Making Social Science Matter presents an exciting new approach to the social and behavioral sciences including theoretical argument, methodological guidelines, and examples of practical application. Why has social science failed in attempts to emulate natural science and produce normal theory? BentFlyvbjerg argues that the strength of social sciences lies in its rich, reflexive analysis of values and power, essential to the social and economic development of any society. Richly informed, powerfully argued, and clearly written, this book opens (...) up a new future for the social sciences. Its empowering message will make it required reading for students and academics across the social and behavioral sciences. (shrink)
Philosophy and Ordinary Language is a defense of the view that philosophy is largely about questions of language, which to a large extent means ordinary language. Oswald Hanfling, a leading expert in the development of analytic philosophy, covers a wide range of topics, including scepticism and the definition of "knowledge," free will, empiricism, "folk psychology," ordinary versus artificial logic, and philosophy versus science. He also draws on philosophers such as Austin, Wittgenstein, and Quine to explore the nature of ordinary language (...) in philosophy. (shrink)
Troubled times in education means that philosophers of education, who seem to never stop making defenses of our field, have to do so with more flexibility and a greater understanding of how peripheral we may have become. The only thing worse than a defensive philosopher is a confident and certain philosopher, so it may be that our very marginality will give us renewed energies for problematizing education. Occupying our marginal position carefully and in concert with other marginal inquiries, I think, (...) will do our field good. Because of its attention to what it takes to be willing to learn and to approach theoretical and real world obstacles with open if cautious interest, philosophy of education is about holding concepts and movements in tension, bending the implications of commonplace, commonsensical ideas about education, and carefully examining the all of these maneuvers for the exclusions they wittingly and unwittingly produce. Problematizing the certainties derived from majoritarian positions, be it whiteness, Westernness, or any other dominant perspective, can provide us with a diversity of claims to scrutinize and epistemological positions to be wary of. (shrink)
The logic of questions is still very limited; there is a need for a specification of what is a problem, and what is a problem-situation — or what is an adequate solution to a problem in a given situation. A problem may seek its wording, and so may do the adequacy conditions or desiderata for its solution. For the inarticulate, there is no distinction between theoretical and practical problems. Their problem is a goal, the situation is the available routes to (...) it, and no adequac y conditions. (shrink)
There are ways that ethical intuitions might be, and the various possibilities have epistemic ramifications. This paper criticizes some extant accounts of what ethical intuitions are and how they justify, and it offers an alternative account. Roughly, an ethical intuition that p is a kind of seeming state constituted by a consideration whether p, attended by positive phenomenological qualities that count as evidence for p, and so a reason to believe that p. They are distinguished from other kinds of seemings, (...) such as those which are content driven (e.g., the sensory experience that a stick in water seems bent) and those which are competence driven (e.g., the intellectual seeming that XYZ is not water, or that one of DeMorgan’s laws is true). One important conclusion is this: when crafting a positive theory of justification ethical intuitionists have fewer resources than intuitionists in other domains, not because of the subject matter of ethical intuitions, but because of the their structure. A second conclusion is that the seemings featured in substantive ethical intuitions deliver relatively weak justification as compared to other seeming states. (shrink)
I present an argument for an interpretation of Kant's views on the nature of the ‘content [Inhalt]’ of ‘cognition [Erkenntnis]’. In contrast to one of the longest standing interpretations of Kant's views on cognitive content, which ascribes to Kant a straightforwardly psychologistic understanding of content, and in contrast as well to the more recently influential reading of Kant put forward by McDowell and others, according to which Kant embraces a version of Russellianism, I argue that Kant's views on this topic (...) are of a much more Fregean bent than has traditionally been admitted or appreciated. I conclude by providing a sketch of how a better grasp of Kant's views on cognitive content in general can help bring into sharper relief what is, and what is not, at stake in the recent debates over whether Kant accepts a particular kind of cognitive content—namely, non-conceptual content. (shrink)
Proprioception - the sense by which we come to know the positions and movements of our bodies - is thought to be necessarily confined to the body of the perceiver. That is, it is thought that while proprioception can inform you as to whether your left knee is bent or straight, it cannot inform you as to whether someone else's knee is bent or straight. But while proprioception certainly provides us with information about the positions and movements of (...) our own bodies, I will argue that it does more than that. Surprising as this may sound, one can proprioceive someone else's movement. To show this, I first present the results of some studies that suggest that in seeing others move, we kinesthetically represent their movement in our bodies. I then argue, by means of an analogy to prosthetic vision, that such 'kinesthetic vision' should count as proprioceiving others move. (shrink)
In the development of modern philosophy self-consciousness was not generally or unanimously given important consideration. This was because philosophers such as Descartes, Kant and Fichte thought it served as the highest principle from which we can 'deduce' all propositions that rightly claimed validity. However, the Romantics thought that the consideration of self-consciousness was of the highest importance even when any claim to foundationalism was abandoned. In this respect, Hölderlin and his circle, as well as Novalis and Schleiermacher, thought that self-consciousness, (...) itself, was not a principle but must be ranked on a minor or dependent level, and presupposed the Absolute as a superior but inaccessible condition or ground. This reservation did not hinder them from recognising that the foundationalist Fichte was the first to have shown conclusively that from Descartes, via German Rationalism and British Empiricism, up to Kant, self-consciousness was misconceived of as the result of an act of reflection by which a second-order act bent back upon a first-order act that is identical to itself. This conception entailed circular entanglements and infinite regresses, and was too high a price to pay. Whereas Fichte thought pre-reflexive self-awareness was a philosophical principle, the Romantics and their vehement critic Kierkegaard, abandoned the idea of self-consciousness as a foundational starting point of philosophy. Instead, they founded self-consciousness on transcendent Being, a prior non-conceptual consciousness ('feeling') and reproached Fichte for having fallen back into the repudiated reflection model of self-consciousness. (shrink)
