Contents of Tsinghua Studies in Western Philosophy Vol. 1, No. 1 (Summer 2015)

Inaugural Editorial: Why Should We Study Western Philosophy?.....................HUANG Yusheng

Special Articles

“Conceptualism” and “Probabilism”: a Disscussion Beginning With Descartes.................YE Xiushan

A Commentary on Kant's “The Introduction to the Doctrine of Virtue” (I).....................DENG Xiaomang

An Introduction toNietzsche's Selected Posthumous Manuscripts........................ZHANG Rulun

Logic and Philosophy, a Sea of Stories........................................................... Johan van BenthemLogic and Philosophy, a Sea of Stories.pdf

Ancient Philosophy

Platon's Unwritten Doctrines andParmenides.....................................................LIU Kang

Logos and the Composition of Knowledge in theTheaetetus..............................................TIAN Jie

“Individuals” and “Particulars” ...............................................................NIE Minli

Plotinus’ Positive Theology.........................................................................HAN Sui

History and Philosophy of Science

No Christianity, No Modern Science........................................................WU Guosheng

Does French Epistemology or Philosophy of Science Exist? ................Daniel ParrochiaDoes French Epistemology or Philosophy of Science Exist?.pdf

The Historical Origin of the Problem of “Species Sensibiles in Medio” in 13th-Century Europe......................................................................JIN Shixiang

The Column of the Philosophy Town: Today’s Heidelberg

A Brief Introduction to the Philosophy in Heidelberg............................................ ZHANG Weite

Hegel on the Logical Big Bang and the Evolution of Logical Space.........................Anton F. KochHegel on the Logical Big Bang and the Evolution of Logical Space.pdf

The Conceptual Inexhaustibility of Personhood............................................. Andreas KemmerlingThe Conceptual Inexhaustibility of Personhood.pdf

Aristotle’s Doctrine of Analogy..........................................LIU XinDie Analogie des Aristoteles.pdf

The Extension of Descartes’ Metaphysical Doubt in theThird Meditation..................ZHANG WeiteThe Extension of the Metaphysical Doubt of Descartes' Third Meditation.pdf

Notes and Discussions

A Record of the Symposium onEnlightment and Freedom: YE Xiushan on Kant.....................................................LI Chao

Calls for Submission.....................................................TSWP

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“Conceptualism” and “Probabilism”: a Disscussion Beginning With Descartes

YE Xiushan

(Distinguished Professor, Department of Philosophy, Tsinghua University, Beijing; Member of Academic Committee and Researcher, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing)

Abstract:Through "Cogito, ergo sum", Descartes shows his doubts about beliefs based on experience and establishes the rationalist tradition, which indicates the relationship between “conceptualism” and “probabilism”. While “conceptualism” comprehends and speculates the "quality" of things by means of concepts and logic reasonings, “probabilism” concerns the possibility of the actual world and computes the "quantity" and “probability" of objects. For Descartes, "God", who has the power over the possibility of the world, guarantees the reliability of the empirical concepts; moreover, he uses the geometrical-mathematical concepts like “extension” to construct his conceptual system. It shows that, in Descartes’ system, “conceptualism” implies “probabilism”, and is in turn sustained by “probabilism”. As two ways of philosophical transcendence, “conceptualism” and "probabilism" have far-reaching influence. On the one hand, European philosophical tradition constructs the speculative philosophical system through “conceptualism”; on the other hand, it develops empirical science and broadens our understanding of lifeworld through “probabilism”.

