Princess Diana’s death was a tragedy that provoked mourning across the globe; the death of a homeless person, more often than not, is met with apathy. How can we account for this uneven distribution of emotion? Can it simply be explained by the prevailing scientific understanding? Uncovering a rich tradition beginning with Aristotle, _The Secret History of Emotion_ offers a counterpoint to the way we generally understand emotions today. Through a radical rereading of Aristotle, Seneca, Thomas Hobbes, Sarah Fielding, and (...) Judith Butler, among others, Daniel M. Gross reveals a persistent intellectual current that considers emotions as psychosocial phenomena. In Gross’s historical analysis of emotion, Aristotle and Hobbes’s rhetoric show that our passions do not stem from some inherent, universal nature of men and women, but rather are conditioned by power relations and social hierarchies. He follows up with consideration of how political passions are distributed to some people but not to others using the Roman Stoics as a guide. Hume and contemporary theorists like Judith Butler, meanwhile, explain to us how psyches are shaped by power. To supplement his argument, Gross also provides a history and critique of the dominant modern view of emotions, expressed in Darwinism and neurobiology, in which they are considered organic, personal feelings independent of social circumstances. The result is a convincing work that rescues the study of the passions from science and returns it to the humanities and the art of rhetoric. (shrink)
“rhetorical theory” since 1800. Data source: Google Trends “rhetorical theory”, “literary theory”, and “critical theory”, since 1800. Data source: Google Trends The old news is that Theory with a capital “T” happened from approximately 1965–85 and then dissipated in scandal. Or to the contrary, Theory is an ancient and global activity we find wherever we have evidence of systematic reflection, upon language especially. Alive and well. But neither of these stories can be adequate given a graph like those above, and (...) given our facts on the ground. For Theory is still, or is again robust, with Philosophy & Rhetoric as a premier venue, at the same time that... (shrink)
At the beginning of the 16th century in Germany, religious ends and human art joined forces to produce a sacred rhetoric: a rhetoric that could transform human nature, and explain at the same time how such transformation was possible according to both science and scripture. No longer was it enough to ask in Scholastic fashion ‘What is man?’ - his essence and unique faculties, his special place in God’s world. A new question took on urgency in the wake of religious (...) reformation, namely ‘What could man become?’ But theology alone could not provide a practical response to this question. Rhetoric, in its various adopted forms, could. Consequently rhetoric emerged as architectonic of the human sciences in Reformation Germany, shaping pedagogy as a practical art. Whereas scholars have paid a good deal of attention to the way in which the exact sciences such as mathematics influenced Enlightenment human science, the history of human science as practical art has received little attention. This article contributes to such a history by showing how rhetoric as a practical protreptic art structured human scientific initiatives in the wake of Philipp Melanchthon’s Reformation pedagogy. (shrink)
We learn something from the mistakes we make with a book. In this case I read the word “quarkism” where I should have read the word “Quakerism.” As in the sentence on page 102 of Lisbeth Lipari’s quirky book: “This kind of listening is perhaps what is called in Quakerism [or was it “quarkism”] the ‘gathered meeting,’ where the assembled silent worshipers cease being individual selves and instead join together in ‘gathered harkening.’” You can guess “worshipers” alerted me to this (...) mistake, but the first part seemed perfectly plausible, as the discussion in the first chapter of holism versus atomism runs through quantum mechanics and brings up subatomic particles like quarks and the space in between.I venture there.. (shrink)
