This paper examines some French feminist uses of Lacanian psychoanalysis. I focus on two Lacanian influenced accounts of psychological oppression, the first by Luce Irigaray and the second by Julia Kristeva, and I argue that these accounts fail to meet criteria for an adequate politicalpsychology.
A radical and original study, The Political Psyche joins together depth psychology with politics in a way that fully reflects the discoveries made in analysis and therapy. In an attempt to show that an inner journey and a desire to fashion something practical out of passionate political convictions are linked projects, author Andrew Samuels brings an acute psychological perspective to political issues such as the distribution of wealth, the market economy, Third World development, environmentalism, and nationalism--expanding (...) and enhancing our conception of "the political". However, keeping true to his aim of creating a two-way dialogue between depth psychology and politics, Samuels also lays bare the hidden politics of the father, the male body, and men's issues in general. The Political Psyche does not collapse politics and psychology together, nor is Samuels unaware of the troubled relationship of depth psychology to the political events of the century. In the book he presents his acclaimed and cathartic work on Jung, anti-semitism and the Nazis to the wider public. The text employs a political analysis to shed a fascinating light on clinical work. Samuels conducted a large-scale international survey of analysts and psychotherapists concerning what they do when their patients/clients bring overtly political material into the clinical setting. The results, including what the respondents reveal about their own political attitudes, destabilize any preconceived notions about the political sensitivity of analysis and psychotherapy. (shrink)
These six essays present an outsider's view of Western norms of progress, rationality, and maturity, and offer an alternate perspective on oppression in modern times. Well-known psychologist and social theorist Ashis Nandy stresses the importance of considering world views held by the "non-modern" cultures of the Third World in formulating a more humane and less technologically preoccupied vision of progress. Institutionalized oppression is seen as a process which co-opts the physical and psychological worlds of its victims and destroys the basis (...) of all dissenting visions of a just world. Concluding with an essay on Gandhi and his critical reaction to Western civilization, this book is an important contribution to political science, sociology, psychology, and South Asian studies. (shrink)
The political unconscious -- Modernity's traumas -- Targeting the public sphere -- The repetition compulsion or the endless war on terror -- Recovering community -- Deliberative democracy -- Feminist theory, politics, and freedom -- Public knowledge -- Three models of democratic deliberation -- The limits of deliberation, democratic myths, new frontiers -- Media and the public sphere -- Epilogue.
The death of Frantz Fanon at the age of thirty-six robbed the African revolution of its leading intellectual and moral force. His death also cut short one of the most extraordinary intellectual careers in contemporary political thought. Fanon was a political psychologist whose approach to revolutionary theory was grounded in his psychiatric practice. During his years in Algeria he published clinical studies on the behaviour of violent patients, the role of culture in the development of illness and the (...) function of the psychiatric hospital as a social milieu. These papers illuminate Fanon's political theory, expose weaknesses in his concept of political consciousness and liberation, and contain a 'secret history' explaining the tide of revolutionary movements in the Third World. (shrink)
In Hegel on Political Identity, Lydia Moland provocatively draws on Hegel's political philosophy to engage sometimes contentious contemporary issues such as patriotism, national identity, and cosmopolitanism.
Introduction: Locating the Lacanian left -- Antinomies of creativity : Lacan and Castoriadis on social construction and the political -- Laclau with Lacan on jouissance : negotiating the affective limits of discourse -- Žižek's 'perversions' : the lure of Antigone and the fetishism of the act -- Excursus on Badiou -- What sticks? : from symbolic power to jouissance -- Enjoying the nation : a success story? -- Lack of passion : European identity revisited -- The consumerist 'politics of (...) jouissance' and the fantasy of advertising -- Democracy in post-democratic times. (shrink)
I present a theory of alienation that accounts for the cognitive processes involved with moral thinking and political behavior in modern societies. On my account, alienation can be understood as a particular kind of atrophy of moral concepts and moral thinking that affect the ways individuals cognize and legitimate the social world and their place within it. Central to my argument is the thesis that modern forms of social integration—shaped by highly institutionalized, rationalized and hierarchical forms of social life—serve (...) to constrain the moral- cognitive powers of subjects leading to a condition of alienation as moral atrophy. This state results from the withering of the subject's internal powers of moral reflection and an overriding predisposition to rely on external value schemas to make sense of moral and political problems. I then present an analysis of alienated moral consciousness and its implications for modern social theory. (shrink)
This book explores the way in which the fear of enemies shapes political groups at their founding and helps to preserve them by consolidating them in times of crisis. It develops a theory of “negative association” that examines the dynamics captured by the maxim “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” and then traces its role in the history of political thought, demonstrating that the fear of external threats is an essential element of the formation and preservation (...) of political groups and that its absence renders political association unsustainable. (shrink)
Introduction -- Narratives and identity -- Homer, Virgil and identity -- Mozart and the enlightenment -- Germans and Greeks -- Beam me up, Lord -- Science fiction and immortality -- Identity reconsidered.
Krueger & Funder's (K&F's) diagnosis of social psychology's obsession with bias is correct and accords with similar observations by self-categorization theorists. However, the analysis of causes is incomplete and suggestions for cures are flawed. The primary problem is not imbalance, but a failure to acknowledge that social reality has different forms, depending on one's social and political vantage point in relation to a specific social context.
