After outlining an enactive account of fact perception, I consider J. L. Austin's discussion of the argument from illusion. From it I draw the conclusion that when fact perception is primary the objects perceived are those involved in the fact. A consideration of Adelson's checkershadow illusion shows that properties as basic as luminance are perceived in the contexts of facts as well. I thus conclude that when facts are perceived they structure our perception of objects and properties. I then argue (...) that which facts are perceived is determined by contexts which are themselves determined by our interests. Here I appeal to Heidegger's views on everyday coping as a foundational form of intentional directedness. A discussion of Simons and Chabris? gorilla experiment provides contemporary empirical support of the Heideggerian analysis. Finally, I argue that there cannot be context-free perception on the enactive account inasmuch as perception, qua action, is always permeated with the interests of the subject. (shrink)
Is there a contradiction in Stephen Colbert’s attitudes towards race? How can he consistently claim to be colorblind and yet hold a national search for a new "black friend"? I argue that Stephen is trying to claim rights and shirk responsibilities on matters of race relations in America, and that his famous notion of "truthiness" is an extension of this attitude to other areas of social and political discourse.
Part of Sellars’s general attack on the Myth of the Given is his endorsement of psychological nominalism, a view that implies that awareness of our own mental states is not given but must be earned.Sellars provides an account of how such awareness might have been earned with the Myth of Jones. Such an account is important for Sellars, for without it the Given can look necessary after all. But aproblem with such accounts is that they can look extremely implausible. Sellars (...) himself seems unconcerned to make his account plausible, and so others have stepped in here. But, I argue, they have done so in ways that fail to respect his psychological nominalism. This evinces, as well as reinforces, a lack of sensitivity to the scope of Sellars’s attack on the Given, the aim of which is the dismantling of “the entire framework of givenness.” In this essay, I show how one can make Sellars’s Myth of Jones plausible, while still respecting his psychological nominalism, by seeing how Jones’s thought is governed by the norms of rationality as interpretability. (shrink)
In face of the multiple controversies surrounding the DSM process in general and the development of DSM-5 in particular, we have organized a discussion around what we consider six essential questions in further work on the DSM. The six questions involve: 1) the nature of a mental disorder; 2) the definition of mental disorder; 3) the issue of whether, in the current state of psychiatric science, DSM-5 should assume a cautious, conservative posture or an assertive, transformative posture; 4) the role (...) of pragmatic considerations in the construction of DSM-5; 5) the issue of utility of the DSM - whether DSM-III and IV have been designed more for clinicians or researchers, and how this conflict should be dealt with in the new manual; and 6) the possibility and advisability, given all the problems with DSM-III and IV, of designing a different diagnostic system. Part I of this article will take up the first two questions. With the first question, invited commentators express a range of opinion regarding the nature of psychiatric disorders, loosely divided into a realist position that the diagnostic categories represent real diseases that we can accurately name and know with our perceptual abilities, a middle, nominalist position that psychiatric disorders do exist in the real world but that our diagnostic categories are constructs that may or may not accurately represent the disorders out there, and finally a purely constructivist position that the diagnostic categories are simply constructs with no evidence of psychiatric disorders in the real world. The second question again offers a range of opinion as to how we should define a mental or psychiatric disorder, including the possibility that we should not try to formulate a definition. The general introduction, as well as the introductions and conclusions for the specific questions, are written by James Phillips, and the responses to commentaries are written by Allen Frances. (shrink)
In face of the multiple controversies surrounding the DSM process in general and the development of DSM-5 in particular, we have organized a discussion around what we consider six essential questions in further work on the DSM. The six questions involve: 1) the nature of a mental disorder; 2) the definition of mental disorder; 3) the issue of whether, in the current state of psychiatric science, DSM-5 should assume a cautious, conservative posture or an assertive, transformative posture; 4) the role (...) of pragmatic considerations in the construction of DSM-5; 5) the issue of utility of the DSM - whether DSM-III and IV have been designed more for clinicians or researchers, and how this conflict should be dealt with in the new manual; and 6) the possibility and advisability, given all the problems with DSM-III and IV, of designing a different diagnostic system. Part I of this article took up the first two questions. Part II will take up the second two questions. Question 3 deals with the question as to whether DSM-V should assume a conservative or assertive posture in making changes from DSM-IV. That question in turn breaks down into discussion of diagnoses that depend on, and aim toward, empirical, scientific validation, and diagnoses that are more value-laden and less amenable to scientific validation. Question 4 takes up the role of pragmatic consideration in a psychiatric nosology, whether the purely empirical considerations need to be tempered by considerations of practical consequence. As in Part 1 of this article, the general introduction, as well as the introductions and conclusions for the specific questions, are written by James Phillips, and the responses to commentaries are written by Allen Frances. (shrink)
