This thesis explores, thematically and chronologically, the substantial concordance between the work of Martin Heidegger and T.S. Eliot. The introduction traces Eliot's ideas of the 'objective correlative' and 'situatedness' to a familiarity with German Idealism. Heidegger shared this familiarity, suggesting a reason for the similarity of their thought. Chapter one explores the 'authenticity' developed in Being and Time, as well as associated themes like temporality, the 'they' (Das Man), inauthenticity, idle talk and angst, and applies them to interpreting Eliot's poem, (...) 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock'. Both texts depict a bleak Modernist view of the early twentieth-century Western human condition, characterized as a dispiriting nihilism and homelessness. Chapter two traces the chronological development of Ereignis in Heidegger's thinking, showing the term's two discernible but related meanings: first our nature as the 'site of the open' where Being can manifest, and second individual 'Events' of 'appropriation and revelation'. The world is always happening as 'event', but only through our appropriation by the Ereignis event can we become aware of this. Heidegger finds poetry, the essential example of language as the 'house of Being', to be the purest manifestation of Ereignis, taking as his examples Hölderlin and Rilke. A detailed analysis of Eliot's late work Four Quartets reveals how Ereignis, both as an ineluctable and an epiphanic condition of human existence, is central to his poetry, confirming, in Heidegger's words, 'what poets are for in a destitute time', namely to re-found and restore the wonder of the world and existence itself. This restoration results from what Eliot calls 'raid[s] on the inarticulate', the poet's continual striving to enact that openness to Being through which human language and the human world continually come to be. The final chapter shows how both Eliot and Heidegger value a genuine relationship with place as enabling human flourishing. Both distrust technological materialism, which destroys our sense of the world as dwelling place, and both are essentially committed to a genuinely authentic life, not the angstful authenticity of Being and Time, but a richer belonging which affirms our relationship with the earth, each other and our gods. (shrink)
This dissertation addresses the ontological significance of poetry in the thought of Martin Heidegger. It gives an account of both his earlier and later thinking. The central argument of the dissertation is that poetry, as conceptualised by Heidegger, is beneficial and necessary for the living of an authentic life. The poetry of T. S Eliot features as a sustaining voice throughout the dissertation to validate Heidegger's ideas and also to demonstrate some interesting similarities in their ideas. Chapter one demonstrates how (...) effectively certain concepts from Heidegger's 'Being and Time' can be applied in an analysis of T.S. Eliots celebrated poem 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock'. The reading involves concepts such as angst, authenticity, inauthenticity, the they and idle talk as they appear in 'Being and Time' and then relates these to aspects of T.S Eliot's poem. Chapter two is an exegesis of Heideggers essay 'The Origin of the Work of Art' in order to understand the meaning of poetry as he describes it. The essay centres on the interpretation of a painting by Vincent van Gogh, and what the experience of the painting reveals to someone authentically engaging with the artwork. Heidegger attempts to establish what the essence of a thing is (the artwork as thing), for the 'origin' of the artwork resides in its 'thingliness'. He creates an important distinction between equipment and the artwork, as well as earth and the world in order to justify the unique, originary position that the artwork occupies. This leads Heidegger to create a new understanding of poetry (which is expanded to encompass all art forms) and to emphasise the importance of the human agent in both the creation and preservation of the artwork. Chapter three is an exploration of language in both the Heidegger of 'Being and Time' and the later Heidegger's thought. The aim is to explore the ontological effect that Heidegger's conception of language has for our existence. He places language within a primordial role arguing that it is not us who speak language, but language that speaks us. This conception has important consequences for our relationship with Being, and the way in which we understand our existence. The final chapter unifies the various themes of the dissertation into a cohesive argument. The chapter begins with a discussion on the meaning of our existence following the later Heidegger. This is nothing less than the guardianship of Being which can only be understood in its relation to our dwelling within the fourfold. In conclusion it is through the measure of the language of poetry that we can realise the possibility of authentic dwelling. (shrink)
