The expression conditional fallacy identifies a family of arguments deemed to entail odd and false consequences for notions defined in terms of counterfactuals. The antirealist notion of truth is typically defined in terms of what a rational enquirer or a community of rational enquirers would believe if they were suitably informed. This notion is deemed to entail, via the conditional fallacy, odd and false propositions, for example that the Peircean end of inquiry has been reached or that there is necessarily (...) a rational enquirer. If these consequences followed from the antirealist notion of truth, alethic antirealism should probably be rejected. In this paper we analyse the conditional fallacy from a semantic (i.e. model-theoretic) point of view. This allows us to identify with precision the philosophical commitments that ground the validity of this type of arguments. We show that the conditional fallacy arguments against alethic antirealism are valid only if controversial metaphysical assumptions are accepted. We suggest that the antirealist is not committed to the conditional fallacy because she is not committed to some of these assumptions. (shrink)
This paper presents a new modal logic for ceteris paribus preferences understood in the sense of "all other things being equal". This reading goes back to the seminal work of Von Wright in the early 1960's and has returned in computer science in the 1990' s and in more abstract "dependency logics" today. We show how it differs from ceteris paribus as "all other things being normal", which is used in contexts with preference defeaters. We provide a semantic analysis and (...) several completeness theorems. We show how our system links up with Von Wright's work, and how it applies to game-theoretic solution concepts, to agenda setting in investigation, and to preference change. We finally consider its relation with infinitary modal logics. (shrink)
Linear logic, introduced in 1986 by J.-Y. Girard, is based upon a fine grain analysis of the main proof-theoretical notions of logic. The subject develops along the lines of denotational semantics, proof nets and the geometry of interaction. Its basic dynamical nature has attracted computer scientists, and various promising connections have been made in the areas of optimal program execution, interaction nets and knowledge representation. This book is the refereed proceedings of the first international meeting on linear logic held (...) at Cornell University, in June 1993. Survey papers devoted to specific areas of linear logic, as well as an extensive general introduction to the subject by J.-Y. Girard, have been added, so as to make this book a valuable tool both for the beginner and for the advanced researcher. (shrink)
Abstract. We argue that all human beings have a special type of dignity which is the basis for (1) the obligation all of us have not to kill them, (2) the obligation to take their well-being into account when we act, and (3) even the obligation to treat them as we would have them treat us, and indeed, that all human beings are equal in fundamental dignity. We give reasons to oppose the position that only some human beings, because of (...) their possession of certain characteristics in addition to their humanity (for example, an immediately exercisable capacity for self-consciousness, or for rational deliberation), have full moral worth. What distinguishes human beings from other animals, what makes human beings persons rather than things, is their rational nature, and human beings are rational creatures by virtue of possessing natural capacities for conceptual thought, deliberation, and free choice, that is, the natural capacity to shape their own lives. (shrink)
The conviction that political recognition is accomplished through the extension and completion of the Enlightenment project of toleration is shared by some of the most influential political theorists of our time. John Rawls, Charles Taylor and Will Kymlicka all formulate the issue of recognition as if it were a corollary of the principle of toleration based in equal liberty or dignity. This raises important issues which political thought must confront and engage with. Above all, it means reconsidering the primacy of (...) Enlightenment critique for our understanding of ourselves, our world and our encounter with others. In this article I examine the liberal conviction that tolerance (in the sense of a commitment to individual autonomy) best promotes recognition of cultural diversity. I argue that two weaknesses haunt the liberal project and undermine this belief. They prevail because of a failure adequately to address the question of recognition in its normative, ontological and symbolic aspects. In contrast, I argue that philosophical hermeneutics affords a critical perspective on democratic theory and practice that must be taken up and extended following the experience of identity politics. Key Words: hermeneutics Kymlicka multicultural democracy normativity Rawls ontology symbolic Taylor. (shrink)
