Human beings, even very young infants, and members of several other species, exhibit remarkable capacities for attending to and engaging with others. These basic capacities have been the subject of intense research in developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, comparative psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind over the last several decades. Appropriately characterizing the exact level and nature of these abilities and what lies at their basis continues to prove a tricky business. The contributions to this special issue investigate whether and to (...) what extent the exercise of such capacities count as, or are best explained by, a genuine understanding of minds, where such understanding depends on the creatures in question possessing capacities for attributing a range of mental states and their contents in systematic ways. The question that takes center stage is: Do the capacities for attending to and engaging with others in question involve mindreading or is this achieved by other means? In this editorial we will review the state of the debate between mindreading and alternative accounts of social cognition. The issue is organized as follows: the first two papers review the experimental literature on mindreading in primates (Bermúdez) and children (Low & Wang), and the kinds of arguments made for mindreading and alternative accounts of social cognition. The next set of papers (Hedger & Fabricius, Lurz & Krachun, Zawidzki, and de Bruin et al.) further critique the existing experimental data and defend various mindreading and non-mindreading accounts. The final set of papers address further issues raised by phenomenological (Jacob, Zahavi), enactive (Michael), and embodied (Spaulding) accounts of social cognition. (shrink)
Postmodernism has significantly affected the theory and practice of history. It has induced fears about the future of historical study, but has also offered liberation from certain modernist constraints. This original and thought-provoking study looks at the context of postmodernist thought in general cultural terms as well as in relation to history. Postmodernism in History traces philosophical precursors of postmodernism and identifies the roots of current concerns. Beverley Southgate describes the core constituents of postmodernism and provides a lucid and (...) profound analysis of the current state of the debate. His main concern is to counter `pomophobia' and to assert a positive future for historical study in a postmodern world. Postmodernism in History is a valuable guide to some of the most complex questions in historical theory for students and teachers alike. (shrink)
What is History For? is a timely publication that examines the purpose and point of historical studies. Recent debates on the role of the humanities and the ongoing impact of poststructuralist thought on the very nature of historical enquiry, have rendered the question "what is history for?" of utmost importance. Charting the development of historical studies, Beverley Southgate examines the various uses to which history has been put. While history has often supposedly been studied "for its own sake," (...) class='Hi'>Southgate argues that this seemingly innocent approach masks an inherent conservatism and exposes the ways in which history, has, sometimes deliberately, sometimes inadvertently, been used for socio-political purposes. With traditional notions of truth and historical representation now under question, it has become vital to rethink the function of history and renegotiate its uses for the post-modern age. History in the 21st century, Southgate proposes, should adopt a morally therapeutic role that seeks to advance human happiness. This fascinating historicisation of the study of history is unique in its focus on the future of the subject as well as its past. What is History For? provides compulsive reading for the general reader and students alike. (shrink)
We draw on Short’s work on Peirce’s theory of signs to propose a new general definition of interpretation. Short argues that Peirce’s semiotics rests on his naturalised teleology. Our proposal extends Short’s work by modifying his definition of interpretation so as to make it more generally applicable to putatively interpretative processes in biological systems. We use our definition as the basis of an account of different kinds of misinterpretation and we discuss some questions raised by the definition by reference to (...) parallel problems in the field of teleosemantics. We propose that interpretative responses fulfilling the criteria of our definition may be made by relatively simple molecular entities and we suggest two specific empirical applications of the definition to experimental work in the field of origin of life research. Our wider aim is to suggest that a well formulated naturalistic definition of interpretation will allow a re-evaluation of the role of semiotic phenomena in biological systems, including the generation of empirically testable hypotheses. (shrink)
Kalevi Kull and colleagues recently proposed eight theses as a conceptual basis for the field of biosemiotics. We use these theses as a framework for discussing important current areas of debate in biosemiotics with particular reference to the articles collected in this issue of Zygon.
