The concepts and powerful mathematical tools of Dynamical Systems Theory (DST) yield illuminating methods of studying cognitive processes, and are even claimed by some to enable us to bridge the notorious explanatory gap separating mind and matter. This article includes an analysis of some of the conceptual and empirical progress Dynamical Systems Theory is claimed to accomodate. While sympathetic to the dynamicist program in principle, this article will attempt to formulate a series of problems the proponents of the approach in (...) question will need to face if they wish to prolong their optimism. The main points to be addressed involve the reductive tendencies inherent in Dynamical Systems Theory, its somewhat muddled position relative to connectionism, the metaphorical nature DST-C exhibits which hinders its explanatory potential, and DST-C's problematic account of causality. Brief discussions of the mathematical and philosophical backgrounds of DST, seminal experimental work and possible adaptations of the theory or alternative suggestions (dynamicist connectionism, neurophenomenology, R&D theory) are included. (shrink)
In the shadow of a looming global ecological and social catastrophe 'Only a God Can Save Us: Heidegger, Poetic Imagination and the Modern Malaise' is timely and essential reading. The book argues that technology by itself cannot save the diversity, integrity and habitability of the planet. Averting disaster calls for a radical transformation in our very being. Humanity is at an unprecedented crossroad where crucial and difficult decisions must be made about how we are to live. This book attends to (...) a crisis in the human psyche that, it suggests, is at the root of the ever more pressing contemporary problems. Aimed at an intelligent lay audience it has ramifications in domains ranging from art, literature and sociology to environmental management, ecology and technology. Moreover, van Leeuwen's insightful grasp of the core of the Martin Heidegger's later thinking makes this book also invaluable to scholars and students of this influential and controversial philosopher, as well as those with a wider interest in continental philosophy. It uncovers an extraordinary, but rarely trodden or overlooked pathway of thinking that offers the means to a way of being as authentic dwellers of the earth. The author identifies an ‘in-between region’ within thought where the poetic imagination is awakened (implicating 'the gods') and enabled to respond creatively. From this emerges the possibility of a genuinely sustainable way of thinking and active commitment. (shrink)
http://dx.doi.org/10.5007/1808-1711.2008v12n2p121 O objetivo deste trabalho é discutir e desenvolver o diagnóstico que efetua van Fraassen (1987, p. 110) da lei de Hardy-Weinberg, de acordo coo qual esta: 1) não pode ser considerada uma lei a ser utilizada como un axioma da teoria genética de populações, pois é uma lei de equilíbrio que só vale sob certas condições especiais, 2) só determina uma subclasse de modelos, 3) sua generalização resulta vácua e 4) variantes complexas da lei podem ser deduzidas para pressupostos (...) mais realistas. A discussão e desenvolvimento deste diagnóstico será levada a cabo tomando como base noções propostas por outra das concepções semânticas afim daquela desenvolvida por van Fraassen, a saber: a concepção estruturalista das teorias, e uma reconstrução da genética clássica de populações no marco de uma tal metateoria, também apresentada neste trabalho. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue against Peter van Inwagen’s claim (in “Free Will Remains a Mystery”), that agent-causal views of free will could do nothing to solve the problem of free will (specifically, the problem of chanciness). After explaining van Inwagen’s argument, I argue that he does not consider all possible manifestations of the agent-causal position. More importantly, I claim that, in any case, van Inwagen appears to have mischaracterized the problem in some crucial ways. Once we are clear on (...) the true nature of the problem of chanciness, agent-causal views do much to eradicate it. (shrink)
