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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Vol. 82, No. 3, Summer 2008.

Ghazdff and Metaphorical Predication in the Third Discussion of the Tahafut al-Falasifa, M. V. DOUGHERTY

Ghazali's The Incoherence of the Philosophers is an unusual philosophical work for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the author's explicit disavowal of any of the conclusions contained within it. This essay examines some of the hermeneutical challenges that face readers of the work and offers an exegetical account of the much-neglected Third Discussion, which examines a key point of neoplatonic metaphysics. The paper argues that Ghazala's maintaining of the incompatibility of metaphysical creationism and neoplatonic emanationism should not be viewed as simply a rhetorical or dialectical argument, but rather is best understood, to use Ghazali's words, as a philosophical "proof." Essential to this proof in the solution to the argument of the Third Discussion is an implicit theory of metaphorical predication that can be pieced together from several of Ghazalis remarks as well as a reductio ad absurdum argument about the very possibility of ethical discourse. "A metaphorical expression is always obscure." Aristotle, Topics 6.139b34-5.

Of Gnome and Gnomes: The Virtue of Higher Discernment and the Production of Monsters, STEVEN J. JENSEN

This paper considers how the virtue of higher discernment (gnome) is able to discern when a particular rule must be set aside for some higher principle. Aquinas compares the failure of a particular principle to the production of monsters or defective animals. Most of those who treat of the exceptions to rules ignore this analogy, yet it provides important insights into the virtue of gnome and exceptions to rules. A defective animal is a monster only in relation to the particular cause of the power of reproduction; in relation to a higher cause it is proper and well ordered. Similarly, an exception to a general rule is a kind of monster in relation to that rule, but in relation to a higher principle it is a well-ordered act.

The Sensus Communis Reconsidered, STEPHEN J. LAUMAKIS

Although some philosophers accept an atomistic view of sense impressions, most acknowledge that we are aware not merely of isolated disparate sense data, but of concrete sensible wholes. One of many philosophical problems faced by these philosophers, however, is to explain how these distinct simultaneously presented sensible aspects are subjectively and objectively cognized as belonging to the same particular object. The traditional Thomistic solution is the sensus communis. Recently, however, the validity of that response has been called into question. As a result, the purpose of this paper is to sketch the positions involved in the debate, present St. Thomas's account of the sensus communis, and argue that both the commentary tradition and a recent critic have overlooked an important aspect of that account.

Essence and Ape: Heidegger and the Question of Evolutionary Theory, FRANK SCHALOW

This paper develops the question of Heidegger's stance toward evolutionary theory. It shows that evolutionary theory harbors its own set of presuppositions, which in turn can be explicated through Heidegger's hermeneutic strategy of "formal indication." The paper concludes that Heidegger's account of animal life diverges from that of evolutionary theory, not simply due to the naturalistic claims of the latter, but rather because the former places the openness of inquiry ahead of any theoretical concerns. As a result, Heidegger's hermeneutic phenomenology stakes out a unique territory which stands apart from either a traditionally religious or secular viewpoint, each of which risks falling into the trap of dogmatism.

How Paul Ricoeur Changed the World, ROBERT PIERCEY

Like Husserl and Heidegger, Ricceur offers a powerful and original account of what the "world" is and how it conditions our thinking. But it is difficult to recognize Ricceur's contributions unless we view them in relation to another aspect of his work: his post-Hegelian Kantianism. This paper considers how Ricoeur tries to steer a middle course between Kant's and Hegel's views on this topic. He thinks the idea of the world plays a crucial role in regulating experience, but he tries to understand this idea in a way that is concrete without being totalizing. Ricceur's theory of narrative does exactly this. It describes how narratives open up worlds for their readers: sets of specific existential possibilities that may be incorporated into readers' lives. When Ricceur's account of narrative is viewed in relation to Kant and Hegel, it sheds valuable new light on many aspects of his work.

A Hylomorphic Account of Thought Experiments Concerning Personal Identity, DAVID B. HERSHENOV

Hylomorphism offers a third way between animalist approaches to personal identity, which maintain that psychology is irrelevant to our persistence, and neo-Lockean accounts, which deny that humans are animals. This paper provides a Thomistic account that explains the intuitive responses to thought experiments involving brain transplants and the transformation of organic bodies into inorganic ones. This account does not have to follow the animalist in abandoning the claim that it is our identity which matters in survival, or countenance the puzzles of spatially coincident entities that plague the neo-Lockean. The key is to understand the human being as only contingently an animal. This approach to our animality is one that Catholics have additional reason to hold given certain views about purgatory, our uniqueness as free and rational creatures, and our having once existed as zygotes.

The Problem with the Problem of the Embryo, BERNARD G. PRUSAK

This paper seeks to explain why the debate over the personhood of the embryo goes nowhere and is more likely to generate confusion than conviction. The paper presents two arguments. The first aims to establish that the question of the personhood of the embryo cannot be resolved by turning to science, although the debate about the embryo has largely been a debate about the scientific facts. It is claimed that the rough facts on which the parties to the debate agree admit of multiple more refined accounts, among which science is powerless to adjudicate. So what happens is that the arguments go round and round, neither party convincing the other, both infuriating each another. The second argument concerns the implications of this claim for the many controversies involving the embryo. Here the question is how people who do not know what to make of the embryo might go about deciding how it should be treated.
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Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2009
Previous Article:Williams, David Lay. Rousseau's Platonic Enlightenment.
Next Article:American Philosophical Quarterly: Vol. 45, No. 4, October 2008.

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