Lang, B. Philosophy and the manners of art.--Hofstadter, A. Freedom, enownment, and philosophy.--Mehta, J. L. A stranger from Asia.--Fox, D. A. A passage past India.--Rucker, D. Philosophy and the constitution of Emerson's world.--Schneider, H. W. The pragmatic movement in historical perspective.--Barnes, H. E. Reflections on myth and magic.--Cauvel, J. The imperious presence of theater.--Seay, A. Musical conservatism in the fourteenth century.--Hochman, W. R. The enduring fascination of war.--Davenport, M. M. J. Glenn Gray and the promise of wisdom.
J. A. Gray et al. have recently argued that synaesthesia can be used as a counterexample to functionalism. They provide empirical evidence which they hold supports two anti-functionalist claims: disparate functions share the same types of qualia and the effects of synaesthetic qualia are, contrary to what one would expect from evolutionary considerations, adverse to those functions with which those types of qualia are normally linked. I argue that the empirical evidence they cite does not rule out functionalism, rather (...) the reverse. The fact that the effects of synaesthesia are adverse shows that understanding synaesthetic experiences requires a concept of dysfunction, which in turn presupposes a functionalist account. Such an account, moreover, shows how tokens of the same types of qualia can be associated with different causal histories, thus disarming their first objection. (shrink)
In Embodied Minds in Action, Robert Hanna and Michelle Maiese work out a unified treatment of three fundamental philosophical problems: the mind-body problem, the problem of mental causation, and the problem of action. This unified treatment rests on two basic claims. The first is that conscious, intentional minds like ours are essentially embodied. This entails that our minds are necessarily spread throughout our living, organismic bodies and belong to their complete neurobiological constitution. So minds like ours are necessarily alive. (...) The second claim is that essentially embodied minds are self-organizing thermodynamic systems. This entails that our mental lives consist in the possibility and actuality of moving our own living organismic bodies through space and time, by means of our conscious desires. The upshot is that we are essentially minded animals who help to create the natural world through our own agency. This doctrine--the Essential Embodiment Theory--is a truly radical idea which subverts the traditionally opposed and seemingly exhaustive categories of Dualism and Materialism, and offers a new paradigm for contemporary mainstream research in the philosophy of mind and cognitive neuroscience. (shrink)
cognitive psychology; given the connection between rationality and logic that Hanna claims, it follows that the nature of logic is significantly revealed to us by cognitive psychology. Hanna's proposed "logical cognitivism" has two important consequences: the recognition by logically oriented philosophers that psychologists are their colleagues in the metadiscipline of cognitive science; and radical changes in cognitive science itself. Cognitive science, Hanna argues, is not at bottom a natural science; it is both an objective or truth-oriented science (...) and a normative human science, as is logic itself. (shrink)
Robert Hanna argues for the importance of Kant's theories of the epistemological, metaphysical, and practical foundations of the "exact sciences"--relegated to the dustbin of the history of philosophy for most of the 20th century. In doing so he makes a valuable contribution to one of the most active and fruitful areas in contemporary scholarship on Kant.
