El presente trabajo, escrito en ocasión del centenario de García Bacca, pretende poner de manifiesto la dimensión pedagógica del Maestro. Y ello, a propósito de su trabajo como estudioso de la Filosofía Colonial Venezolana, tema frecuentemente obviado cuando se valora el trabajo de este filósofo.
This paper presents the notion of transfinite developed by García Bacca in his «Infinito, transfinito, finito». This concept is a reaction to the Aristotelian concepts of «nature» and «finite», making man a historical being. García Bacca argues that man has lost his nature and his finitude through technology. So, strictly speaking, is not finite, nor infinite.
What if human joy went on endlessly? Suppose, for example, that each human generation were followed by another, or that the Western religions are right when they teach that each human being lives eternally after death. If any such possibility is true in the actual world, then an agent might sometimes be so situated that more than one course of action would produce an infinite amount of utility. Deciding whether to have a child born this year rather than next is (...) a situation wherein an agent may face several alternatives whose effects could well ramify endlessly on such suppositions, for the child born this year would be a different person—one who preferred different things, performed different actions, and had different descendants—from a child born next year. It has recently been suggested that traditional utilitarianism stumbles on such cases of infinite utility. Specifically, utilitarianism seems to require, for its application, that all experience of pleasure and pain cease at some time in the future or asymptotically approach zero.2 If neither of these conditions holds, then the utility produced by each of two alternative actions may turn out to be infinite, and utilitarianism thus loses its ability to discriminate morally between them. (shrink)
Many theists of a traditional bent have been bothered by the apparent tension between God's essential omnipotence and his essential moral goodness. Nelson Pike draws attention to the conflict between these two attributes in his article ‘Omnipotence and God's Ability to Sin’, and there have been many attempts to respond to it since that time. Most of these responses argue that the essential omnipotence and essential goodness of God are not logically incompatible, so that the traditional conception of God is (...) not incoherent; I think the arguments have been largely successful. However, some theists have found the typical responses to Pike less than convincing, and are tempted to surrender the claim that God has moral perfection essentially in favour of the more modest claim that God is morally perfect in the actual world though in some possible worlds God is morally defective. I argue in this paper that this fall-back position is incoherent. More accurately, I argue that a necessary being who is essentially omniscient and essentially omnipotent cannot be contingently morally perfect or contingently morally defective. Any such being is either essentially good or essentially evil. Since the latter alternative seems unattractive, I argue that theists should embrace the essential moral perfection of God. (shrink)
Wittgenstein’s “grammatical method” analyzes multiple uses of language across contexts of use, with the aim of identifying differences and dissolving conceptual confusion. This paper uses Wittgenstein’s method to undermine Jorge L. A. Garcia’s volitional account of racism. Garcia claims that his theory accommodates the ordinary use of terms like “racist belief.” However, he did not consider whether such terms might have multiple uses/meanings. My paper identifies three uses of “racist belief” that escape Garcia’s analysis. Consequently, philosophers should (...) take Wittgenstein’s advice to heart: do not assume that target-terms have a single use, but “look and see” whether they do. (shrink)
My responses to seven critical reviews of my book *Mental Files* published in a special issue of the journal Disputatio, edited by F. Salis. The reviewers are: Keith Hall, David Papineau, Annalisa Coliva and Delia Belleri, Peter Pagin, Thea Goodsell, Krista Lawlor and Manuel Garcia-Carpintero.
J. L. A. Garcia holds that my defense of voluntary euthanasia in an earlier paper amounts to an "assault on traditional common sense" about what medical ethics permits physicians to do, particularly insofar as I hold that a physician's duty to abstain from intentionally killing is only a defeasible duty, not an unconditional one. But I argue here that it is Garcia's views that are more at odds with common sense, and that voluntary euthanasia is in fact a (...) humane alternative that respects patient autonomy and is consistent with the most fundamental moral duties of physicians. Among these is a duty to relieve suffering, which can sometimes outweigh the fundamental duty to conserve life. (shrink)
continent. 2.1 (2012): 6–21. The French philosopher and novelist Tristan Garcia was born in Toulouse in 1981. This makes him rather young to have written such an imaginative work of systematic philosophy as Forme et objet , 1 the latest entry in the MétaphysiqueS series at Presses universitaires de France. But this reference to Garcia’s youthfulness is not a form of condescension: by publishing a complete system of philosophy in the grand style, he has already done what none (...) of us in the older generation of speculative realists has done so far. His book is sophisticated, erudite, rigorous, imaginatively rich, and abundant in worldly wisdom– despite the author’s conclusion that wisdom does not exist. The quality and scope of Forme et objet took few observers by surprise, since Garcia has been treated as an emerging philosopher to watch across half a decade of Parisian oral tradition. But Garcia was not just the subject of rumor, being already well known to the French public as a writer of fiction. His debut novel, La meilleure part des hommes , 2 was awarded the 2008 Prix de Flore 3 and has already appeared in English as Hate: A Romance . 4 His follow-up novel, Mémoires de la jungle , 5 made clever use of a chimpanzee narrator. Nor was Garcia only published as a novelist before last November: his philosophical study L’Image 6 had already appeared when the author was just twenty-six, a year before he was crowned by the muses at the historic Café de Flore. And then in 2011, just months before the appearance of Forme et objet , Garcia published a widely distributed work entitled Nous, animaux et humains , 7 with its focus on Jeremy Bentham’s ideas about animals. Given this prolific and versatile track record, an optimistic scenario might envisage the young Garcia as one of those combined literary/philosophical talents who appear intermittently in France across the centuries: Jean-Paul Sartre is merely the most famous recent case. While more time is needed to see how Garcia will channel his impressive mental energies, Forme et objet displays such breadth of insight that its author has a good chance to emerge as one of the leading philosophers of his generation. If we accept Aristotle’s dictum that the peak mental age is fifty-one, then to read Garcia’s massive book is to gain some idea of what European philosophy might look like in the futuristic-sounding 2030’s. The present article is confined to Forme et objet . At 486 pages, the work is obviously daunting in size. Indeed, it is even longer than it sounds, given that many of