The self-otherasymmetry is a prominent and important feature of common-sense morality. It is also a feature that does not find a home in standard versions of act-utilitarianism. Theodore Sider has attempted to make a place for it by constructing a novel version of utilitarianism that incorporates the asymmetry into its framework. So far as I know, it is the best attempt to bring the two together. I argue, however, that Sider's ingenious attempt fails. I also offer (...) a diagnosis that explains why no theory that remains recognizably act-utilitarian can successfully incorporate the asymmetry. (shrink)
This paper offers a partial justification of so-called "deontological restrictions." Specifically it defends the "self/other asymmetry," that we are morally obligated to treat our own agency, and thus its results, as specially important. The argument rests on a picture of moral obligation of a broadly Kantian sort. In particular, it rests on the basic normative assumption that our fundamental obligations are determined by the principles which a rational being as such would follow. These include principles which it is not (...) essential for rational beings to accept, but acceptance of which we could non-arbitrarily attribute to them simply in their capacity as rational. Among these principles is the asymmetry mentioned above. (shrink)
Kant claims that we have a duty to promote our own moral perfection, but not the moral perfection of others. I examine three types of argument for this asymmetry, as well as the implications of these arguments--and their success or failure--for Kantian theory. The arguments I consider say that (first) to promote others’ perfection is impossible; (second) to try to promote others’ perfection is impermissible; and (third) one cannot be obligated to promote both others’ perfection and one’s own. I (...) argue that none of these arguments establishes Kant’s conclusion. Since the formula of humanity grounds a duty to promote our own perfection out of respect for our rational nature, the absence of an argument denying that we must promote others’ perfection suggests that we must do so (out of respect for their rational nature). Even so, Kant’s theory discourages moral paternalism and takes perfection to be a primarily self-regarding project. Thus, I also show that a Kantian duty to promote the moral perfection of others would be unobjectionable, despite the problems such a duty might initially seem to invite. (shrink)
The rubric autoimmunity currently encompasses sixty to seventy diverse illnesses which affect many of the tissues of the human body. Western medical practice asserts that the crisis known as autoimmune disease arises when a biological organism compromises its own integrity by misrecognising parts of itself as other than itself and then seeks to eliminate these unrecognised and hence antagonistic aspects of itself. That is, autoimmune illnesses seem to manifest the contradictory and sometimes deadly proposition that the “identity”: body/self both is (...) and is not “itself”. Based on the assumption that under normal circumstances “the self” ought to coincide naturally with “the body”—or at the very least the self ought to inhabit the living location of the body more or less unproblematically—this scientific paradigm depicts autoimmune illness as a vital paradox. Yet for those of us who have lived through the experience of an autoimmune crisis, the living paradox that we embody may also lead us to question the basis upon which these medical assumptions rest. This essay raises some of these questions. (shrink)
This essay examines some of Derrida’s most famous ‘possible-impossible’ aporias, including his discussions of giving, hospitality, forgiveness, and mourning. He argues that the condition of the possibility of such themes is also, and at once, the condition of their impossibility. In order to reveal the shared logic upon which these aporias rely, and also to raise some questions about their persuasive efficacy, it will be argued that of the two polarities evoked by each of his possible-impossible aporias, the ‘impossible’ term (...) of the opposition invariably posits a separation between “two radical singularities”, or in somewhat more controversial terms, between a self and an other. While Derrida emphasises this ‘impossible’ aspect of giving, hospitality, forgiveness, etc., Merleau-Ponty’s abiding emphasis upon the chiasmic intertwining of self and other provides the resources to challenge this emphasis, and even to reverse it. While Merleau-Ponty rarely directly addresses the kind of aporias that concern Derrida, his chiasmic account of embodiment, and his emphasis upon the body-subject’s propensity to seek an equilibrium with its environment, better accounts for the ‘possible’ side of the aporias that Derrida describes. In the process, it will be argued that Merleau-Ponty’s later philosophy also allows for a more politically efficacious idea of responsibility towards the other than the position to which Derrida is tacitly committed. (shrink)
