This essay offers a rationale for the employment of narrative pedagogies in introductory philosophy courses, as well as examples of narrative techniques, assignments, and course design that have been successfully employed in the investigation of philosophical topics. My hope is to undercut the sense that “telling stories in class” is just a playful diversion from the real material, and to encourage instructors to treat storytelling as a genuine philosophical activity that should be rigorously developed. I argue that introductory courses focused (...) on student narratives fulfill the ideals of learning-centered teaching. Since narrative learning also promotes self-knowledge and empathic understanding, there is good reason to consider replacing or supplementing canonical texts or arguments with narrative assignments. The concluding sections provide details as to how such assignments can be constructed,integrated into course units, and assessed. (shrink)
To one side of the wide third-floor hallway of Victoria College, just outside the offices of the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, lies the massive carcass of a 1960s-era electron microscope. Its burnished steel carapace has lost its gleam, but the instrument is still impressive for its bulk and spare design: binocular viewing glasses, beam control panel, specimen tray, and a broad work surface. Edges are worn, desiccated tape still feebly holds instructive reminders near control (...) dials; this was once a workhorse in some lab. But it exists now out of time and place; like many of the scientific instruments we study, it has not been touched by knowing hands in decades. (shrink)
À quoi les philosophes sont-ils bons ? Faire de la philosophie rend-il meilleur ? Les jugements esthétiques gardent-ils encore quelque secret, ou bien Kant a-t-il tout dit sur la question ? La culture et le statut socio-économique de votre professeur de philosophie a-t-il une influence sur ses options philosophiques ? Pourquoi avons-nous l'impression que la pensée ne saurait être un état de notre cerveau ? Que nous ne serions pas libres si nous n'étions qu'un tas de neurone ? C'est pour (...) répondre à ces questions (et à beaucoup d'autres) que philosophes et psychologues se sont alliés sous la bannière de la toute nouvelle « philosophie expérimentale ». Il s'agit de faire un peu de lumière sur ce qui se passe vraiment dans notre tête lorsque nous faisons de la philosophie et d'interroger l'origine de nos certitudes philosophiques. (shrink)
This special issue should go a long way towards increasing the understanding of Peirce’s semeiotic and its applicability for solving problems in legal studies. In fact, the New Science of Semiotics should result in developing a rigorous and systematic methodology for legal studies making it a true semiotic science which I suggest calling “jurisology.”.
Philosophical Propositions provides a fresh and lucid introduction to key philosophical problems in a classic style. Designed for students coming to philosophy for the first time, Jonathan Westphal introduces readers to the key problems in philosophy, encouraging them to work through those problems themselves. Each chapter considers a key philosophical problem: The Nature of a Philosophical Problem; Basic Concepts of Logic and Philosophy; The Problem of Evil; The Existence of God; Reality; Certainty; Time; Personal Identity; The Mind-Body Problem; Freewill (...) and Determinism; The Meaning of Life? By asking students to consider key philosophical questions such as "are people free?", "can God's existence be proved?" and "how is the mind related to the body", this book provides a firm grounding in essential philosophical problems for students at any level. (shrink)
An Introduction to Modern European Philosophy , contains scholarly but accessible essays by nine British academics on Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Maritain, Hannah Arendt, Habermas, Foucault, and the 'Events' of 1968. Written for English-speaking readers, it describes the varied traditions within 19th- and 20th-century European philosophy, reflecting the dynamism and plurality within the European tradition and presenting opposing points of view. It deals with both French and German philosophers, plus Kierkegaard, and is (...) not confined to any one school of thought. It has been purged of jargon but contains a glossary of important technical terms. There is a bibliography of further reading and website information at the end of each chapter. (shrink)
Accessible to students with no background in the subject, A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will provides an extensive and up-to-date overview of all the latest views on this central problem of philosophy. Opening with a concise introduction to the history of the problem of free will--and its place in the history of philosophy--the book then turns to contemporary debates and theories about free will, determinism, and related subjects like moral responsibility, coercion, compulsion, autonomy, agency, rationality, freedom, and more. (...) Classical compatibilist and new compatibilist theories of free will are considered along with the latest incompatibilist or libertarian theories and the most recent skeptical challenges to free will. Separate chapters are devoted to the relation of free will to moral responsibility and ethics; to modern science; and to religious questions about predestination, divine foreknowledge, and human freedom. Numerous down-to-earth examples and challenging thought experiments enliven the text. The book is an ideal addition to introduction to philosophy, metaphysics, and free will courses. (shrink)