its early sections are printed in a smaller typeface to designate them as supplemental commentary to the main flow of the argument. But while the length of the book reportedly led to delays in French publication, and will probably slow the inevitable appearance of an English translation, the length of the book should not deter interested readers– much of it results from Garcia’s teacherly writing style. Whereas Quentin Meillassoux’s prose displays an arctic economy of means, Garcia’s style is reminiscent of the repeated lessons of oral classroom proceedings. Rarely is the reader given fewer than three or four chances to master an idea before the author moves on to the next. In practice, the style feels welcoming rather than long-winded. Otherwise, the structure of Forme et objet is surprisingly simple. There is a useful Introduction of less than twenty pages. Then comes Book I: Formally , running to approximately 135 pages. Here Garcia outlines the most basic features of a thing “no matter what it is,” or n’importe quoi , an everyday phrase that Garcia shapes into a technical term. This part of the book feels at times like a more amiable version of Hegel’s Science of Logic , a parallel emphasized further by the threefold articulation of its theme: 1. Thing; 2. Thing and World; 3. Being and Understanding. This is followed by the much longer Book II: Objectively , totaling more than 300 pages. It contains sixteen essay-like meditations on specific kinds of objects—including time, animals, humans, history, gender, and death. Here each chapter rolls smoothly into the next, making this second part of the book feel more like a different work of Hegel: The Phenomenology of Spirit . But these are merely analogies. Garcia is no Hegelian, even if the book contains a few dialectical flourishes that seem to reflect his early enthusiasm for the Frankfurt School. Forme et objet ends with a six-page Coda, followed by the usual page of acknowledgments. In what follows, I will briefly summarize each of these four parts of the book before ending with some more general remarks. Before doing so, it will be useful to situate Garcia biographically (as much as I am able) and philosophically. Though Toulouse is his native city, his formative years were spent largely in Algeria, where his family has deep roots. During our sole private conversation, Garcia mentioned that his parents are professors of literature. 8 As a student of philosopher Garcia flourished so early that many of his current ideas date to his teenaged years: “There are sentences in Forme et objet that I wrote when I was seventeen,” he said in response to a question on that cold night on the Canal St.-Martin. I recalled that remark when reading his brilliant account, late in the book, of the central role of adolescence in contemporary culture. While many prodigies blow through their formal academic training without serious obstruction, Garcia’s student memories are rich in tales of isolation and struggle, though equally rich in gratitude for a half-dozen or so exceptional teachers who provided the intellectual space he needed: Meillassoux and Alain Badiou are simply two of the most prominent figures on that list. Though there are many points of agreement between Garcia’s philosophical position and my own, he not only reached his position years before reading my work, 9 he arrived along a rather different path: not through phenomenology, but via the Frankfurt School, which may be one of the reasons for his profound fascination with aesthetics. Garcia’s cultural background is as broad as one could wish: he is no less informed about punk rock and European football leagues than about the spiritualist roots of Bergson’s philosophy. Curious about everything and contemptuous towards nothing, Garcia can be expected to write insightfully on dozens of topics in the years to come. Given that his philosophy is so personally tantalizing in its agreements and disagreements with my own, and given the great internal richness of Forme et objet itself, the present review is no better than a first effort at coming to terms with the challenges posed by this minstrel from the rising generation. This is especially intriguing for older Generation X’ers like me, since confrontation with the younger generation is one of the many themes treated insightfully in Garcia’s book. 1. Introduction Garcia begins in defense of a so-called “flat ontology,” in which all things are equally things. While Roy Bhaskar 10 used this term pejoratively to refer to anti-realist philosophies that flatten everything onto an epistemic plane of human access, Manuel DeLanda 11 (an admirer of Bhaskar) reversed it into the positive principle that all realities are equally realities. Similar notions can be found in the “absistence” of Alexius Meinong, 12 the “irreduction” of Bruno Latour, 13 and my own critique 14 of the undermining/overmining pair. Also noteworthy is Levi Bryant’s use of the term “flat ontology” throughout The Democracy of Objects 15 and his earlier essay “The Ontic Principle.” 16 But for Garcia, flatness is only one face of the cosmos, and one that he ultimately declares to be rather impoverished. Even so, he always remains an advocate of a flat ontology. Insofar as everything is equally something, no matter what it is ( n’importe qui ), everything is equally a thing, equally solitary in its relation with world. This is why his book abounds in those long lists of random, ontologically equivalent entities that Ian Bogost has playfully termed “Latour Litanies.” 17 The first litany in Garcia’s book runs as follows: “We live in this world of things, where a cutting of acacia, a gene, a computer-generated image, a transplantable hand, a musical sample, a trademarked name, or a sexual service are comparable things.” (7) Yet Garcia is frankly dualistic; his flat ontology only lasts until page 159 and the end of Book I (entitled “Formally”), which deals entirely with things that are equally things. Thereafter Garcia turns his attention from things to objects, which are not flat in the least, but engage in hierarchical relations with one another. In agreement with both DeLanda and the speculative realists, Garcia proclaims that his book “proposes to put to the test a thought about things rather than a thought about our thought about things .” (8) Just as ducklings are “imprinted” (9) after hatching and treat the first creature they see as their mother, philosophers are imprinted by the idea with which they begin. Hence, philosophies that begin with human access will never truly find their way back to things. This makes Garcia rather suspicious of twentieth century philosophy, since “the twentieth century—to which in some way this work proposes to bid adieu—has been a period of theorizing modes of access to things rather than things...” (9) Among other possible benefits of the philosophy of things that Garcia proposes, it is fully able to account for thought as a special variant of things, while the reverse is not possible.(10) In Book I of Forme et objet , Garcia’s “things” are so flat, so de-determined, that he is forced to renounce some of the most basic features ascribed to things by most realists. As he tells us in his foreboding third footnote: “We will maintain that the solitude [of things] is less than unity, less than identity, and that it does not imply acceptance (any more than refusal) of the principle of non-contradiction.” (11) In a contemporary world cluttered with too many things, Garcia’s flat and formal plane provides us with some breathing room: “The formal plan of thought enables or re-enables us to cut short all accumulation—whether of knowing, experience, or action—by a simplicity, an impoverished surface...” (13) As Garcia says elsewhere in responding to a Deleuzian critic of the book, his starting point in flat ontology is designed to obstruct the claims of both analytic philosophy and Hegelianism: “Hence, this work seeks to protect each thing—real, imaginary, inconsistent, contradictory—both against Ockham’s Razor and against the Aufhebung or dialectical process.” 18 Yet contrary to the equalizing spirit of many flat ontologies, “we will add to our formal ontology of the equal, an objective ontology of the unequal.” (13) But initially, Garcia joins all flat ontologists in holding that everything is irreducible: “this irreducibility, which we will term the ‘chance’ of each thing... also marks the refusal of a positive thought that reduces things exclusively to natural things, or social things, or historical things, etc.” (15) This irreducible “chance” of a thing emerges as an important technical term in the book, always paired with its inverted brother, the “price to pay” ( prix à payer ). On pages 17-19, we find the only diagrams in the book. What they illustrate is that Garcia wishes to avoid two equally dangerous extremes. The first is the philosophy of substance, featuring the thing-in-itself as a mighty river fed by attributes as if by subordinate tributary streams. This model can be found in many of the classic thinkers of West and East alike. In it, “there is obviously a hierarchization between that which is dragged towards something other than itself, and this other which serves it as an ontological support while supporting its proper being.” (16) For Garcia, the second extreme worth avoiding is the philosophy of events: “One thus conceives trajectories of being, identified as events, facts, powers, intensities, or intentionality. These vectors of being come first, bearing and supporting being, displacing it, but without ever finding a stopping point, a buffer, an objective consistency.” (17) The first model gives us a thing too wrapped up in itself, too compact . This word “compact” (the French and the English are the same) is another technical term for Garcia. But if the “compact” model of things leads us to something more than things, the philosophy of events gives us less than things, by dissolving them into a play of vectors. Garcia’s alternative lies midway between these two extremes: Being enters the thing, being comes out of it. And a thing is nothing other than the difference between the enters and the being that comes out. Thus, the circuit of being is never halted. In the thing, there is never the thing-in-itself. And the thing is never in-itself, but outside of itself. Nonetheless, being is not eventally “pollinated” by vectors: it possesses an objecting halting-point... (19) This single idea is the key to Garcia’s book: the thing is neither a self-contained durable lump nor some sort of evental flux. Instead, the thing is the difference between its various components and its relations with its environment. Or stated differently: “the price to pay for this disposition is a circulation of being that systematically distinguishes two senses of things: that which is in the thing , and that in which the thing is , or that which encompasses it and that which it encompasses,” (19) translating comprendre here as “encompass.” 19 In a beautiful description of a piece of black slate, Garcia sums up the various minerals, qualities, and shapes that compose [ comprend ] it, and calls them “that which is in the thing,” (20) noting that this tells us nothing about “that in which [the slate] is”—namely, all the various situations in which the black slate can be found. Instead, the slate is the difference between these two: the most characteristic principle of Garcia’s philosophy. 2. Formally Book One of Forme et objet , “Formally,” is concerned with the formal equality of all things in a flat world. “Two questions mark the boundaries of reflection: of what is everything composed [ composé ], and: what do all things compose?” (27) Looking downward, we wish to know what everything is made of; looking upward, we want to know the ultimate result of the combination of all things. Here we must turn our attention to the thing n’importe quoi— no matter what it is. (30) Anything with finite qualities is obviously too specific to be relevant to global ontological questions. To an equal degree, something possessing all qualities (think of Whitehead’s God) 20 would not be n’importe quoi either, since it would still be too definite, even if incredibly vast. The same holds for contradictions, since these all differ from each other. The square circle, the non-white black white, and the non-city city are all too distinct to count as the thing no matter what it is. The n’importe quoi must be devoid of all specific qualities, including contradictory ones. In one of the more intriguing points in his book, so reminiscent of Meinong, Garcia proclaims that “the ‘no matter what it is’ is neither a reality nor an abstract construction, nor both of these at once; the ‘no matter what it is’ is simply the plane of equality of that which is real, that which is possible, that which is inexistent, that which is past, that which is impossible, that which is true, that which is false, that which is bad.”(39-40) Since everything has two faces, it would be a grievous mistake to focus on just one of them at the expense of the other, as physicalism or materialism do when reducing the world to minuscule physical underpinnings. For scientistic materialism, “it is either atoms, particles, or fields of force... which are the things.” (47-48) Moreover, “these more-than-things are accompanied by less-than-things: for example, ideas or facts of consciousness are determined by the state of matter and are not autonomous things, but manifestations reduced to secondary effects of material processes...” (48) On this point, Garcia’s position is in complete accord with my own critique of undermining and overmining. 21 Where we disagree is that Garcia is more deeply suspicious of the notion of substance, which I view as salvageable with a few needed changes, while Garcia sees this operation as hopeless: “A substance, in the history of philosophy, is the more-than-thing par excellence.” (51) Another agreement between our positions is visible when Garcia claims (correctly, in my opinion) “that it is vain to distinguish between things which are material and those which are not.” (52) Yet we also find an even more important disagreement, since for Garcia withdrawal cannot be the quality of a thing. Instead, the absence of a thing is simultaneous with it, embodied in all that is not it– the absence of the sculpture of a woman is to be found in the mold that appears at the same time as it, and thus withdrawal must be viewed as an “event” rather than as something pertaining to an object. For Garcia, nothing withdraws beyond access. Since we must distinguish between “that which is something” and “that which something is,” and since the former is identified with “no matter what it is is” and the latter with “ not no matter what it is,” we can say that “everything is thus a milieu, a fragile link between ‘no matter what it is’ and ‘ not no matter what it is.’” (62) And here we find Garcia’s critique of the thing-in-itself: “A thing is never