This book contends that when late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century writers sought to explain the origins of emotions, they often discovered that their feelings may not really have been their own. It explores the paradoxes of representing feelings in philosophy, aesthetic theory, gender ideology, literature, and popular sentimentality, and it argues that this period's obsession with sentimental, wayward emotion was inseparable from the dilemmas resulting from attempts to locate the origins of feelings in experience. The book shows how these epistemological (...) dilemmas became gendered by studying a series of extravagantly affective scenes in works by Hume, Wordsworth, Charlotte Smith, and Jane Austen. Making its argument through a provocative conjunction of texts that range across genres and genders and across the divide between the eighteenth century and Romanticism, Strange Fits of Passion rediscovers the relationship of empiricism to the culture of sentimentality, and the significance of emotion to Romanticism. (shrink)
In this brief commentary, I suggest Selinger and Whyte are essentially correct in their criticism of the Nudge approach advocated by Thaler and Sunstein. I use some examples from road behavior and traffic planning to amplify the criticism that the simple behavioral economics approach fails to take account of the embedding of humans and technology in the wider social and cultural context.
Michael Dummett has argued that a formal semantics for our language is inadequate unless it can be shown to illuminate to our actual practice of speaking and understanding. This paper argues that Frege’s account of the semantics of predicate expressions according to which the reference of a predicate is a concept (a function from objects to truth values) has exactly the required characteristics. The first part of the paper develops a model for understanding the distinction between objects and concepts as (...) an ontological distinction. It argues that, ontologically, we can take a Fregean function to be generated by a property detection device that can register for any object the presence or absence of that property. This provides a direct connection between the semantics of sentences and the structure of perceptual judgment. The second part of the paper deals with arguments that have been mounted against the coherence of Frege’s semantics. It argues that some of these are question begging, while others are correct in so far as Frege’s claim is untenable if we assume that the syntactic categories singular term and predicate are primary, and the ontological categories are simply projections of these syntactic categories. However, the objections dissipate once we recognize that an independent ontological characterization of the distinction is available. (shrink)
While the question of whether selected-effects accounts of function or causal-role accounts of function provide the ‘true' functional analysis has given way to a general pluralistic consensus, Philip Kitcher has suggested that different functional accounts allow for unification. I argue that Kitcher's attempt to unify the two functional analyses fails because he adopts the environment-centered perspective on selection as a premise. The premise is undermined by the role niche construction is likely to play in the context of evolution. Moreover, I (...) raise the tentative suggestion that niche construction may threaten the applicability, or at least the relevance, of selected-effects ascriptions. *Received October 2009; revised May 2010. †To contact the author, please write to: Institut für Philosophie Fakultät für Philosophie und Bildungswissenschaft, Universität Wien, Universitätsstraße 7 1010 Wien, Austria; e-mail: Adela.Roszkowski@univie.ac.at. (shrink)
I argue that being wide awake is an epistemic virtue which enables me to recognize immediately that I'm wide awake. Also I argue that dreams are imaginings and that the wide awake mind can immediately discern the difference between imaginings and vivid sense experience. Descartes need only pinch himself.
I argue that, unlike your brain, you are not composed of other things: you are simple. My argument centers on what I take to be an uncontroversial datum: for any pair of conscious beings, it is impossible for the pair itself to be conscious. Consider, for instance, the pair comprising you and me. You might pinch your arm and feel a pain. I might simultaneously pinch my arm and feel a qualitatively identical pain. But the pair we form (...) would not feel a thing.1 Pairs of people themselves are incapable of experience. Call this The Datum. What explains The Datum? I think the following exhaust the reasonable options. (1) Pairs of people lack a sufficient number of immediate parts. (2) Pairs of people lack immediate parts capable of standing in the right sorts of relations to each other and their environment. (3) Pairs of people lack immediate parts of the right nature. (4) Pairs of people are not structures (they are unstructured collections of their two immediate parts). (5) Some combination of (1) – (4). Finally, (6) pairs of people are not simple. (shrink)
Spanish culture has recently shown interest about Neuroethics, a new line of research and reflection. It can be said that two general, and somewhat opposing, perspectives are currently being developed in Spain about neuroethics-related topics. One originates from the neuroscientific field and the other from the philosophical field. We will see, throughout this article, that the Spanish authors, who I am going to select here, deal with very diverse neuroethical topics and that they analyse them from different intellectual assumptions. However, (...) I consider that there is one constant concern, which emerges extensively or briefly in each one of the books that I am going to present. I am referring to the problem of freedom. Spanish neuroscientists, in general, stress and accept the new determinism that emanates from recent research about the brain, whilst those who engage in the study of philosophy usually point in their texts to the limitations of empirical research that purport to "demonstrate" the new neurological determinism. I will dedicate the last section, which is more extensive in length, to the work that I consider the most valuable, at least until the present day, and whose title is Neuroética y Neuropolítica (Tecnos, Madrid, 2011). Professor Adela Cortina (chair of Moral Philosophy at Valencia University and member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Moral and Political Science) is its author. But, firstly, I am going to refer to the works written by neuroscientists, and then to those written by philosophers. This will enable us to obtain a global view of the neuroethics models that are being constructed in Spain. (shrink)
Philosophers in general are uncomfortable, if not downright skeptical, about attributing semantic knowledge, particularly of a semantic theory, to ordinary speakers. 2 Those who do not feel the pinch often adopt a two-pronged defense: they rebut skeptics with an array of distinctions (and hedges), contending that the skeptics' confusions arise because they ignore such..
