Questions about perception remain some of the most difficult and insoluble in both epistemology and the philosophy of mind. Perception provides a highly accessible introduction to the area, exploring the philosophical importance of those questions by re-examining the sense-datum theory, once the most popular theory of perception. Howard Robinson surveys the history of arguments for and against the sense-datum theory, from Descartes to Husserl. Robinson contends that the objections to the theory, particularly Wittgenstein's attack on privacy and those (...) of the physicalists, have been unsuccessful. He argues for returning to the theory in order to understand perception. In doing so, he seeks to overturn a consensus that has dominated the philosophy of perception for nearly half a century. (shrink)
William S. Robinson has for many years written insightfully about the mind-body problem. In Understanding Phenomenal Consciousness he focuses on sensory experience (eg, pain, afterimages) and perception qualities such as colors, sounds and odors to present a dualistic view of the mind, called Qualitative Event Realism, that goes against the dominant materialist views. This theory is relevant to the development of a science of consciousness which is now being pursued not only by philosophers but by researchers in psychology and (...) the brain sciences. This provocative book will interest students and professionals who work in the philosophy of mind and will also have cross-disciplinary appeal in cognitive psychology and the brain sciences. (shrink)
Although this appeared after the debate between Victor and Zelm, logically it is prior, for Robinson's critique of conventional marriage sets the stage for the other two to consider the anarchist alternatives. Actually, Robinson does offer a vague alternative, on which most anarchists could agree, sexual relationships based on consent rather than compulsion. However, he also argues that this ideal was not designed to break up marriages nor to increase promiscuity, for relationships already based on consent and friendship (...) could only be strengthened by removing the aspect of compulsion. In this sense, Robinson's critique of existing marriage strongly parallels the critique of economic monopoly, and his ideal seems to be "free competition" for love and companionship. (shrink)
Reviewed in: The Journal of the History of the Neural Sciences, 2011 (vol. 20, no. 2) Consciousness and Mental Life by Daniel N. Robinson This book is a refreshingly philosophical treatise on a topic that frequently falls victim to the predatory nature of the scientist's red herring. Not to detract from the merit of this pervasive red herring, but many volumes ostensibly about consciousness end up being little more than books on “mental life.” Expounding on the anatomical and cognitive (...) fascinations that lure so many into the various fields of the neurosciences, the discourses neglect to directly address “consciousness” itself in the process. By sticking to the realm of philosophy, Robinson successfully avoids this misrepresentation of the titular topic “consciousness.”...The author sets out to defend an elite selection of classical philosophers — including Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Hobbes, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Dewey, Russell, Wittgenstein — while also introducing more contemporary theories and examples. Robinson is honorably unbiased through most of this pursuit. He defends ideas that have earned their place in history while accomplishing exactly what he sets out to accomplish...When he does build an argument on questionable basic tenets, he is unequivocal: Whether one agrees with Robinson or not, readers at the very least will know whether they agree or disagree. Robinson is quite clear about where he stands, and his arguments allow the reader to further develop their own stance, regardless of whether the reader and Robinson are standing on separate planes. One of the attractive features of this book, and perhaps the strongest bolster to Robinson's defense lies in his provision of background and zeitgeist information in the early chapters. For example, in a chapter devoted to Descartes and his influence, the reader is briefly presented with Descartes’ education and the intellectual culture surrounding his work. Because the absence of such information has often been the cause of misunderstanding and neglect, this remembrance is a good scaffold for Robinson's points that follow. As to the style of the writing itself, it is nonpedantic and includes passages of great prose...I would frequently read a couple paragraphs, already have a question forming in my mind, and then be delighted, even awed, that the next few paragraphs addressed the question I was evolving...The book is not meant to be a comprehensive evaluation of all the philosophical viewpoints or musings on consciousness. It is a refreshing look at ideas that are no longer fresh for most readers...For the expert or well-versed person in theories of consciousness, Robinson's book is an asset...It requires concentration. But the effort will be duly rewarded... Christy M. Kelley Department of Neurological Sciences Rush University Medical Center, Chicago . (shrink)
Philosophy and Mystification is a work of philosophy in and of itself as much as it is a book about philosophy. Its reflections on the nature, methods and resources of philosophic enquiry are carefully grounded in the central problems that have dogged Western philosophy in the modern era: logical necessity, machine intelligence, the relation of science and religion, determinism, skepticism and the question of foundations and origins. Guy Robinson argues that a conception of philosophy was adopted in the (...) 17th century that required us to see the "world upside-down", creating abstract and mystified entities to explain the ordinary and concrete, requiring us to explain the social in terms of the individual, and the human and purposive in terms of the mechanical, and not only to see nature as a vast mechanism but science as a mechanical activity whose rules it was the business of the philosopher to discover. (shrink)
