Category Archives: Metaphysics

Plato’s Dramatological Dialectics

Catherine Zuckert’s Plato’s Philosophers defends an astonishingly bold thesis: according to her, the attempt, since the nineteenth century, to order Plato’s dialogues in chronological order of composition, and so to interpret them developmentally, is futile and misleading. Futile, because the dating on … Continue reading

Posted in Catherine Zuckert, Ethics, Leibniz, Metaphysics, Plato, Plato's Philosophers, Spinoza | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Perception, Knowledge, and Being

The discussion in the Theaetetus really takes off when Theaetetus tries out his first definition of knowledge, suggesting that it’s “nothing other than perception” (οὐκ ἄλλο τί ἐστιν ἐπιστήμη ἢ αἴσθησις) (151e). Socrates immediately equates this definition with the sophist Protagoras’s claim that “Man … Continue reading

Posted in Epistemology, George Berkeley, Metaphysics, Plato, Relativism, Theaetetus | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kantian Newman

In chapter five of his Apologia, Newman writes, If I looked into a mirror, and did not see my face, I should have the sort of feeling which actually comes upon me, when I look into this living busy world, and … Continue reading

Posted in Conscience, Immanuel Kant, John Henry Newman, Kant, Metaphysics | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thought’s Traction

Consider these quotations from three philosophers you probably aren’t inclined to group together: The light dove, cleaving the air in her free flight, and feeling its resistance, might imagine that its flight would be still easier in empty space. It … Continue reading

Posted in Anselm, Empiricism, Immanuel Kant, Metaphysics, Plato, Thomas Aquinas, Wittgenstein | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Berkeley and Aquinas on Matter and Epistemological Realism

Does matter exist? Bishop Berkeley famously said, No, a thesis which has earned him a reputation as a brilliant crank (emphasis on “crank”). Here’s his argument: Wood, stones, fire, water, flesh, iron, and the like things, which I name and … Continue reading

Posted in Aristotle, Being and beings, Descartes, Epistemology, George Berkeley, Idealism, John Locke, John O'Callaghan, Matter, Metaphysics, Mind and World, Plato, Thomas Aquinas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Phenomena or Legomena?

It’s common enough usage in ordinary English to say — when feeling a bit pretentious — “phenomena” where one might equally say “things.” A phenomenon is some furnishing within the universe. Robert Jenson loves to stress that dead metaphors have … Continue reading

Posted in Being and beings, Genesis, Hebrew, Metaphysics, Robert Jenson, Translation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment