In response to the increasingly acknowledged power of metaphor upon everyday and scientific thinking, the present essay aims to revitalize the metaphoric process in commonsense psychology from the interaction view perspective. As prerequisites, a historical review of the "man-the-scientist" metaphor inherited in commonsense psychology, and a situation analysis of its dormant state are attempted. With metaphorical imagination, a holistic-paradigmatic view of personal theories is postulated on the basis of new knowledge in the philosophy and history of science, namely, the Duhem (...) - Quine (holism) thesis and Kuhn's paradigmatic perspective of scientific activities. To optimize the metaphoric process, deliberations are made on the similarities as well as the differences between the principal subject (i.e. everyday activities) and the subsidiary subject (i.e. scientific activities). It is shown that the "man-the-scientist" metaphoric process can be far-reaching and dialectic in nature, resulting in fresh perspectives for understanding both everyday and scientific activities. The focus of the present essay lies in elaborating a more sophisticated view on personal theories, and in calling for a non-reductionist approach to the investigation of commonsense psychology. (shrink)
It is a received view of the post-Fregean predicate logic that a universal statement has no existential import and thus does not entail its particular (existential) counterpart. This paper takes issue with the view by discussing the trespasser case, which has widely been employed for supporting the view. The trespasser case in fact involves a shift of context. Properly understood, the case provides no support for the received view but rather suggests that we rethink the ‘quantity view’ of the existential (...) import of quantifiers. (shrink)
The present essay aims to throw light on the study of dialectical thinking from a cultural-historical perspective. Different forms of dialectic are articulated as ideal types, including the Greek dialectic, the Hegelian dialectic, the contemporary German negative dialectic, the Chinese dialectic, and the Indian negative dialectic. These influential cultural products in the history of the East and the West, articulated as ideal types, serve as constellations that could facilitate further empirical studies on dialectical thinking. An understanding of the complexity of (...) these constellations reveals the pitfalls of investigating dialectical thinking without an appropriate conceptualization of the research target. With the ideal types of dialectic as "figure," and Vygotsky's thesis of the cultural-historical origin of higher psychological processes as "ground," we explore possibilities for further lines of inquiry on dialectical thinking. Adhering to the Scribnerian multilevel scheme that reconstructs Vygotsky's thesis, and returning to the core ideas of Vygotsky himself, we discover new, meaningful questions about the study of dialectical thinking. In the research area of "culture and cognition," consideration of a cultural-historical perspective appears to be both necessary and promising. (shrink)
Insightful ideals on the subtle and dynamic relation between the person and the environment have been expressed by Vygotsky, Lewin, Bronfenbrenner and Stern. Carefully following their intricate dialogue reveals that their ideas are mutually enriching. The present essay aims to revitalize this intricate dialogue, and to show how it converges to supply rich meaning to the concept of personal space-time totality. With a view to an empirical study of the personal space-time totality, a four-phase inquiry is proposed, which is essentially (...) a refined co-construction between the subject and the researcher. It is suggested that such a co-construction can be meaningfully integrated into research areas such as autobiographical and narrative studies, commonsense psychology, and optimal human development. (shrink)
Based on a newly conceptualized notion of the dialogical self, achieved by integrating Bakhtin's philosophical anthropology and Karmiloff-Smith's Representational Redescription model into the existing notion proposed by Hermans and colleagues, the present study focuses on examining the role of The Ox-Herding Pictures in cultivating the dialogical self. Methodologically, this study adopted the cultural-historical perspective and microdevelopmental approach of Vygotsky. In-depth case studies consisting of six interrelated phases of interviews and written responses were conducted. The results show that such a unique (...) cultural sign had different mediation effects upon subjects of different backgrounds. Two examples of considerable mediation effects are presented in more detail. A hermeneutical examination of this cultural object switched to a kind of self-representation in all cases, while the self-representation of all subjects developed from a less explicit to a more explicit level. Development of the dialogical self was characterized by its diversity in form and richness regarding content. (shrink)
Denton and Hockx present thirteen essays treating a variety of literary organizations from China's Republican era . Interdisciplinary in approach, the essays are primarily concerned with describing and analyzing the social and cultural complexity of literary groupings and the role of these social formations in literary production of the period.
I thought the paper by Kai-yee Wong and Chris Fraser was fascinating and insightful. Two things I especially appreciated are the clarity with which they summarize my views. I think they are quite fair and accurate. Second, I appreciate their suggestion that the way to deal with the practical problem of weakness of will has much to do with the role of the Background in shaping our actions. I think they are especially on the right track when they say (...) that the improvement of Background skills may actually narrow the range of real options for action, (p. 21) nonetheless, they do not decrease freedom. As they say, “It is a process of strengthening the self, and the agent is likely to experience the concomitant restriction of ‘live’ options not as a limitation but as strength of character.” (p. 21). That seems to me very much on the right track. What they are suggesting, and it is a powerful addition to my own writings, is that we should not just think of the Background as facilitating languages, games and social practices generally, but for morality as well (p. 23). (shrink)
This essay explains the inescapability of moral demands. I deny that the individual has genuine reason to comply with these demands only if she has desires that would be served by doing so. Rather, the learning of moral reasons helps to shape and channel self- and other-interested motivations so as to facilitate and promote social cooperation. This shaping happens through the “embedding” of reasons in the intentional objects of motivational propensities. The dominance of the instrumental conception of reason, according to (...) which reasons must be based in desires of the individual, has made it harder to recognize that reasons shape desires. I attempt to undermine this dominance by arguing that the concept of a self that extends over time is constructed to meet the demands of social cooperation. Prudential reasons to act on behalf of the persisting self's desires are often taken to constitute the paradigm of reasons based on desires of the individual. But such reasons, along with the very concept of the persisting self, are constructed to promote human cooperation and to shape the individual's desires. (shrink)
An analysis of the Third Man Argument, especially in light of Constance Meinwald's book Plato's Parmenides. I argue that her solution to the TMA fails. Then I present my own theory as to what Plato's solution was.
This chapter discusses the reception of Avicenna’s well-known “flying man” thought experiment in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Latin philosophy. The central claim is that the argumentative role of the thought experiment changed radically in the latter half of the thirteenth century. The earlier authors—Dominicus Gundissalinus, William of Auvergne, Peter of Spain, and John of la Rochelle—understood it as an ontological proof for the existence and/or the nature of the soul. By contrast, Matthew of Aquasparta and Vital du Four used the flying (...) man as an argument for the soul’s ability to be directly aware of itself. A detailed analysis of the views of these authors shows interesting philosophical differences between them and reveals how one of the crucial premises of the original thought experiment—namely that the flying man is unaware of his body—loses its importance due to the changes in the argumentative role that is assigned to it. The most radical example of a new way of understanding bodily self-awareness is Peter Olivi’s so-called ‘man before the creation.’. (shrink)
At the turn of the nineteenth century, Friedrich Schlegel developed an influential theory of irony that anticipated some of the central concerns of postmodernity. His most vocal contemporary critic, the philosopher Hegel, sought to demonstrate that Schlegel’s theory of irony tacitly relied on certain problematic aspects of Fichte’s philosophy. While Schlegel’s theory of irony has generated seemingly endless commentary in recent critical discourse, Hegel’s critique of Schlegelian irony has gone neglected. This essay’s primary aim is to defend Hegel’s critique of (...) Schlegel by isolating irony’s underlying Fichtean epistemology. Drawing on Søren Kierkegaard’s The Concept of Irony in the final section of this essay, I argue that Hegel’s critique of irony can motivate a dialectical hermeneutics that offers a powerful alternative both to Paul de Man’s poststructuralist hermeneutics and to recent cultural-studies-oriented criticism that tends to reduce literary texts to sociohistorical epiphenomena. (shrink)
According to Steven Nadler’s novel interpretation of Spinoza’s much discussed ‘free man’, the free man is not an unattainable ideal. On this reading, the free man represents an ideal condition not because he is passionless as has often been claimed, but because even though he experiences passions, he “never lets those passions determine his actions.” In this paper, I argue that Nadler’s interpretation is incorrect in taking the model of the free man to be an attainable ideal within our reach. (...) Furthermore, I show that Spinoza’s moral philosophy has room for another ideal yet attainable condition, which is represented by the wise man. On my reading, becoming a wise man consists not in surmounting human bondage, but in understanding ourselves as finite expressions of God’s power and, thereby, coming to terms with the ineliminability of bondage for us due to our very human or modal condition in the Spinozistic universe. (shrink)
