This paper draws on the economics of ethical compliance model to examine the association between ethical reasoning, perceived risk of detection, perceived levels of penalties and Chinese auditors'' ethical behavior in an audit conflict situation. Using 53 Chinese auditors from Shenzen as subjects, and a survey questionnaire, this study found that there is a significant negative association between ethical reasoning and the likelihood of unethical behavior and that this negative association is weaker for auditors who perceive higher risks of detection.
By 1999, the Falungong religious movement had spread widely and broadly throughout China. While on the surface its ideology of spiritual and physical cultivation did not seem threatening, the Chinese government felt otherwise. That year, the government cracked down hard on the movement, and its successful repression of it over a six year period is a textbook example of how the Chinese state operates in the face of perceived internal threats. Its success in containing the movement speaks volumes about the (...) regime's resilience as well. Revenge of the Forbidden City is the definitive account of China's response to Falungong. As James Tong shows, the episode also tells us a great deal about the Chinese state's political institutions, its media apparatus, and its formidable ability to crush dissent. The result is a book that will be essential for any scholar interested in how the Chinese state actually operates. (shrink)
: Although a wide variety of feminist approaches to bioethics presently share a common feminist methodology (sometimes referred to as "raising the woman question"), they do not all share the same feminist politics, ontology, epistemology, and ethics. As a result of their philosophical differences, feminist bioethicists do not always agree on which biomedical principles, practices, and policies are best suited to serving women's interests. In other words, some feminist bioethicists insist that so-called "assisted reproduction" enhances women's procreative liberty, while others (...) claim that it does nothing of the sort. Although such disagreement among feminist bioethicists reassures the general public that the feminist "program" for bioethics is not ideologically monolithic, it also confuses the public, especially women. In order to overcome this confusion, feminist bioethicists should work toward developing the kind of shared theoretical base that will foster frequent consensus on the biomedical principles, practices, and policies most likely to serve the interests of most women in the U.S. today. (shrink)
In this paper I seek to distinguish a feminist virtue ethics of care from (1) justice ethics, (2) narrative ethics, (3) care ethics and (4) virtue ethics. I also connect this contemporary discussion of what makes a virtue ethics of care feminist to eighteenth and nineteenth century debates about male, female, and human virtue. I conclude that by focusing on issues related to gender - primarily those related to the systems, structures, and ideologies that create and sustain patterns of male (...) domination and female subordination - we can begin to appreciate that true care and bona-fide virtue can flourish only in societies that treat all persons with equal respect and consideration. (shrink)
The neural basis of binocular rivalry has beenthe subject of vigorous debate. Do discrepantmonocular patterns rival for awareness becauseof neural competition among patternrepresentations or monocular channels? In thisarticle, I briefly review psychophysical andneurophysiological evidence pertaining to boththeories and discuss important new neuroimagingdata which reveal that rivalry is fullyresolved in monocular visual cortex. These newfindings strongly suggest that interocularcompetition mediates binocular rivalry and thatV1 plays an important role in the selection ofconscious visual information. They furthersuggest that rivalry is not a unitaryphenomenon. (...) Interocular competition may fullyaccount for binocular rivalry whereas aseparate mechanism involving patterncompetition likely accounts for monocular andstimulus rivalry. