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Philosophical Explorations

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Philosophical Explorations

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Dewey, Russell, Whitehead

Philosophers as Educators

Brian Patrick Hendley

Hendley argues that philosophers of edu­cation should reject their preoccupation with defining terms and analyzing concepts and once again embrace the philosophical task of con­structing general theories of education.  Hendley believes that like Dewey, Russell, and Whitehead, philosophers should take a more ac­tive, practical role in education.

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Dispositional Properties

David Weissman

In Dispositional Properties, David Weissman attacks a problem central to the philosophy of mind and, by implication, to the theory of being: Are there potentialities, capabilities, which dispose the mind to think in one way rather than another?

The volume is arranged in the form of four arguments that converge upon a single point. First, there is an intricate discussion of the shortcomings of Hume's account of mind as ideas and impressions. Next comes a brief treatment of the arguments of some of Weissman's contemporaries, including Carnap and Braithwaite. Third, Weissman discusses Wittgenstein's theories of learning and knowledge. Finally, there is a full discussion of Aristotle and his doctrine of potentialities.

The question this book ultimately raises is how to steer between a doctrine of mind as no more than a series of acts, on the one hand, and a doctrine of mind as a kind of unitary object, on the other. The solution is to show first of all that there must be a potentiality in the universe, and then to show clearly and in detail that the mind is shot through with that potentiality.

 

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Eternal Possibilities

A Neutral Ground for Meaning and Existence

David Weissman

Eternal Possibilities: A Neutral Ground for Meaning and Existence builds on David Weissman's earlier Dispositional Properties and makes a signal contribution to the study of metaphysics. Here, broadening and enriching the point of view adopted in his earlier work, Weissman cites and criticizes a large number of theories proposed by authors from Plato to Wittgenstein and others exploring language theory and metaphysics.

Students of Wittgenstein will be especially interested in Mr. Weissman's critical examination of Wittgenstein's claim in the Tractatus that possibilities are the facts for logic. Weissman proposes a modal theory of properties: they exist in the first instance as possibilities. He argues that a sentence is meaningful if it signifies a property or complex of properties existing as a possible, and true if that possible is instantiated. The status of possibilities and their relation to actual states of affairs are considered in detail.

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