We present the idea of searching for X-rays as a signature of the mechanism inducing the spontaneous collapse of the wave function. Such a signal is predicted by the continuous spontaneous localization theories, which are solving the “measurement problem” by modifying the Schrödinger equation. We will show some encouraging preliminary results and discuss future plans and strategy.
Moral theories which, like those of Plato, Aristotle and Aquinas, give a central place to the virtues, tend to assume that as traits of character the virtues are mutually compatible so that it is possible for one and the same person to possess them all. This assumption—let us call it the compatibility thesis—does not deny the existence of painful moral dilemmas: it allows that the virtues may conflict in particular situations when considerations associated with different virtues favour incompatible courses of (...) action, but holds that these conflicts occur only at the level of individual actions. Thus while it may not always be possible to do both what would be just and what would be kind or to act both loyally and honestly, it is possible to be both a kind and a just person and to have both the virtue of loyalty and the virtue of honesty. (shrink)
At the risk of proving myself such a caviller, I want to ask a question which I have seldom heard raised, and which I have never seen discussed in anything that I have read about Berkeley. If I am right, it poses a problem for his immaterialism, not only different, but coming from a different direction, from those objections that are commonly levelled against him. If I am wrong, it will show how right Berkeley was to stress the difficulty of (...) using for one purpose our language which has become fashioned for another. At least, I hope that I shall not fail to be the ‘fair and ingenuous reader’for whom he asked. (shrink)
An assessment is made of Rudolf Otto's criticisms of Friedrich Schleiermacher's claim that religious feeling is to be interpreted as essentially involving a feeling of absolute dependence. Otto's criticisms are divided into two kinds. The first suggest that a feeling a dependence, even an absolute one, is the wrong sort of feeling to locate at the heart of religious consciousness. It is argued that this criticism is based on misinterpretations of Schleiermacher's view, which is in fact much closer to Otto's (...) than the latter appreciated. The second kind of criticism suggests that the feeling of absolute dependence cannot play the foundational role assigned to it by Schleiermacher, since it is itself a secondary response. It is argued not only that Otto provides no justification for this criticism, but that Otto's own position is incoherent unless Schleiermacher's view is accepted. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to discuss and to relate to each other two topics: the admissibility of ignorance and mistake of fact as defences against negligence in crime; and the inadmissibility of ignorance and mistake of law as defences against criminal charges. I am in not concerned at all with torts negligence, only with criminal offences which can be committed negligently, where negligence suffices for liability, as in the law of homicide. This produces an untidy classification of elements, (...) one or other of which is needed to provide the required mens rea : intention , knowledge , recklessness and negligence. It is untidy, because the last does not belong on the same list as the other three, each of which can appropriately be called a state of mind in what we might say to be a positive sense, for each of them includes some degree of awareness of and/or attitude to relevant facts. If negligence is to be called a state of mind, it is so in a very stretched and negative way: to be told that a person was not attending to, thinking of or noticing something that he should have been is to be given some information, of a negative sort, about his state of mind, but it tells us very little, for it eliminates only one of an unlimited range of states of mind . His not attending, noticing, etc., is equally compatible with his daydreaming and with his concentrating hard on something else. If negligence requires inadvertence, as is commonly maintained, then there was a state of mind which the agent should have been in but was not; if, as I would argue, it does not require inadvertence, then there was a state of mind which the agent should have been in, and maybe he was not in it, maybe he was in it. would not require it; the definition runs, ‘a person is negligent if he fails to exercise such care, skill or foresight as a reasonable man in his situation would exercise’. However, that is only a proposal; at present advertent negligence is rare in criminal law, although common in torts.) On this view, the questions are whether his performance fell below scratch, what are to be the excusing conditions for such a performance, and if the answer to is yes, whether his performance was covered by the excusing conditions. (shrink)
Husserl has enjoyed a revival of interest in recent years and the Cartesian Meditations is perhaps his most widely read text. The book is an introduction to Husserl's phenomenology and is based on Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy . Husserl attempts to show how Descartes discovered the "transcendental" perspective which is essential to any genuine philosophy. Until now there has never been a secondary text on this important and influential work on philosophy. This book, in conjunction with the text itself, (...) will serve as a proper introduction to Husserlian phenomenology. A.D. Smith introduces and assesses the key concepts that arise in the book in clear and engaging ways. His style is highly accessible and suitable for anyone coming to the Cartesian Meditations for the first time. (shrink)
The path of those who would approach the study of Bentham's writings on Evidence has been considerably smoothed by the recent publication of William Twining's work on the evidence theories of Bentham and Wigmore. The material on evidence is now being tackled by the Bentham Project. It presents no easy task. The central core, The Rationale of Judicial Evidence, edited and published by John Stuart Mill in 1827, exists only in the printed version, the MSS from which Mill worked having (...) disappeared. But a substantial body of related material which survives has yet to be thoroughly investigated, though William Twining has made a gallant start. A new edition of the work hitherto known as ‘An Introductory View of the Rationale of Evidence’, first printed in full in the Bowring edition of the Works of Jeremy Bentham is in preparation. The first fruits of this endeavour is that the title of that work as it should appear in due course in the new Collected Works will be Introduction to the Rationale of Evidence: An Introductory View for the Use of Lawyers as well as Non-lawyers, the title in fact given to the work by Bentham. It is intended that what follows should similarly be of use to non-lawyers as well as lawyers. (shrink)
Disjunctivism is the focus of a lively debate spanning the philosophy of perception, epistemology, and the philosophy of action. Adrian Haddock and Fiona Macpherson present 17 specially written essays, which examine the different forms of disjunctivism and explore the connections between them.
