Van Gelder presents the distinction between dynamical systems and digital computers as the core issue of current developments in cognitive science. We think this distinction is much less important than a reassessment of cognition as a neurally, bodily, and environmentally embedded process. Embedded cognition lines up naturally with dynamical models, but it would also stand if combined with classic computation.
Hanoch Ben-Yami has argued that the theory of the semantics of natural kind terms proposed by Kripke and Putnam is false and has proposed an allegedly novel account of the semantics of kind terms. In this article, I critically examine Ben-Yami’s arguments. I will argue that Ben-Yami’s objections do not show that Kripke and Putnam’s theory is false, but at most that the specific versions of it held by Kripke and Putnam have some weaknesses. Moreover, I will argue that Ben-Yami’s (...) account is not a novel account but it is only an unsatisfactory version of Kripke and Putnam’s theory. (shrink)
This article describes the racial integration of Emory University and the subsequent creation of Pre-Start, an affirmative action program at Emory Law School from 1966 to 1972. It focuses on the initiative of the Dean of Emory Law School at the time, Ben F. Johnson, Jr. (1914-2006). Johnson played a number of leadership roles throughout his life, including successfully arguing a case before the United States Supreme Court while he was an Assistant Attorney General of Georgia, promoting legislation to create (...)Atlanta's subway system as a state senator, and representing Emory in its lawsuit to strike down the state statute that would have rescinded its tax exemption if it admitted African American students (Emory v. Nash, 218 Ga. 317 (Ga. 1962)). This account supplements my related article on Pre-Start, "'A Bulwark against Anarchy': Affirmative Action, Emory Law School, and Southern Self-Help" (SSRN abstract 1007006), providing more information about historical context generally, and particularly about Emory v. Nash. Johnson was ambitious for Emory as a whole, and particularly for the Law School, and he saw in segregation the single largest impediment to making Emory a nationally prominent research university. The story of Emory's integration, and Johnson's leadership, requires revision of the prevailing story of integration generally, and especially of universities. Integration at Emory came about because of the pressure that African Americans and their supporters created through the civil rights movement, but Emory administrators responded to such pressure more constructively than most (e.g., Universities of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Vanderbilt). Their actions provide an interesting case study in effective leadership during a period of significant moral and political conflict. (shrink)
This is a reply to H. Ben-Yami, 'Generalized quantifiers, and beyond' (this journal, 2009), where he argues that standard GQ theory does not explain why natural language quantifiers have a restricted domain of quantification. I argue, on the other hand, that although GQ theory gives no deep explanation of this fact, it does give a sort of explanation, whereas Ben-Yami's suggested alternative is no improvement.
It has long been considered that Arabic algebra scarcely left any traces in mathematical literature of Hebrew expression. Thanks to the unpublished sources we have discovered, and to an attentive examination of already-known texts, one can no longer subscribe to such a judgement. The evidence we examine in this first article sheds light on the circulation, in erudite Jewish circles, of Arabic algebraic knowledge in Spain, Italy, Provence, and Sicily, between the 12th and the 14th centuries. The Epistle on number (...) by the Castillian astronomer Isaac ben Salomon al-A[hudot]dab was written in Sicily at the end of the 14th century, and based on the Talkhi[sudot] a'mal al-[hudot]isab of Ibn al-Banna' (1256-1321). That part of the Epistle that is devoted to algebra follows the tradition of al-Karaji. It offers, for the first time in Hebrew, a rational presentation of arithmetical operations extended to algebraic expressions. (shrink)
Ben Zoma's mishnah is astounding from a number of different but interrelated perspectives. He indirectly addresses four of the most central, vexing questions emerging out of human experience—What is wisdom, knowledge, truth? What is strength, power, courage? What is wealth, exalted status? What is honor, reputation?—and manages to turn the questions on their head and resist answering them. His first move in this strategy of resistance is to transform inquiry into these various qualities and attributes into an investigation of the (...) person claiming or aspiring to possess them. This displacement is momentous. Instead of there being a known, finite, delimited…. (shrink)
