Ideas of Robert Pasnau, by Theme

[American, fl. 2011, Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder.]

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1. Philosophy / C. History of Philosophy / 1. History of Philosophy
Original philosophers invariably seek inspiration from past thinkers
Philosophy consists of choosing between Plato, Aristotle and Democritus
1. Philosophy / C. History of Philosophy / 3. Earlier European Philosophy / b. Early medieval philosophy
The commentaries of Averroes were the leading guide to Aristotle
Modernity begins in the late 12th century, with Averroes's commentaries on Aristotle
1. Philosophy / C. History of Philosophy / 3. Earlier European Philosophy / c. Later medieval philosophy
Once accidents were seen as real, 'Categories' became the major text for ontology
In 1347, the Church effectively stopped philosophy for the next 300 years
1. Philosophy / C. History of Philosophy / 3. Earlier European Philosophy / d. Renaissance philosophy
After c.1450 all of Plato was available. Before that, only the first half of 'Timaeus' was known
Renaissance Platonism is peripheral
Plato only made an impact locally in 15th century Italy
1. Philosophy / C. History of Philosophy / 4. Later European Philosophy / b. Seventeenth century philosophy
The 17th century is a metaphysical train wreck
Philosophy could easily have died in 17th century, if it weren't for Descartes
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 3. Metaphysics as Science
Leibniz tried to combine mechanistic physics with scholastic metaphysics
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 6. Ockham's Razor
Anti-Razor: if you can't account for a truth, keep positing things until you can
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 1. Grounding / a. Nature of grounding
Priority was a major topic of dispute for scholastics
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 8. Stuff / b. Mixtures
In mixtures, the four elements ceased to exist, replaced by a mixed body with a form
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 3. Types of Properties
17th C qualities are either microphysical, or phenomenal, or powers
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 6. Categorical Properties
17th century authors only recognised categorical properties, never dispositions
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 8. Properties as Modes
The biggest question for scholastics is whether properties are real, or modes of substances
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 4. Powers as Essence
There is no centralised power, but we still need essence for a metaphysical understanding
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / a. Dispositions
Instead of adding Aristotelian forms to physical stuff, one could add dispositions
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / b. Dispositions and powers
Scholastics reject dispositions, because they are not actual, as forms require
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 4. Individuation / a. Individuation
Scholastics say there is a genuine thing if it is 'separable'
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 4. Individuation / b. Individuation by properties
If you reject essences, questions of individuation become extremely difficult
Scholastics thought Quantity could be the principle of individuation
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / a. Substance
Corpuscularianism promised a decent account of substance
If crowds are things at all, they seem to be Substances, since they bear properties
Corpuscularian critics of scholasticism say only substances exist
Scholastics wanted to treat Aristotelianism as physics, rather than as metaphysics
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / c. Types of substance
Scholastics use 'substantia' for thick concrete entities, and for thin metaphysical ones
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / e. Substance critique
For corpuscularians, a substance is just its integral parts
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / c. Statue and clay
If clay survives destruction of the statue, the statue wasn't a substance, but a mere accident
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 2. Hylomorphism / a. Hylomorphism
Corpuscularianism rejected not only form, but also the dependence of matter on form
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 2. Hylomorphism / b. Form as principle
Hylomorphism may not be a rival to science, but an abstract account of unity and endurance
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 2. Hylomorphism / c. Form as causal
Hylomorphism declined because scholastics made it into a testable physical theory
Scholastics made forms substantial, in a way unintended by Aristotle
Scholastics began to see substantial form more as Aristotle's 'efficient' cause
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 2. Hylomorphism / d. Form as unifier
Aquinas says a substance has one form; Scotists say it has many forms
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 4. Quantity of an Object
Scholastic Quantity either gives a body parts, or spreads them out in a unified way
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 7. Substratum
A substrate may be 'prime matter', which endures through every change
If a substrate gives causal support for change, quite a lot of the ingredients must endure
A substratum can't be 'bare', because it has a job to do
There may be different types of substrate, or temporary substrates
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 7. Essence and Necessity / b. Essence not necessities
Aristotelians deny that all necessary properties are essential
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 6. Successive Things
Typical successive things are time and motion
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 10. Beginning of an Object
Weak ex nihilo says it all comes from something; strong version says the old must partly endure
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / j. Explanations by essence
Essences must explain, so we can infer them causally from the accidents
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation / b. Types of cause
Scholastic causation is by changes in the primary qualities of hot, cold, wet, dry
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / a. Scientific essentialism
Substantial forms were a step towards scientific essentialism
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 1. Matter / c. Atoms
Atomists say causation is mechanical collisions, and all true qualities are microscopic
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 1. Matter / f. Corpuscles
If there are just arrangements of corpuscles, where are the boundaries between substances?
Atomism is the commonest version of corpuscularianism, but isn't required by it
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 1. Matter / i. Modern matter
In the 17th C matter became body, and was then studied by science
27. Natural Reality / D. Cosmology / 2. Beginning
Scholastic authors agree that matter was created by God, out of nothing
29. Religion / C. Monotheistic Religion / 3. Christianity / b. Transubstantiation
Transubstantion says accidents of bread and wine don't inhere in the substance