David Kolb

Ontology, Science, Knowledge

Beyond the Greeks: Anti-Atomism

I have wanted for a long time to write a historical survey of different ideas about how things become definite and how novelty arises. We tend to think the answer is obvious: there are certain basic definite entities and novelty arises through new combinations of those entities, whether they are physical atoms or psychological perceptions, or logical concepts. I have wanted to write about nonstandard views which depart from this atomist consensus.

Coming Down from the Trees: Metaphysics and the History of Classification

Three kinds of concepts can be distinguished in Plato and Aristotle: empirical genera and species, “transcendental” concepts such as being and unity, and polarized “meanings of being” such as power and actuality. Both Kant and Hegel break with the traditional dominance of polarized meanings of being, but they do so in different ways which are at work as competing trends inside both Continental and analytic philosophy today.

Filling in the Blanks

Eugene Gendlin claims that he wants “to think with more than conceptual structures, forms, distinctions, with more than cut and presented things” (WCS 29).1 He wants situations in their concreteness to be something we can think with, not just analyze conceptually. He wants to show that “conceptual patterns are doubtful and always exceeded, but the excess seems unable to think itself.

On the Objective and Subjective Grounding of Knowledge

A translation, with introduction and notes, of an important essay by the Neo-Kantian Paul Natorp. As well as its intrinsic interest as an argument against psychologism and what has come to be called “the myth of the given,” the essay translated here possesses considerable historical significance both for itself and as a representative of its school. Husserl cites this particular essay as having helped stimulate his thoughts against psychologism.

Sellars on the Measure of All Things

Argues that Sellars’ theories can be seen as an elaborate argument for scientific realism as an almost transcendental condition for the meaningfulness of language.