Keywords:Cogito ergo sum; conceptualism; probabilism; Descartes

A Commentary on Kant's “The Introduction to the Doctrine of Virtue”(I)

DENG Xiaomang

Abstract: This article attempts to make a close reading of, or a commentary on,one part (i.e., Subsection 1-6) of “the Introduction to the Doctrine of Virtue [Einleitung zur Tugendlehre]” of Kant's The Metaphysics of Morals. This introductionoutlines the whole doctrine of virtue (morals). A comprehensive grasp of this section will prevent readers from losing way among those extremely complicated provisions. This article elaborates the key concepts in these texts on the basis of Kant's entire practical philosophy or theory of morals; it also emphasizes a comparative analysis between the doctrine of right (which concerns outer freedom) and the doctrine of virtue (which concerns inner freedom); in addition, it clarifies the textual structures of these texts with orders from “subjective deduction” to “objective deduction” and from “the principle” to “the concept of an object”. Theorfore, my work helps readers better understand the theoretical framework of Kant's moral theory.

Keywords:thedoctrineof virtue;inner freedom; the duty; the end; the Metaphysics of Morals

An Introduction toNietzsche's Selected Posthumous Manuscripts


(Professor, School of Philosophy, Fudan University, Shanghai)

Abstract: This article mainly consists of three parts. The first part covers contemporary studies in Nietzsche’s philosophy and describes the basic characteristics of his philosophy. His philosophy has been received with “ardent indifference” in China, which is partly due to its strangeness and abstruseness. His philosophy has three properties: one-sidedness in breaking new ground, extremeness in overcorrecting previous philosophy, and weirdness in surmounting previous mediocre and conservative philosophy. The second part focuses on two stages of his philosophy: In the first stage he was mainly influenced by Schopenhauer, Wagner and the Greek tragedy; in the second stage, Nietzsche developed his doctrines of the will to power and the eternal recurrence and criticized religion, morality, and previous philosophy; and he completed both his philosophical construction and his criticism in the theoretic framework of nihilism. The third part expounds Nietzsche's posthumous manuscripts and affirms their significance and value. Then, it is concluded that the real Nietzsche’s philosophy lies in his posthumous manuscripts.

Keywords: Nietzsche’s posthumous manuscripts; will to power; eternal recurrence; reevaluation

Logic and Philosophy, a Sea of Stories

Johan van Benthem

(University Professor emeritus of pure and applied logic, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam; Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of philosophy, Stanford University (philosophy and CSLI), Stanford; Changjiang Professor, Chinese Ministry of Education, Tsinghua University, Beijing; Co-director, UvA-Tsinghua Joint Research Center in Logic .)

Abstract: The interface of logic and philosophy is diverse, and has always been so. Understanding the interplay raises issues on which some philosophers have strong a priori views. My own preference as a working logician is to proceed by actual history of ideas, something still largely to be written for modern logic. I shall present a few lines connecting logic and philosophy around the theme of implication and consequence, and show how rich the agenda is as it keeps evolving with contributions from many disciplines. This is a light survey paper, but I supply references for readers who want to see more of the nitty-gritty details.

Keywords: interaction of logic and philosophy; logical implication; modern logic; philosophical logic; epistemic logic

Platon’s Unwritten Doctrines andParmenides

LIU Kang

(Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Fu Jen Catholic University, New Taipei City)

Abstract: The authenticity of Plato’s unwritten doctrines remains to be controversial; and the abstrusity of Plato’s Parmenides wins for it its fame. This article shows that the abstrusity of Parmenides is related to inadequate attention to and recognition of Plato’s unwritten doctrines. What late Plato constructs is metaphysics and ontology. Without explaining the core of his metaphysics: ?ν (the one) and the ladder of dialectics: ??ριστο?δυ?? (indeterminate dyad), Plato goes straight to illustrating the practice of dialectics about “one and many” in Parmenides. This causes the difficulty in understanding the true intention of Parmenides. Actually, what the practice of dialectics in Parmenides reveals is exactly his unwritten doctrines.

