With this understanding, children are better able to anticipate the behavior of others and to attune their own behavior accordingly. In mentally retarded children with Down's syndrome, attainment of such competence is delayed, but it is generally acquired by the time they reach the mental age of 4, as measured by tests of nonverbal intelligence. Thus from a developmental perspective, attainment of the mental age of 4 appears to be of profound significance for acquisition of what we shall call psychological (...) competence : possession of the skills and resources people routinely call on in the.. (shrink)
Existence in Black is the first collective statement on the subject of Africana Philosophy of Existence. Drawing upon resources in Africana philosophy and literature, the contributors explore some of the central themes of Existentialism as posed by the context of what Frantz Fanon has identified as "the lived-experience of the black." Among questions posed and explored in the volume are: What is to be done in a world of near universal sense of superiority to, if not universal hatred of, black (...) folk?; What is black suffering?; What is the meaning (if any) of black existence? The introduction argues that a response to these questions requires a journey through the resources of identity questions in critical race theory and the teleological dimensions of liberation theory. The contributors address these questions through an analysis of nearly every dimension of Africana phiosophy. In the first half of the book, they address Black Philosophies of Existence in terms of Traditional African Philosophy, the Harlem Renaissance, Du Boisian Double-Consciousness, and Fanonian and Sartrean Philosophies of Existence. In the second half of the book, contributors consider racial identity through examinations of such concepts as equality, death, mimesis, property, embodiment, technology, disappointment, and dread. Part II is an exploration of postmodern challenges to "black existence" through discussions of postmodern conservatism, Nietzsche's thoughts on blacks, Richard Wright and fragmented consciousness, and feminist critiques of race. And Part IV is an examination of problems of historical responsibility and constructing black liberation theories. Contributors are: Ernest Allen, Jr., Robert Birt, Bernard Boxill, George Carew, Bobby Dixon, G.M. James Gonzales, Lewis R. Gordon, Leonard Harris, Floyd Hayes, III, Paget Henry, Patricia Huntington, Joy Ann James, Clarence Shole Johnson, Bill E. Lawson, Howard McGary, Roy D. Morrison, William Preston, Jean-Paul Sartre, T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, Gary Schwartz, Robert Westley, and Naomi Zack. (shrink)
The Structure of Emotions argues that emotion concepts should have a much more important role in the social and behavioural sciences than they now enjoy, and shows that certain influential psychological theories of emotions overlook the explanatory power of our emotion concepts. Professor Gordon also outlines a new account of the nature of commonsense (or ‘folk’) psychology in general.
In this undergraduate textbook Lewis R. Gordon offers the first comprehensive treatment of Africana philosophy, beginning with the emergence of an Africana (i.e. African diasporic) consciousness in the Afro-Arabic world of the Middle Ages. He argues that much of modern thought emerged out of early conflicts between Islam and Christianity that culminated in the expulsion of the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula, and from the subsequent expansion of racism, enslavement, and colonialism which in their turn stimulated reflections on reason, (...) liberation, and the meaning of being human. His book takes the student reader on a journey from Africa through Europe, North and South America, the Caribbean, and back to Africa, as he explores the challenges posed to our understanding of knowledge and freedom today, and the response to them which can be found within Africana philosophy. (shrink)
In this essay, Mordechai Gordon interprets Martin Buber's ideas on dialogue, presence, and especially his notion of embracing in an attempt to shed some light on Buber's understanding of listening. Gordon argues that in order to understand Buber's conception of listening, one needs to examine this concept in the context of his philosophy of dialogue. More specifically, his contention is that closely examining Buber's notion of embracing the other is critical to making sense of his conception of listening. (...)Gordon's analysis suggests that, in Buber's model, listening involves a kind of active attentiveness to another's words or actions, engaging them as though they are directed specifically at us. Gordon's discussion of dialogue and listening also indicates that the relation between speaking and listening is one of reciprocity and mutual dependence and that listening plays an essential role in initiating many dialogues by creating a space in which two people can embrace each other as complete individuals. (shrink)