"An American psychologist, Daniel N. Robinson, traces the development of the insanity plea...[He offers] an assured historical survey." Roy Porter, The Times [UK] "Wild Beasts and Idle Humours is truly unique. It synthesizes material that I do not believe has ever been considered in this context, and links up the historical past with contemporaneous values and politics. Robinson effortlessly weaves religious history, literary history, medical history, and political history, and demonstrates how the insanity defense cannot be fully understood (...) without consideration of all these sources." Michael L. Perlin, New York Law School "Daniel N. Robinson has written a graceful history of insanity and the law stretching from Homer to Hinckley. He attempts no final theory as to how the law should cope with the insane; he seeks, rather, to use the shifting notions of when madness exculpates criminal activity to illuminate the core self-perceptions of the cultures developing ever-evolving resolutions of the problem...[T]he grandeur of the theme...commands attention and respect." --Neal Johnston, The Nation . (shrink)
Drawing on the philosophy of C. S. Peirce, Robinson develops a ‘semiotic model’ of the Trinity and proposes a new theology of nature according to which the evolving cosmos may be understood as bearing ‘vestiges of the Trinity in ...
1. Introduction Andrea Lavazza and Howard Robinson Part 1: The Limits of Materialism 2. Materialism and the Mind: The Interpretation Question David Lund 3. Materialism and the Mind: The Truth Question Uwe Meixner 4. Consequences of Materialism on Mind Andrea Lavazza Part 2: Dualism and Empirical Research 5. Perceptual experience and property dualism Martina FÃ¼rst 6. Neuroscience and Dualism Christopher Smith 7. Quantum Physics and the Mind Henry Stapp Part 3: Cartesian (Substance) Dualism 8. What Makes Me Me? A (...) Defense of Substance Dualism Richard Swinburne 9. The Importance of Being Conscious Charles Taliaferro 10. Dualism in the Cartesian Spirit Howard Robinson Part 4: Non Cartesian Dualism 11. Non-Cartesian Substantial Dualism E. J. Lowe 12. Emergent Dualism: A Mediating View of the Nature of Human Beings William Hasker 13. Dualism Ralph C. S. Walker 14. Dualism, Dual-Aspectism, and Neutral Monism David Skrbina. (shrink)
Deeper than Reason takes the insights of modern psychological and neuroscientific research on the emotions and brings them to bear on questions about our emotional involvement with the arts. Robinson begins by laying out a theory of emotion, one that is supported by the best evidence from current empirical work on emotions, and then in the light of this theory examines some of the ways in which the emotions function in the arts. Written in a clear and engaging style, (...) her book will make fascinating reading for anyone who is interested in the emotions and how they work, as well as anyone engaged with the arts and aesthetics, especially with questions about emotional expression in the arts, emotional experience of art forms, and, more generally, artistic interpretation. -/- Part One develops a theory of emotions as processes, having at their core non-cognitive 'instinctive' appraisals, 'deeper than reason', which automatically induce physiological changes and action tendencies, and which then give way to cognitive monitoring of the situation. Part Two examines the role of the emotions in understanding literature, especially the great realistic novels of the nineteenth century. Robinson argues that such works need to be experienced emotionally if they are to be properly understood. A detailed reading of Edith Wharton's novel The Reef demonstrates how a great novel can educate us emotionally by first evoking instinctive emotional responses and then getting us to cognitively monitor and reflect upon them. Part Three puts forward a new Romantic theory of emotional expression in the arts. Part Four deals with music, both the emotional expression of emotion in music, whether vocal or instrumental, and the arousal of emotion by music. The way music arouses emotion lends indirect support to the theory of emotion outlined in Part One. -/- While grounded in the science of emotion, Deeper than Reason demonstrates the continuing importance of the arts and humanities to our lives. (shrink)
A number of articles and empirical studies over the past decade, most by Paul Robinson and co-authors, have suggested a relationship between the extent of the criminal law's reputation for being just in its distribution of criminal liability and punishment in the eyes of the community – its "moral credibility" – and its ability to gain that community's deference and compliance through a variety of mechanisms that enhance its crime-control effectiveness. This has led to proposals to have criminal liability (...) and punishment rules reflect lay intuitions of justice – "empirical desert" – as a means of enhancing the system's moral credibility. In a recent article, Christopher Slobogin and Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein (SBR) report seven sets of studies that they argue undermine these claims of empirical desert and moral credibility and instead support SBR's proposed distributive principle of "individual prevention," a view that focuses on an offender's