The following text is the first ever translation into English of a writing by German phenomenologist Hermann Schmitz (*1928). In it, Schmitz outlines and defends a non-mentalistic view of emotions as phenomena in interpersonal space in conjunction with a theory of the felt body’s constitutive involvement in human experience. In the first part of the text, Schmitz gives an overview covering some central pieces of his theory as developed, for the most part, in his massive System of (...) Philosophy, published in German in a series of volumes between 1964 and 1980. Schmitz’s System is centred on the claim that the contemporary view of the human subject is the result of a consequential historical process: A reductionist and ‘introjectionist’ objectification of lived experience culminating in the ‘invention’ of the mind (or ‘soul’) as a private, inner realm of subjective experience and in a corresponding ‘grinding down’ of the world of lived experienced to a meagre, value-neutral ‘objective reality’. To counter this intellectualist trend, Schmitz puts to use his approach to phenomenology with the aim of regaining a sensibility for the nuanced realities of lived experience—hoping to make up for what was lost during the development of Western intellectual culture. Since both this text and the overall style of Schmitz’s philosophising are in several ways unusual for a contemporary readership, a brief introduction is provided by philosophers Jan Slaby and Rudolf Owen Müllan, the latter of whom translated Schmitz’s text into English. The introduction emphasises aspects of Schmitz’s philosophy that are likely to be of relevance to contemporary scholars of phenomenological philosophy and to its potential applications in science and society. (shrink)
Abstract Under the realm of neurocultures the concept of the cerebral subject emerges as the central category to define the self, socio-cultural interaction and behaviour. The brain is the reference for explaining cognitive processes and behaviour but at the same time the plastic brain is situated in current paradigms of (self)optimization on the market of meritocracy by means of neurotechnologies. This paper explores whether neurotechnological apparatuses may—due to their hybridity and malleability—bear potentials for a change in gender based attributions that (...) have been historically legitimized by apparently natural differences between women and men. Or, in contrast, which gendered ascriptions are (again) produced in theories and applications according to the normative demands for the bio-techno-social cerebral subject situated in neoliberal power relations. An exploration of three main fields of current developments, the neurotechnological apparatus of brain-computer-interfaces, the technologies for brain tuning and the discourses in neuroeconomics, reveals first insights on these gender aspects in reliance with the ethical/political debate. Moreover, this paper concretizes questions for further research on gender and ethical aspects in the field of neurotechnologies. Content Type Journal Article Category Original Paper Pages 1-14 DOI 10.1007/s12152-011-9129-1 Authors Sigrid Schmitz, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Cultural and Social Anthropology, University of Vienna, Alserstraße 23/22, 1080 Vienna, Austria Journal Neuroethics Online ISSN 1874-5504 Print ISSN 1874-5490. (shrink)
After outlining why the notion of conscious control of action matters to us and after distinguishing different challenges to that notion, the contribution focuses on the challenge posed by the literature on unconscious goal pursuit. Based on a conceptual clarification of the notion of consciousness, I argue that the understanding of consciousness in that literature is too restricted. The hypothesis that the behaviors reported can be accounted for by nonconceptual forms of consciousness, such as emotions and motor experiences, rather than (...) by—conscious or unconscious—conceptual level intentions tends to be disregarded, even though it promises to be empirically fruitful. (shrink)
: How much violence can a society expect its members to accept? A comparison between the language theories of Julia Kristeva and Jacques Lacan is the starting point for answering this question. A look at the early stages of language acquisition exposes the sacrificial logic of patriarchal society. Are those forces that restrict the individual to be conceived in a martial imagery of castration or is it possible that an existing society critically questions those points of socialization that leave their (...) members in a state of homelessness? The following considerations should help to distinguish between unavoidable and avoidable forms of violence. (shrink)
First of all, this paper aims at a clarification of Wittgenstein's conception of grammatical propositions. Their essential characteristics will be developed and some of the central questions concerning their status will be discussed: Should grammatical propositions be seen as arbitrary conventions? How do they work in practices? And how do they relate to natural facts? Later on, the two propositions "Every rod has a length" and "Sensations are private" will be discussed in more detail, for both fulfil three important features (...) of grammatical propositions: They are not empirical descriptions, they are rules of a practice, and they are not knowledge-claims but express insights. Focussing on the grammar of pain language, it will be shown what kind of interdependency exists between grammar and natural facts. It will also turn out that some grammatical propositions are closely connected to our understanding of living a human form of life. (shrink)
