Abstract Throughout his works, St. Augustine offers at least nine distinct views on the nature of time, at least three of which have remained almost unnoticed in the secondary literature. I first examine each these nine descriptions of time and attempt to diffuse common misinterpretations, especially of the views which seek to identify Augustinian time as consisting of an un-extended point or a distentio animi . Second, I argue that Augustine's primary understanding of time, like that of later medieval scholastics, (...) is that of an accident connected to the changes of created substances. Finally, I show how this interpretation has the benefit of rendering intelligible Augustine's contention that, at the resurrection, motion will still be able to occur, but not time. (shrink)
In his book Objects and Persons, Trenton Merricks has reoriented and ﬁne-tuned an argument from the philosophy of mind to support a selective eliminativism about macroscopic objects.1 The argument turns on a rejection of systematic causal overdetermination and the conviction that microscopic things do the causal work that is attributed to a great many (though not all) macroscopic things. We will argue that Merricks’ argument fails to establish his selective eliminativism.
Eric Olsen argues from the fact that we once existed as fetal individuals to the conclusion that the Standard View of personal identity in mistaken. I shall establish that a similar argument focusing upon dead people opposes Olson's favored Biological View of personal identity.
Two recent papers by Michael Burke bearing upon the persistence of people and commonplace things illustrate the fact that the quest for synchronic ontological economy is likely to encourage a disturbing diachronic proliferation of entities. This discussion argues that Burke's promise of ontological economy is seriously compromised by the fact that his proposed metaphysic does violence to standard intuitions concerning the persistence of people and commonplace things. In effect, Burke would have us achieve synchronic economy (rejection of coincident entities) by (...) postulating strongly counterintuitive transtemporal claims of numerical diversity. The argument is made that the price of Burkean economy is too high. (shrink)
Four non-Cartesian conceptions of a person are considered. I argue tor one of these, a position called animalism. I reject the idea that a (human) person coincides with, but is numerically distinct from, a certain human animal. Coinciding physical beings would both be psychological subjects. I argue that such subjects could not engage in self-reference. Since self-reference (or the capacity tor self-reference) is a necessary condition for being a person, no physical subject coincident with another such subject can be a (...) person. I take all of this to support the view that we (human persons) are identical with human animals. (shrink)
In the present commentary we expand on two concepts relevant to understanding affliliative bonding. Differences and similarities between the functions and actions of oxytocin and vasopressin are difficult to study but may be critical to an understanding of mechanisms for social bonding. What is termed here a “trait of affiliation” may reflect in part the capacity of these same peptides to program the developing nervous system.
Modal properties are notorious epistemic trouble-makers. That theme is very much at the heart of Michael Rea’s thesis that the Discovery Problem (roughly, the problem of explaining how we know when ascriptions of modal properties are true) has no naturalistic resolution. That might encourage the thought that supernaturalism will somehow resolve the problem. This paper argues that supernaturalism is unlikely to offer a solution of the Discovery Problem.
Adaptive management is commonly identified as a way to address situations where ecological and social uncertainty exists. Two discourses are common: a focus on experimentation, and a focus on collaboration. The roles of experimental and collaborative adaptive management in contemporary practice are reviewed to identify tools for bridging the discourses. Examples include broadening the scope of contributions during the buy-in and goal-setting stages, using conceptual models and decision support tools to include stakeholders in model development, experimentation using indicators of concern (...) to stakeholders, an experimental focus that reflects the level of statistical confidence required by management, and the engagement of stakeholders in data interpretation so that those affected by management outcomes can learn and adapt accordingly. In this context, a framework of questions that managers can use to reflect on both ecological and social uncertainties as they relate to individual management contexts is proposed. (shrink)
