Why read Walter Benjamin today? There as many answers to this question as there are "Walter Benjamins"--Benjamin as critic, Benjamin as modernist, Benjamin as marxist, Benjamin as Jew. . . . Yet it is Benjamin as philosopher that in one way or another stands behind all these. This collection explores, in Adorno's description, Benjamin's "philosophy directed against philosophy." The essays cover all aspects of Benjamin's writings, from his early work in the philosophy (...) of art and language, through his cultural criticism, to his final reflections on the concept of history. The experience of time and the destruction of false continuity are identified as the key themes in Benjamin's understanding of history--an understanding that illuminates recent debates about the postmodernist attitude towards modernity. Contributors: Andrew Benjamin, Rebecca Comay, Howard Caygill, Alexander Garcia Duttman, Rodolphe Gasche, Werner Hamacher, Gertrud Koch, John Kraniauskas, Peter Osborne, Irving Wohlfarth. (shrink)
Art, Mimesis and the Avant-Garde explores the relationship between art and philosophy. Andrew Benjamin argues for a reworking of the task of philosophy in terms of the centrality of ontology. It is in relation to this centrality, understood through the differences between modes of being, that art, mimesis, and the avant-garde come to be presented. A fundamental part of this book is the original interpretations of important contemporary painters and their themes: Lucian Freud's self-portraits, Francis Bacon's use of (...) mirrors, R. B. Kitaj and Jewish identity, Anselm Kiefer and iconoclasm. Apart from painting, Benjamin considers architecture, literature, and the philosophical writings of Walter Benjamin and Descartes in elaborating the various aspects of ontological difference. Benjamin develops the theory of the avant-garde as a philosophical category rather than a historical marker, thus bringing the worlds of contemporary art criticism and contemporary philosophy closer together. (shrink)
Present Hope is a compelling exploration of how we think philosophically about the present. Andrew Benjamin considers examples in philosophy, architecture and poetry to illustrate crucial themes of loss, memory, tragedy, hope and modernity. The book uses the work of Walter Benjamin and Martin Heidegger to illustrate the ways the notion of hope was weaved into their philosophies. Andrew Benjamin maintains that hope is a vital part of the present, rather than an expression only of the future. (...) Present Hope shows how Judaism and philosophy interact; how the Holocaust provides an important link between modernity and the present. Benjamin's writings on the significance of the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the poetry of Paul Celan unite toward understanding the present. (shrink)
Nothing is more simple or more complicated than the event. In recent years, the attack on any attempts to provide a foundation for philosophy has focused on the "logic of the event." In The Plural Event , Andrew Benjamin reconsiders and reworks philosophy in terms of events and how they are judged. Benjamin offers a sustained philosophical reworking of ontology, providing important readings of key canonical texts in the history of philosophy. In order to avoid the charge of (...) positivism, he provides a cogent interpretation of the process of thinking through while allowing the process to reveal itself in the interpretation of central philosophical texts. The effective presence of ontology, defined as "anoriginal difference," will be familiar to readers of his earlier writings. The Plural Event represents Andrew Benjamin's most thorough and original contribution to contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
JPVA Journal of Philosophy and the Visual Arts No 6 Complexity Architecture / Art / Philosophy 'Beginning with complexity will involve working with the recognition that there has always been more than one. Here however this insistent "more than one" will be positioned beyond the scope of semantics; rather than complexity occurring within the range of meaning and taking the form of a generalised polysemy, it will be linked to the nature of the object and to its production. Complexity, therefore, (...) will be inextricably connected to the ontology of the object. What this means is that complexity, in resisting the hold of a semantic idealism on the one hand, and the attempt to give to it the position of being the basis of a new foundationalism on the other, becomes a way of thinking both the presence and the production of objects.' Andrew Benjamin The Journal of Philosophy and the Visual Arts has set new standards in its exploration of themes central to philosophy's relation to the visual arts, illuminating areas of art criticism, architecture, feminism as well as philosophy itself. Rather than simply reflecting current trends it provides a forum in which the real developments in the analysis of the visual arts and its larger cultural and political context can be presented. Articles by well known philosophers and theorists, as well as some lesser known, together with writings by artists and architects allow a strong interdisciplinary approach reflecting the Journal's roots in post-structural theory. Previous issues include: Philosophy & the Visual Arts (No 1) Philosophy & Architecture (No 2) Architecture, Space, Painting (No 3) The Body (No 4) Abstraction (No 5). (shrink)
Best known for his book The Postmodern Condition , Jean-Francois Lyotard is one of the leading figures in contemporary French philosophy. This is the first collection of articles to offer an estimation and critique of his work, with particular focus on the importance to Lyotard of the question of judgement. Lyotard's interest in judgement is evident in his continuing engagement with the work of Kant. Lyotard's own essay, Sensus Communis , which opens the volume, investigates through Kant the presuppositions of (...) judgement. Other essays consider how Lyotard has rendered problematic existing forms of aesthetic, ethical, legal and political judgement. Judging Lyotard is an important collection that will reintroduce Lyotard to English-speaking audiences. It is of particular interest to students of philosophy, critical theory, and literary studies. (shrink)
E-Z Reader's account of the interaction between oculomotor and cognitive processes depends critically on distinguishing between early and late stages of lexical processing, because this distinction allows saccadic programming to be decoupled from shifts of attention. Precisely specifying the nature of this distinction has important implications both for current models of lexical retrieval and for the development of E-Z Reader 8.