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that a global bioethicsis possible. Specifically, I present the viewthat there are within feminist approaches tobioethics some conceptual and methodologicaltools necessary to forge a bioethics thatembraces the health-related concerns of bothdeveloping and developed nations equally. Tosupport my argument I discuss some of thechallenges that have historically confrontedfeminists. If feminists accept the idea thatwomen are entirely the same, then feministspresent as fact the fiction of the essential``Woman.'' Not only does ``Woman'' not exist,``she'' obscures important racial, ethnic,cultural, (...) and class differences among women. However, if feminists stress women'sdifferences too much, feminists lose the powerto speak coherently and cogently about genderjustice, women's rights, and sexual equality ingeneral. Analyzing the ways in which the ideaof difference as well as the idea of samenesshave led feminists astray, I ask whether it ispossible to avoid the Scylla of absolutism(imperialism, colonialism, hegemony) on the onehand and the Charybdis of relativism(postmodernism, fragmentation, Balkanization)on the other. Finally, after reflecting uponthe work of Uma Narayan, Susan Muller Okin, andMartha Nussbaum, I conclude that there is a wayout of this ethical bind. By focusing onwomen's, children's, and men's common humanneeds, it is possible to lay thefoundation for a just and caring globalbioethics. (shrink)
This essay discusses the history of the "futility debate" and the motives that sometimes prompt health care professionals, health care providers, patients, and surrogates to take different sides in it. Changes in the health care system, financial responsibility shifts, technical medical advances, and medical care rationing are analyzed as contributors to the futility debate. So too are variations in the definition of futility examined as part of the current controversy. The respective attitudes of professionals, providers, patients, and surrogates in accepting (...) the goals, capabilities, and limits of medicine are also explored. In particular, the lack of honest communication between health care professionals/health care providers on the one hand and patients/surrogates on the other is acknowledged as a major roadblock in the building of care-focused futility policies. Finally, various initial attempts of hospitals to create futility guidelines are evaluated in order to detect problem areas and to suggest lines of improvement. Keywords: medical futility, medical decision-making, virtues, resource allocation CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The purpose of this commentary on James Nelson's article  is to advocate introducing the ethics of care into the arena of gestational conflict. Too often the debate gets stalled in a maternal versus fetal rights headlock. Interventionists stress fetal over maternal rights: they believe education, post-birth prosecution or pre-birth seizure of pregnant women may be permissible. In contrast to interventionists, other philosophers stress that favoring fetal rights treats women like fetal containers. I question whether we should really consider issues (...) of moral/parental obligations to children in terms of rights. Rather, the language of care should guide moral conduct vis-a-vis children/fetuses. The particularity of each woman's story — the particulars of her human relationships — inform her story. An individual's ability to care is largely a function of whether community cares for her. We must care for others to enable them to care for themselves and their loved ones — born or unborn. (shrink)
We examine how opinion on a controversial real-world issue shifts as a function of reading relevant arguments and engaging in a specific mental simulation about a future, fictional state of affairs involving the target issue. Individuals thought either counterfactually about a future event (“if only X had not happened …”) or semifactually about it (“even if X had not happened …”). In Experiment 1, as expected, individuals became more in favour of a course of action (the electronic tagging of children) (...) after reading relevant supporting arguments. They also became more in favour after they thought counterfactually how a negative future event could have been avoided if only electronic tagging had not been banned some years earlier. The effects of argument relevance and type of mental simulation were additive. Using a similar procedure but a different target issue (whether the UK should join the Economic Monetary Union), Experiment 2 confirmed that the type of mental simulation exerts a substantial effect on the impact of relevant arguments. Much weaker effects arose when the mental simulation was not relevant to the target issue. We set and discuss our results in terms of dual-processing theory. (shrink)
In this commentary on Eva Feder Kittay's Love's Labor: Essays on Women, Equality, and Dependency, I focus on Kittay's dependency theory. I apply this theory to an analysis of women's inadequate access to high-quality, cost-effective healthcare. I conclude that while quandaries remain unresolved, including getting men to do their share of dependency work, Kittay's book is an important and original contribution to feminist healthcare ethics and the development of a normative feminist ethic of care.
