The Way of Ideas died an ignoble death, committed to the flames by behaviorist empiricists. Ideas, pictures in the head, perished with the Way. By the time those empiricists were supplanted at the helm by functionalists and causal theorists, a revolution had taken place in linguistics and the last thing anyone wanted to do was revive images as the medium of thought. Currently, some but not all cognitive scientists think that there probably are mental images - experiments in cognitive (...) psychology (e.g. Shepard and Metzler 1971) have shown it to be plausible to posit mental images. Even so, the phenomenon of mental imagery has been largely regarded as peripheral in cognition, perhaps even epiphenomenal. Images cannot fix the content of thought (intentions, rules), the Wittgenstein story went. The central processes of thought, so the post-Wittgenstein story goes, require a propositional representation system, a language of thought, universal and modeled on the machine languages of computers. The language of thought is compositional, productive, and, leading advocates argue, has a causal semantics. Images lack all of these essential qualities and so are hopeless as key players in thinking. (shrink)
This paper is an interpretation of the thought of the twentieth century Korean religious thinker, Yoo Yŏng-mo (柳永模, 1890-1981), a pioneer figure who sought to re-conceptualise a Christian understanding of the Ultimate Reality in the light of a positive openness to the plurality of Korean religions. Yoo Yŏng-mo considered that it was possible to present an overall picture of harmony and complementarity between the three traditions of Korea and Christianity, and this is endorsed by the present thesis. This essay (...) is aimed at providing a religious rationale for inter-faith dialogue. Using the principles of ‘Change’ (易, i) and ‘Yin-ying’ (陰陽)dominated in Chinese Classics and East Asian way of thinking, this paper lays out a methodology for envisaging harmony and mutual complementarity between traditions. The effect of some central concepts from within Confucian, Buddhist and Taioist tradition on the Christian thought of Yoo Yŏng-mo is then analysed and examined. In this respect, this paper argues that the Ultimate Reality based on the principle of harmony and mutual complementarity is not only both personal and impersonal as well as both transcendent and imminent, but also neither personal nor impersonal as well as neither transcendent nor imminent. Essentially, therefore, this essay accepts that Yoo Yŏng-mo’s equating of the Christian idea of God with the ‘Great Ultimate’ (太極) in Confucianism, with ‘Nothingness’ (無) in Buddhism and with the ‘One’ or Tao (道) in the thought of Lao-Chuang (老莊思想) of Taoism is a legitimate equivalence to make and that this does indeed pave the way for a potentially fruitful dialogue between Korea’s main religions. The drawing together of the Great Ultimate, Absolute Nothingness, the One Absolute from the Tao and the traditional personal God of Christianity gives the discussion an entirely new direction which has become a challenge for traditional orthodoxChristian theology and also for a pluralistic religious society. (shrink)
Jerry Fodor presents a new development of his famous Language of Thought hypothesis, which has since the 1970s been at the centre of interdisciplinary debate about how the mind works. Fodor defends and extends the groundbreaking idea that thinking is couched in a symbolic system realized in the brain. This idea is central to the representational theory of mind which Fodor has established as a key reference point in modern philosophy, psychology, and cognitive science. The foundation stone of (...) our present cognitive science is Turing's suggestion that cognitive processes are not associations but computations; and computation requires a language of thought. So the latest on the Language of Thought hypothesis, from its progenitor, promises to be a landmark in the study of the mind. LOT 2 offers a more cogent presentation and a fuller explication of Fodor's distinctive account of the mind, with various intriguing new features. The central role of compositionality in the representational theory of mind is revealed: most of what we know about concepts follows from the compositionality of thoughts. Fodor shows the necessity of a referentialist account of the content of intentional states, and of an atomistic account of the individuation of concepts. Not least among the new developments is Fodor's identification and persecution of pragmatism as the leading source of error in the study of the mind today. LOT 2 sees Fodor advance undaunted towards the ultimate goal of a theory of the cognitive mind, and in particular a theory of the intentionality of cognition. No one who works on the mind can ignore Fodor's views, expressed in the coruscating and provocative style which has delighted and disconcerted countless readers over the years. (shrink)
