This study is a reflection about the different concepts of structure and subject historically disseminated in the main Social Sciences and Humanities schools of thought. More precisely, we distinguish three stages concerning the subject and structure definitions. These stages are characterized by ..
This was the address given on the occasion of the award of the Goethe Institute’s Goethe Medal to the Hungarian philosopher Ágnes Heller in 2010. Other recipients of the Medal have included Bruno Bettelheim, György Ligeti, Ernst Gombrich, Karl Popper, and Lars Gustafsson.
Including empirical examples and theoretical clarifications on many of the analytical issues raised in his recently published Down to Earth, this conversation with Bruno Latour and his collaborator, Danish sociologist Nikolaj Schultz, offers key insights into Latour’s recent and ongoing work. Revolving around questions on political ecology and social theory in our ‘New Climatic Regime’, Latour argues that in order to have politics you need a land and you need a people. This interview present reflections on such politics, such (...) land and such people, and it ends with a call for a sociology that takes up the task of connecting the three by investigating what he and Schultz call ‘geo-social classes’. The interview was conducted by Jakob Stein in Paris in November 2018. (shrink)
Meditation can be conceptualized as a family of complex tial to be speciﬁc about the type of meditation practice emotional and attentional regulatory training regimes under investigation. Failure to make such distinctions developed for various ends, including the cultivation of..
_sciousness called ‘neurophenomenology’ (Varela 1996) and illustrates it with a_ _recent pilot study (Lutz et al., 2002). At a theoretical level, neurophenomenology_ _pursues an embodied and large-scale dynamical approach to the_ _neurophysiology of consciousness (Varela 1995; Thompson and Varela 2001;_ _Varela and Thompson 2003). At a methodological level, the neurophenomeno-_ _logical strategy is to make rigorous and extensive use of first-person data about_ _subjective experience as a heuristic to describe and quantify the large-scale_ _neurodynamics of consciousness (Lutz 2002). (...) The paper foocuses on_ _neurophenomenology in relation to three challenging methodological issues_ _about incorporating first-person data into cognitive neuroscience: (i) first-person_ _reports can be biased or inaccurate; (ii) the process of generating first-person_ _reports about an experience can modify that experience; and (iii) there is an ‘ex-_ _planatory gap’ in our understanding of how to relate first-person, phenomeno-_ _logical data to third-person, biobehavioural data._. (shrink)
The debate between critics of syntactic and semantic approaches to the formalization of scientific theories has been going on for over 50 years. I structure the debate in light of a recent exchange between Hans Halvorson, Clark Glymour, and Bas van Fraassen and argue that the only remaining disagreement concerns the alleged difference in the dependence of syntactic and semantic approaches on languages of predicate logic. This difference turns out to be illusory.
The paper presents a research programme for the neuroscience of consciousness called 'neurophenomenology' and illustrates it with a recent pilot study . At a theoretical level, neurophenomenology pursues an embodied and large-scale dynamical approach to the neurophysiology of consciousness . At a methodological level, the neurophenomenological strategy is to make rigorous and extensive use of first-person data about subjective experience as a heuristic to describe and quantify the large-scale neurodynamics of consciousness . The paper focuses on neurophenomenology in relation to (...) three challenging methodological issues about incorporating first-person data into cognitive neuroscience: first-person reports can be biased or inaccurate; the process of generating first-person reports about an experience can modify that experience; and there is an 'explanatory gap' in our understanding of how to relate first-person, phenomenological data to third-person, biobehavioural data. (shrink)
This paper analyzes an explicit instantiation of the program of neurophenomenology in a neuroscientific protocol. Neurophenomenology takes seriously the importance of linking the scientific study of consciousness to the careful examination of experience with a specific first-person methodology. My first claim is that such strategy is a fruitful heuristic because it produces new data and illuminates their relation to subjective experience. My second claim is that the approach could open the door to a natural account of the structure of human (...) experience as it is mobilized in itself in such methodology. In this view, generative passages define the type of circulation which explicitly roots the active and disciplined insight the subject has about his/her experience in a biological emergent process. (shrink)
Evolutionary Debunking Arguments purport to show that our moral beliefs do not amount to knowledge because these beliefs are “debunked” by the fact that our moral beliefs are, in some way, the product of evolutionary forces. But there is a substantial gap in this argument between its main evolutionary premise and the skeptical conclusion. What is it, exactly, about the evolutionary origins of moral beliefs that would create problems for realist views in metaethics? I argue that evolutionary debunking arguments are (...) best understood as offering up defeaters for our moral beliefs. Moreover, the defeater in question is a paradigmatic instance of undercutting defeat. If anything is an undercutting defeater, then learning about the evolutionary origins of our moral beliefs is a defeater for those beliefs. (shrink)
