THE RATIONAL HUMAN CONDITION, PART 1
PREFACE AND GENERAL INTRODUCTION
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE RATIONAL HUMAN CONDITION, PART 2
COGNITION, CONTENT, AND THE A PRIORI: A STUDY IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF MIND AND KNOWLEDGE
THE RATIONAL HUMAN CONDITION, PART 3
DEEP FREEDOM AND REAL PERSONS: A STUDY IN METAPHYSICS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Note on References
1. Introduction: Freedom, Life, and Persons’ Lives
2. Beyond Mechanism: The Dynamics of Life
2.1 Immanent Structuralism
2.2 Natural Mechanism, Computability, and Anti-Mechanism
2.3 Kant’s Anti-Mechanism, Kantian Anti-Mechanism, Vitalism, and Emergentism
2.4 On the Representation of Life
2.5 Kantian Non-Conceptualism and the Dynamicist Model of Life
2.6 Inverted Life, Suspended Life, and Non-Local Life: How LifeDoes Not Strongly Supervene on the Physical, and Why
3. From Biology to Agency
3.1 Two-Dimensional Rational Normativity
3.2 Kant’s Biological Theory of Freedom
3.3 Practical-Freedom-in-Life: Kantian Non-Intellectualism
3.4 The Rationality of the Heart: Principled Authenticity
4. Neither/Nor: The Negative Case for Natural Libertarianism
4.1 The Intuitive Definition of Free Will
4.2 The Four Metaphysical Horsemen of the Apocalypse
4.3 The Three Standard Options, Natural Mechanism, and The Fourfold Knot of Free Agency
4.4 Three Arguments for Classical Incompatibilism, and In-the-Zone Compatibilism
4.5 Three Arguments for Local Incompatibilism with Respect to Natural Mechanism
4.6 Sympathy for the Devil: Compatibilism Reconsidered
4.7 Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death?
4.8 Too Hard to Live With: Strawson’s Basic Argument, Hard Determinism, and Hard Incompatibilism
5. Either/Or: Deep Freedom and Principled Authenticity
5.1 The Internal Structure of Deep Freedom
5.2 From Frankfurt Back to Kierkegaard: How to Have a Live Option, or Kierkegaardian Either/Or, Without Alternative Possibilities
5.3 Psychological Freedom, Deep Freedom, and Principled Authenticity
6. Minded Animalism I: What Real Persons Really Are
6.1 From Deep Freedom to Real Persons
6.2 Real Persons
6.3 Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Real Personhood
7. Minded Animalism II: From Parfit to Real Personal Identity
7.1 Parfit’s Theory: Six Basic Claims
7.2 Against and Beyond Parfit 1: Two Reasons, and The Minded Animalist Criterion of Personal Identity
7.3 Against and Beyond Parfit 2: Four More Reasons
A NOTE ON REFERENCES
For convenience, throughout the five-part four book series, The Rational Human Condition—comprising 1. the Preface and General Introduction, 2. Cognition, Content, and the A Priori, 3. Deep Freedom and Real Persons, 4. Kantian Ethics and Human Existence, and 5. Kant, Agnosticism, and Anarchism—I refer to Kant’s works infratextually in parentheses. The citations include both an abbreviation of the English title and the corresponding volume and page numbers in the standard “Akademie” edition of Kant’s works: Kants gesammelte Schriften, edited by the Königlich Preussischen (now Deutschen) Akademie der Wissenschaften (Berlin: G. Reimer [now de Gruyter], 1902-). I generally follow the standard English translations, but have occasionally modified them where appropriate. For references to the first Critique, I follow the common practice of giving page numbers from the A (1781) and B (1787) German editions only. Here is a list of the relevant abbreviations and English translations:
BL “The Blomberg Logic.” In Immanuel Kant: Lectures on Logic. Trans. J.M. Young. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1992. Pp. 5-246.
C Immanuel Kant: Correspondence, 1759-99. Trans. A. Zweig. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1999.
CPJ Critique of the Power of Judgment. Trans. P. Guyer and E. Matthews. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2000.
CPR Critique of Pure Reason. Trans. P. Guyer and A. Wood. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1997.
CPrR Critique of Practical Reason. Trans. M. Gregor. In Immanuel Kant: Practical Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1996. Pp. 139-271.