In recent years, a series of bestselling atheist manifestos by Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens has thrust the topic of the rationality of religion into the public discourse. Christian moderates of an intellectual bent and even some agnostics and atheists have taken umbrage and lashed back. In this paper I defend the New Atheists against three common charges: that their critiques of religion commit basic logical fallacies (such as straw man, false dichotomy, or hasty generalization), that their (...) own atheism is just as “faith-based” as the religious beliefs they criticize, and that their expressed disrespect for religious belief is immoral. (shrink)
Is mathematics a religion at all? Is science? One often hears these days that science is "just" another religion. There are some interesting similarities. Established science, like established religion, has its bureaucracies and hierarchies of officials, its lavish and arcane installations of no utility apparent to outsiders, its initiation ceremonies. Like a religion bent on enlarging its congregation, it has a huge phalanx of proselytizers--who call themselves not missionaries but educators.
In this paper, a criticism of representationalist views of consciousness is developed. These views are often supported by an appeal to a transparency thesis about conscious states, according to which an experience does not itself possess the qualities of which it makes one conscious. The experience makes one conscious of these qualities by representing them, not by instantiating them. Against this, it is argued that some of the properties of which one is conscious are had by the conscious state itself. (...) Only by adopting this view can we account for certain perceptual incompatibilities, such as the fact that one cannot see a stick as being both bent and not bent. This sort of experience is impossible because it would require that an experience have, and not just represent, incompatible features. [Presented at the APA Eastern Div mtg in NY in 2005]. (shrink)
This treatise presents thoughts on the divide that exists in chemistry between those who seek their understanding within a universe wherein the laws of physics apply and those who prefer alternative universes wherein the laws are suspended or ‘bent’ to suit preconceived ideas. The former approach is embodied in the quantum theory of atoms in molecules (QTAIM), a theory based upon the properties of a system’s observable distribution of charge. Science is experimental observation followed by appeal to theory that, (...) upon occasion, leads to new experiments. This is the path that led to the development of the molecular structure hypothesis—that a molecule is a collection atoms with characteristic properties linked by a network of bonds that impart a structure—a concept forged in the crucible of nineteenth century experimental chemistry. One hundred and fifty years of experimental chemistry underlie the realization that the properties of some total system are the sum of its atomic contributions. The concept of a functional group, consisting of a single atom or a linked set of atoms, with characteristic additive properties forms the cornerstone of chemical thinking of both molecules and crystals and Dalton’s atomic hypothesis has emerged as the operational theory of chemistry. We recognize the presence of a functional group in a given system and predict its effect upon the static, reactive and spectroscopic properties of the system in terms of the characteristic properties assigned to that group. QTAM gives physical substance to the concept of a functional group. (shrink)
Since fully covering such a topic in the short space imparted to this paper is an impossible task, I have chosen to focus on three philosophers: Nietzsche, Heidegger and Sartre. Of the three, only the latter was undoubtedly an existentialist ⎯ Heidegger explicitly rejected the categorisation (in the Letter on Humanism), and there is disagreement among commentators about Nietzsche’s status1. However, they have two major common points which justify my focusing on them: firstly, they uphold the primacy of existence over (...) essence. Against the rationalist trend prevalent until the end of the XVIIIth Century, which saw human nature as determined a priori (as rational), all three authors consider human beings as living, self-interpreting entities, whose understanding of themselves is dependent on specific cultural and historical conditions. Given that this self-understanding is taken as constitutive of what it means to be human, it becomes impossible to define the essence of man independently of (let alone prior to) his existence. Secondly (and consequently), they reject the idea that philosophy can start from the study of man as a detached, disembodied consciousness primarily bent on knowing the world ⎯ or even that such a consciousness exists, except as a fiction propagated by rationalism2. Man is viewed as an embodied being, whose reason and cognitive powers are only the visible part of a much deeper and wider engagement with the world. In turn, this rejection of the primacy of rationality and of consciousness explains the central part played by affectivity in our three authors’ works. In all its forms3, affectivity is strongly tied to the body (although existentialist thinkers hold that it is neither identical to nor determined by physical reactions4): once the importance of embodiment has been recognised, an analysis of affectivity becomes necessary to understand the ways in which human beings relate both to themselves and to the world. Whereas the rationalist tradition mostly rejected affectivity5, either on moral grounds (as emotions interfere with self-mastery) or for epistemological reasons (because they cloud the clarity of mind supposedly required by knowledge), Nietzsche, Heidegger and Sartre insist on rehabilitating it, mostly for two reasons: firstly, as it is constitutive of what it means to be human, affectivity just cannot be set aside ⎯ so the rationalist ideal to do away with emotions is unmasked as an illusion, the roots of which need to be investigated.. (shrink)