Ben Rich, J.D., Ph.D., presents a scholarly, passionate view of the ethics of the His manuscript is detailed, analytical, and compassionate. No reasonable sensitive person, especially a physician committed to caring for patients, can disagree with the proposal that human beings should have their physical, emotional, and spiritual pain tended to aggressively, meticulously, and compassionately. Similarly, the same individuals advocating for such pain management would agree that no one should go to jail unless he or she is guilty of a (...) serious crime, that decent people should not be robbed or murdered, that children should not be hungry or homeless, and that all citizens of the United States deserve healthcare. Our society attempts to achieve these goals. Laws are written, discussed, and approved by state and federal congresses, voted on by citizens, and theoretically upheld by the courts, churches, and decent individuals. But, unless the world suddenly becomes inhabited by virtuous, ethical humans who can unfailingly differentiate from then, in spite of an abundance of laws and lawyers, doctors, and nurses, this world will continue to have pain and suffering. And, although we want to hold our doctors, politicians, educators, champion athletes, and others to than the average citizen, it is best to remind ourselves frequently that all humans can be weak and are bound to make imprecise judgments, that there is not a homogenous definition of that values and religious beliefs are variable. (shrink)
This article critically discusses of Ben Berger’s , making two main claims. First, I argue that his conceptual distinctions ought to be further developed in order to be able to distinguish between, on the one hand, politically legitimate moral ends (i.e., ones that are suitable objects of political engagement) and, on the other hand, other moral ends that ought to be pursued only through social engagement. To help with this task I consider the significance of the difference between what I (...) refer to as ethical reasoning and justice reasoning, and I sketch a fourfold distinction between types of justice. Second, I argue that Berger does not give adequate emphasis to the government side of the task of making political engagement more efficacious. In addition to his worthwhile recommendations for increasing the social capital of the many, we should also be concerned to determine how best to limit, or, better, remove, the now massive political influence of the financial capital of America’s wealthiest. (shrink)
Is Benjamin Franklin the old Dewey or the new Socrates? James Campbell embraces the view that he is the old Dewey, or, at least, following the late H.S. Thayer, a nascent pragmatist of a Deweyan stripe. Lorraine Pangle, among others, defends the view that Franklins thought and writings are distinctly Socratic. I would like to accomplish two objectives in this essay that might initially appear incompatible, one, to question the premise of the question and, two, to assume the premise's acceptability (...) for the sake of exploring the claim that pragmatism is quintessentially American, or as Colin Koopman puts it, a corollary to the experiment of American democracy. If indeed pragmatism has its roots in the American experience, then we would expect to find a heavy deposit of pragmatist ideas in America's formative experience, especially in the thinking of its Founders and revolutionaries, such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and John Adams, among others. While Franklins writings surely have philosophical significance, giving them a gloss based on the insights of other philosophical figures, such as John Dewey and Socrates, means reconstructing them for other purposes, and thus risks distortion by reading them through a foreign filter, what I call the filtering strategy. Still, if we accept the premise that this American founder possesses philosophical credentials that would make him resemble one figure more than the other, greater evidence can be found to support the conclusion that Franklin is the old Dewey, rather than the new Socrates. The upshot of this thesis is that the claim that pragmatism is quintessentially American gets off the ground. Furthermore, this claim has the resources to withstand a familiar criticism, namely, that pragmatism reflects philosophically shallow American values, such as practical know how, pioneer like ingenuity and the capitalist spirit. (shrink)
Was Benjamin Franklin the old John Dewey or the new Socrates? While this might strike the reader as an absurd question, scholars have supplied plausible answers. James Campbell takes the position that he was the old Dewey—or, at least, a nascent Deweyan pragmatist. Franklin biographer Walter Isaacson agrees, claiming that Franklin "laid the foundation for the most influential of America's homegrown philosophies, pragmatism" (491). Lorraine Pangle, on the other hand, defends the view that Franklin's thought and writings were distinctly Socratic. (...) I would like to accomplish two objectives in this article that might initially appear incompatible: one, to doubt whether the question is a good one and, two, to assume the .. (shrink)