Amazon.com Love, fear, hope, calculus, and game shows-how do all these spring from a few delicate pounds of meat? Neurophysiologist Ian Glynn lays the foundation for answering this question in his expansive An Anatomy of Thought, but stops short of committing to one particular theory. The book is a pleasant challenge, presenting the reader with the latest research and thinking about neuroscience and how it relates to various models of consciousness. Combining the aim of a textbook with the style (...) of a popularization, it provides all the lay reader needs to know to participate in the philosophical debate that is redefining our attitudes about our minds. Drawing on the rich history of neurological case studies, Glynn picks through the building blocks of our nervous system, examines our visual and linguistic systems, and probes deeply into our higher thought processes. The stories of great scientists, like Ramon y Cajal, and famous patients, like Sperry's split-brained epileptics, illuminate the scientific issues Glynn selects as essential for understanding consciousness. Some might argue that his lengthy explorations of natural selection overemphasize evolutionary explanations of psychological phenomena, but they must also agree that evolutionary psychology has distanced itself mightily from social Darwinism in recent years and merits a reappraisal. The great consciousness debate may form the core of the 21st-century Zeitgeist; get ready for it with An Anatomy of Thought. -Rob Lightner From Publishers Weekly How do we know? What do we think? How could a philosophical problem-'the mind-body problem,' say-induce a headache? What can evolutionary theory, molecular biology, the history of medicine and experimental psychology tell us about the features of human consciousness, and (once again) how do we know? Glynn, a physician and Cambridge University professor, meticulously attempts to answer these questions and more, setting forth the results of all sorts of research relevant to our brains-from 19th-century dissections to Oliver Sacks-like case studies, work with monkeys and supercomputers, and the enduring puzzles of philosophy, which he rightly saves for near the end. After explaining evolution by natural selection and 'clearing away much dross,' Glynn lays out the experiments and theories that have shown 'how nerve cells can carry information about the body, how they can interact' and how sense organs work; demonstrates the 'mixture of parallel and hierarchical organization' in our brains and 'the striking localization of function within it'; considers where neuroscience is likely to go; and admits that, among the many fields of exciting research just ahead, 'we can be least confident of progress toward a complete, scientific explanation of our sensations and thoughts and feelings.' Other recent explaining-the-brain books have sometimes advanced simplistic, or implausibly grand, claims about the nature and features of consciousness in general. Instead, Glynn offers a patient, informative, well-laid-out researcher's-eye view of what we have learned, how we figured it out and what we still don't know about neurons, senses, feelings, brains and minds. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Library Journal The nature of consciousness, which perennially troubles the minds of scientists and philosophers, is the subject of an ever-growing body of literature. Two of the latest entries approach the topic from different perspectives. Glynn, a professor of physiology and head of the Physiological Laboratory at Cambridge, offers a comprehensive summary of what we know about the brain-both its evolution and its mechanisms. Among the topics he covers are natural selection, molecular evolution, nerves and the nervous system, sensory perception, and the specific structures responsible for our intellect. Using the mechanisms involved in vision and speech as models, Glynn skillfully describes various neurological deficiencies that can lead to 'disordered seeing' and problems with the use of language. He carefully distinguishes what we know through experimental evidence from what we know through the observation of patients with neurological damage. He also describes some of the major theories that attempt to explain why these structures arose. While his book concentrates on the structures that make up the mind, Glynn is well aware that some physical events appear explicable only in terms of conscious mental events-a situation that conflicts with the laws of modern physics. Only briefly, however, does he consider the various approaches that have been taken to deal with the issues of mind/body and free will. In contrast, this is the primary focus of The Physics of Consciousness. After reviewing the fundamentals of classic physics, Walker (who has a Ph.D. in physics) summarizes elements of the new physics in which our knowledge of space, time, matter, and energy are all dependent on the moment of observation. Walker explores the meaning of consciousness as a characteristic of the observer. In this context both the observer and the act of measurement are critical. In essence, Walker leads his reader on a journey through his concept of a 'quantum mind,' which can both affect matter (including other minds) and can be affected by other distant matter/minds. To break up what would otherwise be an extremely dense text, Walker also relates the very touching story of the loss of his high-school sweetheart to leukemia. Indeed, it is his memory of their relationship that drives Walker to seek an understanding of ultimate reality. At times, he has a tendency to be dogmatic-as when he concludes, 'our consciousness, our mind, and