Memory is everywhere in Blade Runner 2049. From the dead tree that serves as a memorial and a site of remembrance (“Who keeps a dead tree?”), to the ‘flashbulb’ memories individuals hold about the moment of the ‘blackout’, when all the electronic stores of data were irretrievably erased (“everyone remembers where they were at the blackout”). Indeed, the data wiped out in the blackout itself involves a loss of memory (“all our memory bearings from the time, they were all damaged (...) in the blackout”). Memory, and lack of it, permeates place, where from the post-blackout Las Vegas Deckard remembers it as somewhere you could “forget your troubles.” Memory is a commodity, called upon and consumed by the Wallace Corporation, purchased from the memory-maker, Dr Ana Stelline, who constructs and implants “the best memories” in replicants so as to instil in them real human responses. Memory is ubiquitous in Blade Runner 2049, involving humans, replicants, objects, and machines. Even “God,” we are told, “remembered Rachael.” Nowhere, though, is the depiction of memory more important than in the attempt to solve a question of identity. Officer K has a memory of his past. Even though he knows it is an implant, it is a memory he is emotionally attached to, frequently narrating it to Joi, his digital girlfriend. But it is a memory that starts to puzzle and trouble him. When K discovers the remains of a dead replicant, a female NEXUS-7, he uncovers a secret—this replicant was pregnant and died during childbirth, a discovery that could “break the world.” K is charged with hunting down the child and making the problem disappear. Yet as K starts seeking answers to the question of the child’s identity he gets inextricably caught up in the mystery. Is he merely Officer K, or is he Joe, the miracle child of Rachael and Deckard? The answer to this question hinges on K’s memory. But is the memory genuine? Is the memory his? Blade Runner 2049 encourages us to think deeply about the nature of memory, identity, and the relation between them. Indeed, the film does not just serve as a starting point for thinking about philosophical issues related to memory and identity. Rather, as we show in this chapter, the film seems to offer a view on these philosophical issues. Blade Runner 2049 offers us a view of memory as spread out over people, objects, and the environment, and it shows us that memory’s role in questions of identity goes beyond merely accurately recalling one’s past. Identity depends not on memory per se, but partly on what we use memory for. (shrink)
When faced with intertemporal choices, which have consequences that unfold over time, we often discount the future, preferring smaller immediate rewards often at the expense of long-term benefits. How psychologically connected one feels to one’s future self-influences such temporal discounting. Psychological connectedness consists in sharing psychological properties with past or future selves, but connectedness comes in degrees. If one feels that one is not psychologically connected to one’s future self, one views that self like a different person and is less (...) likely to wait for the future reward. Increasing perceived psychological connectedness to one’s future self may lead to more far-sighted decisions. Episodic prospection may help in this regard. Episodic prospection is our ability to ‘pre-experience’ the future by mentally simulating it, drawing on information from episodic memory and other sources. Episodic memory and prospection are thought to involve a special form of consciousness, which underpins the capacity to appreciate the connection between one’s past, present, and future selves. Simulating the future self through prospection may increase felt psychological connectedness and support future-oriented decision-making. Yet this is where a puzzle arises. The imagery of episodic memory and prospection is perspectival: often one views the visualised scenario from a detached perspective, seeing oneself from-the-outside as if viewing another person. The aim of this paper is to characterise how the perspectival imagery of prospection relates to psychological connectedness, and to show that even though such imagery involves a detached perspective it can still be used to help reward one’s future self. (shrink)
Observer memories, memories where one sees oneself in the remembered scene, from-the-outside, are commonly considered less accurate and genuine than visual field memories, memories in which the scene remembered is seen as one originally experienced it. In Remembering from the Outside (OUP, 2019), ChristopherMcCarroll debunks this commonsense conception by offering a detailed analysis of the nature of observer memories. On the one hand, he explains how observer and field perspectives are not really mutually exclusive in an experience, (...) including memory experiences. On the other hand, he argues that in observer memories there is no additional explicit representation of oneself experiencing the event: the self-presence is transparent and given by the mode of presentation. Whereas these are two lines of strategic and original argumentation, they are not exempt of problems. In this critical notice, I focus on the problematic aspects of McCarroll’s account. I show that it presents some issues that affect the internal coherence of the overall framework, and that some aspects and central notions would have needed more development to offer a precise picture of the nature of observer memories. (shrink)
Observer memories involve a representation of the self in the memory image, which is presented from a detached or external point of view. That such an image is an obvious departure from how one initially experienced the event seems relatively straightforward. However, in my book on this type of imagery, I suggested that such memories can in fact, at least in some cases, accurately represent one’s past experience of an event. During these past events there is a sense in which (...) we adopt an external perspective on ourselves. In the present paper, I respond to a critical notice of my book by Marina Trakas. Trakas argues that my account of observer memory unfolded against the background of a problematic preservationist account of episodic memory, and that I failed to adequately account for the presence of self in observer memory. I respond these worries here, and I try to clarify key points that were underdeveloped in the book. (shrink)
When recalling events that one personally experienced, sometimes one sees oneself in the remembered scene: from an external, detached 'observer perspective'. In such cases one remembers from-the-outside. Remembering from-the-outside is a common yet curious case of personal memory. This book disentangles the puzzles posed by such memories.