The Phenomenological Mind, by Shaun Gallagher and Dan Zahavi, is part of a recent initiative to show that phenomenology, classically conceived as the tradition inaugurated by Edmund Husserl and not as mere introspection, contributes something important to cognitive science. (For other examples, see “References” below.) Phenomenology, of course, has been a part of cognitive science for a long time. It implicitly informs the works of Andy Clark (e.g. 1997) and John Haugeland (e.g. 1998), and Hubert Dreyfus explicitly uses it (e.g. (...) 1992). But where the former use phenomenology in the background as broad context and Dreyfus uses it primarily (though not exclusively) as a critique of conventional AI, Gallagher and Zahavi wish to indicate a positive and constructive place for it within cognitive science. They do not recommend that we simply accept pronouncements of thinkers like Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre and Merleau‐Ponty and apply them to questions of cognition, but that we use revised forms of phenomenology to illuminate dimensions of cognitive experience that are missing in current research. The book is presented as an “introduction to philosophy of mind and cognitive science” written from a phenomenological perspective. It seeks to justify the use of phenomenology in cognitive science by showing what kinds of questions it asks and answers, the variety of uses to which it has recently been put and the fruitfulness of some of its findings. The catalog of topics, for the most part, matches other introductions to the philosophy of mind, such as questions of method, consciousness, perception, intentionality, embodiment, action, agency and other minds. One issue presented here that is not generally dealt with in existing philosophy of mind and cognitive science texts is temporality, a mainstay of the continental tradition. After an introductory chapter that places phenomenology in the context of other approaches, the book lays out the main tenets of phenomenological method. Here, one encounters expected components of phenomenology: the epoché (described below), phenomenological reduction, eidetic variation, and so on. This traditional fare is soon followed by some potential surprises, namely, attempts to “naturalize” phenomenology, a few attempts to formalize it, and the emergence of ‘neurophenomenology’. Each of these is a bit surprising because Husserl was a vocal critic of naturalism, seeing transcendental phenomenology as an alternative to the empirical study of consciousness. He was also skeptical about the possibilities of mathematizing phenomenology. Gallagher and Zahavi acknowledge these points, but since they are not repeating history or undertaking exegesis, strict adherence to canonical phenomenology is not required. Naturalizing phenomenology means recognizing that “the phenomena it studies are part of nature and are therefore also open to empirical investigation” (p.. (shrink)
This systematic introduction to Buddhist ethics is aimed at anyone interested in Buddhism, including students, scholars and general readers. Peter Harvey is the author of the acclaimed Introduction to Buddhism (Cambridge, 1990), and his new book is written in a clear style, assuming no prior knowledge. At the same time it develops a careful, probing analysis of the nature and practical dynamics of Buddhist ethics in both its unifying themes and in the particularities of different Buddhist traditions. The (...) book applies Buddhist ethics to a range of issues of contemporary concern: humanity's relationship with the rest of nature; economics; war and peace; euthanasia; abortion; the status of women; and homosexuality. Professor Harvey draws on texts of the main Buddhist traditions, and on historical and contemporary accounts of the behaviour of Buddhists, to describe existing Buddhist ethics, to assess different views within it, and to extend its application into new areas. (shrink)
"The philosophy of mind is unique among contemporary philosophical subjects," writes John Searle, "in that all of the most famous and influential theories are false." In Mind, Searle dismantles these famous and influential theories as he presents a vividly written, comprehensive introduction to the mind. Here readers will find one of the world's most eminent thinkers shedding light on the central concern of modern philosophy. Searle begins with a look at the twelve problems of philosophy of mind--which he calls (...) "Descartes and Other Disasters"--problems which he returns to throughout the volume, as he illuminates such topics as the freedom of the will, the actual operation of mental causation, the nature and functioning of the unconscious, the analysis of perception, and the concept of the self. One of the key chapters is on the mind-body problem, which Searle analyzes brilliantly. He argues that all forms of consciousness--from feeling thirsty to wondering how to translate Mallarme--are caused by the behavior of neurons and are realized in the brain system, which is itself composed of neurons. But this does not mean that consciousness is nothing but neuronal behavior. The main point of having the concept of consciousness, Searle points out, is to capture the first person subjective features of the phenomenon and this point is lost if we redefine consciousness in third person objective terms. Described as a "dragonslayer by temperament," John Searle offers here a refreshingly direct and open discussion of philosophy, one that skewers accepted wisdom even as it offers striking new insights into the nature of consciousness and the mind. (shrink)
