This paper explores auto-photography as a form of research practice in the area of identity and self-esteem research. It allows researchers to capture and articulate the ways identity guides human action and thought. It involves the generation and examination of the static images that participants themselves believe best represent them. Auto-photography is an important tool for building bridges with marginalized groups in the research process, since it offers researchers a way to let participants speak for themselves. Furthermore, by using this (...) method researchers can avoid exclusive reliance on survey questionnaires and other such research instruments that may be culturally biased. I present two research projects using auto-photography: one involving adolescent Latina girls and one involving Indian women. Based on the experience of these projects, I discuss auto-photography's importance in identity and self-esteem research. Finally, I discuss some of the benefits and challenges of working with this method. (shrink)
When conducting research on sensitive topics, it is challenging to use new methods of data collection given the apprehensions of Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). This is especially worrying because sensitive topics of research often require novel approaches. In this article a brief personal history of navigating the IRB process for conducting sex communication research is presented, along with data from a survey that tested the assumptions long held by many IRBs. Results support some of the assumptions IRBs hold about sex (...) communication research, but do not support some other assumptions. (shrink)
Obtaining informed consent is a cornerstone of biomedical research, yet participants comprehension of presented information is often low. The most effective interventions to improve understanding rates have not been identified.
In 1826 Americans witnessed the spectacle of President John Quincy Adams and Vice-President John C. Calhoun taking to the press to debate the nature of power and liberty under the pseudonyms “Patrick Henry” and “Onslow". In the course of this exchange some of the most salient issues within American politics and liberty are debated, including the nature of political order, democracy, and the diffusion of political power.
Media, politicians, and the courts portray college campuses as divided over diversity and affirmative action. But what do students and faculty really think? This book uses a novel technique to elicit honest opinions from students and faculty and measure preferences for diversity in undergraduate admissions and faculty recruitment at seven major universities, breaking out attitudes by participants' race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, and political partisanship. Scholarly excellence is a top priority everywhere, but the authors show that when students consider individual (...) candidates, they favor members of all traditionally underrepresented groups - by race, ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic background. Moreover, there is little evidence of polarization in the attitudes of different student groups. The book reveals that campus communities are less deeply divided than they are often portrayed to be; although affirmative action remains controversial in the abstract, there is broad support for prioritizing diversity in practice. (shrink)
Interrogations and elections were two branches of Arabic judicial astrology made available in Latin translation to readers in western Europe from the twelfth century. Through an analysis of the theory and practice of interrogations and elections, including the writing of the Jewish astrologer Sahl b. Bishr, this essay considers the extent to which judicial astrology was practiced in the medieval west. Consideration is given to historical examples of interrogations and elections mostly from late medieval English manuscripts. These include the work (...) of John Dunstaple , the musician and astrologer who is known have served at the court of John, duke of Bedford. On the basis of the relatively small number of surviving historical horoscopes, it is argued that the practice of interrogations and elections lagged behind the theory. (shrink)
In his novel The Girl with All the Gifts, M. R. Carey presents human beings under vexation. The novel begins in medias res, twenty years after a fungal outbreak, as Homo sapiens are on the brink of evolutionary extinction. Evolution, initiated by the spread of a fungus that first controls and then destroys its human hosts, has necessitated that human beings either adapt, thereby revealing humanity’s true potential, or die.1 Adaptation is impossible for Homo sapiens; the human body in (...) its current form cannot coexist with the fungus. In order to preserve humanity, humanoid creatures must become a new species of posthumans. The novel explores the responses both of the surviving humans, as they face their deaths and... (shrink)
It is a truism of modern discussions of Athenian law and oratory that the Athenians regarded adultery as a more heinous offence than rape. This consensus has been challenged in a valuable paper by E. M. Harris. But although Harris has successfully placed in question a number of assumptions about this area of Athenian law and ethics, I wish to argue that the traditional position is in its broad outlines correct. In this as in so many aspects of Athenian law (...) it is difficult to make firm statements. Firstly, for the Athenian system as a whole we lack evidence for many issues of legal prescription and procedure for the period before the restoration of the democracy, and our evidence is frequently lacunose even for the period after the restoration. As a result we are presented with a ‘snapshot’ of the Athenian system at a particular stage in its development and are rarely able to trace chronological developments in detail and frequently unable to trace them in broad outline. A further result of this ‘snapshot’ effect is a false impression of coherence. Legislative measures belonging to different periods are likely to present themselves as the result of an integrated design rather than the product of accretion. Finally, and most importantly, our sources distort. Occasionally they provide information on the laws and on legal procedure in passing, in order to contextualize an argument or narrative; but in general they are presenting us with information in an attempt to persuade. (shrink)
