The field of philosophical psychopathology is basically the philosophical study of mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, autism, as well as more specific symptoms and signs such as Capgras’ delusion (the delusion that your spouse, for example, is an impostor) or the anarchic hand sign (where your hand seems to act on its own intentions). This simple epithet covers a multitude of approaches: how can philosophy help to explain mental disorder? What does mental disorder tell us about consciousness, (...) cognition, emotion and ‘self’? What does the study of mental disorder tell us about phenomenology? What does philosophical phenomenology tell us about mental disorder? What do mental disorders tell us about reasoning, rationality and belief formation? What are the particular ethical aspects of mental disorder and its treatment? If philosophical.. (shrink)
Most consciousness researchers, almost no matter what their views of the metaphysics of consciousness, can agree that the first step in a science of consciousness is the search for the neural correlate of consciousness (the NCC). The reason for this agreement is that the notion of ‘correlation’ doesn’t by itself commit one to any particular metaphysical view about the relation between (neural) matter and consciousness. For example, some might treat the correlates as causally related, while others might view the correlation (...) as evidence for identity between conscious states and brain states. The common ground therefore seems to be that the scientific search for the NCC is largely independent of the metaphysics of consciousness. (shrink)
The phenomenology of agency and perception is probably underpinned by a common cognitive system based on generative models and predictive coding. I defend the hypothesis that this cognitive system explains core aspects of the sense of having a self in agency and perception. In particular, this cognitive model explains the phenomenological notion of a minimal self as well as a notion of the narrative self. The proposal is related to some influential studies of overall brain function, and to psychopathology. These (...) elusive notions of the self are shown to be the natural upshots of general cognitive mechanisms whose fundamental purpose is to enable agents to represent the world and act in it. (shrink)
Any position that promises genuine progress on the mind-body problem deserves attention. Recently, Daniel Stoljar has identified a physicalist version of Russells notion of neutral monism; he elegantly argues that with this type of physicalism it is possible to disambiguate on the notion of physicalism in such a way that the problem is resolved. The further issue then arises of whether we have reason to believe that this type of physicalism is in fact true. Ultimately, one needs to argue for (...) this position by inference to the best explanation, and I show that this new type of physicalism does not hold promise of more explanatory prowess than its relevant rivals, and that, whether it is better than its rivals or not, it is doubtful whether it would furnish us with genuine explanations of the phenomenal at all. (shrink)
There is surprising evidence that introspection of our phenomenal states varies greatly between individuals and within the same individual over time. This puts pressure on the notion that introspection gives reliable access to our own phenomenology: introspective unreliability would explain the variability, while assuming that the underlying phenomenology is stable. I appeal to a body of neurocomputational, Bayesian theory and neuroimaging findings to provide an alternative explanation of the evidence: though some limited testing conditions can cause introspection to be unreliable, (...) mostly it is our phenomenology itself that is variable. With this account of phenomenal variability, the occurrence of the surprising evidence can be explained while generally retaining introspective reliability. (shrink)
Some monothematic types of delusions may arise because subjects have unusual experiences. The role of this experiential component in the pathogenesis of delusion is still not understood. Focussing on delusions of alien control, we outline a model for reality testing competence on unusual experiences. We propose that nascent delusions arise when there are local failures of reality testing performance, and that monothematic delusions arise as normal responses to these. In the course of this we address questions concerning the tenacity with (...) which delusions are maintained, their often bizarre content, the patients' inability to dismiss them, and their often circumscribed character. (shrink)
It appears that consciousness science is progressing soundly, in particular in its search for the neural correlates of consciousness. There are two main approaches to this search, one is content-based (focusing on the contrast between conscious perception of, e.g., faces vs. houses), the other is state-based (focusing on overall conscious states, e.g., the contrast between dreamless sleep vs. the awake state). Methodological and conceptual considerations of a number of concrete studies show that both approaches are problematic: the content-based approach seems (...) to set aside crucial aspects of consciousness; and the state-based approach seems over-inclusive in a way that is hard to rectify without losing sight of the crucial conscious-unconscious contrast. Consequently, the search for the neural correlates of consciousness is in need of new experimental paradigms. (shrink)
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterised by differences in unimodal and multimodal sensory and proprioceptive processing, with complex biases towards local over global processing. Many of these elements are implicated in versions of the rubber hand illusion (RHI), which were therefore studied in high-functioning individuals with ASD and a typically developing control group. Both groups experienced the illusion. A number of differences were found, related to proprioception and sensorimotor processes. The ASD group showed reduced sensitivity to visuotactile-proprioceptive discrepancy but more (...) accurate proprioception. This group also differed on acceleration in subsequent reach trials. Results are discussed in terms of weak top-down integration and precision-accuracy trade-offs. The RHI appears to be a useful tool for investigating multisensory processing in ASD. (shrink)