This paper analyses Giordano Bruno's dialogue De l’infinito universo e mondi, written during his stay in England, in the context of his philosophical works and, particularly, within the context of scientific and imaginative writings such as Cyrano de Bergerac's Other Worlds and Francis Godwin's The Man in the Moone. The article also discusses the contemporary speculations of Galileo and Kepler regarding the existence of a plurality of worlds and the presence of creatures on the moon and their rapport with (...) humans. Besides the imaginative, fantastic and pseudoscientific elements, attention is also given to religious implications and attitudes, especially in the case of Godwin, who, like his countryman John Wilkins—author of The Discovery of the Worlde in the Moone –was a bishop and therefore wanted to avoid any controversy with the church. (shrink)
Recent brain imaging studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have implicated insula and anterior cingulate cortices in the empathic response to another’s pain. However, virtually nothing is known about the impact of the voluntary generation of compassion on this network. To investigate these questions we assessed brain activity using fMRI while novice and expert meditation practitioners generated a loving-kindness-compassion meditation state. To probe affective reactivity, we presented emotional and neutral sounds during the meditation and comparison periods. Our main hypothesis (...) was that the concern for others cultivated during this form of meditation enhances affective processing, in particular in response to sounds of distress, and that this response to emotional sounds is modulated by the degree of meditation training. The presentation of the emotional sounds was associated with increased pupil diameter and activation of limbic regions (insula and cingulate cortices) during meditation (versus rest). During meditation, activation in insula was greater during presentation of negative sounds than positive or neutral sounds in expert than it was in novice meditators. The strength of activation in insula was also associated with self-reported intensity of the meditation for both groups. These results support the role of the limbic circuitry in emotion sharing. The comparison between meditation vs. rest states between experts and novices also showed increased activation in amygdala, right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), and right posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) in response to all sounds, suggesting, greater detection of the emotional sounds, and enhanced mentation in response to emotional human vocalizations for experts than novices during meditation. Together these data indicate that the mental expertise to cultivate positive emotion alters the activation of circuitries previously linked to empathy and theory of mind in response to emotional stimuli.. (shrink)
In our age of globalization, we need a theory of global management consistent with our common human nature. The place to begin in developing such a theory is the philosophy of traditional cultures. The article focuses on African philosophy and its fruitfulness for contributing to a theory of management consistent with African traditional cultures. It also looks briefly at the Confucian and Platonic-Aristotelian traditions and notes points of agreement with African traditions. It concludes that the needed theory of global management (...) should regard the firm as a community, not a collection of individuals, and should understand the purpose of management as promoting the common good. (shrink)
The paper presents a research programme for the neuroscience of consciousness called 'neurophenomenology' and illustrates it with a recent pilot study. At a theoretical level, neurophenomenology pursues an embodied and large-scale dynamical approach to the neurophysiology of consciousness. At a methodological level, the neurophenomenological strategy is to make rigorous and extensive use of first-person data about subjective experience as a heuristic to describe and quantify the large-scale neurodynamics of consciousness. The paper focuses on neurophenomenology in relation to three challenging methodological (...) issues about incorporating first-person data into cognitive neuroscience: first-person reports can be biased or inaccurate; the process of generating first-person reports about an experience can modify that experience; and there is an 'explanatory gap' in our understanding of how to relate first-person, phenomenological data to third-person, biobehavioural data. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to defend Simple Modest Invariantism (SMI) about knowledge from the threat presented by pragmatic encroachment. Pragmatic encroachment is the view that practical circumstances are relevant in some way to the truth of knowledge ascriptions—and if this is true, it would entail the falsity of SMI. Drawing on Ross and Schroeder’s recent Reasoning Disposition account of belief, I argue that the Reasoning Disposition account, together with Grice’s Maxims, gives us an attractive pragmatic account of the (...) connection between knowledge ascriptions and practical circumstances. This gives us the ability to explain away the data that is supposed to support pragmatic encroachment. Finally, I address three important objections to the view offered by giving a pragmatic account of when it is conversationally appropriate to cancel a conversational implicature, and discussing when sentences with true content can end up sounding false as well as cases where sentences with false content can end up sounding true. (shrink)
Tradition in the Ethics of Alasdair MacIntyre presents a stimulating intellectual history and expertly reasoned defense of this towering figure in contemporary American philosophy. Drawing on interviews and published works, Christopher Lutz traces MacIntyre’s philosophical development and refutes the criticisms of the major thinkers—including Martha Nussbaum and Thomas Nagel—who have most vocally attacked him. Permanently shifting the debate on MacIntyre’s oeuvre, Lutz convincingly demonstrates how MacIntyre’s neo-Aristotelian ethical thought provides an essential corrective to the contemporary discussions of relativism (...) and ideology, while successfully drawing on the objectivity of Thomistic natural law. (shrink)
