Sport often seems to teeter on the edge, on one side of the entertainment industry, on the other of cheating violent aggression: from a make-believe simulacrum of serious play to a nasty chemically enhanced descent into a Hobbesian state of nature. Such perversions lend credibility to reductive views of sport itself as a metonymic feature of capitalism. But that sport as entertainment means fixing it to produce exciting outcomes and amplifying capacities to superhuman proportions, while sport as aggression means treating (...) rules as mere obstacles to brute dominance, shows how far we in fact are from these abysses, even in the days of the Coca Cola/Nike Olympics, Vinny Jones and cricket sledging. In this essay, I try to delineate through history— from Homer to … Gomer?—a common culture of sport and sportsmanship that, with its excesses and perversions, continues to operate as one, albeit complex, ideal of human excellence. (shrink)
Moral Emotions builds upon the philosophical theory of persons begun in _Phenomenology and Mysticism _and marks a new stage of phenomenology. Author Anthony J. Steinbock finds personhood analyzing key emotions, called moral emotions. _Moral Emotions _offers a systematic account of the moral emotions, described here as pride, shame, and guilt as emotions of self-givenness; repentance, hope, and despair as emotions of possibility; and trusting, loving, and humility as emotions of otherness. The author argues these reveal basic structures of interpersonal (...) experience. By exhibiting their own kind of cognition and evidence, the moral emotions not only help to clarify the meaning of person, they reveal novel concepts of freedom, critique, and normativity. As such, they are able to engage our contemporary social imaginaries at the impasse of modernity and postmodernity. (shrink)
An important work in the debate between materialists and dualists, the public correspondence between Anthony Collins and Samuel Clarke provided the framework for arguments over consciousness and personal identity in eighteenth-century Britain. In Clarke's view, mind and consciousness are so unified that they cannot be compounded into wholes or divided into parts, so mind and consciousness must be distinct from matter. Collins, by contrast, was a perceptive advocate of a materialist account of mind, who defended the possibility that thinking (...) and consciousness are emergent properties of the brain. Appendices include philosophical writings that influenced, and responded to, the correspondence. (shrink)
Jack Spencer has recently argued for the striking thesis that, possibly, an agent is able to do the impossible—that is, perform an action that is metaphysically impossible for that person to perform. Spencer bases his argument on (Simple G), a case in which it is impossible for an agent G to perform some action but, according to Spencer, G is still intuitively able to perform that action. I reply that we would have to give up at least four action-theoretical principles (...) if we accept that G is able to do the impossible. We may be best off retaining the principles and thus rejecting Spencer's intuition that G is able to do the impossible. I then consider an argument for the claim that G is able to do the impossible that goes through the Snapshot Principle. I, however, deny that any true variant of the Snapshot Principle shows that G is able to do the impossible. Moreover, the counterexample to the Snapshot Principle that I develop also suggests that G is unable to do the impossible in (Simple G). The most natural explanation for why an agent is unable to perform some action in this counterexample extends to (Simple G). Next, I develop three error theories for why we might initially share Spencer's intuition that G is able to do the impossible in (Simple G). Finally, I consider a couple other "G-cases" of Spencer's and find them all wanting. Perhaps we are unable to do the impossible. (shrink)
A discussion on antiquity with Anthony A. Long, one of the most distinguished scholars in the field of ancient philosophy, would be engaging in any case. All the more so, since his two recently published works, Greek Models of Mind and Self and How to be Free: An Ancient Guide to the Stoic Life, provide the opportunity to revisit key issues of ancient philosophy. The former is a lively and challenging work that starts with the Homeric notions of selfhood, (...) and leads the reader all the way through classical and Hellenistic philosophical psychology; the latter is a profound analysis of the Stoic ethics that focuses in particular on its foundation and principles, followed by Long’s re-worked translation of Epictetus’ Encheiridion and carefully selected parts of his Discourses. Anthony Long kindly accepted the invitation to discuss several issues that are in the core of scholarly concern, sharing interpretations and thoughts that originate from his long acquaintance with the ancient literary tradition. (shrink)
Appiah explores how the new empirical moral psychology relates to philosophical ethics. He elaborates a vision of naturalism that resists both temptations and traces an intellectual genealogy of the burgeoning discipline of 'experimental philosophy'.