A central part of Kripke's influential interpretation of Wittgenstein's sceptical argument about meaning is the rejection of dispositional analyses of what it is for a word to mean what it does (Kripke, 1982). In this paper I show that Kripke's arguments prove too much: if they were right, they would preclude not only the idea that dispositional properties can make statements about the meanings of words true, but also the idea that dispositional properties can make true statements about paradigmatic dispositional (...) properties such as a cup's fragility or a person's bravery. However, since dispositional properties can make such statements true, Kripke-Wittgenstein's arguments against dispositionalism about meaning are mistaken. (shrink)
Creatures that have different physical realizations than human beings may or may not be conscious. Ned Block’s ‘harder problem of consciousness’ is that naturalistic phenomenal realists have no conception of a rational ground for belief that they have or have not discovered consciousness in such a creature. Drawing on the notion of inference to the best explanation, it appears the arguments to these conclusions beg the question and ignore that explanation may be a guide to discovery. Thus, best explanation can (...) both validate an interpretation of the evidence and lead to the discovery of consciousness. (shrink)
Most of us have a very firm belief in mental causation; that is, we firmly believe that our own distinctly mental properties are causally efficacious in the production of our behavior. This belief is dominating in contemporary philosophy of mind as a part of the causal explanatory exclusion problem for non-reductive materialists. I do not discuss the exclusion problem; rather, I assess the conception of mental causation that is presupposed in the current debate. I propose that in order to make (...) sense of our firm belief in mental causation we need to operate with a broader conception of it than is normally seen, focusing on common-sense aspects concerning the timing, awareness, control, and tracking of mental causation. However, prominent studies in social psychology and cognitive neuroscience show that mental causation is not as self-evident, robust, and pervasive as our firm belief in it would suggest. There is therefore a tension between the common-sense, broad conception of mental causation and our empirical evidence for mental causation. A full defense of mental causation is not just a matter of securing causal efficacy but also of situating our notion of mental properties in relation to difficult issues concerning awareness, control, and judgment. Key words: mental causation, conscious will, agency, social psychology, cognitive neuroscience.. (shrink)
Consciousness. We have come to expect science to be able to explain all sorts of phenomena in the world (global warming, hereditary diseases, life – you name it). Consciousness is an anomaly in the success story of science for there is a real question whether science, in particular neuroscience, can explain much about what consciousness is. A good question to ask is how and to what extent consciousness resists scientific explanation. That might tell us something about what is special about (...) consciousness. (shrink)
Cognitive neuropsychiatry attempts to understand psychiatric disorders as disturbances to the normal function of human cognitive organisation, and it attempts to link this functional framework to relevant brain structures and their pathology. This recent scientific discipline is the natural extension of cognitive neuroscience into the domain of psychiatry. We present two examples of recent research in cognitive neuropsychiatry: delusions of control in schizophrenia, and affective disorders. The examples demonstrate how the cognitive approach is a fruitful and necessary supplement to the (...) otherwise successful biological psychiatry paradigm, which tend to bypass the cognitive level. Philosophy concerns some of the core concepts involved in psychiatric illness, particularly concerning rationality, thought and action, reality testing, and the self. We present concrete examples that illustrate how philosophical conceptual tools can be particularly important for the construction and interpretation of the cognitive models relevant to the understanding of psychiatric illness. We conclude that cognitive neuropsychiatry is a fruitful and necessary supplement to biological psychiatry. Furthermore, cognitive neuropsychiatry itself may benefit significantly from employing philosophical conceptual tools in the interpretation and construction of its cognitive models. The cognitive and philosophical approaches may thus be further steps towards a scientific psychopathology. (shrink)
The theory of rationality has traditionally been concerned with the investigation of the norms of rational thought and behaviour, and with the reasoning procedures that satisfy them. As a consequence, the investigation of irrationality has largely been restricted to the behaviour or thought that violates these norms. There are, however, other forms of irrationality. Here we propose that the delusions that occur in schizophrenia constitute a paradigm of irrationality. We examine a leading theory of schizophrenic delusion and propose that some (...) delusions can be traced to a violation of a condition on thought we call egocentricity. We argue that the violation of egocentricity leads to irrational states that cannot be explained by the traditional categories of irrationality and conclude, therefore, that these states belong in a new branch of the theory of irrationality, that of experiential irralionahly. (shrink)
According to one theory, the brain is a sophisticated hypothesis tester: perception is Bayesian unconscious inference where the brain actively uses predictions to <span class='Hi'>test</span>, and then refine, models about what the causes of its sensory input might be. The brain’s task is simply continually to minimise prediction error. This theory, which is getting increasingly popular, holds great explanatory promise for a number of central areas of research at the intersection of philosophy and cognitive neuroscience. I show how the theory (...) can help us understand striking phenomena at three cognitive levels: vision, sensory integration, and belief. First, I illustrate central aspects of the theory by showing how it provides a nice explanation of why binocular rivalry occurs. Then I suggest how the theory may explain the role of the unified sense of self in rubber hand and full body illusions driven by visuotactile conflict. Finally, I show how it provides an approach to delusion formation that is consistent with one-deficit accounts of monothematic delusions. (shrink)
subjects mean when they report their mental states it is useful to be guided by a sound grasp of their concepts for mental events. 3 Though this is often ignored in favor of libertarian notions of free will, in which free action is seen as completely undetermined by the subject.