The banker Pasion, father of the notorious fourth-century litigant and politician Apollodoros, some of whose speeches have survived under the name of Demosthenes, was originally a slave; freed by his owners, he made a substantial fortune from banking and subsequently received Athenian citizenship for his generous gifts to the city. At [Dem.] 59.2 we are given a paraphrase of the decree which enfranchised him: 'Aθηναον εναι Πασωνα κα κγνους τος κενου ‘[the Athenian people voted] that Pasion and his descendants should (...) be Athenian’. In common with inscriptions recording grants of citizenship, and unlike Roman military diplomata, the decree appears to have ignored Pasion's wife Archippe. The silence of the decrees of enfranchisement is echoed in the literary sources, with the result that we have no explicit testimony to the legal status of the wife of an alien who was granted Athenian citizenship. M. J. Osborne assumes that the status of the wife was in no way affected by the grant; she remained an alien. D. Whitehead has argued that in such cases the wife's status was indeterminate; in the event of the death of her first husband she might find herself married either to an Athenian citizen or to an alien, whereupon her status would be defined according to that of her husband. This article will argue that Archippe's status was unaffected by Pasion's receipt of citizenship, that is, that she remained a metic. I shall then proceed to consider the question of the implications of the difference in status of Pasion and Archippe subsequent to his enfranchisement for the legal basis of the relationship between them, and finally draw a tentative conclusion about the date of Pasion's receipt of citizenship. (shrink)
This is one of three books edited or written by Rescher to be published in one year's time. Primarily a collection of material from professional literature of the past decade, there are five new pieces. All the essays use logical and conceptual analysis: there is a historical and a systematic section. Some of the historical essays draw on Rescher's scholarship in the history of logic, including Arabic logic. One chapter discusses some logical difficulties of Leibniz' metaphysics. The systematic section opens (...) with two articles written with Carey Joynt on the epistemology of history. New pieces are an analysis of "control," and one on welfare economics. There are essays on innate ideas, truth, and metaphysics. The most recent articles involve probability and the logic of decision; there is an article dealing with Markov Chains and Discrete State Systems. Attractive minor contributions are included as well, giving the book a wide range both of subject-matter and significance.--M. B. M. (shrink)
There must be innate conceptual machinery, but perhaps not as much as Carey proposes. A single mechanism of Perceptual Meaning Analysis that simplifies spatiotemporal information into a small number of conceptual primitives may suffice. This approach avoids the complexities and ambiguities of interactions between separate dedicated analyzers and central concepts that Carey posits, giving learning a somewhat larger role in early concept formation.
Alva Noë, who is a major figure in establishment philosophy, has been producing work that speaks directly to rhetoric in new ways that are important. This "In Focus" project explores how so, with the help of Carrie Noland on dance, Thomas Rickert on music, and, in a previous issue of Philosophy & Rhetoric 53.1, Nancy Struever on the basics of human inquiry including pictorial, which she thinks almost nobody gets right except for R. G. Collingwood, and perhaps now Noë. (...) In each case you will see how "rhetoric" must be stretched by way of these lateral artistic, and at the same time essential, projects in the discipline per se."Rhetoric" in these considerations is certainly not a vague notion that the things we do... (shrink)
Table of Contents Contributors Introduction I Epistemology 1 Visual Object Recognition by Irving Biederman 2 Deductive Reasoning by John H. Holland, Keith J. Holyoak, Richard E. Nisbett and Paul R. Thagard 3 Probabilistic Reasoning by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman 4 Our Native Inferential Tendencies by Hilary Kornblith 5 Epistemic Folkways and Scientific Epistemology by Alvin I. Goldman II Science and Mathematics 6 Observation Reconsidered by Jerry A. Fodor 7 Perceptual Plasticity and Theoretical Neutrality: A Reply to Jerry Fodor by (...) Paul M. Churchland 8 Explanatory Coherence by Paul R. Thagard 9 Scientific Discovery by Pat Langley, Herbert A. Simon, Gary L. Bradshaw and Jan M. Zytkow 10 Evidence against Empiricist Accounts of the Origins of Numerical Knowledge by Karen Wynn III Mind 11 Troubles with Functionalism by Ned Block 12 Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes by Paul M. Churchland 13 Fodor’s Guide to Mental Representation: The Intelligent Auntie’s Vade-Mecum by Jerry A. Fodor 14 Misrepresentation by Fred I. Dretske 15 How We Know Our Minds: The Illusion of First-Person Knowledge of Intentionality by Alison Gopnik 16 The Psychology of Folk Psychology by Alvin I. Goldman 17 Quining Qualia by Daniel C. Dennett 18 Neuropsychological Evidence for a Consciousness System by Daniel L. Schacter IV Metaphysics 19 Object Perception by Elizabeth S. Spelke 20 Ontological Categories Guide Young Children’s Inductions of Word Meaning by Nancy N. Soja, Susan Carey and Elizabeth S. Spelke 21 Some Elements of Conceptual Structure by Ray Jackendoff 22 Color Subjectivism by C. L. Hardin V Language 23 On the Nature, Use, and Acquisition of Language by Noam Chomsky 24 On Learning the Past Tenses of English Verbs by David E. Rumelhart and James L. McClelland 25 Critique of Rumelhart and McClelland by Andy Clark 26 The Mental Representation of the Meaning of Words by Philip N. Johnson-Laird 27 Brain and Language by Antonia R. Damasio and Hanna Demasio 28 Meaning, Other People, and the World by Hilary Putnam VI Ethics 29 Ethics and Cognitive Science by Alvin I. Goldman 30 The Contribution of Empathy to Justice and Moral Judgment by Martin L. Hoffman 31 Situations and Dispositions by Owen Flanagan VII Conceptual Foundations 32 Autonomous Psychology and the Belief-Desire Thesis by Stephen P. Stich 33 Individualism and Psychology by Tyler Burge 34 The Co-evolutionary Research Ideology by Patricia S. Churchland 35 On the Proper Treatment of Connectionism by Paul Smolensky 36 Connectionism and Cognitive Architecture by Jerry A. Fodor and Zenon W. Pylyshyn 37 The Computer Model of the Mind by Ned Block 38 The Critique of Cognitive Reason by John R. Searle Index. (shrink)
