This is an existential-phenomenological reading of Max Weber’s “Class, Status, Party” that seeks a fuller understanding of meaning accomplishment in a stratified World. I appropriate stratification as a single meaning structure ontically defined by domination, intersubjectivity, and life-chances and ontologically determined by the power-to-be (Seinkönnen), There-being-with-others (Mitdasein), and potentiality (Möglichkeit). I then discuss the significance of these structures in finite transcendence (There-being, Dasein) and describe ways they factually unfold in World achievement. I conclude with logotherapeutic reflections concerning (...) meaning accomplishment in a stratified World and a summary of key questions facing existential-phenomenology in light of the likelihood that There-being must embrace, indeed, live, the inherent equality of Being (Gleichheit des Seins) among Daseins to accomplish its authenticity. (shrink)
Quine’s most important charge against second-, and more generally, higher-order logic is that it carries massive existential commitments. The force of this charge does not depend upon Quine’s questionable assimilation of second-order logic to set theory. Even if we take second-order variables to range over properties, rather than sets, the charge remains in force, as long as properties are individuated purely extensionally. I argue that if we interpret them as ranging over properties more reasonably construed, in accordance with an (...) abundant or deflationary conception, Quine’s charge can be resisted. This interpretation need not be seen as precluding the use of model-theoretic semantics for second-order languages; but it will preclude the use of the standard semantics, along with the more general Henkin semantics, of which it is a special case. To that extent, the approach I recommend has revisionary implications which some may find unpalatable; it is, however, compatible with the quite different special case in which the second-order variables are taken to range over definable subsets of the first-order domain, and with respect to such a semantics, some important metalogical results obtainable under the standard semantics may still be obtained. In my final section, I discuss the relations between second-order logic, interpreted as I recommend, and a strong version of schematic ancestral logic promoted in recent work by Richard Heck. I argue that while there is an interpretation on which Heck’s logic can be contrasted with second-order logic as standardly interpreted, when it is so interpreted, its differences from the more modest form of second-order logic I advocate are much less substantial, and may be largely presentational. (shrink)
Charles S. Peirce’s pragmatist theory of logic teaches us to take the context of utterances as an indispensable logical notion without which there is no meaning. This is not a spat against compositionality per se , since it is possible to posit extra arguments to the meaning function that composes complex meaning. However, that method would be inappropriate for a realistic notion of the meaning of assertions. To accomplish a realistic notion of meaning (as opposed e.g. to algebraic meaning), (...) Sperber and Wilson’s Relevance Theory (RT) may be applied in the spirit of Peirce’s Pragmatic Maxim (PM): the weighing of information depends on (i) the practical consequences of accommodating the chosen piece of information introduced in communication, and (ii) what will ensue in actually using that piece in further cycles of discourse. Peirce’s unpublished papers suggest a relevance-like approach to meaning. Contextual features influenced his logic of Existential Graphs (EG). Arguments are presented pro and con the view in which EGs endorse non-compositionality of meaning. (shrink)
`Hans Cohn has given us a personal and valuable statement about the theoretical underpinnings of his work as a psychotherapist. These can be little doubt about his contribution to our thinking practice is invaluable. Students will find Cohn's easygoing exposition of complex ideas enormously helpful' - Professor Emmy van Deurzen, Existential Analysis `One of the most important books published this year. This long-awaited book by the foremost expert on the relationship between Heidegger and psychotherapy, manages to encapsulate the essence (...) of Heidegger's thinking and make of understandable and relevant to therapists without losing any of the original meaning' - Counsellingbooks.com Anyone interested in modern philosophy is familiar with the name of Martin Heidegger but there is a serious gap in even the most complete accounts of his life and thought. This is Heidegger's association with, and influence on, psychotherapy. Hans C Cohn explores the role of Heidegger's thought in providing an alternative basis for psychotherapeutic practice to the dominant psychodynamic, humanistic and cognitive approaches, also focusing strongly on the practical therapeutic relevance of Heidegger's ideas. This book will be essential reading for students and teachers of modern philosophy, as well as existential psychotherapists, and all practitioners interested in existential approaches to therapy. (shrink)
In an article recently published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, I assessed the position that voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide can be appropriate only in cases of persons who are suffering unbearably because they are ill or injured, not in cases of unbearably distressed persons whose suffering is caused by their conviction that their life will never again be worth living. More precisely, I considered one possible way of defending that position, the argument that the latter kind of distress—to (...) which I referred to as existential suffering—does not qualify as grounds for VE and PAS because doctors are not experts on questions pertaining to the meaning, value and purpose of life: existential questions, as I called them. I maintained that cases of VE and PAS related to illness and injury involve existential questions relevantly similar to those faced in connection with existential suffering. Therefore, I concluded, if VE and PAS based on suffering arising from illness or injury falls within the domain of medical expertise, it is consistent that VE and PAS cannot be denied in cases of purely existential suffering by maintaining that the professional expertise of doctors does not extend to existential questions.1The article inspired some interesting discussion. Robert Young offered two reasons for thinking that its argument is of limited practical significance.2 Julian Savulescu maintained that, within current medical ethics and human rights, there already is a method of assisted suicide: voluntary palliated starvation , which allows that existential distress can sometimes provide grounds for assisted dying and which could fall within the limits of the law.3 The discussion by Young and Savulescu suggest that my argument, or rather the nature of the project of which it is purported to be a part, could benefit from some clarification. That …. (shrink)
