This book studies the afterlife from Homer to Dante. It posits that there is a dominant spatial idiom in afterlife landscapes, the 'Journey-Vision paradigm:' i.e. the journey through the underworld, and the Vision of the universe. This spatial duality functions to harmonise the underworld with the 'scientific' universe.
Rights of Women attracted much UK media attention in late 2014 by bringing a judicial review that challenged the reduced provisions for family law legal aid available for victims of domestic violence: R v The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice  EWHC 35. In June 2015, within Rights of Women’s 40th anniversary year, Hannah Camplin interviewed the organisation’s Director Emma Scott about the decision to bring the judicial review, the advantages and challenges of the judicial review (...) process, and the experience of strategic litigation within the context of Rights of Women’s long history of campaigning for women’s rights. What emerged is a portrait of a feminist organisation in 2015, and, in a fast changing political and financial landscape, the dual importance of collaborative working and the need for flexibility in service provision and campaigning tools. (shrink)
Minimal Semantics asks what a theory of literal linguistic meaning is for - if you were to be given a working theory of meaning for a language right now, what would you be able to do with it? Emma Borg sets out to defend a formal approach to semantic theorising from a relatively new type of opponent - advocates of what she call 'dual pragmatics'. According to dual pragmatists, rich pragmatic processes play two distinct roles in linguistic comprehension: as (...) well as operating in a post-semantic capacity to determine the implicatures of an utterance, they also operate prior to the determination of truth-conditional content for a sentence. That is to say, they have an integral role to play within what is usually thought of as the semantic realm. Borg believes dual pragmatic accounts constitute the strongest contemporary challenge to standard formal approaches to semantics since they challenge the formal theorist to show not merely that there is some role for formal processes on route to determination of semantic content, but that such processes are sufficient for determining content. Minimal Semantics provides a detailed examination of this school of thought, introducing readers who are unfamiliar with the topic to key ideas like relevance theory and contextualism, and looking in detail at where these accounts diverge from the formal approach. Borg's defence of formal semantics has two main parts: first, she argues that the formal approach is most naturally compatible with an important and well-grounded psychological theory, namely the Fodorian modular picture of the mind. Then she argues that the main arguments adduced by dual pragmatists against formal semantics - concerning apparent contextual intrusions into semantic content - can in fact be countered by a formal theory. The defence holds, however, only if we are sensitive to the proper conditions of success for a semantic theory. Specifically, we should reject a range of onerous constraints on semantic theorizing (e.g., that it answer epistemic or metaphysical questions, or that it explain our communicative skills) and instead adopt a quite minimal picture of semantics. (shrink)
Emma Borg examines the relation between semantics and pragmatics, and assesses recent answers to fundamental questions of how and where to draw the divide between the two. She argues for a minimal account of the interrelation between them--a 'minimal semantics'--which holds that only rule-governed appeals to context can influence semantic content.
Scientists, philosophers, and policymakers disagree about how to define microaggression. Here, we offer a taxonomy of existing definitions, clustering around (a) the psychological motives of perpetrators, (b) the experience of victims, and (c) the functional role of microaggression in oppressive social structures. We consider conceptual and epistemic challenges to each and suggest that progress may come from developing novel hybrid accounts of microaggression, combining empirically tractable features with sensitivity to the testimony of victims.
Starting with service robotics and industrial robotics, this paper aims to suggest philosophical reflections about the relationship between body and machine, between man and technology in our contemporary world. From the massive use of the cell phone to the robots which apparently “feel” and show emotions like humans do. From the wearable exoskeleton to the prototype reproducing the artificial sense of touch, technological progress explodes to the extent of embodying itself in our nakedness. Robotics, indeed, is inspired by biology in (...) order to develop a new kind of technology affecting human life. This is a bio-robotic approach, which is fulfilled in the figure of the cyborg and consequently in the loss of human nature. Today, humans have reached the possibility to modify and create their own body following their personal desires. But what is the limit of this achievement? For this reason, we all must question ourselves whether we have or whether we are a body. (shrink)
Microaggressions are seemingly negligible slights that can cause significant damage to frequently targeted members of marginalized groups. Recently, Scott O. Lilienfeld challenged a key platform of the microaggression research project: what’s aggressive about microaggressions? To answer this challenge, Derald Wing Sue, the psychologist who has spearheaded the research on microaggressions, needs to theorize a spectrum of aggression that ranges from intentional assault to unintentional microaggressions. I suggest turning to Bonnie Mann’s “Creepers, Flirts, Heroes and Allies” for inspiration. Building from Mann’s (...) richer theoretical framework will allow Sue to answer Lilienfeld’s objection and defend the legitimacy of the concept, ‘microaggression’. (shrink)
Understanding in Epistemology Epistemology is often defined as the theory of knowledge, and talk of propositional knowledge has dominated the bulk of modern literature in epistemology. However, epistemologists have recently started to turn more attention to the epistemic state or states of understanding, asking questions about its nature, relationship … Continue reading Understanding in Epistemology →.
