The most successful theory in all of science--and the basis of one third of our economy--says the strangest things about the world and about us. Can you believe that physical reality is created by our observation of it? Physicists were forced to this conclusion, the quantum enigma, by what they observed in their laboratories. Trying to understand the atom, physicists built quantum mechanics and found, to their embarrassment, that their theory intimately connects consciousness with the physical world. Quantum Enigma explores (...) what that implies and why some founders of the theory became the foremost objectors to it. Schrodinger showed that it "absurdly" allowed a cat to be in a "superposition" simultaneously dead and alive. Einstein derided the theory's "spooky interactions." With Bell's Theorem, we now know Schrodinger's superpositions and Einstein's spooky interactions indeed exist. Authors BruceRosenblum and Fred Kuttner explain all of this in non-technical terms with help from some fanciful stories and bits about the theory's developers. They present the quantum mystery honestly, with an emphasis on what is and what is not speculation. Physics' encounter with consciousness is its skeleton in the closet. Because the authors open the closet and examine the skeleton, theirs is a controversial book. Quantum Enigma's description of the experimental quantum facts, and the quantum theory explaining them, is undisputed. Interpreting what it all means, however, is controversial. Every interpretation of quantum physics encounters consciousness. Rosenblum and Kuttner therefore turn to exploring consciousness itself--and encounter quantum physics. Free will and anthropic principles become crucial issues, and the connection of consciousness with the cosmos suggested by some leading quantum cosmologists is mind-blowing. Readers are brought to a boundary where the particular expertise of physicists is no longer a sure guide. They will find, instead, the facts and hints provided by quantum mechanics and the ability to speculate for themselves. (shrink)
A goal of most interpretations of quantum mechanics is to avoid the apparent intrusion of the observer into the measurement process. Such intrusion is usually seen to arise because observation somehow selects a single actuality from among the many possibilities represented by the wavefunction. The issue is typically treated in terms of the mathematical formulation of the quantum theory. We attempt to address a different manifestation of the quantum measurement problem in a theory-neutral manner. With a version of the two-slit (...) experiment, we demonstrate that an enigma arises directly from the results of experiments. Assuming that no observable physical phenomena exist beyond those predicted by the theory, we argue that no interpretation of the quantum theory can avoid a measurement problem involving the observer. (shrink)
Consciousness and the measurement problem of quantum mechanics have a logical connection and an historical involvement. Moreover, current issues in the two arenas have striking similarities. Whether or not consciousness warrants quantum mechanical consideration, analogies between quantum measurement and consciousness are tantalizing and suggestive. After a review of how the issue of consciousness arises in quantum mechanics , and after a brief discussion of the implications of the measurement problem for reductionism, we develop a series of analogies between consciousness and (...) quantum mechanics. We conclude that any substantial advance in one arena would at the least offer hints for routes to take in the other. (shrink)
We describe what seems to be the only objective evidence for the existence of consciousness as an entity beyond its neural correlates. We display this evidence, the nature of observation in quantum mechanics, with a theory-neutral version of the archetypal demonstration of quantum phenomena, the two-slit experiment. This undisputed empirical result provides objective evidence for consciousness, the straightforward alternative being the assumption of not only a completely deterministic world, but a conspiratorial one as well. The objection to this evidence for (...) consciousness, that a not-conscious robot could be the observer, is examined. (shrink)
Cloning Human Embryos for Spare Tissue An Ethical Dilemma Content Type Journal Article Pages 22-23 Authors Donald Bruce, Religion and Technology Project, Church of Scotland, John Knox House, 45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR, Scotland Journal Human Reproduction & Genetic Ethics Online ISSN 2043-0469 Print ISSN 1028-7825 Journal Volume Volume 8 Journal Issue Volume 8, Number 2 / 2002.