Some philosphers of science of an empiricist and pragmatist bent have proposed models of statistical explanation, but have then become sceptical of the adequacy of these models. It is argued that general considerations concerning the purpose of function of explanation in science which are usually appealed to by such philosophers show that their scepticism is not well taken; for such considerations provide much the same rationale for the search for statistical explanations, as these philosophers have characterized them, as they (...) do for lawlike explanations. But, it is further argued, a significant piece of what is frequently offered as an explanation of well known phenomena in statistical mechanics, fails to meet this general "pragmatic rationale" for statistical, or indeed any kind of, explanation. The question then arises whether the physicists have misconstrued the value of this piece of physical theorizing, ergodic theory, taking it to be explanatory when it is actually not; or whether, instead, the philosopher's account of just what is genuinely explanatory is too narrow. (shrink)
A good place to start in assessing a theory of truth is to ask whether the theory under discussion is consistent with Aristotle’s commonsensical definition of truth from Metaphysics 4: “What is false says of that which is that it is not, or of that which is not that it is; and what is true says of that which is that it is, or of that which is not that it is not.”1 Philosophers of a realist bent will be (...) delighted to see that Anselm unambiguously adopts the Aristotelian commonplace. A statement is true, he says, “when it signifies that what‐is is.”2 But the theory of truth that Anselm builds on this observation is one that would surely have confounded Aristotle. For no matter what the topic, Anselm’s thinking always eagerly returns to God; and the unchallenged centrality of God in Anselm’s philosophical explorations is nowhere more in evidence than in his account of truth. Indeed, we see in the student’s opening question in De veritate that the entire discussion has God as its origin and its aim: “Since we believe that God is truth, and we say that truth is in many other things, I would like to know whether, wherever truth is said to be, we must acknowledge that God is that truth.”3 The student then reminds Anselm that in the Monologion he had argued from the truth of statements to an eternal Supreme Truth. Does this not commit Anselm (the student seems to be asking) to holding that God himself is somehow the truth of true statements? But what definition of truth could make sense of such an odd claim? Anselm is happy to take up the challenge of showing that his description of God as “Supreme Truth” is no mere metaphor, but the expression of the deepest insight into the nature of truth. An account of truth is just theology under a different name. This first distinctive characteristic of Anselm’s theory, the centrality of God as Supreme Truth, helps account for a second distinctive characteristic: its strong insistence on the unity of truth. All truth either is God or somehow reflects God; thus, one simple being provides the.... (shrink)
Although appearances may deceive them, agents are capable of achieving their ends; this success is frequently explained by the fact that the agents may, for example, see a stick in water as bent without believing that it is actually bent. Although the notion of 'seeing as' is supposed to both bridge the gap between experience and action and explain our reaction to illusions, such accounts break down because of their exclusive focus on visual episodes and their tendency to (...) interpret the metaphysics of agency in a psychologistic fashion. This paper shows that 'seeing as' needs to be understood as a species of the genus 'taking as.' The genus admits a wider array of expression, in terms of the kinds of attitudes, actions, and epistemological statuses involved. Such an analysis allows us to avoid the problems of 'seeing as' accounts and deepens our understanding of the relationship between practical and theoretical reason. (shrink)
The irregulars are defiantly quirky. Thousands of verbs monotonously take the -ed suffix for their past tense forms, but ring mutates to rang, not ringed, catch becomes caught, hit doesn't do anything, and go is replaced by an entirely different word, went (a usurping of the old past tense of to wend, which itself once followed the pattern we see in send-sent and bend-bent). No wonder irregular verbs are banned in "rationally designed" languages like Esperanto and Orwell's Newspeak -- (...) and why recently a woman in search of a nonconformist soul-mate wrote a personal ad that began, "Are you an irregular verb?". (shrink)
In this article I want to explore some questions that arise from the work of Stanley Cavell. My purpose is to examine lines of connections between Cavell's readings of Wittgenstein (specifically his notions of 'criteria', 'aspect blindness' and 'primitive reaction', with special reference to the philosophical problem of 'other minds') and Shakespeare, on the one side, and a certain dimension of the ethical, on the other. Although Cavell has rarely offered explicit remarks on the issue of morality, and is normally (...) not considered a moral philosopher, it is my contention that it is possible to elicit what we could call an implied ethics from his philosophical view. This ethical outlook is not to be confused with a theory, but is rather a turn or bent that emerges especially by understanding the place of acknowledgment and ethical responsiveness in our practical life. Key Words: acknowledgment Cavell ethics skepticism Wittgenstein. (shrink)
Edo Pivčević's The Reason Why is a thoroughly admirable book: absolutely straightforward and simple in argument, charmingly written, uncompromisingly legible but widely and tactfully informed, bent on asking and answering a single fundamental question usually cast as "metaphysical" or (after Kant) "epistemological", but, in Pivčević's hands, skillfully turned in what must be called a "pragmatist" direction. Careful readers may find (as I do) that the general lines of the argument are notably congruent with some of Charles Peirce's earliest accounts (...) of the pragmatist treatment of "belief" or "believing-true" meant to displace the entire strategy of "proofs of truth" in the "metaphysical sense of proof" (24) that have been stalemated by the "skeptic's" countermeasures. (shrink)
: C. S. Peirce had no theory of metaphor and provided only few remarks concerning the trope. Yet, some of these remarks seem to suggest that Peirce saw metaphor as fundamental to consciousness and thought. In this article we sketch a possible connection between metaphor and cognition; we understand Peircean metaphor as rooted in abduction; it is part of an intricate relation between experience, body, sign and guessing instinct as a semeiotic mechanism which can convey new insights.
