There are many difficulties with the existing interpretation of Brentano’s works. The problem stems from the fact that Brentano’s works, letters, manuscripts, memoir’s, etc. remain unpublished or undiscovered. Moreover some Brentano’s scholars, namely Kastil and Mayer-Hillebrandt, were incorrect in their method in publishing the philosopher’s works. Namely, they misinterpreted his earlier works by incorporating numerous interpolations from different time periods as being the philosopher’s final thoughts. More importantly, as evidenced by Antonio Russo’s recent discovery, they also failed to realise the (...) fact that Brentano’s own theoretical views or works were mostly based on Aristotle and Thomas thoughts on metaphysics, that Brentano’s main intention was to develop a scientific demonstration on this topic, and that this issue occupied his mind until his death. It is hoped that this paper goes some way in resolving the said errors and coupled with the continue discovery of new material that the jigsaw of Brentano’s works and thinking shall someday be correctly completed. (shrink)
The central question animating liberal thought is: How can people live together as free and equal? This question is being reinvigorated by the emergence of what we will call neoclassical liberalism. Neoclassical liberals, such as David Schmidtz, Gerald Gaus, Charles Griswold, Jacob Levy, Matt Zwolinski, Will Wilkinson, and we, the authors, share classical liberalism’s commitment to robust economic liberties and property rights as well as modern or “high” liberalism’s commitment to social justice. On the neoclassical liberal view, part of the (...) justification for a society’s basic structure is that it produces conditions where citizens have substantive liberty, and can thus confront each other as free and equal. The basic structure of society is evaluable on the kinds of outcomes produced for citizens. Neoclassical liberals combine a robust commitment to social justice—a commitment as robust as that of high liberals—with a commitment to more extensive set of basic liberties than that advocated by high liberals. Neoclassical liberalism thus stakes out a claim to be the morally ambitious form of liberalism. (shrink)
The goal of this article is to examine the nature of technology in view of Georges Bataille’s notion of intimacy. After providing a summary of Bataille’s critique of technology, I offer my response and show that a technological device can reach such a degree of familiarity that it becomes indistinguishable from our psychophysical personality. In this sense, we experience technology not as instrumentation, but in intimacy. The old theory of technology as organ-projection is, therefore, reinterpreted to produce a theory of (...) technology that includes the technological process in its entirety, from the moment of invention and innovation, involving a movement of transcendence and objectification, to the moment of intimacy. (shrink)
Libertarians and classical liberals typically defend private economic liberty as a requirement of self-ownership or on the basis of consequentialist arguments of various sorts. By contrast, this paper defends private economic liberty as a requirement of democratic legitimacy. In recent decades, many philosophers have converged upon a certain view about political justification. If a set of social institutions is to be just and legitimate, those institutions must be acceptable in principle to the citizens who are to lead their lives within (...) them. This deliberative or democratic approach to justification is traditionally associated with thinkers on the left who are skeptical of the importance of private economic liberty. This article shows how the protection of private economic liberty is a requirement of citizens' developing and exercising the moral powers they have as democratic citizens. Democratic legitimacy does not require the affirmation of absolute economic liberty rights as sometimes defended by libertarians. But democratic legitimacy does require that a wide range of private economic liberties be meriting constitutional protection on a par with the civil and political liberties of democratic citizens. This opens the way for a wider defense of classical liberalism based upon the idea of democratic legitimacy. (shrink)
Lucas Swaine?s liberalism of conscience is at risk of failing to respect justificatory requirements of political liberalism. His theory ought to be further distinguished from the views of John Locke and John Rawls, respectively, and should be extended to engage extreme secularists as well as theocrats.