Teaching bioethics in the new millennium requires its practitioners to confront a wide area of methodological alternatives. This essay chronicles the author's journey from the principlism of Beauchamp and Childress, through narrative and postmodern bioethics, to a complex feminist critique of postmodern bioethics that emphasizes functional human capabilities and the creation of structures that can facilitate free discussion of those capabilities and how best to realize them. Teaching bioethics concerns not only the acknowledgement of differences but also reminding ourselves of (...) our samenesses. Sustained Habermasian democratic conversations might help us to escape the narrow confines of a postmodern bioethics of moral strangers for a richer world of moral friends. (shrink)
As a result of a new understanding of the relation between theory and practice, the “New Frankfurt School,” with Jürgen Habermas as its major representative, highly values the philosophical tradition of American pragmatism, in contrast to the first generation Critical Theorists represented by Max Horkheimer. In Habermas, the idea of “critique” is, both substantially and methodologically, closely connected with the idea of “praxis” in the following senses: communicative action, rational argumentation, public discussion and political culture. “Critique” is thus found to (...) be immanent in “praxis”; or, a la Horkheimer, pragmatism turns out to be a “critical philosophical analysis” without “falling back upon objective reason and mythology.”. (shrink)
This article addresses the issue of women as primary caregivers to children and the concept of "maternal practice." The idea of maternal practice guides mothers as they learn (1) how to meet their child's physical, psychological, and spiritual needs, and (2) how to make their child socially acceptable. Hindrances to maternal practice include severe poverty and disabilities of the mother. The relationship between maternal practice and the quest for health care in the U.S. is discussed. Maintaining adequate health care is (...) more difficult when parents are poorly educated and/or impoverished. Without proper health care, poor children are less likely to be able to compete with rich children in society. Dental care is also a concern, because proper dental care is fundamental in the maintenance of overall health. Dental care is not a "luxury" but medically necessary care. Solutions include increasing the awareness of such programs as CHIP and WIC, extending Medicaid benefits to more children, and compensating health care practitioners for working with Medicaid recipients. In addition, society must think more maternally and increase health and dental care accessibility, particularly to the poor in rural areas. The article concludes with the thought that if society expects mothers to care for their children, then society must care for mothers. (shrink)
In this paper I examine the epistemology and ethics of consensus, focusing on the ways in which decision makers use/misuse ethical expertise. The major questions I raise and tentative answers I give are the following: First, are the ‘experts’ really experts? My tentative answer is that they are bona fide experts who often represent specific interest groups. Second, is the experts' authority merely epistemological or is it also ethical? My tentative answer is that the experts' authority consists not only in (...) their command over specific matters of fact and/or value, but also in their ability to achieve ‘consensus’ about what is ‘true’/‘false’, or ‘right’/‘wrong’. Third, should the authority of expertise be limited? My tentative answer is that it should be limited in the area of facts but especially in the area of values. Persons who are ethics ‘experts’ must be particularly careful to practice an ethics of persuasion rather than an ethics of compulsion . Their role is not to force their group consensus upon decision makers' individual moral perceptions and deliberations; rather it is to help decision makers come to their own conclusions about what they ought to do. Keywords: authority of expertise, consensus, ethics committees, ethics of persuasion, NIH consensus development conferences CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Abstract Chinese culture has remained steady, stretching through time as long and unbroken as the Great Wall. In thousands of years, Chinese culture has exhibited a remarkable ability to assimilate foreign intrusions. Even though several times throughout Chinese history minority nationalities have been in military and political control of China, they were gradually assimilated by Chinese culture. Christianity has spent more than a thousand years attempting to convert the Chinese with only negligible success. However, why was Marxism able to become (...) the dominant ideology in only 30 years? This article discusses the critical cultural roots of the different destinies of Marxism and Christianity within the Great Wall. (shrink)
