Derek Jarman’s Wittgenstein (1993) is one of the very few films made about a philosopher’s life. Almost a parody of a late twentieth-century art-house movie, it contains a mimetic performance by Karl Johnson in the title role, plus cameos by Michael Gough (Bertrand Russell) and the ubiquitous Tilda Swinton (Russell’s lover, Ottoline Morrell). There is a green Martian (played by Nabil Shaban) who quizzes the young Ludwig Wittgenstein, and a collection of handsome young men sitting on deckchairs, looking puzzled (...) and gazing adoringly at the Master. The action, such as it is, takes place against a theatrical black background with a few props, and the whole thing lasts a brisk seventy minutes... (shrink)
In this work Tim Ingold provides a persuasive new approach to the theory behind our perception of the world around us. The core of the argument is that where we refer to cultural variation we should be instead be talking about variation in skill. Neither genetically innate or culturally acquired, skills are incorporated into the human organism through practice and training in an environment.They are as much biological as cultural.
Tim Crane addresses the ancient question of how it is possible to think about what does not exist. He argues that the representation of the non-existent is a pervasive feature of our thought about the world, and that to understand thought's representational power ('intentionality') we need to understand the representation of the non-existent.
In this paper we respond to Benjamin Crowe's criticisms in this issue of our discussion of the grounds of worship. We clarify our previous position, and examine Crowe's account of what it is about God's nature that might ground our obligation to worship Him. We find Crowe's proposals no more persuasive than the accounts that we examined in our previous paper, and conclude that theists still owe us an account of what it is in virtue of which we have obligations (...) to worship God. (shrink)
Tim Button explores the relationship between minds, words, and world. He argues that the two main strands of scepticism are deeply related and can be overcome, but that there is a limit to how much we can show. We must position ourselves somewhere between internal realism and external realism, and we cannot hope to say exactly where.
Much recent work on the ethics of new biomedical technologies is committed to hidden, contestable views about the nature of biological reality. This selection of essays by Tim Lewens explores and scrutinises these biological foundations, and includes work on human enhancement, synthetic biology, and justice in healthcare decision-making.
Aspects of Psychologism is a penetrating look into fundamental philosophical questions of consciousness, perception, and the experience we have of our mental lives. Psychologism, in Tim Crane’s formulation, presents the mind as a single subject-matter to be investigated not only empirically and conceptually but also phenomenologically: through the systematic examination of consciousness and thought from the subject’s point of view.
Tim Bayne draws on philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience in defence of the claim that consciousness is unified. He develops an account of what it means to say that consciousness is unified, and then applies this account to a variety of cases - drawn from both normal and pathological forms of experience - in which the unity of consciousness is said to break down. He goes on to explore the implications of the unity of consciousness for theories of consciousness, for the (...) sense of embodiment, and for accounts of the self. The Unity of Consciousness draws on a wide range of findings within philosophy and the sciences of the mind to construct an account of the unity of consciousness that is both conceptually sophisticated and scientifically informed. (shrink)
Tim Maudlin sets out a completely new method for describing the geometrical structure of spaces, and thus a better mathematical tool for describing and understanding space-time. He presents a historical review of the development of geometry and topology, and then his original Theory of Linear Structures.
