Download Agency and Integrality: Philosophical Themes in the Ancient by Michael J. White (auth.), Michael J. White (eds.) PDF

By Michael J. White (auth.), Michael J. White (eds.)

It is not remarkable that it used to be no much less actual in antiquity than it's at the present time that grownup people are held to be answerable for so much in their activities. certainly, nearly all cultures in all ancient sessions appear to have had a few perception of human business enterprise which, within the absence of sure responsibility-defeating stipulations, involves such accountability. Few philosophers have had the temerity to keep up that this entailment is trivial simply because such responsibility-defeating stipulations are continually current. one other now not very brilliant truth is that historic thinkers tended to ascribe integrality to "what is" (to on). that's, they generally seemed "what is" as a cosmos or complete with distinguishable components that healthy jointly in a few coherent or cohesive demeanour, instead of both as a "unity" without elements or as a set containing contributors (ta onta or "things that are") status in no "natural" kin to each other. 1 The philoso­ phical challenge of determinism and accountability could, i believe, most sensible be characterised as follows: it's the challenge of maintaining the phenomenon of human organization (which would appear to require a definite separateness of person people from the remainder of the cosmos) whilst one units concerning the philosophical or medical activity of explaining the integrality of "what is" via the improvement of a concept of causation or clarification ( recommendations that got here to be lumped jointly via the Greeks below the time period "aitia") .

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Additional resources for Agency and Integrality: Philosophical Themes in the Ancient Discussions of Determinism and Responsibility

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C. that Socrates emigrate to Macedonia? According to the fundamental principle, Socrates' emigration is then impossible if there is no time at which this putative possibility can be supposed to be actualized without entailing an impossibility (specifically, a contradiction). If we pick 420 B. C. or any earlier time and suppose that Socrates then emigrates, we immediately produce a contradiction: for at 420 or any prior time, the past is then already determined; so it is also true that Socrates does not emigrate.

This principle, which constitutes the "controversial half" of the temporalfrequency conception of the (absolute) modalities, does not seem to have been regarded as an "ultimate premise" by Aristotle, however. , a "vain" potentiality. And "nature does nothing in vain. 12, a passage that has, in recent years, been examined in considerable detail by Hintikka, C. J. F. Williams and S. WaterlowY I hope to establish that Aristotle's argument is more successful than either Williams or Hintikka b~lieves it to be.

For example, the capacity of a cow for moving about is also the capacity for refraining from moving about. However, it seems Aristotle holds that rational potentialities do not necessitate their effects even relative to certain types of causal contexts. In the passage from Meta. 5 previously quoted, he appears to be considering potentialities qua actualized in a given type of causal context. 93 So the upshot seems to be that Aristotle holds, that at least with respect to things possessing rational THE LEGACY OF ARISTOTLE 41 potencies, there is genuine indeterminacy: in the case of such a potency, its actualization, even in a fully specified set of attendant circumstances or causal context, will not always result in the same effect.

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