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PHILOSOPHY PATHWAYS electronic journal


P H I L O S O P H Y   P A T H W A Y S                   ISSN 2043-0728

Issue No. 203
28th July 2016


Edited by Matthew Sims

I. 'Interlevel Causation and External Causes' by Marco Totolo

II. 'Freedom in Hegel -- Why the Concept of Self-Consciousness is a
Precondition for a Theory of Causality' by Norman Schultz

III. 'Causality and the Human Condition' by Linus Gabrielsson

IV. 'Final Causes and Actions' by Matthew Sims

From the List Manager

V. 'Philosophizer' by Geoffrey Klempner -- on Kindle

VI. SAPERE Annual Conference: The Impact of Philosophy for Children

VII. Chelmsford Philosophy Conversation



In the sciences, specialization might be supposed to be a response to
theoretical confirmation and new research programs that spring into
place in the wake of confirmation. For instance, some hypothesis is
tested and confirmed and other competing hypotheses discarded.
Following this the theories branching from the confirmed hypothesis
are then themselves tested and confirmed, giving way to further
branches and new sets of questions and theories to be constructed to
coherently explain them. Philosophers today, like scientists, focus
their attention both on older problems that haven't gone away-viewed
through the lens of contemporary empirical findings-and a significant
set of new problems. Every discipline that may be put in place to
acquire knowledge regarding some class of phenomena is also subject
to philosophical analysis. Accordingly, in the light of the
multifarious disciplinary specializations born in the last century,
there is at least one plausible reason as to why philosophy has been
subject to the same trend of specialization; philosophical analysis
is often required in coming to an understanding of the limitations
that those developing disciplines face theoretically and practically



(c) Matthew Sims 2016

Email: sims303@hotmail.com

About the editor:



Interlevel causation, also called bottom-up or top-down causation, is
a type of relation between entities defined at different levels of

Apparently, when we say that an entity at a lower level causes one at
a higher level of which the former is a part of, we have a problem of
circularity: the part causes the whole, but as the whole is also
composed by that part, the part ends up being a cause of itself. The
same pattern applies to top-down cases: the whole causes one of its
parts and therefore can be said to be a cause of itself.

The part-whole relationship that arises in a system with different
levels can be described as the relation between a mechanism and its
parts. A mechanism can be defined as 'a structure performing a
function in virtue of its component parts, component operation and
their organisation. The orchestrated functioning is responsible for
one or more phenomena' (Bechtel & Abrahamsen 2005). The part-whole
relation instantiated by a mechanism is therefore always local and
relative to the specific activities carried out by the mechanism and
by its parts [...]

Read more... 


(c) Marco Totolo 2016

Email: marco.totolo@gmail.com



The idea of nature is often contrasted with the idea of freedom. On
the one hand, nature is understood as a closed system of causal
relations; on the other hand, freedom is perceived as an intervention
within such a closed system. Freedom, moreover, means that such
actions are not only an intervention in the causal system, but that
there is also an agent who experiences these interventions as
justifiably his actions. Pippin writes therefore about the mine-ness
of an action:

     If they are 'mine,' they shouldn't seem or be alien, as if
     belonging to or produced by someone or something else or as
     if fated or coerced or practically unavoidable, and so
     forth. (Pippin, R. 2008, p.37)

This means that if actions were caused by something else in me, or
outside of me, these actions could not be called mine and thus they
would not be free. We can, however, conceptualize ourselves as being
embedded in a network of causal relations, and can understand each of
our actions as being caused by something else. This perspectival
possibility is in contradiction with our common conception of freedom

Read more... 


(c) Norman Schultz 2016



In this essay I will look at different ways in which psychology,
social context and evolution shape human cognition, influence our
outlook and inform our notions of causality in the world.

