Cognitive science has always included multiple methodologies and theoretical commitments. The philosophy of cognitive science should embrace, or at least acknowledge, this diversity. Bechtel’s (2009a) proposed philosophy of cognitive science, however, applies only to representationalist and mechanist cognitive science, ignoring the substantial minority of dynamically oriented cognitive scientists. As an example of nonrepresentational, dynamical cognitive science, we describe strong anticipation as a model for circadian systems (Stepp & Turvey, 2009). We then propose a philosophy of science appropriate to nonrepresentational, (...) dynamical cognitive science. (shrink)
Classical and medieval writers had no term for consciousness in anything like the modern sense, and their philosophy seems not to have been troubled by the mind-body problem. Contemporary eliminativists find strong support in this fact for their claim that consciousness does not exist, or, at least, is not an appropriate scientific explanandum. They typically hold that contemporary conceptions of consciousness are artefacts of Descartes' (now outmoded) views about matter and his unrealistic craving for epistemological certainty. Essentially, they say, our (...) belief in consciousness is a residue of once pressing, but now irrelevant, intellectual tensions between religion and the rising new science of the Early Modern period. With the attempts of Descartes and his successors to resolve these tensions, Western thought began down a track toward the conceptual cul-de-sac of the "hard problem". Plausibly, the problem will only be (dis)solved, and the onward march of science assured, when we are able to shake off the pervasive influence of the Cartesian tradition in a way that goes far beyond the mere rejection of dualism. But when we do so, eliminativists contend, the distinctively Cartesian notion of consciousness will simply drop out of our world-picture, like phlogiston or the vital entelechy. (shrink)
This issue of Jurisprudence features a symposium on Nigel Simmonds's Law as a Moral Idea (Oxford, 2007). There are essays by John Finnis, John Gardner, Timothy Endicott and a Reply by Nigel Simmonds. The papers are based on presentations given at a panel discussion in Oxford in December 2009. In this 'Introduction' Pavlos Eleftheriadis outlines the main themes of the book, namely that (a) the idea of law is intrinsically moral, (b) the distinction between analytical and normative jurisprudence (...) is false and (c) law is not a list of rules or a chain of authorisation, but a system of thought that follows the basic principles of practical reason. (shrink)
A Special Issue of the Journal of Philosophy of Education, 2005, issue 2, contains an interesting ‘Philosophy of the Teacher’ by Nigel Tubbs. It rejects attempts in pedagogical traditions to ignore or avoid the contradiction between the teacher as master and as servant, and ends with an interpretation of ‘upbuilding’, a central concept in Søren Kierkegaard's writings. According to Tubbs’ reading, the teacher's patient struggle with herself in doubt is the basic condition for upbuilding, whereby the eternal's perfect gift (...) of love is given to the students. I maintain that the original Danish text does not fully support this interpretation and defend an alternative reading. The text says that the condition for receiving the perfect gift is itself a gift of God. Doubt is necessary, but if our doubt were sufficient, we could manage our lives without God, the condition for receiving the gift would not be a gift, and the possibility for receiving the gift would be spoiled both for teachers and students. (shrink)
The publication of this joint book by the founder of generative metrics and a distinguished literary linguist is a major event.1 F&H take a fresh look at much familiar material, and introduce an eye-opening collection of metrical systems from world literature into the theoretical discourse. The complex analyses are clearly presented, and illustrated with detailed derivations. A guest chapter by Carlos Piera offers an insightful survey of Southern Romance metrics.
At the beginning of the twenty-first century the ethics of performance are being pulled in two directions. The first of these embodies the spirit of the amateur athlete – itself an account of the broader social values ascribed to physical culture – which arose in the late nineteenth century and flourished in the early twentieth century (Hoberman 1992). The other beckons humanity towards a less familiar era, which is rooted in the democratisation of technology and where the human condition is (...) treated as an unfinished biological entity. (shrink)
Philosophy: The Essential Study Guide is a compact and straightforward guide to the skills needed to study philosophy, aimed at anyone coming to the subject for the first time or just looking to improve their performance. Nigel Warburton, bestselling author of Philosophy: The Basics , clarifies what is expected of students and offers strategies and guidance to help them make effective use of their study time and improve their marks. The four main skills covered by the book are: · (...) READING philosophy - both skimming and in-depth analysis of historical and contemporary work, understanding the examples and terminology used · LISTENING to philosophy - formal lectures and informal classroom teaching, preparation, picking up on arguments used, note taking · DISCUSSING philosophy - arguing and exploring, asking questions, communicating in concise and understandable ways · WRITING philosophy - planning and researching essays and other written tasks, thinking up original examples, avoiding plagiarism Written in Nigel Warburton's customary student-friendly style and filled with sound advice and top tips, Philosophy: The Essential Study Guide is an indispensable guide for anyone getting to grips with their first philosophy course. (shrink)
"What is art?" is a question many of us want to ask but are afraid to. This is the very question that Nigel Warburton demystifies in this brilliant and accessible book. Using carefully chosen illustrations and photographs, from Cezanne and Van Gogh to Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol and the Osmond family, best-selling author Nigel Warburton brings a philosopher's eye to art in a refreshingly jargon-free style. Nigel Warburton explains with customary clarity much discussed but little understood theories (...) of art:art as significant form; art as expression; art as family resemblance; and the institutional theory of art. He brings to life the arguments of the thinkers behind these theories, such as Clive Bell, R. G. Collingwood and Wittgenstein, and illuminates other perplexing problems in art, such as the artist's intention, representation and emotion. Drawing on photographs of Cindy Sherman and Tiananmen Square, Warburton shows that, if we are ever to answer the art question, we must consider each work of art on its own terms. A stimulating and handy guide through the art maze, The Art Question is essential reading for anyone interested in art, philosophy and looking at pictures. (shrink)
Nigel Harris argues that the notion of national capital is becoming redundant as cities and their citizens, increasingly unaffected by borders and national boundaries, take center stage in the economic world. Harris deconstructs this phenomenon and argues for the immense benefits it could and should have, not just for western wealth, but for economies worldwide, for international communication and for global democracy.
Philosophy: The Basics is the book for anyone coming to philosophy for the first time. Nigel Warburton's popular book gently eases the reader into the world of philosophy. Each chapter considers a key area of philosophy, explaining and exploring the basic ideas and themes. The third edition updates and expands the main text, and is the perfect companion to Philosophy: Basic Reading . These two books will together make for an ideal and straight forward introduction to philosophy.
