In twelve quite demanding chapters, outstanding scholars provide an overall view of the key issues of Scotus’s philosophical thought. To this a very concise introduction is added, concerning the life and works of John Duns (very good, especially the survey of works and the information on critical editions etc.). Throughout the book, I find the information clear and the difficult topics well explained. Moreover, the volume gives a quick entrance to the vast literature. Among the topics discussed are: ‘Metaphysics’ (...) (Peter King), ‘Universals and Individuation’ (Timothy Noone), ‘Modal Theory’ (Calvin Normore), ‘Natural Theology’ (James Ross & Todd Bates), ‘Philosophy of Mind’ (Richard Cross), ‘Cognition’ (Robert Pasnau), ‘Moral Dispositions’ (Bonnie Kent). What strikes the eye is the absence of important theological subjects: Trinity, Christology, sin and grace, to name a few. Since the cover text promises that ‘the essays in this volume systematically survey the full range of Scotus’ thought’, this omission is remarkable. It stems, I guess, from the strict philosophical scope of the series of the Cambridge Companions, but such a limitation should have been recognised explicitly: this companion provides, in fact, an introduction to John Duns’s philosophy—i.e., philosophy in our modern sense. Of course, this separation of philosophical from theological thought is not from Scotus. Most of his innovative ‘philosophical’ ideas are developed in a profoundly theological context! (shrink)
We previously reported that in the Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) task, which requires tracking several identical targets moving unpredictably among identical nontargets, the nontargets appear to be inhibited, as measured by a probe-dot detection method. The inhibition appears to be local to nontargets and does not extend to the space between objects – dropping off very rapidly away from targets and nontargets. In the present three experiments we show that (1) nontargets that are identical to targets but remain in a (...) fixed location are not inhibited and (2) moving objects that have a different shape from targets are inhibited as much as same-shape nontargets, and (3) nontargets that are on a different depth plane and so are easily filtered out are not inhibited. This is consistent with a taskdependent view of item inhibition wherein nontargets are inhibited if (and only if) they are likely to be mistaken for targets. (shrink)
The uncertainty response adds an important new dimension to conventional animal learning and memory studies. Although the uncertainty response by monkeys and dolphins resembled that of humans, parsimony alone does not necessarily indicate that the monkeys and dolphins had a full self-awareness. However, the uncertain response may be an index of an evolutionary precursor to full self-awareness of uncertainty and a theory of mind.
A Pluralistic Universe is America's favourite philosopher's last complete work before he died in 1910. Nevertheless, it has been somewhat neglected as a final self-reckoning. Indeed the term "pragmatism" occurs pretty rarely in it, while "experience" and "pluralism" abound. As introduced and annotated by H.G. Callaway, the Cambridge Scholars edition offers some valuable background on James and the text itself, particularly for the nonspecialist reader. Besides retaining James's notes, Callaway has also provided his own glosses on important philosophical (...) terms, translations of the foreign phrases James so often fell back on, and an expanded index and new bibliography to the text. It is, as Callaway says, a "reading and study edition" (ix). (shrink)
Belief in propositions has had a long and distinguished history in analytic philosophy. Three of the founding fathers of analytic philosophy, Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, and G. E. Moore, believed in propositions. Many philosophers since then have shared this belief; and the belief is widely, though certainly not universally, accepted among philosophers today. Among contemporary philosophers who believe in propositions, many, and perhaps even most, take them to be structured entities with individuals, properties, and relations as constituents. For example, the (...) proposition that Glenn loves Tracy has Glenn, the loving relation, and Tracy as constituents. What is it, then, that binds these constituents together and imposes structure on them? And if the proposition that Glenn loves Tracy is distinct from the proposition that Tracy loves Glenn yet both have the same constituents, what is about the way these constituents are structured or bound together that makes them two different propositions? In The Nature and Structure of Content, Jeffrey C. King formulates a detailed account of the metaphysical nature of propositions, and provides fresh answers to the above questions. In addition to explaining what it is that binds together the constituents of structured propositions and imposes structure on them, King deals with some of the standard objections to accounts of propositions: he shows that there is no mystery about what propositions are; that given certain minimal assumptions, it follows that they exist; and that on his approach, we can see how and why propositions manage to have truth conditions and represent the world as being a certain way. The Nature and Structure of Content also contains a detailed account of the nature of tense and modality, and provides a solution to the paradox of analysis. Scholars and students working in the philosophy of mind and language will find this book rewarding reading. (shrink)
Susan James, in her recent work Passion and Action: The Emotions in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy (Oxford: Clarendon 1997), prefaces her investigation of emotions in the seventeenth century with a series of remarks about the earlier career of the emotions, in particular their treatment in the Middle Ages. In brief, she takes the ‘new’ analyses of the passions put forward in the seventeenth century to be a philosophical sideshow to the main event: the dethronement of Aristotelian natural philosophy and metaphysics (22). (...) She describes the consequences for psychology as follows.. (shrink)