Creations of the Mind presents sixteen original essays by theorists from a wide variety of disciplines who have a shared interest in the nature of artifacts and their implications for the human mind. All the papers are written specially for this volume, and they cover a broad range of topics concerned with the metaphysics of artifacts, our concepts of artifacts and the categories that they represent, the emergence of an understanding of artifacts in infants' cognitive development, as well as the (...) evolution of artifacts and the use of tools by non-human animals. This volume will be a fascinating resource for philosophers, cognitive scientists, and psychologists, and the starting point for future research in the study of artifacts and their role in human understanding, development, and behaviour.Contributors: John R. Searle, Richard E. Grandy, Crawford L. Elder, Amie L. Thomasson, Jerrold Levinson, Barbara C. Malt, Steven A. Sloman, Dan Sperber, Hilary Kornblith, Paul Bloom, Bradford Z. Mahon, Alfonso Caramazza, Jean M. Mandler, Deborah Kelemen, Susan Carey, Frank C. Keil, Marissa L. Greif, Rebekkah S. Kerner, James L. Gould, Marc D. Hauser, Laurie R. Santos, Steven Mithen. (shrink)
Max Weber is noted for his diagnosis of the rationalization of life under capitalism. But in his social thought he also developed a powerful theory of the process of 'sociation' and associational life. This paper investigates the latter aspect of his thought in the context of his and Marianne Weber's American journey. Their observations about the religious sects, the African-American community, educational insti tutions, and the position of women reveal an understanding of democ ratization as a process of voluntaristic sociation, (...) whose original model is the sect. In these institutional settings and through their interactions with figures like William James, W. E. B. Du Bois, and M. Carey Thomas, the Webers develop a view of American social life that empha sizes the contribution of associative activity to the moral and political education of individuals, and to the creation of a distinctively modern form of democratic culture. (shrink)
Adam Smith and the philosophy of anti-history, by J. Weiss.--Towards a dissolution of the ontological argument, by A. C. Danto.--Romanticism, historicism, realism: toward a period concept for early 19th century intellectual history, by H. V. White.--History and humanity: the Proudhonian vision, by A. Noland.--Hintze and the legacy of Ranke, by M. Covensky.--Objections to metaphysics, by J. Cobitz.--The term expressionism in the visual arts, by V. H. Miesel.--Karl Löwith's anti-historicism, by B. Riesterer.--Antonio Gramsci; Marxism and the Italian intellectual tradition, by (...) J. Cammett.--Traditional Chinese historiography and local histories, by E. H. Pritchard.--From principle to principal: restoration and emperorship in Japan, by H. D. Harootunian.--National development and the evolution of the legal-rational bureaucracy: the prefectural governor in Japan, 1868-1945, by B. Silberman. (shrink)
Each of the five volumes in the Stone Art Theory Institutes series—and the seminars on which they are based—brings together a range of scholars who are not always directly familiar with one another’s work. The outcome of each of these convergences is an extensive and “unpredictable conversation” on knotty and provocative issues about art. This fourth volume in the series, _Beyond the Aesthetic and the Anti-Aesthetic_, focuses on questions revolving around the concepts of the aesthetic, the anti-aesthetic, and the political. (...) The book is about the fact that now, almost thirty years after Hal Foster defined the anti-aesthetic, there is still no viable alternative to the dichotomy between aesthetics and anti- or non-aesthetic art. The impasse is made more difficult by the proliferation of identity politics, and it is made less negotiable by the hegemony of anti-aesthetics in academic discourse on art. The central question of this book is whether artists and academicians are free of this choice in practice, in pedagogy, and in theory. The contributors are Stéphanie Benzaquen, J. M. Bernstein, Karen Busk-Jepsen, Luis Camnitzer, Diarmuid Costello, Joana Cunha Leal, Angela Dimitrakaki, Alexander Dumbadze, T. Brandon Evans, Geng Youzhuang, Boris Groys, Beáta Hock, Gordon Hughes, Michael Kelly, Grant Kester, Meredith Kooi, Cary Levine, Sunil Manghani, William Mazzarella, Justin McKeown, Andrew McNamara, Eve Meltzer, Nadja Millner-Larsen, Maria Filomena Molder, Carrie Noland, Gary Peters, Aaron Richmond, Lauren Ross, Toni Ross, Eva Schürmann, Gregory Sholette, Noah Simblist, Jon Simons, Robert Storr, Martin Sundberg, Timotheus Vermeulen, and Rebecca Zorach. (shrink)
continent. 1.3 (2011): 149-155. The world is teeming. Anything can happen. John Cage, “Silence” 1 Autonomy means that although something is part of something else, or related to it in some way, it has its own “law” or “tendency” (Greek, nomos ). In their book on life sciences, Medawar and Medawar state, “Organs and tissues…are composed of cells which…have a high measure of autonomy.”2 Autonomy also has ethical and political valences. De Grazia writes, “In Kant's enormously influential moral philosophy, autonomy (...) , or freedom from the causal determinism of nature, became prominent in justifying the human use of animals.”3 One of the oldest uses of autonomy in English is a description of the French civil war from the late sixteenth century: “Others of the…rebellion entred in counsell, whether they ought to admit the King vpon reasonable conditions, specially hauing their autonomy.”4 Life, and in particular human life, and in particular human politics, is well served by the usages of autonomy . What about the rest of reality, however? Should it be thought of, if it's even considered real and mind-independent, as pure stuff for the manipulation or decorative tastes of truly autonomous beings? We tend to think of things such as paperweights and iPhones as mere tools of human design and human use. To use them is to cause them to exist as fully and properly as they can. But according to Martin Heidegger, when a tool such as a paperweight is used, it disappears, or withdraws ( Entzug ). We are preoccupied with copying the page that the paperweight is holding down. We are concerned with an essay deadline, and the paperweight