The essay deals with the question of how works of art that evoke a sense of the sublime are to be analysed in terms of Kant’s theory. Although Kant assumes the possibility of a beautiful representation of the sublime, of a sublime “shaped by beauty”, that a work can appear sublime is not immediately clear. Contrapurposiveness plays a key role in the experience of the sublime, but art is an essentially purposive context and aims at beauty. Following readings such as (...) those by K. Pillow and R. Wicks, this paper argues that a work of art can occasion a feeling akin to that of the sublime by expressing aesthetic ideas. According to Kant, the beautiful form conveys representations of imagination that strive towards a presentation of the ideas of reason, that is, the true sublime for Kant, opening up for the mind the prospect of an immensurable field of related representations. The image itself suggests that, in confronting this multitude of representations, the mind is “animated” in a way that can be compared -- albeit with significantdifferences -- to that typical of the sublime. In the essay this possibility is further pursued with particular regard to painting. (shrink)
_Keiji Nishitani's critique of technology as a dehumanizing force is objected to by showing that it is possible to establish a relationship with technology characterized by the standpoint of sunyata. In order to support my claim, I offer an interpretation of sunyata as a lived experience in which knowing and being are unified. One method used to experience the identity of knowing and being is the method of negatio negationis. I argue that technology embodies this method, and that thus has (...) a built-in process that allows users of technology to achieve a samadhi experience in the use of tools and machines. Hubert Dreyfus' theory of embodiment is offered in support of this claim. If it is possible to establish an intimate relation with certain technologies, then the nature of technology cannot be reduced to its most obvious dehumanizing and destructive effects_. (shrink)
If communitarian political philosophers such as Michael Sandel are right about the importance of genuine community commitment, then it is the liberal minimal state, rather than the more expansive state implied both by communitarianism and by Rawlsian welfare liberalism, that should be preferred. It is contended that Sandel's antiliberal arguments, while inadequate as a criticism of Rawls's particular formulation of liberalism, nonetheless contain an important challenge to rights?based political theories generally. However, by considering the various senses in which individual rights (...) can be said to draw lines between persons, it is shown how the classical liberal might meet Sandel's challenge. (shrink)
In an entry in his Notebooks 1914-1916 Wittgenstein appears to give some credit to the idea widespread in modern aesthetics that «the end of art is the beautiful »: «[…] there is certainly something» – he writes – in this conception. And he comments on: «[…] the beautiful is what makes happy » (NB 21.10.16). Maybe influenced by Tolstoy, who wrote that «people will come to understand the meaning of art only when they cease to consider that the aim of (...) that activity is beauty, i.e. pleasure», Wittgenstein does not adopt the idea without reservations. However, he admits that there is some validity to it. Therefore what we read in his Lectures on Aesthetics (1938) is rather intriguing: «It is remarkable that in real life, when aesthetic judgments are made, aesthetic adjectives such as ‘beautiful’, ‘fine’, etc., play hardly any role at all» (LE, I, 8). Why is this a remarkable fact? Is it because, in spite of beauty being the aim of art, when aesthetic judgments are made, the predicate ‘is beautiful’ plays a marginal role? And if this is the case, why is the supposed end of art almost neglected in art appreciation? Or is Wittgenstein simply bringing a word back from its metaphysical to its everyday use here (cf. PI, 116)? I will argue that, while in the Notebooks entry Wittgenstein tells us something important on what makes an aesthetic experience a valuable experience and/or an experience of value, in the Lectures the topic is a bit different. Wittgenstein is talking about the appreciation of objects and works of art, about the ways we aesthetically react to them. I will focus on this shift in point of view and on a distinction introduced in the Lectures between approval and appreciation. It is in the light of this distinction, that we can understand the observation about the unimportance of ‘beautiful’ in aesthetic judgment. In the final part of my talk I will argue that, contrary to this opinion, the adjective ‘beautiful’ is of significance in aesthetic judgment. (shrink)
