Relying upon real life examples of human suffering--including torture, genocide, and warfare--as opposed to thought experiments, Corbi proposes a novel approach to self-knowledge that runs counter to standard Kantian approaches to morality.
Abstract: There is much that I admire in Richard Moran's account of how first-person authority may be consistent with self-knowledge as an achievement. In this paper, I examine his attempt to characterize the goal of psychoanalytic treatment, which is surely that the patient should go beyond the mere theoretical acceptance of the analyst's interpretation, and requires instead a more intimate, first-personal, awareness by the patient of their psychological condition.I object, however, that the way in which Moran distinguishes between the deliberative (...) and the theoretical attitudes is ultimately inconsistent with a satisfactory account of psychoanalytic practice; mainly because, despite Moran's claims to the contrary, such a distinction is still inspired by a Cartesian picture of the self. I argue that, in the light of his distinction, Moran may emphasize that an agent's psychological dispositions should be permeable to her decisions and projects, but is forced to reject the idea that permeability could go the other way too. I explore Bernard Williams' notion of acknowledgment and Simone Weil's distinction between two notions of necessity, in order to articulate a notion of receptive passivity which may help us to characterize this second direction of permeability. I finally outline why receptive passivity (and, thereby, the double direction of permeability) is crucial in order to identify the goal of psychoanalytic treatment and, derivatively, to understand how a certain kind of awareness may have a significant therapeutic effect. (shrink)
In Authority and Estrangement Richard Moran takes some rather illuminating steps towards getting rid of the Cartesian picture of self-knowledge. I argue, however, that Moran’s crucial distinction between deliberative and theoretical attitude is seriously contaminated by that traditional picture. More specifically, I will point out why some crucial aspects of the phenomena that Moran describes in terms of the interplay between the theoretical and the deliberative attitude, should rather be interpreted as a process that takes place within the deliberative attitude (...) itself. The theoretical attitude will, as a result, constitute a rather marginal attitude towards one’s own psychological dispositions and experiences, the adoption of which only makes sense in rather peculiar, often pathological, situations. (shrink)
Nondescriptivist Cognitivism vindicates the cognitive value of moral judgements despite their lack of descriptive content. In this paper,I raise a few worries about the proclaimed virtues of this new metaethical framework Firstly, I argue that Nondescriptivist Cognitivism tends to beg the question against descriptivism and, secondly, discuss Horgan and Timmons' case against Michael Smith's metaethical rationalism. Although I sympathise with their main critical claims against the latter, I am less enthusiastic about the arguments that they provide to support them.
A subject is a being who has a life to lead. In this paper, I explore the array of resources that are available to us (i.e., Westerners at the turn of the millennium) to articulate and assess our lives. Specifically, I shall reflect on the impact that such matters may have on our naturalist conviction that the world ultimately consists of a causal network where notions such as sense and value have no direct bearing. Sometend to assume that an implication (...) of our naturalist world-view is that the notions of sense and value are inevitably relative to the subject’s desires and inclinations. This is, however, a line of reasoning that I would like to resist. For I am convinced that this approach unnecessarily restricts the number of resources to which we can legitimately appeal in order to lead our lives. This restriction will turn out to be quite serious because, as we shall see, it dramatically distorts our perception of the relevance that social ties may have in the life of a subject, as well as the conditions under which a human life may escape the absurd. (shrink)
In the ongoing debate, there are a set of mind-body theories sharing a certain physicalist assumption: whenever a genuine cause produces an effect, the causal efficacy of each of the nonphysical properties that participate in that process is determined by the instantiation of a well-defined set of physical properties. These theories would then insist that a nonphysical property could only be causally efficacious insofar as it is physically implemented. However, in what follows we will argue against the idea that fine-grained (...) mental contents could be physically implemented in the way that functional properties are. Therefore, we will examine the metaphysical conditions under which the implementing mechanism of a particular instance of a functional property may be individuated, and see how genuine beliefs and desires—insofar as they track the world—cannot meet such conditions. (shrink)
I discuss, in this paper, the view of value that is associated with Humean motivational theories. I argue that these theories unjustifiably constrain the kind of element that may contribute to our motivational economy and, thereby, unduly reduce our capacity to recognize certain sources of value. To this purpose, I will examine some axiological experiences that, if I am right, are inaccessible to a Humean analysis of our motivational structure. I will insist, for instance, on a sense in which social (...) links may be important in the life of a human being which the Humean notion of desire cannot apprehend. (shrink)
To begin, I introduce an analysis of interlevel relations that allows us to offer an initial characterization of the debate about the way classical and connectionist models relate. Subsequently, I examine a compatibility thesis and a conditional claim on this issue.With respect to the compatibility thesis, I argue that, even if classical and connectionist models are not necessarily incompatible, the emergence of the latter seems to undermine the best arguments for the Language of Thought Hypothesis, which is essential to the (...) former. (shrink)