I. Introduction “We can and do see the truth about many things: ourselves, others, trees and animals, clouds and rivers—in the immediacy of experience.”1 Absent from Bas van Fraassen’s list of those things we see are paramecia and mitochondria. We do not see such things, van Fraassen has long maintained, because they are unobservable, that is, they are undetectable by means of the unaided senses.2 But notice that these two notions—what we can see in the “immediacy” of experience and what (...) is detectable by means of the unaided senses—are not the same. There is no incoherence in maintaining that the immediacy of experience is capable of disclosing to us truths concerning entities that are not detectable by the naked eye. And so, I claim, it does; science and technology provide us with the means to see things we have never seen before. Some of those things are van Fraassen’s unobservables. That suggestion is nothing new. Grover Maxwell long ago emphasized the continuity between seeing with and without instrumentation.3 Van Fraassen originally provided two responses to Maxwell’s arguments: some things that you can see with instruments you can also see without instruments (and those are the observables); and.. (shrink)
The anti-reductionist who wants to preserve the causal efficacy of mental phenomena faces several problems in regard to mental causation, i.e. mental events which cause other events, arising from her desire to accept the ontological primacy of the physical and at the same time save the special character of the mental. Psychology tries to persuade us of the former, appealing thereby to the results of experiments carried out in neurology; the latter is, however, deeply rooted in our everyday actions and (...) beliefs and despite the constant opposition of science still very much alive. Difficulties, however, arise from a combination of two claims that are widely accepted in philosophy of mind, namely, physical monism and mental realism, the acceptance of which leads us to the greatest problem of mental causation: the problem of causal exclusion. Since physical causes alone are always sufficient for physical effects mental properties are excluded from causal explanations of our behaviour, which makes them “epiphenomenal”. The article introduces Van Gulick’s solution to the exclusion problem which tries to prove that physical properties, in contrast to mental properties, do not have as much of a privileged status with respect to event causation as usually ascribed. Therefore, it makes no sense to say that physical properties are causally relevant whereas mental properties are not. This is followed by my objection to his argument for levelling mental and physical properties with respect to causation of events. I try to show that Van Gulick’s argument rests on a premise that no serious physicalist can accept. (shrink)
Van Heijenoort’s main contribution to history and philosophy of modern logic was his distinction between two basic views of logic, first, the absolutist, or universalist, view of the founding fathers, Frege, Peano, and Russell, which dominated the first, classical period of history of modern logic, and, second, the relativist, or model-theoretic, view, inherited from Boole, Schröder, and Löwenheim, which has dominated the second, contemporary period of that history. In my paper, I present the man Jean van Heijenoort (Sect. 1); then (...) I describe his way of arguing for the second view (Sect. 2); and finally I come down in favor of the first view (Sect. 3). There, I specify the version of universalism for which I am prepared to argue (Sect. 3, introduction). Choosing ZFC to play the part of universal, logical (in a nowadays forgotten sense) system, I show, through an example, how the usual model theory can be naturally given its proper place, from the universalist point of view, in the logical framework of ZFC; I outline another, not rival but complementary, semantics for admissible extensions of ZFC in the very same logical framework; I propose a way to get universalism out of the predicaments in which universalists themselves believed it to be (Sect. 3.1). Thus, if universalists of the classical period did not, in fact, construct these semantics, it was not that their universalism forbade them, in principle, to do so. The historical defeat of universalism was not technical in character. Neither was it philosophical. Indeed, it was hardly more than the victory of technicism over the very possibility of a philosophical dispute (Sect. 3.2). (shrink)
Van Heijenoort’s account of the historical development of modern logic was composed in 1974 and first published in 1992 with an introduction by his former student. What follows is a new edition with a revised and expanded introduction and additional notes.
