: As a constructive alternative to the exclusionary binaries of Cartesian philosophy, Genevieve Lloyd and Moira Gatens turn to Spinoza. Spinoza's understanding of the body as "in relation" takes the focus of philosophical thought from the homo-geneous subject to the heterogeneity of the social, and the focus of politics from individual rights to collective responsibility. The implications for feminism are radical; Spinoza enables a reconceptualization of the imaginary and the possibility of a sociability of inclusion.
S. A. Lloyd responds to critics of her book Morality in the Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes . She seeks to explain the centrality of Hobbes's reciprocity theorem to our understanding of his laws of nature.
Recent debates in contemporary feminist theory have been dominated by the relation between identity and politics. Beyond Identity Politics examines the implications of recent theorizing on difference, identity and subjectivity for theories of patriarchy and feminist politics. Organised around the three central themes of subjectivity, power and politics, this book focuses on a question which feminists struggled with and were divided by throughout the last decade, that is: how to theorize the relation between the subject and politics. In this thoughtful (...) engagement with these debates Moya Lloyd argues that the turn to the subject in process does not entail the demise of feminist politics as many feminists have argued. She demonstrates how key ideas such as agency, power and domination take on a new shape as a consequence of this radical rethinking of the subject-politics relation and how the role of feminist political theory becomes centred upon critique. A resource for feminist theorists, women's and gender studies students, as well as political and social theorists, this is a carefully composed and wide-ranging text, which provides important insights into one of contemporary feminism's most central concerns. (shrink)
Being in Time is a provocative and accessible essay on the fragmentation of the self as explored in philosophy and literature. This original study is unique in its focus on the literary aspects of philosophical writing and their interactions with philosophical content. It explores the emotional aspects of the human experience of time commonly neglected in philosophical investigation by looking at how narrative creates and treats the experience of the self as fragmented and the past as "lost." Genevieve Lloyd (...) demonstrates the continuities and the contrasts between modern philosophic discussions of the instability of the knowing subject, treatments of the fragmentation of the self in the modern novel, and older philosophical discussions of the unity of consciousness. Combining theoretical discussion with human experience, Being in Time will be important reading to anyone interested in the relationship between philosophy and literature, as well as to more general audience of readers who share Augustine's experience of time as making him a "problem to himself.". (shrink)
As a constructive alternative to the exclusionary binaries of Cartesian philosophy, Genevieve Lloyd and Moira Gatens turn to Spinoza. Spinoza's understanding of the body as "in relation" takes the focus of philosophical thought from the homogeneous subject to the heterogeneity of the social, and the focus of politics from individual rights to collective responsibility. The implications for feminism are radical; Spinoza enables a reconceptualization of the imaginary and the possibility of a sociability of inclusion.
This study proposes that Neoplatonism, while not a modern philosophy, is philosophy in the modern sense. Lloyd analyzes the key structures that underlie the dogmas of the Neoplatonic world picture, including the concept of emanation, the return of the soul to the One, the place of mystical knowledge, epistemology, and Porphyry's theory of predication, and shows that they rest on original but intelligible concepts and arguments.
