This volume is a collection of essays in appreciation, analysis and honor of Paul Ziff, one of the leading American philosophers of the post-World War II period. The essays address questions that loomed large in Ziff's own work. Essays by Zeno Vendler, Jay Rosenberg, and Tom Patton address topics in philosophy of language: understanding, misunderstanding, rules, regularities, and proper names. Michael Resnik examines the nature of numbers, Rita Nolan addresses `mutant predicates', and Peter Alexander discusses microscopes and corpuscles. Douglas C. (...) Long ruminates on Ziff's claim that machines can neither think nor feel. The essays of DaleJamieson, Bill E. Lawson, Douglas Dempster, and Joseph Ullian address various questions in aesthetics: aesthetic appreciation and morality, expression, the scope of appreciation, and the aesthetics of sport. In the spirit of Ziff, Douglas Stalker criticizes some of the `mush' that looms large in our intellectual lives. The volume begins with a reminiscence by Paul Benacerraf, and ends with selections from an unpublished volume of plays by Paul Ziff. The volume should appeal to anyone whose work has been influenced by Ziff, or is interested in central philosophical problems concerning language, mind, and art. (shrink)
In this era when results of empirical scientific research are being appealed to all across philosophy, when we even find moral philosophers invoking the results of brain scans, many profess to practice "naturalized epistemology," or to be "epistemological naturalists." Such phrases derive from the title of a well-known essay by Quine, but Paul Gregory's thesis in the work under review is that there is less connection than is usually assumed between Quine's variety of naturalized epistemology and what is today taken, (...) by opponents and proponents alike, to constitute epistemological naturalism. To put it bluntly, as Gregory does in the opening sentence of his introduction, Quine "has not been well understood." If there is less connection between the Quinian and other epistemological naturalisms than there has often been taken to be, on Gregory's account there is also much more connection between Quine's position on epistemology and his positions on other contentious issues. (shrink)
CHRISTOPHER PINCOCK, Department of Philosophy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA The volume under review contains ﬁfteen new essays by some of the most inﬂuential scholars of the history of early analytic philosophy. The focus of the essays is, as the editor says in the preface, ‘the work of Gottlob Frege and of Ludwig Wittgenstein (mostly the early Wittgenstein), as well as various ties between them’ (p. x). The essays are divided into four parts. The ﬁrst part, ‘Background and (...) General Themes’, contains essays by E. Reck, G. Gabriel and S. Gerrard. The second part on Frege has contributions by H. Sluga, S. Shieh, M. Ruﬃno and J. Weiner. Essays on the relation between Frege and the early Wittgenstein by W. Goldfarb, D. Macbeth, T. Ricketts and C. Diamond comprise the third part. The volume concludes with essays by I. Proops, J. Floyd, M. Ostrow and J. Conant on the early Wittgenstein. This volume is an important contribution to our understanding of Frege and the early Wittgenstein and should prove a help to specialists in the history of analytic philosophy. I have chosen to brieﬂy discuss seven of these essays with an emphasis on topics in the history and philosophy of logic. Reck’s opening essay, ‘Wittgenstein’s “Great Debt” to Frege: Biographical Traces and Philosophical Themes’, gives a helpful overview of our current knowledge of the contacts between Frege and Wittgenstein. Reck argues quite persuasively for the conclusion that Wittgenstein engaged with Frege’s work throughout his philosophical career. The depth of this engagement is in-. (shrink)
Literature and philosophy have a sometimes prickly relationship. And let's be blunt: it is all philosophy's fault. Specifically, it is all Plato's fault. In The Republic, he laid out the rationalist's basic suspicions of literary practice. Literature, he argued, corrupts reason by appealing to the emotions. It trades in appearances and not reality, fiction rather than truth. Not only does it fail to encourage good behaviour, it glamorises bad behaviour, making immorality appealing to the young and impressionable. Until poets could (...) be trusted to promote virtue through their works, Plato banished them from his republic. (shrink)
