Browsing by Subject "metaphysics"

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  • Tahko, Tuomas (2008)
    In this paper I will offer a novel understanding of a priori knowledge. My claim is that the sharp distinction that is usually made between a priori and a posteriori knowledge is groundless. It will be argued that a plausible understanding of a priori and a posteriori knowledge has to acknowledge that they are in a constant bootstrapping relationship. It is also crucial that we distinguish between a priori propositions that hold in the actual world and merely possible, non-actual a priori propositions, as we will see when considering cases like Euclidean geometry. Furthermore, contrary to what Kripke seems to suggest, a priori knowledge is intimately connected with metaphysical modality, indeed, grounded in it. The task of a priori reasoning, according to this account, is to delimit the space of metaphysically possible worlds in order for us to be able to determine what is actual.
  • Backman, Jussi (2007)
    The paper studies a transcript of notes from Heidegger's 1930–31 seminar on Plato’s Parmenides. It shows that in spite of his much-criticized habit of dismissing Plato as the progenitor of “idealist” metaphysics, Heidegger was quite aware of the radical potential of Plato's later dialogues. Through a temporal account of the notion of oneness (to hen), the Parmenides attempts to reconcile the plurality of beings with the unity of being. In Heidegger’s reading, the dialogue culminates in the notion of the “instant” (to exaiphnes, Augenblick) in which the temporal plurality of presence and nonpresence converges into a unified disclosure.
  • Haaparanta, Leila (Routledge, 2020)
    Gottlob Frege did not call any of his philosophical views by the name “ontology”, let alone “metaontology”. When applied to Frege’s thought, the term “metaontology” is clearly anachronistic. Still, this paper discusses two philosophical positions that Frege held and that have metaontological relevance. They are the doctrine of the ambiguity of the word “is” and the doctrine of three realms. It is well known that Frege regarded existence as a second-order concept. Likewise, Frege’s distinction between three realms has been studied in detail. However, the relation between the two doctrines has not been clarified in detail; instead, they are studied as separate themes that occur in Frege’s writings. It is true Frege does not combine the two topics. This paper seeks to show that the two doctrines are connected in an interesting way: The concept of existence that is expressed as a second-order concept in the formula language plays an important logical role, while the doctrine of three realms is a means to express a division between three modes of being or three ways to exist. It seeks to show that the modes of being are predicated of objects, but they have a special, constitutive role in relation to those entities of which they are predicated. The word “exist” is thus an analogous rather than a completely ambiguous word. The paper suggests that Frege's views on of “being” and being contain elements both of Aristotelian and of Kantian approaches to metaphysics.
  • Riggs, Timothy Charles (2016)
    The concept of recognition is increasingly gaining in importance in political and social philosophy as a means of explaining and dealing conceptually with the problems of multiculturalism. Nevertheless, the phenomena which this concept signifies, namely human capacities for intersubjectivity, belong to human beings even before the development of the modern concept. This article explores how the content of the concept of recognition plays a role in two Platonic philosophies of Late Antiquity, those of the Neoplatonic philosopher Proclus and the Christian philosopher, monk and lay theologian Maximus the Confessor. It is shown that their versions of a metaphysics of the Good provides the foundation for a moral and ethical vision of human life which makes recognitive judgments – which make acts of recognition possible – a necessity for human action. Although proper recognition pertains to the rational recognition of the First Cause as the true end of all human action, nevertheless Proclus and Maximus make recognitive judgments not only possible but a necessary function of even the lower, irrational faculties of soul. In this way, they explain how human beings have an innate capacity at all levels of cognition for recognizing things and other people as goods to be pursued or avoided.
  • Backman, Jussi (2010)
    The article serves as an introduction to the newly published Finnish translation of Martin Heidegger’s Introduction to Metaphysics. I first discuss the respective historical situations in which these lectures were originally delivered (1935) and first published (1953), arguing that they can be read as an indirect account of Heidegger’s relationship to National Socialism after his rectorate (1933–34), and also as a contemporary document of the possibilities and necessities of philosophizing under the Third Reich. I then delineate the central importance of these lectures as signaling the “reversal” (Kehre) undertaken by Heidegger’s thinking after Being and Time (1927) and concluding in a programmatic outline of the central questions of Heidegger’s later thought.
  • Backman, Jussi (2012)
    Derrida's deconstructive strategy of reading texts can be understood as a way of highlighting the irreducible plurality of discursive meaning that undermines the traditional Western “logocentric“ desire for an absolute point of reference. While his notion of logocentrism was modeled on Heidegger's articulation of the traditional ontotheological framework of Aristotelian metaphysics, Derrida detects a logocentric remnant in Heidegger's own interpretation of gathering (Versammlung) as the basic movement of λόγος, discursiveness. However, I suggest that Derrida here touches upon a certain limit of deconstruction. As Derrida himself points out, the “decentering“ effect of deconstruction does not simply abolish the unifying and focalizing function of discourse. Insofar as deconstruction involves reading and interpreting, it cannot completely evade narrative focalization. Rather, both Heidegger and Derrida can be understood as addressing the radical contextuality of all discursive centers and focal points as well as the consequent impossibility of an ultimate and definitive metanarrative.