Robert Hanna presents a fresh view of the Kantian and analytic traditions that have dominated continental European and Anglo-American philosophy over the last two centuries, and of the connections between them. But this is not just a study in the history of philosophy, for out of this emerges Hanna's original approach to two much-contested theories that remain at the heart of contemporary philosophy. Hanna puts forward a new 'cognitive-semantic' interpretation of transcendental idealism, and a vigorous defense of (...) Kant's theory of analytic and synthetic necessary truth, making this compelling reading for all who are interested in these fundamental philosophical issues. (shrink)
The British bestseller Straw Dogs is an exciting, radical work of philosophy, which sets out to challenge our most cherished assumptions about what it means to be human. From Plato to Christianity, from the Enlightenment to Nietzsche and Marx, the Western tradition has been based on arrogant and erroneous beliefs about human beings and their place in the world. Philosophies such as liberalism and Marxism think of humankind as a species whose destiny is to transcend natural limits and conquer the (...) Earth. John Gray argues that this belief in human difference is a dangerous illusion and explores how the world and human life look once humanism has been finally abandoned. The result is an exhilarating, sometimes disturbing book that leads the reader to question our deepest-held beliefs. Will Self, in the New Statesman , called Straw Dogs his book of the year: “I read it once, I read it twice and took notes . . . I thought it that good.” “Nothing will get you thinking as much as this brilliant book” ( Sunday Telegraph ). (shrink)
Robert Hanna and Evan Thompson offer a solution to the Mind-Body-Body Problem. The solution, in a nutshell, is that the living and lived body (Leib) is metaphysically and conceptually basic, in the sense that one’s consciousness, on the one hand, and one’s corporeal being (Körper), on the other, are nothing but dual aspects of one’s lived body. One’s living and lived body can be equated with one’s being as an animal; therefore, this solution to the Mind-Body-Body Problem amounts to (...) an “animalist” version of the dual aspect theory. (shrink)
Dr Gray leaves us with a question at the conclusion of his article--how should we choose priorities? He says that the debate so far has been mainly on what we should choose, but perhaps we should consider how to choose even more. Under the various subheadings of Criteria, Principles and Persons Dr Gray sets out the pros and cons of the arguments in the priority debates and tries to offer some more specific guidelines to offset the criticism that (...) the government's priority discussions have been too generalised. Yet this is a difficult task when everyone's priorities are so different. (shrink)
Keeley has recently argued that the philosophical issue of how to analyse the concept of a sense can usefully be addressed by considering how scientists, and more specifically neuroethologists, classify the senses. After briefly outlining his proposal, which is based on the application of an ordered set of individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for modality differentiation, I argue, by way of two complementary counterexamples, that it fails to account fully for the way the senses are in fact individuated in (...) neuroethology and other relevant sciences. I suggest substantial modifications to Keeley. (shrink)
The failure to resolve satisfactorily epistemological issues surrounding the identification of different senses has led to questions being asked of the nature of the senses. This issue has been thrown into sharp focus by two starkly contrasting positions. The first is a realist position that draws on science and is based on the application of criteria. The second is an anti-realist position that adheres to commonsense conceptions and is partly motivated by the apparent failure of criterial approaches. In this paper (...) I attempt to mediate between the two views. (shrink)
There are perceptual states whose representational content cannot even in principle be conceptual. If that claim is true, then at least some perceptual states have content whose semantic structure and psychological function are essentially distinct from the structure and function of conceptual content. Furthermore the intrinsically “orientable” spatial character of essentially non-conceptual content entails not only that all perceptual states contain non-conceptual content in this essentially distinct sense, but also that consciousness goes all the way down into so-called unconscious or (...) subpersonal mental states. Both my argument for the existence of essentially non-conceptual content and my theory of its structure and function have a Kantian provenance. (shrink)
? We gratefully acknowledge the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona, Tucson, which provided a grant for the support of this work. E.T. is also supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the McDonnell Project in Philosophy and the Neurosciences. 1 See David Woodruff Smith,.
Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947) quotably wrote in 1929 that “the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”1 The same could be said, perhaps with even greater accuracy, of the twentieth-century Euro-American philosophical tradition and Immanuel Kant (1724–1804).2 In this sense the twentieth century was the post-Kantian century. Twentieth-century philosophy in Europe and the USA was dominated by two distinctive and (after 1945) officially opposed traditions: the analytic tradition and (...) the phenomenological tradition. Very simply put, the analytic tradition was all about logic and analyticity,3 and the phenomenological tradition was all about consciousness and intentionality.4 (See also “The birth of analytic philosophy,” Chapter 1; “The development of analytic philosophy: Wittgenstein and after,” Chapter 2; “American philosophy in the twentieth century,” Chapter 5; and “Phenomenology,” Chapter 15.) Ironically enough however, despite their official Great Divide, both the analytic and the phenomenological traditions were essentially continuous and parallel critical developments from an earlier dominant neo-Kantian tradition. This, by the end of the nineteenth century had vigorously reasserted the claims of Kant’s transcendental idealism against Hegel’s absolute idealism and the other major systems of post-Kantian German Idealism, under the unifying slogan “Back to Kant!” So again ironically enough, both the analytic and phenomenological traditions were alike founded on, and natural outgrowths from, Kant’s Critical Philosophy. By the end of the twentieth century however, and this time sadly rather than ironically, both the analytic and phenomenological traditions had not only explicitly rejected their own Kantian foundations and roots but also had effectively undermined themselves philosophically, even if by no means institutionally.. (shrink)
Recently, Michael Huemer has defended the Principle of Phenomenal Conservatism: If it seems to S that p, then, in the absence of defeaters, S thereby has at least some degree of justification for believing that p. This principle has potentially far-reaching implications. Huemer uses it to argue against skepticism and to defend a version of ethical intuitionism. I employ a reductio to show that PC is false. If PC is true, beliefs can yield justification for believing their contents in cases (...) where, intuitively, they should not be able to do so. I argue that there are cases where a belief that p can behave like an appearance that p and thereby make it seem to one that p. (shrink)
Moral luck occurs when someone’s moral standing is affected by factors beyond her control, i.e. “luck.” Many philosophers reject moral luck, but I don’t. I think there’s lots of it. Here, I defend a particular kind of it: circumstantial luck. Circumstantial luck is luck in one’s circumstances that affects one’s moral standing, say luck involving the choices and opportunities one has. I’ll criticize the standard argument against circumstantial luck. The argument claims that counterfactuals about what one would do in different (...) circumstances affect one’s moral standing just as much as what one actually does. (shrink)
I criticize an increasingly popular set of arguments for the justifiability of punishment. Some philosophers try to justify punishment by appealing to what Peter Strawson calls the reactive attitudes – emotions like resentment, indignation, remorse and guilt. These arguments fail. The view that these emotions commit us to punishment rests on unsophisticated views of punishment and of these emotions and their associated behaviors. I offer more sophisticated accounts of punishment, of these emotions and of their associated behaviors that are consistent (...) with Abolitionism, the view that punishment is unjustified. (shrink)
Fodor claims that cognitive modules can be thought of as constituting a psychological natural kind in virtue of their possession of most or all of nine specified properties. The challenge to this considered here comes from synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is a type of cross-modal association: input to one sensory modality reliably generates an additional sensory output that is usually generated by the input to a distinct sensory modality. The most common form of synaesthesia manifests Fodor's nine specified properties of modularity, and (...) hence, according to Segal (1997), it should be understood as involving an extra module. Many psychologists believe that synaesthesia involves a breakdown in modularity. After outlining how both theories can explain the manifestation of the nine alleged properties of modularity in synaesthesia, I discuss the two concepts of function which initially motivate the respective theories. I argue that only a teleological concept of function is properly able to adjudicate between the two theories. The upshot is a further application of so-called externalist considerations to mental phenomena. (shrink)
According to Tyes PANIC theory of consciousness, perceptualstates of creatures which are related to a disjunction ofexternal contents will fail to represent sensorily, andthereby fail to be conscious states. In this paper I arguethat heat perception, a form of perception neglected in therecent literature, serves as a counterexample to Tyesradical externalist claim. Having laid out Tyes `absentqualia scenario, the PANIC theory from which it derivesand the case of heat perception as a counterexample, Idefend the putative counterexample against three possibleresponses: (1) (...) that heat perception represents general(i.e. non-disjunctive) intrinsic properties of objects,(2) that heat perception represents the non-specific heatenergy that is transferred between a subjects body andanother body and (3) that heat perception exclusivelyrepresents heat properties of the subjects own body. (shrink)
This report highlights and explores five questions which arose from The Unity of Consciousness and Sensory Integration conference at Brown University in November of 2011: 1. What is the relationship between the unity of consciousness and sensory integration? 2. Are some of the basic units of consciousness multimodal? 3. How should we model the unity of consciousness? 4. Is the mechanism of sensory integration spatio-temporal? 5. How Should We Study Experience, Given Unity Relations?