In recent years the philosophy of memory and of imagination have emerged as new fields of research. This volume is the first to offer an integrative approach to both topics through a series of specially commissioned papers by leading figures in the field. The contributions present novel views on the nature of memory and imagination. Topics discussed include: the epistemic and metaphysical continuities and discontinuities between these two states; the ways in which they interact in mental states and actions; and (...) the relevance that these states have for our (mental) lives. The volume contains a selection of invited contributions, including: Margherita Arcangelli, Anja Berninger, Felipe de Brigart, Dorothea Debus, Robert Hopkins, Julia Jansen, Amy Kind, Peter Langland-Hassan, Christopher Jude McCarroll, Kengo Miyazono, Kourken Michaelian, Paul Noordhof, Sarah Robins, Fabrice Teroni, Uku Tooming, Íngrid Vendrell Ferran, and Markus Werning. (shrink)
This review should properly be prefaced with two caveats. First, I am not a specialist in the field of human origins. I am not an archaeologist or anthropologist, but a geologist who is generally unfamiliar with the literature covered and reviewed in this book as well as the issues and controversies. Second, I did not read the entire book. This review is based on a reading of the introduction and conclusion while skimming the rest of the text. For those who (...) find it unsettling that a reviewer has not read a book in its entirety, I can only tell you that it is very difficult to find people who are willing to donate the time necessary to read and review long technical books.. Anyone who is offended by my failure to peruse this volume from front to back covers may satisfy themselves with one-hundred percent of nothing by stopping their reading at this point. Ancient Ocean Crossings examines the evidence and arguments that human cultures in the Western Hemisphere were influenced by occasional contacts with ocean voyagers before Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas in 1492. As the author notes, it’s now conceded that Vikings established a few settlements in North America hundreds of years before Columbus, yet these colonies were short-lived and apparently had little to no influence on American Indians. The ocean crossings referred to in the text are hypothetical voyages that may have occurred in the ten thousand years before Europeans first set foot in the Americas. There are some striking and unexplained cultural similarities between native peoples of the Old World and the Americas. These include “technical complexities of weaving and dyeing that are shared between southern Asia and the Central Andean region of South America, “stepped temple pyramids that are oriented to the cardinal directions in both Mesoamerica and Cambodia, and the belief “in both China and Mesoamerica, that raw jade can be discovered in nature owing to ‘exhalations’ coming from the stone”. (shrink)
Christopher Peacocke’s A Study of Concepts is a dense and rewarding work. Each chapter raises many issues for discussion. I know three different people who are writing reviews of the volume. It testifies to the depth of Peacocke’s book that each reviewer is focusing on a quite different set of topics.