Our approach to global bioethics will depend, among other things, on how we answer the questions whether global bioethics is possible and whether it, if it is possible, is desirable. Our approach to global bioethics will also vary depending on whether we believe that the required bioethical deliberation should take as its principal point of departure that which we have in common or that which we have in common and that on which we differ. The aim of this article is (...) to elaborate a theoretical underpinning for a bioethics that acknowledges the diversity of traditions and experiences without leading to relativism. The theoretical underpinning will be elaborated through an exploration of the concepts of sameness, otherness, self and other, and through a discussion of the conditions for understanding and critical reflection. Furthermore, the article discusses whether the principle of respect for the other as both the same and different can function as the normative core of this global bioethics. The article also discusses the New Jersey Death Definition Law and the Japanese Transplantation Law. These laws are helpful in order to highlight possible implications of the principle of respect for the other as both the same and different. Both of these laws open the door to more than one concept of death within one and the same legal system. Both of them relate preference for a particular concept of death to religious and/or cultural beliefs. (shrink)
In contemporary Western analytic philosophy, the classic analogical argument explaining our knowledge of other minds has been rejected. But at least three alternative positive theories of our knowledge of the second person have been formulated: the theory-theory, the simulation theory and the theory of direct empathy. After sketching out the problems faced by these accounts of the ego’s access to the contents of the mind of a “second ego”, this paper tries to recreate one argument given by Abhinavagupta (Shaiva philosopher (...) of recognition) to the effect that even in another’s body, one must feel and recognize one’s own self, if one is able to address that embodied person as a “you”. The otherness of You does not take away from its subjectivity. In that sense, just as every second person to whom one could speak is, first, a person, she is also a first person. Even as I regret that I do not know exactly how some other person is feeling right now, I must have some general access to the subjective experience of that other person, for otherwise what is it that I feel so painfully ignorant about? My subjective world is mine only to the extent that I recognize its continuity with a sharable subjective world where other I-s can make a You out of me. (shrink)
Recent discussions of consequentialism have drawn our attention to the so-called “self-other” asymmetry. Various cases presented by Michael Slote and Michael Stocker are alleged to demonstrate a fundamental asymmetry between our obligations to others and ourselves.1 Moreover, these cases are taken to constitute a difficulty for consequentialism, and for the various versions of utilitarianism in particular. I agree that there is a fundamental asymmetry between our obligations to ourselves and to others, and that this fact is (...) inconsistent with the letter of traditional utilitarianisms. However, I do not think this represents a deep shortcoming of the spirit behind utilitarianism. In this paper I will argue that the self-otherasymmetry can be accommodated in a broadly utilitarian framework. First, in section one, I characterize moral “asymmetry” in general. Then, in section two, I argue that the cases presented by Slote and Stocker do indeed represent a genuine self-otherasymmetry. In part, this involves criticism of an attempt to accommodate the asymmetry within a preferentist framework. Finally, I will present my own solution to the problem of self and other. (shrink)
This is a book on morality, rationality, and the interconnections between the two. In it, I defend a version of consequentialism that both comports with our commonsense moral intuitions and shares with other consequentialist theories the same compelling teleological conception of practical reasons.
In discussions concerning intersubjectivity the notion of expression has come to play a part of increasing significance. Expression shifts our point of departure away from subjectivity as something mysterious hidden within the body to subjectivity as altogether embodied and embedded in the world. In this article I engage writings by Maurice Merleau-Ponty to argue that expression is essentially something that happens in a communicative space in between self and other while at the same time giving rise to both. I show (...) how locating expression in a shared space between self and other is a way of emphasizing that self and other are not only expressive of selfhood, but are also expressed by one another and emerge in relation to one another. I point to this understanding of expression as a way of recognizing that there is both a fundamental reciprocity and asymmetry between self and other. (shrink)
The everyday capacity to understand the mind, or 'mindreading', plays an enormous role in our ordinary lives. Shaun Nichols and Stephen Stich provide a detailed and integrated account of the intricate web of mental components underlying this fascinating and multifarious skill. The imagination, they argue, is essential to understanding others, and there are special cognitive mechanisms for understanding oneself. The account that emerges has broad implications for longstanding philosophical debates over the status of folk psychology. Mindreading is another trailblazing volume (...) in the prestigious interdisciplinary Oxford Cognitive Science series. (shrink)
This is Chapter 4 of my Commonsense Consequentialism: Wherein Morality Meets Rationality. In this chapter, I argue that that any plausible nonconsequentialist theory can be consequentialized, which is to say that, for any plausible nonconsequentialist theory, we can construct a consequentialist theory that yields the exact same set of deontic verdicts that it yields.
