Following Quine, Davidson, and Dennett, I take mental states and linguistic meaning to be individuated with reference to interpretation. The regulative principle of ideal interpretation is to maximize rationality, and this accounts for the distinctiveness and autonomy of the vocabulary of agency. This rationality-maxim can accommodate empirical cognitive-psychological investigation into the nature and limitations of human mental processing. Interpretivism is explicitly anti-reductionist, but in the context of Rorty's neo-pragmatism provides a naturalized view of agents. The interpretivist strategy affords a less (...) despondent view of constructive philosophical activity than Rorty's own. (shrink)
Insights into the history of chemistry Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9482-4 Authors Peter J. Ramberg, Truman State University, 100 E. Normal, Kirksville, MO 63501, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Richard Rorty (1931–2007) developed a distinctive and controversial brand of pragmatism that expressed itself along two main axes. One is negative—a critical diagnosis of what Rorty takes to be defining projects of modern philosophy. The other is positive—an attempt to show what intellectual culture might look like, once we free ourselves from the governing metaphors of mind and knowledge in which the traditional problems of epistemology and metaphysics (and indeed, in Rorty's view, the self-conception of modern philosophy) are rooted. The (...) centerpiece of Rorty's critique is the provocative account offered in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979, hereafter PMN). In this book, and in the closely related essays collected in Consequences of Pragmatism (1982, hereafter CP), Rorty's principal target is the philosophical idea of knowledge as representation, as a mental mirroring of a mind-external world. Providing a contrasting image of philosophy, Rorty has sought to integrate and apply the milestone achievements of Dewey, Hegel and Darwin in a pragmatist synthesis of historicism and naturalism. Characterizations and illustrations of a post-epistemological intellectual culture, present in both PMN (part III) and CP (xxxvii-xliv), are more richly developed in later works, such as Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989, hereafter CIS), in the popular essays and articles collected in Philosophy and Social Hope (1999), and in the four volumes of philosophical papers, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth (1991, hereafter ORT); Essays on Heidegger and Others (1991, hereafter EHO); Truth and Progress (1998, hereafter TP); and Philosophy as Cultural Politics (2007, hereafter PCP). In these writings, ranging over an unusually wide intellectual territory, Rorty offers a highly integrated, multifaceted view of thought, culture, and politics, a view that has made him one of the most widely discussed philosophers in our time. (shrink)
OBJECTIVES: To study whether linguistic analysis and changes in information leaflets can improve readability and understanding. DESIGN: Randomised, controlled study. Two information leaflets concerned with trials of drugs for conditions/diseases which are commonly known were modified, and the original was tested against the revised version. SETTING: Denmark. PARTICIPANTS: 235 persons in the relevant age groups. MAIN MEASURES: Readability and understanding of contents. RESULTS: Both readability and understanding of contents was improved: readability with regard to both information leaflets and understanding with (...) regard to one of the leaflets. CONCLUSION: The results show that both readability and understanding can be improved by increased attention to the linguistic features of the information. (shrink)
Is Richard Rorty a philosophical quietist? We consider different stances Rorty has assumed toward philosophy, arguing that on the face of it there is no conflict between them. However, Rorty's extensive writing on the topic of truth suggests a tension between Rorty's own recommendation of “benign neglect” of metaphysics and his actual philosophical practice. The topic of truth actually serves Rorty's philosophical purposes well, allowing him to change the direction of conversation from a concern with the nature of concepts to (...) a direct concern with human practice. The switch Rorty envisions is captured in the emblematic figure of the ironist, and we consider the ironist variety of quietism accordingly. For Rorty, we conclude, quietism is a contingent, conditional, strategic stance. Rorty's aim is to change the direction of a strand of philosophical conversation, not to free us from philosophical illusion or to bring philosophy to an end. (shrink)
In this introduction to the fourth part of an ongoing symposium on quietism, Perl, the editor of the sponsoring journal Common Knowledge, remarks on a new question raised in this latest grouping of articles. Can there be such a thing as a “mezza voce quietism”? Can there be activist quietists or quietist activists or active teachers of quietism without self-contradiction? Perl takes Gandhi and “passive resistance” as his own test case, concluding that Gandhi was a teacher of quietism and that (...) satyagraha was a type of moral education directed at those (first the South Africans, then, more momentously, the British in India) whose spirits were imperiled by their self-confident certainty and whose manners were spoiled by their indelicacy and intrusiveness. (shrink)
