Human beings have the unique ability to consciously reflect on the nature of the self. But reflection has its costs. We can ask what the self is, but as David Hume pointed out, the self, once reflected upon, may be nowhere to be found. The favored view is that we are material beings living in the material world. But if so, a host of destabilizing questions surface. If persons are just a sophisticated sort of animal, then what sense is there (...) to the idea that we are free agents who control our own destinies? What makes the life of any animal, even one as sophisticated as Homo sapiens, worth anything? What place is there in a material world for God? And if there is no place for a God, then what hold can morality possibly have on us--why isn't everything allowed? Flanagan's collection of essays takes on these questions and more. He continues the old philosophical project of reconciling a scientific view of ourselves with a view of ourselves as agents of free will and meaning-makers. But to this project he brings the latest insights of neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychiatry, exploring topics such as whether the conscious mind can be explained scientifically, whether dreams are self-expressive or just noise, the moral socialization of children, and the nature of psychological phenomena such as multiple personality disorder and false memory syndrome. What emerges from these explorations is a liberating vision which can make sense of the self, agency, character transformation, and the value and worth of human life. Flanagan concludes that nothing about a scientific view of persons must lead to nihilism. (shrink)
In this study, George Rudebusch addresses whether Socrates was a hedonist--whether he believed pleasure to be the good. In attempting to locate Socrates' position on hedonism, Rudebusch examines the passages in Plato's early dialogues that are the most disputed on the topic. He maintains that Socrates identifies pleasant activity with virtuous activity, describing Socrates' hedonism as one of activity, not sensation. This analysis allows for Socrates to find both virtue and pleasure to be the good, thus solving the textual puzzle (...) and showing the power of Socratic argument in leading human beings toward the good. (shrink)
John Foster addresses the question: what is it to perceive a physical object? He rejects the view that we perceive such objects directly, and argues for a new version of the traditional empiricist account, which locates the immediate objects of perception in the mind. But this account seems to imply that we do not perceive physical objects at all. Foster offers a surprising solution, which involves embracing an idealist view of the physical world.
Since Descartes, the mind has been thought to be "in the head," separable from the world and even from the body it inhabits. In The Mind and its World , Gregory McCulloch considers the latest debates in philosophy and cognitive science about whether the thinking subject actually requires an environment in order to be able to think. McCulloch explores the mind/body duality from the Enlightenment to the 20th century. He examines such figures as Descartes, Frege, Locke, and Wittgenstein. His method (...) is comparative, and his insights are illuminating. By pitting Descartes against such thinkers as Wittgenstein and Frege, McCulloch produces a dynamic account of the implications of the Descartian argument about consciousness and the mind. The contrast evolves into McCulloch's original theory of externalism, the notion that the mind is not in the head, and is constituted by environmental, and linguistic object relations. The Mind and its World is a clearand compelling reading of the one of the dominant elements and debates within Western philosophy. Its synthesis of the arguments and controversies will make this book necessary reading for the general reader who is interested in the claims the Enlightenment and its aftermath have made about consciousness, our "minds", and even our brains._. (shrink)
An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind provides a lively and accessible introduction to all the main themes and arguments currently being debated in this area. The book examines and criticizes four major theories of mind: Dualism, Mind/Brain Identity, Behaviourism and Functionalism. It argues that while consciousness and our mental lives depend upon physical processes in the brain, they are not reducible to those processes. The differences between mental and physical states, mind/body causality, the problem of other minds, and personal (...) identity are also explored in full. The second edition of this well respected text has been revised to include a new chapter which explores Aristotle’s philosophy of psychology and mind. It also includes new material on the Turing test and has been expanded and updated throughout. The book is designed to help students think for themselves about all the issues identified above, and contains exercises throughout the text to stimulate and challenge the reader. Objectives are clearly set out at the start of every chapter to enable students to check their understanding as they proceed, and each chapter ends with questions to consider. There are discussions of the most cited contemporary writers in the field, so that the reader can gain a rounded perspective of the debates. (shrink)
This essential book provides a comprehensive explanation of the key topics and debates arising in the philosophy of psychology. In editors William O'Donohue and Richard Kitchener's thoughtful examination, philosophy and psychology converge on several themes of great importance such as the foundations of knowledge, the nature of science, rationality, behaviorism, cognitive science, folk psychology, neuropsychology, psychoanalysis, professionalism, and research ethics. The Philosophy of Psychology also provides an in-depth discussion of ethics in counseling and psychiatry while exploring the diverse topics listed (...) above. The internationally renowned group of contributors to this volume both stimulating and informative. The Philosophy of Psychology will be invaluable for students and academics in theories and systems in psychology, cognitive psychology, cognitive science, philosophy of the social sciences, philosophy of the mind, and related courses. (shrink)
