This paper articulates a feminist poststructural philosophy of education by combining the work of Luce Irigaray and Michel Foucault. This acts as an underpinning for a philosophy of desire (McWilliam, 1999) in education, or as a minor philosophy of education where multiple movements of bodies are enacted through theoretical methodologies and research. These methods include qualitative analysis and critical discourse analysis; where the conjunction Irigaray-Foucault is a paradigm for dealing with educational phenomena. It is also a rigorous materialism (Braidotti, 2005) (...) that opens up the way in which we think about philosophical bodies in education with language. This simultaneously creates gaps in our thinking about the problems associated with philosophical bodies in education, where the imagination may intercede and Eros can do his work, ‘For if Eros possessed all that he desires, he would desire no more’ (Irigaray, 1993, p. 22). (shrink)
Michael Tye, Consciousness Revisited: Materialism Without Phenomenal Concepts Content Type Journal Article Pages 103-106 DOI 10.1007/s11023-011-9225-3 Authors DavidCole, Department of Philosophy, University of Minnesota-Duluth, 369 A.B. Anderson Hall, Duluth, MN 55812, USA Journal Minds and Machines Online ISSN 1572-8641 Print ISSN 0924-6495 Journal Volume Volume 21 Journal Issue Volume 21, Number 1.
Jerry Fodor, LOT 2: The Language of Thought Revisited , New York: Oxford University Press, 2008, x+228, $37.95, ISBN 978-0-119-954877-4 Content Type Journal Article Pages 439-443 DOI 10.1007/s11023-009-9164-4 Authors DavidCole, University of Minnesota-Duluth Department of Philosophy 369 A B Anderson Hall Duluth MN 55812 USA Journal Minds and Machines Online ISSN 1572-8641 Print ISSN 0924-6495 Journal Volume Volume 19 Journal Issue Volume 19, Number 3.
Empirical studies of gesture in a subject who has lost proprioception and the sense of touch from the neck down show that specific aspects of gesture remain normal despite abnormal motor processes for instrumental movement. The experiments suggest that gesture, as a linguistic phenomenon, is not reducible to instrumental movement. They also support and extend claims made by Merleau-Ponty concerning the relationship between language and cognition. Gesture, as language, contributes to the accomplishment of thought.
The actions of affect are prominent in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and can be broken down for the purposes of education into two roles. The first alludes to the history of philosophy and the ways in which affect has been used by Spinoza (Deleuze, 1992) Nietzsche (Deleuze, 1983) or Bergson (Deleuze, 1991). In this role, Deleuze reinvigorates and challenges definitions of affect that would place them into systems of understanding that could take paths to metaphysics or to becoming paradigms (...) for capture in any further theorisation of affect. For example, scholars might attest to the use of affect as defined by Spinoza in the Ethics. Deleuze (1983, 1991, 1992) attends to the ways in which scholarly understanding of affect has been broached in order to free the idea up for empirical studies and also to show that the power of didactic language may be subsumed and subverted. The second role of affect in the work of Deleuze comes about in his first two co-authored books that he produced with Félix Guattari (Deleuze & Guattari, 1984, 1988). These publications have a distinct purpose from the scholarly work, which this article shall examine in terms of educational activism, group identities and the sociology of education. This level imbues the use of language in pedagogic acts with an intense affective resonance and the multiple traces of becoming that might be present in any teaching and learning context. (shrink)
Considerations of personal identity bear on John Searle's Chinese Room argument, and on the opposed position that a computer itself could really understand a natural language. In this paper I develop the notion of a virtual person, modelled on the concept of virtual machines familiar in computer science. I show how Searle's argument, and J. Maloney's attempt to defend it, fail. I conclude that Searle is correct in holding that no digital machine could understand language, but wrong in holding that (...) artificial minds are impossible: minds and persons are not the same as the machines, biological or electronic, that realize them. (shrink)
Thought experiments have been used by philosophers for centuries, especially in the study of personal identity where they appear to have been used extensively and indiscriminately. Despite their prevalence, the use of thought experiments in this area of philosophy has been criticized in recent times. Bernard Williams criticizes the conclusions that are drawn from some experiments, and retells one of these experiments from a different perspective, a retelling which leads to a seemingly opposing result. Wilkes criticizes the method of thought (...) experimentation itself, suggesting that the results drawn from the experiments are tainted by a faulty method. This paper examines both these types of objection, and concludes that neither can be sustained. (shrink)