Francis of Marchia dealt at length in several different contexts with the nature of the will and willing. Here I examine just one of those discussions: the possibility for the will to go against reason's final judgment, a topic related to weakness of will and the source of sin. Marchia is clearly of a voluntaristic bent, holding that the will can indeed act against the determination of reason. After examining Marchia's argumentation for his position, I explore some of the (...) background to Marchia's view in a distinctively later medieval understanding of the human mind as a system of internal acts and dispositions, with the possibility that several of them belong to the same faculty simultaneously. This increasingly complex conceptualisation of the mind mirrors a new, more complex conceptualization of the "Self". (shrink)
In this paper I put forward a reconstruction of the evolution of certain explanatory hypotheses on the neural basis of association and learning that are the premises of connectionism in the cybernetic age and of present-day connectionism. The main point of my reconstruction is based on two little-known case studies. The first is the project, published in 1913, of a hydraulic machine through which its author believed it was possible to simulate certain essential elements of the plasticity of nervous connections. (...) The author, S. Bent Russell, was an engineer deeply influenced by the neurological hypotheses on nervous conduction of Herbert Spencer, Max Meyer and Edward L. Thorndike. The second is the project, published in 1929, of an electromechanical machine in which the author, the psychologist J.M. Stephens, believed it was possible to embody Thorndike's law of effect. Thus both Bent Russell and Stephens referred to the principles of learning that Thorndike defined as connectionist . Their attempt was that of simulating by machines at least certain simple aspects of inhibition, association and habit formation that are typical of living organisms. I propose to situate their projects within the frame of thediscovery of a simulative (modelling) methodology which I believe might be considered an important topic of the Culture of the Artificial . Certain more recent steps toward such a methodology made by both connectionism of the 1950s and present-day connectionism are briefly pointed out in the paper. (shrink)
Like everyone with a scientific bent of mind, Dennett thinks our capacity for meaningful language and states of mind is the product of evolution (Dennett [1987, ch. VIII]). But unlike many of this bent, he sees virtue in viewing evolution itself from the intentional stance. From this stance, ?Mother Nature?, or the process of evolution by natural selection, bestows intentionality upon us, hence we are not Unmeant Meaners. Thus, our intentionality is extrinsic, and Dennett dismisses the theories of (...) meaning of Dretske, Fodor, Burge, Putnam, and Kripke on the grounds that each requires that our mental states, unlike those of artifacts, have meaning intrinsically. I argue that we are Unmeant Meaners, incidentally defending Dretske et al., though my goal is to test the explanatory virtue of the intentional stance as applied to the evolution of intentionality. (shrink)
A brief account is given of Pyrrhonian scepticism, as portrayed by Sextus Empiricus. This scepticism differs significantly from the views commonly attributed to 'the sceptic' which take scepticism to be a view or philosophical position to the effect that there can be no knowledge. The Pyrrhonist makes no philosophical assertions, because he does not find the arguments in favor of any position to be decisively stronger than the arguments against. Objections to scepticism, for instance that the sceptic cannot consistently show (...) trust and confidence, that he must ignore the obvious achievements of science, and that he cannot distinguish between appearance and reality, are found to be indecisive in the case of Pyrrhonism. After submitting Pyrrhonism to criteria of positive mental health, the author concludes by suggesting there are cases where a sceptical bent of mind should be encouraged. (shrink)
The moral justification of Will Kymlicka's theory of minority rights is unconvincing. According to Kymlicka, cultural embeddedness is a necessary condition for personal autonomy (which is, in turn, the precondition for the good life) and for that reason liberals should be concerned about culture. I will criticize this instrumentalism of social attachments and the moral monism behind it. On the basis of a modification of Axel Honneth's theory of recognition, I will reject the false opposition between the instrumental value and (...) the intrinsic value of culture. Honneth makes a distinction between three types of recognition: (1) love; (2) respect; and (3) social esteem. Recognition of cultural difference is situated in the third sphere. But the logic of a recognition of cultural difference also demands a non-evaluative recognition, a respect for difference. Difference-respect cannot be reduced to the recognition of personal autonomy or to the recognition of a culture as such. Difference-respect is concerned with a formal recognition of difference, namely the recognition of a culture's intrinsic value for the other. By recognizing the moral importance both of personal autonomy and of social attachments, we do not have to surrender to the reductive bent in modern moral philosophy. 1 Key Words: Axel Honneth identity instrumentalism intrinsic value of culture moral justification multiculturalism recognition value pluralism Will Kymlicka. (shrink)