future dangerousness rather than on his perceived desert. -/- The idea that there is a relationship between the criminal law's reputation for justness and its crime-control effectiveness did not originate with Robinson and his co-authors. Rather, it has been a common theme among a wide range of punishment theory scholars for many decades. A particularly important conclusion of recent Robinson studies, however, is their confirmation that this relationship is a continuous one: even small nudges in moral credibility can produce corresponding changes in the community's deference to the criminal law. This is important because it shows that even piecemeal changes or changes at the margin – as in reforming even one unjust doctrine or procedure – can have real implications for crime-control. SBR's studies, rather than contradicting the crime-control power of empirical desert, in fact confirm it. Further, SBR's studies do not provide support for their proposed "individual prevention" distributive principle, contrary to what they claim. -/- While SBR try to associate their principle with the popular "limiting retributivism" adopted by the American Law Institute in its 2007 amendment of the Model Penal Code, in fact it is, in many respects, just the reverse of that principle. With limiting retributivism, the Model Code's new provision sets desert as dominant, never allowing punishment to conflict with it. SBR would have "punishment" essentially always set according to future dangerousness; it is to be constrained by desert only when the extent of the resulting injustices or failures of justice is so egregious as to significantly delegitimize the government and its law. This ignores the fact that even minor departures from justice may have an important cumulative effect on the system as a whole. What SBR propose – essentially substituting preventive detention for criminal justice – promotes the worst of the failed policies of the 1960s, where detention decisions were made at the back-end by "experts," and conflicts with the trend of the past several decades of encouraging more community involvement in criminal punishment, not less. (shrink)
This paper was given at a London Medical Group symposium held at Middlesex Hospital Medical School in May 1979, on `Self-help groups - England's barefoot doctors'. Dr Robinson gives a brief history of some of the reasons why self-help groups have evolved and how they work. He also looks at how the `professionals' can and do relate to them.
Using the piezoelectric defect technique (Robinson 1970, 1972 a), the charge on edge dislocations in bent single crystals of KCl has been measured from 300 to 1039 K at 40 and 80 kHz with strain amplitudes from 2·7 ? 10?7 to 7·2 ? 10-6. At room temperature the dislocation charge, for crystals oriented in and , was found to be negative and reached a thermal equilibrium value at ? 550 K. Extrinsic isoelectric temperatures occurred in the range 730 to (...) 800 K depending on the crystal, and for any one crystal were reproducible to within 2 K. Above 1000 K the measured dislocation charge fell rapidly towards zero suggesting that near the melting point the relaxation time ? of the charge cloud because shorter than the period ??1 of the applied stress (?? < 1). The temperature dependence of the restoring force acting on the dislocations at breakaway, together with the temperature for ?? = 1, suggest that the enthalpy and entropy of motion of an isolated Ca2+ ion are 2·3 (+ 0·1, ?0·3) eV and 7 (± 2) k, respectively. A theory is developed for the dislocation charge which is applicable for values of |eV∞/kT | shrink)
Moral principles play important roles in diverse areas of moral thought, practice, and theory. Many who think of themselves as ‘moral generalists’ believe that moral principles can play these roles—that they are capable of doing so. Moral generalism maintains that moral principles can and do play these roles because true moral principles are statements of general moral fact (i.e. statements of facts about the moral attributes of kinds of actions, kinds of states of affairs, etc.) and because general moral facts (...) explain particular moral facts (i.e. facts about the moral attributes of particulars). Moral holism maintains that what is a moral reason to φ in one case may not be one in another, and may even be a moral reason not to φ given suitable circumstances. Some ‘moral particularists’ maintain that moral holism motivates scepticism about the existence of and need for moral principles, along with scepticism about the viability of principle-based approaches to ethics and moral theory. But I argue that moral holism is itself a form of moral generalism, one that takes facts about the right- and wrong-making powers of (generic) moral factors to explain certain particular moral facts—namely, the rightness and wrongness of particular actions. I also argue that a moral-theoretic version of dispositionalism—the view that dispositions, powers, or capacities are the fundamental units of explanation—explains both why moral holism is true and why moral generalism is true. (shrink)
Epiphenomenalism is the view that mental events are caused by physical events in the brain, but have no effects upon any physical events. Behavior is caused by muscles that contract upon receiving neural impulses, and neural impulses are generated by input from other neurons or from sense organs. On the epiphenomenalist view, mental events play no causal role in this process. Huxley (1874), who held the view, compared mental events to a steam whistle that contributes nothing to the work of (...) a locomotive. James (1879), who rejected the view, characterized epiphenomenalists' mental events as not affecting the brain activity that produces them "any more than a shadow reacts upon the steps of the traveller whom it accompanies". (shrink)