Anthropology is a disciplined inquiry into the conditions and potentials of human life. Generations of theorists, however, have expunged life from their accounts, treating it as the mere output of patterns, codes, structures or systems variously defined as genetic or cultural, natural or social. Building on his classic work The Perception of the Environment, Tim Ingold sets out to restore life to where it should belong, at the heart of anthropological concern. Being Alive ranges over such themes as the vitality (...) of materials, what it means to make things, the perception and formation of the ground, the mingling of earth and sky in the weather-world, the experiences of light, sound and feeling, the role of storytelling in the integration of knowledge, and the potential of drawing to unite observation and description. Our humanity, Ingold argues, does not come ready-made but is continually fashioned in our movements along ways of life. Starting from the idea of life as a process of wayfaring, Ingold presents a radically new understanding of movement, knowledge and description as dimensions not just of being in the world, but of being alive to what is going on there. (shrink)
A sophisticated and original introduction to the philosophy of quantum mechanics from one of the world’s leading philosophers of physics In this book, Tim Maudlin, one of the world’s leading philosophers of physics, offers a sophisticated, original introduction to the philosophy of quantum mechanics. The briefest, clearest, and most refined account of his influential approach to the subject, the book will be invaluable to all students of philosophy and physics. Quantum mechanics holds a unique place in the history of physics. (...) It has produced the most accurate predictions of any scientific theory, but, more astonishing, there has never been any agreement about what the theory implies about physical reality. Maudlin argues that the very term “quantum theory” is a misnomer. A proper physical theory should clearly describe what is there and what it does—yet standard textbooks present quantum mechanics as a predictive recipe in search of a physical theory. In contrast, Maudlin explores three proper theories that recover the quantum predictions: the indeterministic wavefunction collapse theory of Ghirardi, Rimini, and Weber; the deterministic particle theory of deBroglie and Bohm; and the conceptually challenging Many Worlds theory of Everett. Each offers a radically different proposal for the nature of physical reality, but Maudlin shows that none of them are what they are generally taken to be. (shrink)
Tim Lewens aims to understand what it means to take an evolutionary approach to cultural change, and why it is that these approaches are sometimes treated with suspicion. While making a case for the value of evolutionary thinking for students of culture, he shows why the concerns of sceptics should not dismissed as mere prejudice, confusion, or ignorance. Indeed, confusions about what evolutionary approaches entail are propagated by their proponents, as well as by their detractors. By taking seriously the problems (...) faced by these approaches to culture, he shows how such approaches can be better formulated, where their most significant limitations lie, and how the tools of cultural evolutionary thinking might become more widely accepted. (shrink)
Utilitarianism - a philosophy based on the principle of the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people - has been hugely influential over the past two centuries. Beyond ethics or morality, utilitarian assumptions and arguments abound in modern economic and political life, especially in public policy. An understanding of utilitarianism is indeed essential to any understanding of contemporary society. "Understanding Utilitarianism" presents utilitarianism very much as a living tradition. The book begins with a summary of the classical utilitarianism of (...) the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Subsequent chapters trace the development of the central themes of utilitarian thought over the twentieth century, covering such questions as: What is happiness? Is happiness the only valuable thing? Is utilitarianism about acts or rules or institutions? Is utilitarianism unjust, or implausibly demanding, or impractical? and Where might utilitarianism go in the future? (shrink)
This concise book introduces nonphysicists to the core philosophical issues surrounding the nature and structure of space and time, and is also an ideal resource for physicists interested in the conceptual foundations of space-time theory. Tim Maudlin's broad historical overview examines Aristotelian and Newtonian accounts of space and time, and traces how Galileo's conceptions of relativity and space-time led to Einstein's special and general theories of relativity. Maudlin explains special relativity using a geometrical approach, emphasizing intrinsic space-time structure rather than (...) coordinate systems or reference frames. He gives readers enough detail about special relativity to solve concrete physical problems while presenting general relativity in a more qualitative way, with an informative discussion of the geometrization of gravity, the bending of light, and black holes. Additional topics include the Twins Paradox, the physical aspects of the Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction, the constancy of the speed of light, time travel, the direction of time, and more.Introduces nonphysicists to the philosophical foundations of space-time theory Provides a broad historical overview, from Aristotle to Einstein Explains special relativity geometrically, emphasizing the intrinsic structure of space-time Covers the Twins Paradox, Galilean relativity, time travel, and more Requires only basic algebra and no formal knowledge of physics. (shrink)
