•  398
    Substance, Reality, and Distinctness
    Prolegomena 7 (1): 2008. 2008.
    Descartes claims that God is a substance, and that mind and body are two different and separable substances. This paper provides some background that renders these claims intelligible. For Descartes, that something is real means it can exist in separation, and something is a substance if it does not depend on other substances for its existence. Further, separable objects are correlates of distinct ideas, for an idea is distinct (in an objective sense) if its object may be easily and clearly sepa…Read more
  •  381
    The Four Causes
    Journal of Philosophy 106 (3): 137-160. 2009.
    I will argue that Aristotle’s fourfold division of four causes naturally arises from a combination of two distinctions (a) between things and changes, and (b) between that which potentially is something and what it potentially is. Within this scheme, what is usually called the “efficient cause” is something that potentially is a certain natural change, and the “final cause” is, at least in a basic sense, what the efficient cause potentially is. I will further argue that the essences of things an…Read more
  •  327
    Four Causes
    . 2016.
    This is partly a book about Aristotle’s four causes (material, formal, efficient, and final cause), partly a systematic discussion of the relation between form and matter, causation, and teleology. Its overall aim is to show that the four causes form a system, so that the form of a natural thing relates to its matter as the final cause of a natural process relates to its efficient cause. It reaches two highly distinctive conclusions. The first is that the formal cause or essence of a thing is no…Read more
  •  132
    History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 14. 2011.
    The distinction between teleology and teleonomy that biologists sometimes refer to seems to be helpful in certain contexts, but it is used in several different ways and has rarely been clearly drawn. This paper discusses three prominent uses of the term “teleonomy” and traces its history back to what seems to be its first use. This use is examined in detail and then justified and refined on the basis of elements found in the philosophy of Aristotle, Kant, Anscombe and others. In the course of th…Read more
  •  130
    Cartesian conscientia
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 15 (3): 455-484. 2007.
    Although Descartes is often said to have coined the modern notion of ‘consciousness’, he defines it neither explicitly nor implicitly. This may imply (1) that he was not the first to use ‘conscientia’ in its modern, psychological sense, or (2) that he still used it in its traditional moral sense. In this paper, I argue for the latter assumption. Descartes used ‘conscientia’ according to the meaning we also find in texts of St. Paul, Augustine, Aquinas and later scholastics. Thus the Cartesian co…Read more
  •  116
  •  80
    Matter in Z3
    Foundations of Science 13 (3-4): 199-215. 2008.
    In this paper, I will discuss a certain conception of matter that Aristotle introduces in Metaphysics Z3. It is often assumed that Aristotle came to distinguish between matter and form only in his physical writings, and that this lead to a conflict with the doctrine of primary substances in the Categories that he tries to resolve in Z3. I will argue that there is no such conflict. In Z3, Aristotle seems to suggest that matter is what is left over when we strip a thing of all its properties. I ta…Read more
  •  68
    The man without properties
    Synthese 194 (6). 2017.
    Contemporary philosophical logic rests on a distinction between things and properties. Properties are thought to differ from things in that their proper expression is incomplete or unsaturated. In this paper, I will argue that Aristotle did not distinguish between things and properties in this way. I will show, first, that Aristotle’s essences are not properties, and that certain passages in Aristotle make sense only if we do not take accidents to be properties either. The notion of a property i…Read more
  •  68
    Eric Watkins argues that according to Kant, causation is not a relation between two events, but a relation between the “causality” of a substance and an event. It is shown that his arguments are partly based on a confusion between causation and interaction. Further, Watkins claims that for Kant, causes cannot be temporally determined. If this were true, it would follow that there can be no causal chains, and that all factors that determine the time when an effect occurs do not belong to its caus…Read more
  •  58
    Socrates and Self-Knowledge
    Philosophical Quarterly 68 (271): 421-424. 2018.
    © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Scots Philosophical Association and the University of St Andrews. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected] idea of this book is to closely examine all passages where Socrates talks about the Delphic precept, ‘Know Thyself’, and see what picture of self-knowledge emerges. Given that Socrates is a key figure in the transmission of this precept, it is very likely that such a proje…Read more
  •  54
    In this essay, I will sketch my view of the connections between some methodological assumptions in social philosophy, namely those of individualism, holism, and collectivism. My interest in doing so is to outline a rough conceptual landscape, into which an approach of collective actions and intentions can be placed.