There are many interesting questions to ask about cosmopolitan arguments. Is it true that the sphere of moral concern is global? Which sets of actions would realize the outcomes of global justice that cosmopolitans seek? Are those sets of actions feasible, and when we compare them against each other, which is the most feasible? The question I want to focus on in this paper is a question of the latter kind, but I want to take a slightly unique approach to (...) it. I shall ask which of the two dominant arguments for duties to alleviate global poverty, supposing their premises were generally accepted, would be more likely to produce the desired outcome. I take Pogge's argument for obligations grounded in principles of justice, a "contribution" argument, and Campbell's argument for obligations grounded in principles of humanity, an "assistance" argument, to be prototypical. Were people to accept the premises of Campbell's argument, how likely would they be to support governmental reform in policies for international aid, or to make individual contributions to international aid organizations? And I ask the same question, mutatis mutandis, for Pogge's argument. (shrink)
What makes human beings intentional and thinking subjects? How does their intentionality and thought connect with their social nature and their communal experience? How do the answers to these questions shape the assumptions which it is legitimate to make in social explanation and political evaluation? These are the broad-ranging issues which Pettit addresses in this novel study. The Common Mind argues for an original way of marking off thinking subjects, in particular human beings, from other intentional systems, natural and (...) artificial. It holds by the holistic view that human thought requires communal resources while denying that this social connection compromises the autonomy of individuals. And, in developing the significance of this view of social subjects--this holistic individualism--it outlines a novel framework for social and political theory. Within this framework, social theory is allowed to follow any of a number of paths: space is found for intentional interpretation and decision-theoretic reconstruction, for structural explanation and rational choice derivation. But political theory is treated less ecumenically. The framework raises serious questions about contractarian and atomistic modes of thought and it points the way to a republican rethinking of liberal commitments. (shrink)
Closely paralleling the history of psychology is the history of its critics, their theories, and their contributions. The Critique of Psychology is the first book to trace this alternate history, from a unique perspective that complements the many existing empirical, theoretical, and social histories of the field. Thomas Teo cogently synthesizes major historical and theoretical narratives to describe two centuries of challenges to—and the reactions of—the mainstream. Some of these critiques of content, methodology, relevance, and philosophical worldview have (...) actually influenced and become integrated into the canon; others pose moral questions still under debate. All are accessibly presented so that readers may judge their value for themselves: - Kant’s critique of rational and empirical psychology at the end of the 18th century - The natural-scientific critique of philosophical psychology in the 19th century - The human-scientific critique of natural-scientific psychology - The Marxist traditions of critique - Feminist and postmodern critiques and the contemporary mainstream - Postcolonial critiques and the shift from cross-cultural to multicultural psychology This is not a book of critique for critique’s sake: Teo defines the field as a work in progress with goals that are evolving yet constant. In emphasizing ethical and political questions faced by psychology as a discipline, this visionary book points students, academics, and practitioners toward new possibilities for their shared future. (shrink)
Although abortion remains one of the most controversial issues of our age, to date most studies have centered on the debate in Western countries. This book discusses abortion in a non-Western, non-Christian context - in Thailand, where, although abortion is illegal, over 200,000 to 300,000 abortions are performed each year by a variety of methods. The book, based on extensive original research in the field, examines a wide range of issues, including stories of the real-life dilemmas facing women, popular representations (...) of abortion in the media, the history of the debate in Thailand and its links to politics. Overall, the work both highlights the voices of women and their subjective experiences and perceptions of abortion, and in addition places these 'women's stories' in an analysis of broader socio-political gender and the power relations - national and international - that structure sexuality and women's reproductive health decisions. (shrink)
This international collection forms a response from 22 educators to our changing political environment and to the reassessment they provoke of the principles shaping educational thought and practice. The philosophical discussion, however, remains clearly rooted in the world of educational practice and its political content.
Responsible citizens are expected to combine ethical judgement with judiciously exercised social activism to preserve the moral foundation of democratic society and prevent political injustice. But do they? Utilizing a research model integrating insights from rational choice theory and cognitive developmental psychology this book carefully explores three exemplary cases of morally inspired activism: Jewish rescue in wartime Europe, abortion politics in the United States, and peace and settler activism in Israel. From all three analyses a single conclusion emerges: (...) the most politically competent individuals are, most often, the least morally competent. This is the central paradox of political morality. These findings cast doubt on strong models of political morality characterized by enlightened moral reasoning and concerted political action while affirming alternative weak models that fuse activism with sectarian moral interests. They provide empirical support to further upend the liberal vision of democratic character, education, and society. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- Notes on Contributors -- Preface; R.Dallos -- Carving Nature at its Joints? DSM and the Medicalization of Everyday Life; M.Rapley, J.Moncrieff&J.Dillon -- Dualisms and the Myth of Mental Illness; P.Thomas&P.Bracken -- Making the World Go Away, and How Psychology and Psychiatry Benefit; M.Boyle -- Cultural Diversity and Racism: An Historical Perspective; S.Fernando -- The Social Context of Paranoia; D.J.Harper -- From 'Bad Character' to BPD: The Medicalization of 'Personality Disorder'; J.Bourne -- Medicalizing Masculinity; S.Timimi (...) -- Can Traumatic Events Traumatise People? Trauma, Madness and 'Psychosis'; L.Johnstone -- Children Who Witness Violence at Home; A.Vetere -- Discourses of Acceptance and Resistance: Speaking Out About Psychiatry; E.Speed -- The Personal Is the Political; J.Dillon -- 'I'm Just, You Know, Joe Bloggs': The Management of Parental Responsibility for First-Episode Psychosis; C.Coulter&M.Rapley -- The Myth of the Antidepressant: An Historical Analysis; J.Moncrieff -- Antidepressants and the Placebo Response; I.Kirsch -- Why Were Doctors so Slow to Recognise Antidepressant Discontinuation Problems?; D.Double -- Toxic Psychology; C.Newnes -- Psychotherapy: Illusion With No Future?; D.Smail -- The Psychologization of Torture; N.Patel -- What Is To Be Done?; J.Moncrieff, J.Dillon&M.Rapley -- Figure: Papers Using Term 'Antidepressant' On Medline 1957-1965 -- Index. (shrink)
