Sometime around their first birthday most infants begin to engage in relatively sustained bouts of attending together with their caretakers to objects in their environment. By the age of 18 months, on most accounts, they are engaging in full-blown episodes of joint attention. As developmental psychologists (usually) use the term, for such joint attention to be in play, it is not sufficient that the infant and the adult are in fact attending to the same object, nor that the one’s attention (...) cause the other’s. The latter can and does happen much earlier, whenever the adult follows the baby’s gaze and homes in on the same object as the baby is attending to; or, from the age of six months, when babies begin to follow the gaze of an adult. We have the relevant sense of joint attention in play only when the fact that both child and adult are attending to the same object is, to use Sperber and Wilson’s (1986) phrase, ‘mutually manifest’. Psychologists sometimes speak of such jointness as a case of attention being ‘shared’ by infant and adult, or of a ‘meeting of minds’ between infant and adult, all phrases intended to capture the idea that when joint attention occurs everything about the fact that both subjects are attending to the same object is out in the open, manifest to both participants. (shrink)
The question of what it means to be aware of others as subjects of mental states is often construed as the question of how we are epistemically justified in attributing mental states to others. The dominant answer to this latter question is that we are so justified in virtue of grasping the role of mental states in explaining observed behaviour. This chapter challenges this picture and formulates an alternative by reflecting on the interpretation of early joint attention interactions. It argues (...) that the standard picture is committed to an implausible account of children's awareness of the co-attender's focus of attention. On a more natural interpretation, children engaged in joint attention perceptually recognize the co-attender's attitude to some object, as something like the (correct) answer to the question of what the object is like. The developmentally basic case is not that of attributing mental states as the causes of observed behaviour but of understanding perceived attitudes and actions as appropriate responses to the shared world. The chapter concludes by exploring how this developmental claim bears on mature adult knowledge of other minds. (shrink)
This paper discusses Wittgenstein's take on the problem of other minds. In opposition to certain widespread views that I collect under the heading of the “No Problem Interpretation,” I argue that Wittgenstein does address some problem of other minds. However, Wittgenstein's problem is not the traditional epistemological problem of other minds; rather, it is more reminiscent of the issue of intersubjectivity as it emerges in the writings of phenomenologists such as Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, and Heidegger. This is one (...) sense in which Wittgenstein's perspective on other minds might be called “phenomenological.” Yet there is another sense as well, in that Wittgenstein's positive views on this issue resemble the views defended by phenomenologists. The key to a proper philosophical grasp of intersubjectivity, on both views, lies in rethinking the mind. If we conceive of minds as essentially embodied we can understand how intersubjectivity is possible. (shrink)
How do I know whether there are any minds beside my own? This problem of other minds in philosophy raises questions which are at the heart of all philosophical investigations--how it is that we know, what is in the mind, and whether we can be certain about any of our beliefs. In this book, Anita Avramides begins with a historical overview of the problem from the Ancient Skeptics to Descartes, Malebranche, Locke, Berkeley, Reid, and Wittgenstein. The second part of (...) the book investigates the views of influential contemporary philosophers such as Strawson, Davidson, Nagel and Searle. (shrink)
John McDowell’s original motivation of disjunctivism occurs in the context of a problem regarding other minds. Recent commentators have insisted that McDowell’s disjunctivism should be classed as an epistemological disjunctivism about epistemic warrant, and distinguished from the perceptual disjunctivism of Hinton, Snowdon and others. In this paper I investigate the relation between the problem of other minds and disjunctivism, and raise some questions for this interpretation of McDowell.
