Although the history of nerve and muscle electrophysiology is often truncated and presented as if it started with Galvani's Commentarius (1791) late in the 18th century, a strong (but narrower) case for animal electricity had been made a few decades earlier with three types of fishes: "torpedo" rays, electric catfishes, and the electric "eel." (For a history of electric fishes and how their shocks ultimately were perceived as electrical, see Finger and Piccolino 2011.) More than 2,000 years before the (...) Common Era, Egyptian artisans had drawn the electric catfish of the Nile on the walls of some tombs, and later the ancient Greeks and Romans described the flat saltwater rays that could numb or torpify at a distance. .. (shrink)
In this essay I attempt a philosophical analysis of the Chinese Buddhist thought of linguistic reference to shed light on how the Buddhist understands the way language refers to an ineffable reality. For this purpose, the essay proceeds in two directions: an enquiry into the linguistic thoughts of Sengzhao (374-414 CE) and Jizang (549-623 CE), two leading Chinese Madhyamika thinkers, and an analysis of the Buddhist simile of a moon-pointing finger. The two approaches respectively constitute the horizontal and vertical (...) axes of this essay. The simile of a moon-pointing finger originated in Indian Buddhism and later received much attention in Chinese Buddhism. In light of the Chinese Buddhist interpretations of the simile, I set forth six theses to make explicit the philosophic implications there involved. They are: (1) words in no way correspond with the ineffable Real and cannot say or properly express the Real; (2) words can point toward the Real by means of the forms meant or properly expressed by them; (3) the forms are plainly different from the Real and so are to be negated; (4) one who takes the forms for the Real not only misunderstands the Real but is also ignorant of the function of language; (5) the forgetting of words and their forms can dissolve the entanglement of language and thought and even lead to the intuition of the Real; (6) the intuition of the Real depends upon extra-linguistic factors as well as language. In elaborating the theses, I resort to passages in Sengzhao’s and Jizang’s works to disclose their linguistic thoughts in relation to the theses. A main concern here is to show how one can speak the unspeakable, how one can refer to an ineffable reality without committing self-contradiction. This is done in relation to their views, the theses as well as a free interpretive analysis. I construe the notion of indication as involving the imposition-cum-negation method and argue that one can use words to indicate the ineffable without at the same time describing it. The ineffable is indescribable, but it can be intimated through indication. Meanwhile, I also discuss Zhuangzi’s notion of word-forgetting as it plays a role in the simile and in Jizang’s philosophy of language. One of the purposes of this essay is to show that while valuing the therapeutic and evocative functions of religious language, Chinese Buddhist thinkers also understand the language indicatively. Without taking note of the indicative function of religious language, one cannot form an adequate picture of the Chinese Buddhist -- especially, the Chinese Madhyamaka -- philosophy of language. (shrink)
How might the psycho-social effects of chronic skin disease, its treatments (and discontents) be figuratively expressed in writing and painting? Does the art reveal common denominators in experience and representation? If so, how do we understand the cryptic language of these expressions? By examining the works of artists with chronic skin diseases—John Updike, Elizabeth Bishop, and Zelda Fitzgerald—some common features can be noted. Chronically broken skin can fracture the ego or self-perception, resulting in a disturbed body image, which leads (...) to personality disorders and co-morbid affective disorders such as anxiety and depression. The vertiginous feeling that results can be noted in the paradoxical characters, figures, and psyches portrayed in the works of these artists. This essay will examine the more specific ways in which artists disclose and/or conceal their experiences and the particular ways in which these manifest in their works. While certain nuances exist, the common denominators give us a starting point for developing an eczema aesthetic, a code for interpreting the ways in which artists’ experiences with skin disease manifest in their works. (shrink)
