The notion of a level of consciousness is a key construct in the science of consciousness. Not only is the term employed to describe the global states of consciousness that are associated with post-comatose disorders, epileptic absence seizures, anaesthesia, and sleep, it plays an increasingly influential role in theoretical and methodological contexts. However, it is far from clear what precisely a level of consciousness is supposed to be. This paper argues that the levels-based framework for conceptualizing global states of consciousness (...) is untenable and develops in its place a multidimensional account of global states. (shrink)
Hume introduced important innovations concerning the theory of ideas. The two most important are the distinction between impressions and ideas, and the use he made of the principles of association in explaining mental phenomena. Hume divided the perceptions of the mind into two classes. The members of one class, impressions, he held to have a greater degree of force and vivacity than the members of the other class, ideas. He also supposed that ideas are causally dependent copies of impressions. And, (...) unlike Locke and others, Hume makes positive use of the principle of association, both of the association of ideas, and, in a more limited way, of the association of impressions. Such associations are central to his explanations of causal reasoning, belief, the indirect passions (pride and humility, love and hatred), and sympathy. These views about impressions and ideas and the principles of association form the core of Hume’s science of human nature. Relying on them, he attempts a rigorously empirical investigation of human nature. The resulting system is a remarkable but complex achievement. (shrink)
This book explores Hume's account of reason and its role in human understanding, seen in the context of other notable accounts by philosophers of the early modern period. David Owen offers new interpretations of many of Hume's most famous arguments about induction, belief, scepticism, the passions, and moral distinctions.
This essay considers the role of the ‘all affected interests’ principle in democratic theory, focusing on debates concerning its form, substance and relationship to the resolution of the democratic boundary problem. It begins by defending an ‘all actually affected’ formulation of the principle against Goodin’s ‘incoherence argument’ critique of this formulation, before addressing issues concerning how to specify the choice set appropriate to the principle. Turning to the substance of the principle, the argument rejects Nozick’s dismissal of its intuitive appeal (...) and considers the two arguments advanced in favour of the principle as a criterion of democratic inclusion: the interlinked interests argument and the tracking power argument. It is shown that neither of these arguments can substantiate a view of the principle as a criterion of democratic inclusion, although both ground a constitutional understanding of the principle as specifying the scope of a duty of justification. It is then proposed that the principle can play an important role in a two-stage resolution of the democratic boundary problem in which it addresses the question of who is entitled to inclusion in the ‘pre-political’ demos that determines whether to constitute a polity. The second stage of this resolution requires an answer to the question of who should constitute the ‘political demos’, that is, the demos of a constituted polity and it is argued that a version of the ‘‘all subjected persons’’ principle can appropriately play this role.Keywords: all affected interests; all subjected persons; democracy; boundary problem; demos problem. (shrink)
A landmark work of western philosophy, "On the Genealogy of Morality" is a dazzling and brilliantly incisive attack on European "morality". Combining philosophical acuity with psychological insight in prose of remarkable rhetorical power, Nietzsche takes up the task of offering us reasons to engage in a re-evaluation of our values. In this book, David Owen offers a reflective and insightful analysis of Nietzsche's text. He provides an account of how Nietzsche comes to the project of the re-evaluation of values; he (...) shows how the development of Nietzsche's understanding of the requirements of this project lead him to acknowledge the need for the kind of investigation of "morality" that he terms "genealogy"; he elucidates the general structure and substantive arguments of Nietzsche's text, accounting for the rhetorical form of these arguments, and he debates the character of genealogy as a form of critical enquiry. Owen argues that there is a specific development of Nietzsche's work from his earlier "Daybreak" and that in "Genealogy of Morality", Nietzsche is developing a critique of modes of agency and that this constitutes the most fundamental aspect of his demand for a revaluation of values. The book is a distinctive and significant contribution to our understanding of Nietzsche's great text. (shrink)
We report on an interview-based study of decision-making capacity in two classes of patients suffering from depression. Developing a method of second-person hermeneutic phenomenology, we articulate the distinctive combination of temporal agility and temporal inability characteristic of the experience of severely depressed patients. We argue that a cluster of decision-specific temporal abilities is a critical element of decision-making capacity, and we show that loss of these abilities is a risk factor distinguishing severely depressed patients from mildly/moderately depressed patients. We explore (...) the legal and clinical consequences of this result. (shrink)
Psychiatric disorders can pose problems in the assessment of decision-making capacity (DMC). This is so particularly where psychopathology is seen as the extreme end of a dimension that includes normality. Depression is an example of such a psychiatric disorder. Four abilities (understanding, appreciating, reasoning and ability to express a choice) are commonly assessed when determining DMC in psychiatry and uncertainty exists about the extent to which depression impacts capacity to make treatment or research participation decisions.
