This book presents, in method, logical form, and philosophical content, a counterproposal to mainstream personal identity theory. The lotter's purported conflation of logical questions, i.e. reidentification with characterization, leads to an implausible reductionism about selves. A self-constituting narrative is the basis for identity, and contra reductionism, the ontological primitive of a person. As a dynamic valuational and intentional system, the narrative meaningfully constructs the autobiographical past through memory and both causally directs and emotively anticipates the experiences and form of future (...) selves. Schechtman's account, in contrast to mainstream theories, rightly connects identity to those four features that weigh heavily in our values, viz. survival, self-concern, responsibility, and compensation. Though bold and original, the account dispels a couple of important issues along with its rejection of mainstream theory. These issues, encountered most notably through fission cases, are taken up in the evaluation with a “narrative split”. (shrink)
Upshot: According to its introduction, the aim of Enaction is to “present the paradigm of enaction as a framework for a far-reaching renewal of cognitive science as a whole.” While many of the chapters make progress towards this aim, the book as a whole does not present enactivism as a coherent framework, and it could be argued that enactivism’s embrace of phenomenology means it is no longer a theory of cognition.
This article discusses, principally from an English perspective, globalisation, global citizenship and two forms of education relevant to those developments (global education and citizenship education). We describe what citizenship has meant inside one nation state and ask what citizenship means, and could mean, in a globalising world. By comparing the natures of citizenship education and global education, as experienced principally in England during, approximately, the last three decades, we seek to develop a clearer understanding of what has been done and (...) what might be done in the future in order to develop education for global citizenship. We suggest that up to this point there have been significant differences between the characterisations that have been developed for global education and citizenship education. These differences are revealed through an examination of three areas: focus and origins; the attitude of the government and significant others; and the adoption of pedagogical approaches. We suggest that it would be useful to look beyond old barriers that have separated citizenship education and global education and to form a new global citizenship education. Their separation has in the past only perpetuated the old understandings of citizenship and constructed a constrained view of global education. (shrink)
Dixon, Robert; Reid, Stephen; Connolly, Noel Since the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference established a pastoral research capability in 1996, a great deal of research has been carried out on various aspects of the Catholic community in Australia. This research has been carried out either directly by the Bishops Conference's research staff, or in association with other bodies such as NCLS Research, the Christian Research Association, Australian Catholic University and, most recently, Catholic Religious Australia.
The possible relationship between widespread unauthorized copying of microcomputer software (also known as software piracy) and level of moral judgment is examined through analysis of over 350 survey questionnaires that included the Defining Issues Test as a measure of moral development. It is hypothesized that the higher one''s level of moral judgment, the less likely that one will approve of or engage in unauthorized copying. Analysis of the data indicate a high level of tolerance toward unauthorized copying and limited support (...) for the hypothesis. The most plausible explanation for these findings is that software copying is perceived as an issue of low moral intensity. This study calls into question the software industry''s strategy of concentrating exclusively on institutional compliance with copyright rules, rather than working to raise the perceived moral intensity about software piracy at the individual level. As long as the issue remains low in moral intensity, the industry cannot expect significant shifts in copying behaviors. Individuals must become more aware of and concerned about the nature and magnitude of harm to society and to the rightful copyright owners from unauthorized copying before their attitudes and behaviors come to reflect higher levels of moral judgment. (shrink)
This analysis explores theories of recollective memories and their shortcomings to show how certain recollective memories are to some extent the initial experiencing of past conscious mental states. While dedicated memory theorists over the past century show remembering to be an active and subjective process, they usually make simplistic assumptions regarding the experience that is remembered. Their treatment of experience leaves unexplored the notion that the truth of memory is a dynamic interaction between experience and recollection. The argument's seven sections (...) examine how experience, consciousness, and the self produce memories in odd but actual situations. Examples are presented that are either actual or technologically possible, and they pose a challenge for some theories of memory. Showing that an experience and a memory must be bound by psychological continuity, the sections build upon each other to challenge aprioristic beliefs about the self and consciousness. The later sections examine the lack of available accounts of memory that acknowledge consciousness, dissociation, and "selfhood" to be matters of degree, thus rendering memory theories next to useless when trying to effectively incorporate the notions of experience and reality. (shrink)
Doing Science + Culture is a groundbreaking book on the cultural study of science, technology and medicine. Outstanding contributors including life and physical scientists, anthropologists, sociologists, literature/communication scholars and historians of science who focus on the analysis of science and scientific discourses within culture: what it means to "do" science. The essays are organized into three broad topics: transnational science and globalization (the movements of people, material resources and knowledges that underwrite scientific practices within and across borders of nation-states and (...) regions); emerging subjects and subjectivities (of research and researchers); and postdisciplinary pedagogies and curricula (the institutional settings of classroom, laboratory, department and academic division). Contributors: Itty Abraham, Anne Balsamo, Karen Barad, Michael M.J. Fischer, Joan H. Fujimura, Scott F. Gilbert, Emily Martin, Jackie Orr, Roddey Reid, Molly Rhodes and Sharon Traweek. (shrink)
Preoccupation with LTP as a putative memory mechanism may have retarded the consideration of pathological modulation of synaptic plasticity in clinical disorders where memory dysfunction is not a primary feature. Encouraged by Shors & Matzel's review, we consider the relationship between stress, synaptic plasticity, and depressive disorder.
