Let’s suppose that the Axial Period is a time in history that is a transition between the first time of the temporal subject and the second time of the temporal subject; that it is the second stage of meaning: a troubled time between a first stage of meaning, characterized by a spontaneously operative consciousness in ‘early’ culture, and a third stage of meaning constituted by at least a dominant authority of a luminous control of meaning and an explicit metaphysics in (...) a ‘later’ global culture. What this statement means we have now to uncover. (shrink)
Intellectual humility, I argue in this paper, is a cluster of strong attitudes directed toward one's cognitive make-up and its components, together with the cognitive and affective states that constitute their contents or bases, which serve knowledge and value-expressive functions. In order to defend this new account of humility I first examine two simpler traits: intellectual self-acceptance of epistemic limitations and intellectual modesty about epistemic successes. The position defended here addresses the shortcomings of both ignorance and accuracy based accounts of (...) humility. (shrink)
In this paper I provide an account of two forms of intellectual arrogance which cause the epistemic practices of conversational turn-taking and assertion to malfunction. I detail some of the ethical and epistemic harms generated by intellectual arrogance, and explain its role in fostering the intellectual vices of timidity and servility in other agents. Finally, I show that arrogance produces ignorance by silencing others (both preventing them from speaking and causing their assertions to misfire) and by fostering self-delusion in the (...) arrogant themselves. (shrink)
The complete system of knowledge is a standard trope of science fiction, a techno-utopian dream and an aesthetic ideal. It is Solomon’s House, the Encyclopaedia and the Museum. It is also an ideology – of Enlightenment, High Modernism and absolute governance. Far from ending the dream of a total archive, 20th-century positivist rationality brought it ever closer. From Paul Otlet’s ‘Mundaneum’ to Mass-Observation, from the Unity of Science movement to Wikipedia, the dream of universal knowledge dies hard. As a political (...) tool, the total archive encompasses population statistics, gross domestic product, indices of the Standard of Living and the international ideology of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the World Health Organization, the free market and, most recently, Big Data. Questions of the total archive engage key issues in the philosophy of classification, the poetics of the universal, the ideology of surveillance and the technologies of information retrieval. What are the social structures and political dynamics required to sustain total archives, and what are the temporalities implied by such projects? This introduction and the articles that follow describe and place in historical context a series of concrete instances of totality. Our analysis is arranged according to four central themes: the relationship between the Archive and archives ; the image of the archive and the aesthetics of totality; pathologies of accumulation; and the specific historical trajectory of the total archive in the 19th and 20th centuries. (shrink)
In this paper I offer an original account of intellectual modesty and some of its surrounding vices: intellectual haughtiness, arrogance, servility and self-abasement. I argue that these vices are attitudes as social psychologists understand the notion. I also draw some of the educational implications of the account. In particular, I urge caution about the efficacy of direct instruction about virtue and of stimulating emulation through exposure to positive exemplars.
Alessandra Tanesini is a Professor of Philosophy at Cardiff University working on epistemology and philosophy of language. In this post she summarises some of her recent work on collective amnesia and epistemic injustice.
This article argues that intellectual character vices involve non-instrumental motives to oppose, antagonise, or avoid things that are epistemically good in themselves. This view has been the recent target of criticism based on alleged counterexamples presenting epistemically vicious individuals who are virtuously motivated or at least lack suitable epistemically bad motivations. The paper first presents these examples and shows that they do not undermine the motivational approach. Finally, having distinguished motivating from explanatory reasons for belief and action, it argues that (...) our epistemic practice of vice attribution supplies evidence in favour of motivational accounts of vice. (shrink)
Intellectual servility is a vice opposing proper pride about one's intellectual achievements. Intellectual timidity is also a vice; it is manifested in a lack of proper concern for others’ esteem. This paper offers an account of the nature of these vices and details some of the epistemic harms that flow from them. I argue that servility, which is often the result of suffering humiliation, is a form of damaged self-esteem. It is underpinned by attitudes serving social-adjustive functions and causes ingratiating (...) behaviors. Timidity, which is habituated through self-silencing, is underpinned by negative attitudes toward the intellectual worth of the self, which serve a defensive function. Like servility, timidity is an obstacle to the acquisition and transmission of knowledge and especially knowledge about oneself. (shrink)
Although their positions and arguments differ in several respects, feminists have asserted that science, knowledge, and rationality cannot be severed from their social, political, and cultural aspects.