Abstract. This article offers one response from within Christianity to the theological challenges of Darwinism. It identifies evolutionary theory as a key aspect of the context of contemporary Christian hermeneutics. Examples of the need for re-reading of scripture, and reassessment of key doctrines, in the light of Darwinism include the reading of the creation and fall accounts of Genesis 1–3, the reformulation of the Christian doctrine of humanity as created in the image of God, and the possibility of a new (...) approach to the Incarnation in the light of evolution and semiotics. Finally, a theodicy in respect of evolutionary suffering is outlined, in dialogue with recent writings attributing such suffering to a force in opposition to God. The latter move is rejected on both theological and scientific grounds. Further work on evolutionary theodicy is proposed, in relation in particular to the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo. (shrink)
We provide an overview of a proposal for a new metaphysical framework within which theology and science might both find a home. Our proposal draws on the triadic semiotics and threefold system of metaphysical categories of C. S. Peirce. We summarize the key features of a semiotic model of the Trinity, based on observed parallels between Peirce's categories of Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness and Christian thinking about, respectively, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We test and extend the semiotic model (...) by exploring how Peirce's taxonomy of signs offers a new approach to theological reflection on the Incarnation. This leads to a novel way of framing scientific questions about human evolution in semiotic terms and to a new approach to theological anthropology. Finally, we use the semiotic model of the Trinity as the basis of a trinitarian approach to the theology of creation according to which the semiotic processes that are fundamental to life and to human behavior and cognition may be understood as “vestiges of the Trinity in creation.”. (shrink)
History: what & Why? is a highly accessible introductory survey of historians' views about the nature and purpose of their subject. It offers a historical perspective and clear guide to contemporary debates about the nature and purpose of history and a discussion of the traditional model of history as an account of the past "as it was". It assesses the challenges to orthodox views and examines the impact of Marxism, feminism and post-colonialism on the study of history.
We offer a general definition of interpretation based on a naturalized teleology. The definition tests and extends the biosemiotic paradigm by seeking to provide a philosophically robust resource for investigating the possible role of semiosis (processes of representation and interpretation) in biological systems. We show that our definition provides a way of understanding various possible kinds of misinterpretation, illustrate the definition using examples at the cellular and subcellular level, and test the definition by applying it to a potential counterexample. We (...) explain how we propose to use the definition as a way of asking new questions about what distinguishes life from non-life and of formulating testable hypotheses within the field of origin-of-life research. If the definition leads to fruitful new empirical approaches to the scientific problem of the origin of life, it will help to establish biosemiotics as a legitimate philosophical approach in theoretical biology and will thereby support a theological appropriation of the biosemiotic perspective as the basis of a new theology of nature. (shrink)
We introduce the second part of a two-part collection of articles exploring a possible new research program in the field of science and religion. At the center of the program lies an attempt to develop a new theology of nature drawing on the philosophy of C. S. Peirce. Our overall idea is that the fundamental structure of the world is exactly that required for the emergence of meaning and truth-bearing representation. We understand the emergence of a capacity to interpret an (...) environment to be important to the emergence of life, and we see the subsequent history of biological evolution as a story of increasing capacities for meaning-making and -seeking. Theologically, we understand God to be the ground of all such meaning-making and the ultimate goal of the universe's emerging capacity for interpreting signs. Here we summarize the articles in Part 1, which focused on scientific and philosophical aspects of the research program, and introduce Part 2, which turns to the theological outworking of the project. (shrink)
In the preceding article in this section, F. LeRon Shults responds to our article preceding his, “Semiotics as a Metaphysical Framework for Christian Theology.” We respond here to his criticisms of our proposal. We discuss his concerns about the concept of “vestiges of the Trinity in creation” and argue that this does not undermine the absolute ontological difference between God and creation. We offer a clarification of our idea that the Incarnation may be understood, in terms of Peirce's taxonomy of (...) signs, as a qualisign of God's being. Finally, we discuss the idea that all symbols “break on the infinite.”. (shrink)
We introduce a two-part collection of articles (Part 2 to appear in the September 2010 issue) exploring a possible new research program in the field of science and religion. At the center of the program lies an attempt to develop a new theology of nature drawing on the philosophy of C. S. Peirce. Our overall idea is that the fundamental structure of the world is exactly that required for the emergence of meaning and truth-bearing representation. We understand the emergence of (...) a capacity to interpret an environment to be important to the emergence of life, and we see the subsequent history of biological evolution as a story of increasing capacities for meaning making and meaning seeking. Theologically, we understand God to be the ground of all such meaning making and the ultimate goal of the universe's emerging capacity for interpreting signs. Here we explain our reasons for seeking a new metaphysical framework in which science and theology may each find a home. We survey the contributions to the two-part collection, and we suggest that the interdisciplinary collaboration from which these have arisen may serve as a methodological model for the field of science and religion. (shrink)
This fully revised and updated edition of God, Humanity and the Cosmos is an essential companion to the field, with exercises for the student, a comprehensive bibliography, and suggestions for further reading.