One of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century, Sir Karl Popper here examines the problems connected with human freedom, creativity, rationality and the relationship between human beings and their actions. In this illuminating series of papers, Popper suggests a theory of mind-body interaction that relates to evolutionary emergence, human language and what he calls "the three worlds." Rene; Descartes first posited the existence of two worlds--the world of physical bodies and the world of mental states. Popper argues for (...) the existence of "world 3" which comprises the products of our human minds. He examines the interaction between mental states--hopes, needs, plans, ideologies or hypotheses--and the physical states of our brain. Popper forcefully argues against the materialism forwarded by many philosophers which denies the existence of mental states. Instead, he demonstrates that the problem of the interaction between mental and physical states remains unresolved. Knowledge and the Body-Mind Problem is based on Popper's never-before published lectures at Emory University in 1969. Popper has extensively revised the lectures but has retained their accessible format. He has also incorporated some of the discussions which followed the lectures, providing an engaging exchange between the philosopher and his audience. (shrink)
Recent and rapid technological developments on many fronts have created in our society some extremely difficult moral predicaments. Previous generations have not had to face the dilemmas posed by, for example, the availability of safe abortions, sperm banks and prostoglandins. They have not had to come to terms with an unchecked exploitation of natural resources heralding imminent ecological crisis, or, worst of all, with the recognition that only in this current generation have people the capacity to destroy themselves and their (...) environment. This book seeks to show how, and why, Seventh-day Adventism has addressed these moral issues, and that the ethical questions arising from these issues are especially relevant to the Adventist church and its development. Dr Pearson looks specifically at the moral decisions Adventists have made in the area of human sexuality, on such issues as contraception, abortion, the role and status of women, divorce and homosexuality, from the beginnings of the movement to 1985. He seeks to put such decision-making in perspective by providing the general social context in which it took place, and shows how Ellen White (whose charismatic leadership held the movement together in its first fifty years) has been a major source of moral authority in the Adventist church - her writings continuing to exercise authority in a contemporary society of turmoil and change. This important book, which conveys something of the general ethos of Adventism, is the first to investigate the ethics of the movement, ans so fill a notable gap in the literature. (shrink)
In Minds and Bodies, one of philosophy's most dynamic and versatile thinkers gathers nearly forty review essays written over the past twenty years for publications of a nonspecialized kind. They cover biography, particularly of Russell and Wittgenstein; philosophy of mind, especially consciousness; and ethics, with an emphasis on applied ethics. Lucid and accessible, these essays together form a vivid picture of contemporary philosophy for the general reader, and will be welcomed by those within the philosophical community for their crisp critical (...) insights and rigorous assessments. (shrink)
Recent philosophy of mind has had a mistaken conception of the nature of psychological concepts. It has assumed too much similarity between psychological judgments and those of natural science and has thus overlooked the fact that other people are not just objects whose thoughts we may try to predict and control but fellow creatures with whom we talk and co-operate. In this collection of essays, Jane Heal argues that central to our ability to arrive at views about others' thoughts is (...) not knowledge of some theory of the mind but rather an ability to imagine alternative worlds and how things appear from another person's point of view. She then applies this view to questions of how we represent others' thoughts, the shape of psychological concepts, the nature of rationality and the possibility of first person authority. This book should appeal to students and professionals in philosophy of mind and language. (shrink)
In The Nature of Consciousness, Mark Rowlands develops an innovative and radical account of the nature of phenomenal consciousness, one that has significant consequences for attempts to find a place for it in the natural order. The most significant feature of consciousness is its dual nature: consciousness can be both the directing of awareness and that upon which awareness is directed. Rowlands offers a clear and philosophically insightful discussion of the main positions in this fast-moving debate, and argues that the (...) phenomenal aspects of conscious experience are aspects that exist only in the directing of experience towards non-phenomenal objects, a theory that undermines reductive attempts to explain consciousness in terms of what is not conscious. His book will be of interest to a wide range of readers in the philosophy of mind and language, psychology, and cognitive science. (shrink)