Feminists have long argued that women who offend are judged by who they are, not what they do, with idealised images of femininity and motherhood used as measures of culpability. The ability to meet the expectations of motherhood and femininity are particularly difficult for women who experience a crisis pregnancy, as evident in cases where women have been convicted of concealment of birth. The offence prohibits the secret disposal of the dead body of a child, to conceal knowledge of its (...) birth. Traditionally used to prosecute women suspected of killing their newborn children, analysis of court transcripts suggests the offence is also used to punish women who fail to meet expectations of motherhood. This paper analyses three contemporary cases in light of the historical origins of the offence, illustrating the legacy of prejudice against ‘deviant’ mothers. Finally, it questions the continued existence of this archaic offence. (shrink)
In his important recent book, Ethics and the Global Financial Crisis: Why Incompetence is Worse than Greed, Boudewijn de Bruin argues that a key element of the global financial crisis of 2007–2008 was a failure of epistemic virtue. To improve matters, then, de Bruin argues we need to focus on the acquisition and exercise of epistemic virtues, rather than to focus on a more ethical culture for banking per se. Whilst this is an interesting suggestion and it is indeed very (...) plausible that an increased focus on proper knowledge-related behaviour will be part of a solution, we are sceptical both about de Bruin’s overarching theoretical claims and about his practical suggestions for change. Instead we argue that change in this sector is best promoted by reconceiving of the relationship between financial institutions and the societies they serve, and that this is fundamentally not an epistemic but a moral issue. (shrink)
It is well established that the temporal proximity of two events is a fundamental cue to causality. Recent research with adults has shown that this relation is bidirectional: events that are believed to be causally related are perceived as occurring closer together in time—the so‐called temporal binding effect. Here, we examined the developmental origins of temporal binding. Participants predicted when an event that was either caused by a button press, or preceded by a non‐causal signal, would occur. We demonstrate for (...) the first time that children as young as 4 years are susceptible to temporal binding. Binding occurred both when the button press was executed via intentional action, and when a machine caused it. These results suggest binding is a fundamental, early developing property of perception and grounded in causal knowledge. (shrink)
A standard objection to so-called ‘minimal semantics’ is that minimal contents are explanatorily redundant as they play no role in an adequate account of linguistic communication. This paper argues that this standard objection is mistaken. Furthermore, I argue that seeing why the objection is mistaken sheds light both on how we should draw the classic Gricean distinction between saying and implicating, and how we should think about the key philosophical notion of assertion. Specifically, it reveals that these ideas are best (...) understood primarily in socio-linguistic terms. (shrink)
"[N]o matter how much of a coalition space this is, it ain't nothing like the coalescing you've got to do tomorrow, and Tuesday and Wednesday."This essay is a critical reflection on the centrality of coalitional politics for decolonial feminist philosophy. Decolonial feminisms emerge from multisited struggles with colonization and, as a result, are rich and heterogeneous.1 Thus, the starting point for decolonial feminists must be one that centers on coalitional politics. Women of color have long emphasized the importance of coalition (...) to collective struggle against a matrix of systems of oppression.2 However, the work of forging coalitions is just that, work. Indeed, the work of coalition building, as Bernice... (shrink)
This article advances the idea that shareholders who seek to influence corporate behaviour can be understood analytically as norm entrepreneurs. These are actors who seek to persuade others to adopt a new standard of appropriateness. The article thus goes beyond studies which focus on the influence of shareholder activism on single instances of corporate conduct, as it recognises shareholders' potential as change agents for more widely shared norms about corporate responsibilities. The article includes the empirical example of US internet technology (...) companies who, in their Chinese operations, face conflicts of norm systems in regard to freedom of expression on the internet. Shareholders have been active in seeking to persuade these companies to adopt a norm of adhering to global standards for human rights over restrictions implied by authoritarian regimes to which they deliver services. (shrink)
