In the social sciences and in everyday speech we often talk about groups as if they behaved in the same way as individuals, thinking and acting as a singular being. We say for example that "Google intends to develop an automated car", "the U.S. Government believes that Syria has used chemical weapons on its people", or that "the NRA wants to protect the rights of gun owners". We also often ascribe legal and moral responsibility to groups. But could groups literally (...) intend things? Is there such a thing as a collective mind? If so, should groups be held morally responsible? Such questions are of vital importance to our understanding of the social world. In this lively, engaging introduction Deborah Tollefsen offers a careful survey of contemporary philosophers? answers to these questions, and argues for the unorthodox view that certain groups should, indeed, be treated as agents and deserve to be held morally accountable. Tollefsen explores the nature of belief, action and intention, and shows the reader how a belief in group agency can be reconciled with our understanding of individual agency and accountability. _Groups as Agents_ will be a vital resource for scholars as well as for students of philosophy and the social sciences encountering the topic for the first time. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Homeostats for the 21st Century? Simulating Ashby Simulating the Brain” by Stefano Franchi. Upshot: Franchi argues that Ashby’s homeostat can be usefully understood as a thought experiment to explore the theory that life is fundamentally heteronomous. While I share Franchi’s interpretation, I disagree that this theory of life is a promising alternative that is at odds with most of the Western philosophical tradition. On the contrary, heteronomy lies at the very core of (...) computationalism, and this is precisely what explains its persistent failure to construct life-like agents. (shrink)
This is a book about Aristotle's philosophy of language, interpreted in a framework that provides a comprehensive interpretation of Aristotle's metaphysics, philosophy of mind, epistemology and science. The aim of the book is to explicate the description of meaning contained in De Interpretatione and to show the relevance of that theory of meaning to much of the rest of Aristotle's philosophy. In the process Deborah Modrak reveals how that theory of meaning has been much maligned. This is a major (...) reassessment of an underestimated aspect of Aristotle that will be of particular interest to classical philosophers, classicists and historians of psychology and cognitive science. (shrink)
Descartes is often accused of having fragmented the human being into two independent substances, mind and body, with no clear strategy for explaining the apparent unity of human experience. Deborah Brown argues that, contrary to this view, Descartes did in fact have a conception of a single, integrated human being, and that in his view this conception is crucial to the success of human beings as rational and moral agents and as practitioners of science. The passions are pivotal in (...) this, and in a rich and wide-ranging discussion she examines Descartes' place in the tradition of thought about the passions, the metaphysics of actions and passions, sensory representation, and Descartes' account of self-mastery and virtue. Her study is an important and original reading not only of Descartes' account of mind-body unity but also of his theory of mind. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Homeostats for the 21st Century? Simulating Ashby Simulating the Brain” by Stefano Franchi. Upshot: The association of heteronomy with Ashby’s work in the target article follows from a direct interpretation of the second edition of Ashby’s book Design for a Brain. However, the first edition allows for an alternative – opposite – interpretation that is compatible with autonomy and autopoiesis. Furthermore, a more balanced perspective is suggested to avoid unintentionally giving the (...) casual reader a misleading impression that the homeostat is Ashby’s ultimate position on homeostasis and that it is an adequate model of the brain. (shrink)
The enactivist paradigm of embodied cognition represents a powerful alternative to Cartesian and cognitivist approaches in the philosophy of mind. On this view, the body plays a constitutive role in the integrated functioning of perception, affect and other cognitive processes. Enactivism shares many of the central themes of feminist theory, and is extended to apply to social and political concerns. Following a discussion of the key components of the enactive approach, we apply it to explain more complex social manifestations, specifically (...) gender performance and its reproduction through time. By employing Judith Butler’s notion of performativity, we demonstrate how gender, as one marker of social identity and difference, emerges through processes of embodied and embedded sense-making as articulated by enactive theory. We argue that more attention to embodied and embedded values allows for the interruption and transformation of histories of oppressive practices and opens the door to more liberatory possibilities. (shrink)
What is the trouble with schools and why should we want to make ‘school trouble’? Schooling is implicated in the making of educational and social exclusions and inequalities as well as the making of particular sorts of students and teachers. For this reason schools are important sites of counter- or radical- politics. In this book, Deborah Youdell brings together theories of counter-politics and radical traditions in education to make sense of the politics of daily life inside schools and explores (...) a range of resources for thinking about and enacting political practices that make ‘school trouble’. The book offers a solid introduction to the much-debated issues of ‘intersectionality’ and the limits of identity politics and the relationship between schooling and the wider policy and political context. It pieces together a series of tools and tactics that might destabilize educational inequalities by unsettling the knowledges, meanings, practices, subjectivities and feelings that are normalized and privileged in the ‘business as usual’ of school life. Engaging with curriculum materials, teachers’ lesson plans and accounts of their pedagogy, and ethnographic observations of school practices, the book investigates a range of empirical examples of critical action in school, from overt political action pursued by educators to day-to-day pedagogic encounters between teachers and students. The book draws on the work of Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau and Chantel Mouffe, and Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari to make sense of these practices and identify the political possibilities for educators who refuse to accept the everyday injustices and wide-reaching social inequalities that face us. _School Trouble_ appears at a moment of political and economic flux and uncertainty, and when the policy moves that have promoted markets and private sector involvement in education around the globe have been subject to intense scrutiny and critique. Against this backdrop, renewed attention is being paid to the questions of how politics might be rejuvenated, how societies might be made fair, and what role education might have in pursing this. This book makes an important intervention into this terrain. By exploring a politics of discourse, an anti-identity politics, a politics of feeling, and a politics of becoming, it shows how the education assemblage can be unsettled and education can be re-imagined. The book will be of interest to advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students and scholars in the fields of education, sociology, cultural studies, and social and political science as well as to critical educators looking for new tools for thinking about their practice. (shrink)
This text provides a critique of the subjective Bayesian view of statistical inference, and proposes the author's own error-statistical approach as an alternative framework for the epistemology of experiment. It seeks to address the needs of researchers who work with statistical analysis.
