Higher-order theories of consciousness posit that a mental state is conscious by virtue of being represented by another mental state, which is therefore a higher-order representation (HOR). Whether HORs are construed as thoughts or experiences, higher-order theorists have generally contested whether such metarepresentations have any significant cognitive function. In this paper, I argue that they do, focusing on the value of conscious thinking, as distinguished from conscious perceiving, conscious feeling, and other forms of conscious mentality. A thinking process is constituted (...) by propositional-attitude states, and during conscious thinking some or all of these states would be targeted by HORs. Since cases of nonconscious thinking are widely accepted, the question arises as to the use of representing one's thoughts during thinking. Contra the views of Armstrong and Rolls, I argue that HORs do not facilitate first-order thinking. Rather, I propose that such representations enable reasoning about one's act of thinking, and I give various examples of this sort of metacognition in support of the theory. I further argue that the general correlation between complex thinking and its being conscious is merely due to the fact that assessing one's mental act is particularly useful during such thinking, not because consciousness somehow facilitates first-order inference-making, as folk psychology implies. My view is thus consistent with recent empirical evidence that complex thinking sometimes yields better results when nonconscious. (shrink)
Inverted spectrum and absent-qualia arguments have at least shown that giving the functional role of a qualitative state is challenging, as it is arguable that the same functional organization among one's inputs, outputs, and mental states can be preserved despite having one's qualia radically altered or eliminated. Sydney Shoemaker has proposed a promising strategy for the functionalist: defining a given qualitative state as being disposed to cause a belief that one is in such a state. Such beliefs would be different (...) or not obtain should the qualitative state be altered or absent—showing that the qualitative state is in fact functionally relevant. I will argue that this approach, and a similar one by David Chalmers, face a difficulty in accounting for qualia at a fine grain, particularly those that do not readily fit our linguistic concepts and/or occur in peripheral awareness. I then show how the problem can be solved by incorporating certain conditional statements into functional definitions of qualia, and by relying on two theoretical resources I will discuss: qualitative beliefs with nonlinguistic content and QSMs (qualia-structuring mental phenomena). (shrink)
George H. Mead and Alfred Schutz proposed foundations for an interpretative sociology from opposite standpoints. Mead accepted the objective meaning structure a priori. His problem became therefore the explanation of the individuality and creativity of human actors in his social behavioristic approach. In contrast, Schutz started from the subjective consciousness of an isolated actor as a result of a phenomenological reduction. He was concerned with the problem of explaining the possibility of this isolated actor’s perceiving other actors in their (...) existence, their concreteness, and the motives for their behavior. I treat these two approaches and their associated problems as equally relevant. My evaluation is based on their success in solving their specific problems. The aim is to decide which of the two approaches provides the more adequate foundation for an interpretative sociology. (shrink)
Most philosophers have given up George Berkeley’s proof for the existence of God as a lost cause, for in it, Berkeley seems to conclude more than he actually shows. I defend the proof by showing that its conclusion is not the thesis that an infinite and perfect God exists, but rather the much weaker thesis that a very powerful God exists and that this God’s agency is pervasive in nature. This interpretation, I argue, is consistent with the texts. It (...) is also an important component of Berkeley’s philosophical project, which consists of launching many small arguments against his philosophical and theological opponents. (shrink)
2006. George Boole. Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2nd edition. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA. -/- George Boole (1815-1864), whose name lives among modern computer-related sciences in Boolean Algebra, Boolean Logic, Boolean Operations, and the like, is one of the most celebrated logicians of all time. Ironically, his actual writings often go unread and his actual contributions to logic are virtually unknown—despite the fact that he was one of the clearest writers in the field. Working with various students including Susan Wood (...) and Sriram Nambiar, I have written several publications trying to set the record straight—but so far to little avail. This encyclopedia entry is one more attempt to set the record straight in a way that can be appreciated by non-experts.Also see https://www.academia.edu/10161999/Booles_criteria_of_validity_and_invalidity . (shrink)
This article discusses the work of George Udny Yule in relation to the evolutionary synthesis and the biometric-Mendelian debate. It has generally been claimed that (i.) in 1902, Yule put forth the first account showing that the competing biometric and Mendelian programs could be synthesized. Furthermore, (ii.) the scientific figures who should have been most interested in this thesis (the biometricians W. F. Raphael Weldon and Karl Pearson, and the Mendelian William Bateson) were too blinded by personal animosity towards (...) each other to appreciate Yule's proposal. This essay provides a detailed account of (i.), maintaining that Yule's 1902 proposal is better understood as a reduction, not a synthesis of the two programs. The results of this analysis are then used to evaluate (ii.), where I will instead argue that Bateson and the biometricians had good reasons to avoid endorsing Yule's account. (shrink)
In his Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, George Berkeley offers some arguments in order to criticize the materialist position. My aim in this paper is to expound and analyze in detail these arguments. Given that Berkeley’s criticism to materialism is, at the end, a criticism to John Locke’s representationalism, I will begin this paper explaining which are the core ideas of Locke’s proposal.