The intellectual history of the last quarter of this century has been marked by the growing influence of Africana thought--an area of philosophy that focuses on issues raised by the struggle over ideas in African cultures and their hybrid forms in Europe, the Americas, and the Caribbean. Existentia Africana is an engaging and highly readable introduction to the field of Africana philosophy and will help to define this rapidly growing field. Lewis R. Gordon clearly explains Africana existential thought to (...) a general audience, covering a wide range of both classic and contemporary thinkers--from Douglass and DuBois to Fanon, Davis and Zack. (shrink)
Jewish Biomedical Law deals with the controversial issues of abortion, assisted reproduction, genetics, the obligation to heal, patient autonomy, treatment of the terminally ill, the definition of death, organ donations, and the allocation of scarce medical resources in Jewish Law. -/- The volume focuses upon the complex interplay between legal and moral elements in the decision-making process, particularly when questions of life and death (such as abortion and treatment of the terminally ill) are involved. Sinclair argues that the moral (...) element in Jewish biomedical law is of a universal, rational nature, and its theoretical basis may be located in a weak form of Natural law theory regarding the value of human life in the Jewish legal tradition. -/- The concept of patient autonomy in Jewish biomedical law is more limited than in contemporary liberal jurisprudence, and is based upon theological as well as strictly legal elements. The influence of scientific thinking upon the decision-making process in Jewish biomedical law is illustrated in a discussion of the contemporary debate concerning the permissibility of heart transplants. -/- In most chapters, Jewish law is compared and contrasted with Canon and Common Law, and the volume also discusses the role played by Jewish biomedical law in modern, secular Israeli law. In this context, it addresses the thorny issue of combining religious law with democratic principles within the framework of a secular legal system. (shrink)
What is the simulation theory? Arguments for simulation theory Simulation theory versus theory theory Simulation theory and cognitive science Versions of simulation theory A possible test of the simulation theory.
What are the conditions on a successful naturalistic account of moral properties? In this paper I discuss one such condition: the possibility of moral concepts playing a role in good empirical theories on a par with those of the natural and social sciences. I argue that Peter Railton’s influential account of moral rightness fails to meet this condition, and thus is only viable in the hands of a naturalist who doesn’t insist on it. This conclusion generalises to all versions of (...) naturalism that give a significant role to a dispositional characterisation of moral properties. I also argue, however, that the epistemological and semantic motivations behind naturalism are consistent with a version of naturalism that doesn’t insist on the explanatory condition. The conclusion is that those naturalists who are attracted to accounts of moral properties such as Railton’s would do better not to insist on this\break condition. (shrink)
The moral belief problem is that of reconciling expressivism in ethics with both minimalism in the philosophy of language and the syntactic discipline of moral sentences. It is argued that the problem can be solved by distinguishing minimal and robust senses of belief, where a minimal belief is any state of mind expressed by sincere assertoric use of a syntactically disciplined sentence and a robust belief is a minimal belief with some additional property R. Two attempts to specify R are (...) discussed, both based on the thought that beliefs are states that aim at truth. According to the first, robust beliefs are criticisable to the extent that their content fails to match the state of the world. This sense fails to distinguish robust beliefs from minimal beliefs. According to the second, robust beliefs function to have their content match the state of the world. This sense succeeds in distinguishing robust beliefs from minimal beliefs. The conclusion is that the debate concerning the cognitive status of moral convictions needs to address the issue of the function of moral convictions. Evolutionary theorising may be relevant, but will not be decisive, in answering this question. (shrink)
I argue that there is no conflict between the simulation theory, once it is freed from certain constraints carried over from theory theory, and Gallagher's view that our primary and pervasive way of engaging with others rests on 'direct', non-mentalizing perception of the 'meanings' of others' facial expressions, gestures, and intentional actions.