'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it' This slogan, attributed to Voltaire, is frequently quoted by defenders of free speech. Yet it is rare to find anyone prepared to defend all expression in every circumstance, especially if the views expressed incite violence. So where do the limits lie? What is the real value of free speech? Here, Nigel Warburton offers a concise guide to important questions facing modern society (...) about the value and limits of free speech: Where should a civilized society draw the line? Should we be free to offend other people's religion? Are there good grounds for censoring pornography? Has the Internet changed everything? This Very Short Introduction is a thought-provoking, accessible, and up-to-date examination of the liberal assumption that free speech is worth preserving at any cost. (shrink)
The decades between 1770 and 1840 are rich in exotic accounts of the ruin-strewn landscapes of Ethiopia, Egypt, India, and Mexico. Yet it is a field which has been neglected by scholars and which - unjustifiably - remains outside the literary canon. In this pioneering book, Nigel Leask studies the Romantic obsession with these 'antique lands', drawing generously on a wide range of eighteenth and nineteenth-century travel books, as well as on recent scholarship in literature, history, geography, and anthropology. (...) Viewing the texts primarily as literary works rather than 'transparent' adventure stories or documentary sources, he sets out to challenge the tendency in modern academic work to overemphasize the authoritative character of colonial discourse. Instead, he addresses the relationship between narrative, aesthetics, and colonialism through the unstable discourse of antiquarianism, exploring the effects of problems of credit worthiness, and the nebulous epistemological claims of 'curiosity' (a leitmotif of the accounts studied here), on the contemporary status of travel writing. -/- Attentive to the often divergent idioms of elite and popular exoticism, Curiosity and the Aesthetics of Travel Writing plots the transformation of the travelogue through the period, as the baroque particularism of curiosity was challenged by picturesque aesthetics, systematic 'geographical narrative', and the emergence of a 'transcendental self' axiomatic to Romantic culture. In so doing it offers an important reformulation of the relations between literature, aesthetics, and empire in the late Enlightenment and Romantic periods. -/- . (shrink)
Sinnott, Nigel I had been looking forward to 29 July 1962 for a very long time. It marked the end often years spent at two English private boarding schools with their ethos of 'muscular Christianity': a proto-fascist mix of semi-monastic living, lots of compulsory sport and relentless Anglican religious indoctrination. I had loathed almost every day I had spent at these schools, as I disliked ball games and strenuous exercise from the outset, and by the time I was ten, (...) or maybe a few months older, I was a staunch atheist. I was by temperament a studious, imaginative and inquiring boy, but I loathed the formality, petty regimentation, narrow conservative mind-set, intolerance and sometimes brutality of the school system in which I found myself. I had spent a decade feeling confined, frustrated, very bored, often cold and sometimes frightened. I resolved that, if I ever had children of my own, they would never be brought up and 'educated' like this. (shrink)
The word 'athletics' is derived from the Greek verb 'to struggle for a prize'. After reading this book, no one will see the Olympics as a graceful display of Greek beauty again, but as war by other means. -/- Nigel Spivey paints a portrait of the Greek Olympics as they really were - fierce contests between bitter rivals, in which victors won kudos and rewards, and losers faced scorn and even assault. Victory was almost worth dying for, and a (...) number of athletes did just that. Many more resorted to cheating and bribery. Contested always bitterly and often bloodily, the ancient Olympics were not an idealistic celebration of unity, but a clash of military powers in an arena not far removed from the battlefield. (shrink)
This debate, principally between myself (Nigel Thomas) and Patrick Hayes, the well known computer scientist and Artificial Intelligence researcher, took place through the internet mailing list for the discussion of the scientific study of consciousness, PSYCHE-D (moderated by Patrick Wilken), which is associated with the on-line journal PSYCHE. The discussion touches on the various different senses in which the expression "mental image" may be used, the underlying cognitive mechanisms of imagery, and the relevance of an understanding of imagery to (...) the understanding of conscious thought, and thought in general. As the debate became rather 'unthreaded' on the list, following it through this page may help the reader to better understand what was going on. (shrink)
I Am Dynamite ignites an alternative theory of the self and will, wrapped up in a combustible assault upon scholarly convention. Asking why the real effort of constructing and living within an identity is so often overlooked, it examines the subjective experience of existing in the world, with the power to define and transform oneself. Considering the trials and triumphs of five very different modern subjects--Primo Levi, Ben Glaser, Stanley Spencer, Rachel Silberstein and Friedrich Nietzsche--Nigel Rapport asks: can consciousness (...) of being a self in the world enable control over one's life within it? Calling for a renewed appreciation of the extraordinary within us all, this richly inventive work seeks to restore knowledge to its essential practical and moral aims--aiding and informing the lives we actually live. (shrink)
The Phenomenology of Painting examines the practice of painting - how a painter works with materials, the elements of space, form and color - and viewer response to a work of art. Nigel Wentworth seeks to answer some of the central questions of the philosophy of art, such as: To what extent can a painting and its meaning be understood to result from the artist's intentions? In what way can the painting be understood as an expressive object? What does (...) it mean for a painting to be a representation of something? And what is the nature of aesthetic quality in painting? In offering responses to these questions, Wentworth offers a new theory on aesthetic quality. (shrink)
HLA Hart has sometimes been associated with the false proposition that there is 'no necessary connection between law and morality'. Nigel Simmonds is the latest critic to make the association. He offers an 'ironic' interpretation of a famous passage in Hart's The Concept of Law in which the proposition is apparently rejected as false by Hart. In this paper I explain why, even if Simmonds's ironic interpretation is tenable, it does not associate Hart with the proposition in the way (...) that Simmonds believes that it does. More affirmatively, I show that among several necessary connections between law and morality that Hart defends, there is an important indirect one that runs from law to legality, from legality to justice, and from justice to morality. (shrink)
Philosopher's zombies are hypothetical beings behaviorally, functionally, and perhaps even physically indistinguishable from normal humans, but who lack our consciousness. Many people seem to be convinced that such zombies are a real conceptual possibility, and that this bare possibility entails that understanding human consciousness must remain forever beyond the reach of science. However, the conceptual entailments of zombiehood have not been sufficiently examined. This brief article shows that any way of understanding the behavior of zombies that does in fact support (...) the suggested entailment, leads to contradictions and absurdities. Zombies are _not_ conceptually possible. (shrink)