As James Chapman has famously put it in National Identity and the British Historical Film, historical films are “as much about the present in which they are made as they are about [the] past in which they are set.” This article discusses Shekhar Kapur’s aesthetically ground-breaking Elizabeth and its sequel Elizabeth: The Golden Age focusing on two main aspects, namely national identity issues and the representation of the enemy. Kapur’s Elizabeth films will first be placed within the (...) larger context of Elizabeth’s film and television appearances. Informed by Giroux’s critical methodology guidelines, in an attempt to “historize” the films under scrutiny and so foster “sane historical sense,” a semiotic analysis will then be offered. Largely inspired by the tenets of Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis and Kress and Leeuwen’s visual grammar, this will draw a parallel between the verbal and visual discourses in both films. Data will finally be discussed and the contention will be made that England’s religious heritage has left indelible traces which remain latent in the English imagination, for which historical evidence will be presented. The article’s ultimate aim will be to provide evidence suggesting that, in the English case, religious and national discourses merged from the late 16th century onwards, clearly influencing not only the perception that the English had of themselves but also and crucially the image they may still have of “Other” nations. (shrink)
Sense of agency can be defined as the self-awareness of bodily movement, whereas extended agency as the self-awareness of affecting, through movement, events concomitant with movement. As a distinctive manifestation of agency, we review Spizzo's effect. This effect arises when agents coordinate their rhythmic movements with visual pulses. Once coordination is established, agents feel controlling the onset or the offset of the pulses through their movements. Spizzo's effect, therefore, constitutes a manifest case of extended agency, in which agents are aware (...) of controlling, through movement, the pulses temporally concomitant with movement. We propose that sense of agency requires continuity of kinesthesia, which in turn requires the continuity of selfhood. The continuity of kinesthesia is necessarily deduced from the consistent kinematics observed in movements, whereas the continuity of selfhood may stem from the patterns of rhythmic coordination that humans encounter ever since intrauterine life. The primacy of these patterns in adults is in accordance with phenomena such as Spizzo's effect, which require coordination to be induced. We, therefore, propose coordination as the fundamental interaction from which selfhood, kinesthesia, and agency arise. (shrink)
How to point : a primer for Martians -- What it takes to be a pointer -- Do animals get the point? -- People who don't point -- Pinning language to the world -- Pointing and power -- Assisted pointing and pointing by proxy -- The transcendent animal : pointing and the beyond.
Victorian poets Elizabeth Barrett (1806-1861) and Robert Browning (1812-1889) first fell in love through letters, which they began to write to each other in 1845 (Figures 1 and 2). Their growing relationship, slowly progressing from letter to first encounter and eventual secret marriage in 1846, is documented in two volumes of letters, with a plot that unfolds as warmly and compellingly as the best page-turner invented by a novelist. Both were master wordsmiths, so the beauty of their letters is (...) no surprise. But one reason Barrett Browning was such a prolific correspondent is that she spent much of her life housebound, due to an illness whose nature was never truly explained when she was alive and that has been .. (shrink)
One of the most important philosophers of recent times, Elizabeth Anscombe wrote books and articles on a wide range of topics, including the ground-breaking monograph Intention. Her work is original, challenging, often difficult, always insightful; but it has frequently been misunderstood, and its overall significance is still not fully appreciated. This book is the first major study of Anscombe's philosophical oeuvre. In it, Roger Teichmann presents Anscombe's main ideas, bringing out their interconnections, elaborating and discussing their implications, pointing out (...) objections and difficulties, and aiming to give a unified overview of her philosophy. Many of Anscombe's arguments are relevant to contemporary debates, as Teichmann shows, and on a number of topics what Anscombe has to say constitutes a powerful alternative to dominant or popular views. Among the writings discussed are Intention, "Practical Inference," "Modern Moral Philosophy," "Rules, Rights and Promises," "On Brute Facts," "The First Person," "The Intentionality of Sensation," "Causality and Determination," An Introduction to Wittgenstein's Tractatus, "The Question of Linguistic Idealism," and a number of other pieces, including some that are little known or hard to obtain. A complete bibliography of Anscombe's writings is also included. Ranging from the philosophy of action, through ethics, to philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and the philosophy of logic and language, this book is a study of one of the most significant bodies of work in modern philosophy, spanning more than fifty years, and as pertinent today as ever. (shrink)
Rips et al. claim that the principles underlying the structure of natural numbers cannot be inferred from interactions with the physical world. However, in their target article they failed to consider an important source of interaction: finger counting. Here, we show that finger counting satisfies all the conditions required for allowing the concept of numbers to emerge from sensorimotor experience through a bottom-up process.
