When perceiving a face, we can easily decide whether it belongs to a human or non-human primate. It is thought that face information is represented by neurons in the macaque temporal cortex. However, the precise encoding mechanisms used by these neurons remain unclear. Here we use face stimuli of humans, monkeys and monkey-human hybrids (morphs) to gain a better understanding of these mechanisms, in particular of the categorization of faces into different species, and how learning affects representation of these stimuli.
To fully respond to the demands of multiculturalism, a view of toleration would need to duly respect diversity both at the level of the application of principles of toleration and at the level of the justificatory foundations that a view of toleration may appeal to. The paper examines Rainer Forst’s post-Rawlsian, ‘reason-based’ attempt to provide a view of toleration that succeeds at these two levels and so allows us to tolerate tolerantly. His account turns on the view that a (...) constructivist requirement of generality and reciprocity provides a suitable criterion of toleration since a commitment to this requirement is part of what defines people as reasonable. But it is neither plausible nor coherent to build such a requirement into an idea of reasonableness from which an account of toleration starts. Thus, constructivism cannot provide a tolerant criterion of toleration, if such criterion, in order to overcome the ‘paradox’ of intolerant toleration, must escape reasonable disagreement. (shrink)
Brian Leiter and Neil Sinhababu (eds), Nietzsche and Morality Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10677-008-9134-6 Authors Rainer Kattel, Tallinn University of Technology Ehitajate tee 5 19086 Tallinn Estonia Journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820.
Michael J. Sandel: The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 183-185 DOI 10.1007/s12376-009-0018-4 Authors Ilhan Ilkilic, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz Medical Center Institute for History, Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine Am Pulverturm 13 55131 Mainz Germany <span class='Hi'>Rainer</span> Brömer, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz Medical Center Institute for History, Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine Am Pulverturm 13 55131 Mainz Germany Journal Medicine Studies Online ISSN 1876-4541 Print ISSN 1876-4533 (...) Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 2. (shrink)
Fifty years after his death, Walter Benjamin remains one of the great cultural critics of this century. Despite his renown, however, Benjamin's philosophical ideas remain elusive/m-/often considered a disaggregated set of thoughts not meant to cohere. This book provides a more systematic perspective on Benjamin, laying claim to his status as a philosopher and situating his work in the context of its time. Exploring Benjamin's theory of language, spoken and nonspoken, Rainer Rochlitz shows how Benjamin reconceptualized traditional ideas of (...) language, art, and history. Offering an expansive assessment of a unique twentieth-century thinker, this volume provides an indispensable guide for readers of Benjamin's recently released collected works. (shrink)
Is there an approach to human rights that justifies rights-allocating moral-political principles as principles that are equally acceptable by everyone to whom they apply, while grounding them in categorical, reasonably non-rejectable foundations? The paper examines Rainer Forst’s constructivist attempt to provide such an approach. I argue that his view, far from providing an alternative to “ethical” approaches, depends for its own reasonableness on a reasonably contestable conception of the good, namely, the good of constitutive discursive standing. This suggests a (...) way in which constructivism about human rights might be able to coherently and plausibly negotiate the tension between the scope, the depth and the strength of discursive inclusion: the justification of rights-allocating moral-political principles needs to be premised on an “ethical”, perfectionist defense of the good of constitutive discursive standing. (shrink)
This article argues that the civic virtue of tolerance has to be understood as a virtue of justice. Based on an analysis of the concept of toleration and its paradoxes, it shows that toleration is a 'normatively dependent concept' that needs to take recourse to a conception of justice in order to solve these paradoxes. At the center of this conception of justice lies a principle of reciprocal and general justification with the help of which a distinction between moral norms (...) and ethical values is possible. While the former are strictly binding and define the realm of the tolerable, the latter are subject to reasonable disagreement that calls for toleration. Essentially, the virtue of tolerance is the capacity and willingness to accept the principle and criteria of justification of generally binding norms in an ethically pluralist society.This virtue is analyzed with respect to its normative and epistemological components. Finally, the idea of a 'tolerant character' is discussed. (shrink)