The paper aims at drawing the main lines of a reflection about architectonic space, starting from the comparison between two hypothesis, as much as ever different: Theodor Lipps’ spatial aesthetics and Hans van der Laan’s elemental theory. The emphasis given by both authors to the intersection between directions and way, but also to the mutual subordination between thing and space, allows to rewrite the obituary of architecture as a spatial art, according to which the Modern Style has turned the spatiality (...) into its specular visibility, into the spaciousness, into the indefinite continuity of the Bigness. (shrink)
http://dx.doi.org/10.5007/1808-1711.2008v12n1p49 The aim of this article is to offer a rejoinder to an argument against scientific realism put forward by van Fraassen, based on theoretical considerations regarding microphysics. At a certain stage of his general attack to scientific realism, van Fraassen argues, in contrast to what realists typically hold, that empirical regularities should sometimes be regarded as “brute facts”, which do not ask for explanation in terms of deeper, unobservable mechanisms. The argument from microphysics formulated by van Fraassen is based (...) on the claim that in microphysics the demand for explanation leads to a demand for the so-called hidden-variable theories, which “runs contrary to at least one major school of thought in twentieth-century physics”. It is shown here that this argument does not represent an insurmountable obstacle to scientific realism, not even when a series of important theoretical and experimental results against hidden-variable theories — and not merely a conflict with a certain school of thought—is taken into account. (shrink)
De acordo com a concepção dominante de causação, eventos espácio-temporalmente localizáveis que podem ser designados por termos singulares e descrições definidas são os únicos relata genuínos da relação causal. Isto dá apoio e é apoiado pela dicotomia aceita entre a explicação causal, concebida como uma relação intensional entre fatos ou verdades, e a relação natural e extensional da causação. O ensaio questiona este modo de ver e argumenta pela legitimidade da noção de causação por fatos: os relata de muitas relações (...) expressas pelo conector sentencial ‘(O fato) C causa (o fato) E’ podem ser causas e efeitos genuínos (I). Esta visão expandida da causação é então aplicada ao problema da causação mental. Assumindo a verdade do realizacionismo físico, o ensaio explora a conexão entre eficácia causal e relevância contrafactual de propriedades. Mostra-se que, pelo menos em muitos casos, as ligações contrafactuais corretas, requeridas pela causação, podem ser encontradas somente no nível dos fatos realizados, não no nível mais básico dos fatos realizadores (II). Finalmente, dadas as similaridades entre a defesa do fisicismo não-reducionista esboçada aqui e as tentativas menos modestas de justificação científica das pretensões do materialismo metafísico, justamente criticadas por van Fraassen como manifestações da ‘falsa consciência’, considera-se se e como a argumento principal do ensaio pode evitar o juízo crítico de van Fraassen (III). (shrink)
It is argued that, contrary to prevailing opinion, Bas van Fraassen nowhere uses the argument from underdetermination in his argument for constructive empiricism. It is explained that van Fraassen’s use of the notion of empirical equivalence in The Scientific Image has been widely misunderstood. A reconstruction of the main arguments for constructive empiricism is offered, showing how the passages that have been taken to be part of an appeal to the argument from underdetermination should actually be interpreted.
Over the last twenty years, Bas van Fraassen has developed a “new epistemology”: an attempt to sail between Bayesianism and traditional epistemology. He calls his own alternative “voluntarism”. A constant pillar of his thought is the thought that rationality involves permission rather than obligation. The present paper aims to offer an appraisal of van Fraassen’s conception of rationality. In section 2, I review the Bayesian structural conception of rationality and argue that it has been found wanting. In sections 3 and (...) 4, I analyse van Fraassen’s voluntarism. I raise some objections about van Fraassen’s reliance on prior opinion and argue that the content of a belief matters to its rationality. In section 5, I criticise van Fraassen’s view that inference to the best explanation is incoherent. Finally, in section 6, I take on van Fraassen’s conception of rationality and show that it is too thin to fully capture rational judgement. (shrink)