I would like to show how with Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and Levinas, we have to do with three different ways of understanding the experience of the other. For Sartre it is a visual experience, the experience of being looked at by the other, so that the experience of the other is understood as a confrontation; for Merleau-Ponty, the experience of the other necessarily implies coexistence and what he calls intercorporeality, so that for him the other is (...) never to be found in front, but instead beside me, in reciprocity with me; for Levinas, the experience of the other is the experience of a non-reciprocity, of an assymetrical relation, because the experience of the other is for him an ethical and not an ontological experience, and because this experience of the face of the other is the experience of a speaking and not in the first place corporeal presence. There are consequently three different ways of finding an access to the other : the look for Sartre, intercorporeality for Merleau-Ponty and the face for Levinas. (shrink)
What is the relation between emotional experience and its behavioural expression? As very preliminary clarification, I mean by ‘emotional experience’ such things as the subjective feeling of being afraid of something, or of being angry at someone. On the side of behavioural expression, I focus on such things as cowering in fear, or shaking a fist or thumping the table in anger. Very crudely, this is behaviour intermediate between the bodily changes which just happen in emotional arousal, such as sweating (...) or the secretion of adrenalin, and reasoned actions done ‘out of an emotion’, such as breathing deeply to clam down, or writing a letter of complaint, for which a standard rationalizing explanation can be given.1 I pursue the relation between this experience and expression in a somewhat roundabout manner. First, I note an analogy between a problem of other minds, and Berkeley’s (1975) challenge to Locke’s (1975) realism. Second, I sketch what I regard as the correct strategy for meeting this challenge. Third, I develop and defend a parallel response to the problem of other minds, as this applies to certain basic directed emotions. This yields the following answer to my opening question. Reference to the appropriate expressive behaviour is essential to the identification of the way in which various emotional experiences present their worldly objects. (shrink)
Scepticism is sometimes expressed about whether there is any interesting problem of other minds. In this paper I set out a version of the conceptual problem of other minds which turns on the way in which mental occurrences are presented to the subject and situate it in relation to debates about our knowledge of other people's mental lives. The result is a distinctive problem in the philosophy of mind concerning our relation to other people.
Quassim Cassam has recently defended a perceptual model of knowledge of other minds: one on which we can see and thereby know that another thinks and feels. In the course of defending this model, he addresses issues about our ability to think about other minds. I argue that his solution to this 'conceptual problem' does not work. A solution to the conceptual problem is necessary if we wish to explain knowledge of other minds.
This paper outlines the basic traits of a responsive phenomenology by focusing on the issue of originary substitution. On the one hand, a phenomenology of alienness or otherness and an ethics of the other in the sense of Levinas will prove to be closely bound up with this sort of substitution. On the other side, this substitution can be concretised by transitional figures such as the advocate, the therapist, the translator, the witness, or the field researcher; they all (...) intervene from the position of a Third without closing the fissure which opens between ourselves and the Other, between the own and the alien. Precisely by focussing on the issue of substitution, we have the opportunity to outline the basis traits of a responsive phenomenology and to discuss some of its institutional consequences. (shrink)
The difficulties about other minds are deep and of central philosophical importance. This text explores attempts to apply Wittgenstein's concept of criteria in explaining how we can know other minds and their properties. It is shown that the use of criteria for this purpose is misguided.
This paper is concerned with the issue of authenticity in Wittgenstein’s philosophy of psychology. In the manuscripts published as Letzte Schriften über die Philosophie der Psychologie – Das Innere und das Äußere, the German term Echtheit is mostly translated as ‘genuineness’. In these manuscripts, Wittgenstein frequently uses the term as referring to a feature of the expression of feeling and emotion: -/- […] I want to say that there is an original genuine expression of pain; that the expression of pain (...) therefore is not equally connected to the pain and to the pretence. (LW II, p. 55) -/- “This weeping gives the impression of being genuine” – so there is such a thing as genuine weeping. […]. (LW II, p. 87) -/- […] Genuineness and falseness are not the only essential characteristics of an expression of feeling. […]. (LW II, p. 90) -/- Wittgenstein contrasts the genuineness of the expressions with the possibility that the expressions are feigned. It seems to me that Wittgenstein is trying to discredit a specific version of the sceptical claim that we do not know other minds. I will refer to it as the sceptical innuendo. The sceptical innuendo says that every expression of feeling and emotion may be pretended. Wittgenstein’s approach to the issue reflects his later interest in the philosophy of psychology and, in particular, the problem of the ascription of psychological states (P-ascriptions) on the basis of someone else’s expression of feeling or emotion. Thus, the attempt to reject the sceptical innuendo is done mainly by means of conceptual and psychological arguments. Let’s look at this short dialogue between the sceptic and Wittgenstein. The former asks „How do you know that someone else is in a certain psychological state?