We study increasing F-sequences, where F is a dilator: an increasing F-sequence is a sequence (indexed by ordinal numbers) of ordinal numbers, starting with 0 and terminating at the first step x where F(x) is reached (at every step x + 1 we use the same process as in decreasing F-sequences, cf. , but with "+ 1" instead of "- 1"). By induction on dilators, we shall prove that every increasing F-sequence terminates and moreover we can determine for every dilator (...) F the point where the increasing F-sequence terminates. We apply these results to inverse Goodstein sequences, i.e. increasing (1 + Id) (ω) -sequences. We show that the theorem every inverse Goodstein sequence terminates (a combinatorial theorem about ordinal numbers) is not provable in ID 1 . For a general presentation of the results stated in this paper, see . We use notions and results concerning the category ON (ordinal numbers), dilators and bilators, summarized in [2, pp. 25-31]. (shrink)
René Girard’s mimetic theory has significantly influenced the fields of comparative literature and cultural studies, as well as sociological anthropology and philosophy. Nevertheless, I argue that a somewhat different line of interpretation, an interdisciplinary one, has not been sufficiently investigated. This involves an interpretation which focuses on the vicissitudes of the mimetic and “victimage” circle not (or not only) in sociological terms, but by analysing their articulation on the level of knowledge. The sociological and epistemological perspectives do not exclude (...) each other, but can be integrated. The main aim of this paper is to clarify this articulation, and to show that integration between these two perspectives is possible only by bringing into play a real ‘literary aesthetics’. The notion of literary aesthetics needs to be considered in both the common and the etymological sense, as a theory of feeling and of experiencing. In doing so, I firstly cover in brief the main stages of Girard’s thought in the light of this perspective, to then focus on the relationship between literary aesthetics and knowledge. Finally I argue that this picture, if seriously considered, could lead to a mystical outcome, and will discuss the possible alternatives to that outcome. (shrink)
Religion has become a vital resource for attempts to rethink the meaning of the political. This article rehearses the efforts of two recent figures, René Girard and Giorgio Agamben, to transform the political by renewing its connection to religion. Both thinkers struggle to escape politics as defined by Carl Schmitt's friend/enemy distinction. Girard and Agamben do clash ideologically, but their inquiries into sacrifice and messianism take similar courses. Regarding origins, Girard argues for the sacrificial crisis as the (...) common parent to religion and politics. Conversely, for Agamben, the Roman figure of homo sacer distinguishes politics from religion. With respect to the future, Girard's messianism installs Christian belief as the only way to move beyond violence. By contrast, Agamben steers Pauline messianism toward the efforts to displace sovereignty and reopen the political. I conclude that Agamben breaks with Schmitt while Girard reinscribes his politics at a higher level. Key Words: Giorgio Agamben Rey Chow Christianity René Girard homo sacer messianism politics sacred sacrifice Carl Schmitt. (shrink)
As J. Baird Callicott has argued, Adam Smith’s moral theory is a philosophical ancestor of recent work in environmental ethics. However, Smith’s “all important emotion of sympathy” (Callicott 2001: 209) seems incapable of extension to entities that lack emotions with which one can sympathize. Drawing on the distinctive account of sympathy developed in Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments , as well as his account of anthropomorphizing nature in “History of Astronomy and Physics,” I show that sympathy with non-sentient nature is (...) possible within a Smithian ethics. This provides the possibility of extending sympathy, and thereby benevolence and justice, to nature. (shrink)
Patrick Toner has recently criticized accounts of substance provided by Kit Fine, E. J. Lowe, and the author, accounts which say (to a first approximation) that substances cannot depend on things other than their own parts. On Toner’s analysis, the inclusion of this parts exception results in a disjunctive definition of substance rather than a unified account. In this paper (speaking only for myself, but in a way that would, I believe, support the other authors that Toner discusses), I (...) first make clear what Toner’s criticism is, and then I respond to it. Including the parts exception is not the adding of a second condition but instead the creation of a new single condition. Since it is not the adding of a condition, the result is not disjunctive. Therefore, the objection fails. (shrink)
Allhoff, Fritz, Patrick Lin, and Daniel Moore. 2010. What is nanotechnology and why does it matter? From science to ethics Content Type Journal Article Pages 209-211 DOI 10.1007/s11673-011-9289-z Authors Jennifer Kuzma, University of Minnesota, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, 301 19th Ave So, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529 Journal Volume Volume 8 Journal Issue Volume 8, Number 2.