How does science work? Does it tell us what the world is "really" like? What makes it different from other ways of understanding the universe? In Theory and Reality , Peter Godfrey-Smith addresses these questions by taking the reader on a grand tour of one hundred years of debate about science. The result is a completely accessible introduction to the main themes of the philosophy of science. Intended for undergraduates and general readers with no prior background in philosophy, Theory (...) and Reality covers logical positivism the problems of induction and confirmation Karl Popper's theory of science Thomas Kuhn and "scientific revolutions" the views of Imre Lakatos, Larry Laudan, and Paul Feyerabend and challenges to the field from sociology of science, feminism, and science studies. The book then looks in more detail at some specific problems and theories, including scientific realism, the theory-ladeness of observation, scientific explanation, and Bayesianism. Finally, Godfrey-Smith defends a form of philosophical naturalism as the best way to solve the main problems in the field. Throughout the text he points out connections between philosophical debates and wider discussions about science in recent decades, such as the infamous "science wars." Examples and asides engage the beginning student a glossary of terms explains key concepts and suggestions for further reading are included at the end of each chapter. However, this is a textbook that doesn't feel like a textbook because it captures the historical drama of changes in how science has been conceived over the last one hundred years. Like no other text in this field, Theory and Reality combines a survey of recent history of the philosophy of science with current key debates in language that any beginning scholar or critical reader can follow. (shrink)
This third edition of the bestselling An Introduction to Sociology: Feminist Perspectives confirms the ongoing centrality of feminist perspectives and research to the sociological enterprise and introduces students to the wide range of feminist contributions to key areas of sociological concern. This completely revised edition includes: · new chapters on sexuality and the media · additional material on race and ethnicity, disability and the body · many new international and comparative examples · the influence of theories of globalization and (...) post-colonial studies. The theoretical elements have also been fully rethought in light of recent developments in social theory. Written by three experienced academics, this book gives students of sociology and women's studies an accessible overview of the feminist contribution to all the key areas of sociological concern. (shrink)
Everyday Life and Cultural Theory provides a unique critical and historical introduction to theories of everyday life. Ben Highmore traces the development of conceptions of everyday life, from the Mass Observation project of the 1930s to contemporary theorists. Individual chapters examine: * Theories of the everyday * Fragments of everyday life * Surrealism: the marvelous in the everyday * Walter Benjamin's Trash Aesthetics * Mass Observation: the science of everyday life * Henri Lefebvre's Dialectics of Everyday Life * Michel (...) de Certeau's Poetics of Everyday Life * Everyday life and the future of cultural studies. (shrink)
Here at last is a coherent, unintimidating introduction to the challenging and fascinating landscape of Western philosophy. Written expressly for "anyone who believes there are big questions out there, but does not know how to approach them," Think provides a sound framework for exploring the most basic themes of philosophy, and for understanding how major philosophers have tackled the questions that have pressed themselves most forcefully on human consciousness. Simon Blackburn, author of the best-selling Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, begins (...) by making a convincing case for the relevance of philosophy and goes on to give the reader a sense of how the great historical figures such as Plato, Hume, Kant, Descartes, and others have approached its central themes. In a lively and accessible style, Blackburn approaches the nature of human reflection and how we think, or can think, about knowledge, fate, ethics, identity, God, reason, and truth. Each chapter explains a major issue, and gives the reader a self-contained guide through the problems that the philosophers have studied. Because the text approaches these issues from the gound up, the untrained reader will emerge from its pages able to explore other philosophies with greater pleasure and understanding and be able to think--philosophically--for him or herself. Philosophy is often dismissed as a purely academic discipline with no relation to the "real" world non-philosophers are compelled to inhabit. Think dispels this myth and offers a springboard for all those who want to learn how the basic techniques of thinking shape virtually every aspect of our existence. (shrink)
This introduction to mathematical logic starts with propositional calculus and first-order logic. Topics covered include syntax, semantics, soundness, completeness, independence, normal forms, vertical paths through negation normal formulas, compactness, Smullyan's Unifying Principle, natural deduction, cut-elimination, semantic tableaux, Skolemization, Herbrand's Theorem, unification, duality, interpolation, and definability. The last three chapters of the book provide an introduction to type theory (higher-order logic). It is shown how various mathematical concepts can be formalized in this very expressive formal language. This expressive notation (...) facilitates proofs of the classical incompleteness and undecidability theorems which are very elegant and easy to understand. The discussion of semantics makes clear the important distinction between standard and nonstandard models which is so important in understanding puzzling phenomena such as the incompleteness theorems and Skolem's Paradox about countable models of set theory. Some of the numerous exercises require giving formal proofs. A computer program called ETPS which is available from the web facilitates doing and checking such exercises. Audience: This volume will be of interest to mathematicians, computer scientists, and philosophers in universities, as well as to computer scientists in industry who wish to use higher-order logic for hardware and software specification and verification. (shrink)
A comprehensive introduction to the ways in which meaning is conveyed in language. Alan Cruse covers semantic matters, but also deals with topics that are usually considered to fall under pragmatics. A major aim is to highlight the richness and subtlety of meaning phenomena, rather than to expound any particular theory. Rich in examples and exercises, Meaning in Language provides an invaluable descriptive approach to this area of linguistics for undergraduates and postgraduates alike.