In this article I address the following question: When are reformulations in argumentative criticisms reasonable and when do they become fallacious straw men? Following ideas developed in the integrated version of pragma-dialectics, I approach argumentation as an element of agonistic exchanges permeated by arguers’ strategic manoeuvring aimed at effectively defeating the opponent with reasonable means. I propose two basic context-sensitive criteria for deciding on the reasonableness of reformulations: precision of the rules for interpretation (precise vs. loose) and general expectation of (...) cooperativeness (critical vs. constructive). On the basis of analysis of examples taken from online political discussions, I argue that in some contexts, especially those that are critical and loose, what might easily be classified as a straw man following conventional treatment should be taken as a harsh, yet reasonable, strategic argumentative criticism. (shrink)
Few arguments from the past have stirred up as much interest as Aristotle’s “Third man” and not so many texts have received as much attention as its account in chapter 22 of the Sophistici elenchi. And yet, several issues about both remain highly controversial, starting from the very nature of the argument at stake and the exact signification of some of its features. The essay provides a close commentary of the text, dealing with its main difficulties and suggesting an overall (...) interpretation of Aristotle’s discussion of the “Third Man” argument. (shrink)
In this article I argue that "Timaeus" 48e-52d, the passage in which Plato introduces the receptacle into his ontology, Contains the material for a satisfactory response to the third man argument. Plato's use of "this" and "such" to distinguish the receptacle, Becoming, And the forms clarifies the nature of his ontology and indicates that the forms are not, In general, self-predicative. This result removes one argument against regarding the "Timaeus" as a late dialogue.
Heidegger's discussion of das Man (often translated as "the 'They'") in Being and Time is notoriously inconsistent, and raises a number of interpretative issues that have been debated in the secondary literature. This paper offers two arguments that aim to make for a consistent and charitable reading of das Man. First, unlike Dasein, das Man's way of being is not existence: das Man lacks Dasein's particularity (it offers only general norms, and cannot address Dasein's unique situation), unity (das Man is (...) not a unified set of norms, but rather an often inconsistent one) and distinctness (the boundary that fixes the concept of das Man is fuzzy). Second, this paper proposes that we read das Man as standing in contrast with Abständigkeit, or distantiality. Das Man is the socially constituted set of norms that we necessarily belong to, and distantiality is the equally inescapable difference that sets us apart from others. Together, they provide a framework within which Dasein is constituted by norms without inhibiting the possibility of authentic existence. (shrink)
Latin commentators came across the « Third Man » in Aristotle’s Sophistici elenchi. The way they dealt with the argument is a fair illustration of how they were both faithful to the text and innovative in their understanding of its most challenging issues. Besides providing a detailed survey of all manuscript sources, the introductory essay shows that Latin interpretation originates from a mistake in Boethius’ translation which radically transformed the argument. The edition makes available for the first time a considerable (...) amount of new documentary evidence which made it possible to solve the riddle of the Latin « Third Man ». (shrink)
We propose that culture affects people through their perceptions of what is consensually believed. Whereas past research has examined whether cultural differences in social judgment are mediated by differences in individuals’ personal values and beliefs, we investigate whether they are mediated by differences in individuals’ perceptions of the views of people around them. We propose that individuals who perceive that traditional views are culturally consensual (e.g., Chinese participants who believe that most of their fellows hold collectivistic values) will themselves behave (...) and think in culturally typical ways. Four studies of previously well-established cultural differences found that cultural differences were mediated by participants’ perceived consensus as much as by participants’ personal views. This held true for cultural differences in the bases of compliance (Study 1), attributional foci (Study 2), and counterfactual thinking styles (Study 3). To tease apart the effect of consensus perception from other possibly associated individual differences, Study 4 experimentally manipulated which of two cultures was salient to bicultural participants and found that judgments were guided by their perception of the consensual view of the salient culture. (shrink)