This paper attempts to be a contribution to the epistemological project of explaining complex conceptual structures departing from more basic ones. The central thesis of the paper is that there are what I call “functionally structured concepts”, these are non-harmonic concepts in Dummett’s sense that might be legitimized if there is a function that justifies the tie between the inferential connection the concept allows us to trace. Proving this requires enhancing the russellian existential analysis of definite descriptions (...) to apply to functions and using this in proving the legitimacy of such concepts. The utility of the proposal is shown for the case of thick ethical terms and an attempt is made to use it in explaining the development of natural numbers. This last move could allow us to go one step lower in explaining the genesis of natural numbers while maintaining the notion of abstract numbers as higher order entities. (shrink)
The central topic to be discussed in this paper is the definiteness restriction in there-insertion contexts. Various attempts to explain this definiteness restriction using the standard algebraic framework are discussed (Barwise & Cooper 1981; Keenan 1978; Milsark 1974; Higginbortham 1987; Lappin 1988) and the shortcomings of these attempts are demonstrated. Finally, a new approach to the interpretation of existentialthere be-sentences is developed within the framework of Groenendijk & Stokhof's (1990) Dynamic Montague Grammar. This approach makes use (...) of a variant of Partee's (1986) ‘type-shifting’-operator BE and it overcomes the shortcomings of the rival analyses. The general conclusion is that Dynamic Montague Grammar has applications other than those which prompted it and advantages other than those Groenendijk & Stokhof claim for it. (shrink)
With this paper I aim to demonstrate that a look beyond the Aristotelian square of opposition, and a related non-conservative view on logical determiners, contributes to both the understanding of Aristotelian syllogistics as well as to the study of quantificational structures in natural language.
In this paper I explore the relationship between teaching and learning. Whereas particularly in the English language the relationship between teaching and learning has become so intimate that it often looks as if ‘teaching and learning’ has become one word, I not only argue for the importance of keeping teaching and learning apart from each other, but also provide a number of arguments for suggesting that learning may not be the one and only option for teaching to aim for. I (...) explore this idea through a discussion of the relationship between teaching and learning, both at a conceptual and at an existential level. I discuss the limitations of the language of learning as an educational language, point at the political work that is being done through the language of learning, and raise epistemological and existential questions about the identity of the learner, particularly with regard to the question what it means to be in and with the world in terms of learning as comprehension and sense making. Through this I seek to suggest that learning is only one possible aim for teaching and that the learner identity and the learning way of engaging with the world puts the learner in a very specific position vis-à-vis the world, one where the learner remains in the centre and the world appears as object for the learner’s acts of learning. That it is possible to teach without requesting from students that they learn, comprehend and make sense, is demonstrated through a brief account of a course in which students were explicitly asked to refrain from learning and were instead asked to adopt a concept. I show how this request opened up very different existential possibilities for the students and argue that if we value such existential possibilities, there may be good reasons for freeing teaching from learning. (shrink)
The multiple-choice video game Life is Strange was described by its French developers as a metaphor for the inner conflicts experienced by a teenager in trying to become an adult. In psychological work with adolescents, there is a stark similarity between what they experience and some concepts of existentialist philosophy. Sartre’s script for the movie Les Jeux Sont Faits (literally ‘‘games are made’’) uses the same narrative strategy as Life is Strange—the capacity for the main characters to travel back (...) in time to change their own existence—in order to stimulate philosophical, ethical, and political thinking and also to effectively simulate existential ‘‘limit situations.’’ This article is a dialogue between Sartre’s views and Life is Strange in order to examine to what extent questions such as what is freedom? what is choice? what is autonomy and responsibility? can be interpreted anew in hybrid digital–human—‘‘anthrobotic’’—environments. (shrink)