I argue that Sider's view does succeed in accommodating the kind of maximization he is after, according to which the agent is required to maximize overall welfare with the single exception of his own welfare. I then argue that Splawn's argument highlights some interesting and important ways in which Sider's view fail to capture basic common-sense intuitions concerning the self-otherasymmetry, but offer a different diagnosis of the source of the problem.
[Emerging Scholar Prize Essay for Spindel Supplement] Some philosophers and psychologists have evaluated psychological egoism against recent experimental work in social psychology. Dan Batson (1991; forthcoming), in particular, argues that empathy tends to induce genuinely altruistic motives in humans. However, some argue that there are egoistic explanations of the data that remain unscathed. I focus here on some recent criticisms based on the idea of self-other merging or "oneness," primarily leveled by Robert Cialdini and his collaborators (1997). These authors (...) argue that the putatively altruistic subjects are acting on ultimately egoistic motives because empathic feelings for someone in distress tend to cause them to blur the distinction between themselves and the other. Employing a conceptual framework for the debate, I argue that the self-other merging explanation fails to explain the empathy-helping relationship on primarily non-empirical grounds, regardless of the empirical results Cialdini and colleagues report. (shrink)
There is converging evidence from developmental and cognitive psychology, as well as from neuroscience, to suggest that the self is both special and social, and that self-other interaction is the driving force behind self-development. We review experimental findings which demonstrate that human infants are motivated for social interactions and suggest that the development of an awareness of other minds is rooted in the implicit notion that others are like the self. We then marshal evidence from functional neuroimaging explorations of (...) the neurophysiological substrate of shared representations between the self and others, using various ecological paradigms such as mentally representing one's own actions versus others' actions, watching the actions executed by others, imitating the others' actions versus being imitated by others. We suggest that within this shared neural network the inferior parietal cortex and the prefrontal cortex in the right hemisphere play a special role in the essential ability to distinguish the self from others, and in the way the self represents the other. Interestingly, the right hemisphere develops its functions earlier than the left. (shrink)
I begin by reviewing recent research by Merleau-Ponty scholars opposing aspects of the critique of Merleau-Ponty made by Meltzoff and colleagues based on their studies of neonate imitation. I conclude the need for reopening the case for infant self-other indistinction, starting with a re-examination of Merleau-Ponty’s notion of indistinction in the Sorbonne lectures, and attending especially to the role of affect and to the non-exclusivity of self-other distinction and indistinction. In undertaking that study, I discover the importance of (...) understanding self-other distinction and indistinction in terms of their affective significance. For Merleau-Ponty, self-other indistinction is a virtual or imaginary participation in others’ orientations that he defines as an affective phenomenon. Further, Merleau-Ponty’s account of the advent of the body proper—the aspect of the body image that circumscribes the body as a distinct and private space—theorizes it as an affective innovation. Rather than being a fact of which we at first are ignorant and gradually grow to recognize, distinction from others in the sense that is important to Merleau-Ponty is a situation that must be cultivated and maintained through the negotiation of affective intimacy. Understanding indistinction and distinction in terms of the affective forces that sustain them explains how it is possible for them to coexist. (shrink)
: This article examines how some of Simone de Beauvoir's ethical notions about the Self-Other relation explored in her theoretical philosophy of the 1940s were developed in her subsequent autobiography. It argues that Beauvoir represents reciprocal alter-ity in these autobiographical texts through a testimonial engagement with autobiography conceptualized as an act of bearing witness for the Other, through the privileging of various interlocutors and privileged others with whom "the real" is experienced and through a negotiation with the reader. The (...) article also explores the wider question of how Beauvoir's engagement with autobiography might constitute a mode of ethical engagement with the Other. (shrink)
Preston and Hofelich (2012) suggested that researchers disagree on the role of self–other overlap in empathy due to a failure to differentiate among neural overlap, subjective resonance, and personal distress; they also developed a framework for tying neural and subjective overlap to various aspects of functioning they include in the construct of empathy. Although we found their discussion of different processes that have been labeled empathy interesting and helpful, we found their discussion of self–other overlap to be somewhat less useful (...) for conceptualizing differences among empathy-related processes. In addition, we provide an alternative perspective to their reasoning regarding the role of experience and neural overlap in an aspect of empathy-related responding (e.g., concern or compassion). (shrink)