Elements of the relation between religion and politics are standard themes in political theory: toleration and free exercise rights; the parameters of separation of church and state; arguments for and against constraints imposed on religious discourse by philosophic norms of public reason. But religious parties and partisanship are no part of political theory, despite contemporary interest in value pluralism and in liberal democratic theory's capacity to address multicultural, religious, and ethnic group claims. This essay argues that religious parties are missing (...) elements in discussions of identity politics. They play an important role not just in expressing but also in constructing and mobilizing religious political identity. Political activity linked to parties is a principal way of bringing diffuse, politically unorganized groups, whose leaders are self-appointed and not regularly accountable for the way they represent co-religionists in political life, into the democratic mainstream. With political organization and especially partisanship, the fact of pluralism is made concrete for democratic purposes. (shrink)
This paper examines the ethical andsocial questions that underlie the present UKdiscussion whether GM crops and organicagriculture can co-exist within a given regionor are mutually exclusive. A EuropeanCommission report predicted practicaldifficulties in achieving sufficientseparation distances to guarantee lowerthreshold levels proposed for GM material inorganic produce. Evidence of gene flow betweensome crops and their wild relatives has beena key issue in the recent Government consultation toconsult on whether or not to authorizecommercial planting of GM crops, following theresults of the current UK (...) farm scale trials.The admixture of imported Bt transgenes intolandrace varieties of Mexican maize alsopresents difficulties. An ethical evaluationis made of the claim that organic growersshould expect protection from adventitioustraces of GM constructs in their products. Towhat extent – on either side of the debate –can any particular group in society set upagricultural standards for itself that mayeffectively restrain others from an otherwisejust business? The assumptions behind notionslike ``purity'' and ``contamination'' areexamined, together with their underlying viewsof nature and human intervention. The 2001UK Agriculture and Environmental BiotechnologyCommission report is relevant to theseissues. While the Government wishes to promotethe UK biotechnology industry and is underpressure from US claims of trade restraint, astrong organic lobby demands purity from GMcontamination. Does this adversarial framingof the issues reflect broader public opinionin the UK public consultation? Inarriving at policy decisions, the role of thevirtue of tolerance is considered inpost-modern and Christian ethical contexts. (shrink)
Future technological developmentsconcerning food, agriculture, and theenvironment face a gulf of social legitimationfrom a skeptical public and media, in the wakeof the crises of BSE, GM food, and foot andmouth disease in the UK (House of Lords, 2000). Keyethical issues were ignored by the bioindustry,regulators, and the Government, leaving alegacy of distrust. The paper examinesagricultural biotechnology in terms of a socialcontract, whose conditions would have to be fulfilled togain acceptance of novel applications. Variouscurrent and future GM applications areevaluated against these (...) conditions. Successwould depend critically on how far a sharedvision can be found with the public. Tore-establish trust, significant changes areidentified in the planning and pursuit ofbiotechnology. (shrink)
The language $L_A(\Finv)$ is formed by adding the quantifier $\Finv x$ , "few x", to the infinitary logic L A on an admissible set A. A complete axiomatization is obtained for models whose universe is the set of ordinals of A and where $\Finv x$ is interpreted as there exist A-finitely many x. For well-behaved A, every consistent sentence has a model with an A-recursive diagram. A principal tool is forcing for $L_A(\Finv)$.
Three interpretations of theprecautionary principle are identified, namely``soft,'' ``hard,'' and outright rejection. The ECCommunication of February 2000 is largely aresponse to the latter, to provide alegitimation in trade-related WTO disputes.This context leads to an over stress onscientific closure. This is critiqued asidealistic in respect of resolving long termuncertainties inherent in the GM food issue.While offering some useful guidelines in riskmanagement, the EC report seriously fails totake into account the ethical and societaldimension of risk. These are crucial both indetermining when precautionary (...) principle isinvoked and the action to be taken. The EC viewleans too much to a scientific rationalist riskperspective. However, the ``Green''interpretation of the precautionary principleas a reversal of the burden of proof is alsocriticized as inconsistent both with the natureof technology and with the nature of reality asseen in a Christian perspective. Biblicalinsights on risk reveal a balance ofintervention and conservation in a world whererisk is inherent. The notion of risk as asocial contract reveals that ethical andsocietal issues have a crucial role to play inapplying the precautionary principle. (shrink)
Bruce Janz, Jessica Locke, and Cynthia Willett interact in this exchange with different aspects of Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad’s book Human Being, Bodily Being. Through “constructive inter-cultural thinking”, they seek to engage with Ram-Prasad’s “lower-case p” phenomenology, which exemplifies “how to think otherwise about the nature and role of bodiliness in human experience”. This exchange, which includes Ram-Prasad’s reply to their interventions, pushes the reader to reflect more about different aspects of bodiliness.