Keywords: Plato; unwritten doctrines; Parmenides; metaphysics; ontology

Logos and the Composition of Knowledge in theTheaetetus


(Doctor of Philosophy, Humboldt University of Berlin, Berlin; Associate Professor, School of Philosophy and Social Development, Shandong University, Shandong)

Abstract: In the Theaetetus, Plato presents us with an inquiry into the definition of knowledge. After Socrates and Theaetetus discuss the three candidates for the definition of knowledge, the end of the dialogue seems to remain an aporia for that inquiry. In this paper I focus on the final candidate to see whether it, after some emendation, is acceptable in a Platonic context. This candidate is connected with a dream theory which unfolds two factors crucial to understanding the definition, namely, the elements and the logos. The task for this paper is thus twofold: on the one hand, to make clear what ‘elements’ means; on the other hand, to find a plausible definition of the logos which is a necessary condition for the definition of knowledge. Through the interpretation of the dream theory, the conceptions of ‘element’, ‘complex’, and their relationship in Plato’s context will be fully discussed. After that, I shall move to discuss the conception of the logos to explore in what sense knowledge needs logos, and how we can achieve the logos of the complex made up of the unknown elements.

Keywords: Socrates; the dream theory; elements; knowledge; logos.

“Individuals” and “Particulars”

NIE Minli

(Professor, School of Philosophy, Reinmin University of China, Beijing)

Abstract: The concept of “individuals (τ?δε τι)” is easily confused with the concept of “particulars (τ? καθ’ ?καστα)”. This confusion results in that the explication of essence of individuals is often mistakenly taken for that of particulars. This article argues that individuals and particulars are two distinct notions which should be strictly distinguished from each other. Essence of individuals is essence or form, according to which we can distinguish one thing from another, while particulars are sensible and accidental beings with material. Without the former, the latter can’t exist as a determinate object; but without the latter, the former can’t present itself as a concrete thing.

Keywords:a this; individuals; particulars;The Categories; Metaphysics

Plotinus’ Positive Theology


( Doctor of Philosophy, University of Wuerzburg, Germany)

Abstract: Plotinus’ philosophy is famous among contemporary scholars for his negative theology. This article aims to explicate another noteworthy aspect of his philosophy, namely Plotinus’ positive theology. My analysis of the train of thought in his positive theology reveals the embedded unity of his positive and negative theology.

Keywords: Plotinus; positive theology; negative theology

No Christianity, No Modern Science

WU Guosheng

(Professor, Department of Philosophy, Peking University)

Abstract: Modern science is a product of the amalgamation of ancient Greek civilization and Christian civilization. During the Catholic Church’s rule of Europe, the large-scale introduction and translation of ancient Greek science facilitated the first academic renaissance in the late Middle Ages. The academic renaissance, developing slowly but steadily, finally led to the integration and fusion of ancient Greek civilization and Christian civilization. This renaissance laid the institutional and intellectual foundation for the next Renaissance and for the naissance of the modern science three hundred years later; the institutional foundation was university, while the intellectual foundation was Scholasticism.

Keywords: Christianity; modern science; university; Scholasticism; nominalist revolution

Does French Epistemology or Philosophy of Science Exist?

Daniel Parrochia

(Professor, Department of Philosophy, Jean Moulin University Lyon III, Lyon)

Abstract: France enjoys a time-honored tradition in epistemology or philosophy of science. Now the tradition has been questioned by some scholars (including some French scholars). This article,as a defence, responds to possible doubts in three aspects: 1. How did the concepts of “epistemology” and “philosophy of science” come into being? Why do these concepts contain manifold meanings? 2. Why does the tradition of epistemology in France accord with these two concepts, even though it differs from Anglo-American philosophy of science? 3. How can the French philosophy of science be in a line with the contemporary philosophy of science and moreover rectify certain fallacies in it? The conclusion of this article is that we should recognize the significance of French philosophy of science in the world-wide studies of the philosophy of science.