Psychology is meant to help people cope with the afflictions of modern society. But how useful is it? Ian Parker argues that current psychological practice has become part of the problem rather than the solution. Ideal for undergraduates, this book unravels the discipline to reveal the conformist assumptions that underlie its theory and practice. Psychology focuses on the happiness of "the individual." Yet it neglects the fact that personal experience depends on social and political surroundings. Parker argues (...) that a new approach to psychology is needed. He offers an alternative vision, outlining how debates in the discipline can be linked to political practice and how it can become part of a wider progressive agenda. Parker's groundbreaking book is at the cutting edge of current thinking on the discipline and should be required reading in all psychology courses. (shrink)
Identifying a range of key concerns related to representation and difference, Representing the Other offers a provocative agenda for the future development of feminist theory and practice. The book's contributors, including many key international researchers in women's studies, draw on personal experiences of speaking "for" and "about" others in their research, professional practice, academic writing, or political activism. They highlight problems of representing the Other with an ethnic or cultural background different from one's own and extend discussions of "Othering" (...) to representations of children, prostitutes, infertile women, fat women, gay men with HIV/AIDS, and people with disabilities. The reader, which includes articles and discussions from four issues of the journal Feminism & Psychology, also features new pieces and an extensive editorial introduction. Representing the Other will be integral reading for students and academics in women's studies, gender studies, and feminist theory across a range of social science disciplines, including social psychology, sociology, anthropology, sociolinguistics, social policy, and political science. (shrink)
Many commentators have remarked upon the striking points of correspondence that can be found in the works of Freud and Nietzsche. However, this essay argues that on the subject of desire their work presents us with a radical choice: Freud or Nietzsche. I first argue that Freud’s theory of desire is grounded in the principle of inertia, a principle that is incompatible with his later theory of Eros and the life drive. Furthermore, the principle of inertia is not essentially distinct (...) from his later theory of the death drive. Consequently, Freud’s theory of desire can only be interpreted consistently as a monism of the death drive. I then analyze Nietzsche’s attempt to ground his theory of desire in the concept of the will to power. I argue that Nietzsche’s view of desire is fundamentally opposed to the key elements of Freud’s theory of desire: the principle of constancy, the Freudian definition of the drive, and the pleasure principle. Next, I explicate the stakes of this opposition by analyzing the social consequences of each view for morality and justice. I argue that the Freudian subject seeks to dominate the social other, and that there is an insurmountable conflict between the satisfaction of desire and the demands of social life. Consequently, Freud’s view allows only for a negative conception of the social good in which morality is defined as the intrinsically impossible task of eliminating evil, and justice can be achieved only through the equal distribution of instinctual frustration. Finally, I argue that in Nietzsche’s theory of desire there is no essential conflict between individual desire and social life. The Nietzschean subject desires to manifest power in the form of activity that is independent of external agents, not to dominate the other. Consequently, Nietzsche’s view allows for the possibility of a positively defined concept of the social good in which morality is the affirmation and enhancement of every subject’s happiness, and justice can be achieved through the promotion and protection of an equality of power among subjects. (shrink)
In this article I discuss what motivated reasoning research tells us about the prospects for deliberative democracy. In section (I) I introduce the results of several politicalpsychology studies examining the problematic affective and cognitive processing of political information by individuals in non-deliberative, experimental environments. This is useful because these studies are often neglected in political philosophy literature. Section (II) has three stages. First (IIi), I sketch how the study results from section (I) question the practical (...) viability of deliberative democracy. Second (IIii), I briefly present the results of three empirical studies of political deliberation that can be interpreted to counter the findings of the studies in section (I). Third (IIiii), I show why this is a misinterpretation and that the study results from section (I) mean that it is implausible that sites of political deliberation would naturally emerge from the wide public sphere and coalesce into institutionalized forms of the practice such that deliberative democracy can satisfy its raison d’être. Finally, in section (III) I conclude that viable conceptions of deliberative democracy should be limited to narrower aims. (shrink)
In this article, I discuss what motivated reasoning research tells us about the prospects for deliberative democracy. In section I, I introduce the results of several politicalpsychology studies examining the problematic affective and cognitive processing of political information by individuals in nondeliberative, experimental environments. This is useful because these studies are often neglected in political philosophy literature. Section II has three stages. First, I sketch how the study results from section I question the practical viability (...) of deliberative democracy. Second, I briefly present the results of three empirical studies of political deliberation that can be interpreted to counter the findings of the studies in section I. Third, I show why this is a misinterpretation and that the study results from section I mean that it is implausible that sites of political deliberation would naturally emerge from the wide public sphere and coalesce into institutionalized forms of the practice such that deliberative democracy can satisfy its raison d’être. Finally, in section III, I conclude that viable conceptions of deliberative democracy should be limited to narrower aims. (shrink)
Whom a prime minister or president will not shake hands with is still more noticed than with whom they will. Public identity can afford to be ambiguous about friends, but not about enemies. Rodney Barker examines the available accounts of how enmity functions in the cultivation of identity, how essential or avoidable it is, and what the consequences are for the contemporary world.