DiS “Concerning the Ultimate Ground of the Differentiation of Directions in Space.” Trans. D. Walford and R. Meerbote. In Immanuel Kant: Theoretical Philosophy: 1755-1770. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1992. Pp. 365-372.
DSS “Dreams of a Spirit-Seer Elucidated by Dreams of Metaphysics.” Trans. D. Walford and R. Meerbote. In Immanuel Kant: Theoretical Philosophy: 1755-1770. Pp. 301-359.
EAT “The End of All Things.” Trans. A. Wood and G. Di Giovanni. In Immanuel Kant: Religion and Rational Theology. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1996. Pp. 221-231.
GMM Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. Trans. M. Gregor. In Immanuel Kant: Practical Philosophy. Pp. 43-108.
ID “On the Form and Principles of the Sensible and Intelligible World (Inaugural Dissertation).” Trans. D. Walford and R. Meerbote. In Immanuel Kant: Theoretical Philosophy: 1755-1770. Pp. 373-416.
IUH “Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Aim.” Trans. A. Wood. In Immanuel Kant: Anthropology, History, and Eduction. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007. Pp. 107-120.
JL “The Jäsche Logic.” Trans. J.M. Young. In Immanuel Kant: Lectures on Logic. Pp. 519-640.
LE Immanuel Kant: Lectures on Ethics. Trans. P. Heath. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1997.
MFNS Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science. Trans. M. Friedman. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004.
MM Metaphysics of Morals. Trans. M. Gregor. In Immanuel Kant: Practical Philosophy. Pp. 365-603.
OP Immanuel Kant: Opus postumum. Trans. E. Förster and M. Rosen. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993.
OT “What Does It Mean to Orient Oneself in Thinking?” Trans. A. Wood. In Immanuel Kant: Religion and Rational Theology. Pp. 7-18.
Prol Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics. Trans. G. Hatfield. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004.
PP “Toward Perpetual Peace.” Trans. M. Gregor. In Immanuel Kant: Practical Philosophy. Pp. 317-351.
Rel Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason. Trans. A. Wood and G. Di Giovanni. In Immanuel Kant: Religion and Rational Theology. Pp. 57-215.
RTL “On a Supposed Right to Lie from Philanthropy.” Trans. M. Gregor. In Immanuel Kant: Practical Philosophy. Pp. 611-615.
VL “The Vienna Logic,” Trans. J.M. Young. In Immanuel Kant: Lectures on Logic. Pp. 251-377.
WE “An Answer to the Question: ‘What is Enlightenment?’” Trans. M. Gregor. In Immanuel Kant: Practical Philosophy. Pp. 17-22.
In the fullness of time, The Rational Human Condition will also appear as a series of five e-books published by Rounded Globe, each of which, in turn, will be available in hard copy, on demand, from Out of House Publishing.
THE RATIONAL HUMAN CONDITION, PART 3
DEEP FREEDOM AND REAL PERSONS: A STUDY IN METAPHYSICS
Chapter 2 Beyond Mechanism: The Dynamics of Life
Section 2.1 Immanent Structuralism
The basic idea behind my neo-Aristotelian and contemporary Kantian “immanent structuralist” metaphysics of properties is fairly simple—
immanent structuralism: Some (kinds of) material objects, events, processes, and facts have causally relevant or causally efficacious structural properties that are not strictly determined either by (i) the intrinsic non-relational properties of their physical parts together with all the extrinsic non-relational or relational properties of their physical parts, or by (ii) the total set of actual contingent sensory-experiential or natural objects, events, and facts.
The properties satisfying these conditions are what I call intrinsic structural properties or immanent structural properties, and they include–
(i) all fundamental mathematical properties of material objects, events, processes, and facts,
(ii) all fundamental asymmetric spatiotemporal and non-equilibrium, complex, self-organizing thermodynamic properties of material objects, events, processes, and facts, and energy, especially including fundamental biological properties of living organisms, and
(iii) all fundamental mental properties of animals, including consciousness-properties, intentionality-properties, caring-properties, rationality-properties, and free-agency-properties.
