Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a tortured concept. In this paper, we reframe CSR into a number of discrete Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR’s), each of which can have a positive or negative social impact, and each of which has an endogenous managerially driven component, and an exogenous stakeholder driven component. Using an industry-level sample drawn from the KLD data base, we test the impact of hypothesized drivers of CSR on various CSR’s.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a tortured concept. We review the current state of the art across a number of academic disciplines, from accounting to management to theology. In a world that is increasingly global and pluralistic, progress in our understanding of CSR must include theorizing around the micro-level processes practicing managers engage in when allocating resources toward social initiatives, as well as refined measurement of the outcomes of those initiatives on stakeholder and shareholder interests. Scholarship must also account for (...) the influence of diverse, and even mal-adaptive, stakeholders as well as more fully incorporate non-Western philosophical and economic perspectives. Based on this review, we pose five questions that scholars from each of these disciplines should address as the CSR field moves forward. We hope our questions provoke deeper thinking and greater rigor and attention to detail in this important area of business research. (shrink)
The construction of causal models for research in business ethics has become fashionable in recent years. This paper explores four recent proposals, comparing and contrasting their views. The primary purpose of this paper is to expose several confusions inherent in such models and to account for these errors in terms of a failure to distinguish between models as theories and models as representing a research tradition. We conclude with a brief set of recommendations for linking two major research traditions in (...) business ethics: empiricism and ethical theory. (shrink)
Einstein’s equivalence principle has a number of problems, and it is often applied incorrectly. Clocks on the earth do not seem to be affected by the sun’s gravitational potential. The most commonly accepted reason given is a faulty application of the equivalence principle. While no valid reason is available within either the special or general theories of relativity, ether theories can provide a valid explanation. A clock bias of the correct magnitude and position dependence can convert the Selleri transformation of (...) ether theories into an apparent Lorentz transformation, which gives rise to an apparent equivalence of inertial frames. The results indicate that the special theory is invalid and that only an apparent relativity exists. (shrink)
There once was an ugly duckling. Except he wasn’t a duckling at all, and once he realized his error he lived happily ever after. And there you have an early primer from the animal literature on the issue of misrepresentation -- perhaps one of the few on this topic to have a happy ending. Philosophers interested in misrepresentation have turned their attention to a different fairy tale animal: the frog. No one gets kissed in this story and the controversial issue (...) of self-recognition is avoided. There are simply some scientifically established facts about ways to get a frog to stick out its tongue. (Who would want to kiss a frog under those conditions, anyway?) Some frogs, it seems, are fairly indiscriminate about sticking out their tongues. Not just flies, but a whole slew of other things will go down the hatch if propelled at just the right velocity and range through a frog’s visual field, provoking a tongue-flicking response. Fortunately for us all, frogs seem to be a bit more discriminating about whom they will kiss. At first sight, the frog’s tongue-flicking response seems like an ideal starting point for those who wish to promote evolutionary or "teleological" theories of intentional content. The signals passed from the frog’s retina to the frog’s brain were undoubtedly honed by the deaths of untold millions of insects snagged by countless generations of amphibians. Those amphibian ancestors whose eyes generated signals that were more 1 reliable guides to the location of food in the environment did better at propagating their genes, all other things being equal, than their cohorts whose eye to brain signals were less reliable. The teleosemanticist identifies the content of frogs’ intracranial signals in terms of the environmental conditions that historically corresponded to successful tongue-flicking, namely the presence of frog food -- typically flies -- in tongue-flicking range. And their descendants live happily ever after. But this would not be a fairy tale unless there were something to pose a credible threat to this happy ending.. (shrink)
In the years since Enron corporate social responsibility, or “CSR,” has become a ubiquitous phenomenon in both research and business practice. CSR is used as an umbrella term to describe much of what is done in terms of ethics-related activities in firms around the globe to such an extent that some consider it a “tortured concept” (Godfrey and Hatch 2007, Journal of Business Ethics 70, 87–98). Addressing this skepticism, I argue in this article that the focus on CSR is (...) indeed problematic for three main reasons: (1) the term carries a lot of historical baggage – baggage that is not necessarily conducive to the clarity of the concept; (2) it is the object of increasing ethical instrumentalism; and (3) given the multiple ethical challenges that corporations face, and given the fact that the “social” responsibilities of business are but one set of corporate responsibilities, a suitable term would have to be more inclusive and integrative. I therefore suggests moving instead toward a sound definition of corporate integrity and aim in this article to develop a working definition by fleshing out “7 Cs” of integrity: commitment, conduct, content, context, consistency, coherence, and continuity. I then discuss how these 7 Cs impact our understanding of CSR or, more broadly, corporate responsibility in general. (shrink)