I defend the Received View on scientific theories as developed by Carnap, Hempel, and Feigl against a number of criticisms based on misconceptions. First, I dispute the claim that the Received View demands axiomatizations in first order logic, and the further claim that these axiomatizations must include axioms for the mathematics used in the scientific theories. Next, I contend that models are important according to the Received View. Finally, I argue against the claim that the Received View is intended to (...) make the concept of a theory more precise. Rather, it is meant as a generalizable framework for explicating specific theories. (shrink)
Error theorists hold that, although our first-order moral thought and discourse commits us to the existence of moral truths, there are no such truths. Holding this position in metaethics puts the error theorist in an uncomfortable position regarding first-order morality. When it comes to our pre-theoretic moral commitments, what should the error theorist think? What should she say? What should she do? I call this the ‘Now What’ Problem for error theory. This paper suggests a framework for evaluating different approaches (...) to the ‘Now What’ Problem, and goes on to evaluate the three most common responses to this problem. All three are found to have noteworthy problems. Finally, I present my own solution, and argue that it presents the most appealing solution to the ‘Now What’ Problem. (shrink)
Many young dreamers who want to be modern up to the tips of their toes, and who think they have gotten rid of these barely imaginable old-fashioned ideas, are, without realizing it, mystics in search of a spiritual experience. Several sociologists of science have mobilized secularization metaphors to describe developments in the study of science. Similar to how secularization refers to a decreasing status of religion and God as a transcendent factor in society, the secularization of science refers to an (...) abandonment of Science as something “sacred” and Nature as transcendent. This article aims to explore these secularization metaphors, by arguing for a parallel between how sociologists and philosophers of religion differ and how similar disagreements between sociologists of science and the work of Bruno Latour exist, whose work should rather be linked with that of other philosophers, such as Michel Serres and Isabelle Stengers. (shrink)
German classicist's monumental study of the origins of European thought in Greek literature and philosophy. Brilliant, widely influential. Includes "Homer's View of Man," "The Olympian Gods," "The Rise of the Individual in the Early Greek Lyric," "Pindar's Hymn to Zeus," "Myth and Reality in Greek Tragedy," and "Aristophanes and Aesthetic Criticism.".
The capacity to stabilize the content of attention over time varies among individuals, and its impairment is a hallmark of several mental illnesses. Impairments in sustained attention in patients with attention disorders have been associated with increased trial-to-trial variability in reaction time and event-related potential deficits during attention tasks. At present, it is unclear whether the ability to sustain attention and its underlying brain circuitry are transformable through training. Here, we show, with dichotic listening task performance and electroencephalography, that training (...) attention, as cultivated by meditation, can improve the ability to sustain atten- tion. Three months of intensive meditation training reduced variability in attentional processing of target tones, as indicated by both enhanced theta-band phase consistency of oscillatory neural responses over anterior brain areas and reduced reaction time variability. Furthermore, those individuals who showed the greatest increase in neural response consistency showed the largest decrease in behav- ioral response variability. Notably, we also observed reduced variability in neural processing, in particular in low-frequency bands, regardless of whether the deviant tone was attended or unattended. Focused attention meditation may thus affect both distracter and target processing, perhaps by enhancing entrainment of neuronal oscillations to sensory input rhythms, a mechanism important for controlling the content of attention. These novel findings highlight the mechanisms underlying focused attention meditation and support the notion that mental training can significantly affect attention and brain function. (shrink)
The French, it is well known, love revolutions, political, scientific or philosophical. There is nothing they like more than a radical upheaval of the past, an upheaval so complete that a new tabula rasa is levelled, on which a new history can be built. None of our Prime Ministers starts his mandate without promising to write on a new blank page or to furnish a complete change in values and even, for some, in life. Each researcher would think of him (...) or herself as a failure, if he or she did not make such a complete change in the discipline that nothing will hereafter be the same. As to the philosophers they feed, from Descartes up to Foucault's days, on radical cuts, on ‘coupure épistémologique’, on complete subversion of everything which has been thought in the past by everybody. No French thinker, indeed no student of philosophy, would seriously contemplate doing anything short of a complete revolution in theories. To hesitate, to respect the past, would be to compromise, to be a funk, or worse, to be eclectic like a vulgar Anglo-Saxon! (shrink)
Carnap’s search for a criterion of empirical significance is usually considered a failure. I argue that the results from two out of his three different approaches are at the very least problematic, but that one approach led to success. Carnap’s criterion of translatability into logical syntax is too vague to allow for definite results. His criteria for terms—introducibility by chains of reduction sentences and his criterion from “The Methodological Character of Theoretical Concepts”—are almost trivial and have no clear relation to (...) the empirical significance of sentences. However, his criteria for sentences—translatability, verifiability, falsifiability, confirmability—are usable, and under the assumptions needed for the Carnap sentence approach, verifiability, falsifiability, and translatability become equivalent. As a result of the Carnap sentence approach, metaphysics is rendered analytic. (shrink)