  •  41
    Instance Is the Converse of Aspect
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (1): 3-20. 2015.
    According to the aspect theory of instantiation, a particular A instantiates a universal B if and only if an aspect of A is cross-count identical with an aspect of B. This involves the assumption that both particulars and universals have aspects, and that aspects can mediate between different ways of counting things. I will ask what is new about this account of instantiation and, more importantly, whether it is an improvement on its older relatives. It will turn out that the part of it that is n…Read more
  •  39
  •  38
    Social facts explained and presupposed
    In Nikos Psarros & Katinka Schulte-Ostermann (eds.), Facets of Sociality, Ontos Verlag. 2006.
    Attempts are often made to explain collective action in terms of the interaction of individuals. A common objection to such attempts is that they are circular: Since every interaction presupposes the existence of common practices and common practices involve collective action, no analysis of collective agency in terms of interaction can reduce collectivity away. In this essay I will argue that this does not constitute a real circularity. It is true that common practices are presupposed in every …Read more
  •  38
    Naturteleologie, reduktiv
    Philosophisches Jahrbuch 113 (2): 296--315. 2006.
    The sciences may be able to describe living beings, but this is not to account for their life. Life is not a describable property of things. There is also no philosophical a priori argument by which one could prove the existence of life – except perhaps our own. In order to understand what life is, we must start with our conception of that life that we know, human life, and reduce the notion of this life to a notion of mere life. We may do this by introducing the following distinctions. Intentio…Read more
  •  37
    I will in this paper attempt to extract a positive doctrine on the substantiality of the human soul from Ghazali"s critique of the Aristotelian philosophical tradition. Rather than reflecting on the possibilities and limitations of intercultural dialogue, my aim is to directly engage in such dialogue. Accordingly, I will not suppose that we need to develop and apply external standards according to which one of the two philosophical traditions addressed here, Western and Islamic, may turn out to …Read more
  •  36
    Eine Verteidigung des typologischen Artbegriffs
    Philosophia Naturalis 46 (2): 251-278. 2009.
    The paper demonstrates that the biological species concept that Mayr con- trasts with the typological one in fact presupposes a version of the typological species concept. For one cannot assess whether two living beings are capable of producing offspring without already knowing what would count as off- spring. Therefore, one must know non-relational features of typical offspring of a kind of living beings in order to be able to apply the biological species concept. The typological species concep…Read more
  •  35
    Knowledge and Truth in Plato: Stepping Past the Shadow of Socrates
    Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276): 638-641. 2019.
    Review of Catherine Rowett's Knowledge and Truth in Plato
  •  34
    Conscientia bei Descartes
    Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 60 (1): 21-36. 2006.
    Obwohl ‚conscientia’ ein zentraler Grundbegriff der cartesischen Metaphysik ist, sagt Descartes nirgends explizit, was er damit meint. Auch aus der Art und Weise, in der er das Wort verwendet, lässt sich dessen Bedeutung nicht vollends erschließen. Insbesondere handelt es sich nicht um einen reflexiven Denkakt (cogitatio), nicht um eine Disposition zum Haben solcher cogitationes und nicht um eine Art Aufmerksamkeit. Um die Bedeutung des Begriffes zu klären, schlage ich vor, auf klassische Texte …Read more
  •  33
    Getting Causes from Powers
    Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263): 414-417. 2016.
  •  32
    Luhmann und die formale mathematik
    In Peter-Ulrich Merz-Benz & Gerhard Wagner (eds.), Die Logik Der Systeme, Universitätsverlag Konstanz. 2000.
    Niklas Luhmann verwendet in seiner soziologischen Systemtheorie offenbar etwas, das er den Büchern des englischen Mathematikers George Spencer Brown entnimmt. Dessen Formenkalkül ist für Luhmann, wie Günther Schulte treffend bemerkt, “Mädchen für alles, mit dem er nicht nur in der Lage ist Teezukochen, sondern auch Auto oder Straßenbahn zu fahren”. Der erste Blick in Spencer Browns Laws of Form vermittelt einen anderen Eindruck: nichts scheinen sie mit soziologischer Systemtheorie zu tun zu habe…Read more
  •  32
    Was bedeutet ‚Conscientia' bei Descartes
    Dissertation, Universität Leipzig. 2004.