How can one think about the same thing twice without knowing that it's the same thing? How can one think about nothing at all (for example Pegasus, the mythical flying horse)? Is thinking about oneself special? One could mistake one's car for someone else's, but it seems one could not mistake one's own headache for someone else's. Why not? -/- R. M. Sainsbury and Michael Tye provide an entirely new theory--called 'originalism'-- which provides simple and natural solutions to these (...) puzzles and more. Originalism's central thesis is that concepts, the constituents of thoughts, are to be individuated by their origin, rather than epistemically or semantically. The doctrine has further valuable consequences for the nature of thought, our knowledge of our own thoughts, the nature of experience, the epistemology of perception-based beliefs, and for arguments based on conceivability. Sainsbury and Tye argue that although thought is special, there is no special mystery attaching to the nature of thought. Their account of the mind considers it as part of nature, as opposed to something with supernatural powers--which means that human beings have more opportunities to make mistakes than many have liked to think. (shrink)
Philosophers speak—or, rather, they respond to various forms of speaking that are handed to them. This book by one of our most distinguished philosophers focuses on the communicative aspect of philosophical thought. Peperzak’s central focus is “addressing”: what distinguishes speaking or writing from rumination is their being directed by someone to someone. To be involved in philosophy is to be part of a tradition through which thinkers propose their findings to others, who respond by offering their own appropriations to (...) their interlocutors.After a critical sketch of the conception of modern philosophy, Peperzak presents a succinct analysis of speaking, insisting on the radical distinction between speaking about and speaking to. He enlarges this analysis to history and tries to answer the question whether philosophy also implies a certain form of listening and responding to words of God. Since philosophical speech about persons can neither honor nor reveal their full truth, speaking and thinking about God is even more problematic. Meditation about the archaic Word cannot reach the Speaker unless it turns into prayer, or—as Descartes wrote—into a contemplation that makes the thinker “consider, admire, and adore the beauty of God’s immense light, as much as the eyesight of my blinded mind can tolerate.”“Thinking is a work of genuine and original scholarship which responds to the tradition of philosophical thinking with a critique of its language, style, focus, and scope.”—Catriona Hanley, Loyola College, Maryland. (shrink)
It is human nature to wonder how things might have turned out differently--either for the better or for the worse. For the past two decades psychologists have been intrigued by this phenomenon, which they call counterfactual thinking. Specifically, researchers have sought to answer the "big" questions: Why do people have such a strong propensity to generate counterfactuals, and what functions does counterfactual thinking serve? What are the determinants of counterfactual thinking, and what are its adaptive and psychological (...) consequences? This important work brings together a collection of thought-provoking papers by social and cognitive psychologists who have made important theoretical and empirical contributions to our understanding of this topic. The essays in this volume contain novel theoretical insights, and, in many cases descriptions of previously unpublished empirical studies. The Psychology of Counterfactual Thinking provides an excellent overview of this fascinating topic for researchers, as well as advanced undergraduates and graduates in psychology--particularly those with an interest in social cognition, social judgment, decision judgment, decision making, thinking and reasoning. (shrink)
This book is a rich collection of philosophical essays radically interrogating key notions and preoccupations of the phenomenological tradition. While using Heidegger’s Being and Time as its permanent point of reference and dispute, this collection also confronts other important philosophers, such as Kant, Nietzsche, and Derrida. The projects of these pivotal thinkers of finitude are relentlessly pushed to their extreme, with respect both to their unexpected horizons and to their as yet unexplored analytical potential. A Finite Thinking shows that, (...) paradoxically, where the thought of finitude comes into its own it frees itself, not only to reaffirm a certain transformed and transformative presence, but also for a non-religious reconsideration and reaffirmation of certain theologemes, as well as of the body, heart, and love. This book shows the literary dimension of philosophical discourse, providing important enabling ideas for scholars of literature, cultural theory, and philosophy. (shrink)
Ethics and rationality -- Moral frameworks -- Experience in context -- Aesthetic aspects of ethical thought -- Morals and metaphors -- Ethics and pluralism -- Moral thinking -- Afterword: diversity, relativism, and nonviolence.