Projet En développant son « empirisme constructif », Bas Van Fraassen est devenu une référence incontournable pour la philosophie des sciences contemporaine. Après la vague de critiques qui, vers les années 1960, avait fait perdre à l'empirisme logique sa prédominance dans le champ des idées, le réalisme scientifique semblait s'être imposé comme le seul compte rendu acceptable du travail et des orientations de la recherche. Quine avait beau énoncer ce que pourrait être un empirisme affranchi de ses deux « dogmes (...) » (l'intangibilité de la distinction vérités analytiques / vérités synthétiques, et la réduction des constructions aux « faits »), le programme d'une philosophie des sciences empiriste renouvelée restait à l'état d'esquisse. Mais par trois ouvrages successifs, Scientific Image (1980), Laws and symmetry (1989), et Quantum mechanics an empiricist view (1991), Van Fraassen a posé les bases d'un empirisme viable, parce que capable de prendre en charge la plupart des spécificités dont se prévaut le réalisme contre l'empirisme classique ou logique, et de rendre raison des développements les plus actuels de la physique. Contre l'empirisme classique ou logique, les réalistes font d'abord valoir que la réduction de toute réalité et de tout acte de référence aux phénomènes, ne rend justice ni à la pratique du langage courant ni à celle des sciences. Lorsque quelqu'un procède à une dénomination, il ne cherche pas à désigner par là une tranche d'apparaître, ou quelque ensemble fini et répertorié d'apparitions; il pointe vers "quelque chose" dont les modalités de manifestation sans fin assignable sont pour partie anticipées et pour partie ouvertes. De même, quand un chercheur scientifique parle de l'objet de ses investigations, il ne limite pas son discours à un ensemble fini de résultats d'expérience obtenus sous des conditions instrumentales actuellement disponibles; il renvoie à une entité dont la variété des manifestations futures est prévue aussi complètement que possible (et avec un succès croissant) par des cadres conceptuels et théoriques révisables. Face à cette objection, Van Fraassen fait jouer un rôle capital aux modèles dans sa version de l'empirisme.. (shrink)
Considering Pragma-Dialectics honors the monumental contributions of one of the foremost international figures in current argumentation scholarship: Frans van Eemeren. The volume presents the research efforts of his colleagues and addresses how their work relates to the pragma-dialectical theory of argumentation with which van Eemeren’s name is so intimately connected. This tribute serves to highlight the varied approaches to the study of argumentation and is destined to inspire researchers to advance scholarship in the field far into the (...) future. Replete with contributions from highly-esteemed academics in argumentation study, chapters in this volume address such topics as: *Pragma-dialectic versus epistemic theories of arguing and arguments; *Pragma-dialectics and self-advocacy in physician-patient interactions; *The pragma-dialectical analysis of the ad hominem family; *Rhetoric, dialectic, and the functions of argument; and *The semantics of reasonableness. As an exceptional volume and a fitting tribute, this work will be of interest to all argumentation scholars considering the astute insights and scholarly legacy of Frans van Eemeren. (shrink)
Analysis shows that statements of ability are disguised conditionals. More exactly, the correct analysis of 'X could have done A' is 'If X h decided (chosen, willed ...) to do A, X would have done A'. Therefore having acted freely--having been able to act otherwise than one fact did--is compatible with determinism (with the causal determination of one's acts).
Mijn wetenschappelijke bijdrage sluit aan bij het stuk van Jan Willem Klop in deze zelfde afscheidsbundel, dat ik van Jan Willem onder embargo te lezen heb gekregen. Je zult je herinneren dat Jan Willem in de CWI lezing ter gelegenheid van zijn eredoctoraat kort refereerde aan de Thue Morse reeks. Noem deze reeks M . Jan Willem gaf de versie die start met 1. Noem het resultaat van omwisselen van nullen en enen in de Thue Morse reeks M . De (...) reeks M is wat je krijgt als je het Thue Morse proces start met 0. (shrink)
Imaginative representations are crucial to the generation of action--both pretense and plain action. But well-known theories of imagination on offer in the literature  fail to describe how perceptually-formatted imaginings (mental images) and motor imaginings function in the generation of action and  fail to recognize the important fact that spatially rich imagining can be integrated into one's perceptual manifold. In this paper, I present a theory of imagining that shows how spatially rich imagining functions in the generation of action. (...) I also describe the imaginative structures behind two under-explored forms of action: semi-pretense and pretense layering. In addition, I suggest that my theory of imagining meshes better than the competitors with current work in cognitive and affective neuroscience. (shrink)
I argue here that self-deception is not conducive to happiness. There is a long train of thought in social psychology that seems to say that it is, but proper understanding of the data does not yield this conclusion. Illusion must be distinguished from mere imagining. Self-deception must be distinguished from self-inflation bias and from self-fulfilling belief. Once these distinctions are in place, the case for self-deception falls apart. Furthermore, by yielding false beliefs, self-deception undermines desire satisfaction. Finally, I argue for (...) the positive view that *honest imagining* can yield the psychological benefits that others have claimed for self-deception. (shrink)
