Tuesday, January 7, 2014

E. J. Lowe (1950 - 2014)


Philosopher E. J. Lowe has died.  A neo-Aristotelian of sorts, he was one of the most important metaphysicians in contemporary philosophy, and by all accounts a kind and decent man.  He left many important works, not only in metaphysics but in the philosophy of mind and on the philosophy of John Locke.  Some remarks from Tuomas Tahko here.  RIP.

16 comments:

Scott said...

Oh, no. R.I.P. indeed.

Borys said...

Sad news. His "Survey" introduced me to metaphysics, and a very fine introduction it was.

Crude said...

A pity to hear. Ah well, RIP.

And Ed, I hope you have plans to comment on the Coyne-Douthat exchange. I think Coyne could use a little more fire under his feet about what Douthat was zeroing in on.

Crude said...

Oops, apparently I misspelled his name. Douhat?

Steven Jake said...

Wow, that's so weird. I'm in the middle of of his Survey of Metaphysics. What a shame.

BenSix said...

RIP. That is one of the more impressively productive lives that I have known of.

Also, for all that Professor Feser might have tired of critiquing new atheists, I second Crude (who was right about the initial spelling).

Anonymous said...

I was hesitant to hijack this thread, particularly since it marks the passing of someone (may he rest in peace), but I have the same question as Crude. Over at the American Conservative, Noah Millman weighs in and states that science has proven that Aristotelean teleology has no empirical basis.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/millman/ross-douthat-please-argue-with-better-atheists/

I have read this claim before, and I'd be very interested to read what others think about this.

Scott said...

You'll find several useful links in the first couple of sections of this post. And see also here and here for a couple of other posts that seem to me to be pretty directly on point.

Anonymous said...

Scott,

I greatly appreciate those links.

Crude said...

Over at the American Conservative, Noah Millman weighs in and states that science has proven that Aristotelean teleology has no empirical basis.

That was a pretty disappointing piece by Millman. One particularly iffy moment:

There are materialist mysterians and materialist panpsychists – Roger Penrose, for example.

'Materialist mysterian' isn't a materialist with an answer, by definition. And 'materialist panpsychist'? Nevermind that calling materialists panpsychists just shows the ridiculous flexibility of the former word - Douthat explicitly mentioned panpsychists in his own response.

And he sidesteps Douthat's question about the denial of the self, which is really where the bulk of the response was going. I think what's happening here is Millman is confusing what Douthat is saying with another, probably more common argument, and getting distracted as a result.

Anonymous said...

Way to hijack, guys. Where are your manners?

Hidden One said...

Other than (apparently) the "Survey", what are the works of Lowe's that one most ought to read?

Scott said...

@Hidden One:

Probably the single most important one is The Four-Category Ontology, in which he gives the clearest and fullest statement of his own approach to metaphysics.

The book is a bit pricey, but the gist of it is that he argues for an ontology in which there are two opposing pairs: substances and non-substances, and universals and particulars. The four titular "categories" are thus substantial universals (which are basically natural kinds), substantial particulars (which are pretty much Aristotelian substances), non-substantial universals (which are basically attributes), and non-substantial particulars (modes).

Anonymous said...

From what I hear, he also has a good introduction out on the philosophy of mind.

Scott said...

He does indeed. It's quite good. (The top helpful review, from almost fourteen years ago, is mine; Scott is my middle name.)

Johannes Roehl said...

I missed this sad news. I read two or three of his books (four category metaphysics etc.) and heard him speak at a conference in 2012. Very sad to hear of his passing.