Meta-languages are vital to the development and usage of formal systems, and yet the nature of meta-languages and associated notions require clarification. Here we attempt to provide a clear definition of the requirements for a language to be a meta-language, together with consideration of issues of proof theory, model theory and interpreters for such a language.
A fruitful way to approach The Idea of Phenomenology is through Husserl’s claim that consciousness is not a bag, box, or any other kind of container. The bag conception, which dominated much of modern philosophy, is rooted in the idea that philosophy is restricted to investigating only what is really immanent to consciousness, such as acts and sensory contents. On this view, what Husserl called the riddle of transcendence can never be solved. The phenomenological reduction, as Husserl develops it in (...) The Idea of Phenomenology, opened up a new and broader sense of immanence that embraces the transcendent, making it possible both to solve the riddle and to escape the bag conception once and for all. The essay will discuss ways in which this new conception of immanence is tied to the key Husserlian themes of appearance, phenomenon, essence, seeing or intuiting, and constitution. (shrink)
This chapter concentrates on the nature of the image as it presents itself in experience, with its remarkable capacity to represent within itself people, events, emotions, and many other things, and with its place in art. The Husserlian perspective has many affinities with more recent investigations of images. The physical dimension of image plays an important role in imaging and has been largely neglected by philosophers, though not by artists. The uniqueness of image consciousness rests in its ability to see (...) something in something else. Then, the chapter assesses the differences between image consciousness and symbolic or signitive consciousness. The resemblance in image consciousness must precisely not be perfect; it must be paired with and permeated by difference and even conflict. Images improve experience by folding into themselves the world. (shrink)
The collection of Edmund Husserl's sketches on time-consciousness from the years 1893-1917, edited by Rudolf Boehm and published as Volume X in the Husserliana series, affords significant new material for the study of the evolution of Husserl's thought. Specifically, the sketches suggest that in the course of analyzing the consciousness of temporal objects Husserl became convinced that a distinction must be drawn between an ultimate or absolute flow of consciousness and the immanent temporal objects or contents -- sense-data, appearances of (...) external things, acts of wishing, judging, etc. -- constituted or known within that flow. Further, the texts indicate that the emergence of the absolute dimension was connected with the development during this period of two distinct interpretations of the constitution of time-consciousness. Husserl apparently worked out the first of these during the years 1901-1907, and only towards the end of this period did the notion of an absolute consciousness, absent in earlier texts, make its appearance. And no sooner did it emerge than Husserl undertook a critique of his first interpretation which ultimately culminated in its rejection. In the new position which then appeared, around 1909, the absolute flow of time-constituting consciousness, and its distinction from temporal objects both immanent and transcendent, was unequivocally affirmed. We propose now to discuss this evolution and the emergence and nature of the absolute flow of consciousness. -/- . (shrink)
I argue in this essay that Edmund Husserl distinguishes three levels within time-consciousness: an absolute time-constituting flow of consciousness, the immanent acts of consciousness the flow constitutes, and the transcendent objects the acts intend. The immediate occasion for this claim is Neal DeRoo’s discussion of Dan Zahavi’s reservations about the notion of an absolute flow and DeRoo’s own efforts to mediate between Zahavi’s view and the position Robert Sokolowski and I have advanced. I argue that the flow and the tripartite (...) distinction it introduces into consciousness is firmly grounded in Husserl’s texts and is philosophically defensible. The absolute flow is distinct but inseparable from what it constitutes. It is intentional in a nonobjectivating way, and accounts for the awareness I have of my individual acts of consciousness and of the unity and continuity of my conscious life. In its absence, consciousness would become an incoherent stream of episodic acts. There is nothing mysterious about the flow. What would be mysterious is consciousness without the flow. (shrink)
Tomasello et al. give a good account of how shared intentionality develops in children, but a much weaker one of how it might have evolved. They are unduly hasty in dismissing the emergence of language as a triggering factor. An alternative account is suggested in which language provided the spark, but thereafter language and shared intentionality coevolved.