Sir Anthony Kenny presents a fascinating and authoritative new history of Western philosophy. Specially written for a broad popular readership, Kenny's lucid and stimulating history will become the definitive work for anyone interested in the people and ideas that shaped the course of Western thought.
While philosophers of mind have been arguing over the status of mental representations in cognitive science, cognitive scientists have been quietly engaged in studying perception, action, and cognition without explaining them in terms of mental representation. In this book, Anthony Chemero describes this nonrepresentational approach, puts it in historical and conceptual context, and applies it to traditional problems in the philosophy of mind. Radical embodied cognitive science is a direct descendant of the American naturalist psychology of William James and (...) John Dewey, and follows them in viewing perception and cognition to be understandable only in terms of action in the environment. Chemero argues that cognition should be described in terms of agent-environment dynamics rather than in terms of computation and representation. After outlining this orientation to cognition, Chemero proposes a methodology: dynamical systems theory, which would explain things dynamically and without reference to representation. He also advances a background theory: Gibsonian ecological psychology, "shored up" and clarified. Chemero then looks at some traditional philosophical problems through the lens of radical embodied cognitive science and concludes that the comparative ease with which it resolves these problems, combined with its empirical promise, makes this approach to cognitive science a rewarding one. "Jerry Fodor is my favorite philosopher," Chemero writes in his preface, adding, "I think that Jerry Fodor is wrong about nearly everything." With this book, Chemero explains nonrepresentational, dynamical, ecological cognitive science as clearly and as rigorously as Jerry Fodor explained computational cognitive science in his classic work The Language of Thought. (shrink)
It seems that, whereas a person's death needn't be a bad thing for him, it can be. In some circumstances, death isn't a "bad thing" or an "evil" for a person. For instance, if a person has a terminal and very painful disease, he might rationally regard his own death as a good thing for him, or at least, he may regard it as something whose prospective occurrence shouldn't be regretted. But the attitude of a "normal" and healthy human being (...) - adult or child - toward the prospect of his death is different; it is not unreasonable in certain cases to regard one's own death as a bad thing for oneself. If this is so, then the question arises as to why death is bad, in those cases in which it is bad. (shrink)
What does it mean to forgive? The answer is widely assumed to be self-evident but critical analysis quickly reveals the complexities of the subject. Forgiveness has traditionally been the preserve of Christian theology, though in the last half century - and at an accelerating pace - psychologists, lawyers, politicians and moral philosophers have all been making an important contribution to questions about and our understanding of the subject. Anthony Bash offers a vigorous restatement of the Christian view of forgiveness (...) in critical dialogue with those both within and without the Christian tradition. Forgiveness is a much more complicated subject than many theologians recognize. Bash explores the relevance of the theoretical discussion of the topic to recent events such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, post-Holocaust trials, the aftermath of 9/11 and July 7 and various high-profile criminal cases. (shrink)
Exploring the first-person narratives of three figures from the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic mystical traditions—St. Teresa of Avila, Rabbi Dov Baer, and Rzbihn Baql—Anthony J. Steinbock provides a complete phenomenology of mysticism based in the Abrahamic religious traditions. He relates a broad range of religious experiences, or verticality, to philosophical problems of evidence, selfhood, and otherness. From this philosophical description of vertical experience, Steinbock develops a social and cultural critique in terms of idolatry—as pride, secularism, and fundamentalism—and suggests that (...) contemporary understandings of human experience must come from a fuller, more open view of religious experience. (shrink)
Emotions are Janus-faced: their focus may switch from how a person is feeling deep inside her, to the busy world of actions, words, or gestures whose perception currently affects her. The intimate relation between the ‘inside’ and the ‘outside’ seems to call for a redrawing of the traditional distinction of mental states between those that can look out to the world, and those that are, supposedly, irredeemably blind.