In the conclusion to this multi-part article I first review the discussions carried out around the six essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis – the position taken by Allen Frances on each question, the commentaries on the respective question along with Frances’ responses to the commentaries, and my own view of the multiple discussions. In this review I emphasize that the core question is the first – what is the nature of psychiatric illness – and that in some manner all (...) further questions follow from the first. Following this review I attempt to move the discussion forward, addressing the first question from the perspectives of natural kind analysis and complexity analysis. This reflection leads toward a view of psychiatric disorders – and future nosologies – as far more complex and uncertain than we have imagined. (shrink)
In face of the multiple controversies surrounding the DSM process in general and the development of DSM-5 in particular, we have organized a discussion around what we consider six essential questions in further work on the DSM. The six questions involve: 1) the nature of a mental disorder; 2) the definition of mental disorder; 3) the issue of whether, in the current state of psychiatric science, DSM-5 should assume a cautious, conservative posture or an assertive, transformative posture; 4) the role (...) of pragmatic considerations in the construction of DSM-5; 5) the issue of utility of the DSM – whether DSM-III and IV have been designed more for clinicians or researchers, and how this conflict should be dealt with in the new manual; and 6) the possibility and advisability, given all the problems with DSM-III and IV, of designing a different diagnostic system. Part 1 of this article took up the first two questions. Part 2 took up the second two questions. Part 3 now deals with Questions 5 & 6. Question 5 confronts the issue of utility, whether the manual design of DSM-III and IV favors clinicians or researchers, and what that means for DSM-5. Our final question, Question 6, takes up a concluding issue, whether the acknowledged problems with the earlier DSMs warrants a significant overhaul of DSM-5 and future manuals. As in Parts 1 & 2 of this article, the general introduction, as well as the introductions and conclusions for the specific questions, are written by James Phillips, and the responses to commentaries are written by Allen Frances. (shrink)
Everyone can agree that modern Westerners live in a secular age. That the process of "disenchantment" which led to this age constituted an epistemic loss, that it was not just a rejection of false beliefs but a real alteration in the way the world is experienced, has been shown by previous scholarship, notably that of Charles Taylor. This paper makes the case that this disenchantment was not only a latent possibility from the earliest interactions of Christianity with pre-Christian Roman society, (...) but developed from theological and political developments unique to Western Christendom. In so doing, it builds on the work of Taylor as well as that of Michael Allen Gillespie, who has written about the theological origins of modernity. It also provides a brief illustration of a recurrence, within the secular epistemic frame, of the same distinct features Christianity demonstrated in Rome which first made that frame possible. (shrink)
It is commonly thought that exploitation is unjust; some think it is part of the very meaning of the word ‘exploitation’ that it is unjust. Those who think this will suppose that the just society has to be one in which people do not exploit one another, at least on a large scale. I will argue that exploitation is not unjust by definition, and that a society might be fundamentally just while nevertheless being pervasively exploitative. I do think that exploitation (...) is nearly always a bad thing, and wul try to identify the moral belief which makes most of us think it is. But I will argue that its badness does not always consist in its being unjust. (shrink)
The Nobel prize-winning molecular biologist Walter Gilbert described the mapping and sequencing of the human genome as “the grail of molecular biology.” The implication, endorsed by enthusiasts for the new genetics, is that possessing a comprehensive knowledge of human genetics, like possessing the Holy Grail, will give us miraculous powers to heal the sick, and to reduce human suffering and disabilities. Indeed, the rhetoric invoked to garner public support for the Human Genome Project appears to appeal to the best of (...) the Western tradition's enthusiasm for progress: the idea of improving human lives through the practical application of scientific knowledge. (shrink)