When immanent structural mental properties of human animals are appropriately combined with human linguistic facts and social facts, then they (i.e., the appropriate combinations of immanent structural mental properties, human linguistic facts, and human social facts) are essentially the same as what John Searle calls constitutive rules. Constitutive rules are rules, as Searle puts it, that
create or define new forms of behavior. The rules of football or chess, for example, do not merely regulate playing football or chess, but as it were create the very possibility of playing such games.[i]
Searle’s view is about linguistic facts and social facts, and more generally about intentional action. But my view is about natural facts, and not merely about linguistic and social facts. More precisely, on my view, this constitutive-rule function is present in all immanent structural properties of material objects, material events, material processes, material facts and/or energy facts. Immanent structural properties “create or define” new forms of non-equilibrium, spatiotemporally asymmetric, complex thermodynamic existence or movement, and thereby “create the very possibility of” such causal-dynamic patterns. When instantiated in actual space and time, immanent structural properties actualize these new forms of non-equilibrium, asymmetric, complex thermodynamic existence or movement. Thus immanent structural properties, whenever and wherever they exist either in an uninstantiated mode or else via their instances in the natural world, are neither “downwardly identical” to any of the other physical properties of some material objects, facts, or events, nor “strongly supervenient” on them, nor anything otherwise “over and above” them, since they are just irreducible and synthetic a priori necessary structures of those physical things and inherently in those physical things.
Otherwise put, my claim is that fundamental natural structures of physical things and thermodynamic processes are at once fully irreducible to and also fully immanent in the physical things and thermodynamic processes that are “created or defined by,” i.e., constituted by, those very structures, and thereby those very structures are either causally efficacious or at least causally relevant. That is the basic idea. Michelle Maiese and I have already argued for immanent structuralism in the philosophy of mind in Embodied Minds in Action, by means of demonstrating the existence of immanent structural causally relevant, causally efficacious mental properties in suitably complex living animal bodies—a view we call “neo-Aristotelian hylomorphism.” Correspondingly, I have also argued for immanent structuralism in the philosophy of logic and mathematics in Cognition, Content, and the A Priori, by means of arguing for the existence of immanent structural causally relevant (although not causally efficacious) logical and arithmetic properties—a view I call “Kantian structuralism.” Following on from those lines of reasoning, the purpose of the present chapter is to argue for immanent structuralism in the philosophy of biology, by means of arguing for the existence of immanent structural causally relevant, causally efficacious organismic properties.
More precisely, if I am correct, then irreducible organismic life is nothing more and nothing less than an inherently non-mechanical, constitutive-rule-like, immanent structural property of the causal behaviors, functions, and operations bound up with fundamental physical properties and facts in far-from-equilibrium, spatiotemporally asymmetric, complex, self-organizing thermodynamic systems of a well-defined class, corresponding to an a priori formal representation of life.[ii] In turn, this happens in just the way that, according to Aristotle’s hylomorphism, actualizing form relates to the potentiality of the specific matter that it constitutively informs; and it also happens in just the way that, according to Kant in the Transcendental Aesthetic section of the Critique of Pure Reason, space and time are nothing but necessary a priori constitutive immanent structural properties of the causally efficacious objects of human experience, corresponding to pure subjective forms of sensible intuition. Hence organismic life is irreducible to natural mechanisms because it is a transcendental, inherently non-mechanical, naturally purposive or naturally teleological fact about the causal processes bound up with fundamental physical properties and facts in certain far-from-equilibrium, asymmetric, complex, self-organizing thermodynamic systems. But this is not because it is an essentially different fact that is something “over and above” the fundamental physical world, and also not because it is nothing but a multiply realizable second-order physical fact that is strongly supervenient on first-order, fundamental physical facts.
I will stop briefly here to define the notion of “strong supervenience,” since it is important in what follows. Strong supervenience[iii] is a necessary determination-relation between sets of properties of different ontological “levels,” a relation that is weaker than strict property-identity, and is usually taken to be asymmetric, although two-way or bilateral supervenience is also possible. But assuming for the purposes of simpler exposition that supervenience is asymmetric, then, more precisely, B-properties (= the higher level properties) strongly supervene on A-properties (= the lower-level properties) if and only if:
(i) for any property F among the A-properties had by something X, F necessitates X’s also having property G among the B-properties (upwards necessitation), and
(ii) there cannot be a change in any of X’s B-properties without a corresponding change in X’s A-properties (necessary co-variation).
It follows from strong supervenience that any two things X and Y share all their A-properties in common only if they share all their B-properties in common (indiscriminability). In turn, logical supervenience is a super-strong version of strong supervenience which says that the necessitation relations between the B-properties and the A-properties are logical and a priori. Or more simply put: The B-properties are “nothing more than” and “nothing over and above” the A-properties. If there were such a being as an all-powerful and all-knowing creator God, and if S/He were to create and/or know all the A-properties, then S/He would have nothing more to do in order to create and/or know all the B-properties.