Up until fairly recently it was philosophical orthodoxy – at least within analytic aesthetics broadly construed – to hold that the appreciation and evaluation of works as art and moral considerations pertaining to them are conceptually distinct. However, following on from the idea that artistic value is broader than aesthetic value, the last 15 years has seen an explosion of interest in exploring possible inter-relations between the appreciative and ethical character of works as art. Consideration of these issues has a (...) distinguished philosophical history but as the Compass survey article suggests ('Art, Morality and Ethics: On the (Im)Moral Character of Art Works and Inter-Relations to Artistic Value.' Philosophy Compass 1.2 (2006): 129–43), it is only very recently that figures in the field have returned to it to develop more precisely what they take the relationships to be and why. Consensus is, unsurprisingly, lacking. The reinvigoration of the issues has led sophisticated formalists or autonomists to mount a more considered defence of the idea that aesthetic and literary values are indeed conceptually distinct from the justification or otherwise of the moral perspective or views endorsed in a work (Topic I). The challenges presented by such a defence are many but amongst them are appeals to critical practice (Lamarque and Olsen), scepticism about whether or not art really can give us bona fide knowledge (Stolnitz) and the recognition that truth often seems to be far removed from what it is we value in our appreciation of works (Lamarque). One way to motivate consideration of the relevance of a work's moral character to its artistic value concerns the phenomena of imaginative resistance. At least sometimes it would seem that, as Hume originally suggested, we either cannot or will not enter imaginatively into the perspective solicited by a work due to its morally problematic character (Topic II). In some cases, it would seem that as a matter of psychological fact, we cannot do so since it is impossible for us to imagine how it could be that a certain attitude or action is morally permissible or good (Walton). The question then is whether or not this is a function of morality in particular or constraints on imaginative possibility more generally and what else is involved. At other times, the phenomena seem to be driven by a moral reluctance to allow ourselves to enter into the dramatic perspective involved (Moran) or evaluation of the attitude expressed (Stokes). Nonetheless, it is far from obvious that this is so of all the attitudes or responses we judge to be morally problematic. After all, it looks like we can and indeed often do suspend or background particular cognitive and moral commitments in engaging with all sorts of works (Nichols and Weinberg). If the moral character of a work interacts with how we appreciate and evaluate them, then the pressing question is this: is there any systematic account of the relationship available to us? One way is to consider the relationship between our emotional responses to works and their moral character (Topic III). After all, art works often solicit various emotional responses from us to follow the work and make use of moral concepts in so doing (Carroll). Indeed, whether or not a work merits the sought for emotional responses often seems to be internally related to ethical considerations (Gaut). Yet, it is not obvious that we should apply our moral concepts or respond emotionally in our imaginative engagement with works as art as we should in real life (Kieran, Jacobson). A different route is via the thought that art can convey knowledge (Topic IV). There might be particular kinds of moral knowledge art distinctively suited to conveying (Nussbaum) or it may just be that art does so particularly effectively (Carroll, Gaut, Kieran). Either way where this can be tied to the artistic means and appreciation of a work it would seem that to cultivate moral understanding contributes to the value of a work and to betray misunderstanding is a defect. Without denying the relevance of the moral character of a work some authors have wanted to claim that sometimes the immoral aspect of a work can contribute to rather than lessen its artistic value (Topic V). One route is to claim that there is no systematic theoretical account of the relationship available and what the right thing to say is depends on the particular case involved (Jacobson). Another involves the claim that this is so when the defect connects up in an appropriate way to one of the values of art. Thus, it has been claimed, only where a work reveals something which adds to intelligibility, knowledge or understanding in virtue of its morally problematic aspect can this be so (Kieran). The latter position looks like it could in principle be held whilst nonetheless maintaining that the typical or standard relationship is as the moralists would have it. Yet perhaps allowing valence change for such reasons is less a mark of principled explanation and more a function of downright inconsistency or incoherence (Harold). The topics themselves and suggested readings given below follow the structure articulated above as further amplified in the Compass survey article. The design and structure given below can be easily compressed or expanded further. Author Recommends 1. Carroll, Noël. 'Art, Narrative and Moral Understanding.' Aesthetics and Ethics: Essay at the Intersection . Ed. Jerrold Levinson. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998. 126–60. This article develops the idea that engaging with narrative art calls on moral concepts and emotions and can thereby clarify our moral understanding. 2. Carroll, Noël. Beyond Aesthetics: Philosophical Essays . Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009. Part IV consists of six distinct essays on questions concerning the inter-relations between art and morality including the essay cited above and the author's articulation and defence of moderate moralism. 3. Gaut, Berys. 'The Ethical Criticism of Art.' Aesthetics and Ethics: Essay at the Intersection . Ed. Jerrold Levinson. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998. 182–203. 4. Gaut, Berys. Art, Emotion and Ethics . Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007. This monograph provides the most exhaustive treatment of the issues and defends the claim that, where relevant, whenever a work is morally flawed it is of lesser value as art and wherever it is morally virtuous the work's value as art is enhanced. Chapters 7 and 8 defend concern ethical knowledge and chapter 10 is a development of the article cited above concerning emotional responses. Chapter 3 also gives a useful conceptual map of the issues and options in the debate. 5. Jacobson, Daniel. 'In Praise of Immoral Art.' Philosophical Topics 25 (1997): 155–99. A wide ranging and extended treatment of relevant issues which objects to generalising moral treatments of our responses to art works and defends the idea that particular works can be better because of rather than despite their moral defects. 6. Kieran, Matthew. 'Forbidden Knowledge: The Challenge of Cognitive Immoralism.' Art and Morality . Ed. Sebastian Gardner and José Luis Bermúdez. London: Routledge, 2003. 56–73. A general argument for immoralism is elaborated by outlining when, where and why a work's morally problematic character can contribute to its artistic value for principled reasons (through enhancing moral understanding). 7. Kieran, Matthew. Revealing Art . London: Routledge, 2005. Chapter 4. This chapter argues against both aestheticism and straightforward moralism about art, elaborating a defence of immoralism in relation to visual art whilst ranging over issues from pornographic art to the nature and demands of different genres in art. 8. Lamarque, Peter. 'Cognitive Values in the Arts: Marking the Boundaries.' Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art. Ed. Matthew Kieran. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006, 127–39. This article concisely outlines and defends a sophisticated aestheticism that denies the importance of truth to artistic value. 9. Stolnitz, Jerome. 