This article revisits, analyzes and critiques Bruce Chatwin’s 1987 bestseller, The Songlines,1 more than three decades after its publication. In Songlines, the book primarily responsible for his posthumous celebrity, Chatwin set out to explore the essence of Central and Western Desert Aboriginal Australians’ philosophical beliefs. For many readers globally, Songlines is regarded as a—if not the—definitive entry into the epistemological basis, religion, cosmology and lifeways of classical Western and Central Desert Aboriginal people. It is argued that Chatwin’s fuzzy, ill-defined (...) use of the word-concept “songlines”2 has had the effect of generating more heat than light. Chatwin’s failure to recognize the economic imperative underpinning Australian desert people’s walking praxis is problematic: his own treks through foreign lands were underpropped by socioeconomic privilege. Chatwin’s ethnocentric idée fixe regarding the primacy of “walking” and “nomadism,” central to his Songlines thématique, well and truly preceded his visits to Central Australia. Walking, proclaimed Chatwin, is an elemental part of “Man’s” innate nature. It is argued that this unwavering, preconceived, essentialist belief was a self-serving construal justifying Chatwin’s own “nomadic” adventures of identity. Is it thus reasonable to regard Chatwin as a “rogue author,” an unreliable narrator? And if so, does this matter? Of greatest concern is the book’s continuing majority acceptance as a measured, accurate account of Aboriginal belief systems. With respect to Aboriginal desert people and the barely disguised individuals depicted in Songlines, is Chatwin’s book a “rogue text,” constituting an act of epistemic violence, consistent with Spivak’s usage of that term? (shrink)
In The Stubborn System of Moral Responsibility (2015), Bruce Waller sets out to explain why the belief in individual moral responsibility is so strong. He begins by pointing out that there is a strange disconnect between the strength of philosophical arguments in support of moral responsibility and the strength of philosophical belief in moral responsibility. While the many arguments in favor of moral responsibility are inventive, subtle, and fascinating, Waller points out that even the most ardent supporters of moral (...) responsibility acknowledge that the arguments in its favor are far from conclusive; and some of the least confident concerning the arguments for moral responsibility—such as Van Inwagen—are most confident of the truth of moral responsibility. Thus, argues Waller, whatever the verdict on the strength of philosophical arguments for moral responsibility, it is clear that belief in moral responsibility—whether among philosophers or the folk—is based on something other than philosophical reasons. -/- He goes on to argue that there are several sources for the strong belief in moral responsibility, but the following four are particularly influential: First, moral responsibility is based in a powerful “strike back” emotion that we share with other animals. Second, there is a deep-rooted “belief in a just world”—a belief that, according to Waller, most philosophers reject when they consciously consider it, but which has a deep nonconscious influence on what we regard as just treatment and which provides subtle (but mistaken) support for belief in moral responsibility. Third, there is a pervasive moral responsibility system—extending over criminal justice as well as “common sense”—that makes the truth of moral responsibility seem obvious, and makes challenges to moral responsibility seem incoherent. Finally, there is the enormous confidence we have in the power of reason, which mistakenly leads us to believe that our conscious, rational, and critically reflective selves are constantly guiding our behavior in accordance with our deep values. -/- In these comments, I would like to discuss the many points of agreement I have with Waller, providing along the way additional fuel for his skeptical fire (i.e., his moral responsibility skepticism and his skeptical analysis of the source of our strong belief in moral responsibility). I will also discuss, however, my one main point of disagreement—i.e., his desire to preserve the conception of free will. Waller believes free will can “flourish” in the absence of moral responsibility (see Ch.8), while I maintain they that the variety of free will that is of central philosophical and practical importance is the sort required for moral responsibility in a particular but pervasive sense. This sense of moral responsibility is set apart by the notion of basic desert and is purely backward-looking and non-consequentialist (see Pereboom 2001, 2014; Caruso and Morris, forthcoming). Understood this way, the sort of free will at issue in the historical debate is a kind of power or ability an agent must possess in order to justify certain kinds of desert-based judgments, attitudes, or treatments in response to decisions or actions that the agent performed or failed to perform. (shrink)
I respond to Jonathan Chimakonam’s paper in which he presents an approach to dialogue in philosophical space, and raises questions about my own approach. I raise four questions to his understanding of conversation. First, I ask him for more details on his conception of conversation. Second, what happens if not everyone cares to enter into conversation? Third, is conversation a prerequisite to philosophy, or a part of philosophy? And fourth, how does wonder fit into conversation in and about place?