Classical Trinitarians claim that Jesus—the Son of God—is truly God and that there is only one God and the Father is God, the Spirit is God, and the Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct. However, if the identity statement that ‘the Son is God’ is understood in the sense of numerical identity, logical incoherence seems immanent. Yet, if the identity statement is understood according to an ‘is’ of predication then it lacks accuracy and permits polytheism. Therefore, we argue that there (...) is another sense of ‘is’ needed in trinitarian discourse that will allow the Christian to avoid logical incoherence while still fully affirming all that is meant to be affirmed in the confession ‘Jesus is God.’ We suggest a sense of ‘is’ that meets this need. (shrink)
This essay develops, within the terms of the recent New York Declaration, an account of the shared responsibility of states to refugees and of how the character of that responsibility effects the ways in which it can be fairly shared. However, it also moves beyond the question of the general obligations that states owe to refugees to consider ways in which refugee choices and refugee voice can be given appropriate standing with the global governance of refuge. It offers an argument (...) for the normative significance of refugee’s reasons for choosing states of asylum and linked this to consideration of a refugee matching system and to refugee quota trading conceived as responsibility-trading, before turning to the issue of the inclusion of refugee voice in relation to the justification of the norms of refugee governance and in relation to the institutions and practices of refugee governance through which those norms are given practical expression. (shrink)
Neural correlates of consciousness (NCC) are neural states or processes correlated with consciousness. The aim of this article is to present a coherent explanatory model of NCC that is informed by Thomas Aquinas’s human ontology and Aristotle’s metaphysics of causation. After explicating four starting principles regarding causation and mind-body dependence, I propose the Mind-Body Powers model of NCC.
It is often thought that contemporary neuroscience provides strong evidence for physicalism that nullifies dualism. The principal data is neural correlates of consciousness (for brevity NCC). In this chapter I argue that NCC are neutral vis- à-vis physicalist and dualist views of the mind. First I clarify what NCC are and how neuroscientists identify them. Subsequently I discuss what NCC entail and highlight the need for philosophical argumentation in order to conclude that physicalism is true by appealing to NCC. Lastly, (...) the simplicity argument for physicalism that appeals to NCC is presented, analyzed, and found wanting. (shrink)
Students often invoke quantum mechanics in class or papers to make philosophical points. This tendency has been encouraged by pop culture influences like the film What the Bleep do We Know? There is little merit to most of these putative implications. However, it is difficult for philosophy teachers unfamiliar with quantum mechanics to handle these supposed implications in a clear and careful way. This paper is a philosophy of science version of MythBusters. We offer a brief primer on the nature (...) of quantum mechanics, enumerate nine of the most common implications associated with quantum mechanics, and finally clarify each implication with the facts. Our goal is to explain what quantum mechanics doesn’t show. (shrink)
With the waves of reform occurring in mental health legislation in England and other jurisdictions, mental capacity is set to become a key medico-legal concept. The concept is central to the law of informed consent and is closely aligned to the philosophical concept of autonomy. It is also closely related to mental disorder. This paper explores the interdisciplinary terrain where mental capacity is located. Our aim is to identify core dilemmas and to suggest pathways for future interdisciplinary research. The terrain (...) can be separated into three types of discussion: philosophical, legal and psychiatric. Each discussion approaches mental capacity and judgmental autonomy from a different perspective yet each discussion struggles over two key dilemmas: whether mental capacity and autonomy is/should be a moral or a psychological notion and whether rationality is the key constitutive factor. We suggest that further theoretical work will have to be interdisciplinary and that this work offers an opportunity for the law to enrich its interpretation of mental capacity, for psychiatry to clarify the normative elements latent in its concepts and for philosophy to advance understanding of autonomy through the study of decisional dysfunction. The new pressures on medical and legal practice to be more explicit about mental capacity make this work a priority. (shrink)
The causal pairing problem allegedly renders nonphysical minds causally impotent. This article demonstrates how a dualist view I call neo-Thomistic hylomorphism can circumnavigate the causal pairing problem. After explicating the problem and hylomorphism, I provide an account of causal pairing that appeals to a foundational tenet of hylomorphism. Subsequently, I suggest that a prominent view of consciousness in theoretical neuroscience—the integrated information theory—can learn from hylomorphism and likewise account for causal pairing.