This volume brings together a range of influential essays by distinguished philosophers and political theorists on the issue of global justice. Global justice concerns the search for ethical norms that should govern interactions between people, states, corporations and other agents acting in the global arena, as well as the design of social institutions that link them together. The volume includes articles that engage with major theoretical questions such as the applicability of the ideals of social and economic equality to the (...) global sphere, the degree of justified partiality to compatriots, and the nature and extent of the responsibilities of the affluent to address global poverty and other hardships abroad. It also features articles that bring the theoretical insights of global justice thinkers to bear on matters of practical concern to contemporary societies, such policies associated with immigration, international trade, and climate change. -/- Contents: Introduction; Part I Standards of Global Justice: (i) Assistance-Based Responsibilities to the Global Poor: Famine, affluence and mortality, Peter Singer; We don't owe them a thing! A tough-minded but soft-hearted view of aid to the faraway needy, Jan Narveson; Does distance matter morally to the duty to rescue? Frances Myrna Kamm. (ii) Contribution-Based Responsibilities to the Global Poor: 'Assisting' the global poor, Thomas Pogge; Should we stop thinking about poverty in terms of helping the poor?, Alan Patten; Poverty and the moral significance of contribution, Gerhard Øverland. (iii)Cosmopolitans, Global Egalitarians, and its Critics: The one and the many faces of cosmopolitanism, Catherine Lu; Cosmopolitan justice and equalizing opportunities, Simon Caney; The problem of global justice, Thomas Nagel; Against global egalitarianism, David Miller; Egalitarian challenges to global egalitarianism: a critique, Christian Barry and Laura Valentini. Part II Pressing Global Socioeconomic Issues: (i) Governing the Flow of People: Immigration and freedom of association, Christopher Wellman; Democratic theory and border coercion: no right to unilaterally control your own borders, Arash Abizadeh; Justice in migration: a closed borders utopia?, Lea Ypi. (ii) Climate Change: Global environment and international inequality, Henry Shue; Valuing policies in response to climate change: some ethical issues, John Broome; Saved by disaster? Abrupt climate change, political inertia, and the possibility of an intergenerational arms race, Stephen M. Gardiner; Polycentric systems for coping with collective action and global environmental change, Elinor Ostrom. (iii) International Trade: Responsibility and global labor justice, Iris Marion Young; Property rights and the resource curse, Leif Wenar; Fairness in trade I: obligations arising from trading and the pauper-labor argument, Mathias Risse; Name index. -/- See: www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&calctitle=1&pageSubject=483&sort=pubdate&forthcoming=1&title_i d=9958&edition_id=13385. (shrink)
This paper is the introduction to the volume. It gives an argumentative view of the philosophical landscape concerning incommensurability and incomparability. It argues that incomparability, not incommensurability, is the important phenomenon on which philosophers should be focusing and that the arguments for the existence of incomparability are so far not compelling.