S. A. Lloyd proposes a radically new interpretation of Hobbes's Leviathan that shows transcendent interests--interests that override the fear of death--to be crucial to both Hobbes's analysis of social disorder and his proposed remedy to it. Most previous commentators in the analytic philosophical tradition have argued that Hobbes thought that credible threats of physical force could be sufficient to deter people from political insurrection. Professor Lloyd convincingly shows that because Hobbes took the transcendence of religious and moral interests (...) seriously, he never believed that mere physical force could ensure social order. Lloyd's interpretation demonstrates the ineliminability of that half of Leviathan devoted to religion, and attributes to Hobbes a much more plausible conception of human nature than the narrow psychological egoism traditionally attributed to Hobbes. (shrink)
Most models of generational succession in sexually reproducing populations necessarily move back and forth between genic and genotypic spaces. We show that transitions between and within these spaces are usually hidden by unstated assumptions about processes in these spaces. We also examine a widely endorsed claim regarding the mathematical equivalence of kin-, group-, individual-, and allelic-selection models made by Lee Dugatkin and Kern Reeve. We show that the claimed mathematical equivalence of the models does not hold. *Received January 2007; revised (...) April 2008. †To contact the authors, please write to: Elisabeth Lloyd, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, 130 Goodbody Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405; e-mail: email@example.com; Richard Lewontin, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138; Marcus Feldman, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
I clarify the difference between pluralist and monist interpretations of levels of selection disputes. Lloyd has challenged my claim that a plurality of models correctly accounts for situations such as maintenance of the sickle-cell trait, and I revisit this example to show that competing theories don’t disagree about the existence of ‘high-level’ or ‘lowlevel’ causes; rather, they parse these causes differently. Applying Woodward’s theory of causation, I analyze Sober’s distinction between ‘selection of’ versus ‘selection for’. My analysis shows that (...) this distinction separates true causes from pseudocauses, but it also reveals that the distinction is irrelevant to the levels debate; it makes no sense to say true causes are at higher levels and not lower levels. The levels debate is not about separating real causes from pseudocauses; it’s about finding useful ways to parse and disentangle causes. (shrink)
adiant Cool" has the makings of a gripping noir thriller: a missing body, a tough-talking female sleuth and a mustachioed Russian agent mixed up in a shadowy plot to take over the world. But the novel, by Dan Lloyd, a neurophilosopher at Trinity College in Hartford, is also a serious work of scholarship, the unlikely vehicle for an abstruse new theory of consciousness.
This book challenges several widespread views concerning Aristotle's methods and practices of scientific and philosophical research. Taking central topics in psychology, zoology, astronomy and politics, Professor Lloyd explores generally unrecognised tensions between Aristotle's deeply held a priori convictions and his remarkable empirical honesty in the face of complexities in the data or perceived difficult or exceptional cases. The picture that emerges of Aristotle's actual engagement in scientific research and of his own reflections on that research is substantially more complex (...) than is usually allowed. (shrink)
Geoffrey Lloyd engages in a wide-ranging exploration of what we can learn from the study of ancient civilizations that is relevant to fundamental problems, both intellectual and moral, that we still face today. These include, in philosophy of science, the question of the incommensurability of paradigms, the debate between realism and relativism or constructivism, and between correspondence and coherence conceptions of truth. How far is it possible to arrive at an understanding of alien systems of belief? Is it possible (...) to talk meaningfully of 'science' and of its various constituent disciplines, 'astronomy' 'geography' 'anatomy' and so on, in the ancient world? Are logic and its laws universal? Is there one ontology - a single world - to which all attempts at understanding must be considered to be directed? When we encounter apparently very different views of reality, how far can that be put down to a difference in conceptions of what needs explaining, or of what counts as an explanation, or to different preferred modes of reasoning or styles of inquiry? Do the notions of truth and belief represent reliable cross-cultural universals? In another area, what can ancient history teach us about today's social and political problems? Are the discourses of human nature and of human rights universally applicable? What political institutions do we need to help secure equity and justice within nation states and between them? Lloyd sets out to answer all these questions, and to argue that the study of the science and culture of ancient Greece and China provided a precious resource in order to advance a wealth of modern debates. (shrink)
The Symposia Aristotelica were inaugurated at Oxford in 1957. They are conferences of select groups of Aristotelian scholars from the UK, USA and Europe, and are held every three years. In 1975 the meeting was held in Cambridge and was devoted to Aristotle's psychological treatises, the De anima and the Parva uaturalia. The members of the conference discussed some of the much debated problems of Aristotle's psychology and broached important new topics such as his ideas on imagination. Dr Lloyd (...) and Professor Owen have collected and edited the papers presented to the Symposium and provided an analytical index. (shrink)
