The victim’s upper brain is destroyed. He’s a living corpse, but his organs are alive and warm and happy until they can be taken out by the butchers at the Institute. Karen Ann Quinlan wasn’t dead. But, terrifyingly, she wasn’t fully alive, either. Maybe she was no longer human. A smear like “death panels” emerges and catches fire because it’s fundamentally interesting. You could write a great thriller . . . about death panels. As I write, a single phrase dominates (...) public discussion of health-care reform in the United States: “death panels.” Its power cannot lie in its referential accuracy or be diminished by arguing, even with irrefutable evidence, that it is a misrepresentation. The .. (shrink)
: Catherine Malabou is a professor of philosophy at Paris-Nanterre. A collaborator and student of Jacques Derrida, her work shares some of his interest in rigorous protocols of reading, and a willingness to attend to the undercurrents of over-read and "too familiar" texts. But, as she points out, this orientation was shared by Hegel himself. Arguing against Heidegger, Kojève, and other critics of Hegel, the book in which this Introduction appears puts Hegel back on the map of the present.
It has become standard for feminist philosophers of language to analyze Catherine MacKinnon's claim in terms of speech act theory. Backed by the Austinian observation that speech can do things and the legal claim that pornography is speech, the claim is that the speech acts performed by means of pornography silence women. This turns upon the notion of illocutionary silencing, or disablement. In this paper I observe that the focus by feminist philosophers of language on the failure to achieve (...) uptake for illocutionary acts serves to group together different kinds of illocutionary silencing which function in very different ways. (shrink)
Historical Cognitive Science I am lucky to strike three reviewers who extract so clearly my book's spirit as well as its substance. They all both accept and act on my central methodological assumption; that detailed historical research, and consideration of difficult contemporary questions about cognition and culture, can be mutually illuminating. It's gratifying to find many themes which recur in different contexts throughout _Philosophy and Memory_ _Traces_ so well articulated here. The reviews catch my desires to interweave discussion of cognitive (...) theories of memory with moral questions of psychological control and self-mastery, to evoke the virtues and the pleasures of strange, baroque beliefs about fickle 'animal spirits' coursing through the nerves and the brain, to demonstrate that mechanistic explanation (even in its blunt old Cartesian form) can acknowledge complexity, and to develop scientific conceptions of dynamic memory traces and representations which can survive uncharitable philosophical criticism. The book's insistent interdisciplinarity is just an inchoate quest to acknowledge the daunting variety of the phenomena: remembering is both natural and cultural, and is studied by narrative theorists as well as neurobiologists, by physicists as well as psychologists. By fusing the rangy detail of a history of early modern neurophysiology with the committed, even gullible fervor of a defence of 'new connectionist' cognitive science, I wanted to pull out the carpet from all those who are happy to let 'scientific' and 'cultural' approaches to the mind run along independently. Once this general project is given space, as it is by all three reviewers, we can get down to specifics. (shrink)
A certain pupil with the vaguely Kafkaesque name B has mastered the series of natural numbers. B's new task is to learn how to write down other series of cardinal numbers and right now, we're working on the series "+2." After a bit, B seems to catch on, but we are unusually thorough teachers and keep him at it. Things are going just fine until he reaches 1000. Then, quite confounding us, he writes 1004, 1008, 1012."We say to him: 'Look (...) what you've done!'—He doesn't understand. We say: 'You were meant to add two: look how you began the series!'—He answers: 'Yes, isn't it right? I thought that was how I was meant to do it.'"1B may be an "abnormal learner," but he's not unique among learners in literature. Another .. (shrink)
Recent feminists have critiqued G.W. Leibniz’s Theodicy for its effort to justify God’s role in undeserved human suffering over natural and moral evil. These critiques suggest that theodicies which focus on evil as suffering alone obfuscate how to thematize evil, and so they conclude that theodicies should be rejected and replaced with a secularized notion of evil that is inextricably tied to the experiences of the victim. This paper argues that the political philosophy found in the writings of Catherine (...) Macaulay (1731–1791) can serve as a support to Leibniz’s larger claims and can also offer a more concrete, situated notion of evil that escapes the contemporary feminist critique. Macaulay’s work on natural and moral political evil, especially, will be presented as an early modern precursor to feminism, which defends divine perfection and a pre-established harmony in the face of political evil. I then identify three unique theodicical arguments in Macaulay’s work: the pragmatically beneficial defense, the eschatalogical defense, and the redemptive defense. (shrink)
Bell’s theorem admits several interpretations or ‘solutions’, the standard interpretation being ‘indeterminism’, a next one ‘nonlocality’. In this article two further solutions are investigated, termed here ‘superdeterminism’ and ‘supercorrelation’. The former is especially interesting for philosophical reasons, if only because it is always rejected on the basis of extra-physical arguments. The latter, supercorrelation, will be studied here by investigating model systems that can mimic it, namely spin lattices. It is shown that in these systems the Bell inequality can be violated, (...) even if they are local according to usual definitions. Violation of the Bell inequality is retraced to violation of ‘measurement independence’. These results emphasize the importance of studying the premises of the Bell inequality in realistic systems. (shrink)