The cognitive neurosciences are based on the idea that the level of neurons or neural networks constitutes a privileged level of analysis for the explanation of mental phenomena. This paper brings to mind several arguments to the effect that this presumption is ill-conceived and unwarranted in light of what is currently understood about the physical principles underlying mental achievements. It then scrutinizes the question why such conceptions are nevertheless currently prevailing in many areas of psychology. The paper argues that corresponding (...) conceptions are rooted in four different aspects of our common-sense conception of mental phenomena and their explanation, which are illegitimately transferred to scientific enquiry. These four aspects pertain to the notion of explanation, to conceptions about which mental phenomena are singled out for enquiry, to an inductivist epistemology, and, in the wake of behavioristic conceptions, to a bias favoring investigations of input–output relations at the expense of enquiries into internal principles. To the extent that the cognitive neurosciences methodologically adhere to these tacit assumptions, they are prone to turn into a largely a-theoretical and data-driven endeavor while at the same time enhancing the prospects for receiving widespread public appreciation of their empirical findings. (shrink)
Introduction: the foundation of justice -- Practical reason and justifying reasons: on the foundation of morality -- Moral autonomy and the autonomy of morality: toward a theory of normativity after Kant -- Ethics and morality -- The justification of justice: Rawls's political liberalism and Habermas's discourse theory in dialogue -- Political liberty: integrating five conceptions of autonomy -- A critical theory of multicultural toleration -- The rule of reasons: three models of deliberative democracy -- Social justice, justification, and power -- (...) The basic right to justification: toward a constructivist conception of human rights -- Constructions of transnational justice: comparing John Rawls's the law of peoples and Otfried Höffe's democracy in an age of globalisation -- Justice, morality, and power in the global context -- Toward a critical theory of transnational justice. (shrink)
There are numerous books which seek to interpret Martin Heidegger’s seminal text, Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis), and others which address the question of how to translate his writings. By joining these two tasks, Translation and Interpretation: Learning from Beiträge, stands out from other such books in the field of Heidegger studies. The volume begins with Parvis Emad’s translation of an original essay by Martin Heidegger, “Contributions of Philosophy. The Da-sein and the Be-ing (Enowning).” -/- Through six carefully crafted essays, (...) Emad then takes the reader through a journey which examines the relationship between Heidegger’s being-historical thinking and such key figures—including Friedrich Nietzsche, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Friedrich Hölderlin—who either occupy the forefront at the end of metaphysics or mark the “crossing” to the “other beginning.” -/- This book will be of special interest to scholars and graduate students alike, whether in philosophy or such diverse fields as poetry and linguistics. (shrink)
It is a characteristic feature of our mental make-up that the same perceptual input situation can simultaneously elicit conflicting mental perspectives. This ability pervades our perceptual and cognitive domains. Striking examples are the dual character of pictures in picture perception, pretend play, or the ability to employ metaphors and allegories. I argue that traditional approaches, beyond being inadequate on principle grounds, are theoretically ill equipped to deal with these achievements. I then outline a theoretical perspective that has emerged from a (...) theoretical convergence of perceptual psychology, ethology, linguistics, and developmental research. On the basis of this framework, I argue that corresponding achievements are brought forth by a specific type of functional architecture whose core features are as follows: (1) a perceptual system that is biologically furnished with a rich system of conceptual forms, (2) a triggering relation between the sensory input and conceptual forms by which the same sensory input can be exploited by different types or systems of conceptual forms, and (3) computational principles for handling semantically underspecified conceptual forms. Characteristic features of the proposed theoretical framework are pointed out using the Heider–Simmel phenomenon as an example. (shrink)
