School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Theses

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    A study in the language of perception
    Ziedins, Rudolfs ( 1955)
    In the following pages I have discussed some of the problems connected with perception. I have not discussed them all -, nor have the ones which I have touched upon always received the amount of attention they deserve. In the selection of problems for inclusion and in deciding about priority of treatment I have allowed myself to be guided by the actuality of the problem, that is, by the importance which is assigned to it by leading figures in the present period of British Philosophy. I have not, however, tried to effect a close agreement between what I say and the views of any one prominent philosopher or any one school; nor have I tried to oppose anybody - except where I thought that direct opposition would conduce to greater clarity. I have tried to learn from as many sources as possible, and then to say what seemed to me to be possibly true or at least not quite implausible - irrespective of whether it agrees with anybody else's views or not. The attached bibliography shows the books and articles from which I have learned most. Any views in this thesis, which can be found also in the sources listed, can be regarded as derived from these sources irrespective of whether this has been clearly indicated in the text or not. But for what I have had to say I am more indebted to my teachers in this University than to any published works. I want to mention especially the help I have received from my two supervisors: Dr. C.D. Rollins and Prof. D.A.T. Gasking, with both of whom I have discussed many of the topics which are treated in the following pages, benefiting greatly by their suggestions and criticisms. I also want to thank Mr. D.G. Londey for correcting my English, and for the valuable suggestions he has made as to further possible improvements.
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    A criticism of certain aspects of R.G. Collingwood's theory of history
    Lloyd Thomas, David ( 1957)
    The thesis is divided Into six Parts. In Part A I will consider philosophic objections to R.G. Collingwood's Theory of History as expounded in the Introduction and Epilegomena to his book "The Idea of History", while in Part B I will turn to those philosophic criticisms of the Theory which have recently been discussed in an article by Alan Donagan. In Part C I will consider objections which might he described as 'difficulties likely to arise when the Theory is put into practice'. In Part D the discussion is centred on certain views of Hempel for the purpose of throwing further light on the place of generalisations in history, a subject which will have been raised from time to time in the first three Parts. Part E is an attempt to discover the best approach to problems in the theory of history, which is followed in Part F by a sample analysis of some problems raised by Collingwood and an attempt to slow why he made his mistakes. The problems which I will discuss are connected in such a variety of ways that it has not been easy to decide in what order the discussion should follow. From time to time a certain topic will be raised, pursued for several pages and then dropped, only to be taken up again later. I hope that 'signpost' remarks from time to time will make clear the direction in which the argument is going, and help to pull together these strands.
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    Meaningless statements
    Srzednicki, Jan T. J ( 195-?)
    My first interest was in the logical status of statements, "nothing can be red and blue all over, at the same time"; "An object cannot be in two places at once", and such like. These statements appear to me to have a specific 'unpidgeonholed' Iogical status. I wanted then to investigate their logical character. However, in whichever direction I turned, I met the irritating logico-positistic all purpose argument: 'This sentence is, strictly speaking, meaningless, and therefore does not even merit discussion'. However irritating such argument is, and however unplausible is the very existence of such general all-purpose knock-down answer to almost everything, it has to be answered, and whatever plausibility it possesses must be, perhaps implicitly, accounted for, in such at answer. I was driven, by these considerations, into serious investigation of the question, "What do we say, when we say, that a statement is meaningless?" Subsequently I found that this inquiry will have to fill out my present work. This then, is the subject of the thesis.
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    Reinhold Niebuhr : an enquiry into the thought of Reinhold Niebuhr and an investigation of its implications for Protestant ethical, social and political theories
    Reid, Alan Forbes ( 1958)
    For many years the suggestion that a Protestant political theory was a possibility has been scorned by political thinkers. That this scorn is justified has been due to two facts about Protestant Christianity. Firstly, there has been the growth of a radical Protestantism which thought it found its roots in the writings of Martin Luther; secondly, there has existed the confusion of mind which theologians have come to call Liberalism. This latter stands in direct contrast to radical Christianity which draws a great chasm between the. Gospel and the world, dismissing the latter as utterly evil and beyond redemption, in fact 'untouchables' for the Christian. Liberal Christianity, on the other hand, so watered down the Gospel that the chasm became little more than an undulating plane end the "offence" of the Gospel, so dear to the radical, is converted into the bulwark of this or that society.
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    Existence and the ontological proof
    Donagan, Alan ( 1951, 1955)
    In the lines, 'This was the Noblest Roman of them all All the Conspirators save onely hee, Did that they did, in envy of great Caesar:' occur expressions the functions of which, though distinct, are often confounded. In the first line, the word 'this' is used to point something out; in the third, the word 'that' refers to an action. These words may be used to point out or refer to any thing, event, quality, state or relation you choose. Other words and expressions have similar functions: 'there' may be used to point out a place, and 'thither' a direction; 'here' to refer to where the speaker is, 'hither' to the direction in which he is. 'How' and 'then' are used in analogous ways. Such uses have been felt to pose various problems. How can an expression point out now one thing, now another, without changing in meaning? This question reveals a confusion between the meaning of an expression and what it is employed to do on a particular occasion.