McGovern, Kevin A recent move in Victoria to decriminalise abortion invites reflection on this issue. In this article, I review the history which has led to the present situation, and then offer four comments.
This paper tests a model of corporate social responsiveness capabilities in an industry setting. It seeks to understand whether corporate social responsiveness can be a source of competitive advantage for a given company in an industry where participants face similar constraints and issues.
Much recent research has sought to uncover the neural basis of moral judgment. However, it has remained unclear whether "moral judgments" are sufficiently homogenous to be studied scientifically as a unified category. We tested this assumption by using fMRI to examine the neural correlates of moral judgments within three moral areas: (physical) harm, dishonesty, and (sexual) disgust. We found that the judgment ofmoral wrongness was subserved by distinct neural systems for each of the different moral areas and that these differences (...) were much more robust than differences in wrongness judgments within a moral area. Dishonest, disgusting, and harmful moral transgression recruited networks of brain regions associated with mentalizing, affective processing, and action understanding, respectively. Dorsal medial pFC was the only region activated by all scenarios judged to be morally wrong in comparison with neutral scenarios. However, this region was also activated by dishonest and harmful scenarios judged not to be morally wrong, suggestive of a domain-general role that is neither peculiar to nor predictive of moral decisions. These results suggest that moral judgment is not a wholly unified faculty in the human brain, but rather, instantiated in dissociable neural systems that are engaged differentially depending on the type of transgression being judged. (shrink)
In evolutionary biology changes in population structure are explained by citing trait fitness distribution. I distinguish three interpretations of fitness explanations—the Two‐Factor Model, the Single‐Factor Model, and the Statistical Interpretation—and argue for the last of these. These interpretations differ in their degrees of causal commitment. The first two hold that trait fitness distribution causes population change. Trait fitness explanations, according to these interpretations, are causal explanations. The last maintains that trait fitness distribution correlates with population change but does not cause (...) it. My defense of the Statistical Interpretation relies on a distinctive feature of causation. Causes conform to the Sure Thing Principle. Trait fitness distributions, I argue, do not. *Received July 2009; revised October 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy/Institute for the History, Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto, Victoria College, 91 Charles Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1K7, Canada; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
Philosophers and social scientists have focussed a great deal of attention on our human capacity to trust, but relatively little on the capacity to hope. This is a significant oversight, as hope and trust are importantly interconnected. This paper argues that, even though trust can and does feed our hopes, it is our empowering capacity to hope that significantly underwrites—and makes rational—our capacity to trust.
This article discusses Philip Pettit’s neo-republicanism in light of the criterion of self-sustenance: the requirement that a political theory be capable of serving as a self-sustaining public philosophy for a pluralist democracy. It argues that this criterion can only be satisfied by developing an adequate politics of virtue. Pettit’s theory is built around the notion of freedom as non-domination, and he does not say much about the virtues of citizens or the policies the state may employ to encourage their development. (...) In order to explain the motivation to comply with republican laws that promote non-domination, Pettit relies on the phenomenon of civility and the mechanism of the intangible hand. But to understand what underlies an adequate level of robust civility one needs to focus on the more basic phenomenon of personal virtue. Policies that aim to promote non-domination should take into account the need to cultivate virtue among citizens, as well as the full range of conditions that favor its exercise. (shrink)