In his writings Wittgenstein has touched some key aspects of aesthetic experience, of the experience of art, and of the dynamics of culture. Moreover, several lines of research in these fields have emerged and are still emerging from the roots of Wittgenstein's thought. This volume collects a number of essays on these topics by renowned international scholars (such as H.-J. Glock, J. Hyman, S. Majetschak, J. Schulte, A. Voltolini, and W. Vossenkuhl) and younger researchers. Our aim is to document the (...) presence of aesthetics across the development of Wittgenstein's thought and to present Wittgenstein's point of view, and new views inspired by Wittgenstein, on music, literature and poetry, the visual arts, and architecture. (shrink)
Heidegger, Winner, and Ellul's critiques of Western technology focus on a notion of efficiency that subordinates to itself all non-instrumental values. An alternative conception of efficiency is proposed based on the Taoist theory of non-action (wu-wei). The ancient Taoist text, The Chuang Tzu, reveals a type of efficiency that is effective, resourceful, and entrepreneurial. It is a form of action which has an intimate rather than alienated relation to technology, and which is sensitive to the ethical and aesthetic values that (...) Heidegger and Ellul claim are excluded from the Western conception of efficiency. (shrink)
Gottlob Frege criticized Kant's use of the term "representation" in a footnote in the Foundations of Arithmetics. According to Frege, Kant used the term "representation" for mental images, which are private and incommunicable, and also for objects and concepts. Kant thereby gave "a strongly subjectivistic and idealistic coloring" to his thought. The paper argues that Kant avoided the kind of subjectivism and idealism which Frege hints in his remark. For Kant, having "Vorstellungen" requires the capacity of synthesis, by virtue of (...) which the mind goes beyond its subjective states, and its modifications become presentations of an independent world. (shrink)
Wonder, miracle, occult science, poetry, and the epistemological implications in Renaissance authors: Marsilio Ficino, Giovanni Pico, Pietro Pomponazzi, Agrippa of Nettesheim, Giordano Bruno, Francesco Patrizi, Tommaso Campanella, Francisco Suárez.
The relationship between body and mind was traditionally discussed in terms of immortality of the intellect, because immateriality was one necessary condition for the mind to be immortal. This appeared to be an issue of metaphysics and religion. But to the medieval and Renaissance thinkers, the essence of mind is thinking activity and hence an epistemological feature. Starting with John Searle’s worries about the existence of consciousness, I try to show some parallels with the Aristotelian Pietro Pomponazzi (1462–1525), and (...) eventually show the Neoplatonic approach in Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499). The guiding question is: how can one philosophically address the problem of cognition in terms of corporeality and incorporeality? Searle maintains there is mind, although essentially related to a biological basis, and he is comparable to the Renaissance thinkers for his taking the interaction of the mental and the corporeal seriously. (shrink)
The content of Boscovich’s Theoria philosophiae naturalis was well-known to his contemporaries, but both scientists and philosophers chiefly discussed it during the 19th century. The observations that Boscovich presented in this text, and that he himself defined as “philosophicas metitationes”, soon showed their being a good programme for the forthcoming atomic physics, and contributed to get rid of the mechanistic paradigm in science. In this paper I’ll go back to some meaningful moments of the history of Boscovich’s reception in the (...) era of contemporary philosophy, by referring to what authors such as Popper, Cassirer, Nietzsche and Fechner wrote about him. These thinkers, indeed, particularly stressed the importance of the Theoria in the history of Western thought, and showed that it can easily be evaluated beyond the plane of a pure scientific investigation. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss the role played by Ernst Mach on Nietzsche’s thought. Starting from the contents of his Beiträge zur Analyse der Empfindungen, I’ll show the close similarities between their view on both human knowledge and the scientific world description. In his writing on science Nietzsche shares Mach’s critique to the 19th century mechanism and its metaphysical ground, as much as his way of defining the substantial notions such as matter, ego and free will. Moreover, my investigation will (...) make it clear that Mach cannot be seen as a direct source of Nietzsche’s thought, since the latter wrote many times on the same subjects long before his first reading one of his works. Rather, it is possible to consider the writings of Lange, Spir and Spencer as the first sources of Nietzsche’s views on the main themes Mach dealt with in his work from 1886. (shrink)