Though some of the critical reviews of Frank M. Coleman's Hobbes and America have alluded to the affinities of his work to that of Strauss, Macpherson, Laslett, and Oakeshott, most have ignored Coleman's specifically philosophic treatment of Hobbes as the foundational thinker most responsive to political realities which emerge in the seventeenth century and still characterize American politics. Coleman's purpose is to demonstrate how the operative American constitutional philosophy can be recognized clearly only when understood in the context of its (...) Hobbesian origins. But, Coleman suggests, this does not necessarily exclude the possibility of gaining insight into the thought of Hobbes, Locke, and Madison in virtue of reflection on contemporary American political experience. (shrink)
Since the introduction of the computer in the early 1950's, the investigation of artificial intelligence has followed three chief avenues: the discovery of self-organizing systems; the building of working models of human behavior, incorporating specific psychological theories; and the building of "heuristic" machines, without bias in favor of humanoid characteristics. While this work has used philosophical logic and its results may illustrate philosophical problems, the artificial intelligence program is by now an intricate, organized specialty. This book, therefore, has a quite (...) specialized audience of its own although it can be very valuable to those philosophers who are interested and competent in using this pioneering material. Five scientific papers report attempts to solve five different kinds of problems. Bertram Raphael describes an attempt to build a memory structure that converts the information input into a systematic model by "understanding" the informational statements as they are made. Daniel Bobrow's machine can set up algebraic equations from informal verbal statements. M. Ross Quillan asks: "What sort of representational format can permit the 'meanings' of words to be stored?" Thomas Evans' machine, Analogy, serves as a model for "pattern-recognition" rather than the "common-property" method of semantic memory. Fischer Black has developed a logical deduction mechanism for question-answering which keeps track of where we are and avoids endless deduction. The editor and John McCarthy contribute more general chapters, providing the historical background of cybernetics, and dealing with the problem of formalizing a concept of causality. Minsky ends the volume with his view that our convictions on dualism, consciousness, free will, and the like are used in the attempt to explain the complicated interactions between parts of our model of ourselves.--M. B. M. (shrink)
More than six centuries of Christian and non-Christian reflection and admiration of Meister Eckhart are the subject matter of this very scholarly yet very readable work. Philosophers like Nicolas Cusanus and Hegel, great scholars like H. Denifle and a number of lesser men are examined in order to determine what they thought about Eckhart, what they learned from him, how much they knew of him. The medieval condemnations and Cusanus' admiration issued into a period of relative neglect of Eckhart, broken (...) only by the deserving attempts of Daniel Sudermann to collect Eckhart's manuscripts. The great Dominican did not come into his own until the beginning of the last century. Franz von Baader was the one who "discovered" him and who drew Hegel's attention to some of his texts. With the monographs by C. Schmidt and Bishop Martensen, Eckhart had become known to the philosophical public as a forerunner of nineteenth-century speculation and this image had not been shattered until Denifle shifted the focus of attention to the Latin texts with their more orthodox formulations. In this century there has been a renewal of interest in the German writings which continue to have a certain popular appeal, but now, thanks to the monumental edition of the complete works, a more objective and more scholarly atmosphere pervades the literature on Meister Eckhart.--M. J. V. (shrink)
An important component of souls is the capacity for free will, as the origin of agency within an individual. Belief in souls arises in part from the experience of conscious will, a compelling feeling of personal causation that accompanies almost every action we take, and suggests that an immaterial self is in charge of the physical body.
Erdelyi's account of thought suppression, which he equates with the Freudian construct of repression, is that it is mostly successful, and that it undermines memory for the suppressed material. Erdelyi has neglected to consider evidence from two decades of research on suppression which renders both these claims invalid. Contrary to Erdelyi's thesis, suppression often enhances the accessibility of unwanted material.
