Spaces of Geographical Thought examines key ideas – like space and place - which inform the geographic imagination. The text: discusses the core conceptual vocabulary of human geography: agency: structure; state: society; culture: economy; space: place; black: white; man: woman; nature: culture; local: global; and time: space; explains the significance of these binaries in the constitution of geographic thought; and shows how many of these binaries have been interrogated and re-imagined in more recent geographical thinking. A consideration of (...) these binaries will define the concepts and situate students in the most current geographical arguments and debates. The text will be required reading for all modules on the philosophy of geography and on geographical theory. (shrink)
This paper reports the results of a series of experiments designed to establish how non-expert subjects conceptualize geospatial phenomena. Subjects were asked to give examples of geographical categories in response to a series of differently phrased elicitations. The results yield an ontology of geographical categories—a catalogue of the prime geospatial concepts and categories shared in common by human subjects independently of their exposure to scientific geography. When combined with nouns such as feature and object, the adjective geographic elicited (...) almost exclusively elements of the physical environment of geographical scale or size, such as mountain, lake and river. The phrase things that could be portrayed on a map, on the other hand, produced many geographical scale artefacts (roads, cities, etc.) and fiat objects (states, countries, etc.), as well as some physical feature types. These data reveal considerable mismatch as between the meanings assigned to the terms ‘geography’ and ‘geographic’ by scientific geographers and by ordinary subjects, so that scientific geographers are not in fact studying geographical phenomena as such phenomena are conceptualized by naive subjects. The data suggest, rather, a special role in determining the subject-matter of scientific geography for the concept of what can be portrayed on a map. This work has implications for work on usability and interoperability in geographical information science, and it throws light also on subtle and hitherto unexplored ways in which ontological terms such as ‘object’, ‘entity’ and ‘feature’ interact with geographical concepts. (shrink)
Britain's foremost living philosopher argues that myth, far from being in opposition to, is actually part and parcel of science. According to Midgley, myths are neither lies nor stories, but a network of powerful symbols that suggest particular ways of interpreting the world. In this interpretation she demolishes three of our most potent myths: the myth of the social contract, the myth of progress, and the myth of science.
Myths disclose alternative worlds. From the perspective of modern philosophy, the belief in mythic worlds was seen as an aspect of culture that was soon to be superseded. But what is the place of myths, after modernity? Mythical Thinking brings together essays that use the philosophical tools- including phenomenology, metaphysics, semiotics and moral philosophy- to study these worlds and to think through myths.
The purpose of this presentation is to introduce both the concept of risk and the precautionary principle, that is a major policy principle in present-day risk management. Since risk has been the subject of many misconceptions I will do this in large part by criticizing seven views on risk that I believe to have caused considerable confusion both among scientists and policy-makers. But before looking at the seven myths of risk, let us begin with the basic issue of defining (...) “risk”. The word “risk” often refers, rather vaguely, to situations in which it is possible but not certain that some undesirable event will occur. In addition, the word has several more specialized meanings. Let me illustrate this by making a few statements about the single most important preventable health hazard in non-starving countries. First: “Lung cancer is one of the major risks that affect smokers.” Here, we use “risk” in the following sense: (1) risk = an unwanted event which may or may not occur. 1 (15). (shrink)
The claim that liberal democratic normative commitments are compatible with nationalism is challenged by the widely acknowledged fact that national identities invariably depend on historical myths: the nationalist defence of such publicly shared myths is in tension with liberal democratic theory’s commitment to norms of publicity, public justification, and freedom of expression. Recent liberal nationalist efforts to meet this challenge by justifying national myths on liberal democratic grounds fail to distinguish adequately between different senses of myth. Once (...) this is done (drawing on Arthur Danto’s analytical philosophy of history), it becomes apparent that historical narratives cannot be justifiably shielded from criteria of truth and significance, and that genuinely historical myths are incompatible with liberal democratic political philosophy. (shrink)
When one says that cultures evolve, this can be taken as a truism, or as asserting one or another controversial, speculative, unconfirmed theory. Consider a cultural inventory at time t: it includes all the languages, practices, ceremonies, edifices, methods, tools, myths, music, art, and so forth, that compose a culture. Over time, the inventory changes. Some items disappear, some multiply, some merge, some change. (When I say some change, I mean to be neutral at this point about whether this (...) amounts to their being replaced by similar items, or their undergoing a transformation.) A verbatim record of this history would not be science; it would be a data base. That is the truism: cultures evolve over time. Now the question remains: how are we to explain the patterns found in that data base? Are there any good theories or models of cultural evolution? (shrink)
