Nolan on Stoic Gunk

Here at TAR we rarely highlight ancient philosophy, but every generalisation is made to be broken.

Daniel Nolan, Stoic Gunk,
forthcoming in Phronesis

The surviving sources on the Stoic theory of division reveal that the Stoics, particularly Chrysippus, believed that bodies, places and times were such that all of their parts themselves had proper parts. That is, bodies, places and times were composed of gunk. This realisation helps solve some long-standing puzzles about the Stoic theory of mixture and the Stoic attitude to the present.

Here are some other papers that you might like to have a look at.

Ralph Wedgwood, Contextualism and Moral Beliefs

In this paper, I shall first outline a version of epistemological contextualism. I shall present this version of contextualism as a contextualist account of terms like ‘justified belief’, rather than terms like ‘knowledge’. (If justification is a necessary condition for knowledge, this contextualist account of ‘justified belief’ would naturally lead to a parallel contextualist account of ‘knowledge’; but I shall not address the question of whether justification is necessary for knowledge here.) Unlike most contextualists, I do not claim that my version of contextualism will help to solve any challenging sceptical paradoxes; but I shall argue that this version of contextualism can nonetheless shed light on some other epistemological issues, focusing especially on an issue that arises about the justification of moral beliefs.

Ryan Wasserman and David Manley, A Gradable Approach to Dispositions

Previous theories of the relationship between dispositions and conditionals are unable to account for the fact that dispositions come in degrees. We propose a fix for this problem that has the added benefit of avoiding the classic problems of finks and masks.

——, On Linking Dispositions with Conditionals

We introduce a dilemma that faces any analysis of dispositional ascriptions in terms of subjunctive conditionals. However carefully the relevant conditionals are formulated, the analysis will founder either on the problem of accidental closeness or on the problem of Achilles’ heels. The dilemma arises even for sophisticated versions of the conditional analysis that are designed to avoid the familiar problems of finks and masks. We conclude by evaluating the prospects for an analysis and offering a proposal of our own.

Scott Soames, Hacker’s Complaint forthcoming in Philosophical Quarterly

Thanks to the editors for asking me to reply to P.M.S. Hacker’s review of my Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century. I begin with his complaint about the materials I chose to discuss.

“In its selection of materials it is unrepresentative: significant figures are omitted and pivotal works are not discussed… the book is less a history of analytic philosophy than a series of critical essays on select figures and a few of their works, often chosen primarily to substantiate a thesis that is erroneous.”

Since no erroneous theses leading to indefensible choices about what material to include are identified, I will try to tease this out as we go.

3 Replies to “Nolan on Stoic Gunk”

  1. “Here at TAR we rarely highlight ancient philosophy, but every generalisation is made to be broken.”
    Except, of course, for the generalisation that every generalisation is made to be broken!

  2. Given that this is a rare highlighting of Ancient philosophy, the generalisation is not broken in the first place. Where does that leave us then?

  3. So, yes, given that ancient philosophy is not highlighted here, or anywhere else that I know of, where can a lonely ancientist go for internet companionship relevant to her specialty?

    I also noticed that there was a lack of discussion of history journals in the thread about publishing. Any suggestions there?

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