Prenatal care and the practice of prenatal genetic testing are about to be changed fundamentally. Due to several ground-breaking technological developments prenatal screening and diagnosis (PND) will soon be offered earlier in gestation, with less procedure-related risks and for a profoundly enlarged variety of targets. In this paper it is argued that the existing normative framework for prenatal screening and diagnosis cannot answer adequately to these new developments. In concentrating on issues of informed consent and the reproductive autonomy of the (...) pregnant women the ethical debate misses problems related to the clinical pathway as a whole and to implicit normative attributions to clinical actions or the function of health care professionals. If, however, ethical debate would focus on the clinical context and on the ends of PND to a larger extent, it would be able to provide a more comprehensive analysis of the ethical challenges especially of the new technologies in order to be more adequately prepared for their implementation. (shrink)
Interactions between corporations and nonprofits are on the rise, frequently driven by a corporate interest in establishing credentials for corporate social responsibility (CSR). In this article, we show how increasing demands for accountability directed at both businesses and NGOs can have the unintended effect of compromising the autonomy of nonprofits and fostering their co-optation. Greater scrutiny of NGO spending driven by self-appointed watchdogs of the nonprofit sector and a prevalence of strategic notions of CSR advanced by corporate actors weaken the (...) ability of civil society actors to change the business practices of their partners in the commercial sector. To counter this trend, we argue that corporations should embrace a political notion of CSR and should actively encourage NGOs to strengthen “downward accountability” mechanisms, even if this creates more tensions in corporate–NGO partnerships. Rather than seeing NGOs as tools in a competition for a comparative advantage in the market place, corporations should actively support NGO independence and critical capacity. (shrink)
Among the extensive literature on the first Critique, very few commentators offer a thorough analysis of Kant's conception of inner sense. This is quite surprising since the notion is central to Kant's theoretical philosophy, and it is very difficult to provide a consistent interpretation of this notion. In this paper, I first summarize Kant's claims about inner sense in the Transcendental Aesthetic and show why existing interpretations have been unable to dissolve the tensions arising from the conjunction of these claims. (...) Secondly, I present my own reconstruction of Kant's model of inner sense, relying essentially on Kantian considerations found in the B-version of the Transcendental Deduction. My main idea is that inner sense, for Kant, is a passive faculty that gets affected by the understanding performing its figurative synthesis on material given in outer sense. In the remainder of the paper, I highlight a few consequences of my interpretation and outline ways to deal with some objections. (shrink)
Three distinct objects of attention - nature, culture, and God - call for the recognition of three distinct modes of truth. A single code of rational discourse - the preferred one today is that of the empirio-mathematical study of nature - is not enough to preserve the diversity of meanings called for by the investigation of culture and religion. In particular, the human subject stands in relation to the three objects of enquiry respectively as “door-keeper,” “participant,” and “respondent.” Recognition of (...) the analogous unity of rational discourse is prelude to releasing the spheres of culture and religion from subjection to the epistemology that functions in the natural sciences and frees them for investigation on their own terms. (shrink)
The resolution of ambiguities is one of the central problems for Machine Translation. In this paper we propose a knowledge-based approach to disambiguation which uses Description Logics (dl) as representation formalism. We present the process of anaphora resolution implemented in the Machine Translation systemfast and show how thedl systemback is used to support disambiguation.The disambiguation strategy uses factors representing syntactic, semantic, and conceptual constraints with different weights to choose the most adequate antecedent candidate. We show how these factors can be (...) declaratively represented as defaults inback. Disambiguation is then achieved by determining the interpretation that yields a qualitatively minimal number of exceptions to the defaults, and can thus be formalized as exception minimization. (shrink)
Coming from Germany in Europe I am starting with Feminism from a Western point of view but with a perspective of dialogue with Feminisms in other parts of the World. My inquiry deals with problems of the present time, especially how to make Feminism interesting not only to a philosophical or academic public, but to people from all professional fields and disciplines. The political perspective of feminist philosophy can be underlined with the central definition the Austrian philosopher Herta Nagl Docekal (...) gives. According to this definition freedom of women is the main issue of each feminist interrogation. With regard to the development of women’s liberation in Europe and the USA three different movements of feminism can be distinguished: the main issue of the first is the notion of equality, it is also called humanist feminism according to Iris Marion Young; secondly we have the feminism of difference or gynocentrism; the third wave can not so easily be defined, a wide range of variety exists, which may lead to the impression that no more general aim is left. Sometimes it is also called postmodern feminism. But what does this mean: postmodern feminism? Far from an arbitrary attitude, which does not accept any order, postmodern feminism – as postmodern and poststructural philosophy – may be understood as a lesson on how to be different and not to loose the aims women share all over the world. The most important challenge is to find a new balance between the different aims and groups of feminism as well as between feminism in different societies and cultures. Feminisms from the beginnings wanted to overcome step by step the prejudices about men and women, about sex and gender, one of the heritages of our Western tradition. My interpretation of Third Wave may be seen as another step on this way. (shrink)