Crow, Tim J, Introduction I. THE ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES Stringer, Chris, The Morphological and Behavioural Origins of Modern Humans Mellars, Paul, Archaeology and the Origins of Modern Humans: European and African Perspectives Tattersall, Ian, The Case for Saltational Events in Human Evolution Collard, Mark, Grades and Transitions in Human Evolution II. LANGUAGE AND THE EVOLUTION OF THE BRAIN Bickerton, Derek, From Protolanguage to Language Ploog, Detlev, Is the Neural Basis of Vocalisation Different in Non-Human Primates and Homo sapiens? Corballis, (...) Michael C, Laterality and Human Speciation Steele, James, When did Directional Asymmetry Enter the Record? Cook, Norman D, Bihemispheric Language: How the Two Hemispheres Collaborate in the Processing of Language III. THE SEARCH FOR A CRITICAL EVENT Crow, Tim J, Sexual Selection, Timing and an X–Y Homologous Gene: Did Homo sapiens Speciate on the Y Chromosome? Tyler-Smith, Chris, What Can the Y Chromosome Tell Us about the Origin of Modern Humans? Sargent, Carole A, Blanco, Patricia & Affara, Nabeel A, Do the Hominid-Specific Regions of X–Y Homology Contain Candidate Genes Potentially Involved in a Critical Event Linked to Speciation? Reinhold, Klaus, Preferential Sex Linkage of Sexually Selected Genes: Evidence and a New Explanation. (shrink)
Critics have argued that comparative philosophy is inherently flawed or even impossible. What standards can we use to describe and evaluate different cultures' philosophies? How do we avoid projecting our own ways of thinking onto others? Can we overcome the vast divergences in history, language, and ways of organizing reality that we find in China, India, Africa, and the West? Doing Philosophy Comparatively is the first comprehensive introduction to the foundations, problems, and methods of comparative philosophy. It is divided into (...) three parts: . A wide-ranging examination of the basic concepts of comparative philosophy, including "philosophy," "comparison," "tradition," and "culture." . A discussion of the central problems that arise in extending philosophy across cultural boundaries: linguistic, justificatory, and evaluative incommensurability; projection and asymmetry; and the validity of cultural generalizations. . A critical look at the dominant contemporary approaches to comparative philosophy. This book offers a basic tool-kit for doing philosophy at the cross-cultural level. Drawing on many examples from the past and present of comparative philosophy, it engages readers in sustained reflection on how to think comparatively. (shrink)
Imagine living in the future in a world already damaged by humankind, a world where resources are insufficient to meet everyone's basic needs and where a chaotic climate makes life precarious. Then imagine looking back into the past, back to our own time and assessing the ethics of the early twenty-first century. "Ethics for a Broken World" imagines how the future might judge us and how living in a time of global environmental degradation might utterly reshape the politics and ethics (...) of the future. This book is presented as a series of history of philosophy lectures given in the future, studying the classic texts from a past age of affluence, our own time. The central ethical questions of our time are shown to look very different from the perspective of a ruined world. The aim of "Ethics for a Broken" World is to look at our present with the benefit of hindsight - to reimagine contemporary philosophy in an historical context - and to highlight the contingency of our own moral and political ideals. (shrink)
In recent philosophy of science there has been much discussion of both pluralism, which embraces scientific terms with multiple meanings, and eliminativism, which rejects such terms. Some recent work focuses on the conditions that legitimize pluralism over eliminativism – the conditions under which such terms are acceptable. Often, this is understood as a matter of encouraging effective communication – the danger of these terms is thought to be equivocation, while the advantage is thought to be the fulfilment of ‘bridging roles’ (...) that facilitate communication between different scientists and specialisms. These theories are geared towards regulating communication between scientists qua scientists. However, this overlooks an important class of harmful equivocation that involves miscommunication between scientists and nonscientists, such as the public or policymakers. To make my case, I use the example of theory of mind, also known as ‘mindreading’ and ‘mentalizing’, and broadly defined as the capacity to attribute mental states to oneself and others. I begin by showing that ‘theory of mind’ has multiple meanings, before showing that this has resulted in harmful equivocations of a sort and in a way not accounted for by previous theories of pluralism and eliminativism. (shrink)
Tim Mulgan presents a penetrating examination of consequentialism: the theory that human behavior must be judged in terms of the goodness or badness of its consequences. The problem with consequentialism is that it seems unreasonably demanding, leaving us no room for our own aims and interests. In response, Mulgan offers his own, more practical version of consequentialism--one that will surely appeal to philosophers and laypersons alike.