In Heidegger’s Being and Time certain concepts are discussed which are central to the ontological constitution of Dasein. This paper demonstrates the interesting manner in which some of these concepts can be used in a reading of T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. A comparative analysis is performed, explicating the relevant Heideggerian terms and then relating them to Eliot’s poem. In this way strong parallels are revealed between the two men’s respective thoughts and distinct modernist sensibilities. Prufrock, (...) the protagonist of the poem, and the world he inhabits illustrate poetically concepts such as authenticity, inauthenticity, the ‘they’, idle talk and angst, which Heidegger develops in Being and Time. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to read Martin Heidegger’s later philosophy in terms of the assertion that themes such as the fourfold (das Geviert) and poetic dwelling could be interpreted as mythical elements within his writing. Heidegger’s later thought is often construed as challenging and difficult due to its quasi-mystical nature. However, this paper aims to illustrate that if one approaches his later thought from the perspective of myth, a different dimension of Heidegger’s thinking is revealed which is perhaps (...) more tenable than attempting to address his later thought purely from a philosophical position. In brief, Heidegger’s concept of the fourfold involves the following entities: mortals, divinities, the sky and the earth. His argument is that for mortals to dwell poetically (implying the living of a meaningful, holistic life) they must recognise and assume the guardianship of Being (which is inclusive of all the elements of the fourfold). Heidegger argues that our guardianship of Being will be a natural extension of our existence, once we realise the holiness or sacred nature of Being as such. Thus, the concept of the fourfold represents the possibility of existing in a harmonious, caring (or saving), relationship with Being. However, following Heidegger this holistic (and, arguably mythical) depiction of our existence is extremely unlikely due to the rampant nature of technological enframing (Gestell) that dictates the use of human and natural resources. Conceptually though, if this holistic depiction is approached taking into account Ricoeur’s argument regarding myth then it becomes tenable. Ricoeur writes that myth has a symbolic function in terms of its power of discovery and revelation and this implies that myth has a projected horizon. This horizon, Ricoeur writes, is a ‘disclosure of unprecedented worlds, an opening on to other possible worlds which transcend the established limits of our actual world’ (1997: 8). Thus, applying these characterisations of myth to elements of Heidegger’s later philosophy will reveal a justifiable and coherent interpretation of his concept of the fourfold from a mythical perspective. Such a reading demonstrates the centrality of the fourfold in Heidegger’s later thought, which more strictly philosophical approaches may undervalue. In closing this paper suggests the usefulness of a mythological approach to the later Heidegger, and demonstrates the continued vitality of myth, as a profoundly human paradigm which, as Heidegger recognised, can simultaneously complement and transcend our more restricted rational endeavours. (shrink)
This paper explores the incongruence between white South Africans’ pre- and post-apartheid experiences of home and identity, of which a wave of emigration is arguably a result. Among the commonest reasons given for emigrating are crime and affirmative action; however, this paper uncovers a deeper motivation for emigration using Charles Taylor’s concept of the social imaginary and Martin Heidegger’s concept of dwelling. The skewed social imaginary maintained by apartheid created an unrealistic sense of dwelling for most white South Africans. After (...) 1994, the conditions supporting this imaginary disintegrated. Many white South Africans feel so strong a sense of unease they can no longer dwell in the country. Many try to escape through emigration, but carry unresolved questions of identity and belonging to their new “homes.”. (shrink)
T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets is foremost a meditation on the significance of place. Each quartet is named for a place which holds importance for Eliot, either because of historical or personal memory. I argue that this importance is grounded in an ontological topology, by which I mean that the poem explores the fate of the individual and his/her heritage as inextricably bound up with the notion of place. This sense of place extends beyond the borders of a single life to (...) encompass the remembered past and the unknown future. How this broader narrative of the passing and enduring of human existence can be better understood is a primary concern of the work of Martin Heidegger, in whose Being and Time the historical, situated context of an individual within a community is an important theme. Even more important is his later work in which this theme is extended to include place and dwelling. Dwelling is a particularly rich and poetic idea, weaving the narratological, topological and temporal aspects of human existence together, offering a challenge to modern technology thinking. This paper explores Heidegger’s thoughts on the topology of Being within the context of a poem which, I contend, is also telling the story of human situatedness, and attempting to understand what it means to truly dwell. (shrink)