BackgroundA baby hatch called the “Stork’s Cradle” has been in place at Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto City, Japan, since May 10, 2007. Babyklappes were first established in Germany in 2000, and there are currently more than 90 locations. Attitudes regarding baby hatches are divided in Japan and neither opinions for nor against baby hatches have thus far been overwhelming. To consider the appropriateness of baby hatches, we present and examine the validity of each major objection to establishing baby hatches.DiscussionThere (...) are various objections to baby hatches as follows: It violates a child’s right to know the identity of his or her biological parents by allowing anonymous birth; it neglects fulfillment of the biological parents’ basic obligation to raise their child and its very availability induces abandonment of infants; some people abuse it for very selfish reasons; it cannot save babies’ lives; the rights of one parent can be ignored if the other surrenders a child without his or her consent; it puts a baby in medical jeopardy; and it has no clear legal basis. The authors would argue that there are many plausible refutations for each objection mainly based on priority of child’s right to life, pregnant women’s vulnerability and necessity of anonymity, social responsibility to protect and raise children, differences between dropping a child off at a baby hatch and child neglect, limited function of social childcare center, inevitability of abuse by a minority of people, necessary distinction between outcomes that occur only because baby hatches exist and those that occur regardless of their existence, important local direct and upmost measures for women in trouble, and difference between ambiguous legality and illegality.SummaryWe argue that a certain number of baby hatches should continue to be established as a last resort, in a form that can maintain anonymity if the parent dropping the child off so desires. It should be supported if it is initiated with good intentions; if the maximum possible effort is made at said facility to protect the interests, rights, and safety of the child; and if no clear evidence of harm exists. (shrink)
This article considers a noted trend by teacher educators at a South African University where student teachers seem to have very little connection with children they teach on their teaching practicals. This lack of engagement and ability to see individual children that are being taught and respond to them is the focus of the paper. The paper considers how such a circumstance may come into being by looking at socio-historical practices in education through a Foucauldian lens using the notions of (...) government and governmentality. Ways in which people were managed and dominant forms of knowledge and being are in tension with curricular shift that construct children as competent and able. It then proposes that within teacher education a shift of perspective is needed in enabling students to ‘look’ at the children in their classrooms in a deeper, more engaged way. This draws from research methods that use observation as for researchers to understand participants through their eyes (Hatch A, Doing qualitative research in education settings, State University of New York Press, Albany, 2002). Three examples are given from classroom observations as a way of exploring what close observations of children can teach us about children’s needs and interests. The paper concludes with a general framework students might draw on that places children as the focus in the classroom. (shrink)
This squib aims to show that the acceptability status of sluicing examples with an implicit antecedent in islands varies and discusses what is responsible for this variability. After investigating two representative structural approaches to sluicing that posit unpronounced structure in ellipsis sites, namely, Chung et al.’s (Nat Lang Semant 3:239–282, 1995; in Mikkelsen et al. (eds) Representing language: Essays in honor of Judith Aissen, 2010) LF-recovery analysis and Merchant’s (The syntax of silence: Sluicing, islands, and identity in ellipsis. Oxford: Oxford (...) University Press 2001) PF-deletion analysis, we demonstrate that the acceptability data presented are challenging for both of them. Acceptable sluicing examples with implicit correlates in islands cast doubt on Chung, Ladusaw, and McCloskey’s strict locality requirement, while unacceptable or degraded sluicing examples necessitate additional constraints for Merchant, who employs E-type anaphora as an escape hatch for island violations in sluicing. The gradient nature of the acceptability status of the examples under discussion calls for a non-structural factor that controls their acceptability. We speculate that it is discourse activation of implicit correlates that plays this crucial role. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Part I -- Doctors -- Dr. Joseph Messer -- Dr. Sharon Sandell -- ER -- Dr. John Barrett -- Marc and Noreen Levison, a paramedic and a nurse -- Lloyd (Pete) Haywood, a former gangbanger -- Claire Hellstern, a nurse -- Ed Reardon, a paramedic -- Law and Order -- Robert Soreghan, a homicide detective -- Delbert Lee Tibbs, a former death-row inmate -- War -- Dr. Frank Raila -- Haskell Wexler, a cinematographer -- Tammy Snider, (...) a Hiroshima survivor (hibakusha) -- Mothers and Sons -- V.I.M. (Victor Israel Marquez), a Vietnam vet -- Angelina Rossi, his mother -- Guadalupe Reyes, a mother -- God's Shepherds -- Rev. Willie T. Barrow -- Father Leonard Dubi -- Rabbi Robert Marx -- Pastor Tom Kok -- Rev. Ed Townley -- The Stranger -- Rick Rundle, a city sanitation worker -- Part II -- Seeing Things -- Randy Buescher, an associate architect -- Chaz Ebert, a lawyer -- Antoinette Korotko-Hatch, a church worker -- Karen Thompson, a student -- Dimitri Mihalas, an astronomer and physicist -- A View from the Bridge -- Hank Oettinger, a retired printer -- Ira Glass, a radio journalist -- Kid Pharaoh, a retired "collector" -- Quinn Brisben, a retired teacher -- Kurt Vonnegut, a writer -- The Boomer -- Bruce Bendinger, an advertising executive and writer -- Part III -- Fathers and Sons -- Doc Watson, a folksinger -- Vernon Jarrett, a journalist -- Country Women -- Peggy Terry, a retired mountain woman -- Bessie Jones, a Georgia Sea Island Singer (1972) -- Rosalie Sorrels, a traveling folksinger -- The Plague I -- Tico Valle, a young man -- Lori Cannon, "curator" of the Open Hand Society -- Brian Matthews, an ex-bartender, writer for a gay weekly -- Jewell Jenkins, a hospital aide -- Justin Hayford, a journalist, musician -- Matta Kelly, a case manager -- The Old Guy -- Jim Hapgood -- The Plague II -- Nancy Lanoue -- Out There -- Dr. Gary Slutkin -- Day of the Dead -- Carlos Cortez, a painter and poet -- Vine Deloria, a writer and teacher -- Helen Sclair, a cemetery familiar -- The Other Son -- Steve Young, a father -- Maurine Young, a mother -- The Job -- William Herdegen, an undertaker -- Rory Moina, a hospice nurse -- The End and the Beginning -- Mamie Mobley, a mother -- Dr. Marvin Jackson, a son -- Epilogue -- Kathy Fagan and Linda Gagnon, mothers. (shrink)
Stanovich & West's dual-system represents a major development in an understanding of reasoning and rationality. Their notion of System 1 functioning as a computational escape hatch during the processing of complex tasks may deserve a more central role in explanations of reasoning performance. We describe examples of apparent escape-hatch processing from the reasoning and judgement literature.
