The aim of this paper is to capture the similarities and differences between assertions and polar questions so as to be able to account for the systematic partial overlap that exists in reactions to these speech acts in English and beyond. We first discuss the discourse components we assume and then define default assertions and default polar questions in a way that allows us to characterize two types of responses to these speech acts, confirming and reversing reactions. The common characteristics (...) of assertions and polar questions are responsible for the fact that both allow these reactions; the differences between the two speech acts explain the different contextual effects confirming and reversing moves have depending on whether they react to an assertion or a polar question. We then examine the distribution of a set of ‘polarity’ particles in Romanian in terms of the notions defined in the rest of the paper and end with a series of predictions concerning polarity particles across languages. (shrink)
The paper aims at proposing an extended notion of epigenesis acknowledging an actual causal import to the phenotypic dimension for the evolutionary diversification of life forms. “Introductory remarks” section offers introductory remarks on the issue of epigenesis contrasting it with ancient and modern preformationist views. In “Transmutation of forms: phenotypic variation, diversification, and complexification” section we propose to intend epigenesis as a process of phenotypic formation and diversification dependent on environmental influences, independent of changes in the genomic nucleotide sequence, and (...) occurring during the whole life span. Then, “Evolvability and phenotypic evolution” section focuses on phenotypic plasticity and offers an overview of basic properties that allows biological systems to be evolvable—i.e. to have the potentiality of producing phenotypic variation. Successively, the emphasis is put on environmentally-induced modifications in the regulation of gene expression giving rise to phenotypic variation and diversification. After some brief considerations on the debated issue of epigenetic inheritance, the issue of culture is considered. The key point is that, in the case of humans and of the evolutionary history of the genus Homo at least, the environment is also, importantly, the cultural environment. Thus, “Bio-cultural feedback” section argues that a bio-cultural feedback should be acknowledged in the “epigenic” processes leading to phenotypic diversification and innovation in Homo evolution. Finally, “Brain plasticity and cultural neural reuse” section introduces the notion of “cultural neural reuse”, which refers to phenotypic/neural modifications induced by specific features of the cultural environment that are effective in human cultural evolution without involving genetic changes. Therefore, cultural neural reuse may be regarded as a key instance of the bio-cultural feedback and ultimately of the extended notion of epigenesis proposed in this work. (shrink)
A number of recent scholarly works in Chinese philosophy approach Chinese texts and thinkers by incorporating them into longstanding issues and debates in the Western philosophical tradition. While the merits of this approach have received much discussion among those working in Chinese philosophy, it also has the potential to reach those outside the field whose research or teaching focuses on the debates and issues. In this article we look at the issue of using Chinese philosophy in courses on contemporary philosophical (...) topics for non-specialists. We give the justification for this pedagogical approach, put forth a “syllabus” of preparatory readings, and finally, discuss its limitations and possibilities. (shrink)
In recent years, universities throughout the People’s Republic of China have begun actively seeking foreign professors to work full-time in their philosophy departments. This, coupled with the decrease in the number of job openings in philosophy across western Europe and North America, might very well lead to a sharp rise in the number of foreign faculty members in philosophy departments across mainland China. In this article I will outline three of the major difficulties facing philosophy teachers who have little or (...) no experience in the Chinese education system, and provide suggestions for dealing with them. The first two are general and apply to a broad range of courses; namely, initiating class discussion and teaching students how to understand philosophical arguments. The third is specifically related to those who teach or engage with Chinese thought. These professors should be prepared to encounter a surmountable but pronounced skepticism among many Chinese students against the ability of foreigners to truly comprehend Chinese philosophy. (shrink)
After a few general observations on scientific activity, the author briefly comments on different versions of naturalism. Subsequently, he suggests that the birth of evolutionary biology and its successive developments may show how the natural world comes to be differently conceived as scientific advancements are accomplished. Then the main thesis is outlined by introducing the principles of a heuristic science-based naturalism not conclusively defining the real and the knowable. From the epistemological perspective, heuristic naturalism is meant to be framed in (...) critical realism, whereas from the ontological standpoint it may be framed in emergent monism, given that the latter can also underpin recent trends in investigation addressing human specificity. Finally, attention is turned to some implications of heuristically guided scientific activity with regard to the issues of divine action and of imago Dei. (shrink)
Edward Slingerland has been working on notions of spontaneity in classical Chinese thought and modern science for many years. In his newest title, Trying Not to Try: The Art and Science of Spontaneity, he approaches this topic by weaving short anecdotes, recent discoveries in cognitive science, and classic Chinese philosophy into an eloquent tapestry that depicts both the everydayness and paradoxical nature of spontaneous action. The text does not read like many other contemporary academic books: it uses colloquial language and (...) does not directly address contemporary philosophical debates. But this does not compromise its ability to stimulate the intellect, or deliver solid philosophical arguments. Slingerland does... (shrink)
In recent years Michael Sandel’s communitarian criticism of John Rawls’s theory of justice has gained much attention in philosophical circles. Specifically, he takes issue with the conception of the self—implicit in Rawls’s “veil of ignorance”: an extraction of the individual from their social environment, which creates an “unencumbered self” that is then used to theorize about justice. Sandel believes that some social ties are so deeply embedded in the human experience that even hypothetical isolation of the individual is likely to (...) lead ethical thinking astray. Additionally, he thinks that human emotions and other circumstantial considerations need to be taken into account. His emphasis on the situated self has... (shrink)
In this paper it is assumed a broad conceptualization of Science which allows far looking into common practices which are apparently unstructured forms of knowledge. This result from a concept of culture which is the result of an hierarchization of behavior. In this theoretical framewark the concept of ethnoscience is analysed.