Keywords: epistemology; philosophy of science; French philosophy of science; contemporary philosophy of science

The Historical Origin of the Problem of “Species Sensibiles in Medio” in 13th-Century Europe

JIN Shixiang

(Doctoral Candidate, Department of Philosophy, Peking University, Beijing)

Abstract: The problem of “species sensibiles in medio” is essential to the inquiry of the natural philosophy into the perception of soul in Scholasticism in the late Middle Ages. The core of the issue is to clarify how a perceptible thing affects sense organs and in what mode the sensible species exist in medias and organs. The direction of both questions inherits rigorously from the tradition of the studies in soul’s perception initially developed by Aristotle in De anima. From 1970s on, the complexity of the Aristotelian theory of perception has been revealed in the high-level debates between Sorabji and Burnyeat. Therefore, commencing from the contemporary philosophical discussions of the Aristotelian theory of perception, a historical inquiry into the ancient and early medieval origins of the problem of “species sensibiles in medio” could lay a foundation of intellectual history for a precise understanding of the debates on the problem in 13th century.

Keywords: species sensibiles in medio; perception; De anima; sight; intento

Hegel on the Logical Big Bang and the Evolution of Logical Space

Anton Friedrich Koch

(Professor, Department of Philosophy, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg)

Abstract: Since Aristotle, metaphysics has taken upon itself the task of laying bare the general structure of logical space and engendering various competing topologies of logical space. Hegel is the one exception in the history of metaphysics, for his metaphysics, in which he portrays logical space as subject to evolution, is highly unconventional. This paper shows why we should follow Hegel during his first logical steps aiming at the idea of Dasein, and then analyzes how logical evolution is supposed to go on from Dasein by means of circular negation. Finally, this paper also connects Hegel’s non-standard metaphysics with standard metaphysics on the one hand and with post-metaphysical hermeneutical philosophy on the other hand.

Keywords: Hegel; metaphysics; logical space; circular negation

The Conceptual Inexhaustibility of Personhood

Andreas Kemmerling

(Professor, Department of Philosophy, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg)

Abstract:Some leading neuro-scientists recently proclaimed an obviously false view that a human person is his/her brain. This falsity arises partly from the conceptual difficulties concerning personhood/a person. By revealing inexhaustible richness of the characteristics of this concept of a person, this essay explains why the concept is so utterly puzzling. The author contrasts Descartes’ concept of a person with Locke’s. For Descartes, the concept has four features: (1) it is the concept of the mind/body-union; (2) it is innate and a primitive (i.e. unanalysable) concept; (3) it is not clear-and-distinct (because it is primitive so that it cannot be reduced to clear-and-distinct concepts); (4) it is of enormous value (because it helps us to dissolve, not to solve, the mind/body-problem). Correspondingly, Locke’s concept of a person has another four features: (1) it is the concept of an entity which is justly rewarded/punished for its doings (including mental doings); (2) it is neither innate (no so-called innate concepts in Locke) nor primitive, but rather a complex idea which is reducible to the concepts of consciousness and memory; (3) it is clear and distinct (because it is made of clear and distinct simple concepts); (4) it is of enormous importance (not because it helps us to solve or dissolve the mind/body-problem, but because it is central to our conceptions of justice and self-care). Through the two examples, this article argues that the concept of a person indeed has inexhaustible richness that is historically caused because this concept is used by many thinkers as a conceptual tool or as a technical or semi-technical term for answering different questions in various distinct and incommensurable theoretical frameworks, so that quite different features have been introduced as characteristics of a person. Thus, we do not have a shared intuitive grasp of this concept, but only a common learned tradition which has bequeathed to us a blend of quite diverse conceptual features that were never meant to go together. The characteristic inexhaustibility of the concept of a person may result from the following reasons: (1) this concept is anthropocentric in its actual application; (2) it is not at all anthropocentric in its intension; (3) it is part of the concept of a person that persons are distinctively valuable.

Keywords:personhood/a person; brain; personality; Descartes; Locke; inexhaustibility

Aristotle’s Doctrine of Analogy


( Doctoral Candidate, Department of Philosophy, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg).