No one is quite sure what happened to T.S. Eliot in that rose-garden. What we do know is that it formed the basis for Four Quartets, arguably the greatest English poem written in the twentieth century. Luckily it turns out that Martin Heidegger, when not pondering the meaning of being, spent a great deal of time thinking and writing about the kind of event that Eliot experienced. This essay explores how Heidegger developed the concept of Ereignis, “event” which, in the (...) context of Eliot’s poetry, helps us understand an encounter with the “heart of light” a little better. (shrink)
Martin Heidegger defines the world as ‘the ever non-objective to which we are subject as long as the paths of birth and death . . . keep us transported into Being’. He writes that the world is ‘not the mere collection of the countable or uncountable, familiar and unfamiliar things that are at hand . . . The world worlds’. Being able to fully and richly express how the world worlds is the task of the artist, whose artwork is the (...) crystallization of this ‘worlding’. For Heidegger it is especially the poet who is attuned to this ‘worlding’, for the poet’s work is focussed on and happens within language itself. The poet is a ‘world-maker’, but this ‘worlding’ is not directed at creating a fictional world; rather it is aimed at revealing the world itself, drawing to the foreground the ‘ever non-objective’ nature of the world, the world happening and unfolding through and with us. This paper, using T.S. Eliot’s poetry, particularly Four Quartets as an example, will delve into how the language of the poet is able to articulate this seemingly invisible boundary between the everyday world and that same world revealed as a mysterious potential that ‘worlds’. The ‘religious imagination’ is central in how this transformation of reality, through poetic language, can manifest. Paul Ricoeur’s work on the poetic and religious dimensions of imagination, particularly the notion of ‘hope’ provides the theoretical underpinnings to explain this transformation. (shrink)
The Narrow Evolutionary Psychology Movement represents itself as a major reorientation of the social/behavioral sciences, a group of sciences previously dominated by something called the ‘Standard Social Science Model’ (SSSM; Cosmides, Tooby, and Barkow, 1992). Narrow Evolutionary Psychology alleges that the SSSM treated the mind, and particularly those aspects of the mind that exhibit cultural variation, as devoid of any marks of its evolutionary history. Adherents of Narrow Evolutionary Psychology often suggest that the SSSM owed more to ideology than to (...) evidence. It was the child of the 1960s, representing a politically motivated insistence on the possibility of changing social arrangements such as gender roles:
‘Not so long ago jealousy was considered a pointless, archaic institution in need of reform. But like other denials of human nature from the 1960s, this bromide has not aged well.’ (Stephen Pinker, endorsement for Buss, 2000))
This view of history does not ring true to those, like the authors, who have worked in traditions of evolutionary theorizing about the mind that have a continuous history through the 1960s and beyond: traditions such as evolutionary epistemology (Stotz, 1996; Callebaut and Stotz, 1998) and psychoevolutionary research into emotion (Griffiths. (shrink)
The Narrow Evolutionary Psychology Movement represents itself as a major reorientation of the social/behavioral sciences, a group of sciences previously dominated by something called the ‘Standard Social Science Model’ (SSSM; Cosmides, Tooby, and Barkow, 1992). Narrow Evolutionary Psychology alleges that the SSSM treated the mind, and particularly those aspects of the mind that exhibit cultural variation, as devoid of any marks of its evolutionary history. Adherents of Narrow Evolutionary Psychology often suggest that the SSSM owed more to ideology than to (...) evidence. It was the child of the 1960s, representing a politically motivated insistence on the possibility of changing social arrangements such as gender roles: ‘Not so long ago jealousy was considered a pointless, archaic institution in need of reform. But like other denials of human nature from the 1960s, this bromide has not aged well.’ (Stephen Pinker, endorsement for Buss, 2000)) This view of history does not ring true to those, like the authors, who have worked in traditions of evolutionary theorizing about the mind that have a continuous history through the 1960s and beyond: traditions such as evolutionary epistemology (Stotz, 1996; Callebaut and Stotz, 1998) and psychoevolutionary research into emotion (Griffiths. (shrink)
A good philosophical understanding of ecology is important for a number of reasons. First, ecology is an important and fascinating branch of biology, with distinctive philosophical issues. Second, ecology is only one small step away from urgent political, ethical, and management decisions about how best to live in an apparently fragile and increasingly-degraded environment. Third, philosophy of ecology, properly conceived, can contribute directly to both our understanding of ecology and help with its advancement. Philosophy of ecology can thus be seen (...) as part of the emerging discipline of “biohumanities”, where biology and humanities disciplines together advance our understanding and knowledge of biology (Stotz and Griffiths 2008). In this paper, we focus primarily on this third role of the philosophy of ecology and consider a number of places where philosophy can play an important role in ecology. In the