The topic of recognition has come to occupy a central place in debates in social and political theory. Developed by George Herbert Mead and Charles Taylor, it has been given expression in the program for Critical Theory developed by Axel Honneth in his book The Struggle for Recognition. Honneth's research program offers an empirically insightful way of reflecting on emancipatory struggles for greater justice and a powerful theoretical tool for generating a conception of justice and the good that enables the (...) normative evaluation of such struggles. This 2007 volume offers a critical clarification and evaluation of this research program, particularly its relationship to the other major development in critical social and political theory; namely, the focus on power as formative of practical identities proposed by Michel Foucault and developed by theorists such as Judith Butler, James Tully, and Iris Marion Young. (shrink)
This article addresses two central topics in normative debates on transnational citizenship: the inclusion of resident non-citizens and of non-resident citizens within the demos. Through a critical review of the social membership (Carens, Rubio-Marin) and stakeholder (Baubock) principles, it identifies two problems within these debates. The first is the antinomy of incorporation, namely, the point that there are compelling arguments both for the mandatory naturalization of permanent residents and for making naturalization a voluntary process. The second is the arbitrary demos (...) problem and concerns who determines whether expatriate voting rights are granted (and on what terms). The argument developed provides a way of dissolving the first problem (and defending the proposed solution against possible objections) and resolving the second problem. In doing so it provides a defensible normative basis for the political theory of transnational citizenship. (shrink)
Thanks to Barton Palmer and John McMillan for these thoughtful commentaries. We found much to agree with and it is striking how so many of the issues relating to decision-making capacity assessment find resonances outside of an English jurisdiction. California and New Zealand are clearly grappling with a very similar set of issues and the commentaries speak to the international nature of these discussions.We will pick up on some main points the commentaries raise.As Palmer notes, DMC law is vulnerable to (...) the criticism that it does not attend to the authenticity of a decision. In ordinary language, this is the idea that someone is deciding while “not their self” or that it is the “illness speaking.” There is a... (shrink)
After severe brain injury, one of the key challenges for medical doctors is to determine the patient’s prognosis. Who will do well? Who will not do well? Physicians need to know this, and families need to do this too, to address choices regarding the continuation of life supporting therapies. However, current prognostication methods are insufficient to provide a reliable prognosis. -/- Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) holds considerable promise for improving the accuracy of prognosis in acute brain injury patients. Nonetheless, (...) research on functional MRI in the intensive care unit context is ethically challenging. These studies raise several ethical issues that have not been addressed so far. In this article, Prof. Charles Weijer and his co-workers provide a framework for researchers and ethics committees to design and review these studies in an ethically sound way. (shrink)
Abstract This paper explores gender and mental health with particular reference to the emerging philosophical field of critical realism. This philosophy suggests a shared ontology and epistemology for the natural and social sciences. Until recently, most of the debate surrounding gender and mental health has been guided either implicitly or explicitly within a positivist or constructivist philosophy. With this in mind, key areas of critical realism are explored in relation to gender and mental health, and contrasted with the positions of (...) positivism and constructivism. It is argued that critical realism offers an alternative philosophical framework for the exploration of gender issues within mental health care. (shrink)
What does it mean to see someone as human, as a member of humankind? What kind of call for justice is it to demand that a group be seen as human beings? This article explores a fundamental kind of injustice: one of perception and how we respond to our perceptions. Drawing on Cavell, Wittgenstein and Rancière, we elucidate “soul blindness” as a distinct and basic form of injustice. Rancière’s police orders and Cavell’s soul blindness are mutually constitutive; the undoing of (...) police orders entails a politics of soul dawning. Soul dawning entails acknowledging the humanity of others without erasing difference. In the concluding section, we consider white obliviousness to the Black Lives Matters movement as a case of soul blindness. Part of the political import of BLM is its capacity to illustrate how practices of soul blindness in the United States constitute whiteness in a racialized police order. (shrink)
The aim of the present work is to demonstrate that physicalism and a priori knowledge are epistemologically incompatible. The possibility of a priori knowledge on physicalism will be considered in the light of Edmund Gettier’s insight regarding knowledge. In the end, it becomes apparent that physicalism entails an unavoidable disconnect between a priori beliefs and their justificatory grounds; thus precluding the possibility of a priori knowledge. Consequently, a priori knowledge and physicalism are epistemologically incompatible.
