Metaphysics of the Principle of Least Action
Despite the importance of the variational principles of physics, there have been relatively few attempts to consider them for a realistic framework. In addition to the old teleological question, this paper continues the recent discussion regarding the modal involvement of the principle of least action and its relations with the Humean view of the laws of nature. The reality of possible paths in the principle of least action is examined from the perspectives of the contemporary metaphysics of modality and Leibniz’s concept of essences or possibles striving for existence. I elaborate a modal interpretation of the principle of least action that replaces a classical representation of a system’s motion along a single history in the actual modality by simultaneous motions along an infinite set of all possible histories in the possible modality. This model is based on an intuition that deep ontological connections exist between the possible paths in the principle of least action and possible quantum histories in the Feynman path integral. I interpret the action as a physical measure of the essence of every possible history. Therefore only one actual history has the highest degree of the essence and minimal action. To address the issue of necessity, I assume that the principle of least action has a general physical necessity and lies between the laws of motion with a limited physical necessity and certain laws with a metaphysical necessity.
This contribution to a volume on the“ultimate why-question” discusses ambiguities in Leibniz’s formulation of the question, “[. . . ] pourquoi il y a plus tôt quelque chose que rien”. This formulation poses two problems: Leibniz does not explain how to understand the concepts of “something” and “nothing”. And it is not clear, whether “something” and “nothing” are contradictory opposites, so that there is either nothing or something, or whether both concepts denote principles which are effective in the world at the same time. My analysis rests on the hypothesis that the relevant context for Leibniz’s question is the theology of creation.
Hence, the paper compares eight different approaches to “creation from nothing” (Thomists, Scotists, Taurellus, Lubinus, Timpler, Keckermann, Kircher, Knorr von Rosenroth, van Helmont). Candidates for the nihil the world was created from include absolute non-being, thoughts in God’s mind, unformed matter, imaginary space, or a self-contraction of the Divine spirit. These different approaches can be translated into different versions of the “ultimate why-question”. The paper concludes that Leibniz’s formulation contains a comparison between two Divine acts of creation, because not only “something”, but “nothing” as well owes its subsistence to the Divine will. This rises substantial questions: either God created first an imperfect entity in order to create the world as a whole, or Leibniz subscribes to an emanative understanding of creation that either levels the difference between creation and (natural) generation or is based on misunderstanding God as a material entity.
This article deals with the concept of omnipotence very important for contemporary analytic philosophy of religion. Within the analytic tradition it is usual to uncover an apparent tension between God’s omnipotence and other divine attributes. In response, some authors have proposed their own ideas on how classical problems of omnipotence can be solved in terms of possible worlds theory. In this paper we aim to consider the approaches developed by Geach, Adams and Plantinga. While admitting that each of them has made a significant contribution to the refinement of the concept of omnipotence, we still point out a number of important challenges that these authors were not able to overcome.
This book chapter is part of a collection of essays giving an introduction into Leibniz's Monadology. My part of this contribution discusses the conflict between mechanistic and teleological explanations of living things in the 17th century.
The Caucasus is the place with the greatest linguistic variation in Europe. The present volume explores this variation within the tense, aspect, mood, and evidentiality systems in the languages of the North-East Caucasian (or Nakh-Daghestanian) family. The papers of the volume cover the most challenging and typologically interesting features such as aspect and the complicated interaction of aspectual oppositions expressed by stem allomorphy and inflectional paradigms, grammaticalized evidentiality and mirativity, and the semantics of rare verbal categories such as the deliberative (‘May I go?’), the noncurative (‘Let him go, I don’t care’), different types of habituals (gnomic, qualitative, non-generic), and perfective tenses (aorist, perfect, resultative). The book offers an overview of these features in order to gain a broader picture of the verbal semantics covering the whole North-East Caucasian family. At the same time it provides in-depth studies of the most fascinating phenomena.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) zählt zu den vielseitigsten und genialsten Köpfen der Menschheit. Er war nicht nur Begründer der Computersprache, nicht nur Erfinder von Bergbauförderanlagen und Rechenmaschinen, nicht nur Diplomat, Kirchenpolitiker, Wissenschaftsreformer und Bibliothekar, nicht nur Jurist, Mathematiker, Historiker, Sprachforscher und Theologe er war insbesondere Philosoph, der die kausal-mechanische Welterklärung der Naturwissenschaften mit den Grundannahmen der klassischen Geistmetaphysik harmonisieren wollte. Hierfür stellte er eine neue metaphysische Hypothese auf, welche die ganze Natur als Gesellschaft von 'Monaden' interpretiert, die untereinander und mit ihren Körpern in 'prästabilierter Harmonie' stehen, obwohl sie 'keine Fenster' haben. Für philosophisch Interessierte, die eine Einführung in dieses faszinierende System suchen, empfiehlt sich der Zugang über die berühmte Spätschrift aus dem Nachlass, die 1720 in deutscher Übersetzung unter dem Titel 'Monadologie' erschien. Sie bildet eine Art Summe, die alle großen Thesen der Leibnizschen Philosophie konzentriert, allerdings ohne sie zu erläutern, geschweige denn ihre Probleme zu analysieren. Dies ist deshalb die Aufgabe des kooperativen Kommentars. Er gibt einen Überblick über alle Themen der 'Monadologie', indem er ihre Thesen in 14 Beiträgen systematisch erläutert.
After an introductory chapter that provides an overview to theoretical issues in tense, aspect, modality and evidentiality, this volume presents a variety of original contributions that are firmly empirically-grounded based on elicited or corpus data, while adopting different theoretical frameworks. Thus, some chapters rely on large diachronic corpora and provide new qualitative insight on the evolution of TAM systems through quantitative methods, while others carry out a collostructional analysis of past-tensed verbs using inferential statistics to explore the lexical grammar of verbs. A common goal is to uncover semantic regularities and variation in the TAM systems of the languages under study by taking a close look at context. Such a fine-grained approach contributes to our understanding of the TAM systems from a typological perspective. The focus on well-known Indo-European languages (e.g. French, German, English, Spanish) and also on less commonly studied languages (e.g. Hungarian, Estonian, Avar, Andi, Tagalog) provides a valuable cross-linguistic perspective.
The article deals with the problem of the author as the subject of consciousness expressed through the text in its entirety. Special emphasis is laid on modality revealed in the author’s evaluation of events, characters and the world in general.
The article considers the Views of L. N. Tolstoy not only as a representative, but also as a accomplisher of the Enlightenment. A comparison of his philosophy with the ideas of Spinoza and Diderot made it possible to clarify some aspects of the transition to the unique Tolstoy’s religious and philosophical doctrine. The comparison of General and specific features of the three philosophers was subjected to a special analysis. Special attention is paid to the way of thinking, the relation to science and the specifics of the worldview by Tolstoy and Diderot. An important aspect is researched the contradiction between the way of thinking and the way of life of the three philosophers.
Tolstoy's transition from rational perception of life to its religious and existential bases is shown. Tolstoy gradually moves away from the idea of a natural man to the idea of a man, who living the commandments of Christ. Starting from the educational worldview, Tolstoy ended by creation of religious and philosophical doctrine, which were relevant for the 20th century.
The article is concerned with the notions of technology in essays of Ernst and Friedrich Georg Jünger. The special problem of the connection between technology and freedom is discussed in the broader context of the criticism of culture and technocracy discussion in the German intellectual history of the first half of the 20th century.