Nietzsche called his sister “llama,” a nickname which, according to her, derived from a description in a children’s biology book. Such a book in the Nietzsche-Archiv declares that “the llama, as a means of defense, squirts its spittle and half-digested fodder at its opponent.”1 Thus we see Nietzsche, as he does frequently in his writings, drawing on the semantic resources made available by the investigation of animal nature and using them to illuminate human character. The editors of A Nietzschean Bestiary (...) had the superlative idea to advance the progression from zoology to anthropology one step further: starting from Nietzsche’s myriad trope of animality, to construct a philosophical bestiary that illuminates not only the status of human animality but also that of our metaphorical resources in general. The result comprises twenty-five essays from twentythree contributors, most of which are organized around a single creature (albeit no llama). These essays’ execution of the original idea is, on the whole, excellent. I do not think that they establish the two main conceits of the volume. But the volume nevertheless provides a vivid and diverse display of Nietzsche’s animal tropes that engages with broader philosophical concerns. Although it needs no defense, the volume presents a twofold apology. One declared aim of the volume is to show that Nietzsche’s pervasive use of animal imagery.. (shrink)
This book is devoted to showing that with the single exception of patents on people's whole genomes, DNA patents are morally permissible. Resnik begins with three useful background chapters: one on recent controversies over DNA patents in the United States and abroad; another on the basic science of DNA, as well as research and product development related to DNA; and another, especially useful, chapter on the legal nature of patents and intellectual property. The focus of moral evaluation is patents as (...) they are set out in American law. These give their holders a right to exclude others from producing, using, or commercializing the patented item for twenty years. Items that can be patented include products, processes, and improvements thereof. However, a patentable item must issue from human ingenuity (as opposed to nature); this rules out laws of nature, natural phenomena, and naturally occurring living things and chemical compounds. Of course, in its natural form, DNA is not a product of human nature and therefore not a candidate for patenting. However, since 1980 American law has deemed it patentable in isolated and purified form (in this form, Resnik reports, up to 95% of the sequences in the artificial sequence are in the natural sequence). Turning to ethical issues, Resnik argues for the permissibility of both the general practice of patents, as well as patents on DNA. The general practice is morally defensible because patents produce public benefits, protect private rights of ownership, and strike a reasonable balance in doing so. The public benefits include, in the near term, scientific, medical and agricultural discoveries and innovations; the central long-term benefit is the lower prices that come after the patent has expired and the patented item is publicly disclosed for others to market. Patents help to bring about all of these benefits by providing a legally protected twenty-year monopoly, thus functioning as powerful economic incentives. They thereby also protect private rights of ownership; but even here the public good is not overlooked, since patent-based monopolies are constrained in various ways to protect the public good (e.g.. (shrink)
Christopher Pincock, Department of Philosophy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA This volume presents seventeen essays (not eleven, as the publisher inexplicably claims) by a diverse group of philosophers that arose out of a conference in Florence in 1999. As its title indicates, the focus of the conference was the contemporary signiﬁcance of the topics, methods and innovations of the logical empiricists. This has led to a nicely balanced collection that combines careful historical study with an eye on current (...) debates in the philosophy of science and mind. (shrink)
George W. Bush is not only America’s president, but also its most prominent moralist. No other president in living memory has spoken so often about good and evil, right and wrong. […] But in what moral truths does the president believe? Considering how much the president says about ethics, it is surprising how little serious discussion there has been of the moral philosophy of George W. Bush.
Ian Hacking is one of the most original and influential thinkers alive today. His Taming of Chance (Cambridge UP, 1990) was named to The Modern Library’s list of the 100 most important non-fiction books written in English since 1900. In 2001, he was the first Anglophone ever to be elected to a permanent chair at the Collège de France. Though he started in highly technical fields such as logic, statistical theory and formal philosophy of science, he soon moved on to (...) other domains, eventually making important contributions to the philosophy of language, Wittgenstein scholarship, the philosophical study of mental illness, the history of philosophy and more. This recent collection of Hacking’s work provides further confirmation of both the breadth and depth of his thought. (shrink)
Since their Puritan origins in the 17th century, American politicians have tended to speak in the language of divinely given morality. George W. Bush is not unique in his frequent references to the language of good and evil, just as he is not the first US politician to mangle the language.