There is much of interest in Cassam’s ground-breaking Vices of the Mind. This discussion focuses exclusively on one aspect of his view, namely, his account of what it takes to be properly criticisable or blameworthy for one’s epistemic vices. This critical discussion consists of two sections. The first provides an overview of Cassam’s account of responsibility and criticisability for intellectual vices. The second raises a problem for that account whose formulation is due to Battaly and proposes a solution which, at (...) least in part, could also be adopted by Cassam himself if he were prepared to make some small changes to his view. This solution generates a highly disjunctive account of criticisability and responsibility for possessing an epistemic vice. Although such heterogeneity might seem wholly unsatisfactory, it receives a plausible explanation when the account is put within the context of a Strawsonian approach to the practice of holding people responsible for their epistemic vices. (shrink)
Alessandra Tanesini ABSTRACT: Arrogance has widespread negative consequences for epistemic practices. Arrogant people tend to intimidate and humiliate other agents, and to ignore or dismiss their views. They have a propensity to mansplain. They are also angry. In this paper I explain why anger is a common manifestation of arrogance in order to understand the...
In this new book, Alessandra Tanesini demonstrates that feminist thought has a lot to offer to the study of Wittgenstein's philosophical work, and that -at the same time-that work can inspire feminist reflection in new directions. In Wittgenstein, Tanesini offers a highly original interpretation of several themes in Wittgenstein's philosophy. She argues that when we look at his work through feminist eyes we discover that he is not primarily concerned with providing solutions to technical problems in the philosophy of (...) mind, mathematics, and language. Instead, his remarks on these topics are intended to offer insights about human finitude, the loneliness of the modern autonomous self, and our relations to other human beings. Thus, the modern conception of the individual emerges as the critical target of Wittgenstein's philosophical work, both early and late. This conception has also been one of the dominant concerns of contemporary feminist philosophy. In this book, Wittgenstein's insights are deployed to further feminist debates on issues such as identity, difference, the masculine character of the modern self. (shrink)
Communities often respond to traumatic events in their histories by destroying objects that would cue memories of a past they wish to forget and by building artefacts which memorialize a new version of their history. Hence, it would seem, communities cope with change by spreading memory ignorance so to allow new memories to take root. This chapter offers an account of some aspects of this phenomenon and of its epistemological consequences. Specifically, it is demonstrated in this chapter that collective forgetfulness (...) is harmful. Here, the focus is exclusively on the harms caused by its contribution to undermining the intellectual self-trust of some members of the community. Further, since some of these harms are also wrongs, collective amnesia contributes to causing epistemic injustices. (shrink)
Arrogance has widespread negative consequences for epistemic practices. Arrogant people tend to intimidate and humiliate other agents, and to ignore or dismiss their views. They have a propensity to mansplain. They are also angry. In this paper I explain why anger is a common manifestation of arrogance in order to understand the effects of arrogance on debate. I argue that superbia is a vice of superiority characterised by an overwhelming desire to diminish other people in order to excel and by (...) a tendency to arrogate special entitlements for oneself, including the privilege of not having to justify one’s claims. (shrink)
This paper has five aims: it clarifies the nature of esteem and of the related notions of admiration and reputation ; it argues that communities that possess practices of esteeming individuals for their intellectual qualities are epistemically superior to otherwise identical communities lacking this practice and that a concern for one's own intellectual reputation, and a motivation to seek the esteem and admiration of other members of one's community, can be epistemically virtuous ; it explains two vices regarding these concerns (...) for one's own intellectual reputation and desire for esteem: intellectual vanity and intellectual timidity ; finally, it offers an account of some of the epistemic harms caused by these vices. (shrink)