Sir Geoffrey Lloyd presents a cross-disciplinary study of the problems posed by the unity and diversity of the human mind. On the one hand, as humans we all share broadly the same anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and certain psychological capabilities - the capacity to learn a language, for instance. On the other, different individuals and groups have very different talents, tastes, and beliefs, for instance about how they see themselves, other humans and the world around them. These issues are highly (...) charged, for any denial of psychic unity savours of racism, while many assertions of psychic diversity raise the spectres of arbitrary relativism, the incommensurability of beliefs systems and their mutual unintelligibility. -/- Lloyd surveys a fascinating range of subjects, examining where different types of arguments, scientific, philosophical, anthropological and historical can take us. He discusses colour perception, spatial cognition, animal and plant taxonomy, the emotions, ideas of health and well-being, concepts of the self, agency and causation, varying perceptions of the distinction between nature and culture, and reasoning itself. To avoid the pitfalls of misleading dichotomies (especially between cross-cultural universalism and cultural relativism) he pays due attention to the multidimensionality of the phenomena to be apprehended and to the diversity of manners, or styles, of apprehending them. The weight to be given to different factors, physical, biological, psychological, cultural, ideological, varies as between different subject-areas and sometimes even within a single area. He uses recent work in social anthropology, linguistics, cognitive science, neurophysiology, and the history of ideas to redefine the problems and clarify how our evident psychic diversity can be reconciled with our shared humanity. (shrink)
The organisation of higher education across the world is one of several factors that conspire to create the assumption that our own map of the intellectual disciplines is, broadly speaking, valid cross-culturally. Disciplines in the Making challenges this in relation to eight main areas of human endeavour, namely philosophy, mathematics, history, medicine, art, law, religion and science. Lloyd focuses on historical and cross-cultural data that throw light on the different ways in which these disciplines were constituted and defined in (...) different periods and civilisations, especially in ancient Greece and China, and how the relationships between them were understood, particularly when one or other discipline claimed hegemonic status (as happened, at different times, with philosophy, history, religion and science). He also explores the role of elites, whether positive (when they foster the professionalisation of a discipline) or negative (when they restrict recruitment to the profession, when they insist on adherence to established norms, concepts and practices and thereby inhibit further innovation). The issues are relevant to current educational policy in relation to the ever-increasing specialisation we see, especially in the sciences, and to the difficulties encountered in making the most of the opportunities for inter- or trans-disciplinary research. (shrink)
In this book, S. A. Lloyd offers a radically new interpretation of Hobbes's laws of nature, revealing them to be not egoistic precepts of personal prudence but rather moral instructions for obtaining the common good.
The philosophical mind-body problem, which Chalmers has named the 'Hard Problem', concerns the nature of the mind and the body. Physicalist approaches have been explored intensively in recent years but have brought us no consensual solution. Dualistic approaches have also been scrutinised since Descartes, but without consensual success. Mentalism has received little attention, yet it offers an elegantly simple solution to the hard problem.
George Berkeley (1685-1753) put forward a doctrine of mental monism, claiming that reality is fundamentally mental, and the physical world is a derived construct. This paper puts forward a defence of this theory, using a version of Berkeley.
A philosophical zombie is a being indistinguishable from an ordinary human in every observable respect, but lacking subjective consciousness. Zombiehood implies *linguistic indiscriminability*, the zombie tendency to talk and even do philosophy of mind in language indiscriminable from ordinary discourse. Zombies thus speak *Zombish*, indistinguishable from English but radically distinct in reference for mental terms. The fate of zombies ultimately depends on whether Zombish can be consistently interpreted. If it can be interpreted consistently, then zombies remain possible, but no test (...) could ever reveal whether anyone (oneself included) is speaking Zombish. Any materialist theory of consciousness is therefore already a theory in Zombish, and is equally confirmable in its human language edition (applicable to humans) and its zombie-language edition (applicable to zombies). On the other hand, if Zombish cannot be consistently interpreted, then the zombies described in Zombish are logically impossible. Either way, the search for a materialistic theory of consciousness should be untroubled by the (possible) zombies among us. (shrink)