Introduction -- Part I: Starting points -- Some decisions are easier than others -- Easy decisions -- More difficult decisions -- Moral dilemmas -- The deep basis of the moral life -- Practical decision making -- Why ethics is ultimately religious -- Acceptable and unacceptable forms of revelation -- The useful incomplete ness of religious tradition -- Moral virtue and character -- Intuition and deliberation in moral decision-making -- The absolute and the relative in moral life -- Have we (...) become too relativistic? -- The natural law approach -- God as the absolute -- Facts and values -- Individual integrity and communal authority -- The transcendent absolute -- Rules and relationships -- The moral burden of proof -- The legal analogy -- Applying the idea of "presumption" to ethical decision-making -- Moral presumptions as a common starting point -- Basic moral presumptions -- Uses of scripture -- Positive Christian value presumptions -- The limits and flaws in human nature -- Presumptions that preserve balance -- A presumption for Scripture and tradition -- When presumptions are in conflict -- Part II: Applications and illustrations -- Difficult personal decisions -- Sexual intimacy and family life -- Contraception and abortion -- Choosing a spouse -- Divorce -- Vocational choices -- The uses of our money -- Political choices -- Hard choices in the public arena -- Abortion -- Homosexuality -- The dilemma of "affirmative action" -- Securing economic justice -- Environmental policies -- Criminal justice -- Uses of military power -- Hard choices at the global level -- International institution building -- International security and policing -- Nuclear disarmament -- Economic globalization -- Global warming -- Hard choices in communities of faith. (shrink)
This is the editors' introduction to a new anthology of commissioned articles covering the various branches of philosophy of physics. We introduce the articles in terms of the three pillars of modern physics: relativity theory, quantum theory and thermal physics. We end by discussing the present state, and future prospects, of fundamental physics.
Making Sense of Education provides a contemporary introduction to the key issues in educational philosophy and theory. Exploring recent developments as well as important ideas from the twentieth century, this book aims to make philosophy of education relevant to everyday practice for teachers and student teachers, as well as those studying education as an academic subject.
Moral particularism is a contentious position at present and seems likely to be so for the foreseeable future. In this Introduction, I outline and detail its essential claim, which I take to be, roughly, that what can be a reason that helps to make one action right need not be a reason that always helps to make actions right. This claim challenges a central assumption on which most, if not all, normative ethical theories are supposedly based. We owe this (...) way of characterizing moral particularism to Jonathan Dancy, around whose writings much of the present debate revolves. Key Words: ethics generalism particularism reasons valency. (shrink)
This is an engaging and accessible introduction to the 'Nicomachean Ethics', Aristotle's great masterpiece of moral philosophy. Michael Pakaluk offers a thorough and lucid examination of the entire work, uncovering Aristotle's motivations and basic views while paying careful attention to his arguments. The chapter on friendship captures Aristotle's doctrine with clarity and insight, and Pakaluk gives original and compelling interpretations of the Function Argument, the Doctrine of the Mean, courage and other character virtues, Akrasia, and the two treatments of (...) pleasure. There is also a useful section on how to read an Aristotelian text. This book will be invaluable for all student readers encountering one of the most important and influential works of Western philosophy. (shrink)
The debate between free will and its opposing doctrine, determinism, is one of the key issues in philosophy. Ilham Dilman brings together all the dimensions of the problem of free will with examples from literature, ethics and psychoanalysis, and draws out valuable insights from both sides of the freedom-determinism divide. The book provides a comprehensive introduction to this highly important question and examines the contributions made by sixteen of the most outstanding thinkers from the time of early Greece to (...) modern times: Homer, Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Schopenhauer, Freud, Sartre, Weil, Wittgenstein, Moore. (shrink)
In this textbook, Michael Morris offers a critical introduction to the central issues of the philosophy of language. Each chapter focusses on one or two texts which have had a seminal influence on work in the subject, and uses these as a way of approaching both the central topics and the various traditions of dealing with them. Texts include classic writings by Frege, Russell, Kripke, Quine, Davidson, Austin, Grice and Wittgenstein. Theoretical jargon is kept to a minimum and is (...) fully explained whenever it is introduced. The range of topics covered includes sense and reference, definite descriptions, proper names, natural-kind terms, de re and de dicto necessity, propositional attitudes, truth-theoretical approaches to meaning, radical interpretation, indeterminacy of translation, speech acts, intentional theories of meaning, and scepticism about meaning. The book will be invaluable to students and to all readers who are interested in the nature of linguistic meaning. (shrink)
