In this paper I apply an old problem of Quine's (the inscrutability of reference in translation) to a new style of theory about mental content (causal/nomological/informational accounts of meaning) and conclude that no "naturalization" of content of the sort currently popular can solve Quine's "gavagai" enigma. I show how failure to solve the problem leads to absurd conclusions not about one's own mental life, but about the non-mental world. I discuss various ways of attempting to remedy the accounts so as (...) to avoid the problem and explain why each attempt at solving the problem would take the information theorists further from their self-assigned task of "naturalizing" semantics. (shrink)
The study of identity crosses all disciplinary borders to address such issues as the multiple interactions of race, class, and gender in feminist, lesbian, and gay studies, postcolonialism and globalization, and the interrelation of nationalism and ethnicity in ethnic and area studies. Identities will help disrupt the cliche-ridden discourse of identity by exploring the formation of identities and problem of subjectivity. Leading scholars in literary criticism, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy explore such topics as "Gypsies" in the Western imagination, the mobilization (...) of the West in Chinese television, the lesbian identity and the woman's gaze in fashion photography, and the regulation of black women's bodies in early 20th-century urban areas. This collection of twenty articles brings together the special issue of Critical Inquiry entitled "Identities" (Summer 1992), two other previously published essays, and five previously published critical responses and rejoinders, all of which is interrogated in two new essays by Michael Gorra and Judith Butler. Contributors include Elizabeth Abel, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Akeel Bilgrami, Daniel Boyarin, Jonathan Boyarin, Judith Butler, Hazel V. Carby, Xiaomei Chen, Diana Fuss, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Avery Gordon, Michael Gorra, Cheryl Herr, Saree S. Makdisi, Walter Benn Michaels, Christopher Newfield, Gananath Obeyesekere, Molly Anne Rothenberg, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Sara Suleri, Katie Trumpener, and Joseph Valente. (shrink)
In examining Ennead VI 4, we find Plotinus in conflict with modern, i.e., Cartesian or Kantian, assumptions about the relation of soul and body and the identification of the self with the subject. Curiously, his images and exposition are more in tune with Twentieth Century notions such as wave and field. With these as keys, we are in a position to unlock the subtlety of Plotinus' analysis of the way soul and body are present together, with sensation structured through the (...) body and judgment coming from the soul. The problem of the self concerns not only the unity of the self in terms of body and soul, but also how the self is constituted in relation to other selves, both keeping its individuality and sharing its experiences at the same time. (shrink)
Risk management of nanotechnology is challenged by the enormous uncertainties about the risks, benefits, properties, and future direction of nanotechnology applications. Because of these uncertainties, traditional risk management principles such as acceptable risk, cost–benefit analysis, and feasibility are unworkable, as is the newest risk management principle, the precautionary principle. Yet, simply waiting for these uncertainties to be resolved before undertaking risk management efforts would not be prudent, in part because of the growing public concerns about nanotechnology driven by risk perception (...) heuristics such as affect and availability. A more reflexive, incremental, and cooperative risk management approach is required, which not only will help manage emerging risks from nanotechnology applications, but will also create a new risk management model for managing future emerging technologies. (shrink)
Despite the declarations of international documents on minority language rights, provision is patchy for supporting minority languages in the UK, where since the 1980s governments have deliberately or unwittingly greatly raised the profile and comparative standing of English. The partial exception to this trend has been the treatment of indigenous/regional minority languages, stimulated by policies of devolution intended to revive or create a sense of national identity, and to redress perceived historic linguistic injustices. In a multicultural state or region these (...) apparently reasonable goals appear to conflict with current views of citizenship that argue for inclusiveness and equal treatment for all under the law. In particular, the question arises why indigenous minority languages should receive official support and funding that is denied to speakers of minority ethnic languages. In this article, I examine various justifications offered for this, including higher population levels, the geographical concentration of indigenous speakers, the long historical ties between regional language and culture, and the notion of promotional rights. I attempt to show each argument lacks force and ignores the fact of natural language change. I argue for an approach to indigenous languages that weights support and funding according to a range of factors including the number of minority speakers, their perceived need and the benefits that would flow from funding. Support from the local community and private sources could also be encouraged. (shrink)
Abstract Religion is a disputed area in relation to both morality and politics. Similarly, while some argue that moral education should be based on a preferred religious reference point, others reject this as categorically wrong. Both these views are false, because based on a selective perception of the universal human context, a tendency also evident in other spheres. Typically, there are three constitutional responses to religion ? established singularity, secular pluralism and selective consensus ? each with its own consequences for (...) moral education. To be effective, moral education must take cognisance of religion in each national context. In England and Wales, the recent Education Reform Act provides a framework for both religious and moral education that is attentive to secular and multi?faith reference points, as well as those specifically Christian. Nagging doubts over religion's threat to the autonomy of ethics can be removed, given recognition of the place of reason as a common ingredient in particular religious traditions and in the response of individuals within them. Moral education and political life alike should look to this source for enrichment and renewal. (shrink)
Gary Marcus has written a very interesting book about mental development from a nativist perspective. For the general readership at which the book is largely aimed, it will be interesting because of its many informative examples of the development of cognitive structures and because of its illuminating explanations of ways in which genes can contribute to these developmental processes. However, the book is also interesting from a theoretical point of view. Marcus tries to make nativism compatible with the central (...) arguments that anti-nativists use to attack nativism and with many recent discoveries about genetic activity and brain development. In so doing, he reconfigures the nativist position to a considerable extent. (shrink)
We study the performance of holonomic quantum gates, driven by lasers, under the eﬀect of a dissipative environment modeled as a thermal bath of oscillators. We show how to enhance the performance of the gates by suitable choice of the loop in the manifold of the controllable parameters of the laser. For a simpliﬁed, albeit realistic model, we ﬁnd the surprising result that for a long time evolution the performance of the gate (properly estimated in terms of average (...) ﬁdelity) increases. On the basis of this result, we compare holonomic gates with the so-called Stimulated Raman adiabatic passage (STIRAP) gates. (shrink)
In his recent article Should Trees Have Standing? Revisited" Christopher D. Stone has effectively withdrawn his proposal that natural objects be granted legal rights, in response to criticism from the Feinberg/McCloskey camp. Stone now favors a weaker proposal that natural objects be granted what he calls legal "considerateness". I argue that Stone's retreat is both unnecessary and undesirable. I develop the notion of a "de facto" legal right and argue that species already have de facto legal rights as statutory beneficiaries (...) of the "Endangered Species Act of 1973." I conclude that granting certain nonhuman natural entities legal rights is both more important and less costly that Stone and his critics have realized, and that it is not Stone's original proposal which needs rethinking, but the concept of interests at work in the Feinberg/McCloskey position. (shrink)
Law Professor Gary Chartier, of La Sierra University, has joined the journal’s Editorial Board. Professor Chartier, author of the forthcoming The Conscience of an Anarchist, was recently awarded the La Sierra University Faculty Senate’s once-every-three-years Distinguished Scholarship Award. We are honored to have his participation.
