This article explores emotions and their relationship to ‘somatic responses’, i.e., one’s automatic responses to sensations of pain, cold, warmth, sudden intensity. To this end, it undertakes a Husserlian phenomenological analysis of the first-hand experience of eight basic emotions, briefly exploring their essential aspects: their holistic nature, their identifying dynamic transformation of the lived body, their two-layered intentionality, their involuntary initiation and voluntary espousal. The fact that the involuntary tensional shifts initiating emotions are irreplicatable voluntarily, is taken to show that (...) all emotions have an innate core, a conclusion corroborated by their strong similarities to somatic responses in dynamics, hedonic tone, and topology. The fact that emotions may be culturally reworked, is shown to be explicable in terms of their complex nature: their dependence on belief, their voluntary espousal, and their ready social transmittability. Finally, it is argued that emotions may plausibly be deemed the evolutionary descendants of somatic responses. (shrink)
This article examines the various Liar paradoxes and their near kin, Grelling’s paradox and Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem with its self-referential Gödel sentence. It finds the family of paradoxes to be generated by circular definition–whether of statements, predicates, or sentences–a manoeuvre that generates pseudo-statements afflicted with the Liar syndrome: semantic vacuity, semantic incoherence, and predicative catalepsy. Such statements, e.g., the self-referential Liar statement, are meaningless, and hence fail to say anything, a point that invalidates the reasoning on which the various paradoxes (...) rest. The seeming plausibility of the paradoxes is due to the fact that often the sentence used to make the pseudo-statement is ambiguous in that it may also be used to make a genuine statement about the pseudo-statement. Hence, if a formal system is to avoid ambiguity and consequent paradox and contradiction, it must distinguish between the two statements the sentence may be used to make. Gödel’s Theorem presents a further complication in that the self-reference involved is sentential rather than statemental. Nevertheless, on the intended interpretation of the system as a formalization of arithmetic, the self-referential Gödel sentence can only be an ambiguous statement, one that is both a pseudo-statement and its genuine double. Consequently, the conclusions commonly drawn from Gödel’s theorem must be deemed unwarranted. Arithmetic might well be formalized in a proper system that either excludes circular definition or introduces disambiguators. (shrink)
As Descartes noted, a proper account of the nature of the being one is begins with a basic self present in first-person experience, a self that one cannot cogently doubt being. This paper seeks to uncover such a self, first within consciousness and thinking, then within the lived or first-person felt body. After noting the lack of grounding of Merleau-Ponty’s commonly referenced reflections, it undertakes a phenomenological investigation of the body that finds the basic self to reside in one’s espoused (...) feelings and striving, both bodily in nature. It then examines the relationship of the lived body to the visual body and to the body studied by science. Two issues concerning that relationship are taken up. It is concluded that on the available evidence neither the apparent agency nor the apparent free will of the lived body is illusory. (shrink)
The various roles proposed for emotion, whether psychological such as preparing for action or serving prior concerns, or biological such as protecting and promoting well-being, are easily shown to have an awkward number of exceptions. This paper attempts to explain why. To this end it undertakes a Husserlian phenomenological examination of first-person experience of two types of responses, the various somatic responses elicited by sensations (pain, cold, pleasure, sudden intensity) and the various personal directed emotions (grief, fear, affection, joy). The (...) analysis brings out the overall close structural symmetry between the two types of response and the strong hedonic, dynamic, and topological similarity between particular members from each of the two groups. The findings strongly suggest that emotions evolved from the more rudimentary involuntary somatic responses. The hypothesis finds further support in the fact that it explains both the biological unsoundness and anomalous archaic features that emotions often display. It also explains why emotions have no tidy function. (shrink)