Autism is one of the most compelling, controversial, and heartbreaking cognitive disorders. It presents unique philosophical challenges as well, raising intriguing questions in philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and philosophy of language that need to be explored if the autistic population is to be responsibly served. Starting from the "theory of mind" thesis that a fundamental deficit in autism is the inability to recognize that other persons have minds, Deborah R. Barnbaum considers its implications for the nature of consciousness, (...) our understanding of the consciousness of others, meaning theories in philosophy of language, and the modality of mind. This discussion lays the groundwork for consideration of the value of an autistic life, as well as the moral theories available to persons with autism. The book also explores questions about genetic decision making, research into the nature of autism, and the controversial quest for a cure. This is a timely and wide-ranging book on a disorder that commends itself to serious ethical examination. (shrink)
This study describes the results of a retrospective review of patients' charts who had an advanced directive and who were hospitalized in a tertiary, acute care teaching hospital. The purpose of the review was to understand from clinical, sociological, ethical and legal perspectives the nature and utility of ADs. Findings and implications of the review are discussed in terms of: patient demographics; diagnoses; quality of ADs; influence of ADs on clinical decisions; and legal aspects of ADs.
In this collection of original essays, international scholars put Asian traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism, into conversation with one or more contemporary feminist philosophies, founding a new mode of inquiry that attends to diverse voices and the complex global relationships that define our world. -/- These cross-cultural meditations focus on the liberation of persons from suffering, oppression, illusion, harmful conventions and desires, and other impediments to full personhood by deploying a methodology that traverses multiple philosophical styles, historical (...) texts, and frames of reference. Hailing from the discipline of philosophy in addition to Asian, gender, and religious studies, the contributors offer a fresh take on the classic concerns of free will, consciousness, knowledge, objectivity, sexual difference, embodiment, selfhood, the state, morality, and hermeneutics. One of the first anthologies to embody the practice of feminist comparative philosophy, this collection creatively and effectively engages with global, cultural, and gender differences within the realms of scholarly inquiry and theory construction. -/- http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-16624-9/asian-and-feminist-philosophies-in-dialogue. (shrink)
The concept of education—its dangers and promises and its illusions and revelations—threads throughout Sigmund Freud’s body of work. This introductory volume by psychoanalytic authority, Deborah P. Britzman, explores key controversies of education through a Freudian approach. It defines how fundamental Freudian concepts such as the psychical apparatus, the drives, the unconscious, the development of morality, and transference have changed throughout Freud’s _oeuvre_. An ideal text for courses in education studies, human development, and curriculum studies, _Freud and Education_ concludes with (...) new Freudian-influenced approaches to the old dilemmas of educational research, theory, and practice. (shrink)
Economists and other social scientists in this century have often supported economic arguments by referring to positions taken by philosophers of science. This important new book looks at the reliability of this practice and, in the process, provides economists, social scientists, and historians with the necessary background to discuss methodological matters with authority. Redman first presents an accurate, critical, yet neutral survey of the modern philosophy of science from the Vienna Circle to the present, focusing particularly on logical positivism, sociological (...) explanations of science (Polanyi, Fleck, Kuhn), the Popper family, and the history of science. She then deals with economic methodology in the twentieth century, looking at a wide range of methodological positions, especially those supported by positions from the philosophy of science. She considers the myth of the feasibility of falsification in economics and, within the context of its significance for economics, discusses the interpretation of Kuhn's philosophy of science as consensus and the danger such a view represents to science. Appendices review the history of the is-ought dispute and list economists whose first works deal with methodological topics. Comprehensive, readable, and accessible to those with little background knowledge, Redman's book will appeal to a wide range of social scientists and philosophers of science. (shrink)
Deborah Schiffrin looks at two important tasks of language--presenting 'who' we are talking about (the referent) and 'what happened' to them (their actions and attributes) in a narrative--and explores how this presentation alters in relation to emergent forms and meanings. Drawing on examples from both face-to-face talk and public discourse, she analyzes a variety of repairs, reformulations of referents, and retellings of narratives, ranging from word-level repairs within a single turn-at-talk, to life story narratives told years apart.