: Fins, Bacchetta, and Miller's clinical pragmatism has several appealing features: an emphasis on dialogue, a commitment to consensus, a focus on particular individuals rather than persons in general, and a strong interest in the process as well as the product of moral decision making. Nevertheless, for all its protests to the contrary, clinical pragmatism has a tendency to privilege medical facts over nonmedical values, to conflate appropriate medical decisions with right moral decisions, and to conceive problems at the bedside (...) in terms of "getting" patients and families to "go along" with the treatment plans of clinicians. In sum, there is within clinical pragmatism the potential for physicians to take back some of the power they ceded to patients during the height of the patients' rights and autonomy movement. Provided that clinicians guard against the temptation to use clinical pragmatism manipulatively, however, the method promises, more than most other methods of moral problem solving, to help increasingly diverse individuals make good moral decisions about patients' care under conditions of enormous uncertainty. (shrink)
The past twenty years have seen an explosion of work by feminist philosophers and several surveys of this work have documented the richness of the many different ways of doing feminist philosophy. But this major new anthology is the first broad and inclusive selection of the most important work in this field.There are many unanswered questions about the future of feminist philosophy. Which of the many varieties of feminist philosophy will last, and which will fade away? What kinds of accommodations (...) will be possible with mainstream non-feminist philosophy? Which will separate themselves and flourish on their own? To what extent will feminists change the topics philosophers address? To what extent will they change the very way in which philosophy is done?However these questions are answered, it is clear that feminist philosophy is having and will continue to have a major impact on the discipline of philosophy. This volume is the first to allow the scholar, the student, and other interested readers to sample this diverse literature and to ponder these questions for themselves.Organized around nine traditional “types” of feminist philosophy, Feminism and Philosophy is an imaginatively edited volume that will stimulate readers to explore many new pathways to understanding. It marks a defining moment in feminist philosophy, and it will be an essential text for philosophers and for feminist theorists in many other fields. (shrink)
Parallel language activation in bilinguals leads to competition between languages. Experience managing this interference may aid novel language learning by improving the ability to suppress competition from known languages. To investigate the effect of bilingualism on the ability to control native-language interference, monolinguals and bilinguals were taught an artificial language designed to elicit between-language competition. Partial activation of interlingual competitors was assessed with eye-tracking and mouse-tracking during a word recognition task in the novel language. Eye-tracking results showed that monolinguals looked (...) at competitors more than bilinguals, and for a longer duration of time. Mouse-tracking results showed that monolinguals’ mouse movements were attracted to native-language competitors, whereas bilinguals overcame competitor interference by increasing the activation of target items. Results suggest that bilinguals manage cross-linguistic interference more effectively than monolinguals. We conclude that language interference can affect lexical retrieval, but bilingualism may reduce this interference by facilitating access to a newly learned language. (shrink)
This article revisits the question of ectogenesis (out-of-body gestation) as our neonatal care and biogenetic technologies bring us closer to the possibility. In 1923, J.B.S. Haldane wrote approvingly of ectogenesis as a eugenic technique, using a science fiction format. In the 1970s and 1980s, feminists debated whether ectogenesis, if possible, would be liberating or oppressive for women. Given current legal and bioethical issues, we must now take seriously the possible costs of ectogenesis: the possibility of growing bodies for use as (...) spare parts, the erosion of the autonomy of women in the reproductive process, the denigration of the body through the loss of the physicality of pregnancy and childbirth. (Abstract prepared by Aaron Lee.). (shrink)
Inspired by Max Weber's thesis on the Protestant ethic, this volume sets out to understand the role and influence of Christianity on overseas Chinese entrepreneurs working in China during its transition from a centrally-planned economy ...