The point of departure for husserl's mature account of memory is his rejection of the traditional view that what is immediately and directly experienced in memory is a present image or replica of what is past and not what is past itself. Husserl rejects the image theory on logical and descriptive grounds, Arguing that memory is a direct consciousness of the past. Memory is experienced as a unique mode of consciousness giving its object in a manner irreducible to pictorial or (...) perceptual modes. Husserl's exploration of memory thus understood includes discussion of the differing temporal determinations of memory and its object, Of memory's relation to the absolute time-Constituting flow of consciousness, Of memory as representation of earlier perception, And of the various senses and ways in which empty memorial intentions can be brought to fulfillment. (shrink)
IN A RECENT AND PHILOSOPHICALLY RICH STUDY, David Wood has undertaken the deconstruction of time through an engagement with the thought of Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, and, of course, Derrida. The present essay is not intended to offer a sustained criticism of Wood's arguments or to canvass what he says about the quartet of philosophers noted above; rather, with his book as background, the essay's purpose is to say something about only one of the four philosophers--Edmund Husserl--and particularly about the place (...) of presence and absence in Husserl's phenomenology of time and the consciousness of time. The results may supply ammunition both to those inclined to criticize Husserl from a deconstructive point of view and to those bold enough to defend him. In any event, what Husserl has to say about these matters is worth considering for its own sake. His discussion of the different ways in which presence and absence enter into our temporal experience is subtle and nuanced. He draws delicate distinctions and points to continuities and discontinuities that deserve the philosopher's careful and sympathetic attention. I will focus on a few of these, hoping that they will suggest something of the rich resources for reflection on this topic that are present in Husserl's texts. (shrink)
The author addresses three interlocking issues in this rich and interesting study: time-consciousness ; the question of temporal realism ; and the possibility of a special temporality belonging to human beings. The author's approach to these questions is phenomenological, generally in Husserl's sense of the term, although he does not hesitate to amend Husserl's method from a Heideggerian perspective and even to depart from it in ways that might leave Husserl himself quite aghast--as in the use of conclusions drawn from (...) current psychological and neurophysiological studies of the dependence of mental processes on brain functions. (shrink)
According to some, the combatant-noncombatant distinction has lost its relevance in today’s world. I examine two arguments to this effect. The first states that the distinction has become irrelevant when it categorizes children as combatants. I reply that the distinction has nothing to do with innocence or guilt, but with the degree to which a violent group poses a threat to others, even when it does so legitimately. The second argues that every civilian can be construed as a kind of (...) combatant, thus obliterating the distinction. My answer notes an error: states are representatives of citizens, not the other way around.My position in this paper is that individuals take on legitimate combatancy as a function of membership in an organization with legitimate combatancy. This paper attempts to construct a concept of the fighting organization that will allow us to determine the legitimate combatancy of such organizations. The three combatancy criteria I offer are military command structure, observance of the war convention, and representativeness. The first is a requirement for legitimate combatancy because it facilitates the prevention of ius in bello violations of the war convention and can enable the transition from war to diplomacy. My second criterion, the observance of the war convention, too, must be retained as a condition for legitimate combatancy: targeting noncombatants as a means of fighting the war certainly disqualifies organizations from potential POW status, and other ius in bello infractions might, as well. My third condition, representativeness, requires that fighters serve as moral proxies for a geographically contiguous, politically viable people in order to retain legitimate combatancy. If a fighting organization does not represent such a people, then it is a group of criminals rather than soldiers. (shrink)