defined en bloc . We can affirm that a thing is this or that, but that does not suffice. It is still necessary to state precisely that which is this thing .” (62) Stated differently, “something is not in itself : for that which is in the thing is not the thing, and that in which the thing is is not the thing.” (62) And here Garcia and I, facing the same evidence, draw opposite conclusions. For me, the fact that nothing can be identified with either its components or its concrete location means that the thing must be something in-itself distinct from both of these. Yet for Garcia, to be in-itself would mean to be identified with just one of these two extreme terms, and hence the thing can only be the difference between them. Garcia is equally suspicious of the classical tendency to view “unity” as a property of the thing, since in his eyes unity is too relational a property to belong to things. (65) While specific things are situated determinately with respect to other things, we are still speaking here about the thing no matter what it is, and this can be viewed only in terms of solitude, which all things share: a human being, a hand, or a chair or all equally things insofar as they are on their own , not insofar as they are one . (64) A thing is alone, and relates only to the one thing that is not another thing: world. In a striking parallel to my own argument for a partial revival of occasionalism, Garcia tells us that “the things communicate only by their solitude: it is because everything is equally on its own in the world that things can be together, enmeshed in one another.” (67) Alone in their solitude, things all relate to world, which serves as a mediator allowing them to become mixed up in one another. As we have seen, one reason that nothing can be in itself is because everything is in something else. For Garcia, “to be in something and to be something are equivalent.” (69) Stated more broadly, “being is thus the difference between the two aspects of each thing: that which is it, and that which it is.” (70) And even more vividly: “a thing is almost like a sack: there is that which one puts in the sack and that which remains outside the sack.” (70) But not quite like a sack, “since a thing is not a thin skin or film. Instead, a thing is comparable to a sack that is immaterial and without thickness: it is nothing other than the difference between that which is this thing and that which thing is, between content and container.” (71) Nothing can be in-itself because everything is two selves at once. For example, we cannot say that our self is defined by our consciousness: “Everything has a self because nothing is in itself. The self is not the quality of that which is related to itself (which is conscious, for example) or which thinks itself related to itself. Nonetheless, for an entity called ‘conscious’ to be related to itself, it is necessary that this very relation should be another thing than the self to which it is related.” (71) Consciousness cannot be the self, precisely because it is other than that of which it is conscious. Nothing is able to grasp itself. The self is “the function by which being and composition [ compréhension ] are mutually excluded...” (72) The self is “the point of shadow of everything that projects some light...” (72) The in-itself faces two opposite dangers: “For something to be in-itself is to be a self. Something which is a self flies out through one of its two sides... Stated differently, being in-itself is simply the possibility of a double failure.” (73) The in-itself can be termed compact : “There remains to us a means of thinking that which does not fully enter into the world, though without exiting from it. This means is what we call the compact.” (76) In a sense, the compact is the opposite of the world. For in the case of the world, everything enters it and it enters nothing; as for the compact, it enters the world (since it is something, after all) while nothing enters it. (77) The compact marks the presence of the impossible in the world. (78) It is not impossible, but possible only on the condition that it fails. (78) The time has come to speak of where a thing is located. “The sole condition of a thing is that of being in another thing than itself, and thus in another thing than something.” (78) A condition is “that which determines something, that which forms something, that in which something is.” (78) As for humans, “the condition of someone is his situation; my social condition is that which socially determines me, my place and my function...” (79) More generally, “to be conditioned is to find oneself reduced to that in which one is.” (79) Everything is conditioned, but nothing is reducible to this condition. To determine the condition of something is to determine in what it is. A thing is located in that which contradicts it, just as a statue exists in its mold, which is precisely that which it is not. Since the thing is finite and definite, its condition or form must be infinite and indefinite. That in which all things are is the world, which Garcia also terms “the whole.” (81) “To try to be in-itself is to attempt to remain outside the world. And indeed, to try to be in-itself is only a path of entry into the world.” (83) For Garcia, “the world is not the pre-existent container of the things it contains, a priori , nor the construction by the mind of a fictional ensemble of all things, a posteriori .” (85) Instead, the world is simultaneous with all things; the two always go together. The world cannot be a determinate world, such as the physical universe or mathematical space, since these are already too specific and limited. “Every determinate world, which is in fact a universe , is a ‘big thing’ [ grosse chose ]: it is a set, however vast, of composite things which itself embodies a thing.” (85) Every determinate world is really just a “big thing.” Stated differently, “it is nothing other than a balanced milieu between the things that compose it and the thing that it composes.” (85) We generally picture the world as a physical univer. (shrink)
Richard Moran has argued, convincingly, in favour of the idea that there must be more than one path to access our own mental contents. The existence of those routes, one first-personal—through avowal—the other third-personal—no different to the one used to ascribe mental states to other people and to interpret their actions—is intimately connected to our capacity to respond to norms. Moran’s account allows for conflicts between first personal and third personal authorities over my own beliefs; this enable some instances of (...) Moore-paradoxical cases to be meaningful. In this paper we reflect on the consequences of this view for the acquisition of beliefs, and argue that, as in the moral case, excessive concentration on a thirdpersonal understanding of thought undermines the very idea of being directed to the world and of being capable to fully own our own beliefs. We suggest that maybe too much attention to epistemic virtues or tojustification is misdirected and could produce beliefs that are themself not first-personal enough. (shrink)
This paper is a response to the four critics of A Virtue Epistemology. It responds to Claudia Lorena García, Miguel Ángel Fernández, Jonathan Kvanvig, and Ram Neta, in that order. Este artículo es una respuesta a los cuatro críticos de A Virtue Epistemology. Ofrece respuestas a Claudia Lorena García, Miguel Ángel Fernández, Jonathan Kvanvig, y Ram Neta, en ese orden.
