Explaining phenomenal consciousness may be the scientific and philosophical problem of our time, the last frontier of knowledge. This is not at all an easy task. For any serious attempt at finding a place for consciousness within the natural world was not successful so far. There is a conceptual tension here which makes this business of coming up with a unified (monist) explanation of mind and physical world one of the most intriguing mystery. The most predominant image of the natural (...) world is one of a physicalist type, whereas the mind, and especially the conscious subjective experience seem not to fit well within that physicalistexplanation. That explanatory failure may require a dualist metaphysical scheme (probably of a neo-Cartesian type). It may seem very well that we are caught in a dilemma, for we either embrace a physicalist explanation, but then it seems that we leave out consciousness from the big picture we are looking for, or else we face the huge task of conceiving a dramatic change of our scientific outlook about the natural world, and we don’t quite see how that would be possible or desirable. But then, should any attempt at understanding consciusness be a dead-end, something doomed to fail from a theoretical and explanatory point of view? In my paper I explore some philosophical underpinnings of contemporary dualism, focussing on the modal facets of the conceivability (neo-Cartesian) arguments. I will asses both the prospects and the moot points of this type of arguments. Of particular interest is the role that two-dimensional semantics plays in nowadays discussions of this topic. (shrink)
In Reference without Referents, Mark Sainsbury aims to provide an account of reference that honours the common-sense view that sentences containing empty names like "Vulcan" and "Santa Claus" are entirely intelligible, and that many such sentences -"Vulcan doesn't exist", "Many children believe that Santa Claus will give them presents at Christmas", etc.- are literally true. Sainsbury's account endorses the Davidsonian program in the theory of meaning, and combines this with a commitment to Negative Free Logic, which holds that all simple (...) sentences containing empty names are false. In this critical review, we pose a number of problems for this account. In particular, we question the ability of Negative Free Logic to make appropriate sense of the truth of familiar sentences containing empty names, including negative existential claims like "Vulcan doesn't exist". /// En Reference without Referents, Mark Sainsbury se propone ofrecer una explicación de la referencia que respete la idea de sentido común de que las oraciones con nombres vacíos como "Vulcano" y "Santa Claus" son completamente inteligibles, y que muchas de oraciones de este tipo -"Vulcano no existe", "Muchos niños creen que Santa Claus les traerá regalos en Navidad", y demás- son literalmente verdaderas. La propuesta de Sainsbury se inscribe dentro del programa davidsoniano en teoría del significado, y combina éste con un compromiso con la Lógica Libre Negativa, según la cual todas las oraciones simples que contienen nombres vacíos son falsas. En este estudio crítico, presentamos varios problemas de esta explicación. En particular, ponemos en duda la habilidad de la Lógica Libre Negativa de entender de manera apropiada la verdad de oraciones conocidas que contienen nombres vacíos, incluidas negaciones de existencia como "Vulcano no existe". (shrink)
Rawls' original position is a thought experiment by which we are asked to imagine ourselves as rational agents choosing the principles of justice under specific informational and motivational constraints. In this paper, I am concerned only with the informational constraints and I shall argue that the way Rawls designed them reveals an implausible conception of mind and knowledge. This conception, of a mind separable from knowledge, as well as one of its correlates which I will call epistemic egalitarianism, is not (...) an objection one may address uniquely to the original position. However, the failure to construct the original position as a one-solution problem renders its epistemology not only implausible but of no use for moral reasoning. (shrink)
Brain drain critiques and human rights advocates have conflicting views on emigration. From a brain drain perspective, the emigration harms a country when emigrants are skilled and the source country is poor. From the human rights perspective, the right "to leave any country, including one's own" is a fundamental right, protected for all, whatever their skills. Is the concern with poverty and social justice at odds with the right to emigrate? At the beginning of the l970s, the economist Jagdish Bhagwati (...) replied in the negative. He imagined a tax on the income earned by the skilled migrants in the destination country, to the benefit of the source country. He thus sought to reconcile the right to emigration and the brain drain effects. -/- This article argues that there is no need to tax skilled migrants in order to reconcile the right to emigration and social justice. Social justice is not incompatible with the right to emigration but rather with restrictions on mobility. If it is both the case that equal opportunities are a minimal requisite for social justice, and that access to opportunities implies freedom of movement, as I shall argue, then the brain drain criticism doesn't satisfy the minimal requirements of social justice. -/- The article is divided into three parts. Each part rejects one of the possible justifications of the Bhagwati tax, that is, as a way, for skilled migrants, (i.) to compensate the welfare loss occasioned to their country of origin; (ii.) to discharge for their obligation to the national community when it publicly financed their education; and (iii.) to compensate for the resulting inequality of opportunities between themselves and their non-migrant compatriots. (shrink)
