Where has the Western attraction to the study and practice of shamanic techniques brought us? Where might it take us? In what ways have our Western biases and philosophical underpinnings influenced and changed how shamanism is practiced, both in the West and in the traditional cultures out of which they emerged? Is it time to stop using the umbrella term “shamanism” to refer to such diverse cross-cultural practices? What are our responsibilities, both as researchers and as spiritual seekers? In this (...) conversation, researcher-authors Stephan Beyer, Stanley Krippner, and Hillary S. Webb discuss their work in field and consider some of the ramifications of the Western world's intellectual and spiritual fascination with shamanic practices. Special attention is paid to the language used to describe these techniques and their practitioners, the developing relationship between researchers and cultural participants, and the ethical implications of merging what are often very distinct worldviews. (shrink)
In this essay, P. Taylor Webb and Kalervo N. Gulson argue that educational policy is a spatial process and that implementation processes in particular produce crucial emergent geographies for policy research. Webb and Gulson describe how emergent geographies are produced when policy folds actors through senses and enactments of policy. The idea that policy is sensed and enacted is developed into the concept of a policy intension that extends approaches to spatial and, in particular, micropolitical analyses in policy (...) research. Webb and Gulson conclude by discussing cartographical methods that better map the geographies of subjectivity produced through policy intensions. (shrink)
In this groundbreaking study, Stephen H. Webb offers a new theological understanding of the material and spiritual: that, far from being contradictory, they unite in the very stuff of the eternal Jesus Christ. -/- Accepting matter as a perfection (or predicate) of the divine requires a rethinking of the immateriality of God, the doctrine of creation out of nothing, the Chalcedonian formula of the person of Christ, and the analogical nature of religious language. It also requires a careful reconsideration (...) of Augustine's appropriation of the Neo-Platonic understanding of divine incorporeality as well as Origen's rejection of anthropomorphism. Webb locates his position in contrast to evolutionary theories of emergent materialism and the popular idea that the world is God's body. He draws on a little known theological position known as the ''heavenly flesh'' Christology, investigates the many misunderstandings of its origins and relation to the Monophysite movement, and supplements it with retrievals of Duns Scotus, Caspar Scwenckfeld and Eastern Orthodox reflections on the transfiguration. Also included in Webb's study are discussions of classical figures like Barth and Aquinas as well as more recent theological proposals from Bruce McCormack, David Hart, and Colin Gunton. Perhaps most provocatively, the book argues that Mormonism provides the most challenging, urgent, and potentially rewarding source for metaphysical renewal today. -/- Webb's concept of Christian materialism challenges traditional Christian common sense, and aims to show the way to a more metaphysically sound orthodoxy. (shrink)
Theories of generosity, or gift giving, are becoming increasingly important in recent work in philosophy and religion. Stephen Webb seeks to build on this renewed interest by surveying a distinctively modern and postmodern approach to the issue of generosity, and then developing a theological framework for it. He contends that in many ways society has become suspicious of charity and generosity. This cynicism has led to quick and easy judgments, that, in turn, have led to a new orthodoxy with (...) its own troubling consequences. Webb believes that we need to recover the generosity that our culture obscures behind this monologue on self-interest, and that theology, as a form of critical thought, can play a helpful role. Throughout the book, Webb argues for a theory of giving that is other-oriented without being self-negating. He maintains that the generosity of God's grace, properly understood, can reorient our own idea of the gift and must be correlated to our own practices of exchange and reciprocity. (shrink)
More than one philosopher has expressed puzzlement at the very idea of feminist epistemology. Metaphysics and epistemology, sometimes called the 'core' areas of philosophy, are supposed to be immune to questions of value and justice. Nevertheless, many philosophers have raised epistemological questions starting from feminist-motivated moral and political concerns. The field is burgeoning; a search of the Philosopher's Index reveals that although nothing was published before 1981 that was categorized as both feminist and epistemology, soon after, the rate of publication (...) in feminist epistemology rose to between 15 and 25 articles per year.1 At the same time, social epistemology was also beginning to grow as a separate identifiable field of inquiry. (shrink)