Bortolotti’s Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs defends the view that delusions are beliefs on a continuum with other beliefs. A different view is that delusions are more like illusions, that is, they arise from faulty perception. This view, which is not targeted by the book, makes it easier to explain why delusions are so alien and disabling but needs to appeal to forensic aspects of functioning.
Different cognitive functions recruit a number of different, often overlapping, areas of the brain. Theories in cognitive and computational neuroscience are beginning to take this kind of functional integration into account. The contributions to this special issue consider what functional integration tells us about various aspects of the mind such as perception, language, volition, agency, and reward. Here, I consider how and why functional integration may matter for the mind; I discuss a general theoretical framework, based on generative models, that (...) may unify many of the debates surrounding functional integration and the mind; and I briefly introduce each of the contributions. (shrink)
In rubber hand illusions and full body illusions, touch sensations are projected to non-body objects such as rubber hands, dolls or virtual bodies. The robustness, limits and further perceptual consequences of such illusions are not yet fully explored or understood. A number of experiments are reported that test the limits of a variant of the rubber hand illusion. Methodology/Principal Findings -/- A variant of the rubber hand illusion is explored, in which the real and foreign hands are aligned in personal (...) space. The presence of the illusion is ascertained with participants' scores and temperature changes of the real arm. This generates a basic illusion of touch projected to a foreign arm. Participants are presented with further, unusual visuotactile stimuli subsequent to onset of the basic illusion. Such further visuotactile stimulation is found to generate very unusual experiences of supernatural touch and touch on a non-hand object. The finding of touch on a non-hand object conflicts with prior findings, and to resolve this conflict a further hypothesis is successfully tested: that without prior onset of the basic illusion this unusual experience does not occur. Conclusions/Significance -/- A rubber hand illusion is found that can arise when the real and the foreign arm are aligned in personal space. This illusion persists through periods of no tactile stimulation and is strong enough to allow very unusual experiences of touch felt on a cardboard box and experiences of touch produced at a distance, as if by supernatural causation. These findings suggest that one's visual body image is explained away during experience of the illusion and they may be of further importance to understanding the role of experience in delusion formation. The findings of touch on non-hand objects may help reconcile conflicting results in this area of research. In addition, new evidence is provided that relates to the recently discovered psychologically induced temperature changes that occur during the illusion. (shrink)
The normative character of meaning creates deep problems for the attempt to give a reductive explanation of the constitution of meaning. I identify and critically examine an increasingly popular Carnap-style position, which I call Internalized Meaning Factualism (versions of which I argue are defended by, e.g., Robert Brandom, Paul Horwich and Huw Price), that promises to solve the problems. According to this position, the problem of meaning can be solved by prohibiting an external perspective on meaning constituting properties. The idea (...) is that if we stick to a perspective on meaning that is internal to meaning discourse, then we can preserve the normativity of meaning and yet locate meaning in the natural world. I develop a generic motivation for this position, but argue that, since this motivation is consistent with the Ramsey–Carnap–Lewis–Jackson reductionist strategy, internalized meaning factualism is unstable. The problems about the normativity of meaning can therefore not be sidestepped in this way. (shrink)
Is it rational to believe that the mind is identical to the brain? Identity theorists say it is (or looks like it will be, once all the neuroscientific evidence is in), and they base this claim on a general epistemic route to belief in identity. I re-develop this general route and defend it against some objections. Then I discuss how rational belief in mind–brain identity, obtained via this route, can be threatened by an appropriately adjusted version of the anti-physicalist knowledge (...) argument. Responses to this threat usually appeal either to different modes of presentation or to phenomenal concepts. But neither type of response is satisfactory. I provide a novel response, which appeals to an innocuous epistemic peculiarity of phenomenal states, namely their, as I shall call it, evidential insulation. (shrink)
Conscious perception and attention are difficult to study, partly because their relation to each other is not fully understood. Rather than conceiving and studying them in isolation from each other it may be useful to locate them in an independently motivated, general framework, from which a principled account of how they relate can then transpire. Accordingly, these mental phenomena are here reviewed through the prism of the increasingly influential predictive coding framework. On this framework, conscious perception can be seen as (...) the upshot of prediction error minimisation and attention as the optimisation of precision expectations during such perceptual inference. This approach maps on well to a range of standard characteristics of conscious perception and attention, and can be used to explain a range of empirical findings on their relation to each other. (shrink)
Disorders of consciousness include coma, the vegetative state and the minimally conscious state. Such patients are often regarded as unconscious. This has consequences for end of life decisions for these patients: it is much easier to justify withdrawing life support for unconscious than conscious patients. Recent brain imaging research has however suggested that some patients may in fact be conscious.