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    Realist epistemology in Christian philosophy
    Ellis, William ( 1953)
    I propose in this thesis to show that the Idealist Epistemology does not allow for the essentials of Christianity and that, on the contrary, a Realist epistemology does make it possible to accept Christianity without any contradiction being involved. To achieve this, I shall first state the philosophy of John Caird who attempted to start with Idealism and end with a philosophy of religion; then I shall examine the conclusions and implications of Caird, comparing them with the writings of other Idealist thinkers, and show wherein they fail to meet the needs of Christian thinkers. This, of course, is no proof of the falsity of their thinking but I shall, after a short section on the historical change from Idealism to Realism, follow with a statement of the Realist epistemology which I hold to be necessary to describe and clarify our experience. The position which I will advocate will be that generally described as. Critical Realism but it will include a section on our knowledge of persons which is relevant in any religious thought which takes account of a personal God, as well as some account of error and the occurrence of error which is relevant to the question of the place of evil in our experience. Finally I shall make a statement of the points of Christian doctrine which I consider to be vitally affected by epistemology and I shall endeavour to show that, under Realism, both Christian needs and our experience can be adequately stated. This is not to say. that Christianity is a necessary conclusion but only that Christianity does not preclude one from being a realist and that realism does not preclude one from being a Christian.
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    The eternal thou : an examination of some religious statements
    Franklin, R. L (1925-) ( 1956)
    This thesis was planned to be an examination of certain work in the philosophy of religion. It was to consider the writings on this subject since 1945 of that group of philosophers usually known as Linguistic Analysts or Logical Analysts; that is, those who philosophise more or less in the manner of Wittgenstein, Wisdom and Ryle. I need a name for this group, and so I shall henceforth call them "analysts" , in spite of their understandable objections to being grouped together or labelled at all.
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    Recompense, tension and the mean : some studies in the notion of conflict or opposition and its resolution, with regard to ancient Greek philosophy
    Harrison, M. F. W ( 1949)
    The notion of opposition or conflict is one which is fundamental to philosophy. In politics it takes the form of conflict between citizen and state, or citizen and group of citizens; in ethics it is connected with the concept of choice and free will, and also with the notion of the perpetual striving between powers of good and evil for mastery, the one over the other. In this thesis, I shall concentrate on the Greek philosophers, not because they show this notion of opposition in its clearest light, nor even because they deal with it the most fully of any other philosophers, but because I must limit my field of study, and the three solutions of the strife of opposites which I have chosen have been dealt with in some detail by philosophers closely connected by ties of race, period, and influence. By concentrating on one period of history I have made easier a study of political and social pressures, and have thus been aided in studying the soil from which the philosophical growths have sprung. The study of the resolution of opposing forces, and there are diverse means of resolution and many degrees of harmony, is in itself an interesting, research into problems of logic and methodology and psychology. Moreover - and I consider this more important from a philosophical point of view - the implications of these concepts of resolution should be examined. The harmony notion of Pythagoras has the social implication of conservatism - an insistence that people continue to obey laws, and that rulers continue to be divinely inspired by the insight their studies in mathematics give them. Lack of harmony in the soul is destructive; in the state lack of harmony means the disintegration of the good state, giving rise to oligarchic or tyrannical governments. Plato, by his insistence on harmony in the state coming as the result, of personal performance by each citizen of specialised natural function, showed Gore psychological insight than Pythagoras, but by mentioning the myth of the metallic soul shows his lack of science, although he reveals a talent for plausible propaganda, which Archytas at least of the Pythagoreans failed to possess. The implications of the resolution of conflict by a tension as in Heraclitus, are not so easy to find. It is suggested that the notion of tension is linked up with a less deterministic morality, appealing not so much to nature as to human activity. The tension causes people to regard their lot in life as being made by their own actions and fortune, rather than to accept it as final. There is no emphasis on "community" in Plato's sense, and no talk of fulfilling your real nature, although Heraclitus knows what kind of soul is best. "The people must fight for its laws as for its walls" gives one a different feeling to the fragment of Archytas: "Law must be engrained in the characters and practices of the citizens''. Heraclitus' citizens fight for what they want. Archytas' sentence is cryptic. One does not know who is to engrain the law in the practices of the citizens. To speak of such conception as Heraclitus'as "dynamic", as Cornford does, (although he is referring to Anaximander's resolution of conflict specifically), and of the Pythagorean one as static, may be prejudicial to good study and seem unduly to intrude one's own ethical feelings into the matter, if the usage of these words is not qualified. For this reason, when these words are used by me it is simply to facilitate recognition o the trends of outlook indicated in the philosophers I shall deal with. In discussing the resolutions and their implications my own predispositions towards humanism and influences of a Christian and middle class background will be seen. While these may be prevented from intruding into my discussion of the various forms of resolution, it is impossible to keep them out wholly when I am criticising (i.e. making an evaluation of) their implications. It would seem that philosophers do not champion either strife or harmony, or both, but that they attempt to resolve the strife which confronts them in the universe, the state and human life in different ways, and obtain a resolution or harmony. The important point is that these harmonies are of different kinds, and have different implications both logically and politically, What some of these methods and types of resolution are, and what implications and views of human life are involved in each I shall attempt to make clear.
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    The concept of imagination : with particular reference to a theory of symbolism
    Little, Graham (1939-2000) ( 1959)
    The confusions which have attended the philosophical history of the concept of imagination are notorious. It has, for instance, been used as the complement and as the opposite of grandiose notions of truth, with almost equal ease. As the former, it has had a mysterious importance in esoteric talk about both art and religion; and as the latter, distinguishing imagination and sober empirical observation, it has been a means of attack upon such discourse.