I respond to Ned Block’s claim that it is ridiculous to suppose that consciousness is a cultural construction based on language and learned in childhood. Block is wrong to dismiss social constructivist theories of consciousness on account of it being ludicrous that conscious experience is anything but a biological feature of our animal heritage, characterized by sensory experience, evolved over millions of years. By defending social constructivism in terms of both Julian Jaynes’ behaviorism and J.J. Gibson’s ecological psychology, I (...) draw a distinction between the experience or what-it-is-like of nonhuman animals engaging with the environment and the secret theater of speechless monologue that is familiar to a linguistically competent human adult. This distinction grounds the argument that consciousness proper should be seen as learned rather than innate and shared with nonhuman animals. Upon establishing this claim, I defend the Jaynesian definition of consciousness as a social–linguistic construct learned in childhood, structured in terms of lexical metaphors and narrative practice. Finally, I employ the Jaynesian distinction between cognition and consciousness to bridge the explanatory gap and deflate the supposed hard problem of consciousness. (shrink)
In 1912, Julian Huxley published his first book The Individual in the Animal Kingdom which he dedicated to the then world-famous French philosopher Henri Bergson. Historians have generally adopted one of two attitudes towards Huxley’s early encounter with Bergson. They either dismiss it entirely as unimportant or minimise it, deeming it a youthful indiscretion preceding Huxley’s full conversion to Fisherian Darwinism. Close biographical study and new archive materials demonstrate, however, that neither position is tenable. The Bergsonian elements in play (...) in Julian Huxley’s early works fed into his first ideas about progress in evolution and even his celebrated theories of bird courtship. Furthermore, the view that Huxley rejected Bergson in his later years needs to be revised. Although Huxley ended up claiming that Bergson’s theory of evolution had no explanatory power, he never repudiated the descriptive power of Bergson’s controversial notion of the élan vital. Even into the Modern Synthesis period, Huxley represented his own synthesis as drawing decisively on Bergson’s philosophy. (shrink)
Eugen Fink’s interpretation of play is virtually absent in the current philosophy of sport, despite the fact that it is rich in original descriptions of the structure of play. This might be due to Fink’s decision not to merely describe play, but to employ its analysis in the course of an elucidation of the ontological problem of the world as totality. On the other hand, this approach can enable us to properly evaluate the true existential and/or ontological value of play. (...) According to Fink, by integrating beings into the imaginary play-world, we become able to transcend mere circumscribed individual entities and encounter reality as such in a new, more profound way. This positive ontological value of play is, however, forgotten because the imaginary dimension of play is traditionally interpreted as a virtual imitation of a model reality which already actually exists somewhere else. For this reason, Fink returns to the Platonic interpretation of play, which laid the foundations for this understanding, and... (shrink)
In the last decade of his life (from 1928 to 1938), Husserl sought to develop a new understanding of his transcendental phenomenology (in publications such as Cartesian Meditations, Formal and Transcendental Logic, and the Crisis) in order to combat misconceptions of phenomenology then current (chief among which was Heidegger’s hermeneutic phenomenology as articulated in Being and Time). During this period, Husserl had an assistant and collaborator, Eugen Fink, who sought not only to be midwife to the birth of Husserl’s own (...) ideas but who also wanted to mediate between Husserl and Heidegger. As a result of the Fink- Husserl collaboration there appeared a rich flow of works that testify to the depth with which transcendental phenomenology had been rethought. Bruzina is the chief scholar of this material. This paper attempts both to disentangle the relationships between the phenomenologies of Husserrl, Heidegger, and Fink and to assess critically the value of Bruzina’s contribution. (shrink)