Three challenges to a unified understanding of delusions emerge from Radden's On Delusion (2011). Here, I propose that in order to respond to these challenges, and to work towards a unifying framework for delusions, we should see delusions as arising in inference under uncertainty. This proposal is based on the observation that delusions in key respects are surprisingly like perceptual illusions, and it is developed further by focusing particularly on individual differences in uncertainty expectations.
Clark acknowledges but resists the indirect mind-world relation inherent in prediction error minimization (PEM). But directness should also be resisted. This creates a puzzle, which calls for reconceptualization of the relation. We suggest that a causal conception captures both aspects. With this conception, aspects of situated cognition, social interaction and culture can be understood as emerging through precision optimization.
Investigation of neural and cognitive processes underlying individual variation in moral preferences is underway, with notable similarities emerging between moral- and risk-based decision-making. Here we specifically assessed moral distributive justice preferences and non-moral financial gambling preferences in the same individuals, and report an association between these seemingly disparate forms of decision-making. Moreover, we find this association between distributive justice and risky decision-making exists primarily when the latter is assessed with the Iowa Gambling Task. These findings are consistent with neuroimaging studies (...) of brain function during moral and risky decision-making. This research also constitutes the first replication of a novel experimental measure of distributive justice decision-making, for which individual variation in performance was found. Further examination of decision-making processes across different contexts may lead to an improved understanding of the factors affecting moral behaviour. (shrink)
Nancy Cartwright argues that so-called capacities, not universal laws of nature, best explain the often complex way events actually unfold. On this view, science would represent a world that is fundamentally "dappled", or disunified, and not, as orthodoxy would perhaps have it, a world unified by universal laws of nature. I argue, first, that the problem Cartwright raises for laws of nature seems to arise for capacities too, so why reject laws of nature? Second, that in so far as there (...) is a problem, it concerns the role of counterfactuals in explanation; I then briefly propose a simple model of counterfactual explanation. Finally, I investigate how a sophisticated version of the regularity theory of laws of nature (that of Ramsey-Lewis) can be neutral between the empirical hypotheses that the world is unified, and that the world is disunified. (shrink)
Hitchcock (2001a) argues that the distinction between singular and general causation conflates the two distinctions ‘actual causation vs. causal tendencies’ and ‘wide vs. narrow causation’. Based on a recent regularity account of causation I will show that Hitchcock’s introduction of the two distinctions is an unnecessary multiplication of causal concepts.
“One should always cherish some ambition to do something in the world. They alone rise who strive.” is the great wording of Dr.Ambedkar. There are two fundamental types of human nature. Creative and possessive. Creative humans use human intellect for creative endeavors which enriches human thought; knowledge and wealth thereby contribute to the development of human heritage for the posterity. Possessive people, on the other hand do not believe in the use of human intellect for creative purpose. Gautam Buddha, Jesus (...) Christ, Guru Nanak, Kabeer, Ravidas, Tukarama, Krantiba Jotirao Phoolay, Periyar and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar they all belong to the great class of Ceative humans called as Humanists in Indian context. Here we studies Ambedkar’s views related to humanism and Buddhism. (shrink)
The present education does riot yield required results mainly because it is divorced from the real social content and social goals. We as the citizens of the republic are constitutionally committed to democracy, social justice, equality of opportunity, secularism and above all to a welfare state. Educational policy and educational programmes should not merely equip an individual to adjust with society to its customs and conventions, but it should enable him to bring desirable changes in the society. Every educational institute (...) from secondary school to University College should be developed to become an agency of change, it is the dream of Dr. B.R .Ambedkar. (shrink)
Dr. Evil learns that a duplicate of Dr. Evil has been created. Upon learning this, how seriously should he take the hypothesis that he himself is that duplicate? I answer: very seriously. I defend a principle of indifference for self-locating belief which entails that after Dr. Evil learns that a duplicate has been created, he ought to have exactly the same degree of belief that he is Dr. Evil as that he is the duplicate. More generally, the principle shows that (...) there is a sharp distinction between ordinary skeptical hypotheses, and self-locating skeptical hypotheses. (shrink)
