In his?Freedom, Self?Ownership, and Libertarian Philosophical Diaspora,?Justin Weinberg attempts to show, by using arguments from G.A. Cohen, that philosophical defenses of libertarian natural rights are doomed to failure, because they are either circular or invalid. In fact, however, a natural?rights libertarianism based on the self?ownership premise is not inconsistent if it holds that the earth is initially unowned, rather than collectively owned by all humanity. Under this thesis, the self?ownership assumption may lead to libertarianism, though other hurdles stand in the (...) way. Finally, ordinary usage of the term?freedom? permits its application as a moralized concept to a political philosophy that has been demonstrated true. (shrink)
Abstract G. A. Cohen's argument against the claim that respect for self?ownership entails libertarianism features the imaginary example of ?Able and Infirm.? Richard Epstein, Tom Palmer, and Am Feallsanach criticize the example, but fail to rescue libertarianism from Cohen's attack. This is due to a misunderstanding of the role the example plays in Cohen's argument, and to a false belief that the initial ownership status of the world is important for resolving disputes in political philosophy.
Kant’s conception of the centrality of intellectual self-consciousness, or “pure apperception”, for scientiﬁc knowledge of nature is well known, if still obscure. Here I argue that, for Kant, at least one central role for such self-consciousness lies in the acquisition of the content of concepts central to metaphysical theorizing. I focus on one important concept, that of <substance>. I argue that, for Kant, the representational content of the concept <substance> depends not just on the capacity for apperception, but on the (...) actual intellectual awareness of oneself in such apperception. I then defend this interpretation from a variety of objections. (shrink)
_A provocative essay challenging the idea of Buddhist exceptionalism, from one of the world’s most widely respected philosophers and writers on Buddhism and science_ Buddhism has become a uniquely favored religion in our modern age. A burgeoning number of books extol the scientifically proven benefits of meditation and mindfulness for everything ranging from business to romance. There are conferences, courses, and celebrities promoting the notion that Buddhism is spirituality for the rational, compatible with cutting‑edge science, indeed, “a science of the (...) mind.” In this provocative book, Evan Thompson argues that this representation of Buddhism is false. In lucid and entertaining prose, Thompson dives deep into both Western and Buddhist philosophy to explain how the goals of science and religion are fundamentally different. Efforts to seek their unification are wrongheaded and promote mistaken ideas of both. He suggests cosmopolitanism instead, a worldview with deep roots in both Eastern and Western traditions. Smart, sympathetic, and intellectually ambitious, this book is a must‑read for anyone interested in Buddhism’s place in our world today. (shrink)
I Am Dynamite ignites an alternative theory of the self and will, wrapped up in a combustible assault upon scholarly convention. Asking why the real effort of constructing and living within an identity is so often overlooked, it examines the subjective experience of existing in the world, with the power to define and transform oneself. Considering the trials and triumphs of five very different modern subjects--Primo Levi, Ben Glaser, Stanley Spencer, Rachel Silberstein and Friedrich Nietzsche--Nigel Rapport asks: can consciousness of (...) being a self in the world enable control over one's life within it? Calling for a renewed appreciation of the extraordinary within us all, this richly inventive work seeks to restore knowledge to its essential practical and moral aims--aiding and informing the lives we actually live. (shrink)
Why. I. Am. Not. a. Christian. This lecture was delivered on March 6,1927, at Battersea Town Hall under the auspices of the South London Branch of the National Secular Society. AS YOUR Chairman has told you, the subject about which I am ...
This volume collects original, cutting-edge essays on the philosophy of recognition by international scholars eminent in the field. By considering the topic of recognition as addressed by both classical and contemporary authors, the volume explores the connections between historical and contemporary recognition research and makes substantive contributions to the further development of contemporary theories of recognition.