Preston and Hofelich’s (2012) conceptualization of self–other overlap includes both neural and subjective levels, but neural overlap is given a central and necessary role in their model. The model’s broad scope includes many types of empathy phenomena and points to stable patterns and relationships among them. A self–other overlap idea that can cover such a range of phenomena makes gains in explanatory cohesiveness. This may come at the expense of specificity and predictive power in investigating particular neural systems implicated in (...) empathy. The neural overlap concept is broadly useful, but putting it to work in neuroimaging experiments reveals operational ambiguities. Investigating the details of specific systems might suggest further refinements in how we identify meaningful neural self–other overlap. (shrink)
In this article I examine Jean-Luc Marion's two-fold criticism of Emmanuel Levinas’ philosophy of other and self, namely that Levinas remains unable to overcome ontological difference in Totality and Infinity and does so successfully only with the notion of the appeal in Otherwise than Being and that his account of alterity is ambiguous in failing to distinguish clearly between human and divine other. I outline Levinas’ response to this criticism and then critically examine Marion's own account of subjectivity that attempts (...) to go beyond Levinas in its emphasis on a pure or anonymous appeal. I criticize this move as rather problematic and turn instead back to Levinas for a more convincing account of the relations between self, human other, and God. In this context, I also show that Levinas in fact draws quite careful distinctions between human and divine others. (shrink)
Until the 1970s, models of early infancy tended to depict the young child as internally preoccupied and incapable of processing visual-tactile data from the external world. Meltzoff and Moore's groundbreaking studies of neonatal imitation disprove this characterization of early life: They suggest that the infant is cognizant of its external environment and is able to control its own body. Taking up these experiments, theorists argue that neonatal imitation provides an empirical justification for the existence of an innate ability to engage (...) in social communication. Since later imitation is taken as a benchmark for self- and other-awareness, theorists claim that a proto- or primitive self must exist in the infant. This paper takes up the issue of whether or not neonatal imitation does provide us with a ground to argue against developmental accounts that consider self-awareness to be a later acquisition. I argue that the enthusiasm over neonatal imitation is premature. Psychological studies that claim to prove neonatal imitation do not provide sufficient grounds for dismissing alternate philosophical and psychological theories about the self as being a post-birth "event" rather than an intrinsic condition. Therefore, I argue that there is no compelling reason to suppose that we come to the world with a primitive sense of self- or other-awareness. (shrink)
I argue that meaning or significanceper se, along with the capacity to be conscious thereof, and the values, motives and aspirations, etc. central to the constitution of our intrinsic personal identities, arise, as indeed do our extrinsic social identities, and our very self-consciousness as such, from socio-cultural structures and relations to others. However, so far from our identities and behavior therefore being determined, I argue that the capacity for critical reflection and evaluation emerge from these same structural relations, the more (...) complex and quintessentially human aspects of our behavior being explained not in terms of responses to stimuli but as choices reflecting our evaluation of meaningful or significant alternatives. Finally I provide theoretical grounds for accepting the existence of other subjects and give a holistic, as opposed to a dialectical, account of the way individuals may challenge and change the very socio-cultural ways of relating to and interacting with others so central to constituting their capacities and identities. (shrink)
Introspectively, the awareness of actions includes the awareness of the intentions accompanying them. Therefore, the awareness of self-generated actions might be expected to differ from the awareness of other-generated actions to the extent that access to one's own and to other's intentions differs. However, we recently showed that the perceived onset times of self- vs. other-generated actions are similar, yet both are different from comparable events that are conceived as being generated by a machine. This similarity raises two interesting possibilities. (...) First we could infer the intentions of others from their actions. Second and more radically, we could equally infer our own intentions from the actions we perform rather than sense them. We present two new experiments which investigate the role of action effects in the awareness of self- and other-generated actions by means of measuring the estimated onset time. The results show that the presence of action effects is necessary for the similarity of awareness of self- and other-generated actions. (shrink)
The figure of the “double” or the other self is an important topic in the history of literature. Many centuries before Jean Paul Richter coined the term, “doppelgänger,” at the beginning of the Romantic Movement in the year 1796, it is possible to find the figure of the double in myths and legends. The issue of the double emphaszses the contradictory character of the human being and invokes a sinister dimension of the psychological world, what has been called in German (...) as “umheimlich.” However, does multiciplicity always involve pathology? Related to this figure in literary history, a new perspective from clinical psychology called “dialogical self” defines the self as a multi-voice reality. Along the same line, postmodernist psychology considers the self a discursive construction. From these perspectives, the “self” is situated a long way away from the classical essential conception of the self. In this paper, we review briefly some important landmarks of the figure of the double in the literature, and we compare the coincidences of the “double” experiencies described in literature with the experiences of our patients. Finally, we discuss how this literary tradition can help us to understand new psychological perspectives. (shrink)