This paper aims to clarify the nature and contents of 'civil ethics' and the source of the binding force of its obligations. This ethics should provide the criteria for evaluating the moral validity of social, legal and morally valid law. The article starts with observing that in morally pluralist Western societies civil ethics already exists, and has gradually started to play the role of guiding the law. It is argued that civil ethics should not be conceived as 'civic morals' which (...) is in fact rather 'state ethics', nor as 'public ethics' which is said to reach its perfection when it becomes law, nor as ethics applicable primarily to the basic structure of a society (political liberalism), but instead as a citizens' ethics. Subsequently the paper attempts to show what the contents of this ethics are, and which ethical theory would be able to ground its obligations. (shrink)
This paper complicates, extends, and modifies Pinch and Bijker's original social construction of technology, specifically their concepts of relevant social groups, closure, and stabilization, in order to gain insight into long-term processes of how we use and understand technology. First, this paper identifies four broad categories of relevant social groups in the social construction of technology based on stake holdings and compares them according to their activities, resources, and directionality. Second, the paper discusses the distinctions between closure and stabilization (...) of technological artifacts, introducing temporary closure and structural flexibility as a means of understanding how different technologies can relate to each other. Third, using Rosch's cognitive approach to categorization, the paper suggests structural flexibility as a means of operationalizing stabilization. These reconceptualizations offer researchers a broader scale with which to understand the social construction of technology. (shrink)
Architecture, like ethics, concerns actual rather than ideal choices. William James's remarks on ethics, at a meeting of the Yale Philosophical Club in 1890, could apply equally well to the built environment:The actual possible in this world is vastly narrower than all that is demanded; and there is always a pinch between the ideal and the actual which can only be got through by leaving part of the ideal behind. There is hardly a good which we can imagine except (...) as competing for the possession of the same bit of space and time with some other imagined good.1Health care facilities are spaces in which certain imagined goods—the care of the sick, the treatment or prevention of disease—meet the actual possible of .. (shrink)
Experimental data are often acclaimed on the grounds that they can be consistently generated. They are, it is said, reproducible. In this paper I describe how this feature of experimental-data (their pragmatic reliability) leads to their epistemic worth (their epistemic reliability). An important part of my description is the supposition that experimental procedures are to certain extent fixed and stable. Various illustrations from the actual practice of science are introduced, the most important coming at the end of the paper with (...) a discussion of Ray Davis' 1967 solar-neutrino detection experiment (as it is portrayed in Pinch, 1980). (shrink)
: Harry Collins and Trevor Pinch's introductory text, The Golem: What Everyone Should Know About Science (1993), includes a controversy about the significance of pseudosexual behavior in the parthenogenetic whiptail lizard. Collins and Pinch, basing their account on the work of Greg Myers (1990), claim that "in this area of biology, experiments are seldom possible" and that the debate has "battled to an honorable draw." I argue that a closer look at the publications of the scientists involved shows (...) that, at least by the late 1980s, it was widely accepted that pseudosexual behavior is important for reproduction in these lizards. Moreover, a variety of experiments, as well as laboratory and field observations, proved decisive in this acceptance. (shrink)
Would-be wormhole engineers face the challenging problem of how to stabilize a wormhole, a topological shortcut from one part of the universe to another. Wormholes have a strong tendency to pinch off and disappear. It is well established that a sizable quantity of negative mass-energy is needed to overcome this tendency. That requirement has been perceived as a "show-stopper" because our universe does not seem to contain "exotic matter" objects with negative masses. The only known way of producing negative (...) mass-energy in the laboratory, the Casimir Effect, can only make it in exceedingly tiny quantities. (shrink)
“I can’t read. Show me” is a student’s cry heard by teachers of the arts in all kinds of classes. Demonstrating a particular process one on one is a very effective way to learn, but sometimes teachers need a way for students to take notes or follow a guide to aid in remembering a complex technique. Notation systems have developed as the educational solution to this need.1 Adela Bay, a private piano teacher, relates in her book’s dedication the reason (...) she developed a notation system for her music students, saying they were “intimidated by traditional music instruction.”2 In the arts, written notations are available from places and times that most people cannot visit in order to learn a particular technique.3 .. (shrink)
The time for unification in cognitive science has arrived, but who should lead the charge? The immunologist-turned-neuroscientist Gerald Edelman (1989, 1992) thinks that neuroscientists should lead--or more precisely that he should (he seems to have a low opinion of everyone else in cognitive science). Someone might think that I had made a symmetrically opposite claim in Consciousness Explained (Dennett, 1991): philosophers (or more precisely, those that agree with me!) are in the best position to see how to tie all the (...) loose ends together. But in fact I acknowledged that unifying efforts such as mine are proto-theories, explorations that are too metaphorical and impressionistic to serve as the model for a unified theory. Perhaps Newell had me in mind when he wrote in his introduction (p.16) that a unified theory "can't be just a pastiche, in which disparate formulations are strung together with some sort of conceptual bailing wire," but in any case the shoe more or less fits, with some pinching. Such a "pastiche" theory can be a good staging ground, however, and a place to stand while considering the strengths and weaknesses of better built theories. So I agree with him. (shrink)
