: If liberal theory is to move forward, it must take the political nature of family relations seriously. The beginnings of such a liberalism appear in Mary Wollstonecraft's work. Wollstonecraft's depiction of the family as a fundamentally political institution extends liberal values into the private sphere by promoting the ideal of marriage as friendship. However, while her model of marriage diminishes arbitrary power in family relations, she seems unable to incorporate enduring sexual relations between married partners.
Mary is confined to a black-and-white room, is educated through black-and-white books and through lectures relayed on black-and white television. In this way she learns everything there is to know about the physical nature of the world. She knows all the physical facts about us and our environment, in a wide sense of 'physical' which includes everything in completed physics, chemistry, and neurophysiology, and all there is to know about the causal and relational facts consequent upon all this, including (...) of course functional roles. If physicalism is true, she knows all there is to know. For to suppose otherwise is to suppose that there is more to know than every physical fact, and that is just what physicalis.. (shrink)
Feared and admired in equal measure, Mary Midgely has carefully, yet profoundly challenged many of the scientific and moral orthodoxies of the twentieth century. The Essential Mary Midgley collects for the first time the very best of this famous philosopher's work, described by the Financial Times as "commonsense philosophy of the highest order." This anthology includes carefully chosen selections from her best-selling books, including Wickedness, Beast and Man, Science and Poetry and The Myths We Live By . It (...) provides a superb and eminently accessible insight into questions she has returned to again and again in her renowned sharp prose, from the roots of human nature, reason and imagination to the myths of science and the importance of holism in thinking about science and the environment. It offers an unrivalled introduction to a great philosopher and a brilliant writer, and also includes a specially written foreword by James Lovelock. (shrink)
In this article I bring together Jacques Derrida and Luce Irigaray's engagements with Sigmund Freud's vexed attempt to step beyond the pleasure principle. Derrida's speculations on the name, the house and the practice of Freud find him inadvertently rewriting the conditions of the autobiographical as that which erases as much as inscribes, while Irigaray requires a sexually different modelling of what we call language if the experience of the girl is to be addressed. Yet Irigaray uncannily repeats the teleological gesture (...) of laying claim to a legacy, diagnosed in Freud by Derrida, even as this legacy is newly imagined as that of the feminine to which Freud remained blind. I then interweave these revised stakes of the fort-da game as they are expressed in two experimental films; Lynn Hershman Leeson's feature Conceiving Ada (USA, 1997) and Hussein Chalayan's short Absent Presence (UK/Turkey, 2005). One self-consciously concerns the recovery of ‘lost’ women from history (da!), the other investigates the treatment of the foreigner staged with an all-female cast (in which the instability of foreign objects can secure no fortification for the scientific subject). The films differently engage fantasies concerning genetics, and differently engage the projection of a legacy as teleological ambition. Privileging Derrida's transformation of the pleasure into the postal principle as that which invokes ‘Tele–without telos’, I ask after the transmissibility of this ambition. (shrink)
Frank Jackson’s knowledge argument (KA) aims to prove, by means of a thought experiment concerning the hypothetical scientist Mary, that conscious experiences have non-physical properties, called qualia. Mary has complete scientific knowledge of colours and colour vision without having had any colour experience. The central intuition in the KA is that, by seeing colours, Mary will learn what it is like to have colour experiences. Therefore, her scientific knowledge is incomplete, and conscious experiences have qualia. In this (...) paper I consider an objection to the KA raised by Daniel Dennett. He maintains that the KA is vitiated by Jackson’s account of Mary’s scientific knowledge. While endorsing this criticism, I will defend the plausibility and relevance of the type of strategy involved in the KA by offering an account of Mary’s scientific knowledge. This account involves formulating a reasonable and not immediately false version of the physicalist thesis with regard to colour experiences. Whether this version of the KA is successful against this type of physicalism is not investigated here. (shrink)
Mary knows all there is to know about physics, chemistry and neurophysiology, yet has never experienced colour. Most philosophers think that if Mary learns something genuinely new upon seeing colour for the first time, then physicalism is false. I argue, however, that physicalism is consistent with Mary's acquisition of new information. Indeed, even if she has perfect powers of deduction, and higher-level physical facts are a priori deducible from lower-level ones, Mary may still lack concepts which (...) are required in order to deduce from the lower-level physical facts what it is like to see red. (shrink)
The fields of environmental ethics and of religion and ecology have been shaped by Lynn White Jr.'s thesis that the roots of ecological crisis lie in religious cosmology. Independent critical movements in both fields, however, now question this methodological legacy and argue for alternative ways of inquiry. For religious ethics, the twin controversies cast doubt on prevailing ways of connecting environmental problems to religious deliberations because the criticisms raise questions about what counts as an environmental problem, how religious traditions (...) change, and whether ethicists should approach problems and traditions with reformist commitments. This article examines the critiques of White's legacy and presents a pluralist alternative that focuses religious ethics on the contextual strategies produced by moral communities as they confront environmental problems. (shrink)