In the present article we discuss the relevance of the mirror mechanism for our sense of self and our sense of others. We argue that, by providing us with an understanding from the inside of actions, the mirror mechanism radically challenges the traditional view of the self and of the others. Indeed, this mechanism not only reveals the common ground on the basis of which we become aware of ourselves as selves distinct from other selves, but also sheds new light (...) on the content of our self and other experience, showing that we primarily experience ourselves and the others in terms of our own and of their motor possibilities respectively. -/- . (shrink)
As attested by Taylor, Calhoun and others, recognition is central to (cultural) identity and to a related sense of self-worth. In contrast, by denying the comparable worth of other cultures, non-recognition represents a potentially damaging mode of intercultural relations. Although not widely acknowledged, a related consideration has been at issue in the rationality debate, initiated by Peter Winch, throughout its several phases. Briefly stated, the problem is that the polarized alternatives of ethnocentric universalism and self-sealing relativism that have characterized this (...) debate serve either to preclude mutual recognition altogether or to promote 'invidious comparison' (Dascal). As will be apparent, these alternatives pose significant barriers to intercultural research and relations on terms of mutual recognition and respect. The present paper seeks to come to terms with this problem by developing an account of cultural rationality, and a concomitant account of the logic of cross-cultural inquiry, which can promote growth of understanding through intercultural learning, and so help to foster more productive modes of intercultural relations. Specifically, the intent is to identify the conditions that need to be fulfilled if this more productive mode of cross-cultural inquiry is to be possible. Throughout, appeal is made to core hermeneutic tenets to ground the viability of a conception of cross-cultural inquiry that can transcend the terms of reference of the original Winchian debate. Following elucidation of the requisite conditions, the paper concludes with a reflection on possible barriers to their acceptance and implementation. Key Words: culture dialogue intersubjectivity learning rationality understanding. (shrink)
In Self and Other, J. N. Mohanty addresses contemporary questions of post-modernism without abandoning his fundamental stand on phenomenological method. The essays in this volume reveal a shift from an over-emphasis on identity in classical metaphysical thinking to an emphasis on differences without falling into the fogginess of post-modernism.
Self-recognition, being indispensable for successful social communication, has become a major focus in current social neuroscience. The physical aspects of the self are most typically manifested in the face and voice. Compared with the wealth of studies on self-face recognition, self-voice recognition (SVR) has not gained much attention. Converging evidence has suggested that the fundamental frequency (F0) and formant structures serve as the key acoustic cues for other-voice recognition (OVR). However, little is known about which, and how, acoustic cues are (...) utilized for SVR as opposed to OVR. To address this question, we independently manipulated the F0 and formant information of recorded voices and investigated their contributions to SVR and OVR. Japanese participants were presented with recorded vocal stimuli and were asked to identify the speaker—either themselves or one of their peers. Six groups of 5 peers of the same sex participated in the study. Under conditions where the formant information was fully preserved and where only the frequencies lower than the third formant (F3) were retained, accuracies of SVR deteriorated significantly with the modulation of the F0, and the results were comparable for OVR. By contrast, under a condition where only the frequencies higher than F3 were retained, the accuracy of SVR was significantly higher than that of OVR throughout the range of F0 modulations, and the F0 scarcely affected the accuracies of SVR and OVR. Our results indicate that while both F0 and formant information are involved in SVR, as well as in OVR, the advantage of SVR is manifested only when major formant information for speech intelligibility is absent. These findings imply the robustness of self-voice representation, possibly by virtue of auditory familiarity and other factors such as its association with motor/articulatory representation. (shrink)
Iris Marion Young argues we cannot understand others’ experiences by imagining ourselves in their place or in terms of symmetrical reciprocity (1997a). For Young, reciprocity expresses moral respect and asymmetry arises from people’s greatly varying life histories and social positions. La Caze argues there are problems with Young’s articulation of asymmetrical reciprocity in terms of wonder and the gift. By discussing friendship and political representation, she shows how taking self-respect into account complicates asymmetrical reciprocity.