Nietzsche claimed to be a political thinker in Ecce Homo and elsewhere. He constantly compared his thought with other political theorists, chiefly Rousseau, Kant and Mill, and he claimed to offer an alternative to the bankruptcy of Enlightenment liberalism. It is worthwhile re-examining Nietzsche's claim to offer serious criticisms of liberal political philosophy. I shall proceed by setting out seven criteria for serious political thought: understanding of material need; procedural justification; liberty and its worth; racial, ethnic (...) and religious difference; gender and family; justice between nations; and moral psychology. I shall argue polemically that on the first six issues Nietzsche has nothing to offer, but that on the seventh, moral psychology, he makes a profound contribution. Serious political theory, however, needs to forget about Nietzsche and turn to those thinkers he found so boring - the liberal Enlightenment thinkers. (shrink)
I have argued that the traditional free will debate has focused too much on whether free will is compatible with determinism and not enough on whether free will is compatible with specific causal explanations for our actions, including those offered by empirical psychology. If free will is understood as a set of cognitive and volitional capacities, possessed and exercised to varying degrees, then psychology can inform us about the extent to which humans (as a species and as individuals) (...) possess those capacities and manage to exercise them across various situations. While recent work on the role of consciousness in action has been misinterpreted to suggest its role is illusory, recent work in social psychology presents a more viable challenge to our free will. The extent to which we can act on reasons we would accept or can know why we are doing what we do appears to be much less than we presume. Further work is necessary, of course, and it will need to involve both philosophical analysis and psychological investigation. Questions regarding the nature of human freedom and responsibility clearly require the conceptual resources of philosophy and the empirical resources of psychology. (shrink)
One of the main challenges faced by realists in political philosophy is that of offering an account of authority that is genuinely normative and yet does not consist of a moralistic application of general, abstract ethical principles to the practice of politics. Political moralists typically start by devising a conception of justice based on their pre-political moral commitments; authority would then be legitimate only if political power is exercised in accordance with justice. As an alternative to (...) that dominant approach I put forward the idea that upturning the relationship between justice and legitimacy affords a normative notion of authority that does not depend on a pre-political account of morality, and thus avoids some serious problems faced by mainstream theories of justice. I then argue that the appropriate purpose of justice is simply to specify the implementation of an independently grounded conception of legitimacy, which in turn rests on a context- and practice-sensitive understanding of the purpose of political power. (shrink)
Recent work in various branches of philosophy has reinvigorated debate over the psychology behind moral judgment. Using Marc Hauser's categorization of theories as “Kantian,” “Humean,” or “Rawlsian” to frame the discussion, I argue that the existing evidence weighs against the Kantian model and partly in favor of both the Humean and the Rawlsian models. Emotions do play a causal role in the formation of our moral judgments, as the Humean model claims, but there are also unconscious principles shaping our (...) moral judgments, as the Rawlsian model predicts. Thus, Hauser's tripartite division of possible models of moral psychology is inadequate. Drawing on research in cognitive neuroscience, clinical and behavioral psychology, and psychopathology, I sketch a new, developmental sentimentalist model of moral psychology. I call it a “Mencian” model, after the Confucian philosopher Mencius. On this model, moral judgments are caused by emotions, but because of the way emotions are mapped onto particular actions, moral judgments unconsciously reflect certain principled distinctions. (shrink)
In the third chapter of his book Psychosemantics , Jerry A. Fodor argues that the truth of meaning holism (the thesis that the content of a psychological state is determined by the totality of that state's epistemic liaisons) would be fatal for intentionalistic psychology. This is because holism suggests that no two people are ever in the same intentional state, and so a psychological theory that generalizes over such states will be composed of generalizations which fail to generalize. Fodor (...) then sets out to show that there is no reason to believe in holism by arguing that its primary foundation (i.e. functional-role semantics), when properly understood (i.e. when construed as a two-factor theory of content), is demonstrably false. In this paper, I argue two claims. First, I try to show that Fodor has seriously misrepresented two-factor theories and that his arguments against his strawman do nothing to indicate the falsity of the genuine article. Second, I argue that if one accepts meaning holism in the form of a two-factor theory, there is no particular reason to think that one is hereby committed to the futility of intentionalistic psychology. In making this point, I make a brief excursion into the psychological literature during which I discuss the belief perseverance phenomenon, the encoding specificity hypothesis, and a problem in human deductive reasoning. My second argument leads to a discussion of how such a psychology could be developed even if no two people are ever in the same intentional state. (shrink)
Until recently, the notions of function and multiple realization were supposed to save the autonomy of psychological explanations. Furthermore, the concept of supervenience presumably allows both dependence of mind on brain and non-reducibility of mind to brain, reconciling materialism with an independent explanatory role for mental and functional concepts and explanations. Eliminativism is often seen as the main or only alternative to such autonomy. It gladly accepts abandoning or thoroughly reconstructing the psychological level, and considers reduction if successful as equivalent (...) with elimination. In comparison with the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of biology has developed more subtle and complex ideas about functions, laws, and reductive explanation than the stark dichotomy of autonomy or elimination. It has been argued that biology is a patchwork of local laws, each with different explanatory interests and more or less limited scope. This points to a pluralistic, domain-specific and multi-level view of explanations in biology. Explanatory pluralism has been proposed as an alternative to eliminativism on the one hand and methodological dualism on the other hand. It holds that theories at different levels of description, like psychology and neuroscience, can co-evolve, and mutually influence each other, without the higher-level theory being replaced by, or reduced to, the lower-level one. Such ideas seem to tally with the pluralistic character of biological explanation. In biological psychology, explanatory pluralism would lead us to expect many local and non-reductive interactions between biological, neurophysiological, psychological and evolutionary explanations of mind and behavior. This idea is illustrated by an example from behavioral genetics, where genetics, physiology and psychology constitute distinct but interrelated levels of explanation. Accounting for such a complex patchwork of related explanations seems to require a more sophisticated and precise way of looking at levels than the existing ideas on (reductive and non-reductive) explanation in the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