This paper considers the claim that perceptual experience is “transparent”, in the sense that nothing other than the apparent public objects of perception are available to introspection by the subject of such experience. I revive and strengthen the objection that blurred vision constitutes an insuperable objection to the claim, and counter recent responses to the general objection. Finally the bearing of this issue on representationalist accounts of the mind is considered.
We review the history of therapeutic writing, focusing on the role of narrative competence and the use of writing therapy for stress, trauma and coping with chronic illness. After providing a historical overview of the evidence for writing’s positive effects on health and the hypothesised mechanisms underlying this effect, we ask whether narrative competence can explain and improve writing’s benefit. Narrative competence is defined across two dimensions: (1) Emplotment, or the ability to construct and comprehend goal-oriented connections among temporally situated (...) events; and (2) Meaning, or the ability to understand and communicate contextual interpretations of ambiguous story structures. We suggest that the ability to construct well-organised and meaningful narratives is an important skill for successfully coping with life stressors and trauma, enabling individuals to create coherent stories from fractured memories and to facilitate cognitive processing of traumatic events. Given the positive effect of narrative competence on psycho-physical health, there is a need to broaden medical use of narrative competence therapies beyond the current interventions aimed at fostering empathy among healthcare providers, to include therapies for the patients themselves. Toward this end, we briefly explore one clinical model currently offered by Dr Allan Peterkin and colleagues at Mount Sinai Hospital providing group Narrative Competence Psychotherapy (NCP) for individuals living with HIV. (shrink)
An attempt is made to pinpoint the way in which perception is related to belief. Although, for familiar reasons, it is not true to say that we necessarily believe in the existence of the objects we perceive, nor that they actually have their ostensible characteristics, it is argued that the relation between perception and belief is more than merely contingent.There are two main issues to address. The first is that ‘collateral’ beliefs may impede perceptual belief. It is argued that this (...) still assigns an essential role to belief in perception, though the belief may be of an attenuated form. The second is Fred Dretske’s claim that even attenuated belief may be entirely absent from perception. It is argued that ‘non-epistemic’ perception can be understood only by employing the concept of ‘epistemic’ perception; that the former can occur only partially---i.e., within perceptions that are otherwise epistemic; and that by switching attention from the perception of objects to the Phenomenological tradition’s concern with the perception of world, we can see that perception must be entirely permeated with ‘doxastic’ force. (shrink)
This paper, which has both a historical and a polemical aspect, investigates the view, dominant throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, that the sense of sight is, originally, not phenomenally three-dimensional in character, and that we must come to interpret its properly two-dimensional data by reference to the sense of 'touch'. The principal argument for this claim, due to Berkeley, is examined and found wanting. The supposedly confirming findings concerning 'Molyneux subjects' are also investigated and are shown to be either (...) irrelevant or disconfirming. Recent investigations on infant and neonatal perception are discussed and are also found to be disconfirming. An innatist version of the theory is then considered and is shown to be undermined by the largely 'Gibsonian' character of early space-perception. Finally three recent arguments in favour of the theory - two from psychologists, one from a philosopher - are considered and answered. (shrink)
Why does tragedy give pleasure? Why do people who are neither wicked nor depraved enjoy watching plays about suffering and death? Is it because we see horrific matter controlled by majestic art? Or because tragedy actually reaches out to the dark side of human nature? A. D. Nuttall's wide-ranging, lively, and engaging book offers a new answer to this perennial question. Writers discussed include Aristotle, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, and Freud.
An attempt is made to pinpoint the way in which perception is related to belief. Although, for familiar reasons, it is not true to say that we necessarily believe in the existence of the objects we perceive, nor that they actually have their ostensible characteristics, it is argued that the relation between perception and belief is more than merely contingent There are two main issues to address. The first is that `collateral' beliefs may impede perceptual belief. It is argued that (...) this still assigns an essential role to belief in perception, though the belief may be of an attenuated form. The second is Fred Dretske's claim that even attenuated belief may be entirely absent from perception. It is argued that `non-epistemic' perception can be understood only by employing the concept of `epistemic' perception; that the former can occur only partially-i.e., within perceptions that are otherwise epistemic; and that by switching attention from the perception of objects to the Phenomenological tradition's concern with the perception of world, we can see that perception must be entirely permeated with `doxastic' force. (shrink)
Anselm of Canterbury, in his work Proslogion," originated the "ontological argument" for God's existence, famously arguing that "something than which nothing greater can be conceived," which he identifies with God, must actually exist, for otherwise something greater could indeed be conceived. Some commentators have claimed that although Anselm may not have been conscious of the fact, the Proslogion "as well as his Reply to Gaunilo" contains passages that constitute a second independent proof: a "modal ontological argument" that concerns the supposed (...) logical necessity of God's existence. Other commentators disagree, countering that the alleged second argument does not stand on its own but presupposes the conclusion of the first. Anselm's Other Argument "stakes an original claim in this debate, and takes it further. There is" a second a priori" argument in Anselm, A. D. Smith contends, but it is not the modal argument past scholars have identified. This second argument surfaces in a number of forms, though always turning on certain deep, interrelated metaphysical issues. It is this form of argument that in fact underlies several of the passages which have been misconstrued as statements of the modal argument. In a book that combines historical research with rigorous philosophical analysis, Smith discusses this argument in detail, finally defending a modification of it that is implicit in Anselm. This "other argument" bears a striking resemblance to one that Duns Scotus would later employ. (shrink)
A new criterion is introduced for judging the suitability of various fuzzy logics for practical uncertain reasoning in a probabilistic world and the relationship of this criterion to several established criteria, and its consequences for truth functional belief, are investigated.