Theories of spatial cognition are derived from many sources. Psychologists are concerned with determining the features of the mind which, in combination with external inputs, produce our spatialized experience. A review of philosophical and other approaches has convinced us that the brain must come equipped to impose a three-dimensional Euclidean framework on experience – our analysis suggests that object re-identification may require such a framework. We identify this absolute, nonegocentric, spatial framework with a specific neural system centered in the hippocampus.A (...) consideration of the kinds of behaviours in which such a spatial mapping system would be important is followed by an analysis of the anatomy and physiology of this system, with special emphasis on the place-coded neurons recorded in the hippocampus of freely moving rats. A tentative physiological model for the hippocampal cognitive map is proposed. A review of lesion studies, in tasks as diverse as discrimination learning, avoidance, and extinction, shows that the cognitive map notion can adequately explain much of the data.The model is extended to humans by the assumption that spatial maps are built in one hemisphere, semantic maps in the other. The latter provide a semantic deep structure within which discourse comprehension and production can be achieved. Evidence from the study of amnesic patients, briefly reviewed, is consistent with this extension. (shrink)
Discussion of J. Kevin O’Regan’s “Why Red Doesn’t Sound Like a Bell: Understanding the Feel of Consciousness” Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-20 DOI 10.1007/s13164-012-0090-7 Authors J. Kevin O’Regan, Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, CNRS - Université Paris Descartes, Centre Biomédical des Saints Pères, 45 rue des Sts Pères, 75270 Paris cedex 06, France Ned Block, Departments of Philosophy, Psychology and Center for Neural Science, New York University, 5 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, USA Journal Review of Philosophy and (...) Psychology Online ISSN 1878-5166 Print ISSN 1878-5158. (shrink)
There is a special problem with respect to our obligations to future generations which is that we can benefit or harm them but that they cannot benefit or harm us. Goodin summarizes the point well: No analysis of intergenerational justice that is cast even vaguely in terms of reciprocity can hope to succeed. The reason is the one which Addison… puts into the mouth of an Old Fellow of College, who when he was pressed by the Society to come into (...) something that might rebound to the good of their Successors, grew very peevish. ‘We are always doing’ says he, ‘something for Posterity, but I would fain see Posterity do something for us’. (shrink)
This essay offers a reassessment of William Paley's Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy. It focuses on his defence of religious ethics from challenges laid down in David Hume's Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals. By restoring the context of theological/philosophical debate to Paley's thinking about ethics, the essay attempts to establish his genuine commitment to a worldly theology and to a programme of human advancement. This description of orthodox thought takes us beyond the bipolar debate about whether intellectual culture (...) in the period was religious or secular: it was clearly religious; the question is: what kind of religion? It also makes questionable the view that England was somehow isolated from so-called Enlightenment currents of thought that were thriving elsewhere on the Continent. The “science of man”, far from being the sole preserve of Scottish and continental thinkers, also provided the basis for moral thought in eighteenth-century England. (shrink)
The need to address our question arises from two sources, one in Kant and the other in a certain type of response to so-called Reformed epistemology. The first source consists in a tendency to distinguish theoretical beliefs from practical beliefs , and to treat theistic belief as mere practical belief. We trace this tendency in Kant's corpus, and compare and contrast it with Aquinas's view and a more conservative Kantian view. We reject the theistic-belief-as-mere-practical-belief view: it is bad descriptive anthropology, (...) it embraces a misguided ideal of a fragmented self unattainable by human beings, and it will deter people from the most desirable sort of faith. The second source consists in the idea that since theistic beliefs function as answers to why-questions, their epistemic status hangs on whether they meet certain distinctively explanatory standards, whatever support they might receive from other sources. We argue that this is a non-sequitur and suggest questions for further research. (shrink)
The Lancet–O’Neill Institute/Georgetown University Commission on Global Health and Law published its report on the Legal Determinants of Health in 2019. The term ‘legal determinants of health’ draws attention to the power of law to influence upstream social and economic influences on population health. In this article, we introduce the Commission, including its background and rationale, set out its methodology, summarize its key findings and recommendations and reflect on its impact since publication. We also look to the future, making suggestions (...) as to how the global health community can make the best use of the Commission’s momentum in relation to using law and legal tools to advance population health. (shrink)