: The Cartesians have often been read as if they denied spatial presence to incorporeal substances, reserving it for extended things alone. This article explores whether this common interpretation is accurate, examining the cases of both created minds and the divine substance of God Himself. Through scrutiny of the relevant texts of both Descartes himself and his followers, it demonstrates that, in the divine case, this common interpretation is incorrect, and that the Cartesians did believe that God’s own substance really (...) was omnipresent in a literal sense. In the case of created minds, by contrast, the article suggests that the standard reading is probably correct after all, and that these substances were indeed excluded from the spatial world: but it also suggests that, in the hands of at least some of the Cartesians, this position caused certain philosophical tensions and potential inconsistencies within their systems. (shrink)
Despite the rich philosophical heritage of the East, the connection between athletics and education for character or virtue is more commonly associated with the West. Classical Eastern philosophy does focus on virtue, but it seems to exclude sport as a means of cultivation since the Confucian is uninterested in victory and the Daoist seeks passivity and avoids contention. A closer look reveals, however, that Eastern conceptions of virtue have much in common with those of Ancient Greece so often linked to (...) sport. Combining research in the history and philosophy of sport with analysis of such texts such as the Analects of Kongzi (Confucius), Laozi's Daodejing , Plato's Republic and Epictetus's Handbook , this paper argues that the enlightened practice of sport has the potential to cultivate qualities common both to de and aret . The fact that sport was linked to virtue in Ancient Greece but not Ancient China derives from different ideas about social prestige more than different conceptions of ethical education. Indeed, the enlightened practice of modern sport may develop a more universal kind of virtue; thereby providing common ground upon which to heal the East-West split in a way characterised by mutual respect and emphasising our common humanity. (shrink)
: This paper examines how Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) shifted from a broadly Newtonian conception of divine, absolute space to a more Berkeleian or Leibnizian theory of merely relative, ideal space. Setting Edwards' views within a context of contemporary European thought, it elucidates his early position, as expressed in the opening portion of his essay 'Of Being' (c. 1721), and then proceeds to chart the development of his more mature views, showing in particular how the development of his immaterialism during the (...) early 1720s drove him to change his mind on the issue of space and its relationship with God. (shrink)
: This paper charts the gradual development of a theory of real space, underlying the created world and constituted by the extension of God Himself, in the writings of the Cambridge Platonist, Henry More. It identifies two impediments to More's embracing such a theory in the earlier part of his career, namely his initial commitment to the principles that (a) space was not real and (b) God was not extended, and it shows how he finally came to renounce these principles (...) in order to devise the theory so closely associated with him. (shrink)
Community based research is conducted by, for, and with the participation of community members, and aims to ensure that knowledge contributes to making a concrete and constructive difference in the world (The Loka Institute 2002 ). Yet decisions about research ethics are often controlled outside the research community itself. In this analysis we grapple with the imposition of a community confidentiality clause and the implications it had for consent, confidentiality, and capacity in a province-wide community based research project. Through untangling (...) these implications we provide recommendations for reframing how to think about research ethics and strategies for enabling research ethics’ processes to be more responsive to and respectful of community-based research. (shrink)
This empirical investigation showed that contrary to the popular notion that apologies signify weakness, the victims of mistakes made by leaders consistently perceived leaders who apologized as more transformational than those who did not apologize. In a field experiment (Study 1), male referees who were perceived as having apologized for mistakes made officiating hockey games were rated by male coaches (n = 93) as more transformational than when no apology was made. Studies 2 (n = 50) and 3 (n = (...) 224) replicated this effect in two vignette studies to enhance internal and ecological validity. Contrary to expectations in Study 3, there were no apology×leader gender interactions. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed. (shrink)