The Extended Mind Hypothesis (EMH) needs a defence of phenomenal externalism in order to be consistent with an indispensable condition for attributing extended beliefs, concerning the conscious past endorsement of information. However, it is difficult, if not impossible, to envisage such a defence. Proponents ofthe EMH are thus confronted with a difficult dilemma: they either accept absurd attributions of belief, and thus deflate EMH, or incorporate, for compatibility reasons, the conscious past endorsement condition for extended belief attribution, implying a seemingly (...) unavailable defence of phenomenal externalism, and thus risk inconsistency within EMH. Either way, EMH is threatened. (shrink)
It is often argued that development aid can and should compensate the restrictions on migration. Such compensation, Shachar has recently argued, should be levied as a tax on citizenship to further the global equality of opportunity. Since citizenship is essentially a ‘birthright lottery’, that is, a way of legalizing privileges obtained by birth, it would be fair to compensate the resulting gap in opportunities available to children born in rich versus poor countries by a ‘birthright privilege levy’. This article sets (...) out a defence of three theses. The first states that equality of opportunity is incompatible with, and cannot be achieved in, segregated territories. The second posits that to believe that material equality compensates the injustice of restrictions on movement is to commit a ‘sedentarist mistake’. The third affirms that any citizenship levy, including the egalitarian and non-sedentarist formula I’m proposing, would be better understood as a penalty rather than a tax. (shrink)
Are intellectual property rights for talented people justified by Rawls’ criteria of justice? In this paper, I argue that Rawls’ theory of justice is ill-equipped to answer this question. Tailored for rival goods and, as a result, centred on the distribution of benefits, it tends to restate questions of justice about unequal rights as questions about economic inequalities. Therefore, it lacks the tools necessary to distinguish among different forms of incentives for talented people. Once social and economic inequalities observe equality (...) of opportunity and improve the least advantaged, the theory is indifferent as to whether talented people are allowed to compete for monopoly rights or for direct financial reward. (shrink)
The paper examines some presuppositions of toleration and pluralism and explores two models, a deontological and a consequentialist model, that could support the view that rational agents should act in a tolerant way. Within the first model two arguments are given in favor of the view that people are better off and more rational if they are tolerant. The first argument draws upon a principle of charity that one usually makes use of in philosophy of mind and philosophy of language, (...) but which could work equally well with regard to this foundational issue in ethics and philosophy of action. The second argument is built upon the epistemic principle of fallibilism and is meant to show that from this vantage point acting in a tolerant way is the rational thing to do. (shrink)
A theoretical divide exists on the study of the adapted psychological mechanisms underlying human culture. It has been said for instance that we evolved a brain for all seasons (William Calvin) and that this is opposed to the framework of the modularity of mind (Kim Sterelny or David Buller, inter alia). We approach the nature of these explanatory differences based on what we judge to be a misunderstanding with respect to the evolution of domain-specific modules. We underline the fact that (...) the input-domain of a module and its ecological function should not be conflated. We propose a more generous way of considering how evolutionary functions in mental architecture account for the possibility of general adaptations for cultural cognition. We show that modularity happens to be a good tool to research and decompose mechanisms with plastic functions such as in some forms of social learning. The idea of "modules for all seasons" is so vindicated. Existe una divisoria teórica en el estudio de los mecanismos psicológicos biológicamente adaptados que subyacen a la cultura humana. Se ha dicho, por un lado, que hemos evolucionado un cerebro para todas las estaciones (William Calvin), lo que se opone, por el otro, al marco de la modularidad de la mente (Kim Sterelny o David Buller, entre otros). Consideramos la naturaleza de estas diferencias explicativas sobre la base de lo que nos parece un error de comprensión acerca de la evolución de módulos específicos de dominio. Subrayamos el hecho de que el dominio de entrada de un módulo y su función ecológica no deben ser confundidos. Proponemos una manera más generosa de considerar cómo las funciones evolutivas de la arquitectura mental pueden dar cuenta de la posibilidad de adaptaciones generales a la cognición cultural. Mostramos que la modularidad resulta ser un buen instrumento para investigar y descomponer mecanismos con funciones plásticas, como las que encontramos en algunas formas de aprendizaje social. De este modo, se defiende la idea de "módulos para todas las estaciones". (shrink)