Can thought arise out of matter? Can self, soul, consciousness, “I” arise out of mere matter? If it cannot, then how can you or I be here? I Am a Strange Loop argues that the key to understanding selves and consciousness is the “strange loop”—a special kind of abstract feedback loop inhabiting our brains. The most central and complex symbol in your brain is the one called “I.” The “I” is the nexus in our brain, one of many symbols seeming (...) to have free will and to have gained the paradoxical ability to push particles around, rather than the reverse. How can a mysterious abstraction be real—or is our “I” merely a convenient fiction? Does an “I” exert genuine power over the particles in our brain, or is it helplessly pushed around by the laws of physics? These are the mysteries tackled in I Am a Strange Loop, Douglas Hofstadter's first book-length journey into philosophy since Gödel, Escher, Bach. Compulsively readable and endlessly thought-provoking, this is a moving and profound inquiry into the nature of mind. (shrink)
While its tone is playful and frivolous, this book poses tough questions over the nature of religion and belief. Religion provides comfortable responses to the questions that have always beset humankind - why are we here, what is the point of being alive, how ought we to behave? Russell snatches that comfort away, leaving us instead with other, more troublesome alternatives: responsibility, autonomy, self-awareness. He tells us that the time to live is now, the place to live is here, and (...) the way to be happy is to ensure others are happy. (shrink)
This article explores the notion of the dislocated self following deep brain stimulation (DBS) and concludes that when personal identity is understood in dynamic, narrative, and relational terms, the claim that DBS is a threat to personal identity is deeply problematic. While DBS may result in profound changes in behaviour, mood and cognition (characteristics closely linked to personality), it is not helpful to characterize DBS as threatening to personal identity insofar as this claim is either false, misdirected or trivially true. (...) The claim is false insofar as it misunderstands the dynamic nature of identity formation. The claim is misdirected at DBS insofar as the real threat to personal identity is the discriminatory attitudes of others towards persons with motor and other disabilities. The claim is trivially true insofar as any dramatic event or experience integrated into one’s identity-constituting narrative could then potentially be described as threatening. From the perspective of relational personal identity, when DBS dramatically disrupts the narrative flow, this disruption is best examined through the lens of agency. For illustrative purposes, the focus is on DBS for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. (shrink)
Nach unserer Auffassung ist der Begriff der Arbeit als „das sich zum Dinge/Gegenstande machen" ein leistungsstarkes Konzept, auf dessen Grundlage in der Philosophie des Geistes von 1805/06 eine aus heutiger Sicht aufschlußreiche Analyse und Kritik der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft entwickelt wird. Der Nachweis dieser These ist der Gegenstand der vorliegenden Untersuchung. Zu diesem Zweck wird eine eingehende Analyse der diesbezüglich relevanten Textstellen aus der Philosophie des Geistes vorgenommen.
Consciousness is arguably the greatest mystery in science, still being unsolved after millennia of thinking. This book is one further attempt at trying to bring new insights regarding consciousness. While certainly the mystery will continue, the ideas in this book will raise awareness regarding an aspect of the phenomenology of consciousness that has been overlooked by past thinkers, and that is the emergent structure of consciousness, which in the end will be shown to be realized by the nature of self-reference (...) of looking-back-at-itself. The great take-away from appreciating the true nature of self-refence would be the need to switch to an unformal way of thinking in doing science if the problem of consciousness is to be resolved. To unformal way of thinking means abandoning the desire to have clearly defined entities in our theories, like “energy” or “space-time” or “spin”, and instead allow for entities that cannot be formalized, to be responsible for the workings of the world. We will slowly see as the book unfolds why the need for unformal way of thinking arises. -/- Regarding the presentation style, the book is both a popular book and a rigorous presentation that goes into thorough phenomenological analyses of consciousness. The reason is that our lives themselves are both familiar and the very nature of existence. As opposed to other writings that use a more technical approach, the philosophy of this book is that a theory of consciousness should focus more on the most mundane manifestations of consciousness, like the redness of an apple or the warmish feeling of cup of hot chocolate, in order to give a clearer understanding of consciousness. Therefore, the book is full of everyday examples of conscious experiences that the reader can relate to and use them to gain deeper insights into the workings of consciousness. In the same way that LHC is the laboratory of physicists, introspection is our own laboratory, the advantage of introspection over LHC being that it is accessible to anyone. Every person can gain a deep knowledge of consciousness by simply paying close attention to his own experiences. Of course, the difficulty arises because of the huge diversity of our experiences and this might raise an apparent initial obstacle