Within Hegel’s system of science, judgement (Urteil) is thought’s original dividing from identity into difference. In the same context, judgement is also an act of predication where “subject” must be understood in both a grammatical and psychical sense. Thus, judgement expresses a language act that is a self-positing into the difference of being. This article looks at two examples where Hegel’s ontological notion of judgement obtains, then finds, the roots of this notion in Hölderlin and Fichte.Dans le système scientifique hégélien, (...) le jugement (Urteil) se présente comme une division originelle de l’esprit allant de l’identité à la différence. Dans le même contexte, le jugement est également un acte de prédication où «sujet» doit être compris dans un sens aussi bien grammatical que psychique. Ainsi, le jugement exprime un acte langagier qui consiste en une autoposition dans la différence de l’être. Cet article examine deux exemples où se trouve réalisée la notion ontologique du jugement hégélien, et ensuite retrace les racines de cette notion chez Hölderlin et Fichte. (shrink)
This article compares Hume’s metaphysical views with those of his contemporary, the American theologian and philosopher, Jonathan Edwards. It shows how, although the two men developed their theories in isolation from one another, their minds were nevertheless following almost identical paths on several of the most central issues in metaphysics (including the natures of body and mind, personal identity, causation, and free will). Their final conclusions were, however, radically different. In short, wherever Hume came to rest in a skeptical position, (...) Edwards would initially approach the very same position, but would then pull back at the last minute and bring in God to fill the gaps, yielding a Christian system of philosophy with an idiosyncratically Humean flavour. (shrink)
The Olympic movement sometimes claims that sport has nothing to do with politics, yet its goal of promoting peace is explicitly political. The Olympics' association with peace, furthermore, is inherited from the ancient version of the festival which took place in a very distant time and place. This essay examines the ancient political heritage of the Olympic Games and questions its relevance to such modern Olympic challenges as globalisation, cultural hegemony, social discrimination and environmental degradation. It suggests that these challenges (...) are not so different from those addressed in the ancient Olympic Games, and argues that a better understanding of the ancient games' political achievements may increase the modern Olympic movement's chances of realising their own political goals. After all, the basic structures of sport, which underpin the political achievements of the Olympic Games, have changed little over the last 2,500 years. (shrink)
This book provides a range of interdisciplinary and international perspectives on difficulties in literacy development. The high-profile team of contributors provide ethical and policy discussions, as well as contextualizing individual and collective strategies to addressing difficulties in literacy development. The chapters break new ground by encompassing a wide range of perspectives related to critical literacy, socio-cultural, cognitive, and psychological viewpoints, to help inform practice, policy and research into literacy difficulties. This book will be of interest to postgraduate students, teachers, researchers, (...) education professionals and policy makers who are keen to address difficulties in literacy development. (shrink)
Henry More and Nicolas Malebranche, each in his own way, drew a distinction between two kinds of extension, the one indivisible and the other divisible. Spinoza also drew a comparable distinction, explaining that, insofar as extended substance was conceived intellectually, it would be grasped as indivisible, whereas, when it was instead depicted in the imagination, it would be seen as divisible. But, whereas for Spinoza these were just different views on one and the same extended substance, More and Malebranche's two (...) kinds of extension were supposed to be really distinct from one another. Consequently, neither of them could identify Spinoza's substance with both of his own non-identical kinds; and so they faced a choice over which one they would associate it with. The intriguing thing is that here they diverged. More felt that Spinoza's substance was actually divisible, and consequently material. Malebranche felt that it was actually indivisible, and consequently ideal and divine. In each case, they felt that the other kind of extension—whichever that might be—was simply absent from Spinoza's system. This article explores this divergence between More and Malebranche's interpretations of Spinoza's metaphysics, and it seeks an explanation for it in their own respective epistemologies. (shrink)
There is evidence for increase, followed by decline, in synaptic numbers during development. Dendrites do not function in isolation. A constructive neuronal process may underpin a selectionist cognitive process. The environment shapes both ontogeny and phylogeny. Phylogenetic natural selection and neural selection are compatible. Natural selection can yield both constructivist and selectionist solution to adaptuive problems.
