This article seeks to defend the possibility of a metaphysical approach to philosophical theology. Challenging the claim that there can be nothing in commonbetween God (with whom theology or even a form of phenomenology such as Jean-Luc Marion’s deals) and being (as expounded for example in the metaphysical approach of Thomas Aquinas), the article develops a critique of Marion’s views with close reference to his interpretations of Aquinas.
This article presents for the first time a critical edition of a minor treatise named Spectacula contemplationis or The Spectacles of Contemplation by Thomas Gallus. The treatise’s aim is to describe the various levels of knowledge that are traversed by the soul in its ascent to God. By the author’s own admission, the treatise is inspired by the six types of contemplation listed by Richard of St Victor in his work on contemplation, Beniamin maior. Gallus’s treatment however is not just (...) a repetition of the material covered by his fellow Victorine. Though short in length, the treatise reveals some original developments and major points of divergence from Richard’s intellectual approach, which reflect the affective Dionysianism of the Abbot of Vercelli. It also calls to mind features of Hugh of St Victor’s De tribus diebus and Bonaventure’s Itinerarium mentis in Deum, as well as revealing the previously neglected fact that Gallus may have been the author of, or at least wrote a commentary on, a sequence entitled Super mentem exultemus. (shrink)
This article publishes for the first time a sermon attributed to Thomas Gallus named Qualiter vita prelatorum conformari debet vite angelice, or How the Life of Prelates Ought to Conform to the Angelic Life. The sermon’s purpose is to encourage ecclesiastical personages to adopt the characteristics and functions of the nine orders of angels as a role model for their ministry. While drawing heavily on Latin sources such as Gregory the Great and Isidore of Seville, his Victorine predecessors, Hugh and (...) Richard of St Victor, as well as the thought of the Pseudo-Dionysius, the sermon also raises some questions about the relationship between Thomas Gallus and Robert Grosseteste. (shrink)
This is an excellent collection of essays on introspection and consciousness. There are fifteen essays in total (all new except for Sydney Shoemaker’s essay). There is also an introduction where the editors explain the impetus for the collection and provide a helpful overview. The essays contain a wealth of new and challenging material sure to excite specialists and shape future research. Below we extract a skeptical argument from Fred Dretske’s essay and relate the remaining essays to that argument. Due to (...) space limitations we focus in detail on just a few of the essays. We regret that we cannot give them all the attention they merit. (shrink)
With its express intention ‘to put an end to impunity’, the International Criminal Court (ICC) faces a substantial challenge in the shape of conditional amnesties granted in future national truth commissions (TCs)—a challenge that invokes fundamental considerations of criminal justice ethics. In this article, I give an account of the challenge, and I consider a possible solution to it presented by Declan Roche. According to this solution the ICC-prosecutor should respect national amnesties and prosecute and punish only those perpetrators (...) who have refused to cooperate with the TC. I argue, however, that this compromise is untenable. As a general rule, if we justify the ICC on grounds of deterrence we should not accept conditional amnesties granted in national TCs. (shrink)
What is the role of consciousness in our mental lives? Declan Smithies argues here that consciousness is essential to explaining how we can acquire knowledge and justified belief about ourselves and the world around us. On this view, unconscious beings cannot form justified beliefs and so they cannot know anything at all. Consciousness is the ultimate basis of all knowledge and epistemic justification.
