This collection of original essays explores the social and relational dimensions of individual autonomy. Rejecting the feminist charge that autonomy is inherently masculinist, the contributors draw on feminist critiques of autonomy to challenge and enrich contemporary philosophical debates about agency, identity, and moral responsibility. The essays analyze the complex ways in which oppression can impair an agent's capacity for autonomy, and investigate connections, neglected by standard accounts, between autonomy and other aspects of the agent, including self-conception, self-worth, memory, and the (...) imagination. (shrink)
In this paper, I take up the problem of the self through bringing together the insights, while correcting some of the shortcomings, of Indo–Tibetan Buddhist and enactivist accounts of the self. I begin with an examination of the Buddhist theory of non-self ( anātman ) and the rigorously reductionist interpretation of this doctrine developed by the Abhidharma school of Buddhism. After discussing some of the fundamental problems for Buddhist reductionism, I turn to the enactive approach to philosophy of mind and (...) cognitive science. I argue that human beings, as dynamic systems, are characterized by a high degree of self-organizing autonomy. Therefore, human beings are not reducible to the more basic mental and physical events that constitute them. I critically examine Francisco Varela’s enactivist account of the self as virtual and his use of Buddhist ideas in support of this view. I argue, in contrast, that while the self is emergent and constructed, it is not merely virtual. Finally I sketch a Buddhist-enactivist account of the self. I argue for a non-reductionist view of the self as an active, embodied, embedded, self-organizing process—what the Buddhists call ‘I’-making ( ahaṃkāra ). This emergent process of self-making is grounded in the fundamentally recursive processes that characterize lived experience: autopoiesis at the biological level, temporalization and self-reference at the level of conscious experience, and conceptual and narrative construction at the level of intersubjectivity. In Buddhist terms, I will develop an account of the self as dependently originated and empty, but nevertheless real. (shrink)
_In this paper, I show that a robust, reflexivist account of self-awareness (such as was defended by Dignga and Dharmakīrti, most phenomenologists, and others) is compatible with reductionist view of persons, and hence with a rejection of the existence of a substantial, separate self. My main focus is on the tension between Buddhist reflexivism and the central Buddhist doctrine of no-self. In the first section of the paper, I give a brief sketch of reflexivist (...) accounts of self-awareness, using the Buddhist philosopher Dharmakīrti as my example. In the next section, I examine reductionism as it relates to accounts of the self. I then, in the third section, argue that a reductionist account of persons can account for the unique features of first-person contents and our deep and multi-layered sense of self_. (shrink)
: Philosophers in the Indian and Western traditions have developed and defended a range of sophisticated accounts of self-awareness. Here, four of these accounts are examined, and the arguments for them are assessed. Theories of self-awareness developed in the two traditions under consideration fall into two broad categories: reflectionist or other-illumination theories and reflexivist or self-illumination theories. Having assessed the main arguments for these theories, it is argued here that while neither reflectionist nor reflexivist theories are adequate as traditionally formulated (...) and defended, the approaches examined here give important insights for the development of amore adequate contemporary account of self-awareness. (shrink)
In the Introduction to Self to Self, J. David Velleman claims that 'the word "self" does not denote any one entity but rather expresses a reflexive guise under which parts or aspects of a person are presented to his own mind' (Velleman 2006, 1). Velleman distinguishes three different reflexive guises of the self: the self of the person's self-image, or narrative self-conception; the self of self-sameness over time; and the self as autonomous agent. Velleman's account of each of these different (...) guises of the self is complex and repays close philosophical attention. The first aim of this paper is therefore to provide a detailed analysis of Velleman's view. The second aim is more critical. While I am in agreement with Velleman about the importance of distinguishing the different aspects of selfhood, I argue that, even on his own account, they are more interrelated than he acknowledges. I also analyse the role of the concept of 'bare personhood' in Velleman's approach to selfhood and question whether this concept can function, as he wants it to, to bridge the gap between a naturalistic analysis of reasons for action and Kantian moral reasons. (shrink)
We are unlikely to stop seeking pleasure, as this would prejudice our health and well-being. Yet many psychoactive substances providing pleasure are outlawed as illicit recreational drugs, despite the fact that only some of them are addictive to some people. Efforts to redress their prohibition, or to reform legislation so that penalties are proportionate to harm have largely failed. Yet, if choices over seeking pleasure are ethical insofar as they avoid harm to oneself or others, public health strategies should foster (...) ethical choice by moving beyond current risk management practices embodied in the harm reduction movement. The neuroscience of pleasure has much to offer neuroethics and public health strategies. Distinguishing between ‘wanting’ and ‘liking’ fosters new understandings of addiction. These hold promise for directing the search for pharmacotherapies which prevent addiction and relapse or disrupt associated neuromechanisms. They could inform new research into creating lawful psychoactive substances which give us pleasure without provoking addiction. As the health and well being of human and other animals rests upon the experience of pleasure, this would be an ethical objective within public health strategy. Were ethical and neurobiological obstacles to ending addiction to be overcome, problems associated with excessive consumption, the lure of unlawful psychoactive substances and the paucity of lawful means to achieve pleasurable altered states would remain. Non-addictive designer drugs, which reliably provided lawful access to pleasures and altered states, would ameliorate these public health concerns insofar as they fostered citizens’ informed, ethical choices according to a neurobiological taxonomy of pleasures. (shrink)