Nicholas Rescher claims that rational decision theory “may leave us in the lurch”, because there are two apparently acceptable ways of applying “the standard machinery of expected-value analysis” to his Dr. Psycho paradox which recommend contradictory actions. He detects a similar contradiction in Newcomb’s problem. We consider his claims from the point of view of both Bayesian decision theory and causal decision theory. In Dr. Psycho and in Newcomb’s Problem, Rescher has used premisses about probabilities which he assumes to be (...) independent. From the former point of view, we show that the probability premisses are not independent but inconsistent, and their inconsistency is provable within probability theory alone. From the latter point of view, we show that their consistency can be saved, but then the contradictory recommendations evaporate. Consequently, whether one subscribes to evidential or causal decision theory, rational decision theory is not in any way vitiated by Rescher’s arguments. (shrink)
In this article, I explore the relationship between the philosophy of Theodor Adorno and the Bilderverbot , or biblical Second Commandment against images. My starting point is J. F. Lyotard's construction of the melancholic sublime in his essay `What is the Postmodern?', which I argue he uses to critique Adorno's aesthetics, and, more generally, his position as a `modern' thinker. To prove that Lyotard had Adorno in mind when he constructed the category of the melancholic sublime, I return to an (...) earlier piece by Lyotard — `Adorno as the Devil' — which is a reading of Thomas Mann's Dr Faustus , in which Adorno is said to be one of the faces of the Devil. My argument is that Lyotard's understanding of Adorno is flawed because he does not recognize the distinctly Jewish, albeit secularized, character of his thought. I set out to challenge Lyotard by demonstrating the central importance that the Bilderverbot plays in Adorno's work, which should not be understood as melancholic because the Jewish Messianism associated with the Bilderverbot is profoundly future-oriented. In short, I argue that Lyotard's depiction of Adorno is flawed because he reads him as a Christian, while he should be approaching him as a secularized Jew. Key Words: Theodor Adorno • aesthetic theory • Dr Faustus • the image prohibition • Jewish thought • Jean-François Lyotard • Thomas Mann • Messianism • representation • the sublime. (shrink)
In October 1775, David Hume wrote to his printer William Strahan, requesting that an ‘Advertisement’ should be attached to remaining copies of the second volume of his Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. This volume contained his two Enquiries, the Dissertation on the Passions, and The Natural History of Religion, and the Advertisement states that these works should ‘alone be regarded as containing his philosophical sentiments and principles’ (E 2). In the covering letter, Hume comments that this ‘is a compleat (...) Answer to Dr Reid and to that bigotted silly Fellow, Beattie.’ (HL ii. 301). My aim here is to try to throw light on what Hume might have meant by this comment, and to assess to what extent it might have been justified. (shrink)
In her 2006 book ‘‘My Stroke of Insight” Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor relates her experience of suffering from a left hemispheric stroke caused by a congenital arteriovenous malformation which led to a loss of inner speech. Her phenomenological account strongly suggests that this impairment produced a global self-awareness deficit as well as more specific dysfunctions related to corporeal awareness, sense of individuality, retrieval of autobiographical memories, and self-conscious emotions. These are examined in details and corroborated by numerous excerpts from Taylor’s (...) book. Ó 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. (shrink)
The nationally-famous advocate of physician-assisted suicide did not die by his own hand. Dr. Jack Kevorkian died the old-fashioned way in America: in a hospital, with multiple disorders undercutting his life. Kevorkian took up interest in assisted suicide early in his medical career, and he wanted prisoners on death row to volunteer for experiments just before their execution. Kevorkian saw individual consent as the wheel, axle, and grease for all decisions in these matters. He helped many people die, but it (...) is unclear what moral principle guided his decisions to say yes and no to requests for help in dying. His spree in helping people die came to an end, when he himself injected a man with a lethal substance. Because of his single-minded focus on the value of assisted suicide and experimentation before execution, he had little impact on the broader ethical analysis of assisted-suicide and the rights of prisoners. He leaves little legacy in ethics for the analysis of assisted-suicide or in vivo experimentation. (shrink)
How does the Umwelt concept of Jakob von UexkuÈll ®t into current discussions within theoretical biology, philosophy of biology, biosemiotics, and Arti®cial Life, particularly the research on `autonomous systems' and robots? To investigate this question, the approach here is not historical UexkuÈll scholarship exposing the original core of philosophical ideas that provided an important background for the original conception of the Umwelt in the writings of Jakob von UexkuÈll (some of which seem incompatible with a modern evolutionist perspective); (...) rather, I will show that some aspects of his thoughts are still interesting and provide inspiration in contemporary biology, cognitive science, and other ®elds. Therefore, I will also draw upon his son Thure von UexkuÈll's re¯ections in his further development of the Umwelt theory, which is not anti-evolutionary (his father's approach was anti-Darwinian, which is not the same as anti-evolutionary though often interpreted as such). Speci®cally, I will investigate the plausibility of