I discuss two types of evidential problems with the most widely touted experiments in evolutionary psychology, those performed by Leda Cosmides and interpreted by Cosmides and John Tooby. First, and despite Cosmides and Tooby's claims to the contrary, these experiments don't fulfil the standards of evidence of evolutionary biology. Second Cosmides and Tooby claim to have performed a crucial experiment, and to have eliminated rival approaches. Though they claim that their results are consistent with their theory but contradictory to the (...) leading non-evolutionary alternative, Pragmatic Reasoning Schemas theory, I argue that this claim is unsupported. In addition, some of Cosmides and Tooby's interpretations arise from misguided and simplistic understandings of evolutionary biology. While I endorse the incorporation of evolutionary approaches into psychology, I reject the claims of Cosmides and Tooby that a modular approach is the only one supported by evolutionary biology. Lewontin's critical examinations of the applications of adaptationist thinking provide a background of evidentiary standards against which to view the currently fashionable claims of evolutionary psychology. (shrink)
The emphasis on the limitations of objectivity, in specific guises and networks, has been a continuing theme of contemporary analytic philosophy for the past few decades. The popular sport of baiting feminist philosophers — into pointing to what's left out of objective knowledge, or into describing what methods, exactly, they would offer to replace the powerful objective methods grounding scientific knowledge — embodies a blatant double standard which has the effect of constantly putting feminist epistemologists on the defensive, on the (...) fringes, on the run.This strategy can only work if objectivity is transparent, simple, stable, and clear in its meaning. It most certainly is not. In fact, taking objectivity as a sort of beautiful primitive, self-evident in its value, and all-powerful in its revelatory power, requires careless philosophy, and the best workers in metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of science have made reworked definitions of objectivity absolutely central to their own projects. In fact, classic feminist concerns with exploring the impact of sex and gender on knowledge, understanding, and other relations between human beings and the rest of the world fall squarely within the sort of human and social settings thatare already considered central in most current analytic metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of science. I argue that the burden of proof is clearly on those who wish toreject the centrality and relevance of sex and gender to our most fundamental philosophical work on knowledge and reality. (shrink)
& Functional brain imaging offers new opportunities for the begin with single-subject (preprocessed) scan series, and study of that most pervasive of cognitive conditions, human consider the patterns of all voxels as potential multivariate consciousness. Since consciousness is attendant to so much encodings of phenomenal information. Twenty-seven subjects of human cognitive life, its study requires secondary analysis from the four studies were analyzed with multivariate of multiple experimental datasets. Here, four preprocessed methods, revealing analogues of phenomenal structures, datasets from the (...) National fMRI Data Center are considered: particularly the structures of temporality. In a second Hazeltine et al., Neural activation during response competi- interpretive approach, artificial neural networks were used tion; Ishai et al., The representation of objects in the human to detect a more explicit prediction from phenomenology, occipital and temporal cortex; Mechelli et al., The effects of namely, that present experience contains and is inflected by presentation rate during word and pseudoword reading; and past states of awareness and anticipated events. In all of 21 Postle et al., Activity in human frontal cortex associated with subjects in this analysis, nets were successfully trained to spatial working memory and saccadic behavior. The study of extract aspects of relative past and future brain states, in consciousness also draws from multiple disciplines. In this comparison with statistically similar controls. This exploratory article, the philosophical subdiscipline of phenomenology study thus concludes that the proposed methods for provides initial characterization of phenomenal structures ‘‘neurophenomenology’’ warrant further application, includ- conceptually necessary for an analysis of consciousness. These ing the exploration of individual differences, multivariate structures include phenomenal intentionality, phenomenal differences between cognitive task conditions, and explora- superposition, and experienced temporality.. (shrink)
Introduction -- Euripides, philosopher of the stage -- The world of men and gods -- Agreeing with nature : fate and providence in stoic ethics -- Augustine : divine justice and the "ordering" of evil -- The philosopher and the princess : Descartes and the philosophical life -- Living with necessity : Spinoza and the philosophical life -- Designer worlds -- Providence as progress -- Providence lost.
Good research requires, among other virtues,(i) methods that yield stable experimentalobservations without arbitrary (post hoc)assumptions, (ii) logical interpretations ofthe sources of observations, and (iii) soundinferences to general causal mechanismsexplaining experimental results by placing themin larger explanatory contexts. In TheNew Phrenology , William Uttal examines theresearch tradition of localization, and findsit deficient in all three virtues, whetherbased on lesion studies or on new technologiesfor functional brain imaging. In this paper Iconsider just the arguments concerning brainimaging, especially functional MagneticResonance Imaging. I think (...) that Uttal is tooharsh in his methodological critique, butcorrect in his assessment of the conceptuallimitations of localist evidence. I proposeinstead a data-driven test for assessingrelative modularity in brain images, and showits use in a secondary analysis of fMRI datafrom the National fMRI Data Center(www.fmridc.org). Although the analysis is alimited pilot study, it offers additionalempirical challenge to localism. (shrink)