After Brentano, intentionality is often characterized as “the mark of the mental”. In Brentano‟s view, intentionality “is characteristic exclusively of mental phenomena. No physical phenomenon manifests anything like it”. 2 After Meinong, it is also generally believed that intentionality, as this characteristic mental phenomenon, concerns a specific type of objects, namely, intentional objects, having intentional inexistence, as opposed to ordinary physical objects, having real existence. Thus, intentional objects are supposed to constitute a mysterious ontological realm, the dwelling place of the (...) objects of dreams and fiction, and other “weird entities”, even inconsistent objects, such as round squares. Finally, it is also generally held that intentionality somehow defies logic, as the well-known phenomena of the breakdown of the substitutivity of identicals, the failure of existential generalization, and generally the strange behavior of quantification in intentional contexts testify. In this paper, I will refer to these positions as the psychological, ontological, and logical “myths of intentionality”, respectively. The reason is that although this important modern notion of intentionality and the positions involving it are supposed to have come from medieval philosophy, medieval philosophers would be starkly opposed to them. On the basis of the relevant doctrines of some medieval philosophers, especially, Aquinas and Buridan, this paper is going to argue that the three positions on intentionality described above are in fact just three modern myths. (shrink)
The West has a stereotypical image of businesses, officials, and politicians, etc., in the East (Third World) countries being pervasively corrupt while it views itself as being almost completely uncorrupt. One closer look, however, realities turn out to be quite different. Business corruption is much more universal that Westerners are generally willing to accept. The major differences are that corruption in the East is practiced so blatantly that it makes major news. Western businesses, on the other hand, have, over time, (...) developed sophisticated techniques whereby corruption becomes almost invisible. This paper discusses the myths and realities of Eastern versus Western corruption and discusses several means which have allowed Western companies to exploit others through subtle and, almost invisible means. The overall advantage, however, still goes to the West where petty corruption has been pretty much eliminated. (shrink)
Research on patients with damage to ventromedial frontal cortices suggests a key role for emotions in practical decision making. This field of investigation is often associated with Antonio Damasio’s Somatic Marker Hypothesis–a putative account of the mechanism by which autonomic tags guide decision making in typical individuals. Here we discuss two ‘myths’ surrounding the direction and interpretation of this research. First, it is often assumed that there is a single somatic marker hypothesis. As others have noted, however, Damasio’s ‘hypothesis’ (...) admits of multiple interpretations (Colombetti, ; Dunn et al. ). Our analysis builds upon this point by characterizing decision making as a multi-stage process and identifying the various potential roles for somatic markers. The second myth is that the available evidence suggests a role for somatic markers in the core stages of decision making, i.e. during the generation, deliberation or evaluation of candidate options. To the contrary, we suggest that somatic markers most likely have a peripheral role, in the recognition of decision points, or in the motivation of action. This conclusion is based on an examination of the past 25 years of research conducted by Damasio and colleagues, focusing in particular on some early experiments that have been largely neglected by the critical literature. (shrink)
The debate over gun control has taken place in complete isolation from geographical considerations. It focuses on, for the most part, whether legalization would bring about more or fewer accidental deaths, and murders of innocents, than prohibition, and in the USA on the precise meaning of the second amendment to the Constitution. However, these deliberations, argue the authors of the present paper, can be enriched by incorporating into them a spatial context. When this is done, and they are combined (...) with the property rights philosophy of libertarianism, some very different conclusions are drawn. (shrink)
In ?Some Myths about ?Mental Illness'? (Inquiry, Vol. 18 , No. 3), Michael Moore attempts to clarify and refute what he takes to be the radical (existential) position concerning the nature and diagnosis of mental illness. Moore's dissatisfaction with certain formulations and conceptualizations of the radical position is endorsed; as also the need to introduce greater rigor and precision into the discussion of mental illness. But Moore's clarifications are really misunderstandings and, in consequence, his refutations do not succeed. Moore's (...) five?fold interpretative classification of the radical thesis is retained. (shrink)
This thesis has two main goals: (1) to argue that myths are natural products of human cognition; and (2) that structuralism, as introduced by Claude Levi-Strauss, provides an over-arching theory of myth when supplemented and supported by current research in philosophy of mind, cognitive psychology, and cognitive anthropology. With regard to (1), we argue that myths are naturally produced by the human mind through individuals’ interaction with their natural and social environments. This interaction is constrained by both the (...) type of body the individual has and the environment in which the individual is situated. From this interaction, we argue, is produced the human-body metaphor which plays an essential role in forming analogical mental models which humans use to navigate, predict, and think about their environment(s). With regard to (2), we argue that these analogical mental models are the structures from which myths are created, just as structural anthropology suggests. (shrink)