I argue that contemporary liberal theory cannot give a general justification for the institution or practice of punishment, i.e., a justification that would hold across a broad range of reasonably realistic conditions. I examine the general justifications offered by three prominent contemporary liberal theorists and show how their justifications fail in light of the possibility of an alternative to punishment. I argue that, because of their common commitments regarding the nature of justification, these theorists have decisive reasons to reject punishment (...) in favor of a non-punitive alternative. I demonstrate the possibility of this alternative by means of a careful examination of the nature of punishment, isolating one essential characteristic—the aim to impose suffering—and showing how this characteristic need not guide enforcement. There is logical space for a forceful and coercive, yet non-punitive method of enforcement. This fact poses difficulties for many classical and contemporary justifications of punishment, but it poses particularly crippling problems for general liberal justifications. (shrink)
Reductive externalist versions of representationalism hold that there is an externalist theory of content which is adequate for underwriting their claim that the character of experience can be reductively explained by the external physical properties represented by experience. In this paper such theories of content are shown to be inadequate, thus undermining the reductive explanation of the character of experience by the content of experience. It is argued that the character of experience is better explained non-reductively by reference to modes (...) of presentation of the properties of things. (shrink)
Developmental systems theory (DST) is a general theoretical perspective on development, heredity and evolution. It is intended to facilitate the study of interactions between the many factors that influence development without reviving `dichotomous' debates over nature or nurture, gene or environment, biology or culture. Several recent papers have addressed the relationship between DST and the thriving new discipline of evolutionary developmental biology (EDB). The contributions to this literature by evolutionary developmental biologists contain three important misunderstandings of DST.
This is an excerpt of a report that highlights and explores five questions which arose from The Unity of Consciousness and Sensory Integration conference at Brown University in November of 2011. This portion of the report explores the question: What is the relationship between the unity of consciousness and sensory integration?
Many critics of commercial surrogate motherhood argue that it violates the rights of children. In this paper, I respond to several versions of this objection. The most common version claims that surrogacy involves child-selling. I argue that while proponents of surrogacy have generally failed to provide an adequate response to this objection, it can be overcome. After showing that the two most prominent arguments for the child-selling objection fail, I explain how the commissioning couple can acquire parental rights by paying (...) the surrogate only for her reproductive labor. My explanation appeals to the idea that parental rights are acquired by those who have claims over the reproductive labor that produces the child, not necessarily by those who actually perform the labor. This account clarifies how commercial surrogacy differs from commercial adoption. In the final section of the paper, I consider and reject three further child-based objections to commercial surrogacy: that it establishes a market in children's attributes, that it requires courts to stray from the best interests standard in determining custodial rights, and that it requires the surrogate to neglect her parental responsibilities. Since each of these objections fails, children's rights probably do not pose an obstacle to the acceptability of commercial surrogacy arrangements. (shrink)
Traditional accounts of perception endorse an input–output model: perception is the input from world to mind and action is the output from mind to world. In contrast, enactive accounts propose action to be constitutive of perception. We focus on Noë's sensorimotor version of enactivism, with the aim of clarifying the proper limits of enactivism more generally. Having explained Noë's particular version of enactivism, which accounts for the contents of perceptual experience in terms of sensorimotor knowledge, we use taste as a (...) test for his central thesis. We conclude that taste and other similar senses do not display the central features which Noë claims apply to all perceptual experience. (shrink)
Abstract: In this paper we (i) identify the notion of ‘essentially non-conceptual content’ by critically analyzing the recent and contemporary debate about non-conceptual content, (ii) work out the basics of broadly Kantian theory of essentially non-conceptual content in relation to a corresponding theory of conceptual content, and then (iii) demonstrate one effective application of the Kantian theory of essentially non-conceptual content by using this theory to provide a ‘minimalist’ solution to the problem of perceptual self-knowledge which is raised by Strong (...) Externalism. (shrink)
Some philosophers think that the challenge of justifying punishment can be met by a theory that emphasizes the expressive character of punishment. A particular type of theories of this sort - call it Expressive Retributivism [ER] - combines retributivist and expressivist considerations. These theories are retributivist since they justify punishment as an intrinsically appropriate response to wrongdoing, as something wrongdoers deserve, but the expressivist element in these theories seeks to correct for the traditional obscurity of retributivism. Retributivists often rely on (...) appeals to controversial intuitions involving obscure concepts. While retributive intuitions can be compelling, some worry that the justificatory challenge cannot be met merely by appealing to them. ER tries to enhance the clarity and justificatory power of these intuitions and the concepts they invoke by appealing to an expressive conception of punishment. I argue that these theories fail to justify punishment and that there is reason to think that they cannot, in principle, justify punishment. (shrink)
This is an excerpt of a report that highlights and explores five questions which arose from The Unity of Consciousness and Sensory Integration conference at Brown University in November of 2011. This portion of the report explores the question: Is the mechanism of sensory integration spatio-temporal?
