Article Title

Episteme Vol. X


"Aristotle's Theory of Genius Examined through Reid's Theory of Natural Signs" by Andrew M. Stewart

This paper explains how we might comprehend Aristotle’s paradoxical theory of metaphor via Thomas Reid’s theory of natural signs. A realist, Aristotle believes that metaphor, as a stretching of the structure of language, relies on a fundamental relationship between things in the world. Metaphors are better or worse depending on the selection of fitting terms, and good metaphors are said to be the sign of genius. Metaphor mastery cannot be taught, but rather is an “intuitive perception”. Since what cannot be learned cannot be predicated on concepts, Reid’s account of the second type of natural signs helps clarify how Aristotle’s “similarity in dissimilars” is discoverable. Furthermore, that such natural signs do not depend on experience but rather are known to all given the “constitution of human nature,” explains away the problem of how a non-genius would be able to comprehend a metaphor without being able to create one.

"Kant's Ostensible Anti-thesis of "Public" and "Private" and the Subversion of the Language of Authority in 'An Answer to the Question: "What is Enlightenment?"' by Michael D. Royal

In “An Answer to the Question: ‘What is Enlightenment?’” Kant provides a political argument built around his philosophical manipulation of the grammatical relationship between “public” and “private”. The author here elucidates the grammatical mechanism which, as John Christian Laursen argues, allows Kant to subvert concepts. A Wittgensteinian lens shows how Kant’s purportedly antonymic terms are drawn from different lines of opposition. He stealthily uses two meanings of the word “public.” Hamann’s influential critique, which establishes that Kant’s private use of reason amounts to a prescription of mere submission to authority, is deemed incorrect, if, in Kant’s address to the mind of an enlightened government, a) such a mind is enlightened, thereby capable to judge authorities, and b) such a government submits to the overarching judge: reason. Kant’s aim is to redirect revolutionary spirit toward a more sustainable positive change: a conceptual revolution in the politics of communication.

"A Critique of Ricœur's Call for Faith from the Atheism of Nietzsche: God is still Dead" by James L. Kijowski

Ricœur offers an interesting hermeneutical interpretation of Nietzsche’s “God is dead” concept, but this author believes Ricœur ultimately suggests the impossible. Following an interpretation of Nietzsche’s atheism, Ricœur’s hermeneutics of religion, atheism, and faith deem atheism a faith for a postreligious age. Using the Madman in The Gay Science and key ideas from the Genealogy, the author analyzes then critiques Ricœur’s belief that Nietzsche leaves room for non-ethical obedience via the phenomenon of la parole (word) that comes to us from the ultimate word of Being: God. The author, being more convinced by Kofman’s analysis of Nietzsche’s take on God, proposes a contrary hermeneutical analysis that posits “God” as a dead metaphor for ideal or absolute concepts. “God is dead” really means beyond good and evil, toward perspectivism.

"Contra Mothersill Contra Kant: The Imperative Judgment of Taste in Beauty Restored and the Critique of Judgment" by Chrisopher Douglas

This article defends Kant’s aesthetics, drawn mainly from the Critique of Judgment. The author discusses the intricacies of Kant’s argument by exposing the errors in Mary Mothersill’s interpretations of Kant in her book Beauty Restored. One by one, the author supports his four theses. 1) Kant uses imperative language to surpass the counter intuitive deduction of aesthetic judgments, but those judgments are not any more or less normative compared to empirical judgments. 2) Kant does not demand for a principle to ground the judgment of taste: logic does. 3) Kant cannot be called conceptually biased because judgments of taste do not stem from concepts. 4) Kant is fully aware of the role that dialectic plays in the tentative, contingent nature of the aesthetic judgment: it is a prerequisite for arriving at valid judgments of taste.

"Finding a New 'Meaning of Meaning'" Benjamin K. Herrington

The twofold thesis of this paper is that Putnam is incorrect to accept the existence of narrow content mental states, and that Tyler Burge, in exposing this error, can explain why mental content is not in the hands of the individual. The author studies Burge’s extension of Putnam’s views on mental content, comparing the arguments made in “The Meaning of Meaning” with Burge’s “Individualism and the Mental”. Burge argues that if extension differs on Twin Earth, then so must intension differ—something that Putnam overlooks. Burge’s analysis of the Twin Earth logic and his own counterfactual thought experiment concerning the term arthritis demonstrate that social content always infects mental content, thereby making it impossible for Putnam to say that water can have the same narrow meaning in his Twin Earth example. A corollary to this argument, of course, is Burge’s position that “water” is not an indexical natural kind term.