I argue for the superiority of non-gappy physicalism over gappy physicalism. While physicalists are united in denying an ontological gap between the phenomenal and the physical, the gappy affirm and the non-gappy deny a relevant epistemological gap. Central to my arguments will be contemplation of Swamp Mary, a being physically intrinsically similar to post-release Mary (a physically omniscient being who has experienced red) but has not herself (the Swamp being) experienced red. Swamp Mary has phenomenal knowledge of (...) a phenomenal character not instantiated by any of her past or current mental states. I issue a challenge to gappy physicalists to account for how it is that Swamp Mary can satisfy the psychosemantic requirements on phenomenal knowledge while non-Swamp pre-release Mary cannot. I argue that gappy physicalists cannot meet this psychosemantic challenge. (shrink)
In the contemporary debate on moral status, it is not uncommon to find philosophers who embrace the following basic moral principle: -/- The Principle of Full Moral Status: The degree to which an entity E possesses moral status is proportional to the degree to which E possesses morally relevant properties until a threshold degree of morally relevant properties possession is reached, whereupon the degree to which E possesses morally relevant properties may continue to increase, but the degree to which E (...) possesses moral status remains the same. -/- One philosopher who has contributed significantly to the contemporary debate on moral status and embraces the Principle of Full Moral Status is Mary Anne Warren. Warren holds not only that it is possible for some entities to possess full moral status, but that some entities actually do, e.g., normal adult human beings. I argue that two of Warren’s primary arguments for the Principle of Full Moral Status—the Argument from Pragmatism and the Argument from Explanatory Power—are significantly flawed. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to reinforce anti-physicalism by extending the hard problem to a specific kind of intentional states. For reaching this target, I investigate the mental content of the new intentional states of Jackson’s Mary. I proceed in the following way: I start analyzing the knowledge argument, which highlights the hard problem tied to phenomenal consciousness. In a second step, I investigate a powerful physicalist reply to this argument: the phenomenal concept strategy. In a third step, (...) I propose a constitutional account of phenomenal concepts that captures the Mary scenario adequately, but implies anti-physicalist referents. In a last step, I point at the ramifications constitutional phenomenal concepts have on the constitution of Mary’s new intentional states. Therefore, by focusing the attention on phenomenal concepts, the so-called hard problem of consciousness will be carried over to the alleged easy problem of intentional states as well. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction Andrew Janiak and Eric Schliesser; Part I. Newton and his Contemporaries: 1. Newton's law-constitutive approach to bodies: a response to Descartes Katherine Brading; 2. Leibniz, Newton and force Daniel Garber; 3. Locke's qualified embrace of Newton's Principia Mary Domski; 4. What geometry postulates: Newton and Barrow on the relationship of mathematics to nature Katherine Dunlop; Part II. Philosophical Themes in Newton: 5. Cotes' queries: Newton's Empiricism and Conceptions of Matter Zvi Biener and Chris Smeenk; (...) 6. Newton's Scientific Method and the Universal Law of Gravitation Ori Belkind; 7. Measurement and method: some remarks on Newton, Huygens and Euler on natural philosophy William Harper; 8. What did Newton mean by 'Absolute Motion'? Nick Huggett; 9. From velocities to fluxions Marco Panza; Part III. The Reception of Newton: 10. Newton, Locke, and Hume Graciela de Pierris; 11. Maupertuis on attraction as an inherent property of matter Lisa Downing; 12. The Newtonian refutation of Spinoza: Newton's Challenge and the Socratic Problem Eric Schliesser; 13. Dispositional explanations: Boyle's problem, Newton's solution, Hume's response Lynn Joy; 14. Newton and Kant on Absolute Space: from theology to transcendental philosophy Michael Friedman; 15. How Newton's Principia changed physics George Smith; Bibliography. (shrink)
Sommario. Prima che di definire un modello della coscienza e comprendere che cosa sia un fenomeno soggettivo, è necessario sviluppare una teoria della prospettiva in prima persona. Questa teoria deve essere concettualmente con- vincente, empiricamente plausibile e, soprattutto, aperta a nuovi sviluppi. Il quadro di riferimento concettuale deve essere coerente con il progresso scienti- fico. Le sue ipotesi fondamentali devono essere adattabili in modo da permette- re a nuovi risultati sperimentali di essere inseriti nel modello teorico. Questo ar- ticolo tenta (...) di definire le linee generali di una teoria in grado di offrire un’analisi rappresentazionale della prospettiva in prima persona. Tre proprietà fenomeniche sono centrali a quest’analisi: “egoicità” (la proprietà fenomenica; il senso di possesso di una sensazione), “selfhood” (l’esperienza cosciente di essere qualcuno) e la prospetticità (una caratteristica strutturale: il fatto che lo spazio fenomenico appaia organizzato attorno a un centro, una prospettiva su- per-modale). Questo articolo analizza queste proprietà da un punto di vista sia rappresentazionale che funzionale. Introdurrò nuovi vincoli concettuali per le rappresentazioni fenomeniche e due entità teoriche necessarie per capire che cosa sia la prospettiva in prima persona: “il modello fenomenico del sé” (PSM: phenomenal self model) e il “modello fenomenico della relazione intenzionale” (PMIR: phenomenal model of intentional relation). Un modello fenomenico del sé è una struttura rappresentazionale plurimodale, il cui contenuto costituisce il contenuto dell’esperienza del sé cosciente. Ha due caratteristiche importanti. Primo, è l’unica struttura rappresentazionale ancorata nel cervello da un colle- gamento funzionale permanente. Secondo, parti consistenti del PSM sono fe- nomenicamente trasparenti: non posso essere identificate come rappresentazioni all’interno del sistema. Sono intrappolate in quello che è stato definito un “in- genuo realismo auto-ingannevole”.. (shrink)