In The Concept of Mind, Ryle's official position seems to be that mental acts cannot be intrinsically private. In The Concept of Mind as well as his later work on thinking, Ryle views thinking as an activity that terminates in a thought, which is a state of being prepared for a performance. Thinking is characterised by what Ryle calls intention-parasitism; for it is, insofar as its underlying motive is concerned, parasitic on the final performance which will (...) take place later. Ryle shows that acts of thinking, owing to their intention-parasitism, can be described in a tactical idiom, with reference to the final performance for which it was intended. However, this framework of intention-parasitism is not adequate to describe all instances of thinking in all their aspects, which therefore remain inextricably private. The task of this paper is to accommodate such privacy within the theoretical framework suggested in The Concept of Mind. (shrink)
The Honor of Thinking investigates the limits of criticism, theory, and philosophy in light of what Martin Heidegger and French post-Heideggerian philosophers have established about the nature and tasks of thinking. In addition to in-depth analyses of Walter Benjamin's conception of critique—and in particular the relation of critique to ethics, as well as alternative models of criticism (such as Heidegger's notion of “Auseinandersetzung,” and Derridean deconstruction)—this book contains essays on the notion of theory from the Greeks and the (...) early German Romantics to the contemporary use of this notion in literary studies. The last part of the book investigates the different ways of understanding philosophical thinking that are found in contemporary French thought, examining works of Foucault, Deleuze, Lyotard, and Derrida. (shrink)
The pace of change in the world is accelerating, yet educational institutions have not kept pace. Indeed, schools have historically been the most static of social institutions, uncritically passing down from generation to generation outmoded didactic, lecture-and-drill-based, models of instruction. Predictable results follow. Students, on the whole, do not learn how to work by, or think for, themselves. They do not learn how to gather, analyze, synthesize and assess information. They do not learn how to analyze the diverse logic of (...) the questions and problems they face and hence how to adjust their thinking to those problems. They do not learn how to enter sympathetically into the thinking of others, nor how to deal rationally with conflicting points of view. They do not learn to become critical readers, writers, speakers and listeners. They do not learn how to use their native languages clearly, precisely, or persuasively. They do not, therefore, become ‘literate’, in the proper sense of the word. Neither do they gain much in the way of genuine knowledge since, for the most part, they could not explain the basis for what they believe. They would be hard pressed to explain, for example, which of their beliefs were based on rational assent and which on simple conformity to what they have been told. They have little sense as to how they might critically analyze their own experience, or identify national or group bias in their own thinking. They are much more apt to learn on the basis of irrational than rational modes of thought. They lack the traits of mind of a genuinely educated person: intellectual humility, courage, integrity, perseverance, and faith in reason.Happily, there is a movement in education today striving to address these problems in a global way, with strategies and materials for the modification of instruction at all levels of education. At its foundation is an emerging new theory of knowledge, learning, and literacy, one which recognizes the centrality of independent critical thinking to all substantial learning, one which recognizes that higher-order, multilogical thinking is as important to childhood as to adult learning, and as important to foundational learning in monological as in multilogical disciplines. This educational reform movement is not proposing an educational miracle cure, for its leading proponents recognize that many social and historical forces must come together before the ideals of the critical thinking movement will become a full academic reality. Schools do not exist in a social vacuum. To the extent that the broader society is uncritical so, on the whole, will be society's schools. Nevertheless, the social conditions necessary for fundamental changes in schooling are increasingly apparent. The pressure for fundamental change is growing. Whether and to what extent these needed basic changes will be delayed or side-tracked, thus requiring new periodic resurgences of this movement, with new, more elaborate articulations of its ideals, goals, and methods — only time will tell. (shrink)
In the opinion of many Western observers (e.g. Timothy Garton Ash) as well as Polish authors (e.g., Zdzisław Kransnodębski), the political thought of Solidarność was a mixture of ideas taken from different ideological traditions (right and left). What, in the aforementioned authors opinion, was a reason for pride was an object of criticism by Leszek Nowak, the eminent Polish philosopher, engaged in the movement. One of his most important charges against the political thought of this movement was its (...) intellectual provincialism and its inability to propose something new and fresh. The purpose of this paper is to present Nowak's reflection on the political thought of Solidarność in years 1980-1981. I show that he presses three general kinds of objections. According to Nowak, the political thought of the movement had formal-internal deficiencies (it provided no clear theoretical vision), cognitive deficiencies (it was incapable of offering an adequate diagnosis of the situation) and policy deficiencies (it was incapable of indicating the appropriate course of action). (shrink)
What is the place of language in human cognition? Do we sometimes think in natural language? Or is language for purposes of interpersonal communication only? Although these questions have been much debated in the past, they have almost dropped from sight in recent decades amongst those interested in the cognitive sciences. Language and Thought is intended to persuade such people to think again. It brings together essays by a distinguished interdisciplinary team of philosophers and psychologists, who discuss various ways (...) in which language may be implicated in human cognition. The editors have provided an introduction which lays out the basic terms and history of the debate, and a consolidated bibliography which will provide a valuable reference resource for all those interested in this area. The volume will be of great interest to all researchers and students interested in language and its place in cognition. (shrink)
In this book, Mohanty develops a new interpretation of the nature of Indian philsophical thinking. Using the original Sanskrit sources, he examines the concepts of consciousness and subjectivity, theories of language and logic, and meaning and truth, and explicates the concept of theoretical rationality which underlies the Indian philosophies. Mohanty brings to bear insights from modern western analytical and phenomenological philosophies, not so much for comparative purposes, but rather to interpret Indian thinking and to highlight its distinctive features.