Moral discourse is propositionally clothed, that is, it exhibits those features – such as the ability of its sentences to intelligibly embed in conditionals and other unasserted contexts – that have been taken by some philosophers to be constitutive of discourses that express propositions. If there is nothing more to a mental state being a belief than it being characteristically expressed by sentences that are propositionally clothed then the version of expressivism which accepts that moral discourse is propositionally clothed (‘quasi-realism’) (...) is self-refuting. Fortunately for quasi-realists, this view of belief, which I label ‘minimalism’, is false. I present three arguments against it and dismiss two possible defences (the first drawn from the work of Wright, the second given by Harcourt). The conclusion is that the issue between expressivists and their opponents cannot be settled by the mere fact that moral discourse wears propositional clothing. (shrink)
Jerry Fodor and Ernest Lepore have recently criticized Davidson's methodology of radical interpretation because of its apparent failure to reflect how actual interpretation is achieved. Responding to such complaints, Davidson claims that he is not interested in the empirical issues surrounding actual interpretation but instead focuses on the question of what conditions make interpretation possible. It is argued that this exchange between Fodor and Lepore on one side, and Davidson on the other, cannot be viewed simply as a naturalist reaction (...) to non-naturalist philosophical inquiry. Through a careful excavation of the hidden assumptions and commitments underlying this debate, we recognize a more serious disagreement over the intellectual obligations of naturalism; a position with a firm hold on current philosophical imaginations. In the process, we gain a new appreciation for how such commitments shape these naturalist positions, and recognize that any resolution to this specific debate will require careful attention to the divergent commitments that are its real source. (shrink)
An ascent routine (AR) allows a speaker to self-ascribe a given propositional attitude (PA) by redeploying the process that generates a corresponding lower level utterance. Thus, we may report on our beliefs about the weather by reporting (under certain constraints) on the weather. The chief criticism of my AR account of self-ascription, by Alvin Goldman and others, is that it covers few if any PA’s other than belief and offers no account of how we can attain reliability in identifying our (...) attitude as belief, desire, hope, etc., without presupposing some sort of recognition process. The criticism can be answered, but only by giving up a tacit—and wholly unnecessary—assumption that has influenced discussions of ascent routines. Abandoning the assumption allows a different account of ARs that avoids the criticism and even provides an algorithm for finding a corresponding lower level utterance for any PA. The account I give is supported by research on children’s first uses of a propositional attitude vocabulary. (shrink)
Many expressivists have employed a claim about the practicality of morality in support of their view that moral convictions are not purely descriptive mental states. In this paper I argue that all extant arguments of this form fail. I distinguish several versions of such arguments and argue that in each case either the sense of practicality the argument employs is too weak, in which case there is no reason to think that descriptive states cannot be practical or the sense of (...) practicality the argument employs is too strong, in which case there is no reason to think moral convictions are practical. I also discuss and dismiss an attempted patch of such arguments provided by Humean Psychology. The conclusion is that expressivists need to look to sources other than the alleged practicality of morality to support their position. In concluding remarks I suggest one such alternative. (shrink)
This paper assesses the potential of organisational culture as a means for improving ethics in organisations. Organisational culture is recognised as one determinant of how people behave, more or less ethically, in organisations. It is also incresingly understood as an attribute that management can and should influence to improve organisational performance. When things go wrong in organisations, managers look to the culture as both the source of problems and the basis for solutions. Two models of organisational culture and ethical behaviour (...) are evaluated. They rest on different understandings of organisational culture and the processes by which ethics are enhanced. Firstly, the prevailing approach holds that creating a unitary cohesive culture around core moral values is the solution to enhancing ethical behaviour. Both the feasibility and desirability of this approach, in terms of ethical outcomes, is questioned. The second model queries the existence of organisational culture at all, arguing that organisations are nothing more than shifting coalitions of subcultures. In this second model, the very porousness of the subcultures provides a catalyst for the scrutiny and critique of norms and practices. Such diversity and debate is construed as potentially a better safeguard for ethical behaviour than the uniformity promised by the unitary, strong culture model. (shrink)
In the first part of the paper, I try to clarify the cluster of moods and questions we refer to generically as the problem of the meaning of life. I propose that the question of meaning emerges when we perform a spontaneous transcendental reduction on the phenomenon my life, a reduction that leaves us confronting an unjustified and unjustifiable curiosity. In Part 2, I turn to the film ikiru, Kurosawa''s masterpiece of 1952, for an existentialist resolution of the problem.