In her book, Moral Status, Mary Anne Warren defends a comprehensive theory of the moral status of various entities. Under this theory, she argues that animals may have some moral rights but that their rights are much weaker in strength than the rights of humans, who have rights in the fullest, strongest sense. Subsequently, Warren believes that our duties to animals are far weaker than our duties to other humans. This weakness is especially evident from the fact that Warren (...) believes that it is frequently permissible for humans to kill animals for food. Warren’s argument for her view consists primarily in the belief that we have inevitable practical conflicts with animals that make it impossible to grant them equal rights without sacrificing basic human interests. However, her arguments fail to justify her conclusions. In particular, Warren fails to justify her beliefs that animals do not have an equal right to life and that it is permissible for humans to kill animals for food. (shrink)
Controversy about Lynn White’s thesis that medieval Christianity is to blame for our current environmental crisis has done little to challenge the basic structure of White’s argument and has taken little account of recent work done by medieval scholars. White’s ecotheological critics, in particular, have often failed to come to grips with White’s position. In this paper, I question White’s reading of history on both interpretative and factual grounds and argue that religious values cannot be treated independently of the (...) political, economic, and social conditions that sustain them. I conclude that medieval religious values were more complex than White suggests: rather than causing technological innovation, they more likely provided a justification for other activity taking place for other reasons. (shrink)
Il dibattito sul ruolo e le implicazioni del teorema di Gödel per l'intelligenza artificiale ha recentemente ricevuto nuovo impeto grazie a due importanti volumi pubblicati da Roger Penrose, The Emperor's New Mind  e Shadows of the Mind . Naturalmente, Penrose non è il primo né l'ultimo a usare il teorema di Gödel allo scopo di trarne conseguenze per i fondamenti dell'intelligenza artificiale. Tuttavia il recente dibattito suscitato dai due libri di Penrose è significativo sia per ampiezza sia per (...) profondità. In queste pagine si vuole dare una rassegna di tale dibattito, cominciando dai suoi precursori negli anni '60 (fra cui Lucas, Putnam, e Chihara), per passare poi alle complesse argomentazioni proposte da Penrose e le reazioni di una serie di commentatori (ad esempio Dennett, Feferman, McDermott, Davis). (shrink)
This paper recovers and investigates the work of two forgotten figures in the history of American philosophy: Ella Lyman Cabot and Mary Parker Follett. It focuses on Cabot's work, developed between 1889 and 1906. During this period, Cabot took several classes given by Josiah Royce at Radcliffe College. Cabot's work creatively extends Royce's early thinking on the issues of growth, unity, and loyalty. This paper claims that Cabot's writing serves as a valuable type of Roycean interpretation—an interpretation that sheds (...) light on Royce's philosophy while redeploying his thinking in ways that explore its ethical and social implications. Cabot is an important figure in the community of classical American thinkers, a figure who deserves greater attention. This analysis concludes with a brief discussion of Cabot's legacy as it is carried on by Mary Parker Follett's progressive and feminist writings published in the early decades of the 1900s. Follett's contribution to the field of organizational management reveals her affinity with Cabot and variety of other American thinkers. (shrink)
The Knowledge Argument of Frank Jackson has not persuaded physicalists, but their replies have not dispelled the intuition that someone raised in a black and white environment gains genuinely new knowledge when she sees colors for the first time. In what follows, we propose an explanation of this particular kind of knowledge gain that displays it as genuinely new, but orthogonal to both physicalism and phenomenology. We argue that Mary’s case is an instance of a common phenomenon in which (...) something new is learned as the result of exploiting representational resources that were not previously exploited, and that this results in gaining genuinely new information. (shrink)
In 1997, five decades after the publication of the landmark Hempel-Oppenheim article "Studies in the Logic of Explanation"(, 1970) Wesley Salmon published Causality and Explanation, a book that re-addresses the issue of scientific explanation. He provided an overview of the basic approaches to scientific explanation, stressed their weaknesses, and offered novel insights. However, he failed to mention Mary Hesse's approach to the topic and analyze her standpoint. This essay brings front and center Hesse's approach to scientific explanation formulated in (...) the 1960s and argues that rereading Hesse's account one can overcome the criticisms addressed towards another influential theory of explanation that of Bas van Fraassen's. Furthermore, it could bring the traditional philosophy of science into a fruitful conversation with science and technology studies and gender studies in science, technology and medicine. (shrink)