three theses: (1) The Umwelt theory of Jakob von UexkuÈll, even though his theoretical biology was often characterized as being thoroughly vitalist, can in the context of contemporary science, more adequately be interpreted as a branch of qualitative organicism in theoretical biology. Qualitative organicism is a position which claims, ®rst, a kind of middle road position, that is, on the one hand, there are no mysterious or non-material vital powers in organisms (non-vitalism), but on the other hand, the characteristic properties of living beings cannot be fully accounted for by physics and chemistry because these properties are nonreducible emergent properties (emergentism); second, that some of these emergent properties have an experiential, phenomenal, or subjective character which plays a major role in the dynamics of the living system. Modern biosemiotics (inspired by C. S. Peirce and Jakob von UexkuÈll, instituted by.. (shrink)
In the work of Lorenz we find an initial phase of great concordance with Uexkülls theory of animals’ surrounding-world (Umweltlehre), followed by a progressive distance and by the occurrence of more and more critical statements. The moment of greater cohesion between Lorenz and Uexküll is represented by the work Der Kumpan, which is focused on the concept of companion, functional circles, social Umwelt. The great change in Lorenz’ evaluation of Uexküll is marked by the conference of 1948 Referat über (...) class='Hi'>Jakob von Uexküll, where Lorenz highlights the vitalist position of Uexküll. In the works of the years after World War II, the influence of the Estonian Biologist greatly diminishes, even though Lorenz continues to express his admiration for particular studies and concepts of Uexküll. References to Uexküll’s work are less and far in between, while the difference is highlighted between the uexküllian theoretical frame (vitalistic) and Lorenz’s one (Darwinian and evolutionist). The two main critical lines of argument developed by Lorenz in this process are the biological and the epistemological one: on the biological side Lorenz heavily criticizes Uexküll’s vitalism and his faith in harmonizing forces and supernatural factors (which leads to concepts such as the perfect fusion of all biological species in their environment and the absence of rudimentary organs). On the epistemological side, Lorenz, arguing from the point of view of the critical realism, accuses Uexküll of postulating the separateness of all living beings, a separateness which is due to the Kantian idea that every subject of knowledge and action is imprisoned in the transcendental circle of its representations and attitudes. (shrink)
En el presente artículo se analizan conceptos clave de la obra de Jakob von Uexküll, a partir de la confrontación con el darwinismo mecanicista de principios del siglo XX, al cual, Uexküll contrapone la idea de un mundo viviente de interrelaciones, conformado de acuerdo con un Plan u Orden subyacentes. Pero la cuestión no del todo resuelta para Uexküll, y que aquí será estudiada, es el papel que ha de atribuirse al azar y a la tendencia natural de traspasar (...) los límites. Cuestión que adquiere su mayor significación en el plano humano, siendo el hombre, como es, antiguo actor de la transgresión. The intention of this paper is to analyze the principal concepts in Jakob von Uexkiiltt's work, considering the confrontation with the darwinian mechanism of the beginnings of the XXth Century. In response to it, Uexkülll supports the idea of a living world of interrelations, which is conformed in accordance to a subjacent Plan or Order. But the question analyzed here, and which is not at all solved by Uexkülll, is the roll that should be attributed to chance, or the natural tendency to surpass the limits. A problem that acquires its deepest meaning in the human context, because man is, as we know, an old actor of transgression. (shrink)
In several works, Frege argues that content is objective (i.e., thethoughts we entertain and communicate, and the senses of which theyare composed, are public, not private, property). There are, however,some remarks in the Fregean corpus that are in tension with this view.This paper is centered on an investigation of the most notorious andextreme such passage: the `Dr. Lauben example, from Frege (1918). Aprincipal aim is to attain more clarity on the evident tension withinFreges views on content, between this dominant objectivism (...) and someelements that seem to run counter to it, via developing an understandingof the `Dr. Lauben example. Then I will argue that this interpretation goes some way toward undermining some prevalent contemporary viewsabout language. Based on the advice of Dr. Lauben, I will argue againsta certain understanding of the causal-historical theory of reference –more specifically, of the phenomenon of deferential uses of linguisticexpressions – upon which these views are premised, and I will drawout some morals that pertain to individualism and competence. (shrink)
This essay is a discussion of the radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger. It is an assessment of the moral advice that she dispenses her radio show, and kinds of criticisms to which she has been subjected.
In December 1980 an elementary school teacher in Minnesota obtained a Restraining Order to ensure that a severely brain damaged friend would receive emergency medical care in her nursing home if she needed it. This situation focussed attention on the need for better understanding, among medical professionals and consumers alike, of the significance of a No Dr. Blue/Do Not Resuscitate order.