Much recent discussion in philosophical aesthetics has focused on the issue of defining art, particularly visual art. Such efforts generally presume that art is important without explaining why it is important. It is the latter question that Alan Paskow addresses. He is interested in discovering how and why art, and especially painting, matter in our lives. This is an important topic. If art did not matter to people in some deeply personal sense, it would not be the subject of such (...) intense interest, whether on the part of the art-appreciating public or of academic philosophers. Paskow attempts to link the work of art to the viewer’s existence, to show its continuity with life, and to provide a framework that makes sense of the many effects art can have on those who experience it. To classify something as an artwork is to identify it as the kind of thing that can and should have value in our lives; and such value is not a question of pure, disinterested contemplation cut off from quotidian existence. (shrink)
Professor Gier intends to offer a revisionist reading of Wittgenstein: “It is the analytic or positivist Wittgenstein who is the odd creature”. Wittgenstein was not, as opinion often has it, contemptuous of the classical metaphysicians or dismissive of such contemporaries as Husserl and Heidegger as purveyors of nonsense. In fact, he even came to an “explicit and positive use of the term ‘phenomenology’”. Professor Gier attempts to establish the nature and significance of this claim by examining a broad range of (...) Wittgenstein’s texts and by comparing Wittgenstein’s phenomenology to the versions of Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty, arguing that Wittgenstein’s own development parallels the evolution from “pure” to “existential” phenomenology. He states explicitly that he intends neither to criticize nor to support the views he sets forth. (shrink)
Derek Parfit has recently defended the view that no one can ever deserve to suffer. Were this view correct, its implications for the thorny problem of the justification of punishment would be extraordinary: age-old debates between consequentialists and retributivists would simply vanish, as punishment would only—and simply—be justifiable along Benthamite utilitarian lines. I here suggest that Parfit’s view is linked to uncharacteristically weak arguments, and that it ought to be rejected.
Derek Parfit (1942–2017) is widely considered to be one of the most important moral philosophers of the twentieth century. Reasons and Persons is arguably the most influential of the two books published in his lifetime and hailed as a classic work of ethics and personal identity. Derek Parfit’s Reasons and Persons: An Introduction and Critical Inquiry is an outstanding introduction to and assessment of Parfit’s book, with chapters by leading scholars of ethics, metaphysics and of Parfit’s work. Part (...) I provides a much-needed introduction to key topics and themes in Reasons and Persons that will be useful for those new to Parfit’s complex work. These include Parfit’s idea of self-defeating theories, rationality and time, personal identity, future generations and well-being. Part II explores various debates generated by Reasons and Persons, including its connections with Buddhism, metaethics, theory of rationality, transformative choices and further developments in personal identity and metaphysics such as conativism. Combining clear exposition of the major topics and arguments in Reasons and Persons with scholarly perspectives on more advanced themes, this book is ideal for students of ethics, metaethics, metaphysics and anyone interested in Derek Parfit’s philosophy. (shrink)
The purpose of the present article is to disentangle both Parfit’s and Whitehead’s views on personal identity. Issues regarding what it means to be a singular individual, how a person can remain the same over time, and what makes an individual an original being with specific characteristics will be examined.
In 1999, Dan Zahavi’s Self Awareness and Alterity: A Phenomenological Investigation initiated a critique of the standard interpretation of the distinction between the second and third levels of Husserl’s analysis of time-constituting consciousness. At stake was the possibility of a coherent account of self-awareness (Zahavi’s concern), but also the possibility of prereflectively distinguishing the acts of consciousness (Brough and Sokolowski’s rebuttal of Zahavi’s critique). Using insights gained from Husserl’s Analyses Concerning Passive Synthesis rather than the work on time-consciousness, this (...) paper provides a new, more precise vocabulary in which to carry on the debate, in the hopes of bringing it to a mutually satisfactory resolution. After briefly laying out the terms of the Zahavi–Brough/Sokolowski debate (Sect. 2), I then elaborate a three-fold distinction in consciousness from the Analyses (Sect. 3) and relate that back to the issue of objectivity in the debate (Sect. 4). I end by suggesting how this three-fold model from the Analyses helps us preserve the essentially tripartite structure (as Brough and Sokolowski insist we do) while not making one of these levels the object of another (in keeping with Zahavi’s critique) (Sect. 5). (shrink)
