journal of the History of Philosophy Vol. 52, No. 1, January 2014

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

The Journal of the History of Philosophy Vol. 52, No. 1, January 2014

Article excerpt

Platonic Causes Revisited, D. T. J. BAILEY

This paper offers a new interpretation of the notorious section of Plato's Phaedo, 96a-103a, in which Socrates discourses on the nature of cause and explanation. It offers new reasons for an old account of why Socrates rejects his predecessors' views wholesale, before turning to a new account of his positive proposals. It steers a path between the two most influential modern approaches to the text by highlighting Socrates' avowed methodology, arguing that he is not, in the relevant passages, trying to do anything more than provide adequacy conditions for causation. Finally, it use these results to illuminate the further fragment of theory he provides in the proof of the soul's immortality, offering some explanatory models for why Socrates develops his own position as he does. These are quite different from, and more fruitful than, those suggested by the opposing modern approaches previously navigated.

Immanent and Transeunt Potentiality, NATHANAEL STEIN

The alleged but unclear distinction between so-called immanent and so-called transeunt causation is structurally similar to an Aristotelian distinction between two kinds of potentiality (dunamis). This paper argues that Aristotle's distinction is in turn grounded in a distinction between a metaphysically basic notion, rooted in his property theory, and a metaphysically posterior notion proper to his understanding of change in the science of nature. By examining Aristotle's distinction, we can give a satisfying account of immanent and transeunt causation more generally. Furthermore, once we clarify the distinction in this way, some contemporary appeals to immanent causation turn out to be misguided, while others look promising.

Hobbes and the Question of Power, SANDRA FIELD

Thomas Hobbes has been hailed as the philosopher of power par excellence. However, the author demonstrates that Hobbes's conceptualization of political power is not stable across his texts. Once the distinction is made between the authorized and the effective power of the sovereign, it is no longer sufficient simply to defend a doctrine of the authorized power of the sovereign; such a doctrine must be robustly complemented by an account of how the effective power commensurate to this authority might be achieved. This is not straightforward: for effective political power can fluctuate, sometimes severely. In this light, the prevalent juridical reading of Hobbes's political philosophy is inadequate.

Hume and the Metaphysics of Agency, JOSHUA M. WOOD

The author examines Hume's "construal of the basic structure of human agency" and his "analysis of human agency" as they arise in his investigation of causal power. Hume's construal holds both that volition is separable from action and that the causal mechanism of voluntary action is incomprehensible. …

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