the will of God are the same mind.' While An Anatomy of Thought is appropriate for most academic libraries, the Physics of Consciousness will be most accessible to readers with some knowledge of advanced physics. -Laurie Bartolini, Illinois State Lib., Springfield Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Booklist The codiscoverers of natural selection-Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace-disagreed over the possibility of finding an evolutionary explanation for the human mind. Glynn here argues Darwin's side of the debate, tracing an eons-long path of development starting from simple amino acids floating in primal seas and extending through the erect hominids in which the powers of a massive brain first manifest themselves. Patiently adducing evidence of an evolutionary origin for the underlying molecular machinery, Glynn dissects the nerve centers that make possible speech and hearing, sight, and reading. Pressing deeper, he lays bare the cortical foundations of personality. But those who deal with the mind must attend also to the arguments advanced by philosophers. And it is when he turns from dendrites to syllogisms (especially the vexing mind-body paradox) that Glynn's empirical reasoning fails him. In the end, he concedes his perplexity in trying to conceive of an evolutionary origin for human consciousness. This concession may set the shade of Alfred Wallace to chortling, but it will draw readers into an honest confrontation with a profound enigma. Bryce Christensen. (shrink)
I argue that there are non-trivial objective chances (that is, objective chances other than 0 and 1) even in deterministic worlds. The argument is straightforward. I observe that there are probabilistic special scientific laws even in deterministic worlds. These laws project non-trivial probabilities for the events that they concern. And these probabilities play the chance role and so should be regarded as chances as opposed, for example, to epistemic probabilities or credences. The supposition of non-trivial deterministic chances might seem to (...) land us in contradiction. The fundamental laws of deterministic worlds project trivial probabilities for the very same events that are assigned non-trivial probabilities by the special scientific laws. I argue that any appearance of tension is dissolved by recognition of the level-relativity of chances. There is therefore no obstacle to accepting non-trivial chance-role-playing deterministic probabilities as genuine chances. (shrink)
The starting point in the development of probabilistic analyses of token causation has usually been the naïve intuition that, in some relevant sense, a cause raises the probability of its effect. But there are well-known examples both of non-probability-raising causation and of probability-raising non-causation. Sophisticated extant probabilistic analyses treat many such cases correctly, but only at the cost of excluding the possibilities of direct non-probability-raising causation, failures of causal transitivity, action-at-a-distance, prevention, and causation by absence and omission. I show that (...) an examination of the structure of these problem cases suggests a different treatment, one which avoids the costs of extant probabilistic analyses. (shrink)
I argue that meaning or significanceper se, along with the capacity to be conscious thereof, and the values, motives and aspirations, etc. central to the constitution of our intrinsic personal identities, arise, as indeed do our extrinsic social identities, and our very self-consciousness as such, from socio-cultural structures and relations to others. However, so far from our identities and behavior therefore being determined, I argue that the capacity for critical reflection and evaluation emerge from these same structural relations, the more (...) complex and quintessentially human aspects of our behavior being explained not in terms of responses to stimuli but as choices reflecting our evaluation of meaningful or significant alternatives. Finally I provide theoretical grounds for accepting the existence of other subjects and give a holistic, as opposed to a dialectical, account of the way individuals may challenge and change the very socio-cultural ways of relating to and interacting with others so central to constituting their capacities and identities. (shrink)
Poststructuralists have tried to deconstruct the subject, that is, demonstrate that it is constituted by the system of cultural and linguistic relations in which it is found. The result is that just at the moment when self-actualization seems for the first time to be politically possible for many hitherto marginalized subjects, they, and subjects more generally, appear to have been denatured – reduced to the cultural systems which are the condition of their possibility and consequently deprived of the freedom which (...) is clearly necessary for any form of self-actualization. This paper, while acknowledging that subjects are indeed culturally and linguistically constituted, argues on the basis of a holistic, emergent property hypothesis that structure or form can generate content that nevertheless transcends the structure or form that constitutes it. On this view the subject is irreducibly transcendent to the system of relations from within which it arises, and the deconstructed subject thus remains capable of free choice and self-actualization. (shrink)
This paper argues that even the most extensively refined comparative cost/benefit analysis must be supplemented by other factors, irreducible to it, if we are to develop an adequate framework to guide policy decisions affecting technological design and innovation.
