The problem of Nishida Kitaro's historical philosophy and an introduction to the psychedelic paradigm -- The Zen nexus between Nishida Kitaro and modern psychedelic experience -- Experience and the self: the early phase of Nishida's thought (1911-1931) -- Nishida Kitaro's historical world (1931-1945) -- A psychedelic paradigm of history -- Hallucinating the end of history: reflections on myth, the eschaton and the problem of overcoming modernity.
Nihilism is the logic of nothing as something, which claims that Nothing Is. Its unmaking of things, and its forming of formless things, strain the fundamental terms of existence: what it is to be, to know, to be known. But nihilism, the antithesis of God, is also like theology. Where nihilism creates nothingness, condenses it to substance, God also makes nothingness creative. Negotiating the borders of spirit and substance, theology can ask the questions of nihilism that other disciplines do not (...) ask: Where is it? What is it made of? Why is it so destructive? How can it be made holy, or overcome? Genealogy of Nihilism rereads Western history in the light of nihilistic logic, which pervades two millennia of Western thought and is coming to fruition in our present age in a virulently dangerous manner. From Parmenides to Alain Badiou, via Plotinus, Avicenna, Duns Scotus, Ockham, Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, Sartre, Lacan, Deleuze and Derrida, a genealogy of nothingness can be witnessed in development, with devastating consequences for the way we live. Conor Cunningham's elaborate and sophisticated theology, spanning the disciplines of philosophy, science and popular culture, permits us to see not simply how modernity has formulated its philosophies of nothing, but how these philosophies might be transfigures by the crucial difference theology makes, and so be reconcilable with life and the living - with the very gift which being is. (shrink)
Journalism and media ethics texts commonly invoke Aristotle's Golden Mean as a principal ethical theory that models such journalistic values as balance, fairness, and proportion. Working from Aristotle's text, this article argues that the Golden Mean model, as widely understood and applied to media ethics, seriously belies Aristotle's intent. It also shortchanges the reality of our moral agency and epistemic responsibility. A more authentic rendering of Aristotle's theory of acting rightly, moreover, has profound implications for communication ethicists and media practitioners.
Universals are a class of mind independent entities, usually contrasted with individuals, postulated to ground and explain relations of qualitative identity and resemblance among individuals. Individuals are said to be similar in virtue of sharing universals. An apple and a ruby are both red, and their common redness results from sharing a universal. If they are both red at the same time, the universal, red, must be in two places at once. This makes universals quite different from individuals, and controversial. (...) Whether universals are in fact required to explain relations of qualitative identity and resemblance among individuals has engaged metaphysicians for two thousand years. Disputants fall into one of three broad camps. Realists endorse universals. Conceptualists and Nominalists, on the other hand, refuse to accept universals and deny that they are needed. Conceptualists explain similarity among individuals by appealing to general concepts or ideas, things that exist only in minds. Nominalists, in contrast, are content to leave relations of qualitative resemblance brute and ungrounded. Numerous versions of Nominalism have been proposed, some with a great deal of sophistication. Contemporary philosophy has seen the rise of a new form of Nominalism, one that makes use of a special class of individuals, known as tropes. Familiar individuals have many properties, but tropes are single property instances. Whether Trope Nominalism improves on earlier Nominalist theories is the subject of much recent debate. In general, questions surrounding universals touch upon some of the oldest, deepest, and most abstract of philosophical issues. (shrink)
A variety of recent philosophical discussions, particularly on topics relating to complexity, have begun to reemploy the concept of 'emergence'. Although multiple concepts of 'emergence' are available, little effort has been made to systematically distinguish them. In this paper, I provide a taxonomy of higher-order properties that (inter alia) distinguishes three classes of emergent properties: (1) ontologically basic properties of complex entities, such as the mythical vital properties, (2) fully configurational properties, such as mental properties as they are conceived of (...) by functionalists and computationalists, and (3) highly configurational/holistic properties, such as the higher-level patterns characteristic of complex dynamical systems. Or more simply: emergence as ontological liberality, emergence as multiple realizability, and emergence as interactive complexity. (shrink)
Theories of intentionality need to account for non-cognitive states like emotions as well as cognitive states like beliefs. When certain non-cognitive states are included, one can formulate a feasible physicalist account of intentionality that highlights its evolutionary roots. I argue that recent experimental data support just such a move.