Even long after their formal exclusion has come to an end, members of previously oppressed social groups often continue to face disproportionate restrictions on their freedom, as the experience of many women over the last century has shown. Working within in a framework in which freedom is understood as independence from arbitrary power, Mary Wollstonecraft provides an explanation of why such domination may persist and offers a model through which it can be addressed. Republicans rely on processes of rational (...) public deliberation to highlight and combat oppression. However, where domination is primarily social rather than legal or political (such as where cultural attitudes, traditions and values exert an arbitrary and inhibiting force) then this defence against domination is often negated. Prejudice, she argues, ‘clouds’ people’s ability to reason and skews debate in favour of the dominant powers, thereby entrenching patterns of subjection. If they are to be independent, then, citizens require not only political rights but a platform from which to add their perspectives and interests to the background social values which govern political discussion. (shrink)
This paper begins with Barbara Johnson's examination of the erasure of sexual difference within the Yale school, and in particular her comments upon the work of Mary Shelley. Taking up hints in her statements about the relation between Mary Shelley's work and deconstruction, I suggest a reading of Mary Shelley's penultimate novel, Lodore, in relation to Derrida's Given Time. Lodore, which traditionally appeared a rather conservative novel to Mary Shelley's critics, has a number of parallels in (...) its plot to the logic of the gift as set out in Derrida's text. It also, however, allows us to begin to think through the related concept of the return, so crucial to both of the Shelley's thinking and writing. The essay analyses Lodore in relation to Derrida's account of the impossibility of the gift, in order, eventually, to move towards some comments about sexual difference, the novel, the gift and the return. (shrink)
The Gendered Cyborg brings together material from a variety of disciplines that analyze the relationship between gender and technoscience, and the way that this relationship is represented through ideas, language and visual imagery. The book opens with key feminist articles from the history and philosophy of science. They look at the ways that modern scientific thinking has constructed oppositional dualities such as objectivity/subjectivity, human/machine, nature/science, and male/female, and how these have constrained who can engage in science/technology and how they have (...) limited our ideas of the possibilities for both humanity and science. Later sections contain readings that present key feminist theories about representation to examine how gender and technoscience are represented in areas of particular contemporary interest: the new human reproductive technologies, science fiction, film and the Internet. The readings constantly ask "Is this for women, for human beings?" Contributors: Alison Adam, Anne Balsamo, Lynda K. Bundtzen, Barbara Creed, Mary Ann Doane, Dion Farquhar, Jennifer González, Evelynn M. Hammonds, Donna Haraway, Fiona Hovenden, Luce Irigaray, Linda Janes, Gill Kirkup, Nina Lykke, Sadie Plant, Rosalind Pollack Perchesky, Londa Schiebinger, Vivian Sobchack, Deborah Lynn Steinberg, Nancy Leys Stepan, Nina Wakeford, Kathryn Woodward. (shrink)
: This paper examines the ethical status of animals and nature within the thought of Mary Whiton Calkins. Though Calkins held that her self-psychology and absolute personalistic idealism were compatible in many ways, the two schools of thought offer different conceptions of personhood with respect to animals and nature. On the one hand, Calkins's self-psychology classified animals and nature as non-persons, due to the fact that self-psychology viewed animals and nature as physical entities bereft of the psychical qualities necessary (...) for personhood. On the other hand, Calkins's absolute personalistic idealism classified animals and nature as persons, due to the absolute personalistic idealist understanding of the universe as ultimately mental and personal. Because Calkins's ethics requires the ethical individual to will for the benefit of all human beings, an ethics that adopts Calkins's psychological conception of personhood promotes an anthropocentrism that views animals and nature as possessing merely instrumental value, while an ethics that adopts Calkins's philosophical conception of personhood views animals and nature as possessing intrinsic value. (shrink)
Evolutionary psychology and human sociobiology often reject the mere possibility of symbolic causality. Conversely, theories in which symbolic causality plays a central role tend to be both anti-nativist and anti-evolutionary. This article sketches how these apparent scientific rivals can be reconciled in the study of disgust. First, we argue that there are no good philosophical or evolutionary reasons to assume that symbolic causality is impossible. Then, we examine to what extent symbolic causality can be part of the theoretical toolbox of (...) the evolutionary social sciences. This examination leads to the conclusion that it is possible to make evolutionary sense of Mary Douglas’s theory of disgust, and that her view of symbolic causality can and should inform evolutionary theories of (sociocultural) disgust. (shrink)
Nearly two hundred years ago, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote what is considered to be the first major work of feminist political theory: A Vindication of the Rights of Women . Much has been written about this work, and about Wollstonecraft as the intellectual pioneer of feminism, but the actual substance and coherence of her political thought have been virtually ignored. Virginia Sapiro here provides the first full-length treatment of Wollstonecraft's political theory. Drawing on all of Wollstonecraft's works and treating them (...) thematically rather than sequentially, Sapiro shows that Wollstonecraft's ideas about women's rights, feminism, and gender are elements of a broad and fully developed philosophy, one with significant implications for contemporary democratic and liberal theory. The issues raised speak to many current debates in theory, including those surrounding interpretation of the history of feminism, the relationship between liberalism and republicanism in the development of political philosophy, and the debate over the canon. For political scientists, most of whom know little about Wollstonecraft's thought, Sapiro's book is an excellent, nuanced introduction which will cause a reconsideration of her work and her significance both for her time and for today's concerns. For feminist scholars, Sapiro's book offers a rounded and unconventional analysis of Wollstonecraft's thought. Written with considerable charm and verve, this book will be the starting point for understanding this important writer for years to come. (shrink)