simply disappears into this general project. If the paperweight slips, or if the iPhone freezes, we might notice it. All of a sudden it becomes vorhanden (present-at-hand) rather than zuhanden (ready-to-hand).5 Yet Heidegger is unable to draw a meaningful distinction between what happens to a paperweight when it slips from the book I'm copying from and what happens to the paperweight when it presses on the still resilient pages of the thick paperback itself. Further still and related to this point, even when I am using the paperweight as part of some general task, I am not using the entirety of the paperweight as such. My project itself selects a thin slice of paperweight-being for the purposes of holding down a book. Even when it is zuhanden the paperweight is withdrawn. Graham Harman is the architect of this way of thinking.6 Harman discovered a gigantic coral reef of withdrawn entities beneath the Heideggerian submarine of Da-sein, which itself is operating at an ontological depth way below the choppy surface of philosophy, beset by the winds of epistemology, and infested with the sharks of materialism, idealism, empiricism and most of the other isms that have defined what is and what isn't for the last several hundred years. At a moment when the term ontology was left alone like a piece of well chewed old chewing gum that no one wants to have anything to do with, object-oriented ontology (OOO) has put it back on the table. The coral reef isn't going anywhere and once you have discovered it, you can't un-discover it. And it seems to be teeming with strange facts. The first fact is that the entities in the reef—we call them “objects” somewhat provocatively—constitute all there is: from doughnuts to dogfish to the Dog Star to Dobermans to Snoop Dogg. People, plastic clothes pegs, piranhas and particles are all objects. And they are all pretty much the same, at this depth. There is not much of a distinction between life and non-life (as there isn't in contemporary life science). And there is not much of a distinction between intelligence and non-intelligence (as there is in contemporary artificial intelligence theory). A lot of these distinctions are made by humans, for humans (anthropocentrism). And the concept autonomy has come into play in policing such distinctions. In this essay I shall to try to liberate autonomy for the sake of nonhumans. I shall do so by parsing carefully the title, which is taken from Hakim Bey's work The Temporary Autonomous Zone .8 First we shall explore the term autonomous . Then we shall explore what the full meaning of zone is. Finally, we shall investigate what temporary means. Each of these terms is of great value. An object withdraws from access. This means that its very own parts can't access it. Since an object's parts can't fully express the object, the object is not reducible to its parts. OOO is anti-reductionist. But OOO is also anti-holist. An object can't be reduced to its “whole” either, “reduced upwards” as it were. The whole is not greater than the sum of its parts. So we have a strange irreductionist situation in which an object is reducible neither to its parts nor to its whole. A coral reef is made of coral, fish, seaweed, plankton and so on. But one of these things on its own doesn't embody part of a reef. Yet the reef just is an assemblage of these particular parts. You can't find a coral reef in a parking lot. In this way, the vibrant realness of a reef is kept safe both from its parts and from its whole. Moreover, the reef is safe from being mistaken for a parking lot. Objects can't be reduced to tiny Lego bricks such as atoms that can be reused in other things. Nor can be reduced upwards into instantiations of a global process. A coral reef is an expression of the biosphere or of evolution, yes; but so is this sentence, and we ought to be able to distinguish between coral reefs and sentences in English. The preceding facts go under the heading of undermining . Any attempt to undermine an object—in thought, or with a gun, or with heat, or with the ravages of time or global warming—will not get at the withdrawn essence of the object. By essence is meant something very different from essentialism . This is because essentialism depends upon some aspect of an object that OOO holds to be a mere appearance of that object, an appearance-for some object. This reduction to appearance holds even if that object for which the appearance occurs is the object itself! Even a coral reef can't grasp its essential coral reefness. In essentialism, a superficial appearance is taken for the essence of a thing, or of things in general. In thinking essentialism we may be able to discern another way of avoiding OOO. This is what Harman has christened overmining .? The overminer decides that some things are more real than others: say for example human perception. Then the overminer decides that other things are only granted realness status by somehow coming into the purview of the more real entity. When I measure a photon, when I see a coral reef, it becomes what it is. But when I measure a photon, I never measure the actual photon. Indeed, since at the quantum scale to measure means “to hit with a photon or an electron beam” (or whatever), measurement, perception ( aisthesis ), and doing become the same. What I “see” are deflections, tracks in a diffusion cloud chamber or interference patterns. Far from underwriting a world of pure illusion where the mind is king, quantum theory is one of the very first truly rigorous realisms, thinking its objects as irreducibly resistant to full comprehension, by anything.9 So far we have made objects safe from being swallowed up by larger objects and broken down into smaller objects—undermining. And so far we have made objects safe from being mere projections or reflections of some supervenient entity—overmining. That's quite a degree of autonomy. Everything in the coral reef, from the fish to a single coral lifeform to a tiny plankton, is autonomous. But so is the coral reef itself. So are the heads of the coral, a community of tiny polyps. So is each individual head. Each object is like one of Leibniz's monads, in that each one contains a potentially infinite regress of other objects; and around each object, there is a potentially infinite progress of objects, as numerous multiverse theories are now also arguing. But the infinity, the uncountability, is more radical than Leibniz, since there is nothing stopping a group of objects from being an object, just