The literature suggests that in sensory imagination we focus on the imagined objects, not on the imaginative states themselves, and that therefore imagination is not introspective. It is claimed that the introspection of imaginative states is an additional cognitive ability. However, there seem to be counterexamples to this claim. In many cases in which we sensorily imagine a certain object in front of us, we are aware that this object is not really where we imagine it to be. So it (...) looks as if in these cases of imagination, we are aware of the mere appearance of the imagined object, and hence introspection is a constitutive part of imagination. In this article, I address this contradictory state of affairs and argue that we should classify at least some forms of sensory imagination as introspective. For this purpose I use the appearance-reality distinction as a central notion for introspection. I also defend the thesis of introspective imagination against the objection that young children imagine without yet understanding the concept of experience. (shrink)
It is often held that it is conceptually impossible to distinguish between a pain and a pain experience. In this article I present an argument which concludes that people make this distinction. I have done a web-based statistical analysis which is at the core of this argument. It shows that the intensity of pain has a decisive effect on whether people say that they 'feel a pain'(lower intensities) or 'have a pain' (greater intensities). This 'intensity effect'can be best explained by (...) people's varying confidence about their pain, and indicates that 'feeling pain' can be identified as introspective report and 'having pain' as an objective statement — analogous to the traditional sense modalities. However, if people have the ability to make both introspective and objective statements about pain, then it seems indeed the case that they distinguish the appearance from the reality of pain. (shrink)
This article presents an interpretation of Merleau-Ponty's notion of pre-reflective intentionality, explicating the similarities and differences between his and Husserl's understandings of intentionality. The main difference is located in Merleau-Ponty's critique of Husserl's noesis-noema structure. Merleau-Ponty seems to claim that there can be intentional acts which are not of or about anything specific. He defines intentionality by its ``directedness'', which is described as a bodily, concrete spatial motility. Merleau-Ponty's understanding of intentionality is part of his attempt to rewrite the relation (...) between the universal and the particular. He claims that meaning is intrinsic to the phenomenal field and impossible to analyse by a distinction between form and matter. Still, Merleau-Ponty's notion of meaning and philosophy is strictly opposed to any naturalized philosophy. This becomes explicated at the end of the article, where his attempt to embody intentionality is compared to Daniel Dennett's corresponding approach. (shrink)
In spite of its success, Neo-Darwinism is faced with major conceptual barriers to further progress, deriving directly from its metaphysical foundations. Most importantly, neo-Darwinism fails to recognize a fundamental cause of evolutionary change, “niche construction”. This failure restricts the generality of evolutionary theory, and introduces inaccuracies. It also hinders the integration of evolutionary biology with neighbouring disciplines, including ecosystem ecology, developmental biology, and the human sciences. Ecology is forced to become a divided discipline, developmental biology is stubbornly difficult to reconcile (...) with evolutionary theory, and the majority of biologists and social scientists are still unhappy with evolutionary accounts of human behaviour. The incorporation of niche construction as both a cause and a product of evolution removes these disciplinary boundaries while greatly generalizing the explanatory power of evolutionary theory. (shrink)
The changing world of health care finance has led to a paradigm shift in health care with health care being viewed more and more as a commodity. Many have argued that such a paradigm shift is incompatible with the very nature of medicine and health care. But such arguments raise more questions than they answer. There are important assumptions about basic concepts of health care and markets that frame such arguments.