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Diana Raffman (in press) emphasizes a useful and important distinction that deserves heed in discussions of phenomenal consciousness: the distinction between what itâ€™s like to see red and how red things look. (Two alternative locutions that also can express the latter idea, we take it, are â€˜what red looks likeâ€™ and â€˜what red is likeâ€™.) Raffman plausibly argues that this distinction should be incorporated into theories of phenomenal consciousness, including (...) materialist theoriesâ€”in particular, into the materialist theory we focused on in Graham and Horgan (2000), Michael Tyeâ€™s PANIC theory. She also argues that incorporation of the distinction into Tyeâ€™s theory provides the basis for plausible reply on Tyeâ€™s behalf to our â€˜Mary Maryâ€™ version of the knowledge argument against materialism. We agree that Tye would do well to incorporate the distinction, as would advocates of other theories phenomenal consciousness. But in our view, doing so ultimately does not help fend off the Mary-Mary argument. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Raffman argues that knowing what itâ€™s like to see red is a derivative matter, involving introspective attention to oneâ€™s experience of seeing red. She suggests that the more fundamental state is knowing how red things look. She writes: What I want to suggestâ€¦is that we view Maryâ€™s new knowledge as deriving almost entirely from her perceptual representationsâ€¦. That is to say, we ought to view her new knowledge as deriving not from introspection or from higher-order consciousness, but from perception or phenomenal consciousness. I will say that the primary object of Maryâ€™s learning is not what itâ€™s like to see red, but rather how red things lookâ€¦. Mary learns how red things look whether or not she introspectsâ€¦. How red things look is learned by perceiving; what itâ€™s like to see (look at) red is learned by introspectingâ€¦.. (shrink)
: Writing in the seventeenth century, Mary Astell offers some splendid models of what it can mean to include women in determining the purposes of politics, in marking the boundaries of issues on the political agenda, and in analyzing particular political concepts. A contending voice in early modern philosophy, Astell's contributions to political thought are made more visible here by contrast with Thomas Hobbes, with whom she was familiar and somewhat sympathetic.
Many commentators have contrasted the way that sociability is theorized in the writings of Mary Astell and Damaris Masham, emphasizing the extent to which Masham is more interested in embodied, worldly existence. I argue, by contrast, that Astell's own interest in imagining a constitutively relational individual emerges once we pay attention to her use of religious texts and tropes. To explore the relevance of Astell's Christianity, I emphasize both how Astell's Christianity shapes her view of the individual's relation to (...) society and how Masham's contrasting views can be analyzed through the lens of her charge that Astell is an “enthusiast.” In late seventeenth-century England, “enthusiasm” was a term of abuse that, commentators have recently argued, could function polemically to dismiss those deemed either excessively social or antisocial. By accusing Astell of enthusiasm, I claim, Masham seeks to marginalize the relational self that Astell imagines and to promote a more instrumental view of social ties. I suggest some aspects of Astell's thought that may have struck contemporaries as “enthusiastic” and contrast her vision of the self with Masham's more hedonistic subject. I conclude that, although each woman differently configures the relation between self and society, they share a desire to imagine autonomy within a relational framework. (shrink)
Mary Midgley asserts that my argument concerning the problem of child-abuse was inappropriately framed in the language of rights, and neglected certain pertinent natural facts. I defend the view that the use of rights-talk was both apposite and did not misrepresent the moral problem in question. I assess the status and character of the natural facts Midgley adduces in criticism of my case, concluding that they do not obviously establish the conclusions she believes they do. Finally I briefly respond (...) to the charge that my suggestions were illiberal. (shrink)
Mary Everest, Boole's wife, claimed after the death of her husband that his logic had a psychological, pedagogical, and religious origin and aim rather than the mathematico-logical ones assigned to it by critics and scientists. It is the purpose of this paper to examine the validity of such a claim. The first section consists of an exposition of the claim without discussing its truthfulness; the discussion is left for the sections 2?4, in which some arguments provided by the examination (...) of the inner consistency of Mary Everest's writings, Boole's own writings, and other sources, lead to the conclusion that there are sound reasons to accept Mary Everest's viewpoint. (shrink)
Blair's assertion that fluid intelligence (gF) is distinct from general intelligence (g) is contradictory to cumulative evidence from intelligence research, including extant and novel evidence about generational IQ gains (Lynn–Flynn effect). Because of the near unity of gF and g, his hypothetical concept of gF' (gF “purged” of g variance) may well be a phlogiston theory. (Published Online April 5 2006).
