To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
There are a number of different strands to Leibniz's thinking about necessity. From as early as the compatibilist determinism of the Letter to Magnus Wedderkopf in 1671, which is the setting for all his subsequent thinking about contingency and necessity, to the Theodicy of 1710, and beyond, the strands are twisted together in various different ways. Leibniz begins as a determinist, and then has to consider how contingency and freedom fit in. Among the elements in his thinking about the analysis of modality are the following:
(i) The impossible is or is on analysis the contradictory and the possible is what is or is on analysis the consistent.
(ii) The necessary is what is essential to a thing, or possible consistently with its own nature, if it exists at all, as in a definition, and the possible and contingent is what actually exists, if it is created, except God, whose essence is existence.
(iii) The necessary is what is real, though incompletely or not determinately described, such as an abstract plane rather than a real tabletop.
(iv) The necessary is what is internal to a thing, derived from its cause, when it comes into existence, and the contingent is what is external to it.
(v) The necessary is what obtains in all possible worlds, and the merely possible is what obtains only in some.
(vi) A necessary truth can be finitely analyzed, whereas a contingent truth is a truth whose analysis is infinite, in the sense that it “contains” an infinitely long list of predicate terms. This list converges asymptotically on the complete individual concept associated with the subject term, the truth known by God in a single apprehension. We beings with finite minds can know necessary truths by analysis, since the list of their predicate terms is finite in number, but we can only know or “prove” contingent truths a posteriori. The contingent truths do allow an a priori proof, but it is not one that is available to us.
(vii) The necessary truth is the eternal truth in the mind of God.
I am very uneasy about thinking that these elements or groups of elements form different, complete, and incompatible theories of contingency and necessity in Leibniz's mind, as Robert Adams has suggested.
We wish to defend Jonathan Westphal's view that colour is complex against a recent ‘phenomenological’ criticism of Eric Rubenstein. There is often thought to be a conflict between two kinds of determinants of colour, physical and phenomenal. On the one hand there are the complex physical facts about colour, such as the determination of a surface colour by an absorption spectrum. There is also, however, the fact that the apparently simple phenomenological quality of what is seen is a function of the physiological and psychological state of the viewing subject. Should the physical trump the phenomenal, or is it the other way round?
Much of the phenomenal variation of colour, however, is explained by physical facts. There is a physics and a psychophysics of colour. Colours appear, to the colour scientists at least, to be in some sense objective, a sense not explained by the view that they are purely phenomenal. Taking physics and psychophysics into account will mean rejecting the claim that the content of what our concepts of colours are concepts of is exhausted by the purely phenomenal, or that we can determine these concepts simply by gazing at a colour. Taking account of physics will lead, as Westphal argued, instead to a view about white and the other colour terms like Putnam's account of gold. Necessary truths about colours cannot be explained without reference to the logic of the compossibility of what is given in reflection and absorption spectra, the analogue of H2O.
In ‘Concerning the Absurdity of Life’ Quentin Smith accuses us of contradicting ourselves in our argument against Thomas Nagel. On the one hand we said that Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 is not ‘insignificant’ compared with cosmic radiation. On the other we said that the life of a man of integrity or humanity could be lived without a formal claim to Value, so that there was nothing for Nagel's external perspective to negate. But where is the contradiction? We put ‘emotional value’, used of Mozart's concerto, in scare quotes, to show that we disapproved of the phrase, and we also called the emotional value ‘so-called’ with the same intention. What we said about the life of the man of integrity, as we characterized it, was that no formal claim about Value was made for it—note the capital V. ‘Formal’ was meant to make the same point. We meant neither to assert nor to deny that Value was objectively present in the concerto. If we had asserted it, that would have meant that the concerto was no good. If we had denied it, that would have committed us to a styptic view of what it would be for it to be false that it was no good. Also not wanted was to understand how music has a value, for example in education. Smith did not see that we were gunning for just the kind of analysis he gives of integrity and humanity. Hence that capital V in our reference to ‘Value’. It was meant ironically. Is a man's integrity ‘living by his values’, as Smith says, or is ‘humanity’, as we used it, ‘respecting the value of other human beings’? Integrity is surely, as the OED says, more a certain kind of unbrokenness or wholeness, being uncorrupted, even sinless, or innocent. The OED rightly makes no mention of values. Nor does it mention them under ‘humanity’: kindness, benevolence, humaneness, ‘traits or touches of human nature or feeling; points that appeal to man’. It is not true, let alone analytically true, as Smith says, that the notions of integrity and humanity involve value.
There are many problems of universals, at least the four distinguished by Jenny Teichmann. Consider her second one. ‘How can we form a general term when we are faced with easily distinguishable, widely differing examples?’ The term ‘blue’, for example, covers a wide range of—well, what does it cover a wide range of? A wide range of the colour blue? This is nonsense. What it covers is a wide range of blues—shades of blue. But we do not form a general term when faced with or referring to these items. We distinguish them: cerulean, ultramarine, cyan, cobalt, navy blue and so on. ‘Blue’ is not the name of any of these shades of blue. It does not ‘cover’ anything except the colour, of which it is the name. ‘Blue’ is the name of the colour blue. There are no widely differing, easily distinguishable examples of that. The colour blue cannot differ widely or easily be distinguished from the colour blue. Leibniz's law prevents it. It is shades of blue (blues, a blue, this blue, that blue) which differ and are easily distinguishable. The moment we try to say, ‘But this differs from that’, the question will be, ‘This and that what?’ If the answer is, ‘This colour (the colour blue)’ and ‘That colour (the colour blue)’, then a mistake has been made. For there is no differing and distinguishing in this case. (But cf. ‘This colour blue’ and ‘This blue colour’.) Teichmann's problem cannot even be stated. If we say that what differ are this blue and that blue, which is the right thing to say, then we have two count nouns which mean ‘shade of blue’. There is no general term for these different shades. There is no answer to the question, ‘What is the name of all these differing shades?’ Certainly they are all blues, but each has its own name, and it is not ‘blue’. Teichmann's question cannot arise here either. The question, ‘What do blues have in common in virtue of which they are blue?’ is either elliptical or bad logical grammar. Which it is depends on the construal, or misconstrual, of ‘are blue’. The question should be either, ‘…in virtue of which they are blues’ in the plural—they are not identical with the colour blue—or ‘…in virtue of which they are shades of blue.’ The plural agreement must come somewhere.
Many philosophers have believed that colours and the other qualia ofexperience are simples and that colour terms are unanalysable. Colour termsare unanalysable because colours are simples, colours are known to be simple because colour terms are unanalysable. I shall try to show that things are not as simple as this. Nothing in the paper will depend on the general Wittgensteinian thesis of the relativity of simplicity. The thought I shallpursue is the more specific one that the philosophers who have believed in the simplicity of colours have been the victims of certain false images of what the relevant kind of simplicity is like, and that when these images are destroyed the belief is clearly false. Most importantly they have confused logical simplicity with visual uniformity, the kind of simplicity which could intelligibly be attributed to coloured patches or expanses of colour andthe kind of simplicity which can be attributed to colours. So the paper is concerned with the destruction of spatial and material images which distort our understanding of concepts which are neither spatial nor material ones.The wider epistemological implications of the non-existence of simple ideas of colours will not be discussed.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.