This comprehensive new book introduces the core history of phenomenology and assesses its relevance to contemporary psychology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science. From critiques of artificial intelligence research programs to ongoing work on embodiment and enactivism, the authors trace how phenomenology has produced a valuable framework for analyzing cognition and perception, whose impact on contemporary psychological and scientific research, and philosophical debates continues to grow. The first part of _An Introduction to Phenomenology_ is an extended overview of the history (...) and development of phenomenology, looking at its key thinkers, focusing particularly on Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, as well as its cultural and intellectual precursors. In the second half Chemero and Käufer turn their attention to the contemporary interpretations and uses of phenomenology in cognitive science, showing that phenomenology is a living source of inspiration in contemporary interdisciplinary studies of the mind. Käufer and Chemero have written a clear, jargon-free account of phenomenology, providing abundant examples and anecdotes to illustrate and to entertain. This book is an ideal introduction to phenomenology and cognitive science for the uninitiated, as well as for philosophy and psychology students keen to deepen their knowledge. (shrink)
Propositional attitudes, such as beliefs, desires, and intentions, can be attributed to collective agents. In my paper I focus on cognitive attitudes, and I explore the various types of collective beliefs. I argue that there is a whole spectrum of collective beliefs, and I distinguish between two extremes: the weak opinion poll conception and the strong agreement-based conception. Strong collective beliefs should be understood in terms of the acceptance of a proposition rather than of belief proper. They are not purely (...) epistemic and involve practical considerations. To believe that p collectively in the strong sense is to adopt a policy to use that proposition in the group's deliberations about future actions. (shrink)
Awareness and un-clinging have been emphasised in Buddhist discourse as important facets of mindfulness practice for over 2500 years. However, there is a lack of rigorous research examining the relationship between these two elements and their importance to well-being. To evaluate these abstract constructs, the current study adopted multiple assessment modalities; namely, a self-report scale, experience sampling, and semi-structured interviews. A total of 415 participants completed the questionnaire survey. Among them, 71 participants further took part in the experience sampling procedure (...) and semi-structured interviews. The findings reveal that self-reported awareness was mildly correlated with momentary mindfulness but was not significantly correlated with rater-rated mindfulness. Self-reported un-clinging was moderately correlated with rater-rated mindfulness but was not significantly correlated with momentary mindfulness. Un-clinging, but not awareness, can distinguish meditators from non-meditators. Lastly, based on the Buddha’s mindfulness discourse, a path analysis model illustrates that the effects of un-clinging and awareness on stress reduction are mediated by emotional intelligence and non-attachment. Practical implications and future research designs are discussed. (shrink)
Margaret Gilbert has recently argued in ProtoSociology against what she called my rejectionist’s view according to which we have to make a distinction between the intentional states of believing and accepting and genuine group beliefs, i.e. group beliefs that cannot be reduced to the beliefs of the individual members of a group, should be understood in terms of the acceptance of a view rather than of beliefs proper. In this reply I discuss Gilbert’s objections.