Isaac Levi's new book is concerned with how one can justify changing one's beliefs. The discussion is deeply informed by the belief-doubt model advocated by C. S. Peirce and John Dewey, of which the book provides a substantial analysis. Professor Levi then addresses the conceptual framework of potential changes available to an inquirer. A structural approach to propositional attitudes is proposed which rejects the conventional view that a propositional attitude involves a relation between an agent and either a linguistic entity (...) or some other intentional object such as a proposition or set of possible worlds. The last two chapters offer an account of change in states of full belief understood as changes in commitments rather than changes in performance; one chapter deals with adding new information to a belief state, the other with giving up information. The book builds upon topics discussed in some of Levi's earlier work. It will be of particular interest to discussion theorists, epistemologists, philosophers of science, computer scientists, and cognitive psychologists. (shrink)
Intrigues: From Being to the Other examines the possibility of writing the other, explores whether an ethical writing that preserves the other as such is possible, and discusses what the implications are for an ethically inflected criticism. Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot, whose works constitute the most thorough contemporary exploration of the question of the other and of its relation to writing, are the main focus of this study. The book's horizon is ethics in the Levinasian sense: the question of (...) the other, which, on the hither side of language understood as a system of signs and of representation, must be welcomed by language and preserved in its alterity. Martin Heidegger is an unavoidable reference, however. While it is true that for the German philosopher Being is an immanent production, his elucidation of a more essential understanding of Being entails a deconstruction of onto-theology, of the sign and the grammatical and logical determinations of language, all decisive starting points for both Levinas and Blanchot.At stake for both Levinas and Blanchot, then, is how to mark a nondiscursive excess within discourse without erasing or reducing it. How should one read and write the other in the same without reducing the other to the same?Critics in recent years have discussed an "ethical moment or turn" characterized by the other's irruption into the order of discourse. The other becomes a true crossroads of disciplines, since it affects several aspects of discourse: the constitution of the subject, the status of knowledge, the nature of representation, and what that representation represses (gender, power). Yet there has been a tendency to graft the other onto paradigms whose main purpose is to reassess questions of identity, fundamentally in terms of representation; the other thus loses some of its most crucial features.Through close readings of texts by Heidegger, Levinas, and Blanchot the book examines how the question of the other engages the very limits of philosophy, rationality, and power. (shrink)
Professor Hilary Putnam has been one of the most influential and sharply original of recent American philosophers in a whole range of fields. His most important published work is collected here, together with several new and substantial studies, in two volumes. The first deals with the philosophy of mathematics and of science and the nature of philosophical and scientific enquiry; the second deals with the philosophy of language and mind. Volume one is now issued in a new edition, including an (...) essay on the philosophy of logic first published in 1971. (shrink)
Emotions, Values, and the Law brings together ten of John Deigh's essays written over the past fifteen years. In the first five essays, Deigh ask questions about the nature of emotions and the relation of evaluative judgment to the intentionality of emotions, and critically examines the cognitivist theories of emotion that have dominated philosophy and psychology over the past thirty years. A central criticism of these theories is that they do not satisfactorily account for the emotions of babies or animals (...) other than human beings. Drawing on this criticism, Deigh develops an alternative theory of the intentionality of emotions on which the education of emotions explains how human emotions, which innately contain no evaluative thought, come to have evaluative judgments as their principal cognitive component. The second group of five essays challenge the idea of the voluntary as essential to understanding moral responsibility, moral commitment, political obligation, and other moral and political phenomena that have traditionally been thought to depend on people's will. Each of these studies focuses on a different aspect of our common moral and political life and shows, contrary to conventional opinion, that it does not depend on voluntary action or the exercise of a will constituted solely by rational thought. Together, the essays in this collection represent an effort to shift our understanding of the phenomena traditionally studied in moral and political philosophy from that of their being products of reason and will, operating independently of feeling and sentiment to that of their being manifestations of the work of emotion. (shrink)
The problem of explaining consciousness today depends on the meaning of language: the ordinary language of consciousness in which we define and express our sensations, thoughts, dreams and memories. Paul Livingston argues that this contemporary problem arises from a quest that developed over the twentieth century, and that historical analysis provides new resources for understanding and resolving it. Accordingly, Livingston traces the application of characteristic practices of analytic philosophy to problems about the relationship of experience to linguistic meaning.