It is widely accepted that physicalism faces its most serious challenge when it comes to making room for the phenomenal character of psychological experience, its so-called what-it-is-like aspect. The challenge has surfaced repeatedly over the past two decades in a variety of forms. In a particularly striking one, Frank Jackson considers a situation in which Mary, a brilliant scientist who knows all the physical facts there are to know about psychological experience, has spent the whole of her life in (...) a black and white room. He asks, What will happen when Mary is released from her black and white room or is given a colour television monitor? Will she learn anything or not? It seems just obvious that she will learn something about the world and our visual experience of it. But then it is inescapable that her previous knowledge was incomplete. But she had all the physical information. (Jackson 1986: 130). (shrink)
This paper dialogues with the contributions included in Francesco Fiorentino and Domenico Firomonte’s edited volumes and Massimo Riva’s book from the point of view of feminist literary criticism. This diverse positioning in relation to the work of women writers has allowed feminist criticism to develop a path that has deconstructed the Italian literary canon and the promotion of critical stances that are no longer abstract or monologic, but rather situated in the point of view of the subject and its relational (...) component. Works by Italian women writers present themselves as a body of texts of high material density that transfer questions of textual mobility both within digital and print culture onto the subject and its style of enunciation. L’intervento dialoga con i contributi dei volumi a cura di Francesco Fiorentino e Domenico Fiormonte e con il libro di Massimo Riva a partire dall’esperienza della critica letteraria femminista italiana. Il suo diverso posizionamento rispetto alle opere delle scrittrici ha permesso l’articolarsi di un percorso che ha decostruito il canone della tradizione letteraria italiana e l’affermarsi di posizioni critiche non più astratte e monologiche, ma situate a partire dal soggetto e dalla sua componente relazionale. Le opere delle scrittrici italiane si rappresentano infatti come un corpo testuale dall’alta densità materica, che sposta sul soggetto e sul suo stile dell’enunciazione le questioni di mobilità del testo, sia esso virtuale o cartaceo. (shrink)
We are entering an era in which the idea of democracy itself is undergoing an evolutionary shift. The assumptions and values underlying present models of democratic governance, rooted in earlier eras of rebellion, fail to recognize the dynamic and creative potential of individuals and their social organizations now essential to evolutionary advance. More than eighty years ago, MaryParker Follett recognized this situation and advanced the idea of a participatory democracy that would be truly evolutionary in its self-guidance. (...) Her insights fit well with current emancipatory systems philosophy and general evolutionary thought. (shrink)
An images is build up of elements placed in a fix reciprocal positions. In this way an image is able to organize a block of space-time extracted from becoming and offered as a crystallized present, this notion imply Chronos notion of time. How would spatial co-ordinates work on the time line of Aîon , where present can’t exist? We are going to answer this question by analyzing Robert Smithson’s Monuments of Passaic.
A work about axis of vision, vertical vs horizontal, and on direction of image, front vs back, guides some observations, developing in the image space, that Picasso elaborates on representation. The essay proposes a close look to some artworks in which the speculation on above-written oppositions, is functional to “present» the representation. The issue concerns not solely reversals acting on orientation of represented world objects, but axis participating in rewriting the culturally prefigured orientation of painting and writing and in considering (...) the «shape-of-picture» and image margins. (shrink)
(2013). Review of Jeffrey P. Spike, Thomas R. Cole, Richard Buday, Freeman Williams, and Mary Ann Pendino, The Brewsters. The American Journal of Bioethics: Vol. 13, No. 3, pp. 52-54. doi: 10.1080/15265161.2013.760988.