In this chapter I shall examine some of Johann Georg Hamann’s claims about how philosophers misuse, misunderstand, and are misled by language. I will then examine how he anticipates things that Friedrich Nietzsche and Ludwig Wittgenstein say on this topic.
The distinction between explanation and prediction has received much attention in recent literature, but the equally important distinction between explanation and description (or between prediction and description) remains blurred. This latter distinction is particularly important in the social sciences, where probabilistic models (or theories) often play dual roles as explanatory and descriptive devices. The distinction between explanation (or prediction) and description is explicated in the present paper in terms of information theory. The explanatory (or predictive) power of a probabilistic model (...) is identified with information taken from (or transmitted by) the environment (e.g., the independent, experimentally manipulated variables), while the descriptive power of a model reflects additional information taken from (or transmitted by) the data. Although information is usually transmitted by the data in the process of estimating parameters, it turns out that the number of free parameters is not a reliable index of transmitted information. Thus, the common practice of treating parameters as degrees-of-freedom in testing probabilistic models is questionable. Finally, this information-theoretic analysis of explanation, prediction, and description suggests ways of resolving some recent controversies surrounding the pragmatic aspects of explanation and the so-called structural identity thesis. (shrink)
I argue that voting abstention may be obligatory under certain non-trivial conditions. Following recent work on voting ethics, I argue that the obligation to abstain under certain conditions follows from a duty not to vote badly. Whether one votes badly, however, turns on more than one's reasons for wanting a particular candidate elected or policy implemented. On my account, one's reasons for voting at all also matter, and one can be in a position where there is no way to exercise (...) one's right to vote well. Seriously unfair electoral processes may put one in such a position. Such processes arguably hold in some contemporary western democracies, including the US. (shrink)
Value-pluralism is commonly held to support liberal political morality. This is argued by John Rawls and his school and, more instructively, by Isaiah Berlin and Joseph Raz. Against this common view it is argued that a strong version of value-pluralism and liberalism are incompatible doctrines. Some varieties of ethical pluralism are distinguished, and the claim of value-incommensurability made by strong pluralism is elucidated. The argument that liberal political morality consists of principles of right that are unaffected by the truth of (...) strong pluralism is examined and rejected. Strong pluralism is understood as the view that some goods and bads are rationally incommensurable. It is argued that if strong value-pluralism is true, then liberal political morality cannot be defended. Neither negative liberty nor individual autonomy can have general priority if it is true that the central goods specified by liberal political morality are incommensurables. This difficulty is not avoided by liberal theories that do not demand the maximization of a single value such as liberty. If strong pluralism is true, then liberal institutions are not a standard of legitimacy by reference to which all regimes are to be assessed. They are merely one variety of modus vivendi . Liberal institutions have no universal legitimacy. Yet liberal cultures are partly constituted by a belief in the universal authority of the principles which inform their practices and institutions. This belief strong pluralism subverts. Value-pluralism and liberalism are rival doctrines. The political implication of strong pluralism is not liberalism but modus vivendi . Sometimes modus vivendi is best fostered by liberal institutions. Sometimes it is best fostered by non-liberal institutions. Where the latter is true, liberals and pluralists part company. (shrink)
Drawing on previous models of anxiety, intermediate memory, the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, and goal-directed behaviour, a neuropsychological hypothesis is proposed for the generation of the contents of consciousness. It is suggested that these correspond to the outputs of a comparator that, on a moment-by-moment basis, compares the current state of the organism's perceptual world with a predicted state. An outline is given of the information-processing functions of the comparator system and of the neural systems which mediate them. The hypothesis (...) appears to be able to account for a number of key features of the contents of consciousness. However, it is argued that neitherthis nor any existing comparable hypothesis is yet able to explain why the brain should generate conscious experience of any kind at all. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the Sellarsian Myth of the Given does not apply to all forms of Non-Conceptualism; that Kant is in fact a non-conceptualist of the right-thinking kind and not a Conceptualist, as most Kant-interpreters think; and that an intelligible and defensible Kantian Non-Conceptualism can be developed which supports the thesis that true perceptual beliefs are non-inferentially justified and also normatively funded by direct, embodied, intentional interactions with the manifest world (a.k.a. the Grip of the Given).
