Le présent article montre que s’il est totalement réducteur de considérer Descartes comme un mécaniste radical (le corps humain n’est pas un corps comme un autre puisqu’il est uni à une âme) et Kant comme un finaliste radical (l’explication scientifique en biologie sera, en dernier ressort, mécaniste) dans leur tentative respective d’explication du vivant, il est tout aussi réducteur de voir en Bergson unsimple critique du mécanisme. En effet, Bergson fait le «rêve», dans L’évolution créatrice , d’un «mécanisme de la (...) transformation» qui représente une réforme du mécanisme dont la condition de possibilité repose non seulement sur le progrès de la chimie, mais également et surtout sur celui des mathématiques modernes, plus précisément du calcul infinitésimal, seule méthode capable de saisir bjectivement le mouvement.When it comes to explaining life and living organisms, it is as insufficient to see in Descartes a proponent of radical mechanicism (the human body is not any sort of body since it is united with a soul) and in Kant a proponent of radical finalism (in biology, scientific explanations are in the last resort mechanicist), as it is to see in Bergson nothing other than an opponent of mechanicism. In fact in Creative Evolution Bergson “dreams” of a “mechanism of transformation” that should consist of a reform of mechanicism, the conditions of possibility of which are based not only on the progress of chemistry, but first of all on the progress of mathematics, and more precisely of infinitesimal calculus, the only method able to objectively grasp movement. (shrink)
We propose that the crucial difference between human cognition and that of other species is the ability to participate with others in collaborative activities with shared goals and intentions: shared intentionality. Participation in such activities requires not only especially powerful forms of intention reading and cultural learning, but also a unique motivation to share psychological states with others and unique forms of cognitive representation for doing so. The result of participating in these activities is species-unique forms of cultural cognition and (...) evolution, enabling everything from the creation and use of linguistic symbols to the construction of social norms and individual beliefs to the establishment of social institutions. In support of this proposal we argue and present evidence that great apes (and some children with autism) understand the basics of intentional action, but they still do not participate in activities involving joint intentions and attention (shared intentionality). Human children's skills of shared intentionality develop gradually during the first 14 months of life as two ontogenetic pathways intertwine: (1) the general ape line of understanding others as animate, goal-directed, and intentional agents; and (2) a species-unique motivation to share emotions, experience, and activities with other persons. The developmental outcome is children's ability to construct dialogic cognitive representations, which enable them to participate in earnest in the collectivity that is human cognition. Key Words: collaboration; cooperation; cultural learning; culture; evolutionary psychology; intentions; shared intentionality; social cognition; social learning; theory of mind; joint attention. (shrink)
This paper gives a philosophical outline of the initial foundations of politics as presented in the work of Plato and argues why this traditional philosophical approach can no longer serve as the foundation of politics. The argumentation is mainly based on the work of Latour (1993, 1997, 1999a, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008) and consists of five parts. In the first section I elaborate on the initial categorization of politics and science as represented by Plato in his Republic. In the second (...) section I discuss the gap between humans and non-humans and how they are tied together in actual real life political topics. In the third section I elaborate on the concepts of political and scientific discourse and how they are thought of as separated fields based on the ancient constitution of human society. In the fourth section I link the concepts of matter of fact and matter of concern. In a final section I present a redefinition of the nature of politics as represented in the work of Bruno Latour as an alternative foundation for the study of political systems. (shrink)
Within the perception-action framework, the underlying mechanisms of empathy and its related processes of moral behavior need to be investigated. fMRI studies have shown different frontal cortex activation patterns during automatic processing and judgment tasks when stimuli have moral content. Clinical neuropsychological studies reveal different patterns of empathic alterations after dorsolateral versus orbital frontal cortex damage, related to deficient cognitive and emotional processing. These processing streams represent different neural levels and mechanisms underlying empathy.