In this entry, I seek to show the interdependence of questions about self-deception in philosophy of mind, psychology, and ethics. I taxonomize solutions to the paradoxes of self-deception, present possible psychological mechanisms behind it, and highlight how different approaches to the philosophy of mind and psychology will affect how we answer important ethical questions. Is self-deception conducive to happiness? How does self-deception affect responsibility? Is there something intrinsically wrong with self-deception? The entry, on the one hand, is a tour of (...) the literature; on the other, it is a case for more work that crosses traditional sub-disciplinary boundaries. (shrink)
In this article (Part I), I first engage in some conceptual clarification of what the words "imagine," "imagining," and "imagination" can mean. Each has (i) a constructive sense, (ii) an attitudinal sense, and (iii) an imagistic sense. Keeping the senses straight in the course of cognitive theorizing is important for both psychology and philosophy. I then discuss the roles that perceptual memories, beliefs, and genre truth attitudes play in constructive imagination, or the capacity to generate novel representations that go well (...) beyond what's prompted by one's immediate environment. (shrink)
The book I review, _Sleights of Mind_, aims to illuminate properties of perceptual systems by discussing human susceptibility to magical illusions. I describe how the authors use psychological principles to explain two tricks, spoon bending and the Miser's Dream. I also argue that the book is congenial to the following view of illusions: susceptibility to illusion is the result of evolutionary trade-offs; perceptual systems must make assumptions in order to function at all, but susceptibility to illusion is the byproduct of (...) such assumptions. (shrink)
This paper claims that the standard characterization of the motivational role of belief should be supplemented. Beliefs do not only, jointly with desires, cause and rationalize actions that will satisfy the desires, if the beliefs are true; beliefs are also the practical ground of other cognitive attitudes, like imagining, which means beliefs determine whether and when one acts with those other attitudes as the cognitive inputs into choices and practical reasoning. In addition to arguing for this thesis, I take issue (...) with Velleman's argument that belief and imagining cannot be distinguished on the basis of motivational role. (shrink)
The self-notion is an essential constituent of any self-belief or self-knowledge. But what is the self-notion? In this paper, I tie together several themes from the philosophy of John Perry to explain how he answers this question. The self-notion is not just any notion that happens to be about the person in whose mind that notion appears, because it's possible to have ways of thinking about oneself that one doesn't realize are about oneself. Characterizing the self-notion properly (and hence self-belief (...) and self-knowledge) requires understanding the role of that notion in tracking agent-relative information and motivating normally self-effecting ways of acting. [Note: the file here is an uncorrected proof. Please see the final book, now called _Identity, Language, and Mind_, for citation purposes.]. (shrink)
Axel Honneth draws a distinction between three types of recognition: (1) love, (2) respect and (3) social esteem. In his The Struggle for Recognition, the recognition of cultural particularity is situated in the third sphere. It will here be argued that the logic of recognition of cultural identity also demands a non-evaluative recognition, namely a respect for difference. Difference-respect is formal because it is a recognition of the value of a particular culture not "for society" or "as such", but for (...) the social group involved. Yet, although it is formal, difference-respect cannot be reduced to respect for personal autonomy and its preconditions, as Honneth wrongly suggests in Redistribution or Recognition? It is argued here that difference-respect is oriented towards another dimension of the person, namely social attachments. This kind of respect entails a separate register of formal recognition with a corresponding concept of personal identity and a parallel category of social disrespect. What morally justifies difference-respect from a recognition-theoretic approach is the practical relation-to-self that thus becomes possible, namely self-respect as a sense of belonging. The formal conception of the good life that Honneth articulates should include the insight that this sense of belonging is as much a necessary condition for the good life as is personal autonomy. (shrink)
I raise three puzzles concerning self-deception: (i) a conceptual paradox, (ii) a dilemma about how to understand human cognitive evolution, and (iii) a tension between the fact of self-deception and Davidson’s interpretive view. I advance solutions to the first two and lay a groundwork for addressing the third. The capacity for self-deception, I argue, is a spandrel, in Gould’s and Lewontin’s sense, of other mental traits, i.e., a structural byproduct. The irony is that the mental traits of which self-deception is (...) a spandrel/byproduct are themselves rational. (shrink)