ABSTRACTResearch has established that human thinking is often biased by intuitive judgement. The base-rate neglect effect provides such an example, so named because people often support their decisions in stereotypical individuating information, neglecting base-rates. Here, we test the hypothesis that reasoners acknowledge information provided by base-rates and may use individuating information in support of a “rational” decision process. Results from four experiments show that “base-rate neglecting” occurs when participants acknowledge sample distributions; participants who prefer individuating over base-rate information perceive base-rates (...) as less diagnostic and are more confident in their individuating-based responses; and that posterior probabilities predict more individuating-based responses for individuating-preference participants. However, data also show a deeper form of base-rate neglect: even when some partic... (shrink)
I defend a Deferred Ostension view of quotation, on which quotation-marks are the linguistic bearers of reference, functioning like a demonstrative; the quoted material merely plays the role of a demonstratum. On this view, the quoted material works like Nunberg’s indexes in his account of deferred ostensión in general. The referent is obtained through some contextually suggested relation; in the default case the relation will be … instantiates the linguistic type __, but there are other possibilities. In this way, the (...) deferred ostension view deals with a problem I pointed out for the identity proposal in my earlier work, that we do not merely refer with quotations to expression-types, but also to other entities related in some way to the relevant token we use: features exhibited by the token distinct from those constituting its linguistic type, features exhibited by other tokens of the same type but not by the one actually used (as when, by using a graphic token, we refer to its phonetic type), or even other related tokens (see the examples on p. 261 of García-Carpintero 1994). (shrink)
Schiffer has given an argument against supervaluationist accounts of vagueness, based on reports of vague contents. Suppose that Al tells Bob ‘Ben was there’, pointing to a certain place, and later Bob says, ‘Al said that Ben was there’, pointing in the same direction. According to supervaluationist semantics, Schiffer contends, both Al’s and Bob’s utterances of ‘there’ indeterminately refer to myriad precise regions of space; Al’s utterance is true just in case Ben was in any of those precisely bounded regions (...) of space, and Bob’s is true just in case Al said of each of them that it is where Ben was. However, while the supervaluationist truth-conditions for Al’s utterance might be satisfied, those for Bob’s cannot; for Al didn’t say, of any of those precisely delimited regions of space, that it is where Ben was. In an earlier version of the material presented here (García-Carpintero 2000) I replied to Schiffer’s argument that supervaluationism has an independently well-motivated defense. The response is essentially based on the point that the occurrence of ‘there’ in Bob’s utterance (and of ‘tall’ in Wright’s argument) occurs in indirect discourse, and supervaluationists may allow that it shifts its referent there. Schiffer’s reply to this response shows that it was not made sufficiently clearly. In this paper I will try to improve on that score. In his more recent reply, Schiffer (2000b, 325) dismisses a proposal like the one I will make, mainly because it “undermines … a leading virtue of supervaluationism … its implication that vagueness is … not a feature of the world.” I will argue that my reply does not undermine the fundamental contentions of the supervaluationist account. (shrink)
One of the principles on how to act under moral uncertainty, My Favourite Theory, says roughly that a morally conscientious agent chooses an option that is permitted by the most credible moral theory. In defence of this principle, we argue that it prescribes consistent choices over time, without relying on intertheoretic comparisons of value, while its main rivals are either plagued by moral analogues of money pumps or in need of a method for making non-arbitrary intertheoretic comparisons. We rebut the (...) arguments that have been levelled against My Favourite Theory and offer some arguments against intertheoretic comparisons of value. (shrink)
In this paper, I elaborate on the Strong Nuclear Theory (SNT) of tropes and substances, which I have defended elsewhere, using my metatheory about formal ontology and especially fundamental ontological form. According to my metatheory, for an entity to have an ontological form is for it to be a relatum of a formal ontological relation or relations jointly in an order. The full fundamental ontological form is generically identical to a simple formal ontological relation or relations jointly in an order. (...) Regarding generic identity, I follow Fabrice Correia and Alexander Skiles, who consider it a form of generalized identity as distinguished from numerical identity. The SNT states that for any trope to have the full fundamental ontological form is for it to be a strongly rigidly or generically (existentially) dependent individual simple part. Therefore, the common dichotomous set-up of asking whether tropes are fundamentally properties rather than objects or vice versa is a non-starter to me in formal ontological terms. The elaboration of the SNT also supplies me with the resources to respond to the arguments against tropes by Douglas Ehring, Robert K. Garcia and Herbert Hochberg. Finally, I argue that non-fundamentally but necessarily, every trope is a proper part of a substance and is concrete in the SNT. (shrink)
Since its original 1996 publication,Jorge Garcia''s ``The Heart of Racism'''' has beenwidely reprinted, a testimony to its importanceas a distinctive and original analysis ofracism. Garcia shifts the standard framework ofdiscussion from the socio-political to theethical, and analyzes racism as essentially avice. He represents his account asnon-revisionist (capturing everyday usage),non-doxastic (not relying on belief),volitional (requiring ill-will), and moralized(racism is always wrong). In this paper, Icritique Garcia''s analysis, arguing that hedoes in fact revise everyday usage, that hisaccount does tacitly (...) rely on belief, thatill-will is not necessary for racism, and thata moralized account gets both the scope and thedynamic of racism wrong. While I do not offeran alternative positive account myself, Isuggest that traditional left-wing structuralanalyses are indeed superior. (shrink)