Microstructuralism in the philosophy of chemistry is the thesis that chemical kinds can be individuated in terms of their microstructural properties (Hendry in Philos Sci 73:864–875, 2006 ). Elements provide paradigmatic examples, since the atomic number should suffice to individuate the kind. In theory, Microstructuralism should also characterise higher-level chemical kinds such as molecules, compounds, and macromolecules based on their constituent atomic properties. In this paper, several microstructural theses are distinguished. An analysis of macromolecules such as moonlighting proteins suggests that (...) all the forms of microstructuralism cannot accommodate them. (shrink)
Literature in epistemology tends to suppose that there are three main types of understanding – propositional, atomistic, and objectual. By showing that all apparent instances of propositional understanding can be more plausibly explained as featuring one of several other epistemic states, this paper argues that talk of propositional understanding is unhelpful and misleading. The upshot is that epistemologists can do without the notion of propositional understanding.
We report the results of a cross-cultural investigation of person-body reasoning in the United Kingdom and northern Brazilian Amazon (Marajó Island). The study provides evidence that directly bears upon divergent theoretical claims in cognitive psychology and anthropology, respectively, on the cognitive origins and cross-cultural incidence of mind-body dualism. In a novel reasoning task, we found that participants across the two sample populations parsed a wide range of capacities similarly in terms of the capacities’ perceived anchoring to bodily function. Patterns of (...) reasoning concerning the respective roles of physical and biological properties in sustaining various capacities did vary between sample populations, however. Further, the data challenge prior ad-hoc categorizations in the empirical literature on the developmental origins of and cognitive constraints on psycho-physical reasoning (e.g., in afterlife concepts). We suggest cross-culturally validated categories of “Body Dependent” and “Body Independent” items for future developmental and cross-cultural research in this emerging area. (shrink)
Philosophers often assume that folk hold pain to be a mental state – to be in pain is to have a certain kind of feeling – and they think this state exhibits the classic Cartesian characteristics of privacy, subjectivity, and incorrigibility. However folk also assign pains bodily locations: unlike most other mental states, pains are held to exist in arms, feet, etc. This has led some to talk of the ‘paradox of pain’, whereby the folk notion of pain is inherently (...) conflicted. Recently, several authors have rejected the paradox view, arguing instead that folk hold a univocal, bodily view. This paper presents six objections to the bodily view of the folk concept of pain. We then outline a direction for future research – the ‘polyeidic approach’ – whereby the folk notion of pain is held to encompass various divergent strands and we suggest that certain problems surrounding the treatment and communication of pain might be usefully be viewed through the lens of the polyeidic approach. (shrink)
In Searle’s social ontology, collective intentionality is an essential component of all institutional facts. This is because the latter involve the assignment of functions, namely "status functions," on entities whose physical features do not guarantee their performance, therefore requiring our acceptance that it be performed. One counter-example to that claim can be found in Carl Menger’s individualistic account of the money system. Menger’s commitment to the self-interest assumption, however, prevents him from accounting for the deontic dimensions of institutional facts.
The biomedical industry relies on the skills of animal technologists to put laboratory animal welfare into practice. This is the first study to explore how this is achieved in relation to their participation in implementing refinement and reduction, two of the three key guiding ethical principles––the “3Rs”––of what is deemed to be humane animal experimentation. The interpretative approach contributes to emerging work within the social sciences and humanities exploring care and ethics in practice. Based on qualitative analysis of participant observation (...) within animal research facilities in UK universities, in-depth interviews with ATs, facility managers, and other stakeholders, and analysis of regulatory guidelines, we draw a contrast between the minimum required of ATs by law and how their care work not only meets but often exceeds these requirements. We outline how ATs constitute a key source of innovation and insight into the refinement of animal care and the reduction of animal use, hitherto not formally acknowledged. Exploring AT care work as an example of ethics in practice makes an original contribution to broader debates within health care and animal welfare about how technology, regulation, and behavior can foster and sustain a “culture of care”. (shrink)
Twelve essays by the influential radical include "Marriage and Love," "The Hypocrisy of Puritanism," "The Traffic in Women," Anarchism," and "The Psychology of Political Violence." Other enduringly relevant essays examine patriotism, the failure of the penal system, and drama as a means of conveying political theory.