Hume’s celebrated argument concerning miracles, and an 18th century criticism of it put forward by Richard Price, is here interpreted in terms of the modern controversy over the base-rate fallacy. When considering to what degree we should trust a witness, should we or should we not take into account the prior probability of the event reported? The reliability of the witness (’Pr’(says e/e)) is distinguished from the credibility of the testimony (’Pr’(e/says e)), and it is argued that Hume, as a (...) good proto-Bayesian, argued that the credibility of the testimony should be calculated in terms of both the reliability of the witness and the prior probability of the event reported. (shrink)
Functional MRI shows promise as a candidate prognostication method in acutely comatose patients following severe brain injury. However, further research is needed before this technique becomes appropriate for clinical practice. Drawing on a clinical case, we investigate the process of obtaining informed consent for this kind of research and identify four ethical issues. After describing each issue, we propose potential solutions which would make a patient’s participation in research compatible with her rights and interests. First, we defend the need for (...) traditional proxy consent against two alternative approaches. Second, we examine the impact of the intensive care unit environment on the informed consent process. Third, we discuss the therapeutic misconception and its potential influence on informed consent. Finally, we deal with issues of timing in recruiting participants and related factors which may affect the risks of participation. (shrink)
ABSTRACTGraeme Wood’s The Way of the Strangers suggests that many scholars have denied or downplayed the Islamic State’s own account of its emphatically religious foundation. This tendency is heir to the Enlightenment strategy of defanging illiberal religion by claiming that only religions conforming to liberal principles are genuinely religious—raising anew questions that arose at the dawn of liberalism, in the wake of the Wars of Religion.
This research engages with the problem of company-community conflict in mining. The inequitable distributions of risks, impacts, and benefits are key drivers of resource conflicts and are likely to remain at the forefront of mining-related research and advocacy. Procedural and interactional forms of justice therefore lie at the very heart of some of the real and ongoing challenges in mining, including: intractable local-level conflict; emerging global norms and performance standards; and ever-increasing expectations for the industry to translate high-level corporate social (...) responsibility policy into on-the-ground practice. This research focuses on the "process" aspects of resource conflicts through an examination of existing grievance-handling procedures at six mining operations where company-community conflict was present. In their current form, and on their own, the six mechanisms were found to be insufficient in their capacity to advance justice. The authors argue that if the overall objective of global norms is that companies construct and perform grievance handling in ways that strongly preference just practices, then "mechanisms-inpractice" must be better understood and constructively critiqued along all justice dimensions. (shrink)
This research engages with the problem of company–community conflict in mining. The inequitable distributions of risks, impacts, and benefits are key drivers of resource conflicts and are likely to remain at the forefront of mining-related research and advocacy. Procedural and interactional forms of justice therefore lie at the very heart of some of the real and ongoing challenges in mining, including: intractable local-level conflict; emerging global norms and performance standards; and ever-increasing expectations for the industry to translate high-level corporate social (...) responsibility policy into on-the-ground practice. This research focuses on the “process” aspects of resource conflicts through an examination of existing grievance-handling procedures at six mining operations where company–community conflict was present. In their current form, and on their own, the six mechanisms were found to be insufficient in their capacity to advance justice. The authors argue that if the overall objective of global norms is that companies construct and perform grievance handling in ways that strongly preference just practices, then “mechanisms-in-practice” must be better understood and constructively critiqued along all justice dimensions. (shrink)
Neural correlates of consciousness (for brevity NCC) are foundational to the scientific study of consciousness. Chalmers (2000) has provided the most informative and influential definition of NCC, according to which neural correlates are minimally sufficient for consciousness. However, the sense of sufficiency needs further clarification since there are several relevant senses with different entailments. In section one of this article, we give an overview of the desiderata for a good definition of NCC and Chalmers’s definition. The second section analyses the (...) merit of understanding the sufficiency of neural correlates for corresponding consciousness according to three relevant types of sufficiency: logical, metaphysical, and physical. In section three, a theoretical approach to consciousness studies is suggested in light of the sense in which NCC are sufficient for consciousness. Section four addresses a concern some might have about this approach. By the end, it will become apparent that our conception of NCC has important implications for research methodology, neuroethics, and the vitality of the search for NCC. (shrink)