Here are abstracts of the papers for the conference’s second concurrent sessions. More to follow shortly.
Hobbesian Property Theory: Considered and Critiqued
Aaron Kenna (University of North Florida)
Theories of property, defined with varying degrees of precision, are of course perennial in political philosophy. With the notable exception of the 16th and early 17th century scholastics of the School of Salamanca, it was not until Thomas Hobbes and John Locke that property theory took center stage. In relatively recent discussion, however, the former’s theory of property seems to have found favor with an alarming many political theorists and economists. This seems to me to be a rather incorrect and disheartening development. Therefore, in this paper I propose to offer an analysis of Hobbes’s property theory, and by extension his political theory, beginning with first principles and ending by finding, what I think are, serious difficulties.
Aquinas on Eternity, Tense, and Temporal Becoming
Andrew Brenner (University of North Florida)
Thomas Aquinas, along with many other medieval philosophers, believed that God is timeless. Aquinas’s treatment of this doctrine seems to imply a view of time that some commentators have noticed is inescapably tenseless, what we would now call a “B-theory” view of time. This is problematic because Aquinas also seems to affirm that tense and temporal becoming are real, implying that what we would now call an “A-theory” of time is correct. In this essay I will attempt to adjudicate this apparent conceptual tension in Aquinas’s thought. After analyzing some of the relevant passages I conclude that these passages inescapably, though perhaps inadvertently, commit Aquinas to what is fundamentally a B-theoretic notion of time. I move on to criticize some philosophers’ attempts to reconcile Aquinas’s treatment of divine timelessness with the A-theory. I argue that all these attempts are unsuccessful. I conclude with what I believe are the implications of my interpretation of Aquinas for his broader system of philosophy.