Pogge’s writings on international distributive justice, some of them now collected in ‘World Poverty and Human Rights’ (2002),1 exhibit a masterly interplay of moral argumentation and empirical data. In this contribution, I cannot do justice to both and will therefore focus on Pogge’s moral arguments, the origins of which are to be found in the legal philosophies of Kant and Rawls. Contrary to these philosophers, however, Pogge does argue in favor of an institutionalized global order. That is, he argues, what (...) justice demands. On this point, he sharply differs from his predecessors. Although Rawls criticizes Kant because of his adherence to a ‘comprehensive’, metaphysical viewpoint, he follows Kant in distinguishing between several layers of justice, especially between justice on the domestic, national level and justice on the international, global scale (adding local justice as a third layer). In comparison with both Kant’s and Rawls’s views, Pogge pleads for a revolutionary transformation of the ‘law of peoples’, in which the ‘statist’ approach is rejected altogether and a much more utopian stance is adopted. Here, I intend to bring the main arguments together: Kant’s and Rawls’s pleas for international justice on the one hand and Pogge’s arguments for global justice on the other. By doing so, I hope to contribute to answering the question whether Pogge’s views represent an unjustifiable ‘moral doctrine’, unfit for the highly complex international society of societies or an utopian view in need of being endorsed by many. This then sets my agenda: I will first briefly summarize Kant’s and Rawls’s arguments in favor of a layered structure of ‘international’ justice. Second, I will briefly summarize Pogge’s arguments in favor of ‘global’ justice. The contrast between those views will then enable me to raise the most difficult question: if the requirement of global justice is true in theory, why is it so difficult to apply it in practice? Do these difficulties point at the nature of morality itself.. (shrink)
In this article the author submits as thesis that Habermas's concept of communicative action results from an uncritical appropriation of the concept ‘speech act’. For this purpose, firstly the origin of Habermas's idea of a ‘power-free communication’ in his discussion with Gadamer will be considered. The legitimacy of such a concept of language is — following Habermas — adequately shown most of all by Searle. Secondly therefore, Searle's theory of the speech act will be taken in consideration. Indeed, Searle places (...) the speech act at the heart of any adequate study of the language: in the speech act a trouble-free semantic transport takes place. But, as the author claims, two very disputable presuppositions lie at the root of the concept of ‘speech act’. These are: on the one hand the distinction between illocution and perlocution and on the other hand the principle of expressibility. With reference to Grice and Derrida the disputability of these presuppositions is shown. However, Searle uses these principles mainly in a methodological sense in order to constitute the object of ‘speech act’. Finally, Habermas's ontological use of these principles in his theory of communicative action is shown. If one, however, does not accept these — and this article finds that there are good reasons for not doing so —, the crucial distinction between communicative and strategic action breaks down. (shrink)
In 1588 the Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno wrote a treatise against the mathematicians and philosophers of his time (Articuli centum et sexaginta adversus huius tempestatis mathematicos atque philosophos), which he dedicated to the emperor Rudolph II. The ‘oddities’ thus presented to the emperor, as an alternative to sixteenth-century mathematics, have been studied from both a mathematical and a philosophical point of view. In addition to the philosophical approach, this article indicates analogies between the Nolan’s geometry and his art of memory. (...) Bearing in mind that Bruno was a teacher in the ars memoriae, the manner in which mnemonic aspects are woven into his mathematical thinking is brought out. (shrink)
(June 2013) “The mind-body problem in cognitive neuroscience”, Philosophia Scientiae 17/2, Gabriel Vacariu and Mihai Vacariu (eds.): 1. William Bechtel (Philosophy, Center for Chronobiology, and Interdisciplinary Program in Cognitive Science University of California, San Diego) “The endogenously active brain: the need for an alternative cognitive architecture” 2. Rolls T. Edmund (Oxford Centre for Computational Neuroscience, Oxford, UK) “On the relation between the mind and the brain: a neuroscience perspective” 3. Cees van Leeuwen (University of Leuven, Belgium; Riken Brain Science (...) Institute, Japan) “Brain and mind” 4. Kari Theurer (Trinity College) and John Bickle (Philosophy, Mississippi State University) “What’s old is new again: Kemeny-Oppenheim reduction at work in current molecular neuroscience” 5. Bernard Andrieu (Staps Université de Lorraine) “Sentir son cerveau? Les dispositifs neuro-expérientiels en 1er personne” 6. Corey Maley and Gualtiero Piccinini (Philosophy, University of Missouri – St. Louis) “Get the latest upgrade: Functionalism 6.3.1” 7. Paula Droege (Philosophy, Pennsylvania State University) “Memory and consciousness” 8. Gabriel Vacariu and Mihai Vacariu (Philosophy, University of Bucharest) “Troubles with cognitive neuroscience”. (shrink)
This article reviews the Dutch societal debate on euthanasia/assisted suicide in dementia cases, specifically Alzheimer's disease. It discusses the ethical and practical dilemmas created by euthanasia requests in advance directives and the related inconsistencies in the Dutch legal regulations regarding euthanasia/assisted suicide. After an initial focus on euthanasia in advanced dementia, the actual debate concentrates on making euthanasia/assisted suicide possible in the very early stages of dementia. A review of the few known cases of assisted suicide of people with so-called (...) early dementia raises the question why requests for euthanasia/assisted suicide from patients in the early stage of (late onset) Alzheimer's disease are virtually non-existent. In response to this question two explanations are offered. It is concluded that, in addition to a moral discussion on the limits of anticipatory choices, there is an urgent need to develop research into the patient's perspective with regard to medical treatment and care-giving in dementia, including end-of-life care. (shrink)