While there has been considerable interest in the writings of Søren Kierkegaard and Fyodor Dostoevsky, both of whom are considered seminal existential thinkers, relatively little has been said about similarities in their thought. In this paper, I propose to read their philosophical and literary works together as texts that offer an elaborate model of an existential religious transformation. Both Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky sketch a path leading from the inauthentic, internally fragmented and egotistic self to the authentically Christian, (...) humble and loving individual. By examining the underlying structure of this transformative process, I try to show that its portrayal is in many ways similar in the account of both writers. Furthermore, I maintain that they set out not only to describe the inner workings of the existential religious transformation, but that their effort constitutes a direct appeal to the reader to initiate the transformative process herself or himself. (shrink)
While opinions on the semantic analysis of generics vary widely, most scholars agree that generics have a quasi-universal flavor. However, there are cases where generics receive what appears to be an existentialinterpretation. For example, B's response is true, even though only theplatypus and the echidna lay eggs: (1) A: Birds lay eggs. B: Mammals lay eggs too. In this paper I propose a uniform account of the semantics of generics,which accounts for their quasi-existential readings as well as for (...) their more familiar quasi-universal ones. Generics are focus-sensitiveoperators: their domain is restricted by a set of alternatives, which may be provided by focus. I claim that, unlike otherfocus-sensitive operators, generics may, but do not have to, associate with focus. When alternatives are introduced, either by focus or by other means, generics get their usual quasi-universal readings. But when no alternatives are introduced, quasi-existential readings result.I argue that generics, unlike adverbs of quantification, do not introduce tripartite structures directly, but are initially interpreted as cases ofdirect kind predication. Only when this interpretation fails to make sense, the phonologically null generic quantifier is derived, and tripartite structures result. This two-level interpretation has the effect that while adverbs of quantification require focus to determine which elements go to the restrictor and which to the nuclear scope, and hence must associate with focus, generics do not, and hence may fail to associate with focus, resulting in quasi-existential readings. (shrink)
Leibniz’s question “why is there something rather than nothing?”, also known as the Primordial Existential Question, has often been the focus of intense philosophical controversy. While some authors take it to pose a profound metaphysical puzzle, others denounce the alleged lack of meaning or the inconceivability of the idea of nothingness. In a series of articles, Adolf Grünbaum develops an empirically informed critique with the aim to demonstrate that the Primordial Existential Question poses a “non-issue” which does (...) not require explanation. Grünbaum’s critique prompted heated debates in the recent literature. In this paper, I examine each step of Grünbaum’s reasoning and argue that it fails to show that the Primordial Existential Question is ill-founded. Moreover, I identify and rebut several strategies that one may employ to amend Grünbaum’s critique. In doing so, I address various issues related to the Primordial Existential Question, including the alleged need for its proponents to rely on contentious metaphysical presuppositions and the purported availability of empirical evidence which answers or dissolves such a question. (shrink)
It is often assumed that indeterminacy in mereological relations—in particular, indeterminacy in which collections of objects have fusions—leads immediately to indeterminacy in what objects there are in the world. This assumption is generally taken as a reason for rejecting mereological vagueness. The purpose of this paper is to examine the link between mereological vagueness and existential vagueness. I hope to show that the connection between the two forms of vagueness is not nearly so clear-cut as has been supposed.
Executive compensation has long been a prominent topic in the management literature. A main question that is also given substantial attention in the business ethics literature—even more so in the wake of the recent financial crisis—is whether increasing levels of executive compensation can be justified from an ethical point of view. Also, the relationship of executive compensation to instances of unethical behavior or outcomes has received considerable attention. The purpose of this paper is to explore the social, ecological, and (...) class='Hi'>existential costs of economic incentives, by discussing how relying on increasing levels of executive compensation may have an adverse effect on managerial performance in a broad sense. Specifically, we argue that one-dimensional economic incentives may destroy existential, social, and systemic values that influence the manager’s commitment to ensure responsible business conduct, and have negative spillover effects that may reduce the manager’s performance. There are well-documented findings that demonstrate that reliance on sources of extrinsic motivation (such as economic incentives) may displace intrinsic motivation. Our perspective is a holistic one, in the sense that we will explore the influence of sources of extrinsic motivation on the manager’s intrinsic commitment to different types of values. We will in particular investigate how it may influence the manager’s ethical reflection and behavior or lack thereof. (shrink)
Existential grounding is the thesis that all existential generalizations are grounded in their particular instances. This paper argues that existential grounding is false. This is because it is inconsistent with two plausible claims about existence: the claim that singular existence facts are generalizations and the claim that no object can be involved in a fact that grounds that same object's existence. Not only are these claims intuitively plausible, but there are also strong arguments in favour of (...) each of them. (shrink)
Existential instantiation is a rule of inference that allows us infer, from the proposition that there are some p things, the proposition that a is a p thing. What role does 'a' play here? According to one account, recently defended by Breckenridge and Magidor, we use 'a' to refer to a p thing. I argue that this cannot be right. I propose an alternative account, according to which we use 'a' to refer to a supposedly p thing.