The aim of unpaid volunteer classroom assistants is to give extra support to children learning to read. The impact of using volunteers to improve children's acquisition of reading skills is unknown. To assess whether volunteers are effective in improving children's reading, we undertook a systematic review of all relevant randomised controlled trials (RCTs). An exhaustive search of all the main electronic databases was carried out (i.e. BEI, PsycInfo, ASSIA, PAIS, SSCI, ERIC, SPECTR, SIGLE). We identified eight experimental studies, of which (...) seven were RCTs. One of the RCTs was excluded because it did not meet the inclusion criteria. One RCT randomised intact classes and the other six studies randomised individual children and could therefore be included in a meta-analysis. All of the trials were fairly small, with the largest including 99 pupils. Four of the trials showed a positive outcome, while three showed a negative effect and the remaining study was equivocal. We pooled the four most homogeneous trials. The pooled data indicated an effect size of 0.19, which was not statistically significant ( p = 0.54, 95% confidence interval = -0.31 to 0.68). Overall, volunteering appeared to have a small effect on reading outcomes. However, the confidence intervals were wide, which could conceal a potentially large benefit or a harmful effect. Thus, more good quality RCTs are required in order to provide more conclusive evidence. (shrink)
Background Payment of research participants helps to increase recruitment for research studies, but can pose ethical dilemmas. Research ethics committees (RECs) have a centrally important role in guiding this practice, but standardisation of the ethical approval process in Ireland is lacking. Aim Our aim was to examine REC policies, experiences and concerns with respect to the payment of participants in research projects in Ireland. Method Postal survey of all RECs in Ireland. Results Response rate was 62.5% (n=50). 80% of RECs (...) reported not to have any established policy on the payment of research subjects while 20% had refused ethics approval to studies because the investigators proposed to pay research participants. The most commonly cited concerns were the potential for inducement and undermining of voluntary consent. Conclusions There is considerable variability among RECs on the payment of research participants and a lack of clear consensus guidelines on the subject. The development of standardised guidelines on the payment of research subjects may enhance recruitment of research participants. (shrink)
Lewis makes a strong case for the interdependence and integration of emotion and cognitive processes. Yet, these processes exhibit considerable independence in early life, as well as in certain psychopathological conditions, suggesting that the capacity for their integration emerges as a function of development. In some circumstances, the concept of highly interactive emotion and cognitive systems seems a viable alternative hypothesis to the idea of systems integration.
Current scholarship has focused on analyzing how Arendt's storytelling corresponds to her political arguments. In following up this discussion, I offer a closer examination of the unusual myth Arendt uses to explain the condition of the modern age, a myth she refers to as the ?political nature of history.? I employ literary terms along with the standard vocabulary of political theory in shaping this reading of Arendt. Following Robert C. Pirro, I also consider Arendt's story as a tragedy, but in (...) the broadest sense, that of a collision of two goods, freedom and security. By describing Arendt's thought in this manner, I hope to reveal another way in which Arendt represents the call to action that she believes so crucial to humanity, as a summons to we flawed antiheroes through the device of a heroic myth. (shrink)
The following essay involves a discussion of four theories about lying and their application to a specific circumstance, the Nazi-Jew situation, as found in Kant, Aquinas, Pruss, and Guervin. By examining their thoughts on this particular situation, we may draw out, by the use of “right reason,” ways to handle everyday situations that causes us to face the tragic choice between two goods that lying presents. The argument is that, if approached in a certain way, the tragic choice lying presents (...) may be avoided. (shrink)
In addition to complexity deriving from the notion of the possibility of a ‘better world,’ the anti-theist argument from evils may possess the appearance of greater effectiveness than critical analysis should recognize it. If the moral language employed in the argument is accepted according to some forms of emotive, intuitive or theonomous interpretations, the so-called problem will vanish - and the question of the existence or nonexistence of God (so far as it is thought to depend on this argument) will (...) be found to be settled, or at least appear settled, on the grounds simply of the usages involved. If it is stated in utilitarian language, on the other hand, the problem of evil has the logical status of a genuine problem. Since we are to affirm that the question: Is it evil that there are evils? is a legitimate question, we shall do best, I believe, to interpret the question in utilitarian language. So interpreted, the problem is such that both the theist and anti-theist should have to work at proving their respective claims regarding the evils in the world. Whether either should ever succeed, it seems that the meta-ethician will profit by analyzing the language in which the attempt (more strenuous for the theist, I should think) will be made. (shrink)
Political Freedom By George G. Brenkert Routledge, 1991. Pp. 278. ISBN 0?415?03372?1. £35 hbk. Wittgenstein: A Bibliographical Guide By Guido Frongia and Brian McGuinness Basil Blackwell, 1990. Pp. x + 438. ISBN 00631?13765?3. £60.00. Metaphysics By Peter van Inwagen Oxford University Press, 1993. Pp. xiii + 222. ISBN 0?19?8751400. £11.95 pbk. The Nature of Moral Thinking By Francis Snare Routledge, 1992. Pp. 187. ISBN 0?415?04709?9. £9.99 pbk. Filosofía analitica hoy: Encuentro de tradiciones Edited by Mercedes Torrevejano Servicio de Publications Universidade (...) de Santiago de Compostela, 1991. Pp. 284. ISBN 84?7191?722?X. $15.5 pbk. The Puzzle of Experience By J.J. Valberg Clarendon Press, 1992. Pp. 227. ISBN 0?19?824291?3. £25. Religion and Philosophy Edited by Martin Warner Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement: 31 Cambridge University Press, 1992. Pp. vi + 155. ISBN 0?521?42951?X. £10.95 pbk. The Uses of Philosophy By Mary Warnock Blackwell, 1992. Pp. 256. ISBN 0?631?18038?9. £35.00 hbk. £11.95 pbk. The Disappearance of Time: Kurt Godel and the Idealistic Tradition in Philosophy By Palle Yourgrau Cambridge University Press, 1991. Pp. x + 182. ISBN 0?521?41012?6. £27.50. (shrink)