Twilight of the Idols has a main role in Nietzsche’s work, since it represents the opening writing of his project of Transvaluation of all values. The task of this essay is sounding out idols, i.e. to disclose their lack of content, their being hollow. The theme of eternal idols is in this work strictly related to the idea of a ‘true’ world and, consequently, a study on this latter notion can contribute to a better comprehension of what does that emptiness (...) mean and which is the way that Nietzsche wants to follow to set his thought free from any metaphysical heritage. The analysis of the notion of truth Nietzsche concerns with in Twilight of the Idols takes us back to the content of his early writings, when he gives the first sketches of his theory of knowledge. The perspective he exposed in the ‘70s is constructed on the basis of Schopenhauer’s philosophy, that Nietzsche merges with the main ideas of Lange, Spir and other neo-Kantians. The outcome of his reflections on this matter is an evolutionary epistemology, a view that leads Nietzsche to define the historical reconstruction as the only resource through which the fact that concepts are mere thoughts gradually evolved can be point out. These observations correspond in many ways to what the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach wrote in his works, and one can say that Nietzsche agrees with his “anti-metaphysical intent”, i.e. his criticizing a thought still depending on “concepts which we forgot how we’ve reached”. With my paper I’ll try to show that Nietzsche wage his war against metaphysics with the theoretical ‘weapons’ he prepared in the ‘70s, indeed that his last attack to western knowledge arises from some contents he exposed in Human, All Too Human. In this text Nietzsche reflected on the mechanisms of language and world’s representation, and connected human knowledge with the overall development of organic beings. Moreover, in his work from 1878 the philosopher presented a comparison between “metaphysische Philosophie” and “historische Philosophie”, an idea that cannot be found in the following writings, but that comes up again in the Twilight of the Idols. Indeed, in this work Nietzsche repeats his complaining philosopher’s “lack of historical sense” he dealt with in the opening pages of Human, All Too Human, and he reflects on the kind of inquiry western thinkers should adopt to set themselves free from the fixed forms of metaphysics. Thus, Nietzsche’s observation about the role of history in philosophy testifies the connection between this main works, and allow us to define the way he wants to follow to carry his critic to eternal idols out and, in doing so, to show the way forward to his last thoughts. (shrink)
The work of the Paduan Aristotelian philosopher Iacopo Zabarella (1533–1589) has attracted the attention of historians of philosophy mainly for his contributions to logic, scientific methodology and because of his possible influence on Galileo. At the same time, Zabarella's views on Aristotelian psychology have been little studied so far; even those historians of Renaissance philosophy who have discussed them, have based their analysis mainly on the psychological essays included in Zabarella's De rebus naturalibus , but have avoided Zabarella's commentary on (...) Aristotle's De anima . This has led to an inaccurate, but widespread, understanding of Zabarella's views. The intention of this article is to provide a systematic analysis of Zabarella's arguments about the (im)mortality of the soul in the context of Aristotelian psychology. Zabarella's view that the soul is mortal according to Aristotle is remarkable for his time, while his elaboration of this position is far more comprehensive than that of Pietro Pomponazzi, the other significant Renaissance thinker who shared the same view. (shrink)
After more than three centuries, Molyneux's question continues to challenge our understanding of cognition and perceptual systems. Locke, the original recipient of the question, approached it as a theoretical exercise relevant to long-standing philosophical issues, such as nativism, the possibility of common sensibles, and the empiricism-rationalism debate. However, philosophers were quick to adopt the experimentalist's stance as soon as they became aware of recoveries from congenital blindness through ophtalmic surgery. Such recoveries were widely reported to support empiricist positions, suggesting that (...) the question had found its empirical answer. Contrary to this common view, we argue that studies of patients recovering from early blindness through surgery cannot provide an answer. In fact, because of the very nature of such ophtalmological interventions it is impossible to test the question in the empirical conditions outlined by Molyneux. Thus we propose that Molyneux's question be treated as an early thought experiment of a specific kind. Although thought experiments of this kind cannot be turned into actual experimental conditions, they provide a conceptual restructuring of theories. Such restructuring in turn leads to new predictions that can then be tested by normal experiments. In accord with this interpretation, we show that Molyneux's question can be analyzed into a hierarchy of specific questions about vision in its phenomenal and sensory-motor components. Some of these questions do lead to actual experimental conditions that could be studied empirically. (shrink)