Much has been written in recent years over the need to disclose the 'positionality' of geographical researchers. At the same time, there is a growing awareness that such positionality, however much disclosed, can never fully express the complexities underpinning a research relationship. This essay explores these issues through a retrospective review of research carried out into the economic geographies of the Economy of Sharing. It argues that the issues surrounding positionality can be much more than a question of hidden (...) agendas, power relations and conflicts of interests. In some cases, confronting positionality means negotiation of conflicting worldviews-different understandings of reality rooted in philosophical principles distant from the dominant orthodoxies. Such conflicts, if engaged in creatively, have the capacity to challenge beliefs, values and thought patterns. (shrink)
A newly emerged field within economics, known as geographical economics claims to have provided a unified approach to the study of spatial agglomerations at different spatial scales by showing how these can be traced back to the same basic economic mechanisms. We analyze this contemporary episode of explanatory unification in relation to major philosophical accounts of unification. In particular, we examine the role of argument patterns in unifying derivations, the role of ontological convictions and mathematical structures in shaping unification, (...) the distinction between derivational and ontological unification, the issue of how explanation and unification relate and finally the idea that unification comes in degrees. (shrink)
This study explains how the myths of Greece and Rome were transmitted from antiquity to the Renaissance. Luc Brisson argues that philosophy was ironically responsible for saving myth from historical annihilation. Although philosophy was initially critical of myth because it could not be declared true or false and because it was inferior to argumentation, mythology was progressively reincorporated into philosophy through allegorical exegesis. Brisson shows to what degree allegory was employed among philosophers and how it enabled myth to take (...) on a number of different interpretive systems throughout the centuries: moral, physical, psychological, political, and even metaphysical. How Philosophers Saved Myths also describes how, during the first years of the modern era, allegory followed a more religious path, which was to assume a larger role in Neoplatonism. Ultimately, Brisson explains how this embrace of myth was carried forward by Byzantine thinkers and artists throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance after the triumph of Chistianity, Brisson argues, myths no longer had to agree with just history and philosophy but the dogmas of the Church as well. (shrink)
Through the contributions of specialists in the field, this volume addresses the still open question of the role and status of myth in Plato’s dialogues and thereby speaks to the broader problem of the relation between philosophy and ...
Many philosophers and scientists rightly take hallucinations to be phenomena that challenge in a most pressing way our theories of perception and cognition, and epistemology in general. However, very few challenge the received views on the hallucinatory experience and even fewer critically delve into the subject with both breadth and depth. There are all kinds of problems concerning hallucinations—including conceptual, methodological, and empirical issues—that call for a multilevel analysis and an interdisciplinary approach which in turn provide the detail and scope (...) that the subject demands. In this paper, I present and briefly discuss four interrelated problems: (1) definitions, (2) dependence on perception, (3) two views on hallucinations, and (4) methodology. Neglect or underestimation of these problems, among other things, continue to prevent a proper understanding of the concept and the corresponding experience, giving rise to misconceptions and even plain myths on the subject. Hallucinations do occur; but in order to productively investigate them (for whatever end), we first need to get clear on the concept and develop a suitable epistemological framework for their analysis. (shrink)
Abstract Popular film has become a significant venue for meaning?making in modern society. Like religion, film provides models for understanding and behaving within the social world. Like religion, film reinforces this content through emotional resonance. Myths slip under a viewer's intellectual defenses in the non?threatening guise of entertainment. In a mainstream culture skeptical of religion, film presents an alternative mechanism for the transmission and processing of ?religious? ideas and ideals.
Abstract This paper suggests that sexuality education needs to take into account the myths by which teachers educate and students learn. Here myth is understood as a narrative, paradigm or vision. The paper does not argue against myth. Rather, it argues that myth or narrative provides a much needed depth dimension to sexuality education. It does argue, however, that the existing myths serve sexuality education poorly. The final section of the paper proposes three narratives which provide rich alternatives (...) to the dominant myth. (shrink)
An exploratory survey was conducted to determine if there are differences in ethical decisions by business students based upon cultural backgrounds. Students' responses to a vignette concerning advertising of cigar products in a variety of different media provided evidence of significant cultural differences between three groups of students from different geographical locations within the United States. This article suggests that the presumption that an individuals ethical beliefs and behaviors do not change after childhood may be in error.