Theories of assertion must explain how silencing is possible. This chapter defends an account of assertion in terms of normative commitments on the grounds that it provides the most plausible analysis of how individuals might be silenced when attempting to make assertions. The chapter first offers an account of the nature of silencing and defends the view that it can occur even in contexts where speakers’ communicative intentions are understood by their audience. Second, it outlines some of the normative commitments (...) characteristic of assertion when used in the speech act of telling;. This commitment view of assertion is then used to explain silencing as a matter of being deprived of the ability to make some of the commitments one is trying to acquire. Finally, the main rivals of the commitment view of assertion endorsed here are shown to be unable to account for silencing, at least when they are considered in their purest form. (shrink)
I argue that the semantic content of thoughts and the linguistic meaning of expressions are things with a history in the sense that they can be made fully intelligible only from the point of view of the future. I defend this position by articulating a version of a view known in the philosophy of language as temporal externalism. Temporal externalism about content is the view that the content of a subject’s thoughts and utterances at a time t depends on features (...) of the linguistic practices of her community after t. There are two different ways in which temporal externalism can be developed. First, one can take it to be the view according to which the meaning of an expression is given by the whole pattern of use, including future ones, of that expression. Alternatively, one can interpret temporal externalism as the view that the meaning of a speaker’s utterance is determined by the norms that govern or constrain her linguistic behaviour. These norms, which may be instituted at a later date, place their authoritative stamp upon prior conduct. I show that the first version of temporal externalism faces severe objections from which the second version is immune. I also provide a defence of this second position through an extensive discussion of some thought experiments. (shrink)
Self- affirmation techniques can help reduce arrogant behaviour in public debates. This chapter consists of three sections. The first offers an account of what speakers owe to their audiences, and of what hearers owe to speakers. It also illustrates some of the ways in which arrogance leads to violations of conversational norms. The second argues that arrogance can be understood as an attitude toward the self which is positive but defensive. The final section offers empirical evidence why we should expect (...) self-affirmation to reduce defensiveness and thus the manifestation of arrogance in debate. (shrink)
In this paper I offer an innovative interpretation of Nietzsche's metaethical theory of value which shows him to be a kind of constitutivist. For Nietzsche, I argue, valuing is a conative attitude which institutes values, rather than tracking what is independently of value. What is characteristic of those acts of willing which institute values is that they are owned or authored. Nietzsche makes this point using the vocabulary of self-mastery. One crucial feature of those who have achieved this feat, and (...) have consequently become agents, is that they possess a diachronic or long will and are consequently capable of the rational governance of future behaviour. The possession of a will of this sort is crucial because it is a necessary condition for engaging in temporally unified activities which are a requisite of authorship. Nietzsche, I argue, makes these points in his doctrine of eternal recurrence which provides a test that acts of will must pass to count as laws. In the final section of the paper I argue for the superiority of this interpretation over some of its competitors. (shrink)
Traditional accounts of perception endorse an input–output model: perception is the input from world to mind and action is the output from mind to world. In contrast, enactive accounts propose action to be constitutive of perception. We focus on Noë's sensorimotor version of enactivism, with the aim of clarifying the proper limits of enactivism more generally. Having explained Noë's particular version of enactivism, which accounts for the contents of perceptual experience in terms of sensorimotor knowledge, we use taste as a (...) test for his central thesis. We conclude that taste and other similar senses do not display the central features which Noë claims apply to all perceptual experience. (shrink)
Succinct representation and fast access to large amounts of data are challenges of our time. This unique book suggests general approaches of 'complexity of descriptions'. It deals with a variety of concrete topics and bridges between them, while opening new perspectives and providing promising avenues for the 'complexity puzzle'.