'On the Cognitive Triviality of Art.' British Journal of Aesthetics 32.3 (1992): 191–200. This article articulates and defends the claim that no knowledge of any interesting or significant kind can be afforded by works appreciated and evaluated as art. 10. Walton, Kendall. 'Morals in Fiction and Fictional Morality, I.' Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Suppl. 68 (1994): 27–51. This article builds on some comments from Hume to develop the idea that when engaging with fictions it seems impossible imaginatively to enter into radically deviant moral attitudes. Online Materials 'Aesthetics and Ethics: The State of the Art.' American Society of Aesthetics online (Jeffrey Dean): http://www.aesthetics-online.org/articles/index.php?articles_id=15 >. 'Art, Censorship and Morality' downloadable podcast of Nigel Warburton interviewing Matthew Kieran at Tate Britain (BBC/OU Open2.net as part of the Ethics Bites series): http://www.open2.net/ethicsbites/art-censorship-morality.html >. 'Art, Morality and Ethics: On the (Im)Moral Character of Art Works and Inter-Relations to Artistic Value.' Philosophy Compass 1.2 (2006): 129–43 (Matthew Kieran): http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118557779/abstract >. 'Ethical Criticism of Art.' Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Ella Peek): http://www.iep.utm.edu/a/art-eth.htm >. 'Fascinating Fascism.' New York Review of Books Piece Discussing Leni Riefenstahl (Susan Sontag): http://www.nybooks.com/articles/9280 >. 'The Beheading of St. John the Baptist (1450s), Giovanni de Paolo' (Tom Lubbock): http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/great-works/great-works-the-beheading-of-st-john-the-baptist-1450s-giovanni-di-paolo-1684900.html >. Vladimir Nabokov and Lionel Trilling discuss Lolita (CBS): http://www.listal.com/video/3848698 >. Sample Syllabus Topic I Autonomism/Aestheticism • Anderson, James C. and Jeffrey T. Dean. 'Moderate Autonomism.' British Journal of Aesthetics 38.2 (1998): 150–66. • Beardsley, Monroe. Aesthetics: Problems in the Philosophy of Criticism . New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1958. Chapter 12. • Kant, Immanuel. The Critique of Judgement.Trans. James Creed Meredith . Oxford: Oxford UP, 1952 . • Lamarque, Peter. 'Cognitive Values in the Arts: Marking the Boundaries.' Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art . Ed. Matthew Kieran. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006, 127–39. • ——. 'Tragedy and Moral Value.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73.2 (1995): 239–49. • Lamarque, Peter and Stein Olsen. Truth, Fiction and Literature . Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994. Chapter 10. • Stolnitz, Jerome. 'On the Cognitive Triviality of Art.' British Journal of Aesthetics 32.3 (1992): 191–200. Topic II Imaginative Capacities, Intelligibility and Resistance • Moran, Richard. 'The Expression of Feeling in Imagination.' Philosophical Review 103.1 (1994): 75–106. • Nichols, Shaun. 'Just the Imagination: Why Imagining Doesn't Behave Like Believing'. Mind & Language 21.4 (2006): 459–74. • Stokes, Dustin. 'The Evaluative Character of Imaginative Resistance'. British Journal of Aesthetics 46.4 (2006): 387–405. • Tanner, Michael. 'Morals in Fiction and Fictional Morality, II'. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Suppl. Vol. 68 (1994): 51–66. • Walton, Kendall (1994). 'Morals in Fiction and Fictional Morality, I'. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Suppl. Vol. 68 (1994): 27–51. • Weinberg, Jonathan. 'Configuring the Cognitive Imagination.' New Waves in Aesthetics . Eds. K. Stock and K. Thomson-Jones. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. 203–23. Topic III Moralism and Emotions • Carroll, Noël. 'Moderate Moralism.' British Journal of Aesthetics 36.3 (1996): 223–37. • Carroll, Noël. 'Art, Narrative and Moral Understanding.' Aesthetics and Ethics: Essay at the Intersection . Ed. Jerrold Levinson. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998.126–60. • Gaut, Berys. Art, Emotion and Ethics . Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007. Chapter 10. • ——. 'The Ethical Criticism of Art.' Aesthetics and Ethics: Essay at the Intersection . Ed. Jerrold Levinson. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998. 182–203. • Hume, David. 'Of the Standard of Taste.' Selected Essays . Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993 . 133–53. • Kieran, Matthew. 'Emotions, Art and Immorality.' Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Emotions . Ed. Peter Goldie. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. 681–703. • Tolstoy, Leo. What is Art? . London: Penguin, 2004. Chapters 5 and 15. Topic IV Moralism and Knowledge • Aristotle. Poetics . Trans. M. Heath. London: Penguin, 1996 [367–322 BC]. • Carroll, Noël. 'The Wheel of Virtue: Art, Literature and Moral Knowledge.' Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 60.1 (2002): 3–26. • Gaut, Berys. Art, Emotion and Ethics . Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007. Chapters 7 and 8. • Gaut, Berys. 'Art and Cognition.' Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art . Ed. Matthew Kieran. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006. 115–26. • Kieran, Matthew. 'Art, Imagination and the Cultivation of Morals.' Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 54.4 (1996): 337–51. • Nussbaum, Martha. 'Finely Aware and Richly Responsible: Literature and the Moral Imagination.' Love's Knowledge . New York: Oxford UP, 1990. 148–68. • Plato. The Republic . Trans. D. Lee. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974. Book 10. Topic V Immoralist Contextualism • Harold, James. 'Immoralism and the Valence Constraint.' British Journal of Aesthetics 48.1 (2008): 45–64. • Jacobson, Daniel. 'In Praise of Immoral Art.' Philosophical Topics 25 (1997): 155–99. • ——. 'Ethical Criticism and the Vices of Moderation.' Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art . Ed. Matthew Kieran. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006. 342–55. • John, Eileen. 'Artistic Value and Moral Opportunism.' Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art . Ed. Matthew Kieran. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006. 331–41. • Kieran, Matthew. 'Forbidden Knowledge:The Challenge of Cognitive Immoralism.' Art and Morality . Ed. Sebastian Gardner and José Luis Bermúdez. London: Routledge, 2003. 56–73. • Kieran, Matthew. Revealing Art . London: Routledge, 2005. Chapter 4. • Patridge, Stephanie. 'Moral Vices as Artistic Virtues: Eugene Onegin and Alice.' Philosophia 36.2 (2008): 181–93. Focus Questions 1. What is the strongest argument for the claim that the moral character of a work is not relevant to its artistic value? Does artistic or literary criticism tend to concern itself with the truth or morality of works? If so, in what ways? If not, why do you think this is? 2. What different explanations might there be for difficulty with or resistance to imaginatively entering into attitudes you take to be immoral? How might this relate to the way our imaginings work as contrasted with belief? How might different literary or artistic treatments of the same subject matter make a difference? 3. How do narrative works draw on our moral concepts and responses? Can we suspend our normal moral commitments or application of moral concepts in responding emotionally to art works? Should we respond emotionally to art works as we ought to respond to real world events we witness? Why? Why not? 4. How, if at all, do art works convey moral understanding? How, if at all, is this related to the kinds of moral knowledge art works can teach or reveal to us? When, where and why might this be tied to the artistic value of a work? How can we tell where a work enhances our moral understanding as opposed to misleading or distorting it? 5. What art works do you value overall as art which commend or endorse moral values and attitudes that you do not? Is appreciation of them always marred or lessened by the morally dubious aspect? If not, what explains the differences in evaluation? What, if anything, might you learn by engaging with works which endorse moral attitudes or apply moral concepts different from those you take to be justified? How, if at all, might this connect up with what makes them valuable as art? (shrink)
