The jargon of Japanese art criticism has always had an abundance of unique terms, categories, and concepts. This is not only true when discussing traditional Japan, since there are just as many new terms today as there were in the past. Some of the new terms have developed or evolved from old ones, while others have appeared with no seeming connection to any traditional tendency. Yet, only a few of these terms can be considered for the meta-level discussion of Aesthetics, (...) whether or not they can be linked with a certain historical linage, as they have a simple descriptive function. This article will first try to discern between aesthetic and non-aesthetic terms that are at the core of Japanese discourse today. Second, and accordingly, following the footsteps of the renowned modernist aesthetician Kuki Shūzō, this article will also try to convey a single linguistic map of the distinctive cultural Aesthetic that is in motion in Japan today. (shrink)
This article examines the current state of end-of-life care in internal medicine wards in Israel, through an analysis of medical practice and the existing legal framework. The authors demonstrate the processes that lead chronically ill, elderly patients to perceive death as an unexpected phenomenon that is to be avoided at all costs. This perception stems, among other things, from the lack of public debate on questions relating to the end of life and the dominant cultural expectation that physicians provide curative (...) interventions. This results in a dearth of palliative care for the elderly along with a growing number of medical interventions that are of questionable value. The authors propose an alternative approach that highlights individual well-being and that demonstrates the potential areas of intervention by which death can be transformed into an expected and acceptable occurrence for the old and infirm. This approach allows patients to avoid unnecessary interventions and to reduce the burden of responsibility on family members and physicians, who are currently being called on to make end-of-life choices under exigent circumstances. We present these dilemmas by focusing on typical cases of incompetent elderly patients when there is no clear documentation of their wishes regarding treatment, and when their families do not have a coherent perception of what they may have wanted or of the care that would be most appropriate for them. We conclude with a call to action that highlights the need for greater awareness?through public discourse and private discussions?of end-of-life medical choices before the onset of ill-health and incompetence. (shrink)
The strong coupling of binding to cross-correlations is methodologically problematic. A completely unstructured network of neurons can produce cross-correlations very similar to the measured ones, and yet they have little dynamic effect.
In comments originally presented at the ISUS conference at Dartmouth College in 2005, Elinor Mason and Alastair Norcross raised a number of objections to various things I said in Pleasure and the Good Life. One especially interesting objection concerns one of my central claims about the nature of pleasure. I distinguished between sensory pleasure and attitudinal pleasure. I said that a feeling counts as a sensory pleasure if the one who feels it takes intrinsic attitudinal pleasure in the fact (...) that he is then feeling it. I also said that attitudinal pleasure is a propositional attitude that does not intrinsically involve any particular 'feelings'. On my view, a person can take attitudinal pleasure in things at a time even though he does not feel any pleasurable feelings at that time. In their comments, Mason and Norcross expressed doubts about my account of attitudinal pleasure. In my reply, I try to answer those doubts. (shrink)
The goal of this article is to write a social and political history of the now preeminent approach to the ‘commons’ institutions, by focusing on Elinor Ostrom’s contributions to its development. My methodology is that of Science and Technology Studies. I focus here on the materiality of E. Ostrom and her team’s research practices, on their intellectual and institutional strategies, their networking practices, how their research was funded, and their interactions with administrative and academic institutions and actors. I analyze (...) the history of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, the research center that E. Ostrom and her husband Vincent founded and animated for some 40 years at Indiana University, Bloomington. By doing so, I hope to be able to analyze the close ties between the form and content of the Ostromian theories on the commons and the main lines of tension in the U.S. society of the 1970s and 80s that saw their emergence: urban crisis and “neighborhood revolution”, increasing distrust of modernization and centralization ideals, mutations in U.S. development policies and doctrines, rise of neoliberalism. (shrink)
Virtue ethics interprets human action as pursuing good ends through practices that develop qualities internal to those final goals. The philosophical approach has been identified as critical of economics, leading in turn to the innovative response that by viewing the market as mutually beneficial exchange, economic practice is in fact defendable on virtue ethics grounds. This defends economics using arguments drawn from virtue ethics, but there is a need also to explore space for virtue ethics within economic theory. Examining key (...) contributions of Kenneth J. Arrow, Amartya Sen and Elinor Ostrom, the article notes that virtue ethics’ appreciation of persons’ communicability of ends is increasingly being relied upon within economics, though sometimes under different names. Its strength to interdisciplinary work between economics and philosophy lies in presenting a methodology able to capture how human beings are capable of, though not fixated on, cooperation. (shrink)
Amit Goswami published his book, "The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World", in 1993. In 1996, he and Henry Swift started up the online newsletter Science Within Consciousness, which carries articles and news features connected with the Goswamian philosophy. Below, I comment on Goswami 's metaphysical theories as represented in his writings in the SWC newsletter, especially in his pieces: Monistic Idealism May Provide Better Ontology for Cognitive Science: A Reply to Dyer, The Hard Question: View from (...) A Science Within Consciousness, Toward an Understanding of the Paranormal, Amit Goswami was a professor at the Institute of Theoretical Science at the University of Oregon. He taught physics for 32 years in the USA, mostly at Oregon. He now is Senior Resident Researcher at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. (shrink)
In The Idea of Justice (2009), Amartya Sen advocates democracy defined as ‘public reasoning’ and ‘government by discussion’. Sen’s discursive approach facilitates the exercise of political freedom and development of one’s public capacities, and enables victims of injustice to give public voice and discussion to specific injustice. It also responds to the contested nature of ‘universal human rights’ and the need to clarify and defend them via public reasoning. However, Sen’s approach leaves intact the hegemony of a liberal form of (...) democracy that prioritizes political and civil rights over social and economic rights and thus precludes alternative democratic forms, most notably a form of cooperative democracy that politicizes social and economic activities in the pursuit of local and global justice. Sen’s ‘government by discus- sion’ must combine with cooperative democracy and a global ethos emphasizing cooperation (and action) over privatization in order to address our most serious global injustices, including exploitation, inequality and poverty in the Global South, accelerating destruction of the environment and biodiversity, and global warming and climate change. (shrink)
The starting point of this chapter is the observation that at the global level the climate system is failing to produce the outcomes it was set up to produce and as such is lacking consistency integrity. That is, it is failing to act in accordance with its public institutional justification and the values embodied in it. However, emerging so-called polycentric systems are increasingly successful at addressing the challenges of global climatic change, according to economist Elinor Ostrom. The aim of (...) this chapter is to discuss the possibility of applying the integrity approach to polycentric systems, which comprise a multitude of institutional, corporate and individual agents not all of which have a clear public institutional justification. (shrink)
Elinor Mason draws on both ethics and responsibility theory to present a pluralistic view of both wrongness and blameworthiness. She identifies three different ways to be blameworthy, corresponding to different ways of acting wrongly.