Machine generated contents note: PART I: HEIDEGGER'S FUNDAMENTAL -- ONTOLOGY OF DASEIN -- Section A: Being and Time -- 1 Dasein and the World -- 2 Dasein's Being-in, Care, and Truth -- 3 Dasein and Temporality -- Section B: Heidegger's Rejection of the I-Thou -- 4 Phenomenology and Dasein -- 5 Heidegger's First Critique of the I-Thou -- 6 The I-Thou in Heidegger's Study of Kant -- 7 Metaphysics and Logic -- PART II: BUBER'S I-THOU -- Section A: I and (...) Thou -- 8 First Presentation of the I-Thou -- 9 Living the I-Thou -- Section B: Beyond I and Thou -- 10 The I-Thou and Dialogue -- 11 Buber's Critique of Heidegger -- 12 Conclusion and Some Implications -- Selected Bibliography -- Index. (shrink)
This paper supports the basic integrity of the folk psychological conception of consciousness and its importance in cognitive theorizing. Section 1 critically examines some proposed definitions of consciousness, and argues that the folk- psychological notion of phenomenal consciousness is not captured by various functional-relational definitions. Section 2 rebuts the arguments of several writers who challenge the very existence of phenomenal consciousness, or the coherence or tenability of the folk-psychological notion of awareness. Section 3 defends a significant role for phenomenal consciousness (...) in the execution of a certain cognitive task, viz., classification of one's own mental states. Execution of this task, which is part of folk psychologizing, is taken as a datum in scientific psychology. It is then argued (on theoretical grounds) that the most promising sort of scientific model of the self-ascription of mental states is one that posits the kinds of phenomenal properties invoked by folk psychology. Cognitive science and neuroscience can of course refine and improve upon the folk understanding of consciousness, awareness, and mental states generally. But the folk-psychological constructs should not be jettisoned; they have a role to play in cognitive theorizing. (shrink)
One of the central issues in political philosophy is the problem of perspective: if there is a dispute as to how justice is to be defined, or a dispute as to whether a particular situation is unjust, how do we determine who is right? I reject the claim that an idealized speech situation or a transcendental perspective can legitimately be invoked to resolve such disputes. In their place, I discuss critical theory's commitment to the position that all perspectives are ideo (...) logical, partial, and rooted in interests. I then discuss Lukács's notion that, given that ideology and interests are ineluctable, certain per spectives are epistemologically privileged (though not transcenden tal). I discuss the notion of the preferential option for the poor in liberation theology, as an instance of such a claim of epistemological privilege. I argue that this has implications for the concept of alterity, and specifically for the role of the Other in a community of discourse. Finally, I discuss Lyotard's notion of incommensurable phrase regi mens, and the particular kind of harm which is done by exclusion from a discursive community. Key Words: critical theory epistemological privilege liberation theology Lukács Lyotard. (shrink)
This article is the keynote address of the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill, Barbados, philosophy symposium in celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the British outlawing the Atlantic Slave Trade. The paper explores questions of enslavement and freedom through challenges of philosophical anthropology, philosophy of social change, and metacritical reflections posed by African Diasporic or Africana philosophy. Such challenges include the relevance and legitimacy of philosophical reflection to the lives of racialized slaves and concludes with a discussion (...) of the implications of the analysis for an understanding of the “face” of political life and the importance of the concept of “home” for a cogent theory of freedom. (shrink)
This essay reconsiders Davidson’s critical attribution of the scheme–content distinction to Quine’s naturalized epistemology. It focuses on Davidson’s complaint that the presence of this distinction leads Quine to mistakenly construe neural input as evidence. While committed to this distinction, Quine’s epistemology does not attempt to locate a justificatory foundation in sensory experience and does not then equate neural intake with evidence. Quine’s central epistemological task is an explanatory one that attempts to scientifically clarify the route from stimulus to science. Davidson’s (...) critical remarks wrongly assign concerns to Quine’s view that it does not have and further obscures the status of his naturalized conception of epistemology. (shrink)
In this article, we document the growing influence of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the realm of socially responsible investing (SRI). Drawing from ethical and economic perspectives on stakeholder management and agency theory, we develop a framework to understand how and when NGOs will be most influential in shaping the ethical and social responsibility orientations of business using the emergence of SRI as the primary influencing vehicle. We find that NGOs have opportunities to influence corporate conduct via direct, indirect, and interactive (...) influences on the investment community, and that the overall influence of NGOs as major actors in socially responsible investment is growing, with attendant consequences for corporate strategy, governance, and social performance. (shrink)
Mammalian brains contain a variety of self-centered socio-emotional systems. An understanding of how they interact with more recent cognitive structures may be essential for understanding empathy. Preston & de Waal have neglected this vast territory of proximal brain issues in their analysis.