According to Eugen Fink, a thorough elucidation of the meaning of play has the capacity to lead us towards an understanding of the world as a totality. In order to go beyond Plato’s understanding of play as an inferior copy of serious action, Fink provides an analysis of the cultic game. This form of playing cannot be said to be the origin of all play, but it enables us to demonstrate how the act of playing transcends circumscribed beings inside the (...) world and provides a relationship with a higher whole, in which the community participating in the play is encompassed. A masked shaman does not represent a particular god, but brings to presence the action of gods upon humans as such. Thus, the cultic game is a symbol of a more important reality, not an inferior representation of an individual reality. This, however, is still not a sufficiently radical interpretation of the ontological dimension of play: the whole is only understood as an action of gods, i.e. mediately. Fink strives to demonstrate on the cont... (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 193 - 207 Julian, in a Syriac fragment of his _Contra Galilaeos_, attacked the resurrection narratives in Matthew and Mark, because they were inconsistent with each other concerning the time of the arrival of the women to the tomb, the nature of the being they met in the tomb, and the women’s subsequent actions. Other texts in Syriac and Latin indicate the probability that Julian took over the substance of his argument (...) from Porphyry. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 13 - 38 This paper assembles evidence from the full scope of Julian’s writings that the emperor had a pronounced interest in medicine and human health, which impacted both his rhetorical and real approach to political, philosophical, and religious problems. His initiatives aimed to promote doctors, medical research, and public health. He emphasized a holistic view of bodily and spiritual health in his version of theurgic Neoplatonism. Medical frames of reference also played (...) an appreciable role in his anti-Christian program. Finally, he himself and others styled him as a physician-king on a divine mission to heal the Empire of the Christian disease. (shrink)
En contra de les aparences, la meva intenció és ridiculitzar i desactivar l’estratègic ús de referències a personatges de ficció per part dels mass media, els quals pretenen identificar el fundador de WikiLeaks amb tot aquest projecte —quelcom que facilita tant la deslegitimació com la mercantilització. Així, aquest article qüestiona la dominant personalització de la web de filtracions en Julian Assange, tot mostrant algunes de les més rellevants diferències i/o contradiccions entre el rerefons normatiu de WikiLeaks i la pseudo-filosofia (...) política de l’australià. La meva tesi és que la justificació de la il·legal revelació d’informació secreta i confidencial com a pràctica de desobediència civil es posa en perill per la contaminació de postulats utilitaristes i neoliberals. (shrink)
O artigo tem por objetivo investigar a particular relação que se estabelece entre a temática do início da filosofia – que é de extrema importância para toda a “escola fenomenológica de Freiburg” – e a concepção da essência da filosofia tal como desenvolvida especificamente no pensamento de Martin Heidegger e Eugen Fink. A partir da reinterpretação e radicalização operadas em relação à abordagem estabelecida pela fenomenologia husserliana, mostraremos como a figura de Husserl se impõe tanto como pano de fundo quanto (...) como alvo polêmico das reflexões de Heidegger e Fink. Assim, se o primeiro desenvolve uma concepção da filosofia como práxis radical de um “outro” pensamento, que procede por tentativas e experimentações, o segundo transforma a fenomenologia husserliana no sentido de uma filosofia da liberdade. (shrink)
Desde la visión de Ortega y Gasset y Julián Marías aparece el pensador Árabe Ibn Jaldún como uno de los principales puentes tendidos entre Oriente y Occidente, tanto que es considerado por ambos como el primer filósofo de la historia. Según afirmaciones de Ortega, el pensador árabe es el cimiento que heredaron las generaciones de ambos pensadores españoles.
Se trata de exponer y examinar los argumentos del filósofo Julián Marías en relación con el problema de la ética de la persona humana, desde la perspectiva de la vida humana y de la Antropología metafísica. Integrante de la "Escuela de Madrid", su pensamiento ha sido inspirado por la filosofía rac..
Theoretical ethics includes both metaethics (the meaning of moral terms) and normative ethics (ethical theories and principles). Practical ethics involves making decisions about every day real ethical problems, like decisions about euthanasia, what we should eat, climate change, treatment of animals, and how we should live. It utilizes ethical theories, like utilitarianism and Kantianism, and principles, but more broadly a process of reflective equilibrium and consistency to decide how to act and be.
