This essay explores the nature of authenticity through a comparison of Martin Heidegger and the classical Buddhist text, the Mumonkan (The Gateless Gate). As Stanley Cavell's interpretations of Heidegger have developed, the peculiarity of Heidegger's sense of authenticity lies in the fact that it requires us, not to negate the inauthentic everydayness into which we are fallen, but to learn to inhabit this everydayness in a new way. The task of authenticity, Cavell argues, involves a recovery and a transformation of (...) this original condition. But just what this transformation involves is tricky. To what extent does authenticity involve taking particular, concrete actions in the world? And insofar as we are never in complete mastery of our actions, how can we ensure that they are authentic? Through a comparison with the Mumonkan, this essay considers how the task of authenticity can be understood as a gateless gate, a way of dwelling in the everyday which affirms our thrownness into a plurality of ways. The essay, thus, argues for different roots than those Cavell finds manifest in Heidegger's philosophy (the traditions of early American transcendentalism and Anglo-American ordinary language philosophy) and thus contributes to the current conversation on the under-appreciated convergences between Heidegger and the Buddhist tradition. (shrink)
This article takes up the work of Judith Butler in order to present a vision of ethics that avoids two common yet problematic positions: on the one hand, the skeptical position that ethical norms are so constitutive of who we are that they are ultimately impossible to assess and, on the other hand, the notion that we are justified in our commitment to any ethical norm that appears foundational to our identity. With particular attention to the trajectory of Butler’s project (...) from The Psychic Life of Power to Giving an Account of Oneself, the article discusses the shortcomings of these two positions and the virtues of the alternative account that Butler develops during this period. (shrink)
Michael Devitt ([2006a], [2006b]) argues that, insofar as linguists possess better theories about language than non-linguists, their linguistic intuitions are more reliable. ( Culbertson and Gross  ) presented empirical evidence contrary to this claim. Devitt () replies that, in part because we overemphasize the distinction between acceptability and grammaticality, we misunderstand linguists’ claims, fall into inconsistency, and fail to see how our empirical results can be squared with his position. We reply in this note. Inter alia we argue (...) that Devitt's focus on grammaticality intuitions, rather than acceptability intuitions, distances his discussion from actual linguistic practice. We close by questioning a demand that drives his discussion—viz., that, for linguistic intuitions to supply evidence for linguistic theorizing, a better account of why they are evidence is required. (shrink)
Michael Devitt ([2006a], [2006b]) argues that, insofar as linguists possess better theories about language than non-linguists, their linguistic intuitions are more reliable. (Culbertson and Gross ) presented empirical evidence contrary to this claim. Devitt () replies that, in part because we overemphasize the distinction between acceptability and grammaticality, we misunderstand linguists' claims, fall into inconsistency, and fail to see how our empirical results can be squared with his position. We reply in this note. Inter alia we argue that Devitt's (...) focus on grammaticality intuitions, rather than acceptability intuitions, distances his discussion from actual linguistic practice. We close by questioning a demand that drives his discussion—viz., that, for linguistic intuitions to supply evidence for linguistic theorizing, a better account of why they are evidence is required. (shrink)
According to classical arguments, language learning is both facilitated and constrained by cognitive biases. These biases are reflected in linguistic typology—the distribution of linguistic patterns across the world's languages—and can be probed with artificial grammar experiments on child and adult learners. Beginning with a widely successful approach to typology (Optimality Theory), and adapting techniques from computational approaches to statistical learning, we develop a Bayesian model of cognitive biases and show that it accounts for the detailed pattern of results of artificial (...) grammar experiments on noun-phrase word order (Culbertson, Smolensky, & Legendre, 2012). Our proposal has several novel properties that distinguish it from prior work in the domains of linguistic theory, computational cognitive science, and machine learning. This study illustrates how ideas from these domains can be synthesized into a model of language learning in which biases range in strength from hard (absolute) to soft (statistical), and in which language-specific and domain-general biases combine to account for data from the macro-level scale of typological distribution to the micro-level scale of learning by individuals. (shrink)
Who are the best subjects for judgment tasks intended to test grammatical hypotheses? Michael Devitt ( [2006a] , [2006b] ) argues, on the basis of a hypothesis concerning the psychology of such judgments, that linguists themselves are. We present empirical evidence suggesting that the relevant divide is not between linguists and non-linguists, but between subjects with and without minimally sufficient task-specific knowledge. In particular, we show that subjects with at least some minimal exposure to or knowledge of such tasks tend (...) to perform consistently with one another—greater knowledge of linguistics makes no further difference—while at the same time exhibiting markedly greater in-group consistency than those who have no previous exposure to or knowledge of such tasks and their goals. (shrink)