Roughly characterized, solipsism is the skeptical thesis that there is no reason to think that anything exists other than oneself and one’s present experience. Since its inception in the reflections of Descartes, the thesis has taken three broad and sometimes overlapping forms: Internal World Solipsism that arises from an account of perception in terms of representations of an external world; Observed World Solipsism that arises from doubts as to the existence of what is not actually present sensuously in experience; Unreal (...) World Solipsism that arises from doubts as to the reality of the perceived world. This book attempts to give a rationally warranted refutation of all three forms. Over time, a vast number of putative rebuttals of solipsism have been proposed. The first half of the book clears the terrain for more productive investigation by showing in detail how each of these various responses fails. Among the simpler of such responses is the claim to have knowledge and certainty about everyday matters (Moore, Austin, Quinton, Pollock). Another is to appeal to pragmatic considerations dictated by the fact of one’s living in the world (Wittgenstein, Rescher, Ayer, Will, Strawson). Yet another is to undermine the skeptical thesis by applying it to itself (Plato, Hume, Russell, Johnson). All of these simpler approaches are found to be inadequate or irrelevant (Chapters 2 and 3). Other responses are more complex in that they presuppose certain basic positions with regard to the nature of cognition, meaning, language, or thought. Consequently, showing how they fail often involves showing the falsity of their underlying views. One such approach maintains that any empirical enquiry presupposes the existence of material objects (Neurath, Wittgenstein, Sellars, Quine, Gurwitsch, Williams, Rorty, BonJour), and that consequently solipsism is a problem peculiar to a mistaken foundationalist epistemology that purports to derive all warranted belief about the world from sensuous data. However, on examination, the various lines of reasoning advanced are found to be fallacious (Chapter 4). A closely-related approach is to claim that any empirical enquiry presupposes background truths, and that consequently solipsism is parasitic in the sense that it is based on truths that it purports to deny (Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Sellars, Quine). Such a self-contradictory situation is shown to obtain for only one form of solipsism, representational solipsism with its classical external world problem dating back to Descartes (Chapter 5). Another approach is to appeal to linguistic considerations in order to level charges of meaninglessness against solipsism (Wittgenstein, Austin, Ryle, Putnam, Clarke, Stroud). However, the charges are easily shown to be unwarranted (Chapter 6), a conclusion subsequently corroborated by a briefly sketched first-person account of meaning (Chapter 7). A further approach is to claim that all philosophical thinking must involve linguistic concepts, that language is intersubjective and tied to objects, and hence that solipsism is conceptually parasitic, and hence calls into question a conceptual scheme that it presupposes (Kant, Strawson, Wittgenstein, Sellars, Quine, Rorty). However, it may be shown that language is not incorrigibly wedded to objects, and in revised form it may be used to state solipsistic theses (Chapter 8). This conclusion is further supported by a refutation of various arguments against the possibility of private language (Wittgenstein, Sellars, Goodman, Rorty, Gadamer), as well as by the empirical evidence of everyday thinking that commonly takes place without reliance on the structures of public language (Chapter 9). The final chapters are more directly constructive. Following foundationalist procedure, a survey is undertaken of the sensuous data of first-person experience in its various modalities and their interrelationships (Chapter 10). An account is given of the bodily nature of the experiencing subject or self that feels, that wills, and that thinks, as well as of the spontaneity of the self or its capacity for free choice (Chapter 11). Rational warrant is then provided for thinking that items randomly perceived through a subject’s spontaneity or free will, continue to exist when unperceived, thus refuting forms of Observed World Solipsism that deny the existence of unperceived objects (Chapter 12). Finally, it is argued with regard to Unreal World Solipsism that while the scenarios it proposes cannot be dismissed as impossible, the absence of any supporting evidence whatever in their favor makes the espousal of any of them both arbitrary and an irrational leap (Chapter 13). (shrink)
In recent years it has become popular to model putative refutations of skepticism on Kant's answer to Hume, that is, on transcendental arguments purporting to show that the skeptical theses presupposes essential features of the very conceptual scheme they call into question. In his book, Oneself as Another, Paul Ricoeur makes the claim that transcendental considerations of the sort invalidate Edmund Husserl's foundationalist epistemological enterprise, that of uncovering the genesis of primitive concepts of oneself, world, and others in a primordial (...) solipsistic stage from which all trace of others is excluded. According to Ricoeur the concept of others must be presupposed throughout. This paper examines the experiential evidence for four of the transcendental arguments endorsed by Ricoeur, each treating one of four key concepts--the concept of oneself as subject, that of one's flesh, that of one's body, and that of other selves. It finds that in each case Ricoeur’s argument fails, and that in each case Husserl is right to claim that a rudimentary nonlinguistic concept may arise within the confines of first-person perceptual experience. The paper then briefly examines the source of Ricoeur's erroneous evaluation. (shrink)