For more than a century the paradigm inspiringcognitive neuroscience has been modular and localist.Contemporary research in functional brain imaginggenerally relies on methods favorable to localizingparticular functions in one or more specific brainregions. Meanwhile, connectionist cognitive scientistshave celebrated the computational powers ofdistributed processing, and pioneered methods forinterpreting distributed representations. This papertakes a connectionist approach to functionalneuroimaging. A tabulation of 35 PET (positronemission tomography) experiments strongly indicatesdistributed function for at least the ''medium sized''anatomical units, the cortical Brodmann areas. Moreimportant, when these PET (...) experiments were interpretedas distributed representations, multidimensionalscaling revealed a ''brain activation space'' with asalient structure organized primarily by the sensorymodality of the stimulus, and secondarily by the typeof motor response. These results suggest that currentanalytical techniques in functional neuroimagingshould be augmented by distributed processinganalyses, and that these analyses may lead to manydiscoveries about the structure of ''inner space.''. (shrink)
I suggest following Paul Feyerabend's own advice, and interpreting Feyerabend's work in light of the principles laid out by John Stuart Mill. A review of Mill's essay, On Liberty, emphasizes the importance Mill placed on open and critical discussion for the vitality and progress of various aspects of human life, including the pursuit of scientific knowledge. Many of Feyerabend's more unusual stances, I suggest, are best interpreted as attempts to play certain roles--especially the role of "defender of unpopular minority opinion"--that (...) are necessary to fulfilling Mill's conditions for rational exchange and optimal human development. (shrink)
The theory of evolution by natural selection is, perhaps, the crowning intellectual achievement of the biological sciences. There is, however, considerable debate about which entity or entities are selected and what it is that fits them for that role. This article aims to clarify what is at issue in these debates by identifying four distinct, though often confused, concerns and then identifying how the debates on what constitute the units of selection depend to a significant degree on which of these (...) four questions a thinker regards as central. (shrink)
I argue that four of the fundamental claims of those calling themselves `genic pluralists'Philip Kitcher, Kim Sterelny, and Ken Watersare defective. First, they claim that once genic selectionism is recognized, the units of selection problems will be dissolved. Second, Sterelny and Kitcher claim that there are no targets of selection (interactors). Third, Sterelny, Kitcher, and Waters claim that they have a concept of genic causation that allows them to give independent genic causal accounts of all selection processes. I argue (...) that each one of these claims is either false or misleading. Moreover, the challenge that arises from the availability of genic causal accounts, namely, the inability to choose on rational grounds among genic and higher-level accounts, is unsupported. (shrink)
Written for students coming to Spinoza for the first time, Spinoza and the Ethics is the ideal guide to this rich and illuminating work. This GuideBook provides an overview of critical interpretations, relating the Ethics to its intellectual context, considers its historical reception; and highlights why the work continues to be relevant today. In addition, the most intriguing final sections of the Ethics , usually ignored in introductory commentaries, are given special attention and illuminated as the climax of the work.
A precise formulation of the structure of modern evolutionary theory has proved elusive. In this paper, I introduce and develop a formal approach to the structure of population genetics, evolutionary theory's most developed sub-theory. Under the semantic approach, used as a framework in this paper, presenting a theory consists in presenting a related family of models. I offer general guidelines and examples for the classification of population genetics models; the defining features of the models are taken to be their state (...) spaces, parameters, and laws. The suggestions regarding the various aspects of the characterization of population genetics models provide an outline for further detailed research. (shrink)
Wales uses languages with both regular (Welsh) and irregular (English) counting systems. Three groups of 6- and 8-year-old Welsh children with varying degrees of exposure to the Welsh language—those who spoke Welsh at both home and school; those who spoke Welsh only at home; and those who spoke only English—were given standardized tests of arithmetic and a test of understanding representations of two-digit numbers. Groups did not differ on the arithmetic tests, but both groups of Welsh speakers read and compared (...) 2-digit numbers more accurately than monolingual English children. A similar study was carried out with Tamil/English bilingual children in England. The Tamil counting system is more transparent than English but less so than Welsh or Chinese. Tamil-speaking children performed better than monolingual English-speaking children on one of the standardized arithmetic tests but did not differ in their comparison of two-digit numbers. Reasons for the findings are discussed. (shrink)
This short essay is a follow-on to Mental Monism Considered as a Solution to the Mind- Body Problem, in ‘Mind and its Place in the World: Non-Reductionist Approaches to the Ontology of Consciousness’, edited by Alexander Batthyany and Avshalom Elitzur, published by Ontos Verlag, Frankfurt, December 2005. It was originally planned as a final section of that essay but, at forty-four pages the latter was already oversize, so the parapsychology section was dropped from that publication.