Recent events indicate that creationists are becoming increasingly active in the Netherlands. This article offers an overview of these events. First, I discuss the introduction of intelligent-design (ID) creationism into the Dutch public sphere by a renowned physicist, Cees Dekker. Later, Dekker himself shifted toward a more evolution-friendly position, theistic evolution. Second, we see how Dekker was followed in this shift by Andries Knevel, an important figure within the Dutch evangelical broadcasting group, the Evangelische Omroep (EO). His conversion to (...) ID, and subsequently to theistic evolution, brought him into conflict with young-Earth creationists who still strongly identify themselves with the EO. Third, provoked by the dissidence of prominent orthodox believers and the celebrations surrounding the Darwin year, young-Earth creationists became very visible. After three decades of relative silence, they started a project to make sure that the Dutch people would hear of the “alternatives” to evolutionary theory. This article (1) adds to the growing number of reports on creationists' increased activity in Europe and (2) suggests that ID, in a context different from the United States, did not unite but rather divided the Dutch orthodox Protestant community. (shrink)
Perceptual experience can be explained by contextualized brain dynamics. An inner loop of ongoing activity within the brain produces dynamic patterns of synchronization and de- synchronization that are necessary, but not sufficient, for visual experience. This inner loop is controlled by evolution, development, socialization, learning, task and perception- action contingencies, which constitute an outer loop. This outer loop is sufficient, but not necessary, for visual experience. Jointly, the inner and outer loop may offer sufficient and necessary conditions for the emergence (...) of visual experience. This hypothesis has methodological, empirical, theoretical, and philosophical implications. (shrink)
The ecological realist concept of information as environmental specification is discussed. It is argued that affordances in ecological realism could, in principle, rest on a notion of partial specification of environmental circumstances. For this aim, a notion of Gestalt quality as a hierarchical structure of affordances would have to be adopted. It is claimed that such an account could provide a promising way to deal with problems of intentionality in perception and action, awareness and problem solving.
The results of an empirical study intoperceptions of the treatment of farm animals inthe Netherlands are presented. A qualitativeapproach, based on in-depth interviews withmeat livestock farmers and consumers was chosenin order to assess motivations behindperceptions and to gain insight into the waypeople deal with possible discrepancies betweentheir perceptions and their daily practices.Perceptions are analyzed with the help of aframe of reference, which consists ofvalues, norms, convictions, interests, andknowledge.The perceptions of the interviewed farmersare quite consistent and without exceptionpositive: according to them, (...) nothing is wrongwith animal welfare in livestock breeding. Theperceptions of the consumers we interviewed aremore divergent, but generally negative. Bothgroups show ambivalence as a result ofdiscrepancies between perceptions and behavior.Although the consumers share the impressionthat the living conditions of livestock animalsare far from optimal, most of them still buyand eat meat from the meat industry. Thefarmers believe the welfare of their animals isgood, but, as frequent defensive utterancesshow, they feel uncomfortable with expressed orunexpressed accusations of mistreating animals.The ways the respondents deal with thisambivalence were analysed by drawing ontheories of dissonance reduction and distancing devices. (shrink)
This paper investigates under what conditions a good corporate social responsibility (CSR) can compensate for a relatively poor corporate ability (CA) (quality), and vice versa. The authors conducted an experiment among business administration students, in which information about a financial services company’s CA and CSR was provided. Participants indicated their preferences for the company’s products, stocks, and jobs. The results show that for stock and job preferences, a poor CA can be compensated by a good CSR. For product preferences, a (...) poor CA could not be compensated by a good CSR, at least when people thought that CA is personally relevant to them. Furthermore, a poor CSR could be compensated by a good CA for product, stocks, and job preferences. (shrink)
Tsuda's article suggests several plausible concepts of neurodynamic representation and processing, with a thoughtful discussion of their neurobiological grounding and formal properties. However, Tsuda's theory leads to a holistic view of brain functions and to the controversial conclusion that the “binding problem” is a pseudo-problem. By contrast, we stress the role of chaotic patterns in solving the binding problem, in terms of flexible temporal coding of visual scenes through graded and intermittent synchrony.
Mechanistic explanation is the dominant approach to explanation in the life sciences, but it has been challenged as incompatible with a conception of humans as agents whose capacity for self-direction endows them with freedom and dignity. We argue that the mechanical philosophy, properly construed, has sufficient resources to explain how such characteristics can arise in a material world. Biological mechanisms must be regarded as active, not only reactive, and as organized so as to maintain themselves far from thermodynamic equilibrium. Notions (...) from systems biology make key contributions, particularly Gánti’s chemoton, Ruiz-Mirazo and Moreno’s basic autonomy, and Barandiaran and Moreno’s adaptive autonomous agents. The reconstrual is then extended to mental life by conceiving of cognitive mechanisms as control components in inherently active systems, as illustrated in models offered by Randall Beer and Cees van Leeuwen. (shrink)