Lucretius' Epicurean account of dreams in Book IV of De Rerum Natura indicates that they are wholly void of prophetic significance and of little practical significance. Dreams, rightly apprehended, do little more than mirror our daily preoccupations. For Lucretius, all dreams pass through the gate of ivory and all are reducible to psychophysical phenomena.In this paper, I examine Lucretius' account of sleep and the formation of dreams in light of the Epicurean aims of the poem as a whole. In doing so, I give what I take to be a plausible sketch of the formation of dreams through what I call Lucretius' "selection model" of dreams. The selection model forbids, strictly speaking, the phenomenon of genuine prophecy through dreams, while at the same time it allows for a surprisingly rich psychophysical explanation of the genesis of seemingly prophetic dreams in sleepers. Thus, I argue, a proper grasp of the Lucretian account of oneiric formation is itself a significant part of the Epicurean cure for superstitions and religiously based ills of his day.
Buridan, Jean, 1300-1358. Quaestiones super librum De anima secundum tertiam lecturam.
Dualism -- History -- To 1500.
Soul -- History of doctrines -- Middle Ages, 600-1500.
In this paper I argue that the famous problems of dualism between mind (soul) and body, that is, the problems of interaction and unification, concerned philosophers already in a medieval Aristotelian tradition. The problems, although traceable earlier, become particularly visible after William Ockham in the early fourteenth century, and in formulating his own position on the animal and human souls I argue that Buridan realized these problems and laid down the only views on the soul he thought to be possible in an Aristotelian framework. His discussion then sets the stage for the following centuries. In presenting the background to Buridan's discussion I treat Aquinas, Ockham, Walter Chatton and Adam Wodeham
Descartes, René, 1596-1650 -- Contributions in causation.
Descartes, René, 1596-1650 -- Contributions in free will and determinism.
Descartes provides an original and puzzling argument for the traditional theological doctrine that the world is continuously created by God. His key premise is that the parts of the duration of anything are "completely independent" of one another. I argue that Descartes derives this temporal independence thesis simply from the principle that causes are necessarily simultaneous with their effects. I argue further that it follows from Descartes's version of the continuous creation doctrine that God is the instantaneous and total cause of everything that happens, and that this is just what his physics demands. But although God is the total cause of everything, he is not the only cause, since Descartes considers it obvious that finite minds have the power to move bodies. In the face of this apparent paradox, several recent commentators have suggested that Descartes accepted the late scholastic view that God and finite causes somehow collaborate or concur in the production of numerically identical effects. But close examination reveals that the case for Cartesian concurrentism is weak. Fortunately, there is a simpler and more fruitful solution to the problem of reconciling divine and human action. I argue that that in Descartes's world certain motions, such as voluntary movements of our bodies, are causally overdetermined This account allows Descartes to avoid occasionalism without embracing an elaborate metaphysics of secondary causality. Finally, I argue that the overdeterminist interpretation sheds new light on two longstanding problems of Cartesian metaphysics. First, it resolves a serious difficulty with a standard reading of Descartes's conception of human freedom. Second, it offers a novel approach to the old problem of reconciling genuine human action with the principle of the conservation of total quantity of motion.
Future life -- History of doctrines -- 18th century.
Hume, David, 1711-1776 -- Religion.
In this paper I argue that Hume's famous discussion of probability and induction, as originally presented in the Treatise, is significantly motivated by irreligious objectives. A particular target of Hume's arguments is Joseph Butler's Analogy of Religion. In the Analogy Butler intends to persuade his readers of both the credibility and practical importance of the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments. The argument that he advances relies on probable reasoning and proceeds on the assumption that our past experience in this life serves as a reliable and effective guide for our expectations concerning a future state. In the relevant sections of the Treatise Hume aims to discredit this religious argument and the practical objectives associated with it.
Kant, Immanuel, 1724-1804 -- Contributions in causation.
Hume, David, 1711-1776 -- Contributions in causation.
Causation -- History -- 18th century.
This paper argues that Kant's model of causality cannot consist in one temporally determinate event causing another, as Hume had thought, since such a model is inconsistent with mutual interaction, to which Kant is committed in the Third Analogy. Rather causality occurs when one substance actively exercises its causal powers according to the unchanging grounds that constitute its nature so as to determine a change of state of another substance. Because this model invokes unchanging grounds, one can understand how Kant could have thought that causal laws could be justified. Further, because this model, along with the broader ontology it presupposes, is radically different from Hume's, Kant's Second Analogy cannot be understood as a refutation of Hume's position on Hume's own terms; instead, Kant must be proposing an alternative view that competes against Hume's thoroughgoing empiricist account.
Hill, R. Kevin. Nietzsche's critiques: the Kantian foundations of his thought.
Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 1844-1900.
Forms of Knowledge and Sensibility: Ernst Cassirer and the Human Sciences, and: Dilthey und Cassirer: Die Deutung der Neuzeit als Muster von Geistes- und Kulturgeschichte (review) [Access article in HTML][Access article in PDF] Subject Headings:
Foss, Gunnar, ed. Forms of knowledge and sensibility: Ernst Cassirer and the human sciences.
Kasa, Eivind, ed.
Leinkauf, Thomas, ed. Dilthey und Cassirer: die Deutung der Neuzeit als Muster von Geistes- und Kulturgeschichte.