What role, if any, should our moral intuitions play in moral epistemology? We make, or are prepared to make, moral judgments about a variety of actual and hypothetical situations. Some of these moral judgments are more informed, reflective, and stable than others ; some we make more confidently than others; and some, though not all, are judgments about which there is substantial consensus. What bearing do our moral judgments have on philosophical ethics and the search for first principles in ethics? (...) Should these judgments constrain, or be constrained by, philosophical theorizing about morality? On the one hand, we might expect first principles to conform to our moral intuitions or at least to our considered moral judgments. After all, we begin the reflection that may lead to first principles from particular moral convictions. And some of our moral intuitions are more fixed and compelling than any putative first principle. If so, we might expect common moral beliefs to have an important evidential role in the construction and assessment of first principles. On the other hand, common moral beliefs often rest on poor information, reflect bias, or are otherwise mistaken. We often appeal to moral principles to justify our particular moral convictions or to resolve our disagreements. Insofar as this is true, we may expect first principles to provide a foundation on the basis of which to test common moral beliefs and, where necessary, form new moral convictions. (shrink)
This is not the first time the title ‘Art and Technology’ has been used, but to distinguish what I have to say from Walter Gropius's Bauhaus exhibition of 1923, I am subtitling my paper ‘an old tension’, where the architect spoke of ‘a new unity’. In a way, Gropius has been proved right; the structures of the future avoiding all romantic embellishment and whimsy, the cathedrals of socialism, the corporate planning of comprehensive Utopian designs have all gone up and some (...) come down. We have a mass media culture also largely made possible by technology. Corporatist architecture, whether statist ‘social housing’ or freemarket inspired, films, videos, modern recording and musical techniques are all due to technological advances made mostly this century. Only in a very puritanical sense could what has happened be thought of as inevitably bringing with it enslavement. All kinds of possibilities are now open to artists and architects, which would have been imaginable a few decades ago. No one is forced to use these possibilities in any specific way. (shrink)
It is common to regard love, friendship, and other associational ties to others as an important part of a happy or flourishing life. This would be easy enough to understand if we focused on friendships based on pleasure, or associations, such as business partnerships, predicated on mutual advantage. For then we could understand in a straightforward way how these interpersonal relationships would be valuable for someone involved in such relationships just insofar as they caused her pleasure or causally promoted her (...) own independent interests. But many who regard love, friendship, and other associational ties as an important part of a happy or flourishing life suppose that in many sorts of associations—especially intimate associations—the proper attitude among associates is concern for the other for the other's own sake, not just for the pleasure or benefits one can extract from one's associates. It is fairly clear how having friends of this sort is beneficial. What is less clear is how being a friend of this sort might contribute to one's own happiness or well-being. Even if we can explain this, it looks as if the contribution that friendship makes to one's happiness could not be the reason one has to care for friends, for that would seem to make one's concern for others instrumental, not a concern for the other for her own sake. (shrink)
Let me first explain what I am not attacking in this paper. I am not attacking, for instance, the right of free speech or any of the other specific rights listed in the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights or the United Nations' Charter. I am, rather, attacking any specific right's being called a ‘human right’. I mean to show that any such designation is not only fraudulent but, in case anyone might want to say that there can be noble lies, (...) grossly wicked, amounting indeed to genocide. (shrink)
Many philosophers of language have held that a truth-conditional semantic account can explain the data motivating the distinction between referential and attributive uses of definite descriptions, but I believe this is a mistake. I argue that these data also motivate what I call “dual-aspect” uses as a distinct but closely related type. After establishing that an account of the distinction must also explain dual-aspect uses, I argue that the truth-conditional Semantic Model of the distinction cannot. Thus, the Semantic Model cannot (...) explain the data for which it is developed and so fails as an account of the referential/attributive distinction. (shrink)
The essays in this volume explore current work in central areas of philosophy, work unified by attention to salient questions of human action and human agency. They ask what it is for humans to act knowledgeably, to use language, to be friends, to act heroically, to be mortally fortunate, and to produce as well as to appreciate art. The volume is dedicated to J. O. Urmson, in recognition of his inspirational contributions to these areas. All the essays but one have (...) been specially written for this volume. (shrink)
This provocative book refurbishes the traditional account of freedom of will as reasons-guided "agent" causation, situating its account within a general metaphysics. O'Connor's discussion of the general concept of causation and of ontological reductionism v. emergence will specially interest metaphysicians and philosophers of mind.