The book is an “introductory” reconstruction of Davidson on interpretation —a claim to be taken with a grain of salt. Writing introductory books has become an idol of the tribe. This is a concise book and reflects much study. It has many virtues along with some flaws. Ramberg assembles themes and puzzles from Davidson into a more or less coherent viewpoint. A special virtue is the innovative treatment of incommensurability and of the relation of Davidson’s work to hermeneutic themes. (...) The weakness comes in a certain unevenness. While generally convincing and well written, the book has low points which may leave the reader confused or unconvinced. Davidson is the hero in this book, and our hero is sometimes over idealized. (shrink)
‘The Second Mistake’ (TSM) is to think that if an act is right or wrong because of its effects, the only relevant effects are the effects of this particular act. This is not (as some think) a truism, since ‘the effects of this particular act’ and ‘its effects’ need not co-refer. Derek Parfit's rejection of TSM is based mainly on intuitions concerning sets of acts that over-determine certain harms. In these cases, each act belongs to the relevant set in virtue (...) of a causal relation (other than marginal contribution) to a specific harmful event. This feature may make an act wrong, in a fashion consequentialists could admit. That explication of TSM does not rely on the questionable assumption that the set of acts is what harms here. Independently of this, there are several other reasons to prefer it to the ‘mere participation’ approach. Correspondence:c1 firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
A broad range of evidence regarding the functional organization of the vertebrate brain – spanning from comparative neurology to experimental psychology and neurophysiology to clinical data – is reviewed for its bearing on conceptions of the neural organization of consciousness. A novel principle relating target selection, action selection, and motivation to one another, as a means to optimize integration for action in real time, is introduced. With its help, the principal macrosystems of the vertebrate brain can be seen to form (...) a centralized functional design in which an upper brain stem system organized for conscious function performs a penultimate step in action control. This upper brain stem system retained a key role throughout the evolutionary process by which an expanding forebrain – culminating in the cerebral cortex of mammals – came to serve as a medium for the elaboration of conscious contents. This highly conserved upper brainstem system, which extends from the roof of the midbrain to the basal diencephalon, integrates the massively parallel and distributed information capacity of the cerebral hemispheres into the limited-capacity, sequential mode of operation required for coherent behavior. It maintains special connective relations with cortical territories implicated in attentional and conscious functions, but is not rendered nonfunctional in the absence of cortical input. This helps explain the purposive, goal-directed behavior exhibited by mammals after experimental decortication, as well as the evidence that children born without a cortex are conscious. Taken together these circumstances suggest that brainstem mechanisms are integral to the constitution of the conscious state, and that an adequate account of neural mechanisms of conscious function cannot be confined to the thalamocortical complex alone. (Published Online May 1 2007) Key Words: action selection; anencephaly; central decision making; consciousness; control architectures; hydranencephaly; macrosystems; motivation; target selection; zona incerta. (shrink)
Contributing Authors: Lilli Alanen & Frans Svensson, David Alm, Gustaf Arrhenius, Gunnar Björnsson, Luc Bovens, Richard Bradley, Geoffrey Brennan & Nicholas Southwood, John Broome, Linus Broström & Mats Johansson, Johan Brännmark, Krister Bykvist, John Cantwell, Erik Carlson, David Copp, Roger Crisp, Sven Danielsson, Dan Egonsson, Fred Feldman, Roger Fjellström, Marc Fleurbaey, Margaret Gilbert, Olav Gjelsvik, Kathrin Glüer & Peter Pagin, Ebba Gullberg & Sten Lindström, Peter Gärdenfors, Sven Ove Hansson, Jana Holsanova, Nils Holtug, Victoria Höög, Magnus Jiborn, Karsten Klint Jensen, (...) Sigurður Kristinsson, Isaac Levi, Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen, David Makinson, Anna-Sofia Maurin, Philippe Mongin, Kevin Mulligan, Lennart Nordenfelt, Jonas Olson, Erik J. Olsson, Ingmar Persson, Johannes Persson, Björn Petersson, Philip Pettit, Hans Rott, Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen, Krister Segerberg, John Skorupski, Howard Sobel, Fredrik Stjernberg, Fred Stoutland, Caj Strandberg, Pär Sundström, Folke Tersman, Torbjörn Tännsjö, Peter Vallentyne, Bruno Verbeek, Stella Villarmea, and Michael J. Zimmerman. (shrink)
My response addresses general commentary themes such as my neglect of the forebrain contribution to human consciousness, the bearing of blindsight on consciousness theory, the definition of wakefulness, the significance of emotion and pain perception for consciousness theory, and concerns regarding remnant cortex in children with hydranencephaly. Further specific topics, such as phenomenal and phylogenetic aspects of mesodiencephalic-thalamocortical relations, are also discussed. (Published Online May 1 2007).