“The contemporary” is a phrase in frequent use in artworld discourse as a placeholder term for broader, world-picturing concepts such as “the contemporary condition” or “contemporaneity”. Brief references to key texts by philosophers such as Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Rancière, and Peter Osborne often tend to suffice as indicating the outer limits of theoretical discussion. In an attempt to add some depth to the discourse, this paper outlines my approach to these questions, then explores in some detail what these three theorists (...) have had to say in recent years about contemporaneity in general and contemporary art in particular, and about the links between both. It also examines key essays by Jean-Luc Nancy, Néstor García Canclini, as well as the artist-theorist Jean-Phillipe Antoine, each of whom have contributed significantly to these debates. The analysis moves from Agamben’s poetic evocation of “contemporariness” as a Nietzschean experience of “untimeliness” in relation to one’s times, through Nancy’s emphasis on art’s constant recursion to its origins, Rancière’s attribution of dissensus to the current regime of art, Osborne’s insistence on contemporary art’s “post-conceptual” character, to Canclini’s preference for a “post-autonomous” art, which captures the world at the point of its coming into being. I conclude by echoing Antoine’s call for artists and others to think historically, to “knit together a specific variety of times”, a task that is especially pressing when presentist immanence strives to encompasses everything. (shrink)
I offer some brief remarks in reply to comments and criticisms of my earlier work on logical consequence and logical constants. I concentrate on criticisms, especially García-Carpintero’s charge that myviews make no room for modal intuitions about logical consequence, and Sher’s attempted rebuttal of my critique of her theory of logical constants. I show that García-Carpintero’s charge is based on misunderstandings, and that Sher’s attempted rebuttal actually reveals new problems for her theory.
The concept of “magic realism” raises many problems, both theoretical and historical. I first encountered it in the context of American painting in the mid-1950s; at about the same time, Angle Flores published an influential article in which the term was applied to the work of Borges;1 but Alejo Carpentier’s conception of the real maravilloso at once seemed to offer a related or alternative conception, while his own work and that of Miguel Angel Asturias seemed to demand an enlargement of (...) its application.2 Finally, with the novels of Gabriel García Márquez in the 1960s, a whole new realm of magic realism opened up whose exact relations to preceding theory and novelistic practice remained undetermined. These conceptual problems emerge most clearly when one juxtaposes the notion of magic realism with competing or overlapping terms. In the beginning, for instance, it was not clear how it was to be distinguished from that vaster category generally simply called fantastic literature; at this point, what is presumably at issue is a certain type of narrative or representation to be distinguished from realism. Carpentier, however, explicitly staged his version as a more authentic Latin American realization of what in the more reified European context took the form of surrealism: his emphasis would seem to have been on a certain poetic transfiguration of the object world itself—not so much a fantastic narrative, then, as a metamorphosis in perception and in things perceived . In García Márquez, finally, these two tendencies seemed to achieve a new kind of synthesis—a transfigured object world in which fantastic events are also narrated. But at this point, the focus of the conception of magic realism would appear to have shifted to what must be called an anthropological perspective: magic realism now comes to be understood as a kind of narrative raw material derived essentially from peasant society, drawing in sophisticated ways on the world of village or even tribal myth. Recent debates, meanwhile, have complicated all this with yet a different kind of issue: namely, the problem of the political or mystificatory value, respectively, of such texts, many of which we owe to overtly left-wing revolutionary writers .3 In spite of these terminological complexities—which might be grounds for abandoning the concept altogether—it retains a strange seductiveness which I will try to explore further, adding to the confusion with reference points drawn from the work of Jacques Lacan and from Freud’s notion of the “uncanny,” and compounding it by an argument that magic realism is to be grasped as a possible alternative to the narrative logic of contemporary postmodernism.4 1. See Angel Flores, “Magical Realism in Spanish American Fiction,” Hispania 38 : 187-92.2. See Alejo Carpentier, “Prólogo” to his novel El Reino de este mundo ; the most useful survey of the debate remains Roberto Gonzalez Echeverria, “Carpentier y el realism magico,” in Otros Mundos, otros fuegos, ed. Donald Yates, Congreso International de Literature Iberoamericana 16 , pp. 221-31.3. See Angel Rama, La Novel en America Latina , and especially Carlos Blanco Aguinaga, De Mitólogos y novelistas , in particular the discussions of Gabriel García Márques and Alejo Carpentier.4. My own general frame of reference for “postmodernism” is outlined in my “Postmodernism; or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism,” New Left Review 146 : 53-92. Frederic Jameson, William A. Lane Professor of Comparative Literature at Duke University, is the author of The Prison-House of Language and The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act. He is also a member of the editorial collective of Social Text. His previous contributions to Critical Inquiry are “The Symbolic Inference; or, Kenneth Burke and Ideological Analysis” and “Ideology and Symbolic Action”. (shrink)
One of the protagonists of the darwinist controversy in the Canary Islands (Spain), during the Nineteenth Century, was the advocate and teacher Rafael Lorenzo y García. In this paper, I show his original thought, until now unknown, against the classical darwinism and next to the fixism.Moreover I analyse the philosophical and natural constants in his Estudios filosóficos (1876 y 1877).