What is the normative role of knowledge? I argue that knowledge plays an important role as a norm of assertion and action, which is explained and unified by its more fundamental role as a norm of belief. Moreover, I propose a distinctive account of what this normative role consists in. I argue that knowledge is the aim of belief, which sets a normative standard of correctness and a corresponding normative standard of justification. According to my proposal, it is correct to (...) believe, assert and act on a proposition if and only if one is in a position to know it, but one has justification to believe, assert and act on a proposition if and only if one has justification to believe that one is in a position to know it. (shrink)
Does rationality require logical omniscience? Our best formal theories of rationality imply that it does, but our ordinary evaluations of rationality seem to suggest otherwise. This paper aims to resolve the tension by arguing that our ordinary evaluations of rationality are not only consistent with the thesis that rationality requires logical omniscience, but also provide a compelling rationale for accepting this thesis in the first place. This paper also defends an account of apriori justification for logical beliefs that is designed (...) to explain the rational requirement of logical omniscience. On this account, apriori justification for beliefs about logic has its source in logical facts, rather than psychological facts about experience, reasoning, or understanding. This account has important consequences for the epistemic role of experience in the logical domain. In a slogan, the epistemic role of experience in the apriori domain is not a justifying role, but rather an enabling and disabling role. (shrink)
This is the first in a series of two articles that serve as an introduction to recent debates about cognitive phenomenology. Cognitive phenomenology can be defined as the experience that is associated with cognitive activities, such as thinking, reasoning, and understanding. What is at issue in contemporary debates is not the existence of cognitive phenomenology, so defined, but rather its nature and theoretical role. The first article examines questions about the nature of cognitive phenomenology, while the second article explores the (...) philosophical implications of these questions for the role of consciousness in theories of intentionality, introspective self-knowledge, and knowledge of the external world. (shrink)
Perception enables us to think demonstrative thoughts about the world around us, but what must perception be like in order to play this role? Does perception enable demonstrative thought only if it is conscious? This paper examines three accounts of the role of consciousness in demonstrative thought, which agree that consciousness is essential for demonstrative thought, but disagree about why it is. First, I consider and reject the accounts proposed by Gareth Evans in The Varieties of Reference and by John (...) Campbell in Reference and Consciousness before offering an alternative proposal of my own. My proposal is that consciousness plays an essential epistemic role in explaining the capacity for demonstrative thought about an object by enabling the subject to form immediately justified beliefs about the object. (shrink)
In this chapter, I argue for the thesis that phenomenal consciousness is the basis of epistemic justification. More precisely, I argue for the thesis of phenomenal mentalism, according to which epistemic facts about which doxastic attitudes one has justification to hold are determined by non-epistemic facts about one’s phenomenally individuated mental states. I begin by providing intuitive motivations for phenomenal mentalism and then proceed to sketch a more theoretical line of argument according to which phenomenal mentalism provides the best explanation (...) of the independently motivated thesis of access internalism. The result is a theory of epistemic justification that brings intuition and theory into reflective equilibrium. (shrink)
What is the role of phenomenal consciousness in grounding epistemic justification? This paper explores the prospects for a global version of phenomenal conservatism inspired by the work of Michael Huemer, according to which all epistemic justification is grounded in phenomenal seemings. I’m interested in this view because of its global ambitions: it seeks to explain all epistemic justification in terms of a single epistemic principle, which says that you have epistemic justification to believe whatever seems to you strongly enough on (...) balance to be true. One of the attractions of phenomenal conservatism is that it offers such a simple and unified framework for explaining the epistemic role of phenomenal consciousness. I will argue, however, that the simplicity of phenomenal conservatism is not a theoretical virtue, but a theoretical vice, since it distorts the epistemological phenomena it is supposed to explain. In effect, phenomenal conservatism seeks to explain all epistemic justification on the same model as perception. But this has the predictable effect of distorting the epistemology of other domains, including introspection, inference, and a priori justification. (shrink)
Questions about the transparency of evidence are central to debates between factive and non-factive versions of mentalism about evidence. If all evidence is transparent, then factive mentalism is false, since no factive mental states are transparent. However, Timothy Williamson has argued that transparency is a myth and that no conditions are transparent except trivial ones. This paper responds by drawing a distinction between doxastic and epistemic notions of transparency. Williamson's argument may show that no conditions are doxastically transparent, but it (...) fails to show that no conditions are epistemically transparent. Moreover, this reinstates the argument from the transparency of evidence against factive mentalism. (shrink)