This paper considers the computational complexity of the disjunction and existential properties of intuitionistic logic. We prove that the disjunction property holds feasibly for intuitionistic propositional logic; i.e., from a proof of A v B, a proof either of A or of B can be found in polynomial time. For intuitionistic predicate logic, we prove superexponential lower bounds for the disjunction property, namely, there is a superexponential lower bound on the time required, given a proof of A v (...) B, to produce one of A and B which is true. In addition, there is superexponential lower bound on the size of terms which fulfill the existential property of intuitionistic predicate logic. There are superexponential upper bounds for these problems, so the lower bounds are essentially optimal. (shrink)
The Matrix raises several familiar philosophical problems in such new ways that students all over the country are assigning it to their philosophy professors. In so doing, they have offered us a great opportunity to illustrate some of the basic insights of existential phenomenology. The Matrix might seem to renew Descartes’s worry that, since all we ever experience are our own inner mental states, we might, for all we could tell, be living in an illusion created by a malicious (...) demon. In that case, most of our beliefs about reality would be false. But there is a way of understanding The Matrix that denies the mediation of mental states and shows those living in the Matrix to be in direct touch with Matrix reality. The Matrix world is public and objective, not a private subjective dream. Still, there is clearly a sense in which the Matrix world, while not merely mental, is not real either. There is after all a demon—the AI intelligences and their computer—that has in some sense fooled all those who accept the reality of the Matrix world. Thus, the film’s account of our situation is even more disturbing than Descartes’s claim that we are each confined to our own mind. The Matrix world is a vivid illustration of Descartes’s additional prescient claim that we could never be in direct touch with the real world because we are all what we would now call brains in vats. (shrink)
This paper provides a critique of Bostrom’s concern with existential risks, a critique which relies on Adorno and Horkheimer’s interpretation of the Enlightenment. Their interpretation is used to elicit the inner contradictions of transhumanist thought and to show the invalid premises on which it is based. By first outlining Bostrom’s position this paper argues that transhumanism reverts to myth in its attempt to surpass the human condition. Bostrom’s argument is based on three pillars, Maxipok, Parfitian population ethics and a (...) universal notion of general human values. By attempting to transcend the human condition, to achieve post-humanity, transhumanism reverts to myth. Thus, the aim of this paper is to provide a critical examination of transhumanism which elicits its tacit contradictions. It will also be argued that transhumanism’s focus on a universal, all-encompassing, notion of humanity neglects any concern with actual lived lives. This absence is problematic because it clearly shows that there is a discrepancy, between transhumanism’s claimed concern for all of humanity and the practical implications of proposing a universal notion of humanity. This paper will conclude, that transhumanism’s lack of concern with actual lives is due to its universal and totalising gestures. Gestures which allow for universal claims such as general values or Earth-originating intelligent life. (shrink)
This paper explores the human significance of crack cocaine abuse by submitting its manifestation to existential-phenomenological analysis. The author conducted over fifty, first-hand interviews of recovering and active crack cocaine abusers toward disclosing the meaning of his to-be.What is revealed is the way the addiction reacts upon the with-structure of existence. Active crack cocaine addiction is being-high-and-free-ofcraving. The singularity of this event eclipses the interhuman significance that substantially constitutes concern, as the meaning and Being of There-being, and radicalizes (...) existence such that the “other” is unceasingly projected as a means to free transcendence. The crack abuser forsakes the existentials being-with and There-being-with-others, ways of to-be that accommodate and gear into the existence of “others,” to being-with-crack, a way of Being that is exclusively for the sake of the dependent’s “self.”. (shrink)
Famously, Saul Kripke proposes that there are contingent a priori truths, and has offered a number of examples to illustrate his claim. The most well-known example involves the standard meter bar in Paris. Purportedly, a certain agent knows a priori that the bar is one meter long. However, in response to a long-standing objection to such examples - the "existential complaint" - generally only modified examples having a conditional form are now considered candidates for the contingent a priori. (...) Gareth Evans argues that these conditionals must be understood free-logically, and on this basis argues against Keith Donnellan's analysis of the contingent a priori. I show Evans' argument mistaken. I also take issue with the existential complaint, and suggest a way of understanding Kripke's original examples that is not subject to it. My approach focuses the debate in its right place, and allows us to take Kripke's original examples seriously. (shrink)
