Recent debates about the legacy (and, sometimes, surpassing) of Derridean philosophy have often oriented themselves around questions of a new austerity in relation to the implicit philosophical functioning of God. Indeed, an increasing philosophical vigilance about the death or nonexistence of God has begun to be presented as a hallmark of recent criticisms of earlier receptions of Derrida and, by way of messianic structures of time, of Derridean politics as well. We argue that the inflating value of atheism in recent (...) texts operates most effectively within a broader forgetfulness of the many modes in which a serial dying of gods constitutes a more fundamental quality of the religio-political archive than the stability or life of these gods. We find, moreover, there to be something comical about a reconfiguration of the ontotheological archive around a tableau of serially dying Gods, this God who cannot stabilize or maintain for long any system of divine life support. Most importantly, we find that our sense of comedy is itself indicative of important shifts within the stylistics of Derridean discussions of auto-immunity and supplement which have yet to be worked through with any real seriousness. In this respect, our reflections pair Bergson's reflections on the universe as a ‘machine for the manufacture of gods’ with Bergson's explorations of comedy as a fundamentally mechanical affair. The serially dying gods of our religious and philosophical traditions are best understood in the same modes as Bergson's comedy, often marked by an automatism of everyday mechanisms of life which outlive their useful functioning. (shrink)
This article comprises a dialogue between two historians who have attempted, individually, to narrate the life of Lord George Gordon (1751 – 93), the Scottish prophet, revolutionary, and convert to Judaism. For modern cultural historians, Gordon's peregrinations between identities offer a kaleidoscopic view of Britain in the overlooked but crucial interstice between the upheavals of 1776 and 1789. Yet the partial nature of the evidence, the long omission of Gordon from the historiography of eighteenth-century Britain, and the complex, often furtive (...) nature of Gordon's activism create multiple ambiguities in his story. These ambiguities are compounded here by the authors' differing approaches. Marsha Keith Schuchard argues for a Gordon shaped by Scottish origins; Dominic Green, for a Gordon responding to English opportunities. They disagree over the likely date of Gordon's conversion to Judaism and, crucially, over whether he was a religious atavist or a Romantic pioneer. This dialogue is meant to illustrate the utility of a scholarship that acknowledges fuzziness rather than attempting to overclarify it. The article is also meant to show, however, that on the public stage fuzziness can be less benign: Gordon was a religious politician, who reworked his complexities and confusions into a violent, uncompromising critique of eighteenth-century British social order. (shrink)
Discharge planning for vulnerable infants and children is a collaborative, inter-disciplinary, decision-making activity that is grounded in the ethical complexities of clinical practice. Although it is a psychosocial intervention that frequently causes moral distress for professionals and has the potential to inflict harm on children and their families, the process has received little attention from ethicists. An ongoing study of the transition of technology-dependent children from hospital to home suggests that the ethical issues embedded in the discharge-planning process may be (...) concealed by dominant cultural values, institutional policies, clinical standards, historical precedents, and legal regulations. (shrink)
The issues of double-counting, use-constructing, and selection effects have long been the subject of debate in the philosophical as well as statistical literature. I have argued that it is the severity, stringency, or probativeness of the test—or lack of it—that should determine if a double-use of data is admissible. Hitchcock and Sober () question whether this severity criterion' can perform its intended job. I argue that their criticisms stem from a flawed interpretation of the severity criterion. Taking their criticism as (...) a springboard, I elucidate some of the central examples that have long been controversial, and clarify how the severity criterion is properly applied to them. Severity and Use-Constructing: Four Points (and Some Clarificatory Notes) 1.1 Point 1: Getting beyond all or nothing standpoints 1.2 Point 2: The rationale for prohibiting double-counting is the requirement that tests be severe 1.3 Point 3: Evaluate severity of a test T by its associated construction rule R 1.4 Point 4: The ease of passing vs. ease of erroneous passing: Statistical vs. Definitional probability The False Dilemma: Hitchcock and Sober 2.1 Marsha measures her desk reliably 2.2 A false dilemma Canonical Errors of Inference 3.1 How construction rules may alter the error-probing performance of tests 3.2 Rules for accounting for anomalies 3.3 Hunting for statistically significant differences Concluding Remarks CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This essay provides an explanation and interpretation of the undertreatment of pain by discussing some of the scientific, clinical, cultural, and philosophical aspects of this problem. One reason why pain continues to be a problem for medicine is that pain does not conform to the scientific approach to health and disease, a philosophy adopted by most health care professionals. Pain does not fit this philosophical perspective because (1) pain is subjective, not objective; (2) the causal basis of pain is often (...) poorly understood; (3) pain is often regarded as a mere symptom, not as a disease; (4) there often are no magic bullets for pain; (5) pain does not fit the expert knowledge model. In order for health care professionals to do a better job of treating pain, some changes need to occur in medical philosophy, education, and practice. (shrink)
We present an account of processing capacity in the ACT-R theory. At the symbolic level, the number of chunks in the current goal provides a measure of relational complexity. At the subsymbolic level, limits on spreading activation, measured by the attentional parameter W, provide a theory of processing capacity, which has been applied to performance, learning, and individual differences data.
This essay is concerned with concentrations of entities, which play an important—albeit often overlooked—role in scientific explanation. First, I discuss an example from molecular biology to show that concentrations can play an irreducible causal role. Second, I provide a preliminary philosophical analysis of this causal role, suggesting some implications for extant theories of causation. I conclude by introducing the concept of causation by concentration, a form of statistical causation whose widespread presence throughout the sciences has been unduly neglected and which (...) deserves to be studied in more depth. 1 Introduction2 Solving Lillie's Paradox: Lysogenic Induction in Phage λ3 Repressor Concentration and the Tuning of the Switch4 Concentration and Causality5 Preemption in Concentrations: Analysis and Implications6 Causation by Concentration: General Definition, Refinements, and Further Applications. (shrink)
In this pioneering book, noted international scholars explore the limits and definitions of knowing, thinking, and communicating meaning as we move into the 21st century. Coming from disciplines as diverse as anthropology, philosophy, literature, aesthetics, and art practice, together they work towards reconceiving the boundaries between entrenched domains of knowledge to great effect.