Guy Kahane and Julian Savulescu respond to my paper “Valuing Disability, Causing Disability” by arguing that my assessment of objections to the mere-difference view of disability is unconvincing and fails to explain their conviction that it is impermissible to cause disability. In reply, I argue that their response misconstrues, somewhat radically, both what I say in my paper and the commitments of the mere-difference view more generally. It also fails to adequately appreciate the unique epistemic factors present in philosophical (...) discussions of disability. (shrink)
Eugen Fink was Edmund Husserl’s research assistant during the last decade of the renowned phenomenologist’s life, a period in which Husserl’s philosophical ideas were radically recast. In this landmark book, Ronald Bruzina shows that Fink was actually a collaborator with Husserl, contributing indispensable elements to their common enterprise. Drawing on hundreds of hitherto unknown notes and drafts by Fink, Bruzina highlights the scope and depth of his theories and critiques. He places these philosophical formulations in their historical setting, organizes them (...) around such key themes as the world, time, life, and the concept and methodological place of the “meontic,” and demonstrates that they were a pivotal impetus for the renewing of “regress to the origins” in transcendental-constitutive phenomenology. (shrink)
Julian Cole argues that mathematical domains are the products of social construction. This view has an initial appeal in that it seems to salvage much that is good about traditional platonistic realism without taking on the ontological baggage. However, it also has problems. After a brief sketch of social constructivist theories and Cole’s philosophy of mathematics, I evaluate the arguments in favor of social constructivism. I also discuss two substantial problems with the theory. I argue that unless and until (...) social constructivists can address the two concerns, we have reason to be skeptical about social constructivism in the philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
Life can be awful. For this to be the stuff of tragedy and not farce, we require a capacity to be more than we presently are. Tony Webster, the narrator of Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending, poses a challenge to this commitment of ethics in his commentary on the instability of memory. But Barnes leads us past this difficulty by showing us that Tony’s real problem is his inability to make sense of himself—a failure of self-knowledge. Tony’s (...) past is tangled up with others he can scarcely see as people. Let us hope we can do better. (shrink)
Julian Schwinger was one of the leading theoretical physicists of the twentieth century. His contributions are as important, and as pervasive, as those of Richard Feynman, with whom he shared the 1965 Nobel Prize for Physics. Yet, while Feynman is universally recognized as a cultural icon, Schwinger is little known even to many within the physics community. In his youth, Julian Schwinger was a nuclear physicist, turning to classical electrodynamics after World War II. In the years after the (...) war, he was the first to renormalize quantum electrodynamics. Subsequently, he presented the most complete formulation of quantum field theory and laid the foundations for the electroweak synthesis of Glashow, Weinberg, and Salam, and he made fundamental contributions to the theory of nuclear magnetic resonance, to many-body theory, and to quantum optics. He developed a unique approach to quantum mechanics, measurement algebra, and a general quantum action principle. His discoveries include 'Feynman's' parameters and 'Glauber's' coherent states; in later years he also developed an alternative to operator field theory which he called Source Theory, reflecting his profound phenomenological bent. His late work on the Thomas-Fermi model of atoms and on the Casimir effect continues to be an inspiration to a new generation of physicists. This biography describes the many strands of his research life, while tracing the personal life of this private and gentle genius. (shrink)
Julian of Norwich emphasizes God’s eternal and unchanging love for humankind. Her visions show how God is not angry with our sins and so has no need to forgive us. God does not shame or blame us but excuses us and plans how to reward and compensate us for sin. In relation to Mother Jesus, we remain dear lovely children who need help, correction, and education. Although these remarks suggest to some that Julian must be soft on sin, (...) that she has no adequate appreciation of the worthiness of God or the dignity of human nature, I argue that this is far from the case. On the contrary, she makes Divine worthiness axiomatic and urges readers to live into it. She relocates human dignity not in its intrinsic value but in our centrality to God’s plan. She measures the seriousness of sin in terms of the real hard work it takes to rear us up out of it: crucifixion for Christ, the hell of being a sinner and the crucifixion of life-long penance for us. Nevertheless, the brightness of her visions dominates with her assurance that despite the sin-produced sufferings of this present life, all will be well. (shrink)