As Bruner so eloquently points out, and Gauvain echoes, human beings are unique in their “locality.” Individual groups of humans develop their own unique ways of symbolizing and doing things – and these can be very different from the ways of other groups, even those living quite nearby. Our attempt in the target article was to propose a theory of the social-cognitive and social-motivational bases of humans' ability and propensity to live in this local, that is, this cultural, way – (...) which no other species does – focusing on such things as the ability to collaborate and to create shared material and symbolic artifacts. (shrink)
The essay examines the relation between the explicit aesthetic ideology of Proust’s Recherche and the structure of the “involuntary memory” that is supposed to serve as that ideology’s empirical basis. I challenge the apparent solipsism and idealism of the narrator’s aesthetics by focusing on the one experience of involuntary memory that he omits from his final reflections, in Time Regained, on the relation between memory and art: this is the involuntary memory, in the earlier volume Sodom and Gomorrah, of his (...) dead grandmother, a memory that he describes there as an experience of true otherness. Through a close reading of this passage, I argue that Proust’s interest in involuntary memory implies a concept of literary art as above all ethical in nature, in so far as it is the only means by which individuals can emerge from the solitude to which they are otherwise existentially condemned. In both the Sodom and Gomorrah passage and a later passage from Time Regained this emergence is cast in terms of a rhetoric of multiplicity that emphasizes both the disturbing and the productive dimensions connecting literature with life. (shrink)
In this comment I want to clarify five topics. The first topic concerns the importance of looking back at the very principles of the foundations of Western society. The second comment argues for the original position of Latour within the field of (social) constructivism. In the third comment, I argue that Haraway adds to the science-politics discussion by elaborating her philosophy beyond dichotomy. In the fourth comment, I argue that the terms ‘objective’ and ‘rational’ are central philosophical concepts which should (...) be retained. Finally I will make the connection between ‘what’ is represented and ‘how’ to represent it. (shrink)
It is a rather safe statement to claim that the social dimensions of the scientific process are accepted in a fair share of studies in the philosophy of science. It is a somewhat safe statement to claim that the social dimensions are now seen as an essential element in the understanding of what human cognition is and how it functions. But it would be a rather unsafe statement to claim that the social is fully accepted in the philosophy of mathematics. (...) And we are not quite sure what kind of statement it is to claim that the social dimensions in theories of mathematics education are becoming more prominent, compared to the psychological dimensions. In our contribution we will focus, after a brief presentation of the above claims, on this particular domain to understand the successes and failures of the development of theories of mathematics education that focus on the social and not primarily on the psychological. (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)
The will is one of the three pillars of the trilogy of mind that has pervaded Western thought for millennia, the other two being affectivity and cognition (Hilgard 1980). In the past century, the concept of will was imperceptibly replaced by the cognitive-oriented behavioral qualifiers “voluntary,” “goal-directed,” “purposive,” and “executive” (Tranel et al. 1994), and has lost much of its heuristic merits, which are related to the notion of “human autonomy” (Lhermitte 1986). We view catatonia as the clinical expression of (...) impairment of the brain mechanisms that promote human will. Catatonia is to the brain systems engaged in will, as coma is to the reticular ascending systems that promote sleep and wakefulness (Plum 1991). (shrink)
A new model of bioturbation has been developed to describe short term sediment reworking induced by macrobenthic communities. The design of the model had to consider the mixing processes, firstly, at the organism level, and secondly, at community level. This paper describes the mixing mode of the four types of bioturbators defined by the authors: the biodiffusors, the upward-conveyors, the downward-conveyors and the regenerators. The mathematical formulation of these sub-models consists of ordinary differential equations. They take into account the size (...) of the bioturbated zone, the output fluxes to the water column, tracer decay, physical mixing due to local currents and the type and intensity of the bioturbation processes. These sub-models make it possible to describe correctly the mixing events that have occurred in cores with each type of bioturbator. They also provide the basis for general bioturbation model, that will take into account the respective degrees of involvement of (i) the different bioturbation processes and their characteristics, (ii) the interference between the different processes, and (iii) make possible to predict the particle reworking in order to include it in studies of organic matter in early diagenesis. (shrink)