I claim that there are four major strands of argument for externalism and set out to discuss three of them. The four are: (A) That referential thoughts are object-dependent. This I do not discuss. (B) That the semantics of natural kind terms is externalist. (C) That all semantic content, even of descriptive terms, stems from the causal relations of representations to the things or properties they designate in the external world. (D) That, because meaning is a social product and no (...) individual can capture the whole social practice that defines a concept, what the speaker means always outruns what he can know.I briefiy discuss (C) and (D) and conclude that they cannot be correct, because, if they were, the content of every thought would permanently transcend the refiective grasp of all thinkers. Then I discuss (B) and conclude that, though Putnam shows something interesting about natural kind terms -- namely that a real verbal definition requires science -- this has none of the consequences for philosophy of mind that it is normally supposed to have. (shrink)
This paper begins with a summary of an argument for epiphenomenalism and a review of the author's previous work on the self-stultification objection to that view. The heart of the paper considers an objection to this previous work and provides a new response to it. Questions for this new response are considered and a view is developed in which knowledge of our own mentality is seen to differ from our knowledge of external things.
This article develops an approach to ethical globalization based on a feminist, political ethic of care; this is achieved, in part, through a comparison with, and critique of, Thomas Pogge's World Poverty and Human Rights. In his book, Pogge makes the valid and important argument that the global economic order is currently organized such that developed countries have a huge advantage in terms of power and expertise, and that decisions are reached purely and exclusively through self-interest. Pogge uses an institutional (...) rights framework to argue that direct responsibility for global poverty and inequality lies with the citizens of developed countries, since suffering and death are caused by global economic arrangements designed and imposed by our governments. While this argument is certainly compelling, I have argued that it tells us little about the actual effects of globalization on the real people of the South - including women, children and the elderly. As a result, it can offer little in the way of real alternatives or policy prescriptions. As a moral orientation, a care ethic relies on a relational moral ontology, and leads us to consider different values in terms of human flourishing. Moreover, it pushes us to consider the normative implications of aspects of the global political economy which are usually not 'seen' at all, including the global distribution of care work and the corresponding patterns of gender and racial inequality, the underprovision of care and resources for caring work in both the developed and developing world, and the ways in which unpaid or low-paid caring work helps to sustain a cycle of exploitation and inequality on a global scale. (shrink)
. An attempt is made to identify a concept of ‘downward causation’ that will fit the claims of some recent writers and apply to interesting cases in biology and cognitive theory, but not to trivial cases. After noting some difficulties in achieving this task, it is proposed that in interesting cases commonly used to illustrate ‘downward causation’, (a) regularities hold between multiply realizable properties and (b) the explanation of the parallel regularity at the level of the realizing properties is non-trivial. (...) It is argued that the relation between a realizable property and the property that realizes its effect in a particular case is not usefully regarded as a species of causation and that use of the concept of downward causation deflects our attention from our central explanatory tasks. (shrink)
Gilbert Harman (1990) seeks to defend psychophysical functionalism by articulating a representationalist view of the qualities of experience. The negative side of the present paper argues that the resources of this representationalist view are insufficient to ground the evident distinction between perception and (mere) thought. This failure makes the view unable to support the uses to which Harman wishes to put it. Several rescuing moves by other representationalists are considered, but none is found successful. Part of the difficulty in Harman's (...) (...) work is that he does not adequately specify the view he rejects. The positive aim of the present paper is to provide a robust intrinsic quality account of experience that offers advantages in comparison with Harman's view, and that plainly does not fall to any of the arguments he advances. (shrink)
Silent thinking is often accompanied by subvocal sayings to ourselves, imagery, emotional feelings, and non-sensory experiences such as familiarity, rightness, and confidence that we can go on in certain ways. Phenomenological materials of these kinds, along with our dispositions to give explanations or draw inferences, provide resources that are sufficient to account for our knowledge of what we think, desire, and so on. We do not need to suppose that there is a distinctive, non-imagistic 'what it is like' to think (...) that p, and a different non-imagistic 'what it is like' to think that q. Nor need we suppose that there is a proprietary 'what it is like' to have one propositional attitude type rather than another. (shrink)