Any study of the 'Scientific Revolution' and particularly Descartes' role in the debates surrounding the conception of nature (atoms and the void v. plenum theory, the role of mathematics and experiment in natural knowledge, the status and derivation of the laws of nature, the eternality and necessity of eternal truths, etc.) should be placed in the philosophical, scientific, theological, and sociological context of its time. Seventeenth-century debates concerning the nature of the eternal truths such as '2 + 2 = 4' (...) or the law of inertia turn on the question of whether these truths were created along with nature, or were uncreated and subsisting in God's mind. One's answer to that question has direct consequences for conceptions of the necessity/contingency of mathematical and natural knowledge, how knowledge of such truths is accomplished by humans, and what grounds these truths. In this paper, I review the positions of four successors to Descartes' philosophy on the question of the eternal truths to illustrate how in specific ways that question with its theological, metaphysical, modal, and epistemological dimensions concerned the objectivity and certainty of the discoveries of the new science. Author Recommends: Clarke, Desmond. Descartes' Philosophy of Science . University Park, Penn State Press, 1982. This work provides an account of Descartes as a practicing scientist whose rationalism is mitigated by reliance on experiment and experience. Author re-examines Descartes' philosophical and scientific works in this new light. Dear, Peter. Revolutionizing the Sciences: European Knowledge and its Ambitions, 1500–1700 . Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2001. This work provides a useful overview of the issues and thinkers of the Scientific Revolution. Of particular relevance is chapter 8 on Cartesian and Newtonian science. Funkenstein, Amos. Theology and the Scientific Imagination from the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century . Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1986. This work is an advanced study of the theological and metaphysical foundations of early modern science. Discussions include questions of God's nature, God's knowledge in relation to human knowledge, providence, the laws of nature, and the truths of mathematics. In particular, chapter 3 discusses Descartes' account of the eternal truths and divine omnipotence. Garber, Daniel. Descartes' Metaphysical Physics . Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1992. This work examines how Descartes' metaphysical doctrines of God, soul, and body set the groundwork for his physics. It includes a study of God and the grounds for the laws of physics (chapter 9). Henry, John. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science . 3rd ed. New York, Palgrave, Macmillan Press, 2008. This work provides a brief, general, and informative overview of the Scientific Revolution, including the themes of method, magic, religion, and culture. Osler, Margaret J. Divine Will and the Mechanical Philosophy: Gassendi and Descartes on Contingency and Necessity in the Created World . Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994. This work is an examination and comparison of the mechanical philosophies of Gassendi and Descartes. It offers in-depth discussion of the issue of voluntarism and intellectualism in the period and how that related to conceptions of laws of nature and the eternal truths. Shapin, Steven. The Scientific Revolution . Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1996. This work provides a critical synthesis of as well as a guide to recent scholarship in the history of science for a general readership. Online Materials Dr. Robert A. Hatch's Scientific Revolution Website: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/rhatch/pages/03-Sci-Rev/SCI-REV-Home/ A compendium of resources for the study of Scientific Revolution. Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home Early English Books Online (EEBO) contains digital facsimile page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473 to 1700. Early Modern Resources: http://www.earlymodernweb.org.uk/emr/ Early Modern Resources is a gateway for all those interested in finding electronic resources relating to the early modern period in history. Gallica, the Digital Library of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ An ever-growing digital library which includes numerous primary and secondary texts of relevance to Descartes and his role in Scientific Revolution. Hatfield, Gary, 'René Descartes', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Spring 2009 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2009/entries/descartes/ Slowik, Edward, 'Descartes' Physics', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Winter 2008 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2008/entries/descartes-physics/ Syllabus Sample Syllabus: Cartesian Science The following is five weeks covering Cartesian Science in a course on Descartes or the Scientific Revolution, or 17th-century theories of matter, or related themes on early modern truth and method, especially on the continent. This material is best suited to a graduate level audience, but it could be modified to suit an upper-division undergraduate course, as the readings are basically primary texts whose context and background can be explained in lectures. Week 1: Cartesian Revolution in France • Scientific method • Role of mathematics and experiment • Certainty of scientific knowledge Readings: Hatfield, Gary, 'René Descartes', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Spring 2009 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2009/entries/descartes/ Descartes, Discourse on Method , Parts 1–3 Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy , First Meditation. Week 2: Descartes' Scientific Treatises • Mechanization and mathematization of nature • Primary–secondary quality distinction Readings: Discourse on Method, Parts 4–6 Selections from Descartes' Scientific Essays: The World or Treatise on Light (ATXI 3–48); Treatise on Man (ATXI 119–202); Optics (ATVI 82–147). Slowik, Edward, 'Descartes' Physics', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Winter 2008 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2008/entries/descartes-physics/ Henry, John, 'The Mechanical Philosophy,' chapter 5. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science . 3rd ed. Macmillan, 2008. Week 3: Descartes' Theory of Nature • Descartes' derivation of the law of conservation and the three laws of motion • God's role in the metaphysics and physics of nature Readings: Selections from Principles of Philosophy, Preface (all); Letter to Elizabeth; Part I: 1–8; Part II: 1–45, 55, 64; Part III: 1–4, 15–19, 45–47; Part IV: 187–207. John Henry, 'Religion and Science,' chapter 6. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science . 