The ancient world witnessed a meaningful transition in the conception of human thought and belief. What some have called the “discovery” of the mind can also be understood as a release from dependence on oracular wisdom and mythological explanation, made possible by the invention of more reliable and democratic methods for discovering and explaining truths. During roughly the same epoch, Hellenic sport distinguished itself by developing objective mechanisms for selecting single winners from varied pools of contestants. Is there a connection? (...) Following the general thesis that sport is an expression of thehuman desire to know, this paper will explore the epistemological nature of the earliest forms Hellenic athletics. I begin by interpreting the funeral games depicted in Homer’s Iliad as an unbiased, publicly monitored means for settling questions of social honor. I then consider the ancient Olympic games, arguing that their religious foundations motivated a new focus on objective and reliable methods for selecting single winners who could be symbolically sacrificed to the god. In both manifestations, athletic games are used to objectively answer important questions about merit. Eventually, competitive methods of truth‐seeking would become commonplace in Western thought. By examining early the origins of Greek sport in this light, however, Olympia may be identified as a key source of epistemological testing methods, and sport itself may be characterized fundamentally as a search for knowledge. (shrink)
It often surprises modern readers to find the cerebral philosopher Socrates hanging out in gymnasia and wrestling schools. We tend to downplay Socrates’ association with athletes and contest as mere literary window-dressing. I would like to suggest, to the contrary, that Plato’s depiction of Socrates as an athlete goes beyond dramatic setting and linguistic metaphor. Plato actually presents Socrates as an athlete of the soul, engaged in intellectual contest, occasionally defeating his opponents, and coaching young protégées toward victory in the (...) struggle for aretē. Socratic dialogue is itself an agōn. Sometimes it is aimed at defeating famous opponents such as Euthyphro, Euthydemus, Gorgias, or Protagoras. By refuting these challengers, Socrates elicits shame—a benevolent shame “in service of the god” that serves as a starting point to re-launch and redirect the investigation. At other times Socratic dialogue tests personal beliefs about virtue, amounting to a revelation and examination of the soul that corresponds to gymnastic nudity and competition. In every case Socratic contest aims to serve the greatest agōn: the struggle to be good. Socrates appropriates the competitive spirit (philonikia) he finds in his comrades, and he directs it beyond the relativistic goal of defeating ones opponent towards the idealistic goals of education, virtue, and wisdom. In this way he transforms philonikia into philosophia. Socrates’ approach to and engagement in agōn not only connects the worlds of philosophy and athletics, it serves as a model for how athletic agōn can be put in the service of psychic as well as physical virtue. (shrink)
In this paper, we argue that calls for widespread implementation of ethics measurement systems would be better informed by institutional economic analysis. Specifically, we assert that proponents of such systems must first recognize and understand the institutions that potentially impede such efforts. We identify two potential institutional impediments to measuring ethics and social responsibility. First, we suggest that neoclassical economics, supported by traditional business education and legal precedent, serves to reinforce the notion that shareholders are the primary corporate constituency group. (...) Such an emphasis on the needs of shareholders severely hinders implementation of measurement systems that address the needs of multiple stakeholder groups. Second, we argue that the threat of litigation may constrain corporate managers from measuring and considering ethics and corporate social responsibility matters. In particular, managers may be reluctant to quantify various ethical concerns if the resulting measurements could be used as evidence against the corporation in a lawsuit. (shrink)
Reid rejects the image theory --the representative or indirect realist position--that memory-judgements are inferred from or otherwise justified by a present image or introspectible state. He also rejects the trace theory , which regards memories as essentially traces in the brain. In contrast he argues for a direct knowledge account in which personal memory yields unmediated knowledge of the past. He asserts the reliability of memory, not in currently fashionable terms as a reliable belief-forming process, but more elusively as (...) a principle of Commonsense. There remains a contemporary consensus against Reid's position. I argue that Reid's critique is essentially sound, and that the consensus is mistaken; personal memory judgements are spontaneous and non-inferential in the same way as perceptual judgements. But I question Reid's account of the connection between personal memory and personal identity. My primary concern is rationally reconstructive rather than scholarly, and downplays recent interpretations of Reid's faculty psychology as a precursor of functionalism and other scientific philosophies of mind. (shrink)