Freedom, conceived ontologically, is power's condition of possibility. Yet, considering that the subject's interests and identity are constantly shaped, one still has to explain how – theoretically speaking – individuals can resist control. This is precisely the issue I address in the following pages. Following a brief overview of Foucault's contribution to our understanding of power, I turn to discuss the role of visibility vis-à-vis control, and show how the development of disciplinary techniques reversed the visibility of power. While Foucault (...) illustrates that during different historical periods, distinct modes of visibility are produced by power in order to control society, I argue that the very same power that produces visibility is concomitantly dependent upon it. In addition, I maintain that visibility is a necessary component of resistance. But Foucault – perhaps due to his premature death – never adequately explains how individuals can resist the mechanisms of control in a world in which power is ubiquitous. To help clarify this enigma, I turn to Hannah Arendt's insights into power, freedom, plurality, and natality. These concepts, I claim, can serve as a corrective to Foucault because they make room for resistance without assuming that humans can exit power's web. (shrink)
The concept of monophyly is central to much of modern biology. Despite many efforts over many years, important questions remain unanswered that relate both to the concept itself and to its various applications. This essay focuses primarily on four of these: i) Is it possible to define monophyly operationally, specifically with respect to both the structures of genomes and at the levels of the highest phylogenetic categories (kingdoms, phyla, classes)? ii) May the mosaic and chimeric structures of genomes be sufficiently (...) important factors in phylogeny that situations exist in which the concept may not be applicable? iii) In the history of life on earth were there important groups of organisms that probably had polyphyletic, rather than monophyletic, origins? iv) Does the near universal search for monophyletic origins of clades lead, on occasion, to both undesirable narrowing of acceptable options for development of evolutionary scenarios and sometimes actual omission from consideration of less conventional types of both data and modes of thought, possibly at the expense of biological understanding? Three sections in the essay consider possible answers to these questions: i) A reassessment is made of major features of both the concept and some of its applications. Recent research results make it seem improbable that there could have been single basal forms for many of the highest categories of evolutionary differentiation (kingdoms, phyla, classes). The universal tree of life probably had many roots. Facts contributing to this perception include the phylogenetically widespread occurrences of: horizontal transfers of plasmids, viral genomes, and transposons; multiple genomic duplications; the existence and properties of large numbers of gene families and protein families; multiple symbioses; broad-scale hybridizations; and multiple homoplasys. Next, justifications are reassessed for the application of monophyletic frameworks to two major evolutionary developments usually interpreted as having been monophyletic: ii) the origins of life; and iii) the origins of the vertebrate tetrapods. For both cases polyphyletic hypotheses are suggested as more probable than monophyletic hypotheses. Major conclusions are, as answers to the four questions posed above: probably not, yes, yes, and yes. (shrink)
This paper's purpose is to assess how management's perceptions regarding certain aspects of environmental reporting relate to the firm's actual reporting strategy. Toward that end, we propose a model where a firm's environmental disclosure is conditional upon executive assessments of corporate concerns. The study relies on a survey that was sent to environmental management executives from European and North American multinational firms enquiring about the determinants of corporate environmental disclosure. Responses from these executives were then contrasted with their firms' actual (...) environmental reporting practices, which was measured using a comprehensive multi-criteria grid. Results show that there is a relationship between environmental managers' attitudes toward various stakeholder groups and how those managers respond to the stakeholders via the decision to disclose and the actual disclosures made. Our model provides a perspective as to how a firm responds to the numerous stakeholders to whom it must be accountable. This accountability in turn relates to how the company communicates its actions to society in order to achieve or maintain its social legitimacy. (shrink)