I review the book “Making Prehistory: Historical Science and the Scientific Realism Debate” by Derek Turner. Turner suggests that philosophers should take seriously the historical sciences such as geology when considering philosophy of science issues. To that end, he explores the scientific realism debate with the historical sciences in mind. His conclusion is a view allied to that of Arthur Fine: a view Turner calls the natural historical attitude. While I find Turner’s motivations good, I find his characterisation of (...) the historical sciences unconvincing. I say why in a section at the end of the review. The result is that I am unpersuaded by his thesis. (shrink)
Derek Parfit's Reasons and Persons (1984) mounted a striking defense of Act Consequentialism against a Rawls-inspired Kantian orthodoxy in moral philosophy. On What Matters (2011) is notable for its serious engagement with Kant's ethics and for its arguments in support of the “Triple Theory,” which allies Rule Consequentialism with Kantian and Scanlonian Contractualism against Act Consequentialism as a theory of moral right. This critical notice argues that what underlies this change is a view of the deontic concept of moral (...) rightness that ties it closely to blameworthiness and accountability in a way that effectively concedes a Rawlsian publicity condition. It is also argued that Parfit's arguments that Kantian and Scanlonian Contractualism entail Rule Consequentialism can be resisted. Two elements of Parfit's metaethics are critically discussed. First, concerning Parfit's arguments against subjectivist theories of practical reason, it is argued that a form of subjectivist theory exists that is not only consistent with Parfit's claim that all reasons for acting are object rather than state given, but that can support that claim. Second, it is argued that Parfit's arguments against identifying normative with natural statements and facts do not transfer seamlessly to identifying normative with natural properties. (shrink)
In this essay I take issue with Derek Parfit's reductionist account of personal identity.Parfit is concerned to respond to what he sees as flaws in the conception of the role of 'person' in self-interest theories. He attempts to show that the notion of a person as something over and above a totality of mental and physical states and events (in his words, a 'further fact'), is empty, and so, our ethical concerns must be based on something other than this. (...) My objections centre around the claim that Parfit employs an impoverished conception of 'life'. Parfit misconceives the connection between 'I' and one's body, and, so, despite his rejection of a metaphysical conception of 'self', remains within the logic of Cartesianism. What Parfit and other reductionists call an 'impersonal' perspective, I shall call the third-person perspective: a perspective which one in general may take. Against Parfit I shall offer a more complex conception of 'self' through the concept of 'bodily perspective'. I emphasize the irreducible ambiguities of human embodiment in order to show the presuppositions and the limitations of Parfit's view. Of interest is the conception of time and the model of continuity that is appropriate to an embodied subject's life. I employ Paul Ricoeur's concept of 'human time' to argue that the reflective character of human experience demands a model of temporality and continuity that differs significantly from the one Parfit employs. (shrink)
Total views imply what Derek Parfit has called ‘the repugnant conclusion’. There are several strategies aimed at debunking the intuition that this implication is repugnant. In particular, it goes away when we consider the principle of unrestricted instantiation, according to which any instantiation of the repugnant conclusion must appear repugnant if we should be warranted in relying on it as evidence against total theories. However, there are instantiations of the conclusion where it doesn't seem to be at all repugnant. (...) Hence there is nothing repugnant about the repugnant conclusion as such. The faults with total views have nothing to do with large numbers or with the conclusion as such. It is possible, if you like, to correct these putative faults even if you adopt some total view. (shrink)
Shankman holds that Derek Freeman “trashed” Margaret Mead’s reputation as a public intellectual by portraying her as a naïve and gullible anthropologist who perpetrated a serious error about adolescence in American Samoa. Shankman concedes that Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa was factually in error but argues that her reputation in anthropology did not rest on it but rather on her extensive works on other societies. Ostensibly about Samoa, her book was rather a critique of American society and should (...) be judged as such. It is unjust that its factual errors undermine her status as a public intellectual. Fieldwork method and the lingering influence of inductivism are shown to underlie the controversy. (shrink)