of where one is to begin his understanding of consciousness. The book is designed as a guide through the complexities of everyday experiences in the direction of sorting them out in general and clear ways of thinking, showing that consciousness needs not be something that difficult to understand if only the proper attention is given to our experiences. -/- Therefore, the book starts with a chapter about qualia, where through many examples it is shown to be a form of meaning. Then the reader is familiarized with the Self through simple thought experiments that lead to the conclusion of the unicity of the Self, and then a further logical analysis that shows the eternal existence of the Self. After these initial familiarizations with consciousness, the book goes into its core subject, that being the emergent phenomenology, in which it will be shown how consciousness is structured on a holarchy of levels and how ultimately this structuring is a result of self-reference looking-back-at-itself, consciousness being shown to be possible only because of the unformalizable nature of self-reference. (shrink)
The rapidly increasing numbers of elderly people in our society have raised some important moral questions: How should we distribute social resources among different age groups? What does justice require from both the young and the old? In this book, Norman Daniels offers the first systematic philosophical discussion of these urgent questions, advocating what he calls a "lifespan" approach to the problem: Since, as they age, people pass through a variety of institutions, the challenge of caring for the elderly becomes (...) the prudent allocation of public resources among the various stages of people's lives. Using this philosophical approach, Daniels addresses specific public policy issues such as the allocation of medical funds, the adequacy of long-term care, current Medicare cost-containment measures, and the equitable distribution of income support over the lifespan and between generations. (shrink)
Quantum Bayesianism, or QBism, is a recent development of the epistemic view of quantum states, according to which the state vector represents knowledge about a quantum system, rather than the true state of the system. QBism explicitly adopts the subjective view of probability, wherein probability assignments express an agent’s personal degrees of belief about an event. QBists claim that most if not all conceptual problems of quantum mechanics vanish if we simply take a proper epistemic and probabilistic perspective. Although this (...) judgement is largely subjective and logically consistent, I explain why I do not share it. (shrink)
There is good evidence that many people harbour attitudes that conflict with those they endorse. In the language of social psychology, they seem to have implicit attitudes that conflict with their explicit beliefs. There has been a great deal of attention paid to the question whether agents like this are responsible for actions caused by their implicit attitudes, but much less to the question whether they can rightly be described as racist in virtue of harbouring them. In this paper, I (...) attempt to answer this question using three different standards, providing by the three dominant kinds of accounts of racism. I argue that on none of these accounts should agents like this be described as racists. However, it would be misleading to say, without qualification, that they are not racists. On none of these accounts are agents like this entirely off the hook. (shrink)
In virtue of its form [‘I am here’] must be true on any occasion on which [it is] asserted, and yet the proposition it expresses on each occasion [is] contingent. Intuitively, [‘I am here now’] is deeply, and in some sense universally, true. One need only understand the meaning of [it] to know that it cannot be uttered falsely. The sentence ‘I am here’ has the peculiar property that whenever I utter it, it is bound to be true. Even if (...) I am lost and do not know where I am, I can bravely say ‘I am here’, and know that I am expressing a truth. (shrink)
It has been suggested that a rational being stands in what is called a “second-personal relation” to herself. According to philosophers like S. Darwall and Ch. Korsgaard, being a rational agent is to interact with oneself, to make demands on oneself. The thesis of the paper is that this view rests on a logical confusion. Transitive verbs like “asking”, “making a demand” or “obligating” can occur with the reflexive pronoun, but it is a mistake to assume that the reflexive and (...) the non-reflexive use exhibit the same logical grammar. The thesis that they do is in part motivated by the assumption that to show that my relation to you bears the same form as my practical self-relation is to show that, fundamentally, you are not an object for me to think about and act on, but a subject with whom to think and act together. I argue, to the contrary, that if my addressing you exhibited the same form as a relation I could literally be said to stand in to myself, then the nexus between us would be such that I am irretr.. (shrink)
Seeking to reconcile the split between our inner child and our adult self, eminent philosopher and religious scholar Jacob Needleman evokes the ancient spiritual tradition of a deep dialogue between a guiding wisdom figure and a seeker. The elder offers an initiation to a younger self, an initiation the author feels is missing from our culture. Rendered as a stage play, the conversation between the 80-year-old author and his younger selves unfolds, and an ambiguity emerges as to whether this is (...) strictly the author’s internal dialogue or whether the younger self may be nurturing a rebirth of the author. (shrink)