One of the more controversial uses of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) involves selecting embryos with a specific tissue type so that the child to be born can act as a donor to an existing sibling who requires a haematopoietic stem cell transplant. PGD with HLA tissue typing is used to select embryos that are free of a familial genetic disease and that are also a tissue match for an existing sibling who requires a transplant. Preimplantation HLA tissue typing occurs when (...) parents select embryos that are not at risk of a familial genetic disease to be a match for an existing sibling who requires a transplant. In Victoria, Australia, applications to use PGD with HLA tissue typing are reviewed by the Infertility Treatment Authority on a case by case basis. Preimplantation HLA tissue typing is prohibited prima facie because the embryo to be tested would not be at risk for a genetic abnormality or disease. Arguments for or against the use of PGD/HLA tissue typing are based on several key issues including the commodification and welfare of the donor child. This essay aims to show that that the same arguments apply to both PGD with HLA tissue typing and Preimplantation HLA tissue typing, and that the policy distinction between the two procedures is therefore ethically inconsistent. (shrink)
The broad issue in this paper is the relationship between cognitive psychology and neuroscience. That issue arises particularly sharply for cognitive neurospsychology, some of whose practitioners claim a methodological autonomy for their discipline. They hold that behavioural data from neuropsychological impairments are sufficient to justify assumptions about the underlying modular structure of human cognitive architecture, as well as to make inferences about its various components. But this claim to methodological autonomy can be challenged on both philosophical and empirical grounds. A (...) priori considerations about (cognitive) multiple realisability challenge the thesis on philosophical grounds, and neuroscientific findings from developmental disorders substantiate that challenge empirically. The conclusion is that behavioural evidence alone is inadequate for scientific progress since appearances of modularity can be thoroughly deceptive, obscuring both the dynamic processes of neural development and the endstate network architecture of real cognitive systems. (shrink)
Contributing Authors: Lilli Alanen & Frans Svensson, David Alm, Gustaf Arrhenius, Gunnar Björnsson, Luc Bovens, Richard Bradley, Geoffrey Brennan & Nicholas Southwood, John Broome, Linus Broström & Mats Johansson, Johan Brännmark, Krister Bykvist, John Cantwell, Erik Carlson, David Copp, Roger Crisp, Sven Danielsson, Dan Egonsson, Fred Feldman, Roger Fjellström, Marc Fleurbaey, Margaret Gilbert, Olav Gjelsvik, Kathrin Glüer & Peter Pagin, Ebba Gullberg & Sten Lindström, Peter Gärdenfors, Sven Ove Hansson, Jana Holsanova, Nils Holtug, Victoria Höög, Magnus Jiborn, Karsten Klint (...) Jensen, Sigurður Kristinsson, Isaac Levi, Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen, David Makinson, Anna-Sofia Maurin, Philippe Mongin, Kevin Mulligan, Lennart Nordenfelt, Jonas Olson, Erik J. Olsson, Ingmar Persson, Johannes Persson, Björn Petersson, Philip Pettit, Hans Rott, Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen, Krister Segerberg, John Skorupski, Howard Sobel, Fredrik Stjernberg, Fred Stoutland, Caj Strandberg, Pär Sundström, Folke Tersman, Torbjörn Tännsjö, Peter Vallentyne, Bruno Verbeek, Stella Villarmea, and Michael J. Zimmerman. (shrink)
One of the central elements of John Rawls’ argument in support of his two principles of justice is the intuitive normative ideal of citizens as free and equal. But taken in isolation, the claim that citizens are to be treated as free and equal is extremely indeterminate, and has virtually no clear implications for policy. In order to remedy this, the two principles of justice, together with the stipulation that citizens have basic interests in developing their moral capacities and pursuing (...) their conceptions of the good life, are meant to provide a more precise interpretation of what is involved in treating citizens as free and equal. Rawls’ critics, however, have argued that satisfying the two principles of justice is not the most appropriate or plausible way to respect the status of citizens as free and equal. In relation to this debate, the present paper has two aims. The first is to examine Rawls’ account of the type of freedom that a just society must guarantee equally to its citizens. I will argue that those who think of Rawls as a theorist of freedom as non-interference are mistaken, because his notion of liberty resembles in important respects the republican notion of freedom as non-domination. Second, I will consider the extent to which Rawls’ principles of justice successfully protect the freedom as non-domination of all citizens so as to effectively treat them as free and equal. (shrink)
Is it possible to talk about God without either misrepresentation or failing to assert anything of significance? The article begins by reviewing how, in attempting to answer this question, traditional theories of religious language have failed to sidestep both potential pitfalls adequately. After arguing that recently developed theories of metaphor seem better able to shed light on the nature of religious language, it considers the claim that huge areas of our language and, consequently, of our experience are shaped by metaphors. (...) Finally, it considers some of the more significant implications of this claim for our understanding of both religious language and religious experience. (shrink)