Functionalism, a philosophical theory, has empirical consequences. Functionalism predicts that where systematic transformations of sensory input occur and are followed by behavioral accommodation in which normal function of the organism is restored such that the causes and effects of the subject's psychological states return to those of the period prior to the transformation, there will be a return of qualia or subjective experiences to those present prior to the transform. A transformation of this type that has long been of philosophical (...) interest is the possibility of an inverted spectrum. Hilary Putnam argues that the physical possibility of acquired spectrum inversion refutes functionalism. I argue, however, that in the absence of empirical results no a priori arguments against functionalism, such as Putnam's, can be cogent. I sketch an experimental situation which would produce acquired spectrum inversion. The mere existence of qualia inversion would constitute no refutation of functionalism; only its persistence after behavioral accommodation to the inversion would properly count against functionalism. The cumulative empirical evidence from experiments on image inversion suggests that the results of actual spectrum inversion would confirm rather than refute functionalism. (shrink)
Intentionality is a property of an important class of things: things that represent, or are about something. Thus a belief or sentence or story is about something, a painting or photo is of something, a sign is a sign of something, and a desire is a desire for something. These disparate things all display intentionality. They have content; they represent some state of affairs beyond themselves. The represented state of affairs need not be actual, and is not in the cases (...) of false belief, unfulfilled desire, or Salvadore Dali painting. (shrink)
Formerly a spectral apparition that haunted behaviorism and provided a puzzle about our knowledge of other minds, the inverted spectrum possibility has emerged as an important challenge to functionalist accounts of qualia. The inverted spectrum hypothesis raises the possibility that two individuals might think and behave in the same way yet have different qualia. The traditional supposition is of an individual who has a subjective color spectrum that is inverted with regard to that had by other individuals. When he looks (...) at red objects, this individual has the qualia normally produced in others by blue objects. And when presented with a blue object, this individual experiences qualia that most persons experience only when presented with red objects. And so forth - the Invert's color spectrum is the inverse of normal; there are systematic inter-subjective differences in qualia. (shrink)
This paper critically examines the materialism that Gilles Deleuze espouses in his oeuvre to the benefit of educational theory. In Difference and Repetition, he presented transcendental empiricism by underwriting Kant with realism (Deleuze, 1994). Later, in Capitalism & Schizophrenia I & II that were co-written with Félix Guattari (1984, 1988) and that they named Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze's philosophical approach is realigned into what I term here as transcendental materialism, and latterly as immanent materialism; that I claim effectively (...) eliminate phenomenology as perceptual input. This essay takes this transformation seriously as a way of understanding educational data, research and practices. The proposition that is central to this paper is that transcendental and immanent materialism give us a means of dealing with educational phenomena without the interference of perception or a stable category of experience, by connecting data with theory and circumventing subjectification. It is argued that this proposition has important consequences for educational research, and the construction of educational arguments that will be illustrated in this essay. Deleuze's debt to French Marxism and in particular to the work of Louis Althusser are also recognised through this writing. (shrink)
I present a theory of the nature and basis of the conscious experience characteristic of occurent propositional attitudes: thinking this or that. As a preliminary I offer an extended criticism of Paul Schweizer's treatment of such consciousness as unexplained secondary qualities of neural events. I also attempt to rebut arguments against the possibility of functionalist accounts of conscious experience and qualia.
"Mantras were not viewed as the only means of expressing truth, however. Thought, which was defined as internalized speech, offered yet another aspect of truth. And if words and thoughts designated different aspects of truth, or reality, then there had to be an underlying unity behind all phenomena" (S. A. Nigosian 1994: World Faiths, p. 84).