Are facts the only criteria that should determine an arbitrator's decision but are there other ethical criteria that ought to be used? Arbitrators are often faced with deciding issues like whether a person discharged already by a company for arson, should be reinstated or not to his old job. The problem, however, may not be the facts but that the company has discharged him to get rid of him so that it no longer has a problem while society does with (...) the arsonist at work elsewhere.Another problem involves the teaching of human resources management. Most of the current literature dealing with modern management reflects the belief that participatory management is good for management. Most of the evidence supporting such a claim is weak; there surely is very little evidence that such participation should include nonsupervisory employees. The discussion concerning the issue of participatory management could be raised if the participants stopped talking about the increased productivity that is supposed to result, but rather deal instead with the issue that such participation is a form of industrial democracy and therefore is good or bad depending upon a person's ethical judgments concerning such an issue. (shrink)
What is good about this book is that it poses an important philosophical question in a context where progress can be made in seeking an answer. At its center is a confrontation between two idealistic philosophers on the metaphysical question of individuality. Hegel and Peirce are placed in opposition, a Peircean model is outlined, and a “new beginning” is sought to which the author believes art might hold the key.
Several differences between these two texts are evident even from such brief excerpts. Gardner’s story is told in the first person; the eighth-century tale is narrated in the third person. English itself has changed so much in the past twelve centuries that few readers can understand the original, so it must be translated into modern idiom. John Gardner, who died recently in a motorcycle accident, lived in a society that has little in common with that of the unknown author of (...) Beowulf. Not only is the atomic age filled with terrors undreamed by the Medieval mind, the Weltanschauung of each work is different. Although both draw upon Biblical texts to shape the background, Gardner’s existentialism contrasts sharply with the Christianity implicit in Beowulf. The very idea of presenting the story from the perspective of Grendel shows how fundamentally the two pieces diverge. (shrink)
This article is a sequel to ‘The Liar Syndrome’. It answers in detail the various criticisms of the latter expressed by Roy T. Cook in his article, ‘Curing the Liar Syndrome’, appearing in SATS/Nordic Journal of Philosophy, 3 (2): 126-141 (2002).
This essay explores the nature of the most rudimentary form of empathy, interpersonal affective echoing, and attempts to give a cogent assessment of the roles it may play in human interactions. As an investigative background, it briefly sketches phenomenological findings with respect to feelings, to non-linguistic cognition, and to the analogical apperception of others. It then offers a phenomenological account of the basic structures of the experience of echoing another person’s feelings in a face-to-face situation. It also notes how echoing (...) differs from analogical apperception (while presupposing the latter), as well as from having one’s usual feelings and emotions. The relationship of echoing to sharing, caring, and morality is also briefly discussed. (shrink)
This article examines the various Liar paradoxes and their near kin, Grelling’s paradox and Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem with its self-referential Gödel sentence. It finds the family of paradoxes to be generated by circular definition–whether of statements, predicates, or sentences–a manoeuvre that generates the fatal disorders of the Liar syndrome: semantic vacuity, semantic incoherence, and predicative catalepsy. Afflicted statements, such as the self-referential Liar statement, fail to be genuine statements. Hence they say nothing, a point that invalidates the reasoning on which (...) the various paradoxes rest. The seeming plausibility of the paradoxes is due to the fact that the same sentence may be used to make both the pseudo-statement and a genuine statement about the pseudo-statement. Hence, if a formal system is to avoid ambiguity and consequent seeming paradox, it requires some sort of disambiguator to distinguish the two statements. Gödel’s Theorem presents a further complication in that the self-reference involved is sentential rather than statemental. Nevertheless, on the intended interpretation of the system as a formalization of arithmetic, the self-referential Gödel sentence can only be an ambiguous statement, one that is both a pseudo-statement and its genuine double. Consequently, the conclusions commonly drawn from Gödel’s theorem must be deemed unwarranted. Arithmetic might well be formalized in a proper system that either excludes circular definition or introduces disambiguators. (shrink)
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