This study sets out to explore what a diverse selection of New Zealand organizations are saying on their websites regarding socially responsible businesspractices in relation to employees. We take an inductive, phenomenological oriented approach to investigate the rich content of organizations’ website communications about employee-related CSR issues and practices. We find that all firms communicated some information regarding employees but this was often sparse and lacking in detail. Amongst the most common types of information organizations relayed were statements regarding the (...) work environment, including the nature of work and learning and development opportunities. We also respond to concerns over the descriptive and atheoretical nature of many stakeholder-based CSR studies by applying Brickson’s (2007) identity framework to explore linkages between organizational identity orientation and particular clusters of employee-related CSR practices uncovered in our content analysis. Our results provide tentative support for the thesis that how organizations conceive themselves as relating to stakeholders is associated with particular clusters of employee-related CSR practices. (shrink)
Molecular-Level Heart Studies are used to explore the potential mechanisms underlying cardiogenesis and development. For instance, studies have shown that bone morphogenic protein (BMP) and GATA factors play key roles in promoting cardiogenesis through noncanonical Wnt signaling (Afouda and Hoppler 2011; Beppu et al. 2009). Genes governing cardiomyocyte growth, including Smad, junctional adhesion molecule 3 (JAM3), and Nkx, have been identified (Maioli et al. 2010; Phillips et al. 2002; Targoff, schell, and Yelon 2008). Heart models, which include excitation-contraction coupling and (...) Ca2+ channels, describe heart structure and function from the microscopic to the macroscopic perspective (Puglisi 2004; Williams .. (shrink)
It is the continuity between epistemology and empirical science that the naturalism in contemporary philosophy of science emphasizes. After its individual and social dimensions, the philosophy of scientific practice takes a stand on naturalism in order to observe complex scientific activities through practice. However, regarding the naturalism’s problem of normativity, the philosophy of scientific practice today has deconstructed more than it has constructed.
With the recent rise of the philosophy of scientific practices, SSK (Sociology of Scientific Knowledge), and feminist approaches to the philosophy of science, a new perspective is gradually coming into being, holding that the starting point for scientific research is opportunity. Opportunistic features in solar neutrino experiments, Opportunistic features of complexity studies emerging from economics, and the measurement of insects’ flight can prove the above perspective from different angels. It is important and significant to determine whether the starting point for (...) scientific research is opportunity, a problem, or an observation. (shrink)
Although Wayne Wu correctly identifies a flaw in the way in which my 2009 article frames the debate about ‘zombie action’, he fails in his attempts to strengthen the case for thinking that our actions are under less conscious control than we usually imagine. His argument, like the arguments that my earlier paper addressed, can be blocked by allowing that an embodied demonstrative concept can contribute contents to a visual experience.
This book presents a systematic account of the role of the personal spiritual ideal of wu-wei--literally "no doing," but better rendered as "effortless action"--in early Chinese thought. Edward Slingerland's analysis shows that wu-wei represents the most general of a set of conceptual metaphors having to do with a state of effortless ease and unself-consciousness. This concept of effortlessness, he contends, serves as a common ideal for both Daoist and Confucian thinkers. He also argues that this concept contains within itself a (...) conceptual tension that motivates the development of early Chinese thought: the so-called "paradox of wu-wei," or the question of how one can consciously "try not to try." Methodologically, this book represents a preliminary attempt to apply the contemporary theory of conceptual metaphor to the study of early Chinese thought. Although the focus is upon early China, both the subject matter and methodology have wider implications. The subject of wu-wei is relevant to anyone interested in later East Asian religious thought or in the so-called "virtue-ethics" tradition in the West. Moreover, the technique of conceptual metaphor analysis--along with the principle of "embodied realism" upon which it is based--provides an exciting new theoretical framework and methodological tool for the study of comparative thought, comparative religion, intellectual history, and even the humanities in general. Part of the purpose of this work is thus to help introduce scholars in the humanities and social sciences to this methodology, and provide an example of how it may be applied to a particular sub-field. (shrink)
Abstract. This paper both clarifies and broadens the notion of control and its relation to the self. By discussing instances of skillful absorption from different cultural backgrounds, I argue that the notion of control is not as closely related to self-consciousness as is often suggested. Experiences of flow and wu-wei exemplify a nonself-conscious though personal type of control. The intercultural occurrence of this type of behavioral control demonstrates its robustness, and questions two long-held intuitions about the relation between self-consciousness and (...) the experience of control. The first intuition holds that the conscious self initiates and controls actions, thoughts, and feelings. The second is the view that losing this self-conscious type of control is a negative and upsetting experience. By focusing on “the paradox of control” in these experiences of skillful absorption, I argue that a feeling of control can occur without a self that narratively claims control. Furthermore, this type of control can be a very positive and pleasurable experience. Therefore, the common views of the notion of control are in need of broader conceptualization and further refinement. (shrink)
This article compares Confucian ethics of Jen and feminist ethics of care. It attempts to show that they share philosophically significant common grounds. Its findings affirm the view that care-orientation in ethics is not a characteristic peculiar to one sex. It also shows that care-orientation is not peculiar to subordinated social groups. Arguing that the oppression of women is not an essential element of Confucian ethics, the author indicates the Confucianism and feminism are compatible.
