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The Logic of Cultures

Three Structures of Philosophical Thought


Paul Taborsky

This book proposes to identify three long-term structures in causal reasoning – in particular, in terms of the relationship between cause and identity – that appear to be of value in categorizing and organizing various trends in philosophical thought.
Such conceptual schemes involve a host of philosophical dilemmas (such as the problem of relativism), which are examined in the first chapter. A number of naturalistic and transcendental approaches to this problem are also analysed.
In particular, the book attempts to construct a theoretical basis for Foucault’s tripartite classification of epistemological structures in European thought.
The final chapter attempts to buttress the above schema by extending the analysis from cause and identity to growth, change, and stability, critiquing certain ideas of Foucault and Heidegger, as well as examining the contemporary thought of process philosophy and complexity theory.


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3. Stability, Growth and Decline 187


187 3. Stability, Growth and Decline ‘Being’ applies not only to a particular something or to a quality or a quantity but also to a power or to a fulfillment or to an activity. Aristotle, Metaphysics 1 (1045b32) There are as many kinds of movement and change as there are of being. Aristotle, Metaphysics K 9 (1065b14); Physics III 1 (201a9) The operation of anything follows the mode of its being. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, 75, 3 We have explored the causal structure of various paradigms, specifi- cally the relationships between temporality, causality, and essentiality or ontological dependence. I would now like to explore the dynamic aspects of these same structures. What do I mean by dynamism? It has sometimes been said that there is a fundamental dichotomy between what have been called ‘philosophies of substantiality’, on the one hand, and philosophies of process, on the other, where the former are centered around static, unchanging substance, placed at the foun- dation of their ontology, while the latter instead follow the radical path of asserting that process, dynamism and activity are the funda- mental constituents of reality. However, I believe that virtually every ontology includes an ac- count of causality; for causality is none other than the way that beings are understood to operate; even Platonic forms operate by enabling or allowing sensual particulars to participate in them. This being so, the distinction above would seem to be artificial. Substances cannot be known apart from their activities — however, by the...

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