1 Logic in philosophy The century that was Logic has played an important role in modern philosophy, especially, in alliances with philosophical schools such as the Vienna Circle, neopositivism, or formal language variants of analytical philosophy. The original impact was via the work of Frege, Russell, and other pioneers, backed up by the prestige of research into the foundations of mathematics, which was fast bringing to light those amazing insights that still impress us to-day. The Golden Age of the 1930s (...) deeply affected philosophy, and heartened the minority of philosophers with a formalanalytical bent. As Brand Blanshard writes in Reason and Analysis (1964) – I quote from memory here, to avoid the usual disappointment when re-reading an original text. (shrink)
The community has legislatively conferred on external auditors a special but lucrative responsibility to provide fair and independent opinions about management''s preparation of company financial statements. In return, auditors are obliged by professional standards to act with integrity, independently and in the public interest. This study examined 174 auditors'' predisposition to provide just and fair judgements, using Kohlberg''s theory of developmental moral reasoning, one of the most widely accepted theories in justice psychology. Respondents came from five international audit firms in (...) Copenhagen. Results indicated that auditors with pre-conventional or low level of just reasoning or comprised 64 respondents, the largest group in the sample. The pre-conventional level suggests that people will act in their own self-interest and do the right only to avoid punishment. Pre-conventional auditors have the ability to "do deals", advantageous for business. When faced with an ethical crisis, however, auditors as this level will tend to focus on their own needs at the expense of others. The post-conventional or mid level of just reasoning comprised 59 auditors, second largest group in the sample. This level indicates that these auditors have the predisposition to act fairly on principal, particularly when faced with an ethical crisis. The conventional level or mid-just reasoning consisted of 51 auditors. People with a conventional level of just reasoning believe in law and order, the maintenance of the status quo, however they tend not to be critical of laws, nor authority even if those laws and authority are unjust or evil. (shrink)
Both Hobbes and Kant tackle the issue of natural right in a radical and controversial way. They both present systematic, secular theories of natural law in a highly religious age. Whereas Hobbes transforms natural right by placing the rational individual bent on self-preservation at the centre of political philosophy, Kant transforms natural right by putting the metaphysical presuppositions of his critical philosophy at the heart of his reasoning on politics. Neither attempts to provide an orthodox view of natural right (...) as directly or indirectly derived from God's commands, although subsequent to their philosophical deduction as natural rights or laws both do not entirely repudiate the idea that these rights or laws can be portrayed as having divine support. (shrink)
This paper examines the interpretation of Hobbes as a political formalist which is developed by F. S. McNeilly in The Anatomy of Leviathan. McNeilly argues that Hobbes's demonstration of the necessity of political society is independent of Hobbes's particular view of man as an egotist bent at all costs on his own preservation. The first part of the argument of the paper uses techniques of decision theory and game theory to show that this argument which McNeilly ascribes to Hobbes (...) is not valid. However, the argument which Hobbes is traditionally supposed to put forward is shown to be valid. The second part of the paper examines McNeilly's interpretation of the text of Leviathan and shows that he has insufficient grounds for supposing that Hobbes attempted to construct a purely formal science of politics. (shrink)
Most Americans believe what our media tell them, that Israel is a nation under attack by Palestinians. That is a lie. The truth is that Israel is a nation bent on driving Palestinians from their land through economic hardship, confiscation, humiliation, intimidation, and by killing them. Israel has maintained a brutal and illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip for decades, not unlike the German occupation of Europe during World War II.
In response to various shortcomings of regularity theories of natural law, some philosophers of a realist bent have recently been drawn to the view that a law of nature is a relation between universals. Heading this group are Michael Tooley and D. M. Armstrong.