Last spring, as I was beginning a graduate seminar on Frege, I received a complimentary copy of this new translation of his masterwork, The Foundations of Arithmetic . I had ordered Austin's famous translation, well-loved for the beauty of its English and the clarity with which it presents Frege's overall argument, but known to be less than literal, and to sometimes supplement translation with interpretation. I was intrigued by Dale Jacquette's promise "to combine literal accuracy and readability for beginning (...) students and professional scholars alike," and to improve on Austin where the latter "does not always faithfully represent or seem to perfectly understand certain of Frege's German idioms." (v) Such a translation, complete with index, critical introduction, and commentary, and at a bargain price, seemed worthy of my students' attention. So, I mentioned to the class that this book might be worth looking into. (shrink)
In this nicely written book, Dale Murray critically discusses the moral rights posited by Robert Nozick in Anarchy, State, and Utopia. His focus is on these rights and not on Nozick's arguments about the justness of the state. He argues that Nozick's rights to compensation give rise to rights to government-financed health care and that Nozick should recognize a natural right to enough goods to ensure a reasonable chance of living a decent and meaningful life (if feasible for all). (...) Murray also discusses issues such as the role of invisible hand arguments, moralized conceptions of freedom, and the issue of whether just steps (transactions) preserve the justice of situations. (shrink)
In World Without Design: The Ontological Consequences of <span class='Hi'>Naturalism</span>, I argued that there is an important sense in which <span class='Hi'>naturalism</span>’s current status as methodological orthodoxy is without rational foundation, and I argued that naturalists must give up two views that many of them are inclined to hold dear—realism about material objects and materialism. In a review recently published in Faith and Philosophy, Dale Jacquette alleges (among other things) that my arguments in World Without Design are directed mainly (...) against strawmen and that I have neglected to discuss at least one formulation of <span class='Hi'>naturalism</span> that straightforwardly addresses my main objections. In this reply, I show that these and other objections raised by Jacquette are unsound and, in fact, rest on egregious misrepresentations of the book. (shrink)
Historical Cognitive Science I am lucky to strike three reviewers who extract so clearly my book's spirit as well as its substance. They all both accept and act on my central methodological assumption; that detailed historical research, and consideration of difficult contemporary questions about cognition and culture, can be mutually illuminating. It's gratifying to find many themes which recur in different contexts throughout _Philosophy and Memory_ _Traces_ so well articulated here. The reviews catch my desires to interweave discussion of cognitive (...) theories of memory with moral questions of psychological control and self-mastery, to evoke the virtues and the pleasures of strange, baroque beliefs about fickle 'animal spirits' coursing through the nerves and the brain, to demonstrate that mechanistic explanation (even in its blunt old Cartesian form) can acknowledge complexity, and to develop scientific conceptions of dynamic memory traces and representations which can survive uncharitable philosophical criticism. The book's insistent interdisciplinarity is just an inchoate quest to acknowledge the daunting variety of the phenomena: remembering is both natural and cultural, and is studied by narrative theorists as well as neurobiologists, by physicists as well as psychologists. By fusing the rangy detail of a history of early modern neurophysiology with the committed, even gullible fervor of a defence of 'new connectionist' cognitive science, I wanted to pull out the carpet from all those who are happy to let 'scientific' and 'cultural' approaches to the mind run along independently. Once this general project is given space, as it is by all three reviewers, we can get down to specifics. (shrink)
‘William L. Rowe on Philosophy of Religion’ edited by Nick Trakakis, collects 30 papers of William Rowe's important work in the philosophy of religion. I review this collection, and offer an objection of one of Rowe's arguments.
Review of Avital Wohlman, Al-Ghazali, Averroës and the Interpretation of the Qur'an: Common Sense and Philosophy in Islam, Translated by David Burrell Content Type Journal Article Pages 637-639 DOI 10.1007/s11841-010-0207-3 Authors Scott Girdner, Western Kentucky University, 1906 college Heights Blvd., Bowling Green, KY 42101, USA Journal Sophia Online ISSN 1873-930X Print ISSN 0038-1527 Journal Volume Volume 49 Journal Issue Volume 49, Number 4.