as a coral reef is something like a society of corals. Each object is “a little world made cunningly” (John Donne).10 We are indeed approaching something like the political valance of autonomy . The existence of an object is irreducibly a matter of coexistence. Objects contain other objects, and are contained “in” other objects. Let us, however, explore further the ramifications of the autonomy of objects. We will see that this mereological approach (based on the study of parts) only gets at part of the astonishing autonomy of things. Yet there are some more things to be said about mereology before we move on. Consider the fact that since objects can't be undermined or overmined, it means that there is strictly no bottom object . There is no object to which all other objects can be reduced, so that we can say everything we want to say about them, hypothetically at least, based on the behavior of the bottom object. The idea that we could is roughly E.O Wilson's theory of consilience .11 Likewise, there is no object from which all things can be produced, no top object . Objects are not emanations from some primordial One or from a prime mover. There might be a god, or gods. Suppose there were. In an OOO universe even a god would not know the essential ins and outs of a piece of coral. Unlike even some forms of atheism, the existence of god (or nonexistence) doesn't matter very much for OOO. If you really want to be an atheist, you might consider giving OOO a spin. If there is no top object and no bottom object, neither is there a middle object . That is, there is no such thing as a space, or time, “in” which objects float. There is no environment distinct from objects. There is no Nature (I capitalize the word to reinforce a sense of its deceptive artificiality). There is no world, if by world we mean a kind of “rope” that connects things together.12 All such connections must be emergent properties of objects themselves. And this of course is well in line with post-Einsteinian physics, in which spacetime just is the product of objects, and which may even be an emergent property of a certain scale of object larger than 10?¹?cm).13 Objects don't sit in a box of space or time. It's the other way around: space and time emanate from objects. How does this happen? OOO tries to produce an explanation from objects themselves. Indeed, the ideal situation would be to rely on just one single object. Otherwise we are stuck with a reality in which objects require other entities to function, which would result in some kind of undermining or overmining. We shall see that we have all the fuel we need “inside” one object to have time and space, and even causality. We shall discover that rather than being some kind of machinery or operating system that underlies objects, causality itself is a phenomenon that floats ontologically “in front of” them. In so doing, we will move from the notion of autonomy and begin approaching a full exploration of the notion of zone , which was promised at the outset of this essay. Since an object is withdrawn, even “from itself,” it is a self-contradictory being. It is itself and not-itself, or in a slightly more expanded version, there is a rift between essence and appearance within an object (as well as “between” them). This rift can't be the same as the clichéd split between substance and accidents , which is the default ontology. On this view, things are like somewhat boring cupcakes with somewhat less boring sugar sprinkles on them of different colors and shapes. But on the OOO view, what is called substance is just another limited slice of an object, a way of apprehending something that is ontologically fathoms deeper. What is called substance and what is called accidence are just on the side of what this essay calls appearance. The rift (Greek, chorismos ) between essence and appearance means that an object presents us with something like what in logic is known as the Liar: some version of the sentence “This sentence is false.” The sentence is true, which means that it is a lie, which means that it is false. Or the sentence is false, which means that it is telling the truth, which means that it is true. Now logic since Aristotle has tried desperately to quarantine such beasts in small backwaters and side streets so that they don't act too provocatively.14 But if OOO holds, then at least one very significant thing in the universe is both itself and not-itself: the object. An object is p ? ¬p. To cope with this fact, we shall need some kind of paraconsistent or even fully dialetheic logic, one that is not allergic to dialetheias (double-truthed things). Yet if we accept that objects are dialetheic, p ? ¬p, we can derive all kinds of things easily from objects. Consider the fact of motion. If objects only occupy one location “in” space at any “one” time, then Zeno's paradoxes will apply to trying to think how an object moves. Yet motion seems like a basic, simple fact of our world. Either everything is just an illusion and nothing really moves at all (Parmenides). Or objects are here and not-here “at the same time.”15 This latter possibility provides the basic setup for all the motion we could wish for. Objects are not “in” time and space. Rather, they “time” (a verb) and “space.” They produce time and space. It would be better to think these verbs as intransitive rather than transitive, in the manner of dance or revolt . They emanate from objects, yet they are not the object. “How can we know the dancer from the dance?” (Yeats).16 The point being, that for there to be a question, there must be a distinction—or there must not be (p ? ¬p).17 It becomes impossible to tell: “What constitutes pretense is that, in the end, you don't know whether it's pretense or not.”18 In this notion of the emergence of time and space from an object we can begin to understand the term zone . Zone can mean belt , something that winds around something else. We talk of temperate zones and war zones. A zone is a place where a certain action is taking place: the zone winds around, it radiates heat, bullets fly, armies are defeated. To speak of an autonomous zone is to speak of a place that a certain political act has carved out of some other entity. Cynically, Tibet is called TAR, the Tibetan Autonomous Region, for this very reason. In this phrase, Region tries to emulate zone : it sounds as if the place has its own rules, but of course, it is very much under the control of China. What action is taking place? “[N]ot something