In a late reminiscence, Goethe recalled that during his close association with the poet Friedrich Schiller, he was constantly defending “the rights of nature" against his friend's “gospel of freedom.”1 Goethe’s characterization of his own view was artfully ironic, alluding as it did to the French Revolution's proclamation of the "Rights of Man." His remark implied that values lay within nature, values that had authority comparable to those ascribed to human beings by the architects of the Revolution. During the (...) time Goethe made his defense, he also faced another revolution, in which Schiller was a partisan—that of Kant in the intellectual sphere. Both upheavals had undermined the autonomy of nature, replacing her authority with that of human will and understanding. Previous papers in this volume have recorded the shifting fortunes of nature that brought her to this stage of jeopardy. In the early classical period, nature as a unified whole had not yet arisen. Animate and inanimate objects had natures— characteristic modes of action—but there was as yet, according Slatkin, no articulate concept of nature as a whole standing over against human beings. Park has described a long period of transition, when nature became personified in the form of a didactic female, a figure imaginatively based, it would seem, upon the system of a 1 natural philosophy that stood in contrast to the revealed wisdom of God. Nature in this guise yet derived her authority and nurturing capacity from that higher, divine power. During the seventeenth century, writers like Mandeville, as Allen has shown, began to suspect that nature might be a chimera, a fictive creature that disguised humanity's own hidden desires and inclinations. These doubts grew during the next century—with the likes of Hume accelerating the skepticism— till finally, in the two revolutions that so troubled Goethe, nature was completely stripped of her authority. Goethe had become confirmed in his defense of the rights of nature during his travels to Italy during the years 1786-1788. (shrink)
According to Glannon and Ross, for an act to be considered altruistic, it cannot be obligatory nor motivated by expectation of self-reward. Given that parents are obligated to help their children and stand to benefit greatly from donating, the authors conclude that parent to child organ donation is not altruistic. Are they correct? I am not sure. In my view, this is a semantic question and the answer depends upon how one defines altruism. Altruism is a complex subject that means (...) different things to different people. If we say that an altruistic act is one that is performed voluntarily, is risky or costly to the actor, and is designed only to benefit others with no expectation of self-reward, then it may be difficult or impossible to identify any such acts. When one risks her own life to save a stranger, others may ask: “Did she really act solely to benefit another or was she motivated, at least in part, by a need to satisfy her conscience or a desire to feel good about herself?” This question is relevant to the motivation of living organ donors. In contrast to the authors' answer that strangers who donate organs do so only out of concern for other people, Carl Fellner argued that many living organ donors, even those who are not related to their recipients, act to benefit themselves. If Fellner is correct, and if organ donation by parents is not altruistic because of the possibility of self-reward, perhaps the same is true of organ donation by strangers. (shrink)
Extract from Hofstadter's revew in Bulletin of American Mathematical Society : http://www.ams.org/journals/bull/1980-02-02/S0273-0979-1980-14752-7/S0273-0979-1980-14752-7.pdf -/- "Aaron Sloman is a man who is convinced that most philosophers and many other students of mind are in dire need of being convinced that there has been a revolution in that field happening right under their noses, and that they had better quickly inform themselves. The revolution is called "Artificial Intelligence" (Al)-and Sloman attempts to impart to others the "enlighten- ment" which he clearly regrets not (...) having experienced earlier himself. Being somewhat of a convert, Sloman is a zealous campaigner for his point of view. Now a Reader in Cognitive Science at Sussex, he began his academic career in more orthodox philosophy and, by exposure to linguistics and AI, came to feel that all approaches to mind which ignore AI are missing the boat. I agree with him, and I am glad that he has written this provocative book. The tone of Sloman's book can be gotten across by this quotation (p. 5): "I am prepared to go so far as to say that within a few years, if there remain any philosophers who are not familiar with some of the main developments in artificial intelligence, it will be fair to accuse them of professional incom- petence, and that to teach courses in philosophy of mind, epistemology, aesthetics, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, ethics, metaphysics, and other main areas of philosophy, without discussing the relevant aspects of artificial intelligence will be as irresponsible as giving a degree course in physics which includes no quantum theory." -/- (The author now regrets the extreme polemical tone of the book.). (shrink)
It is commonly believed that Quine's principal argument for the Indeterminacy of Translation requires an untenably strong account of the underdetermination of theories by evidence, namely that that two theories may be compatible with all possible evidence for them and yet incompatible with each other. In this article, I argue that Quine's conclusion that translation is indeterminate can be based upon the weaker, uncontroversial conception of theoretical underdetermination, in conjunction with a weak reading of the ‘Gavagai’ argument which establishes the (...) underdetermination of the sense and reference of subsentential terms. If underdetermination is considered to be a widespread phenomenon in science, or in inductive reasoning more generally, then the Indeterminacy of Translation will be widespread too. Finally, I briefly consider two issues concerning the scope of this conclusion about the Indeterminacy of Translation: first, whether the argument presupposes behaviourism; and second, whether indeterminacy is restricted to the case of radical translation. I argue that the answer to both these questions is negative, and thus that the thesis of semantic indeterminacy remains relevant to those who disagree with Quine about some issues concerning the nature of mind and language. (shrink)
