Peter van Inwagen


Peter van Inwagen

Peter van Inwagen is John Cardinal O'Hara Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He previously taught at Syracuse University and earned his PhD from the University of Rochester under the direction of Richard Taylor and Keith Lehrer. van Inwagen is one of the leading figures in contemporary metaphysics, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of action.

It is largely due to his monograph "An Essay on Free Will" [(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983)] that libertarianism with respect to free will is once again respectable in mainstream analytical philosophy. In the book, van Inwagen defends incompatibilism about free will and determinism. His central argument (the "Consequence Argument") for this view says that "If determinism is true, then our acts are the consequences of the laws of nature and events in the remote past. But it is not up to us what went on before we were born, and neither is it up to us what the laws of nature are. Therefore, the consequences of those things (including our present acts) are not up to us." ("Essay", v)

In his book "Material Beings" [(Ithica, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995)] , van Inwagen argues that all material objects are either elementary particles or living organisms. Every composite material object is made up of elementary particles, and the only such composite objects are living organisms. A consequence of this view is that everyday objects as tables, chairs, cars, buildings, and clouds do not exist. While there seem to be such things, this is only because there are elementary particles arranged in specific ways. For example, where it seems that there is a chair, van Inwagen says that there are only "elementary particles arranged chairwise." These particles do not compose an object, any more than a swarm of bees composes an object. Like a swarm of bees, the particles we call a chair maintain a more or less stable arrangement for a while, which gives the impression of a single object. An individual bee, by contrast, has parts that are unified in the right way to constitute a single object (namely, a bee).

van Inwagen gave the 2003 Gifford Lectures; the lectures are published in his "The Problem of Evil" [(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)] . There van Inwagen argues that the argument from evil is a philosophical argument and, like more philosophical arguments, it fails.

As of 2008, rumor has it that van Inwagen has completed a new book on ontology; contracted by Oxford University Press. However, there is no information about the release date of this work.

van Inwagen lives in Granger, Indiana, with his wife Lisette and stepdaughter Claire.

References

ee also

*Mereological nihilism

External links

* [http://philosophy.nd.edu/people/all/profiles/van-inwagen-peter/ Official Page]
* [http://www.giffordlectures.org/Browse.asp?PubID=TPTPOE&
] , Oxford University Press, 2006. (Gifford Lectures 2002)


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  • Peter van Inwagen — (* 21. September 1942 in den USA) ist ein US amerikanischer Philosoph. Peter van Inwagen promovierte 1969 an der University of Rochester. 1971 wurde er Professor für Philosophie an der Syracuse University in New York. 1995 wechselte er zur… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Peter van Inwagen — (21 septembre 1942 ) est un philosophe analytique américain, professeur à l université Notre Dame. Il est une des figures contemporaines majeures en métaphysique, philosophie de la religion et philosophie de l action. Son apport principal réside… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Van Inwagen — Peter van Inwagen (* 21. September 1942, USA) ist ein amerikanischer Philosoph. Peter van Inwagen promovierte 1969 an der University of Rochester. 1971 wurde er Professor für Philosophie an der Syracuse University in New York. 1995 wechselte er… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • van Inwagen, Peter — (1942 )    The John Cardinal O Hara Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, Peter van Inwagen has written widely in defence of theism in general and Christianity in particular. He has also written extensively on metaphysics,… …   Christian Philosophy

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  • Mereological nihilism — This article is about the mereological position. For other uses, see Nihilism (disambiguation). Mereological nihilism (also called compositional nihilism, or rarely simply nihilism) is the position that objects with proper parts do not exist (not …   Wikipedia

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