The notion that our thoughts and feelings have a direct and
unmediated agentive and causal effect on the world outside of our
bodies is persistent in our thinking. We can see this line of
reasoning in biblical proverbs ('faith can move mountains' ), it is a
fundamental tenet of various new age thought systems and it appears as
an explanation for improbable co-occurrences in every day life ('just
as I was thinking about traffic accidents my aunt called and said
she'd been in a car crash'). We constantly have to remind ourselves
of the subjective nature of taste and values and it's an open
question whether we ever truly internalise the insight that our
feelings and preferences lack any external validity. Most of us learn
to accept that people have different taste in food and music but when
it comes to more important issues, like politics or ethics, we have a
hard time reconciling ourselves with the fact that people might
genuinely have different preferences. The stronger the emotional
component of a particular point of view, the harder it is to tolerate
deviations from what we perceive as the right way of seeing things.
From the inside, it feels like our emotional state is a direct and
inevitable function of what happens around us and that our
preferences and reactions are merely the obvious and natural way to
respond to the way the world is. When confronted with other people
who feel and respond differently to us in similar circumstances,
their behaviour requires an explanation. A common way of resolving
this conundrum is by reference to some quirk or peculiarity in their
personality. Thus, we have a strong tendency to view our behaviour as
externally caused and the behaviour of others as driven by internal
traits. The same pattern emerges when it comes to our convictions. We
believe what we do because our beliefs are true, otherwise we wouldn't
hold them. This feeling of having mostly correct beliefs about the
world seems relatively constant, regardless of how often we change
our minds about specific propositions. And the more strongly we hold
our beliefs-be they ideological, religious or ethical-the more they
appear to be given by the nature of things. As to those other people
who have views that are incompatible with ours, well... they must
surely be either ignorant, mistaken or insincere [...]

Read more... 


(c) Linus Gabrielsson 2016

Email: linusgabrielsson(at)gmail.co



In his book Physics, Aristotle explicates a system of causes,
classing them as four distinct types of explanation. When expressing
the material cause of X, one provides an explanation of 'that out of
which X becomes'. The bronze, by which some particular statue of
Socrates is constructed is an example of its material cause. In
denoting an object's formal cause, one provides an explanation as to
'that which is essential to X's being'. In this case it would be the
likeness of Socrates which would be identified as its formal cause
given that this very statue could not be what it is if it were the
case that it somehow ceased to be a likeness of Socrates. 'That which
is the source of motion or rest in X' is the explanation underlying
the efficient cause. The efficient cause of our canonical example is
the artisan's exercising of her knowledge of sculpting that she
actively engages in while sculpting this particular statue of
Socrates. Aristotle's last cause, what he calls final cause, explains
'that for the sake of which X comes to be or is'. The artisan's
intention that the statue should be a likeness of Socrates denotes
what its final cause is. Aristotle makes explicit that those things
which are final and formal causes of X are often coextensive 'for the
'what' and 'for the sake of which' are one' (Physics 198a 23-26). This
is especially so in natural beings.

The point in my having just given a general presentation Aristotle's
causes is to emphasize the fact that they are to be understood as
various types of interconnected explanations. In this essay, however,
I will not be concerned with carrying out an in-depth analysis all of
Aristotle's causes nor arguing for (or against) the importance of any
one of them with regard to its place in providing complete and
systematic analysis of causation. Rather, my aim here will be a more
modest one [...]

Read more... 


(c) Matthew Sims 2016

Email: sims303@hotmail.com



I am pleased to announce that my new work 'Philosophizer' has been
released as a Kindle e-book. Published on 25th July, the book began
as a small experiment in creative writing which took on a life of its
own, expanding to over 40,000 words.

As the work developed, I found myself getting deeper and deeper into
the (still) unsolved problems of metaphysics and the question of what
what is is -- 'the elephant in the room'. I don't feel any nearer to a
solution and yet something as been achieved: my sense of wonder has
increased, if such a thing is possible after 40 years of study.

Four of the thirty-six chapters have been made into YouTube videos
(more may be on the way):

     The deep mystery of things http://youtu.be/oxKsilvYTHg
     Philosophizer know thyself http://youtu.be/tuQFjoitzBY
     Philosophers and sophists http://youtu.be/dDykcao5a4c
     The elephant in the room http://youtu.be/Dck0aamerRw

There is also a downloadable PDF Preview of the first seven chapters
available from http://philosophizer.co.uk (see below).

