We focus on Karmiloff-Smith's Representational redescription model, arguing that it poses some problems concerning the architecture of a redescribing system. To discuss the topic, we consider the implicit/explicit dichotomy and the relations between natur al language and the language of thought. We argue that the model regards how knowledge is employed rather than how it is represented in the system.
Gold & Stoljar's characterization of the trivial doctrine and of its relationships with the radical one misses some differences that may be crucial. The radical doctrine can be read as a derivative of the computational version of functionalism that provides the backbone of current cognitive science and is fundamentally uninterested in biology: both doctrines are fundamentally wrong. The synthesis between neurobiology and psychology requires instead that minds be viewed as ontologically primitive, that is, as material properties of functioning bodies. G&S's (...) characterization of the trivial doctrine should therefore be correspondingly modified. (shrink)
This research is concerned with the innate predispositions underlying human intentional communication. Human communication is currently defined as a circular and overt attempt to modify a partner's mental states. This requires each party involved to posse ss the ability to represent and understand the other's mental states, a capability which is commonly referred to as mindreading, or theory of mind (ToM). The relevant experimental literature agrees that no such capability is to be found in the human speci es at least (...) during the first year of life, and possibly later. This paper aims at advancing a solution to this theoretical problem. We propose to consider sharedness as the basis for intentional communication in the infant and to view it as a primitive, i nnate component of her cognitive architecture. Communication can then build upon the mental grounds that the infant takes as shared with her caregivers. We view this capability as a theory of mind in a weak sense.›. (shrink)
On the occasion of the almost contemporary publication of two interesting books on Thomas Paine, SCIENZA & POLITICA has addressed the two authors – Matteo Battistini and Maurizio Griffo – with some questions about the different approaches of their works. The result is a long-distance dialogue, which explores not only the significance of the American revolutionary and constitutional events, but also the influence that the English legacy and the French revolutionary experience have exercised on the American political thinker. A (...) Tale of Two Paines handles the problem of its attribution either to liberalism or to democratic radicalism; it also faces the preoccupation with the defence of liberty in the historical reconstruction of the State in the light of the affirmation of the sovereignty of society. (shrink)
Maurizio Ferraris | : L’une des réponses au paradoxe de la fiction consiste à dire que les émotions que nous éprouvons face aux oeuvres de fiction ne sont pas véritables. Mais qu’est-ce que pleurer ou rire pour de vrai ? En fait, presque toutes les formes de rire ou de larmes, et de réactions émotionnelles, sont compatibles avec la fiction, y compris celles qui sont des émotions vraies. Ce qui pose problème dans le paradoxe est la prémisse selon laquelle (...) nos croyances au sujet de la fiction doivent être vraies ou fausses. | : One of the answers to the paradox of fiction consists in claiming that the emotions that we feel about fictions are not genuine emotions. But what is it to laugh or to cry genuinely? In fact, almost all kinds of laughter and of cry are compatible with fictions, including genuine ones. What is wrong in the paradox of fiction is the premise according to which our beliefs about fictions have to be true or false. (shrink)
Despite the application of 2.5 million tons ofpesticides worldwide, more than 40% of all potentialfood production is lost to insect, weed, and plantpathogen pests prior to harvest. After harvest, anadditional 20% of food is lost to another group ofpests. The use of pesticides for pest control resultsin an estimated 26 million human poisonings, with220,000 fatalities, annually worldwide. In the UnitedStates, the environmental and public health costs forthe recommended use of pesticides total approximately$9 billion/yr. Thus, there is a need for alternativenon-chemical (...) pest controls, and genetic engineering(biotechnology) might help with this need. Diseaseand insect pest resistance to various pests has beenslowly bred into crops for the past 12,000 years;current techniques in biotechnology now offeropportunities to further and more rapidly improve thenon-chemical control of disease and insect pests ofcrops. However, relying on a single factor, like theBacillus thuringiensis toxin that has beeninserted into corn and a few other crops for insectcontrol, leads to various environmental problems,including insect resistance and, in some cases, athreat to beneficial biological control insects andendangered insect species. A major environmental andeconomic cost associated with genetic engineeringapplications in agriculture relates to the use ofherbicide resistant crops (HRC). In general, HRCtechnology results in increased herbicide use but noincrease in crop yields. The heavy use of herbicidesin HRC technology pollutes the environment and canlead to weed control costs for farmers that may be2-fold greater than standard weed control costs. Therefore, pest control with both pesticides andbiotechnology can be improved for effective, safe,economical pest control. (shrink)
Benner, Erica. Machiavelli’s Ethics. Princeton, 2009. 527p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780691141763, $75.00; ISBN 9780691141770 pbk, $35.00.