The topic of introspection stands at the interface between questions in epistemology about the nature of self-knowledge and questions in the philosophy of mind about the nature of consciousness. What is the nature of introspection such that it provides us with a distinctive way of knowing about our own conscious mental states? And what is the nature of consciousness such that we can know about our own conscious mental states by introspection? How should we understand the relationship between consciousness and (...) introspective self-knowledge? Should we explain consciousness in terms of introspective self-knowledge or vice versa? Until recently, questions in epistemology and the philosophy of mind were pursued largely in isolation from one another. This volume aims to integrate these two lines of research by bringing together fourteen new essays and one reprinted essay on the relationship between introspection, self-knowledge, and consciousness. (shrink)
This is the second in a series of two articles that serve as an introduction to recent debates about cognitive phenomenology. Cognitive phenomenology can be defined as the experience that is associated with cognitive activities, such as thinking, reasoning, and understanding. What is at issue in contemporary debates is not the existence of cognitive phenomenology, so defined, but rather its nature and theoretical role. The first article examines questions about the nature of cognitive phenomenology, while the second article explores the (...) philosophical implications of these questions for the role of consciousness in theories of intentionality, introspective self-knowledge, and knowledge of the external world. (shrink)
This chapter is guided by the hypothesis that the point and purpose of using the concept of justification in epistemic evaluation is tied to its role in the practice of critical reflection. In section one, I propose an analysis of justification as the epistemic property in virtue of which a belief has the potential to survive ideal critical reflection. In section two, I use this analysis in arguing for a form of access internalism on which one has justification to believe (...) a proposition if and only if one has higher-order justification to believe that one has justification to believe that proposition. In section three, I distinguish between propositional and doxastic versions of access internalism and argue that the propositional version avoids familiar objections to the doxastic version. In section four, I argue that the propositional version of access internalism also explains and vindicates internalist intuitions about cases. In section five, I conclude with some reflections on the relationship between critical reflection, responsibility and personhood. (shrink)
Attention has been studied in cognitive psychology for more than half a century, but until recently it was largely neglected in philosophy. Now, however, attention has been recognized by philosophers of mind as having an important role to play in our theories of consciousness and of cognition. At the same time, several recent developments in psychology have led psychologists to foundational questions about the nature of attention and its implementation in the brain. As a result there has been a convergence (...) of interest in fundamental questions about attention. This volume presents the latest thinking from the philosophers and psychologists who are working at the interface between these two disciplines. Its fourteen chapters contain detailed philosophical and scientific arguments about the nature and mechanisms of attention; the relationship between attention and consciousness; the role of attention in explaining reference, rational thought, and the control of action; the fundamental metaphysical status of attention, and the details of its implementation in the brain. These contributions combine ideas from phenomenology, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and philosophy of mind to further our understanding of this centrally important mental phenomenon, and to bring to light the foundational questions that any satisfactory theory of attention will need to address. (from OUP website). (shrink)
This chapter argues that attention is a distinctive mode of consciousness, which plays an essential functional role in making information accessible for use in the rational control of thought and action. The main line of argument can be stated quite simply. Attention is what makes information fully accessible for use in the rational control of thought and action. But what makes information fully accessible for use in the rational control of thought and action is a distinctive mode of consciousness. Therefore, (...) attention is a distinctive mode of consciousness. In a slogan: attention is rational-access consciousness. (shrink)
Introspection stands at the interface between two major currents in philosophy and related areas of science: on the one hand, there are metaphysical and scientific questions about the nature of consciousness; and on the other hand, there are normative and epistemological questions about the nature of self-knowledge. Introspection seems tied up with consciousness, to the point that some writers define consciousness in terms of introspection; and it is also tied up with self-knowledge, since introspection is the distinctive way in which (...) we come to know about ourselves and, in particular, about our own conscious mental states, processes and events. Each of these topics – consciousness and self-knowledge – has generated an extensive philosophical literature in its own right. But despite some notable exceptions, the relationship between consciousness and self-knowledge has been curiously neglected and remains poorly understood. Indeed, until quite recently, the sub-fields of philosophy of mind and epistemology were pursued largely in isolation from one another. Recent philosophy of mind has been dominated by metaphysical questions about the nature of consciousness and its place in the physical world, while much less attention has been devoted to questions about the epistemic role of consciousness as a source of knowledge and justified belief. Similarly, recent epistemology has been organized around questions about the nature of knowledge and justified belief, but much of this discussion has developed independently of recent work in philosophy of mind about the nature of consciousness. The impetus behind this volume is to bring together these two lines of research by exploring the nature of introspection, which lies at the intersection between consciousness and self-knowledge. This volume collects fourteen new essays and one reprinted essay in which the interplay between concerns in epistemology and the philosophy of mind is a major focus. (shrink)