Abstract: This article mainly deals with Aristotle’s doctrine of analogy. On the one hand, this article analyzes how Aristotle accepts and further modifies the ancient Greek theory of analogy in the Pythagoras-Plato’s tradition; on the other hand, it reveals the fundamental standing of the doctrine of analogy in Aristotle’s metaphysics. On the basis of the analogical unity, Aristotle sets a foundation consistently not only for metaphysics, but rather for every other branch of scientific knowledge. My exhaustive textual analysis makes clear Aristotle’s line of arguments and his basic philosophical principles.

Keywords: Aristotle; analogy; unity of analogy; structural similarity

The Extension of Descartes’ Metaphysical Doubt in theThird Meditation


(Doctoral Candidate, Department of Philosophy, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg)

Abstract:Descartes’ metaphysical doubt in the Third Meditation (MD3, for short) presents such a scenario: it is possible that I [the Meditator] am so imperfect as to be deceived by my creator (i.e., an omnipotent God/Deceiver) even in these simple matters which I think I perceive clearly and distinctly or the simple matters which seem to me clear and distinct. This paper clarifies the exact extension of MD3 by explaining how it is related to those simple/axiomatic beliefs or ideas based on clear and distinct perceptions. I argue that each axioms/axiomatic belief has no recollected clear and distinct perception in strict sense, but only a current clear and distinct perception. Then, I systematically analyze four interpretations of the extension of MD3: [i] the objects of MD3 are axiomatic beliefs based on recollected clear and distinct perceptions; [ii] its objects are axiomatic beliefs based on present clear and distinct perceptions; [iii] its objects are axiomatic beliefs based on both present and recollected clear and distinct perceptions; [iv] the direct object of MD3 is something general under which a particular axiomatic belief can fall and the denial of which is incompatible with the particular belief, but its indirect objects are axiomatic beliefs based on present or/and recollected clear and distinct perceptions. I defend the interpretation [ii] and argue that the interpretation [i] is impossible, that the interpretation [iii] has to collapse into [ii], and that the interpretation [iv] is to a great extent philosophically possible, but not textually supported by Descartes. Therefore, [ii] is the only acceptable and credible interpretation.

Keywords: Descartes; metaphysical doubt; Meditations; extension; omnipotent God; clear and distinct perceptions; memory; axiom

A Record of the Symposium onEnlightment and Freedom: YE Xiushan on Kant

LI Chao

(Doctoral Candidate, School of Humanities, Department of Philsophy, Tsinghua University, Beijing)

Editorial Note: The conference of “Enlightenment and Modern Western Philosophy: the Symposium on YE Xiushan on Kant: Enlightenment and Freedom” was co-hosted by the Department of Philosophy, Tsinghua University and the Institute of Philosophy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on Nov. 16th, 2013 on the campus of Tsinghua University. More than 30 scholars from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Tsinghua University, Peking University, Renmin University of China , Beijing Normal University, the Centre Party School of the CPC, the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau, and other academic institutes, attended the symposium. Enlightenment and Freedom is YE’s book about Kant, which discusses Kant’s philosophy from the perspective of enlightenment and freedom and interprets Kant against the background of contemporary German and French philosophy. Not only does it present the meaning of Kant’s philosophy adequately, but also illuminates the meaning of enlightenment and the spirit of freedom in these contemporary philosophical works rethinking the Enlightenment. This book performs as a link between the classical and the modern philosophy through the interpretation of Kant’s philosophy. The discussions in this Symposium were centered on a series of issues that this book involved directly or indirectly. For example, what is Modern Enlightenment? What principles has Modern Enlightenment proposed? Whether is Modern Enlightenment an unevadable gateway to a modern world for each society or each tradition? What is the difference between the modern world inaugurated by the Enlightenment and the classical world? These are the questions that must be repeatedly inquired into by the people living in and faced with the modern world. This text is a transcription from a recording of the discussion.