Europe's leading existential thinkers -- Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus -- all felt that Americans were too self-confident and shallow to accept their philosophy of responsibility, choice, and the absurd. "There is no pessimism in America regarding human nature and social organization," Sartre remarked in 1950, while Beauvoir wrote that Americans had no "feeling for sin and for remorse" and Camus derided American materialism and optimism. Existentialism, however, enjoyed rapid, widespread, and enduring popularity among Americans. (...) No less than their European counterparts, American intellectuals participated in the conversation of existentialism. In Existential America , historian George Cotkin argues that the existential approach to life, marked by vexing despair and dauntless commitment in the face of uncertainty, has deep American roots and helps to define the United States in the twentieth-century in ways that have never been fully realized or appreciated. As Cotkin shows, not only did Americans readily take to existentialism, but they were already heirs to a rich tradition of thinkers -- from Jonathan Edwards and Herman Melville to Emily Dickinson and William James -- who had wrestled with the problems of existence and the contingency of the world long before Sartre and his colleagues. After introducing this concept of an American existential tradition, Cotkin examines how formal existentialism first arrived in America in the 1930s through discussion of Kierkegaard and the early vogue among New York intellectuals for the works of Sartre, Beauvoir, and Camus. Cotkin then traces the evolution of existentialism in America: its adoption by Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison to help articulate the African-American experience its expression in the works of Norman Mailer and photographer Robert Frank its incorporation into the tenets of the feminist and radical student movements of the 1960s and its lingering presence in contemporary American thought and popular culture, particularly in such films as Crimes and Misdemeanors , Fight Club and American Beauty . The only full-length study of existentialism in America, this highly engaging and original work provides an invaluable guide to the history of American culture since the end of the Second World War. (shrink)
This paper shows that the inhabitation problem in the lambda calculus with negation, product, polymorphic, and existential types is decidable, where the inhabitation problem asks whether there exists some term that belongs to a given type. In order to do that, this paper proves the decidability of the provability in the logical system defined from the second-order natural deduction by removing implication and disjunction. This is proved by showing the quantifier elimination theorem and reducing the problem to the (...) provability in propositional logic. The magic formulas are used for quantifier elimination such that they replace quantifiers. As a byproduct, this paper also shows the second-order witness theorem which states that a quantifier followed by negation can be replaced by a witness obtained only from the formula. As a corollary of the main results, this paper also shows Glivenko’s theorem, Double Negation Shift, and conservativity for antecedent-empty sequents between the logical system and its classical version. (shrink)
Does it make sense for non-theists to feel gratitude for their existence? The question arises because gratitude is typically thought to be directed towards a person to whom one is grateful. Hence the theist may be grateful to God for their existence, experienced as a gift. But can the non-believer feel something similar without being irrational? Can there be gratitude for existence but not to anyone? After analysing gratitude and how we can best understand the idea of non-directed gratitude, (...) I discuss the conditions that need to apply for non-directed gratitude to be appropriate. I end by discussing whether theism provides a psychologically richer and more satisfying framework for understanding existential gratitude. (shrink)
A recent popular analysis of English indefinites isthat they involve a choice function mechanism in their semantic interpretation. However,there are diversified views regarding how intermediate scope readings should be dealt withand which level(s) existential closure should apply to. This paper attempts to make acontribution to this debate by examining existential polarity wh-phrases in Chinese. I showthat unlike the behaviors of polarity indefinites in St''át''imcets reported by Matthewson(1999), intermediate scope readings are possible for polarity wh-phrases in Chinese but (...) aresubject to some locality conditions. I suggest that implicit arguments of choice functionsmight have a parametric value the choice of which affects availability of intermediate readings.The findings in this paper thus revive the possibility, rejected by Matthewson (1999), that thechoice function mechanism may vary from language to language or from indefinite NPs in onelanguage to indefinite NPs in another language or even from one type of indefiniteNP to another type of indefinite NP within the same language. (shrink)
