On Metaphysics
Chisholm (Roderick)
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Amazon Customer Review

  1. Roderick Milton Chisholm (1916 -1999) was an American philosopher who taught at Brown University. He wrote a number of other books, such as
    → The Foundations of Knowing,
    "Chisholm (Roderick) - Theory of Knowledge",
    "Chisholm (Roderick) - Person and Object",
    → etc.
  2. He wrote in the Introduction to this 1989 book, “Two assumptions about the nature of metaphysics are presupposed by this book… One assumption is that the problems of philosophy are extraordinarily difficult and can be solved only by the reasonable application of what Russell called ‘honest toil.’ The other is the view of Leibniz and Brentano, according to which reflection on the self and on what it is to think provides us with the key to understanding the fundamental categories of reality. The categories discussed here are: substance and attribute; part and whole; identity, persistence, and change; boundaries and limits; coming into being and passing away; reference and the nature of the psychological; and the self.”
  3. He notes, “In saying that certain uses of languages are ‘loose and popular’ rather than ‘strict and philosophical,’ we are not suggesting that those uses are incorrect. Indeed, they may be said to be correct; for it is the loose and popular interpretation rather than the strict and philosophical one that gives the standard of correctness (at any rate, in the loose and popular sense of ‘correct’).” (Pg. 30)
  4. He acknowledges, “The points I have just made are typically philosophical. I know they will bring forth two quite different reactions. One reaction will be: ‘But why insist upon what is trivial and obvious?’ And the other reaction will be: ‘What you say is obviously false.’ As long as there are people who react in the second way… it is worthwhile to insist upon what is obvious, even if it is trivial… Of course there may be philosophers or there may be people practicing medicine who don’t think there are any persons. And this means, if they are consistent, that they don’t believe with respect to themselves that they ever came into being or that they will ever pass away. For people who so really believe that, I have no message – except to urge them to think again.” (Pg. 51)
  5. He states, “So where does this leave us with respect to the moral problems that are involve in causing someone to cease to be? Surely it is right, sometimes, to terminate a pregnancy or to disconnect a life-sustaining device. Doubtless such acts always call for an excuse. But let’s not pretend that, when we perform them, probably we are not causing anyone else to cease to be. Let’s have the courage to face the moral facts of the matter: occasionally it IS right for one person to annihilate another.” (Pg. 60)
  6. He notes, “I do have doubts as to whether there is a special problem concerning the relation between THE MIND and the body… Now in saying this… I do not mean that there is not PERSON-body problem. If we use ‘person’ to designate such entities as you and me, then there is no question but that there ARE such things as persons. And obvious there is no question but that there ARE such things as our bodies. There IS a problem about the relation between THOSE entities… But I want to urge that we multiply problems beyond necessity if we suppose, that IN ADDITION to the person-body problem, there is ALSO a mind-body problem. If … ‘mind’ is taken to designate some individual thing which is OTHER than the person… then there is no reason to suppose that there is such a thing as the mind; and … then there is no problem about how it may be related to the body.” (Pg. 119)
  7. This book will be of some interest to those seriously studying modern analytic philosophy.

Contents
    Introduction – vii
  1. Part I. Freedom and Determinism
    1. "Chisholm (Roderick) - Responsibility and Avoidability" – 3
    2. "Chisholm (Roderick) - Human Freedom and the Self" – 5
  2. Coming into Being, Persisting, and Passing Away
    1. "Chisholm (Roderick) - Identity Through Possible Worlds: Some Questions" – 19
    2. "Chisholm (Roderick) - Identity Through Time" – 25
    3. "Chisholm (Roderick) - Possibility without Haecceity" – 42
    4. "Chisholm (Roderick) - Coming Into Being and Passing Away: Can the Metaphysician Help?" – 49
  3. Parts and Wholes
    1. "Chisholm (Roderick) - Parts As Essential To Their Wholes" – 65
    2. "Chisholm (Roderick) - Boundaries" – 83
    3. "Chisholm (Roderick) - Scattered Objects" – 90
  4. The Mental
    1. The Nature of the Psychological – 99
    2. Presence in Absence – 107
    3. Questions about Minds – 114
    4. Is There a Mind-Body Problem? – 119
    5. The Primacy of the Intentional – 129
  5. An Intentional Approach to Ontology
    1. Properties and States of Affairs Intentionally Considered – 141
    2. States and Events – 150
    3. The Self in Austrian Philosophy – 156
    4. The Categories – 162
    Index – 171

BOOK COMMENT:



"Chisholm (Roderick) - Boundaries"

Source: Chisholm - On Metaphysics, Chapter 8

COMMENT:



"Chisholm (Roderick) - Coming Into Being and Passing Away: Can the Metaphysician Help?"