The focus here will be on the tension between architecture’s symbolic role and its function as a space to house and present art. ‘Symbolic’ refers both to a building as an aesthetic or sculptural form and secondly to its role in expressing civic identity. ‘Function’ refers to the intended purpose or practical use apart from its role as a form of art. As an art form, it serves important symbolic purposes; its practical purposes are linked to serving individual and community (...) functions requiring the delineation of space. In the present context of museum architecture, certain museum buildings are more likely to be seen as a sculptural object than as functioning buildings. The reasons for this development derive in part from unresolved issues pertaining to the respective roles of symbolic and practicalfunction as is seen in the analysis of architecture provided by G. W. F. Hegel, Rudolf Arnheim and Nelson Goodman. The vocabularies of contemporary architects such Frank Gehry and Santiago Calatrava do not follow the abstract geometrical patterns of Le Corbusier or Louis Kahn who envisioned a universal vocabulary of architectural forms derived from industrial technical forms that underscored Modernist conventions in architecture.By looking at this issue in the contexts provided by the theoretical discussions of Hegel, Arnheim and Goodman, it is possible to see more clearly the importance of examining with a critical eye the relative place of symbolism and function in museum architecture, and to question whether current museum practice has gone astray in allowing the sculptural symbolism to become the dominant element. When either its symbolic or its practical aspects are out of balance the result is sure to be unsatisfactory architecture. If the past is a reliable guide, it works best when the symbolic (sculptural) and the practical in architecture are worked out in harmony with each other. (shrink)
Although much evidence indicates that young infants perceive unitary objects by analyzing patterns of motion, infantsÕ abilities to perceive object unity by analyzing Gestalt properties and by integrating distinct views of an object over time are in dispute. To address these controversies, four experiments investigated adultsÕ and infantsÕ perception of the unity of a center-occluded, moving rod with misaligned visible edges. Both alignment information and depth information aﬀected adultsÕ and infantsÕ perception of object unity in similar ways, and infants perceived (...) object unity by integrating information about object features over time. However, infants perceived a moving, misaligned, three-dimensional object as indeterminate in its connectedness, whereas adults perceived it as connected behind the occluder. These ﬁndings indicate that the eﬀectiveness of common motion in specifying uniﬁed surfaces across an occluder is reduced by misalignment of edges. Alignment information enhances perception of object unity either by serving directly as information for unity or by optimizing the detectability of motion-carried information for unity. In addition, young infants are able to retain information about edge orientation over short intervals in determining connectedness via a process of spatiotemporal integration. Ó 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved. (shrink)
In World Without Design: The Ontological Consequences of Naturalism, I argued that there is an important sense in which philosophilosophical naturalism’s current status as methodological orthodoxy is without rational foundation, and I argued that naturalists must give up two views that many of them are inclined to hold dear-realism about material objects and materialism. In the present article, I respond to objections raised by W. R. Carter, Austin Dacey, Paul Draper, and Andrew Melnyk in a symposium on World Without (...) Design sponsored in part by this journal. The objections I address fall into two main categories: objections against my characterization of naturalism, and objections against the main argument of the book, the argument for the conclusion that naturalists cannot justifiably accept realism about material objects. (shrink)
The hypothesis that life’s rapid appearance on Earth justifies the belief that life is widespread in the universe has been investigated mathematically by Lineweaver and Davis (Astrobiol- ogy 2002;2:293–304). However, a rapid appearance could also be interpreted as evidence for a nonterrestrial origin. I attempt to quantify the relative probabilities for a non-indigenous ver- sus indigenous origin, on the assumption that biogenesis involves one or more highly im- probable steps, using a generalization of Carter’s well-known observer-selection argument. The analysis (...) is specifically applied to a Martian origin of life, with subsequent transfer to Earth within impact ejecta. My main result is that the relatively greater probability of a Mar- tian origin rises sharply as a function of the number of difficult steps involved in biogene- sis. The actual numerical factor depends on what is assumed about conditions on early Mars, but for a wide range of assumptions a Martian origin of life is decisively favored. By con- trast, an extrasolar origin seems unlikely using the same analysis. These results complement those of Lineweaver and Davis. Key Words: Origin of life—Mars—Probability theory— Carter—Transpermia. Astrobiology 3, 673–679. (shrink)
The moral, legal, and public policy dispute over embryonic stem cell research (and related matters, such as human cloning) is the most prominent issue in American public bioethics of the past decade. The primary moral question raised by the practice of embryonic stem cell research is whether it is defensible to disaggregate (and thus destroy) living human embryos in order to derive pluripotent cells (stem cells) for purposes of basic research that may someday yield regenerative therapies. This essay will explain (...) the legal and political dimensions of the embryonic stem cell debate as it has unfolded at the national level in the United States, contrasting the position and thinking of President Clinton’s administration with that of George W. Bush. Building upon this, a set of brief reflections is offered on the form and substance of the American federal approach to this public matter, and whether it is ultimately sustainable to join the issue in this particular way. (shrink)