Hermeneutic, phenomenological, genealogical and postmodern critiques of science may be conceived as a radicalization of those contemporary analyses of science which take their point of departure from the fundamental principle of complementarity and recognize that science can never be a mirror of nature; that there are no neutral observers; that all experiments are theory-laden; that there are no simple facts. These perspectives sensitize us to the historical, political, social, and cultural dimensions of science. They force us to revisit the epistemological (...) claims of science and insist that we ask whether and to what extent the idea of scientific privilege can be sustained. (shrink)
What elements lie at the core of patriarchal consciousness and give it its particular expressions? Beneath the hatred of women, at its source, is a profound, dissociating fear: the fear of non-being, the Absence beyond Death. In an effort to escape death and non-being, the patriarchs have constructed a conception of existence which is split in two, with eternal life, God, meaning and spirit on one side and bodily death on the other. The masculist association of women with bodies, nature (...) and the birthing-dying cycle places us clearly on the side of death, in the realm of being which is and necessarily must be despised and controlled. Alienation from the rhythms of life, giving rise to a crisis of meaning; the denial of death, which leads paradoxically to an adoration of death; and a hysterical ambivalence to sex and sensuality all coalesce and find concrete expression in the personal and institutionalized hatred of Woman. (shrink)
Modality, morality and belief are among the most controversial topics in philosophy today, and few philosophers have shaped these debates as deeply as Ruth Barcan Marcus. Inspired by her work, a distinguished group of philosophers explore these issues, refine and sharpen arguments and develop new positions on such topics as possible worlds, moral dilemmas, essentialism, and the explanation of actions by beliefs. This 'state of the art' collection honours one of the most rigorous and iconoclastic of philosophical pioneers.
The great contribution Marcus has made to several of intensely discussed topics in philosophy might not have been noticed fully without this collection of some of her most important articles that makes it evident that her achievement is not limited to inventing the famous Barcan formula.
This article is a defence of the Fact-Value distinction against considerations brought up by Ruth Anna Putnam in three articles in Philosophy, especially her ‘Perceiving Facts and Values’ January 1998. I defend metaphysical realism about facts and anti-realism about values against Putnam' intermediate position about both and I relate the matter to the logic of imperatives. The motivations of scientists or historians to select fields of investigation are irrelevant to the objectivity of their hypotheses, and so is the goodness (...) or badness of the social consequences of their work though these may affect their motivations. (shrink)
Ruth Millikan is one of the most interesting and influential philosophers alive. Her work is also hard to penetrate. In this review, I try to present and assess her work on the nature of language, which is collected in this anthology. I also criticize her analysis of “natural convention” as well as her discussion of illocutionary acts.