In this paper I deal with Nietzsche's theory of knowledge in the context of 19th century epistemology. In particular, I argue that, even though Nietzsche shows the ontological lack of content of truths (both on the theoretic and on the moral plane), he nevertheless leaves the space for a practical use of them, in a way that can be compared with William James' pragmatism. I thus deal with Nietzsche's and James' concept of "truth", and show their relationship with some outcomes (...) of Ernst Mach's epistemology. (shrink)
«Questo è il vero fenomenalismo e prospettivismo, come lo intendo io», scrive Nietzsche in FW 354, chiudendo una lunga riflessione sul tema della coscienza e del bisogno di comunicazione dell’uomo. Mantenendo sullo sfondo le questioni più strettamente legate alla dimensione psicologica, vorrei partire da questa dichiarazione per considerare alcuni aspetti della teoria della conoscenza di Nietzsche ed intervenire in una nuova determinazione del suo carattere prospettico. In particolare, vorrei soffermarmi sul tema del gregge umano e della specie come reale soggetto (...) della visione prospettica, per poi discutere il riferimento al fenomenalismo rintracciabile in alcuni appunti dedicati ad una declinazione del Wille zur Macht come conoscenza. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to show that humanlanguage is context-dependent in a veryspecific way. In order to support this thesis,a detailed comparison is made between the waysin which verbal expressions depend on thecontext of occurrence and evaluation and animalcommunication systems. The comparisonhighlights a series of analogies anddifferences between human language and thecommunication systems of other animals. Myproposal is to use the term `indexicality' toindicate the characteristic way of using thecontext in human language and to use the moregeneral phrase (...) `context-dependence' for thecorresponding phenomenon in animalcommunication systems. (shrink)
During the second decade of the 20th century Hans Kleinpeter, an Austrian scholar devoted to the development of the modern science, published some brief papers on Nietzsche’s thought. Kleinpeter has been one of the main upholders of Mach’s epistemology and probably the first who connected his ideas with the philosophy of Nietzsche. In his book on Der Phänomenalismus (1913) he described a new world view that arose in the 19th century, a perspective that ‒ according to him ‒ completely contrasted (...) the mechanistic and metaphysical world view of the old school of scientific inquiry. The main outcome of the scientists whose name was related with this perspective (e.g. Clifford, Maxwell, Kirchoff and, obviously, Mach himself) has been the refusal of the absolute value of any “truth”. Kleinpeter’s statements on this topic are a good example of the rising of a Scientific Philosophy, whose development involved many scientists and thinkers that later set up the Verein Ernst Mach and the Wiener Kreis. On the other hand, his interest on Nietzsche is a relevant case of reception of the latter’s thought, that Kleinpeter puts into the context of the contemporary epistemology. In fact, he considers Nietzsche as one of the main upholders of the phenomenalistic world view, and states that he «took part at the same renewal of philosophical investigation that arose from the latest results of scientific inquiry» during the 19th century. A renewal whose main outcomes has been presented by John Stallo in his book on The Concepts and Theories of Modern Physics (1881), which Kleinpeter translated in German and published in 1901. According to Kleinpeter, in Nietzsche’s writings (mostly unpublished) one can find a theory of knowledge quite close to the one presented by both Mach and the new born Pragmatism, i.e. the complete refusal of an absolute truth and, therefore, the development of an antimetaphysical world view. In my paper I’ll discuss the main statements presented by Kleinpeter on this topic and show which of Nietzsche’s ideas has actually been in compliance with the main outcomes of late 19th century science. Thus, I’ll carry out a reconstruction of an unfamiliar side of the first period of reception of the philosophy of Nietzsche and its relevance to the development of a new (scientific) world view. (shrink)
