My topic lies on conceptual terrain that is quite familiar to philosophers. For others, a bit of background may be in order. In light of what has filtered down from quantum mechanics, few philosophers today believe that the universe is causally deterministic. That is, to use Peter van Inwagen's succinct definition of “determinism,” few philosophers believe that “there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future.” Even so, partly for obvious historical reasons, philosophers continue to argue about whether free (...) will and moral responsibility are compatible with determinism. Compatibilists argue for compatibility, and incompatibilists argue against it. Some incompatibilists maintain that free will and moral responsibility are illusions. But most are libertarians, libertarianism being the conjunction of incompatibilism and the thesis that at least some human beings are possessed of free will and moral responsibility. (shrink)
This article claims that Averroes wrote his Middle Commentary on the De anima after he composed both his Short and Long commentaries. A close comparison of the two texts proves that he had the Long commentary before him when composing the Middle. This has implications both for the development of Averroes' doctrine of the intellect, and for understanding Averroes' style of composing commentaries. On se propose d'établir dans cet article qu'Averroès a rédigé son Moyen commentaire sur le De Anima après (...) son Épitomé et son Grand commentaire. Une comparaison minutieuse des deux textes montre qu'il avait sous les yeux son Grand commentaire lorsqu'il composait son Moyen commentaire. Ceci est de grande conséquence tant pour notre appréciation du développement de la doctrine de l'intellect chez Averroès que pour notre compréhension du mode de composition de ses commentaires. (shrink)
Autonomous Agents addresses the related topics of self-control and individual autonomy. "Self-control" is defined as the opposite of akrasia-weakness of will. The study of self-control seeks to understand the concept of its own terms, followed by an examination of its bearing on one's actions, beliefs, emotions, and personal values. It goes on to consider how a proper understanding of self-control and its manifestations can shed light on personal autonomy and autonomous behaviour. Perspicuous, objective, and incisive throughout, Alfred Mele makes (...) a convincing case for the value of individual autonomy. (shrink)
In this book, his major work, Alfred Schutz attempts to provide a sound philosophical basis for the sociological theories of Max Weber. Using a Husserlian phenomenology, Schutz provides a complete and original analysis of human action and its "intended meaning.".
Herbert Davidson's critique of my thesis regarding the relation between Averroes' Middle and Long commentaries on De anima contrasts my reading and translation of Middle Commentary passages with his own. I leave it to the informed reader to judge whether one translation is more “neutral” than the other, excluding the specific denotation which I give to sharh, which is the point at issue.
Each of the following claims has been defended in the scientific literature on free will and consciousness: your brain routinely decides what you will do before you become conscious of its decision; there is only a 100 millisecond window of opportunity for free will, and all it can do is veto conscious decisions, intentions, or urges; intentions never play a role in producing corresponding actions; and free will is an illusion. In Effective Intentions Alfred Mele shows that the evidence (...) offered to support these claims is sorely deficient. He also shows that there is strong empirical support for the thesis that some conscious decisions and intentions have a genuine place in causal explanations of corresponding actions. In short, there is weighty evidence of the existence of effective conscious intentions or the power of conscious will. Mele examines the accuracy of subjects' reports about when they first became aware of decisions or intentions in laboratory settings and develops some implications of warranted skepticism about the accuracy of these reports. In addition, he explores such questions as whether we must be conscious of all of our intentions and why scientists disagree about this. Mele's final chapter closes with a discussion of imaginary scientific findings that would warrant bold claims about free will and consciousness of the sort he examines in this book. (shrink)
Alfred North Whitehead was a prominent English mathematician and philosopher who co-authored the highly influential Principia Mathematica with Bertrand Russell. Originally published in 1919, and first republished in 1925 as this Second Edition, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Natural Knowledge ranks among Whitehead's most important works; forming a perspective on scientific observation that incorporated a complex view of experience, rather than prioritising the position of 'pure' sense data. Alongside companion volumes The Concept of Nature and The Principle of (...) Relativity, it created a framework for Whitehead's later metaphysical speculations. This is an important book that will be of value to anyone with an interest in the relationship between science and philosophy. (shrink)
The mathematical background and content of Greek philosophy, by F. S. C. Northrop.--The one and the many in Plato, by R. Demos.--An introduction to the De modis significandi of Thomas of Erfurt, by S. Buchanan.--Truth by convention, by W. V. Quine.--Logical positivism and speculative philosophy, by H. S. Leonard.--The nature and status of time and passage, by P. Weiss.--Causality, by S. Kerby--iller.--The compound individual, by C. Hartshorne.--The good, by O. H. Lee.