The chapter deals with the notion of phenomenal realness, which was first systematically explored by Albert Michotte. Phenomenal realness refers to the impression that a perceptual object is perceived to have an autonomous existence in our mind-independent world. Perceptual psychology provides an abundance of phenomena, ranging from amodal completion to picture perception, that indicate that phenomenal realness is an independent perceptual attribute that can be conferred to perceptual objects in different degrees. The chapter outlines a theoretical framework that appears particularly (...) well-suited for dealing with corresponding phenomena. According to this framework, perception can be understood as a triggering of conceptual forms by sensor inputs. It is argued that the attribute of phenomenal realness is based on specific types of internal evaluation functions which deal with the segregation of causes conceived as ‘external’ from those conceived as ‘internal’. These evaluation functions integrate different internal sources of ‘knowledge’ about the potential causes for the activation of conceptual forms and provide markers by which conceptual forms can be tagged as ‘external world objects’. (shrink)
The existence of predatory animals is a problem in animal ethics that is often not taken as seriously as it should be. We show that it reveals a weakness in Tom Regan's theory of animal rights that also becomes apparent in his treatment of innocent human threats. We show that there are cases in which Regan's justice-prevails-approach to morality implies a duty not to assist the jeopardized, contrary to his own moral beliefs. While a modified account of animal rights that (...) recognizes the moral patient as a kind of entity that can violate moral rights avoids this counterintuitive conclusion, it makes non-human predation a rights issue that morally ought to be subjected to human regulation. Jennifer Everett, Lori Gruen and other animal advocates base their treatment of predation in part on Regan's theory and run into similar problems, demonstrating the need to radically rethink the foundations of the animal rights movement. We suggest to those who, like us, find it less plausible to introduce morality to the wild than to reject the concept of rights that makes this move necessary to read our criticism either as a modus tollens argument and reject non-human animal rights altogether or as motivating a libertarian-ish theory of animal rights. (shrink)
It is a characteristic feature of our mental make-up that the same perceptual input situation can simultaneously elicit conflicting mental perspectives. This ability pervades our perceptual and cognitive domains. Striking examples are the dual character of pictures in picture perception, pretend play, or the ability to employ metaphors and allegories. I will argue that traditional approaches, beyond being inadequate on principle grounds, are theoretically ill-equipped to deal with these achievements. I will then outline a theoretical perspective that has been emerging (...) from a theoretical convergence of perceptual psychology, ethology, linguistics, and developmental research. On the basis of this framework, I will argue that corresponding achievements are brought forth by a specific type of functional architecture whose core features are: (i) a perceptual system that is biologically furnished with a rich system of conceptual forms, (ii) a triggering relation between the sensory input and conceptual forms by which the same sensory input can be exploited by different types or systems of conceptual forms, and (iii) computational principles for handling semantically underspecified conceptual forms. Characteristic features of the proposed theoretical framework will be pointed out using the Heider-Simmel phenomenon as an example. (shrink)
In the practice of social criticism, the concept of human dignity has played and still plays an important role. In philosophical debates, however, we find widely divergent accounts of that concept, ranging from views based on a conception of human needs to religious approaches trying to explain the ‘inviolability’ of the person. The view presented here reconstructs the basic claim of human dignity historically and normatively as resting on the moral status of the person as a reason-giving, reason-demanding and reason-deserving (...) being. The person as holding a basic moral right to justification is the true ground for the claim of having one’s dignity respected: as someone who must not be subjected to norms, rules, or institutions which cannot be properly justified to that person in appropriate practices of justification. To possess human dignity means being an equal member in the realm of subjects and authorities of justification and to be respected as such. This is the moral ground of social criticism, implied in particular social and political demands raised in given historical contexts. Thus, critical theory has to be reoriented towards a critique of the relations of justification in a given social order of justification. (shrink)