Desde el siglo XVIII, el jardín es el lugar del saber-hacer y de los conocimientos adquiridos por la botánica experimental. A partir de ahí, se propondrá una definición de lo que es un ambiente técnico: un ambiente de cultivo hecho de normas y leyes. Pero este ambiente técnico debe distinguirse del ambiente natural. Este último designa un ambiente ocupado por especies salvajes. Se trata, pues, de precisar la naturaleza de la relación entre ambiente técnico y ambiente natural. A los productos (...) del cultivo, Linneo les daba un valor positivo. Rousseau piensa al contrario. A la naturaleza, le da un valor positivo. Linneo valora el jardín, está a favor del cultivo. Rousseau desvaloriza el jardín, está a favor de la naturaleza. La controversia sobre los organismos modificados podría comenzar. (shrink)
D. Álvaro Pelayo, nombrado obispo de Silves, hoy diócesis de Faro, Algarve, en el año 1334, entró en conflicto con el rey de Portugal, Alfonso IV (1325-57). Le escribió dos cartas en las que se puede observar que también tuvo que defender la autonomía jurisdiccional del poder espiritual, con vistas a la política centralizadora a la que el rey, siguiendo los pasos de su padre. D. Dinis (1279-1325), daba continuidad, con el propósito de restringir el espacio político del alto (...) clero lusitano. Unos pocos años después (1347), por la misma razón, el conflicto de las relaciones de poder entre las dos autoridades volvió a recrudecerse. Nuestro propósito aquí es doble: analizar los hechos históricos relacionados con los dos mencionados conflictos, por una parte, y los aspectos doctrinales contenidos en las dos referidas cartas, por otra, con vistas a mostrar la coherencia de pensamiento y actitud de D. Álvaro Pelayo. (shrink)
In this paper we prove polyadic counterparts of the Hájek, Paris and Shepherdson's conservative extension theorems of Łukasiewicz predicate logic to rational Pavelka predicate logic. We also discuss the algebraic correspondents of the provability and truth degree for polyadic MV-algebras and prove a representation theorem similar to the one for polyadic Pavelka algebras.
Traditionally Christian ethical reflection has taken the form of what is called nowadays ‘virtue ethics’. This article compares the approach to virtue ethics in the Byzantine thinker, Maximos the Confessor, and the Western thinker, Thomas Aquinas. They both share the heritage of Plato and Aristotle. Maximos develops a concern for the virtues that is practical and ascetic; although he recognizes and uses the traditional classical terminology, he prefers a new Christian terminology, based more directly on the Scriptures. In contrast, Aquinas (...) accepts and uses the classical terminology, adding to it Christian ‘theological’ virtues. His concern is much less directly practical than Maximos, and more directed to the kind of society in which the virtues can flourish. This contrast between the ascetical and political (which should not be overdrawn) is manifest in Dumitru Stăniloae and Josef Pieper, introduced as modern interpreters of Maximos and Thomas respectively. (shrink)
En la clasificación aristotélica de formas de gobierno no tendría encaje adecuado la forma de dominación política por la que será recordado nuestro siglo: el totalitarismo. Tal es la tesis de Hannah Arendt. Pero la pensadora judía ha querido mostrar ante todo que el análisis de los regímenes totalitarios y de su más peculiar realización -el campo de concentración- daba un sentido inesperado y desconcertante al concepto filosófico del mal radical.
The non-random mixing of biomembrane components, especially saturated phospholipids, exhibits important consequences in molecular biology. Particularly, the distribution of lipids within natural and model membranes is strongly determined by the selective association processes. These processes of phospholipids take place due to the cooperative modes in multiparticle systems as well as the specific lipid-lipid interactions both in the hydrophobic core and in the region of the polar headgroups. We demonstrated that the investigation of the selective association processes of saturated phospholipids might (...) contribute to the insight of the lipid domains appearance inside the bilayer membranes. The association probabilities of like-pairs and cross-pairs from a binary mixture of saturated phospholipids were tested for both parallel and anti-parallel alignments of the polar headgroups. The present model confirms the experimental evidence for saturated phospholipids to have a high tendency for association in parallel configuration of the electric dipole moments of the polar headgroups whether the cross-sectional area of the polar headgroup is in an usual range of 25-55 2. There are three major lipid domains in a binary mixture of saturated phospholipids: (i) lipid domains in non-mixed phase of the first mixture component, in parallel alignment of the polar headgroups; (ii) lipid domains in non-mixed phase of the second mixture component, in anti-parallel alignment of the polar headgroups; (iii) lipid domains in mixed phase. We think that the selective association processes of phospholipids are neither exclusively, nor only involved in promoting the lipid domains appearance through bilayer phospholipid membranes. (shrink)