This book advances a theory of personal, public and political justification. Drawing on current work in epistemology and cognitive psychology, the work develops a theory of personally justified belief. Building on this account, it advances an account of public justification that is more normative and less "populist" than that of "political liberals." Following the social contract theories of Hobbes, Locke and Kant, the work then argues that citizens have conclusive reason to appoint an umpire to resolve disputes (...) arising from inconclusive public justifications. The rule of law, liberal democracy and limited judicial review are defended as elements of a publicly justified umpiring procedure. (shrink)
Can political theory be action-guiding without relying on pre-political normative commitments? I answer that question affirmatively by unpacking two related tenets of Raymond Geuss’ political realism: the view that political philosophy should not be a branch of ethics, and the ensuing empirically-informed conception of legitimacy. I argue that the former idea can be made sense of by reference to Hobbes’ account of authorization, and that realist legitimacy can be normatively salient in so far as it stands (...) in the correct relation to a theory of justice and problematizes its sources of value through what Geuss terms ‘political imagination’. (shrink)
Evolutionary psychology is widely understood as involving an integration of evolutionary theory and cognitive psychology, in which the former promises to revolutionise the latter. In this paper, I suggest some reasons to doubt that the assumptions of evolutionary theory and of cognitive psychology are as directly compatible as is widely assumed. These reasons relate to three different problems of specifying adaptive functions as the basis for characterising cognitive mechanisms: the disjunction problem, the grain problem and the environment (...) problem. Each of these problems can be understood as arising from incommensurate characterisations of the nature and role of 'the environment' in the two approaches. Purported solutions to the problems appear to require detailed information concerning the EEA (environment of evolutionary adaptedness), with the disjunction problem placing the lowest requirement, the environment problem placing the highest requirement, and the grain problem placing an intermediate one. In each case, such information is not likely to be forthcoming, because it may require iterating through successively more distant EEA's with no principled stopping point. This produces a dilemma for evolutionary psychology - either to solve these apparently insoluble problems, or to attempt to avoid them but in doing so forego detailed evolutionary constraints on cognition. (shrink)
This paper argues that a comparative study of the idea of a sense of justice in the work of John Rawls and the early Chinese philosopher Kongzi is mutually beneficial to our understanding of the thought of both figures. It also aims to provide an example of the relevance of moral psychology for basic questions in political philosophy. The paper offers an analysis of Rawls’s account of a sense of justice and its place within his theory of justice, (...) focusing on the features of this capacity and how it develops. It then provides an account of the sense of justice in Kongzi’s thought as it is seen in the Analects. Finally, it shows how examining the similarities and differences between the two accounts can deepen our understanding of both views, as well as our appreciation for the importance of understanding how a sense of justice develops. (shrink)
The accusation that contemporary political philosophy is carried out in too ahistorical a fashion depends upon it being possible for historical facts to ground normative political principles. This they cannot do. Each of the seven ways in which it might be thought possible for them to do so fails for one or more of four reasons: (1) History yields no timeless set of universal moral values; (2) it displays no convergence upon such a set; (3) it reveals no (...) univocal moral or cultural context in the present; (4) the failure of an ethical tradition to successfully respond to criticism over a long period of time is no guarantee of its inability to do so. Because historical critiques of contemporary normative thought rely upon one or more of these things holding true, they are, as a class of arguments, to be rejected. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that we would not be logically obliged or rationally inclined to reject the ontology of contentful psychological states postulated by folk psychology even if the explanations advanced by folk psychology turned out to be generally inaccurate or inadequate. Moreover, it is argued that eliminativists such as Paul Churchland do not establish that folk psychological explanations are, or are likely to prove, generally inaccurate or inadequate. Most of Churchland's arguments—based upon developments within connectionist (...) neuroscience—only cast doubt upon the adequacy of 'sentential' theories of cognitive processing, not upon scientifically developed forms of folk psychological explanation of behavior, such as those offered by contemporary social psychology. Finally, it is noted that Churchland's brand of eliminativism rests upon a crude reductive criterion of theoretical adequacy that has little to recommend it, and suggested that the recognized theoretical limitations of contemporary social psychology may be precisely due to its historical commitment to this reductive criterion. (shrink)
The extent of the approval with which Western culture views the attitude of hope can scarcely be exaggerated. Hope is seen as that which sustains us through wartime, death camps, slavery, natural disaster, extreme disease and disability—it is a light, a beacon, the last spark that fuels us when all else has failed. Hope is also seen as a moral and spiritual virtue—hoping for moral progress in this world, and salvation in the next, is at the heart of a meaningful (...) human life. A positive view of hope infuses Western theology since Aquinas; utopian political philosophy, positive psychology, the self-help culture, the clinical research community, a wide range of activist groups, and a great deal of political rhetoric all maintain the affirmation of hope. The only qualm commonly expressed about hope is that it is sometimes “false:” that is, based on lies or misconceptions. False hope is bad because, first, it is bad to be deceived and, second, it may suck up resources better spent elsewhere. False hope, though, is not genuine hope, and genuine hope is an essential human good. My book Wanting to Pull Clouds will argue that the popular view of hope is vastly and dangerously oversimplified. Much more insidious than false hope is hope that is “genuine” and not based on lies or misconceptions, but that nevertheless bears important conceptual and empirical connections to passivity, inattention, excuse-making and wishful thinking. To be clear, this is not an anti-hope project. Rather, it examines the mechanisms that make hope desirable and virtuous, when it is these things; it becomes clear in the course of this examination that these very.. (shrink)