Fauconnier (1975a) noticed that existential quantification, if it is related to a scale endpoint, can force entailment along the scale and as such have the effect of universal quantification: assume a partially ordered set (X, ⪰) and a predicate Ø such that for all x, y ∈ X, x ⪰ y, if Ø is true of x, it is also true of y; then if there exists an element z that is ordered before all other elements and Ø(z) (...) is true, then Ø is true for all elements in X. This paper claims that the clausal Comparative licences context sensitive Negative Polarity Items (NPIs) like English any and ever, and German jemals (‘ever’), due to its property of enabling entailment along a scale. I argue that the licensing condition of any and ever/jemals is not itself the ‘semantic scope of a downward entailing function’ (Ladusaw 1979), but rather that a downward entailing function provides one appropriate kind of context that satisfies the actual condition which is part of the NPI's meaning (following Kadmon & Landman 1993; Krifka 1994, 1995; Jackson 1995): any and ever/jemals are indefinites that are licensed in particularly strong statements. The new idea is to define an assertion containing an indefinite NPI as strong if the existentially quantified formula entails a particular wide scope universal statement: assume that ‘Babajaga doesn't see any tree’ means that it is not true that there exists some tree that Babajaga sees. This entails that for all trees, Babajaga does not see them. In general, entailment will be granted if existential quantification is either in the scope of a downward entailing function or occurs in the context of a scale, the latter enabling entailment along the scale: if ‘Babajaga is smarter than any witch’ actually means that Babajaga is smarter than one of the smartest witches, then this entails that for all witches, Babajaga is smarter. (shrink)
There have been and continue to be disagreements about how to consider the traditional square of opposition and the traditional inferences of obversion, conversion, contraposition and inversion from the perspective of contemporary quantificational logic. Philosophers have made many different attempts to save traditional inferences that are invalid when they involve empty classes. I survey some of these attempts and argue that the only satisfactory way of saving all the traditional inferences is to make the existential assumption that both (...) the subject and predicate classes and their complement classes are non-empty for all the propositions we admit. I briefly indicate the room for continued controversy over how properly to interpret Aristotle?s statements regarding these inferences, but find some plausibility in the views of Manley Thompson and A.N.Prior that Aristotle had in mind a particular arrangement of existential import unfamiliar to most contemporary logicians. (shrink)
Although it is clear in Schelling's Freiheitsschrift that he takes an agent's atemporal choice between good and evil to be central to understanding human freedom, there is no consensus in the literature and no adequate account of how to understand this choice. Further, the literature fails to render intelligible how existential freedom is possible in the light of this atemporal choice. I demonstrate that, despite their differences, the dominant accounts in the literature are all guilty of these failings (...) and argue that this is due to their misunderstanding of Schelling's conception of the relationship between essence and form. After outlining what I take Schelling's account of this relationship to be, I return to the Freiheitsschrift to demonstrate that with this account in mind we can make intelligible Schelling's claims about the agent's atemporal act, and the possibility of existential freedom on his account. (shrink)
According to Alasdair MacIntyre, Kierkegaard fails to provide rational reasons to choose between an aesthetic lifestyle and an ethical lifestyle. This claim subsequently initiated a significant discussion that investigated whether one can rationally choose between ethics and aesthetics. I will be challenging both MacIntyre?s criticism and in large part the basis of the subsequent discussion by arguing that there is no choice between aesthetics and ethics at all. Specifically, I will be arguing that in Either/Or Kierkegaard demonstrates that the (...) essence of human existence is the freedom to make choices. Given that the ethical is the existential reality of having to make choices, human existence is therefore necessarily ethical. This conclusion follows from my thesis that the essential difference between the aesthete and the ethicist in Either/Or is their opposing views on whether choices are necessary elements of experience. (shrink)
By considering a wide and expressly classified range of examples from natural and logical languages, the attempt is made to isolate from other concomitants the features of existential sentences which make them existential. One such concomitant is the imputation of singularity. There are many ways to say something exists, and their relationships are charted. It is denied that there is anything in reality called existence, or any special existential facts.
There have been and continue to be disagreements about how to consider the traditional square of opposition and the traditional inferences of obversion, conversion, contraposition and inversion from the perspective of contemporary quantificational logic. Philosophers have made many different attempts to save traditional inferences that are invalid when they involve empty classes. I survey some of these attempts and argue that the only satisfactory way of saving all the traditional inferences is to make the existential assumption that both (...) the subject and predicate classes and their complement classes are non-empty for all the propositions we admit. I briefly indicate the room for continued controversy over how properly to interpret Aristotle's statements regarding these inferences, but find some plausibility in the views of Manley Thompson and A.N.Prior that Aristotle had in mind a particular arrangement of existential import unfamiliar to most contemporary logicians. (shrink)
A rethinking of problems in "the 'climate' of thought proper to existentialists and phenomenologists." The author works out his own version of existential phenomenology--one which sees man as radically dependent on the Transcendent "To Be." Though there is insufficient discussion of the more complex and subtle issues of phenomenology, the work can serve as a guide to the entire movement.--R. J. B.