This paper discusses the philosophical significance of 'September 11' by relating it to attempts that have been made throughout the history of philosophy to read particular events as symbols of conceptual change. It draws especially on Susan Neiman's Evil in Modern Thought and Giovanna Borradori's dialogues with Derrida and Habermas, in her Philosophy in a Time of Terror, to relate 'September 11' to Kant's versions of Progress, Providence and Cosmopolitanism.
Conscious experience is constitutive of existence. This entails the metaphysical theory known variously as 'mental monism' and 'subjective idealism'. It is summed up by Berkeley's motto that esse is either percipere or percipi: to be is to perceive or be perceived.
Connectionism and phenomenology can mutually inform and mutually constrain each other. In this manifesto I outline an approach to consciousness based on distinctions developed by connectionists. Two core identities are central to a connectionist theory of consciouness: conscious states of mind are identical to occurrent activation patterns of processing units; and the variable dispositional strengths on connections between units store latent and unconscious information. Within this broad framework, a connectionist model of consciousness succeeds according to the degree of correspondence between (...) the content of human consciousness (the world as it is experienced) and the interpreted content of the network. Constitutive self-awareness and reflective self-awareness can be captured in a model through its ability to respond to self-reflexive information, identify self-referential categories, and process information in the absence of simultaneous input. The qualitative feel of sensation appears in a model as states of activation that are not fully discriminated by later processing. Connectionism also uniquely explains several specific features of experience. The most important of these is the superposition of information in consciousness — our ability to perceive more than meets the eye, and to apprehend complex categorical and temporal information in a single highly-cognized glance. This superposition in experience matches a superposition of representational content in distributed representations. (shrink)
This original and lively book uses texts from ancient medicine, epic, lyric, tragedy, historiography, philosophy, and religion to explore the influence of Greek ideas on health and disease on Greek thought. Fundamental issues are deeply implicated: causation and responsibility, purification and pollution, the mind-body relationship and gender differences, authority and the expert, reality and appearances, good government, and good and evil themselves.
: Drawing on the work of Michèle Le Dœuff, this paper uses the idea of "philosophical imagination" to make visible the historical intersection between philosophical ideas, social practice, and institutional structures. It explores the role of ideas of "terra nullius" and of the "doomed race" in the formation of some crucial ways in which non-indigenous Australians have imagined their relations with indigenous peoples. The author shows how feminist reading strategies that attend to the imaginary open up ways of rethinking processes (...) of inclusion and exclusion. (shrink)
Commonsense psychology and cognitive science both regularly assume the existence of representational states. I propose a naturalistic theory of representation sufficient to meet the pretheoretical constraints of a "folk theory of representation", constraints including the capacities for accuracy and inaccuracy, selectivity of proper objects of representation, perspective, articulation, and "efficacy" or content-determined functionality. The proposed model states that a representing device is a device which changes state when information is received over multiple information channels originating at a single source. The (...) changed state of a representing device is a representation. The unitary information source which would give rise to the information impinging on the representing device, and hence, give rise to the representation, is the content of the representation. The model meets the pretheoretic constraints, and also conforms to available neurobiological data for two invertebrate species. (shrink)
Many recovering dualists find that the old Cartesian demons are hard to exorcise. Dual substance abuse manifests itself not only as metaphysical dualism, but as a pervasive epistemological framework that creates an unhealthy codependent relationship between scientific realism and phenomenology. Daniel Dennett has led philosophers to recognize many of the symptoms of creeping crypto Cartesianism. In this paper, I try to take Dennett to the limit: Descartes lives on, I argue, in the very heart of cognitive science, in the concept (...) of representation. I outline a five-step program for overcoming this lingering, fundamental, allegiance to Cartesianism, and discuss Dennett's own progress along this path. (shrink)
The conflation of two fundamentally distinct issues has generated serious confusion in the philosophical and biological literature concerning the units of selection. The question of how a unit of selection of defined, theoretically, is rarely distinguished from the question of how to determine the empirical accuracy of claims--either specific or general--concerning which unit(s) is undergoing selection processes. In this paper, I begin by refining a definition of the unit of selection, first presented in the philosophical literature by William Wimsatt, which (...) is grounded in the structure of natural selection models. I then explore the implications of this structural definition for empirical evaluation of claims about units of selection. I consider criticisms of this view presented by Elliott Sober--criticisms taken by some (for example, Mayo and Gilinsky 1987) to provide definitive damage to the structuralist account. I shall show that Sober has misinterpreted the structuralist views; he knocks down a straw man in order to motivate his own causal account. Furthermore, I shall argue, Sober's causal account is dependent on the structuralist account that he rejects. I conclude by indicating how the refined structural definition can clarify which sorts of empirical evidence could be brought to bear on a controversial case involving units of selection. (shrink)
This paper describes a teaching methodology whereby students can gain practical experience of ethical decision-making in the engineering design process. We first argue for the necessity to teach a ‘practical’ understanding of ethical issues in engineering education along with the usual theoretical or hypothetical approaches. We then show how this practical understanding can be achieved by using a collaborative design game, describing how, for example, the concept of responsibility can be explored from this practical basis. We conclude that the use (...) of games in design education can provide an excellent basis for discussing practical and ethical reasoning during the process of design. (shrink)
Proceedings of the Pittsburgh Workshop in History and Philosophy of Biology, Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, March 23-24 2001 Session 2: Female Orgasms and Evolutionary Theory.