Thomas Reid thinks of natural philosophy as a purely nomothetic enterprise but he maintains that it is proper for natural philosophers to employ causal terminology in formulating their explanatory claims. In this paper, I analyze this puzzle in light of Reid's distinction between efficient and physical causation – a distinction he grounds in his strict understanding of active powers. I consider several possible reasons that Reid may have for maintaining that natural philosophers ought to employ causal terminology (...) and suggest that the underlying rationale for his views is his understanding of the aims of explanation and their connection to the interests of human agents. The ultimate aim of knowing the causes of phenomena is to mollify the natural intellectual curiosity of human inquirers and provide guidance that insures successful action. The discovery of laws governing phenomena fulfills this aim and, as such, it is appropriate for natural philosophers to employ causal terminology. (shrink)
: Some critics find that Thomas Reid thinks the mind especially problematic, "hid in impenetrable darkness". I disagree. Reid does not hold that mind, more than body, resists explanation by the new science. The physical sciences have made great progress because they were transformed by the Newtonian revolution, and the key transformation was to stop looking for causes. Reid's harsh words are a call for methodological reform, consonant with his lifelong pursuit of a science of mind and (...) also with his frequent (though overlooked) optimism about such a science. (shrink)
In Essays on the Active Powers, Thomas Reid offers two different accounts of motives. According to the first, motives are the ends for which we act. According to the second, they are mental states, such as desires, that incite us to action. These two accounts, I claim, do not fit comfortably with Reid's agent causal account of human action. My project in this article is to explain why and then to propose a strategy for reconciling these two accounts (...) with Reid's views about action. (shrink)
Independently of any eighteenth century work on the geometry of parallels, Thomas Reid discovered the non-euclidean "geometry of visibles" in 1764. Reid's construction uses an idealized eye, incapable of making distance discriminations, to specify operationally a two dimensional visible space and a set of objects, the visibles. Reid offers sample theorems for his doubly elliptical geometry and proposes a natural model, the surface of the sphere. His construction draws on eighteenth century theory of vision for some of (...) its technical features and is motivated by Reid's desire to defend realism against Berkeley's idealist treatment of visual space. (shrink)
Thomas Brown: Negotiating a position between Hume and Reid Content Type Journal Article Category Essay Review Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9600-y Authors Ralph Jessop, Literature & Philosophy, The University of Glasgow, Dumfries Campus, Dumfries, DG1 4ZL Scotland, UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
It is commonly said of modern philosophy that it introduced a representative theory of perception, a theory that places representative mental items between perceivers and ordinary physical objects. Such a theory, it has been thought, would be a form of indirect realism: we perceive objects only by means of apprehending mental entities that represent them. The moral of the story is that what began with Descartes’s revolution of basing objective truth on subjective certainty ends with Hume’s paroxysms of ambivalence and (...) skepticism in the conclusion of the ﬁrst book of the.. (shrink)
Thomas Reid’s epistemological ambitions are decisively at the center of his work. However, if we take such ambitions to be the whole story, we are apt to overlook the theory of mind that Reid develops and deploys against the theory of ideas. Reid’s philosophy of mind is sophisticated and strikingly contemporary, and has, until recently, been lost in the shadow of his other philosophical accomplishments. Here I survey some aspects of Reid’s theory of mind that I (...) find most interesting. I examine whether Reid is a mysterian about the mind, whether Reid has a direct realist theory of perception, and whether Reid has a higher-order, or “inner-sense,” view of consciousness. Along the way I will mention portions of the secondary literature that examine these aspects and point out whether and to what degree I part ways with the interpretations present in the literature. (shrink)
