This book traces the trajectory of John J. McDermott’s philosophical career through a selection of his essays. Many were originally occasional pieces and address specific issues in American thought and culture. Together they constitute a mosaic of McDermott’s philosophy, showing its roots in an American conception of experience. Though he draws heavily on the thought of William James and the pragmatists, McDermott has his own unique perspective on philosophy and American life. He presents this to the reader (...) in exquisitely crafted prose. Drawing inspiration from American history, from existentialist themes, and from personal experiences, he offers a dramatic consideration of our culture’s failures and successes.McDermott crosses disciplinary boundaries to draw on whatever works to help make sense of theissues with which he is dealing—issues rooted in medical practice, political events, pedagogical habits, and the worlds of the arts. His work thus resists simple categorization. It is precisely this that makes his vibrant prose appealing to so many both inside and outside the world of American philosophy. (shrink)
What I say here has been said before on many days and nights by reflective persons, for centuries long and planetary wide. Why, then, say it again, Sam? Is it because Heraclitus was onto something when he told us the Logos speaks but few hear? Or is the situation that of the Hassidic tale as recounted by Martin Buber? A man took it upon himself to convey the message of the high and holy one. He found no response and so (...) went directly, petulantly, to the author of the message. "Why are you here?" asked the high and holy one. "I have offered your message and no one hears me." "But," comes the response, "there is no hearing here for you. I have sunk my hearing in the deafness of mortals." More directly we can recall .. (shrink)
O'Brien & Opie's theory fails to address the issue of consciousness and introspection. They take for granted that once something is experienced, it can be commented on. But introspection requires neural structures that, according to their theory, have nothing to do with experience as such. That makes the tight coupling between the two in humans a mystery.
The essay surveys Newman's work in literary drama, from an early essay on Aristotle's Poetics to his adaptation of Roman comedies for production at the Oratory School, in order to approach his affinities with Hans Urs von Balthasar's theological dramatic theory. Newman does not find a Balthasarian theo-drama via literary drama – perhaps because he was not properly exposed to medieval religious drama – but scattered dramatic analogies in his history writing suggest that he undertakes a theo-drama in that genre. (...) Von Balthasar and Newman employ dramatic analogies to reject chiliastic apocalyptic and foster ‘keromatic’ apocalyptic. (shrink)
Early psychosocial deprivation can negatively impact the development of executive functions (EF). Here we explore the impact of early psychosocial deprivation on behavioral and physiological measures (i.e. event-related potentials; ERPs) of two facets of EF, inhibitory control and response monitoring, and their associations with internalizing and externalizing outcomes in the Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP; Zeanah et al., 2003). This project focuses on two groups of children placed in institutions shortly after birth and then randomly assigned in infancy to either (...) a foster care intervention or to remain in their current institutional setting. A group of community controls was recruited for comparison. The current study assesses these children at 8-years of age examining the effects of early adversity, the potential effects of the intervention on EF and the role of EF skills in socio-emotional outcomes. Results reveal exposure to early psychosocial deprivation was associated with impaired inhibitory control on a flanker task. Children in the foster care intervention exhibited stronger response monitoring compared to children who remained in the institution on the error-related positivity (Pe). Moreover, among children in the foster care intervention those who exhibited stronger error-related negativity (ERN) responses had lower levels of socio-emotional behavior problems. Overall, these data identify specific aspects of EF that contribute to adaptive and maladaptive socio-emotional outcomes among children experiencing early psychosocial deprivation. (shrink)
Quine's key argument against intentional psychology is that belief ascriptions have no determinate empirical content unless we take facts about linguistic meaning for granted, but meaning claims have no determinate empirical content unless we take belief for granted. I try to show that, on the contrary, an intentional psychology can explain behaviour without relying on any concept of meaning.
One central strand in Quine's criticism of common-sense notions of linguistic meaning is an argument from the holism of empirical content. This paper explores (with many digressions) the several versions of the argument, and discovers them to be uniformly bad. There is a kernel of truth in the idea that ?holism?, in some sense, ?undermines the analytic?synthetic distinction?, in some sense; but it has little to do with Quine's radical empiricism, or his radical scepticism about meaning.
An objection is presented to Lewisâs analysis of counterfactual conditionals in terms of relative closeness of possible worlds. The objection depends on no special assumptions about the âcloser-thanâ relation. The argument also casts doubt on Lewisâs claim that Antecedent Strengthening fails for counterfactuals.