A comprehensive theory of the structure and cognitive function of the human imagination, and its relationship to perceptual experience, is developed, largely through a critique of the account propounded in Colin McGinn's Mindsight. McGinn eschews the highly deflationary (and unilluminating) views of imagination common amongst analytical philosophers, but fails to develop his own account satisfactorily because (owing to a scientifically outmoded understanding of visual perception) he draws an excessively sharp, qualitative distinction between imagination and perception (following Wittgenstein, Sartre, and others), (...) and because of his fatally flawed, empirically ungrounded conception of hallucination. In fact, however, an understanding of perception informed by modern visual science will enable us to unify our accounts of perception, mental imagery, dreaming, hallucination, creativity, and other aspects of imagination within a single coherent theoretical framework. (shrink)
The ethics of humor is deeply puzzling. Radically opposed views about when it is morally permissible to find something funny are easy to motivate and render plausible. On the one side of the debate about ethics and humor stands the moralist, who believes that our sense of humor is fully answerable to ethical considerations. The fact that a joke rests on ethically bad stereotypes or expresses a derogatory attitude shows that it isn't funny. Sexist or racist jokes that previous generations (...) found hilarious are now correctly regarded as positively offensive and in no way funny. Joseph Boskin reminds us of the offensiveness of the "Sambo" stereotype on which many racial jokes have rested, and argues that it was "subscribed to by whites in their attempt to preserve a social distance between themselves and blacks, to maintain a sense of racial superiority, and to prolong the class structure." Humor has often been used as an instrument of oppression, as a way of expressing contempt towards those outside the privileged group, a way of keeping outsiders in their place. For the moralist, given the importance of humor in the way we relate to others, we must hold humor to be fully answerable to ethical considerations. Humor is subject to the demands of justice. (shrink)
Defining Imagery: Experience or Representation? Historical Development of Ideas about Imagery Subjective Individual Differences in Imagery Experience Theories of Imagery, and their Implications for Consciousness Picture theory Description theory Enactive theory.
The long debate -- Aesthetics and ethics : basic concepts -- A conceptual map -- Autonomism -- Artistic and critical practices -- Questions of character -- The cognitive argument : the epistemic claim -- The cognitive argument : the aesthetic claim -- Emotion and imagination -- The merited response argument.
Abstract While agreeing that dynamical models play a major role in cognitive science, we reject Stepp, Chemero, and Turvey's contention that they constitute an alternative to mechanistic explanations. We review several problems dynamical models face as putative explanations when they are not grounded in mechanisms. Further, we argue that the opposition of dynamical models and mechanisms is a false one and that those dynamical models that characterize the operations of mechanisms overcome these problems. By briefly considering examples involving the (...) generation of action potentials and circadian rhythms, we show how decomposing a mechanism and modeling its dynamics are complementary endeavors. (shrink)
The claim that photographs are fictionally incompetent (i.e. that they can only depict those particulars they are appropriately causally related to) is argued by Noël Carroll, Gregory Currie, and Nigel Warburton to be falsified by cinematic works of fiction. In response I firstly argue that it does not follow from cinema's having a capacity for the representation of ficta that photography has a capacity for the representation of ficta. Secondly, and inspired by the work of Roger Scruton, I develop (...) an account of how it is that cinema represents ficta on which this is fundamentally a matter of dramatic/theatrical representation. I argue that in cinematic fiction photography delivers a pre-existent representation of ficta rather than creating or generating fictional content. With this being so, the claim that photography is fictionally incompetent is compatible with cinematic fiction. 1. (shrink)
In On Certainty, Wittgenstein’s reflections bring into view the phenomenon of basic certainty. He explores this phenomenon mostly in relation to our certainty with regard to empirical states of affairs. Drawing on these seminal observations and reflections, I extend the inquiry into what I call “basic moral certainty”, arguing that the latter plays the same kind of foundational role in our moral practices and judgements as basic empirical certainty does in our epistemic practices and judgements. I illustrate the nature and (...) significance of basic moral certainty via critical examination of contemporary philosophical “explanations” of the wrongness of killing. These pseudo explanations, as I show them to be, will be seen to founder in a similar manner to Moore’s “Proof” of an external world, that is, in a manner that discloses the phenomenon of basic (moral) certainty. (shrink)
Can theories of mental imagery, conscious mental contents, developed within cognitive science throw light on the obscure (but culturally very significant) concept of imagination? Three extant views of mental imagery are considered: quasi-pictorial, description, and perceptual activity theories. The first two face serious theoretical and empirical difficulties. The third is (for historically contingent reasons) little known, theoretically underdeveloped, and empirically untried, but has real explanatory potential. It rejects the "traditional" symbolic computational view of mental contents, but is compatible with recent (...) *situated cognition* and *active vision* approaches in robotics. This theory is developed and elucidated. Three related key aspects of imagination (non-discursiveness, creativity, and *seeing as*) raise difficulties for the other theories. Perceptual activity theory presents imagery as non-discursive and relates it closely to *seeing as*. It is thus well placed to be the basis for a general theory of imagination and its role in creative thought. (shrink)
These thirteen new, specially written essays by a distinguished international line-up of contributors, including some leading contemporary moral philosophers, give a rich and varied view of current work on ethics and practical reason. The three main perspectives on the topic, Kantian, Humean, and Aristotelian, are all well represented. Issues covered include: the connection between reason and motivation; the source of moral reasons and their relation to reasons of self-interest; the relation of practical reason to value, to freedom, to responsibility, and (...) to feelings. The editors' introduction provides a valuable introductory survey of the topic, putting the individual essays in context. Ethics and Practical Reason will be essential reading for scholars, postgraduates, and upper-level undergraduates working in this area. (shrink)
Hayek's and Mises's argument for the impossibility of socialist planning is once again popular. Their case against socialism is predicated on an account of the nature of knowledge and social interaction. Hayek refined Mises's original argument by developing a philosophical anthropology which depicts individuals as tacitly knowledgeable rule-followers embedded in a 'spontaneous order' of systems of rules. Giddens, whose social theory is informed by his reading of Wittgenstein, has recently added his sociological support to Hayek's 'epistemological argument' against socialism. With (...) the aid of an interpretation of Wittgenstein which emphasizes his philosophy of praxis , I attempt to 'deconstruct' Giddens's and Hayek's 'picture' of tacit knowledge and rule-following on which their argument against socialism is predicated. (shrink)