Iris Marion Young argues we cannot understand others' experiences by imagining ourselves in their place or in terms of symmetrical reciprocity (1997a). For Young, reciprocity expresses moral respect and asymmetry arises from people's greatly varying life histories and social positions. La Caze argues there are problems with Young's articulation of asymmetrical reciprocity in terms of wonder and the gift. By discussing friendship and political representation, she shows how taking self-respect into account complicates asymmetrical reciprocity.
Can we see the expressiveness of other people's gestures, hear the intentions in their voice, see the emotions in their posture? Traditional theories of social cognition still say we cannot because intentions and emotions for them are hidden away inside and we do not have direct access to them. Enactive theories still have no idea because they have so far mainly focused on perception of our physical world. We surmise, however, that the latter hold promise since, in trying to understand (...) cognition, enactive theory focuses on the embodied engagements of a cognizer with his world. In this paper, we attempt an answer for the question What is social perception in an enactive account? In enaction, perception is conceived as a skill, crucially involving action (perception is action and action is perception), an ability to work successfully within the set of regularities, or contingencies that characterize a given domain. If this is the case, then social perception should be a social skill. Having thus transformed the question of what social perception is into that of what social skill is, we examine the concept of social contingencies and the manner in which social skills structure—both constrain and empower—social interaction. Some of the implications of our account for how social and physical perception differ, the role of embodiment in social interaction and the distinction between our approach and other social contingency theories are also addressed. (shrink)
Interpersonal understanding is rooted in social engagement. The question is: How? What features of intersubjective coordination are essential for the growth of concepts about the mind, and how does development proceed on this basis? Carpendale & Lewis (C&L) offer many telling insights, but their account begs questions about the earliest forms of self-other linkage and differentiation, especially as mediated by processes of identification.
Tagore and Gandhi shared a relationship across 26 years. They argued about many things including the means for the attainment of swaraj/freedom. In terms of this central concern with the nature of freedom they came fairly close to an issue that has perhaps dominated the (European) Enlightenment. For the Enlightenment has sought to clarify what is meant by individual freedom and attempted to secure such freedom to the individual. This article argues that the Tagore-Gandhi debate can perhaps be reconstructed around (...) the issue of freedom and the collective. Gandhi was able to employ the idea of collective action with conceptual and practical ease. He seemed to have felt no tension between individual freedom and the notion of the collective of which an individual becomes a part in his/her attempt to deal with the contending ‘other’ and secure his /her freedom/swaraj. To understand Tagore’s opposition to the Gandhian idea of swaraj this article draws a philosophical parallel between Tagore and Kant on individual freedom as primarily the freedom to reason. Tagore’s argument seemed to have centered on the insight that the location of the individual in a collective hypostatized self in order to protect his or her freedom from ‘others’ reaffirms the self other divide. The insider-outsider exclusionary dynamics that are generated not only consolidate such distinctions as external to (and outside of) the collective self, but they also initiate internal dynamics that create the ‘silenced insider.’. (shrink)
A traditional distinction is made in scholarship on Japanese Buddhism between two means for attaining enlightenment: jiriki 自力, or "self power," and tariki 他力, or "other power." Dōgen's Sōtō Zen is the paradigmatic example of a jiriki school: according to Dōgen, one attains enlightenment through strenuous zazen and rigorous ascetic practices. Shinran's Jōdo Shin Buddhism is the paradigmatic example of a tariki school: according to Shinran, human beings are incapable of self-salvation, but by chanting the nembutsu they can invoke the (...) compassionate power of Amida to save them. But the jiriki-tariki distinction is arguably a false one, with no place within Buddhism's nondualistic framework. If the basic Buddhist intuition toward nondualism is correct, then jiriki and tariki cannot be opposed at all, but must rather be two sides of the same coin. In fact, both Dōgen and Shinran are fully in agreement on abandoning the ego (ātman), and on abandoning the artificial self-other distinction that accompanies the ātman. Dōgen had deep faith in the path of the Buddhist patriarchs, and in the power of the sangha; hetaught that both were necessary means for attaining enlightenment. And Shinran firmly believed in incorporating the nembutsu in every facet of one's life, a feat for which supreme self-cultivation is required. Thus Dōgen and Shinran both preach tariki and jiriki; moreover, this is to be expected, for unless jiriki and tariki are one, their approaches to Buddhism would be dualistic. Dōgen and Shinran should be taken as model cases for understanding the unity of jiriki and tariki in all of Japanese Buddhism. (shrink)
