Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Two talks by Andreas Blank at Bogazici (March 22nd and 23rd, 2012)

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Andreas Blank (Hamburg) will give two talks at Bogazici on March 22nd and March 23rd.

“Henry More on Existential Dependence and Immaterial Extension”, Thursday March 22nd, TB365, 5-7pm

“Aquinas and Soto on Derogatory Judgment and Noncomparative Justice”,  Friday March 23rd, M1170 (Engineering Building) , 3-5pm.

Respondent: Lars Vinx (Bilkent)

Henry More on Existential Dependence and Immaterial Extension

According to the Cambridge Platonist Henry More, “spirits”—the souls of humans and non-human animals—are extended but cannot be physically divided. Both by his contemporaries and by recent commentators, More has been charged with never giving a full explanation for the physical indivisibility of spirits, thus failing to distinguish immaterial from material extension. In this paper, I will try to defend More against this criticism. In particular, I will point out the importance of the fact that More compares the relation between spirits and matter to the relation that, according to Aristotelian theories of light, holds between “intentional species” and matter. I will argue that the point of this comparison is to highlight the existential independence of both intentional species and spirits from matter. The existential independence of intentional species from matter expresses itself in the fact that light is not moved through the motion of the illuminated body. The existential independence of spirits from matter expresses itself in the fact that when the body that is coextensive with a spirit is divided, the spirit thereby is not divided but rather contracts into the remaining living organism.

Aquinas and Soto on Derogatory Judgment and Noncomparative Justice

In one of his by now classical papers, Joel Feinberg has challenged the view that all justice is essentially comparative. As the clearest examples of noncomparative injustices, Feinberg singles out cases of unfair punishments and rewards, merit grading, and derogatory judgments. His contention is that what is unjust about derogatory judgments is that they are contrary to the truth. In this paper, I will examine some views found in Aquinas and the sixteenth-century Dominican theologian and philosopher Domingo de Sotothat confirm the importance of noncomparative justice but challenge the analysis that Feinberg gives of the injustice of derogatory judgments. Like Aquinas, Soto holds that it is the neglect of relevant evidence that makes derogatory judgments unjust: judgmental injustice, for him, boils down to judging “rashly” (temere). But Soto goes beyond a consideration of the role of evidence for judgmental justice and includes a consideration of natural rights. Taken together, Aquinas’ and Soto’s arguments indicate why the notion of judgmental justice should be severed from the notion of truth: some false derogatory judgments are just, and some true derogatory judgments are unjust.


Written by Lucas Thorpe

March 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm

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