Temporary migration raises two different challenges. The first is whether territorial democracies can integrate temporary migrants as equal citizens; the second is whether transnationally mobile societies can be organized democratically as communities of equal citizens. Considering both questions within a single analytical framework will reveal a dilemma: on the one hand, liberals have good reasons to promote the expansion of categories of free-moving citizens as the most effective and normatively attractive response to the problem of partial citizenship for temporary migrants; (...) yet, on the other hand, if free movement rights were actually used by too many, this might fatally undermine the sustainability of intergenerational and territorial democratic polities. (shrink)
This paper develops a formal framework to model a process in which the formation of individual opinions is embedded in a deliberative exchange with others. The paper opts for a low-resolution modeling approach and abstracts away from most of the details of the social-epistemic process. Taking a bird's eye view allows us to analyze the chances for the truth to be found and broadly accepted under conditions of cognitive division of labour combined with a social exchange process. Cognitive division of (...) labour means that only some individuals are active truth seekers, possibly with different capacities. Both mathematical tools and computer simulations are used to investigate the model. As an analytical result, the Funnel Theorem states that under rather weak conditions on the social process, a consensus on the truth will be reached if all individuals possess an arbitrarily small capacity to go for the truth. The Leading the pack Theorem states that under certain conditions even a single truth seeker may lead all individuals to the truth. Systematic simulations analyze how close agents can get to the truth depending upon the frequency of truth seekers, their capacities as truth seekers, the position of the truth (more to the extreme or more in the centre of an opinion space), and the willingness to take into account the opinions of others when exchanging and updating opinions. (shrink)
At first sight one might be tempted to regard Descartes' »cogito ergo sum« as logically true by existential generalisation. This however would neither exhaust the specific epistemic content of »cogito« nor reveal the philosophical peculiarities of »sum« which the author takes to have two ontologically different meanings. The full sense of »cogito ergo sum« finally turns out to be Credo* me* cogitare ergo scio* me* esse1/2. Furthermore this proposition can formally be proved to be true by means of epistemic logic.
The model function for induction of Goodmans's composite predicate "Grue" was examined by analysis. Two subpredicates were found, each containing two further predicates which are mutually exclusive (green and blue, observed before and after t). The rules for the inductive processing of composite predicates were studied with the more familiar predicate "blellow" (blue and yellow) for violets and primroses. The following rules for induction were violated by processing "grue": From two subpredicates only one (blue after t) appears in the conclusion. (...) As a statement about a future and unobserved condition this subpredicate, however, is not projectible for induction whereas the only suitable predicate (green before t) does not show up in the conclusion. In a disjunction "a v b" where "a" is true and "b" false the disjunction is true. When, however, the only true component is dropped, what remains is necessarily false. An analogous mistake may be observed in the processing of "grue", where the only true component (green) was dropped in the conclusion. - As a potent criterion for correct inductions a check of the necessity of the conclusions is recommended. (shrink)
The anti-metaphysical intentions of naturalism can be respected without abandoning the project of a normative epistemology. The central assumptions of naturalism imply that (1.) the distinction between action and behaviour is spurious, and (2.) epistemology cannot continue to be a normative project. Difficulties with the second implication have been adressed by Normative Naturalism, but without violating the naturalistic consensus, it can only appreciate means-end-rationality. However, this does not suffice to justify its own implicit normative pretensions. According to our diagnosis, naturalism (...) succumbs to the lure of an absolute observer's stance and thereby neglects the need for participation in communal practice. By contrast, methodical culturalism ties down the concepts of epistemology to the success of such practice. Only from this perspective, the normative force of epistemology can be appreciated. Also, the mind-body problem loosens its hold and the distinction between action and behaviour is reestablished. In the last section, the mutual relation between philosophy andscience is reconsidered. (shrink)