In this article I examine an important episode in the growth of ‘mindfulness’ as a biomedical modality in Britain: the formation and establishment of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy by John Teasdale and his colleagues Mark Williams and Zindel Segal. My study, focusing on Teasdale’s contribution, combines ethnographic, oral historical and archival research to understand how mindfulness was disseminated or, to use a term sometimes used by mindfulness practitioners themselves, ‘transmitted’. Drawing on theoretical support from Max Weber, Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, (...) I argue that transmission had a very specific form within the Buddhistic milieu that Teasdale occupied and within which he developed MBCT. To ‘transmit’ mindfulness was to transmit an experiential essence; a type of subjectivity that was seen as perennial, universal and radically distinct from its historical context. In tracing the recurring metaphysical, metaphorical and visual tropes of mindfulness and its transmission, I attempt to understand how Teasdale was embedded in both local and global networks of discourse and practice, and how his life and work contributed and depended upon an assemblage whose elements straddled empiricist psychology and religious mysticism. I also examine how authority, experience and knowledge were closely interwoven in the birth of British mindfulness, coming together to form an affectively compelling ‘diagram’ that shaped the way mindfulness was practiced and disseminated. In doing so, I aim to open up the possibility of studying the history of the human sciences from a new perspective: one which places an emphasis on the emotional impetus generated by metaphysical assumptions. (shrink)
A 365 million year‐old trilobite moult‐carcass assemblage was described by Błażejowski et al. (2015) as the oldest direct evidence of moulting in the arthropod fossil record. Unfortunately, their suppositions are insufficiently supported by the data provided. Instead, the morphology, configuration and preservational context of the highly fossiliferous locality (Kowala Quarry, Poland) suggest that the specimen consists of two overlapping, queued carcasses. The wider fossil record of moulting actually extends back 520 million years, providing an unparalleled opportunity to study behaviour, ecology (...) and development in early animals. Taking cues from modern analogues, it is possible to quantify precise details about moulting behaviour to determine broad‐scale evolutionary trends, ontogenetic sequences and morphological selection pressures. In this review, we argue that this rich source of data has been underused in evolutionary studies, though has great potential for investigating the life history and evolution of arthropods in deep time. (shrink)
From its earliest beginnings, the women’s movement has evolved into a complex enterprise combining social, political, economic and academic organizations around the globe. The move into the academic scene (women’s studies, gender studies, etc.), in the past forty or so years, has given rise to debate about the purpose of feminism: what is feminism’s raison d’etre ? Should feminism primarily be an advocate for political and social change, as it was in its early days, or should it focus on theoretical (...) questions about women and their place in the world? The debate asks about method: what is the best way forward? How should we proceed? In response, my article explores Bernard Lonergan’s idea of Functional Specialization as a method that offers the potential to unify the global enterprise of feminism with the concrete and practical intent of improving women’s rights around the globe. (shrink)
This paper distinguishes between two arguments based on measurement robustness and defends the epistemic value of robustness for the assessment of measurement reliability. I argue that the appeal to measurement robustness in the assessment of measurement is based on a different inferential pattern and is not exposed to the same objections as the no-coincidence argument which is commonly associated with the use of robustness to corroborate individual results. This investigation sheds light on the precise meaning of reliability that emerges from (...) measurement assessment practice. In addition, by arguing that the measurement assessment robustness argument has similar characteristics across the physical, social and behavioural sciences, I defend the idea that there is continuity in the notion of measurement reliability across sciences. (shrink)
Covert spatial attention alters the way things look. There is strong empirical evidence showing that objects situated at attended locations are described as appearing bigger, closer, if striped, stripier than qualitatively indiscernible counterparts whose locations are unattended. These results cannot be easily explained in terms of which properties of objects are perceived. Nor do they appear to be cases of visual illusions. Ned Block has argued that these results are best accounted for by invoking what he calls ‘mental paint’. In (...) this paper I argue, instead, in favour of an account of these phenomena in terms of the perceptual experience of affordances concerning saccadic eye movement. As part of the argument I draw connections with the empirical literature on the way in which performance efficiency also alters visual appearance. (shrink)