So what is feminism anyway? Why are all the experts so reluctant to give us a clear definition? Is it possible to make sense of the complex and often contradictory debates? In this concise and accessible introduction to feminist theory, Chris Beasley provides clear explanations of the many types of feminism. She outlines the development of liberal, radical and Marxist//socialist feminism, and reviews the more contemporary influences of psychoanalysis, postmodernism, theories of the body, queer theory, and attends to the (...) ongoing significance of race and ethnicity. Given the diversity of feminist ideas, Chris Beasley a number of ways of looking at feminist theory and offer an open-ended approach which allows for variety and change. What is Feminism? is a clear and up-to-date guide to Western feminist theory for students, their teachers, researchers and anyone else who wants to understand and engage in current feminist debates. `Over the last three decades feminist theories and methodologies have become an increasingly complex as well as somewhat fraught terrain where ideas and egos alternately clash productively and destructively. This is an up-to-date and intelligent introduction to a field which remains a vital component of contemporary sociopolitical issues and debates' - Sneja Gunew, Professor of English and Women’s Studies, University of British Columbia. (shrink)
This highly successful textbook provides a systematic introduction to the principal theories of international relations. Combining incisive and original analyses with a clear and accessible writing style, it is ideal for introductory courses in international relations or international relations theory. Introduction to International Relations, Third Edition, focuses on the main theoretical traditions--realism, liberalism, international society, and theories of international political economy. The authors carefully explain how particular theories organize and sharpen our view of the world. They integrate excellent (...) pedagogical features throughout, including chapter summaries, key points, questions, further reading, web links, boxes, and world maps. New to this Edition: * Two new chapters, on social constructivism and foreign policy * An expanded companion website with web links to theoretical debates, maps and world situations, figures and tables from the text, and a flashcard glossary * A closer link between theory and practice * New glossary of key terms * Two-color text for easier navigation. (shrink)
This up-to-date introduction to decision theory offers comprehensive and accessible discussions of decision-making under ignorance and risk, the foundations of utility theory, the debate over subjective and objective probability, Bayesianism, causal decision theory, game theory, and social choice theory. No mathematical skills are assumed, and all concepts and results are explained in non-technical and intuitive as well as more formal ways. There are over 100 exercises with solutions, and a glossary of key terms and concepts. An emphasis on foundational (...) aspects of normative decision theory (rather than descriptive decision theory) makes the book particularly useful for philosophy students, but it will appeal to readers in a range of disciplines including economics, psychology, political science and computer science. • Has over 100 end of chapter review questions and exercises with solutions • Includes a chapter on how to draw a decision matrix • Explains the link between individual decision making, game theory and social choice theory Contents Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. The decision matrix; 3. Decisions under ignorance; 4. Decisions under risk; 5. Utility; 6. The mathematics of probability; 7. The philosophy of probability; 8. Why should we accept the preference axioms; 9. Causal vs. evidential decision theory; 10. Bayesian vs. non-Bayesian decision theory; 11. Game theory I: basic concepts and zero sum games; 12. Game theory II: nonzero sum and co-operative games; 13. Social choice theory; 14. Overview of descriptive decision theory; Appendix A. Glossary; Appendix B. Proof of the von Neumann-Morgenstern theorem; Further reading; Index. (shrink)
The phrase "the meaning of life" for many seems a quaint notion fit for satirical mauling by Monty Python or Douglas Adams. But in this spirited Very Short Introduction, famed critic Terry Eagleton takes a serious if often amusing look at the question and offers his own surprising answer. Eagleton first examines how centuries of thinkers and writers--from Marx and Schopenhauer to Shakespeare, Sartre, and Beckett--have responded to the ultimate question of meaning. He suggests, however, that it is only (...) in modern times that the question has become problematic. But instead of tackling it head-on, many of us cope with the feelings of meaninglessness in our lives by filling them with everything from football to sex, Kabbala, Scientology, "New Age softheadedness," or fundamentalism. On the other hand, Eagleton notes, many educated people believe that life is an evolutionary accident that has no intrinsic meaning. If our lives have meaning, it is something with which we manage to invest them, not something with which they come ready made. Eagleton probes this view of meaning as a kind of private enterprise, and concludes that it fails to holds up. He argues instead that the meaning of life is not a solution to a problem, but a matter of living in a certain way. It is not metaphysical but ethical. It is not something separate from life, but what makes it worth living--that is, a certain quality, depth, abundance and intensity of life. Here then is a brilliant discussion of the problem of meaning by a leading thinker, who writes with a light and often irreverent touch, but with a very serious end in mind. (shrink)
Theories of Consciousness provides an introduction to a variety of approaches to consciousness, questions the nature of consciousness, and contributes to current debates about whether a scientific understanding of consciousness is possible. While discussing key figures including Descartes, Fodor, Dennett and Chalmers, the book incorporates identity theories, representational theories, intentionality, externalism and new information-based theories.