3rd ed. Macmillan, 2008. Week 4: Post-1650 Cartesian Science: Necessity and Contingency in Nature • Debates on God, Creation, and Causes Readings: Easton, Patricia, 'What is at Stake in the Cartesian Debates on the Eternal Truths?' Philosophy Compass 4.2 (2009): 348–62. Malebranche, Nicolas, 'Elucidation 10', from The Search after Truth (1674). Note: All selections available in Nicolas Malebranche (1992). Philosophical Selections , edited by S. Nadler, Hackett. Gottfried Leibniz (1714) Monadology . Week 5: Causes in Nature and Morals • Theodicy as an explanation of defect and evil in a lawful universe: Malebranche v. Leibniz Readings: Nicolas Malebranche, Elucidation XVI (on occasionalism), and Treatise on Nature and Grace, Discourse One, Part 1. Gottfried Leibniz (1706), Theodicy. Focus Questions Weekly questions can be used to focus the readings. This can be done in a web or e-mail discussion thread, as a weekly assignment, or for in class discussion. I require students to post a short paragraph in response to the question or some posting by a classmate on the question. Students are required to post by 10 a.m. the day before we meet for class on a course website. Week 1: According to Descartes, what role does skepticism play in scientific reasoning? Week 2: Comment on the following: 'But I am supposing this machine to be made by the hands of God, and so I think you may reasonably think it capable of a greater variety of movements than I could possibly imagine in it, and of exhibiting more artistry than I could possibly ascribe to it' [ Treatise on Man ; ATXI 120]. Week 3: What is Descartes' conception of the relation between the metaphysics and physics of nature? Week 4: Critically discuss the positions of Descartes, Malebranche, and Leibniz on what provides the foundation for the certitude of natural knowledge? Week 5: Explain why both Malebranche and Leibniz consider moral sin to be analogous to natural defect? Seminar/Project Idea Hold a debate on the question of the status of the eternal truths. The proposition will be Descartes' position: 'Eternal truths must be both created and necessary if certainty in science is to be possible'. Format: 1. At the beginning of the 5-week module, students will be assigned to one of three roles: Team A, Team B, and judge's panel. Students will be given the debate proposition, but will not be told which team will take the affirmative and which team the negative until the time of the debate. 2. Recommend a variation on the Classic Debate Format to encourage the development of argument: sequence begins with affirmative construction (8 minutes), negative construction (8 minutes), second affirmative construction (8 minutes), second negative construction (8 minutes), first negative rebuttal (4 minutes), first affirmative rebuttal (4 minutes), final negative rebuttal (4 minutes) and final affirmative rebuttal (4 minutes). 3. Judges Panel: will consist of 3–4 judges who will assess the performance of Teams A and B. Judgment should be based on the persuasiveness of the team position. 4. Debate will be held at the end of the fifth week, or semester, whichever makes most sense given the course length and structure. Acknowledgements The author gratefully acknowledges the immensely helpful comments and suggestions by the participants in her graduate seminar on the Scientific Revolution: Benjamin Chicka, Sarah Jacques-Ross, Richard Ross, Marcella Stockstill, and Zohra Wolters. (shrink)
At the end of part 3 of Book 1 of his Treatise,1 Hume had given a touchstone by which to judge any account of the human mind, namely that, where other animals appear to display the same cognitive operation that we do, our account applies as well to them as to us.2 He tests his own account of causal inference this way and finds that it comes through with flying colors, since the effects of experience of constant conjunctions on animal (...) minds is just as he has claimed it to be on ours. Some of their actions, such as nest building and sitting on their eggs till they hatch, are "extraordinary instances of sagacity" (T 126.96.36.199; SBN 177), but on other matters, they, like us, learn from experience, so that the older one .. (shrink)
In this paper we review the literature on social learning mechanisms in the domestic chick, focusing largely on work from our own laboratories. The domestic chicken is a social-living bird that searches for food in flocks, avoids predators by following warnings from other flock members, and forms (stable) social hierarchies. All of these behaviors develop throughout ontogeny, largely during the very early stages post-hatch. Newly hatched chicks appear to have predispositions to orient towards and to pay greatest attention to (...) the biologically relevant characteristics of their immediate environment (i.e. to conspecifics: the mother bird and/or fellow hatchlings) from which they may subsequently learn. In addition, the chick has a lateralized brain; left and right hemispheres being specialized for certain behavioral functions and responses, and it appears that such behavioral lateralization is also transposed onto certain social learning situations, which will also be considered. Keywords: social learning; social cognition; chick; brain asymmetry. (shrink)
Some of the most intriguing and important phenomena in modern many-body physics are explainable in terms of self-consistent quantum mechanical field theory. This is the powerful theory developed by Umezawa and co-workers and modified by Benson and Hatch in applications to ferromagnetism. It is usually lengthy and involved mathematically. Thus, it is very helpful and meaningful to see its overall step-by-step progress in simple, diagrammatic flow starting from basic principles, with a ferromagnetic model as an example. As one immediately (...) notes, there are two paths leading to very powerful physical conclusions and implications, and something most interesting is that each path implies the other. Many useful examples of applications of these methods are noted and some future possible applications are cited. (shrink)
The possibility of extraction across awh-island is usually assumed to be dependent on whether or not the constituent in question can undergo “long” (i.e., nonlocal) Ā-movement across the island. However, the question of how to make a principled distinction between those elements which can violate locality and those which cannot is still rather controversial. I will propose that there are no well-formed locality violations in these cases, and that the grammaticality patterns observed derive from a semantic filter on the escape (...)hatch used to bypass the island. In other words, if a phrase is extracted across awh-island, it must adjoin to the island in order to get by. This adjunction site is restricted by the interpretive component: only traces which are interpreted as variables of typee can occur in this position, while higher-order variables are not allowed. This restriction is shown to capture the known facts aboutwh-island violations, as well as some less known phenomena, such as the absence of functional (and pair-list) readings acrosswh-islands. (shrink)
The Hatch Act of 1887 was passed in the effort to make agriculture more scientific and efficient. This promise has been seriously compromised by the fact that even research of the highest quality often has limited applicability in practical farming situations. This paper attempts to provide philosophical explanations why this is so by introducing and discussing theoretical models. Consideration is given to why Farming Systems Research does not provide a solution to the philosophical problems raised. The final section presents (...) a strategy for partially avoiding some of the limitations in practical applicability of agricultural research studies and discusses how this strategy relates to the activities of the cooperative extension services. A secondary concern of the paper is with how governmental research priorities compromise the practical applicability of research in farming situations. (shrink)
Agricultural research and education ended 100 years of funding under the Hatch Act with a decade of unprecedented criticism of goals and outcomes. This paper examines the way that planners can accommodate some of these criticisms within a framework for understanding the ethical and social goals of agriculture that is consistent with traditional practice. The paper goes on to state that some criticisms are so fundamental that they cannot be readily incorporated into this framework. They must be regarded as (...) a challenge, both politically and intellectually, to longstanding practices within academic institutions devoted to agriculture. (shrink)
Without so much as an America Online account, Timothy Dwight, president of Yale University two centuries ago, learned of an evil plot -- hatched in France by Freemasons hopped up on Enlightenment philosophy -- to overthrow the United States Government. A Bavarian secret society called the Order of the Illuminati was also involved. Unable to access alt.conspiracy or even a good E-mail program, Dwight had to resort to public speaking to spread the word.