This dissertation consists of three parts. Part I is a defense of an artificial language methodology in philosophy and a historical and systematic defense of the logical empiricists' application of an artificial language methodology to scientific theories. These defenses provide a justification for the presumptions of a host of criteria of empirical significance, which I analyze, compare, and develop in part II. On the basis of this analysis, in part III I use a variety of criteria to evaluate the scientific (...) status of intelligent design, and further discuss confirmation, reduction, and concept formation. (shrink)
Syntactic approaches in the philosophy of science, which are based on formalizations in predicate logic, are often considered in principle inferior to semantic approaches, which are based on formalizations with the help of structures. To compare the two kinds of approach, I identify some ambiguities in common semantic accounts and explicate the concept of a structure in a way that avoids hidden references to a specific vocabulary. From there, I argue that contrary to common opinion (i) unintended models do not (...) pose a significant problem for syntactic approaches to scientific theories, (ii) syntactic approaches can be at least as language-independent as semantic ones, and (iii) in syntactic approaches, scientific theories can be as well connected to the world as in semantic ones. Based on these results, I argue that syntactic and semantic approaches fare equally well when it comes to (iv) ease of application, (v) accommodating the use of models in the sciences, and (vi) capturing the theory-observation relation. (shrink)
Codes of conduct have become the perhaps most often used tool to manage corporate social responsibility (CSR). Researchers have primarily analysed such documents at company-wide or trans-company levels, whereas there is a dearth of studies into the use of codes for particular corporate functions. Hence, this article will examine one particular group of sub-company level codes, namely codes of conduct that stipulate CSR criteria for suppliers. Examining such ethical sourcing policies adopted by the FTSE100 corporations, the article draws out what (...) environmental, social and economic issues large corporations perceive to be important in the management of their supply chains. At an aggregate level, the coverage of CSR issues is rather extensive, yet at the level of the individual corporation a degree of selectivity in the issues that are addressed becomes noticeable. The code content analysis furthermore confirms the business case and public pressure to be the most important drivers of CSR. Finally, the study highlights the role of isomorphic processes in the adoption of CSR tools. (shrink)
In contrast to the recent rise to economic importance of offshore finance centres (OFCs), the topic of taxation has so far created little interest among scholars of corporate social responsibility (CSR). This paper makes two contributions to addressing this lacuna. Applying a range of influential normative theories of ethics, it first offers an ethical evaluation of tax havens. Second, the paper examines what use large firms that are headquartered in two OFCs—Bermuda and the Cayman Islands—make of formal CSR tools. The (...) emerging duplicity in tax havenbased companies professing social responsibility highlights once more the political nature of CSR, where at least some firms and/or industries can successfully limit government power to enact regulation as well as shape the discourse around CSR. The study of CSR in OFC-based firms thus calls into question the usefulness of the often quoted definition of CSR as going beyond the law. (shrink)
Studies into corporate social responsibility (CSR) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have suggested that small businesses are different to the large companies on which CSR research usually focusses. Extending this argument, this article raises the question what differences in approaches to CSR there are within the SME category. Analysing the CSR strategy and performance of a medium-sized fashion retailer in the United Kingdom through manager interviews as well as customer and employee surveys, the article develops an analytical framework of (...) CSR in small, medium and large firms. The argument is developed that medium-sized firms occupy a transition stage, where some CSR features that are reminiscent of small enterprises are still important but get overlaid with aspects that are more typical of large companies. (shrink)
I provide an explicit formulation of empirical adequacy, the central concept of constructive empiricism, and point out a number of problems. Based on one of the inspirations for empirical adequacy, I generalize the notion of a theory to avoid implausible presumptions about the relation of theoretical concepts and observations, and generalize empirical adequacy with the help of approximation sets to allow for lack of knowledge, approximations, and successive gain of knowledge and precision. As a test case, I provide an application (...) of these generalizations to a simple interference phenomenon. (shrink)
Marian Przełęcki’s semantics for the Received View is a good explication of Carnap’s position on the subject, anticipates many discussions and results from both proponents and opponents of the Received View, and can be the basis for a thriving research program.
I show that the central notion of Constructive Empiricism, empirical adequacy, can be expressed syntactically and specifically in the Received View of the logical empiricists. The formalization shows that the Received View is superior to Constructive Empiricism in the treatment of theories involving constants or functions from observable to unobservable objects. It also suggests a formalization of ‘full empirical informativeness’ in Constructive Empiricism.