he following kind of incident has occurred over and over again, ever since Darwin. An evolutionist, browsing through some pre-Darwinian tome in natural history, comes upon a description of natural selection. Aha, he says; I have found something important, a proof that Darwin wasn't original. Perhaps I have even discovered a source of direct and nefarious pilfering by Darwin! In the most notorious of these claims, the great anthropologist and writer Loren Eiseley thought that he had detected such an anticipation (...) in the writings of Edward Blyth. Eiseley laboriously worked through the evidence that Darwin had read (and used) Blyth's work and, making a crucial etymological mistake along the way, finally charged that Darwin may have pinched the central idea for his theory from Blyth. He published his case in a long article (Eiseley, 1959), later expanded by his executors into a posthumous volume entitled "Darwin and the Mysterious Mr. X" (1979). (shrink)
Don Green and Ian Shapiro's Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory, despite the impressive amount of work that has gone into it, is undercut by a number of serious misunderstandings of the use of the rational choice approach by students of American politics. Furthermore, Green and Shapiro adopt an extremely pinched notion of an empirical contribution and an outmoded and idealized view of the scientific method. If their standards were adopted, it would be difficult to allow that anyone in political science (...) has made an empirical contribution, or that political science is a scientific enterprise. (shrink)
Over against Christianity, John Casey seeks to revive pagan notions and patterns of the cardinal virtues. He highlights the importance of anger in the pagan pattern and connects it to courage, to pride, and ultimately to friendship. I argue that his notion of friendship is overly formal and more modern than ancient pagan. Nonetheless, his treatment of pagan virtue helps clarify why Christians, with Aquinas and contra paganism, assert the primacy of prudence, qualified as infused prudence informed by charity. Only (...) within this context can Christian ideas about anger and pride be set forth. (shrink)
This paper argues that the public can do more than legitimate government; it can provide public knowledge for sound public policy. Critics of democracy worry that the public has too little objectivity and impartiality to know what is best. These critics have a point: taken one by one, people have little knowledge of the whole. For this reason, citizens need to escape the cloisters of kith and kin and enter a world of unlike others. They need to be open to (...) other perspectives and concerns. They need to deliberate with others in public. In other words, an inchoate plurality of people needs to become public in order to develop a more comprehensive picture of the whole and to define where the shoe pinches. Democracy requires that the multitude deliberate publicly in order to create public knowledge by which sound public policy can be formed. Key Words: deliberation democracy John Dewey Jürgen Habermas legitimacy particularity perspectives rational deliberative proceduralism. (shrink)
In this review essay, I consider the recent work of students of Stanley Hauerwas on matters related to political theology. Eight books (and scattered articles) are treated in two groups: one more theoretical, the other more practically oriented. Of special interest is whether and how Jeffrey Stout's concerns about Hauerwas's negative political "influence" apply. I suggest that while sometimes narratives of decline dominate overmuch, these works rightly and creatively seek to expand our political imagination beyond the narrowness of modern nation-state (...) politics and its attending capitalist assumptions. Moreover, in all cases, Hauerwas's students stress a kind of political embodiment of Christ in the practices of particular communities, beginning with the Christian Church, but including also medicine, economy, and family. Spread out, this embodiment combats a pervasive modern Gnosticism, trains us in patience and hope, and gives room for a more truthful description of Church and world. (shrink)
After introducing the five articles that comprise this focus issue, I consider Hauerwas's claim that he is a theologian without a position. The claim has merit, I hold, since Hauerwas writes in response to what he reads, which is his way of learning it better. Moreover, he writes socially, characteristically soliciting help from his friends. As such, he purposefully makes himself accountable to those he addresses. In his later years this accountability has extended especially to the Church and to the (...) Bible, which helps explain why Hauerwas cares so deeply about his sermons, which he takes to be his most important work. (shrink)
This paper is a critical study of Christians among the Virtues: Theological Conversations with Ancient and Modern Ethics by Stanley Hauerwas and Charles Pinches. It has four parts. First, I consider several possible responses to G. E. M. Anscombe’s famous challenge to modern moral philosophy in order to provide a framework in which the project of Hauerwas and Pinches can be located. Next I criticize their attempt to eliminate the realm of obligation from morality. Then I examine their treatment of (...) Martha Nussbaum’s work onAristotle in order to explore differences between secular and Christian appropriations of Aristotle. Finally, I discuss their views on the virtue of obedience and criticize their arguments against rival Kantian and divine command views. (shrink)