On the day eros was conceived, the gods were having a party to celebrate the birth of Aphrodite. His father-to-be, Poros (resource), was having a grand old time, and in fact got so carried away with the nectar that he passed out cold in Zeus’ garden. His mother-to-be, Penia (poverty), had not made the guest list, and was skulking around the gates. She was poor but cunning, and on seeing Poros sprawled on the ground, hatched a plot to relieve her (...) poverty. She would sleep with him—after all, Poros was too drunk to know what was going on—and conceive a child who would enable her to escape her penury. The name of this child was Eros. This is the story of the origins of erōs which Diotima offers in her speech .. (shrink)
continent. 2.1 (2012): 6–21. The French philosopher and novelist Tristan Garcia was born in Toulouse in 1981. This makes him rather young to have written such an imaginative work of systematic philosophy as Forme et objet , 1 the latest entry in the MétaphysiqueS series at Presses universitaires de France. But this reference to Garcia’s youthfulness is not a form of condescension: by publishing a complete system of philosophy in the grand style, he has already done what none of us (...) in the older generation of speculative realists has done so far. His book is sophisticated, erudite, rigorous, imaginatively rich, and abundant in worldly wisdom– despite the author’s conclusion that wisdom does not exist. The quality and scope of Forme et objet took few observers by surprise, since Garcia has been treated as an emerging philosopher to watch across half a decade of Parisian oral tradition. But Garcia was not just the subject of rumor, being already well known to the French public as a writer of fiction. His debut novel, La meilleure part des hommes , 2 was awarded the 2008 Prix de Flore 3 and has already appeared in English as Hate: A Romance . 4 His follow-up novel, Mémoires de la jungle , 5 made clever use of a chimpanzee narrator. Nor was Garcia only published as a novelist before last November: his philosophical study L’Image 6 had already appeared when the author was just twenty-six, a year before he was crowned by the muses at the historic Café de Flore. And then in 2011, just months before the appearance of Forme et objet , Garcia published a widely distributed work entitled Nous, animaux et humains , 7 with its focus on Jeremy Bentham’s ideas about animals. Given this prolific and versatile track record, an optimistic scenario might envisage the young Garcia as one of those combined literary/philosophical talents who appear intermittently in France across the centuries: Jean-Paul Sartre is merely the most famous recent case. While more time is needed to see how Garcia will channel his impressive mental energies, Forme et objet displays such breadth of insight that its author has a good chance to emerge as one of the leading philosophers of his generation. If we accept Aristotle’s dictum that the peak mental age is fifty-one, then to read Garcia’s massive book is to gain some idea of what European philosophy might look like in the futuristic-sounding 2030’s. The present article is confined to Forme et objet . At 486 pages, the work is obviously daunting in size. Indeed, it is even longer than it sounds, given that many of its early sections are printed in a smaller typeface to designate them as supplemental commentary to the main flow of the argument. But while the length of the book reportedly led to delays in French publication, and will probably slow the inevitable appearance of an English translation, the length of the book should not deter interested readers– much of it results from Garcia’s teacherly writing style. Whereas Quentin Meillassoux’s prose displays an arctic economy of means, Garcia’s style is reminiscent of the repeated lessons of oral classroom proceedings. Rarely is the reader given fewer than three or four chances to master an idea before the author moves on to the next. In practice, the style feels welcoming rather than long-winded. Otherwise, the structure of Forme et objet is surprisingly simple. There is a useful Introduction of less than twenty pages. Then comes Book I: Formally , running to approximately 135 pages. Here Garcia outlines the most basic features of a thing “no matter what it is,” or n’importe quoi , an everyday phrase that Garcia shapes into a technical term. This part of the book feels at times like a more amiable version of Hegel’s Science of Logic , a parallel emphasized further by the threefold articulation of its theme: 1. Thing; 2. Thing and World; 3. Being and Understanding. This is followed by the much longer Book II: Objectively , totaling more than 300 pages. It contains sixteen essay-like meditations on specific kinds of objects—including time, animals, humans, history, gender, and death. Here each chapter rolls smoothly into the next, making this second part of the book feel more like a different work of Hegel: The Phenomenology of Spirit . But these are merely analogies. Garcia is no Hegelian, even if the book contains a few dialectical flourishes that seem to reflect his early enthusiasm for the Frankfurt School. Forme et objet ends with a six-page Coda, followed by the usual page of acknowledgments. In what follows, I will briefly summarize each of these four parts of the book before ending with some more general remarks. Before doing so, it will be useful to situate Garcia biographically (as much as I am able) and philosophically. Though Toulouse is his native city, his formative years were spent largely in Algeria, where his family has deep roots. During our sole private conversation, Garcia mentioned that his parents are professors of literature. 8 As a student of philosopher Garcia flourished so early that many of his current ideas date to his teenaged years: “There are sentences in Forme et objet that I wrote when I was seventeen,” he said in response to a question on that cold night on the Canal St.