During disasters, clinicians may be forced to play dual roles, as both a provider and an allocator of scarce resources. At present, a clear framework to govern resource stewardship at the bedside is lacking. Clinicians who find themselves practicing in this ethical gap between clinical and public health ethics can experience significant moral distress. One provider describes her experience allocating an oxygen tank in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, immediately following the 2010 earthquake. Using a (...) clinical vignette and reflective narrative she attempts to identify the factors that influenced her allocation decision, opening up the factors for commentary and debate by an ethicist. A better paradigm for the ethical care of patients during disasters is needed to better guide provider choices in the future. (shrink)
Bayesians take “definite” or “single-case” probabilities to be basic. Definite probabilities attach to closed formulas or propositions. We write them here using small caps: PROB(P) and PROB(P/Q). Most objective probability theories begin instead with “indefinite” or “general” probabilities (sometimes called “statistical probabilities”). Indefinite probabilities attach to open formulas or propositions. We write indefinite probabilities using lower case “prob” and free variables: prob(Bx/Ax). The indefinite probability of an A being a B is not about any particular A, but rather about the (...) property of being an A. In this respect, its logical form is the same as that of relative frequencies. For instance, we might talk about the probability of a human baby being female. That probability is about human babies in general — not about individuals. If we examine a baby and determine conclusively that she is female, then the definite probability of her being female is 1, but that does not alter the indefinite probability of human babies in general being female. Most objective approaches to probability tie probabilities to relative frequencies in some way, and the resulting probabilities have the same logical form as the relative frequencies. That is, they are indefinite probabilities. The simplest theories identify indefinite probabilities with relative frequencies.3 It is often objected that such “finite frequency theories” are inadequate because our probability judgments often diverge from relative frequencies. For example, we can talk about a coin being fair (and so the indefinite probability of a flip landing heads is 0.5) even when it is flipped only once and then destroyed (in which case the relative frequency is either 1 or 0). For understanding such indefinite probabilities, it has been suggested that we need a notion of probability that talks about possible instances of properties as well as actual instances.. (shrink)
In its American context the case of baby Messenger, a preterm infant disconnected from life-support by his father and allowed to die has generated debate about neonatal treatment protocols. Limited by the legal and ethical norms of the United States, this case did not consider treatment protocols that might be available in other countries such as Denmark and Israel: threshold protocols whereby certain classes of newborns are not treated, and preemptive abortion allowing one to choose late-term abortion rather than risk (...) delivery. Each offers a viable and ethically sound avenue for dealing with the economic and social expense of anomalous newborns by aborting or not treating those most likely to burden the health care system. Objections that these protocols are antithetical to American bioethical principles are considered but rejected as each policy answers to economic justice, utility and respect for autonomy. (shrink)
Competent patients who refuse life saving medical treatment present a dilemma for healthcare professionals. On one hand, respect for autonomy and liberty demand that physicians respect a patient’s decision to refuse treatment. However, it is often apparent that such patients are not fully competent. They may not adequately comprehend the benefits of medical care, be overly anxious about pain, or discount the value of their future state of health. Although most bioethicists are convinced that partial autonomy or marginal competence of (...) this kind demands the same respect as full autonomy, Israeli legislators created a mechanism to allow ethics committees to override patients’ informed refusal and treat them against their will. To do so, three conditions must be satisfied: physicians must make every effort to ensure the patient understands the risks of non-treatment, the treatment physicians propose must offer a realistic chance of significant improvement, and there are reasonable expectations that the patient will consent retroactively. Although not all of these conditions are equally cogent, they offer a way forward to assure care for certain classes of competent patients without abandoning the principle of autonomy altogether. These concerns reach past Israel and should engage healthcare professionals wary that respect for autonomy may sometimes cause avoidable harm. (shrink)
Co-authored letter to the APA to take a lead role in the recognition of teaching in the classroom, based on the participation in an interdisciplinary Conference on the Role of Advocacy in the Classroom back in 1995. At the time of this writing, the late Myles Brand was the President of Indiana University and a member of the IU Department of Philosophy.
We analyzed a sample of 356 forms containing information that Colorado law legally requires both licensed and unlicensed therapists to disclose to clients. The majority of forms contained the legally mandated information; fewer forms contained ethically desirable information. The average readability grade level was 15.74, corresponding to upper-level college, and 63.9% of the forms reached the highest (most difficult) readability grade of 17 +. Therapists are obeying the law, but do not appear to be taking advantage of the opportunity to (...) provide their clients useful information in an accessible way. (shrink)