The epistomology of the definition of number and the philosophical foundation of arithmetic based on a comparison between Gottlob Frege's logicism and Platonic philosophy (Syrianus, Theo Smyrnaeus, and others). The intention of this article is to provide arithmetic with a logically and methodologically valid definition of number for construing a consistent philosophical foundation of arithmetic. The – surely astonishing – main thesis is that instead of the modern and contemporary attempts, especially in Gottlob Frege's Foundations of Arithmetic, such a definition (...) is found in the arithmetic in Euclid's Elements. To draw this conclusion a profound reflection on the role of epistemology for the foundation of mathematics, especially for the method of definition of number, is indispensable; a reflection not to be found in the contemporary debate (the predominate ‘pragmaticformalism’ in current mathematics just shirks from trying to solve the epistemological problems raised by the debate between logicism, intuitionism, and formalism). Frege's definition of number, ‘The number of the concept F is the extension of the concept ‘numerically equal to the concept F”, which is still substantial for contemporary mathematics, does not fulfil the requirements of logical and methodological correctness because the definiens in a double way (in the concepts ‘extension of a concept’ and ‘numerically equal’) implicitly presupposes the definiendum, i.e. number itself. Number itself, on the contrary, is defined adequately by Euclid as ‘multitude composed of units’, a definition which is even, though never mentioned, an implicit presupposition of the modern concept ofset. But Frege rejects this definition and construes his own - for epistemological reasons: Frege's definition exactly fits the needs of modern epistemology, namely that for to know something like the number of a concept one must become conscious of a multitude of acts of producing units of ‘given’ representations under the condition of a 1:1 relationship to obtain between the acts of counting and the counted ‘objects’. According to this view, which has existed at least since the Renaissance stoicism and is maintained not only by Frege but also by Descartes, Kant, Husserl, Dummett, and others, there is no such thing as a number of pure units itself because the intellect or pure reason, by itself empty, must become conscious of different units of representation in order to know a multitude, a condition not fulfilled by Euclid's conception. As this is Frege's main reason to reject Euclid's definition of number (others are discussed in detail), the paper shows that the epistemological reflection in Neoplatonic mathematical philosophy, which agrees with Euclid's definition of number, provides a consistent basement for it. Therefore it is not progress in the history of science which hasled to the a poretic contemporary state of affairs but an arbitrary change of epistemology in early modern times, which is of great influence even today. (shrink)
Manfred Frank and Niels Weidtmann (Eds.): Husserl und die Philosophie des Geistes Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s10743-011-9101-2 Authors Dan Zahavi, Center for Subjectivity Research, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark Journal Husserl Studies Online ISSN 1572-8501 Print ISSN 0167-9848.
This essay works to set up a debate between the German philosopher Manfred Frank and the French philosophers Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy. At stake in the debate is the concept of freedom. The essay begins by explaining Frank's subject-based concept of freedom and then it presents the perfectly opposed non-subjective ontological concept of freedom that Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy forward. In the end, in the interest of threading a way through this impasse, and following the cue of these three (...) philosophers, we turn to the early German Romantics Novalis and Friedrich Schlegel to help us reconceptualise freedom. Following their cue, I draw on the strengths of Frank and Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy while avoiding their dangerous extremes. (shrink)
Review of Manfred Kuehn's outstanding biography on Immanuel Kant. A critical point I raise concerns Kuehn's discussion of Kant's relation to Hume. Scholars are divided over the questions of (a) whether Hume was an actual inspiration for Kant’s Critical philosophy, (b) whether Kant’s defense really addresses Hume’s problem of causality, and, of course, (c) whether Kant’s arguments provide a satisfactory solution to the problem. Sometimes these questions are not clearly distinguished by interpreters, part of the reason Kant scholarship appears (...) so intractable to outsiders. While Kuehn’s answers to questions (a) and (b) appear to be ”Yes”, and while his reasons for the Yes to (a) are convincing, those for Yes to (b) are not; and (c) isn't addressed at all. (shrink)
This book is an introduction to philosophy of sex. The history of philosophy of sex is depicted (from Plato to Herman Schmitz) to set up the background against which the philosophy of sex by Herman Schmitz is analyzed. This leads to the discussion of topics like masturbation, the ontology of the sexed human body, and same-sex marriage.