I hope to persuade Charles Fried to think again about his developing views on distributive justice. Since I live at a certain remove from Cambridge, the best I can offer is a hypothetical dialogue with an imaginary person whose views seem, to me at least, of a Friedian inspiration. My central question deals with the way Fried establishes his rights to things he candidly concedes he does not deserve. To present my problems, I shall begin with a simpler case than (...) those – involving kidneys and talents – that Fried makes central to his discussion. Rather than starting with these rather special goods, I find it clarifying to focus first on more garden variety commodities – which, to emphasize their character, I shall call apples. (shrink)
John Stuart Mill's connection with the Irish question spanned more than four decades and embraced a variety of elements. Of his writings on Ireland, the best known are his forty-three Morning Chronicle articles of 1846–47 composed in response to the Famine, the section of the Principles of Political Economy that treats the issue of cottier tenancy and the problem of Irish land, and, most conspicuous of all, his radical pamphlet England and Ireland, published in 1868. All of these writings take (...) the land question as their paramount concern. The fairly absorbing interest in the subject disclosed by Mill during the second half of the 1840s arose from the fortuitous conjuncture of the disaster unfolding in Ireland and his engagement with the principles of political economy. Between 1848 and 1871 Mill's Principles went through seven editions and the substantive revisions he made in the section on Ireland from one edition to the next illumine both the essence and the accidentals of his bearing towards that country. Mill's cogent and controversial advocacy of fixity of tenure in England and Ireland constituted the heart of his answer to the Fenian challenge. The land question aside, Mill was drawn into the battle over the Irish university system in the 1860s largely through his friendship with John Elliot Cairnes, professor of jurisprudence and political economy at the Queen's College Galway. On this subject, however, Mill wrote almost nothing for publication. The longest single piece he ever drafted on Ireland was his first, an essay that predated the Morning Chronicle articles by two decades. In his own bibliography this essay is referred to as ‘An article on the Catholic Question which appeared in the Parliamentary Review for 1825’. Although the essay of 1825 could justly have borne the same title as the pamphlet of 1868, the particulars of course differ markedly. Ireland never ceased to pose a question during the course of the nineteenth century, but the dynamics shaping that question changed much between the mid-1820s and the late 1860s. Even so, the 1825 essay prefigures something of Mill's later involvement with the Irish question, and also invites examination as a quite remarkable piece of political journalism from the pen of a young man not yet twenty, who would subsequently establish himself as the most influential thinker of his generation. (shrink)
Bruce Langtry's ‘God, the Best and Evil’ is a fine contribution to the literature. Here, I review the contents of the book, and then provide some critical remarks that, as fas as I know, have not been made elsewhere. In particular, I argue that his criticism of my formulations of logical arguments from evil (in my Arguing about Gods) is unsuccessful.