Ostensibly, A Literary Review is a straightforward commentary by Søren Kierkegaard on the work of a contemporary novelist. On deeper levels, however, it becomes the existential philosopher's far-reaching critique of his society and age, and its apocalyptic final sections inspired the central ideas in Martin Heiddeger's influential work Being and Time . Embraced by many readers as prophetic, A Literary Review and its concepts remain relevant to our current debates on identity, addiction, and social conformity.
When I was first invited by Prof. Kim Yong-pyo, editor of the IJBTC, to review this book, I declined, due to the fact that Prof. Park was my teacher and mentor at SUNY Stony Brook, not only as a graduate student, but as an undergraduate as well. For this reason I was afraid that I would not be able to bring the requisite critical distance to the task. After having had the opportunity to read the book, however, I changed (...) my mind, for two main reasons: (1) I realized that it might be personally satisfying to take the opportunity to re-engage myself in the kind of Buddhist soteriological discourse that originally attracted me to Buddhist Studies to begin with, and (2) the potential for lapses in proper critical distance notwithstanding, I felt that there is some sense in which I could bring some insights into the appraisal of this book probably only accessible to myself, given my long relationship with Sung Bae Park and my deep personal interest in his project. So I hope readers of this review will accept it with these factors in mind. There is one question that we may want to ask before dealing with a book like this: Is there a place in our Buddhist Studies academia for the discussion of personal religious experience, or for the investigation of the phenomenon of religiosity? I know of more than a few who would answer such a question with an outright "no." Others might say, "It depends upon how one goes about it." And still others may be very excited by such a prospect. (shrink)
Environment and the Arts: Perspectives on Environ- mental Aesthetics. Edited by ARNOLD BERLEANT . Ashgate. 2002. pp. 192. C ONSISTING of twelve chapters, and an extended introduction, this volume provides a leading-edge anthology of reflections on environmental aesthetics.
The lead text of this book is based on primatologist Frans de Waal’s 2003 Tanner Lectures at Princeton University, to which he adds three short appendices. There are commentaries by Robert Wright, Christine Korsgaard, Philip Kitcher, and Peter Singer, followed by a 20-page response. Josiah Ober and Stephen Macedo provide a brief introduction. As befits a Tanner lecturer, de Waal’s scope is broad, his writing accessible, and the pace lively. He continues his crusade against the “veneer theory”—the idea that (...) humans are naturally sociopaths and that empathy, altruism, and morality are the result of recent cultural forces. The extent to which de Waal dichotomizes this debate, however, masks much of interest. One can agree with the seemingly obvious fact that humans are obligatorily gregarious organisms—replete with various prosocial mechanisms—while still expressing reasonable doubt that our capacity to make moral judgments is the result of an innate mechanism dedicated to that task. De Waal is an unparalleled source of rich first-hand primatological data, arguing cogently that humans show continuity with other apes regarding empathy, consolation behavior, peacemaking, and reciprocal relations. Yet he admits these “building blocks” are “by no means sufficient” (p. 20) for morality, and in his Response discusses two further levels of morality: rule enforcement for the community’s good, and disinterested moral reasoning. He doesn’t address whether this third, uniquely human, level is a distinct innate adaptation, apparently not appreciating that if it isn’t, and yet is necessary for being literally accorded a “moral sense” (as he seems to indicate on pp. 20, 49, 55), then moral nativism is false and at least some of human morality is “veneer.” In characteristic non-philosopher manner, de Waal ultimately rejects the question as “semantics” and thus “mostly a waste of time” (p. 181). It seems a surprising blemish that the author of a book subtitled “How Morality Evolved” should grow impatient with those wondering what precisely is necessary and sufficient for morality, and what specifically has evolved.. (shrink)