According to constitutive reductionism of Derek Parfit, a subject/person is not a separate existing being but his existence consists in the existence of a brain and body, performance of actions, thinking and occurrence of other physical and mental events. The identity of the subject in time comes down only to “Relation R” - mental consistency and/or connectedness – elicited by appropriate reasons. In the following article, I will try, relying on Frank Johnson's Knowledge Argument, to argue in favour of (...) the following conclusions: a person/subject is a “fact”irreducible to body and physical relations with the environment and a subject is something/”fact” non-reducible to mental occurrences. (shrink)
For nearly a generation, Derek Parfit's arguments in his 1984 book Reasons and Persons have shaped debates about our moral responsibilities to future people. Struggling to accommodate Parfit's insights, philosophers and bioethicists have minimized or accentuated obligations to the future in ways that defy ordinary moral intuitions. In this issue, Robert Sparrow develops the troubling implications of the views of two leading theorists whose work favoring human genetic enhancement is influenced by Parfit. Sparrow believes they return us to the (...) horrors of early twentieth-century eugenics. But the real problem may be a purely theoretical one: the unfortunate influence of Parfit.This is no place to review all of .. (shrink)
If I understand him correctly, Derek Parfit’s views place us, philosophically speaking, in a very small box. According to Parfit, normativity is an irreducible non-natural property that is independent of the human mind. That is to say, there are normative truths - truths about what we ought to do and to want, or about reasons for doing and wanting things. The truths in question are synthetic a priori truths, and accessible to us only by some sort of rational intuition. (...) Parfit supposes that if we are to preserve the irreducibility of the normative, this is just about all we can say, at least until we bring in some actual intuitions to supply the story with some content. (shrink)
In this review article, I present and discuss some theories and arguments which we can find in Derek Matravers’s opinonated textbook on the philosophy of art. Texbook consists of an introduction and eight chapters, but only some of the most important claims are discussed: various theories and definitions of art, the notions of expression and value of art and artworks, as well as the question whether we can learn something from artworks, beside, of course, what is considered as artistic (...) and aesthetic. A little more emphasize I gave on the notions of forgeries and on the concept of beauty in connection with the artworks. (shrink)
BASTARD TONGUES: A Trailblazing Linguist Finds Clues to Our Common Humanity in the World’s Lowliest Languages. Author: Derek Bickerton (270 pp. Hill & Wang. New York - 2008. $ 26.) Review by Leonardo Caffo.
This essay is prompted by the recent publication of a volume of critical essays on Derek Parfit’s On What Matters, along with a third volume of On What Matters responding to those essays. Parfit and his interlocutors often end up either barely engaging with one another, or engaging on terms that are often questionable. As others have done, I question Parfit’s radical bifurcation of a merely ‘psychological’ sense of caring, of what it is for a thing or creature to (...) matter, and a ‘purely normative reason-implying sense’ of those things. But I question it in a distinctive way, by emphasising its moral as well as its philosophical implications. I argue that what Parfit gives us with his ‘normative, reason-implying sense’ of caring and mattering is not an account of genuine moral-normative responsiveness but a morally impoverishing rationalistic distortion of it. In the last part of the essay, I briefly undertake to put my specific criticisms on a wider canvas. (shrink)
This article concentrates on the critique by John Rawls and Derek Parfit of the use of a discount rate in economics. In a presentation of the basic economics underlying the use of a discount rate, the inherently problematic nature of people’s preferences with respect to time are highlighted. The second part discusses the role of the discount rate in economic optimal growth models. An outline of the economic theory of optimal growth is provided, pointing out how Rawls’s analysis of (...) justice between generations fits nicely into this economic discussion, thus explaining his interest in the discount rate. For Rawls the basic problem with the discount rate is that one variable is caught between two objectives: guaranteeing an efficient and at the same time a fair solution. Finally Derek Parfit’s analysis of the use of discount rates is examined. Parfit points out that a discount rate is often used as a crude rule of thumb which wrongly represents our reasons for discounting. The article concludes with a discussion of a study undertaken by a number of respected economists for the IPCC which exhibits all the mistakes that Parfit warns us against. (shrink)