The Strange Case of Dr. B and Mr. Hide: Ethical Sensitivity as a Means to Reflect Upon One’s Actions in Managing Conflict of Interest Content Type Journal Article Category Case Studies Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11673-012-9360-4 Authors Marie-Josée Potvin, Programmes de bioéthique, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, succ. Centre-ville, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3C 3J7 Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529.
The one great quality of Socratic gift is that thinking as an activity continues but not repetitively but every time thinking takes place, it takes place a new. Thinking is the one activity that cannot be repeated like prayers and other pieties. All philosophical thinking is new thinking; it has to be new in order to be thinking. Philosophy had to become the handmaid of sociology and could not be allowed to remain surrogate sociology. When this happened new concepts or (...) new conceptualizations became the need of the hour: in the place of the age-old hierarchic social stratification a novel concept of materialism had to be inducted - after all matter is what matters. And in India morally entangled sociology was holding down the rich human resources of the sub-continent and a development-oriented ideology had to convert this moral society into a legal society: An unlegislated, unlegislatable society is condemned to be unstable andcollapsible; in its place a stable, legislatable society had to be created. With this felt-need Dr. Ambedkar came into the Indian political arena and gave a modernist rethinking to the outmoded Indian social structure: His hallmark was think to change. (shrink)
Like other sciences, biosemiotics also has its time-honoured archive, consisting, among other things, of writings by those who have been invented and revered as ancestors of the discipline. One such example is Jakob von Uexküll who has been hailed as a precursor of semiotics, developing his theory of “sign” and “meaning” independently of Saussure and Peirce. The juxtaposition of “sign” and “meaning” is revelatory because one can equally legitimately claim Uexküll as a hermeneutician in the same way as others (...) having claimed him as a semiotician. Such a novel temptation can be justified by Uexküll’s prolonged obsession with Sinn and Bedeutung since his first book in 1909. This paper attempts to reconstruct the immediate intellectual horizon of Uexküll’s historicity, a discursive space traversed by his contemporaries Frege and Husserl, in order to see how Uexküll’s discussions of Zeichen and Gegenstand, Sinn and Bedeutung, were informedby other philosophers of language, and to establish Uexküll as a phenomenological hermeneutician in the tradition of Husserl, Heidegger and Gadamer. To forestall and counter possible criticism that hermeneutics is primarily concerned with textual interpretation, while Uexküll is at most an interpreter of animal life, the paper will discuss his unfinished parody of the Platonic dialogue Meno, which is entitled Die ewige Frage: Biologische Variationen über einen platonischen Dialog (1943). It is through such textual practice that one witnesses the emergence of an Uexküll who embodies at once the addressee exercising his understanding of ancient texts as well as the second addresser recoding his explanation to another group of targeted addressees. This textual practice already goes beyond the confines of biology and in fact involves the linguistic pragmatics of rhetoric and speech act. (shrink)
Semiotics, the body of knowledge developed by study of the action of signs, like every living discipline, depends upon a community of inquirers united through the recognition and adoption of basic principles which establish the ground-concepts and guide-concepts for their ongoing research. These principles, in turn, come to be recognized in the first place through the work of pioneers in the field, workers commonly unrecognized or not fully recognized in their own day, but whose work later becomes foundational as the (...) community of inquirers matures and ‘lays claim to its own’. As semiotics has matured, the work of Jakob von Uexküll in establishing the concept of Umwelt has proven to be just such a pioneering accomplishment for the doctrine of signs, and in this paper I trace out some of the lines of development according to which Uexküll’s concept came to occupy its central place in semiotics today. (shrink)
The Reply to Dr. Rolfs essay makes the following main points: (1) The logic of inexactness has the same syntax as Kleene's three-valued logic. Its semantics is different in that the third truth-value can by choice be correctly turned into either truth or falsehood. (2) The definition of resemblance classes includes, but is not exhausted by, ostensive rules. (3) The application of classical mathematics to sense-experience consists in the limited identification of non-isomorphic structures. (4) There are exact perceptual and vague (...) mathematical concepts. (5) The distinction between my categorial framework, a categorial framework and the true categorial framework, if any, is neither relativistic nor absolutistic. (shrink)
This paper aims to give an insight into developments that contributed to the significance of the work of Jakob von Uexküll and stresses the importance of his occupation in Hamburg. A biographical survey pays tribute to the implication of the historical pretext and context. A scientific survey describes findings and ideas of Uexküll that proved important for the development of biology and the cognitive sciences. In addition, this paper sets out to reject the common notion that Uexküll’s concepts were (...) ideas of a purely theoretical and philosophical character. It confirms that in fact the central aims of his work were to sustain the empirical method in biology and to give biology a sound epistemological basis. Some examples show how historical and theoretical developments converged at Uexküll’s Institut für Umweltforschung in Hamburg and ignited a productive research activity. (shrink)
Jednym z elementów współczesnej kultury są seriale telewizyjne, w przeważającej mierze charakteryzujące się brakiem jakichkolwiek wartości artystycznych oraz intelektualnych. Do nielicznych pod tym względem należy serial pt. Dr House. Centralną kwestią w tym serialu jest postawa moralna głównego bohatera. Krytycy dostrzegli w niej wiele analogii do moralności Nietzscheańskiego nadczłowieka. W artykule podjęto próbę ukazania, że w moralności dr House'a odzwierciedla się Nietzscheański model estetyzacji moralności, polegający na tym, że kryterium etycznej słuszności czynów jest wolność jednostki i jej autonomiczność w kształtowaniu (...) swego życia jako dzieła sztuki. (shrink)
After identifying points of agreement between Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar on topics raised by Dr. Sain’s essay, this response raises questions about the deeper foundations of the substantial differences between them. It suggests that the appeal to contrast in their starting-points (Goethe versus Kant) as an explanation is not adequate and suggests lines of further inquiry which might be pursued further.