It is important to recognize that strong supervenience specifies, at most, a set of extrinsic modal properties and relations (i.e., upwards necessitation, necessary co-variation, and indiscriminability) between a thing’s A-properties and its B-properties, or between any two things’ A-properties and B-properties. If properties or relations of strong supervenience hold for a thing or things, there is no further implication that these are properties or relations of constitution or essence, such that a thing’s or things’ immanent structural characteristics—and in particular, if the thing or things are natural or physical, their efficacious causal powers—depend on these properties or relations. Conversely, if properties or relations of constitution or essence hold for a thing or things, then there is no further implication that strong supervenience holds for them. In short, the metaphysics of strong supervenience is modally shallow, not modally deep, unlike the real metaphysics of constitution or essence.[iv]
[i] J. Searle, Speech Acts (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1969), p. 33.
[ii] The representation of life presupposes the representation of physical motion, i.e., of kinetic activity, which I also think is an a priori formal representation, and, also just like the representation of life, a formal essentially non-conceptual representation. Thus the representation of motion, or kinetic activity, is in effect a “form of intuition” in Kant’s sense. Moreover, just as we find it natural and scientifically useful to represent time, imagistically or diagramatically, in spatial terms, as a unidirectional line, or as a fourth dimension of a Euclidean manifold, so too we find it natural and scientifically useful to represent kinetic activity, imagistically or diagramatically, as what falls within the “light cone” of a four-dimensional Euclidean manifold. But all such images and diagrams, while mathematically-informative and factually correct, as far as they go, have a strong tendency to mislead by apparently implying that time and motion are in themselves static facts—hence “spatializing” them both, in Bergson’s terminology. This in turn helps to motivate the deeply Parmenidean, deterministic, “block universe” conception of physical nature. On the contrary, however, time and motion are no more inherently static than organismic life is. They’re all inherently dynamic. Thus time is primitively and essentially non-conceptually represented as a structured, continuous, content-neutral flow of “inner” conscious experiences; and motion is primitively and essentially non-conceptually represented as a structured, continuous, content-neutral flow of “outer” (i.e., proprioceptive, bodily) conscious experiences.
In this way, perhaps surprisingly, meditation and free-style dancing are philosophically more illuminating representations of time and motion than the mathematically-informative and factually correct diagrams one finds in contemporary introductory physics or cosmology texts. To be sure, this deeply important idea can also be found in Kant, the early Phenomenological tradition, and Bergson. But in any case, to keep things relatively simple in this book, I won’t explicitly argue for the “transcendental aesthetic of kinetics” here.
[iii] See, e.g., J. Kim, Supervenience and Mind (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993), esp. part 1; T. Horgan, “From Supervenience to Superdupervenience: Meeting the Demands of a Material World,” Mind 102 (1993): 555-586; and Chalmers, The Conscious Mind, chs. 1-3.
[iv] The recent and contemporary literature on constitution and grounding has been uniformly conducted under the (for me, clearly) false presupposition that noumenal metaphysics is defensible; see, e.g., R. Wasserman, “Material Constitution,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2015 Edition), E.N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2015/entries/material-constitution/>; and R. Bliss and K. Trogdon, “Metaphysical Grounding,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2016 Edition), E.N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2016/entries/grounding/>. According to my Kant-inflected view of real metaphysics and ontology, modally deep properties and relations all express non-logical, essentially non-conceptual, or “strong metaphysical,” synthetic a priori necessity, which is essentially different from logical, conceptual, or “weak metaphysical,” analytic necessity: hence my view is robustly modal dualist. See, e.g., Hanna, Kant and the Foundations of Analytic Philosophy, chs. 3-5; Hanna and Maiese, Embodied Minds in Action, section 7.4; Hanna, Cognition, Content, and the A Priori, esp. chs. 2 and 4; and Hanna, “Kant, the Copernican Devolution, and Real Metaphysics.” But to keep things relatively simple, I won’t re-argue those (admittedly controversial) claims here.
Against Professional Philosophy is a sub-project of the online mega-project Philosophy Without Borders, which is home-based on Patreon here. Please consider becoming a patron! We’re improvident, but cheerful.