This paper argues that self-deception cannot be explained without employing a depth-psychological ("psychodynamic") notion of the unconscious, and therefore that mainstream academic psychology must make space for such approaches. The paper begins by explicating the notion of a dynamic unconscious. Then a brief account is given of the "paradoxes" of self-deception. It is shown that a depth-psychological self of parts and subceptive agency removes any such paradoxes. Next, several competing accounts of self-deception are considered: an attentional account, a constructivist (...) account, and a neo-Sartrean account. Such accounts are shown to face a general dilemma: either they are able only to explain unmotivated errors of self-perception--in which case they are inadequate for their intended purpose--or they are able to explain motivated self-deception, but do so only by being instantiation mechanisms for depth-psychological processes. The major challenge to this argument comes from the claim that self-deception has a "logic" different to other-deception--the position of Alfred Mele. In an extended discussion it is shown that any such account is explanatorily adequate only for some cases of self-deception--not by any means all. Concluding remarks leave open to further empirical work the scope and importance of depth-psychological approaches. (shrink)
This article describes two uses of folk psychology in scientific psychology. Use 1 deals with the way in which folk theories and beliefs are imported into social psychological models on the basis that they exert causal influences on cognition or behavior (regardless of their validity or scientific usefulness). Use 2 describes the practice of mining elements from folk psychology for building an overarching psychological theory that goes beyond common sense (and assumes such elements are valid or scientifically (...) useful). This distinction is then applied to both common practices within psychology and the philosophical arguments concerning the scientific validity of folk psychology. Adopting a social psychological perspective, I argue that (a) the two uses are often conflated in psychology with deleterious consequences; and (b) that the arguments for the elimination of folk psychology as a basis for scientific psychology presented by Churchland and others, are weakened by the failure to attend to this distinction. (shrink)
Abstract Ramsey, Stick and Garon (1991) argue that if the correct theory of mind is some parallel distributed processing theory, then folk psychology must be false. Their idea is that if the nodes and connections that encode one representation are causally active then all representations encoded by the same set of nodes and connections are also causally active. We present a clear, and concrete, counterexample to RSG's argument. In conclusion, we suggest that folk psychology and connectionism are best (...) understood as complementary theories. Each has different limitations, yet each will co?evolve with the other in an overlapping domain of ?normal? psychology. (shrink)
Instrumentalism about moral compromise in politics appears inconsistent with accepting both the existence of non-instrumental or principled reasons for moral compromise in close personal friendships and a rich ideal of civic friendship. Using a robust conception of political reconciliation during democratic transitions as an example of civic friendship, I argue that all three claims are compatible. Spouses have principled reasons for compromise because they commit to sharing responsibility for their joint success as partners in life, and not because their (...) relationship involves strong affective attitudes of goodwill, solidarity, trust, and the like. Since shared responsibility for ends is an inappropriate element in the political relationship between citizens, the members of a divided society may manifest the constitutive attitudes of political reconciliation without any commitment to principled reasons for moral compromise. (shrink)
Evolutionary psychologists attempt to infer our evolved psychology from the selection pressures present in our ancestral environments. Their use of this inference strategy?often called ?adaptive thinking??is thought to be justified by way of appeal to a rather modest form of adaptationism, according to which the mind's adaptive complexity reveals it to be a product of selection. I argue, on the contrary, that the mind's being an adaptation is only a necessary and not a sufficient condition for the validity of (...) adaptive thinking, and that evolutionary psychology's predictive project is in fact committed to an extremely strong and highly implausible form of adaptationism. According to this ?strong adaptationism,? the macroevolutionary trajectory of a population is determined by, and therefore predictable on the basis of, the selection pressures acting upon it. Not only is this form of adaptationism prima facie highly implausible, it requires making a number of naïve and likely false assumptions concerning the nature of heritable phenotypic variation in natural populations. In particular, it assumes that phenotypic variation is inevitably small in its extent, unbiased in its direction, and copious in its quantity. Because it is unlikely that these conditions obtain as a general rule, and even more unlikely that they obtained in early human populations, I conclude that there is little reason to believe that adaptive thinking can be used to infer the current structure of our minds from evidence of past selection pressures. (shrink)
This paper offers an evolutionary account of chronic pain. Chronic pain is a maladaptive by-product of pain mechanisms and neural plasticity, both of which are highly adaptive. This account shows how evolutionary psychology can be integrated with Flanagan's natural method, and in a way that avoids the usual charges of panglossian adaptationism and an uncritical commitment to a modular picture of the mind. Evolutionary psychology is most promising when it adopts a bottom-up research strategy that focuses on basic (...) affective and motivational systems (as opposed to higher cognitive functions) that are phylogenetically deep. (shrink)
The relation of teleological to causal explanations in psychology is examined. Nagel's claim that they are logically equivalent is rejected. Two arguments for their non-equivalence are considered: (i) the impossibility of specifying initial conditions in the case of teleological explanations and (ii) the claim that different kinds of logic are involved. The view that causal explanations provide only necessary conditions whereas teleological explanations provide sufficient conditions is rejected: causal explanations can provide sufficient conditions, typically being unable to provide necessary (...) ones, whereas teleological explanations tend to point to necessary features. Nor is a distinction in terms of intensional and extensional logic entirely satisfactory, although there is some support for the view that teleological and causal explanations invoke different types of explanatory framework. A key feature of teleogical explanation is the achievement of the same goal by a variety of means. Thus its main scientific function is likely to be heuristic rather than predictive. (shrink)