What is the proper role of politics in higher education? Many policies and reforms in the academy, from affirmative action and a multicultural curriculum to racial and sexual harassment codes and movements to change pedagogical styles, seek justice for oppressed groups in society. They understand justice to require a comprehensive equality of membership: individuals belonging to different groups should have equal access to educational opportunities; their interests and cultures should be taken equally seriously as worthy subjects of study, their persons (...) treated with equal respect and concern in communicative interaction. Conservative critics of these egalitarian movements represent them as dangerous political meddling into the disinterested pursuit of knowledge. They cast the pursuit of equality as a threat to freedom of speech and academic standards. In response, some radical advocates of such programs agree that the quest for equality clashes with free speech, but view this as an argument for sacrificing freedom of speech. (shrink)
Cornell realists claim, among other things, that moral knowledge can be acquired in the same basic way that scientific knowledge is acquired. Recently in this journal Elizabeth Tropman has presented two arguments against this claim. In the present article, I attempt to show that the first argument attacks a straw man and the second mischaracterizes the Cornell realists' epistemology and ends up begging the question. I close by suggesting that, given Tropman's own apparent views, her objections are also probably (...) misplaced. (shrink)
Few political ideals galvanize as much liberal support as integration, yet few have yielded such disappointing results. During the last half-century many barriers have been broken down and workplaces, schools, neighbourhoods and families are more mixed (on many levels) than ever, yet segregation indices in American society – like most societies – remain rather significantly high. Determined to demonstrate why integration still matters, Elizabeth Anderson has written The Imperative of Integration (2010), which attempts to combine insights from the social (...) science literature with robust philosophical argument. (shrink)
(1999). Princess Elizabeth and Descartes: The union of soul and body and the practice of philosophy. British Journal for the History of Philosophy: Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 503-520. doi: 10.1080/09608789908571042.
In his article ‘Saints and Heroes’, Urmson argues that traditional moral theories allow at most for a threefold classification of actions in terms of their worth, and that they are therefore unsatisfactory. Since the conclusion of his argument has led to the widespread use of the term ‘acts of supererogation’, and since I do not believe that such acts exist, I propose to argue that the actions with which he is concerned not only can, but should, be contained within the (...) traditional classification. (shrink)
: Elizabeth Spelman has famously argued against gender realism. By and large, feminist philosophers have embraced Spelman's arguments and deemed gender realist positions counterproductive. To the contrary, Mikkola shows that Spelman's arguments do not in actual fact give good reason to reject gender realism in general. She then suggests a way to understand gender realism that does not have the adverse consequences feminist philosophers commonly think gender realist positions have.
Extracts This article introduces an issue of Christian bioethics which examines the significance of Elizabeth Anscombe's classic article, “Modern Moral Philosophy”, on the 50th anniversary of its publication. The manifold influences of this article are explored in some detail and the current status of the three famous theses put forward by Anscombe in the article is assessed. This article also briefly introduces the other articles in this issue and loactes them within the general framework of contemporary discussions of Anscombe's (...) work. (shrink)
Theodore Roszak's compelling parable, The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein, provides an (eco)-feminist view of the “Night of the Living Dead Model” and suggests that only the equal union of “masculine” and “feminine” energies will help us resolve the current eco-crisis. This article further explores the consequences of the highly masculinized post-Enlightenment rationalism as demonstrated in Roszak's novel. Although this article agrees that there is a dangerous imbalance between natural/spiritual and scientific/rational viewpoints, it also stresses that the extreme genderification of (...) these energies is potentially problematic. (shrink)