Antireductionist philosophers have argued for higher-order classifications of qualia that locate consciousness outside the scope of conventional scientific explanations, viz., by classifying qualia as intrinsic, basic, or subjective properties, antireductionists distinguish qualia from extrinsic, complex, and objective properties, and thereby distinguish conscious mental states from the possible explananda of functionalist or physicalist explanations. I argue that, in important respects, qualia are intrinsic, basic, and subjective properties of conscious mental states, and that, contrary to antireductionists' suggestions, these (...) higher-order classifications are compatible with qualia reduction. I demonstrate this compatibility by examining the putative higher-order properties of qualia and comparing them to the higher-order properties characteristic of connectionist models of cognitive processes. I contend that the higher-order properties characteristic of connectionist networks approximate (in intertheoretic terms) the putative higher-order properties of qualia sufficiently well to conclude that qualia reductionism can (1) accommodate claims that qualia are intrinsic, basic, and subjective properties, and (2) explain the motivating intuitions for those claims generated by inverted, absent, and alien qualia thought experiments. In this way I argue that (approximate versions of) the putative higher-order classifications of qualia not only fail to defeat qualia reduction but, ironically, turn out to support it. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore Peirce's work for insights into a theory of learning and cognition for education. Our focus for this exploration is Peirce's paper The Fixation of Belief (FOB), originally published in 1877 in Popular Science Monthly. We begin by examining Peirce's assertion that the study of logic is essential for understanding thought and reasoning. We explicate Peirce's view of the nature of reasoning itself—the characteristic guiding principles or ‘habits of mind’ that underlie acts of inference, the dimensions (...) of and interaction between doubt and belief, and his four methods of resolving or ‘fixing’ belief (i.e., tenacity, authority, a priori, and experimentation). The four methods are then juxtaposed against current models of teaching and learning such as constructivism, schema theory, situated cognition, and inquiry learning. Finally, we discuss Peirce's modes of inference as they relate educationally to the resolution of doubt and beliefs and offer an example of belief resolution from an experienced teacher in a professional development environment. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to examine three different approaches to autonomy in order to demonstrate how each leads to a different conclusion about the ethicality of advertising. I contend that Noggle''s (1995) belief-based autonomy theory provides the most complete understanding of autonomy. Read in conjunction with Arendt''s theory of cooperative power, Noggle''s theory leads to the conclusion that advertising does not violate consumers'' autonomy. Although it is possible for advertisers to abuse the power granted them by society these (...) abuses do not constitute a violation of consumers'' autonomy. (shrink)
By virtue of its epistemic deficits, propaganda is very much an unethical phenomenon. Coping effectively with propaganda requires a communicative response that confronts its inherent unethicality with ethically grounded resistance. In this article, I propose two congruent plans of communicative action, each of which rests on an apparent ethical connection: J. Michael Sproule's (1994) reclaiming of classical eloquence, and Jonathan Rauch's (1993) provocative program of "liberal science.".
Two years ago, the distribution of the world’s people reached the point at which over half now live in cities. Some social scientists and urban planners (but few political leaders other than those of large municipalities) had seen this change coming. With one group of exceptions, philosophers have paid less attention to the subject. I would like to advance some ideas about how to think philosophically about cities, drawing upon North American and European thinkers and traditions.