In recent years, philosophical ideas developed during the Wei-Jin period, broadly referred to as xuanxue in Chinese and ‘Neo-Daoism’ or ‘Dark Learning’ in English, have been accorded increasing attention in academia. This article provides an introduction to some major thinkers of the Wei-Jin period, addressing both their original writings and recent scholarly interpretations. The article aims to demonstrate that many Wei-Jin period intellectuals formed their theories through reinterpreting the relationship between texts associated with Daoism and Confucianism. Thinkers of this period (...) often attempted to show how these defining ‘schools’ of pre-Qin Chinese thought did not propose theories that were fundamentally inconsistent, and that their ideas could be woven together as elements of a coherent view. This intellectual movement can thus be, and often has been, viewed as an attempt to integrate Daoism and Confucianism. However, a more nuanced reading demonstrates that these thinkers were reworking the relationship between what were seen as predominately Daoist or Confucian themes from their very foundation. Accordingly, the common description of Wei-Jin thinkers as ‘Daoist’ is decidedly incongruous. (shrink)
Are you familiar with Michael Sandel’s work?Yes I am. In the nineties I read several books on communitarianism, including Michael Sandel’s Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy.What do you think of communitarianism?I discussed communitarianism in my books Five Essays from 1999 and, especially, Historical Ontology more than ten years ago. My thoughts have not changed since then. Simply put, I think communitarianism is the product of developed countries with long traditions of liberalism. It has referential value, but (...) if directly or indiscriminately adopted in other societies it can be quite dangerous.In recent years Sandel has become very... (shrink)
Against Individualism: A Confucian Rethinking of the Foundations of Morality, Politics, Family, and Religion presents Henry Rosemont’s reflection on possible Confucian-based avenues for considering solutions to contemporary moral, political, and spiritual problems. Rosemont contends that the ideologies of capitalist economies, which are based largely on competition, and belief in autonomous individuality, including abstract notions of human rights, are fundamentally unable to deal effectively with many of today’s most pressing issues. For example, he argues against appealing to universalist principles in an (...) attempt to dissolve ethical and political tensions between cultures and states. In accordance with this orientation, his work is then best judged on the contributions it makes to constructing new perspectives on the problems addressed rather than how accurately he represents any tradition. In fact, Rosemont readily admits that he may be “unfair” to individualism or “creative[ly] misreading” early Confucianism. In this review article, I will argue that some of the differences Rosemont finds between his Confucian critique of individualism and the communitarian critique of individualism are, in fact, not all that dissimilar. For example, while Rosemont sees Alasdair MacIntyre and Michael Sandel as “individualists,” the general orientation of their communitarian response to libertarianism shares much in common with the Confucian “role ethics” perspective on the person and morality or ethics. In this way, I will argue that while Confucian role ethics and communitarian perspectives certainly have their respective emphases, they also have a lot to offer one another. (shrink)
The ideals of creativity and equality are expressed in what the education system pretends to be, not what it is. Creativity in education is the idea that each student is a unique creative individual whose cultivation of his/her "inner self" is fostered by the education system. Equality is said to exist because students are supposed to be marked or graded equally, thereby allowing all students equal opportunity to communicate in education. These ideal values of how education should be are considered (...) good because they allow educators and politicians to develop policies that are supposed to steer the education system closer to them. Furthermore, it is commonly believed that these ideals, though not fully actualized, are to some extent realized in the current system of education in North America. Many students believe that the education system is largely humane, their individual ideas matter, and are judged with some degree of fairness. When students apply to universities they do so believing that they will be considered as persons, equally among other persons. However, the reality of the system of education is far from being either creative or equal. Communication in education that exists today does not reflect the student's "inner self" nor does the educational system foster genuine equality. In reality, the best way for a student to be accepted into a university is by creating the finest possible application, and to do so students should abandon the ideals of creativity and equality. (shrink)
Li Zehou is perhaps best known among Western audiences for his work on aesthetics. This is mainly due to the fact that translations of his writings available in English are mostly limited to his aesthetics.1 The content of A Response to Michael Sandel and Other Matters differs greatly from these previous translations. Published in Chinese in 2014, it is one of Li’s most recent books, and in it he discusses several main points of the systematic philosophical outlook he has developed (...) over recent decades, and places them in relation to Western liberalism. A Response thus aims far beyond responding to Michael Sandel’s views on justice and morality as presented in the... (shrink)
In this paper we will discuss some basic aspects of the global theory of dynamical systems. Rather than entering in technical derivations, we will try to emphasize the main points of the concept of dynamical systems which lead us to the generalization presented here, as well as some results that are easily generalized. Besides, some considerations of philosophical nature will be made.
In his most recent book, Against Individualism: A Confucian Rethinking of the Foundations of Morality, Politics, Family, and Religion, Henry Rosemont defends against those who would call his reading of Confucianism—he sees it as a type of Role Ethics—a misinterpretation. Rosemont contends that Confucian Role Ethics is important for challenging individualism, even if it is somehow unfaithful to pre-Qin texts. He writes that he could "simply re-title" his book "Role Ethics: A Different Approach to Moral Philosophy Based on a Creative (...) Misreading of Early Confucian Writings". In Confucian Propriety and Ritual Learning: A Philosophical Interpretation, Geir Sigurðsson... (shrink)
In _On Human Action and Practical Wisdom_, Yang Guorong offers a description of wisdom and action based on his “concrete metaphysics.” Yang attempts to go beyond the excessively linguistic, logical, and abstract focus found in the American analytic tradition.