In his Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man, Friedrich Schiller draws a striking connection between aesthetic value and individual and political freedom, claiming that, ‘it is only through beauty that man makes his way to freedom’. However, contemporary ways of thinking about freedom and aesthetic value make it difficult to see what the connection could be. Through a careful reconstruction of the Letters, we argue that Schiller’s theory of aesthetic value serves as the key to understanding not (...) only his view of aesthetic engagement, but also his distinctive account of individual and political freedom. In Part I, we develop a reconstruction of Schiller's view that aesthetic value is the only path to individual freedom and in Part II we analyze how Schiller connects aesthetic value to political freedom. In the end, we show that Schiller defends a non-hedonic, action-oriented, communitarian theory of aesthetic value and a theory of freedom that makes the aesthetic not just supererogatory but fundamental for any fully autonomous life. Although we have lost touch with this way of thinking about aesthetic value and freedom, we submit that it is illuminating for contemporary thinking about both. (shrink)
Fred Beiser, renowned as one of the world's leading historians of German philosophy, presents a brilliant new study of Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805), rehabilitating him as a philosopher worthy of serious attention. Beiser shows, in particular, that Schiller's engagement with Kant is far more subtle and rewarding than is often portrayed. Promising to be a landmark in the study of German thought, Schiller as Philosopher will be compulsory reading for any philosopher, historian, or literary scholar engaged with (...) the key developments of this fertile period. (shrink)
Schiller's 1795 essay on the educative function of art is one of the most important contributions to the history of ideas in modern times. This English-German parallel text edition includes a long analytical introduction and extensive notes.
The aim of this paper will be to show that certain strongly realist forms of scientific realism are either misguided or misnamed. I will argue that, in the case of a range of robustly realist formulations of scientific realism, the ‘scientific’ and the ‘realism’ are in significant philosophical and methodological conflict with each other; in particular, that there is a tension between the actual subject matter and methods of science on the one hand, and the realists' metaphysical claims about which (...) categories of entities the world contains on the other. (shrink)
A classic of 18th-century thought, Schiller’s treatise on the role of art in society ranks among German philosophy’s most profound works. An important contribution to the history of ideas, it employs a political analysis of contemporary society—and of the French Revolution, in particular—to define the relationship between beauty and art. Schiller’s proposal of art as fundamental to the development of society and the individual remains an influential concept, and this volume offers his philosophy’s clearest, most relevant expression. Translated (...) and with an introduction by Reginald Snell. (shrink)
Aaron Zimmerman presents a new pragmatist account of belief, in terms of information poised to guide our more attentive, controlled actions. And he explores the consequences of this account for our understanding of the relation between psychology and philosophy, the mind and brain, the nature of delusion, faith, pretence, racism, and more.
I review Amy Allen's Book: The End of Progress: Decolonizing the Normative Foundations of Critical Theory (2016) as part of a Review Symposium: -/- In her latest book, The End of Progress, Amy Allen embarks on an ambitious and much needed project: to decolonize contemporary Frankfurt School critical theory. As with all of her books, this is an exceptionally well-written and well-argued book. Allen strives to avoid making assertions without backing them up via close and careful textual (...) reading of the thinkers she engages with. In what follows I will state why this book makes a central contribution to contemporary critical theory (in the wider sense), after which I pose a few questions. These questions are not meant to prove that there are any serious problems with her argumentation. Rather, they are meant in the spirit of dialogue and to allow her to further elaborate her work for the audience... (shrink)
One of the most profound interactions that can occur between people, apologies have the power to heal humiliations, free the mind from deep-seated guilt, remove the desire for vengeance, and ultimately restore broken relationships. With On Apology, Aaron Lazare offers an eye-opening analysis of this vital interaction, illuminating an often hidden corner of the human heart. He discusses the importance of shame, guilt, and humiliation, the initial reluctance to apologize, the simplicity of the act of apologizing, the spontaneous generosity (...) and forgiveness on the part of the offended, the transfer of power and respect between two parties, and much more. Readers will not only find a wealth of insight that they can apply to their own lives, but also a deeper understanding of national and international conflicts and how we might resolve them. The act of apologizing is quite simply immensely fulfilling. On Apology opens a window onto this common occurrence to reveal the feelings and actions at the heart of this profound interaction. (shrink)