Can it be better or worse for a person to be than not to be, that is, can it be better or worse to exist than not to exist at all? This old 'existential question' has been raised anew in contemporary moral philosophy. There are roughly two reasons for this renewed interest. Firstly, traditional so-called “impersonal” ethical theories, such as utilitarianism, have counter-intuitive implications in regard to questions concerning procreation and our moral duties to future, not yet existing people. Secondly, (...) it has seemed evident to many that an outcome can only be better than another if it is better for someone, and that only moral theories that are in this sense “person affecting” can be correct. The implications of this Person Affecting Restriction will differ radically, however, depending on which answer one gives to the existential question. Melinda Roberts (2003) and Matthew Adler (2009) have defended an affirmative answer to the existential question using an assumption that one can asribe a zero level of wellbeing to a person in a world in which that person doesn't exist. Contrariwise, Derek Parfit (1984), John Broome (1999), and others have worried that if we take a person’s life to be better for her than non-existence, then we would have to conclude that it would have been worse for her if she did not exist, which is absurd: Nothing would have been worse or better for a person if she had not existed. The paper suggests that an affirmative answer to the existential question can avoid such absurdities: One can claim that, say, it is better for a person to exist than not to exist, without implying that it would have been worse for a person if she had not existed or that her level of wellbeing would then have been lower. (shrink)
The relationship of the author's intention to the meaning of a literary work has been a persistently controversial topic in aesthetics. Anti-intentionalists Wimsatt and Beardsley, in the 1946 paper that launched the debate, accused critics who fueled their interpretative activity by poring over the author's private diaries and life story of committing the 'fallacy' of equating the work's meaning, properly determined by context and linguistic convention, with the meaning intended by the author. Hirsch responded that context and convention are not (...) sufficient to determine a unique meaning for a text; to avoid radical ambiguity we must appeal to the author's intention, which actualizes one of the candidate meanings. Subsequent writers have defended refined versions of these views, and a variety of positions on the spectrum between them, in a debate that remains central to philosophical aesthetics. While much of the debate has focused on literature, similar questions arise with respect to the interpretation of visual artworks. Some of the readings listed below address this matter explicitly. Author Recommends: William K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley, 'The Intentional Fallacy', Sewanee Review 54 (1946): 468–88. Locus classicus of the anti-intentionalist position: Wimsatt and Beardsley hold that appeal to the author's intention is always extraneous, since intention cannot override the role of linguistic convention and context in determining meaning. Criticism, they argue, should thus proceed by careful examination of the literary work rather than by sifting through biographical material that might hint at the author's intentions. E. D. Hirsch, Jr., Validity in Interpretation (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1967). The seminal statement of actual intentionalism: Hirsch holds that 'meaning is an affair of consciousness and not of physical signs or things' (23), though he allows that linguistic convention constrains the meanings the author can intend for a particular utterance. He argues that the author's intention is necessary to fix meaning, since the application of conventions alone would typically leave a text wildly indeterminate. Alexander Nehamas, 'The Postulated Author: Critical Monism as a Regulative Ideal', Critical Inquiry 8 (1981): 133–49. Nehamas argues for a version of hypothetical intentionalism according to which interpretation is a matter of attributing an intended meaning to a hypothetical author, distinct from the historical writer. This view allows the interpreter to find meaning even in features of the work that may have been mere accidents on the part of the historical writer. Gary Iseminger, ed., Intention and Interpretation (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1992). Intention and Interpretation is an outstanding collection including both classic and new essays representing most of the major viewpoints in the debate. Noël Carroll, 'Art, Intention, and Conversation', Intention and Interpretation , ed. Gary Iseminger (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1992), 97–131. The essay defends modest actual intentionalism, according to which the work's meaning is one compatible both with the author's meaning intentions and with the conventionally allowable meanings of the text. Carroll holds that literature is on a continuum with ordinary conversation, to which an intentionalist analysis is apt; for this reason he rejects anti-intentionalism and hypothetical intentionalism, which emphasize the purported autonomy of literary works from their authors. Daniel Nathan, 'Irony, Metaphor, and the Problem