Conservatism has an essence, or so I argue. Typical of the conservative attitude is to take what is an established fact or order to be worthy of preservation, precisely because it is well established. The question what fact is established must be answered in a context, and people of different political bent answer it differently. This is why we have left?wing as well as right?wing conservatism, sharing a common rationale. In my Conservatism for Our Time I discuss various different (...) aspects of this rationale, and my answer to certain strictures raised by Robert Grant concerns several of them. The most important concerns a conservative or traditionalist criticism of rationalism. This criticism has been developed by ? among others ?Michael Oakeshott. In my book, and in my answer to Grant, I defend and elaborate on this criticism. (shrink)
Emotions are in as a philosophical topic. Yet the recent literature is bent on grand theorizing rather than attempting to explore particular emotions and their roles in our lives. In this paper, I aim to remedy this situation a little by exploring the emotion of embarrassment. First, I critically examine R.C. Solomon’s conceptual sketch and try to distinguish “embarrassment” from “shame”, “humiliation” and “being amused”. Secondly, I argue that “private embarrassment” is a coherent and useful idea and social scientists (...) and philosophers who dismiss it as unintelligible are mistaken. Thirdly, I discuss the question why is embarrassment (unlike other emotions) catching. Fourth, I make the heretical suggestion that doing philosophy is essentially embarrassing for Socratic interlocutors. Throughout the paper there is a discussion of possible links between embarrassment and loss of self-esteem. (shrink)
Since physicalism is fashionable nowadays, one should perhaps not be too surprised to find a growing number of theistic philosophers bent on combining theism with physicalism. I shall be arguing that this is an innovation we have good reason to resist. I begin by distinguishing global physicalism (physicalism about everything) from local physicalism (physicalism about human beings). I then present the theist who would be a physicalist with a challenge: Articulate a version of local physicalism that allows some minds (...) to be purely material and others to be purely immaterial. After examining the main versions of local physicalism currently on offer, among them, type-type identity theory, supervenientism, emergentism and functionalism, I conclude that none of them can meet the challenge. (shrink)
In its essence, Critical Theory is Western Marxist thought with the emphasis moved from the liberation of the working class to broader issues of individual agency. Critical Theory emerged in the 1920s from the work of the Frankfurt School, the circle of German-Jewish academics who sought to diagnose--and, if at all possible, cure--the ills of society, particularly fascism and capitalism. In this book, Stephen Eric Bronner provides sketches of famous and less famous representatives of the critical tradition (such as George (...) Lukács and Ernst Bloch, Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse and Jurgen Habermas) as well as many of its seminal texts and empirical investigations. -/- Though they shared a Marxist bent, the Frankfurt School's scholars came from a variety of fields--philosophy, economics, psychoanalysis, and even music--and they initially sought not only to do interdisciplinary work but also to combine theory with practice, criticism with empirical data. Forced by the rise of Hitler to flee to the United States, by the late 1930s the Frankfurt School left behind the emphasis on empiricism, beginning instead to specialize in philosophical inquiry into the nature of social control, which combined the work of Hegel, Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche. This VSI is ultimately organized around the cluster of concepts and themes that set critical theory apart from its more traditional philosophical competitors. Bronner explains and discusses concepts such as method and agency, alienation and reification, the culture industry and repressive tolerance, non-identity and utopia. He argues for the introduction of new categories and perspectives for illuminating the obstacles to progressive change and focusing upon hidden transformative possibilities. Only a critique of critical theory can render it salient for a new age. That is precisely what this very short introduction seeks to provide. (shrink)
The crisis in Kosovo has excited passion and visionary exaltation of a kind rarely witnessed. The events have been portrayed as "a landmark in international relations," opening the gates to a stage of world history with no precedent, a new epoch of moral rectitude under the guiding hand of an "idealistic New World bent on ending inhumanity." This New Humanism, timed fortuitously with a new millennium, will displace the crass and narrow interest politics of a mean spirited past. Novel (...) conceptions of world order are being forged, interlaced with inspirational lessons about human affairs and global society. (shrink)
Michael Jacovides (2008). Lockean Fluids. In Paul Hoffman, David Owen & Gideon Yaffe (eds.), Contemporary Perspectives on Early Modern Philosophy: Essays in Honor of Vere Chappell. Broadview Press.score: 3.0
Robert Boyle showed that air “has a Spring that enables it to sustain or resist a pressure” and also it has “an active Spring . . . as when it distends a flaccid or breaks a full-blown Bladder in our exhausted receiver” (Boyle 1999, 6.41-42).1 In this respect, he distinguished between air and other fluids, since liquids such as water are “not sensibly compressible by an ordinary force” (ibid., 5.264). He explained the air’s tendency to resist and to expand by (...) hypothesizing the Air near the Earth to be such a heap of little Bodies, lying one upon another, as may be resembled to a Fleece of Wooll. For this (to omit other likenesses betwixt them) consists of many slender and flexible hairs; each of which, may indeed, like a little Spring, be easily bent or rouled up; but will also, like a Spring, be still endeavouring to stretch it self out again (Boyle 1999, 1.165). (shrink)
Shanker & King (S&K) provide a criticism of information-theoretic approaches to language, but the real obstacle to their dynamicist approach is the argument that representations are an indispensable part of any cognitive theory. Since the dynamicist approach has a prima facie anti-representationalist bent, the authors must show why dynamicist views can provide adequate explanations of intelligent behavior.