“ Wittgenstein’s first reply is „I know that he is glad because I see him“. But the sceptic cannot be very happy with this reply. The sceptic’s next question is: „How do you know that he is really glad and he is not pretending?“ Wittgenstein’s response is not a direct refutation but is composed of a number of related reasons. These may be summed up in three arguments: -/- (i) A psychological argument from the very nature of the expressions. The expressions are meant to be natural symptoms of someone else’s psychological state (P-state). -/- (ii) A conceptual argument about the nature of pretence. It claims that pretence is a psychological property which is rightly ascribed when an observer has evidence for it. -/- (iii) A psychological argument from genuineness. It claims that we are committed to accept people’s expressions of feeling and emotion as genuine. (shrink)
The rubric autoimmunity currently encompasses sixty to seventy diverse illnesses which affect many of the tissues of the human body. Western medical practice asserts that the crisis known as autoimmune disease arises when a biological organism compromises its own integrity by misrecognising parts of itself as other than itself and then seeks to eliminate these unrecognised and hence antagonistic aspects of itself. That is, autoimmune illnesses seem to manifest the contradictory and sometimes deadly proposition that the “identity”: body/self both (...) is and is not “itself”. Based on the assumption that under normal circumstances “the self” ought to coincide naturally with “the body”—or at the very least the self ought to inhabit the living location of the body more or less unproblematically—this scientific paradigm depicts autoimmune illness as a vital paradox. Yet for those of us who have lived through the experience of an autoimmune crisis, the living paradox that we embody may also lead us to question the basis upon which these medical assumptions rest. This essay raises some of these questions. (shrink)
Epistemologists often assume that an agent’s epistemic goal is simply to acquire as much knowledge as possible for herself. Drawing on an analogy with ethics and other practices, I argue that being situated in an epistemic community introduces a range of epistemic virtues (and goals) which fall outside of those typically recognized by both individualistic and social epistemologists. Candidate virtues include such traits as honesty, integrity (including an unwillingness to misuse one’s status as an expert), patience, and creativity. We (...) can understand such traits to be epistemic virtues insofar as they tend to produce knowledge – not for the agent alone, but for her community. Recognition of such ‘otherregarding epistemic virtues’ both broadens the area of inquiry of epistemology, and introduces new standards for the evaluation of epistemic agents. (shrink)
In this article I examine Jean-Luc Marion's two-fold criticism of Emmanuel Levinas’ philosophy of other and self, namely that Levinas remains unable to overcome ontological difference in Totality and Infinity and does so successfully only with the notion of the appeal in Otherwise than Being and that his account of alterity is ambiguous in failing to distinguish clearly between human and divine other. I outline Levinas’ response to this criticism and then critically examine Marion's own account of subjectivity (...) that attempts to go beyond Levinas in its emphasis on a pure or anonymous appeal. I criticize this move as rather problematic and turn instead back to Levinas for a more convincing account of the relations between self, human other, and God. In this context, I also show that Levinas in fact draws quite careful distinctions between human and divine others. (shrink)
Psyche: Inventions of the Other is the first publication in English of the twenty-eight essay collection Jacques Derrida published in two volumes in 1998 and 2003. Advancing his reflection on many issues, such as sexual difference, architecture, negative theology, politics, war, nationalism, and religion, Volume II also carries on Derrida's engagement with a number of key thinkers and writers: De Certeau, Heidegger, Kant, Lacoue-Labarthe, Mandela, Rosenszweig, and Shakespeare, among others. Included in this volume are new or revised translations of (...) seminal essays (for example, "Geschlecht I: Sexual Difference, Ontological Difference," "Geschlecht II: Heidegger's Hand," "How to Avoid Speaking: Denials," and " Interpretations at War : Kant, the Jew, the German"). (shrink)
In contemporary Western analytic philosophy, the classic analogical argument explaining our knowledge of other minds has been rejected. But at least three alternative positive theories of our knowledge of the second person have been formulated: the theory-theory, the simulation theory and the theory of direct empathy. After sketching out the problems faced by these accounts of the ego’s access to the contents of the mind of a “second ego”, this paper tries to recreate one argument given by Abhinavagupta (Shaiva (...) philosopher of recognition) to the effect that even in another’s body, one must feel and recognize one’s own self, if one is able to address that embodied person as a “you”. The otherness of You does not take away from its subjectivity. In that sense, just as every second person to whom one could speak is, first, a person, she is also a first person. Even as I regret that I do not know exactly how some other person is feeling right now, I must have some general access to the subjective experience of that other person, for otherwise what is it that I feel so painfully ignorant about? My subjective world is mine only to the extent that I recognize its continuity with a sharable subjective world where other I-s can make a You out of me. (shrink)