Would you want to be operated on by a surgeon trained at a medical school that did not evaluate its students? Would you want to fly in a plane designed by people convinced that the laws of physics are socially constructed? Would you want to be tried by a legal system indifferent to the distinction between fact and fiction? These questions may seem absurd, but there are theories being seriously advanced by radical multiculturalists that force us to ask such questions. (...) These scholars assert that such concepts as truth and merit are inextricably racist and sexist, that reason and objectivity are merely sophisticated masks for ideological bias, and that reality itself is nothing more than socially constructed mechanism for preserving the power of the ruling elite. In Beyond All Reason, liberal legal scholars Daniel A. Farber and Suzanna Sherry mount the first systematic critique of radical multiculturalism as a form of legal scholarship. Beginning with an incisive overview of the origins and basic tenets of radical multiculturalism, the authors critically examine the work of Derrick Bell, Catherine MacKinnon, Patricia Williams, and Richard Delgado, and explore the alarming implications of their theories. Farber and Sherry push these theories to their logical conclusions and show that radical multiculturalism is destructive of the very goals it wishes to affirm. If, for example, the concept of advancement based on merit is fraudulent, as the multiculturalists claim, the disproportionate success of Jews and Asians in our culture becomes difficult to explain without opening the door to age-old anti-Semitic and racist stereotypes. If historical and scientific truths are entirely relative social constructs, then Holocaust denial becomes merely a matter of perspective, and Creationism has as much "validity" as evolution. The authors go on to show that rather than promoting more dialogue, the radical multiculturalist preferences for legal storytelling and identity politics over reasoned argument produces an insular set of positions that resist open debate. Indeed, radical multiculturalists cannot critically examine each others' ideas without incurring vehement accusations of racism and sexism, much less engage in fruitful discussion with a mainstream that does not share their assumptions. Here again, Farber and Sherry show that the end result of such thinking is not freedom but a kind of totalitarianism where dissent cannot be tolerated and only the naked will to power remains to settle differences. Sharply written and brilliantly argued, this book is itself a model of the kind of clarity, civility, and dispassionate critical thinking which the authors seek to preserve from the attacks of the radical multiculturalists. With far-reaching implications for such issues as government control of hate speech and pornography, affirmative action, legal reform, and the fate of all minorities, Beyond All Reason is a provocative contribution to one of the most important controversies of our time. (shrink)
The study examined the question of who should make decisions for a National Health Scheme about the allocation of health resources when the health states of beneficiaries could change because of adaptation. Eight semi-structured small group discussions were conducted. Following focus group theory, interviews commenced with general questions followed by transition questions and ended with a ‘focus’ or ‘key’ question. Participants were presented with several scenarios in which patients adapted to their health states. They were then asked their views about (...) the appropriate role of the public, patients and health professionals in making social judgements of quality of life. After discussion and debate, all groups were asked the key question: ‘In light of adaptation, who should evaluate quality of life for the purpose of setting priorities in the allocation of health care?’ In all groups participants presented strong arguments for and against decision making by patients, the public and health professionals. However, most groups thought a representative body which included a range of perspectives should make the relevant judgements. This is at odds with the recommendations in most national pharmaceutical guidelines. The main conclusion of the paper is that health economists and other researchers should explore the possibility of adopting a deliberative, consensus-based approach to evaluating health-related quality of life when such judgements are to be used to inform priority setting in a public system. (shrink)
In this new introduction to a classic philosophical text, Catherine Wilson examines the arguments of Descartes' famous Meditations, the book which launched modern philosophy. Drawing on the reinterpretations of Descartes' thought of the past twenty-five years, she shows how Descartes constructs a theory of the mind, the body, nature, and God from a premise of radical uncertainty. She discusses in detail the historical context of Descartes' writings and their relationship to early modern science, and at the same time she (...) introduces concepts and problems that define the philosophical enterprise as it is understood today. Following closely the text of the Meditations and meant to be read alongside them, this survey is accessible to readers with no previous background in philosophy. It is well-suited to university-level courses on Descartes, but can also be read with profit by students in other disciplines. (shrink)
This landmark study examines the role played by the rediscovery of the writings of the ancient atomists, Epicurus and Lucretius, in the articulation of the major philosophical systems of the seventeenth century, and, more broadly, their influence on the evolution of natural science and moral and political philosophy. The target of sustained and trenchant philosophical criticism by Cicero, and of opprobrium by the Christian Fathers of the early Church, for its unflinching commitment to the absence of divine supervision and the (...) finitude of life, the Epicurean philosophy surfaced again in the period of the Scientific Revolution, when it displaced scholastic Aristotelianism. Both modern social contract theory and utilitarianism in ethics were grounded in its tenets. Catherine Wilson shows how the distinctive Epicurean image of the natural and social worlds took hold in philosophy, and how it is an acknowledged, and often unacknowledged presence in the writings of Descartes, Gassendi, Hobbes, Boyle, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley. With chapters devoted to Epicurean physics and cosmology, the corpuscularian or "mechanical" philosophy, the question of the mortality of the soul, the grounds of political authority, the contested nature of the experimental philosophy, sensuality, curiosity, and the role of pleasure and utility in ethics, the author makes a persuasive case for the significance of materialism in seventeenth-century philosophy without underestimating the depth and significance of the opposition to it, and for its continued importance in the contemporary world. Lucretius's great poem, On the Nature of Things, supplies the frame of reference for this deeply-researched inquiry into the origins of modern philosophy. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the `Lorentzian Pedagogy' defended by J.S. Bell in his essay ``How to teach special relativity'', and to explore its consistency with Einstein's thinking from 1905 to 1952. Some remarks are also made in this context on Weyl's philosophy of relativity and his 1918 gauge theory. Finally, it is argued that the Lorentzian pedagogy---which stresses the important connection between kinematics and dynamics---clarifies the role of rods and clocks in general relativity.