In his Meditations, Rene Descartes asks, "what am I?" His initial answer is "a man." But he soon discards it: "But what is a man? Shall I say 'a rational animal'? No: for then I should inquire what an animal is, what rationality is, and in this way one question would lead down the slope to harder ones." Instead of understanding what a man is, Descartes shifts to two new questions: "What is Mind?" and "What is Body?" These questions develop (...) into Descartes's main philosophical preoccupation: the Mind-Body distinction. How can Mind and Body be independent entities, yet joined--essentially so--within a single human being? If Mind and Body are really distinct, are human beings merely a "construction"? On the other hand, if we respect the integrity of humans, are Mind and Body merely aspects of a human being and not subjects in and of themselves? For centuries, philosophers have considered this classic philosophical puzzle. Now, in this compact, engaging, and long-awaited work UCLA philosopher Joseph Almog closely decodes the French philosopher's argument for distinguishing between the human mind and body while maintaining simultaneously their essential integration in a human being. He argues that Descartes constructed a solution whereby the trio of Human Mind, Body, and Being are essentially interdependent yet remain each a genuine individual subject. Almog's reading not only steers away from the most popular interpretations of Descartes, but also represents a scholar coming to grips directly with Descartes himself. In doing so, Almog creates a work that Cartesian scholars will value, and that will also prove indispensable to philosophers of language, ontology, and the metaphysics of mind. (shrink)
Was ist Angst? Was sagt die Tatsache, dass wir bestimmte Ängste empfinden, über unser Selbstverständnis als Personen aus? Das Buch bietet eine differenzierte philosophische Analyse des Gefühls der Angst, die Einsichten der zeitgenössischen Debatte ebenso aufgreift wie Gedanken der existenzphilosophischen Tradition. Im Zentrum stehen die ebenso alltäglichen wie faszinierenden Phänomene selbstreflexiver und stimmungsmäßiger Angst. In Sprache und Stil ist das Buch analytisch, in Inhalt und Geist jedoch existenziell. Es versteht sich selbst als Übung in philosophischer Freiheit, in der es wesentlich (...) auch darum geht, Klarheit über das jeweils eigene Philosophieverständnis zu erlangen. (shrink)
A part of the “return to religion” now evident in European philosophy, this book represents the culmination of the career of a leading phenomenological thinker whose earlier works trace a trajectory from Marx through a genealogy of psychoanalysis that interprets Descartes’s “I think, I am” as “I feel myself thinking, I am.” In this book, Henry does not ask whether Christianity is “true” or “false.” Rather, what is in question here is what Christianity considers as truth, what kind of truth (...) it offers to people, what it endeavors to communicate to them, not as a theoretical and indifferent truth, but as the essential truth that by some mysterious affinity is suitable for them, to the point that it alone is capable of ensuring them salvation. In the process, Henry inevitably argues against the concept of truth that dominates modern thought and determines, in its multiple implications, the world in which we live. Henry argues that Christ undoes “the truth of the world,” that He is an access to the infinity of self-love, to a radical subjectivity that admits no outside, to the immanence of affective life found beyond the despair fatally attached to all objectifying thought. The Kingdom of God accomplishes itself in the here and now through the love of Christ in what Henry calls “the auto-affection of Life.” In this condition, he argues, all problems of lack, ambivalence, and false projection are resolved. (shrink)
There is a strong need of a reasoned defense of what was known as the “independence” position of the science–religion relationship but that more recently has been denigrated as the “accommodationist” position, namely that while there are parts of religion—fundamentalist Christianity in particular—that clash with modern science, the essential parts of religion do not and could not clash with science. A case for this position is made on the grounds of the essentially metaphorical nature of science. Modern science functions because (...) of its root metaphor of the machine: the world is seen in mechanical terms. As Thomas Kuhn insisted, metaphors function in part by ruling some questions outside their domain. In the case of modern science, four questions go unasked and hence unanswered: Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the foundation of morality? What is mind and its relationship to matter? What is the meaning of it all? You can remain a nonreligious skeptic on these questions, but it is open for the Christian to offer his or her answers, so long as they are not scientific answers. Here then is a way that science and religion can coexist. (shrink)
Farewell to Descartes.--The soul of William James.--Modern man's disintegration and the Egyptian Ka.--The four phases of speech.--The quadrilateral of human logic.--The twelve tones of the spirit.--Heraclitus to Parmenides.--Teaching too late, learning too early.--When the four Gospels were written.--Tribalism.--Polybius; or, The reproduction of government.--Immigration of the spirit.--Metanoia: to think anew.--Bibliography: works of Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy (p. -196).