As history shows, it is all too easy for unscrupulous leaders to terrify the public. And that is the natural method to divert attention from the fact that tax cuts for the rich and other devices are undermining prospects for a decent life for the middle class and the poor, and for future generations. Economist Paul Krugman reported that "literally before the dust had settled" over the World Trade Center ruins, influential Republicans signaled that they were "determined to use terrorism (...) as an excuse to pursue a radical right-wing agenda." He and others have been documenting how they have pursued this agenda relentlessly since. The strategy has proven highly effective for the congressional elections. And when the presidential campaign begins, Republican strategists surely do not want people to be asking questions about their pensions, jobs, health care, and other such matters. Rather, they should be praising their heroic leader for rescuing them from imminent destruction by a foe of colossal power, and marching on to confront the next powerful force bent on our destruction. (shrink)
During Cold War I, the task was to contain two awesome forces. The lesser and more moderate force was â€œan implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost.â€ Hence â€œif the United States is to survive,â€ it will have to adopt a â€œrepugnant philosophyâ€ and reject â€œacceptable norms of human conductâ€ and the â€œlong-standing American concepts of `fair playâ€™â€ that had been exhibited with such searing clarity in the conquest of the national territory, (...) the Philippines, Haiti and other beneficiaries of â€œthe idealistic new world bent on ending inhumanity,â€ as the newspaper of record describes our noble mission.  The judgments about the nature of the super-Hitler and the necessary response are those of General Jimmy Doolittle, in a critical assessment of the CIA commissioned by President Eisenhower in 1954. They are quite consistent with those of the Truman administration liberals, the â€œwise menâ€ who were â€œpresent at the creation,â€ notoriously in NSC 68 but in fact quite consistently. (shrink)
Many philosophers, both past and present, object to materialism not from any romantic anti-scientific bent, but from sheer inability to understand the thesis. It seems utterly inconceivable to some that qualia should exist in a world which is entirely material. This paper investigates the grain objection, a much neglected argument which purports to prove that sensations could not be brain events. Three versions are examined in great detail. The plausibility of the first version is shown to depend crucially on (...) whether one holds a direct or non-direct theory of perception. Only on the latter is this version plausible. An analysis of the second "semantic" version concludes that a materialist description and explanation of the world should not be expected to transparently convey all that would be of interest or importance to human beings. The final version explicitly makes use of Grover Maxwell's non-direct perceptual theory of structural realism. Although a confusion is charged to Maxwell between phenomenal and objective properties, the critical difficulty for the grain objection is its failure to characterize "structure" from a non-percipient point of view. As the grain objection is ultimately found wanting, the real difficulty for materialism crystallizes as its irreconciliability with the mere existence of sentience, which seems to force some sort of emergence upon us. (shrink)
Modern science is big business. Governments, universities, and corporations have invested billions of dollars in scientific and technological research in the hope of obtaining power and profit. For the most part, this investment has benefited science and society, leading to new discoveries, inventions, disciplines, specialties, jobs, and career opportunities. However, there is a dark side to the influx of money into science. Unbridled pursuit of financial gain in science can undermine scientific norms, such as objectivity, honesty, openness, respect for research (...) participants, and social responsibility. In The Price of Truth, David B. Resnik examines some of the important and difficult questions resulting from the financial and economic aspects of modern science. How does money affect scientific research? Have scientists become entrepreneurs bent on making money instead of investigators searching for the truth? How does the commercialization of research affect the public's perception of science? Can scientists prevent money from corrupting the research enterprise? What types of rules, polices, and guidelines should scientists adopt to prevent financial interests from adversely affecting research and the public's opinion of science? (shrink)
The privileged often regard these struggles as an assault on their rights, violent outbursts instigated by evil forces bent on our destruction: world Communism, or crazed terrorists and fanatics. The struggle for freedom seems inexplicable in other terms. After all, living standards are higher in Soweto than they were in the Stone Age, or even elsewhere in Black Africa. And the people in the West Bank and Gaza who survive by doing Israel's dirty work are improving their lot (...) by standard economic measures. Slave owners offered similar arguments. (shrink)
hereditary principle for membership of Parliament, you seem hell-bent on promoting the hereditary principle for the transmission of beliefs and opinions. For that is precisely what religions are: hereditary beliefs and opinions. To quote the headline of a fine article in the.
• A coin appears to be elliptical when looked at from an angle, but it’s round. • A stick appears to be bent when it is partly immersed in water, but it’s straight. • An oasis appears to exist, but it doesn’t. • A bucket of water appears to be two different temperatures to two different hands, but it’s all..