Ad hominem arguments are generally dismissed on the grounds that they are not attempts to engage in rational discourse, but are rather aimed at undermining argument by diverting attention from claims made to assessments of character of persons making claims. The manner of this dismissal however is based upon an unlikely paradigm of rationality: it is based upon the presumption that our intellectual capacities are not as limited as in fact they are, and do not vary as much as they (...) do between rational people. When we understand rationality in terms of intellectual virtues, however, which recognize these limitations and provide for the complexity of our thinking, ad hominem considerations can sometimes be relevant to assessing arguments. (shrink)
With the goal of understanding how Christopher Southgate communicates his in-depth knowledge of both science and theology, we investigated the many roles he assumes as a teacher. We settled upon wide-ranging topics that all intertwine: (1) his roles as author and coordinating editor of a premier textbook on science and theology, now in its third edition; (2) his oral presentations worldwide, including plenaries, workshops, and short courses; and (3) the team teaching approach itself, which is often needed by others (...) because the knowledge of science and theology do not always reside in the same person. Southgate provides, whenever possible, teaching contexts that involve students in experiential learning, where they actively participate with other students.We conclude that Southgate’s ultimate goal is to teach students how to reconcile science and theology in their values and beliefs, so that they can take advantage of both forms of rational thinking in their own personal and professional lives. The co-authors consider several examples of models that have been successfully used by people in various fields to integrate science and religion. (shrink)
The Neo-Aristotelian ethical naturalism of Philippa Foot and Rosalind Hursthouse purports to establish a naturalistic criterion for the virtues. Specifically, by developing a parallel between the natural ends of nonhuman animals and the natural ends of human beings, they argue that character traits are justified as virtues by the extent to which they promote and do not inhibit natural ends such as self-preservation, reproduction, and the well-being of one’s social group. I argue that the approach of Foot and Hursthouse cannot (...) provide a basis for moral universalism, the widely-accepted idea that each human being has moral worth and thus deserves significant moral consideration. Foot and Hursthouse both depict a virtuous agent as implicitly acting in accord with moral universalism. However, with respect to charity, a virtue they both emphasize, their naturalistic criterion at best provides a warrant for a restricted form of charity that extends only to a limited number of persons. There is nothing in the natural ends of human beings, as Foot and Hursthouse understand these, that gives us a reason for having any concern for the well-being of human beings as such. (shrink)
One of the most noteworthy features of David Gauthier's rational choice, contractarian theory of morality is its appeal to self-interested rationality. This appeal, however, will undoubtedly be the source of much controversy and criticism. For while self-interestedness is characteristic of much human behavior, it is not characteristic of all such behavior, much less of that which is most admirable. Yet contractarian ethics appears to assume that humans are entirely self-interested. It is not usually thought a virtue of a theory that (...) its assumptions are literally false. What may be said on behalf of the contractarian? (shrink)
In this interview, Christopher Norris discusses a wide range of issues having to do with postmodernism, deconstruction and other controversial topics of debate within present-day philosophy and critical theory. More specifically he challenges the view of deconstruction as just another offshoot of the broader postmodernist trend in cultural studies and the social sciences. Norris puts the case for deconstruction as continuing the 'unfinished project of modernity' and—in particular—for Derrida's work as sustaining the values of enlightened critical reason in various (...) spheres of thought from epistemology to ethics, sociology and politics. Along the way he addresses a number of questions that have lately been raised with particular urgency for teachers and educationalists, among them the revival of creationist doctrine and the idea of scientific knowledge as a social, cultural, or discursive construct. In this context he addresses the 'science wars' or the debate between those who uphold t. (shrink)
The sovereignty of the people, it is widely said, is the foundation of modern democracy. The truth of this claim depends on the plausibility of attributing sovereignty to “the people” in the first place, and I shall express skepticism about this possibility. I shall suggest as well that the notion of popular sovereignty is complex, and that appeals to the notion may be best understood as expressing several different ideas and ideals. This essay distinguishes many of these and suggests that (...) greater clarity at least would be obtained by focusing directly on these notions and ideals and eschewing that of sovereignty. My claim, however, will not merely be that the notion is multifaceted and complex. I shall argue as well that the doctrine that the people are, or ought to be, sovereign is misleading in potentially dangerous ways, and is conducive to a misunderstanding of the nature of politics, governance, and social order. It would be well to do without the doctrine, but it may be equally important to understand its errors. Our understandings and justifications of democracy, certainly, should dispense with popular sovereignty. (shrink)
Philosophers from Hume, Kant, and Wittgenstein to the recent realists and antirealists have sought to answer the question, What are concepts? This book provides a detailed, systematic, and accessible introduction to an original philosophical theory of concepts that Christopher Peacocke has developed in recent years to explain facts about the nature of thought, including its systematic character, its relations to truth and reference, and its normative dimension. Particular concepts are also treated within the general framework: perceptual concepts, logical concepts, (...) and the concept of belief are discussed in detail. The general theory is further applied in answering the question of how the ontology of concepts can be of use in classifying mental states, and in discussing the proper relation between philosophical and psychological theories of concepts. Finally, the theory of concepts is used to motivate a nonverificationist theory of the limits of intelligible thought. Peacocke treats content as broad rather than narrow, and his account is nonreductive and non-Quinean. Yet Peacocke also argues for an interactive relationship between philosophical and psychological theories of concepts, and he plots many connections with work in cognitive psychology. (shrink)