Daniel Dennett (1991) has advanced a mild realism in which beliefs are described as patterns “discernible in agents' (observable) behavior” (p. 30). I clarify the conflict between this otherwise attractive theory and the strong realist view that beliefs are internal states that cause actions. Support for strong realism is sometimes derived from the assumption that the everyday psychology of the folk is committed to it. My main thesis here is that we have sufficient reason neither for strong realism nor (...) for the supporting assumption about the commitments of folk psychology. Several generally implicit arguments in support of the latter assumption are considered. Explicit arguments for it by Ramsey et al. (1990) and Wellman (1990) are examined and judged unsuccessful. An explicit argument for strong realism by Cummins (in conversation) is also found inadequate. Consideration of this latter argument helps to explain why we cannot be satisfied with Dennett's own very brief discussion of causation by beliefs. (shrink)
It has often been argued, by philosophers and more recently by developmental psychologists, that our common-sense conception of the mind should be regarded as a scientific theory. However, those who advance this view rarely say much about what they take a scientific theory to be. In this paper, I look at one specific proposal as to how we should interpret the theory view of folk psychology--namely, by seeing it as having a structure analogous to that of a Lakatosian research (...) program. I argue that although the Lakatosian model may seem promising--particularly to those who are interested in studying the development of children's understanding of the mind--the analogy between Lakatosian research programs and folk psychology cannot be made good because folk psychology does not possess anything analogous to the positive heuristic of a Lakatosian research program. I also argue that Lakatos' account of theories may not be the best one for developmental psychologists to adopt because of the emphasis which Lakatos places on the social embeddedness of scientific theorising. (shrink)
This article is the sequel to 'Intentionality and Modern philosophical psychology, I. The modern reduction of intentionality,' (Philosophical Psychology, 3 (2), 1990) which examined the view of intentionality pioneered by Carnap and reaching its apotheosis in the work of Daniel Dennett. In 'Intentionality and modem philosophical psychology, II. The return to representation' (Philosophical Psychology, 4(1), 1991) I examined the approach to intentionality which can be traced back to the work of Noam Chomsky but which has been (...) given its canonical treatment in the work of Jerry Fodor. In this article, the last in the series, I explore a very recent approach to intentionality which has been associated especially with the work of Ruth Garrett Millikan and Colin McGinn, and might, if the phrase were not so rebarbative, be called “the biologizing of intentionality'. (shrink)
In rounded terms and modem dress a theory of intentionality is a theory about how humans take in information via the senses and in the very process of taking it in understand it and, most often, make subsequent use of it in guiding human behaviour. The problem of intentionality in this century has been the problem of providing an adequate explanation of how a purely physical causal system, the brain, can both receive information and at the same time understand it, (...) that is, to put it even more briefly, how a brain can have semantic content. In these two articles, one in this issue of the journal and one in the next, I engage in a critical examination of the two most thoroughly canvassed approaches to the theory and problem of intentionality in philosophical psychology over the last hundred years. In the first article, entitled 'The modern reduction of intentionality, ' I examine the approach pioneered by Carnap and reaching its apotheosis in the work of Daniel Dennett. In the second article, entitled 'The return to representation, 'I examine the approach which can be traced back to the work of Noam Chomsky but which has been given its canonical treatment in the work of Jerry Fodor. (shrink)
Rousseau's theory of the effect of culture on politics is critical to his philosophy. In Making Citizens , Zev M. Trachtenberg takes Rousseau's theory as a model of how considerations of culture can be incorporated into a wider account of political life. He critically evaluates Rousseau's account and concludes that it is, finally, inadequate. Using techniques from the theory of collective action to devise an interpretation of Rousseau's concept of the general will, Trachtenberg identifies the ways culture conditions politics. (...) He examines the attitudes individuals can adopt that facilitate or impede social cooperation--attitudes that Rousseau holds as culturally formed. Trachtenberg takes up Rousseau's account of the two paths for the evolution of human psychology: toward the actual political failure of existing society, or toward the possible political success of an ideal society. He concludes that Rousseau's cultural ideal conflicts with his theory of legitimacy, rendering his views of culture inconsistent with his political theory. (shrink)
This article questions social constructionists' claims to introduce Wittgenstein's philosophy to psychology. The philosophical fiction of a neonate Crusoe is introduced to cast doubt on the interpretations and use of the private language argument to support a new psychology developed by the constructionists. It is argued that a neonate Crusoe's viability in philosophy and apparent absence in psychology offends against the integrity of the philosophical contribution Wittgenstein might make to psychology. The consequences of accepting Crusoe's viability (...) are explored as they appear in both philosophy and psychology. (shrink)
The essay provides a short outline of Berlin's career and an assessment of his contribution to pluralist and liberal thought. He was a British academic with a Russian cast of mind, and an inhabitant of the ivory tower who was very much at home in the diplomatic and political world. Similarly, he was neither a historian of ideas nor a political philosopher in the narrow sense usually understood in the modern academy. Rather, he engaged in a trans-historical conversation (...) about the human condition with such figures as Machiavelli, Herzen, Vico, and Herder. The Russian liberal understanding of the historical and cultural setting was, in his view, much superior to that of familiar figures such as John Stuart Mill, just as the nonliberal Machiavelli cast a particularly vivid light on the problems of a pluralist world view. (shrink)
This is an inquiry into the economic psychology of trust: that is, what model of the political economy of complex liberal democracies is conducive to attitudes that allow difference to be perceived in the terms of ‘significant other’, rather than as a menacing or an irrelevant stranger. As a test case of prevailing perceptions of otherness in European societies, I examine attitudes towards Turkey’s accession to the European Union.