"The golden rule" (Matthew 7:12) is a formulation of natural moral law, a logical way to divide good from evil. It has been attacked by J.W. Hennessey, Jr. and Bernard Gert as a "particularist preachment." On the contrary, it remains a useful, universal guide to moral conduct and cannot be considered a self-centered, subjective guide to the moral life. We must agree with Jeffrey Wattles that there are multiple possible meanings to the "rule", some legitimate and some spurious. The legitimate (...) meanings, such as the "standard of God-like behavior," all yield the same judgment on morally doubtful actions such as forgery. The so-called "platinum" rule, "Do unto others as they would have you do unto them" has face appeal, but is fatally flawed in its logic, and does not supercede "the golden rule" because part of the treatment I wish from others is a full understanding of my true needs and wishes, even when I do not judge my own needs correctly. (shrink)
One would be hard pressed these days to ﬁnd any defenders of the sort of full-blown economic planniﬁcation characteristic of the late Soviet Union and other Communist states, and with good reason given their economic inefﬁciency. The departure from planniﬁcation is, of course, celebrated by neo-liberal champions of capitalism. Critics of unbridled capitalism are less enthusiastic about the embrace of economic markets, which are correctly seen as promoting inequalities and objectionably competitive values. A question put to themselves by the critics (...) is whether a market economy will bring such socially undesirable consequences in its wake. This topic is often framed in language ﬁrst employed by Karl Polanyi. He described a progression in the development of market mechanisms from the Industrial Revolution. (shrink)
Considerations of social justice pertain to universities with respect to reserved spaces for applicants from disadvantaged groups, targeted hiring, differential student fees or faculty workloads and salaries, and similarly contested matters. This paper displaces debates over what constitutes just allocation of university resources from those over theories of justice in general to those about alternative visions of the proper goal of universities. To this end, educational and democratic theories of John Dewey are drawn on as an alternative to elitist conceptions (...) and the implications of these competing viewpoints for specific justice-related issues are explicated. (shrink)
I argue against the claim of certain functionalists, like Jerry Fodor, that theories of psychological states ought to abstract from the physiology of the systems that exhibit such states. Taking seriously Darwin’s claim that living organisms struggle to survive, and that their “mental powers” are adaptations that assist them in this struggle, I argue that not only emotions but also paradigm cognitive states like beliefs are intimately bound up with the physiology of the organism and its efforts to maintain its (...) own well-being. I defend the definitional aspirations of functionalism but reject its attempt at ontological neutrality. (shrink)
Linguistic phenomena of tense and aspect have been investigated in a great deal of theoretical work in linguistics, philosophy and computer science. Modern tense logics, established by Prior, are part of this effort. Point tense logics offer an intuitive representation of tense but lack the expressiveness to represent many aspectual structures. Interval tense logics offer more expressiveness but in the general case can be computationally intractable. From a linguistic perspective there is the problem of precisely how to formalise the aspectual (...) structures, such as a culmination and a culminated process. In this paper we define a computationally tractable augmented fragment of Halpern and Shoham's interval tense logic HS and apply it to represent a core set of aspectual structures, which are incorporated into a temporal semantics of a simple fragment of English. We model the logic fragment using timelines and define two procedures, one for constructing the minimal timelines that satisfy a formula and one for checking semantic entailments between one formula and another by comparing their timelines. The former is applied to compute models of temporal readings and the latter to check entailments between them. Possible extensions to the logic fragment and timeline models are discussed as ways of accounting for a wider range of linguistic behaviour. (shrink)
A recent issue of Report from the Institute for Philosophy and Public Affairs identifies four ethical issues for the 21st century. By not including media ethics, the Report overlooks a crucial logical priority. That oversight is reflected in greater academe where media ethics (unlike, say, biomedical ethics) is scarcely acknowledged. This article argues that communication ethics, as an integral part of the wider enterprise of media literacy, deserves greater prominence in our town-and-gown communities.
American democracy depends on the free exchange of ideas to create a rational and well informed public, which, in turn, makes decisions that benefit society as a whole. Unfortunately, media reliance on advertising may be eroding the necessary free flow of information. This article addresses the proper role of advertisers in the media. Certainly advertisers enjoy some degree of economic power over the media, but should that influence be used to control media content? Arendt's (1986) view of communicative power demonstrates (...) how advertisers' power originates with the public. Donaldson's (1982) social contract theory of business explains why that power entails responsibility and why advertisers are obligated not to abuse it. (shrink)
Transplantation continues to push the frontiers of medicine into domains that summon forth troublesome ethical questions. Looming on the frontier today is human facial transplantation. We develop criteria that, we maintain, must be satisfied in order to ethically undertake this as-yet-untried transplant procedure. We draw on the criteria advanced by Dr. Francis Moore in the late 1980s for introducing innovative procedures in transplant surgery. In addition to these we also insist that human face transplantation must meet all the ethical requirements (...) usually applied to health care research. We summarize the achievements of transplant surgery to date, focusing in particular on the safety and efficacy of immunosuppressive medications. We also emphasize the importance of risk/benefit assessments that take into account the physical, aesthetic, psychological, and social dimensions of facial disfiguration, reconstruction, and transplantation. Finally, we maintain that the time has come to move facial transplantation research into the clinical phase. (shrink)