Gathering the fragments of an enigma Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9493-1 Authors SeanDyde, Unit for the History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney, Carslaw F07, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Sean Carroll argues that we should endorse atheism since there are no good reasons for affirming the more complex thesis of theism over the less complexthesis of materialism. However, this argument relies on an epistemological minimalism we should reject.
Narratives of the experience of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) are relatively rare in the Irish context. A scourge of the early twentieth century, TB was as much a social as a physically debilitating disease that rendered sufferers silent about their experience. Thus, the personal diaries and letters of Irish poet, Seán Ó Ríordáin, (1916–1977) are rare. This article presents translations of his personal papers in a historico-medical context to chronicle Ó Ríordáin’s experience of a life marred by respiratory disease. Familiar to (...) generations of schoolchildren are his imaginative poems, whose lively metre punctuated the Irish language curriculum from primary through to secondary schooling; for most they leave an indelible mark. Such buoyant poems however belie the reality of his existence, lived in the shadow of chronic illness, and punctuated with despair over his condition and anxiety about the periods of extended sick leave his illness necessitated. Although despair dominated his diaries and he routinely begged God, Mary, the Saints and the devil for death, they were also the locus where his creativity developed. In his diaries, caricatures of friends and sketches of everyday things nestle among the first lines of some of his most influential poems and quotes from distinguished philosophers and writers. Evocative and tragic, his diaries offer a unique prism to the experience of respiratory disease in Ireland. (shrink)
What is the relation between acting intentionally and acting for a reason? While this question has generated a considerable amount of debate in the philosophy of action, on one point there has been a virtual consensus: actions performed for a reason are necessarily intentional. Recently, this consensus has been challenged by Joshua Knobe and Sean Kelly, who argue against it on the basis of empirical evidence concerning the ways in which ordinary speakers of the English language describe and explain (...) certain side-effect actions. Knobe and Kelly's argument is of interest not only because it challenges a widely accepted philosophical thesis on the basis of experimental evidence, but also because it indirectly raises an important and largely neglected question, the question of whether or in what sense an agent can perform a side-effect action for a reason. In this article, I address this question and provide a positive answer to it. Specifically, I argue that agents act for a reason whenever they perform side-effect actions as trade-offs. Thus, I claim that there are three distinct types of rational action: actions performed as ends in themselves, actions performed as means to further ends, and side-effect actions performed as trade-offs. Given this multiplicity of types of rational action, the question of whether or not actions performed for a reason are necessarily intentional is in need of refinement. The more specific question that lies at the heart of this article is whether or not side-effect actions performed as trade-offs are necessarily intentional. I conclude that, contrary to what Knobe and Kelly suggest, the question remains open. (shrink)
Scholarship in Heideggerian philosophy can be broadly differentiated into three groups, which evolved in the European and Anglo-American discourses after WWII, namely, first a transcendental (idealist Kantian) approach; second, an Aristotelian approach; and third, a Christian approach to Heidegger’s analytic of Dasein and his fundamental ontology. All of these basic positions are a result of Heidegger’s philosophy on his way to Being and Time (1927) which he developed both in his broad ranging and fascinating lecture courses in Freiburg, where he (...) taught as Husserl’s assistant between 1917 and 1923, and in Marburg, where he taught between 1923 and 1927 (before he returned to Freiburg in 1928 as Husserl’s successor). Interestingly, the analytic reception of Heidegger focuses on Heidegger’s main work Being and Time, whereas the European and “Continental” discourse is oriented towards larger issues, which include philosophical anthropology, theology, hermeneutics, and the history of philosophy. McGrath’s study belongs to the theologically motivated studies on Heidegger’s phenomenology and ontology and thereby contributes to the recent renewed interest in Heidegger’s early philosophy, which arose after his early lecture courses were published in his Collected Works and after it became clear that Heidegger’s way to Being and Time (and his later thinking) not only was heavily influenced by Scholasticism, especially by Duns Scotus, but also by Augustine, Eckhart, and Luther, all of which took effect before Heidegger encountered Husserl’s phenomenology, Neo-Kantianism or Aristotle’s philosophy. The greatness of Being and Time is indeed a result of the ingenious transformation of all these sources into something new. (shrink)
Drawing upon the work of Merleau-Ponty, Borrett et al. (2000) have attempted to model the primordial, "empty heads turned towards the world." Putting the issue of embodiment aside for another day, they propose two separate models, one of movement and the other of perception. While I am sympathetic to the point of their project, I argue in this commentary that their models are insufficiently vague. The following analytic abstractions to which they commit themselves seem seriously at odds with the nature (...) of their task: action versus perception; vision versus the other senses; spatial properties versus, for example, colour and meaning; and 'a controller' versus the body and its environment. (shrink)
Rarely have I encountered a book like All Things Shining. It bravely engages issues that are truly significant for our time, yet flaws run through it like faults in the California landscape. The book has spawned contentious critique unusual for a work by contemporary philosophers. Before I offer my own critical analysis, it is fitting first to appreciate what Dreyfus and Kelly attempt to achieve.The foremost contemporary problems the authors combat are what they term "the burden of choice" and a (...) pervasive mood of nihilistic confusion. They believe the rationalistic and existential programs that are typically advocated in our secular age fail to offer persons convincing grounds for making sustainable decisions. .. (shrink)
This paper seeks an urban poetics under the pressures of flux, polyglot babble and the rise of technoculture. In so doing it traces the intertwinements of aesthetics and politics as they manifest over the last 150 years. Charles Baudelaire’s poetry is characterised as a delirious response to the delirium of capitalist modernity, in which ‘words rise up’, as he puts it, but it is a also a barometer, which measures the degrees of entwinement of aesthetics and revolutionary politics in the (...) subsequent years, for one in Walter Benjamin’s interpretation in the 1930s and in the wild translations of the poet by Sean Bonney in 2008 in the collection ‘Baudelaire in English’. (shrink)