James Lenman argues that consequentialism fails as a moral theory because it is impossible to predict the long-term consequences of our actions. I agree that it is impossible to predict the long-term consequences of actions, but argue that this does not count as a strike against consequentialism. I focus on the principle of indifference, which tells us to treat unforeseeable consequences as cancelling each other out, and hence value-neutral. I argue that though we cannot defend this principle independently, we cannot (...) do without it in practical rationality. Thus abandoning the principle of indifference would involve abandoning all of rationality, not just consequentialist reasoning. I suggest that we should understand the principle as P. F. Strawson understands inductive reasoning – as being part of rationality. Correspondence:c1 Elinor.Mason@colorado.edu. (shrink)
Ordered social life requires rules of conduct that help generate and preserve peaceful and cooperative interactions among individuals. The problem is that these social rules impose costs. They prohibit us from doing some things we might see as important and they require us to do other things that we might otherwise not do. The question for the contractarian is whether the costs of these social rules can be rationally justified. I argue that traditional contract theories have tended to underestimate the (...) importance of evaluating the cost of enforcement and compliance in the contract procedure. In addition, the social contract has been understood narrowly as a method of justifying specifically moral or political rules. I defend a broader version of contractarianism as a justificatory model that can be used to evaluate any set of social rules or institutions that impose costson agents. In so doing, I argue that contractarianism is a general method of evaluating and justifying the rules that order the structure of social life. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss various hard cases that an account of moral ignorance should be able to deal with: ancient slave holders, Susan Wolf’s JoJo, psychopaths such as Robert Harris, and finally, moral outliers. All these agents are ignorant, but it is not at all clear that they are blameless on account of their ignorance. I argue that the discussion of this issue in recent literature has missed the complexities of these cases by focusing on the question of epistemic (...) fault. It is not clear that all blameworthy morally ignorant agents have committed an epistemic fault. There are other important issues that pull us in various directions: moral capacity, bad will, and formative circumstances. I argue that bad will is what is crucial, and moral ignorance itself can be a form of bad will. I argue that we should distinguish between two sorts of bad will, and correspondingly, two sorts of blameworthiness. Ordinary blameworthiness, requires moral knowledge, and is based on akratic action. The other kind of blameworthiness, objective blameworthiness, applies when the agent is morally ignorant, and when this indicates bad will. Objective blameworthiness can be undermined by unfortunate formative circumstances. (shrink)
A book on the notion of fundamental length, covering issues in the philosophy of math, metaphysics, and the history and the philosophy of modern physics, from classical electrodynamics to current theories of quantum gravity. Published (2014) in Cambridge University Press.
In this paper I present a new argument for prospectivism: the view that, for a consequentialist, rightness depends on what is prospectively best rather than what would actually be best. Prospective bestness depends on the agent’s epistemic position, though exactly how that works is not straightforward. I clarify various possible versions of prospectivism, which differ in how far they go in relativizing to the agent’s limitations. My argument for prospectivism is an argument for moderately objective prospectivism, according to which the (...) right thing to do is what would make sense given reasonable beliefs, reasonable probability estimates and a reasonable understanding of value. My argument is an argument for this form of prospectivism over objectivism. Arguments about prospectivism and objectivism usually use an example with the following form: an agent has a choice between options, one she knows would be acceptable, while the other could either be catastrophic or very good. Objectivists argue that the right thing to do is what would in fact be best (though the agent cannot know which option that is) while prospectivists argue that the agent’s ignorance is relevant, and the right thing to do is to compromise. The question is how we should understand the underlying argument. It is not about action guidance. Moderately objective prospectivism is not action guiding, because an actual agent may not have access to reasonable beliefs, probability estimates and so on. Another common argument is that the objective notion is the primary one. I show that there are no good grounds for this claim. My argument uses the distinction between rightness and goodness to show that a consequentialist theory, that bases rightness on goodness, should take into account how much goodness is at stake. Crucially, potential losses as well as gains are relevant. So long as goodness, rather than rightness, is in the driving seat, we should not be ‘bestness fetishists’. As the name suggest, this would be an irrational privileging of the best option. This argument does not apply to pure deontology: a pure deontology does not use the notion of goodness at all, and so there is nothing to compromise with. If the agent does not know what is right, there is nothing further to say. I end by arguing against a recent strategy that aims to show that although objectivism is true (the right option is the best one), we should sometimes do what is wrong (i.e. what is prospectively best). I argue that in so far as this is correct it is simply prospectivism with awkward terminology. (shrink)