While there is a great diversity of treatments of other minds and inter-subjectivity within both analytic and continental philosophy, this article specifies some of the core structural differences between these treatments. Although there is no canonical account of the problem of other minds that can be baldly stated and that is exhaustive of both traditions, the problem(s) of other minds can be loosely defined in family resemblances terms. It seems to have: (1) an epistemological dimension (How do (...) we know that others exist? Can we justifiably claim to know that they do?); (2) an ontological dimension that incorporates issues having to do with personal identity (What is the structure of our world such that inter-subjectivity is possible? What are the fundamental aspects of our relations to others? How do they impact upon our self-identity?); and (3) A conceptual dimension in that it depends on one's answer to the question what is a mind (How does the mind – or the concept of 'mind'– relate to the brain, the body and the world?). While these three issues are co-imbricated, I will claim that analytic engagements with the problem of other minds focus on (1), whereas continental philosophers focus far more on (2). In addition, this article will also point to various other downstream consequences of this, including the preoccupation with embodiment and forms of expressivism that feature heavily in various forms of continental philosophy, and which generally aim to ground our relations with others in a pre-reflective manner of inhabiting the world that is said to be the condition of reflection and knowledge. (shrink)
The, so called, ‘conceptual problem of other minds’ has been articulated in a number of different ways. I discuss two, drawing out some constraints on an adequate account of the grasp of concepts of mental states. Distinguishing between behaviour-based and identity-based approaches to the problem, I argue that the former, exemplified by Brewer and Pickard, are incomplete as they presuppose, but do not provide an answer to, what I shall call the conceptual problem of other bodies. I end (...) with some remarks on identity-based approaches, pointing out related problems for versions of this approach held by Cassam and Peacocke. (shrink)
Explaining the mind by building machines with minds runs into the other-minds problem: How can we tell whether any body other than our own has a mind when the only way to know is by being the other body? In practice we all use some form of Turing Test: If it can do everything a body with a mind can do such that we can't tell them apart, we have no basis for doubting it has a mind. (...) But what is "everything" a body with a mind can do? Turing's original "pen-pal" version (the TT) only tested linguistic capacity, but Searle has shown that a mindless symbol-manipulator could pass the TT undetected. The Total Turing Test (TTT) calls for all of our linguistic and robotic capacities; immune to Searle's argument, it suggests how to ground a symbol manipulating system in the capacity to pick out the objects its symbols refer to. No Turing Test, however, can guarantee that a body has a mind. Worse, nothing in the explanation of its successful performance requires a model to have a mind at all. Minds are hence very different from the unobservables of physics (e.g., superstrings); and Turing Testing, though essential for machine-modeling the mind, can really only yield an explanation of the body. (shrink)
Most commentators working on Wittgenstein’s remarks on ethics note that he rejects the very possibility of traditional normative ethics, that is, a philosophically justified normative guide for right conduct. In this article, Wittgenstein’s view of ethical reflection as presented in his notebooks from 1936 to 1938 is investigated, and the question of whether it involves ethical guidance is addressed. In Wittgenstein’s remarks, we can identify three requirements inherent in ethical reflection. The first two is revealed in the realisation that ethical (...) reflection presupposes both a clear understanding of oneself and a normative ideal of how one ought to live and reason. The third source of normativity springs from the fact that ethical reflection involves a relationship with the other, not as judge, but as example and addressee. In this way, ethical reflection is essentially relational. In the article, we unfold how these three normative sources figure in Wittgenstein’s remarks, especially how the third requirement, the relationship with the other, shows both a point of conversion and a difference between his view of ethics and religious faith. It will also be argued that even if Wittgenstein thus presents ethical reflection as a normatively guided activity, the content of the guidance is personal, springing solely from the reflecting individual. (shrink)
This chapter argues that the conceptual problem of other minds cannot be properly addressed as long as we subscribe to an individualistic model of how we stand in relation to our own experiences and the behaviour of others. For it is commitment to this picture that sponsors the strong first/third person divide that lies at the heart of the two false accounts of experiential concept learning sketched above. This is the true source of the problem. To deal successfully with (...) it we must reconsider our assumptions about the way in which we learn our concepts of experience, self and other, and the order in which we do so. Specifically, we must recognize the intersubjective character of the learning process and we must abandon the idea that we gain a secure grasp of the self/other dichotomy prior to learning our concepts of experience. Focusing on these issues allows us to understand the asymmetrical nature of such concepts. In order to bring these points into sharp relief, the next section is devoted to reviewing the major features of Brewer’s approach to the very same problem in his contribution to this volume, ‘Emotion and Other Minds’. Although his proposal makes some moves in the right direction, I argue that he does not go far enough. In particular, in focusing exclusively on demonstrative reference, he fails to challenge crucial aspects of the individualistic model that are responsible for generating the problem. Still, using his work as a springboard, it becomes clear exactly which fundamental assumptions need to be revised if we are to understand the context in which we learn our psychological concepts. (shrink)