of Intention', Intention and Interpretation , ed. Gary Iseminger (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1992), 183–202. Nathan argues that even irony and metaphor, which are often thought to require an analysis in terms of the author's actual intentions, are in fact best understood on an anti-intentionalist approach. Jerrold Levinson, 'Intention and Interpretation in Literature', The Pleasures of Aesthetics: Philosophical Essays (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996), 175–213. Revised version of 'Intention and Interpretation: A Last Look', Intention and Interpretation , ed. Gary Iseminger (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1992), 221–56. The essay defends a version of hypothetical intentionalism according to which the meaning of a literary work is the meaning that would be attributed to the actual author by members of the ideal audience. Levinson argues that literary works should be treated differently from everyday utterances, since it is a convention of literature that its works are substantially autonomous from their authors. Paisley Livingston, Art and Intention: A Philosophical Study (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005). Livingston examines competing accounts of the nature of intentions as they pertain to a variety of issues in the philosophy of art, including the ontology of art, the nature of authorship, and art interpretation. In chapter 6, Livingston argues for partial intentionalism, according to which some, but not all, of a work's meanings are non-redundantly determined by the author's intentions. Stephen Davies, 'Authors' Intentions, Literary Interpretation, and Literary Value', British Journal of Aesthetics 46 (2006): 223–47. Davies defends the value-maximizing view, according to which, when there is more than one conventional meaning consistent with the work's features, the meaning that should be attributed to the work is the one that makes the work out to be most aesthetically valuable. He allows for the attribution of multiple meanings when more than one candidate (approximately) maximizes the work's value. Online Materials: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/beardsley-aesthetics/ Beardsley's Aesthetics (Michael Wreen) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/conceptual-art/ Conceptual Art (Elisabeth Schellekens) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/speech-acts/ Speech Acts (Mitchell Green) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hermeneutics/ Hermeneutics (Bjørn Ramberg and Kristin Gjesdal) Sample Syllabus: Week 1: Foundations 1. Wimsatt and Beardsley, 'The Intentional Fallacy'. 2. Livingston, 'What Are Intentions?', Art and Intention , 1–30. Weeks 2–3: Actual Intentionalism 1. Hirsch, Validity in Interpretation , ch. 1–2, 1–67. 2. Gary Iseminger, 'An Intentional Demonstration?', Intention and Interpretation , ed. Iseminger, 76–96. Optional reading: 1. Stephen Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels, 'Against Theory', Critical Inquiry 8 (1982): 723–742. 2. Stephen Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels, 'Against Theory 2: Hermeneutics and Deconstruction', Critical Inquiry 14 (1987): 49–58. Weeks 4–5: Modest, Moderate and Partial Intentionalism 1. Carroll, 'Art, Intention, and Conversation'. 2. Robert Stecker, Interpretation and Construction: Art, Speech, and the Law (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003), ch. 2, 29–51. 3. Livingston, 'Intention and the Interpretation of Art', Art and Intention , 135–74. Optional reading: 1. Carroll, 'Interpretation and Intention: The Debate between Hypothetical and Actual Intentionalism', Metaphilosophy 31 (2000): 75–95. 2. Stecker, 'Moderate Actual Intentionalism Defended', Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 64 (2006): 429–38. Weeks 6–7: Hypothetical Intentionalism 1. William E. Tolhurst, 'On What a Text Is and How It Means', British Journal of Aesthetics 19 (1979): 3–14. 2. Nehamas, 'Postulated Author'. 3. Levinson, 'Intention and Interpretation in Literature'. Optional reading: 1. Nehamas, 'What an Author Is', Journal of Philosophy 83 (1986): 685–91. 2. Nehamas, 'Writer, Text, Work, Author', Literature and the Question of Philosophy , ed. A. J. Cascardi (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), 265–91. 3. Levinson, 'Hypothetical Intentionalism: Statement, Objections, and Replies', Is There a Single Right Interpretation? , ed. M. Krausz (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002), 309–18. Week 8: The Value-Maximizing View 1. Davies, 'The Aesthetic Relevance of Authors' and Painters' Intentions', Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 41 (1982): 65–76. 2. Davies, 'Authors' Intentions, Literary Interpretation, and Literary Value'. Weeks 9–10: Anti-Intentionalism 1. Beardsley, 'The Authority of the Text,' The Possibility of Criticism (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1970), 16–37. 2. Nathan, 'Irony, Metaphor, and the Problem of Intention'. 3. Nathan, 'Art, Meaning, and Artist's Meaning', Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art , ed. M. Kieran (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006), 282–95. Optional reading: 1. Beardsley, 'Intentions and Interpretations: A Fallacy Revived', The Aesthetic Point of View: Selected Essays , ed. M. J. Wreen and D. M. Callen (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1982), 188–207. 