According to explanatory individualism, every action must be explained in terms of an agent's desire. According to explanatory nonindividualism, we sometimes act on our desires, but it is also possible for us to act on others' desires without acting on desires of our own. While explanatory nonindividualism has guided the thinking of many social scientists, it is considered to be incoherent by most philosophers of mind who insist that actions must be explained ultimately in terms of some desire of the (...) agent. In the first part of the paper, I show that some powerful arguments designed to demonstrate the incoherence of explanatory nonindividualism fail. In the second part of the paper, I offer a nonindividualist explanation of the apparent obviousness of belief-desire psychology. I argue that there are two levels of the intelligibility of our actions. On the more fundamental (explanatory) level, the question "Why did the agent do something?" admits a variety of folk-psychological categories. But there is another (formation-of-self) level, at which the same question admits only of answers that ultimately appeal only to the agent's own desires. Explanatory individualism results from the confusion of the two levels. (shrink)
This paper places Husserl’s mature work, The Crisis of the European Sciences, in the context of his engagement with – and critique of – experimental psychology at the time. I begin by showing (a) that Husserl accorded psychology a crucial role in his philosophy, i.e., that of providing a scientific analysis of subjectivity, and (b) that he viewed contemporary psychology – due to its naturalism – as having failed to pursue this goal in the appropriate manner. I (...) then provide an analysis of Husserl’s views about naturalism and scientific philosophy. Some central themes of the Crisis are traced back to Husserl’s earlier work and to his relationship with his teacher, Franz Brentano, with whom he disagreed about the status of “inner perception” as the proper scientific method for a phenomenological analysis. The paper then shows that Husserl was well aware of at least one publication about the crisis of psychology (Bühler’s 1927 book), and it teases out some aspects of the complicated relationship between Husserl and members of the Würzburg School of thought psychology: The latter had drawn on Husserl’s writings, but Husserl felt that they had misunderstood his central thesis. I conclude by placing Husserl’s work in the wider context of scientific, cultural, and political crisis-discourses at the time. (shrink)
This paper aims to offer an account of state apologies that discloses their potential function as catalysing political acts within broader processes of democratic change. While lots of ink has been spilled on analysing the relationship between apologies and processes of recognising the victims and their descendants, more needs to be said about how apologies can challenge the presence of self-congratulatory, distorted visions of history within the public sphere of liberal democracies. My account will be delineated through a critical (...) engagement with one very frequent objection to public apologies, namely that they unnecessarily taint the self-image of the community. Insights from the philosophy of judgment will be used to show how, in the form of an exemplary judgment, an official “sorry” can inspire societal reflection about an unsavoury past. (shrink)
Folk psychological realism is the view that folk psychology is true and that people really do have propositional attitudes, whereas anti-realism is the view that folk psychology is false and people really do not have propositional attitudes. We argue that anti-realism is not worthy of acceptance and that realism is eminently worthy of acceptance. However, it is plainly epistemically possible to favor either of two forms of folk realism: scientific or non-scientific. We argue that non-scientific realism, while perhaps (...) unpopular among philosophers of mind, is a distinct form of realism from scientific realism, and that it is not yet knowable whether scientific or non-scientific realism is true. We also outline how adopting realism, but remaining neutral between scientific and non-scientific realism, offers fresh insights into such topics as instrumentalism, supervenience, the language of thought hypothesis, and elimin-ativism. (shrink)
Pragmatism has enjoyed a considerable revival in the latter part of the twentieth century, but what precisely constitutes pragmatism remains a matter of dispute. In reconstructing the pragmatic tradition in political philosophy, Matthew Festenstein rejects the idea that it is a single, cohesive doctrine. His incisive analysis brings out the commonalities and shared concerns among contemporary pragmatists while making clear their differences in how they would resolve those concerns. His study begins with the work of John Dewey and the (...) moral and psychological conceptions that shaped his philosophy. Here Festenstein lays out the major philosophic issues with which first Dewey, and then his heirs, would grapple. The book's second part traces how Dewey's approach has been differently developed, especially in the work of three contemporary pragmatic thinkers: Richard Rorty, Jurgen Habermas, and Hilary Putnam. This first full-length critical study of the relationship between the pragmatist tradition and political philosophy fills a significant gap in contemporary thought. (shrink)
The Oxford Handbooks of Political Science is a ten-volume set of reference books offering authoritative and engaging critical overviews of the state of political science. This volume, The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis, sets out to synthesize and critique for the first time those approaches to political science that offer a more fine-grained qualitative analysis of the political world. The work in the volume has a common aim in being sensitive to the thoughts of (...) contextual nuances that disappear from large-scale quantitative modelling or explanations based on abstract, general, universal laws of human behavior. It shows that "context matters" in a great many ways: philosophical context matters; psychological context matters; cultural and historical contexts matter; place, population, and technology all matter. By showcasing scholars who specialize in the analysis of all these contexts side-by-side, the Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis shows how political scientists can take those crucial contextual factors systematically into account. (shrink)