process, we survey some of the current research being done in philosophy of ecology, as well as make suggestions about the agenda for future research in this area. We also hope to help clarify what philosophy of ecology is and what it should aspire to be. In what follows, we discuss several topics in the philosophy of ecology and conservation biology, starting with the role and understanding of mathematical models. This is followed by a discussion of a couple of practical problems involving the standard model of hypothesis testing and the use of decision-theoretic methods in environmental science. We then move on to discuss the issue of how we should understand biodiversity, and why this matters for conservation management. Finally, we look at environmental ethics and its relationship with ecology and conservation biology. These four topics were chosen because they are all of contemporary interest in philosophy of ecology circles and are ones where there is much fruitful work still to be done. The topics in question are also useful vehicles for highlighting the variety of issues in ecology and conservation biology where philosophy might prove useful.. (shrink)
Mark Colyvan (University of Sydney)∗ Stefan Linquist (University of Queensland) William Grey (University of Queensland) Paul E. Griffiths (University of Sydney) Jay Odenbaugh (Lewis and Clark College).
In this article Morwenna Griffiths argues that teacher education policies should be predicated on a proper and full understanding of pedagogical relations as contingent, responsive, and adaptive over the course of a career. Griffiths uses the example of the recent report on teacher education in Scotland, by Graham Donaldson, to argue that for all the report's considerable merits, it remains deficient because it does not attend to the complexity and contingency of pedagogical relations. The complexity arises from the (...) existence of (at least) four analytically distinguishable pedagogical relations, each of which interacts with the others. These relations are contingent on the embodiment of teacher and students and on the political and sociocultural context of the class. Therefore they are also contingent on time, as teachers age and as the political and sociocultural context changes. Griffiths concludes the article with suggestions for creating a teaching profession in which teachers are reflectively and critically adaptive during the course of their careers. (shrink)
Ludwig Wittgenstein suggests that ?A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes?. The idea for this dialogue comes from a conversation that Michael Peters and Morwenna Griffiths had at the Philosophy of Education of Great Britain annual meeting at the University of Oxford, 2011. It was sparked by an account of an assessment of a piece of work where one of the external examiners unexpectedly exclaimed ?I knew Jean-Paul Sartre?, trying to trump the discussion. (...) This conversation is a dialogue about comedy and humor as a basis for philosophy, education and pedagogy that provides an introduction to recent works and a context for ongoing research. The concluding section provides further reflection on some of the main themes, drawing attention to the significance of humor in dialogues within philosophy and education, and suggesting that it has a particular role in resisting managerialism at all levels of educational institutions. (shrink)
The past decade has seen intensified calls for the reform of democratic political institutions in Canada, on the grounds that there is a “democracy deficit” at the level of federal politics. Some commentators have even begun to describe the country as a “banana republic,” or a “friendly dictatorship.”1 Yet any attempt to assess the state of democracy in Canada must naturally presuppose some theory of what democracy is – how to identify it, and how to tell whether it is performing (...) well or not. Unfortunately, there is no widely accepted theoretical account of what makes democracies democratic – or more specifically, there is no account of precisely how democratic institutions serve to confer legitimacy upon the power of the state. Public debate in Canada over the “democracy deficit” has been implicitly dominated by the populist tradition, which identifies democracy with the practice of voting. Thus most of the proposals for correcting the democracy deficit involve having more people vote on more issues, more often. Yet democratic societies function through a complex set of institutions and practices, which include but are not limited to the practice of voting. Democratic societies are also characterized by the rule of law, the protection of individual rights and liberties, the freedom of assembly and debate, a free press, competitive political parties, consultative and deliberative exercises, and a wide variety of representative institutions. If any of these elements were absent, we would hesitate to say that the society was fully democratic. (shrink)
Although cognitive psychology is still dominated by computational theories, there is an emerging emphasis on dynamical aspects of cognition. Examples are provided supporting the increased use of dynamically inspired models by psychologists. Despite measurement and model verification problems in the direct use of dynamical system theoretic technology, van Gelder's general approach to cognition is recommended.