Reviewed in CHOICE, April 2010
This major new study of Machiavelli’s moral and political philosophy by Benner (Yale) argues that most readings of Machiavelli suffer from a failure to appreciate his debt to Greek sources, particularly the Socratic tradition of moral and political philosophy. Benner argues that when read in the light of his Greek sources, Machiavelli appears as much less the immoralist or sophist (...) he often is taken for and instead as a serious moral philosopher very much concerned with the republican ideals of justice and the rule of law. The author does not ignore Machiavelli’s more infamous dicta, but argues that a careful reading shows that they are expressions of views he ultimately rejects. Particularly noteworthy here is her careful attention to Machiavelli’s Florentine Histories. Benner’s reading of Machiavelli is far too complex and subtle for such a brief summary. Her research is meticulous and her arguments finely honed. This important contribution to both Machiavelli studies and the history of political philosophy will be indispensable for scholars. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and faculty/researchers. — B. T. Harding
"Machiavelli's Ethics is a superb scholarly book. Erica Benner does truly impressive work in analyzing Machiavelli's views on the most fundamental ethical issues--including necessity and virtue, justice and injustice, and ends and means. She shows, with very solid evidence, that Machiavelli did in fact worry a lot about justice and that he put it at the core of his republican theory."--Maurizio Viroli, author of Niccolò's Smile: A Biography of Machiavelli
"Machiavelli's Ethics is excellent--learned, subtle, highly original, and a constant pleasure to read. And, since it is really a study of Machiavelli's thought in its entirety, it is also the first book of its kind. Its originality lies in taking seriously the claim by some sixteenth- and seventeenth-century readers--notably Bacon, Spinoza, and Alberico Gentili--that Machiavelli was essentially a moral and political philosopher. Erica Benner does a brilliant job of resurrecting this neglected Machiavelli."--Giulia Sissa, University of California, Los Angeles
About the book, from the publisher: Machiavelli's Ethics challenges the most entrenched understandings of Machiavelli, arguing that he was a moral and political philosopher who consistently favored the rule of law over that of men, that he had a coherent theory of justice, and that he did not defend the "Machiavellian" maxim that the ends justify the means. By carefully reconstructing the principled foundations of his political theory, Erica Benner gives the most complete account yet of Machiavelli's thought. She argues that his difficult and puzzling style of writing owes far more to ancient Greek sources than is usually recognized, as does his chief aim: to teach readers not how to produce deceptive political appearances and rhetoric, but how to see through them. Drawing on a close reading of Greek authors--including Thucydides, Xenophon, Plato, and Plutarch--Benner identifies a powerful and neglected key to understanding Machiavelli.
This important new interpretation is based on the most comprehensive study of Machiavelli's writings to date, including a detailed examination of all of his major works: The Prince, The Discourses, The Art of War, and Florentine Histories. It helps explain why readers such as Bacon and Rousseau could see Machiavelli as a fellow moral philosopher, and how they could view The Prince as an ethical and republican text. By identifying a rigorous structure of principles behind Machiavelli's historical examples, the book should also open up fresh debates about his relationship to later philosophers, including Rousseau, Hobbes, and Kant. . (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)
In this article I reconstruct Hannah Arendt's theory of judgment around a number of key themes. After having distinguished two models of judgment, one based on the standpoint of the actor, the other on the standpoint of the spectator, I go on to examine their most distinctive features, in particular the link between judgment, the imagination, and the ability to think ?representatively.? I also examine the philosophical sources of Arendt's theory of judgment, namely, Kant's theory of aesthetic judgment and Aristotle's (...) notion of phronesis. In the final section I address the question of judgment and its criteria of validity.1. (shrink)
This highly acclaimed volume brings together some of the world's foremost historians of ideas to consider Machiavelli's political thought in the larger context of the European republican tradition, and the image of Machiavelli held by other republicans. An international team of scholars from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds (notably law, philosophy, history and the history of political thought) explore both the immediate Florentine context in which Machiavelli wrote, and the republican legacy to which he contributed.