L'acüon educative repose sur un double fondement: d'une part, la nature et la vocation de l'etre humain, et d'autre part, la societe humaine ä bätir. L'homme a des traits specifiques qui exigent et en meme temps permettent son education: il est imparfait, inacheve (il ne sait pas tout, il ne se comporte pas for cement bien), il faut done l'amener ä s'ameliorer; il est perfectible e'est-a-dire qu'il peut devenir meilleur; il a la volonte de se depasser, de tendre vers l'ideal, (...) ideal qu'il n'atteint, bien sür, jamais; il est capable materiellement, intellectuellement (grace ä sa formation, ä son experience) d'agir sur autrui, de le mener vers cet ideal; enfln, il est conscient de devoir le faire, car l'homme ne peut et ne doit etre eduque que par l'homme. Et, second justificatif de Taction educative: la societe des hommes et les rapports devant exister entre eux. L'homme, par essence, Vit et est fait pour vivre en collectivite. Celle-ci doit etre harmonieuse, bien organisee, de preference sous forme d'Etat, pour le bonheur de tous les membres, lesquels doivent etre ä meme de concourir ä l'edification d'une societe egalitaire, toutes choses qui necessitent Taction educative. (shrink)
Taking its cue from François Bernier’s Voyages and focusing on the assumptions that stand in the background of Immanuel Kant’s view of the encounter between Christianity and Hinduism, this text endeavors to bring to light the theoretical framework that shaped the dialogue between the West and the East since the 18th century. The author’s contention is that the way that Western philosophy has tended to conceive of universal values has been one of the fundamental obstacles that has hindered a (...) genuine cross-cultural conversation in this sense. (shrink)
Jean-Francois Lyotard is often considered to be the father of postmodernism. Here leading experts in the field of cultural and philosophical studies, including Barry Smart, John O' Neill and Victor J. Seidler, tackle many of the questions still being asked about this controversial figure.
Philosophers and Buddhist scholars have noted the affinities between David Hume’s empiricism and the Buddhist philosophical tradition. I show that it was possible for Hume to have had contact with Buddhist philosophical views. The link to Buddhism comes through the Jesuit scholars at the Royal College of La Flèche. Charles François Dolu was a Jesuit missionary who lived at the Royal College from 1723–1740, overlapping with Hume’s stay. He had extensive knowledge both of other religions and cultures and of (...) scientific ideas. Dolu had had first-hand experience with Theravada Buddhism as part of the second French embassy to Siam in 1687–1688. In 1727, Dolu also had talked with Ippolito Desideri, a Jesuit missionary who visited Tibet and made an extensive study of Tibetan Buddhism from 1716–1721. It is at least possible that Hume heard about Buddhist ideas through Dolu. (shrink)
There is a long-standing view that Malebranche and his fellow occasionalists accepted occasionalism to solve the problem of interaction between immaterial souls and extended bodies. Recently, however, scholars have shown this story to be a myth. Malebranche, Geulincx, La Forge, and Cordemoy adopted occasionalism for a variety of reasons, but none did so because of a need to provide a solution to a perceived mind-body problem. Yet there is one Cartesian for whom the “traditional” reading is largely on the mark. (...)François Lamy argues in the second volume of his De la Connoissance de Soi-Meme much as the standard story has it. In this article I discuss and analyze Lamy’s argument, showing how he deals with some of the many concerns that made occasionalism attractive, and how he brings out some of the thorny questions that an occasionalist must face. (shrink)
This is an essay about language, thought, and culture in general, and about Ancient Greek and Classical Chinese in particular. It is about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which says that language influences the mind, and applies this hypothesis to Greek and Chinese. It is also an essay in comparative philosophy as well as a contribution to the history of ideas. From the language side, I rely on the nineteenth-century German linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt, and from the culture side on the contemporary (...) French sinologist François Jullien. Combining their ideas, I give substance to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and explain some of Jullien's claims about the historical and political developments of Chinese culture. The central .. (shrink)
