Tag Archives: Aristotle

Why fMRI scans explain not one human behavior

A therapist once tried to explain to me why people in states of extreme anger aren’t able to reason: if you monitor the brain of someone in such a state on an fMRI scan, you’ll see the frontal cortex — … Continue reading

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Criticizing Aristotle on “substance”

Here’s a simplified criticism of the Aristotelian theory of substance. For Aristotle, a substance has three components: matter, form, and accidents, each playing a different explanatory role. Consider a tree. It’s one thing, but also a member of a particular natural … Continue reading

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Spinoza, Platonist?

Spinoza notoriously argues that there is only (and could only be) one substance (Ethics 1p14), “God or nature” (1p29s) and everything else, including human persons, is just a “modification” of the attributes of God (2p10). But he has a very high bar for … Continue reading

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Aristotle’s Bifocal View of the Passions

Early in book 1 of De Anima, Aristotle considers how to characterize the passions, and concludes, “τὰ πάθη λόγοι ἔνυλοί εἰσιν” (403a26). Passions are “reasons embedded in matter.” For example, he suggests that anger can appropriately be depicted a series of … Continue reading

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McDowell, “Mind and World” — Reason and Nature

In “Reason and Nature,” the fourth lecture that composes Mind and World, McDowell proposes “to start uncovering the presumably deep mental block that produces this uncomfortable situation,” namely, the anxious oscillation between the Myth of the Given and a Space of … Continue reading

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Ramanuja Against Shankara’s Intellectualism

In his commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, Shankara (8th-9th c.) insists, “That the knowledge of Brahman refers to something which is not a thing to be done, and therefore is not concerned either with the pursuit or the avoidance of any … Continue reading

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Hume’s Lockean misstep

A key step in Hume’s argument against the rationality of induction is the following: “It is agreed on all hands that there is no known connection between the sensible qualities and the secret powers,” “on which the influence of these … Continue reading

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