Three puzzles about self-deception make this mental phenomenon an intriguing explanatory target. The first relates to how to define it without paradox; the second is about how to make sense of self-deception in light of the interpretive view of the mental that has become widespread in philosophy; and the third concerns why it exists at all. In this paper I address the first and third puzzles. First, I define self-deception. Second, I criticize Robert Trivers' attempt to use adaptionist evolutionary psychology (...) to solve the third puzzle (existence). Third, I sketch a theory to replace that of Trivers. Self-deception is not an adaptation, but a spandrel in the sense that Gould and Lewontin give the term: a byproduct of other features of human (cognitive) architecture. Self-deception is so undeniable a fact of human life that if anyone tried to deny its existence, the proper response would be to accuse this person of it. (Allen Wood, 1988). (shrink)
Here I review Robert Trivers' 2011 book _The Folly of Fools_, in which he advocates the evolutionary theory of deceit and self-deception that he pioneered in his famous preface to Richard Dawkins' _Selfish Gene_. Although the book contains a wealth of interesting discussion on topics ranging from warfare to immunology, I find it lacking on two major fronts. First, it fails to give a proper argument for its central thesis--namely, that self-deception evolved to facilitate deception of others. Second, the book (...) lacks conceptual clarity with respect to the focal term "self-deception.". (shrink)
I raise the question of what cognitive attitude self-deception brings about. That is: what is the product of self-deception? Robert Audi and Georges Rey have argued that self-deception does not bring about belief in the usual sense, but rather “avowal” or “avowed belief.” That means a tendency to affirm verbally (both privately and publicly) that lacks normal belief-like connections to non-verbal actions. I contest their view by discussing cases in which the product of self-deception is implicated in action in a (...) way that exemplifies the motivational role of belief. Furthermore, by applying independent criteria of what it is for a mental state to be a belief, I defend the more intuitive view that being self-deceived that p entails believing that p. Beliefs (i) are the default for action relative to other cognitive attitudes (such as imagining and hypothesis) and (ii) have cognitive governance over the other cognitive attitudes. I explicate these two relations and argue that they obtain for the product of self-deception. (shrink)
Animating Luce Irigaray’s oeuvre are two indissociable projects: the disruption of Western metaphysics and the thinking of sexual difference. The intersection of these two projects implies that any attempt to think through the meaning and significance of Irigaray’s notoriously fraught invocation of sexual difference must take seriously the way in which this invocation is itself always already inflected by her disruptive gesture. In this paper, I will attempt to elucidate one moment of this intersection by focusing on her critical engagement (...) with Heidegger. In L’oubli de l’air , Irigaray criticizes Heidegger’s interpretation of the principle of identity as instantiating the same neglect of sexual difference that has been inscribed throughout the history of Western metaphysics. Moreover, Irigaray identifies the vestigial traces of this metaphysical legacy in Heidegger’s commitments to phenomenology. My claim, however, is that if we turn to Derrida’s second Geschlecht essay in order to mediate between Irigaray and Heidegger, the coimplicative nature of their projects comes into focus: on one hand, Derrida identifies within Heidegger’s work an incipient articulation of the very notion of sexuate difference that, on Irigaray’s reading, Heidegger’s work requires but nonetheless elides; on the other hand, Derrida’s rereading of Heidegger’s phenomenological commitments corroborates the philosophical significance of Irigaray’s intervention by recontextualizing the parameters that delimit her invocation of sexuate difference. (shrink)
Perceptual experience can be explained by contextualized brain dynamics. An inner loop of ongoing activity within the brain produces dynamic patterns of synchronization and de- synchronization that are necessary, but not sufficient, for visual experience. This inner loop is controlled by evolution, development, socialization, learning, task and perception- action contingencies, which constitute an outer loop. This outer loop is sufficient, but not necessary, for visual experience. Jointly, the inner and outer loop may offer sufficient and necessary conditions for the emergence (...) of visual experience. This hypothesis has methodological, empirical, theoretical, and philosophical implications. (shrink)
In ethics, the use of empirical data has become more and more popular, leading to a distinct form of applied ethics, namely empirical ethics. This ‘empirical turn’ is especially visible in bioethics. There are various ways of combining empirical research and ethical reflection. In this paper we discuss the use of empirical data in a special form of Reflective Equilibrium (RE), namely the Network Model with Third Person Moral Experiences. In this model, the empirical data consist of the moral experiences (...) of people in a practice. Although inclusion of these moral experiences in this specific model of RE can be well defended, their use in the application of the model still raises important questions. What precisely are moral experiences? How to determine relevance of experiences, in other words: should there be a selection of the moral experiences that are eventually used in the RE? How much weight should the empirical data have in the RE? And the key question: can the use of RE by empirical ethicists really produce answers to practical moral questions?In this paper we start to answer the above questions by giving examples taken from our research project on understanding the norm of informed consent in the field of pediatric oncology. We especially emphasize that incorporation of empirical data in a network model can reduce the risk of self-justification and bias and can increase the credibility of the RE reached. (shrink)
