This book examines the philosophical tradition surrounding the question of reality and relativism, the belief that reality somehow depends on what we think. Robert Kirk outlines the myths and theories about reality and explores them in a thorough, concise and highly informative discussion of science, subjectivity, objectivity, truth and meaning. While analyzing some of the most important contemporary philosophers including Wittgenstein and Rorty, Kirk highlights the main areas of concern in contemporary analytic philosophy.
Education, by B. H. Streeter.--Marriage, by K. E. Kirk.--Patriotism, by J. P. R. Maud.--Social inequalities, by C. R. Morris.--Earning and spending, by R. L. Hall.--Gambling, by R. C. Mortimer.--Ethics and religion, by J. S. Bezzant.
Zombies and minimal physicalism -- The case for zombies -- Zapping the zombie idea -- What has to be done -- Deciders -- Decision, control, and integration -- De-sophisticating the framework -- Direct activity -- Gap? What gap? -- Survival of the fittest.
If zombies were conceivable in the sense relevant to the ‘conceivability argument’ against physicalism, a certain epiphenomenalistic conception of consciousness—the ‘e-qualia story’—would also be conceivable. But (it is argued) the e-qualia story is not conceivable because it involves a contradiction. The non-physical ‘e-qualia’ supposedly involved could not perform cognitive processing, which would therefore have to be performed by physical processes; and these could not put anyone into ‘epistemic contact’ with e-qualia, contrary to the e-qualia story. Interactionism does not enable zombists (...) to escape these conclusions. (shrink)
Suppose P is the conjunction of all truths statable in the austere vocabulary of an ideal physics. Then phsicalists are likely to accept that any truths not included in P are different ways of talking about the reality specified by P. This ‘redescription thesis’ can be made clearer by means of the ‘strict implication thesis’, according to which inconsistency or incoherence are involved in denying the implication from P to interesting truths not included in it, such as truths about phenomenal (...) consciousness. Commitment to the strict implication thesis cannot be escaped by appeal to a posteriori necessary identities or entailments. A minimal physicalism formulated in terms of strict implication is preferable to one based on a priori entailment. (shrink)
Kim maintains that a physicalist has only two genuine options, eliminativism and reductionism. But physicalists can reject both by using the Strict Implication thesis (SI). Discussing his arguments will help to show what useful work SI can do.(1) His discussion of anomalous monism depends on an unexamined assumption to the effect that SI is false.
Philosophical zombies are exactly as physicalists suppose we are, right down to the tiniest details, but they have no conscious experiences. (It is presupposed that all explicable physical events are explicable physically.) Are such things even logically possible? My aim is to contribute to showing not only that the answer is 'No', but why. (I concede that systems superficially like human beings might exist and lack consciousness.) My strategy has two prongs: a fairly brisk argument which demolishes the zombie idea; (...) followed by an attempt to throw light on how something can qualify as a conscious perceiver. The argument to show that zombies are impossible exploits the point that in order to be able to detect our own 'qualia' we should have to be somehow sensitive to them; which the zombie idea rules out. The attempt to make clear why my zombie twin must be conscious exploits the idea that we have a reasonably clear grasp of a 'Basic Package' of psychological concepts. (shrink)
Beginning with a long and extensively rewritten introduction surveying the predecessors of the Presocratics, this book traces the intellectual revolution initiated by Thales in the sixth century B.C. to its culmination in the metaphysics of Parmenides and the complex physical theories of Anaxagoras and the Atomists in the fifth century it is based on a selection of some six hundred texts, in Greek and a close English translation which in this edition is given more prominence. These provide the basis for (...) a detailed critical study of the principal individual thinkers of the time. Besides serving as an essential text for undergraduate and graduate courses in Greek philosophy and in the history of science, this book will appeal to a wide range of readers with interests in philosophy, theology, the history of ideas and of the ancient world, and indeed to anyone who wants an authoritative account of the Presocratics. (shrink)
Using mainly historical material fromAustralia, the paper seeks to understand earlyforms of school physical training, sport andmedical inspection as specialised means ofschooling bodies. The study adopts a socialepistemological perspective in seeking tounderstand the meaning-in-use of notions suchas physical training. It explores the socialconsequences of the practices carried out inthe name of physical training, particularly inrelation to shifts in the social regulation ofbodies over time from a mass, externalised, andcentralised form to a relatively moreindividualised, internalised and diffuse form.This focus on the (...) body is of key importance fora social epistemological study of physicaleducation because it forces us to look closelyat the practices constituting physicaleducation. (shrink)
This essay is an attempt to clarify the meaning of capitalism and to argue that this form of economic pattern will survive in the U.S. in the twentieth century. Capitalism should not be viewed as an abstraction which implies a religion, an ideology, a form of government, or a moral philosophy, but rather the private ownership of capital. Marx was wrong when he predicted the speedy decay of the capitalistic system in the West and when he claimed that a competitive (...) system will lead to servitude and poverty for the masses; on the contrary, the American economic system is a grand success. Part of this success resulted from natural resources; part from America's being one of the largest free-trade areas; and part from the economic system, so-called capitalism, by which we have governed ourselves. The outcome is a greater measure of freedom, prosperity, leisure, and industrial sophistication. These achievements are hardly paralleled by any of the advanced countries of the world. (shrink)
There is a growing movement to increase access to palliative care by declaring it a human right. Calls for such a right—in the form of articles in the healthcare literature and pleas to the United Nations and World Health Organization—rarely define crucial concepts involved in such a declaration, in particular ‘palliative care’ and ‘human right’. This paper explores how such concepts might be more fully developed, the difficulties in using a human rights approach to promote palliative care, and the relevance (...) of such an enterprise to public health ethics. (shrink)
Cowan's experimental techniques cannot constrain subject's recall of presented information to distinct independent chunks in short-term memory (STM). The encoding of associations in long-term memory contaminates recall of pure STM capacity. Even in task environments where the functional independence of chunks is convincingly demonstrated, individuals can increase the storage of independent chunks with deliberate practice – well above the magical number four.
Behrendt & Young (B&Y) propose a useful theoretical framework for the study of processes underlying perception and hallucinations. It focuses on gamma oscillations in thalamocortical networks and the role of the reticular thalamic nucleus in modulating these oscillations. I suggest that their theoretical model might also be applied to the investigation of temporal encoding deficits in disorders such as dyslexia. I further suggest, however, that a role for slower rhythms, such as theta, might also be considered when investigating perceptual experience.