Two arcas of continuing interest to direct marketing professionals are the perceived myths and unethical practices in the field. Documentation of specific cases and more abstract discussion of these two points of interest frequently appear in the direct marketing literature (e.g. Gitlitz and Barton, 1983; Lewis, 1982; Pierce, 1985). Indeed, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has promulgated specific guidelines (DMA, 1985) for ethical business practices within the industry. Up to this point, however, there has been no attempt at a (...) systematic evaluation of the perceptions of professionals in the field.Such an evaluation of these two areas of practice would appear to beg the following questions: (1) What are the major common myths which abound in direct marketing as perceived by professionals who come into direct contact with the operations of direct marketing organizations? (2) Which of these so-called myths are most requently mentioned? (3) What are the most commonly perceived unethical practices? (4) Which of these unethical practices are most frequently mentioned by direct marketing professionals? (5) To what extent do these perceived unethical practices coincide with the industry's own guidelines? (shrink)
This paper investigates an under-researched relationship, that between corporate social performance (CSP) and geographical diversification. Drawingupon the institutional and stakeholder perspectives and utilising data on a sample of large UK firms, we develop a set of empirical models of CSP, and findevidence of a significant contemporaneous positive relationship between the two for some types of social performance and in some regions of the world. Overall,we provide evidence that firms shape their social performance strategies to their geographical profile.
Radical psychiatrists and others assert that mental illness is a myth. The opening and closing portions of the paper deal with the impact such argument has had in law and psychiatry. The body of the paper discusses the five versions of the myth argument prevalent in radical psychiatry: (A) that there is no such thing as mental illness; (B) that those called ?mentally ill? are really as rational as everyone else, only with different aims; that the only reasons anyone ever (...) thought differently was (C) because of unsophisticated category mistakes or (D) because of an adherence to the epistemology of a sick society; and (E) that the phrase ?mental illness? is used to mask value judgments about others? behavior in pseudo?scientific respectability. Reasons are given for rejecting each of these versions of the argument that mental illness is a myth. (shrink)
There was a time when science, myth, and religion were one. Our best theories of the world were a strange mixture of demons, gods, magic, and mathematics. The Babylonians believed in gods and a universe consisting of six disks. Early Christians believed that a single god created the universe in seven days. And Plato believed that the world we see is an imperfect shadow of the real world of forms and numbers.
Both professors and institutions of higher education benefit from a vision of academic life that is grounded more firmly in myth than in history. According to the myth created by that traditional vision, scholars pursue research wherever their drive to knowledge takes them, and colleges and universities transmit the fruits of that research to contemporary and future generations as the accumulated wisdom of the ages. Yet the economic and social forces operating on colleges and universities as institutions, as well as (...) on the interests of faculty members within them, are making the myth embodied in the traditional ideal of the academy more and more difficult to sustain. Questions about what an institution of higher education ought to be, about what professors ought to do, and about what relations professors ought to have to the institutions which employ them are being raised and pushed to the fore. These are not theoretical questions, but practical questions of immediate import that must be answered relatively quickly -- and wisely -- if institutions of higher education and professors are not to find themselves inextricably in the grip of forces they cannot change. The myth of disinterested academic research-however beautiful -- and however beneficial -- is under siege. (shrink)
L'article compare le motif de la contemplation de sa propre image dans une surface réfléchissante chez Plotin avec des motifs semblables que l'on trouvenon seulement dans les récits mythologiques, mais aussi dans les doctrines cosmologiques des systèmes philosophiques, gnostiques surtout, qui sont à la fois proches de Plotin et concurrent, à l'égard de la philosophie plotinienne. En même temps, en analysant deux métaphores mythologiques, dont une se sert du motif de la réflexion dans le miroir (le mythe orphique du démembrement (...) de Dionysos) et l'autre de la réflexion dans l'eau (le mythe de Narcisse), l'article souligne les différences qui séparent la doctrine plotinienne de la descente de l'âme et celle de la chute de l'âme. (shrink)
Roland Barthes’s work has confronted contemporary culture with the question of what happens when an object turns into language. This question allowed Barthes to “construct” well known cultural objects — from novels to music, from images to classical rhetoric, from love to theatre — in an unthought way, and to create new, even more unknown ones — from contemporary myth to fashion, from Japan to food culture. In this paper, Barthes’s cultural criticism is considered alongside with the issues raised by (...) Cultural Studies. More specifically, Barthes’s constant reflection on the myth undoubtedly entitles us to connect his cultural criticism to the work that, in those same years, was being produced by the English forge of Cultural Studies, namely the so-called “Birmingham school”. Even today, Barthes’s work makes it possible for semiotics to be, to use his expressions, both “the science of every imagined universe”, and a mathesis singularis, rather than universalis, that is to say a systematic way to approach the singularity of the objects of knowledge. On the basis of this “transcendental reduction”, we can therefore wish for a “second birth” and a transvaluation of linguistics and of semiotics, both to be applied through varied and disseminated forms ofintellectual activism. (shrink)
The idea that the Renaissance witnessed the emergence of the modern individual remains a powerful myth. In this important new book Martin examines the Renaissance self with attention to both social history and literary theory and offers a new typology of Renaissance selfhood which was at once collective, performative and porous. At the same time, he stresses the layered qualities of the Renaissance self and the salient role of interiority and notions of inwardness in the shaping of identity.