This paper considers the suggestion, central to McFee's (2004) moral laboratory argument, that sport is intrinsically valuable. McFee's position is outlined and critiqued and various interpretations of intrinsic value found in the philosophical literature are considered. In addition, Morgan's (2007) claim that sport is an appropriate final end is considered and partially accepted. The paper draws a number of terminological distinctions and concludes that sport does not have intrinsic value as traditionally conceived, but that this is of little consequence with (...) regard to the role of sport as a moral laboratory. (shrink)
This article is concerned with an apparent similarity between the conceptions of human nature found in the early work of Jean-Paul Sartre and certain forms of transhumanism, and the role of a particular conception of human nature in the application of transhumanist ideas to debates on performance-enhancement. The article begins with a brief outline of major features of Sartre's phenomenological work (?I). The article then gives a more detailed account of the relationship between Sartre's phenomenological ontology and the view of (...) human nature expressed in Existentialism and Humanism (?II). This is followed by an outline of the central features of Sartre's later work that have a bearing on his view of human nature (?III). This allows the articulation of two possible different uses of the expression ?human nature?. A contrast is drawn between the more satisfactory of the two and the view of human nature that appears to motivate transhumanism (?IV). The article will conclude by considering the implications of Sartre's view on human nature for the advocacy of what purports to be a transhumanist project in relation to performance-enhancement in sport (?V). (shrink)
This paper focuses on the claim by Schneider and Butcher (2000) that it makes little sense to criticise the use of performance-enhancing drugs as ?dehumanising? (as, for example, Hoberman does (1992)) because we are unable to give a satisfactory account of what it is to be human. Schneider and Butcher (2000, 196) put this as follows: ?The dehumanisation argument is interesting but incomplete. It is incomplete because we do not have an agreed-upon conception of what it is to be human. (...) Without this it is difficult to see why some practices should count as dehumanising.? The paper begins by considering J.L. Austin's (1962) treatment of the word ?real?. By transposing ideas from Austin to the terms ?dehumanise? and ?human? I argue that (a) In the pair ?dehumanise? and ?human?, the term ?dehumanise? is dominant; (b) We cannot understand ?dehumanise? and ?human? independently of either the context of their use or the contrast that is drawn in their use; (c) Either one of these is sufficient to understand the terms; (d) ?Dehumanise?, ?human? and their cognates are not univocal; we can have no recourse to exceptionless accounts of the meaning of such terms. The importance of context is developed further by consideration of an example from the work of Charles Travis (2005), and the issue of exceptionless accounts of the meaning of words is addressed through an application of Gordon Baker's (2004) characterisation of Wittgenstein's uses of the term ?metaphysical? to Miah's (2004) treatment of human-ness. I argue that Miah's conception of human-ness exhibits all the forms of metaphysical use of terms (in this case the term ?human?) outlined by Baker (2004). The article attempts to clarify some objections to the use of performance-enhancing drugs and the prospect of genetic modification of athletes by sketching an overview of possible concrete uses of ?dehumanise?. The focus of the paper, however, is on ?making sense of what we (are inclined to) say ? [rather than] making explicit what underlies what we say? (McFee, 1993/4, 115). (shrink)
This article is concerned with the role of moral principles, specifically the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, in the judgements of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on matters of performance enhancement. The article begins with two pairs of distinctions, that between moral judgements and morally-laden judgements, and that between the moral judgement of cases and the ethical environment of a society. The article is concerned with working through the implications of those distinctions in the context of the IOC's judgements on performance (...) enhancement. The article favours a particularist account of the moral judgement of cases, while preserving a place for meaningful general moral statements as contributions to the ethical environment of a society, but not as general action-guiding statements or principles that can be applied to judgements in specific cases. The article illustrates the implications of this conclusion in the context of the decision-making of the IOC on performance enhancement (the case of Alain Baxter is considered). It is argued that there is a danger of the decision-making of the IOC suffering deep confusion over the difference between general and particular statements, the nature of reasons and the logic of what it is to apply a general action-guiding statement. (shrink)