Drawing on recent cognitive theories of the emotions, this article develops an account of critical reflection as requiring emotional flexibility and involving the ability to envisage alternative reasons for action. The focus on the role of emotions in critical reflection, and in agents' resistance to reflection, suggests the need to move beyond an introspective to a more social and relational conception of the process of reflection. It also casts new light on the intractable problem of explaining how oppressive socialisation impairs (...) the capacity for autonomy. (shrink)
Gilbert Harman, in Logic and Reasoning (Synthese 60 (1984), 107–127) describes an unsuccessful attempt ... to develop a theory which would give logic a special role in reasoning. Here reasoning is psychological, a procedure for revising one''s beliefs. In the present paper, I construe reasoning sociologically, as a process of linguistic interaction; and show how both reasoning in the psychologistic sense and logic are related to that process.
The paper asks how certain zones of technical practice or technologies come to matter as "the Technological", a way of construing political change in terms of technical innovation and invention. The social construction of technology (SCOT) established that things mediate social relations, and that social practices are constantly needed to maintain the workability of technologies. It also linked the production, representation and use of contemporary technologies to scientific knowledge. However, it did all this at a certain cost. To understand something (...) as socially constructed implies that it can be positioned on a pre-given social grid. Making this understanding stick risks affronting others with the claim that their position is not singular, only ordinary. It also runs the risk of not having purchase on those aspects of technological relationality that overflow the framing context of the social (Callon et al. 2002). Building on the ground prepared by SCOT and relying on the work of (Stengers 2000) and (Simondon 1964, 1989), the paper discusses how technologies could be understood as relational events within the contemporary political space. Developing an account of technologies centred on relationality, this paper outlines an epistemology and ontology of the anomalies of technological events, and suggests how excess could explain the Technological. (shrink)
Successful technologies’ ubiquity changes uses, users and ethicolegal responsibilities and duties of care. We focus on dementia to review critically ethicolegal implications of increasing use of social networking sites (SNS) by those with compromised decision-making capacity, assessing concerned parties’ responsibilities. Although SNS contracts assume ongoing decision-making capacity, many users’ may be compromised or declining. Resulting ethicolegal issues include capacity to give informed consent to contracts, protection of online privacy including sharing and controlling data, data leaks between different digital platforms, and (...) management of digital identities and footprints. SNS uses in healthcare raise additional issues. Online materials acting as archives of ‘the self’ bolster present and future identities for users with compromised capacity. E-health involves actual and potential intersection of data gathered for the purpose of delivering health technological support with data used for social networking purposes. Ethicolegal guidance is limited on the implications of SNS usage in contexts where users have impaired/reduced capacity to understand and/or consent to sharing personal data about their health, medication or location. Vulnerable adults and family/carers face uncertainty in regard to consent, data protection, online identity and legal liabilities. Ethicolegal responsibilities and duties of care of technology providers, healthcare professionals, regulatory bodies and policymakers need clarification. (shrink)
I will here analyse the five factors of action given in the Bhagavad Gtā, paying specific attention to the implications of this account for the Gtā's moral and soteriological psychologies. I argue that the Gtā's account of action constitutes a decentring of agency which paves the way for liberation. Further, while the ethics and moral psychology of the Gtā are often seen as similar to Kant's, I will argue that the decentring of agency in the Gtā places the liberated person (...) beyond autonomy, and so also beyond virtue in Kant's sense. (shrink)
It is standard in feminist commentaries to argue that Wollstonecraft's feminism is vitiated by her commitment to a liberal philosophical framework, relying on a valuation of reason over passion and on the notion of a sex-neutral self. I challenge this interpretation of Wollstonecraft's feminism and argue that her attempt to articulate an ideal of self-governance for women was an attempt to diagnose and resolve some of the tensions and inadequacies within traditional liberal thought.
The paper describes four dialogue systems, developed in the tradition of Charles Hamblin. The first system provides an answer for Achilles in Lewis Carroll's parable, the second an analysis of the fallacy of begging the question, the third a non-psychologistic account of conversational implicature, and the fourth an analysis of equivocation and of objections to it. Each avoids combinatorial explosions, and is intended for real-time operation.