This study examines corporate publications of U.K. firms to investigate the nature of corporate social responsibility disclosure. Using a stakeholder approach to corporate social responsibility, our results suggest a hierarchical model of disclosure: from general rhetoric to specific endeavors to implementation and monitoring. Industry differences in attention to specific stakeholder groups are noted. These differences suggest the need to understand the effects on social responsibility disclosure of factors in a firm's immediate operating environment, such as the extent of government regulation (...) and level of competitiveness in the industry. (shrink)
This paper explores cosmopolitanism, not as a position within political philosophy or international relations, but as a virtuous stance taken by individuals who see their responsibilities as extending globally. Taking as its cue some recent writing by Kwame Anthony Appiah, it argues for a number of virtues that are inherent in, and required by, such a stance. It is critical of what it sees as a limited scope in Appiah's conception and enriches it with Nigel Dower's concept of 'global (...) citizenship'. It then seeks to overcome a distinction that Appiah draws between a 'thin' moral conception of justice and a 'thick' ethical conception of our obligations to those with whom we have identity-forming relationships. It argues that a richer conception of the virtue of justice, as suggested by Raimond Gaita, can fully articulate the ideals of cosmopolitanism. (shrink)
Although this paper attends to some extent to the question whether the global economy promotes or impedes either justice or sustainability, its main focus is on the relationship between justice and sustainability. Whilst sustainability itself as a normative goal is about sustaining inter alia justice, justice itself requires intergenerationally the sustaining of the conditions of a good life for all. At the heart of this is a conception of justice as realising the basic rights of all–in contrast to a more (...) demanding distributive principle or a less demanding principle of not violating the liberty rights or other basic rights of others. Although Pogges analysis that the global economy causes harm by failing to realise basic rights is seen as a useful challenge to common libertarian assumptions, the acceptance of other positive correlative duties, following Shue, is advocated. Insofar as the global economy fails to realise basic justice, the question is how far can it realistically be changed? and this is a function partly of the moral attitudes of individuals at large. (shrink)
Although creativity, from Plato onwards, has been recognized as a topic in philosophy, it has been overshadowed by investigations of the meanings and values of works of art. In this new collection of essays a distinguished roster of philosophers of art redress this trend. The subjects discussed include the nature of creativity and the process of artistic creation; the role that creative making should play in our understanding and evaluation of art; relations between concepts of creation and creativity; and ideas (...) of tradition, metaphor, genius, imagination and genre. This is an important collection that will be eagerly sought by philosophers of art as well as theorists in art history, cinema studies and literary criticism. (shrink)
Alice Crary claims that “the standard view of the bearing of Wittgenstein's philosophy on ethics” is dominated by “inviolability interpretations”, which often underlie conservative readings of Wittgenstein. Crary says that such interpretations are “especially marked in connection with On Certainty”, where Wittgenstein is represented as holding that “our linguistic practices are immune to rational criticism, or inviolable”. Crary's own conception of the bearing of Wittgenstein's philosophy on ethics, which I call the “intrinsically-ethical reading”, derives from the influential New Wittgenstein school (...) of exegesis, and is also espoused by James Edwards, Cora Diamond, and Stephen Mulhall. To my eyes, intrinsically-ethical readings present a peculiar picture of ethics, which I endeavour to expose in Part I of the paper. In Part II I present a reading of On Certainty that Crary would call an “inviolability interpretation”, defend it against New Wittgensteinian critiques, and show that this kind of reading has nothing to do with ethical or political conservatism. I go on to show how Wittgenstein's observations on the manner in which we can neither question nor affirm certain states of affairs that are fundamental to our epistemic practices can be fruitfully extended to ethics. Doing so sheds light on the phenomenon that I call “basic moral certainty”, which constitutes the foundation of our ethical practices, and the scaffolding or framework of moral perception, inquiry, and judgement. The nature and significance of basic moral certainty will be illustrated through consideration of the strangeness of philosophers' attempts at explaining the wrongness of killing. (shrink)
This article surveys the recently established field of enquiry called 'development ethics' - that is, ethical enquiry into the normative basis of socio-economic development. This covers two levels of enquiry. First, it involves enquiry into the nature of human well-being and the social norms within which the conditions of well-being should be promoted, and includes consideration of both the means and the ends of development. Second, it involves the ethical basis of the wider global framework within which the development of (...) countries takes place. This covers both the normative basis of international relations and the global relations between individuals in different parts of the world as expressed in the idea of global responsibility. (shrink)
Cognitive science has always included multiple methodologies and theoretical commitments. The philosophy of cognitive science should embrace, or at least acknowledge, this diversity. Bechtel's (2009a) proposed philosophy of cognitive science, however, applies only to representationalist and mechanist cognitive science, ignoring the substantial minority of dynamically-oriented cognitive scientists. As an example of non-representational, dynamical cognitive science, we describe strong anticipation as a model for circadian systems (Stepp and Turvey 2009). We then propose a philosophy of science appropriate to non-representational, dynamical (...) cognitive science. (shrink)
This article was written as a commentary on a target article by Peter W. Ross entitled "The Location Problem for Color Subjectivism" [Consciousness and Cognition 10(1), 42-58 (2001)], and is published together with it, and with other commentaries and Ross's reply. If you or your library have the necessary subscription you can get PDF versions of the target article, all the commentaries, and Ross's reply to the commentaries here. However, I do not think that it is by any means essential (...) for you to have read Ross's piece in order to understand this one. Ross defends a view called "color physicalism" or color realism that holds (simplifying somewhat) that colors are real physical properties (in typical cases, spectral reflectances of object surfaces). This is in opposition to what is probably a more widely held "subjectivist" view of color, holding that color qualities really exist only in the mind. In my commentary I suggest that a realist view of qualitative properties, such as Ross's, together with a direct, active view of perception, and a concept of "extended mind" (Clark & Chalmers, 1998) may provide the materials for a real solution to the notorious hard problem of consciousness. I sketch this solution in outline. - N.J.T.T. (shrink)