Linguistic Semantics: An Introduction is the successor to Sir John Lyons's important textbook Language, Meaning and Context (1981).While preserving the general structure of the earlier book, the author has substantially expanded its scope to introduce several topics that were not previously discussed, and to take account of new developments in linguistic semantics over the past decade. The resulting work is an invaluable guide to the subject, offering clarifications of its specialised terms and explaining its relationship to formal and philosophical (...) semantics and to contemporary pragmatics. With its clear and accessible style it will appeal to a wide student readership. Sir John Lyons is one of the most important and internationally renowned contributors to the study of linguistics. His many publications include Introduction to Theoretical Linguistics (1968) and Semantics (1977). (shrink)
Logic With Trees is a new and original introduction to modern formal logic. It contains discussions on philosophical issues such as truth, conditionals and modal logic, presenting the formal material with clarity, and preferring informal explanations and arguments to intimidatingly rigorous development. Worked examples and exercises guide beginners through the book, with answers to selected exercises enabling readers to check their progress. Logic With Trees equips students with: a complete and clear account of the truth-tree system for first order (...) logic; the importance of logic and its relevance to many different disciplines; the skills to grasp sophisticated formal reasoning techniques necessary to explore complex metalogic; the ability to contest claims that "ordinary" reasoning is well represented by formal first order logic. (shrink)
Is there a theory that explains the essence of consciousness? Or is consciousness itself just an illusion? The "last great mystery of science," consciousness was excluded from serious research for most of the last century but is now a rapidly expanding area of study for students of psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience. Recently the topic has also captured growing popular interest. This groundbreaking book is the first volume to bring together all the major theories of consciousness studies--from those rooted in traditional (...) Western philosophy to those coming out of neuroscience, quantum theory, and Eastern philosophy. Broadly interdisciplinary, Consciousness: An Introduction is divided into nine sections that examine such topics as how subjective experiences arise from objective brain processes, the basic neuroscience and neuropathology of consciousness, altered states of consciousness, mystical experiences and dreams, and the effects of drugs and meditation. It also discusses the nature of self, the possibility of artificial consciousness in robots, and the question of whether or not animals are conscious. Enhanced by numerous illustrations and profiles of important researchers, the book also includes self-assessment questions, further reading suggestions, and practical exercises that help bring the subject to life. (shrink)
Fuzzy logic has become an important tool for a number of different applications ranging from the control of engineering systems to artificial intelligence. In this concise introduction, the author presents a succinct guide to the basic ideas of fuzzy logic, fuzzy sets, fuzzy relations, and fuzzy reasoning, and shows how they may be applied. The book culminates in a chapter which describes fuzzy logic control: the design of intelligent control systems using fuzzy if-then rules which make use of human (...) knowledge and experience to behave in a manner similar to a human controller. Throughout, the level of mathematical knowledge required is kept basic and the concepts are illustrated with numerous diagrams to aid in comprehension. As a result, all those curious to know more about fuzzy concepts and their real-world application will find this a good place to start. (shrink)
Feminist approaches to art are extremely influential and widely studied across a variety of disciplines, including art theory, cultural and visual studies, and philosophy. Gender and Aesthetics is an introduction to the major theories and thinkers within art and aesthetics from a philosophical perspective, carefully introducing and examining the role that gender plays in forming ideas about art. It is ideal for anyone coming to the topic for the first time. Organized thematically, the book introduces in clear language the (...) most important topics within feminist aesthetics: * Who is an artist and why are there so few women painters? * Art, pleasure and beauty * Music, literature and painting * The role of gender in taste and food * What is art and who is an artist? * Disgust and the sublime Each chapter discusses important topics and thinkers within art and examines the role gender plays in our understanding of them. These topics include creativity, genius and the appreciation of art, and thinkers from Plato, Kant, and Hume to Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva. Also included in the book are illustrations from Gauguin and Hogarth to Cindy Sherman and Nancy Spero to clarify and help introduce often difficult concepts. Each chapter concludes with a summary and further reading and there is an extensive annotated bibliography. Carolyn Korsmeyer's style is refreshing and accessible, making the book suitable for students of philosophy, gender studies, visual studies and art theory, as well as anyone interested in the impact of gender on theories of art. (shrink)