The author interprets idolatry, totemism, sacrilege and taboo through her theory of sexual difference and her study of Eastern spirituality. She argues that the taboo on spirituality in Western culture has cancelled difference, resulting in our current forms of idolatry. Preserving difference, however, would allow the transcendence of the human other to exist. The task of learning to respect difference is central to human spirituality and spiritual progression. The article is a translation of “La transcendance de l’autre” in Autour (...) d’idôlatrie: figures actuelles de pouvoir et de domination, Ed. Bernard Van Meenen, Publications des Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis, Brussels: 2003. (shrink)
I argue that meaning or significanceper se, along with the capacity to be conscious thereof, and the values, motives and aspirations, etc. central to the constitution of our intrinsic personal identities, arise, as indeed do our extrinsic social identities, and our very self-consciousness as such, from socio-cultural structures and relations to others. However, so far from our identities and behavior therefore being determined, I argue that the capacity for critical reflection and evaluation emerge from these same structural relations, the more (...) complex and quintessentially human aspects of our behavior being explained not in terms of responses to stimuli but as choices reflecting our evaluation of meaningful or significant alternatives. Finally I provide theoretical grounds for accepting the existence of other subjects and give a holistic, as opposed to a dialectical, account of the way individuals may challenge and change the very socio-cultural ways of relating to and interacting with others so central to constituting their capacities and identities. (shrink)
Japan has absorbed many western ideas since the late nineteenth century, but Japanese philosophers have often been reluctant to accept the western idea of the “I” in its entirety. The I transgresses to the Other more easily than western philosophies think and imports what belongs to the Other as his own. How is this possible? Husserl attempted to explain the constitution of the Other by the intentionality that goes from the I to the Other, mediated by (...) the body. However, Husserl later discovered that the constitution of both the I and the Other is more of a two-way movement. This double-movement is essential for all constitutions and departs from a deep (primal) dimension that is not yet egological. Even in the self-reflection of the I, a similar double-movement between the primal and egological dimensions can be seen. The I is supported, but at the same time threatened, by this movement. (shrink)
This book brings together the most interesting and far-reaching responses to the work of Levinas in three key areas: contemporary feminism, psychotherapy and Levinas's relation to other philosophers. This title available in eBook format. Click here for more information . Visit our eBookstore at: www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk.
How is our experience of the world affected by our experience of others? Such is the question I will be exploring in this paper. I will do so via the agoraphobic condition. In agoraphobia, we are rewarded with an enriched glimpse into the intersubjective formation of the world, and in particular to our embodied experience of that social space. I will be making two key claims. First, intersubjectivity is essentially an issue of intercorporeality, a point I shall explore with recourse (...) to Merleau-Ponty’s account of the prepersonal body. The implication of this claim is that evading or withdrawing from the other remains structurally impossible so long as we remain bodily subjects. Second, the necessary relation with others defines our thematic and affective experience of the world. Far from a formal connection with others, the corporeal basis of intersubjectivity means that our lived experience of the world is mediated via our bodily relations with others. In this way, intercorporeality reveals the body as being dynamically receptive to social interactions with others. Each of these claims is demonstrated via a phenomenological analysis of the agoraphobe’s interaction with others. From this analysis, I conclude that our experience of the world is affected by our experience of others precisely because we are in a bodily relation with others. Such a relation is not causally linked, as though first there were a body, then a world, and then a subject that provided a thematic and affective context to that experience. Instead, body, other, and world are each intertwined in a single unity and cannot be considered apart. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss Searle's claim that the computational properties of a system could never cause a system to be conscious. In the first section of the paper I argue that Searle is correct that, even if a system both behaves in a way that is characteristic of conscious agents (like ourselves) and has a computational structure similar to those agents, one cannot be certain that that system is conscious. On the other hand, I suggest that Searle's intuition (...) that it is “empirically absurd” that such a system could be conscious is unfounded. In the second section I show that Searle's attempt to show that a system's computational states could not possibly cause it to be conscious is based upon an erroneous distinction between computational and physical properties. On the basis of these two arguments, I conclude that, supposing that the behavior of conscious agents can be explained in terms of their computational properties, we have good reason to suppose that a system having computational properties similar to such agents is also conscious. (shrink)