The contention that abortion harms women constitutes a new strategy employed by the pro-life movement to supplement arguments about fetal rights. David C. Reardon is a prominent promoter of this strategy. Post-abortion syndrome purports to establish that abortion psychologically harms women and, indeed, can harm persons associated with women who have abortions. Thus, harms that abortion is alleged to produce are multiplied. Claims of repression are employed to complicate efforts to disprove the existence of psychological harm and causal antecedents of (...) trauma are only selectively investigated. We argue that there is no such thing as post-abortion syndrome and that the psychological harms Reardon and others claim abortion inflicts on women can usually be ascribed to different causes. We question the evidence accumulated by Reardon and his analysis of data accumulated by others. Most importantly, we question whether the conclusions Reardon has drawn follow from the evidence he cites. (shrink)
In this paper I hope to show that Geach misunderstands the nature of Plato's argument in the Euthyphro and more importantly the reasoning behind the dialectical strategy adopted by Socrates. Furthermore I shall argue that Geach's reading of the Euthyphro engenders serious difficulties, that stand in the way of understanding the manner in which Plato construes the problem of determining the nature of, and relationship between universal and particulars, which is of great significance because it is precisely this problem, in (...) relation to piety, that is central to the Euthyphro. In the appendix I shall sketch the outline of an argument in order to justify the assumption that the theory of Forms is present in the Euthyphro. (shrink)
Painting can only be thought in relation to the image. And yet, with (and within) painting what continues to endure is the image of painting. While this is staged explicitly in, for example, paintings of St. Luke by artists of the Northern Renaissance—e.g., Rogier van der Weyden, Jan Gossaert, and Simon Marmion—the same concerns are also at work within both the practices as well as the contemporaneous writings that define central aspects of the Italian Renaissance. The aim of this paper (...) is to begin an investigation into the process by which painting stages the activity of painting. This forms part of a project whose aim is an investigation of the way philosophy should respond to the essential historicity of art (where the latter is understood philosophically). (shrink)
Benj. R. Tucker, the business partner and confrère of E. H. Heywood of Princeton, Mass., has translated and published, in an elegant volume of nearly 500 royal octavo pages, the most renowned of the politico-economical works of the justly celebrated P. J. Proudhon. The title of the work in English is: What is Property? An Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of Government. I am (...) requested to write a review-notice of the work. The temptation is strong to expand into au exhaustive review, but I am not certain of any avenue to the public for such a treatise, and I shall confine myself to the smaller plan. First, as to what is usually put last. The volume as a book is superb. Print, presswork, paper, and binding are at the top of the powers of the bookmaking art, and the price ($3.50, or $6.50, according to style) is not excessive. The work of the translator is also conscientiously and well done, and is nearly faultless from the literary point of view. A few Gallicisms may be pointed out, but they are exceptionally few, and the translator's personality is completely sunk in the labor of love which he evidently had before him. (shrink)
Pulvermüller restricts himself to an unnecessarily narrow range of evidence to support his claims. Evidence from neural modeling and behavioral experiments provides further support for an account of words encoded as transcortical cell assemblies. A cognitive neuroscience of language must include a range of methodologies (e.g., neural, computational, and behavioral) and will need to focus on the on-line processes of real-time language processing in more natural contexts.