In 1938, doctors Eric Guttmann and Walter Maclay, two psychiatrists based at the Maudsley Hospital in London, administered the hallucinogenic drug mescaline to a group of artists, asking the participants to record their experiences visually. These artists included the painter Julian Trevelyan, who was associated with the British surrealist movement at this time. Published as ‘Mescaline hallucinations in artists’, the research took place at a crucial time for psychiatry, as the discipline was beginning to edge its way into the (...) scientific arena. Newly established, the Maudsley Hospital received Jewish émigrés from Germany to join its ranks. Sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, this group of psychiatrists brought with them an enthusiasm for psychoactive drugs and visual media in the scientific study of psychopathological states. In this case, Guttmann and Maclay enlisted the help of surrealist artists, who were harnessing hallucinogens for their own revolutionary aims. Looking behind the images, particularly how they were produced and their legacy today, tells a story of how these groups cooperated, and how their overlapping ecologies of knowledge and experience coincided in these remarkable inscriptions. (shrink)
Julian Huxley’s contribution to twentieth-century biology and science popularisation is well documented. What has not been appreciated so far is that despite Huxley’s eminence as a public scientific figure and the part that he played in the rise of experimental zoology in Britain in the 1920s, his own research was often heavily criticised in this period by his colleagues. This resulted in numerous difficulties in getting his scientific research published in the early 1920s. At this time, Huxley started his (...) popular science career. Huxley’s friends criticised him for engaging in this actively and attributed the publication difficulties to the time that he allocated to popular science. The cause might also have its roots in his self-professed inability to delve deeply into the particularities of research. This affected Huxley’s standing in the scientific community and seems to have contributed to the fact that Huxley failed twice in the late 1920s to be elected to the Royal Society. This picture undermines to some extent Peter J. Bowler’s recent portrayal of Huxley as a science populariser. (shrink)
The admiration of the Soviet Union amongst Britain's interwar scientific left is well known. This article reveals a parallel story. Focusing on the biologists Julian Huxley and Lancelot Hogben and the scientific journalist J.G. Crowther, I show that a number of scientific thinkers began to look west, to the US. In the mid- to late 1930s and into the 1940s, Huxley, Crowther and Hogben all visited the US and commented favourably on Roosevelt's New Deal, in particular its experimental approach (...) to politics. Huxley was first to appreciate the significance of the experiment; he looked to the Tennessee Valley Authority as a model of democratic planning by persuasion that could also be applied in Britain. Crowther, meanwhile, examined the US through the lens of history of science. In Famous American Men of Science and in lectures at Harvard University, he aimed to shed light on the flaws in the Constitution which were frustrating the New Deal. Finally, Hogben's interest in the US was related to his long-standing opposition to dialectical materialism, and when he finally saw the US at first hand, he regarded it as a model for how to bring about a planned socialist society through peaceful persuasion. (shrink)
Julian of Norwich (b. 1342) anticipated the ontological and epistemological work on sexed embodiment pioneered in the work of Merleau-Ponty and Irigaray in the 20th century. Her epistemology of sensual ‘showings’ helped reconfigure women’s embodiment and speech acts (‘bodytalk’): by recognizing cognitive emotions and the knowledge-producing body; and by envisioning the intertwining of human flesh with All That Is. The paper next examines Merleau-Ponty’s somatic discourse on the chiasmic flesh, which leads to a discussion of Irigaray’s work on poetic (...) mimesis. (shrink)
Julian Reiss finds an insoluble paradox in the claims that economic models are at the same time false, nevertheless explanatory, and that only true explanations explain. But the claim that they are false is itself false. A closer look at what ?truth? may mean is needed.