This article describes some of the main arguments for the existence of other minds, and intersubjectivity more generally, that depend upon a transcendental justification. This means that our focus will be largely on ‘continental’ philosophy, not only because of the abiding interest in this tradition in thematising intersubjectivity, but also because transcendental reasoning is close to ubiquitous in continental philosophy. Neither point holds for analytic philosophy. As such, this essay will introduce some of the important contributions of Edmund Husserl, (...) Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Karl-Otto Apel, all of whom use transcendental reasoning as a key part of their analyses of intersubjectivity, and we also consider the work of Peter Strawson who does likewise in the analytic tradition. (shrink)
Robot enthusiasts envision robots will become a “race unto themselves” as they cohabit with the humankind one day. Profound questions arise surrounding one of the major areas of research in the contemporary world—that concerning artificial intelligence. Fascination and anxiety that androids impose upon us hinges on how we come to conceive of the “Cultural Other.” Applying the notion of the “other” in multicultural research process, we will explore how the “Other” has been used to illustrate values and (...) theories about robots, as a mirror for the self. In this paper, we focus on the social, cultural, and religious implications of humans’ attitudes toward relationships between humans with robots. Six major views on humanoid robots are proposed: (1) robots as the “Frightening Other,” (2) robots as the “Subhuman Other,” (3) robots as the “Human Substitute,” (4) robots as the “Sentient Other,” (5) robots as the “Divine Other,” and (6) robots as the “Co-evolutionary Path to Immortality.” The likely and preferable scenario is the last one, which is compatible with an optimistic posthuman world in our evolutionary future. We imagine whether humans will meet the challenge of loving all living and non-living beings (including mechanical entities) might be the key to the co-evolution of both species and the ultimate happiness. (shrink)
The Face of the Other and the Trace of God contain essays on the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, and how his philosophy intersects with that of other philosophers, particularly Husserl, Kierkegaard, Sartre, and Derrida. This collection is broadly divided into two parts: relations with the other, and the questions of God.
True Bergsonianism : beginnings of a philosopher -- The controversy over intersubjectivity -- Nazism and crisis : the interruption of a trajectory -- Totaliter aliter : revelation in interwar thought -- Levinas's discovery of the other in the making of French existentialism -- The ethical turn : philosophy and Judaism in the Cold War.
Other minds and their place in the Hume-literature -- A modern approach -- Scepticism versus naturalism -- The vulgar and the philosopher -- Relative ideas -- Concepts of the real -- Intuition and common sense -- Epistemic responsibility -- Degeneration of reason -- Just philosophy -- Conceiving minds -- Abstraction -- Argument from analogy -- Sympathy -- Limitations -- Generality -- Hume's concept of mind -- The world and the other -- Habit and intersubjective responsiveness -- Belief and (...) education -- Mental facts -- Signs of mind and world -- The belief-grounding function of sympathy -- Corrigibility of belief -- Cognitive architecture. (shrink)
The self-other asymmetry is a prominent and important feature of common-sense morality. It is also a feature that does not find a home in standard versions of act-utilitarianism. Theodore Sider has attempted to make a place for it by constructing a novel version of utilitarianism that incorporates the asymmetry into its framework. So far as I know, it is the best attempt to bring the two together. I argue, however, that Sider's ingenious attempt fails. I also offer a diagnosis (...) that explains why no theory that remains recognizably act-utilitarian can successfully incorporate the asymmetry. (shrink)
Recently within the critical accounting literature Funnell (1998) has argued that accounting was implicated in the Holocaust. This charge is primarily related to the technical, mathematical nature of accounting and its ability to dehumanise individuals. Broadbent (1998, see also DeMoss and McCann, 1997) has also contended that "accounting logic" excludes emotion. She suggests that a more emancipatory form of accounting could be possible if emotion were given a voice and allowed to be heard within accounting discourse (see also Kjonstad and (...) Wilmott, 1995). This paper contends that emotion should be introduced into accounting education and in particular emotional commitment to other individuals should be encouraged. It is suggested that one way to do this may be through business ethics education. It is also suggested that increasing ethical commitment to other individuals may go some way towards combating the tendency for accountancy to dehumanise other people. While there have been specific studies of ethics and accounting education there has, as yet, been little open debate about what the objectives of accounting ethics education should be or the specific techniques that could be used to meet the desired aims. This paper contends that accountancy has become dangerously dehumanised and that one of the most important objectives for any business ethics education must be to develop an empathy with "the other". The paper studies the developments within the medical, legal and engineering profession in order to suggest some specific methods which could be employed in order to re-humanise accountancy and develop a sense of moral commitment towards other individuals. (shrink)