This chapter develops a simple theory of introspection on which a mental state is introspectively accessible just by virtue of the fact that one is in that mental state. This theory raises two questions: first, a generalization question: which mental states are introspectively accessible; and second, an explanatory question: why are some mental states introspectively accessible, rather than others, or none at all? In response to the generalization question, I argue that a mental state is introspectively accessible if and only (...) if it is phenomenally individuated. And in response to the explanatory question, I argue that a mental state is introspectively accessible if and only if it is among the determinants of justification. This provides the basis of an argument for a phenomenal conception of justification, according to which a mental state is among the determinants of justification if and only if it is phenomenally individuated. (shrink)
In ‘The normative role of knowledge’ (2012), Declan Smithies defends a ‘JK-rule’ for belief: One has justification to believe that P iff one has justification to believe that one is in a position to know that P. Similar claims have been defended by others (Huemer, 2007, Reynolds, forthcoming). In this paper, I shall argue that the JK-rule is false. The standard and familiar way of arguing against putative rules for belief or assertion is, of course, to describe putative counterexamples. (...) My argument, though, won’t be like this – indeed I doubt that there are any intuitively compelling counterexamples to the JK-rule. Nevertheless, the claim that there are counterexamples to the JK-rule can, I think, be given something approaching a formal proof. My primary aim here is to sketch this proof. I will briefly consider some broader implications for how we ought to think about the epistemic standards governing belief and assertion. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to argue that what I call the simple theory of introspection can be extended to account for our introspective knowledge of what we believe as well as what we consciously experience. In section one, I present the simple theory of introspection and motivate the extension from experience to belief. In section two, I argue that extending the simple theory provides a solution to Moore’s paradox by explaining why believing Moorean conjunctions always involves some degree (...) of irrationality. In section three, I argue that it also solves the puzzle of transparency by explaining why it’s rational to answer the question whether one believes that p by answering the question whether p. Finally, in section four, I defend the simple theory against objections by arguing that self-knowledge constitutes an ideal of rationality. (shrink)
Could there be a cognitive zombie – that is, a creature with the capacity for cognition, but no capacity for consciousness? Searle argues that there cannot be a cognitive zombie because there cannot be an intentional zombie: on this view, there is a connection between consciousness and cognition that is derived from a more fundamental connection between consciousness and intentionality. However, I argue that there are good empirical reasons for rejecting the proposed connection between consciousness and intentionality. Instead, I argue (...) that there is a connection between consciousness and cognition that is derived from a more fundamental connection between consciousness and rationality. On this view, there cannot be a cognitive zombie because there cannot be a rational zombie. (shrink)
This paper provides a systematic literature review, analysis and discussion of methods that are proposed to practise ethics in research and innovation. Ethical considerations concerning the impacts of R&I are increasingly important, due to the quickening pace of technological innovation and the ubiquitous use of the outcomes of R&I processes in society. For this reason, several methods for practising ethics have been developed in different fields of R&I. The paper first of all presents a systematic search of academic sources that (...) present and discuss such methods. Secondly, it provides a categorisation of these methods according to three main kinds: ex ante methods, dealing with emerging technologies, intra methods, dealing with technology design, and ex post methods, dealing with ethical analysis of existing technologies. Thirdly, it discusses the methods by considering problems in the way they deal with the uncertainty of technological change, ethical technology design, the identification, analysis and resolving of ethical impacts of technologies and stakeholder participation. The results and discussion of our literature review are valuable for gaining an overview of the state of the art and serve as an outline of a future research agenda of methods for practising ethics in R&I. (shrink)
What is the role of affective experience in explaining how our desires provide us with reasons for action? When we desire that p, we are thereby disposed to feel attracted to the prospect that p, or to feel averse to the prospect that not-p. In this paper, we argue that affective experiences – including feelings of attraction and aversion – provide us with reasons for action in virtue of their phenomenal character. Moreover, we argue that desires provide us with reasons (...) for action only insofar as they are dispositions to have affective experiences. On this account, affective experience has a central role to play in explaining how desires provide reasons for action. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that perception justifies belief about the external world in virtue of its phenomenal character together with its relations to the external world. But I argue that perceptual relations to the external world impact on the justifying role of perception only by virtue of their impact on its representational content. Epistemic level-bridging principles provide a principled rationale for avoiding more radically externalist theories of perceptual justification.