In philosophy textbooks for undergraduates the cultural anthropologist Ruth Benedict is often cited as a proponent of moral relativism, and her writings are not infrequently excerpted to illustrate the view that the individual’s moral values are culturally determined. Because Benedict established that significant differences can exist in the underlying cultural patterns of different societies, her work is commonly construed as providing evidence for the arbitrary and non-rational basis of morals. The author of the present essay argues that this popular (...) reading of Benedict is mistaken. He draws a distinction between two different forms of moral relativism—the objective and the subjective—and then contends that Benedict is widely viewed as a subjective relativist when in fact her relativism was of the objective variety. He shows that her position actually has much in common with the pragmatic meliorism of John Dewey and George Herbert Mead. (shrink)
In every philosopher’s career, there comes a time to look back on accomplishments, assess achievements, evaluate one’s place in a canon that dates to an era when Ancient Greeks still roamed the Earth. Perhaps many of you have wondered when I’d finally get around to doing this. Sadly, this is not the night for that splendid occasion. Do not pretend to hide your disappointment. Also, do not hesitate to point fingers. Believe me when I tell you that I would take (...) great delight in reporting to you my accomplishments, achievements, and place in the canon. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone who knows me well, or, at any rate, has spent a few minutes in conversation with me, or, maybe, has simply observed me in conversation with someone else. They’ll tell you that I am uniquely suited to fete myself, and take obvious pleasure spreading the good word to others. Alas, I have been enlisted to concentrate my philosophical powers on a topic less interesting than myself. My focus? A woman named Ruth Millikan. For philosophers, mention of the Book of Ruth directs thoughts not to the Old Testament, but to LTOBC. This is a shame, because Ruth’s Old Testament book is quite short, as books go, and tells a heartwarming story of redemption and devotion – virtues that receive hardly any mention in LTOBC. Now that I think about it, Ruth’s later books and articles mark a significant departure from the plot line in that first Book of Ruth’s. Gone are references to Bethlehem and Moab, and in their place lurk hoverflies and push me pull yous, but more on these matters in a moment. I want first to turn my finely tuned and oft picked philosophical nose to LTOBC – unquestionably Professor Millikan’s magnum opus . Here’s a little known fact. Originally, LTOBC had a different title, requiring a different acronym. If she hadn’t taken her editor’s advice, we’d be speaking of BLTOBC, which stood for Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato on Blueberry Cobbler. There’s something down home and grannyish about this title, and Ruth deserves credit for trying to entice readers with the promise of good old fashioned, feather plucked, farm food, but, as her editor was quick to note, bacon, lettuce, and tomato have no more place on blueberry cobbler than they do on cherry cobbler, and so BLTOBC might as well be BLTOCC, and with no reason to prefer one title to the other, best just to forget about the bacon.. (shrink)
When thinking about the intersection of care and Christian bioethics, it is helpful to follow closely the account of Ruth, who turned away from security and walked alongside her grieving mother-in-law to Bethlehem. Remembering Ruth may help one to heed Professor Kaveny?s summoning of Christians to remember ?the Order of Widows? and the church?s historic calling to bring ?the almanahinto its center rather than pushing her to its margins.? Disabled, elderly and terminally ill people often seem, at least (...) implicitly, expendable. By hearing the scriptural account of Jesus? steadfast great-grandmother, readers may recall another way. One may read Ruth?s care for Naomi as a performative, prophetic act of faith. Ruth?s faithful resolve, when set next to Orpah?s prudent way, challenges the notion that a bioethic of care is innately feminine, and may further call women and men corporately to participate in a kind of care that is strenuous work. My thanks to Cathleen Kaveny for allowing me to play off the title of her insightful essay. Thanks also to Willie James Jennings, whose 1998 baccalaureate sermon on Ruth inspired and much informed this essay. I wish also to thank Ellen Davis, who taught me to read Hebrew, and to read Ruth. (shrink)
Ruth Macklin's new book, AgainstRelativism, says in its subtitle that it intends to address cultural diversity and the search for ethical universals in medicine. This it does very well. Every chapter includes some discussion of cultural relativism, cultural anthropology, or postmodernism, and her analyses are acute and scathing. Macklin is unabashed in her defense of the principles of medical ethics, and she gives a strong argument that principles are essential elements of any ethical system that is to successfully survive (...) the skeptical doubts of relativism. (shrink)
Ruth Ginzberg has proposed a model for a gynocentric science that might constitute a paradigm as described by Kuhn. The author argues that Ginzberg's model lacks certain essential features of paradigms as described by Kuhn. The differences may stem from more fundamental disagreements between them, including the possibility that some essential features of Ginzberg's gynocentric science place it outside the intended scope of Kuhn's analysis.