The metamathematical theorems of Gödel and Church are frequently applied to the philosophy of mind, typically as rational evidence against mechanism. Using methods of Post and Smullyan, these results are presented as purely mathematical theorems and various such applications are discussed critically. In particular, J. Lucas's use of Gödel's theorem to distinguish between conscious and unconscious beings is refuted, while more generally, attempts to extract philosophy from metamathematics are shown to involve only dramatizations of the constructivity problem in foundations. More (...) specifically, philosophical extrapolations from metamathematics are shown to involve premature extensions of Church's thesis. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to question Derrida's approach to the theme of friendship and to set out an alternative reading drawn from the work of Foucault on the care of the self. Derrida's treatment of friendship as aporetic, though faithful to a long tradition of writing on friendship, depends on the use of a formal language that, I argue, exacerbates the difficulties inherent in the theme of friendship. Moreover, it is not clear that the experience of friendship always (...) displays the temporal form given to this aporetic structure. In contrast, Foucault's work suggests that friendship emerges from the complex system of relations that condition who we are and how we can act. Friends are those with whom we work on the historical conditions of our existence, and those with whom we share the practice of becoming who we are. (shrink)
In this article, I explore the relationship between the philosophy of Theodor Adorno and the Bilderverbot , or biblical Second Commandment against images. My starting point is J. F. Lyotard's construction of the melancholic sublime in his essay `What is the Postmodern?', which I argue he uses to critique Adorno's aesthetics, and, more generally, his position as a `modern' thinker. To prove that Lyotard had Adorno in mind when he constructed the category of the melancholic sublime, I return to an (...) earlier piece by Lyotard — `Adorno as the Devil' — which is a reading of Thomas Mann's Dr Faustus , in which Adorno is said to be one of the faces of the Devil. My argument is that Lyotard's understanding of Adorno is flawed because he does not recognize the distinctly Jewish, albeit secularized, character of his thought. I set out to challenge Lyotard by demonstrating the central importance that the Bilderverbot plays in Adorno's work, which should not be understood as melancholic because the Jewish Messianism associated with the Bilderverbot is profoundly future-oriented. In short, I argue that Lyotard's depiction of Adorno is flawed because he reads him as a Christian, while he should be approaching him as a secularized Jew. Key Words: Theodor Adorno • aesthetic theory • Dr Faustus • the image prohibition • Jewish thought • Jean-François Lyotard • Thomas Mann • Messianism • representation • the sublime. (shrink)
This article considers what features ought to be looked for in an effective billing and charging system. It then looks at different approaches to billing that are adopted and tests them against the features of an ideal system. The author acknowledges that a billing framework which is effective, economically defensible and ethical is in fact impossible and the issue becomes what trade-offs are appropriate in any given situation. The author suggests that there is no one-size-fits-all panacea and what is worse, (...) there are some situations in which no billing framework, however designed, will meet all of the challenges in fair and effective billing. It is suggested that the best approach is to make a principled choice between approaches that are each unsatisfactory to varying degrees. Discussions about billing frequently are either business strategies which develop techniques to maximise income. Others perhaps take a "ethics" approach and focus on what is fair to the client. This article seeks to avoid this conflict by recognising the conflicting tensions and to look for solutions that serve the interests of both lawyers and clients where possible. (shrink)
Some philosophers of religion claim that one reason God permits suffering is to make people dissatisfied with their lives so they will turn to him. That theodicy is inadequate because 1) that strategy of behavior modification constitutes punishment (in the psychologists’ sense), and 2) punishment is not the most effective strategy of behavior modification. Since God can be expected to use the most effective strategy available to him, such a theodicy is inadequate.
A philosophical theory of religion ought to meet four criteria: it should be extensionally accurate, neutral, phenomenological, and non-circular. I argue that none of the popular theories of religion meet all these criteria, and that, in particular, the extensional accuracy criterion and the non-circularity criterion can’t be met without sacrificing extensional accuracy. I conclude that, therefore, religions do not form a kind, and so, there is no such thing as religion.
David Truncellito provides an analysis of Anselm’s ontological argument according to which Anselm’s use of the term “God” equivocates between purported reference to a being and reference to the idea of that being. I argue that this interpretation does not capture Anselm’s intent, and offer another analysis of the argument that charges Anselm with a different equivocation.
Continuity and difference in Heidegger's sophist -- To think as mortals : Heidegger and the finitude of philosophical existence -- The contingency of freedom : Heidegger reading Kant -- Dimension and difference : from undifferentiatedness to singularity -- Heidegger and Weyl on the question of continuity -- The experience of language as such.