In behavioral ecology some authors regard the innateness concept as irretrievably confused whilst others take it to refer to adaptations. In cognitive psychology, however, whether traits are 'innate' is regarded as a significant question and is often the subject of heated debate. Several philosophers have tried to define innateness with the intention of making sense of its use in cognitive psychology. In contrast, I argue that the concept is irretrievably confused. The vernacular innateness concept represents a key aspect of 'folkbiology', (...) namely, the explanatory strategy that psychologists and cognitive anthropologists have labeled 'folk essentialism'. Folk essentialism is inimical to Darwinism, and both Darwin and the founders of the modern synthesis struggled to overcome this way of thinking about living systems. Because the vernacular concept of innateness is part of folkbiology, attempts to define it more adequately are unlikely to succeed, making it preferable to introduce new, neutral terms for the various, related notions that are needed to understand cognitive development. (shrink)
In earlier work I have claimed that emotion and some emotions are not `natural kinds'. Here I clarify what I mean by `natural kind', suggest a new and more accurate term, and discuss the objection that emotion and emotions are not descriptive categories at all, but fundamentally normative categories.
The proposal that the concept of innateness expresses a 'folk biological' theory of the 'inner natures' of organisms was tested by examining the response of biologically naive participants to a series of realistic scenarios concerning the development of birdsong. Our results explain the intuitive appeal of existing philosophical analyses of the innateness concept. They simultaneously explain why these analyses are subject to compelling counterexamples. We argue that this explanation undermines the appeal of these analyses, whether understood as analyses of the (...) vernacular concept or as explications of that concept for the purposes of science. (shrink)
The current state of knowledge in psychology, cognitive neuroscience and behavioral ecology allows a fairly robust characterization of at least some, so-called ‘basic emotions’ - short-lived emotional responses with homologues in other vertebrates. Philosophers, however are understandably more focused on the complex emotion episodes that figure in folk-psychological narratives about mental life, episodes such as the evolving jealousy and anger of a person in an unraveling sexual relationship. One of the most pressing issues for the philosophy of emotion is the (...) relationship between basic emotions and these complex emotion episodes. In this paper, I add to the list of existing, not necessarily incompatible, proposals concerning the relationship between basic emotions and complex emotions. I analyze the writings of ‘transactional’ psychologists of emotion, particularly those who see their work as a contribution to behavioral ecology, and offer a view of the basic emotion that focuses as much on their interpersonal functions as on their intrapersonal functions. Locating basic emotions and their evolutionary development in a context of processes of social interaction, I suggest, provides a way to integrate our knowledge of basic emotions into an understanding of the larger emotional episodes that have more obvious implications for philosophical disciplines such as moral psychology. (shrink)
The current state of knowledge in psychology, cognitive neuroscience and behavioral ecology allows a fairly robust characterization of at least some, so-called ?basic emotions? - short-lived emotional responses with homologues in other vertebrates. Philosophers, however are understandably more focused on the complex emotion episodes that figure in folk-psychological narratives about mental life, episodes such as the evolving jealousy and anger of a person in an unraveling sexual relationship. One of the most pressing issues for the philosophy of emotion is the (...) relationship between basic emotions and these complex emotion episodes. In this paper, I add to the list of existing, not necessarily incompatible, proposals concerning the relationship between basic emotions and complex emotions. I analyze the writings of ?transactional? psychologists of emotion, particularly those who see their work as a contribution to behavioral ecology, and offer a view of the basic emotion that focuses as much on their interpersonal functions as on their intrapersonal functions. Locating basic emotions and their evolutionary development in a context of processes of social interaction, I suggest, provides a way to integrate our knowledge of basic emotions into an understanding of the larger emotional episodes that have more obvious implications for philosophical disciplines such as moral psychology. (shrink)