Obscurity is not the worst failing, and it is philistinism to pretend that it is. In a series of brilliant essays written over the last fifteen years Stanley Cavell has consistently argued that more important than the question whether obscurity could have been avoided is whether it affects our confidence in the author. Confidence raises the issue of intention, and I would have thought that the primary commitment of a psychoanalytic writer was to pass on, and (if he can) to (...) refine while passing on, a particular way of exploring the mind. Indeed this is how Lacan himself proposes that his work should be judged. “The aim of my teaching,” he writes, “has been and still is the training of analysts.” For decades now Lacan has been insisting that the nature of this commitment has been systematically obscured, particularly in North America. Training has become “routinized”, and analysis itself has become distorted into a process of crude social adaptation. There is much here to agree with. Yet two questions must be raised. Has Lacan devised a more effective method of training analysts? And, would one expect this from his writings? Neither question gets a favourable answer. All reports of his training methods, over which he has now brought about three distinct secessions within the French psychoanalytic movement, are horrifying. 13 It is now, I am told, possible to become a Lacanian analyst after a very few months of Lacanian analysis. And what pedagogic contribution could we expect from a form of prose that has two salient characteristics: it exhibits the application of theory to particular cases as quite arbitrary, and it forces the adherents it gains into pastiche. 14 Lacan's ideas and Lacan's style, yoked in an indissoluble union, represent an invasive tyranny. And it is by a hideous irony that this tyranny should find its recruits among groups that have nothing in common except the sense that they lack a theory worthy of their cause or calling: feminists, cinéastes , professors of literature. Lacan himself offers several justifications for his obscurity, about which he has no false modesty. At times he says that he is the voice, the messenger, the porte-parole , of the unconscious itself. Lacan's claim stirs in my mind the retort Freud made to a similar assult upon his credulity and by someone who had learned from Lacan. “It is not the unconscious mind I look out for in your paintings,” Freud said to Salvador Dali, “it is the conscious.”. (shrink)
A theory of punishment should tell us not only when punishment is permissible but also when it is a duty. It is not clear whether McCloskey's retributivism is supposed to do this. His arguments against utilitarianism consist largely in examples of punishments unacceptable to the common moral consciousness but supposedly approved of by the consistent utilitarian. We remain unpersuaded to abandon our utilitarianism. The examples are often fanciful in character, a point which (pace McCloskey) does rob them of much of (...) their force. If there was no tension between utilitarian precepts and those which come naturally to plain men, utilitarianism could have no claim to provide a critique of moralities. The utilitarian's attitude to such tensions is somewhat complicated, but what is certain is that there is more room in his system for the sentiments to which McCloskey appeals against him than McCloskey realizes. We agree with McCloskey, however, on the absurdity of substituting rule?utilitarianism for act?utilitarianism as an answer to his attacks. The distinction itself may represent a conceptual confusion. In our view, indeed, unmodified act?utilitarianism provides the best moral basis for thought about punishment. (shrink)
In this essay, I use a thought experiment to illustrate the human predicament if determinism is true, then draw the implications of this result for human rationality. This paper was read at the Eastern Division of the Society for Christian Philosophers at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts in 2009.
Twenty years have passed since Gould and Lewontin published their critique of ‘the adaptationist program’ – the tendency of some evolutionary biologists to assume, rather than demonstrate, the operation of natural selection. After the ‘Spandrels paper’, evolutionists were more careful about producing just-so stories based on selection, and paid more attention to a panoply of other processes. Then came reactions against the excesses of the anti-adaptationist movement, which ranged from a complete dismissal of Gould and Lewontin’s contribution to a positive (...) call to overcome the problems. We now have an excellent opportunity for finally affirming a more balanced and pluralistic approach to the study of evolutionary biology. (shrink)
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