In this short study, the Scroll of Ruth, and especially Ruth's undisclosed motives for following her mother-in-law, are read alongside the situation of foreign, female migrant workers in contemporary Israel—and vice versa. This allows a bi-directional reading that supplies a possible context both for the biblical text and for the evaluation of today's issues.
This essay introduces and discusses four musical works that extensively treat Ruth and Naomi's relationship: two late nineteenth-century oratorios, and two twentieth-century operas. Both music and librettos are treated as midrash—a creative retelling through both altered text and in the language of music.
Although the Book of Ruth is in many respects a classic example of biblical Hebrew narrative, with its stripped-down style and the opaqueness of its character's inner lives and motivations, there are two examples of formal poetry in the book (1:16–17 and 1:20–21). Biblical poetry works with a very different set of literary conventions than narrative, and by taking note of those conventions, we can see the distinctive contributions made by these poems to the book as a whole.
The positions of Brandom and Millikan are compared with respect to their common origins in the works of Wilfrid Sellars and Wittgenstein. Millikan takes more seriously the ¿picturing¿ themes from Sellars and Wittgenstein. Brandom follows Sellars more closely in deriving the normativity of language from social practice, although there are also hints of a possible derivation from evolutionary theory in Sellars. An important claim common to Brandom and Millikan is that there are no representations without function or ¿attitude¿.
The paper begins with an objection to the Desire-Based Reasons Model. The argument from reason-based desires holds that since desires are based on reasons (first premise), which they transmit but to which they cannot add (second premise), they cannot themselves provide reasons for action. In the paper I investigate an attack that has recently been launched against the first premise of this argument by Ruth Chang. Chang invokes a counterexample: affective desires. The aim of the paper is to see (...) if there is a way to accommodate the counterexample to the first premise. I investigate three strategies. I first deal with the idea that the motivation for the premise may be the thesis that an action is intentional if and only if it is done under the guise of perceived reasons. This offers us a way of defending the premise: by showing that actions prompted by affective desires are not intentional. I, however, argue that this strategy is unworkable. This brings me to the second strategy. Here I consider the idea that the premise does not require a conscious normative thought on the part of the agent; in fact, it may not require any such thought, conscious or unconscious. I claim that this strategy too is a failure. Finally, the third approach builds normative judgment in the desire. This is the approach that I think works; in particular, recent work by Jennifer Hawkins may help us accommodate affective desires. The challenge of affective desires, I conclude, can be tackled. (shrink)
Fictional truth is commonly analyzed in terms of the speech acts or propositional attitudes of a teller. In this paper, I investigate Lewisâs counterfactual analysis in terms of felicitous narrator assertion, Currieâs analysis in terms of fictional author belief, and Byrneâs analysis in terms of ideal author invitations to make-believeâand find them all lacking. I propose instead an analysis in terms of the revelations of an infelicitous narrator.
Abstract: The paper provides a general account of value relations. It takes its departure in a special type of value relation, parity, which according to Ruth Chang is a form of evaluative comparability that differs from the three standard forms of comparability: betterness, worseness and equal goodness. Recently, Joshua Gert has suggested that the notion of parity can be accounted for if value comparisons are interpreted as normative assessments of preference. While Gert's basic idea is attractive, the way he (...) develops it is flawed: His modeling of values by intervals of permissible preference strengths is inadequate. Instead, I provide an alternative modeling in terms of intersections of rationally permissible preference orderings. This yields a general taxonomy of all binary value relations. The paper concludes with some implications of this approach for rational choice. (shrink)
Ruth Millikan’s teleological theory of mental content is complex and often misunderstood. This paper motivates and clarifies some of the complexities of the theory, and shows that paying careful attention to its details yields answers to a number of common objections to teleological theories, in particular, the problem of novel mental states, the problem of functionally false beliefs, and problems about indeterminacy or multiplicity of function.