that just is what it is, here and now, without mystery, but something like a quest…a tone on its way calling forth echoes and responses…water seeking its liquidity in the sunlight rippling across the cypresses in the back of the garden.”19 If as suggested earlier there is no functional difference between substance and accidence; if there is no difference between perceiving and doing; if there is no real difference between sentience and non-sentience—then causality itself is a strange, ultimately nonlocal aesthetic phenomenon. A phenomenon, moreover, that emanates from objects themselves, wavering in front of them like the astonishingly beautiful real illusion conjured in this quotation of Alphonso Lingis. Lingis's sentence does what it says, casting a compelling, mysterious spell, the spell of causality, like a demonic force field. A real illusion: if we knew it was an illusion, if it were just an illusion, it would cease to waver. It would not be an illusion at all. We would be in the real of noncontradiction. Since it is like an illusion, we can never be sure: “What constitutes pretense…” A zone is what Lingis calls a level . A zone is not entirely a matter of “free will”: this concept has already beaten down most objects into abject submission. Objects are far more threateningly autonomous, and sensually autonomous, than the Kantian version of autonomy cited in the first paragraph of this essay. A zone is not studiously decided upon by an earnest committee before it goes into action. One of its predominant features is that it is already happening . We find ourselves in it, all of a sudden, in the late afternoon as the shadows lengthen around a city square, giving rise to an uncanny sensation of having been here before. Objects emit zones. Wherever I find myself a zone is already happening, an autonomous zone. It is the nonautonomous zones that are impositions on what is already the case. Or rather, these zones are autonomous zones that exclude and police. They are brittle. Every object is autonomous, but some objects try to maintain themselves through rigidity and brittleness, like (and such as) a police state. Paradoxically, the more rigidly one tries to exclude contradiction, the more virulent become the dialetheias that are possible. I can get around “This sentence is false” by imagining that there are metalanguages that explain what counts as a sentence. Then I can decide that this isn't a real sentence. This is basically Alfred Tarski's strategy, since he invented the notion of metalanguage specifically to cope with dialetheias.20 For example we might claim that sentences such as “This sentence is false” are neither true nor false. But then you can imagine a strengthened version of the Liar such as: “This sentence is not true”; or “This sentence is neither true nor false.” And we can go on adding to the strengthened Liar if the counter-attack tries to build immunity by specifying some fourth thing that a sentence can be besides true, false, and neither true nor false: “This sentence is false, or neither true nor false, or the fourth thing.” And so on.21 It seems as if language becomes more brittle the more it tries to police the Liars of this world. Why? I believe that this increasing brittleness is a symptom of a deep fact about reality. What is this deep fact? Simply that there are objects, that these objects are withdrawn, and that they are walking contradictions. This means indeed that (as Lacan put it) “there is no metalanguage,” since a metalanguage would function as a “middle object” that gave coherency and evenness to the others.22 Since there is no metalanguage, there is no rising above the disturbing illusory play of causality. This may even have political implications: no global critique is therefore possible, and attempts to smooth out or totalize are doomed to fail. To think the zone is to think the notion of temporary , which we shall now begin to discuss in greater detail. The zone is not in time: rather it “times.” But because a zone is an emanation of an object, it is based on a wavering fragility, since objects are p ? ¬p. When an object is born, that means that it has broken free of some other object. An object can be born because it and other objects are fragile. If not, no movement would be possible. Objects contain the seeds of their own destruction, a dialetheic sentence that says something like “This sentence cannot be proved.” Kurt Gödel argues that every true system of propositions contains at least one sentence that the system cannot prove. In order to be true, the system must have a minimum incoherence. To be real, it has to be fragile. Imagine a record player. Now imagine a record called I Cannot Be Played on This Record Player . When you play it on this record player, it produces sympathetic vibrations that cause the record player to shudder apart. No matter how many defense mechanisms you build in, there will always be the possibility of at least one record that destroys the record player.23 That is what being physical is. An object is inherently fragile because it is both itself and not-itself. When the rift between appearance and essence collapses, that is called destruction, ending, death. When an object breaks, several new objects are born. An opera singer sings a loud note in tune with the resonant frequency of a wine glass. (See the movie included below.) The singing is a zone, an autonomous level of intensity, opening a rift between appearance and essence. The glass ripples—for a moment it is nakedly a glass and a not-glass—almost as if it were having an orgasm, a little death. It is caught in the rift of the singing. Then its structure can't handle the coherence of the sound waves, and it breaks. It is incoherence and inconsistency that is the mark of existence, not consistency and noncontradiction. When things break or die, they become coherent. Essence disappears into appearance. I become the memories of friends. A glass becomes a dancing wave. Instantly, there are glass fragments, new temporary autonomous zones. The fragments have broken free from the glass. They are no longer its parts, but emanate their own time and space, becoming perhaps accidental weapons as they bury themselves in my flesh. Thus Hakim Bey's instructions on creating temporary autonomous zones oscillate disturbingly between performance art and politics, circus clowning and revolution. To play with the aesthetic is to play with causality, to rip from the sensual ether emanating from things new