The ability to focus on relevant information is central to human cognition. It is therefore hardly unsurprising that the notion of relevance appears across a range of different dis- ciplines. As well as its central role in relevance-theoretic pragmatics, for example, rele- vance is also a core concept in the affective sciences, where there is consensus that for a particular object or event to elicit an emotional state, that object or event needs to be relevant to the person in whom (...) that state is elicited. Despite this, although some affective scientists have carefully considered what emotional relevance might mean, surprisingly little research has been dedicated to providing a definition. Since, by contrast, the relevance-theoretic notion of relevance is carefully defined, our primary aim is to compare relevance as it exists in affective science and in relevance theory, A further aim is to redress what we perceive to be an imbalance: Affective scientists have made great strides in understanding the processes of emotion elicitation/responses etc., but despite the fact that among humans the communication of information about emotional states is ubiquitous, pragmatists have tended to ignore it. We conclude, therefore, that affective science and relevance theory have much to learn from each other. (shrink)
In this lively Very Short Introduction, Tim Bayne looks at the nature of thought. Exploring questions such as 'What are thoughts?' and 'How is thought realized in the brain?', he draws on research in philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, and anthropology to look at what we know - and don't know - about the capacity for thought.
It is common to distinguish between conscious mental episodes and standing mental states — those mental features like beliefs, desires or intentions, which a subject can have even if she is not conscious, or when her consciousness is occupied with something else. This paper presents a view of standing mental states according to which these states are less real than episodes of consciousness. It starts from the usual view that states like beliefs and desires are not directly present to the (...) mind, but are posited to explain thought and behaviour. Ascriptions of these states are attempts to model a subject’s “Worldview”: the totality of their cognitive, conative and affective dispositions. When ascribing standing states, we often significantly simplify the complexity of the Worldview. This simplification is a feature of models in general. The Worldview is also distinguished from the “Habitus” — the totality of dispositions that are associated with character traits. As with the Worldview, modelling the Habitus should be treated as a useful simplification of a very complex reality. It is argued that although these models have some similarities with fictions, these similarities are outweighed by the dissimilarities. (shrink)
To understand the mind, we need to draw equally on the fields of cognitive science and neuroscience. But these two fields have very separate intellectual roots, and very different styles. So how can these two be reconciled in order to develop a full understanding of the mind and brain.This is the focus of this landmark new book.
What do we owe to our descendants? How do we balance their needs against our own? Tim Mulgan develops a new theory of our obligations to future generations, based on a new rule-consequentialist account of the morality of individual reproduction. He also brings together several different contemporary philosophical discussions, including the demands of morality and international justice. His aim is to produce a coherent, intuitively plausible moral theory that is not unreasonably demanding, even when extended to cover future people. While (...) the book focuses on developing this new account, there are also substantial discussions of alternative views, especially contract-based accounts of intergenerational justice and competing forms of consequentialism. (shrink)
Preface ix 1 Meaning and the Means to an Understanding of Ends 2 Why Is an Eye? 21 3 Adaptationism and Engineering 39 4 On Five "-Isms" 67 5 Function, Selection, and Explanation 87 6 Deflating Function 119 7 Artifacts and Organisms 139 References 167 Index 177.
Growing interest among historians and social scientists in the work of Karl Polanyi has yet to produce detailed historical studies of how Polanyi's work was received by his contemporaries. This article reconstructs the frustration of Polanyi's attempts to make a name for himself among English socialists between his arrival from Vienna in 1934 and his departure for New York in 1947. The most obvious explanation for Polanyi's failure to find a following was the socialist historians’ rejection of his unorthodox narrative (...) of the rise of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution in The Great Transformation. But this disappointment was anticipated in earlier exchanges revealing that Polanyi's social theory, specifically his conception of the self and its social relations, differed markedly from the views prevailing among socialists of R. H. Tawney and G. D. H. Cole's generation. As well as casting new light on the intellectual history of English socialism and variegating our understanding of the contexts in which conceptions of the human person were invoked in the interwar period, this article seeks to illuminate by example the importance of deep-seated, often tacit, commitments to particular conceptions of the self and its social relations in structuring mid-century intellectual life. (shrink)
"The Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever" was first described by the late George Boolos in the Spring 1996 issue of the Harvard Review of Philosophy. Although not dissimilar in appearance from many other simpler puzzles involving gods (or tribesmen) who always tell the truth or always lie, this puzzle has several features that make the solution far from trivial. This paper examines the puzzle and describes a simpler solution than that originally proposed by Boolos.