The concept of wu-wei (nonaction) has undergone significant changes from Lao-zi to Zhuang-zi. This paper will argue that, while wu-wei in Lao-zi is a utilitarian principle, wu-wei of Zhuan-zi represents an aesthetic world-view. The aesthetic nature of the Daoist nonaction will be illustrated through Kant's concept of 'purposiveness without purpose'.
Hermann Hesse (1877â1962), the poet, novelist, man of letters, and painter, created characters who, like the Daoist sages, had many paradoxical characteristics. Some of Hesseâs characters manage their paradoxical natures well and, like the balanced sages, are able to be simultaneously changing yet stable, full of life but also empty, in unison with nature and the social world. Centered between interchanging extremes, these balanced individuals are carefree yet self-controlled, efficacious in their work yet seemingly inactive, and successful in sustaining leadership (...) and power yet humble and non-obtrusive. These sage-like individuals, the ideal leaders presented in the Daodejing éå¾·ç¶, will be the focus of this essay. Specifically, I will focus on the Daoist hub and wheel analogy, the concepts of wu ç¡ and you æ, absence and presence respectively, which are extremely important in order to understand the influence of Daoist philosophy on Hesseâs literary examples of sage-leadership. (shrink)
The use of the term hsing in the Meng-tzu is discussed, along with Mencius' views on jen-hsing. It is argued that while the use of hsing need not connote something unlearned and shared, Mencius did view jen-hsing in terms of certain unlearned emotional predispositions shared by all jen. He regarded jen as a species distinguished from other animals by its capability of cultural accomplishment, and felt that it is the presence of the emotional predispositions that makes this possible.
Under Mencius' influence jen has been regarded as part of a theory of nature. As such, commentators have had difficulty resolving the apparent paradox in "Analects" 9.1 that Confucius rarely talked about jen. No paradox arises if jen is seen as a practice involving self-cultivation as a never-ending task and the immediacy of ethical commitment where a cluster of emotions, attitudes, and values are expressed. Jen is an ethical orientation from which one speaks and acts--not particular qualities that one might (...) enumerate and claim to possess. As such, the internal relation between jen and li does not amount to their being the same thing, as implied by some recent writers. (shrink)
Japanese agricultural scholarship reached its peak in the Tokugawa period (1603-1868). Most of its representative works were imbued with the Chinese metaphysical doctrine of yin-yang-wu-hsing. They used the ideas of yin-yang, wu-hsing, yun-ch'i, hexagrams, and feng-shui extensively to develop their views and to explain various practices. There were two different attitudes towards Chinese concepts among Tokugawa scholars. Some regarded Chinese ideas as universal principles, and faithfully introduced them to Japan, whereas some were faced with the problem of national identity and (...) attempted to accommodate Chinese metaphysical principles to Japanese agriculture. This article examines the adoption of the yin-yang-wu-hsing doctrine in Tokugawa agriculture through a careful and critical textual study of several major Tokugawa writings. (shrink)
At two fronts I defend my 1994 article. I argue that differences between Confucian jen ethics and feminist care ethics do not preclude their shared commonalities in comparison with Kantian, utilitarian, and contractarian ethics, and that Confucians do care. I also argue that Confucianism is capable of changing its rules to reflect its renewed understanding of jen, that care ethics is feminist, and that similarities between Confucian and care ethics have significant implications.