In _What Emotions Really Are: The problem of psychological categories_ I argued that it is unlikely that all the psychological states and processes that fall under the vernacular category of emotion are sufficiently similar to one another to allow a unified scientific psychology of the emotions. In this paper I restate what I mean by ?natural kind? and my argument for supposing that emotion is not a natural kind in this specific sense. In the following sections I discuss the two (...) most promising proposals to reunify the emotion category: the revival of the Jamesian theory of emotion associated with the writings of Antonio Damasio and a philosophical approach to the content of emotional representations that draws on ?multi-level appraisal theory? in psychology. (shrink)
_The emerging discipline of evolutionary developmental biology has opened up many new _ _lines of investigation into morphological evolution. Here I explore how two of the core _ _theoretical concepts in ‘evo-devo’ – modularity and homology – apply to evolutionary _ _psychology. I distinguish three sorts of module - developmental, functional and mental _ _modules and argue that mental modules need only be ‘virtual’ functional modules. _ _Evolutionary psychologists have argued that separate mental modules are solutions to _ _separate evolutionary (...) problems. I argue that the structure of developmental modules in _ _an organism helps determine what counts as a separate evolutionary problem for that _ _organism. I suggest that homology as an organizing principle for research in _ _evolutionary psychology, has been severely neglected in favor of analogy (adaptive _ _function). I consider some arguments suggesting that determining homology is less _ _epistemically demanding than determining adaptive function and argue that _ _psychological categories defined by homology are, in fact, more suitable objects of _ _psychological - and particularly neuropsychological - investigation than categories _ _defined by analogy. _. (shrink)
The type of cognitive theory of emotion traditionally espoused by philosophers of mind makes two central claims. First, that the occurrence of propositional attitudes is essential to the occurrence of emotions. Second, that the identity of a particular emotional state depends upon the propositional attitudes that it involves. In this paper I try to show that there is little hope of developing a theory of emotion which makes these claims true. I examine the underlying defects of the programme, and show (...) that several recent variants fail to repair these defects. Furthermore, even if such a theory could be developed, it would not achieve many of the things that we look to a theory of emotion for. I argue that philosophers should turn their attention to new and more promising approaches. These have been developed by various of the special sciences, while philosophy has remained enthralled by traditional, propositional attitude psychology. (shrink)
The `developmental systems'' perspective in biology is intended to replace the idea of a genetic program. This new perspective is strongly convergent with recent work in psychology on situated/embodied cognition and on the role of external `scaffolding'' in cognitive development. Cognitive processes, including those which can be explained in evolutionary terms, are not `inherited'' or produced in accordance with an inherited program. Instead, they are constructed in each generation through the interaction of a range of developmental resources. The attractors which (...) emerge during development and explain robust and/or widespread outcomes are themselves constructed during the process. At no stage is there an explanatory stopping point where some resources control or program the rest of the developmental cascade. `Human nature'' is a description of how things generally turn out, not an explanation of why they turn out that way. Finally, we suggest that what is distinctive about human development is its degree of reliance on external scaffolding. (shrink)
The aim of appraisal theory in the psychology of emotion is to identify the features of the emotion-eliciting situation that lead to the production of one emotion rather than another2. A model of emotional appraisal takes the form of a set of dimensions against which potentially emotion-eliciting situations are assessed. The dimensions of the emotion hyperspace might include, for example, whether the eliciting situation fulfills or frustrates the subject’s goals or whether an actor in the eliciting situation has violated a (...) norm. Richard Lazarus’s well-known model of emotional appraisal has six dimensions, and the regions of the resulting hyperspace that correspond to particular emotions are summarized by Lazarus as the ‘core relational themes’ of those emotions. Anger, for examples, is elicited by the core relational theme ‘a demeaning offence against me and mine’, sadness by ‘having experienced an irrevocable loss’ and guilt by ‘having transgressed a moral imperative’ (Lazarus, 1991). (shrink)