-Martin. I recalled that remark when reading his brilliant account, late in the book, of the central role of adolescence in contemporary culture. While many prodigies blow through their formal academic training without serious obstruction, Garcia’s student memories are rich in tales of isolation and struggle, though equally rich in gratitude for a half-dozen or so exceptional teachers who provided the intellectual space he needed: Meillassoux and Alain Badiou are simply two of the most prominent figures on that list. Though there are many points of agreement between Garcia’s philosophical position and my own, he not only reached his position years before reading my work, 9 he arrived along a rather different path: not through phenomenology, but via the Frankfurt School, which may be one of the reasons for his profound fascination with aesthetics. Garcia’s cultural background is as broad as one could wish: he is no less informed about punk rock and European football leagues than about the spiritualist roots of Bergson’s philosophy. Curious about everything and contemptuous towards nothing, Garcia can be expected to write insightfully on dozens of topics in the years to come. Given that his philosophy is so personally tantalizing in its agreements and disagreements with my own, and given the great internal richness of Forme et objet itself, the present review is no better than a first effort at coming to terms with the challenges posed by this minstrel from the rising generation. This is especially intriguing for older Generation X’ers like me, since confrontation with the younger generation is one of the many themes treated insightfully in Garcia’s book. 1. Introduction Garcia begins in defense of a so-called “flat ontology,” in which all things are equally things. While Roy Bhaskar 10 used this term pejoratively to refer to anti-realist philosophies that flatten everything onto an epistemic plane of human access, Manuel DeLanda 11 (an admirer of Bhaskar) reversed it into the positive principle that all realities are equally realities. Similar notions can be found in the “absistence” of Alexius Meinong, 12 the “irreduction” of Bruno Latour, 13 and my own critique 14 of the undermining/overmining pair. Also noteworthy is Levi Bryant’s use of the term “flat ontology” throughout The Democracy of Objects 15 and his earlier essay “The Ontic Principle.” 16 But for Garcia, flatness is only one face of the cosmos, and one that he ultimately declares to be rather impoverished. Even so, he always remains an advocate of a flat ontology. Insofar as everything is equally something, no matter what it is ( n’importe qui ), everything is equally a thing, equally solitary in its relation with world. This is why his book abounds in those long lists of random, ontologically equivalent entities that Ian Bogost has playfully termed “Latour Litanies.” 17 The first litany in Garcia’s book runs as follows: “We live in this world of things, where a cutting of acacia, a gene, a computer-generated image, a transplantable hand, a musical sample, a trademarked name, or a sexual service are comparable things.” (7) Yet Garcia is frankly dualistic; his flat ontology only lasts until page 159 and the end of Book I (entitled “Formally”), which deals entirely with things that are equally things. Thereafter Garcia turns his attention from things to objects, which are not flat in the least, but engage in hierarchical relations with one another. In agreement with both DeLanda and the speculative realists, Garcia proclaims that his book “proposes to put to the test a thought about things rather than a thought about our thought about things .” (8) Just as ducklings are “imprinted” (9) after hatching and treat the first creature they see as their mother, philosophers are imprinted by the idea with which they begin. Hence, philosophies that begin with human access will never truly find their way back to things. This makes Garcia rather suspicious of twentieth century philosophy, since “the twentieth century—to which in some way this work proposes to bid adieu—has been a period of theorizing modes of access to things rather than things...” (9) Among other possible benefits of the philosophy of things that Garcia proposes, it is fully able to account for thought as a special variant of things, while the reverse is not possible.(10) In Book I of Forme et objet , Garcia’s “things” are so flat, so de-determined, that he is forced to renounce some of the most basic features ascribed to things by most realists. As he tells us in his foreboding third footnote: “We will maintain that the solitude [of things] is less than unity, less than identity, and that it does not imply acceptance (any more than refusal) of the principle of non-contradiction.” (11) In a contemporary world cluttered with too many things, Garcia’s flat and formal plane provides us with some breathing room: “The formal plan of thought enables or re-enables us to cut short all accumulation—whether of knowing, experience, or action—by a simplicity, an impoverished surface...” (13) As Garcia says elsewhere in responding to a Deleuzian critic of the book, his starting point in flat ontology is designed to obstruct the claims of both analytic philosophy and Hegelianism: “Hence, this work seeks to protect each thing—real, imaginary, inconsistent, contradictory—both against Ockham’s Razor and against the Aufhebung or dialectical process.” 18 Yet contrary to the equalizing spirit of many flat ontologies, “we will add to our formal ontology of the equal, an objective ontology of the unequal.” (13) But initially, Garcia joins all flat ontologists in holding that everything is irreducible: “this irreducibility, which we will term the ‘chance’ of each thing... also marks the refusal of a positive thought that reduces things exclusively to natural things, or social things, or historical things, etc.” (15) This irreducible “chance” of a thing emerges as an important technical term in the book, always paired with its inverted brother, the “price to pay” ( prix à payer ). On pages 17-19, we find the only diagrams in the book. What they illustrate is that Garcia wishes to avoid two equally dangerous extremes. The first is the philosophy of substance, featuring the thing-in-itself as a mighty river fed by attributes as if by subordinate tributary streams. This model can be found in many of the classic thinkers of West and East alike. In it, “there is obviously a hierarchization between that which is dragged towards something other than itself, and this other which serves it as an ontological support while supporting its proper being.” (16) For Garcia, the second extreme worth avoiding is the philosophy of events: “One thus conceives trajectories of being, identified as events, facts, powers, intensities, or intentionality. These vectors of being come first, bearing and supporting being, displacing it, but without ever finding a stopping point, a buffer, an objective consistency.” (17) The first model gives us a thing too wrapped up in itself, too compact . This word “compact” (the French and the English are the same) is another technical term for Garcia. But if the “compact” model of things leads us to something more than things, the