Not long ago, I received an email from a man who had been trying to get his seven-year-old son interested in science, and teach him a little bit about the workings of the brain. He had been showing his son one of those diagrams of a brain with various regions labeled as "speech center," vision center," and the like (something similar to this, I suppose), when the little boy suddenly asked, "Daddy, which part of the brain does imagination come from?". (...) It was not on the diagram, and the father, although he studied human biology at college, realized he did not know the answer. As we do these days, he got on the internet to try to find out. It was not as easy as he might have expected. "Imagination" is certainly a word that is found on a lot of web pages, and there are plenty that seem to be devoted to celebrating or promoting it, but very few of them seem to have anything at all to say about what it is, how it works, or where in the brain it might be implemented. Eventually, he found his way to this site. Even here, however, he could find no straightforward answer to his son's apparently straightforward question. (The truth is, the question is not nearly as straightforward as it appears.) He thought I might be a good a person to ask, however, and sent me an email. What follows is a lightly revised version of the reply I sent. It is not written in terms that a seven-year-old could understand (I am not clever enough to do that), but neither is it pitched at the professional, academic level of most of the material on this site. I would like to think that it answers the question (inasmuch as it can be answered in the current state of scientific knowledge) in a way that a layperson should be able to understand, and that they might then be able to explain to a curious and intelligent child. If you want to know the detailed reasons, and see the citations to the scientific literature, that justify the claims made here, you can find them in the other articles on this site.. (shrink)
Mental imagery (varieties of which are sometimes colloquially refered to as “visualizing,” “seeing in the mind's eye,” “hearing in the head,” “imagining the feel of,” etc.) is quasi-perceptual experience; it resembles perceptual experience, but occurs in the absence of the appropriate external stimuli. It is also generally understood to bear intentionality (i.e., mental images are always images of something or other), and thereby to function as a form of mental representation. Traditionally, visual mental imagery, the most discussed variety, was thought (...) to be caused by the presence of picturelike representations (mental images) in the mind, soul, or brain, but this is no longer universally accepted. (shrink)
This article reviews the various ways in which the later writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein have been employed to address the question “What is Art?”. These include the family resemblance model, the cluster concept model and the form of life model. The article defends a version of the form of life approach. Also, addressed the charge that it would have been more profitable had aestheticians explored what Wittgenstein actually said about art instead of trying to extrapolate from his writings an approach (...) to what Nigel Warburton calls the art question. (shrink)
In recent years there has been growing attention paid to a kind of human action or activity which does not issue from a process of reflection and deliberation and which is described as, e.g., ‘engaged coping’, ‘unreflective action’, and ‘flow’. Hubert Dreyfus, one of its key proponents, has developed a phenomenology of expertise which he has applied to ethics in order to account for ‘everyday ongoing ethical coping’ or ‘ethical expertise’. This article addresses the shortcomings of this approach by examining (...) the pre-reflective ethical know-how individuals first develop and on which all later forms of ethical expertise are dependent. In the first section an account is given of the ‘ethical second nature’ which every individual develops from childhood onwards and which forms the basis of pre-reflective ethical know-how. The acquisition of an ethical second nature early on opens up the very domain of ‘the ethical’ for us in the first place and is constitutive of our sensitivity to it. The second section turns to pre-reflective ethical know-how and whether it is conceptual in nature. Just as sensorimotor understanding forms the basis of our reflective perceptual concepts, pre-reflective ethical know-how is similarly proto-conceptual and is the source of our reflective ethical and moral concepts. Finally, the third section examines the process whereby ethical second nature and pre-reflective ethical know-how are actually acquired, namely, through immersion in an ‘ethical world’. This world consists of both the web of ethical meanings and significances which has evolved in a particular society or community as well as its members whose actions and interactions continually reproduce that web. (shrink)
Since the publication of my "Are Theories of Imagery Theories of Imagination? An _Active Perception_ Approach to Conscious Mental Content," (Thomas, 1999 - henceforth abbreviated as ATOITOI on this page), a good deal of published material has appeared or has come to my attention that either provides additional support for the Perceptual Activity Theory PA theory) of mental imagery presented in ATOITOI, or that throws further doubt on the rival (picture and description) theories that are criticized there. Other relevant evidence (...) was not mentioned in ATOITOI because I lacked the space for a proper explanation of its relevance. I hope eventually to write and publish a new account of
theory, that will make use of much of this material. In the meantime this page provides citations (and, where possible, links) to the "new" support, and discussion sections that briefly explain the relevance of the cited material. Quite apart from presenting new lines of supporting evidence and argument, I hope this page will help to clarify many aspects of. (shrink)
This article presents global ethics as critical reflection on the nature, justification and application of a global ethic. Much of the article focuses on the nature of a global ethic as the content of global ethics, e.g. whether it is thick or thin, is about universal values or transnational responsibilities, is a set of values justified by a particular thinker, values widely shared or values universally accepted. Global ethics itself as a process is also examined. In the last part the (...) Earth Charter is examined as an example of a global ethic, and a case is made for regarding it, both in respect to its content and in respect to the senses in which it is and is not a global ethic, as an appropriate subject matter for global ethics. (shrink)
What can computers do in principle? What are their inherent theoretical limitations? These are questions to which computer scientists must address themselves. The theoretical framework which enables such questions to be answered has been developed over the last fifty years from the idea of a computable function: intuitively a function whose values can be calculated in an effective or automatic way. This book is an introduction to computability theory (or recursion theory as it is traditionally known to mathematicians). Dr Cutland (...) begins with a mathematical characterisation of computable functions using a simple idealised computer (a register machine); after some comparison with other characterisations, he develops the mathematical theory, including a full discussion of non-computability and undecidability, and the theory of recursive and recursively enumerable sets. The later chapters provide an introduction to more advanced topics such as Gildel's incompleteness theorem, degrees of unsolvability, the Recursion theorems and the theory of complexity of computation. Computability is thus a branch of mathematics which is of relevance also to computer scientists and philosophers. Mathematics students with no prior knowledge of the subject and computer science students who wish to supplement their practical expertise with some theoretical background will find this book of use and interest. (shrink)
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.