Which is the best icon of philosophical activity? The Spanish philosopher Garcia Morente analyses three sculptures: Le penseur by Rodin, Il pensieroso by Michelangelo and a sculpture known as El Doncel de Siguenza, in the cathedral of this Castilian town. Morente asserts that the latest reflects better than anyone else the nature of philosophy. In this paper the Morente’s view is rejected and another two ways of representing the philosophical activity are suggested: two ancient paintings that represent more properly (...) the philosophical labour, understood as an unending Socratic dialogue. (shrink)
The contents of two Egerton manuscripts are analyzed in this paper. One, dating from 1598, is part of the correspondence between Mariana and García de Loaysa. In it, Mariana recommends someone for his friend’s government, refers to some issues of ecclesiastical policy, to his future publications and also expresses his gratitude for a personal favour. The second manuscript, dating from 1599, contains an epitaph written by Mariana after the death of García de Loaysa, which includes biographical details and feelings of (...) a family and personal nature. It amounts to a portrait which is strikingly different from other far more negative ones that history has bequeathed us. (shrink)
El proceso de la civilización conlleva la domesticación de las funciones naturales, en especial de las excrementicias, y la exclusión del lenguaje que sirve para nombrarlas. Cuando la élite ilustrada está logrando estos objetivos, surge la Canción cantable de García Tejada, largo poema en torno a los excrementos. Con base en tres teóricos, nos proponemos estudiar las dos dimensiones de la risa en esta obra. Por un lado, la cara crítica, que parodia y desmitifica los discursos serios de la época (...) y su artificioso lenguaje. Por otro lado, la faz regeneradora, que recrea elementos de la cultura popular para luchar por un mundo libre e igualitario. En la conclusión, relacionamos el poema con la tradición de la sátira menipea, lo que subraya la importancia y originalidad de este olvidado poeta. (shrink)
Este artigo busca mostrar que existe um jornalismo literário na América Latina com características singulares, devido a uma realidade propriamente latino-americana em que o realismo é também mágico. Mostraremos isso por meio de uma leitura das crônicas de Gabriel García Márquez.
This study analyses the contents of two Egerton manuscripts. These manuscripts are part of the correspondence of 1598 between Mariana and García de Loaysa. This study interprets the texts of these documents as recording some of the Jesuit’s recommendations concerning the episcopal governance of his friend. Together, the texts offer several points of resemblance with Mariana’s ideas about civil government. They also reveal various intellectual concerns and the depth of his personal relations.
Relatar lo ocurrido como invención: una introducción a la filosofía de la ficción contemporánea offers to the Spanish reader an excellent opportunity to get in touch with central aspects in the current philosophy of language and their implications for fiction theory. In his book, García-Carpintero carefully presents the fundamental lines of argument for and against the most relevant views and, on this basis, defends his own analysis of the norm of fiction as well as a neo-Fregean theory of referential terms (...) that averts some traditional objections. My review includes, however, two objections concerning García-Carpintero’s norm of fiction, one relative to the forms of awareness that it seems to presuppose, and the other regarding the nature of the interest associated with the imaginative projects that are constitutive of fictional works. (shrink)
This essay considers the relationship between literature and film through a reading of Isabel Coixet's film My Life Without Me. The first half of the essay explores how two recent theorisations of the term incorporation allow us to read, on the one hand, the film's relationship to Nanci Kincaid's short story 'Pretending the Bed is a Raft' in particular and to literature in general and, on the other, the narrative consequences of the protagonist Ann's decision to keep her terminal illness (...) a secret. In the first instance, Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin's definition of incorporation in Remediation helps explain how the film does not adapt the short story upon which it is supposedly based, but in fact only repurposes it. Literary aspects of the film's mise-en-scène, plot and imagery, however, signal My Life Without Me' s incorporation of literature. In the second instance, the essay explores how Jacques Derrida's theory of incorporation's role in mourning helps the viewer understand the film's plot development out of Ann's secret. In the second half of the paper, Leo Bersani's idea of impersonal intimacy is developed into a theory of literature. The conclusion posits that impersonal intimacy defines the literary in contrast to cinema's tendency to full disclosure. (shrink)
RESUMEN Al considerar el tratamiento que realiza Juan David García Bacca de Process and Reality de Alfred North Whitehead, el articulo busca apreciar la afinidad entre ambos autores en su caracterización de las deficiencias de la ontología clásica y en su invención de conceptos para un nuevo enfoque de la ontología; a saber, una metafísica de la creación y la novedad. ABSTRACT By exploring Juan David García Bacca’s analysis of Process and Reality by Alfred North Whitehead, the article examines the (...) affinity of the authors with respect to their characterization of the deficiencies of classical ontology and their invention of concepts for a new approach to ontology, that is, a metaphysics of creation and novelty. (shrink)
In Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence, I argued that coming into existence is always a harm and that procreation is wrong. In this paper, I respond to those of my critics to whom I have not previously responded. More specifically, I engage the objections of Tim Bayne, Ben Bradley, Campbell Brown, David DeGrazia, Elizabeth Harman, Chris Kaposy, Joseph Packer and Saul Smilansky.