Consequentialism is often criticized for failing to accommodate impersonal constraints and personal options. A common consequentialist response is to acknowledge the anticonsequentialist intuitions but to argue either that the consequentialist can, after all, accommodate the allegedly recalcitrant intuitions or that, where accommodation is impossible, the recalcitrant intuition can be dismissed for want of an adequate philosophical rationale. Whereas these consequentialist responses have some plausibility, associational duties represent a somewhat different challenge to consequentialism, inasmuch as they embody neither impersonal constraints nor (...) personal options, but rather personal constraints. Our intuitions about associational duties resist capture within the intellectual net of consequentialism, and such duties do admit of a philosophical rationale at least as plausible as anything the consequentialist has to offer. (shrink)
Why has autonomy been a leading idea in philosophical writing on bioethics, and why has trust been marginal? In this important book, Onora O'Neill suggests that the conceptions of individual autonomy so widely relied on in bioethics are philosophically and ethically inadequate, and that they undermine rather than support relations of trust. She shows how Kant's non-individualistic view of autonomy provides a stronger basis for an approach to medicine, science and biotechnology, and does not marginalize untrustworthiness, while also explaining why (...) trustworthy individuals and institutions are often undeservingly mistrusted. Her arguments are illustrated with issues raised by practices such as the use of genetic information by the police or insurers, research using human tissues, uses of new reproductive technologies, and media practices for reporting on medicine, science and technology. Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics will appeal to a wide range of readers in ethics, bioethics and related disciplines. (shrink)
Two centuries after they were published, Kant's ethical writings are as much admired and imitated as they have ever been, yet serious and long-standing accusations of internal incoherence remain unresolved. Onora O'Neill traces the alleged incoherences to attempts to assimilate Kant's ethical writings to modern conceptions of rationality, action and rights. When the temptation to assimilate is resisted, a strikingly different and more cohesive account of reason and morality emerges. Kant offers a "constructivist" vindication of reason and a moral vision (...) in which obligations are prior to rights and in which justice and virtue are linked. O'Neill begins by reconsidering Kant's conceptions of philosophical method, reason, freedom, autonomy and action. She then moves on to the more familiar terrain of interpretation of the Categorical Imperative, while in the last section she emphasizes differences between Kant's ethics and recent "Kantian" ethics, including the work of John Rawls and other contemporary liberal political philosophers. (shrink)
Brian O'Shaughnessy puts forward a bold and original theory of consciousness, one of the most fascinating but puzzling aspects of human existence. He analyses consciousness into purely psychological constituents, according pre-eminence to its epistemological power; the result is an integrated picture of the conscious mind in its natural physical setting. Consciousness and the World is a rich and exciting book, a major contribution to our understanding of the mind.
The use of vague language in law has important implications for legal theory. Legal philosophers have occasionally grappled with those implications, but they have not come to grips with the characteristic phenomenon of vagueness: the sorites paradox. I discuss the paradox, and claim that it poses problems for some legal theorists. I propose that a good account of vagueness will have three consequences for legal theory: Theories that deny that vagueness in formulations of the law leads to discretion in adjudication (...) cannot accommodate “higher-order” vagueness, A legal theory should accept that the law is partly indeterminate when it can be stated in vague language, However, the traditional formulation of the indeterminacy claim, that a vague statement is “neither true nor false” in a borderline case, is misconceived and should be abandoned. (shrink)
Lucy O'Brien argues that a satisfactory account of first-person reference and self-knowledge needs to concentrate on our nature as agents. Clearly written, with rigorous discussion of rival views, this book will be of interest to anyone working in the philosophy of mind and action.
Towards Justice and Virtue challenges the rivalry between those who advocate only abstract, universal principles of justice and those who commend only the particularities of virtuous lives. Onora O'Neill traces this impasse to defects in underlying conceptions of reasoning about action. She proposes and vindicates a modest account of ethical reasoning and a reasoned way of answering the question 'who counts?', then uses these to construct linked accounts of principles by which we can move towards just institutions and virtuous lives.