In the early 18th Century, Daniel Defoe found it natural to write a novel whose heroine was a sexually adventurous, socially marginal property offender. Only half a century later, this would have been next to unthinkable. In this paper, the disappearance of Moll Flanders, and her supercession in the annals of literary female offenders by heroines like Tess of the d'Urbervilles, serves as a metaphor for fundamental changes in ideas of selfhood, gender and social order in 18th and 19th (...) Century England. Drawing on law, literature, philosophy and social history, I argue that these broad changes underpinned a radical shift in mechanisms of responsibility-attribution, with decisive implications for the criminalisation of women. I focus in particular on the question of how the treatment and understanding of female criminality was changing during the era which saw the construction of the main building blocks of the modern criminal process, and of how these understandings related in turn to broader ideas about gender, social order and individual agency. (shrink)
Discourse, Figure signifies an event. I mean this in a variety of ways. There has been a recent event: the publication of an English translation of Jean-François Lyotard’s first major book. Its translation is an event forty years delayed and signifies the closing of a major gap in the translation of Lyotard’s work. Of course, both “signify” and “event” are important words for Lyotard. Discourse, Figure’s goal is to “signify the other of signification” (2011, 13, emphasis his). The question (...) of the representability of events that concerns Lyotard throughout his career originates in Discourse, Figure. I use these two words to guide my review. First I outline the events of the book: its context and its argument. .. (shrink)
The existence of a genetic program of development was proposed by molecular biologists in the nineteen-sixties. Historians and philosophers of science have since thoroughly criticized this notion. To fully appreciate its significance, it is interesting to consider the research which was pursued during this period by molecular biologists who proposed this notion. This study focuses on François Jacob's work and on the model of development supported by his lab in the early seventies, the T-complex model. This episode of Jacob's (...) scientific activity has since been forgotten. Characterization of this model shows that the notion of program was used in a metaphoric way and that it did not put any constraint on the work pursued in the lab at that time. Some attention is devoted to the origin of this metaphor in the context of the nineteen-seventies. (shrink)
Fragments presents a set of brilliantly intriguing interviews with Jean Baudrillard whose work today occupies center stage in the analysis of consumerism, terrorism, and contemporary culture. In these frank discussions with François L'Yvonnet, Baudrillard reveals for the first time in detail the thinkers who have been the dominant influences on his work during his career. Instead of examining his work as a project of intellectual accumulation, he challenges all the major interpretations of his work by suggesting he has always (...) adopted an anti-system, anti-totality strategy. Even globalization is accompanied in his view by a Western culture which itself is no longer a well-founded confident universalism. Perhaps most interestingly, Baudrillard discusses his life's work in relationship to his contemporaries -- Bataille , Barthes, Lyotard and Deleuze - and explores his position as an outsider in the field of French philosophy. Baudrillard in these interviews is in sparkling form, and in his ownwords he presents not only a lively introduction to this great thinker but also gives readers a window into a brilliant mind. (shrink)
Summary The paper follows the lives of Mateu Orfila and François Magendie in early nineteenth-century Paris, focusing on their common interest in poisons. The first part deals with the striking similarities of their early careers: their medical training, their popular private lectures, and their first publications. The next section explores their experimental work on poisons by analyzing their views on physical and vital forces in living organisms and their ideas about the significance of animal experiments in medicine. The last (...) part describes their contrasting research on the absorption of poisons and the divergences in their approaches, methods, aims, standards of proof, and intended audiences. The analysis highlights the connections between nineteenth-century courtrooms and experimental laboratories, and shows how forensic practice not only prompted animal experimentation but also provided a substantial body of information and new research methods for dealing with major theoretical issues like the absorption of poisons. (shrink)