    Obwohl 'conscientia' ein zentraler Grundbegriff der cartesischen Metaphysik ist, sagt Descartes nirgends explizit, was er damit meint. Auch aus der Art und Weise, in der er das Wort verwendet, lässt sich dessen Bedeutung nicht vollends erschließen. Insbesondere handelt es sich nicht um einen reflexiven Denkakt (cogitatio), nicht um eine Disposition zum Haben solcher cogitationes und nicht um eine Art Aufmerksamkeit. Um die Bedeutung des Begriffes zu klären, schlage ich vor, auf klassische Texte…Read more
  •  30
    Lichtenberg’s Point
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 95 (2): 265-286. 2018.
    _ Source: _Volume 95, Issue 2, pp 265 - 286 The author argues that when Lichtenberg recommends saying “It is thinking” instead of “I am thinking”, he is not suggesting that thought might be a subjectless occurrence. Lichtenberg’s point is, rather, that we are often the _passive_ subject or medium of our thoughts. The author further argues that Descartes’ _cogito_ argument is not affected by this point, because Descartes does not claim that we must be the active subject of all our thoughts. Moreo…Read more
  •  26
    Science, conscience, consciousness
    History of the Human Sciences 23 (3): 15-28. 2010.
    Descartes’ metaphysics lays the foundation for the special sciences, and the notion of consciousness (conscientia) belongs to metaphysics rather than to psychology. I argue that as a metaphysical notion, ‘consciousness’ refers to an epistemic version of moral conscience. As a consequence, the activity on which science is based turns out to be conscientious thought. The consciousness that makes science possible is a double awareness: the awareness of what one is thinking, of what one should be do…Read more
  •  24
    Tugenden und Absichten
    Philosophisches Jahrbuch 115 (1): 165-182. 2008.
    Psychological experiments show that human behavior is often determined by features of the situation rather than general and persistent character traits of the agent. Therefore, it may seem naive to suppose that someone with a virtuous character will in general act virtuously. This is at least true if a character trait is taken to be a persistent characteristic or property that reliably causes certain behavior. On the basis of the conception of agency developed by Anscombe in Intention, I will ar…Read more
  •  22
    Schuld und Gewissen bei Abelard
    Dialektik (1): 129-143. 2003.
    In Abelards Kommentar zum Römerbrief erscheint das Handeln contra conscientiam als eines gegen das eigene Urteil über andere. Abelard bezieht sich hier vor allem auf eine frühere Stelle im selben Brief, wo Paulus schreibt, jeder werde nach dem Gesetz gerichtet, das er sich selbst gibt (Rom 2,1). Was wir an Anderen verur- teilen, erläutert er, stehe dadurch auch unserer eigenen conscientia entgegen, und nur ein Handeln gegen die conscientia sei Sünde. Damit wird die goldene Regel, auf die Abelard…Read more
  •  20
    " Insofar as" in Descartes' Definition of Thought
    Studia Leibnitiana 43 (2): 145-159. 2011.
    In Principia Philosophiae I 9, Descartes defines “thought” as follows: “By the name ‘thought’ I understand all that which happens in us such that we are conscious of it, insofar as there is consciousness of it in us”. I inquire how to read the "insofar as" in this definition.
  •  20
    Plato’s Ingredient Principle: Phaedo 105a2-5
    Ancient Philosophy 35 (2): 303-316. 2015.
    We can accept Plato's "ingredient principle" when we replace the distinction between things and properties with a slightly different one.
  •  20
    This is a discussion of self-knowledge in Hugh of St. Victor. It will yield the following three systematic results. First, it will be shown that there is a clear sense in which human self-knowledge is knowledge of one’s own rationality, and therefore knowledge of the proper object of one’s rational capacities (dunameis meta logou). Second, a distinction will be drawn between perfect and imperfect self-knowledge. Third, it will turn out that under conditions of perfect self-knowledge, all our rat…Read more
  •  16
    Supstancija, stvarnost i odjelitost
    Prolegomena 7 (1): 5-20. 2008.
    Descartes claims that God is a substance and that mind and body are two different and separable substances. This paper provides some background that renders these claims intelligible.