Biofuels have lately been indicated as a promising source of cheap and sustainable energy. In this paper we argue that some important ethical and environmental issues have also to be addressed: (1) the conflict between biofuels production and global food security, particularly in developing countries, and (2) the limits of the Human Appropriation of ecosystem services and Net Primary Productivity. We warn that large scale conversion of crops, grasslands, natural and semi-natural ecosystem, (such as the conversion of grasslands to cellulosic (...) ethanol production, or plantation of sugar cane and palm oil), may have detrimental social and ecological consequences. Social effects may concern: (1) food security, especially in developing countries, leading to an increase of the price of staple food, (2) transnational corporations and big landowners establishing larger and larger landholdings in conflict with indigenous areas and the subsistence of small farmers. Ecological effects may concern: (1) competition with grazing wild and domesticated animals (e.g., millions of grazing livestock in USA prairies), (2) an excessive appropriation of Net Primary Production from ecosystems, (3) threatening biodiversity preservation and soil fertility. We claim that is it well known how ecological and social issues are strictly interwoven and that large scale biofuels production, by putting high pressure on both fronts, may trigger dangerous feedbacks, also considering the critical fact that 9 billion people are expected to inhabit the planet by 2050. There is a need to conduct serious and deep analysis on the environmental and social impact of large scale biofuels production before important energy policies are launched at global level. Biofuels will not represent an energetic panacea and their role in the overall energy consumption will remain marginal in our present highly energivorous society, while their effect on food security and environment preservation may have detrimental results. We should also have the courage to face two key issues: (1) we cannot keep increasing resources consumption at present pace, and have to change our life style accordingly, and (2) we have to deal with population growth; we cannot expect to have 9–10 billions people inhabiting the earth by 2050, without this representing a major impact on its support system. (shrink)
This essay is a contribution to social ontology, drawing on the work of John Searle and of Hernando de Soto. At the center of the argument is the proposition advanced by de Soto in his Mystery of Capital to the effect that many of the entities which structure our contemporary social reality are entities which exist in virtue of the fact that there are (paper or digital) documents which support their existence. I here develop de Soto’s argument further, focusing specifically (...) on the ontological problems raised by a family of new types of social phenomena – exemplified most dramatically in the domain of finance for example in the form of what are called ‘structured investment vehicles’ – made possible as a result of the employment of computer technology in entity creation. I address also Searle’s most recent work on social ontology, and conclude with an appendix on the theory of documentality advanced by Maurizio Ferraris. (shrink)
The thematic section of this issue of «Scienza & Politica» is focused on the problem of ideology. It is assumed that, though in the last decades its end has been repeatedly announced, ideology is still alive. Within the processes of globalization, the references to ideology and its critique regain a central place both in historical research and in political theory. Ideology and its critique seems to be strictly bounded with each other since the origin of the concept, which aimed to (...) pave the way for a new understanding of the world and of the language adopted to name it. The critique of ideology, therefore, has historically been a contestation - performed by particular subjects - of a way of interpreting the world scientifically, thus legitimating the existing relationships of power. (shrink)
: The doctrines on human nature and moral development maintained in ancient China by Gaozi, Mencius, and Xunzi, respectively, have been interpreted mostly as a contradiction within the Confucian school. It is argued here that they represent distinct, yet possible and congruous, modes of interpreting and re-elaborating Confucius' teachings, two opposing yet largely complementary currents that have developed within the Confucian school.
Hylas. «Veramente, la distruzion de’ frulloni e delle madie, la devastazion de’ forni, e lo scompiglio de’ fornai, non sono i mezzi più spicci per far vivere il pane; ma questa è una di quelle sottigliezze metafisiche, che una moltitudine non ci arriva.» Devo dire che il fastidio di Manzoni verso le metafisiche inconcludenti mi sembra sacrosanto. Ma soprattutto mi sembra sacrosanto il suo richiamo al buon senso, quando aggiunge che «senza essere un gran metafisico, un uomo ci arriva talvolta (...) alla prima, finch’è nuovo nella questione.. (shrink)
La nota entra in dialogo con il saggio di Francesco Emmolo e cerca di comprendere la proposta di Enzo Paci all’interno di una domanda sul “soggetto della conoscenza”. Di esso la storia della filosofia ha presentato molteplici immagini, che entrano in un confronto critico con la comprensione “quotidiana” della relazione conoscitiva.
This book presents a critical examination of Machiavelli's thought, combining an accessible, historically-informed account of his work with a reassessment of his central ideas and arguments. Viroli challenges the accepted interpretations of Machiavelli's work, insisting that his republicanism was based not on a commitment to virtue, greatness, and expansion, but to the ideal of civic life protected by the shield of fair laws. His detailed study of how Machiavelli composed The Prince offers a number of new interpretations and he further (...) contends that the most challenging--and underestimated--aspect of Machiavelli's thought is his philosophy of life, in particular his conceptions of love, women, irony, God, and the human condition. (shrink)