In a recent article in Religious Studies, Professor P. W. Gooch attempts to wean the orthodox Christian from anthropological materialism by consideration of the question of the nature of the post-mortem person in the resurrection. He argues that the view that the resurrected person is a psychophysical organism who is in some physical sense the same as the ante-mortem person is inconsistent with the Pauline view of the resurrected body; rather, according to him, Paul's view is most consistent with that (...) which affirms the disembodied survival of the person. ‘I want to argue’, he writes, ‘for the thesis that a Pauline resurrection body may well be ontologically the same as a disembodied person.’ I intend to show that Professor Gooch has failed to provide any support for this view and indeed that his own view falls prey to the criticisms which he has raised against other views. (shrink)
This article is the attempt at a dialogue with Bruce McCormack about the position he espoused in The Cambridge Companion to Karl Barth concerning the relation between God's Election of grace and God's Triunity. I had criticized McCormack's position in my book, Divine Freedom and the Doctrine of the Immanent Trinity (2002), but I did not elaborate on it in great detail. To develop the dialogue I will: 1) consider McCormack's claim that in CD II/2 Barth made Jesus Christ (...) “rather than” the Eternal Logos the subject of election; 2) consider what Barth means when he speaks of Jesus Christ “in the beginning”; 3) compare McCormack's thesis that the Father never had regard for the Son, apart from the humanity to be assumed, with Barth's belief that we must not dispute the eternal will of God which “precedes even predestination”; 4) analyze in detail McCormack's rejection of Barth's belief that the logos asarkos in distinction from the logos incarnandus is a necessary concept in trinitarian theology; 5) discuss Barth's concept of the divine will in relation to the concept advanced by McCormack and suggest that McCormack has fallen into the error of Hermann Schell by thinking that God in some sense takes his origin from himself, so that God would only be triune if he elected us; 6) explain why it is a problem to hold, as McCormack does, that God's self-determination to be triune and his election of us should be considered one and the same act; and finally 7) explain McCormack's confusion of time and eternity in his latest article on the subject in the February, 2007 issue of the Scottish Journal of Theology, and his own espousal of a kind of indeterminacy on God's part (which he theoretically rejects). (shrink)
Traditionally, when persons were viewed as a psycho-physical unity, life after death was deemed quite impossible, particularly in the face of universal human mortality and inevitable bodily corruption. However, some modern anthropologically monistic philosophers, including most notably John Hick, have argued that life after death is possible Two objections have been raised against the re-creationist thesis that the individual human person can be re-created after death. The objection that the re-created person would not be the same person as the deceased (...) because the person would lack spatial-temporal continuity I answer by showing that spatial-temporal continuity is not a necessary condition for all cases of personal identity. To the objection that the decision to call the re-created individual the same as the deceased either uses criteria like memory which themselves presuppose bodily continuity or is merely an unjustified convention, I show that these criteria do not presuppose continuity, and though an identity decision is called for, it is not an unjustifiable or arbitrary decision. (shrink)
Upshot: Are narratives systems on their own, or rather structures supporting and, if need be, subverting the reproduction of systems? Bruce Clarke inquires into the ability of social systems theory to help understand narratives - and comes across some “mysteries of cognition” concerning the questions of how systems emerge and which of them might be considered self-referential and autopoietic.