Our heads are full of representations, according to cognitive science. It might seem inevitable that conscious states are a type of brain-based representation, but in this paper I argue that representation and consciousness each form conceptually distinct domains. Representational content depends on context, usually causal, as shown by familiar cases in which context varies while brain states do not -- twin earth cases and brains-in-vats, for example. But these same cases show that conscious content does not depend on context. The (...) vatted brain, for example, enjoys the same experiences as its in vivo counterpart. The structure of experience -- its parts and their distinctive characters -- is the dynamic structure of the brain, viewed "from within." I call this position methodological phenomenalism (MP), and consider its prospects as a foundation for a science of consciousness. I close with a consideration of MP on the subjective "character" of conscious states. Turning away from representation dissolves the perplexity of subjectivity, leaving hopeful prospects for the scientific study of consciousness. (shrink)
Not too long ago I came across a notebook from my first year in college. The course was Philosophy 101, and the first author we read was Plato. Reading my own scribbles 25 years later, I was surprised to see that my dutifully recorded lecture notes remained fairly accurate in their portrayal of the Meno. But in the middle of a page on Plato I found the following comment: "Vittgenstein ‹ private language argument." Here was my first encounter with the (...) great Wittgenstein, as I now call him, a philosopher I now know to approximately the same depth as Plato. My professor had probably mentioned Wittgenstein in an aside, and I had done my best with a phonetic spelling. (shrink)
Leibniz’s widely influential account of time provides a significant puzzle for those seeking to locate this account within his hierarchical ontology. Leibniz follows his scholastic predecessors in supposing that there are different grades of being, with substances being the most real and all other things possessing their reality via their relationships to substance. Following this picture, Leibniz suggests that phenomenal bodies only possess the being that they derive from the substances (i.e., monads) that ground them. Some would argue that time (...) likewise only possesses its being based on the bodies that it relates. Contrary to this suggestion (i.e., that time is twice removed from substances), I will argue that time is derived directly from rational souls. Thus, I will argue that time is on an ontological par with the phenomenal world of bodies. (shrink)
When natural selection theory was presented, much active philosophical debate, in which Darwin himself participated, centered on its hypothetical nature, its explanatory power, and Darwin's methodology. Upon first examination, Darwin's support of his theory seems to consist of a set of claims pertaining to various aspects of explanatory success. I analyze the support of his method and theory given in the Origin of Species and private correspondence, and conclude that an interpretation focusing on the explanatory strengths of natural selection theory (...) accurately reflects neither Darwin's own self-consciously held views, nor the nature of his support. Darwin's methodological and philosophical arguments were at once consistently empiricist and more sophisticated than such interpretations credit to him. (shrink)
The surface appeal of the Social Responsibility theory of the press emerging in the report of the Commission on Freedom of the Press in 1947 has made Social Responsibility theory broadly acceptable. Yet, I declare it inconsistent with the American social system. Three concepts are discussed - societal obligation, individual rights, and interpersonal relationships - as necessary for a new moral theory that serves valid societal goals.