I begin, as I shall end, with fictions. In a well-known tale, The Sandman , Hoffmann has a student, Nathaniel, fall in love with a beautiful doll, Olympia, whom he has spied upon as she sits at a window across the street from his lodgings. We are meant to suppose that Nathaniel mistakes an automaton for a human being . The mistake is the result of an elaborate but obscure deception on the part of the doll's designer, Professor Spalanzani. Nathaniel (...) is disabused quite by accident when he over-hears a quarrel between Spalanzani, who made Olympia's clockwork, and the sinister Coppelius, who contributed the eyes. (shrink)
The exponential accumulation, processing and accrual of big data in healthcare are only possible through an equally rapidly evolving field of big data analytics. The latter offers the capacity to rationalize, understand and use big data to serve many different purposes, from improved services modelling to prediction of treatment outcomes, to greater patient and disease stratification. In the area of infectious diseases, the application of big data analytics has introduced a number of changes in the information accumulation models. These are (...) discussed by comparing the traditional and new models of data accumulation. Big data analytics is fast becoming a crucial component for the modelling of transmission—aiding infection control measures and policies—emergency response analyses required during local or international outbreaks. However, the application of big data analytics in infectious diseases is coupled with a number of ethical impacts. Four key areas are discussed in this paper: automation and algorithmic reliance impacting freedom of choice, big data analytics complexity impacting informed consent, reliance on profiling impacting individual and group identities and justice/fair access and increased surveillance and population intervention capabilities impacting behavioural norms and practices. Furthermore, the extension of big data analytics to include information derived from personal devices, such as mobile phones and wearables as part of infectious disease frameworks in the near future and their potential ethical impacts are discussed. Considered together, the need for a constructive and transparent inclusion of ethical questioning in this rapidly evolving field becomes an increasing necessity in order to provide a moral foundation for the societal acceptance and responsible development of the technological advancement. (shrink)
We propose a novel interpretation of Lewis on the analysis of modality that is constructed from primary sources, comprehensive and unprecedented. Our guiding precepts are to distinguish semantics from metaphysics, while respecting the inter-relations between them, and to discern whatever may be special, semantically or metaphysically, about the modal case. Following detailed presentation, we amplify and advocate our interpretation by providing a conforming genealogy of Lewis’s theory of modality and applying it to construct a detailed and newly illuminating version of (...) the Lewisian theory of modality de re. (shrink)
Medical analogies are commonly invoked in both Indian Buddhist dharma and Hellenistic philosophy. In the Pāli Canon, nirvana is depicted as a form of health, and the Buddha is portrayed as a doctor who helps us attain it. Much later in the tradition, Śāntideva described the Buddha’s teaching as ‘the sole medicine for the ailments of the world, the mine of all success and happiness.’ Cicero expressed the view of many Hellenistic philosophers when he said that philosophy is ‘a medical (...) science for the mind.’ He thought we should ‘hand ourselves over to philosophy, and let ourselves be healed.’ ‘For as long as these ills [of the mind] remain,’ he wrote, ‘we cannot attain to happiness.’ There are many different forms of medical analogy in these two traditions, but the most general form may be stated as follows: just as medicine cures bodily diseases and brings about physical health, so Buddhist dharma or Hellenistic philosophy cures mental diseases and brings about psychological health—where psychological health is understood as the highest form of happiness or well-being. Insofar as Buddhist dharma involves philosophy, as it does, both renditions of the analogy may be said to declare that philosophy cures mental diseases and brings about psychological health. This feature of the analogy—philosophy as analogous to medical treatment—has attracted considerable attention. (shrink)
Being Known is a response to a philosophical challenge which arises for every area of thought: to reconcile a plausible account of what is involved in the truth of statements in a given area with a credible account of how we can know those statements. Christopher Peacocke presents a framework for addressing the challenge, a framework which links both the theory of knowledge and the theory of truth with the theory of concept-possession.
Mathematics plays a central role in much of contemporary science, but philosophers have struggled to understand what this role is or how significant it might be for mathematics and science. In this book Christopher Pincock tackles this perennial question in a new way by asking how mathematics contributes to the success of our best scientific representations. In the first part of the book this question is posed and sharpened using a proposal for how we can determine the content of (...) a scientific representation. Several different sorts of contributions from mathematics are then articulated. Pincock argues that each contribution can be understood as broadly epistemic, so that what mathematics ultimately contributes to science is best connected with our scientific knowledge. In the second part of the book, Pincock critically evaluates alternative approaches to the role of mathematics in science. These include the potential benefits for scientific discovery and scientific explanation. A major focus of this part of the book is the indispensability argument for mathematical platonism. Using the results of part one, Pincock argues that this argument can at best support a weak form of realism about the truth-value of the statements of mathematics. The book concludes with a chapter on pure mathematics and the remaining options for making sense of its interpretation and epistemology. Thoroughly grounded in case studies drawn from scientific practice, this book aims to bring together current debates in both the philosophy of mathematics and the philosophy of science and to demonstrate the philosophical importance of applications of mathematics. (shrink)
Plongé au cœur des nanos, Christophe Vieu souligne la diversité des secteurs touchés par l’approche nano. À l’idée d’une convergence des secteurs scientifiques, il oppose l’image d’une espèce invasive. Il se sent de ce fait investi d’une responsabilité de l’ensemble des technosciences.