This essay assesses the value of social constructivist theories of science to the history of medicine. It highlights particularly the ways in which feminist theorists have turned their attention to gender as a category of analysis in scientific thinking, producing an approach to modern science that asks how it became identified with "male" objectivity, reason, and mind, set in opposition to "female" subjectivity, feeling, and nature.In the history of medicine this new work has allowed a group of scholars to better (...) explain not only how women were marginalized in the profession but also the manner in which politics, male anxiety about shifts in power relations between the sexes, social and political upheaval, professional concerns, and changes in the family all had an impact on the production of knowledge regarding the female body, including the "discovery," definition, and treatment of a wide range of female ailments, from anorexia nervosa to fibroid tumors.Building on the work in the history of medicine already accomplished, the essay offers a critical rereading of the writings of Elizabeth Blackwell, a pioneer nineteenth-century woman physician and leader of the woman's medical movement. It contends that Blackwell, who lived through a revolutionary change in medical thinking brought on by discoveries in immunology and bacteriology, remained critical of "objectivity" as the "best" form of knowing and suspicious of the laboratory medicine that promoted it so enthusiastically. Moreover, her critiques of radical objectivity and scientific reductionism deserve to be recognized as foreshadowing the maternalist strain of thinking among contemporary feminist philosophers and thinkers such as Sara Ruddick and others. (shrink)
This paper critically discusses the argument from objectification – as recently presented by Elizabeth Shaw – against mandatory direct brain interventions targeting criminal offenders’ values as part of rehabilitative or reformative schemes. Shaw contends that such DBIs would objectify offenders because a DBI “excludes offenders by portraying them as a group to whom we need not listen” and “implies that offenders are radically defective with regard to one of the most fundamental aspects of their agency”. To ensure that offenders (...) are not objectified, Shaw first maintains that we should restrict rehabilitative/reformative schemes to attempts at rational dialogue because such an approach respects the offender’s personhood. Second, Shaw claims that we should not portray offenders as radically defective because such treatment would only negatively impact offenders’ already tenuous relationship with society. Third, Shaw contends that we should not confer the state the power to change an offender’s values because the state lacks insight into what constitutes the right values. I contend that none of these arguments should prevent the use of value-targeting DBIs. First, I show that the dialogue requirement for rehabilitative schemes is insufficient ground from which to oppose the use of these DBIs. Second, I show that it is doubtful that the use of DBIs as proposed would damage the relationship between offenders and society. Finally, although the state may often lack insight into what constitutes the correct values, this lack of insight should not by itself prevent value-targeting DBIs from being employed on certain groups of offenders. (shrink)
This paper is a philosophical reconstruction of Elizabeth Fox-Genovese's thinking about women and feminism, and an inquiry into whether there is a conservative form of feminism. The paper argues that Fox-Genovese's endorsement of conventional social forms (like traditional marriage, motherhood, and sexual morality) contrasts strongly with feminism's criticism of these forms, and feminism's claim that they should be transformed. The paper concludes, however, that one need not call Fox-Genovese's thought "feminist" to recognize it as serious advocacy on behalf of (...) women and to include it in discussions about what is good for women. (shrink)
Professor Elizabeth Barnes has produced a tightly and carefully reasoned philosophical examination of the significance of disability. It provides a clear defense of certain core principles of the disability rights movement in contrast to the many professional philosophers who consider that movement to be ill-conceived. An example of this tradition can be seen in the volume From Choice to Chance: Genetics and Justice, coauthored by four of the most prominent bioethicists of the turn of the century. I confess to (...) the prejudice implied by my label of 'mainstream... (shrink)
Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., is a leader in the area of telomere and telomerase research—in fact, in 1984 she codiscovered the ribonucleoprotein enzyme telomerase, opening up new potentials in cancer research and therapy. This and subsequent work has earned her numerous honors, not the least of which are the National Academy of Science Award in Molecular Biology, an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Yale University, the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor, and many more awards. Dr. Blackburn is a (...) Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of London, the American Academy of Microbiology, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and is a Member of the Institute of Medicine. (shrink)
Elizabeth Anscombe is among the most distinguished and original philosophers alive today. Her work has ranged over many areas of philosophy, including metaphysics, ethics, the philosophy of mind and action, and the philosophy of religion. In each of these areas she has made seminal contributions. The essays in this book reflect the breadth of her interests and the esteem in which she is held by her colleagues. The distinguished contributors include Michael Dunnett, Nancy Cartwright, Peter Geach and Philippa Foot; (...) and Professor Anscombe's essay 'Making True' is published here for the first time. (shrink)