Source: Chisholm - On Metaphysics, Chapter 6


Sections
  1. What We Have a Right to Believe About Ourselves;
  2. Alteration;
  3. Coming Into Being and Passing Away Secundum Quid;
  4. Some Additional Examples;
  5. Things That Become Other Things;
  6. Elanguescence;
  7. The Coming Into Being and Passing Away Of Persons;
  8. The Moral of the Story.


COMMENT:



"Chisholm (Roderick) - Human Freedom and the Self"

Source: Watson - Free Will - Oxford Readings

COMMENT: Also in "Van Inwagen (Peter) & Zimmerman (Dean) - Metaphysics: The Big Questions" and in "Chisholm (Roderick) - On Metaphysics".



"Chisholm (Roderick) - Identity Through Possible Worlds: Some Questions"

Source: Chisholm - On Metaphysics, Chapter 3
Write-up Note1

For a précis, see this Note2.

COMMENT:



"Chisholm (Roderick) - Identity Through Time"

Source: Van Inwagen & Zimmerman - Metaphysics: The Big Questions


Author’s Introduction
  1. According to Bishop Butler, when we say of a physical thing existing at one time that it is identical with or the same as a physical thing existing at some other time (“this is the same ship we traveled on before”), we are likely to be using the expression “same” or “identical” in a “loose and popular sense”.
  2. But when we say of a person existing at one time that he is identical with or the same as a person existing at some other time (“the ship has the same captain it had before”), we are likely to be using the expression “same” or “identical” in a “strict and philosophical sense”.
  3. I shall attempt to give an interpretation of these two theses; and I shall suggest that there is at least an element of truth in each.


COMMENT:



"Chisholm (Roderick) - On Metaphysics"

Source: Chisholm (Roderick) - On Metaphysics



"Chisholm (Roderick) - Parts As Essential To Their Wholes"

Source: Chisholm - On Metaphysics, Chapter 7


Philosophers Index Abstract
    The paper is a defence of "the principle of mereological essentialism". The principle may be formulated by saying: "for any whole x, if x has a certain thing y as one of its parts, then y as part of x in every possible world in which x exists." The principle is defended against such objections as "but some things survive the less of some of their parts" and "some things are such that they could have had parts other than the ones they do have." In the course of the defence, a distinction is made between 'primary objects' and 'nonprimary objects'. It is contended that whatever can be truly said about the unrealized possibilities of nonprimary objects (such things as might be designated by ("my automobile") can be formulated more precisely by reference to the unrealized possibilities of primary objects. It is argued that the above points throw light, not only upon the theory of possibility, but also upon a number of other fundamental metaphysical problems.


COMMENT:



"Chisholm (Roderick) - Possibility without Haecceity"

Source: Chisholm - On Metaphysics, Chapter 5

COMMENT:



"Chisholm (Roderick) - Responsibility and Avoidability"

Source: Chisholm - On Metaphysics, Chapter 1

COMMENT: Photocopy in "Various - Papers on Identity Boxes: Vol 04 (C)".



"Chisholm (Roderick) - Scattered Objects"

Source: Thompson - On being and saying: essays for Richard Cartwright, 1987, pp. 167-173


Section 1

The classic paper on scattered objects1 was written by Richard Cartwright2. What I present here may be thought of as a commentary on that paper. Like Cartwright, I believe that there are scattered material objects. But my views differ from his in several respects:
  1. Where Cartwright makes use of such absolute spatial concepts as point and region, I make use of the relational concept of touching (or direct spatial contact). This alternative approach may throw a different light on some of the metaphysical questions that the problem of scattered objects3 involves.
  2. I consider a distinction between two fundamentally different types of scattered object4 — a distinction that Cartwright does not discuss.
  3. I express some doubts about the relevance of "temporal parts" to the metaphysical problems that scattered objects5 involve.


COMMENT: Hard Copy filed in "Various - Papers on Identity Boxes: Vol 04 (C)".




In-Page Footnotes ("Chisholm (Roderick) - Scattered Objects")

Footnote 2: See "Cartwright (Richard) - Scattered Objects".



Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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