Adriano Ardovino, Raccogliere il mondo. Per una fenomenologia della rete [Angela Maiello] • Clive Bell, L’Arte [Filippo Focosi] • Alessandro Bertinetto, Il pensiero dei suoni. Temi di filosofia della musica [Domenica Lentini] • Terrence Deacon, Incomplete Nature. How Mind Emerged From Matter [Mariagrazia Portera] • Roger Scruton, La bellezza. Ragione ed esperienza estetica [Filippo Focosi] • Miriam Bratu Hansen, Cinema and Experience. Sigfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin and Theoder W. Adorno [Domenico Spinosa] • Lawrence Barsalou, scritti sulla “Grounded Cognition” [Gialuca (...) Consoli] • Dis-forme , Università degli Studi di Palermo, 28-29 maggio 2012 [Michele Bertolini e Pietro Conte]. (shrink)
Educating the gaze is easily understood as becoming conscious about what is 'really' happening in the world and becoming aware of the way our gaze is itself bound to a perspective and particular position. However, the paper explores a different idea. It understands educating the gaze not in the sense of 'educare' (teaching) but of 'e-ducere' as leading out, reaching out. E-ducating the gaze is not about getting at a liberated or critical view, but about liberating or displacing our view. (...) It is not about becoming conscious or aware , but about becoming attentive , about paying attention . E-ducating the gaze, then, is not depending on method, but relying on discipline; it does not require a rich methodology, but asks for a poor pedagogy, i.e. for practices which allow to expose ourselves. One example of such practice is that of walking. Consequently e-ducating the gaze could be about an invitation to go walking. This idea is explored b way of a comment on two quotations, one by Walter Benjamin and one by Michel Foucault. (shrink)
History is not the record of humanity’s progress through otherwise empty time. It is rather to be conceived messianically, i.e., in terms of God’s eschatological promises and the interruptive capacity of dangerous memories of human suffering. This insight is contained in both the historical philosophy of Walter Benjamin and the political theology of Johann Baptist Metz. Metz’s theological categories also contribute an understanding of messianic history that avoids the dualism of Benjamin’s description of history in both messianic and (...) materialist terms. (shrink)
"El pensador vagabundo. Estudios sobre Walter Benjamin", de varios autores, más que un libro es un homenaje a la obra de este gran pensador nominado como uno de los más valiosos e influyentes escritores de la humanidad. Walter Benjamin dejó por escrito miles de páginas que trataban de todo lo posible, hablando desde su infancia hasta el cambio que produjo la fotografía en el mundo artístico. Estos textos tienen el propósito de acercar al lector a este magnífico mundo (...) del pensamiento de Walter Benjamin. Los autores van entrelazando las ideas de este filósofo con sus seguidores más lucidos del ámbito de las humanidades, y así construyen un collage de la obra de Walter Benjamin, que por un lado nos acerca a su comprensión de los conceptos básicos, como por ejemplo, el de la historia y, en cambio, por otro establecen semejanzas entre sus escritos y el arte de Andy Warhol o Roberto Bolaño. (shrink)
Vagueness is an extremely widespread feature of language, famously associated with the sorites paradox. One instance of this paradox concludes that a single grain of sand is a heap of sand, by starting with a large heap of sand and invoking the plausible premise that if you take one grain of sand away from a heap of sand, then you still have a heap. The supervaluationist theory of vagueness states that a sentence is true if and only if it is (...) true on all ways of making it precise. This yields borderline case predications that are neither true nor false, but yet classical logic is preserved almost entirely. The sorites paradox is solved because the main premise comes out false – on each way of making 'heap' precise, there is some first grain that turns a heap into a non-heap – but there is no sharp boundary to 'heap' because it is a different grain on different ways of making 'heap' precise; so, there is no grain of which it is true to say it is that first grain. The theory has a range of merits in comparison with rival theories, such as the epistemic view or degree theories of vagueness. Objections have been made (and answers offered) in relation to its treatment of higher-order vagueness and what it says about truth and validity. Author Recommends Fine, Kit. 'Vagueness, Truth and Logic.' Synthese 30 (1975). 265–300. Reprinted in Keefe and Smith 1997. This is the classic text introducing supervaluationism as a treatment of vagueness. It provides both philosophical discussion and formal modelling, demonstrating the adherence to classical logic that the theory yields. Keefe, Rosanna and Peter Smith, eds. Vagueness: A Reader . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. This collection includes many classic papers on vagueness, including Fine's paper, cited above, a paper by Dummett that offers (but rejects) a precursor of the supervaluationist view, another less well-known early presentation of the view by Henyrk Mehlberg and discussion and defences of the main rival theories of vagueness. Keefe, Rosanna. Theories of Vagueness . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. This book defends a supervaluationist theory of vagueness. It discusses the phenomena of vagueness and what is required of a theory of vagueness, before considering and rejecting the major alternatives in turn. Williamson, Timothy. Vagueness . London: Routledge, 1994. This book defends the epistemic theory of vagueness, which maintains that vague predicates do have sharp boundaries, we just do not know where those boundaries lie. It also contains detailed discussions of opposing theories, including supervaluationism. Unger, Peter. 'The Problem of the Many.' Midwest Studies in Philosophy 5 (1980). Eds. P.A. French, T.E. Uehling Jr and H.K. Wettstein. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. This is the classic presentation of the Problem of the Many, to which a supervaluationist solution is relatively popular. This problem arises because frequently the boundaries of an object – say a cloud – are not sharply delineated. Each of the many ways of drawing the boundary seems to be an object of the type in question – say a cloud – hence the problem that there are many things when there should be just one. The supervaluationist, it seems, can say that there is just one cloud because that is true on each precisification. Williams, J. Robert G. 'An Argument for the Many.' Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 106 (2006). 409–17. Detailed discussion of Unger's Problem of the Many, especially in relation to the supervaluationist solution. Shapiro, Stewart. Vagueness in Context . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. In this book, Shapiro employs a supervaluationist framework, without endorsing some of the central claims of the standard supervaluationist theory of vagueness. Online Materials http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/vagueness/ http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sorites-paradox/ http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/problem-of-many/ http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~arche/projects/vagueness/bibliography.shtml Sample Syllabus Week I: Introduction to Vagueness Keefe, Theories of Vagueness (especially chapters 1 and 2) Williamson, Vagueness (especially chapters 1 and 2) Week II: Supervaluationist Theory: logic and semantics Keefe, 'Vagueness: Supervaluationism.' Philosophy Compass 3.2 (2008): 315–24, 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2008.00124.x Fine, 'Vagueness, Truth and Logic' Keefe, Theories of Vagueness (especially chapter 7) Week III: Higher Order Vagueness and the D Operator Keefe, Theories of Vagueness (especially chapter 8) Fara, Delia Graff. 'Gap Principles, Penumbral Consequence and Infinitely Higher-Order Vagueness.' Liars and Heaps . Ed. J.C. Beall. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. 195–221. Originally published under the name 'Delia Graff'. Week IV: Truth and Validity Keefe, Theories of Vagueness (especially chapter 8) Keefe, 'Supervaluationism and Validity.' Philosophical Topics 28 (2000). 93–105. Cobreros, 'Supervaluations and Logical Consequence: Retrieving the Local Perspective.' Studia Logica , Special Issue on Vagueness , 2009 Week V: Problem of the Many Unger, "The Problem of the Many" Williams, "An Argument for the Many" Week VI: Rival Theories Williamson, Vagueness (especially chapters 7 and 8) Keefe and Smith, Vagueness: A Reader (e.g. chapters 11, 14–6) Focus Questions 1 How important is it for a theory of vagueness to accommodate penumbral connections? Are there any putative penumbral connections that the supervaluationist cannot accommodate? 2 According to supervaluationism, what does it take for "Katie said that Hannah is tall" to be true? Does the view have implausible consequences for indirect speech reports when vague terms are used? 3 Is higher-order vagueness a problem for supervaluationism? 4 Is there more than one viable option for the account of validity in a supervaluationist framework? 5 Can a supervaluationist account of vagueness accommodate the full extent of context dependence exhibited in the use of vague predicates? (shrink)
The current system of organ procurement which relies on donation is inadequate to the current and future need for transplantable kidneys. The growing disparity between demand and supply is accompanied by a steep human cost. I argue that a regulated market in organs from living vendors is the only plausible solution, and that objections common to opponents of organ markets are defeasible. I argue that a morally defensible market in kidneys from living vendors includes four characteristics: (1) the priority of (...) safety for both vendors and recipients, (2) transparency regarding the risks to vendors and recipients, (3) institutional integrity regarding guidelines for cooperating with kidney vendors, and (4) operation under a rule of law. I conclude with some remarks on remaining problems with this account, and offer some suggestions as to how these problems might be addressed. (shrink)
Striking experimental results by Benjamin Libet and colleagues have had an impor- tant impact on much recent discussion of consciousness. Some investigators have sought to replicate or extend Libet’s results (Haggard, 1999; Haggard & Eimer, 1999; Haggard, Newman, & Magno, 1999; Trevena & Miller, 2002), while others have focused on how to interpret those ﬁndings (e.g., Gomes, 1998, 1999, 2002; Pockett, 2002), which many have seen as conﬂicting with our commonsense picture of mental functioning.