Comparative philosophers, theologians, and practitioners of Asian intellectual history will surely find much of interest in this provocative, controversial, and undeniably ambitious, titan-like monograph. Simply put, Spiritual Titanism argues that Â‘Â‘Jainism, Samkhya, Yoga, and later Hindu textsÂ’Â’ endorse what Heinrich Zimmer, in his 1956 study Philosophies of India ,(1) characterized as Â‘Â‘the heresy of TitanismÂ’Â’ or the Â‘Â‘preemption of divine prerogatives and confusion of human and divine attributesÂ’Â’ (p. 2). Author Nicholas Gier adds that Â‘Â‘TitanismÂ’Â’is Â‘Â‘a philosophical mistakeÂ’Â’ (p. 16), (...) Â‘Â‘humanism gone berserk; it is anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism taken to their limits.Â’Â’ Defining Â‘Â‘deityÂ’Â’ in culturally biased, distinctly Christian terms as Â‘Â‘any being who is omniscient, omnipotent, infinite, and omnipresent,Â’Â’ Gier asserts that Â‘Â‘humans obviously delude themselves if they believe that they can become divine in the sense of these attributes.Â’Â’Although the monograph concedes that Â‘Â‘Indian Titanism,Â’Â’ as it refers to this supposed tendency of Jainism, Samkhya, Yoga, and later Hinduism, is Â‘Â‘a rather benign form of extreme humanism,Â’Â’ its author warns, quite apocalyptically, that Â‘Â‘a Titanistic spirit can be said to inspire militarism, environmental pollution and degradation, and the possible misuse of genetic engineering. If left unchecked,Titanism might destroy or radically change life as we know it on earthÂ’Â’ (p. 3). Such hyperbole undermines the credibility of Spiritual Titanism, and will likely prompt readers to question whether it should be considered reliable scholarship or an exercise in learned yet partial religio-philosophical polemic. Specialists in Indian philosophy will most probably find the assessments of Jainism, Samkhya, and Yoga in Spiritual Titanism, which consume most of the monograph, rather dated, reliant as they are, for example, on the writings of Zimmer and Karl PotterÂ’s 1963 study, Presuppositions of IndiaÂ’s Philosophies .(2) Spiritual Titanism allows that early Buddhism, although humanistic, avoids Titanism, but adds that later Buddhism endorses a Hindu-like version of Titanism, one mitigated only by its premodern search for a return to a Â‘Â‘primordial unity and totality.Â’Â’ Rather than premodernism, however, the monograph advocates a Â‘Â‘postmodern reconstruction of the self Â’Â’ as Â‘Â‘relational and socialÂ’Â’ (p.. (shrink)
This paper is a discussion of efforts to manage real and potential conflicts of interest in university research in the United States. The focus is on the report by an Association of American Universities (AAU) task force that addresses both individual and institutional conflict of interest issues.
<span class='Hi'>Reductionism</span> in the Philosophy of Science develops a novel account of reduction in science and applies it to the relationship between classical and molecular genetics. However, rather than addressing the epistemological issues that have been essential to the <span class='Hi'>reductionism</span> debate in philosophy of biology, the discussion primarily pursues ontological questions, as they are known, about reducing the mental to the physical. For Sachse construes <span class='Hi'>reductionism</span> as a purely philosophical endeavor and defends the possibility of reduction in principle, (...) which may not be relevant to understanding reductionist reasoning and explanation occurring in scientific practice, as discussed by philosophers of science. Likewise, the conceptual framework used stems more from metaphysics and philosophy of mind than philosophy of science. Sachse's aim is twofold. First, he argues for the special sciences' being reducible to physics, by deriving the in principle possibility of epistemological reduction from ontological reduction. Second, he attempts to simultaneously make room for the legitimacy of the special sciences, effecting a conservative reduction rather than an elimination of the special sciences. (shrink)
Are any nonhuman animals rational? What issues are we raising when we ask this question? Are there different kinds or levels of rationality, some of which fall short of full human rationality? Should any behaviour by nonhuman animals be regarded as rational? What kinds of tasks can animals successfully perform? What kinds of processes control their performance at these tasks, and do they count as rational processes? Is it useful or theoretically justified to raise questions about the rationality of animals (...) at all? Should we be interested in whether they are rational? Why does it matter? (shrink)
Experimental philosophy is a new and somewhat controversial method of philosophical inquiry in which philosophers conduct experiments in order to shed light on issues of philosophical interest. This typically involves surveying ordinary people to find out their "intuitions" (roughly, pre-theoretical judgments) about hypothetical cases important to philosophical theorizing. The controversy surrounding this methodology arises largely because it departs from more traditional ways of doing philosophy. Moreover, some of its practitioners have used it to argue that the more traditional methods are (...) flawed. In Experimental Philosophy, Joshua Knobe and Shaun Nichols are set with the task of introducing readers to this burgeoning field by putting together a collection of some of its most important articles. Given how controversial it has become, this is a heavy burden. I'm happy to say that they have put together a valuable collection that serves as a diplomatic introduction to this exciting new style of research. (shrink)