Beyond Subjectivity and Representation extensively explores a connection in the thinking of Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty in relation to the interconnections among perception, creation, truth, and value in a way that allows the work of each author to shed light upon the others' ideas. Deborah Carter Mullen develops a non-dualistic notion of truth and value rooted in embodied, earthly existence, and considers them as ongoing happenings of metamorphosis rather than as static ideas. This idea of metamorphosis leads to an (...) understanding of the relationships among self, other, and world as temporal happenings of the flesh. In an intertwining relationship with one another, I and other, I and world, past, present, and future are considered occurrences of the moment that are redefined in each perception and in each expression, as each questions and responds to the other, creating a "mirror-play of flesh." Mullen proposes that reversibility and metamorphosis give rise to an aesthetic sense of truth and values that are not absolute, but truths that happen as they are expressed and values that occur as they are lived. (shrink)
Decades before the environmental movement emerged in the 1960s, Adorno condemned our destructive and self-destructive relationship to the natural world, warning of the catastrophe that may result if we continue to treat nature as an object that exists exclusively for our own benefit. "Adorno on Nature" presents the first detailed examination of the pivotal role of the idea of natural history in Adorno's work. A comparison of Adorno's concerns with those of key ecological theorists - social ecologist Murray Bookchin, ecofeminist (...) Carolyn Merchant, and deep ecologist Arne Naess - reveals how Adorno speaks directly to many of today's most pressing environmental issues. Ending with a discussion of the philosophical conundrum of unity in diversity, "Adorno on Nature" also explores how social solidarity can be promoted as a necessary means of confronting environmental problems. (shrink)
We tend to want to avoid and ignore our dark or difficult emotions, biases, and tendencies-and we eschew them on a cultural and societal level because they reveal painful, ugly truths. The labeling of darkness as "negative" becomes a collective excuse to justify avoiding everything that makes humans uncomfortable: racism, spiritual bypass, environmental destruction. Welcoming darkness with curiosity and reverence, rather than fear or judgment, enables us to access our innate capacity for compassion and collective healing. In Seeing with the (...) Heart, dharma teacher, shaman, and deep ecologist Deborah Eden Tull asks us to recognize, explore, and engage with the darkness we experience in our lives in order to learn important lessons and tools for bringing awakening, healing, and compassion to ourselves-and to our world. In an age of global uncertainty, Tull presents the radical teaching of endarkenment--that we can only awaken to wholeness through fully embracing the dark. Darkness, she posits, is not the absence of light, but an intrinsic, vital, healing, and restorative aspect of nature. Tull addresses the spiritual, ecological, psychological, and interpersonal ramifications of our bias towards light over dark. She offers a radical path to wholeness that can be found only through learning to embrace the interplay of both darkness and light, within ourselves and within our world. She offers inspiring teachings, meditations, and mindful inquiry questions to integrate into our daily practice an experiential understanding of endarkenment. (shrink)
Humanitarian sentiments have motivated a variety of manifestations of pity, from nineteenth-century movements to end slavery to the creation of modern international humanitarian law. While humanitarianism is clearly political, this text addresses the ways in which it is also an ethos embedded in civil society, one that drives secular and religious social and cultural movements, not just legal and political institutions. As an ethos, humanitarianism has a strong narrative and representational dimension that can generate humanitarian constituencies for particular causes. Essays (...) in the volume analyze the character, form, and voice of private or public narratives themselves and explain how and why some narratives of suffering energize political movements of solidarity, whereas others do not. Humanitarianism and Suffering explores when, how, and why humanitarian movements become widespread popular movements. It shows how popular sentiments move political and social elites to action and, conversely, how national elites appropriate humanitarian ideals for more instrumental ends. (shrink)
A key element of the distinction between explicit and implicit cognitive functioning is the presence or absence of conscious awareness. In this review, we consider the proposal that neuropsychological disorders can best be considered in terms of a decoupling between preserved implicit or unconscious processing and impaired explicit or conscious processing. Evidence for dissociations between implicit and explicit processes in blindsight, amnesia, object agnosia, prosopagnosia, hemi-neglect, and aphasia is examined. The implications of these findings for a) our understanding of a (...) variety of neuropsychological disorders, b) the conceptualization of normal cognitive functioning, c) the neural basis of consciousness, and d) the clinical rehabilitation of brain-injured individuals are also discussed. (shrink)
Although both philosophers and scientists are interested in how to obtain reliable knowledge in the face of error, there is a gap between their perspectives that has been an obstacle to progress. By means of a series of exchanges between the editors and leaders from the philosophy of science, statistics and economics, this volume offers a cumulative introduction connecting problems of traditional philosophy of science to problems of inference in statistical and empirical modelling practice. Philosophers of science and scientific practitioners (...) are challenged to reevaluate the assumptions of their own theories - philosophical or methodological. Practitioners may better appreciate the foundational issues around which their questions revolve and thereby become better 'applied philosophers'. Conversely, new avenues emerge for finally solving recalcitrant philosophical problems of induction, explanation and theory testing. (shrink)