Technological advancement has an ambivalent character concerning the impact on biodiversity. It accounts for major detrimental environmental impacts and aggravates threads to biodiversity. On the other hand, from an application perspective of environmental science, there are technical advancements, which increase the potential of analysis, detection and monitoring of environmental changes and open a wider spectrum of sustainable use strategies.The concept of biodiversity emerged in the last two decades as a political issue to protect the structural and functional basis of (...) earthbound life. In this respect, it represents a great challenge for science, in particular for ecology, which is the scientific discipline mainly involved in contributing to understand biodiversity issues.In this paper, we state a strong necessity for ecologists to work in close connection with other disciplines and within their own discipline across the different organisation levels. Each level has some specific properties to which ecological terminology has been adapted, and joint views are necessary to understand complex networks. In this context, ecological theory provides the background to analyse biological complexity and the relationship of structure and dynamics on different integration levels and provides the interface to mediate social and political issues.Important features of new technologies for advances in ecological theory refer to (1) an increase in information processing capacities, (2) more efficient automatic data acquisition and device operation, and (3) an increase in resolution (grain and extent).One crucial consideration we analyse is the trend that a quantitative development in one particular discipline may open a new potential for qualitative advancement in other disciplines when the quantitative advancement is applied in a new disciplinary context.We illustrate these qualitative developments that are based on technological advancements and which helped to advance ecological theory qualitatively with two examples: (1) The underlying mechanisms causing regularly oscillating rodent populations are subject to a decade long discussion in ecology. Using the possibilities of modern information processing, it is possible to represent the discussed hypotheses in an integrative object oriented model and analyse how the underlying causal net works. (2) The second example originates from biosafety research dealing with the environmental impact of genetically modified organisms (GMO). The project GenEERA develops a complex up-scaling procedure from below field-level information to the landscape scale in order to investigate spread and persistence of GM oil seed rape (Brassica napus) under different scenarios. The approach gives an example, how ecological modelling can be used to combine different information levels to derive conclusions on a higher spatial scale.In an overall conclusion we relate the described approaches to a wider system analytical context in which we interpret theory developments and biodiversity issues with a system theoretical description of growth processes. We obtain the view that in self-organising systems there is a tendency for autonomous development which tends to be dominating far away from capacity limitations. However, while approaching capacity limitations, a tendency towards closer coupling of internal and external cause-effect networks emerges. We also find that the relation of biodiversity, ecosystem services, and social dynamics can be interpreted in this framework. In this context, the demand for closer interdisciplinary cooperation to solve existing problems appears as an indication of emerging capacity limitations (or the reaching of saturation levels) both, in the theoretical as well as in the (bio-) physical domain. (shrink)
In the course of its preparation, the 1997 convention on human rights and biomedicine adopted by the Council of Europe instigated a widespread debate. This article examines one of the core issues: the notion of the human being as depicted in the convention. It is argued that according to the convention, this being may exist in three different legal categories, namely 'human life', 'embryo', and 'personhood', each furnished with an inherent set of somewhat different rights, yet none of them clearly (...) defined, thus leaving it to domestic law to regulate at what point a human being belongs to which category. While this approach is understandable from a political point of view, it creates a vicious circle, since law thereby has to define its own foundation and, in the case of the convention, to protect a being that it cannot define. It appears that this form of life is seen rather as a given entity, taking precedence over the interests of society and science, and its dignity and identity forming criteria for the subsequent systems of culture, simply because this life is human and nothing else. Thus, the convention approaches a natural law position. (shrink)
Transfer of information between senders and receivers, of one kind or another, is essential to all life. David Lewis introduced a game theoretic model of the simplest case, where one sender and one receiver have pure common interest. How hard or easy is it for evolution to achieve information transfer in Lewis signaling?. The answers involve surprising subtleties. We discuss some if these in terms of evolutionary dynamics in both finite and infinite populations, with and without mutation.
Discussion of J. Kevin O’Regan’s “Why Red Doesn’t Sound Like a Bell: Understanding the Feel of Consciousness” Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-20 DOI 10.1007/s13164-012-0090-7 Authors J. Kevin O’Regan, Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, CNRS - Université Paris Descartes, Centre Biomédical des Saints Pères, 45 rue des Sts Pères, 75270 Paris cedex 06, France Ned Block, Departments of Philosophy, Psychology and Center for Neural Science, New York University, 5 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, USA Journal Review of (...) Philosophy and Psychology Online ISSN 1878-5166 Print ISSN 1878-5158. (shrink)
This book is presumably a collection of essays delivered at a conference, though it's hard to say. There is no cover description and the editors' introduction, where this information might have been found, is missing from the volume (at least from my copy) in spite of being listed in the table of contents. A curious editorial slip. In fact, from an editorial perspective this book is a disaster. Not only is the format reminiscent of those camera ready volumes that jammed (...) our libraries in the late Eighties, when word processors began to spread and people started using them to produce entire books without knowing how to handle line spacing and hyphenation -- not to mention orphans and widows, footnotes, tabs, apostrophes, etc. There are also lots of typos, English infelicities, punctuation disorders. Obviously nobody checked the page proofs. There are even formulas that were not properly converted from the original files and have been printed with the infamous boxes in place of the logical symbols. Publishing academic books in analytic philosophy is becoming increasingly difficult and not every publisher can afford serious copy editing. But charging 74 euros for such a poorly manufactured item is appalling. (shrink)
Philosophical logicians proposing theories of rational belief revision have had little to say about whether their proposals assist or impede the agent's ability to reliably arrive at the truth as his beliefs change through time. On the other hand, reliability is the central concern of formal learning theory. In this paper we investigate the belief revision theory of Alchourron, Gardenfors and Makinson from a learning theoretic point of view.