This essay argues that Hélène Cixous's writings on theatre demonstrate an ongoing concern with the non-theorizable as a fundamental element of her experience of theatre. This creates a tension between Cixous's role as a theorist and her role as a creative writer, and this essay explores how this tension manifests itself in her reflections on theatre. It looks at the strategies Cixous adopts to allow the non-theoretical to inflect her critical and creative writing, focusing on her denial of specialist knowledge (...) about theatre, her conception of the theatre text in opposition to meditation and philosophical reflection, and on her attempts to model her own playwriting process on the practical work of actors and director Ariane Mnouchkine. Cixous's attraction to the non-theorizable, it is suggested, leads to a more poetic mode of criticism about the medium that draws both on embodied theatrical practice and the self/other relationships that structure theatre making. (shrink)
A surfeit of research confirms that people activate personal, affective, and conceptual representations when perceiving the states of others. However, researchers continue to debate the role of self–other overlap in empathy due to a failure to dissociate neural overlap, subjective resonance, and personal distress. A perception–action view posits that neural-level overlap is necessary during early processing for all social understanding, but need not be conscious or aversive. This neural overlap can subsequently produce a variety of states depending on the context (...) and degree of common experience and emotionality. We outline a framework for understanding the interrelationship between neural and subjective overlap, and among empathic states, through a dynamic-systems view of how information is processed in the brain and body. (shrink)
In his essay On Liberty, John Stuart Mill presents the famous harm principle in the following manner: “[…] the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. […] The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. […] Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.” Hence, there is a (...) distinction between self-regarding and other-regarding acts, and only the latter are subject to moral criticism. However, while all acts are in some way selfregarding, it is not clear if there are any which are exclusively so. There are two additional difficulties. First, the “individual” may not be an individual person; self-determining communities, at least when they have the ability to decide for themselves, are also “individuals” in this sense. Second, it is claimed that groups of acts (activities and practices) have a different kind of justification from single acts. So what are the limits which “others” have in order to protect themselves from what “individuals” (personal or not) do, and what are their rights to do and to protect? If, in the final analysis, protection or defense is a source of justification, what should or must be protected, and why? Where does the demarcation line between self-regarding and other-regarding acts lie? In our age, as in Mill’s, we encounter many situations where such a line is needed, yet is hard to determine or establish. One such example, the case of same-sex marriages, is further explored in this paper. (shrink)
If the self – as a popular view has it – is a narrative construction, if it arises out of discursive practices, it is reasonable to assume that the best possible avenue to self-understanding will be provided by those very narratives. If I want to know what it means to be a self, I should look closely at the stories that I and others tell about myself, since these stories constitute who I am. In the following I wish to question (...) this train of thought. I will argue that we need to operate with a more primitive and fundamental notion of self; a notion of self that cannot be captured in terms of narrative structures. In a parallel move, I will argue that there is a crucial dimension of what it means to be other that is equally missed by the narrative approach. I will consequently defend the view that there are limits to the kind of understanding of self and others that narratives can provide. (shrink)
In his later writings on ethics Foucault argues that rapport à soi – the relationship to oneself – is what gives meaning to our commitment to ‘moral behaviour’. In the absence of rapport à soi, Foucault believes, ethical adherence collapses into obedience to rules (‘an authoritarian structure’). I make a case, in broadly Levinasian terms, for saying that the call of ‘the other’ is fundamental to ethics. This prompts the question whether rapport à soi fashions an ethical subject who is (...) unduly self-concerned. Here we confront two apparently irreconcilable pictures of the source of moral demands. I describe one way of trying to reconcile them from a Foucaultian perspective, and I note the limitations in the attempt. I also try to clear away what I think to be a misunderstanding on Foucault’s part about what is at stake in the choice between these pictures. To clarify my critique of Foucault, I also relate it to a similar recent critique of virtue ethics by Thomas Hurka. (shrink)
Gallagher, S. 2000. Ways of Knowing the Self and the Other. An Introduction to Ipseity and Alterity, a special issue of the online journal _Arobase: Journal des lettres et sciences humaines,_ 4 (1-2). Hardcopy publication: S. Gallagher and S. Watson. (in press). _Ipseity and Alterity: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Intersubjectivity_ . Rouen: Presses Universitaires de.