This original and exciting study offers a completely new perspective on the philosophy of mathematics. Most philosophers of mathematics try to show either that the sort of knowledge mathematicians have is similiar to the sort of knowledge specialists in the empirical sciences have or that the kind of knowledge mathematicians have, although apparently about objects such as numbers, sets, and so on, isn't really about those sorts of things as well. Jody Azzouni argues that mathematical knowledge really is a special (...) kind of knowledge with its own special means of gathering evidence. He analyses the linguistic pitfalls and misperceptions philosophers in this field are often prone to, and explores the misapplications of epistemic principles from the empirical sciences to the exact sciences. What emerges is a picture of mathematics both sensitive to mathematical practice, and to the ontological and epistemological issues that concern philosophers. (shrink)
Since the emergence of what Fodor and Pylyshyn (1988) call 'new connectionism', there can be little doubt that connectionist research has become a significant topic for discussion in the Philosophy of Cognitive Science and the Philosophy of Mind. In addition to the numerous papers on the topic in philosophical journals, almost every recent book in these areas contain at least a brief reference to, or discussion of, the issues raised by connectionist research (see Sterelny 1990, Searle, 1992, and O Nualláin, (...) 1995, for example). Other texts have focused almost exclusively upon connectionist issues (see Clark, 1993, Bechtel and Abrahamsen, 1991 and Lloyd, 1989, for example). Regrettably the discussions of connectionism found in the philosophical literature suffer from a number of deficiencies. My purpose in this paper is to highlight one particular problem and attempt to take a few steps to remedy the situation. (shrink)
After the terrorist attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, conservatives in this country were almost unanimous in their conviction that it was time for Canada to throw in the towel as an independent nation. Historian Michael Bliss was first out of the blocks, arguing that “although we may still chant the camp songs of Canadian sovereignty, there is probably no turning back. We are heading toward some kind of greater North American union.”1 Others were quick to chime (...) in, barely able to conceal their satisfaction at the thought that Canada would finally get its comeuppance for having, on so many occasions, defied the regional hegemon.2 Yet less than two years later, with Canada-U.S. relations at an all-time low, not only did the prospects for regional integration seem dimmer than ever, but existing arrangements like NAFTA even began to show signs of strain in the face of renewed American unilateralism. (shrink)
The causes of asymmetries for handedness and cerebral speech are of scientific interest, but is it sensible to try to determine which of these came first? I argue that (1) first causes belong to mythology, not science; (2) much of the cited evidence is weak; and (3) the treatment of individual differences is inadequate in comparison with the right shift theory.
White Thunder, a man around 40, speaks less English than Menomini, and that is a strong indictment, for his Menomini is atrocious. His vocabulary is small, his inflections are barbarous, he constructs sentences of a few threadbare models. He may be said to speak no language tolerably.
Innovation is fundamental to the pharmaceutical industry and a key to improvements in healthcare. Its effectiveness depends on huge, constant investments in research. This innovative industry directly affects the course of studies in healthcare and medicine. Its efforts translate directly into the length and quality of our lives. For several years now, the progress underway in pharmaceutical industry has produced measurable benefits. Doctors have new pharmaceuticals at their disposal, including many types of antibiotics and anti-viral drugs, vaccines and a wide (...) range of drugs which save lives or make them more comfortable. In the near future, ever more efficient cures for neoplastic, rheumatic, neurological, psychic, metabolic, circulatory or respiratory diseases can be expected. (shrink)
Although the doctrine of "survival of the fittest" is central to the Modern paradigm, it is not, as most Modernists would claim, the unvarnished truth. Indeed if we begin to think of the marketplace as a model of dynamic complexity then the logic of cooperation is inescapable. The point is that if business leaders refuse to accept that cooperation is a defining principle, not merely an abstract altruistic ideal but an essential strategy for the sustainable, long-term success of the businesses (...) they are building, then they will continue to undermine their own best interests in the name of competitive dominance. (shrink)