Ranging from Joseph Bellamy to Hilary Putnam, and from early New England Divinity Schools to contemporary university philosophy departments, historian Bruce Kuklick recounts the story of the growth of philosophical thinking in the United States. Readers will explore the thought of early American philosphers such as Jonathan Edwards and John Witherspoon and will see how the political ideas of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson influenced philosophy in colonial America. Kuklick discusses The Transcendental Club (members Henry David Thoreau, (...) Ralph Waldo Emerson) and describes the rise of pragmatism centered on Metaphysical Club of Cambridge (and members William James, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Charles Peirce). He examines the profound impact Darwinism had on American philosophy and looks at Idealists such as the Kantian Josiah Royce and the Hegelian John Dewey. The book shows how, in the twentieth century, the Nazi conquest of Europe unleashed a flood of European intellectuals onto these shores, including such major thinkers as Theodore Adorno, Erich Fromm, Rudolph Carnap, and Alfred Tarski. Finally, Kuklick examines the contributions of such contemporary philosophers as Sidney Hook and Willard Quine and such books as John Rawl's A Theory of Justice and Herbert Marcuse's One Dimensional Man. Kuklick pulls no punches in portraying the state of American philosophy today and its contested role in the intellectual life of the nation and the world. The range of philosophical thought in our nation's history has been great, from Edwards's Religious Affections to Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and Bruce Kuklick has captured it all in a book that blends intricate details with sweeping vision. (shrink)
One of the more sustained efforts to think beyond current academic structures has been launched by CIRET, the International Centre for Transdisciplinary Research, in Paris. This centre was involved in the First World Congress of Transdisciplinarity, in Portugal, 1994, and another international congress in Locarno, Switzerland, in early May 1997. They have a project with UNESCO on transdisciplinarity, and are involved in the World Conference on Higher Education, to be held in Paris at the end of September 1998.
When I write about ‘American philosophy’ in this paper, I refer not to the practice of philosophizing in a certain geographic area during a certain time. Rather I mean a scholarly field defined by certain conventions, standard arguments, and major works. I hope primarily to show that that area of inquiry is befuddled. I also want to suggest, however, that it may be unhelpful to try to write about the practice of philosophizing in a certain geographic area—the continental United States—in (...) anything like the way scholars now write about it. (shrink)
Bruce Langtry's ‘God, the Best and Evil’ is a fine contribution to the literature. Here, I review the contents of the book, and then provide some critical remarks that, as fas as I know, have not been made elsewhere. In particular, I argue that his criticism of my formulations of logical arguments from evil is unsuccessful.
In an attempt to make the idea of surviving one's own death in a disembodied state intelligible, H. H. Price has presented a possible description of what the afterlife might be like for a disembodied self or consciousness. Price suggests that the world of the disembodied self might be a kind of dream or image world. In it he would replace his present sense-perception by activating his image-producing powers, which are now inhibited by their continuous bombardment by sensory stimuli, to (...) produce mental images. Though he would be cut off from any new supply of sensory material, he might be able to draw upon his memory of his previous physical existence to create an entire environment of images. A nexus of perspectively inter-related images would constitute an object; this would serve as a substitute for the material objects which he perceived in his past life. The entire environment of the disembodied individual would be composed of such families of mental images and would serve to constitute his world. It need not, however, be a solipsistic world, for by means of telepathy the discarnate individual could communicate with other disembodied selves and in this way acquire new information. Price notes that since this world would be as real to the discarnate self as our present world is to our embodied self, in the afterlife the disembodied self in effect would create for itself a real world, though of course if it took it to be anything other than an image world it would be deceiving itself. (shrink)
Kuttner and Rosenblum's presentation of the "only objective evidence for consciousness" is criticized for not adequately defining consciousness , not providing at the outset an explanation of the philosophical-theoretical interpretation of quantum theory that would lead to a direct rationale for their "impossible" quantum experiments, and suggesting that data from their impossible experiments could be treated as non-theoretical "facts." It is concluded that Kuttner and Rosenblum fail to objectify consciousness.
To understand differences in perspective between Kuttner and Rosenblum’s and my view of the plausibility of theory-neutral quantum experiments, meta-theoretical differences between experimental physicists and theoretical physicists are examined. According to F.S.C. Northrop the perspective of experimental physicists is more toward the operational specification of “facts,” while the perspective of theoretical physicists is more toward how theory influences how we see “facts” and, at the epistemological level, what constitutes “facts.” It is pointed out that the same difference in perspective (...) occurs among scientists in psychology. An example of how the purely experimental perspective could lead to Kuttner/Rosenblum-type impossible experiments in psychology is presented. (shrink)