The Modern Synthesis has been receiving bad press for some time now. Back in 1983, in an article entitled “The Hardening of the Modern Synthesis” Stephen Jay Gould criticized the way the Modern Synthesis had developed since its inception in the 1930s and early 1940s (Gould 1983). Back then, those who would later become known as ‘architects’ of the synthesis were united in their call for explaining evolution at all levels in terms of causation at one level: genetics. What drove (...) changes in gene frequency remained an open question. It could be mainly selection, or drift, or some (other) form of constraint. But in the two decades that followed, the synthesis underwent a major change. By the late 1940s the synthesis had ‘hardened’ around adaptationism, according to Gould. Influential contributors like Dobzhansky, Simpson and Wright had increasingly expressed adaptationist views in the later editions of their landmark books. Not because evidence had piled up, showing that selection was in fact pervasive. Instead, Gould argued, adaptationist tendencies had been preserved by some kind of cultural inertia, and were now being revived. “Certain ‘national styles’ persisted from the eighteenth century, through Darwin’s era, and into our own time. Views on adaptation provide a good example” (Gould 1983). Gould did not just argue that some form of adaptationism had resurfaced. He became well-known for his efforts to intervene on this status quo by attempting to make evolutionary biology more ‘pluralistic’. In collaborative work with Richard Lewontin (Gould and Lewontin 1979), Elisabeth Vrba (Gould and Vrba 1982; Vrba and Gould 1986) and Niles Eldredge (Eldredge and Gould 1972; Gould and Eldredge 1977) he criticized the synthesis for its adaptationism and its lack of appreciation for hierarchical perspectives. Gould exerted his influence in a different way as well. Together with Eldredge, he had facsimiles reprinted of the first editions of two books that had shaped synthesis, but with their own critical introductions (Eldredge 1982; Gould 1982). Dobzhansky’s Genetics and the Origin of Species and Mayr’s Systematics and the Origin of Species appeared as reprints in the ‘Columbia Classics in Evolution’ series, sending an unambiguous message to the readers: these are foundational works, but they have been superseded. In the summer of 2008, some 25 years after Gould made his point about the hardening of the Modern Synthesis, a group of sixteen biologists and philosophers gathered at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI) near Vienna, Austria, to discuss cutting-edge research that reaches beyond the synthesis framework. Before it even started, this workshop on the ‘Extended Synthesis’ had already attracted a fair share of attention in the blogosphere and had resulted in a news feature in Science (Pennisi 2008). After the meeting, Nature weighed in on the matter (Whitfield 2008). The results of over 3 days of presentations and extensive discussion have now been published as Evolution—The Extended Synthesis. 1 The publication of this collection of sixteen essays is accompanied by the republication of Julian Huxley’s Evolution: The Modern Synthesis; the book that introduced the term ‘Modern Synthesis’. Both books are introduced by the organizers of the KLI workshop, Massimo Pigliucci and Gerd Müller. Like Gould and Eldredge before them, Pigliucci and Müller did not reissue one of the canons of the Modern Synthesis without giving the readers some ‘guidance’. Starting with the cover, the editors proclaim boldly that this is ‘the definitive edition’ of Huxley’s book. In a new foreword, they sketch the context in which the book was written and assess some of its features. They voice some mild criticism of alleged ‘adaptationism’. But their tone is different from that of Gould and Eldredge. Pigliucci and Müller praise Huxley for his pluralistic outlook, which has again become essential in the forging of an Extended Synthesis. That makes Huxley’s book more than just an interesting but obsolete classic. Instead, it can teach valuable lessons about how to ‘soften up’ a synthesis that has become hardened over time. (shrink)
Abstract This paper clarifies the relationship between Merleau-Ponty?s Phenomenology of Perception and Fink?s Sixth Cartesian Meditation with regard to ?the idea of a transcendental theory of method?. Although Fink?s text played a singularly important role in the development of Merleau-Ponty?s postwar thought, contrary to recent claims made by Ronald Bruzina this influence was not positive. Reconstructing the basic methodological claims of each text, in particular with regard to the being of the phenomenologist, the nature of the productivity that makes phenomenology (...) possible, and the problem of methodological self-reference, I show that Phenomenology of Perception is premised on a decisive rejection of the main theses affirmed in the Sixth Cartesian Meditation. In contrast to Fink?s speculative reinterpretation of phenomenology as an absolute science, Merleau-Ponty viewed it as participating in the historical realization of the world, and hence as ultimately based on a practical faith. Albeit with a Marxian inflection, Merleau-Ponty thus related phenomenology much more closely to Kant. This may not be a better philosophical position, but circa 1945 it was Merleau-Ponty?s, whose work must be approached accordingly. (shrink)