In this article, the cosmological positions of George of Trebizond are regrouped and an attempt to evaluate his offer to the philosophy of nature in the Renaissance is presented. George of Trepizond dedicated a huge part of his work to the philosophical and scientific study of the world; he also renewed the way the Greek letters are studied and used.
The paper studies Heidegger's reading of the poet Stefan George (1868-1933), particularly of his poem "Das Wort" (1928), in the context of Heidegger's narrative of the history of metaphysics. Heidegger reads George's poem as expressing certain experiences with language: first, the constitutive role of language, of naming and discursive determination, in granting things stable identities; second, the unnameable and indeterminable character of language itself as a constitutive process and the concomitant insight into the human being's dependency on language (...) and her incapacity to master in subjectively. Heidegger characterizes this experience as "transitional" (übergänglich). It is shown that in Heidegger's historical narrative, this places George's poem in the ongoing transition (Übergang) from the Hegelian and Nietzschean end of metaphysics to a forthcoming "other beginning" of thinking. (shrink)
This article discusses the work of George Seddon as a significant Australian intellectual whose writing on postcolonial settler-descendant relations with land and nature is a major contribution to academic and public life. Seddon’s originality lies partly in his bridging knowledge and expertise in both the humanities and sciences. However, while there is a reliance upon factual data drawn from geology, botany and zoology, Seddon’s analyses of language and culture can appear idiosyncratic and unsystematic in terms of social science methods. (...) Based on introspection, the work might be considered ‘autoethnography’, though Seddon seeks to do more than tell stories about himself. In acknowledging both the brilliance and shortcomings of Seddon’s work, I present some examples of how it has stimulated my own research on the cultural implications of naming species and places in Australia. (shrink)
Historically labor has been central to human interactions with the environment, yet environmentalists pay it scant attention. Indeed, they have been critical of those who foreground labor in their politics, socialists in particular. However, environmentalists have found the nineteenth-century socialist William Morris appealing despite the fact that he wrote extensively on labor. This paper considers the place of labor in the relationship between humanity and the natural world in the work of Morris and two of his contemporaries, the eminent scientist (...) Thomas Henry Huxley, and the Fabian socialist Herbert George Wells. I suggest that Morris's conception of labor has much to recommend it to environmentalists who are also interested in issues of social justice. (shrink)
George Herbert Mead's early lectures at the University of Chicago are more important to understanding the genesis of his views in social psychology than some commentators, such as Hans Joas, have emphasized. Mead's lecture series "The Evolution of the Psychical Element," preserved through the notes of student H. Heath Bawden, demonstrate his devotion to Hegelianism as a method of thinking and how this influenced his non-reductionistic approach to functional psychology. In addition, Mead's breadth of historical knowledge as well as (...) his commitments in the natural and social sciences are on display here, culminating in the Darwinian observation that human animals only achieve the degree of control they have over their environment by the achievement of social organization. (shrink)