The edited collection Nietzsche, Culture, and Education assembles seven articles together, some reprinted for this particular collection and others derived from the Nietzsche Society Conference in Durham, England (2000). The theme of that particular conference was "100 Years of Nietzsche: Society, Culture, and Education." The purpose of the book is to discuss the effects, and use, of Nietzsche's cultural critique on educational theory. The collection is another important contribution to a small but growing literature concerning the relationship between Nietzschean thought (...) and education.The book is implicitly organized around the Nietzschean themes of solicitude and solitude. Thomas E. Hart, the editor, defines .. (shrink)
How should biological behaviour be modelled? A relatively new approach is to investigate problems in neuroethology by building physical robot models of biological sensorimotor systems. The explication and justification of this approach are here placed within a framework for describing and comparing models in the behavioural and biological sciences. First, simulation models – the representation of a hypothesis about a target system – are distinguished from several other relationships also termed “modelling” in discussions of scientific explanation. Seven dimensions on which (...) simulation models can differ are defined and distinctions between them discussed: 1. Relevance: whether the model tests and generates hypotheses applicable to biology. 2. Level: the elemental units of the model in the hierarchy from atoms to societies. 3. Generality: the range of biological systems the model can represent. 4. Abstraction: the complexity, relative to the target, or amount of detail included in the model. 5. Structural accuracy: how well the model represents the actual mechanisms underlying the behaviour. 6. Performance match: to what extent the model behaviour matches the target behaviour. 7. Medium: the physical basis by which the model is implemented. No specific position in the space of models thus defined is the only correct one, but a good modelling methodology should be explicit about its position and the justification for that position. It is argued that in building robot models biological relevance is more effective than loose biological inspiration; multiple levels can be integrated; that generality cannot be assumed but might emerge from studying specific instances; abstraction is better done by simplification than idealisation; accuracy can be approached through iterations of complete systems; that the model should be able to match and predict target behaviour; and that a physical medium can have significant advantages. These arguments reflect the view that biological behaviour needs to be studied and modelled in context, that is, in terms of the real problems faced by real animals in real environments. Key Words: animal behaviour; levels; models; neuroethology; realism; robotics; simulation. (shrink)
It is widely acknowledged that hoping is an integral part of what it is to be human. The present article strives to make sense of the myriad competing conceptions of hope that have emerged over the past half-century. Two problems with the literature are highlighted. First, discussions of hope tend to take place within rather than between disciplines. Second, hope is often taken to be an undifferentiated experience. In order to address the first problem, the article takes an interdisciplinary approach, (...) drawing on research from the fields of philosophy, anthropology, psychology, theology and politics. In order to address the second problem, the article proposes that hope be regarded as a human universal that can be experienced in different modes. A variety of theories and models of hope are discussed, including those offered by Marcel, Dauenhauer, Bloch, Moltmann, Bovens, Pettit, Snyder, Rorty and Gutiérrez. While many of these claim to have identified the characteristics of hope, it is argued that each captures something about a particular mode of hoping. The theories and models are integrated into a framework comprising five modes of hoping: patient, critical, estimative, resolute and utopian. Examining hope in this way, as a human universal that can be experienced in different modes, may help us see the varying conceptions that presently exist within the human sciences not as conflicting, nor even as competing, but rather as complementary. (shrink)
This paper addresses the notorious logic and semantic difficulties encountered by Lévinas in articulating his ethics of alterity. Tracing the philosophical genesis of this question in Descartes and Heidegger, it recognises Lévinas's claim that there can be no ontological foundation for ethics because ontology would reduce ethics to a form of mathematical ratio. Lévinas is unwilling to deny his phenomenological experience of a desire for goodness and unable to deny his despair at his ontological alienation from the good and so (...) he is driven to seek an irrational link between the human being and a metaphysical ‘good beyond being’. Retrieving an ancient gnostic neo-Platonist working of the same problem from the work of Hans Jonas, the paper reconsiders Lévinas's reading of Plato, specifically his understanding of Socrates’ exposition of erosin the Phaedo, in order to illustrate how his ethics of alterity may allow the human being to refer irrationally to the good beyond being. (shrink)
It appears there is general support amongst the commentaries for the potential usefulness of biorobots as models, with some caveats. These include the issue that not all areas of biology have been addressed by this methodology (and perhaps some cannot be?); and that other methodologies may sometimes be more useful. Which dimensions of biorobotic (or other models) are considered important varies with the goals of the investigator. These goals are also an essential part of the “modelling relationship.”.