We-thinking theories allow groups to deliberate as agents. They have been introduced into the economic domain for both theoretical and empirical reasons. Among the few scholars who have proposed formal approaches to illustrate how we-thinking arises, Bacharach offers one of the most developed theories from the game theoretic point of view. He presents a number of intuitions, not always mutually consistent and not fully developed. In this article, I propose a way to complete Bacharach’s theory, generalizing the interdependence hypothesis and (...) building on his intuition about vacillation. It is a simple model of vacillation between the I and we-modes of reasoning, as a way in which we-thinking can come to mind in the face of a decision problem. The vacillation model makes we-reasoning more easily usable in game theory. (shrink)
Feminist epistemology and philosophy of science is the study of the significance of gender for the acquisition and justification of knowledge. At its inception, feminist epistemology was in large part concerned with science and showed more affinity with the history and philosophy of science and with social and cultural studies of science than with mainstream epistemology. Since the early 2000s, however, significant new trends have led to the production of extremely innovative work, such as a turn toward a conception of (...) matter as being in some ways like an agent in science studies, as well as a focus on topics at the interface between ethics and epistemology in feminist epistemology. (shrink)
Clinical ethics consultation, as an activity that may be provided by clinical ethics committees and consultants, is nowadays a well-established practice in North America. Although it has been increasingly implemented in Europe and elsewhere, no agreement can be found among scholars and practitioners on the appropriate role or approach the consultant should play when ethically problematic cases involving conflicts and uncertainties come up. In particular, there is no consensus on the acceptability of consultants making recommendations, offering moral advice upon request, (...) and expressing personal opinions. We translate these issues into the question of whether the consultant should be neutral when performing an ethics consultation. We argue that the notion of neutrality 1) functions as a hermeneutical key to review the history of CEC as a whole; 2) may be enlightened by a precise assessment of the nature and goals of CEC; 3) refers to the normative dimension of CEC. Here, we distinguish four different meanings of neutrality: a neutral stance toward the parties involved in clinical decision making, toward the arguments offered to frame the discussion, toward the values and norms involved in the case, and toward the outcome of decision making, that is to say the final decision and action that will be implemented. Lastly, we suggest a non-authoritarian way to intend the term “recommendation” in the context of clinical ethics consultation. (shrink)
Logical metonymy resolution (begin a book begin reading a book or begin writing a book) has traditionally been explained either through complex lexical entries (qualia structures) or through the integration of the implicit event via post-lexical access to world knowledge. We propose that recent work within the words-as-cues paradigm can provide a more dynamic model of logical metonymy, accounting for early and dynamic integration of complex event information depending on previous contextual cues (agent and patient). We first present a self-paced (...) reading experiment on German subordinate sentences, where metonymic sentences and their paraphrased version differ only in the presence or absence of the clause-final target verb (Der Konditor begann die Glasur Der Konditor begann, die Glasur aufzutragen/The baker began the icing The baker began spreading the icing). Longer reading times at the target verb position in a high-typicality condition (baker + icing spread ) compared to a low-typicality (but still plausible) condition (child + icing spread) suggest that we make use of knowledge activated by lexical cues to build expectations about events. The early and dynamic integration of event knowledge in metonymy interpretation is bolstered by further evidence from a second experiment using the probe recognition paradigm. Presenting covert events as probes following a high-typicality or a low-typicality metonymic sentence (Der Konditor begann die Glasur AUFTRAGEN/The baker began the icing SPREAD), we obtain an analogous effect of typicality at 100 ms interstimulus interval. (shrink)
We analyse the structure of propositional proofs in the sequent calculus focusing on the well-known procedures of Interpolation and Cut Elimination. We are motivated in part by the desire to understand why a tautology might be ‘hard to prove’. Given a proof we associate to it a logical graph tracing the flow of formulas in it . We show some general facts about logical graphs such as acyclicity of cut-free proofs and acyclicity of contraction-free proofs , and we give a (...) proof of a strengthened version of the Craig Interpolation Theorem based on flows of formulas. We show that tautologies having minimal interpolants of non-linear size must have proofs with certain precise structural properties. We then show that given a proof Π and a cut-free form Π′ associated to it , certain subgraphs of Π′ which are logical graphs correspond to subgraphs of Π which are logical graphs for the same sequent. This locality property of cut elimination leads to new results on the complexity of interpolants, which cannot follow from the known constructions proving the Craig Interpolation Theorem. (shrink)