This paper explores differing accounts of the nature of desire, found in the works of Bernard Lonergan and René Girard, and their implications for our understanding of the origins or socio-cultural order. Using Lonergan's distinction between natural and elicited desires it argues that Girard's account of desire as mimetic may account for elicited desire, but may not account for natural desire, in Lonergan's account, as desire for meaning, truth and goodness. It then considers the implications for this distinction (...) in our understanding of our socio-cultural origins. (shrink)
In Deceit, Desire, and the Novel, René Girard interprets a phenomenon he dubs “metaphysical desire” in which “metaphysical” signifies objects of attraction that are not physical things but rather intangible bi-products of mimetic entanglement—such as prestige or fame or social status. These “metaphysical objects” fuel the sometimes frenzied rivalry between the actors in their grip. Desire in the mimetic theory is always subject to mediation, and Girard distinguishes two modes of mediation: external and internal. In external mediation, the (...) model stands outside the field of play of the imitator; in such cases there can be imitation but not the mutually amplified rivalry that leads to violence and scapegoating. In internal mediation, however, the model/imitators become antagonists. In Girard’s exposition, this difference between mediators provides a first litmus test of violent potential. But Girard’s dichotomy is limited to types of mediation, and another dichotomy is possible, one that distinguishes between types of metaphysical objects: those that are essentially sharable and those inherently not so. This extension of Girard’s mimetic theory can potentially cast great light on Plato’s dialogues. My essay will argue both that Plato understood the double-bind of mimetic entanglement and that his “forms” (at least in the ethical/political realm) can best be understood as metaphysical objects of the sharable kind. My points of reference will be primarily Plato’s Phaedrus and Book IX of the Republic (with pointers to Aristotle’s analysis of philia in Book VIII of the Nicomachean Ethics). (shrink)
Though the work of René Girard has highlighted the interrelations between sacrifice and sacrality in the contemporary world, it has yet to engage the work of Walter Benjamin and his heir, Giorgio Agamben, whose project concerning the Homo Sacer has aroused interest in contemporary political thought. By focusing on Benjamin's early description of mimesis and its relation to language, a position can be elaborated that steers mimesis clear of its indebtedness to language and towards a ‘purer’ realm of gesture. (...) Benjamin's formulation of a more proper ‘divine’ language of gestures could then be said to coalesce with certain historical-religious proclamations, something that Agamben's work challenges us to consider as a viable, albeit ‘profane’, political and ethical option for humanity. (shrink)
John Perceval (1803-1876), who suffered from schizophrenia, published two books on his experience, in 1836 and 1840. More than a century later, the anthropologist Gregory Bateson discovered in Perceval's memoirs a lucid anticipation of his own theories on schizophrenia. To Bateson, Perceval describes the interactive patterns between himself, his family, and the hospital psychiatrists, as examples of "double bind" interactions, in which he played the role of a "sacrificial victim." The article underlines the strong convergence between Bateson's theory of schizophrenia (...) and René Girard's theory of the scapegoat. In the anthropological theory of Girard, the sacrificial ceremonies are the main way of constructing social order. In that perspective, the schizophenic can be considered as a particular example of a scapegoat, that is, as an important figure in social life, and not as a mere phenomenon of psychopathology. This theoretical convergence is remarkable, in particular, because both anthropologists explain the sacrificial processes through a theory of social life based on the idea that the main unit of analysis is not the individual, but the interactive dynamic as a whole: patterns of relationships, to Bateson; reciprocal imitation (mymesis), to Girard. (shrink)
This article provides a historical, philosophical, and psychological analysis of the recent discovery that reoviruses are oncolytic, capable of infecting and destroying many kinds of cancer cells. After describing Patrick Lee's very indirect path to this discovery, I discuss the implications of this case for understanding the nature of scientific discovery, including the economy of research, anomaly recognition, hypothesis formation, and the role of emotion in scientific thinking. Lee's discoveries involved a combination of serendipity, abductive and deductive inference, and (...) emotional cognition. (shrink)
Patrick J. Carr and Maria J. Kafalas, Hollowing Out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What It Means for America Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10806-010-9266-2 Authors Doug Seale, 21 Turner Ridge Road Marlborough MA 01752 USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