In his provocative and engaging new book, Perplexities of Consciousness, Eric Schwitzgebel makes a compelling case that introspection is unreliable in the sense that we are prone to ignorance and error in making introspective judgments about our own conscious experience. My aim in this commentary is to argue that Schwitzgebel’s thesis about the unreliability of introspection does not have the damaging implications that he claims it does for the prospects of a broadly Cartesian approach to epistemology.
In his book, On Reflection, Hilary Kornblith criticizes what he regards as a chronic tendency in philosophy towards inflating the significance of reflection in ways that manifest a combination of philosophical naiveté and scientific ignorance about how reflection actually works. In these comments, I respond to Kornblith's challenge by sketching an account of the philosophical significance of reflection in the theory of epistemic justification.
This chapter is organized around four central questions about the role of reasons in the epistemology of perception. The 'whether?' question: does perception provide us with reasons for belief about the external world? The 'how?' question: how does perception provide us with reasons for belief about the external world? The 'when?' question: when does perception provide us with reasons for belief about the external world? The 'what?' question: what are the reasons that perception provides us with for belief about the (...) external world? (shrink)
This chapter has two goals: to motivate the foundationalist solution to the regress problem and to defend it against arguments from Sellars, BonJour and Klein. Both the motivation and the defence of foundationalism raise larger questions about the relationship between foundationalism and access internalism. I argue that foundationalism is not in conflict with access internalism, despite influential arguments to the contrary, and that access internalism in fact supplies a theoretical motivation for foundationalism. I conclude that foundationalism and access internalism form (...) a coherent and well-motivated package. (shrink)
The main goal of this chapter is to argue that accessibilism in epistemology is incompatible with vehicle externalism in philosophy of mind. As we shall see, however, there are strong arguments for both of these positions. On the one hand, there is a compelling argument for vehicle externalism: the parity argument from Clark and Chalmers 1998. On the other hand, there is a compelling argument for accessibilism: the Moorean argument from Smithies 2012. If accessibilism is incompatible with vehicle externalism, then (...) both arguments cannot be sound. I resolve the tension by arguing that while the Moorean argument succeeds, the parity argument fails, and so vehicle externalism should be rejected on broadly epistemological grounds. (shrink)
Epistemology is one of the oldest, yet still one of the most active, areas of philosophical research today. There currently exists many annotated tomes of primary sources, and a handful of single-authored introductions to the field, but there is no book that captures epistemology’s dynamic growth and lively debates for a student audience. In this volume, eight leading philosophers debate four topics central to recent research in epistemology: The A Priori: C. S. I. Jenkins and Michael Devitt The A Posteriori: (...) Richard Fumerton and Nicholas Silins The Regress of Justification: Declan Smithies and Peter Klein Skepticism: Anthony Brueckner and Ernest Sosa Ram Neta’s introduction to the volume, descriptions of each chapter, annotated bibliographies for each controversy, and supplemental guide to further controversies in epistemology help provide clearer and richer views of active controversies for all readers. (shrink)
Like many who work on attention, Wu takes William James as an anchor point, concluding, "So, James was right" (274). In fact, this book can be seen as a continuation of James' project -- as with James' "Attention," Wu's book provides an extensive review of current research on attention. In fact, he engages at length with an impressive amount of work in contemporary philosophy and science, mentioning 10 such researchers – Ned Block, John Campbell, Marisa Carrasco, David Chalmers, David Marr, (...) Christopher Mole, Jesse Prinz, Declan Smithies, George Sperling, and Anne Treisman -- more than 30 times each. Readers interested in contemporary research on attention could learn a great deal from these discussions. The book nonetheless falls short of serving as a complete review of research on attention -- a point Wu in fact accepts (9). Two conspicuous absences include historical philosophy and phenomenology, both of which I discuss briefly below. (shrink)