Comment transmettre et diffuser les vérités révélées sans recourir à une imagination poétique ou artistique, suspecte de rabattre l'homme vers les séductions terrestres et de le gonfler d'orgueil ? La solution fournie par Jean-François Pic de la Mirándole à ce problème dans son De Imaginatione consacre l'émergence d'une fonction nouvelle de l'imagination, que l'on verra reprise et développée dans les grands textes apologétiques du XVIIe siècle. How can one pass on and spread revealed truths without resort to a poetic (...) or artistic imagination, suspect of humbling man towards terrestrial seductions, hence inflating him with pride ? The solution offered by Giovanni Francesco Pico della Mirándola to this problem in his De Imaginatione sanctions the surge of a new function of imagination which will be seen caught up again and developed in the great apologetic texts of the XVIIth century. (shrink)
This paper examines the analysis of property regimes in the thought of the French philosopher, Francois Huet, as presented especially in his one major work on that subject, Le Regne Social du Christianisme (1853). There, Huet developed his concern with social issues which began in the mid-1840s, when he was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ghent. From 1846, he formed a study group of students now known as the �Huet Society�, which discussed social questions such as property rights (...) and inheritance, and considered various reform proposals in the works of Fourier, Proudhon, Saint-Simon and others. In the aftermath of the 1848 Revolutions, Huet resigned his Chair following an official campaign against his allegedly subversive views. From 1850 until his death in 1869, Huet lived in Paris where he concentrated on his studies, producing a large number of published works. Apart from Le Regne, those works were concerned principally with Catholic theology, at least until 1864 when Huet renounced his faith and sought to develop a version of pantheism. However, in La Science de l'esprit (1864), which immediately preceded that renunciation, Huet restated at length and in virtually identical form the core argument of Le Regne. Even in one of his last works, La Revolution Religieuse (1868), moreover, Huet expressed his continuing endorsement of its �fundamental idea� of �a guarantee of property to all�, and argued that after fifteen years it was still in advance of current liberal critiques of property regimes. (shrink)
Jean-François Lyotard. First acquaintance with Lyotard -- Kant's notion of the sublime and its appropriation by Lyotard -- Transposing Kant to the key of the postmodern -- The role of feelings in Lyotard's political judgment -- Universality revisited -- Jacques Derrida. The Nietzschean influence -- Derrida and phenomenology -- Derrida's exploration of exteriority and anteriority -- Derrida's political ethics : foundations -- Derrida's political ethics : further elaborations : the international scene.
The distinguished philosopher of language, Francois Recanati, has proposed a wide-ranging truth-conditional model of pragmatics. In this collection, various aspects of his theories are addressed by distinguished contributors, and are then commented on or answered by Recanati himself. This allows the reader to be drawn into the central debate within philosophy of language and cognitive science as to what kind of pragmatics system is needed.
Etienne-François Geoffroy, l’un des chimistes français les plus importants du début du XVIIIe siècle, entretenait des relations régulières avec l’Angleterre. Il était chargé de développer les échanges entre l’Académie royale des sciences et la Royal Society de Londres. Quand il publia sa « Table des rapports entre les substances chimiques » en 1718, Fontenelle et quelques autres lui reprochèrent d’avoir introduit en chimie le système des attractions newtoniennes. Mais en fait, Geoffroy s’est toujours tenu à l’écart aussi bien du (...) mécanisme cartésien que du newtonianisme, le recours aux expériences et à la littérature alchimique constituant ses seules sources d’inspiration. Geoffroy apparaît ainsi comme le représentant d’une chimie empirique, soucieuse de conserver l’autonomie de sa discipline. (shrink)
Décisif ouvrage que ce dernier opus de François Rastier. Après Sémantique interprétative (1987), et dans le fil conducteur de Arts et sciences du texte (2001), qui furent des références pour une génération de chercheurs, l’auteur nous propose une réflexion réinventée sur un objet renouvelé. L’ambition du propos, telle qu’elle s’énonce dans le sous-titre de l’ouvrage, est de théoriser tout autant que pratiquer, une sémantique de corpus encore aujourd’hui dans les limbes. Ce projet, que Rastier..