: Lucretius' Epicurean account of dreams in Book IV of De Rerum Natura indicates that they are wholly void of prophetic significance and of little practical significance. Dreams, rightly apprehended, do little more than mirror our daily preoccupations. For Lucretius, all dreams pass through the gate of ivory and all are reducible to psychophysical phenomena.In this paper, I examine Lucretius' account of sleep and the formation of dreams in light of the Epicurean aims of the poem as a whole. In (...) doing so, I give what I take to be a plausible sketch of the formation of dreams through what I call Lucretius' "selection model" of dreams. The selection model forbids, strictly speaking, the phenomenon of genuine prophecy through dreams, while at the same time it allows for a surprisingly rich psychophysical explanation of the genesis of seemingly prophetic dreams in sleepers. Thus, I argue, a proper grasp of the Lucretian account of oneiric formation is itself a significant part of the Epicurean cure for superstitions and religiously based ills of his day. (shrink)
In a recent book (The Metaphysics within Physics), Tim Maudlin reconstructs metaphysics by taking inspiration from the gauge theories interpreted in the ber bundle framework. I call his project the "fiber bundle metaphysics". Primarily targeted not to Humean Supervenience, but to any metaphysics employing the relation of resemblance among objects (D. Lewis, D. Armstrong), Maudlin's project is novel and promising. I critically analyze the arguments by identifying several objections stemming rst from metaphysics. The metaphysician questions whether gauge theory represented through (...) ber bundles is apt to reform metaphysics. It needs, I claim, a rmer commitment to realism. Second, she cannot see how Maudlin accommodates the metaphysical "loneliness" of objects in the ber bundle metaphysics and complains that the mathematical structures of the ber bundle metaphysics are weakly discernible only. A second class of objections stems from the physics of gauge theories. I see a "conventional" solution to Maudlin's path-dependency argument against Lewis's "pure metaphysical relations": other invariants of affine connections can play the role of internal properties and relations. I raise an objection and address it regarding the duality of the ber bundle representation which is deeply divided among two types of bundles, corresponding to dierent ontologies: gauge elds and spacetime dieomorphism. Several possible paths towards more realistic interpretations of the ber bundle are briefy discussed. Finally, I bring in the provlem of locality, separability and I emphasize some criticisms. My conclusion is that Mauldin's project is assuring, but not powerful enough to reform metaphysics. (shrink)
Temporal externalism (TE) is the thesis (defended by Jackman (1999)) that the contents of some of an individual’s thoughts and utterances at time t may be determined by linguistic developments subsequent to t. TE has received little discussion so far, Brown 2000 and Stoneham 2002 being exceptions. I defend TE by arguing that it solves several related problems concerning the extension of natural kind terms in scientifically ignorant communities. Gary Ebbs (2000) argues that no theory can reconcile our ordinary, (...) practical judgments of sameness of extension over time with the claim that linguistic usage determines word extensions. I argue that Ebbs shows at most that no theory other than TE can effect this reconciliation. Furthermore, while Ebbs’ argument undermines Jessica Brown’s solutions to two closely related problems about natural kind term extensions (Brown 1998), TE can solve both problems without difficulty. Some criticisms of TE are briefly addressed as well. (shrink)
The somewhat old-fashioned concept of philosophical categories is revived and put to work in automated ontology building. We describe a project harvesting knowledge from Wikipedia’s category network in which the principled ontological structure of Cyc was leveraged to furnish an extra layer of accuracy-checking over and above more usual corrections which draw on automated measures of semantic relatedness.
In this paper I give an overview of my “framework for moral responsibility,” and I offer some reasons that commend it. I contrast my approach with indeterministic models of moral responsibility and also other compatibilist strategies, including those of Harry Frankfurt and Gary Watson.
The “dynamic developmental” theory of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has come full circle from Wender's (1971) reinforcement hypothesis. By specifying the principle of time constraints on reinforcement and extinction, the present theory allows for empirical validation. However, the theory implies, but does not discuss, implications for the neurophysiology of comorbidity in ADHD. The authors' attribution of comorbid oppositional behavior to parental and societal reinforcement leaves out biological factors.