This article examines Hegel's treatment of self-consciousness in light of the contemporary problem of the other. It argues that Hegel tries to subvert the Kantian opposition between theoretical and practical reason and tries to establish a form of idealism that can avoid solipsism. All of this requires that Hegel get beyond the Kantian concept of the object - or the other. Hegel attempts to establish an other that is not marginalized, dominated, or negated. What he gives us is a valuable (...) alternative to post modernism, which attempts instead to deconstruct or dissolve the other. Key Words: mastery • objectification • recognition • self-consciousness • solipsism. (shrink)
While he was in the employ of the Elector of Mainz, between 1668 and 1671, Leibniz produced a series of important studies in natural law. One of these, dated between 1670 and 1671, is especially noteworthy since it contains Leibniz's earliest sustained attempt to develop an account of justice. Central to this account is the notion of what Leibniz would later come to call `disinterested love', a notion that remained essentially unchanged in Leibniz's work from this period to the end (...) of his life. Through his notion of disinterested love, Leibniz sought to resolve the supposed conflict between self- and other-regarding motives. For a variety of reasons, many commentators have failed to understand the basis of Leibniz's proposed resolution. My purpose in the present paper is to clarify the terms in which Leibniz effected this resolution, as well as to point out important developments in his later thought concerning the relation between pleasure, good, and happiness. (shrink)
Background While it is generally acknowledged that self-prescribing among physicians poses some risk, research finds such behaviour to be common and in certain cases accepted by the medical community. Largely absent from the literature is knowledge about other activities doctors perform for their own medical care or for the informal treatment of family and friends. This study examined the variety, frequency and association of behaviours doctors report providing informally. Informal care included prescriptions, as well as any other type of personal (...) medical treatment (eg, monitoring chronic or serious conditions). Method A survey was sent to 2500 randomly-selected physicians in Colorado, 600 individuals returned questionnaires with usable data. The authors hypothesised: (1) physicians would prescribe the same types of treatment at home as they prescribed professionally; and (2) physicians who informally prescribed addictive medications would be more likely to engage in other types of informal medical care. Results Physicians who wrote prescriptions for antibiotics, psychotropics and opioids at work were more likely to prescribe these medications at home. Those prescribing addictive drugs outside of the office treated more serious illnesses in emergency situations, more chronic conditions and more major medical/surgical conditions informally than did those not routinely prescribing addictive medications. Physicians reported a variety of informal care behaviour and high frequency of informal care to family and friends. Discussion The frequency and variety of informal care reported in this study strongly argues for profession-wide discussion about ethical and guideline considerations for such behaviour. These areas are discussed in the paper. (shrink)
This paper makes an attempt to philosophically re-construct what I have termed as a fundamental paradox at the heart of deontological liberalism. It is argued that liberalism attempts to create the possibilities of rational consensus and of bringing people together socially and politically by developing methodologies which overcome the divisive nature of essentially parochial substantive conceptions of the good. Such methodologies relying on the supposed universally valid dictates of reason and notions of procedural rationality proceed by disengaging men from the (...) divisive particularities of their plural value contexts. That disengagement is sought to be achieved by conceptualizing the individual as self sufficient in her moral and epistemic being thereby conceptually isolating individual man from the other. The liberal effort to create rational consensus which can bring people together then gets off the ground by isolating the individual from the other. This I have termed as the paradox of the self and the other or alternatively the paradox of social atomism and universalism. As a possible philosophical alternative this paper makes an attempt to re-construct Gandhi’s conceptualization of the relationship between swaraj as self rule and Satyagraha as non-violent resistance. This Gandhian connection, it is argued, has the potential to transform the moral psychology of our response to the other, thereby posing a challenge to the modern, predominantly liberal, conceptualization of such a response. (shrink)