Scientism is a philosophy which purports to define what the world ‘really is’. It adopts what the philosopher Thomas Nagel called ‘an epistemological criterion of reality’, defining what is real as that which can be discovered by certain quite specific methods of investigation. As a consequence all features of experience not revealed by those methods are deemed ‘subjective’ in a way that suggests they are either not real, or lie beyond the scope of meaningful rational inquiry. This devalues capacities (...) that (we argue) are in fact essential components of good reasoning and virtuous practice. Ultimately, the implications of scientism for statements of value undermine value-judgements essential for science itself to have a sound basis. Scientism has implications, therefore, for ontology, epistemology and also for which claims we can assert as objective truths about the world. Adopting scientism as a world view will have consequences for reasoning and decision-making in clinical and other contexts. We analyse the implications of this approach and conclude that we need to reject scientism if we are to avoid stifling virtuous practice and to develop richer conceptions of human reasoning. (shrink)
of (from British Columbia Philosophy Graduate Conference) Despite the apparent polarity between the philosophies of Wittgenstein and G�del, I here seek to demonstrate and consider important similarities in these two allegedly disparate interpretations of mathematical proposition. Wittgenstein asserts that the meaning is comprised by proof, while G�del relegates provability to an intrinsically imperfect status. Each represents metamathematical statements as severely limited, and analysis emphasizing the complementary here yields a rich interpretation of mathematical proposition: invention, but not without a basis for (...) describing these inventions as incomplete. As contrivances that exhibit a necessarily imperfect correlation to hypothetical completeness, the extent to which any one system is comparatively useful is thus a reflection of the degree of imperfection with which it correlates to the otherwise inarticulable qualities that dictate usefulness. Inconsistency produced by our necessarily incomplete systems should therefore be viewed as a natural consequence of the inherent imperfect correlation, and so admits of meaningful interpretation. (shrink)
In this paper I am concerned with the notion of empathy and its capacity for overcoming the problem of difference in social life. The concept of empathy has a long history in the Western philosophic tradition but has become discursively submerged in recent times. I am particularly interested in what philosophies of the body may contribute to our understanding of empathy. Psychoanalytic feminism provides some insights. However I identify Merleau-Ponty's conception of body-subject and the intersubjective encounter as offering a potentially (...) more fruitful account of empathy. (shrink)
Philosophy's essence depicted by Socrates lies in its role as pedagogy for living, yet its traditional treatment of ‘body’ as a hindrance to ‘knowledge’ in fact severs it from life, transforming it into ‘an escape from life’ (James, 1978, p. 18). The philosophy/life dichotomy is thus an inherent flaw preventing philosophy as traditionally taught and engaged in, from fulfilling its original goal.Recent rejections of the Cartesian nature of Western curriculum, such as O'Loughlin's ‘Embodiment and Education: Exploring creatural existence’ (2006), constitute (...) an important theoretical paradigm shift, yet still fail to translate to substantial pedagogies which explore the ‘body’ and its relation to ‘mind’ directly. This article suggests a reorientation of philosophy teaching from its present disembodied pedagogy, towards an embodied-lived-philosophical-practice. By the description and exemplification of modern postural yoga (De Michelis, 2004) I will depict the twofold role of the ‘body’ in philosophy teaching: 1) The ‘body’ as pedagogical vehicle serving the emergence of philosophical discourse, and 2) The body as yielding livingness to mean embodied-lived-philosophy as opposed to disembodied-lofty-philosophical escape from life. It will thus be suggested that yoga be incorporated as an integral part of philosophy teaching reclaiming its educational ethos. (shrink)
This commentary questions the applicability of the Newell Test for evaluating the utility of connectionism. Rather than being a specific theory of cognition (because connectionism can be used to model nativist, behaviorist, or constructivist theories), connectionism, we argue, offers researchers a collection of computational and conceptual tools that are particularly useful for investigating and rendering specific fundamental issues of human development. These benefits of connectionism are not well captured by evaluating it against Newell's criteria for a unified theory of cognition.
Discursive accounts of the body have been prominent recently. While acknowledging the usefulness of these, the author, drawing upon specific philosophers of the body and a wide range of other theorists, focuses attention on the experiencing body which she refers to as 'creatural existence’. Thinking in terms of the creatural, she argues, can better situate human beings in their environment, thus emphasizing a kind of 'ecological notion of subjectivity’, in which place-based existence is understood anew. The educational implications of focusing (...) on what bodies 'do' and not so much in terms of how they are socially inscribed, presents them as practico-sensory totalities which should perhaps be seen as systems rather than an as mere organisms or entities. Such an articulation of creatural existence emphasizes animality, and in so doing reminds us of the centrality of the senses in all knowing and doing, including crucially, in relation to those practices which we have understood as 'work'. Multi-sensorial education is a major sub-theme of the book and the author argues persuasively for this by means of a critical analysis of the ocularcentrism that is characteristic of contemporary culture. (shrink)