It is unreasonable to assume that our pre-scientific emotion vocabulary embodies all and only those distinctions required for a scientific psychology of emotion. The psychoevolutionary approach to emotion yields an alternative classification of certain emotion phenomena. The new categories are based on a set of evolved adaptive responses, or affect-programs, which are found in all cultures. The triggering of these responses involves a modular system of stimulus appraisal, whose evoluations may conflict with those of higher-level cognitive processes. Whilst the structure (...) of the adaptive responses is innate, the contents of the system which triggers them are largely learnt. The circuits subserving the adaptive responses are probably located in the limbic system. This theory of emotion is directly applicable only to a small sub-domain of the traditional realm of emotion. It can be used, however, to explain the grouping of various other phenomena under the heading of emotion, and to explain various characteristic failings of the pre-scientific conception of emotion. (shrink)
It has been suggested that moods are higher order-dispositions. This proposal is considered, and various shortcomings uncovered. The notion of a higher-order disposition is replaced by the more general notion of a higher-order functional state. An account is given in which moods are higher-order functional states, and the overall system of moods is a higher-order functional description of the mind. This proposal is defended in two ways. First, it is shown to capture some central features of our pre-scientific conception of (...) moods. Secondly, it is argued that the account is more likely to be psychologically realistic (in a sense to be defined) than accounts which are behaviourally equivalent, but which do not employ a hierarchy of functional descriptions. It is suggested that the hierarchical structure of the model mirrors a feature of the physical states that realise moods and emotions. (shrink)
‘inner natures’ of organisms was tested by examining the response of biologically naive participants to a series of realistic scenarios concerning the development of birdsong. Our results explain the intuitive appeal of existing philosophical analyses of the innateness concept. They simultaneously explain why these analyses are subject to compelling counterexamples. We argue that this explanation undermines the appeal of these analyses, whether understood as analyses of the vernacular concept or as explications of that concept for the purposes of science.
Critical response to John Rawls’s The Law of Peoples has been surprisingly harsh.1 Most of the complaints center upon Rawls’ claim that there are no obligations of distributive justice among nations. Many of Rawls’s critics evidently had been hoping for a global application of the difference principle, so that wealthier nations would be bound to assign lexical priority to the development of the poorest nations, or perhaps the primary goods endowment of the poorest citizens of any nation. Their subsequent disappointment (...) reveals that, while the reception of Rawls’s political philosophy has been very broad, it has not been especially deep. Rawls has very good reason for denying that there are obligations of distributive justice in an international context. A global application of the difference principle would have been in tension with a number of very central features of his political philosophy. There is a sense in which Rawls’s claims about distributive justice, in The Law of Peoples, are under-argued. But this is primarily because they follow almost immediately from more fundamental commitments that he has adopted over the years: the idea of the basic structure as subject, the requirement that conceptions of justice be freestanding, the status that is assigned to the principle of efficiency, not to mention the overall pragmatism that informs his project. By drawing upon these themes in Rawls’ work, I will try to show that one cannot deny the view of international relations outlined in The Law of Peoples without rejecting Rawls’s approach to political philosophy as a whole (in all contexts, including the domestic one). (shrink)
Developmental systems theory (DST) is a general theoretical perspective on development, heredity and evolution. It is intended to facilitate the study of interactions between the many factors that influence development without reviving `dichotomous' debates over nature or nurture, gene or environment, biology or culture. Several recent papers have addressed the relationship between DST and the thriving new discipline of evolutionary developmental biology (EDB). The contributions to this literature by evolutionary developmental biologists contain three important misunderstandings of DST.