In the spring of 1985, 272 upper?class and graduate students from four large journalism schools completed a questionnaire indicating their beliefs on issues relevant to media ethics. Respondents indicated a strong tendency to follow their audiences rather than their personal beliefs, when the two conflict, in making editorial judgments. They also placed high emphasis on audience research rather than on audience needs not fully appreciated by audience members. Contrary to what recent research literature suggests, those inclined to stress audience research (...) most tended to subscribe to a least common denominator mode, rather than an audience segmentation approach, when taking their audiences into account as prospective professional communicators. Results are considered in light of four postulates derived from recent literature on ethics. (shrink)
In this article I argue that clients who purchase commercial sex from forced prostitutes should be strictly liable in tort towards the sex-slaves. Such an approach is both normatively defensible and doctrinally feasible. As I have argued elsewhere, fairness and equality demand that clients compensate sex-slaves even if one refuses to acknowledge that fault is involved in purchasing sex from a prostitute who might be forced. In this article I argue that such strict liability could be grounded in the tort (...) of conversion, and not only (as argued elsewhere) in battery. Since the quintessential experience of sex-slaves is that of being treated as chattels, the appropriate legal response is to allow them to benefit from the strict liability imposed on those who interfere with an owner’s dominion over his property. Accordingly, sex-slaves should be viewed as both subjects and objects. As subjects they can sue clients for the violation of their sexual autonomy manifested by their treatment as objects. This approach is both advantageous to sex-slaves, in the sense it affords them protection that might not otherwise exist, and fair, since the ultimate response to the objectification of sex-slaves by clients should be to afford the former a proprietary-based claim against the latter. I further explain why my approach is not problematic on conceptual grounds, anti-commodification sentiments or feminist concerns with the symbolic message of my solution: that the law treats women as property. (shrink)
Book Information Functions in Mind: A Theory of Intentional Content. Functions in Mind: A Theory of Intentional Content Carolyn Price Oxford Clarendon Press 2001 vi + 263 Hardback £35 By Carolyn Price. Clarendon Press. Oxford. Pp. vi + 263. Hardback:£35.
Leon Culbertson's recent contribution, 'Does Sport Have Intrinsic Value?' objects to the account of the value of sport as intrinsic value I had developed in my Sport, Rules and Values ; in particular, as this occurs in my argument that the value of some sports resided in the possibility of their functioning as a moral laboratory. He identifies two accounts of intrinsic value; and shows that neither would fit my purposes seamlessly. He urges that my account of the place (...) of normative reasons cannot generate intrinsic value: rather, the person whose reasons they are somehow imports that value. Yet he has misunderstood my particularist conception of values; and the place occupied by my contextualism - these, rather than a residual commitment to essentialism, are what generates an apparent inconsistency he identifies. But they also explain it away. As a result, much of his concern to find some exact account of the term 'intrinsic' is misplaced: we need to look contextually. Further, the project of my discussion was limited to showing, first, how the moral laboratory idea might explain the value of some sport (on the assumption that sport had intrinsic value); and, second, how failures of realisation of that intrinsic value might be traced to the distinction between motivating reasons and normative ones. (shrink)
Karen-Sue Taussig: Ordinary Genomes: Science, Citizenship and Genetic Identities Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s10441-012-9150-8 Authors Sabina Leonelli, Department of Sociology and Philosophy, ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society, University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon, UK Journal Acta Biotheoretica Online ISSN 1572-8358 Print ISSN 0001-5342.
Our research examined understandings of individual student target setting processes through semi?structured interviews with staff and students from two schools in England: a special school for students with severe learning difficulties and a linked mainstream secondary school. This article details some of the tensions and issues arising from perceived ownership of targets and the communication and sharing of these between and within schools, specifically focusing on dimensions of power and agency.
The status of the body figures paradoxically in the interrelated discourses of whiteness, aesthetic taste, and hipness. While Richard Dyer’s analysis of whiteness argues that white identity is “in but not of the body,” Carolyn Korsmeyer’s and Julia Kristeva’s feminist analyses of aesthetic “taste” demonstrate that this faculty is traditionally conceived as something “of” but not “in” the body. While taste directly distances whiteness from embodiment, hipness negatively affirms this same distance: the hipster proves his elite status within white (...) culture by positioning himself as, in the words of James Chance’s song title, “Almost Black.” The notion of hip contributes to my analysis of taste by focusing on both the gender politics of white embodiment, and how, by taking the social body as object of the prepositions “in” and “of,” these discourses of taste and hipness produce individual bodies as white, and maintain Whiteness as a socio-political norm. (shrink)