In this book Jonathan Lowe offers a lucid and wide-ranging introduction to the philosophy of mind. Using a problem-centred approach designed to stimulate as well as instruct, he begins with a general examination of the mind-body problem and moves on to detailed examination of more specific philosophical issues concerning sensation, perception, thought and language, rationality, artificial intelligence, action, personal identity and self-knowledge. His discussion is notably broad in scope, and distinctive in giving equal attention to deep metaphysical questions concerning (...) the mind and to the discoveries and theories of modern scientific psychology. It will be of interest to any reader with a basic grounding in modern philosophy. (shrink)
The most widely accepted and well worked out approaches to the foundations of meaning take facts about the meanings of linguistic expressions at a time to be derivative from the propositional attitudes of speakers of the language at that time. This mentalist strategy takes two principal forms, one which traces meaning to belief, and one which analyzes it in terms of communicative intentions. I argue that either form of mentalism fails, and conclude by suggesting that we can do better by (...) focusing on connections between linguistic meaning and the contents of perceptions (rather than beliefs or intentions), and by (following Kripke's approach to reference) replacing questions about the nature of meaning with questions about the nature of term introduction and meaning transmission. (shrink)
In Being and Time Heidegger gives an account of the distinctive features of human existence, in an attempt to answer the question of the meaning of being. He finds that underlying all of these features is what he calls 'original time'. In this clear and straightforward introduction to the text, Paul Gorner takes the reader through the work, examining its detail and explaining the sometimes difficult language which Heidegger uses. The topics which he covers include being-in-the-world, being-with, thrownness and (...) projection, truth, authenticity, time and being, and historicity. His book makes Being and Time accessible to students in a way that conveys the essence of Heidegger's project and remains true to what is distinctive about his thinking. (shrink)
In this Introduction, I identify seven discrete aspects of attention brought to the fore by by considering the phenomenon of effortless attention: effort, decision-making, action syntax, agency, automaticity, expertise, and mental training. For each, I provide an overview of recent research, identify challenges to or gaps in current attention theory with respect to it, consider how attention theory can be advanced by including current research, and explain how relevant chapters of this volume offer such advances.
Epistemology or the theory of knowledge is one of the cornerstones of analytic philosophy, and this book provides a clear and accessible introduction to the subject. It discusses some of the main theories of justification, including foundationalism, coherentism, reliabilism, and virtue epistemology. Other topics include the Gettier problem, internalism and externalism, skepticism, the problem of epistemic circularity, the problem of the criterion, a priori knowledge, and naturalized epistemology. Intended primarily for students taking a first class in epistemology, this lucid (...) and well-written text would also provide an excellent introduction for anyone interested in knowing more about this important area of philosophy. (shrink)
The distinction between egoistic and altruistic motivation is firmly embedded in contemporary moral discourse, but harks back too to early modern attempts to found morality on an egoistic basis. Rejecting that latter premise means accepting that others’ interests have intrinsic value, but it remains far from clear what altruism demands of us and what its relationship is with the rest of morality. While informing our duties, altruism seems also to urge us to transcend them and embrace the other-regarding values and (...) virtues constitutive of a good life. This rather wide conception of morality may strike us today as too demanding. At the same time, however, currently popular impartialist accounts of morality can disrupt much everyday altruism in their insistence that each person’s interests are weighed precisely equally. Having sketched this problematic of altruism, the second half of this Introduction outlines the arguments of the four papers and review essay in this collection, each of which, in a different way, negotiates the difficult relationships between egoism, altruism, morality and impartiality. (shrink)
In this new introduction to a classic philosophical text, Catherine Wilson examines the arguments of Descartes' famous Meditations, the book which launched modern philosophy. Drawing on the reinterpretations of Descartes' thought of the past twenty-five years, she shows how Descartes constructs a theory of the mind, the body, nature, and God from a premise of radical uncertainty. She discusses in detail the historical context of Descartes' writings and their relationship to early modern science, and at the same time she (...) introduces concepts and problems that define the philosophical enterprise as it is understood today. Following closely the text of the Meditations and meant to be read alongside them, this survey is accessible to readers with no previous background in philosophy. It is well-suited to university-level courses on Descartes, but can also be read with profit by students in other disciplines. (shrink)
In this introduction, we give a brief overview of the main concepts of modularity that have been offered in recent literature. After this, we turn to a summary of the papers collected in this volume. Our primary aim is to explain how the modularity of emotion question relates to traditional debates in emotion theory.