  • Usvapelto, Ilona Maaria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    In discussion on natural kinds one of the central debates is held between monistic and pluralistic view. While monists argue that things are what they are due to their microstructure, pluralists suggest there are several equally legitimate ways to define the nature of a subject. As compounds, proteins raise questions such as "How we should define natural kinds?" and "What makes an object a member of certain kind?" This thesis examines the problems that microstructural monism faces in defining macromolecules and whether it is able to answer the counter arguments. Recently studies on microbiology have shown that some proteins are able to perform secondary tasks. This ability is called moonlighting and it has raised a need for refining the theories defining proteins. To do so, in this thesis the central problems associated with the functions of proteins are introduced. After this, the solutions offered by the contemporary discussion are considered in order to decide whether microstructural essentialism can survive from challenges set by moonlighting. This thesis is divided into three sections. The first section (the chapters one, two and three) will introduce the basic terminology, the key concepts, and will provide the frames of the discussion. In the second section (the chapters four and five) the relevant structure and properties of proteins will be examined more closely. In addition to this, the current discussion is introduced in more detail. The section three (the chapters six, seven and eight) weighs various challenges set by functionality and proposes a view according to which microstructuralism may indeed be able to answer these challenges. However, this requires remodeling of the microstructural argument and reviewing its basic assumptions. This is done by reflecting and analyzing writings of Jordan Bartol, William Goodwin and Emma Tobin, with works of Sandra Mitchell, Paul Needham, Jaap van Brakel, Raphael van Riel and Robert Van Gulick. This thesis concludes that both, microstructuralism and pluralism, have trouble in explaining the structure and dynamic nature of proteins. While pluralism offers a promising ground of explaining the complexity of proteins, it does not emphasize enough the significance of chemical structure. Compared with traditional microstructuralism and pluralism, the views of Jordan Bartol and William Goodwin are in better harmony with current scientific research and, moreover, offer a more appealing answer from the metaphysical point of view. Bartol's view requires adapting dualism of kinds, where macromolecules are classified to chemical and biological kinds. Goodwin is able to hold on to monism by allowing additional levels of explanation. This thesis concludes that Goodwin's theory therefore offers the most promising ground to build a coherent theory of macromolecules. Additionally, Goodwin's levelled microstructuralism is able to retain monism.
  • Kaalikoski, Katri (2002)
    This doctoral dissertation consists of eight articles and a summary. The subject of the study is the ethical theory of the British philosopher Iris Murdoch (1919-1999). The articles highlight two interrelated lines of significance in Murdoch's thought. First, the study focuses on Murdoch's approach to questions concerning the way in which philosophy pictures the relation between the 'self' and the world. The main question is in which ways the individual person and the character of human experience is described and pictured in modern moral philosophy and what are the consequences of these different pictures to the lives and experiences of individual persons. The second line of Murdoch's thought the study follows is the criticism she directs towards modern moral philosophy and especially towards noncognitivistic ethics. Murdoch's position as a predecessor of new moral realism as well as her role in development of contemporary moral theory is emphasised. Murdoch's criticism of noncognitivism and her cognitivistic moral realism is construed as having an ideological basis which is connected with the problem concerning the relation between the 'self' and the surrounding world and that goes back to nineteenth century Millian liberalism. Murdoch's idea of the relation between language and the world as well as her view of the relation between the 'self' and the world is explained in terms of Platonistic metaphysics. Her metaphysical moral theory is seen as a platonistic-pramatistic theory, where the idea of the platonistic Good as a primary moral concept connects with liberal-political goals: the aim is to create, on a basis of a new picture of human reality, new naturalistic ethics. On a personal level naturalistic ethics could offer a solid foundation to private moral reflection and on the public level it could function as a ground for social and political ethical theory.
  • Backman, Jussi (Eurooppalaisen filosofian seura, 2006)
    23°45: niin & näin -lehden kirjasarja
  • Backman, Jussi (2005)
    For Heidegger, the fundamental “rationality” of Western metaphysics lies in the fact that its “leading question” concerning beings as beings constantly refers back to the question concerning the ground (arche, ratio, Grund) of beings. Whereas metaphysics has sought to ground beings in ideal beingness, Heidegger attempts to think beingness as itself based on the withdrawing “background” dimension of no-thing-ness that grounds finite presence by differing from it. In Heidegger’s earlier work, the structure of this “grounding” is considered in terms of Dasein’s temporal transcendence; later, it is rearticulated through the fourfold dimensionality of meaningfulness (Geviert), converging in a concrete thing.
  • Backman, Jussi (Yliopistopaino, 2004)
  • Backman, Jussi (Jyväskylän yliopisto, 2012)
  • Airaksinen, Timo (Brill, 2019)
    Vagaries of Desire is a major collection of new essays by Timo Airaksinen on the philosophy of desire. The first part develops a novel account of the philosophical theory of desire, including Girard. The second part discusses Kafka’s main works, namely The Castle, The Trial, and Amerika, and Thomas Hobbes and the problems of intentionality. The text develops such linguistic tropes as metaphor and metonymy in connection with topics like death and then applies them to Kafka’s texts. The third part makes an effort to understand the mysteries of sadism and masochism in philosophical and rhetorical terms. The last article criticizes Thomas Nagel’s influential account of sexual perversion and develops a viable alternative.