The aim of this paper is to analyze the relationship between phenomenal experience and our folk conceptualization of it. I will focus on the phenomenal concept strategy as an answer to Mary's puzzle. In the first part I present Mary's argument and the phenomenal concept strategy. In the second part I explain the requirements phenomenal concepts should satisfy in order to solve Mary's puzzle. In the third part I present various accounts of what a phenomenal concept is, (...) and I show the difficulties each of them have. Finally, I develop my own account of phenomenal concepts. My thesis claims that phenomenal concepts are complex concepts whose possession conditions depend upon the mastery of many other concepts, in fact, quite complex concepts such as the distinction between appearance and reality (which belongs to our theory of mind system), and color concepts (at least in the case of the phenomenal concepts needed in order to account for Mary's case). And these later concepts are concepts that have special possession conditions: they include the deployment of nonconceptual recognitional capacities. (shrink)
Philosopher, theologian, educational theorist, feminist and political pamphleteer, Mary Astell was an important figure in the history of ideas of the early modern period. Among the first systematic critics of John Locke's entire corpus, she is best known for the famous question which prefaces her Reflections on Marriage: 'If all men are born free, how is it that all women are born slaves?' She is claimed by modern Republican theorists and feminists alike but, as a Royalist High Church Tory, (...) the peculiar constellation of her views sits uneasily with modern commentators. Patricia Springborg's study addresses these apparent paradoxes, recovering the historical and philosophical contexts to her thought. She shows that Astell was not alone in her views; rather, she was part of a cohort of early modern women philosophers who were important for the reception of Descartes and who grappled with the existential problems of a new age. (shrink)
Sarà capitato anche a voi, in treno, di cercare di aprire la porta tra un vagone e l’altro con l’espressivissima maniglia e, solo dopo non esserci riusciti, di aver notato il meno eloquente pulsante sulla destra. Il fenomeno non è troppo diverso da quando, non avendo capito qualcosa, chiediamo di farci un esempio. La convinzione —falsa—che parlare possa essere surrogato dall’indicare degli oggetti nasconde l’idea –vera– che gli oggetti parlino, e che alcuni parlino meglio di altri. Per capirlo, non c’è (...) bisogno di portarsi dei fagotti per intrattenere delle conversazioni come fanno gli accademici di Lagado nei Viaggi di Gulliver. Basta liberarsi del pregiudizio secondo cui le cose sono mute, staccarci un po’ dall’attenzione ossessiva sui Soggetti, e prestare la giusta attenzione a quella realtà espressiva, evidente, infaticabile, che ci dice “sono io, sono qui”. (shrink)
Sommario: La prima parte (sezioni 1– 3) introduce il tema: qual è il senso di una indagine ontologico-formale del cosiddetto mondo del senso comune? La seconda parte (sezioni 4–6) offre una prima analisi delle categorie e soprattutto delle strut- ture ontologiche su cui impostare tale indagine. Infine, la terza parte (sezione 7) offre spunti di sviluppo e accenna ad alcuni problemi aperti, vecchi e nuovi.
According to the knowledge argument, physicalism fails because when physically omniscient Mary first sees red, her gain in phenomenal knowledge involves a gain in factual knowledge. Thus not all facts are physical facts. According to the ability hypothesis, the knowledge argument fails because Mary only acquires abilities to imagine, remember and recognise redness, and not new factual knowledge. I argue that reducing Mary’s new knowledge to abilities does not affect the issue of whether she also learns factually: (...) I show that gaining specific new phenomenal knowledge is required for acquiring abilities of the relevant kind. Phenomenal knowledge being basic to abilities, and not vice versa, it is left an open question whether someone who acquires such abilities also learns something factual. The answer depends on whether the new phenomenal knowledge involved is factual. But this is the same question we wanted to settle when first considering the knowledge argument. The ability hypothesis, therefore, has offered us no dialectical progress with the knowledge argument, and is best forgotten. (shrink)
Realism about cognitive or semantic phenomenology, the view that certain conscious states are intrinsically such as to ground thought or understanding, is increasingly being taken seriously in analytic philosophy. The principle aim of this paper is to argue that it is extremely difficult to be a physicalist about cognitive phenomenology. The general trend in later 20th century/early 21st century philosophy of mind has been to account for the content of thought in terms of facts outside the head of the thinker (...) at the time of thought, e.g. in terms of causal relations between thinker and world, or in terms of the natural purposes for which mental representations have developed. However, on the assumption that consciousness is constitutively realised by what is going on inside the head of a thinker at the time of experience, the content of cognitive phenomenology cannot be accounted for in this way. Furthermore, any internalist account of content is particularly susceptible to Kripkensteinian rule following worries. It seems that if someone knew all the physical facts about what is going on in my head at the time I was having a given experience with cognitive phenomenology, they would not thereby know whether that state had ‘straight’ rather than ‘quus-like’ content, e.g. whether the experience was intrinsically such as the ground the thought that two plus two equals four or intrinsically such as to ground the thought that two quus two equals four. The project of naturalising consciousness is much harder for realists about cognitive phenomenology. (shrink)