But in Why I Am Not a Secularist, distinguished political theorist William E. Connolly argues that secularism, although admirable in its pursuit of freedom and diversity, too often undercuts these goals through its narrow and intolerant ...
a single life-span. Philosophers, then, do not see more or know more, and they do not see less or know less. They aim to see less detail and more of the abstract. Their details, if you like, are abstractions. Walking on God’s earth as a pedestrian, as a farmer working his fields or as a passer-by, one’s picture of one’s surroundings is every bit as intelligent as that of the pilot riding the sky. The views of the field are radically (...) different, however. One sees only a specific field and in all lively detail: the exact pattern of the land, or even the exact outline of a given leaf, grasshopper, grain of sand even. Acquaintance with minute detail is not without its price: details may stand in the way of conjuring the big picture. It may be difficult to compare whichever field one happens to be in with far off fields, with respect to their size or shape or any other quality. One may wish to inquire if far off fields were already planted, harvested, or even if they exist. A pedestrian may find it hard or even impossible to do so. The pedestrian view contains fine points that the pilot’s map never would, but it does not necessarily contain more information, for it lacks the general context. After all, there are only so many items that one can observe and account for at a single glance, a single map, a single book, a single life-span. (shrink)
The debate on the ethics of privacy has been mainly dominated by Western perspectives, to the exclusion of broader ethical theories and socio-cultural perspectives. This imbalance carries risks; transplanted ethical norms and values can collide with those of the communities in which they are deployed. The consequent homogenization might also represent a missed opportunity to enrich and develop the current paradigm of privacy protection so as to effectively face new technological challenges. This article introduces and discusses the sub-Saharan philosophy of (...) Ubuntu and argues how its conception of the self helps to reinterpret some of the emerging issues revolving digital information technologies. To begin with, a general overview of the debate on the ethics of privacy is provided by distinguishing between individual and relational privacy. Also, the challenges of 'group privacy' are discussed. Then, we introduce basic principles of Ubuntu focusing on how these may have affected privacy conceptions and related legal practices. By outlining opportunities and risks of intercultural information ethics, we argue how Ubuntu—similarly to other communitarian moral philosophies—strengthens the development of the concept of relational privacy and, in particular, of group privacy. (shrink)
It is commonly assumed that many, if not most, adult children have moral duties to visit their parents when they can do so at reasonable cost. However, whether such duties persist when the parents lose the ability to recognise their children, usually due to dementia, is more controversial. Over 40% of respondents in a public survey from the British Alzheimer’s Society said that it was “pointless” to keep up contact at this stage. Insofar as one cannot be morally required to (...) do pointless things, this would suggest that children are relieved of any duties to visit their parents. In what appears to be the only scholarly treatment of this issue, Claudia Mills has defended this view, arguing that our duties to visit our parents require a type of relationship that is lost when parents no longer remember who their children are. This article challenges Mills’ argument. Not only can children be duty-bound to visit parents who have lost the ability to recognise them, I argue that many children do in fact have such duties. As I show, these duties are grounded in any special interests that their parents have in their company; the fact that visiting their parents might allow them to comply with generic duties of sociability; and/or the fact that such visits allow them to express any gratitude that they owe their parents. (shrink)
The central issue of Descartes’s Meditations is an intensely personal one. Descartes asks a simple question of himself, one that each of us can also ask of ourselves, “What am I to believe?” One way of construing this question--indeed, the way Descartes himself construed it--is as a methodological one. The immediate aim is not so much to generate a specific list of propositions for me to believe. Rather, I want to formulate for myself some general advice about how to proceed (...) intellectually. (shrink)