The moral justification of Will Kymlicka's theory of minority rights is unconvincing. According to Kymlicka, cultural embeddedness is a necessary condition for personal autonomy (which is, in turn, the precondition for the good life) and for that reason liberals should be concerned about culture. I will criticize this instrumentalism of social attachments and the moral monism behind it. On the basis of a modification of Axel Honneth's theory of recognition, I will reject the false opposition between the instrumental value and (...) the intrinsic value of culture. Honneth makes a distinction between three types of recognition: (1) love; (2) respect; and (3) social esteem. Recognition of cultural difference is situated in the third sphere. But the logic of a recognition of cultural difference also demands a non-evaluative recognition, a respect for difference. Difference-respect cannot be reduced to the recognition of personal autonomy or to the recognition of a culture as such. Difference-respect is concerned with a formal recognition of difference, namely the recognition of a culture's intrinsic value for the other. By recognizing the moral importance both of personal autonomy and of social attachments, we do not have to surrender to the reductive bent in modern moral philosophy. 1 Key Words: Axel Honneth identity instrumentalism intrinsic value of culture moral justification multiculturalism recognition value pluralism Will Kymlicka. (shrink)
The ecological realist concept of information as environmental specification is discussed. It is argued that affordances in ecological realism could, in principle, rest on a notion of partial specification of environmental circumstances. For this aim, a notion of Gestalt quality as a hierarchical structure of affordances would have to be adopted. It is claimed that such an account could provide a promising way to deal with problems of intentionality in perception and action, awareness and problem solving.
A major contribution to Descartes studies, this book provides a panorama of cutting-edge scholarship ranging widely over Descartes's own primary concerns: metaphysics, physics, and its applications. It is at once a tool for scholars and--steering clear of technical Cartesian science--an accessible resource that will delight nonspecialists. The contributors include Edwin Curley, Willis Doney, Alan Gabbey, Daniel Garber, Marjorie Grene, Gary Hatfield, Marleen Rozemond, John Schuster, Dennis Sepper, Stephen Voss, Stephen Wagner, Margaret Welson, Jean Marie Beyssade, Michelle Beyssade, Michel Henry, Evert (...) van Leeuwen, Jean-Luc Marion, Genevieve Rodis-Lewis, and Jean-Pierre Seris. Combining new textual sensitivity with attentiveness to history, they represent the best established scholars and most exciting new voices, including both English speaking and newly-translated writers. Part I examines the foundations of Descartes's philosophy: Cartesian certainty; the phenomenology of the cogito and its modulations in the passions; and the defensibility and comprehensibility of the Cartesian God. The second part examines Descartes's groundbreaking metaphysics: mind's distinctness from and interaction with body; imagination; perception; and language. Part III examines Cartesian science: the revolutionary rhetoric of the Rules and the Discourse; the metaphysical foundations of physics; the interplay of rationalism and empiricism; the mechanics and human biology that flow from Descartes's physics. (shrink)
In spite of the seminal work A Philosophical Basis of Medical Practice, the debate on the task and goals of philosophy of medicine still continues. From an European perspective it is argued that the main topics dealt with by Pellegrino and Thomasma are still particularly relevant to medical practice as a healing practice, while expressing the need for a philosophy of medicine. Medical practice is a discursive practice which is highly influenced by other discursive practices like science, law and economics. (...) Philosophical analysis of those influences is needed to discern their effect on the goals of medicine and on the ways in which the self-image of man may be changed. The nature of medical practice and discourse itself makes it necessary to include different philosophical disciplines, like philosophy of science, of law, ethics, and epistemology. Possible scenario's of euthanasia and the human genome project in the USA and Europe are used to exemplify how philosopy of medicine can contribute to a realistic understanding of the problems which are related to the goals of medicine and health care. (shrink)