What is real? Less than you might think. We advocate austere metaphysical realism—a form of metaphysical realism claiming that a correct ontological theory will repudiate numerous putative entities and properties that are posited in everyday thought and discourse, and also will even repudiate numerous putative objects and properties that are posited by well confirmed scientific theories. We have lately defended a specific version of austere metaphysical realism which asserts that there is really only one concrete particular, viz., the entire cosmos (...) (see Horgan and Potrč (2000, 2002), Potrč (2003)). But there are various potential versions of the generic position we are here calling austere metaphysical realism; and it is the generic view that constitutes the ontological part of the overall approach to realism and truth that we will describe here. What is true? More than you might think, given our austere metaphysical realism. We maintain that truth is semantically correct affirmability, under contextually operative semantic standards. We also maintain that most of the time, the contextually operative semantic standards work in such a way that semantic correctness (i.e., truth) is a matter of indirect correspondence rather than direct correspondence between thought or language on the one hand, and the world on the other.1 When correspondence is indirect rather than direct, a given statement (or thought) can be true even if the correct ontology does not include items answering to all the referential commitments (as we will here call them) of the statement. 2 This means that even if a putative object is repudiated by a correct ontological theory, ordinary statements that are putatively about that object may still be true. For instance, the statement “The University of St. Andrews is in Scotland” can be semantically correct (i.e., true) even if the right ontology does not include any entity answering to the referring term ‘The University of St. Andrews’, or any entity.... (shrink)
Th e simple proposal about rigidity for predicates can be stated thus: a predicate is rigid if its canonical nominalization signiﬁ es the same property across the different possible worlds. I have tried elsewhere to defend such a proposal from the trivialization problem, according to which any predicate whatsoever would turn out to be rigid. Benjamin Schnieder (2005) aims ﬁ rst to rebut my argument that some canonical nominalizations can be ﬂ exible, then to provide ﬁ ve arguments to (...) the eﬀ ect that they are all rigid, and ﬁ nally to propose a general explanation of why they are all rigid. I show ﬁ rst why my argument has not been rebutted, then why Schnieder’s ﬁ ve arguments for their rigidity all fail, and ﬁ nally why the alleged “explanation” cannot be such, as the facts alluded to are neutral with respect to the rigidity or ﬂ exibility of the nominalizations. (shrink)
Any study of the 'Scientific Revolution' and particularly Descartes' role in the debates surrounding the conception of nature (atoms and the void v. plenum theory, the role of mathematics and experiment in natural knowledge, the status and derivation of the laws of nature, the eternality and necessity of eternal truths, etc.) should be placed in the philosophical, scientific, theological, and sociological context of its time. Seventeenth-century debates concerning the nature of the eternal truths such as '2 + 2 = 4' (...) or the law of inertia turn on the question of whether these truths were created along with nature, or were uncreated and subsisting in God's mind. One's answer to that question has direct consequences for conceptions of the necessity/contingency of mathematical and natural knowledge, how knowledge of such truths is accomplished by humans, and what grounds these truths. In this paper, I review the positions of four successors to Descartes' philosophy on the question of the eternal truths to illustrate how in specific ways that question with its theological, metaphysical, modal, and epistemological dimensions concerned the objectivity and certainty of the discoveries of the new science. Author Recommends: Clarke, Desmond. Descartes' Philosophy of Science . University Park, Penn State Press, 1982. This work provides an account of Descartes as a practicing scientist whose rationalism is mitigated by reliance on experiment and experience. Author re-examines Descartes' philosophical and scientific works in this new light. Dear, Peter. Revolutionizing the Sciences: European Knowledge and its Ambitions, 1500–1700 . Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2001. This work provides a useful overview of the issues and thinkers of the Scientific Revolution. Of particular relevance is chapter 8 on Cartesian and Newtonian science. Funkenstein, Amos. Theology and the Scientific Imagination from the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century . Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1986. This work is an advanced study of the theological and metaphysical foundations of early modern science. Discussions include questions of God's nature, God's knowledge in relation to human knowledge, providence, the laws of nature, and the truths of mathematics. In particular, chapter 3 discusses Descartes' account of the eternal truths and divine omnipotence. Garber, Daniel. Descartes' Metaphysical Physics . Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1992. This work examines how Descartes' metaphysical doctrines of God, soul, and body set the groundwork for his physics. It includes a study of God and the grounds for the laws of physics (chapter 9). Henry, John. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science . 3rd ed. New York, Palgrave, Macmillan Press, 2008. This work provides a brief, general, and informative overview of the Scientific Revolution, including the themes of method, magic, religion, and culture. Osler, Margaret J. Divine Will and the Mechanical Philosophy: Gassendi and Descartes on Contingency and Necessity in the Created World . Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994. This work is an examination and comparison of the mechanical philosophies of Gassendi and Descartes. It offers in-depth discussion of the issue of voluntarism and intellectualism in the period and how that related to conceptions of laws of nature and the eternal truths. Shapin, Steven. The Scientific Revolution . Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1996. This work provides a critical synthesis of as well as a guide to recent scholarship in the history of science for a general readership. Online Materials Dr. Robert A. Hatch's Scientific Revolution Website: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/rhatch/pages/03-Sci-Rev/SCI-REV-Home/ A compendium of resources for the study of Scientific Revolution. Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home Early English Books Online (EEBO) contains digital facsimile page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473 to 1700. Early Modern Resources: http://www.earlymodernweb.org.uk/emr/ Early Modern Resources is a gateway for all those interested in finding electronic resources relating to the early modern period in history. Gallica, the Digital Library of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ An ever-growing digital library which includes numerous primary and secondary texts of relevance to Descartes and his role in Scientific Revolution. Hatfield, Gary, 'René Descartes', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Spring 2009 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2009/entries/descartes/ Slowik, Edward, 'Descartes' Physics', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Winter 2008 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2008/entries/descartes-physics/ Syllabus Sample Syllabus: Cartesian Science The following is five weeks covering Cartesian Science in a course on Descartes or the Scientific Revolution, or 17th-century theories of matter, or related themes on early modern truth and method, especially on the continent. This material is best suited to a graduate level audience, but it could be modified to suit an upper-division undergraduate course, as the readings are basically primary texts whose context and background can be explained in lectures. Week 1: Cartesian Revolution in France • Scientific method • Role of mathematics and experiment • Certainty of scientific knowledge Readings: Hatfield, Gary, 'René Descartes', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Spring 2009 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2009/entries/descartes/ Descartes, Discourse on Method , Parts 1–3 Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy , First Meditation. Week 2: Descartes' Scientific Treatises • Mechanization and mathematization of nature • Primary–secondary quality distinction Readings: Discourse on Method, Parts 4–6 Selections from Descartes' Scientific Essays: The World or Treatise on Light (ATXI 3–48); Treatise on Man (ATXI 119–202); Optics (ATVI 82–147). Slowik, Edward, 'Descartes' Physics', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Winter 2008 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2008/entries/descartes-physics/ Henry, John, 'The Mechanical Philosophy,' chapter 5. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science . 3rd ed. Macmillan, 2008. Week 3: Descartes' Theory of Nature • Descartes' derivation of the law of conservation and the three laws of motion • God's role in the metaphysics and physics of nature Readings: Selections from Principles of Philosophy, Preface (all); Letter to Elizabeth; Part I: 1–8; Part II: 1–45, 55, 64; Part III: 1–4, 15–19, 45–47; Part IV: 187–207. John Henry, 'Religion and Science,' chapter 6. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science . 3rd ed. Macmillan, 2008. Week 4: Post-1650 Cartesian Science: Necessity and Contingency in Nature • Debates on God, Creation, and Causes Readings: Easton, Patricia, 'What is at Stake in the Cartesian Debates on the Eternal Truths?' Philosophy Compass 4.2 (2009): 348–62. Malebranche, Nicolas, 'Elucidation 10', from The Search after Truth (1674). Note: All selections available in Nicolas Malebranche (1992). Philosophical Selections , edited by S. Nadler, Hackett. Gottfried Leibniz (1714) Monadology . Week 5: Causes in Nature and Morals • Theodicy as an explanation of defect and evil in a lawful universe: Malebranche v. Leibniz Readings: Nicolas Malebranche, Elucidation XVI (on occasionalism), and Treatise on Nature and Grace, Discourse One, Part 1. Gottfried Leibniz (1706), Theodicy. Focus Questions Weekly questions can be used to focus the readings. This can be done in a web or e-mail discussion thread, as a weekly assignment, or for in class discussion. I require students to post a short paragraph in response to the question or some posting by a classmate on the question. Students are required to post by 10 a.m. the day before we meet for class on a course website. Week 1: According to Descartes, what role does skepticism play in scientific reasoning? Week 2: Comment on the following: 'But I am supposing this machine to be made by the hands of God, and so I think you may reasonably think it capable of a greater variety of movements than I could possibly imagine in it, and of exhibiting more artistry than I could possibly ascribe to it' [ Treatise on Man ; ATXI 120]. Week 3: What is Descartes' conception of the relation between the metaphysics and physics of nature? Week 4: Critically discuss the positions of Descartes, Malebranche, and Leibniz on what provides the foundation for the certitude of natural knowledge? Week 5: Explain why both Malebranche and Leibniz consider moral sin to be analogous to natural defect? Seminar/Project Idea Hold a debate on the question of the status of the eternal truths. The proposition will be Descartes' position: 'Eternal truths must be both created and necessary if certainty in science is to be possible'. Format: 1. At the beginning of the 5-week module, students will be assigned to one of three roles: Team A, Team B, and judge's panel. Students will be given the debate proposition, but will not be told which team will take the affirmative and which team the negative until the time of the debate. 