A User's Guide to Thought and Meaning presents a profound and arresting integration of the faculties of the mind - of how we think, speak, and see the world. Ray Jackendoff starts out by looking at languages and what the meanings of words and sentences actually do. He shows that meanings are more adaptive and complicated than they're commonly given credit for, and he is led to some basic questions: How do we perceive and act in the world? How (...) do we talk about it? And how can the collection of neurons in the brain give rise to conscious experience? As it turns out, the organization of language, thought, and perception does not look much like the way we experience things, and only a small part of what the brain does is conscious. Jackendoff concludes that thought and meaning must be almost completely unconscious. What we experience as rational conscious thought - which we prize as setting us apart from the animals - in fact rides on a foundation of unconscious intuition. Rationality amounts to intuition enhanced by language. -/- Written with an informality that belies both the originality of its insights and the radical nature of its conclusions, A User's Guide to Thought and Meaning is the author's most important book since the groundbreaking Foundations of Language in 2002. (shrink)
I do not think that the world or the sciences would ever have suggested to me any philosophical problems. What has suggested philosophical problems to me is things which other philosophers have said about the world or the sciences. (G.E. Moore, 1942, p. 14).
In one corner Socrates; in the other, on the mat, his cat Felix. Socrates, of course, thinks (correctly) that Felix the Cat is on the mat. But there’s the rub. For Socrates to think that Felix is on the mat, he has to be able to think about Felix, that is, he has to have some sort of cognitive grasp of an individual — and not just any individual, but Felix himself. How is that possible? What is going on when (...) we think about things? (shrink)
Do we think in natural language? Or is language only for communication? Much recent work in philosophy and cognitive science assumes the latter. In contrast, Peter Carruthers argues that much of human conscious thinking is conducted in the medium of natural language sentences. However, this does not commit him to any sort of Whorfian linguistic relativism, and the view is developed within a framework that is broadly nativist and modularist. His study will be essential reading for all those interested (...) in the nature and significance of natural language, whether they come from philosophy, psychology or linguistics. (shrink)
In this exciting new collection, a distinguished international group of philosophers contribute new essays on central issues in philosophy of language and logic, in honor of Michael Dummett, one of the most influential philosophers of the late twentieth century. The essays are focused on areas particularly associated with Professor Dummett. Five are contributions to the philosophy of language, addressing in particular the nature of truth and meaning and the relation between language and thought. Two contributors discuss time, in particular (...) the reality of the past. The last four essays focus on Frege and the philosophy of mathematics. The volume represents some of the best work in contemporary analytical philosophy. (shrink)
Frankfurt School critical theory has long opposed metaphysical philosophy because it ignores suffering and injustice. In the face of such criticism, proponents of metaphysics (for example Dieter Henrich) have accused critical theory of not fully investigating the questions is raises for itself, and falling into partial metaphysical positions, despite itself. If one focuses on Max Horkheimer's early essays, such an accusation seems quite fitting. There he vociferously attacks metaphysics, but he also develops a theory that pushes toward metaphysical questions. His (...) work can thus seem laden with unpacked metaphysical baggage, and fraught with contradiction. The aim of this paper is to show that Horkheimer's critique of metaphysics makes sense and is not contradicted by a surreptitious metaphysics. To show this, Horkheimer's views will be compared with Bas van Fraassen's in The Empirical Stance . Ultimately, the paper should show that Horkheimer's early philosophy can be reconstructed in such a way that it employs a 'materialist stance'. (shrink)
1. Introduction: a name, not an essence -- 2. Why Jewish thought and what makes it Jewish? -- 3. Deadly philosophical abstraction -- 4. The stranger in your midst -- 5. Nefesh: the soul as flesh and blood -- 6. The environmentalist contribution to genocide -- 7. Torture -- 8. Hunger and homelessness -- 9. Philosophy, religion, and genocide -- 10. A concluding reflection on body and soul.