Radical embodied cognitive science is split into two camps: the ecological approach and the enactive approach. We propose that these two approaches can be brought together into a productive synthesis. The key is to recognize that the two approaches are pursuing different but complementary types of explanation. Both approaches seek to explain behavior in terms of the animal–environment relation, but they start at opposite ends. Ecological psychologists pursue an ontological strategy. They begin by describing the habitat of the species, and (...) use this to explain how action possibilities are constrained for individual actors. Enactivists, meanwhile, pursue an epistemic strategy: start by characterizing the exploratory, self-regulating behavior of the individual organism, and use this to understand how that organism brings forth its animal-specific umwelt. Both types of explanation are necessary: the ontological strategy explains how structure in the environment constrains how the world can appear to an individual, while the epistemic strategy explains how the world can appear differently to different members of the same species, relative to their skills, abilities, and histories. Making the distinction between species habitat and animal-specific umwelt allows us to understand the environment in realist terms while acknowledging that individual living organisms are phenomenal beings. (shrink)
Madness is a subject that ought to interest philosophers; but they have had surprisingly little to say about it. What they have said, although often interesting and important, has failed to penetrate to the properly philosophical centre of the topic. They have concerned themselves with its causes and effects, with its social and ethical implications, but they have said little that is useful or definitive about what it is in itself. Preoccupied with its accidents, they have failed to engage with (...) its essence. (shrink)
Non-Identity arguments have a pervasive but sometimes counter-intuitive grip on certain key areas in ethics. As a result, there has been limited success in supporting the alternative view that our choices concerning future generations can be considered harmful on any sort of person-affecting principle. However, as the Non-Identity Problem relies overtly on certain metaphysical assumptions, plausible alternatives to these foundations can substantially undermine the Non-Identity argument itself. In this paper, I show how the pervasive force and nature of Non-Identity arguments (...) rely upon a specific adoption of a theory of modality and identity and how adopting an alternative account of modality can be used to reject many conclusions formed through Non-Identity type arguments. By using Lewis’s counterpart-theoretic account to understand ways we might have been, I outline the basis of a modal account of harm that incorporates a person-affecting aspect. This, in turn, has significant implications for ethical decision-making in areas such as reproductive choice and the welfare of future generations. (shrink)
Paul (Noûs 36:578–596, 2002; Noûs 40:623–659, 2006, The Handbook of Mereology, forthcoming) has argued for a bundle theory of objects that analyzes the bundling relation between properties and objects in terms of parthood relations. In this paper I argue that any mereological bundle theory with the explanatory power of Paul’s theory will entail the principle of the identity of indiscernibles (PII). This is problematic, since similar bundle theories seem to fall to Max Black’s two sphere counterexample to (PII). I argue, (...) however, that a fully developed mereological bundle theory provides a new way of interpreting Black’s two sphere universe that dispels the counterexample. I argue that this solution to Black’s puzzle is superior to other solutions on offer, and consequently that mereological bundle theory is an attractive ontological strategy for friends of (PII). (shrink)
I provide two arguments against value-free naturalism. Both are based on considerations concerning biological teleology. Value-free naturalism is the thesis that both (1) everything is, at least in principle, under the purview of the sciences and (2) all scientific facts are purely non-evaluative. First, I advance a counterexample to any analysis on which natural selection is necessary to biological teleology. This should concern the value-free naturalist, since most value-free analyses of biological teleology appeal to natural selection. My counterexample is unique (...) in that it is likely to actually occur. It concerns the creation of synthetic life. Recent developments in synthetic biology suggest scientists will eventually be able to develop synthetic life. Such life, however, would not have any of its traits naturally selected for. Second, I develop a simple argument that biological teleology is a scientific but value-laden notion. Consequently, value-free naturalism is false. I end with some concluding remarks on the implications for naturalism, the thesis that (1). Naturalism may be salvaged only if we reject (2). (2) is a dogma that unnecessarily constrains our conception of the sciences. Only a naturalism that recognizes value-laden notions as scientifically respectable can be true. Such a naturalism is a functional naturalism. (shrink)
Anthony Everett gives a philosophical defence of the common-sense view that there are no such things as fictional people, places, and things. He argues that our talk and thought about such fictional objects takes place within the scope of a pretense, and that we gain little but lose much by accepting fictional realism.