Writing of his twinned awakening in depression-era Chicago to the Communist Party and the life of the mind, African American novelist Richard Wright recalled the “new realms of feeling” acquired during the cold winter evenings he spent, after hours of backbreaking labor, reading, or rather devouring, books, for the first time in his life. Thanks to his encounters with Dostoevsky, Proust, Stephen Crane, and Gertrude Stein, an “attitude of watchful wonder” became the new pivot of his life. “Having no claims (...) upon others,” Wright recollected, “I bent the way the wind blew, rendering unto my environment that which was my environment’s, and rendering unto myself that which I felt was mine.”1 During those desolate .. (shrink)
For the smallest social unit is not the single person but two people.Our bodies should always be better than the societies we currently have.I am getting ready for bed with my dad's help and he speaks this statement quickly while breathing through his mouth......... I sit in my wheelchair, taller than he stands bent in half, reaching for my feet. He lifts and guides my left and right legs into each corresponding hollow column of flannel pajama pant. I look (...) down at his rounded back. He is fifty-four. I am twenty-six, his daughter. My feet stink. The oily funk of accumulated days smells strong.My dad and I share this routine most weeknights. If I want to shower, my dad transfers me from wheelchair to shower chair as .. (shrink)
While for the majority of physicists the problem of the deciphering of the brain code, the intelligence code, is a matter for future generations, the author boldly and forcefully disagrees. Breaking with the dogma of classical logic he develops in the form of the conversion postulate a concrete working hypothesis for the actual thought mechanism. The reader is invited on a fascinating mathematical journey to the very edges of modern scientific knowledge. From lepton and quark to mind, from cognition to (...) a logic analogue of the Schrodinger equation, from Fibonacci numbers to logic quantum numbers, from imaginary logic to a quantum computer, from coding theory to atomic physics - the breadth and scope of this work is overwhelming. Combining quantum physics, fundamental logic and coding theory this unique work sets the stage for future physics and is bound to titillate and challenge the imagination of physicists, biophysicists and computer designers. Growing from the author's matrix operator formalization of logic, this work pursues a synthesis of physics and logic methods, leading to the development of the concept of infophysics. The experimental verification of the proposed quantum hypothesis of the brain is presently in preparation in cooperation with the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, UK, and, if proved positive, would have major theoretical implications. Even more significant should be the practical applications in such fields as molecular electronics and computer science, biophysics and neuroscience, medicine and education. The new possiblities that could be opened up by quantum level computing could be truly revolutionary. The book aims at researchers and engineers in technical sciences as well as in biophysics and biosciences in general. It should have great appeal for physicists, mathematicians, logicians and for philosophers with a mathematical bent. (shrink)
The paper presents the concept significance-effect outlined in a Peircean inspired communication model, named DynaCom. The significance effect is a communicational effect; the formal conditions for the release of the significance-effect are the following: (1) Communication has to take place within a universeof discourse; (2) Utterer and interpreter must share collateral experience; and (3) The cominterpretant must occur. If these conditions are met the meaning of thecommunicated sign is likely to be correctly interpreted by the interpreter. Here, correctly means in (...) accordance with the intentions of the utterer. The scope of thesignificance-effect has changed from knowledge effects caused by technical terms to emotional effects caused by lifestyle values in brands, for example. (shrink)
This study elucidates and appraises a conception of praxis developed by the Yugoslav Marxist Mihailo Markovi . This notion is first distinguished from everyday and alternative theoretical uses of 'practice', 'practical', and 'praxis' . Markovic's view is then characterized as a normative, pluralistic theory of both human being and doing. Praxis , for Markovi , is activity which realizes one's best potentialities: (i) the humanly generic dispositions of intentionality, self-determination, creativity, sociality, and rationality, and (ii) one's relatively distinctive abilities and (...) bents compatible with (i). Following a critical analysis of Markovic's attempts to justify praxis as norm, two substantive criticisms are advanced. The theory needs (i) priority rules for the relative weighting of praxis components when they cannot all be (fully) realized in an action, and (ii) a specification of the genus praxis so as to recognize important differences among optimal activities which shape things, construct theories, rear children, and share with mature persons. (shrink)
Psychogenic non epileptic seizures (PNES) are clinical events of psychological nature. Video-electroencephalography monitoring (V-EEGM) is a valuable method for the diagnosis of PNES and may be combined with provocative tests to induce seizures. The use of placebo in provocative tests for the diagnosis of PNES is controversial because of associated deception, and contrasts with the use of truly decreasing epileptogenic threshold techniques such as hyperventilation and photo stimulation. We present a clinical case of a pregnant woman with a past history (...) of refractory epilepsy, admitted in the obstetric department due to unremitting seizures. In this clinical context, non-deceiving provocative tests such as hyperventilation and photo stimulation could be potentially harmful, nevertheless, the use of intravenous saline injection presented as a safer alternative to diagnose PNES and hence obviate an urgent caesarean. This case illustrates a disproportionate risk of causing harm when telling the truth, in comparison with the benefit of avoiding such risk, although deceiving the patient. This is a clinical example of how considerations concerning the use of placebo must be evaluated in an individual basis. (shrink)
When scientists consider the interaction of science and value judgments, debates often occur. When public policy grows out of science, disagreements between scientists can become even more spirited. This paper examines the case of nutrition policy in the United States, which has been both at the interface between agriculture and medicine and the object of serious discord concerned with the strength and validity of the scientific evidence and the responsibility for action. The development of indirect intervention policies, designed to (...) educate and inform the public on diet and health, is traced as a practical demonstration of the effects of involvements of nutritional scientists of different disciplines and philosophic bents. Controversies centered mainly on the issues of diet and coronary heart disease and of diet and cancer in nutritional guidelines for Americans and the recommended dietary allowances (RDAs). But the arguments turned on a complex web of values and interests as well as scientific questions. A remarkable turnaround by animal agriculture and its scientific support occurred, changing from a defensive, rightist stance to one that appears to recognize a moral responsibility to the public health. The convincing point was likely the changing market. Nutritional scientists, however, remained divided on the issue of whether a public health strategy keyed to public education should replace a strategy to identify persons of high risk and modify the risk by treatment. Our analysis suggests that the tension between libertarian and utilitarian social values of scientists is at least as important as disagreements relative to validity and strengths of the scientific evidence. (shrink)