Agency and Integrality: Philosophical Themes in the Ancient Discussions of Determinism and Responsibility (Philosophical Studies Series 32)

Agency and Integrality: Philosophical Themes in the Ancient Discussions of Determinism and Responsibility (Philosophical Studies Series 32)

By: Michael J. White (author)Hardback

1 - 2 weeks availability


It is not very surprising that it was no less true in antiquity than it is today that adult human beings are held to be responsible for most of their actions. Indeed, virtually all cultures in all historical periods seem to have had some conception of human agency which, in the absence of certain responsibility-defeating conditions, entails such responsibility. Few philosophers have had the temerity to maintain that this entailment is trivial because such responsibility-defeating conditions are always present. Another not very surprising fact is that ancient thinkers tended to ascribe integrality to "what is" (to on). That is, they typically regarded "what is" as a cosmos or whole with distinguishable parts that fit together in some coherent or cohesive manner, rather than either as a "unity" with no parts or as a collection containing members (ta onta or "things that are") standing in no "natural" relations to one another. 1 The philoso- phical problem of determinism and responsibility may, I think, best be characterized as follows: it is the problem of preserving the phenomenon of human agency (which would seem to require a certain separateness of individual human beings from the rest of the cosmos) when one sets about the philosophical or scientific task of explaining the integrality of "what is" by means of the development of a theory of causation or explanation ( concepts that came to be lumped together by the Greeks under the term "aitia") .

Create a review


One: Introduction: The Immortal Chimpanzee at its Typewriter.- A. Plenitude and the Temporal-Frequency Model of the Modalities.- B. Plenitude and Atomist Cosmology?.- C. Summary and Conclusion.- Notes.- Two: The Legacy of Aristotle.- A. Pitfalls.- B. Three Types of Necessity.- C. Aristotle's Fundamental Modal Principle.- D. Absolute Necessity and the Ultimate Mover.- E. Aristotle and Determinism.- (1) The "Proto-Reconciliationist" Option.- (2) The "Straightforward" Indeterminist Options.- (3) The Future-Indeterminacy/Past-Determinism Option.- F. The Energeia-Kin?sis Distinction and Aristotelian Determinism.- G. Summary and Conclusion.- Notes.- Three: Diodorean Fatalism.- A. Diodorus the Megarian?.- B. Diodorus'Denial of Motion.- C. Diodorus' Account of the Alethic Modalities and His Fatalism.- D. The Master Argument and Diodorean Fatalism.- E. Summary and Conclusion.- Notes.- Four: Chrysippus' Compatibilism.- A. The Avoidance of Necessity and Retention of Fate.- B. "Obscure Causes" and Chrysippus' Compatibilism.- C. "What Is Up to Us" and Fate.- D. Chrysippean and Spinozistic Reconciliationism.- E. Summary and Conclusion.- Notes.- Five: Peripatetic Polemics.- A. Stoic and Peripatetic Conceptions of Heimarmen?.- B. Causal/Temporal Sequences: Stoic and Peripatetic Conceptions.- C. A Fronte Conditional Necessity.- D. A Tergo Conditional Necessity.- E. Summary and Conclusion.- Notes.- Six: Cosmic Cycles, Time, and Determinism.- A. Two Versions of Cosmic Cycles.- B. Cosmic Cycles and the Temporal-Frequency Model of the Modalities.- C. Cosmic Cycles and the Actuality of the Future.- D. Summary and Conclusion.- Notes.- Seven: Plotinus and Human Autonomy.- A. Book III of the Nicomachean Ethics and its Aftermath.- B. A Stoic Metaphysical Move.- C. Moral Responsibility and Aristotle's Predicament.- D. Plotinus and Ennead 3.- E. Plotinus and Ennead 6.- F. The Constative and Performative Views of Responsibility-Attribution.- G. Summary and Conclusion.- Notes.- Eight: Philosophical Postscript.- A. The Temporal-Frequency Model of the Alethic Modalities.- B. Responsibility and Determinism.- Notes.- Notes.- Index Locorum.- Index of Names.

Product Details

  • publication date: 30/09/1985
  • ISBN13: 9789027719683
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 296
  • ID: 9789027719683
  • weight: 620
  • ISBN10: 9027719683

Delivery Information

  • Saver Delivery: Yes
  • 1st Class Delivery: Yes
  • Courier Delivery: Yes
  • Store Delivery: Yes

Prices are for internet purchases only. Prices and availability in WHSmith Stores may vary significantly