2. Nathan, 'Irony and the Author's Intentions', British Journal of Aesthetics 22 (1982): 246–56. Sample Mini-Syllabus: Week 1: Foundations 1. Wimsatt and Beardsley, 'The Intentional Fallacy'. 2. Livingston, 'What Are Intentions?', Art and Intention , 1–30. Week 2: Actual and Modest Intentionalism 1. Hirsch, Validity in Interpretation , ch. 1–2, 1–67. 2. Carroll, 'Art, Intention, and Conversation'. Week 3: Hypothetical Intentionalism and Anti-Intentionalism 1. Levinson, 'Intention and Interpretation in Literature'. 2. Nathan, 'Irony, Metaphor, and the Problem of Intention'. Focus Questions 1. Is the difficulty of ascertaining the author's intentions a good reason to reject actual intentionalism? 2. Should literary works be seen as largely autonomous from their authors, even if we think that interpretation of ordinary utterances is properly a matter of ascertaining the speaker's intentions? 3. Are linguistic context and convention sufficient to determine the meaning of a literary work, or is the author's intention required to stave off an unacceptable degree of ambiguity? 4. Should the author's intentions about the genre or category to which the work belongs have a different status than intentions about the work's meaning? 5. Can the author's intentions have a non-redundant role to play in fixing meaning even if we take the role of context and linguistic convention seriously? 6. Should we expect the author's intention to play the same role (if any) in the interpretation of visual artworks that it plays in the interpretation of literature, or do differences between these two art forms require distinct approaches? (shrink)
This article introduces compliance disclosure regimes to business ethics research. Compliance disclosure is a relatively recent regulatory technique whereby companies are obliged to disclose the extent to which they comply with codes, ‘best practice standards’ or other extra-legal texts containing norms or prospective norms. Such ‘compliance disclosure’ obligations are often presented as flexible regulatory alternatives to substantive, command-and-control regulation. However, based on a report on experiences of existing compliance disclosure obligations, this article will identify major weaknesses that prevent them from (...) becoming effective mechanisms to discipline a certain type of behaviour. It will be argued that regulatory recourse to compliance disclosure obligations is nonetheless worthwhile if we view them as mechanisms that can initiate a dialogue about norm interpretation, application and norm desirability. From this perspective, compliance disclosure obligations serve less to discipline companies by making corporate practices transparent, and more to trigger a process of norm development, in which the law, companies and their stakeholders interact. This article provides an illustration of how mandatory disclosure, if it is restricted to a unilateral communication process, may produce no effective results (or even prove counterproductive), whilst highlighting the alternative potential of disclosure as an initiator of dialogue, supported by laws, geared towards the development and refinement of norms applicable to business in a global context and the values they promote. (shrink)
‘Natural selection’ is, it seems, an ambiguous term. It is sometimes held to denote a consequence of variation, heredity, and environment, while at other times as denoting a force that creates adaptations. I argue that the latter, the force interpretation, is a redundant notion of natural selection. I will point to difficulties in making sense of this linguistic practise, and argue that it is frequently at odds with standard interpretations of evolutionary theory. I provide examples to show this; one example (...) involving the relation between adaptations and other traits, and a second involving the relation between selection and drift. (shrink)
The focus of this article is the analysis of generative mechanisms, a basic concept and phenomenon within the metatheoretical perspective of critical realism. It is emphasized that research questions and methods, as well as the knowledge it is possible to attain, depend on the basic view – ontologically and epistemologically – regarding the phenomenon under scrutiny. A generative mechanism is described as a trans empirical but real existing entity, explaining why observable events occur. Mechanisms are mostly possible to grasp only (...) indirectly by analytical work (theory-building), based however on empirical observations. In order to achieve such an explanatory analysis, five methodological steps are suggested and discussed, among them abduction and retroduction. These steps are illustrated throughout by examples drawn from empirical research regarding social work practice. The article is concluded with a discussion of the need for knowledge of generative mechanisms. (shrink)