regions, new zones. Anarchist politics is the creation of fresh objects in a reality without a top or a bottom object, or for that matter a middle object: Everything in nature is perfectly real including consciousness, there's absolutely nothing to worry about. Not only have the chains of the Law been broken, they never existed; demons never guarded the stars, the Empire never got started, Eros never grew a beard. … There is no becoming, no revolution, no struggle, no path; already you're the monarch of your own skin—your inviolable freedom waits to be completed only by the love of other monarchs: a politics of dream, urgent as the blueness of sky.24 Bey imagines that this is because chaos is a primordial “undifferentiated oneness-of-being.” A Parmenides or a Spinoza or a Laruelle would read this a certain way. Individual objects, or decisions to talk about this rather than that, are just maggot-like things crawling around on the surface of the giant cheese of oneness.25 Yet he also describes chaos as “Primordial uncarved block, sole worshipful monster, inert & spontaneous, more ultraviolet than any mythology.” This image is of an inconsistent object, not of an undifferentiated field. An object, indeed, that can be distinguished from other things. If not, then the first part of The Temporary Autonomous Zone , subtitled “The Broadsheets of Ontological Anarchism,” is a kind of onto-theology. Onto-theology proclaims that some things are more real than others. Bey, however, is writing poetically, and thus ambiguously. We are at liberty to read “undifferentiated oneness-of-being” as something like the irreducibility of a thing to its parts and so forth (undermining and overmining). This certainly seems closer to the language in the following paragraph: “There is no becoming … already you're the monarch of your own skin.”26 On this view, there is no difference between art and politics: “When ugliness, poor design & stupid waste are forced upon you, turn Luddite, throw your shoe in the works, retaliate.” Since Romanticism this has been the war cry of the vanguard artist.27 To say to is to fall prey to the tired axioms of the avant-garde, and we think we know how the game goes. But OOO is not simply a way to advocate “new and improved” versions of this shock-the-bourgeoisie boredom. Bey's text is certainly full enough of that. Rather, since causality as such is aesthetic, and since nonhumans are not that different from humans, the new approach would be to form aesthetic–causal alliances with nonhumans. These alliances would have to resist becoming brittle, whether that brittleness is right wing (authoritarianism) or left wing (the endless maze of critique). No “ism,” especially not the ultimate forms, nihilism and cynicism, is in any sense effective at this point. All forms of brittleness are based on the mistaken assumption that there is a metalanguage and that therefore “Anything you can do, I can do meta.” I will not be listing any approaches here, as Bey does. Such lists and manifestos belong to the vanguardism that no longer works. Why? Not because of some marvelous revolution in human consciousness, but because nonhumans have so successfully impinged upon human social, psychic and aesthetic space. It is the time after the end of the world. That happened in 1945, when a thin layer of radioactive materials was deposited in Earth's crust. Geology now calls it this era the Anthropocene . Ironically, this period, named after humans, is the moment at which even the most thick headed of us make decisive contact with nonhumans, from mercury in our blood to manta rays to magnesium. Richard Dawkins, Pat Robertson and Lady Gaga all have to deal with global warming and mass extinction, somehow. We now live in an Age of Asymmetry marked by a skewed, spiraling relationship between vast knowledge and vast nonhuman things—both become vaster and vaster because of one another and for the same reasons.28 This means that coming up with the perfect attitude or the perfect aesthetic prescription just won't work any more. Even the most hardened anthropocentrist now has to pay through the nose for basic food supplies, and has to use more sunscreen. Whether he knows it or acknowledges it, he is already acting with regard towards nonhumans. There is nothing special to think, no special critique that will get rid of the stains of coexistence. The problem won't fit into the well-established modern boxes, which is why the “mystical,” “spiritual” quality of Bey's prose is welcome. Of course, when I put it this way, you may immediately close off and decide that I am talking about perfect attitudes after all, or something outside of politics, or other ways that the radical left marshals to police its thinking of the nonhuman. Because that is what is really at stake in all this: the nonhuman in its coexistence with the human—bosons, gods, clouds, spirits, lifeforms, experiences, the sunlight rippling across the cypresses. Bey begins to get at this in a Latour litany in the second part of The Temporary Autonomous Zone , “The Assassins”: Pomegranate, mulberry, persimmon, the erotic melancholy of cypresses, membrane-pink shirazi roses, braziers of meccan aloes & benzoin, stiff shafts of ottoman tulips, carpets spread like make-believe gardens on actual lawns—a pavilion set with a mosaic of calligrammes—a willow, a stream with watercress—a fountain crystalled underneath with geometry— the metaphysical scandal of bathing odalisques, of wet brown cupbearers hide-&-seeking in the foliage—“water, greenery, beautiful faces.”29 This will be conveniently dismissed as orientalism. If we're never allowed to escape the crumbling prison of modernity for fear of imperialism there is truly no hope. In a similar way, the fear of anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism is very often staged from a place that just is anthropocentrism .30 Critique turns into ressentiment . An object radiates a zone that is aesthetic and therefore causal. Because objects “time” they are temporary. Not because they exist “in” time that eventually gets the better of them. Their very existence implies the possibility of their non-existence. Since objects are not consistent, they can cease to exist. But nothing, no one, will ever be able to insert a blade between appearance and existence, even thought there is a rift there. Now that's what I call autonomy. NOTES 1. John Cage, Silence: Lectures and Writings (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1973), 96. 