2. Recommend a variation on the Classic Debate Format to encourage the development of argument: sequence begins with affirmative construction (8 minutes), negative construction (8 minutes), second affirmative construction (8 minutes), second negative construction (8 minutes), first negative rebuttal (4 minutes), first affirmative rebuttal (4 minutes), final negative rebuttal (4 minutes) and final affirmative rebuttal (4 minutes). 3. Judges Panel: will consist of 3–4 judges who will assess the performance of Teams A and B. Judgment should be based on the persuasiveness of the team position. 4. Debate will be held at the end of the fifth week, or semester, whichever makes most sense given the course length and structure. Acknowledgements The author gratefully acknowledges the immensely helpful comments and suggestions by the participants in her graduate seminar on the Scientific Revolution: Benjamin Chicka, Sarah Jacques-Ross, Richard Ross, Marcella Stockstill, and Zohra Wolters. (shrink)
It is often claimed that a clinical investigator may ethically participate (e.g., enroll patients) in a trial only if she is in equipoise (if she has no way to ground a preference for one arm of the study). But this is a serious problem, for as data accumulate, it can be expected that there will be a discernible trend favoring one of the treatments prior to the point where we achieve the trial's objective. In this paper, I critically evaluate (...) class='Hi'>Benjamin Freedman's 'clinical equipoise' solution to this dilemma. I argue that Freedman actually puts forth at least two distinct contrasts - one in terms of community vs. individual equipoise, and another concerning clinical vs. theoretical equipoise - and that neither of them resolves the dilemma. I then make a proposal for a more adequate account of how to think about the circumstances under which entering subjects in trials would be justified - a 'sliding-scale equipoise' that arises out of a discussion of patients' values. (shrink)
Edmund Husserl gave his famous London Lectures (in German) in June 1922 where he says his purpose is to explain “transcendental sociological [intersubjective] phenomenology having reference to a manifest multiplicity of conscious subjects communicating with one another”. This effective definitionof semiotic phenomenology as Communicology was reported in English (1923) by Charles K. Ogden and I. A. Richards in the first book on the topic titled The Meaning of Meaning. This groundwork was in full development by 1939 with the first detailed (...) use of Husserl’s phenomenology to explicate human communication, i.e., the publication of Wilbur Marshal Urban’s Language and Reality. My paper addresses Urban’s use of Husserl’s philosophy toboth explicate the phenomenological method and to explore the constitutive elements of human communication and culture. Urban makes use of the workon language and culture by his famous colleagues at Yale University (USA): Edward Sapir (the linguist), Benjamin Lee Whorf (Sapir’s graduate student),and Ernst Cassirer. My own teacher at the University of New Mexico (USA) was Hubert Griggs Alexander, a doctoral student under Urban and a classmateof Whorf. The interdisciplinary focus on Culture and Communicology by Professors Cassirer, Sapir, Urban, and their doctoral students, Alexander and Whorf are collectively known as the “Yale School of Communicology.” Typical empirical examples of theoretical points are provided in the footnotes. (shrink)
Gigerenzer and Brighton (2009) have argued for a “Homo heuristicus” view of judgment and decision making, claiming that there is evidence for a majority of individuals using fast and frugal heuristics. In this vein, they criticize previous studies that tested the descriptive adequacy of some of these heuristics. In addition, they provide a reanalysis of experimental data on the recognition heuristic that allegedly supports Gigerenzer and Brighton’s view of pervasive reliance on heuristics. However, their arguments and reanalyses are both conceptually (...) and methodologically problematic. We provide counterarguments and a reanalysis of the data considered by Gigerenzer and Brighton. Results clearly replicate previous findings, which are at odds with the claim that simple heuristics provide a general description of inferences for a majority of decision makers. (shrink)
O presente artigo pretende discutir e refletir sobre as contribuições da chamada Teoria Crítica da Sociedade para o campo da educação em tempos de crescente desenvolvimento tecnológico. Para tanto, voltamos o olhar para as obras de três autores expoentes da Teoria Crítica: Walter Benjamin, Theodor W. Adorno e Herbert Marcuse, destacando as reflexões e análises desses autores e utilizando-as como subsídio no campo educativo. A educação autorreflexiva e autocrítica é pensada em seu potencial para a superação das condições de (...) dominação que permanecem em nossa sociedade, cada vez mais tecnificada e pretensamente democrática. Desse modo, pensar a práxis educativa se afigura como algo urgente e necessário para que se rompa com certas condições que mantêm nosso potencial à barbárie. (shrink)
Evolutionary algorithms typically use direct encodings, where each element of the phenotype is specified independently in the genotype. Because direct encodings have difficulty evolving modular and symmetric phenotypes, some researchers use indirect encodings, wherein one genomic element can influence multiple parts of a phenotype. We have previously shown that Hyper- NEAT, an indirect encoding, outperforms FT-NEAT, a direct-encoding control, on many problems, especially as the regularity of the problem increases. However, HyperNEAT is no panacea; it had difficulty accounting for irregularities (...) in problems. In this paper, we propose a new algorithm, a Hybridized Indirect and Direct encoding (HybrID), which discovers the regularity of a problem with an indirect encoding and accounts for irregularities via a direct encoding. In three different problem domains, HybrID outperforms HyperNEAT in most situations, with performance improvements as large as 40%. Our work suggests that hybridizing indirect and direct encodings can be an effective way to improve the performance of evolutionary algorithms. (shrink)