Mirror neurons are neurons which fire in two distinct conditions: (i) when an agent performs a specific action, like a precision grasp of an object using fingers, and (ii) when an agent observes that action performed by another. Some theorists have suggested that the existence of such neurons may lend support to the simulation approach to mindreading (e.g. Gallese and Goldman, 1998, 'Mirror neurons and the simulation theory of mind reading'). In this note I critically examine this suggestion, in both (...) its original and a revised form (due to Iacoboni et al., 2005, 'Grasping the intentions of others with one's own mirror neuron system'), and argue that the existence of mirror neurons can in fact tell us very little about how intentional attribution actually proceeds. (shrink)
Derrida’s autobiographical and philosophical text Monolingualism of the Other; or, the Prosthesis of Origin is a partial recounting of his own childhood and upbringing in Algeria at a time when it was a colony of France. It is on one level a reflection on matters related to colonialism, and especially on the effects of the imposition of colonial language upon schooling and wider practices of education and coming into the world. Yet Derrida’s text also opens onto structural questions about estrangement, (...) unsettledness and Unheimlichkeit such as they pertain to and characterise life in language more generally. This paper puts Derrida’s Monolingualism of the Other into relation with contemporary discussions of multilingualism and language learning in the context of the global education agenda. The result, as we shall see, is the destabilising of assumptions that underpin multilingualism and the global education agenda and foreclose their democratic and ethical aims. At the same time, as we shall also see, Derrida’s text opens ways in which the education of language subjects can be reconstructed in relation to a new conception of ethics and the humanities. (shrink)
Following Hartry Field in distinguishing disquotational truth from a conception that grounds truth conditions in a community's usage, it is argued that the notions are materially inequivalent (since the latter allows truth-value gaps) and that both are needed. In addition to allowing blanket endorsements ("Everything the Pope says is true"), disquotational truth facilitates mathematical discovery, as when we establish the Gödel sentence by noting that the theorems are all disquotationally true and the disquotational truths are consistent. We require a more (...) substantial notion, however, if we intend to use truth values and truth conditions in explaining communication by language. (shrink)
Background A topic of great concern in bioethics is the medical research conducted in poor countries sponsored by wealthy nations. Western drug companies increasingly view Latin America as a proper place for clinical research trials. The region combines a large population, modern medical facilities, and low per capita incomes. Participants from developing countries may have little or non alternative means of treatment other than that offered through clinical trials. Therefore, the provision of a valid informed consent is important. Methods To (...) gain insight about some aspects of the informed consent procedure in a major cancer centre in Mexico, we conducted a three-step evaluation process: 1) a ten point multiple choice survey questionnaires, was used to explore some aspects of the patients' experiences during the informed consent process, 2) researchers' knowledge about specific aspects of the informed consent was evaluated in this study using survey questionnaires; and 3) the comprehensibility, readability and number of pages of the consent forms were analysed. The socioeconomic and educational level of the patients, were also considered. Results were reported using a numerical scale. Results Thirty five patients, 20 doctors, and 10 individuals working at the hospital agreed to participate in the study. Eighty three percent of the patients in the study were classified as living in poverty; education level was poor or non existent, and 31% of the patients were illiterate. The consent forms were difficult to understand according to 49% of the patients, most doctors agreed that the forms were not comprehensible to the patients. The average length of the IC documents analysed was 14 pages, and the readability average score was equivalent to 8TH Grade. Conclusion The results presented in this work describe some relevant characteristics of the population seen at public health care institutions in Mexico. Poverty, limited or no education, and the complexity of the information provided to the patients may question the validity of the informed consent procedure in this group of patients. (shrink)