Intrigues: From Being to the Other examines the possibility of writing the other, explores whether an ethical writing that preserves the other as such is possible, and discusses what the implications are for an ethically inflected criticism. Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot, whose works constitute the most thorough contemporary exploration of the question of the other and of its relation to writing, are the main focus of this study. The book's horizon is ethics in the Levinasian (...) sense: the question of the other, which, on the hither side of language understood as a system of signs and of representation, must be welcomed by language and preserved in its alterity. Martin Heidegger is an unavoidable reference, however. While it is true that for the German philosopher Being is an immanent production, his elucidation of a more essential understanding of Being entails a deconstruction of onto-theology, of the sign and the grammatical and logical determinations of language, all decisive starting points for both Levinas and Blanchot.At stake for both Levinas and Blanchot, then, is how to mark a nondiscursive excess within discourse without erasing or reducing it. How should one read and write the other in the same without reducing the other to the same?Critics in recent years have discussed an "ethical moment or turn" characterized by the other's irruption into the order of discourse. The other becomes a true crossroads of disciplines, since it affects several aspects of discourse: the constitution of the subject, the status of knowledge, the nature of representation, and what that representation represses (gender, power). Yet there has been a tendency to graft the other onto paradigms whose main purpose is to reassess questions of identity, fundamentally in terms of representation; the other thus loses some of its most crucial features.Through close readings of texts by Heidegger, Levinas, and Blanchot the book examines how the question of the other engages the very limits of philosophy, rationality, and power. (shrink)
In this article, I embark on an analysis of Søren Kierkegaard's view of human otherness in strict correlation to his Christian philosophy. More specifically, my aim is to show that Kierkegaard's thought is essentially informed by a decisive appropriation of the soteriological category of sin which has momentous implications for Kierkegaard's views of selfhood and intersubjectivity. The main argument is that both Kierkegaard's negative evaluation of human otherness and his acerbic indictments of any collectivist interference in salvific matters cohere with (...) his appropriation of the doctrine of the Fall. At the same time, I show in what sense Kierkegaard deems human alterity to be indispensable to one's spiritual self-becoming expressed through the Christian imperative of loving the other as neighbor. Seen thus, agape, while supplementing Kierkegaard's creationistic psychology, actually becomes the necessary restorative opposite of sinfulness in the self's encounters with the distinct uniqueness of the human other. (shrink)
The problem of the other was one of the central problems for the founder of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl. He investigated the other as the alter ego intensively in the Fifth Cartesian Meditation, in which he introduced the conceptions of “analogical apperception'' and “pairing'' as fundamental forms of “passive synthesis.'' Although it is no doubt Husserl who investigated the other most seriously and intensively, there is anaporiain his theory of the other. If the other is an (...) object of ego's intentional consciousness, the other turns out to be no more than a modification of the ego. In the face of such anaporia, some phenomenologists embarked upon inquiry into the other. This paper focuses primarily on Alfred Schutz's discussion of the “other'' in general and about the “stranger'' in particular. (shrink)
This reflection focuses on lived experience with the Technological Other (Quasi-Other) while pursuing creative video and film activities. In the last decade work in the video and film industries has been transformed through digital manipulation and enhancement brought about by increasingly sophisticated computer technologies. The rules of the craft have not changed but the relationship the artist/editor experiences with these new digital tools has brought about increasingly interesting existential experiences in the creative process. How might this new way (...) of being with technology change the craft and the crafter? Through a phenomenological understanding of Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Don Ihde, and their contributions to the human-technology conversation, this essay moves to reveal the lived experiences of artists/editors who use computers to create by means of film and digital video formats. Exploring notions of lived space, lived body, lived time, and lived relation through the computer interface allows for digging deeper into inhabiting technology and experiencing the Technological Other. (shrink)
The promise of language in the depths of hell: Primo Levi's Canto of Ulysses and Inferno -- The difference between difference and otherness: Il milione of Marco Polo and Calvino's Le città invisibili -- Traces of the Confucian/Mencian other: ethical moments in Sima Qian's Records of the historian -- War and the Hellenic splendor of knowing: Euripides, Hölderlin, Celan -- The saying, the said, and the betrayal of mercy in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice -- Nom de dieu, quelle race: (...) the saying, the said, and the betrayal of charity in Mongo Beti's Le pauvre Christ de Bomba -- Transcendent divinity and human responsibility in Mahfouz: "zaabalawi" and children of our alley -- That you might have my witness in your poem: Valéry, the symbolist tradition, and Edgar Bowers' later blank verse. (shrink)
The paper uses thompson clark's theory of the relation of perceptual parts and wholes to illuminate certain aspects of our knowledge of other minds. The thesis is that the traditional problem can be usefully broken down into two parts--One of which calls for a better understanding of the logic of perceptual concepts; the other, For a closer look at what happens when we try to take the epistemological skeptic seriously.