In this article I respond to Björn Hofmann’s criticism of some elements in my theory of health. Hofmann’s main objective is to question “Nordenfelt’s basic premise that you can be ill without having negative first-person experiences, and to investigate the consequences of abandoning the premise.” One of Hofmann’s critical points is that my theory of health does not lend voice to the individual. My response is essentially conducted in four steps: (1) I question the aim of conceptual analysis that Hofmann (...) proposes for the analysis of the notion of health. (2) I maintain that my analysis, in spite of Hofmann’s contention, lends voice to the individual. It does so via my notion of subjective illness but also via my notion of vital goal. (3) I argue that conditions, such as coma, paralysis and mania are salient instances of ill health and that these may become neglected if the use of the terms “ill” and “illness” is restricted to instances where negative subjective experiences are present. (4) I rehearse my main arguments for selecting disability as the core element of ill health and respond to Hofmann’s contention that persons who are in great pain can sometimes nevertheless perform perfectly. (shrink)
Boyer & Lienard's (B&L's) biological model of ritual achieves a rather straightforward account of features shared by ritual pathology and the idiosyncratic rituals of children; but complexities accrue in extending it to human ritual culture generally. My commentary suggests that the ritual cultural traditions of animals such as songbirds share structural features, handicap-based origin, as well as the enabling neural mechanism of vocal learning with human ritual culture. (Published Online February 8 2007).
The processes of economic integration induced by globalization have brought about a certain type of legal practice that challenges the core values of legal ethics. Law firms seeking to represent the interests of internationally active corporate clients must embrace and systematically apply concepts of strategic management and planning and install corporate business structures to sustain competition for lucrative clients. These measures bear a high conflict potential with the core values of legal ethics. However, we observe in parallel a global consolidation (...) of these core values through an enhanced cooperation of national professional bodies, the use of international codes, and comparative legal ethics teaching and research. Furthermore, state regulation of the legal profession is concerned with preserving the core values of legal ethics to conserve the lawyer's role in upholding the rule of law. This article defends that legal ethics is adapting to the pressures exerted by "managerial" approaches to legal practice without this altering core values that underlie legal ethics. (shrink)
"Forgetting" plays an important role in the lives of individuals and communities. Although a few Holocaust scholars have begun to take forgetting more seriously in relation to the task of remembering—in popular parlance as well as in academic discourse on the Holocaust—forgetting is usually perceived as a negative force. In the decades following 1945, the terms remembering and forgetting have often been used antithetically, with the communities of victims insisting on the duty to remember and a society of perpetrators desiring (...) to forget. Thus, the discourse on Holocaust memory has become entrenched on this issue. This essay counters the swift rejection of forgetting and its labeling as a reprehensible act. It calls attention to two issues: first, it offers a critical argument for different forms of forgetting; second, it concludes with suggestions of how deliberate performative practices of forgetting might benefit communities affected by a genocidal past. Is it possible to conceive of forgetting not as the ugly twin of remembering but as its necessary companion? (shrink)
An impressive amount of evidence from psychology, cognitive neurology, evolutionary psychology and primatology seems to be converging on a ‘dual process’ model of moral or practical (in the philosophical sense) psychology according to which our practical judgments are generated by two distinct processes, one ‘emotive-intuitive’ and one ‘cognitive-utilitarian’. In this paper I approach the dual process model from several directions, trying to shed light on various aspects of our moral and practical lives.
The paper describes and defends an eclectic approach to narrative explanation in history and social sciences (as well as in natural history). The view of narrative explanation defended allows combinations of several recent ideas concerning the nature of narrative explanation.The guiding idea is that the explanatory power of narratives consists in their capacity to accommodate various forms of explanations and interpretations. Narrative explanations are seen as theories abouthappenings that may consist of diverse forms of explanations, interpretations and explanation sketches. There (...) is no single form of narrative explanation, rather narrative is seen as a form tor synthesizing various explanations.Several problems concerning explanation and narrative are discussed with relation to the proposed approach: laws in explanations, literary or fictional aspects of narratives, relativism, constructivism and noncognitivism or antirealism. Hayden White’s theory of the explanatory role of “emplotment” is discussed and criticized.The upshot is that the eclectic approach defended does not face any problems unique to it: problems faced are general epistemological problem. The literary aspects of historical narrative are interpreted as normative and rhetorical, making the relevance of these aspects tor narrative explanation depend on the question whether there are legitimate moral explanations. (shrink)