Space-Time and the Proposition

John Anderson

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Format: paperback
272 pages
ISBN: 9781920898083

Publication: 01 Jan 2006

Publisher: Sydney University Press

Space, Time and the Proposition includes the full transcript of Anderson's lectures given in 1944 on Samuel Alexander's book Space Time and Deity. This lecture series is generally considered essential

John Anderson was the Challis professor of philosophy at the University of Sydney from 1927 to 1958.

Editorial Prefaces


Lecture 1: reading list and introduction – Plato and Kant the great guides to the categories; Hegel’s multiplication of the categories ‘reactionary’; Alexander as a ‘realistic Kantian’
Lecture 2: realism assumed in this course but empiricism the theme – connection between empiricism and realism; the problem of proof in logic and the doctrine of the ‘self-refuting’; the problem of ‘conditions of existence’ – categories have no significant opposite; how, then, is a situational logic possible?; Alexander doesn’t begin with a propositional approach – his theory of predication; the problem articulated and the solution proposed
Lecture 3: connection and distinction – Alexander: Space as the form of togetherness and Time as the form of distinctness; these come together in Space-Time; Hume’s ‘rationalism’; rationalism and monism; rationalism defined; empiricism defined; James and ‘vicious intellectualism’; Kant as the answer to Hume; Alexander as the answer to Kant
Lecture 4: rationalism treats relations as identities; Idealism as monism; objective and subjective Idealism; the problem of unity and diversity; the problem of causality; predication
Lecture 5: the ‘necessity’ of mathematical truths; Leibnizian theory of analysis; predication as a form of identity; clarity and vagueness; empiricism – the proposition is not derived from anything – problem of ‘essences’; Alexander on the mental and the neural; his evolutionism
Lecture 6: question of mental quality – Alexander’s evolutionism – the doctrine of levels; Space-Time as a ‘stuff’ – Alexander’s substantialism or materialism; criticism of materialism – how could qualitative things ever arise from pure Space-Time?; – Spencer – criticism of substantiality – mind not ‘higher’ than body
Lecture 7: Alexander’s treatment of quality unempirical and unpropositional; propositional theory – the mental and neural occur in same place; identity of the spatio-temporal and the propositional; ‘stuff’ theory inconsistent with propositional theory; criticism of ‘Time is the mind of Space’ (mind is the Time of body); Space as togetherness or continuity – Time as distinctness or structure; criticism of physical Space-Time
Lecture 8: criticism of Alexander’s substantialist view that Space-Time is a ‘stuff’; rejection of levels of qualities and compresence – problem of theory of perspectives; general theory of Space-Time; Space as togetherness – Time as distinctness; how can we advance a theory of Space-Time?; things as spatio-temporal
Lecture 9: the difficulty of speaking about Space and Time; lack of concreteness in Hegelian Idealism; Alexander’s debt to Kant; the spatio-temporal as conveyed by the propositional form; the medium of things cannot be Space alone nor Time alone; the argument from repetition; the characters of Time and Space
Lecture 10: Alexander’s contention that mind and body are genus and species – general characterisation of genus and species; the ‘mutual necessitation’ of Space and Time; importance of the proposition; successiveness and onedimensionality; analogical character of the statement
Lecture 11: motions – the problem of definition of a straight line; empirical grounds for geometry; irreversibility and transitiveness; criticism of ‘point-instants’
Lecture 12: Alexander’s confusion of transitiveness and irreversibility; discussion of pendular motion; difference of direction fundamental to transitiveness in Time and two dimensionality in Space; absolute difference of direction fundamental to irreversibility in Time and three dimensionality in Space
Lecture 13: successiveness, transitiveness and irreversibility in Time and one, two and three dimensionality in Space; problem of abstraction; the intractability of qualities
Lecture 14: Bradley on a) qualities and relations, b) Space and Time; the problem of ultimate ‘units’; rationalism of Leibniz and Russell; the problem of absolute terms; situational logic and spatio-temporal logic; Heraclitus and his all inclusive system – rejection of the ‘universe’ or ‘cosmos’; belief in ultimates and the desire for security