After Heitler and London published their pioneering work on the application of quantum mechanics to chemistry in 1927, it became an almost unquestioned dogma that chemistry would soon disappear as a discipline of its own rights. Reductionism felt victorious in the hope of analytically describing the chemical bond and the structure of molecules. The old quantum theory has already produced a widely applied model for the structure of atoms and the explanation of the periodic system. This paper will show two (...) examples of the entry of quantum physics into more classical fields of chemistry: inorganic chemistry and physical chemistry. Due to their professional networking, George Hevesy and Michael Polanyi found their ways to Niels Bohr and Fritz London, respectively, to cooperate in solving together some problems of classical chemistry. Their works on rare earth elements and adsorption theory throws light to the application of quantum physics outside the reductionist areas. They support the heuristic and persuasive value of quantum thinking in the 1920–1930s. Looking at Polanyi’s later oeuvre, his experience with adsorption theory could be a starting point of his non-justificationist philosophy. (shrink)
This article focuses on George Herbert Mead's life and his philosophy of the act. Mead divides the act into four stages: impulse, perception, manipulation, and consummation. The impulse sets the organism in motion, whereas consummation marks the satisfaction of the desire that initiated the act. Hence, consummation brings the act to a close. This should not be taken as a linear chain of responses to neatly self-contained problematic situations. Organisms often multitask, and problematic situations are typically nested, as when (...) an animal in its search for food is being attacked by a predator. (shrink)
The article analyzes Henri Bergson’s understanding of human life in the light of his metaphor of life as “insinuation.” Comparing his ideas with the ideas of another original thinker of the age, George Santayana, allows shedding light on Bergson’s ontological strategy of making matter– as a threat to life –subject to mediation. Memory and imagination use matter to play out the past in the guise of the present–for the sake of life. The text also focuses on the formulas of (...) freedom arising out of both thinkers’ conceptions of conscious life – that of Bergson, for whom the horizon and the fulfillment can be found in the beginning, or the primary vital impulse, and that of Santayana, who sees fulfillment in the forms of finitude assumed by each particular life. Looking at humanity in terms of a spiritual challenge links both conceptions. The whole discussion responds to the need to return to such fundamental but sidestepped terms as “humanity” and “spirituality”. (shrink)
This paper discusses George John Romanes’ (1848-1894) contributions to evolution theory. In his early evolutionary work, Romanes could be regarded as a mere disciple and collaborator of Darwin. Strictly speaking, a follower of Darwin would only attempt to develop and to diffuse Darwin’s ideas, to apply them to new cases, to obtain new evidence for this theory and to answer to problems and objections against Darwin’s theory. However, after working for some time under Darwin’s guidance (for instance, trying to (...) provide an experimental foundation for the hypothesis of pangenesis), Romanes adopted another strategy. As several other so-called Darwinians of the late 19th century, he endeavored to correct and to complement Darwin’s theory, with the introduction of new concepts and hypotheses (especially his “physiological selection”). Romanes’ new attitude might be regarded as an effort to step out of Darwin’s shadow and to exhibit his own brightness. Besides that, Romanes strove to undermine the work of other Darwinians that aimed at similar goals. (shrink)
The life of George Price (1922-1975), the eccentric polymath genius and father of the Price equation, is used as a prism and counterpoint through which to consider an age-old evolutionary conundrum: the origins of altruism. This biographical project, and biography and history more generally, are considered in terms of the possibility of using form to convey content in particular ways. Closer to an art form than a science, this approach to scholarship presents both a unique challenge and promise.