The context for these interviews was a seminar [Peter Gratton] conducted on speculative realism in the Spring 2010. There has been great interest in speculative realism and one reason Gratton surmise[s] is not just the arguments offered, though [Gratton doesn't] want to take away from them; each of these scholars are vivid writers and great pedagogues, many of whom are in constant contact with their readers via their weblogs. Thus these interviews provided an opportunity to forward student questions about their (...) respective works. Though each were conducted on different occasions, the interviews stand as a collected work, tying together the most classical questions about “realism” to ancillary movements about the non-human in politics, ecology, aesthetics, and video gaming—all to point to future movements in this philosophical area. (shrink)
Neuropsychological results are increasingly cited in cognitive theories although their methodology has been severely criticised. The book argues for an eclectic approach but particularly stresses the use of single-case studies. A range of potential artifacts exists when inferences are made from such studies to the organisation of normal function – for example, resource differences among tasks, premorbid individual differences, and reorganisation of function. The use of “strong” and “classical” dissociations minimises potential artifacts. The theoretical convergence between findings from fields where (...) cognitive neuropsychology is well developed and those from the normal literature strongly suggests that the potential artifacts are not critical. The fields examined in detail in this respect are short-term memory, reading, writing, the organisation of input and output speech systems, and visual perception. Functional dissociation data suggest that not only are input systems organised modularly, but so are central systems. This conclusion is supported by findings on impairment of knowledge, visual attention, supervisory functions, memory, and consciousness. (shrink)
Linguists have often remarked upon the polysemous nature of love, whereby the term encompasses a wide diversity of emotional relationships. Several typologies have been constructed to account for this diversity. However, these tend to be restricted in scope, and fail to fully represent the range of experiences signified by the term ‘love’ in discourse. In the interest of generating an expanded typology of love, encompassing its varied forms, an enquiry was conducted into relevant concepts found across the world's cultures, focusing (...) on so-called untranslatable words. Through a quasi-systematic search of published and internet sources, 609 relevant words were identified. These were organised through a version of grounded theory into 14 categories, representing 14 different forms or ‘flavours’ of love. The result is an expanded theoretical treatment of love, allowing us to better appreciate the nuances of this most cherished and yet polysemous of concepts. (shrink)
Historically, interjections have been treated in two different ways: as part of language, or as non-words signifying feelings or states of mind. In this paper, I assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of two contemporary approaches that reflect the historical dichotomy, and suggest a new analysis which preserves the insights of both. Interjections have a natural and a coded element, and are better analysed as falling at various points along a continuum between `showing' and `saying'. These two notions are characterised (...) in theoretical terms, and some implications of the proposed approach are considered. (shrink)
We introduce a framework that allows for the construction of sequent systems for expressive description logics extending ALC. Our framework not only covers a wide array of common description logics, but also allows for sequent systems to be obtained for extensions of description logics with special formulae that we call "role relational axioms." All sequent systems are sound, complete, and possess favorable properties such as height-preserving admissibility of common structural rules and height-preserving invertibility of rules.