Information technology (IT) is continuously making astounding progress in technical efficiency. The time, space, material and energy needed to provide a unit of IT service have decreased by three orders of magnitude since the first personal computer (PC) was sold. However, it seems difficult for society to translate ITâs efficiency progress into progress in terms of individual, organizational or socio-economic goals. In particular it seems to be difficult for individuals to work more efficiently, for organizations to be more productive and (...) for the socio-economic system to be more sustainable by using increasingly efficient IT. This article provides empirical evidence and potential explanations for this problem. Many counterproductive effects of IT can be explained economically by rebound effects. Beyond that, we conclude that the technological determinism adopted by decision-makers is the main obstacle in translating ITâs progress into non-technical goals. (shrink)
Byrne & Hilbert (B&H) conceive of color perception as the representation of a physical property “out there.” In our view, their approach does not only have various internal problems, but is also apt to becloud both the intricate and still poorly understood role that “color” plays within perceptual architecture, and the complex coupling to the “external world” of the perceptual system as an entirety. We propose an alternative perspective, which avoids B&H's misleading dichotomy between a purely subjective and (...) a realist conception of “color.”. (shrink)
Dreams of chase or pursuit, falling, sex, flying, nudity, failing an examination, one's own and other's death, fire, teeth falling out and some other themes experienced, even if only rarely, by many people all over the world have been labelled 'typical dreams'. This essay argues that typical dreaming, rather a syndrome of themes than monothematic, reflects an extraordinary state of mind and brain. Odd and particularly memorable perceptions, as well as emerging awareness of sleep and dreaming -- i.e. parallels to (...) lucid dreaming, sleep paralysis, complex partial seizure, epileptic and migraine auras, and aspects of dreaming after trauma -- can be traced with some plausibility in all prominent variants of typical dreaming. When viewed from this perspective, for example, dream pursuers are much more a shadow of the bodily self than a metaphor for the psycho- biographical situation or evolutionarily implemented sparring partners who make dreamers fit for the struggle for survival during waking hours. (shrink)
Toleration has a rich tradition in Western political philosophy. It is, after all, one of the defining topics of political philosophy—historically pivotal in the development of modern liberalism, prominent in the writings of such canonical figures as John Locke and John Stuart Mill, and central to our understanding of the idea of a society in which individuals have the right to live their own lives by their own values, left alone by the state so long as they respect the similar (...) interests of others. -/- Toleration and Its Limits, the latest addition to the NOMOS series, explores the philosophical nuances of the concept of toleration and its scope in contemporary liberal democratic societies. Editors Melissa S. Williams and Jeremy Waldron carefully compiled essays that address the tradition's key historical figures; its role in the development and evolution of Western political theory; its relation to morality, liberalism, and identity; and its limits and dangers. -/- Contributors: Lawrence A. Alexander, Kathryn Abrams, Wendy Brown, Ingrid Creppell, Noah Feldman, Rainer Forst, David Heyd, Glyn Morgan, Glen Newey, Michael A. Rosenthal, Andrew Sabl, Steven D. Smith, and Alex Tuckness. (shrink)
Pavel Florenskij's (1882-1937/summarily executed in GULAG) conception of the personality is connected to considerations of antinomies. The personality remains trapped in contradictions and gains completion only in relation to the Absolute, whereas the individual, the sociological entity, is metaphysically neutral. Florenskij attempts to link the individual and the personality by means of the concept of substance (ousia). "In man oύσiα and ύπόστασις exist together. Ousia (...) posits the Individual and in society endows him with form as a selfsufficient centre. The (...) hypostasis, by contrast, is the personal idea of Man". For Florenskij personality evinces an epistemological analogy to other central terms in his philosophy, in particular Truth and Love as well as to his theory of language and symbols. For him, each personality comprises a distinctive principle growth (a notion evidently taken from the idealistic morphology of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries) that determines its growth potential. (shrink)