Patients with a life-threatening illness can be confronted with various types of loneliness, one of which is existential loneliness (EL). Since the experience of EL is extremely disruptive, the issue of EL is relevant for the practice of end-of-life care. Still, the literature on EL has generated little discussion and empirical substantiation and has never been systematically reviewed. In order to systematically review the literature, we (1) identified the existential loneliness literature; (2) established an organising framework for the review; (3) (...) conducted a conceptual analysis of existential loneliness; and (4) discussed its relevance for end-of-life care. We found that the EL concept is profoundly unclear. Distinguishing between three dimensions of EL—as a condition, as an experience, and as a process of inner growth—leads to some conceptual clarification. Analysis of these dimensions on the basis of their respective key notions—everpresent, feeling, defence; death, awareness, difficult communication; and inner growth, giving meaning, authenticity—further clarifies the concept. Although none of the key notions are unambiguous, they may function as a starting point for the development of care strategies on EL at the end of life. (shrink)
The approach to AIDS as a disease and a threat for social discrimination is used as an example to illustrate a conceptual thesis. This thesis is a claim that concerns what we call a medical issue or not, what is medicalised or needs to be demedicalised. In the friction between medicalisation and demedicalisation as discursive strategies the latter approach can only be effected through the employment of discourses or discursive strategies other than medicine, such as those of the law and (...) of economics. These discourses each realise different values, promote a different subject, and have a different concept of man. The concept of discourse is briefly outlined against concepts such as the linear growth concept of science and the growth model of science as changes in paradigm. The issue of testing for AIDS shows a conflict between the medical and the legal discourse and illustrates the title of our contribution: the human body as field of conflict between discourses. (shrink)
Kristin Andrews proposes a new framework for thinking about folk psychology, which she calls Pluralistic Folk Psychology. Her approach emphasizes kinds of psychological prediction and explanation that don't rest on propositional attitude attribution. Here I review some elements of her theory and find that, although the approach is very promising, there's still work to be done before we can conclude that the manners of prediction and explanation she identifies don't involve implicit propositional attitude attribution.
The recent claiming of Simone de Beauvoir's legacy by French feminists for a policy of assimilation of Muslim women to Western models of self and society reduces the complexity and richness of Beauvoir's views in inacceptable ways. This article explores to what extent a politics of difference that challenges the ideals and political strategies of abstract liberalism can be extracted from and legitimized by the philosophies of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. Without assuming their thought is identical, we can (...) read them as elucidating each other and as implicitly exposing weak and strong points in their respective philosophies on ethnocultural relations and social identities. (shrink)
Tsuda's article suggests several plausible concepts of neurodynamic representation and processing, with a thoughtful discussion of their neurobiological grounding and formal properties. However, Tsuda's theory leads to a holistic view of brain functions and to the controversial conclusion that the “binding problem” is a pseudo-problem. By contrast, we stress the role of chaotic patterns in solving the binding problem, in terms of flexible temporal coding of visual scenes through graded and intermittent synchrony.
Mechanistic explanation is the dominant approach to explanation in the life sciences, but it has been challenged as incompatible with a conception of humans as agents whose capacity for self-direction endows them with freedom and dignity. We argue that the mechanical philosophy, properly construed, has sufficient resources to explain how such characteristics can arise in a material world. Biological mechanisms must be regarded as active, not only reactive, and as organized so as to maintain themselves far from thermodynamic equilibrium. Notions (...) from systems biology make key contributions, particularly Gánti’s chemoton, Ruiz-Mirazo and Moreno’s basic autonomy, and Barandiaran and Moreno’s adaptive autonomous agents. The reconstrual is then extended to mental life by conceiving of cognitive mechanisms as control components in inherently active systems, as illustrated in models offered by Randall Beer and Cees van Leeuwen. (shrink)
The attempt to provide a faithful mapping from distal shape space to proximal state space in terms of a higher order relationship defined over proximal similarity space stumbles on the context sensitivity of higher order relationships. Proportional analogy problems using quadruples of figures illustrate that for a number of interesting perceptual problems, the number of relevant dimensions cannot be reduced.