2. P. B. Medawar and J. S. Medawar, The Life Science: Current Ideas in Biology (London: Wildwood House, 1977), 8. 3. David DeGrazia, Animal Rights: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 5. 4. Antony Colynet, A True History of the Civil Warres in France (London, 1591), 480. 5. Martin Heidegger, Being and Time , tr. Joan Stambaugh (Albany, N.Y: State University of New York Press, 1996) 62–71. 6. Graham Harman, Tool-Being: Heidegger and the Metaphysics of Objects (Peru, IL: Open Court, 2002). 7. Hakim Bey, The Temporary Autonomous Zone (Brooklyn: Autonomedia, 1991). 8. Graham Harman, The Quadruple Object (Ripley: Zero Books, 2011), 7–18. 9. This is not the place to get into an argument about quantum theory, but I have argued that quanta also do not endorse a world that I can't speak about because it is only real when measured. This world is that of the reigning Standard Model proposed by Niels Bohr and challenged by De Broglie and Bohm (and now the cosmologist Valentini, among others). See Timothy Morton, “Here Comes Everything: The Promise of Object-Oriented Ontology,” Qui Parle 19.2 (Spring–Summer, 2011), 163–190. 10. John Donne, Holy Sonnets 15, in The Major Works: Including Songs and Sonnets and Sermons , ed. John Carey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). 11. Edward O. Wilson, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (New York: Knopf, 1998). 12. Martin Heidegger, What Is a Thing? (Washington: Regnery, 1968), 243. 13. Albert Einstein, Relativity: The Special and the General Theory (London: Penguin, 2006); Petr Horava, “Quantum Gravity at a Lifshitz Point,” arXiv:0901.3775v2 [hep-th]. 14. Graham Priest, In Contradiction (Oxford University Press, 2006), passim: the most notable recent quarantine officers have been Tarski, Russell, and Frege. 15. Priest, In Contradiction , 172–181. 16. William Butler Yeats, “Among School Children,” Collected Poems , ed. Richard J. Finneran (New York: Scribner, 1996). 17. Paul de Man, “Semiology and Rhetoric,” Diacritics 3.3 (Autumn, 1973), 27–33 (30). 18. Jacques Lacan, Le seminaire, Livre III: Les psychoses (Paris: Editions de Seuil, 1981), 48. See Slavoj Zizek, The Parallax View (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2006), 206. 19. Alphonso Lingis, The Imperative (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998), 29. 20. Priest, In Contradiction , 9–27. 21. See Graham Priest and Francesco Berto, “ Dialetheism ,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2010 Edition), ed. Edward N. Zalta. 22. Jacques Lacan, Écrits: A Selection , tr. Alan Sheridan (London: Tavistock, 1977), 311. 23. The analogy can be found at length in Douglas Hofstadter, “Contracrostipunctus,” Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (New York: Basic Books, 1999), 75–81. 24. Bey, “ Chaos: The Broadsheets of Ontological Anarchism ,” Temporary Autonomous Zone . 25. This is closest to the language of François Laruelle in Philosophies of Difference: A Critical Introduction to Non-Philosophy (New York: Continuum, 2011) 179. 26. Bey, “ Chaos: The Broadsheets of Ontological Anarchism ,” Temporary Autonomous Zone . 27. Peter Bürger, Theory of the Avant Garde (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984). 28. For further discussion see Timothy Morton, “From Modernity to the Anthropocene: Ecology and Art in the Age of Asymmetry,” The International Social Science Journal 209 (forthcoming). 29. Bey, “ The Assassins ,” Temporary Autonomous Zone . 30. Timothy Morton, The Ecological Thought (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2010), 75–76. (shrink)
A theory of conceptual development must specify the innate representational primitives, must characterize the ways in which the initial state differs from the adult state, and must characterize the processes through which one is transformed into the other. The Origin of Concepts (henceforth TOOC) defends three theses. With respect to the initial state, the innate stock of primitives is not limited to sensory, perceptual, or sensorimotor representations; rather, there are also innate conceptual representations. With respect to developmental change, conceptual development (...) consists of episodes of qualitative change, resulting in systems of representation that are more powerful than, and sometimes incommensurable with, those from which they are built. With respect to a learning mechanism that achieves conceptual discontinuity, I offer Quinian bootstrapping. TOOC concludes with a discussion of how an understanding of conceptual development constrains a theory of concepts. (shrink)
This article explores the ethical challenges of providing Medical Assistance in Dying in a paediatric setting. More specifically, we focus on the theoretical questions that came to light when we were asked to develop a policy for responding to MAID requests at our tertiary paediatric institution. We illuminate a central point of conceptual confusion about the nature of MAID that emerges at the level of practice, and explore the various entailments for clinicians and patients that would flow from different understandings. (...) Finally, we consider the ethical challenges of building policy on what is still an extremely controversial social practice. While MAID is currently available to capable patients in Canada who are 18 years or older—a small but important subsection of the population our hospital serves—we write our policy with an eye to the near future when capable young people may gain access to MAID. We propose that an opportunity exists for MAID-providing institutions to reduce social stigma surrounding this practice, but not without potentially serious consequences for practitioners and institutions themselves. Thus, this paper is intended as a road map through the still-emerging legal and ethical landscape of paediatric MAID. We offer a view of the roads taken and considered along the way, and our justifications for travelling the paths we chose. By providing a record of our in-progress thinking, we hope to stimulate wider discussion about the issues and questions encountered in this work. (shrink)
In order to defend her claim that the concept object is biologically determined, Carey must answer Quine's gavagai argument, which purports to show that mastery of any concept with determinate reference presupposes a substantial repertoire of logical concepts. I maintain that the gavagai argument withstands the experimental data that Carey provides, but that it yields to an a priori argument.