It is the aim of my paper to explore the chances of a decidedly historical approach to Eugen Fink's involvement in Edmund Husserl's mature philosophy. This question has been subject to much debate recently; but I think that the recently published early notes of Fink have not been sufficiently evaluated by Husserl scholarship. I embed the investigation of Fink's ideas in the contemporaries reactions to them, and argue that Fink's very specific methodological ideas was already formulated in details before he (...) has composed the Sixth Cartesian Meditation and his other much researched assistant writings. Furthermore, I argue that, although it is not possible to draw a clear dividing line between Husserl's own position and the alleged influences by Fink, it is still possible to delineate a specifically Husserlian understanding of the methodology of phenomenological philosophy, especially in the light of Husserl's discussions of the circularity of phenomenological philosophy, which antedate his encounter with Fink. I think that the approach and results outlined here could serve as the basis of a larger investigation of Fink's involvement in the formation of Husserl's notion of philosophy. (shrink)
In this series of articles the early life and work of the young Julian Schwinger is explored. After a brilliant beginning at Columbia University, where he received his Ph.D., Schwinger went to work with J. Robert Oppenheimer in Berkeley. His stay, work, and interactions with Oppenheimer are discussed.
Although Eugen Fink often reflected upon the role religion, these reflections are yet to be addressed in secondary literature in any substantive sense. For Fink, religion is to be understood in relation to “play,” which is a metaphor for how the world presents itself. Religion is a non-repetitive, and entirely creative endeavor or “symbol” that is not achieved through work and toil, or through evaluation or power, but rather, through his idea of play and “cult” as the imaginative distanciation from (...) a predictable lifeworld. This paper describes Fink’s understanding of religion and its most relevant aspects found in Spiel als Weltsymbol. The paper is organized into five sections—1: An introduction to his phenomenological approach in general, and description of the role of “play”; 2: investigations into the relation between play and world; 3: a description of his phenomenology of religion; 4: engagements in the idea of cult-play and the sacred sphere, and 5: reflection on his idea of the play of God. (shrink)
In this series of articles the early life and work of the young Julian Schwinger are explored. In the present article, Schwinger's work at the MIT Radiation Laboratory during the Second World War is described.
In this series of articles the early life and work of the young Julian Schwinger are explored. In the present article, we discuss Schwinger's winding up his work at the MIT Radiation Laboratory, being offered a tenured professorship at Harvard University, getting married, and settling down into a highly productive teaching and research career.
For a better understanding of Julián Marías’ Metaphysic Antropology, it is recommendable going back to the Ortega’s mereology, epistemology and metaphysic, especially in order to clarify the meaning of “structure”, “system”, “organ” and “function”. The vital reason is personal project as the systematic openness to its circumstance, whose unitary, empirical and structural structure is “man”.
ABSTRACTOne long-running conundrum in Husserlian phenomenology revolves around the question of the identity of what Husserl calls the transcendental ego, a mysterious figure that he identifies as the subject of a genuinely transcendental phenomenology. In dialogue with both Husserl and his assistant and collaborator Eugen Fink, I attempt in this article to give a solid account of the identity of this transcendental ego, and in particular to explain the connection between this figure and the empirical ego of the individual phenomenologist. (...) I make particular reference to Fink's depiction of a "personal union" between these two egos in his Sixth Cartesian Meditation and to certain unclear hints in Husserl's 1923/1924 lectures on First Philosophy. Ultimately, I develop my own account of such a union, which explains the transcendental ego as a certain mode in which the phenomenologist might investigate his own experiences. On this basis, I argue, the status of phenomenology as a transcendental discipline can be understood without subjecting that discipline to certain criticisms that have been levelled against it. (shrink)