Introduction This paper defends the moral significance of the distinction between killing and letting die. In the first part of the paper, I consider and reject Michael Tooley’s argument that initiating a causal process is morally equivalent to refraining from interfering in that process. The second part disputes Tooley’s suggestion it is merely external factors that make killing appear to be worse than letting die, when in reality the distinction is morally neutral. Tooley is mistaken to claim that we are (...) permitted to kill bystanders who had no fair chance to avoid being at risk of harm. We can support the significance of the killing / letting die distinction by considering the difference between what we are permitted to do in self-defence against those who are going to kill us, and what we can do against those who are going to let us die. I also suggest that we are less responsible for the deaths we allow than for the deaths that we cause, since we do not make people worse off for our presence in cases where we fail to save them. (shrink)
Reductionists about knowledge-wh hold that “s knows-wh” (e.g. “John knows who stole his car”) is reducible to “there is a proposition p such that s knows that p, and p answers the indirect question of the wh-clause.” Anti-reductionists hold that “s knows-wh” is reducible to “s knows that p, as the true answer to the indirect question of the wh-clause.” I argue that both of these positions are defective. I then offer a new analysis of knowledge-wh as a spccial kind (...) of de re knowledge. (shrink)
Deviant phenomenal knowledge is knowing what it’s like to have experiences of, e.g., red without actually having had experiences of red. Such a knower is a deviant. Some physicalists have argued and some anti-physicalists have denied that the possibility of deviants undermines anti-physicalism and the Knowledge Argument. The current paper presents new arguments defending the deviant-based attacks on anti-physicalism. Central to my arguments are considerations concerning the psychosemantic underpinnings of deviant phenomenal knowledge. I argue that physicalists are in a superior (...) position to account for the conditions in virtue of which states of deviants constitute representations of phenomenal facts. (shrink)
A combination of social forces has thrown marriage into question in westernised societies at the end of the millennium. This uncertainty creates space for new ways of thinking about marriage. In this context, we examine the idea of marriage as friendship. We trace its genealogy in the work of Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor and then subject it to critical scrutiny using some of Michel de Montaigne’s ideas. We ask how applic- able the ideal of higher (...) friendship is to marriage and what might be gained and lost by a synthesis of marriage and friendship. Grounding the discussion in historical sources is valuable because the topic is so little explored in the contemporary philosophical literature. This approach also allows any enduring value in these historical texts to be elicited. (shrink)
Pär Sundström (2004). Lessons for Mary. In Marek and Reicher (ed.), Experience and Analysis: Papers of the 27th International Wittgenstein Symposium. The Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society.score: 9.0
The so called "Knowledge Argument" of Frank Jackson (1982, 1986) 1 claims to show that there is something about the human mind that must inevitably escape the grasp of physical science: "There are truths about . . . people ( . . . ) which escape the physicalist story" (Jackson, 1986). In effect, materialism is false, and science, as opposed to metaphysics, cannot hope to attain to an understanding of consciousness.
In order to understand the nature of human embryos I first distinguish between active and passive potentiality, and then argue that the former is found in human gametes and embryos (even in embryos in vitro that may fail to be implanted) because they all have an indwelling power or capacity to initiate certain changes. Implantation provides necessary conditions for the actualization of that prior, active potentiality. This does not imply that embryos are potential persons that do not deserve the same (...) respect as actual persons. To claim that embryos become persons is to understand the predicate person as a phase sortal, roughly equivalent to adult person. This entails that we would not be essentially persons. In order to explain the traditional understanding of person as a proper sortal rather than a phase sortal, the author distinguishes between proximate and remote potentiality, and shows that, unlike feline embryos, human embryos, by their genetic constitution, possess the remote potentiality to later exercise the typically human activities. It follows that they are already persons essentially. (shrink)
This book deals with the experience of externality, i.e. an experience, common in schizophrenia, present both in verbal hallucination and in thought insertion. The view defended is that thought insertion is a case of failed agency, experienced by the agent at the personal level as an intelligible thought with which she cannot identify. Such a case in which sense of agency and sense of subjectivity come apart reveals the existence of two dimensions in self-consciousness. Several difficulties of the solution offered (...) are discussed, in connection with the causal-explanatory role of the phenomenological features of the experience and with the view that thinking is a variety of acting. (shrink)
. Luciano Floridi argues that every existing entity is deserving of at least minimal moral respect in virtue of having intrinsic value qua information object. In this essay, I attempt a comprehensive assessment of this important view as well as the arguments Floridi offers in support of it. I conclude both that the arguments are insufficient and that the thesis itself is substantively implausible from the standpoint of ordinary intuitions.