This book covers a vast amount of material in the philosophy of mind, which makes it difficult to do justice to its tightly argued and nuanced details. It does, however, have two overarching goals that are visible, so to speak, from space. In the first half of the book Kirk aims to show that, contra his former self, philosophical zombies are not conceivable. By this he means that the zombie scenario as usually constructed contains an unnoticed contradiction, and explaining the (...) contradiction reveals a radical misconception about the nature of phenomenal consciousness. His second aim of the book is to construct a theory of perceptual-phenomenal consciousness that avoids this contradiction. (shrink)
The debate between the reductive and emergent materialist is still very much a live one. (Antony and Levine 1997; Auyang 2000; Bechtel and Richardson 1992; Block 1997; Boyd 1999; Crane 2001; David 1997; Fodor 1989; Fodor 1997; Kim 1993b; Kim 1994; Kim 1996; Kim 1999; Le Pore and Loewer 1987; Millikan 1999; Pereboom 2002; Rueger 2000; Van Gulick 2001; Yablo 1992). We argue that the best way to settle this debate is to take a step back and consider the metaphysics (...) that is motivated by a careful consideration of some scientific examples. We argue that an account of emergence which bases emergence of a complex whole in the physical organisation of the parts can account for the emergent explicable novelty can be found throughout science. This. (shrink)
Philosophical inquiries into morality are as old as philosophy, but it may turn out that morality itself is much, much older than that. At least, that is the main thesis of prima- tologist Frans De Waal, who in this short book based on his Tanner Lectures at Princeton, elaborates on what biologists have been hinting at since Darwin’s (1871) book The Descent of Man and Hamilton’s (1963) studies on the evolution of altruism: morality is yet another allegedly human characteristic that (...) turns out to be built over evolutionary time by natural. (shrink)
At least three books struggle to emerge from this volume. One book, at the level of popular science, leads us through the development of physics, from Newton's laws to Bell's inequalities, in order to argue for the relevance of consciousness to the understanding of quantum theory. This is followed by a sketch of an interpretation of quantum mechanics. Interwoven with both is a memoir of Walker's teenage girlfriend, who died of Hodgkin's disease nearly fifty years ago. The theme which holds (...) the volume together is Walker's insistence on the importance of looking beyond materialism. (shrink)
We experience time in different ways, and we construct different kinds of representation of time. What kinds of representation are there and how do they work? In particular, how do we integrate temporal features of the world into our understanding of the mechanisms underlying representations in the media of perception, memory, art, and narrative? Le Poidevin’s well written and carefully argued book is an exploration of these questions. Although interesting in its own right, Le Poidevin pursues this question as a (...) means of exploring another pressing issue, namely the metaphysics of time. The central posit of the book is that we can learn a lot about time from ordinary representations of time, and accordingly the book is an exploration of what representations of time can tell us about the metaphysical structure of time itself. This viewpoint is justified by the adoption of a causal theory of representation, the claim that representations are causally linked to what they represent and that this is what determines both their content and their epistemic status. The central metaphysical concern of the book is the reality of the passage of time. Does time in reality pass, and can events therefore be located in the past, present, or future, or does time not pass and nothing in reality changes its position in time? In McTaggart’s terms, this is the distinction between the A-theory and the B- theory of time. (shrink)
A Very Bad Wizard is a collection of delightful interviews or conversations conducted by philosopher Tamler Sommers. Sommers interviews an array of researchers--from psychologists to primatologists to philosophers--who all have one thing in common: their work has direct implications for the study of morality. The distinguished interviewees are Galen Strawson, Philip Zimabrdo, Franz De Waal, Michael Ruse, Joseph Henrich, Joshua Greene, Liane Young, Jonathan Haidt, Stephen Stich, and William Ian Miller. I read the book on my flights back to the (...) West Coast after picking it up a few days prior in Massachusetts. I simply couldn't put it down! It truly is--as Steven Pinker states in his blurb--both thought-provoking and entertaining. It is a lively way into some of the most fascinating interdisciplinary research on ethics--what often now goes under the heading "moral psychology.". (shrink)