The work of René Girard invites us to re-imagine a ‘religious–secular’ interactivity within social space in a way released from the violent dualisms of the ‘sacred/profane.’ Earlier Dietrich Bonhoeffer considered the same task and suggested directions for a positive theology of church-state relations, even as the inherited forms of these institutions were collapsing about him. This paper explores the Girardian scenario for church and state becoming rivalrous ‘doubles’– whether it be secular utopic projects doubling religious narratives of redemption, or (...) churches doubling the state as parallel yet purer societies – and suggests resources from Bonhoeffer by which a non-rivalrous church-state relationality - both mutually-constituting and mutually-limiting - may be configured. (shrink)
Religion in the perverted form of idolatry/ideology is at the root of violence for Simone Weil and René Girard. For Girard, “mimetic desire” expresses the idolization of another and ultimately of the self: when the individual’s expectations of achieving autonomy through another remain unfulfilled, he seeksa scapegoat. For Weil, everyone is subject to “force” as recipient or perpetrator of violence which is catalyzed by ideology, a form of idolatry. While Weil focuseson the idolatry of ideas, both writers agree (...) that the subject’s desire for absolute autonomy is the source of idolatry and violence. Furthermore, both presupposesuffering as the individual’s driving force, seeking relief in idols or scapegoats; accepting this suffering by imitating Christ is the solution, freeing one from selfish,idolatrous desires. (shrink)
Patrick Hopkins has claimed that SM is compatible with feminist principles. I argue that his account relies on both mistaken analogies and an untenable account of the allegedly changed meaning of SM scenes.
Patrick Lancaster Gardiner is best known and most widely esteemed for his work on the nature of historical explanation. By addressing the problem of the limits of objectivity in relation to a variety of philosophical issues, he presciently identified the source of a number of philosophical disputes well before they had properly developed. This was certainly the case in Gardiner's treatment of historical explanation, and it is true also of his later treatment of the claims of the personal versus (...) the impersonal in ethical life. (shrink)
Hugh Connelly, An authentic Celtic voice : the Irish penitential and contemporary discourse on reconciliation -- Padraig Corkery, Bio-ethics and contemporary Irish moral discourse -- Amelia Fleming, The silent voice of creation and moral discourse. -- Raphael Gallagher, CSsR., A church silence in sexual moral discourse? -- Donal Harrington, Moral discourse and journalism. -- Linda Hogan, Contemporary humanitarianism: neutral or impartial? -- Vincent MacNamara, On having a religious morality. -- Enda McDonagh, A discourse on the centrality of justice in moral (...) theology. -- Suzanne Mulligan, Moral discourse in a time of AIDS. (shrink)
Patrick O'Brian, the Aubrey-Maturin Series of twenty novels (Norton, 1970-1999). My appreciation written for WIRED magazine: "I re-read this extraordinary series of novels because of the depth of portrayal of the major and minor characters, but also because they teach me so much about what science and technology were like two centuries ago. O'Brian shows you the world-that-was through the eyes of a Tory naval captain (Jack Aubrey), at sea since the age of 12, working his way up to (...) admiral, dealing with the height of 18th-century technology (sailing ships and celestial navigation). I identify more strongly with his liberally-educated, physician-scientist friend (Stephen Maturin), who went to medical school in Paris during the French Revolution. You see natural history turning into a biological science, bleeding-and-purging medicine starting to learn some physiology -- and, because Maturin is also an intelligence agent for the Admiralty, you see statecraft at work during the Napoleonic Wars. These books strongly remind you about what scientific ignorance and social conventions can do to your mindset, and how the future will likely judge us as well." -- William H. Calvin You can get them all at once, so you can: The Complete Aubrey/Maturin Series (20 volumes). Depending on amazon.com's current discount, this works out to US$15-20 each (and in hardcover). (shrink)
The article begins with the gospels’ admonition to take up one's cross and asks how Christians might understand Christ's work on the cross so that we might better imitate or participate in it. Using tools from recent advances in literary analysis and systematic theology, the article attempts to provide some answer to this question. It considers contemporary feminist and liberation theologians’ criticism of the common but problematic interpretation of Christ's cross, what is often called ‘substitutionary penal atonement.’ It compares this (...) with Anselm's atonement theory of satisfaction and Bernard Lonergan's and René Girard's analysis of the cross as a communication of love that invites others into loving relationship. With these interpretations of Christ's work, it concludes with some thoughts on how Christians might take up their own daily crosses. (shrink)
A highly accessible book, this text is complemented by bibliographical references to Girard’s widespread work and secondary literature on mimetic theory and its applications, comprising a valuable bibliographical archive that provides the ...