We investigate several approaches to resolution based automated theoremproving in classical higher-order logic (based on Church's simply typed-calculus) and discuss their requirements with respect to Henkincompleteness and full extensionality. In particular we focus on Andrews'higher-order resolution (Andrews 1971), Huet's constrained resolution (Huet1972), higher-order E-resolution, and extensional higher-order resolution(Benzmüller and Kohlhase 1997). With the help of examples we illustratethe parallels and differences of the extensionality treatment of these approachesand demonstrate that extensional higher-order resolution is the sole approach thatcan completely (...) avoid additional extensionality axioms. (shrink)
This essay is an attempt to analyze an important decision Brzozowski took at the end of his life, i.e. his late turn towards Catholicism, which, despite his own objections, we should nonetheless call a religious conversion. The main reason why Brzozowski resisted the traditional rhetoric of conversion lies in his often repeated conviction that faith cannot invalidate life, because “what is not biographical, does not exist at all.” Brzozowski, therefore, rejects conversion understood as a radical and abrupt revolution of the (...) soul, which annuls everything that happened before, and turns to a model of religiosity (“Catholicism, undoubtedly”) which preserves his entire biographical past. In this manner, Brzozowski seeks his own formula of faith, more adequate to the “situation” of the modern man who lives in and through History. I argue that the model of “conversion without conversion” Brzozowski chose as representative of modern man is typically, though avant la lettre , post-secular: closer to the Jewish sources of past-oriented tschuva than to the mystical timelessness of traditionally Christian metanoia . The idea that redemption consists not in a liberation of a pure spirit but in a patient working-through of the universal history of creation is an implicit credo of the whole modern age, first fully articulated by Brzozowski and only later in the writings of Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, and Walter Benjamin. Brzozowski emerges as a relatively early precursor of the future post-secular option whose advocates, like the author of The Diary , will not allow themselves to “lose a single moment,” either of their lives or the world’s history. (shrink)
In this commentary, we question (1) how embodied Thelen et al.'s model is relative to their aims, and (2) how embodied the behavior of children is in particular response systems, relative to how much dynamic systems theory emphasizes this idea. We close with corrections to mischaracterizations of an alternative, neural network perspective on infant behavior.
Bloch, E. Discussing expressionism.--Lukács, G. Realism in the balance.--Brecht, B. Against Georg Lukács.--Benjamin, W. Conversations with Brecht.--Adorno, T. Letters to Walter Benjamin.--Benjamin, W. Reply.--Adorno, T. Reconciliation under duress.--Adorno, T. Commitment.--Jameson, F. Reflections in conclusion.
THE BOOK TAKES A LARGE NUMBER OF ISSUES WITHIN CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY (E.G., ATTRIBUTES OF GOD, ATONEMENT, SACRAMENTS, ESCHATOLOGY); ALLOWS TWO THEOLOGIANS (MOSTLY MODERN) TO PRESENT OPPOSED VIEWS ON THE SUBJECT IN QUESTION; AND THEN ILLUSTRATES HOW THE DEBATE HAS BEEN INFLUENCED BY, OR COULD BE DEEPENED BY, REFERENCE TO CONTEMPORARY CONTINENTAL PHILOSOPHY OF VARIOUS SORTS. THE PHILOSOPHERS DISCUSSED INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING: ADORNO, BARTHES, BENJAMIN, BLOCH, DELEUZE, DERRIDA, FOUCAULT, GADAMER, HEGEL, HEIDEGGER, KIERKEGAARD, LEVI-STRAUSS, LEVINAS, MARECHAL, RICOEUR. THOUGH THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND (...) IS EXPLAINED, THE STRESS IS VERY MUCH ON ASSESSMENT OF THE ARGUMENTS INVOLVED. (shrink)
Whole-genome analysis and whole-exome analysis generate many more clinically actionable findings than traditional targeted genetic analysis. These findings may be relevant to research participants themselves as well as for members of their families. Though researchers performing genomic analyses are likely to find medically significant genetic variations for nearly every research participant, what they will find for any given participant is unpredictable. The ubiquity and diversity of these findings complicate questions about disclosing individual genetic test results. We outline an approach for (...) disclosing a select range of genetic results to the relatives of research participants who have died, developed in response to relatives? requests during a pilot study of large-scale medical genetic sequencing. We also argue that studies that disclose individual research results to participants should, at a minimum, passively disclose individual results to deceased participants? relatives. (shrink)
This article uses Walter Benjamin’s philosophy of history in order to expose the barbarism that is located in the western society foundations, which promotes exclusion and victim’s forgetfulness. The paper indicates the political role of memory in building democracy and rescuing the human dignity, which is recognized from suffering’s alterity. The article will focus the experience of Latin American dictatorships and, more particularly, the military dictatorship in Brazil. KEY WORDS – Victim’s justice. Political Memory. History and narration. Human person (...) dignity. Military dictatorship. Walter Benjamin. (shrink)