According to Aristotle, "to be learning something is the greatest of pleasures not only to the philosopher but also to the rest of mankind," (Poetics 1448b). But even as he affirms the unbounded human capacity for integrating new experience with existing knowledge, he alludes to a significant exception: "The sight of certain things gives us pain, but we enjoy looking at the most exact images of them, whether the forms of animals which we greatly despise or of corpses." Our capacity (...) for learning is happily engaged in viewing representations of painful objects, but not, it seems, in viewing the objects themselves. When an experience is intensely painful, what then is a rational animal to do? We can neither disable our learning process, nor erase its traces. In the face of intense pain, horror, or terror, learning and remembrance cause no pleasure but rather persistent psychological pain and disruption. The memorious mind reverberates with trauma. (shrink)
In this paper I distinguish various ways in which empirical claims about evolutionary and ecological models can be supported by data. I describe three basic factors bearing on confirmation of empirical claims: fit of the model to data; independent testing of various aspects of the model, and variety of evident. A brief description of the kinds of confirmation is followed by examples of each kind, drawn from a range of evolutionary and ecological theories. I conclude that the greater complexity and (...) precision of my approach, as compared to, for instance, a Popperian approach, can facilitate detailed analysis and comparison of empirical claims. (shrink)
Since the fundamental challenge that I laid at the doorstep of the pluralists was to defend, with nonderivative models, a strong notion of genic cause, it is fatal that Waters has failed to meet that challenge. Waters agrees with me that there is only a single cause operating in these models, but he argues for a notion of causal ‘parsing’ to sustain the viability of some form of pluralism. Waters and his colleagues have some very interesting and important ideas about (...) the sciences, involving pluralism and parsing or partitioning causes, but they are ideas in search of an example. He thinks he has found an example in the case of hierarchical and genic selection. I think he has not. (shrink)
Gillian Rose was a philosopher, social theorist, memoirist, and Jewish convert to Christianity who died an untimely death in 1995. She offers a novel account of faith, which grows out of her Hegelian philosophical background inflected by her reading of Kierkegaard and her rediscovered Jewish heritage. For Rose, faith is a mode of social practice. Rose's conception of faith is here reconstructed by translating her obscure jurisprudential idiom into the language of social practices and norms. The conception of secular faith (...) developed by Rose is shown to have implications for contemporary discussions of ethics and politics. The contemporary relevance of Rose's work is made clear through comparison with recent work by Robert Brandom, Robert Adams, and Patrick Deneen. (shrink)
We argue that considering only a few ‘big’ ethical decisions in any engineering design process — both in education and practice — only reinforces the mistaken idea of engineering design as a series of independent sub-problems. Using data collected in engineering design organisations over a seven year period, we show how an ethical component to engineering decisions is much more pervasive. We distinguish three types of ethical justification for engineering decisions: (1) consequential, (2) deontological or non-consequential, and (3) virtue-based. We (...) find that although there is some evidence for engineering designers as ‘classic’ consequentialists, a more egocentric consequentialism would appear more fitting. We also explain how the idea of a ‘folk ethics’ — a justification in the second category that consciously weighs one thing with another — fits with the idea of the engineering design process as social negotiation rather than as technological progress. (shrink)
It wasn't that hard to be a polymath in ancient Greece. All it meant, when you come down to it, was that you could write a poem, speak classical Greek (not very difficult in the circumstances) and understand the mechanics of the Archimedes' screw. Today it's not so easy. Arts and sciences have, for the most part, diverged to an alarming extent, with those on the arts side likely to be as hard-pressed to explain the technologies that increasingly govern our (...) world as a member of a "lost" tribe in the Brazilian rainforest. (shrink)
The “Gestalt Bubble” model of Lehar is not supported by the evidence offered. The author invalidly concludes that spatial properties in experience entail an explicit volumetric spatial representation in the brain. The article also exaggerates the extent to which phenomenology reveals a completely three-dimensional scene in perception.
Not too long ago the trustees of my college decided to update the artistic holdings of our campus, and to this end they set out to acquire a contemporary work of art for permanent display in the College art museum. Not being timid, the trustees wanted a challenging, cutting-edge work, preferably from the West Coast, but they felt they lacked the expertise to find and buy the right piece. As it happened, a few of them had heard of my interest (...) in modernism and its philosophical challenges, and so I found myself with an unusual assignment: I was to fly to Los Angeles with a ten thousand dollar check and bring back something distinguished, a unique object to be discussed and appreciated for years to come. (shrink)