In traditional Chinese cosmology, this pattern could be very well explained in terms of the fluctuation of yin and yang, or as the natural order of Heaven. This cosmological explanation fits natural history well. There are natural phenomena such as floods, draughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc., that are beyond human control. These events have their determining factors. Once those factors are present, a natural disaster, however unfavorably viewed by humans, is doomed to take place. The view that natural history is (...) determined by factors outside the human world can be accepted without much controversy. However, when applied to human history, the role of man in human history becomes problematic under this kind of cosmology. How much of our success or failure is due to our larger cosmological environment -- the ongoing development of the chi'? Can a single individual reverse the flow of yin and yang or the emergence of good times and bad times? On a larger scale, is human history predestined? If there is a necessary rotation of prosperity and chaos, then it can be argued that.. (shrink)
Responding to Open Philosophy’s call ‘Does public art have to be bad art?’, in this paper we argue that this discussion should pay attention to the consequences of structural transformations that guide the production and presentation of public art in today’s increasingly private city. While entrepreneurial governance and corporate branding strategies generate new opportunities, they might also result in increased risk averseness and control over the content of public art, thus putting its critical potential at risk. That observation ushers in (...) urgent questions about control, complicity and criticality. We aim to reflect on those questions through two public art projects in Hong Kong: Antony Gormley’s Event Horizon and Our 60-second friendship begins now by Sampson Wong Yu-hin and Jason Lam Chi-fai. After drawing conclusions on the justification of public funding for co-productions, the legitimacy for artists to sometimes not ‘follow the rules’, and the problematic nature of a narrow definition of professionalism as a means to discredit artists, our analysis underlines the urgent need to develop a framework that can guide discussions on the consequences of control and complicity for the critical potential of public art. (shrink)
In a recent paper (in Argumentation, 2006) Robert Talisse and Scott Aikin suggest that we ought to recognize two distinct forms of the straw man fallacy. In addition to misrepresenting the strength of an opponent’s specific argument (= the representation form), one can also misrepresent the strength of one’s opposition in general, or the overall state of a debate, by selecting a (relatively) weak opponent for critical consideration (= the selection form). Here I consider whether we as philosophy professors could (...) be seen as sometimes committing the selection form of the straw man through the performance of our regular teaching duties. (shrink)
One of the fundamental struggles in corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the uncertainty and inherent contradictions that stem from a company being an individual legal entity and a community of persons. The authors contend that CSR has departed from the essence of “social responsibility.” The paper is a commentary on CSR, presented as two frameworks rooted in individualism—The Merchant Trade (the strategic view of CSR) and The White Man’s Burden (self-righteous CSR heroism that assumes the shackles of responsibility normally offered (...) by others). Both, however, contradict the essence of “social responsibility” pitting individual against community, business against society, and economic needs and realities versus ethical reflection. The authors present a model that advocates a more moderate and realistic approach to CSR that goes back to the essence of social responsibility. (shrink)
The article discusses two puzzles about Plato''s account of the democratic person: (1) unlike his account of the democratic city, his characterization of a democratic person is markedly incorrect. (2) His criticism of a person so characterized is criticism of a straw man. The article argues that the first puzzle is resolved if we see it as a result of Plato''s assumption that a democratic person is a person whose soul is isomorphic to a democratic constitution. Such a person has (...) a desire satisfaction theory of good and adopts liberty and equality of desires as a basis for action. The article then argues that Plato''s criticism brings up two problems endemic to desire satisfaction theories of good, the problem of bad desires and the problem of conflicts of desires. The criticism is that the democratic person''s way of dealing with these problems, by applying the social principles of liberty and equality to his desires, is irrational. (shrink)