This is an excerpt of a report that highlights and explores five questions which arose from The Unity of Consciousness and Sensory Integration conference at Brown University in November of 2011. This portion of the report explores the question: Are some of the basic units of consciousness multimodal?
In lecture III of Naming and Necessity, Kripke extends his claim that names are non-descriptive to natural kind terms, and in so doing includes a brief supporting discussion of terms for natural phenomena, in particular the terms ‘light’ and ‘heat’. Whilst natural kind terms continue to feature centrally in the recent literature, natural phenomenon terms have barely figured. The purpose of the present paper is to show how the apparent similarities between natural kind terms and the natural phenomenon terms on (...) which Kripke focuses are outweighed by more significant differences. Thus, rather than providing additional support for non-descriptivism, natural phenomenon terms turn out to challenge that thesis. (shrink)
According to Edmund Husserl in the Prolegomena to Pure Logic,<span class='Hi'></span> which constitutes the preliminary rational foundation for <span class='Hi'></span>– and also the entire first volume of <span class='Hi'></span>– his Logical Investigations,<span class='Hi'></span> pure logic is the a priori theoretical,<span class='Hi'></span> nomological science of <span class='Hi'></span>„demonstration“<span class='Hi'></span> (LI 1,<span class='Hi'></span> 57;<span class='Hi'></span> Hua XVIII,<span class='Hi'></span> 23)<span class='Hi'></span>.1 For him,<span class='Hi'></span> demonstration includes both consequence and provability.<span class='Hi'></span> Consequence is the defining property of all and only formally valid arguments,<span class='Hi'></span> i.<span (...) class='Hi'></span> e.<span class='Hi'></span>, arguments that cannot lead from true premises to false conclusions.<span class='Hi'></span> And provability <span class='Hi'></span>(a.<span class='Hi'></span> k.<span class='Hi'></span> a.<span class='Hi'></span> „completeness“<span class='Hi'></span>) is the property of a logical system such that,<span class='Hi'></span> for every truth of logic in that system,<span class='Hi'></span> there is,<span class='Hi'></span> at least in principle,<span class='Hi'></span> a rigorous step-by-step logically valid procedure demonstrating its validity according to strictly universal,<span class='Hi'></span> ideal,<span class='Hi'></span> and necessary logical laws.<span class='Hi'></span> In this way,<span class='Hi'></span> the laws of pure logic completely determine its internal structure.<span class='Hi'></span> Moreover,<span class='Hi'></span> these laws and these proofs are all knowable a priori,<span class='Hi'></span> with selfevident insight <span class='Hi'></span>(LI 1,<span class='Hi'></span> 196;<span class='Hi'></span> Hua XVIII,<span class='Hi'></span> 185–195)<span class='Hi'></span>. So not only is pure logic independent of any other theoretical science,<span class='Hi'></span> in that it requires no other science in order to ground its core notion of demonstration,<span class='Hi'></span> it also provides both epistemic and semantic foundations for every other theoretical science,<span class='Hi'></span> as well as every practical discipline or <span class='Hi'></span>„technology.<span class='Hi'></span>“ To the extent that pure logic is the foundation of every other.<span class='Hi'></span>. (shrink)
This is an excerpt of a report that highlights and explores five questions which arose from The Unity of Consciousness and Sensory Integration conference at Brown University in November of 2011. This portion of the report explores the question: How should we study experience, given unity relations?
Argument about euthanasia in Australia intensified following the world's first legal euthanasia death of Bob Dent under the Northern Territory's short-lived Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995. This paper takes stock of the implacably opposed positions on euthanasia following Bob Dent's death, which provides a focus for the controversy, and identifies the key doctrines which separate adversaries in the euthanasia debate and their associated incommensurable intuitions.