“What is it that agitates you, my dear Victor? What is it you fear?” -/- “The monster now becomes more vengeful. He murders Victor’s friend Henry Clerval and his wife Elizabeth on the night of her wedding to Victor, and Victor sets out in pursuit of the friend across the icy Artic regions. The monster is always ahead of him, leaving tell tale marks behind and tantalizing his creator. Victor meets with his death in the pursuit of the monster he (...) had created with a noble objective.” [ http://philpapers.org/profile/112741] . (shrink)
Dorit Bar-On develops and defends a novel view of avowals and self-knowledge. Drawing on resources from the philosophy of language, the theory of action, epistemology, and the philosophy of mind, she offers original and systematic answers to many long-standing questions concerning our ability to know our own minds. We are all very good at telling what states of mind we are in at a given moment. When it comes to our own present states of mind, what we say goes; an (...) avowal such as "I'm feeling so anxious" or "I'm thinking about my next trip to Paris," it is typically supposed, tells it like it is. But why is that? Why should what I say about my present mental states carry so much more weight than what others say about them? Why should avowals be more immune to criticism and correction than other claims we make? And if avowals are not based on any evidence or observation, how could they possibly express our knowledge of our own present mental states? Bar-On proposes a Neo-Expressivist view according to which an avowal is an act through which a person directly expresses, rather than merely reports, the very mental condition that the avowal ascribes. She argues that this expressivist idea, coupled with an adequate characterization of expression and a proper separation of the semantics of avowals from their pragmatics and epistemology, explains the special status we assign to avowals. As against many expressivists and their critics, she maintains that such an expressivist explanation is consistent with a non-deflationary view of self-knowledge and a robust realism about mental states. The view that emerges preserves many insights of the most prominent contributors to the subject, while offering a new perspective on our special relationship to our own minds. (shrink)
“Since the actions I perform as an individual only have an inconsequential effect on the threat of climate change,” a common argument goes, “it cannot be morally wrong for me to take my car to work everyday or refuse to recycle.” This argument has received a lot of scorn from philosophers over the years, but has actually been defended in some recent articles. A more systematic treatment of a central set of related issues shows how maneuvering around these issues is (...) no easy philosophical task. In the end, it appears, the argument from inconsequentialism indeed is correct in typical cases, but there are also important qualificatory considerations. (shrink)
In recent years, a number of prominent scientists have argued that free will is an illusion, appealing to evidence demonstrating that information about brain activity can be used to predict behavior before people are aware of having made a decision. These scientists claim that the possibility of perfect prediction based on neural information challenges the ordinary understanding of free will. In this paper we provide evidence suggesting that most people do not view the possibility of neuro-prediction as a threat to (...) free will unless it also raises concerns about manipulation of the agent’s behavior. In Experiment 1 two scenarios described future brain imaging technology that allows perfect prediction of decisions and actions based on earlier neural activity, and this possibility did not undermine most people’s attributions of free will or responsibility, except in the scenario that also allowed manipulation. In Experiment 2 the scenarios increased the salience of the physicalist implications of neuro-prediction, while in Experiment 3 the scenarios suggested dualism, with perfect prediction by mindreaders. The patterns of results for these two experiments were similar to the results in Experiment 1, suggesting that participants do not understand free will to require specific metaphysical conditions regarding the mind–body relation. Most people seem to understand free will in a way that is not threatened by perfect prediction based on neural information, suggesting that they believe that just because “my brain made me do it,” that does not mean that I didn’t do it of my own free will. (shrink)
A summary of François Recanati's book Literal Meaning, followed by his response to the critical reviews of the same book by Stefano Predelli and Manuel García-Carpintero. /// Este texto da respuesta a los que, en este mismo número, Predelli y García-Carpintero dedican a mi libro Literal Meaning. En la primera seccíon hago un breve resumen de esta obra; en la segunda respondo a los comentarios críticos de Predelli y en la tercera a los de García-Carpintero.
This response addresses the excellent responses to my book provided by Heather Douglas, Janet Kourany, and Matt Brown. First, I provide some comments and clarifications concerning a few of the highlights from their essays. Second, in response to the worries of my critics, I provide more detail than I was able to provide in my book regarding my three conditions for incorporating values in science. Third, I identify some of the most promising avenues for further research that flow out of (...) this interchange. (shrink)
In December of 2013, my Dad died of advanced Alzheimer's and a condition called Myasthenia Gravis. This is a selection of journal entries I made over the course of the two years leading up to my Dad's death. It is not a philosophical essay, but a personal reflection, in "real time" so to speak, on the nature of the dying process in relation to questions of faith, hope, despair, and the meaning of a man's life. I offer it here for (...) any who might find it worthwhile. (shrink)
I argued in ‘Pro‐life arguments against infanticide and why they are not convincing’ that arguments presented by pro‐life philosophers are mistaken and cannot show infanticide to be immoral. Several scholars have offered responses to my arguments. In this paper, I reply to my critics: Daniel Rodger, Bruce P. Blackshaw and Clinton Wilcox. I also reply to Christopher Kaczor. I argue that pro‐life arguments still are not convincing.
ABSTRACTThe participants in this symposium raise many insightful criticisms and reservations about my book Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government Is Smarter. But none substantially undermine its main thesis: that rational political ignorance and rational irrationality are major problems for democracy that are best addressed by limiting and decentralizing government power. Part I of this reply addresses criticisms of my analysis of the problem of political ignorance and its causes. Part II assesses challenges to my proposed solution.