Russell claims in his Autobiography and elsewhere that he discovered his 1905 theory of descriptions while attempting to solve the logical and semantic paradoxes plaguing his work on the foundations of mathematics. In this paper, I hope to make the connection between his work on the paradoxes and the theory of descriptions and his theory of incomplete symbols generally clearer. In particular, I argue that the theory of descriptions arose from the realization that not only can a class not be (...) thought of as a single thing, neither can the meaning/intension of any expression capable of singling out one collection (class) of things as opposed to another. If this is right, it shows that Russell’s method of solving the logical paradoxes is wholly incompatible with anything like a Fregean dualism between sense and reference or meaning and denotation. I also discuss how this realization lead to modifications in his understanding of propositions and propositional functions, and suggest that Russell’s confrontation with these issues may be instructive for ongoing research. (shrink)
In my response to Kevin Carnahan, I explain the concept of religion that I have been working with in my writings on the place of religious reasons in public political discourse. While acknowledging that religion is often privatized, my concern has been with religion as a way of life. It is religion so understood that raises the most serious issues concerning the role of religion in public discourse. In my response to Erik A. Anderson, I go beyond what I (...) have previously said about the role of religious reasons in public discourse. As an alternative to Rawlsian public reason, I argue that the essence of liberal democracy is that every citizen is to have equal political voice. I go on to consider what it is to exercise one’s equal political voice as a moral engagement. (shrink)
In a recent issue of this journal, Kevin Corcoran has argued that the metaphysical theory one holds to about the nature of human persons is irrelevant to the sort of ethical questions that occupy bioethicists as well as the general public. Specifically, he argues that whether one holds a constitution view of human persons, an animalist view, or a substance dualist view, the real work in one’s ethical reasoning is done by certain moral principles rather than by metaphysical ones. (...) I raise objections to his analysis and propose that it is a combination of ethical principles and metaphysical principles that does the work in our judgements about the morality of abortion and other actions. (shrink)
We argue that uncomputability and classical scepticism are both re ections of inductive underdetermination, so that Church's thesis and Hume's problem ought to receive equal emphasis in a balanced approach to the philosophy of induction. As an illustration of such an approach, we investigate how uncomputable the predictions of a hypothesis can be if the hypothesis is to be reliably investigated by a computable scienti c method.
In this short essay I respond to Kevin Gary’s generous review of my book Reclaiming Goodness by considering his two main concerns, that I tend to conflate spirituality and morality and that I am not sufficiently sensitive to tensions between spirituality and critical thinking. I respond by noting that Gary has not taken adequate account of the distinction between deontological morality and aretaic ethics in the first instance and between the Aristotelian notions of Sophia and Phronesis, or pure reason (...) and practical wisdom, in the second. (shrink)
I argue that Meeker is mistaken in two crucial respects. First, contrary to both myself and Plantinga, he treats exclusivism as a theory about the relation between the religions, and then claims that it is superior to the pluralist theory. But he does not say what his exclusivist theory is. Second, he bases his claim of a fundamental self-contradiction in my pluralist position on a view which I disavow, namely that altruism is the core of religion. He omits the central (...) idea of a profound reorientation in response to the Real, of which altruism is a manifestation. (Published Online April 7 2006). (shrink)
While applauding the bulk of the account on offer, we question one apparent implication viz, that every difference in sensorimotor contingencies corresponds to a difference in conscious visual experience.