This article argues that Ralph Waldo Emerson employs metempsychosis (reincarnation or the transmigration of the soul into successive bodies) as a figurative template for human consciousness. Mapping various traditions from Hinduism, Pythagoreanism, Platonism, and Neoplatonism onto the vastness of the geological and biological records, Emerson translates metaphysics for modernity: he depicts the soul's journey through the chronological sequence of history as a poetic process that culminates in a tenuous form of self-knowledge.
v. 1. Plato's Parmenides: history and interpretation from the old academy to later platonism and gnosticism -- Section 1: Plato, from the the old academy to middle platonism -- Section 2: Middle platonic and gnostic texts -- v. 2. Plato's Parmenides: its reception in neoplatonic, Jewish, and Christian texts -- Section 1: Parmenides interpretation from Plotinus to Damascius -- Section 2: The hidden influence of the Parmenides in philo, origen, and later patristic thought.
In this paper, I critically assess the thesis that the discovery of mirror neuron systems (MNSs) provides empirical support for the simulation theory (ST) of social cognition. This thesis can be analyzed into two claims: (i) that MNSs are involved in understanding others’ intentions or emotions; and (ii) that the way in which they do so supports a simulationist viewpoint. I will be giving qualified support to both claims. Starting with (i), I will present theoretical and empirical points in support (...) of the view that MNSs play a substantial role and are perhaps neces¬sary although not sufficient for understanding at least some intentions or emo¬tions. Turning to (ii), I will argue that the work on MNSs best supports a fairly weak version of ST, according to which social cognition involves simulation simply because conceptual thought in gen¬eral has a simulationist component. In elucidating this idea, I appeal to Law¬rence Barsalou’s embodied theory of concepts (1999, 2005). Crucially, the term “simula¬tion” here refers not to simulations of a target agent’s experience, nor even spe¬cifically to one’s own experience in a similar counterfactual situation, but to simulations of experience in general - activating sensory, motor, proprioceptive, affective, and introspective representations that match representations one would have when perceiving, carrying out actions, experiencing emotions, etc. I then sketch an expanded simulationist framework for understanding the contribution of MNSs to social cognition. The ap¬peal to empirical work on MNSs in support of ST is therefore a two-edged sword; making this appeal persuasive requires us to modify our understanding of simulation to make it line up with the empirical work. (shrink)
Simulation as an epistemic tool between theory and practice: A Comparison of the Relationship between Theory and Simulation in Science and in Folk Psychology In this paper I explore the concept of simulation that is employed by proponents of the so-called simulation theory within the debate about the nature and scientific status of folk psychology. According to simulation theory, folk psychology is not a sort of theory that postulates theoretical entities (mental states and processes) and general laws, but a practice (...) whereby we put ourselves into others’ shoes and simulate their situation from our own perspective. On the basis of this sort of simulation, we supposedly know how we would act or think or feel, and then expect the same of others. A closer look at the concept of simulation reveals some problems with this view, but also helps to clarify the insight motivating simulation theory. Specifically, I defend the thesis that the analogy to simulations in science shows us how theoretical elements in folk psychology can be complemented by (i.e. not replaced by) the central idea of simulation theory – namely that our own cognitive habits and dispositions provide us with a resource that is distinct from propositional knowledge in folk psychology. I also discuss the idea that our use of simulations during cognitive development enables us to imitate the people around us and thereby to become more similar to them, which in turn makes simulation an increasingly effective epistemic strategy. Insofar as theoretical elements – such as the distinctions, relations, and entities referred to in folk psychological discourse – play a role in imitative learning, they are causally embedded in our cognitive development, so we have good reason to regard them as being among the real causes of our behavior. (shrink)
This introductory chapter begins with a brief explanation of the impetus behind the book as well as its objectives. It then discusses the history of consent and the challenges for informed consent. An overview of the subsequent chapters is presented.
The aim of this paper is to critically discuss the plausibility of legal moralism with an emphasis on some central and recent versions. First, this paper puts forward and defends the thesis that recently developed varieties of legal moralism promoted by Robert P. George, John Kekes and Michael Moore are more plausible than Lord Devlin's traditional account. The main argument for this thesis is that in its more modern versions legal moralism is immune to some of the forceful (...) challenges made to Devlin by Hart, Dworkin and Feinberg among others. Second, however, the paper challenges the new generation of legal moralists and suggests some areas for further development. Although Devlin's position has been scrutinized thoroughly in the literature on the philosophy of law, there has, to my knowledge, been no comparable, systematic critique of these different proponents of legal moralism. (shrink)
Many philosophers now argue that the doubts of the philosophical sceptic are unnatural ones, in that they are not forced on us by considerations that any reasonable person would have to accept as compelling but only arise if one has already accepted certain controversial theoretical commitments. In this article I defend the naturalness of philosophical scepticism against such criticisms. After defining "global ontological scepticism," I examine the work of a number of anti-sceptical philosophers—Michael Huemer, Michael Williams, and (...) class='Hi'>John McDowell. Although McDowell does move the debate to a deeper level by interpreting scepticism as a challenge to the very possibility of the mind's apprehending reality by being in a rational rather than a merely causal relation to it, none of them succeeds in showing that global ontological scepticism is, in the relevant sense, unnatural. This is not to say that the sceptic is correct; simply that it has not been shown that we can reasonably dismiss the sceptical questions and thereby evade the need to engage seriously with the sceptical arguments. (shrink)
This article argues that liberal arguments for human rights minimalism, such as those of John Rawls and Michael Ignatieff, contain fundamental inconsistencies in their treatment of core rights to life and liberty. Insofar as their versions of minimalism foreground rights to physical security and basic freedom of movement, they cannot coherently exclude certain social and economic protections and liberties that directly support or are even partly constitutive of these rights. Nor do they have good grounds for putting the (...) social and private realms wholly beyond the purview of international law. “New” human rights that represent an expansion of civil rights in particular beyond the classic conception to encompass, for example, the right to freedom from sexual and gender-based violence, illustrate especially well the extent to which civil, social, and economic rights violations, and their remedies, are deeply interwoven. These emergent rights also directly challenge the dichotomy between public/political and private/social realms, and the corollary assumption that human rights violations occur mainly or exclusively in the former sphere. While the concerns that motivate arguments for human rights minimalism — considerations of pluralism and prudence — are legitimate, proponents would do best to reconsider the multiple roles that human rights in fact play, in spite of their essentially contested status. (shrink)