This paper presents an 'internal' criticism of Winch's seminal 'Understanding a Primitive Society'. It distinguishes between two contrasting approaches to critical social understanding: (1) the metaphysical approach, central to the whole tradition of critical philosophy and critical social theory from Kant, through Marx to the Frankfurt School and contemporary theorists such as Habermas and Searle; (2) the descriptive approach, advocated by Winch, and which derives from Wittgenstein's critique of philosophical theory. It is argued, against a long tradition of 'critical theory' (...) depicting Wittgenstein's philosophy as irredeemably 'conservative', that the descriptive approach is perfectly apt for generating a critical understanding of central Western institutions. Rather than seeking to provide an explanatory theory through which to discern what allegedly is imperceptible to theoretically unaided perception (i.e. the metaphysical approach), the descriptive approach aims for a 'perspicuous presentation' of our everyday practices and institutions in such a way as to see their 'irrational' and 'alienating' dimensions. Winch's basic position in 'Understanding a Primitive Society' is endorsed, but it is argued that ultimately he fails in his descriptive intent. In place of the Christian prayer analogy that Winch invokes in order to make sense of Zande witchcraft, it is proposed that Western commodity production and exchange provide a more appropriate, instructive, and critical comparison. (shrink)
Philosophy for AS and A2 is the definitive textbook for students of Advanced Subsidiary or Advanced Level courses, structured directly around the specification of the AQA - the only exam board to offer these courses. Following a lively foreword by Nigel Warburton, author of Philosophy: The Basics , a team of experienced teachers devote a chapter each to the six themes covered by the syllabus: AS * Theory of Knowledge * Moral Philosophy * Philosophy of Religion A2 * Philosophy (...) of Mind * Political Philosophy * Philosophy of Science Each of the six themed chapters includes: * A list of key concepts, to introduce students to the topic * Bite-size sections corresponding exactly to the syllabus topics * Actual past exam questions from previous years * Suggested discussion questions to promote debate * Text-boxes with helpful summaries, case-studies and examples * An annotated further reading list directing students towards the best articles, books and websites * A comprehensive glossary, providing a handy reference point There is a final chapter on essay writing and exam preparation, designed to help students get to grips with the examination board requirements. (shrink)
I address four questions that arise out of Nigel Simmonds's book, Law as a Moral Idea : Is politics a moral idea too? Is there any such thing as law making? Is there a right answer to every legal dispute? What justifies a judicial decision? To each question I propose an answer that shares much with Simmonds's views, but diverges. Simmonds is right to call law a 'moral idea', and that implies a connection between law and a moral ideal; (...) in my view, the connection is compatible with a necessary connection between law and the morally non-ideal. (shrink)
The term schema (plural: schemata, or sometimes schemas) is widely used in cognitive psychology and the cognitive sciences generally to designate "psychological constructs that are postulated to account for the molar forms of human generic knowledge" (Brewer, 1999). The vagueness of this definition is no accident (and no sort of failing on Brewer's part). In fact schema is used in such very different ways by different cognitive theorists that the term has become quite notorious for its ambiguity (Miller, Polson, & (...) Kintsch, 1984 p. 6). However, a concept of.. (shrink)
The concept of consciousness appears to have had little currency before the 17th century. Not only did philosophers before Descartes fail to worry about how consciousness fitted into the natural world, they did not even claim to be conscious. If we are conscious, however, we must assume that they were too, and it hardly seems plausible that they could have been unaware of it. In fact, when the mind was discussed in former ages, both before and within the work of (...) Descartes, the concept of imagination filled most (not all) of the key conceptual roles that consciousness fills today. Although it was not considered uniquely problematic, in the way that consciousness is, imagination continued to be used in these ways long after the Cartesian revolution. It was both the mental arena where thinking took place - where ideas (images) had their being and their interaction - and, implicitly, the power whereby the deliverances of the material sense organs were integrated and rendered meaningful (and, thereby, rendered 'mental'). This suggests that the study of the imagination (in the relevant senses) ought to have a considerable bearing on the study of consciousness, and it may even provide a way to outflank the notorious 'hard problem' that seems to stand in the way of a direct scientific assault on consciousness itself. (shrink)
To the best of my knowledge, with the exception of Galton's original work (1880, 1883), Sommer's brief case study (1978), and Faw's (1997, 2009) articles, this is the only really substantial discussion of the phenomenon of non-brain-damaged "non-imagers" available anywhere.
The principal temptation toward substance dualisms, or otherwise incorporating a question begging homunculus into our psychologies, arises not from the problem of consciousness in general, nor from the problem of intentionality, but from the question of our awareness and understanding of our own mental contents, and the control of the deliberate, conscious thinking in which we employ them. Dennett has called this "Hume's problem". Cognitivist philosophers have generally either denied the experiential reality of thought, as did the Behaviorists, or have (...) taken an implicitly epiphenomenalist stance, a form of dualism. Some sort of mental duality may indeed be required to meet this problem, but not one that is metaphysical or question begging. I argue that it can be solved in the light of Paivio's "Dual Coding" theory of mental representation. This theory, which is strikingly simple and intuitive (perhaps too much so to have caught the imagination of philosophers) has demonstrated impressive empirical power and scope. It posits two distinct systems of potentially conscious representations in the human mind: mental imagery and verbal representation (which is not to be confused with 'propositional' or "mentalese" representation). I defend, on conceptual grounds, Paivio's assertion of precisely two codes against interpretations which would either multiply image codes to match sense modes, or collapse the two, admittedly interacting, systems into one. On this basis I argue that the inference that a conscious agent would be needed to read such mental representations and to manipulate them in the light of their contents can be pre-empted by an account of how the two systems interact, each registering, affecting and being affected by developing associative processes within the other. (shrink)
Wittgenstein is often invoked in philosophical disputes over the ethical justifiability of our treatment of animals. Many protagonists believe that Wittgenstein's philosophy points to a quantum difference between human and animal nature that arises out of humans' linguistic capacity. For this reason - its alleged anthropocentrism - animal liberationists tend to dismiss Wittgenstein's philosophy, whereas, for the same reason, anti-liberationists tend to embrace it. I endorse liberationist moral claims, but think that many on both sides of the dispute fail to (...) grasp the import of Wittgenstein's philosophy. My argument proceeds through close engagement with Michael Leahy's Against Liberation, which makes extensive use of Wittgenstein's 'notion of language-games' as an 'essential methodological aid' in its defence and justification of the moral status quo. Leahy's understanding and application of that method exemplifies an entrenched interpretative stance in the wider Wittgensteinian scholarship which I seek to counter. This enables me to show that far from entailing conservatism, as some of his critics and followers contend, Wittgenstein's philosophical method is just as conducive to radical moral and political critique as it is to any other normative position. (shrink)
Warburton assesses the key arguments for and against individual freedom in this book. Each chapter considers a fundamental argument on individual freedom, including the concepts of negative and positive freedom, freedom of belief, the Harm Principle, and freedom of speech and expression. With readings from Mill, Berlin and Taylor.
The concepts of imagination and consciousness have, very arguably, been inextricably intertwined at least since Aristotle initiated the systematic study of human cognition (Thomas, 1998). To imagine something is ipso facto to be conscious of it (even if the wellsprings of imaginative creativity are in the unconscious), and many have held that our conscious thinking consists largely or entirely in a succession of mental images, the products of imagination (see, e.g., Damasio, 1994 -- or, come to that, see Aristotle, or (...) Hume, or almost any pre-twentieth century cognitive theorist). A venerable tradition also regards perceptual experiences, the main focus of most recent work on consciousness, as products of the imagination, whose primary function is to integrate sensory inputs and render them meaningful (Thomas, 1998, 1999). As Coleridge (1817) famously put it, primary imagination is "the living power and prime agent of all human perception." A better understanding of imagination is likely to deepen our insight into the nature of consciousness (and, probably, vice-versa). (shrink)