Three decades of concern over consumption of potentially contaminated Great Lakes fish has led government agencies and public health proponents to implement risk assessment and management programs as a means of protecting the health of fishers and their families. While well-meaning in their intent, these programs––and much of the research conducted to support and evaluate them––were not designed to accommodate the understandings and concerns of the fish consumer. Results from a qualitative component of a multi-disciplinary, multi-year research project on frequent (...) (average 108 meals per year) consumers of Great Lakes fish tell the fishers’ side of the story. We present data from 87 tape recorded interviews conducted with Vietnamese, Chinese, and English-speaking participants that underscore the quality of freshly caught Great Lakes fish and the important social and cultural benefits of fish and fishing to the consumer. We also outline the participants’ understandings of risk from eating Great Lakes fish and the way in which fishers and their families manage this risk. The paper concludes with a discussion of these benefits, risks, and risk management strategies as ways that Great Lakes fish consumers “construct” rather than “perceive” risk. We advocate for risk assessment and management protocols that involve those who will be affected the most, such as frequent consumers of Great Lakes fish, from the initial “risk characterization” stage through to any necessary risk communication. (shrink)
Did protolanguage users use discrete words that referred to objects, actions, locations, etc., and then, at some point, combine them; or on the contrary did they have words that globally indexed whole semantic complexes, and then come to divide them? Our answer is: early humans were forming language units consisting of global and discrete dimensions of semiosis in dynamic opposition. These units of thinking-for-speaking, or ‘growth points’ (GPs) were, jointly, analog imagery (visuo-spatio-motoric) and categorically-contrastive (-emic) linguistic encodings. This discrete-global duality (...) was a new mode of embodied cognition that enabled thinking and acting in new ways: the dawn of protolanguage. Where did this mode of cognition come from? We have some suggestions based on the hypothesis that gestures gained the power to orchestrate actions, manual and vocal, with significances other than those of the actions themselves, giving rise to cognition framed in the proposed dual terms. Note, however, our proposal is not one of the ‘gesture-first’ theories of language origins. Such theories predict what did not evolve: a language of pantomime; rather than what did evolve: an integrated system of synchronized gestures and spoken forms. GP theory is an account of the cognition underlying such an integrated system. A scenario for the evolutionary selection of this cognitive mode is ‘Mead’s Loop’, a model in which one’s cognition is enriched by one’s own gestures, insofar as they are objects in social interactions. (shrink)
Stephen Pinker sets out over a dozen arguments in The language instinct (Morrow, New York, 1994) for his widely shared view that natural language is inadequate as a medium for thought. Thus he argues we must suppose that the primary medium of thought and inference is an innate propositional representation system, mentalese. I reply to the various arguments and so defend the view that some thought essentially involves natural language. I argue mentalese doesn't solve any of the problems Pinker cites (...) for the view that we think in natural language. So I don't think I think the way he thinks I think. (shrink)
Although Arbib's extension of the mirror-system hypothesis neatly sidesteps one problem with the “gesture-first” theory of language origins, it overlooks the importance of gestures that occur in current-day human linguistic performance, and this lands it with another problem. We argue that, instead of gesture-first, a system of combined vocalization and gestures would have been a more natural evolutionary unit.