Physicist David Bohm and biochemist Ilya Prigogine began a dialogue that implied a deep, structuring, primordial harmony within life. In classical Chinese this harmony is referred to as Li, which also designates the elegant, natural pattern found in jade. This article emphasizes the ways that perception of primordial harmony gives way to a vision of possibility and to the creative intelligence and action necessary for meeting the challenges we face. Insights from Bohm, Prigogine, and others on releasing outmoded thinking (...) and actions are integrated with contemplative traditions, Eastern and Western philosophy, and pragmatic strategy making. (shrink)
Do states have the right to prevent potential immigrants from crossing their borders, or should people have the freedom to migrate and settle wherever they wish? Christopher Heath Wellman and Phillip Cole develop and defend opposing answers to this timely and important question.
We live in a morally flawed world. Our lives are complicated by what other people do, and by the harms that flow from our social, economic and political institutions. Our relations as individuals to these collective harms constitute the domain of complicity. This book examines the relationship between collective responsibility and individual guilt. It presents a rigorous philosophical account of the nature of our relations to the social groups in which we participate, and uses that account in a discussion of (...) contemporary moral theory. Christopher Kutz shows that the two prevailing theories of moral philosophy, Kantianism and consequentialism, both have difficulties resolving problems of complicity. He then argues for a richer theory of accountability in which any real understanding of collective action not only allows but demands individual responsibility. (shrink)
Researchers studying the psychology of concepts frequently draw distinctions between artificial and natural concepts. Unfortunately, there is a lack of consensus regarding the foundations and implications of the distinction. This paper provides a review and evaluation of the different ways researchers have approached the question of conceptual naturalness. Accounts may be divided into 2 approaches described as psychologically or externally based. These characterizations motivate distinctive sets of research questions. In addition to the particular implications, the author also considers the general (...) significance of a distinction between natural and artificial concepts. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
I shall start by considering the apparently paradoxical doctrines that Wittgenstein put forward about knowledge: they show how the concept of knowledge is, as he says, ‘specialized’. This is not, as I shall show, a very important issue in itself, but it leads on to other points, of more interest: how it comes about, for example, that ‘not all corrections of our beliefs are on the same level’. I shall then discuss the idea that we inherit a certain picture of (...) the world that forms the background of our experiments and researches. This idea, which is not of course unique to Wittgenstein, is, however, developed with many fresh insights. I end with some discussion of Wittgenstein's reported views on religious belief, which should not, in my opinion, be regarded as part of his contribution to philosophy, the interest of them being, perhaps, more biographical than philosophical. (shrink)
At least since Locke, philosophers and psychologists have usually held that concepts arise out of sensory perceptions, thoughts are built from concepts, and language enables speakers to convey their thoughts to hearers. Christopher Gauker holds that this tradition is mistaken about both concepts and language. The mind cannot abstract the building blocks of thoughts from perceptual representations. More generally, we have no account of the origin of concepts that grants them the requisite independence from language. Gauker's alternative is to (...) show that much of cognition consists in thinking by means of mental imagery, without the help of concepts, and that language is a tool by which interlocutors coordinate their actions in pursuit of shared goals. Imagistic cognition supports the acquisition and use of this tool, and when the use of this tool is internalized, it becomes the very medium of conceptual thought. (shrink)
Christopher G. Timpson provides the first full-length philosophical treatment of quantum information theory and the questions it raises for our understanding of the quantum world. He argues for an ontologically deflationary account of the nature of quantum information, which is grounded in a revisionary analysis of the concepts of information.
This is a book about sensory states and their apparent characteristics. It confronts a whole series of metaphysical and epistemological questions and presents an argument for type materialism: the view that sensory states are identical with the neural states with which they are correlated. According to type materialism, sensations are only possessed by human beings and members of related biological species; silicon-based androids cannot have sensations. The author rebuts several other rival theories, and explores a number of important issues: the (...) forms and limits of introspective awareness of sensations, the semantic properties of sensory concepts, knowledge of other minds, and unity of consciousness. The book is a significant contribution to the philosophy of mind, and has much to say to psychologists and cognitive scientists. (shrink)