This paper is concerned with the reversal in meaning of the word positivism, which has come to mean ‘theory which assumes the existence of a world beyond our ideas’ whereas once it meant ‘theory which is agnostic about the existence of a world beyond our ideas', and with educational writers’ persistent mistakes in using quotation marks, as a consequence of this reversal.
An important goal of ethical investment is to influence companies to improve their ethical and environmental performance. The principal means that many ethical funds employ is passive market signalling, which may not, on its own, have a significant effect. A much more promising approach may be active engagement. This paper reports on a questionnaire study of a sample of 1146 ethical investors in order to assess whether U.K. ethical investors would support more activist ethical investment and whether they would be (...) prepared to invest in companies which are failing ethically in order to do so. The results show general support for the current practice of passive signalling accompanied by "soft" engagement in the form of lobbying and the development of dialogue in order to improve corporate practice. The "harder" options of investing in companies that err in order to change them is, however, favoured by consistent minorities. (shrink)
Both the Correspondence Theory of Truth and the Redundancy/Performative Theory of Truth appear to be unquestionably correct and yet each seems to be inconsistent with the other. As a result we have a puzzle. The way out of this dilemma is to be found by taking a closer look at the role that ‘Is’ and its cognates play in the structure of the standard statement. Once this is done it can be seen that both theories are compatible with one another.
The appearance of Wittgenstein's Antiphilosophy provides the opportunity to deepen our understanding of Alain Badiou's groundbreaking work on the obsessive Austrian. Both thinkers mix high style with logical rigor and are recognized for having proposed radically different directions for philosophy.For decades, Wittgenstein has been seen as the great exemplar of the "linguistic turn" in philosophy. Badiou has repeatedly accused Wittgenstein of initiating a century of sophistic language games that have done little for philosophy other than isolate its discourse and drain (...) it of relevance. Arguably, this was Wittgenstein's aim all along. Yet Badiou has recently undertaken a more serious consideration of Wittgenstein's .. (shrink)
I take it that (1) the central problem of political philosophy is how to deploy philosophy in the criticism and direction of practice. This paper maps out the basic terrain of the relationship between (A) neo?Kantian Critical Theory (for example, Jürgen Habermas), (B) hermeneutics (for example, Charles Taylor) and (C) constructivism (for example, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari). It contends that this central problem (1) is not met by the arguments of (A) and (B) ? these representing what I call (...) ?the communicative turn in political philosophy?. They assume ?democratic dialogue? is its own justification and that from it spring both truth and right. The key objection is that the communication of opinions is not the same as the demonstration of their validity. I argue that (C) may help to take us beyond the failures of (A) and (B). (shrink)
The concept of karma is one of the most general and basic for the philosophical traditions of India, one of an interconnected cluster of concepts that form the basic presuppositions of Indian philosophy. And like many general, pervasive, and basic philosophical concepts, the idea of karma exhibits both semantic complexity and a certain fluidity and open texture. That is, the concept may not have a determinate application in all possible cases, it can be fleshed out in quite different ways in (...) different contexts and philosophical traditions, and it should be understood as open in its future applications. Thus, any complete account of the concept of karma must take into consideration its diverse uses across .. (shrink)
Care is a feature of all of our lives, all of the time. An analysis of Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence reveals that care and caring permeate complex dimensions of life in and after school and we ask here, if, on some accounts, care can do the work required of it. Acknowledging the significance of her contribution to care, we focus on the work of Nel Noddings suggesting that she pays insufficient attention to other emotions implicated in the work of morally (...) appropriate care. We argue here that Noddings' version of care would benefit from the support of an ethical theory of the emotions, including a moralized form of compassion, if care in schools is to be both better understood and more likely realised. (shrink)
Bitton and Eyal's lengthy critique of our article on unassisted cessation was premised on several straw-man arguments. These are corrected in our reply. It also confused the key concepts of efficacy and effectiveness in assessing the impact of cessation interventions and policies in real-world settings; ignored any consideration of reach (cost, consumer acceptability and accessibility) and failed to consider that clinical cessation interventions which fail more than they succeed also may ‘harm’ smokers by reducing agency. Our article addresses each of (...) these problems, concluding that any consideration of the ethics of promoting smoking cessation in low-income nations should begin and end with the question of whether the strategies to be adopted have any prospect of influencing significant numbers of smokers to quit. (shrink)
l examine the motivation issue in our relationship to future generations in light of a specific set of technological practices-those of Chinese hydraulic agriculture. I conclude that these practices appear to embody a “community-bonding” relationship between present and future generations and that such a relationship provides a fruitful perspective on policy.