thought and problem solving in persons lacking natural language altogether would be a decisive challenge, but there is no clear evidence of any abstract thinking capabilities similar to those evinced by the scientists. Pinker cites languageless persons rebuilding broken locks - this is evidence of perhaps visual imagery, but not mentalese (at least not without quite a bit more detail and argument than we are given). Spiders, e.g., build marvelous things, but no inference to spiderese appears to be warranted. There (...) simply is much we don. (shrink)
One of the ways our legal system has avoided confronting this ugly reality is through a commitment to legal formalism. Legal formalism allows us to ignore the social determinants that my AUSA friend saw every day as he prosecuted federal drug cases. As my colleague Professor Michael Seidman has suggested, legal formalism, which has been effectively critiqued and displaced by legal realism in many other areas of law, continues to exercise considerable influence over the way we think about criminal law. (...) This formalist approach, in my view, has strongly affected the way we approach the drug problem. One consequence is that we continue to pursue an increasingly futile war on drugs and refuse to see the issue in its broader, realist dimension. A little realism on the subject of drugs, I suggest, would go a long way. There is much to be said for formalism in the criminal law. Formalism, with its commitment to fair procedures, clear rules, and restricted discretion, is a necessary part of any fair system of criminal law. The sanctions involved in the criminal system are too severe to permit them to be allocated in an open ended discretionary or regulatory manner. The criminal law's commitment to formalism is thus not a fault, but a strength. Discretionary regulatory schemes too often invite subjective judgments susceptible to abuse, prejudice, and favoritism. Formalist rules, by contrast, are built on the promise of treating likes alike. Precisely for this reason, however, we ought to reconsider whether the criminal approach makes sense when there is substantial evidence that the commitment to equality has been seriously compromised. Our dual commitments to equality and to the reduction of the human damage that drug abuse inflicts suggest that we should reduce our reliance on the criminal justice system. Alternative approaches, such as treatment and rehabilitation, promise to be both more effective and more fair. (shrink)
Dretske’s Naturalizing the Mind sets out the case for holding that mental states in general are natural representers of reality. Mental states have functions; for many states the function is to indicate what is going on in the world. Among such indicator states are beliefs. The content of these states is given by what they are supposed to represent. So if a state is supposed to indicate that it’s dark, then “it’s dark” is the content of the state. Thus we (...) can characterize how the organism takes things to be, its subjectivity, by noting first what physical (neural) state it is in, and second what the biological indicator function of that state is. Thus the mind and meaning are naturalized. (shrink)
The Way of Ideas died an ignoble death, committed to the flames by behaviorist empiricists. Ideas, pictures in the head, perished with the Way. By the time those empiricists were supplanted at the helm by functionalists and causal theorists, a revolution had taken place in linguistics and the last thing anyone wanted to do was revive images as the medium of thought. Currently, some but not all cognitive scientists think that there probably are mental images - experiments in cognitive psychology (...) (e.g. Shepard and Metzler 1971) have shown it to be plausible to posit mental images. Even so, the phenomenon of mental imagery has been largely regarded as peripheral in cognition, perhaps even epiphenomenal. Images cannot fix the content of thought (intentions, rules), the Wittgenstein story went. The central processes of thought, so the post-Wittgenstein story goes, require a propositional representation system, a language of thought, universal and modeled on the machine languages of computers. The language of thought is compositional, productive, and, leading advocates argue, has a causal semantics. Images lack all of these essential qualities and so are hopeless as key players in thinking. (shrink)
In Book II of the _Essay_, at the beginning of his discussion of language in Chapter II ("Of the Signification of Words"), John Locke writes that we humans have a variety of thoughts which might profit others, but that unfortunately these thoughts lie invisible and hidden from others. And so we use language to communicate these thoughts. As a result, "words, in their primary or immediate signification,stand for nothing but _the ideas in the mind of him that uses them_.
Descartes refuted skepticism in 1641. George Berkeley refuted skepticism in 1710. O.K. Bouwsma refuted skepticism in 1949. Hilary Putnam refuted skepticism in 1981. The locus classicus for the form of skepticism refuted is Descartes' Meditations -- which also goes on to set out a famous realist refutation of skepticism. Indeed, Descartes is the principal inventor of the philosophic enterprise of skepticism refutation so central to Modern philosophy and its epistemic preoccupations. What the cited successors of Descartes and many others have (...) in common is a rejection of both skepticism and Descartes' refutation of it. Berkeley, Bouwsma and Putnam offer a sophisticated, undercutting, refutation which undermines the very coherence of skepticism. And for all, issues of language and meaning rise to the fore, determining the coherence of any skeptical doubts and constraining the possibilities of systematic error and deception (for Berkeley, these appear as issues about the objects of thought, which in turn are the foundation of the meaning of language). (shrink)