Why Deleuze and Ricoeur? -- Fields for potential and possible connectors -- Investigative strategies -- Towards the cohesion of a life : chapter outline -- Problematizing the field of the self -- Between rigidification and dehiscence : context and counter-context -- Ancestry for the self in a problematic field -- Conceptual personae and the self -- Aporia of the inscrutability of the self -- Sweeney : philosophical bathyscope -- Critique on the kantian self -- Pretensions of the kantian self -- (...) Divided self still surrounded by the mad and the replicant -- The narrative self -- Oneself as another or onselves as myself -- The narrative self : origins in Kant -- Appearance and exposition of the narrative self -- Working through narrative -- Towards an interrogation of the narrative self -- Questioning the narrative self through its progenitors -- Methodology : questioning back -- The narrative self in retrospect -- The poetic composition of the self : threefold mimesis -- Summary : problems for narrative identity -- Transversals between Ricoeur and Deleuze -- In the land of the larval selves -- Origins in Schelling -- Ontology of productivity -- The dogmatic image of thought -- The narrative self as twin multiplicities -- Dissolving the narrative self -- From multiplicity to the narrative self -- Obscure stammering for a new narrative self -- Between time and the self : a fractured I -- Laws in the germplasm of narrative : the dark precursor -- Narrative persona -- From debt to excess -- Ricoeur's dilemma of the self : substance or illusion? -- Deleuze and Aristotle : a disavowed affinity -- Interzone -- Between dark precursor and narrative self : gelassenheit -- Inhering problems for the becoming-narrative self -- An unguessed axis for narrative selves -- From excess to debt : evolving constraints to narrative identity -- Where to start, three stations : natality, personhood, narrative selfhood -- First constraint : proustian love and lack -- Narrative constraints : implications for the synthesis of the heterogeneous -- The poetic imagination within the evolving constraints of narrative productivity -- Where Deleuze was, there Ricoeur shall be? -- The narrative self : a badly posed question -- Second constraint : imagination within structure and obligation -- A self entombed in a debt to the past. (shrink)
BackgroundThe global expansion of biobanks has led to a range of bioethical concerns related to consent, privacy, control, ownership, and disclosure. As an opportunity to engage broader audiences on these concerns, bioethicists have welcomed the commercial success of Rebecca Skloot’s 2010 bestselling book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. To assess the impact of the book on discussion within the media and popular culture more generally, we systematically analyzed the ethics-related themes emphasized in reviews and articles about the book, and (...) in interviews and profiles of Skloot.MethodsWe conducted a content analysis of a population of relevant English-language articles and transcripts (n = 125) produced by news organizations and publications in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain/Ireland, and Australia/New Zealand. We scored each article for the emphasis and appearance of 9 ethics-related themes. These were informed consent, welfare of the vulnerable, compensation, scientific progress, control/access, accountability/oversight, privacy, public education, and advocacy.ResultsThe informed consent theme dominated media discussion, with almost 39.2 percent of articles/transcripts featuring the theme as a major focus and 44.8 percent emphasizing the theme as a minor focus. Other prominent themes and frames of reference focused on the welfare of the vulnerable (18.4 percent major emphasis; 36.0 percent minor emphasis), and donor compensation (19.2 percent major; 52.8 percent minor). Ethical themes that comprised a second tier of prominence included those of scientific progress, control/access, and accountability/oversight. The least prominent themes were privacy, public education, and advocacy.ConclusionsThe book has been praised as an opportunity to elevate media discussion of bioethics, but such claims should be re-considered. The relatively narrow focus on informed consent in the media discussion generated by Skloot’s book may limit the ability of ethicists and advocates to elevate attention to donor control, compensation, patenting, privacy, and other ethical issues. Still, ethicists should view the book and a pending major TV film translation as opportunities to highlight through media outreach, consultation exercises and public forums a broader range of bioethical concerns that would otherwise be under-emphasized in news coverage. Such efforts, however, need to be carefully planned and evaluated. (shrink)