Having indicated my own enthusiasm for the project, I must hasten to add that it is precisely the explicit philosophical concern of existential psychoanalysis which constitutes its greatest vulnerability. No matter how strong one's interest in metaphysics may be and, hence, his initial sympathy with the metaphysical component in existential psychoanalysis, if one is critical and honest he cannot long avoid the question: what will be the results for psychoanalysis as a science? Two considerations are bound to give (...) the philosopher pause: Modern experimental science deliberately and willfully cut itself free from metaphysical speculation; up to the point where it failed to take this step, its progress was minimal. There are, I think, obvious dangers involved in empirical science either becoming too explicitly metaphysical or attempting to adapt itself to an antecedently available metaphysical system. I do not mean to suggest that metaphysics has not or cannot contribute to natural science, but only to underscore the fact that natural science has attained at least a relative autonomy. The physicist develops his own metaphysics to serve his own purposes and there is good reason to believe that he is well advised in doing so. (shrink)
There are an abundance of studies regarding the development of sexual identity and sexual orientation that have served as the foundational underpinnings for exploring sexual orientation development. To date, however, findings from these studies have failed to constitute a significant resource for understanding the gay man’s experience of acknowledging to himself that he is attracted to other men. By identifying the essential constituents of this experience, this existential-phenomenological study provides a starting point for further exploration. Written narrative accounts (...) were obtained from seven men who identified sexually as gay and a method of existential-phenomenological analysis was applied to reveal the prereflective constituents of the experience described. The analysis yielded a new perspective on the experience of gay men and their attraction to other men that has the capacity to change the way practising clinicians, educators, counsellors and future researchers treat and understand the Queer community. (shrink)
Harper appeals to philosophy, literature, psychiatry and theology from Augustine to R. D. Laing to present what he calls a coherent picture of the major existential themes found in interior experience. This is not a book in existential philosophy in the usual sense. Indeed Harper argues that academic philosophers have failed to adequately treat interior experience. Interior experience, he says, is largely emotional and does not yield easily to analysis and conceptualization. Harper’s style is exploratory and suggestive, even (...) lyrical at points, as he interprets human experience in accordance with the themes: existence, insecurity, the void, self-isolation and presence. Human existence is, according to Harper, what I make it to be. Yet it is also characterized by insecurity or anxiousness, a sense of estrangement rather than fulfillment and reconciliation. The experience of contemporary man is characterized not only by insecurity but also by a sense of emotional and spiritual disability. God is absent and man experiences reality as indifferent and himself as alone and isolated in a void. Man is not, however, without hope for there is in existentialism and in personal experience the parallel theme of presence, being open to reality as grace, which gives hope of acceptance and love, satisfying the whole man. Harper’s study is scattered with references to Augustine, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Camus, Sartre and others. But these references are controlled from Harper’s own perspective, the result of his meditations on his own and other reports of interior experience. In the Afterword, Harper makes this perspective and his view of the nature of philosophy more clear.—E. T. L. (shrink)
How to read the Confucian Classics today? Scholars with philosophical training usually emphasize that the philosophical approach, in comparison with the classicist and historical ones, is the best way to read the Confucian Classics, for it can dig out as much intellectual resources as possible from the classical texts in order to show their modern relevance. Briefly, the philosophical approach runs as follows: first, to discover or identify the philosophical question inhered in the text; then to reconstruct the line of (...) thinking, reasoning, and argumentation revealed in the text, which will lead to the answer of the question; and finally evaluate the effectiveness of the answer by any possible criticism. In spite of the fact that the philosophical approach does help showing the Confucian classics are of great significance to modern people, some scholars seriously caution that this theorization would alienate Confucianism from its very practical concern about self-cultivation. Accordingly, traditional Confucian scholars adopted an existential approach to reading, that is using their personal experience to read, question, understand, and comprehend the meanings of the text, making their comprehension as something they find in themselves and thus will be at ease in it. So there seems to be a dichotomy between the modern philosophical approach and the traditional existential approach to reading of the Confucian Classics. In this paper, I shall argue that the dichotomy has never existed. In fact, traditional Confucian scholars read the Confucian canon in both the philosophical and existential ways. Song Confucian Zhu Xi’s ‘Method of Reading’ is a case in point. I shall then argue that these two approaches should be irreducible and inseparable so as to form a proper way of reading as well as teaching the Confucian Classics today. (shrink)
This book of readings would make a superb ancillary text for an advanced or even graduate course in "existential phenomenology." Twelve of the twenty-two selections have been translated for the first time into English. This includes Sartre's defense of the major theses of Being and Nothingness before the Société française de philosophie and Ric£ur's similar defense of La Philosophie de la Volonté, I before the same body. As with Merleau-Ponty's similar defense, "The Primacy of Perception," also included in this (...) volume, the discussion which followed these defenses is presented. Integral texts in the form of articles rather than extracts from books are presented in most cases, including the first appearance of an essay by Marcel entitled "Desire and Hope." Where this is not done, as is partly the case for Strasser and wholly the case for Scheler, Dufrenne, Wild, and Ingarden, lengthy and context-faithful excerpts are given. There are four sections in the book: I. Existence in the Modalities of Consciousness, II. Existence as Embodied, III. Existence and Value, and IV. Existence and the Human Sciences. Each of these sections is skillfully laid out and effectively introduced. In addition to the philosophers mentioned, work by Buytendijk, May, Schutz, Van Kaam, Berger, Bollnow, Minkowski, Straus, and de Waelhens is included. Husserl is missing, as is Heidegger, but these gaps can be supplemented easily enough.—E. A. R. (shrink)
This article argues for the notion of the embodied self in reformulating insights in Kierkegaard that point to the existential difference in being embodied. The main arguments are: 1. Kierkegaard uses a Hegelian model: the human mind exteriorizes itself, in history and language, in actions and speech. Human being is being there. 2. This does not make the notions of self and interiority obsolete. On the contrary, in order to understand human exteriority, we need to re-define what a (...) human self is. 3. The crucial point in this re- definition is that self is to be understood as self-relation. Self is to relate oneself to others and to a world in between, and, in these relations, to relate to oneself. 4. Human consciousness is embodied in being embedded in a social, historical and cultural context. A human being relates to itself as being corporeally and temporally determined. 5. Human embodiment, with its intrinsic history, is a matter of concern: how humans take themselves in being embodied. In this there is a critical difference between being present and not being present. Our embodied existence is to be taken over or to be appropriated by ourselves as embodied beings. (shrink)
This section of the conference addressed a series of interdisciplinary themes on the issues of rational incommensurability, ethical perspectives and strategies for existential communication. Rather than attempting to answer a set of specific questions presenters were asked to provide a series of meditations on the three themes. Seven presenters provided deeply interesting and varied perspectives on the topics and their inter-relations from multi-disciplinary perspectives. There was considerable time given over to discussion and this proved especially fruitful and enlightening.