As the title “Doing without Concepts” suggests Edouard Machery argues that psychologists should stop using the notion of concept because: (1) the only interesting generalizations about concepts can be drawn at the level of types of concepts (prototypes, exemplars and theories) and not the level of concept in general; and (2) competences such as categorization or induction can rely on these different types of concepts (there is not a one to one correspondence between type of concept and competence). I try (...) to make the point that these two elements are not wholly compatible. If several types of concepts are used to perform a given competence (point (2)), then they have to be well regulated (e.g. which type is activated when, which type wins in case of conflict). These regulatory mechanisms can then be the basis for interesting generalizations (against point (1)). On the other hand, it is possible that point (1) applies to competences as well: that there are no interesting generalizations to be drawn about categorization in general. In which case different types of categorization are likely to be underlain by different types of concepts (against point (2)). Even though the arguments laid out in the book are forceful and well supported by empirical evidence, a more positive thesis might have been both more successful rhetorically and more interesting scientifically. (shrink)
Summarizing a surrounding 200 pages, pages 179 to 190 of Shadows of the Mind contain a future dialog between a human identified as "Albert Imperator" and an advanced robot, the "Mathematically Justified Cybersystem", allegedly Albert's creation. The two have been discussing a Gödel sentence for an algorithm by which a robot society named SMIRC certifies mathematical proofs. The sentence, referred to in mathematical notation as Omega(Q*), is to be precisely constructed from on a definition of SMIRC's algorithm. It can be (...) interpreted as stating "SMIRC's algorithm cannot certify this statement." The robot has asserted that SMIRC never makes mistakes. If so, SMIRC's algorithm cannot certify the Goedel sentence, for that would make the statement false. But, if they can't certify it, what is says is true! Humans can understand it is true, but mighty SMIRC cannot certify it. The dialog ends melodramatically as the robot, apparently unhinged by this revelation, claims to be a messenger of god, and the human shuts it down with a secret control. (shrink)
Do Buddhist ‘moral’ principles, such as generosity, equanimity, and compassion, consistently map onto Greek and, more generally, Western ‘virtues’? In other words, is it at all possible to talk about a Buddhist ‘virtue ethics’? Should equanimity, for instance, be understood as having the same function in Buddhist moral thought as temperance has for Plato, Aristotle, or the Stoics? Does the Buddha’s effort to embody certain cardinal virtues (sīla) resemble the classical Greek and Roman pursuit of a life of personal flourishing (...) (eudaimonia)? And, to take one step further – Is Buddhism’s perceived enlightened attitude toward the environment suggestive of a new ethics aimed at confronting the global ecological crisis? Buddhism, Virtue, and Environment, a volume co-authored by David Cooper and Simon James, addresses these questions and concerns in a systematic and philosophically sophisticated way. (shrink)
In Hitchcock as Philosopher, Robert Yanal argues that not only can we find illustrations of philosophical ideas in Hitchcock's films, but that Hitchcock does philosophy through his movies. This is a bold claim. It would be ambitious to merely assert that there are elements in Hitchcock's movies that can support rich philosophical interpretations. This sets the bar high and forces the interpreter to prove the point by supplying productive readings of the films. But Yanal accepts an even more ambitious challenge (...) -- to present Hitchcock as a philosopher in his own right, doing philosophy through his films. Unfortunately, Yanal fails to realize his project, but his book is nevertheless valuable, albeit for mostly non-philosophical reasons. (shrink)
The anthology, Feminist Bioethics, edited by Jackie Leach Scully, Laurel E. Baldwin-Ragaven, and Petya Fitzpatrick, examines how feminist bioethics theoretically and methodologically challenges mainstream bioethics, and whether these approaches are useful for exploring difference in other contexts. It offers critical conceptual analyses of "autonomy", "universality", and "trust", and covers topics such as testing for hereditary cancer, prenatal selection for sexual orientation, midwifery, public health, disability, Indigenous research reform in Australia, and China's one child policy.