René Girard's mimetic theory has been object of much interest in the last few years, both in the 'Continental' and in the 'English-speaking' philosophical areas. Nevertheless, Girard's thought is not always accepted in the academic circles. The main cause for this is that his theory is considered too 'philosophical' in the Human Sciences Departments, and it seems too close to cultural anthropology and literary criticism to be appreciated by philosophers. This is the reason why it could be fruitful (...) to focus the attention on the philosophical aspects of René Girard's thought. I clarify what is meant exactly by 'philosophy' within the mimetic theory of René Girard and I define the borders of the problem of the 'death of philosophy,' as it appears from Girard's work. Then, I focus on philosophical hermeneutics and its relationship with the mimetic theory. Finally, I try to answer a central question: is it still possible to speak of 'philosophy' within the Girardian universe? (shrink)
Towards the end of his response to me, Lee presents an argument for the necessity of interpreting all evil as privation. I counter this argument by showingthat it works only for what I call “formal” good and evil, but not for what I call “contentful” good and evil. In fact, evil that is “contentful” presents a challenge tothe privation theory that I had not discussed in my article. I then proceed, in the second part of my response, to revisit the (...) three cases of evil that in my original paper I had presented as challenges to the privation theory. I engage Lee’s objections to these three counterexamples and I try to explain in a new way why the principle of badness in each of them, especially in pain/suffering and in moral evil, is not just a lack or a deficiency. (shrink)
Paul Otlet (1868–1944) was a Belgian intellectual, a utopian internationalist and a visionary theorist of the field of information science. His work is a milestone in the history of information science since he launched the concept of "documentation," a field that evolved out of bibliography and developed into information science.1 Otlet defined documentation as the whole of the proper means of passing on, communicating, and distributing information. Otlet was a convinced apostle of the idea of universalism as the title of (...) one of his seminal books, Monde. Essai d'Universalisme, illustrates. This was the outcome of a course of fifteen lessons, entitled "L'universalisme, doctrine philosophique et économie mondiale," .. (shrink)
In the recent article “A new approach to manipulation arguments,” Patrick Todd seeks to reframe a common incompatibilist form of argument often leveraged against compatibilist theories of moral responsibility. Known as manipulation arguments, these objections rely on cases in which agents, though they have met standard compatibilist conditions for responsibility, have been manipulated in such a way that they fail to be blameworthy for their behavior. Traditionally, in order to get a manipulation argument off the ground, an incompatibilist must (...) illustrate that a manipulated agent is not at all responsible for her behavior. Todd argues that this is an unnecessarily heavy burden—the incompatibilist need only show that the presence of manipulation mitigates ascriptions of responsibility. Though innovative, Todd fails to present his modified manipulation argument in a way that poses a true threat to the compatibilist. In fact, by introducing a scalar conception of moral responsibility, Todd gives the compatibilist the tools necessary to better handle the incompatibilist’s original manipulation argument. (shrink)