I compare deterministic and stochastic hidden variable models of the Bell experiment, exphasising philosophical distinctions between the various ways of combining conditionals and probabilities. I make four main claims. (1) Under natural assumptions, locality as it occurs in these models is equivalent to causal independence, as analysed (in the spirit of Lewis) in terms of probabilities and conditionals. (2) Stochastic models are indeed more general than deterministic ones. (3) For factorizable stochastic models, relativity's lack of superluminal causation does not favour (...) locality over completeness. (4) If we prohibit all superluminal causation, then the violation of the Bell inequality teaches us a lesson, besides quantum mechanics' familiar ones that quantities can lack precise values and that pairs of quantities can lack joint probabilities: namely, some pairs of events are not screened off by their common past. (shrink)
Noncontextual hidden variables theories, assigning simultaneous values to all quantum mechanical observables, are inconsistent by theorems of Gleason and others. These theorems do not exclude contextual hidden variables theories, in which a complete state assigns values to physical quantities only relative to contexts. However, any contextual theory obeying a certain factorisability conditions implies one of Bell's Inequalities, thereby precluding complete agreement with quantum mechanical predictions. The present paper distinguishes two kinds of contextual theories, ‘algebraic’ and ‘environmental’, and investigates when factorisability (...) is reasonable. Some statements by Fine about the philosophical significance of Bell's Inequalities are then assessed. (shrink)
Discussion of J. Kevin O’Regan’s “Why Red Doesn’t Sound Like a Bell: Understanding the Feel of Consciousness” Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-20 DOI 10.1007/s13164-012-0090-7 Authors J. Kevin O’Regan, Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, CNRS - Université Paris Descartes, Centre Biomédical des Saints Pères, 45 rue des Sts Pères, 75270 Paris cedex 06, France Ned Block, Departments of Philosophy, Psychology and Center for Neural Science, New York University, 5 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, USA Journal Review of Philosophy and (...) Psychology Online ISSN 1878-5166 Print ISSN 1878-5158. (shrink)
Einstein's "spookiness" is now called nonlocality, the mysterious ability of Nature to enforce correlations between separated but entangled parts of a quantum system that are out of speed-of-light contact, to reach faster-than-light across vast spatial distances or even across time itself to ensure that the parts of a quantum system are made to match. This column is about nonlocality, and how, through Bell's theorem, the nonlocality implicit in nature has been demonstrated in the laboratory.
What is the appropriate legal response to terrorist threats? This question is discussed by politician Tony McWalter, The Philosophers' Magazine editor Julian Baggini, and philosophers Catherine Audard, Saladin Meckled-Garcia, and Alex Voorhoeve.
A variation of Bell's theorem that deals with the indeterministic case is formulated and proved within the logical framework of Lewis's theory of counterfactuals. The no-faster-than-light-influence condition is expressed in terms of Lewis would counterfactual conditionals. Objections to this procedure raised by certain philosophers of science are examined and answered. The theorem shows that the incompatibility between the predictions of quantum theory and the idea of no faster-than-light influence cannot be ascribed to any auxiliary or tacit assumption of either determinism (...) or the related idea that outcomes of unperformed measurements are determinate within nature. In addition, the theorem provides an example of an application of Lewis's theory of counterfactuals in a rigorous scientific context. (shrink)
Herr Royce ist doch ein bedeutender Denker und darf nur als solcher behandelt werden.("Royce is an important thinker, and may only be treated as such.")Scholars of pragmatism and of phenomenology have observed striking similarities between Josiah Royce and Edmund Husserl, foundational thinkers at the origins of two major philosophical movements whose effects are still strongly felt in the present day—Royce being considered a central founder of American pragmatic idealism, and Husserl of modern German phenomenology. Other scholars have noted striking similarities (...) between Royce's thought and that of the broader circle of phenomenology.2Can we discover in these relations definitive historical influences, rather than .. (shrink)