Reid’s discussion of Molyneux’s question has been neglected. The Inquiry discusses the question twice, offering opposing answers. The first discussion treats the underlying issue as concerning common perceptibles of touch and vision, and in particular whether in vision we originally perceive depth. Although it is tempting to treat the second discussion as doing the same, this would render pointless various novel features Reid introduces in reformulating Molyneux’s question. Rather, the issue now is whether the blind can form a (...) reasonable conception of visual appearances, a conception that would allow them to perform Molyneux’s task. In explaining why Reid thought they can, I draw on his account of primary quality concepts as independent of sensation; of concept possession as ability, not acquaintance with sensation; and of visual appearance itself as in key part a matter of the perception of a primary quality, visible figure. Thus the issue does not concern cross-modality, what vision has in common with touch; but how even what is central in vision is amodal, able to be grasped independently of any sensory mode. Reid’s second Molyneux discussion thereby forms a focus for the Inquiry’s central claims, and the rejection of the Ideal Theory they entail. (shrink)
Reid offers an under-appreciated account of the primary/secondary quality distinction. He gives sound reasons for rejecting the views of Locke, Boyle, Galileo and others, and presents a better alternative, according to which the distinction is epistemic rather than metaphysical. Primary qualities, for Reid, are qualities whose intrinsic natures can be known through sensation. Secondary qualities, on the other hand, are unknown causes of sensations. Some may object that Reid's view is internally inconsistent, or unacceptably relativistic. However, a (...) deeper understanding shows that it is consistent, and relative only to normal humans. To acquire this deeper understanding, one must also explore the nature of dispositions, Reid's rejection of the theory of ideas, his distinction between sensation and perception, and his distinction between natural and acquired perceptions. (shrink)
The notion of “conception” plays a central role in Thomas Reid’s theory of perceptual knowledge, although “conception” might be studied for itself as a source of knowledge. In this study, we attempt to expose systematically the several contexts where Reid deals with the source of knowledge and the kind of mental operation called “conception”. The purpose is to understand a specific aspect of the deliverances of “conception” in Reid’s theory of perception, namely, a direct relationship, not mediated (...) by ideas, between knowing subject and external world. To understand the operation of conceiving, which is intrinsic to and constitutive of perception, is an efficient way to comprehend the nature and content of perceptual knowledge. At this step, reflections on the relationship between mind and external world, that is, mind and material world, have to be made. (shrink)
Reid said little in his published writings about his contemporary Joseph Priestley, but his unpublished work is largely devoted to the latter. Much of Priestley's philosophical thought- his materialism, his determinism, his Lockean scientific realism- was as antithetical to Reid's as was Hume's philosophy in a very different way. Neither Reid nor Priestley formulated a full response to the other. Priestley's response to Reid came very early in his career, and is marked by haste and immaturity. (...) In his last decade Reid worried much about Priestley's materialism, but that concern never reached publication. I document Reid's unpublished response to Priestley, and also view Reid's response from Priestley's perspective, as deduced from his published works. Both thinkers attempted to base their arguments on Newtonian method. Reid's position is the more puzzling of the two, since he nowhere makes clear how Newtonian method favours mind-body dualism over materialism, which is the central debate between them. (shrink)
Thomas Reid thought of himself as a critic of the representative theory of perception, of what he called the ‘theory of ideas’ or ‘the ideal theory’.2 He had no kind words for that theory: “The theory of ideas, like the Trojan horse, had a specious appearance both of innocence and beauty; but if those philosophers had known that it carried in its belly death and destruction to all science and common sense, they would not have broken down their walls (...) to give it admittance.”3 Many have supposed that his opposition to the representative theory was grounded in his direct realism.4 A direct realist theory of perception holds that perception of external objects is not mediated by any mental entity whose intrinsic character licenses a move from the mental entity to the external object presented in perception. Reid himself, in an oration of 1759, delivered at graduation ceremonies over which he presided as regent and professor of philosophy at King’s College in Aberdeen, said that he did not “understand what need there is of an intermediate object for thought about something to be possible.”5 Hence, if Reid was not a direct realist, philosophers and historians would have to ask whether and to what degree Reid was what he thought himself to be. (shrink)