The present paper provides an analysis of Euler’s solutions to the Königsberg bridges problem. Euler proposes three different solutions to the problem, addressing their strengths and weaknesses along the way. I put the analysis of Euler’s paper to work in the philosophical discussion on mathematical explanations. I propose that the key ingredient to a good explanation is the degree to which it provides relevant information. Providing relevant information is based on knowledge of the structure in question, graphs in the present (...) case. I also propose computational complexity and logical strength as measures of relevant information. (shrink)
Standpoint logic is a recently proposed formalism in the context of knowledge integration, which advocates a multi-perspective approach permitting reasoning with a selection of diverse and possibly conflicting standpoints rather than forcing their unification. In this paper, we introduce nested sequent calculi for propositional standpoint logics---proof systems that manipulate trees whose nodes are multisets of formulae---and show how to automate standpoint reasoning by means of non-deterministic proof-search algorithms. To obtain worst-case complexity-optimal proof-search, we introduce a novel technique in the context (...) of nested sequents, referred to as "coloring," which consists of taking a formula as input, guessing a certain coloring of its subformulae, and then running proof-search in a nested sequent calculus on the colored input. Our technique lets us decide the validity of standpoint formulae in CoNP since proof-search only produces a partial proof relative to each permitted coloring of the input. We show how all partial proofs can be fused together to construct a complete proof when the input is valid, and how certain partial proofs can be transformed into a counter-model when the input is invalid. These "certificates" (i.e. proofs and counter-models) serve as explanations of the (in)validity of the input. (shrink)
This paper argues that a notion of statistical explanation, based on Salmon’s statistical relevance model, can help us better understand deep neural networks. It is proved that homogeneous partitions, the core notion of Salmon’s model, are equivalent to minimal sufficient statistics, an important notion from statistical inference. This establishes a link to deep neural networks via the so-called Information Bottleneck method, an information-theoretic framework, according to which deep neural networks implicitly solve an optimization problem that generalizes minimal sufficient statistics. The (...) resulting notion of statistical explanation is general, mathematical, and subcausal. (shrink)
The context or manner of an utterance can alter or nullify the speech-act that would normally be performed by utterances of that sort. Coercive contexts have this effect on some kinds of seeming assertions: they end up being non-assertoric, and are merely capitulations. An earlier version of this view is clarified, defended, and extended partly in response to a useful critique by Roy Sorensen. I examine some complications that arise regarding resistance to speaking under coercion when ideological or religious commitments (...) are implicated. (shrink)
Two familiar worldviews dominate Western philosophy: materialist atheism and the benevolent God of the Abrahamic faiths. Tim Mulgan explores a third way. Ananthropocentric Purposivism claims that there is a cosmic purpose, but human beings are irrelevant to it. Purpose in the Universe develops a philosophical case for Ananthropocentric Purposivism that it is at least as strong as the case for either theism or atheism. He draws on a range of secular and religious ethical traditions to conclude that a non-human-centred cosmic (...) purpose can ground a distinctive human morality. Our moral practices, our view of the moral universe, and our moral theory are all transformed if we shift from the familiar choice between a universe without meaning and a universe where humans matter to the less self-aggrandising thought that, while it is about something, the universe is not about us. (shrink)
Abstract The only biologically respectable notion of human nature is an extremely permissive one that names the reliable dispositions of the human species as a whole. This conception offers no ethical guidance in debates over enhancement, and indeed it has the result that alterations to human nature have been commonplace in the history of our species. Aristotelian conceptions of species natures, which are currently fashionable in meta-ethics and applied ethics, have no basis in biological fact. Moreover, because our folk psychology (...) finds this misleading Aristotelian conception highly tempting, we are in fact better off if we refrain from mentioning human nature altogether in debates over enhancement. Content Type Journal Article Category Special Issue Pages 1-16 DOI 10.1007/s13347-012-0063-x Authors Tim Lewens, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge, CB2 3RH UK Journal Philosophy & Technology Online ISSN 2210-5441 Print ISSN 2210-5433. (shrink)
There are empirical grounds to doubt the effectiveness of a common and intuitive approach to teaching debiasing strategies in critical thinking courses. We summarize some of the grounds before suggesting a broader taxonomy of debiasing strategies. This four-level taxonomy enables a useful diagnosis of biasing factors and situations, and illuminates more strategies for more effective bias mitigation located in the shaping of situational factors and reasoning infrastructure—sometimes called “nudges” in the literature. The question, we contend, then becomes how best to (...) teach the construction and use of such infrastructures. (shrink)
Desires move us to action, give us urges, incline us to joy at their satisfaction, and incline us to sorrow at their frustration. Naturalistic work on desire has focused on distinguishing which of these phenomena are part of the nature of desire, and which are merely normal consequences of desiring. Three main answers have been proposed. The first holds that the central necessary fact about desires is that they lead to action. The second makes pleasure the essence of desire. And (...) the third holds that the central necessary fact about desires is that they open us to reward-based learning. (shrink)