In Part One of Beyond Good and Evil Nietzsche writes that anyone who believes in “immediate certainties” such as “I think” encounters a series of “metaphysical questions”. The most important of these “problems of intellectual knowledge” concerns the existence of an ‘I’, as much as our believing it to be the cause of thinking. Therefore, any remark about our mental faculties directly follows from our defining what we could call the basic psychical unity, i.e. our view on higher-level psychical functions (...) is strictly related with the properties we attribute to the notion of ‘I’. As we know, the main ideas on this subject that Nietzsche states in his book from 1886 come from the neo-kantian views of Lange, Spir and Teichmüller, and we cannot forget the important (even if hidden) reference to Lichtenberg in § 17 of the same work. Nevertheless, Nietzsche seems to move beyond all these sources, and in many of his writings we can find a new definition of the ‘ego’, finally free from any reference to a thing in itself, and for this reason closer to the ideas of the Austrian scientist Ernst Mach. In this paper I shall carry these remarks out. I’ll show the main properties of the notion of ‘I’ Nietzsche concerns with in his writings and, therefore, the grounds of his view on the mind-body problem. Moreover, I will argue that, once we observe that Nietzsche looks at the ‘ego’ as a mere regulative fiction having no ontological value out of the chain of sensation and representation it brings together, we could find out the close similarity with the way Mach defines it in his Beiträge zur Analyse der Empfindungen (1886). This reference could help us to understand in a better way some statements Nietzsche wrote in his notebooks, and, secondly, to show how strictly was his philosophy of mind related with the main outcomes of 19th century science. Indeed, Nietzsche’s refusal of the belief “that there must necessarily be something that thinks” ‒ a view that results from the anti-metaphysical intent leading his naturalism ‒ seems to be one of the most important assumptions of the new born physiological psychology, an idea out of which many of the 20th century philosophical debates arose. (shrink)
This review evaluates pros and cons of the schema theory as a general framework for expressing what Arbib et al. call “systems neuroscience.” We discuss the software/hardware duality of the schema concept and the relative neglect of the mechanical properties of muscles. We propose a computational alternative to the functional decomposition in terms of schemas.
This paper investigates the relations between the concepts of moral harm and moral responsibility, arguing for a circularity between the two. On this basis the conceptual soundness of descriptivism, on which consequentialist and non-consequentialist arguments are often grounded, is questioned. In the last section a certain version of ascriptivism is defended: The circularity is relevant in order to understand how a restricted version of ascriptivism may in fact be well founded.
The use of computer simulation for building theoretical models in social science is introduced. It is proposed that agent-based models have potential as a third way of carrying out social science, in addition to argumentation and formalisation. With computer simulations, in contrast to other methods, it is possible to formalise complex theories about processes, carry out experiments and observe the occurrence of emergence. Some suggestions are offered about techniques for building agent-based models and for debugging them. A scheme for structuring (...) a simulation program into agents, the environment and other parts for modifying and observing the agents is described. The article concludes with some references to modelling tools helpful for building computer simulations. (shrink)
The Internet has quickly gained popularity as a major source of health-related information, but its impact is unclear. Here, we investigate the extent to which advocacy websites for three neurodevelopmental disorders—cerebral palsy (CP), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)—inform stakeholders about treatment options, and discuss the ethical challenges inherent in providing such information online. We identified major advocacy websites for each disorder and assessed website accountability, the number, attributes, and accessibility of treatments described, and the valence (...) of treatment information. With the exception of FASD websites, we found that advocacy websites provide a plethora of information about a wide variety of readily available products and services. Treatment information is primarily targeted at families and is overwhelmingly encouraging, regardless of the type or conventionality of treatments. Many websites acknowledge corporate sponsors. While the majority do not overtly advertise or endorse specific brands, they also do not prominently display disclaimers about the nature and intent of treatment information. Thus, while advocacy websites are organized to serve as information clearinghouses, they implicitly appear to provide endorsement of selected treatments and services. We conclude with recommendations for new partnerships between government-funded health organizations, advocacy and investigators to make more transparent the role of online information in informing treatment options and improving the evaluation of information. (shrink)