philosophy of events gives us less than things, by dissolving them into a play of vectors. Garcia’s alternative lies midway between these two extremes: Being enters the thing, being comes out of it. And a thing is nothing other than the difference between the enters and the being that comes out. Thus, the circuit of being is never halted. In the thing, there is never the thing-in-itself. And the thing is never in-itself, but outside of itself. Nonetheless, being is not eventally “pollinated” by vectors: it possesses an objecting halting-point... (19) This single idea is the key to Garcia’s book: the thing is neither a self-contained durable lump nor some sort of evental flux. Instead, the thing is the difference between its various components and its relations with its environment. Or stated differently: “the price to pay for this disposition is a circulation of being that systematically distinguishes two senses of things: that which is in the thing , and that in which the thing is , or that which encompasses it and that which it encompasses,” (19) translating comprendre here as “encompass.” 19 In a beautiful description of a piece of black slate, Garcia sums up the various minerals, qualities, and shapes that compose [ comprend ] it, and calls them “that which is in the thing,” (20) noting that this tells us nothing about “that in which [the slate] is”—namely, all the various situations in which the black slate can be found. Instead, the slate is the difference between these two: the most characteristic principle of Garcia’s philosophy. 2. Formally Book One of Forme et objet , “Formally,” is concerned with the formal equality of all things in a flat world. “Two questions mark the boundaries of reflection: of what is everything composed [ composé ], and: what do all things compose?” (27) Looking downward, we wish to know what everything is made of; looking upward, we want to know the ultimate result of the combination of all things. Here we must turn our attention to the thing n’importe quoi— no matter what it is. (30) Anything with finite qualities is obviously too specific to be relevant to global ontological questions. To an equal degree, something possessing all qualities (think of Whitehead’s God) 20 would not be n’importe quoi either, since it would still be too definite, even if incredibly vast. The same holds for contradictions, since these all differ from each other. The square circle, the non-white black white, and the non-city city are all too distinct to count as the thing no matter what it is. The n’importe quoi must be devoid of all specific qualities, including contradictory ones. In one of the more intriguing points in his book, so reminiscent of Meinong, Garcia proclaims that “the ‘no matter what it is’ is neither a reality nor an abstract construction, nor both of these at once; the ‘no matter what it is’ is simply the plane of equality of that which is real, that which is possible, that which is inexistent, that which is past, that which is impossible, that which is true, that which is false, that which is bad.”(39-40) Since everything has two faces, it would be a grievous mistake to focus on just one of them at the expense of the other, as physicalism or materialism do when reducing the world to minuscule physical underpinnings. For scientistic materialism, “it is either atoms, particles, or fields of force... which are the things.” (47-48) Moreover, “these more-than-things are accompanied by less-than-things: for example, ideas or facts of consciousness are determined by the state of matter and are not autonomous things, but manifestations reduced to secondary effects of material processes...” (48) On this point, Garcia’s position is in complete accord with my own critique of undermining and overmining. 21 Where we disagree is that Garcia is more deeply suspicious of the notion of substance, which I view as salvageable with a few needed changes, while Garcia sees this operation as hopeless: “A substance, in the history of philosophy, is the more-than-thing par excellence.” (51) Another agreement between our positions is visible when Garcia claims (correctly, in my opinion) “that it is vain to distinguish between things which are material and those which are not.” (52) Yet we also find an even more important disagreement, since for Garcia withdrawal cannot be the quality of a thing. Instead, the absence of a thing is simultaneous with it, embodied in all that is not it– the absence of the sculpture of a woman is to be found in the mold that appears at the same time as it, and thus withdrawal must be viewed as an “event” rather than as something pertaining to an object. For Garcia, nothing withdraws beyond access. Since we must distinguish between “that which is something” and “that which something is,” and since the former is identified with “no matter what it is is” and the latter with “ not no matter what it is,” we can say that “everything is thus a milieu, a fragile link between ‘no matter what it is’ and ‘ not no matter what it is.’” (62) And here we find Garcia’s critique of the thing-in-itself: “A thing is never defined en bloc . We can affirm that a thing is this or that, but that does not suffice. It is still necessary to state precisely that which is this thing .” (62) Stated differently, “something is not in itself : for that which is in the thing is not the thing, and that in which the thing is is not the thing.” (62) And here Garcia and I, facing the same evidence, draw opposite conclusions. For me, the fact that nothing can be identified with either its components or its concrete location means that the thing must be something in-itself distinct from both of these. Yet for Garcia, to be in-itself would mean to be identified with just one of these two extreme terms, and hence the thing can only be the difference between them. Garcia is equally suspicious of the classical tendency to view “unity” as a property of the thing, since in his eyes unity is too relational a property to belong to things. (65) While specific things are situated determinately with respect to other things, we are still speaking here about the thing no matter what it is, and this can be viewed only in terms of solitude, which all things share: a human being, a hand, or a chair or all equally things insofar as they are on their own , not insofar as they are one . (64) A thing is alone, and relates only to the one thing that is not another thing: world. In a striking parallel to my own argument for a partial revival of occasionalism, Garcia tells us that “the things communicate only by their solitude: it is