Although much human action serves as proof that irrational behaviour is remarkably common, certain forms of irrationalityDSmost incontinent action and self-deceptionDSpose such difficult problems that philosophers have rejected them as logically or psychologically impossible. Here, Alfred Mele shows that incontinent action and self-deception are indeed possible.
Alfred Gell puts forward a new anthropological theory of visual art, seen as a form of instrumental action: the making of things as a means of influencing the thoughts and actions of others. He shows how art objects embody complex intentionalities and mediate social agency, and he explores the psychology of patterns and perceptions, art and personhood, the control of knowledge, and the interpretation of meaning, drawing upon a diversity of artistic traditions--European, Indian, Polynesian, Melanesian, and Australian. Art and (...) Agency was completed just before Alfred Gell's death at the age of 51 in January 1997. It embodies the intellectual bravura, lively wit, vigour, and erudition for which he was admired, and will stand as an enduring testament to one of the most gifted anthropologists of his generation. (shrink)
What place does motivation have in the lives of intelligent agents? Mele's answer is sensitive to the concerns of philosophers of mind and moral philosophers and informed by empirical work. He offers a distinctive, comprehensive, attractive view of human agency. This book stands boldly at the intersection of philosophy of mind, moral philosophy, and metaphysics.
Following the thematic divisions of the first three volumes of Alfred Schutz's Collected Papers into The Problem of Social Reality, Studies in Social Theory and Phenomenological Philosophy, this fourth volume contains drafts of unfinished writings, drafts of published writings, translations of essays previously published in German, and some largely unpublished correspondence. The drafts of published writings contain important material omitted from the published versions, and the unfinished writings offer important insights into Schutz's otherwise unpublished ideas about economic and political (...) theory as well as the theory of law and the state. In addition, a large group contains Schutz's reflections on problems in phenomenological philosophy, including music, which both supplement and add new dimensions to his published thought. All together, the writings in this volume cover Schutz's last 15 years in Europe as well as manuscripts written after his arrival in the USA in 1939. Audience: Students and scholars of phenomenology, social theory and the human sciences in general. (shrink)
Self-deception raises complex questions about the nature of belief and the structure of the human mind. In this book, Alfred Mele addresses four of the most critical of these questions: What is it to deceive oneself? How do we deceive ourselves? Why do we deceive ourselves? Is self-deception really possible? -/- Drawing on cutting-edge empirical research on everyday reasoning and biases, Mele takes issue with commonplace attempts to equate the processes of self-deception with those of stereotypical interpersonal deception. Such (...) attempts, he demonstrates, are fundamentally misguided, particularly in the assumption that self-deception is intentional. In their place, Mele proposes a compelling, empirically informed account of the motivational causes of biased beliefs. At the heart of this theory is an appreciation of how emotion and motivation may, without our knowing it, bias our assessment of evidence for beliefs. Highlighting motivation and emotion, Mele develops a pair of approaches for explaining the two forms of self-deception: the "straight" form, in which we believe what we want to be true, and the "twisted" form, in which we believe what we wish to be false. -/- Underlying Mele's work is an abiding interest in understanding and explaining the behavior of real human beings. The result is a comprehensive, elegant, empirically grounded theory of everyday self-deception that should engage philosophers and social scientists alike. (shrink)
In this book, Alfred Mele tackles some central problems in the philosophy of action. His purpose is to construct an explanatory model for intentional behaviour, locating the place and significance of such mental phenomena as beliefs, desires, reasons and intentions in the etiology of intentional action.