In this essay, I reconstruct H. Richard Niebuhr's interpretation of George Herbert Mead's account of the social constitution of the self. Specifically, I correct Niebuhr's interpretation, because it mischaracterizes Mead's understanding of social constitution as more dialogical than ecological. I also argue that Niebuhr's interpretation needs completing because it fails to engage one of Mead's more significant notions, the I/me distinction within the self. By reconstructing Niebuhr's account of faith and responsibility as theologically self-constitutive through Mead's I/me distinction, I (...) demonstrate Niebuhr's deep yet unacknowledged agreement with Mead: the self is constituted by its participation in multiple communities, but responds to them creatively by enduring the moral perplexity of competing communal claims. I conclude by initiating a constructive account of conscience that follows from this agreement. Conscience is more ecological than dialogical because it regards our creative participation in multiple ecologies of social roles oriented by patterns of responsive relations. (shrink)
Philosopher, poet, literary and cultural critic, George Santayana is a principal figure in Classical American Philosophy. His naturalism and emphasis on creative imagination were harbingers of important intellectual turns on both sides of the Atlantic. He was a naturalist before naturalism grew popular; he appreciated multiple perfections before multiculturalism became an issue; he thought of philosophy as literature before it became a theme in American and European scholarly circles; and he managed to naturalize Platonism, update Aristotle, fight off idealisms, (...) and provide a striking and sensitive account of the spiritual life without being a religious believer. His Hispanic heritage, shaded by his sense of being an outsider in America, captures many qualities of American life missed by insiders, and presents views equal to Tocqueville in quality and importance. Beyond philosophy, only Emerson may match his literary production. As a public figure, he appeared on the front cover of Time (3 February 1936), and his autobiography (Persons and Places, 1944) and only novel (The Last Puritan, 1936) were the best-selling books in the United States as Book-of-the-Month Club selections. The novel was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and Edmund Wilson ranked Persons and Places among the few first-rate autobiographies, comparing it favorably to Yeats's memoirs, The Education of Henry Adams, and Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. Remarkably, Santayana achieved this stature in American thought without being an American citizen. He proudly retained his Spanish citizenship throughout his life. Yet, as he readily admitted, it is as an American that his philosophical and literary corpuses are to be judged. Using contemporary classifications, Santayana is the first and foremost Hispanic-American philosopher. (shrink)
George Dickie has been one of the most innovative, influential, and controversial philosophers of art working in the analytical tradition in the past twenty-five years. Dickie's arguments against the various theories of aesthetic attitude, aesthetic perception, and aesthetic experience virtually brought classical theories of the aesthetic to a halt. His institutional theory of art was perhaps the most discussed proposal in aesthetics during the 1970s and 1980s, inspiring both supporters who produced variations on the theory as well as passionate (...) detractors who thought the theory thoroughly wrongheaded. Dickie has also written widely on the history of aesthetics, and his work ranks among the best examples of analytic aesthetics. The philosophy of George Dickie continues to provoke reaction and reflection. The essays in this collection pay homage not only to Dickie's ideas but also to his influence. A brief biography of George Dickie and a bibliography of his works complete the volume. (shrink)
This volume is a direct result of a conference held at Princeton University to honor George A. Miller, an extraordinary psychologist. A distinguished panel of speakers from various disciplines -- psychology, philosophy, neuroscience and artificial intelligence -- were challenged to respond to Dr. Miller's query: "What has happened to cognition? In other words, what has the past 30 years contributed to our understanding of the mind? Do we really know anything that wasn't already clear to William James?" Each participant (...) tried to stand back a little from his or her most recent work, but to address the general question from his or her particular standpoint. The chapters in the present volume derive from that occasion. (shrink)
This book brings together some of the finest recent critical and expository work on Mead, written by American and European thinkers from diverse traditions. For English-speaking audiences it provides an introduction to recent European work on Mead. The essays reveal the richness of Mead’s thought, and will stimulate those who have thought about him from very specific vantage points to consider him in new ways.
Unlike nearly all studies of Berkeley, this book looks at the full range of his work and links it with his life--focusing in particular on his religious thought. While aiming to present a clear picture of his career, Berman breaks new ground on, among other topics, Berkeley's philosophical strategy, his account of immortality, his Jacobitism, his emotive theory of religious mysteries, and the motivation of his Siris (1744). Also distinctive is the attention paid to the Irish context of his thought, (...) his symbolic frontispieces and portraits, and recent discoveries concerning his life and writings. (shrink)
As the world has increasingly embraced globalization, temptations to encroach on traditional boundaries of state sovereignty for reasons of self-interest mount. Argumentation studies provide an important lens for examining the public discourse used to justify such moves. This essay examines the Bush administration’s strategic use of the definitional processes of association and dissociation to build its public case for regime change in Afghanistan. After exploring how the Bush administration’s early rhetoric after 9/11 failed to actually provide the Taliban a choice (...) to remain in power, the essay reveals three combinations of the terrorism/state relationship that functioned as an argument by definition to gain support for the US campaign to overthrow the regime. (shrink)