Abstract Universality, rather than partiality, is the characteristic of Confucian jen. This article puts forward three arguments to clarify confusion of interpretation: (1) that jen, rather than shu, is the main thread running through the whole system of Confucianism, and that by its two procedures of chung and shu, it presents itself as an integration of one's self with others; (2) that jen, as love, does not signify a natural preference, but an ethical refinement of an ordinary feeling of fondness, (...) that it derives from such a feeling but goes beyond it, and that it functions as a universal commitment which begins with family affection but is not limited to it; (3) that jen, as universal love, is deontological in motive, not only in contrast to a mutuality of love but also in opposition to a utilitarianism of love. (shrink)
By rethinking the meaning of a central idiom in the Great Learning, this essay intends to open up a new horizon for the hermeneutics of early Confucian thinking, which has little to do with metaphysics. Through a careful etymological study of ge wu and a dialogue between the Great Learning and Heidegger's phenomenology of human affection, I demonstrate the critical position of the human heart in early Chinese thinking. This new interpretation of early Confucian moral teachings also recovers an invigorating (...) possibility for contemporary discourse on the question of ethics. (shrink)
This essay attempts to provide an alternative approach to the philosophy of religion through a new interpretation of Daoist philosophy in light of Husserl’s phenomenology. I argue that Lao-Zhuang’s wu-wei should be understood as a reduction of our existential and conceptual beliefs about the reality of this world. In Lao-Zhuang, wu-wei is related to the theme of decentering of the subject. In order to be a true self, we have to make space at the core of our being for Dao (...) to appear. The authentic selfhood is constituted in its correctrelation to Dao. In Daoist philosophy of religion, the center of gravity in the relation between Dao and the world (or worlds) is shifted from this world to Dao, and the problematic in the philosophy of religion is displaced from a truth-oriented issue to a receptivity issue. (shrink)
The speculative power of theoretical reason is not only incapable of grounding itself, but is also powerless to integrate and unify all of the different aspects of our intellectual and spiritual life. This impotency of what Schelling called negative philosophy gives rise to the demand for a positive philosophy that supplies the integrative grounding in which das Unvordenkliche—that before which nothing can be thought—is rooted. I contrast what Schelling calls an “inverted concept” with Huineng’s account of wu-nien (no-thought) found in (...) the Platform Sutra (Tun-Huang Manuscript). Both Schelling and Huineng advance their respective ideas as not only the necessary basis of their thinking, but as a necessary experience one must undergo in order to realize and thus truly comprehend their teaching. Huineng connects this lived knowing with sudden enlightenment, while Schelling speaks of the exuberant fullness of ecstasy. I close with a brief account of Schelling’s appeal for pluralistic tolerance among different philosophical and religious traditions, in which he argues that such traditions are in error to the degree they lay claim to exclusive and infallible truth. (shrink)
John Searle’s “thesis of the Background” is an attempt to articulate the role of nonintentional capacities—know-how, skills, and abilities—in constituting intentional phenomena. This essay applies Searle’s notion of the Background to shed light on the Daoist notion of wú-wéi—“non-action” or non-intentional action—and to help clarify the sort of activity that might originally have inspired the wú-wéi ideal. I draw on Searle’s work and the original Chinese sources to develop a defensible conception of a wú-wéi-like state that may play an intrinsically (...) and instrumentally valuable role in the exercise of agency. At the same time, however, I argue that Searle’s view that “Intentionality rises to the level of the Background abilities” convincingly explains why the conception of wú-wéi presented in ancient texts is untenable. Wú-wéi-like states can generally occur only as components of an intentional flow of activity, and thus they are not fundamentally nonintentional. (shrink)