Understanding the goals of others is fundamental for any kind of interpersonal interaction and collaboration. From a neurocognitive perspective, intention understanding has been proposed to depend on an involvement of the observer’s motor system in the prediction of the observed actions. An open question is if a similar understanding of the goal mediated by motor resonance can occur not only between humans, but also for humanoid robots. In this study we investigated whether goal-oriented robotic actions can induce motor resonance by (...) measuring the appearance of anticipatory gaze shifts to the goal during action observation. Our results indicate a similar implicit processing of humans’ and robots’ actions and propose to use anticipatory gaze behaviour as a tool for the evaluation of human-robot interactions. Keywords: Humanoid robot; motor resonance; anticipation; proactive gaze; action understanding. (shrink)
Notini et al 1 offer a timely addition in the wake of a significant increase in young people identifying as transgender and gender diverse. The authors focus specifically on the case of 18-year-old Phoenix’s request for ongoing puberty suppression to affirm a non-binary gender identity. A central issue raised by Phoenix’s predicament, and that I suggest we can extend to ethical consideration of requests for other types of medical intervention by binary and non-binary TGD individuals, is whether we should ‘affirm’ (...) the claims made by TGD young people about what promotes their well-being. As a clinician working with TGD young people who have undergone a range of medical interventions to align their bodies with their gender identity, my starting presumption is that it is important to respect what people think will help them: there are some TGD young people for whom, all things considered, medical interventions to affirm gender identity promote their well-being. Well-being has become an important conceptual currency in ethical debates and lies at the core of the authors’ analysis of Phoenix’s case. While the authors do not ground their argument in favour of OPS in a specific theory of well-being, welfarist considerations 2 appear to underpin …. (shrink)
More than 7% of all German physicians became members of the Nazi SS during World War II, compared with less than 1% of the general population. In so doing, these doctors willingly participated in genocide, something that should have been antithetical to the values of their chosen profession. The participation of physicians in torture and murder both before and after World War II is a disturbing legacy seldom discussed in medical school, and underrecognised in contemporary medicine. Is there something inherent (...) in being a physician that promotes a transition from healer to murderer? With this historical background in mind, the author, a medical student, defines and reflects upon moral vulnerabilities still endemic to contemporary medical culture. (shrink)
Fundamental questions in value sensitive design include whether and how high-tech products/artefacts could embody values and ethical ideals, and how plural and incommensurable values of ethical and social importance could be chosen rationally and objectively at a collective level. By using a humanitarian cargo drone study as a starting point, this paper tackles the challenges that VSD’s lack of commitment to a specific ethical theory generates in practical applications. Besides, it highlights how mainstream ethical approaches usually related to VSD are (...) incapable of solving main ethical dilemmas raised by technological design for well-being in democratic settings. Accordingly, it is argued that VSD’s ethical-democratic import would substantially be enhanced by the espousal of a procedural ethics stance and the deliberative approach to value and welfare entailed by Amartya Sen’s capability approach. Differently from rival ethical–political theories, its normative and meta-ethical foundations better handle human diversity, value-goal pluralism, conflicting vested interests as well as the epistemic-moral disagreements typical of contemporary complex democracies. Particularly, Sen’s capability approach procedural-deliberative tenets result in an “objective-impartial” choice procedure selecting a “hierarchy” of plural incommensurable values and rational goals thus, suitable to validate an applied science such as welfare-oriented technological design in concrete social environments. Conclusions suggest that refining VSD with a capability-based procedural approach to ethics fosters the concern for democracy and social justice while preserving vital scientific-technical standards. Major advantages are at an applied level to delivering ethically and socially justified, but yet highly functional technologies and high-tech products/artefacts. (shrink)