By the middle of the eighteenth century the new science had challenged the intellectual primacy of common experience in favor of recondite, expert and even counter-intuitive knowledge increasingly mediated by specialized instruments. Meanwhile modern philosophy had also problematized the perceptions of common experience - in the case of David Hume this included our perception of causal relations in nature, a fundamental precondition of scientific endeavor.In this article I argue that, in responding to the 'problem of induction' as advanced by Hume, (...)Reid reformulated Aristotelian foundationalism in distinctly modern terms. An educator and mathematician self-consciously working within the framework of the new science, Reid articulated a philosophical foundation for natural knowledge anchored in the human constitution and in processes of adjudication in an emerging modern public sphere of enlightened discourse. Reid thereby transformed one of the bases of Aristotelian science - common experience - into a philosophically and socially justified notion of 'common sense'. Reid's intellectual concerns had as much to do with the philosophy of science as they did with moral philosophy or epistemology proper, and were bound up with wider social and scientific changes taking place in the early modern period. (shrink)
In the chapter “The Geometry of Visibles” in his ‘Inquiry into the Human Mind’, Thomas Reid constructs a special space, develops a special geometry for that space, and offers a natural model for this geometry. In doing so, Reid “discovers” non-Euclidean Geometry sixty years before the mathematicians. This paper examines this “discovery” and the philosophical motivations underlying it. By reviewing Reid’s ideas on visible space and confronting him with Kant and Berkeley, I hope, moreover, to resolve an (...) alleged impasse in Reid’s philosophy concerning the contradictory characteristics of Reid’s tangible and visible space. (shrink)
The subject of this investigation is the role of conventions in the formulation of Thomas Reid's theory of the geometry of vision, which he calls the 'geometry of visibles'. In particular, we will examine the work of N. Daniels and R. Angell who have alleged that, respectively, Reid's 'geometry of visibles' and the geometry of the visual field are non-Euclidean. As will be demonstrated, however, the construction of any geometry of vision is subject to a choice of conventions (...) regarding the construction and assignment of its various properties, especially metric properties, and this fact undermines the claim for a unique non-Euclidean status for the geometry of vision. Finally, a suggestion is offered for trying to reconcile Reid's direct realist theory of perception with his geometry of visibles.While Thomas Reid is well-known as the leading exponent of the Scottish 'common-sense' school of philosophy, his role in the history of geometry has only recently been drawing the attention of the scholarly community. In particular, several influential works, by N. Daniels and R. B. Angell, have claimed Reid as the discoverer of non-Euclidean geometry; an achievement, moreover, that pre-dates the geometries of Lobachevsky, Bolyai, and Gauss by over a half century. Reid's alleged discovery appears within the context of his analysis of the geometry of the visual field, which he dubs the 'geometry of visibles'. In summarizing the importance of Reid's philosophy in this area, Daniels is led to conclude that 'there can remain little doubt that Reid intends the geometry of visibles to be an alternative to Euclidean geometry'; while Angell, similarly inspired by Reid, draws a much stronger inference: 'The geometry which precisely and naturally fits the actual configurations of the visual field is a non-Euclidean, two-dimensional, elliptical geometry. In substance, this thesis was advanced by Thomas Reid in 1764 ...' The significance of these findings has not gone unnoticed in mathematical and scientific circles, moreover, for Reid's name is beginning to appear more frequently in historical surveys of the development of geometry and the theories of space.Implicit in the recent work on Reid's 'geometry of visibles', or GOV, one can discern two closely related but distinct arguments: first, that Reid did in fact formulate a non-Euclidean geometry, and second, that the GOV is non-Euclidean. This essay will investigate mainly the latter claim, although a lengthy discussion will be accorded to the first. Overall, in contrast to the optimistic reports of a non-Euclidean GOV, it will be argued that there is a great deal of conceptual freedom in the construction of any geometry pertaining to the visual field. Rather than single out a non-Euclidean structure as the only geometry consistent with visual phenomena, an examination of Reid, Daniels, and Angell will reveal the crucial role of geometric 'conventions', especially of the metric sort, in the formulation of the GOV (where a 'metric' can be simply defined as a system for determining distances, the measures of angles, etc.). Consequently, while a non-Euclidean geometry is consistent with Reid's GOV, it is only one of many different geometrical structures that a GOV can possess. Angell's theory that the GOV can only be construed as non-Euclidean, is thus incorrect. After an exploration of Reid's theory and the alleged non-Euclidean nature of the GOV, in respectively, the focus will turn to the tacit role of conventionalism in Daniels' reconstruction of Reid's GOV argument, and in the contemporary treatment of a non-Euclidean visual geometry offered by Angell (). Finally, in the conclusion, a suggestion will be offered for a possible reconstruction of Reid's GOV that does not violate his avowed 'direct realist' theory of perception, since this epistemological thesis largely prompted his formulation of the GOV. (shrink)