First published in 1997, this volume expands the analytical philosophical tradition in the face of parochial Anglo-American philosophical interests. The essays making up the section on ‘Antiquity’ share one concern: to show that there are largely unrecognised but radical differences between the way in which certain fundamental questions – concerning the nature of number, sense perception, and scepticism – were thought of in antiquity and the way in which they were thought of from the 17th century onwards. Part 2, on early modern thought, explores the theoretical characterisation of the role of experiment in early modern physical theory through Galileo’s embracing of experiments, along with Descartes’ automata and issues in a relatively neglected but especially intractable part of Descartes’ philosophy: how he conceives of what a successful inference consists in and what it is that makes it successful. The final section deals with the philosophical foundations of physical theory, the distinction between the human and the natural sciences, the philosophical-cum-scientific foundations of Marx’s idea of socialism, and Nietzche’s criticisms of the very notion of science, concluding that Nietzsche’s probing questions cannot be dismissed, as he has opened up some genuinely challenging issues which we ignore at our peril.
Part 1. Antiquity. 1. Aristotle on Intelligible Matter. 2. The One and the Many: Aristotle on the Individuation of Numbers. 3. Aristotle on the Function of Sense Perception. 4. The Ten Modes of Aenesidemus and the Myth of Ancient Scepticism. Part 2. Early Modern Thought. 5. Galileo, Experiment and the Molecularity of Meaning. 6. Descartes’ Conception of Inference. 7. Descartes’ Early Doctrine of Clear and Distinct Ideas. 8. The Sources of Descartes’ Procedure of Deductive Demonstration in Metaphysics and Natural Philosophy. 9. Nature Without Reason: Cartesian Automata and Perceptual Cognition. 10. The Role of the Ontological Argument in Anselm, Descartes, and Spinoza. Part 3. The Enlightenment and Beyond. 11. The Metaphysics of Impenetrability: Euler’s Conception of Force. 12. Vico and the Maker’s Knowledge Principle. 13. Romanticism and Decommodification: Marx’s Conception of Socialism. 14. Beyond Reality: Nietzsche’s Science of Appearances.
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