This essay seeks to illuminate the motives behind AlfredKurella's damning review of Bertold Brecht's Lehrstück The Measures Taken. This review of 1931 is commonly regarded as having turned the official marxist literary critique against Brecht, straining the relations between the playwright and the nomenklatura for the years that followed. Yet, a closer examination of AlfredKurella's biography reveals that his review of The Measures Taken has much less to do with Bertold Brecht or with marxist (...) cultural politics, than with the serious political difficulties its author was facing at the time. (shrink)
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)
Values and the scope of scientific inquiry, by M. Farber.--The phenomenology of epistemic claims: and its bearing on the essence of philosophy, by R. M. Zaner.--Problems of the Life-World, by A. Gurwitsch.--The Life-World and the particular sub-worlds, by W. Marx.--On the boundaries of the social world, by T. Luckmann.--Alfred Schutz on social reality and social science, by M. Natanson.--Homo oeconomicus and his class mates, by F. Machlup.--Toward a science of political economics, by A. Lowe.--Some notes on reality-orientation in contemporary (...) societies, by A. Brodersen.--The eclipse of reality, by E. Voegelin.--Alienation in Marx's Political economy and philosophy, by P. Merlan.--The problem of multiple realities: Alfred Schutz and Robert Musil, by P. L. Berger.--Phenomenology, history, myth, by F. Kersten.--The role of music in Leonardo's Paragone, by E. Winternitz.--Alfred Schutz bibliography (p. -306). (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)
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.".
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)
In Manipulated Agents, Alfred R. Mele examines the role one's history plays in whether or not one is morally responsible for one's actions. Mele develops a "history-sensitive" theory of moral responsibility through reflection on a wide range of thought experiments which feature agents who have been manipulated or designed in ways that directly affect their actions.
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)
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.
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.
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)
The Structures of the Life-World is the final focus of twenty-seven years of Alfred Schutz's labor, encompassing the fruits of his work between 1932 and his death in 1959. This book represents Schutz's seminal attempt to achieve a comprehensive grasp of the nature of social reality. Here he integrates his theory of relevance with his analysis of social structures. Thomas Luckmann, a former student of Schutz's, completed the manuscript for publication after Schutz's untimely death.
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)
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.
This article is part of a symposium on Alfred Mele’s Manipulated Agents: A Window to Moral Responsibility. It is Mele’s response to John Fischer, Ishtiyaque Haji, and Michael McKenna. Topics discussed include the bearing of manipulation on moral responsibility, the zygote argument, the importance of scenarios in which manipulators radically reverse an agent’s values, positive versus negative historical requirements for moral responsibility, the scope of moral responsibility, the value of intuitions, bullet-biting, and how we develop from neonates who are (...) not morally responsible for anything into morally responsible agents. A variety of scenarios featuring various kinds of manipulation are discussed. (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)
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)
Edited by a leading exponent of the school, this book offers--in the words of the movement's founders--logical positivism's revolutionary theories on meaning and metaphysics, the nature of logic and mathematics, the foundations of knowledge ...
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)
The great three-volume Principia Mathematica is deservedly the most famous work ever written on the foundations of mathematics. Its aim is to deduce all the fundamental propositions of logic and mathematics from a small number of logical premisses and primitive ideas, and so to prove that mathematics is a development of logic. This abridged text of Volume I contains the material that is most relevant to an introductory study of logic and the philosophy of mathematics (more advanced students will wish (...) to refer to the complete edition). It contains the whole of the preliminary sections (which present the authors' justification of the philosophical standpoint adopted at the outset of their work); the whole of Part 1 (in which the logical properties of propositions, propositional functions, classes and relations are established); section 6 of Part 2 (dealing with unit classes and couples); and Appendices A and B (which give further developments of the argument on the theory of deduction and truth functions). (shrink)
Most known technology serves to ingeniously adapt the world to the physical and mental limitations of human beings. Humankind has acquired awesome power with its rather limited means. Nanotechnological capabilities further this power. On some accounts, however, nanotechnological research will contribute to a rather different kind of technological development, namely one that changes human beings so as to remove or reduce their physical and mental limitations. The prospect of this technological development has inspired a fair amount of ethical debate. Here, (...) proponents and opponents of such visions of human enhancement are criticized alike for engaging in speculative ethics. This critique exposes a general pattern that extends to other nano-, bio-, or neuroethical debates. While it does not apply to all discussions of “enhancement technologies” it does apply to all ethical discourse that constructs and validates an incredible future which it only then proceeds to endorse or critique. This discourse violates conditions of intelligibility, squanders the scarce and valuable resource of ethical concern, and misleads by casting remote possibilities or philosophical thought-experiments as foresight about likely technical developments. In effect, it deflects consideration from the transformative technologies of the present. (shrink)
This article distinguishes among and examines three different kinds of argument for the thesis that moral responsibility and free action are each incompatible with the truth of determinism: straight manipulation arguments; manipulation arguments to the best explanation; and original-design arguments. Structural and methodological matters are the primary focus.
This article’s guiding question is about bullet biting: When should compatibilists about moral responsibility bite the bullet in responding to stories used in arguments for incompatibilism about moral responsibility? Featured stories are vignettes in which agents’ systems of values are radically reversed by means of brainwashing and the story behind the zygote argument. The malady known as “intuition deficit disorder” is also discussed.
Richard Holton has developed a view of the nature of weak-willed actions, and I have done the same for akratic actions. How well does this view of mine fare in the sphere of weakness of will? Considerably better than Holton’s view. That is a thesis of this article. The article’s aim is to clarify the nature of weak-willed actions. Holton reports that he is "trying to give an account of our ordinary notion of weakness of will" (1999, p. 262). One (...) way to get evidence about ordinary notions is to conduct survey studies with ordinary people. I conducted four such studies on weakness of will. (shrink)
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