The probabilistic corroboration of two or more hypotheses or series of observations may be performed additively or multiplicatively . For additive corroboration (e.g. by Laplace's rule of succession), stochastic independence is needed. Inferences, based on overwhelming numbers of observations without unexplained counterinstances permit hyperinduction , whereby extremely high probabilities, bordering on certainty for all practical purposes may be achieved. For multiplicative corroboration, the error probabilities (1 - Pr) of two (or more) hypotheses are multiplied. The probabilities, obtained by reconverting the (...) product, are valid for both of the hypotheses and indicate the gain by corroboration.. This method is mathematically correct, no probabilities > 1 can result (as in some conventional methods) and high probabilities with fewer observations may be obtained, however, semantical independence is a prerequisite. The combined method consists of (1) the additive computation of the error probabilities (1 - Pr) of two or more single hypotheses, whereby arbitrariness is avoided or at least reduced and (2) the multiplicative procedure . The high reliability of Empirical Counterfactual Statements is explained by the possibility of multiplicative corroboration of "all-no" statements due to their strict semantical independence. (shrink)
Shepard's approach is regarded as an attempt to rescue, within an evolutionary perspective, an empiricist theory of mind. Contrary to this, I argue that the structure of perceptual representations is essentially co-determined by internal aspects and cannot be understood if we confine our attention to the physical side of perception, however appropriately we have chosen our vocabulary for describing the external world. Furthermore, I argue that Kubovy and Epstein's “more modest interpretation” of Shepard's ideas on motion perception is based on (...) unjustified assumptions. [Kubovy & Epstein; Shepard]. (shrink)
Whereas indirect euthanasia is a common clinical practice, active euthanasia remains forbidden in most countries. The reason for this differentiation is usually seen in the principle of double-effect (PDE). PDE states that there is a morally relevant difference between the intended consequences of an action and merely foreseen, unintended side-effects. This article discloses the fundamental assumptions presenting the basis for this application of the PDE and examines whether these assumptions are compatible with the PDE. It is shown that neither a (...) liberal nor a utilitarian point of view makes the utilization of the PDE possible. In accordance with philosophical tradition, only within the doctrine of the sanctity of life does the PDE seem to be applicable. By analysing the premises of this doctrine, and comparing them with those of the PDE, the inconsistency of this idea is demonstrated. It is suggested that the role of the PDE in the current discussion on euthanasia is largely exaggerated. (shrink)
Am 14. Juli 1995 berichteten die angesehene Wissenschaftszeitschrift Science sowie die berühmte amerikanische Tageszeitung New York Times – auf dem Titelblatt – gleichzeitig über die erstmalige experimentelle Erzeugung eines Bose-Einstein-Kondensates aus einem Gas schwach wechselwirkender Alkaliatome am Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophy- sics (JILA) in Boulder/Colorado (USA). Was war an dieser Leistung so bedeutsam, dass man sich entschloss, sie auf jene Weise bekannt zu geben?
Der bedeutende amerikanische Logiker und Philosoph W.V.O. Quine hat die folgende Frage ins Zentrum seines Schaffens gestellt: "Wie kommen wir von unseren Sinnesdaten zu Theorien über die Welt?“ Bei der Beantwortung dieser Frage tritt ein grundlegendes Problem auf, das damit zusammenhängt, dass uns immer nur ein endlicher Satz an Informationen über die Welt zugänglich ist. Jedes Experiment liefert z. B. nur eine endliche Anzahl von Messpunkten.
Zusammenfassung Ausgehend von der Tatsache, daÃ eine Kommunikation zwischen den verschiedenen Richtungen der Philosophie in Deutschland entweder gar nicht stattfindet oder bestimmten heutzutage zu fordernden RationalitÃ¤tsstandards nicht genÃ¼gt, wird in einem ersten allgemeinen Teil auf die groÃen Vor- und geringen Nachteile aufmerksam gemacht, die ein vor allem an gewissen fundamentalen Einsichten der sprachanalytischen Philosophie orientiertermethodischer Minimalkonsens mit sich brÃ¤chte, und in einem spezielleren und wichtigeren zweiten Teil eine sprachphilosophische Lokalisation aller Arten von Inexaktheiten, die in normalsprachlichen (nicht nur philosophischen) Texten (...) vorkommen kÃ¶nnen, mit dem praktischen Ziel vorgenommen, deren Vermeidung â soweit diese theoretisch Ã¼berhaupt mÃ¶glich ist â als zentralen Bestandteil des genannten Konsenses zu empfehlen. (shrink)