The development of evolutionary approaches to psychology from Classical Ethology through Sociobiology to Evolutionary Psychology is outlined and the main tenets of today's Evolutionary Psychology briefly examined: the heuristic value of evolutionary thinking for psychology, the massive modularity thesis and the monomorphic mind thesis.
Experimental philosophy of science gathers empirical data on how key scientific concepts are understood by particular scientific communities. In this paper we briefly describe two recent studies in experimental philosophy of biology, one investigating the concept of the gene, the other the concept of innateness. The use of experimental methods reveals facts about these concepts that would not be accessible using the traditional method of intuitions about possible cases. It also contributes to the study of conceptual change in science, which (...) we understand as the result of a form of conceptual ecology, in which concepts become adapted to specific epistemic niches. (shrink)
Darwinists classify biological traits either by their ancestry (homology) or by their adaptive role. Only the latter can provide traditional natural kinds, but only the former is practicable. Process structuralists exploit this embarrassment to argue for non-Darwinian classifications in terms of underlying developmental mechanisms. This new taxonomy will also explain phylogenetic inertia and developmental constraint. I argue that Darwinian homologies are natural kinds despite having historical essences and being spatio-temporally restricted. Furthermore, process structuralist explanations of biological form require an unwarranted (...) assumption about the space of developmental possibility. (shrink)
This paper raises a challenge for those who assume that corporate social responsibility and good corporate governance naturally go hand-in-hand. The recent spate of corporate scandals in the United States and elsewhere has dramatized, once again, the severity of the agency problems that may arise between managers and shareholders. These scandals remind us that even if we adopt an extremely narrow concept of managerial responsibility – such that we recognize no social responsibility beyond the obligation to maximize shareholder value – (...) there may still be very serious difficulties associated with the effective institutionalization of this obligation. It also suggests that if we broaden managerial responsibility, in order to include extensive responsibilities to various other stakeholder groups, we may seriously exacerbate these agency problems, making it even more difficult to impose effective discipline upon managers. Hence, our central question: is a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility institutionally feasible? In searching for an answer, we revisit the history of public management, and in particular, the experience of social-democratic governments during the 1960s and 1970s, and their attempts to impose social responsibility upon the managers of nationalized industries. The results of this inquiry are less than encouraging for proponents of corporate social responsibility. In fact, the history of public-sector management presents a number of stark warnings, which we would do well to heed if we wish to reconcile robust social responsibility with effective corporate governance. (shrink)
The etiological approach to ‘proper functions’ in biology can be strengthened by relating it to Robert Cummins' general treatment of function ascription. The proper functions of a biological trait are the functions it is assigned in a Cummins-style functional explanation of the fitness of ancestors. These functions figure in selective explanations of the trait. It is also argued that some recent etiological theories include inaccurate accounts of selective explanation in biology. Finally, a generalization of the notion of selective explanation allows (...) an analysis of the proper functions of human artifacts. (shrink)
Aristotle's claim that natural slaves do not possess autonomous rationality (Pol. 1.5, 1254b20-23) cannot plausibly be interpreted in an unrestricted sense, since this would conflict with what Aristotle knew about non-Greek societies. Aristotle's argument requires only a lack of autonomous practical rationality. An impairment of the capacity for integrated practical deliberation, resulting from an environmentally induced excess or deficiency in thumos (Pol. 7.7, 1327b18-31), would be sufficient to make natural slaves incapable of eudaimonia without being obtrusively implausible relative to what (...) Aristotle is likely to have believed about non-Greeks. Since Aristotle seems to have believed that the existence of people who can be enslaved without injustice is a hypothetical necessity, if those capable oí eudaimonia are to achieve it, the existence of natural slaves has implications for our understanding of Aristotle's natural teleology. (shrink)