Which is worse: Doing evil or being evil? If we are free to define ourselves through our choices, as existentialism posits, then the latter is worse. This paper attempts to resolve the issue of the difference between religious (group) ethics and the ethics of a person of faith that embraces individuals with an existential understanding. In the existential view, the individual (whether the self or the other) is the primary concern, and so the issue of personal relational morality (...) supersedes religious narratives, social morality and popular ethics (White, 2002). If we think and choose, there is the possibility that we may occasionally make a mistake and do evil. However, if we do not think about our choices, and if the conventions we hold happen to be flawed in some way, then we become defined by a continual cycle of mistakes. Existentialism teaches that we become who we are in the process of making choices; therefore the difference between doing evil and being evil can be found in the small but important flow of thinking, relating and choosing. (shrink)
This is an existential-phenomenological reading of Max Weber's "Class, Status, Party" that seeks a fuller understanding of meaning accomplishment in a stratified World. I appropriate stratification as a single meaning structure ontically defined by domination, intersubjectivity, and life-chances and ontologically determined by the power-to-be, There-being-with-others, and potentiality. I then discuss the significance of these structures in finite transcendence and describe ways they factually unfold in World achievement. I conclude with logotherapeutic reflections concerning meaning accomplishment in a stratified World (...) and a summary of key questions facing existential-phenomenology in light of the likelihood that There-being must embrace, indeed, live, the inherent equality of Being among Daseins to accomplish its authenticity. (shrink)
This paper develops a 'conceptual map' by which to chart contemporary developments in policy on school diversity. In part this has been prompted by the prospect in England of (private) Steiner schools becoming more closely involved in mainstream state-funded education. Whilst generated principally by policy developments within the UK, the conceptual thinking may also have wider applicability. We conceptualise diversity in the context of a differentiating public domain and a concern with existential questions which, arguably, persists in educational policy (...) even where narrow 'performative' criteria are dominant. Four diversity models are outlined and a policy path over time suggested in relation to these. We suggest that this may be leading towards diversity policy which affords greater recognition to different conceptions of valued learning and encourages co-operative exploration of these, though it is acknowledged that there remain strong contrary pressures. (shrink)
Which is worse: Doing evil or being evil? If we are free to define ourselves through our choices, as existentialism posits, then the latter is worse. This paper attempts to resolve the issue of the difference between religious ethics and the ethics of a person of faith that embraces individuals with an existential understanding. In the existential view, the individual is the primary concern, and so the issue of personal relational morality supersedes religious narratives, social morality and popular (...) ethics. If we think and choose, there is the possibility that we may occasionally make a mistake and do evil. However, if we do not think about our choices, and if the conventions we hold happen to be flawed in some way, then we become defined by a continual cycle of mistakes. Existentialism teaches that we become who we are in the process of making choices; therefore the difference between doing evil and being evil can be found in the small but important flow of thinking, relating and choosing. (shrink)
By considering a wide and expressly classified range of examples from natural and logical languages, the attempt is made to isolate from other concomitants the features of existential sentences which make them existential. One such concomitant is the imputation of singularity. There are many ways to say something exists, and their relationships are charted. It is denied that there is anything in reality called existence, or any special existential facts.
The main result is that for every recursively enumerable existential consistent theory Γ , there exists a finitely presented SQ-universal group H such that Γ is satisfied in every nontrivial quotient of H. Furthermore if Γ is satisfied in some group with a soluble word problem, then H can be taken with a soluble word problem. We characterize the finitely generated groups with soluble word problem as the finitely generated groups G for which there exists a finitely (...) presented group H all of the nontrivial quotients of which embed G. We prove also that for every countable group G, there exists a 2-finitely generated SQ-universal group H such that every nontrivial quotient of H embeds G. (shrink)