Lecture 15: situational logic recognises externality everywhere; cf Leibniz and the Pythagoreans; internality in Leibniz, Berkeley and Kant; empiricism and mind
Lecture 16: transition to the categories – Alexander treats Space- Time as an infinite whole; his failure to treat the question in terms of the proposition; Space and Time and the propositional form; subject and predicate of the proposition; ‘paradoxes’ of the situational logic
Lecture 17: problem of the ‘historical’; Alexander’s treatment of the categories as predicates – categories must also be subjects; categories as relations; categories have no obverse
Lecture 18: identity – as a relation; as coextension; the problem of coextension; the doctrine of unlimited intension
Lecture 19: identity: in a narrower sense; Alexander’s debt to Hegel; Kant: the categories and the forms of the proposition; categories as involved with the form of the proposition; identity as being a subject
Lecture 20: difference or diversity – as being a predicate; involved with the subject; identity embodies difference; identity embodies all other categories; the copula as occurrence – existence and truth the same; the category of existence; the copula as a relation; positive and negative copula; existence involves relation; the five categories of the proposition
Lecture 21: the five categories of the proposition (cont.) – relation – possible distinction between predication and relation; the function of the predicate – the qualitative predicate and Time – the predicate as activity
Lecture 22: relation – problems of Russellian logic; relational arguments; conjunctive and disjunctive arguments
Lecture 23: quantification of the predicate – relational arguments
Lecture 24: relational arguments (continued)
Lecture 25: predicative logic – the distinction of quantity
Lecture 26: universality – there are no universals nor particulars; ‘system’ in Hegel; optimism in Idealism; the ‘concrete universal’; the notion of system; the systematic thinker
Lecture 27: notion of the ‘term’ – both particular and universal; the universal as concrete or abstract (Moore-Russell view); universals as governing principles – connection with social activity; Cornford and ‘Moira’ – criticised by Taylor and Burnet; Parmenides on the Pythagoreans; Heraclitus
Lecture 28: Alexander on Universality as a plan: synthetic character of the proposition; the categories as universals
Lecture 29: no pure particulars – colour; plans; the concrete universal
Lecture 31: Stout’s theory of universals criticised
Lecture 32: order of the categories – quality and quantity; universality and quantity; the category of number – begins with integers; integers characteristic of groups
Lecture 33: rejection of category of ‘whole and part’ – Alexander’s haphazard treatment of categories
Lecture 34: general remarks about the categories – Alexander has no method of discovering the categories; the natural order of the categories; criticism of Hegel
Lecture 35: Alexander’s theory of number: enumeration; Alexander’s rationalistic treatment of mathematics; Alexander’s discussion of Russell-Frege theory of cardinal number
Lecture 36: ordinal numbers – category of order
Lecture 37: transition between categories – logical, mathematical, physical; category of quantity – from mathematical point of view as real number – from physical point of view as solidity; category of intensity – number dependent on quality – confused conceptions of degree
Lecture 38: measurement of sensation – Weber’s law; ‘threshold of consciousness’; cognitionalism in psychology
Lecture 39: category of substance outlined; category of intensity continued
Lecture 40: the categories related to the proposition – Idealism as a philosophy of degrees: category of substance
Lecture 41: Alexander confuses substance with identity: the three groups of categories – and the transitions between them; substance continued – as the constitution of a thing
Lecture 42: substance as constitution or composition – structure as harmony: Heraclitus; category of causality – Alexander emphasises spatial side – Kant emphasises temporal sequence – concomitance
Lecture 43: general points on the order and grouping of the categories; causality continued
Lecture 44: another grouping of the categories – causality continued – Alexander neglects the universality of causal connection
Lecture 45: Alexander neglects the causal field – Alexander’s immanentism; thinghood/individuality; reciprocity
Lecture 46: the source of the categories as the form of the proposition – the physical categories; structure and aesthetics; category of individuality


Format: paperback
Size: 210 × 148 mm
272 pages
11 b&w illustrations
ISBN: 9781920898083
Publication: 01 Jan 2006