I am extremely grateful to all the friends and colleagues who read
the various versions of the work and offered comments. Not all the
comments were favourable. Some of the reactions I received were
shocked, some bemused, but many more were positive and encouraging --
sufficiently many to prompt me to overcome my initial diffidence about
exposing my writing to a wider, and possibly more critical audience.

For the price of a couple of pints of best bitter at a Sheffield pub
(6.10 GBP, or 7.99 USD) you can judge for yourself!

Or, alternatively, you can sign up for the six Pathways to Philosophy
and receive the Kindle book for free:


(There are also free copies in MOBI or PDF format available for
review on Amazon. Email klempner@fastmail.net for more details.)

Here is the UK Amazon web page for Philosophizer:


     An idiosyncratic inquiry into the fundamental questions of
     philosophy and what it means to be a philosopher outside
     the Academy in the 21st Century.
     'Reading this book made me feel good--if Salinger, (the
     early) Woody Allen, (the later) Wittgenstein, Julio
     Cortazar, Mallarme, Patti Smith, and Baudrillard attempted
     to write a book together, it would be like this...
     Including the sound of r'n'r of the 1960s and 1970s.'
     -- Sanja Ivic
     'Your saying that it has a joyful tone is very accurate.
     It's a kind of celebration of philosophy on philosophy's
     own terms; love of wisdom via criticality--a search for
     hard-nosed metaphysical objectivity by means of a
     vulnerable and very personal investigation.'
     -- Matthew Sims
     Geoffrey Klempner is author of 'Naive Metaphysics' (Avebury
     1994). He is Director of Pathways to Philosophy
     http://www.philosophypathways.com and founder member of the
     International Society for Philosophers http://www.isfp.co.uk.
     A downloadable Preview of 'Philosophizer' and a photo
     gallery can be found online at http://philosophizer.co.uk.

(c) Geoffrey Klempner 2016

Email klempner@fastmail.net



Thinking about booking your place on the SAPERE conference? Don't

The Impact of Philosophy for Children with two fantastic speakers:

Dr Charlotte Blease -- 'The Impact of P4C across the curriculum'
     Charlotte is a cognitive scientist and philosopher of
     medicine. She is currently Wellcome Trust ISSF Research
     Fellow at the Centre for Medical Humanities, University of
     Leeds and Research Affiliate at the Program in Placebo
     Studies, Harvard Medical School.

Professor Stephen Gorard -- 'P4C research, EEF summery and what's

     Stephen is Professor of Education and Public policy and
     Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute at Durham
     University, and Horary Professorial Fellow at the
     University of Birmingham.

Date and Time: Thursday 17th November 2016, 9am to 3.45pm

Venue: Royal National Hotel, Russell Square, London, WC1B 5BB

Cost: 125 -- SAPERE Trainers and members (those who have paid an
annual membership fee) 
      150 -- for non SAPERE members

For more information and to book your place on the conference click


Kind regards,

Karen Bunting

Schools Liaison
Culham Innovation Centre
D5 Culham Science Park
OX14 3DB
Tel: 01865 408333



From: Andrew Lewis
Sent: 20 July 2016
To: 'Geoffrey Klempner'
Subject: Chelmsford Philosophy Conversation

Hi Geoffrey!

Well I am getting the philosophy weekend off the ground, and would be
grateful if you would include a brief note as follows in your next
editions of your pathways magazine, please:


Announcing the 'Chelmsford Philosophy Conversation' weekend at
Writtle University College on 22nd-23rd October 2016 for general
discussion of things in a philosophical way, including:

1) The ethics of implementing robots

2) The ethical positions resulting from climate change

3) General Philosophical problems

4) Open stage

Get your tickets at: http://bit.ly/2atSDfe

All 18+ welcome.


Many thanks,

Andrew J Lewis MSc FLS
Chelmsford, UK.
44-(0)7710 588318

 Philosophy Pathways is the electronic newsletter for the
 Pathways to Philosophy distance learning program

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