The argument by analogy for other minds is customarily rejected as a weak inference because the argument is based on a single instance. The current paper argues that this objection fundamentally misunderstands the inferential structure of analogies and so misrepresents the role analogy plays in the justifycation of belief in other minds. Arguments by be uniquely suited to draw inferences from single instances. This defense does not remove all difficulties faced by the argument by analogy for other (...) minds. (shrink)
This essay examines some of Derrida’s most famous ‘possible-impossible’ aporias, including his discussions of giving, hospitality, forgiveness, and mourning. He argues that the condition of the possibility of such themes is also, and at once, the condition of their impossibility. In order to reveal the shared logic upon which these aporias rely, and also to raise some questions about their persuasive efficacy, it will be argued that of the two polarities evoked by each of his possible-impossible aporias, the ‘impossible’ term (...) of the opposition invariably posits a separation between “two radical singularities”, or in somewhat more controversial terms, between a self and an other. While Derrida emphasises this ‘impossible’ aspect of giving, hospitality, forgiveness, etc., Merleau-Ponty’s abiding emphasis upon the chiasmic intertwining of self and other provides the resources to challenge this emphasis, and even to reverse it. While Merleau-Ponty rarely directly addresses the kind of aporias that concern Derrida, his chiasmic account of embodiment, and his emphasis upon the body-subject’s propensity to seek an equilibrium with its environment, better accounts for the ‘possible’ side of the aporias that Derrida describes. In the process, it will be argued that Merleau-Ponty’s later philosophy also allows for a more politically efficacious idea of responsibility towards the other than the position to which Derrida is tacitly committed. (shrink)
The western philosophical tradition, with its focus on universal concepts and a presumed neuter, but ultimately male subject, has only relatively recently become open to the question of alterity, in particular the alterity of woman as the other of man. The essays of this volume reflect in particular on the ethical implications of taking the feminine other into account. This necessitates a rethinking of the implicit structures of Western philosophy which continue to exclude women as subjects who contribute (...) to the conceptualization of world and society. This volume, which gives voice to women philosophers, is a contribution to that task. (shrink)
From early modernity, philosophers have engaged in skeptical discussions concerning knowledge of the existence, state, and standing of other minds. The analogical move from self to other unfolds as controversy. This paper reposes the problem as an argumentation predicament and examines analogy as an opening to the study of rhetorical cognition. Rhetorical cognition is identified as a productive process coming to terms with an other through testing sustainable risk. The paper explains how self-sustaining risk is theorized by (...) Aristotle’s virtue ethics in the polis. Moral hazard is identified as a threat to modern argument communities. (shrink)
Martin Buber (1878-1965) is one of the most significant existentialist philosophers of the twentieth century and a leading scholar of the Hasidic tradition in Judaism; even more important for this article is that Buber is considered by many to be the philosopher of dialogue par excellence. This article expounds Buber’s conception of dialogue and its implications for our conception of the Other.
To date, research on bullying has largely employed empirical methodologies, including quantitative and qualitative approaches. Through this research we have come to understand bullying as both a dyadic and peer group phenomenon, primarily situated in the heads (thinking) of those involved, or in a lack of skill or expertise, or in the delinquency of a bully who needs to be reformed. This research has largely directed its strategies toward problem students using individual and peer group approaches. And yet school bullying (...) continues to be a crucial educational issue affecting millions of students each year. In this project I introduce a missing philosophical perspective. Analyzing the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer I am led to conclude that typical anti-bullying strategies at times simply train bullies to be better at bullying (i.e., learning to bully more covertly, more expertly so as to inflict the same devastation without adult detection). Gadamer invites us to think about bullying in new ways. While certainly involving the thinking and skills of the bully and the victim, Gadamer contends that bullying does not fundamentally result from a problem within the participants, but is fostered by certain spaces between them; terrains that cultivate specific experiences of an "other". Generally, this project stems from an interest in the ways that domination develops in this "space between". Specifically in this paper I ask: What is the nature of "hermeneutic" experience as conceptualized by Gadamer? What kinds of experiences of an other does bullying exemplify? What kinds of experience of an other do non-bullying relations exemplify and what kinds of relational spaces foster such experience? This paper opens up significant new territory for anti-bullying work, expanding our focus to include the space between students which fosters certain inter-personal experiences - experiences situated in domination and stymied growth or, alternatively, experiences of reciprocity which open the possibility of human growth and transformation. (shrink)