because everything is equally on its own in the world that things can be together, enmeshed in one another.” (67) Alone in their solitude, things all relate to world, which serves as a mediator allowing them to become mixed up in one another. As we have seen, one reason that nothing can be in itself is because everything is in something else. For Garcia, “to be in something and to be something are equivalent.” (69) Stated more broadly, “being is thus the difference between the two aspects of each thing: that which is it, and that which it is.” (70) And even more vividly: “a thing is almost like a sack: there is that which one puts in the sack and that which remains outside the sack.” (70) But not quite like a sack, “since a thing is not a thin skin or film. Instead, a thing is comparable to a sack that is immaterial and without thickness: it is nothing other than the difference between that which is this thing and that which thing is, between content and container.” (71) Nothing can be in-itself because everything is two selves at once. For example, we cannot say that our self is defined by our consciousness: “Everything has a self because nothing is in itself. The self is not the quality of that which is related to itself (which is conscious, for example) or which thinks itself related to itself. Nonetheless, for an entity called ‘conscious’ to be related to itself, it is necessary that this very relation should be another thing than the self to which it is related.” (71) Consciousness cannot be the self, precisely because it is other than that of which it is conscious. Nothing is able to grasp itself. The self is “the function by which being and composition [ compréhension ] are mutually excluded...” (72) The self is “the point of shadow of everything that projects some light...” (72) The in-itself faces two opposite dangers: “For something to be in-itself is to be a self. Something which is a self flies out through one of its two sides... Stated differently, being in-itself is simply the possibility of a double failure.” (73) The in-itself can be termed compact : “There remains to us a means of thinking that which does not fully enter into the world, though without exiting from it. This means is what we call the compact.” (76) In a sense, the compact is the opposite of the world. For in the case of the world, everything enters it and it enters nothing; as for the compact, it enters the world (since it is something, after all) while nothing enters it. (77) The compact marks the presence of the impossible in the world. (78) It is not impossible, but possible only on the condition that it fails. (78) The time has come to speak of where a thing is located. “The sole condition of a thing is that of being in another thing than itself, and thus in another thing than something.” (78) A condition is “that which determines something, that which forms something, that in which something is.” (78) As for humans, “the condition of someone is his situation; my social condition is that which socially determines me, my place and my function...” (79) More generally, “to be conditioned is to find oneself reduced to that in which one is.” (79) Everything is conditioned, but nothing is reducible to this condition. To determine the condition of something is to determine in what it is. A thing is located in that which contradicts it, just as a statue exists in its mold, which is precisely that which it is not. Since the thing is finite and definite, its condition or form must be infinite and indefinite. That in which all things are is the world, which Garcia also terms “the whole.” (81) “To try to be in-itself is to attempt to remain outside the world. And indeed, to try to be in-itself is only a path of entry into the world.” (83) For Garcia, “the world is not the pre-existent container of the things it contains, a priori , nor the construction by the mind of a fictional ensemble of all things, a posteriori .” (85) Instead, the world is simultaneous with all things; the two always go together. The world cannot be a determinate world, such as the physical universe or mathematical space, since these are already too specific and limited. “Every determinate world, which is in fact a universe , is a ‘big thing’ [ grosse chose ]: it is a set, however vast, of composite things which itself embodies a thing.” (85) Every determinate world is really just a “big thing.” Stated differently, “it is nothing other than a balanced milieu between the things that compose it and the thing that it composes.” (85) We generally picture the world as a physical univer. (shrink)
Newly-hatched domestic chicks, reared with identical objects, when presented with sets of 3 vs. 2 objects disappearing one-by-one behind separate screens, spontaneously inspected the screen occluding the larger set; even when the continuous variables (area or perimeter) were controlled for (Rugani et al., 2009). Here, using a similar paradigm, we investigated the ability of chicks to perform addition on larger sets of objects. Chicks imprinted on 5 identical objects, were presented at test with 6 vs. 9 objects which disappeared one-by-one (...) (Exp.1). In Exp. 2, the same overall number of objects (15) was used, but employing an increased ratio, i.e. 5 vs. 10. In both experiments, when continuous variables were not made equal, chicks spontaneously inspected the screen occluding the larger set. However, when the size of the objects was adjusted so as to make the total surface area or perimeter equal for the two sets, chicks did not exhibit any preference. Lack of choice in the control conditions could be due to a combination of prefences; to rejoin the larger numerousness as well as the bigger objects (Rugani et al., 2010). In Exp. 3, chicks were familiarized, during imprinting, with objects of various dimensions, in an attempt to reduce or suppress their tendency to approach objects larger than the familiar ones. Again chicks failed to choose at test between 5vs.10 objects when continuous variables were made equal. Results showed that chicks, after a one by one presentation of a large number of objects, rejoined the larger set. In order to choose the larger set, chicks estimated the objects in the two sets and then compared the outcomes. However, differently to what has been described for small numerousness, chicks succeeded only if non-numerical cues as well as numerical cues were available. This study suggests that continuous variables are computed by chicks for sets of objects that are not present at the same time and that are no longer visible at the time of choice. (shrink)