Libertarians hold that free action and moral responsibility are incompatible with determinism and that some human beings occasionally act freely and are morally responsible for some of what they do. Can libertarians who know both that they are right and that they are free make sincere promises? Peter van Inwagen, a libertarian, contends that they cannot—at least when they assume that should they do what they promise to do, they would do it freely. Probably, this strikes many readers as a (...) surprising thesis for a libertarian to hold. In light of van Inwagen's holding it, the title of his essay—‘Free Will Remains a Mystery’—may seem unsurprising. (shrink)
The principle of patient autonomy dominates the contemporary debate over medical ethics. In this examination of the doctor-patient relationship, physician and philosopher Alfred Tauber argues that the idea of patient autonomy -- which was inspired by other rights-based movements of the 1960s -- was an extrapolation from political and social philosophy that fails to ground medicine's moral philosophy. He proposes instead a reconfiguration of personal autonomy and a renewed commitment to an ethics of care. In this formulation, physician beneficence (...) and responsibility become powerful means for supporting the autonomy and dignity of patients. Beneficence, Tauber argues, should not be confused with the medical paternalism that fueled the patient rights movement. Rather, beneficence and responsibility are moral principles that not only are compatible with patient autonomy but strengthen it. Coordinating the rights of patients with the responsibilities of their caregivers will result in a more humane and robust medicine.Tauber examines the historical and philosophical competition between facts and values in medicine. He analyzes the shifting conceptions of personhood underlying the doctor-patient relationship, offers a "topology" of autonomy, from Locke and Kant to Hume and Mill, and explores both philosophical and practical strategies for reconfiguring trust and autonomy. Framing the practicalities of the clinical encounter with moral reflections, Tauber calls for an ethical medicine in which facts and values are integrated and humane values are deliberately included in the program of care. (shrink)
This book is well known for its proof that many mathematical systems - including lattice theory and closure algebras - are undecidable. It consists of three treatises from one of the greatest logicians of all time: "A General Method in Proofs of Undecidability," "Undecidability and Essential Undecidability in Mathematics," and "Undecidability of the Elementary Theory of Groups.".
Translation and Introduction by Fred Kersten Alfred Schutz’s lecture, “The Problem of Intersubjectivity in Husserl,” was read and discussed at the Husserl-Colloquium in Royaumont on April 28, 1957. The German text of the lecture appeared in Philosophische Rundschau: Eine Vierteljahrsschrift für philosophische Kritik, edited by Hans-Georg Gadamer and Helmut Kuhn, Vol. V, 1957, pp. 81ff. A translation of the lecture by Frederick Kersten in collaboration with Professors Aron Gurwitsch and Professor Thomas Luckmann was published in Alfred Schutz, Collected (...) Papers, Volume III, edited by Ilse Schutz and an Introduction by Aron Gurwitsch. (shrink)
Almost thirty years ago, in an attempt to undermine what he termed "the principle of alternate possibilities" (the thesis that people are morally responsible for what they have done only if they could have done otherwise), Harry Frankfurt offered an ingenious thought-experiment that has played a major role in subsequent work on moral responsibility and free will. Several philosophers, including David Widerker and Robert Kane, argued recently that this thought-experiment and others like it are fundamentally flawed. This paper develops a (...) new Frankfurt-style example that is immune to their objections. [Reprinted in Laura Waddell Ekstrom, ed., Agency and Responsibility: Essays on the Metaphysics of Freedom (Westview Press, 2001), pp. 241-54; and in John Martin Fischer, ed., Free Will, Vol. III (Routledge, 2005), pp. 330-42.]. (shrink)