[Richard Glauser] Shaftesbury's theory of aesthetic experience is based on his conception of a natural disposition to apprehend beauty, a real 'form' of things. I examine the implications of the disposition's naturalness. I argue that the disposition is not an extra faculty or a sixth sense, and attempt to situate Shaftesbury's position on this issue between those of Locke and Hutcheson. I argue that the natural disposition is to be perfected in many different ways in order to be exercised in (...) the perception of the different degrees of beauty within Shaftesbury's hierarchy. This leads to the conclusion that the exercise of the disposition depends, from case to case, on many different cognitive and affective conditions, that are realised by the collaborative functionings of our ordinary faculties. Essential to Shaftesbury's conception of aesthetic experience is a disinterested, contemplative love, that causes (or contains) what we may call a 'disinterested pleasure', but also an interested pleasure. I argue that, within any given aesthetic experience, the role of the disinterested pleasure is secondary to that of the disinterested love. However, an important function of the disinterested pleasure is that, in combination with the interested pleasure, it leads one to aspire to pass from the aesthetic experience of lower degrees of beauty to the experience of higher ones in the hierarchy. /// [Anthony Savile] (1) If Shaftesbury is to be seen as the doyen of modern aesthetics, his most valuable legacy to us may not so much be his viewing aesthetic response as a sui generis disinterested delight as his insistence on its turning 'wholly on [experience of] what is exterior and foreign to ourselves'. Not that we cannot experience ourselves, or what is our own, as a source of such admiration. Rather our responses, favourable or no, are improperly grounded in any essentially reflexive, or first-personal, ways of taking what engages us. The suggestion is tested against the case of Narcissus. (2) Glauser interestingly emphasizes Shaftesbury's neo-Platonic conception of a hierarchy of aesthetic experience that culminates in the joyful contemplation of God. That hierarchy must be something that is less unitary and systematic than Shaftesbury himself had supposed, even when his emphasis on the tie between aesthetic pleasure and contemplative experience is allowed to extend beyond perception and to encompass episodes of thought itself. (shrink)
I first met Norman Malcolm in the fall of 1963 when, as a terrified sophomore, I took his course in Free Will and Determinism at Cornell. I believe I had already heard that Malcolm was a figure of almost legendary proportions.
Bootstrapping, evidentialist internalism, and rule circularity Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-7 DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9876-9 Authors Anthony Brueckner, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
This article considers the development of the idea of universal moral principles in the work of Thomas Aquinas and his predecessors in the thirteenth century. Like other medieval authors who sought to place the principles of moral practice on a foundation more secure than on the choices of the good person, as described by Aristotle, Thomas chooses to introduce a measure of ethical certitude through the concept of the innate habit of synderesis. This idea, introduced by Jerome in his commentary (...) on Ezekiel, locates an inextinguishable spark of conscience in all humans. Thomas, influenced by Philip the Chancellor and Albert the Great, locates the principles of natural law in this innate habit of synderesis. By so doing he can claim that all human beings have the ability to recognize universally binding moral imperatives, regardless of their background and societal influences. Through this natural ability the human basis for moral action found in Aristotle's Ethics yields to one based upon the eternal immutable laws of a divine being. (shrink)
Some important meta-theoretical insights about experimental psychology are integrated into the "conjectures and refutations" framework in order to reinforce a realist's view of scientific methodology. Some issues which may be difficult for the realist's position are discussed. It is argued that there is no need for the evidential observation to mimic the phenomenon of interest; such a mimicry may even be counter-productive. A case is also made that questions about ecological validity are not relevant to the rationale of experimentation.
A major treatise on moral philosophy by Aristotle, this is the first time the Eudemian Ethics has been published in its entirety in any modern language. Equally important, the volume has been translated by Sir Anthony Kenny, one of Britain's most distinguished academics and philosophers, and a leading authority on Aristotle. In The Eudemian Ethics , Aristotle explores the factors that make life worth living. He considers the role of happiness, and what happiness consists of, and he analyzes various (...) aspects that contribute to it: human agency, the relation between action and virtue, and the concept of virtue itself. Aristotle classifies and examines the various moral and intellectual virtues, and he considers the roles of friendship and pleasure in a life well lived. Kenny's superb translation is accompanied by a fine introduction, in which he highlights the similarities and differences between this book and the better-known Nicomachean Ethics , with which it holds three books in common. There are also many useful explanatory notes which clarify the arguments and allusions that Aristotle makes. (shrink)
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