But Williams had created a field of historical study, where his white counterparts had not. Single-handedly and without the blessing or approval of the academic community, Williams had called attention to the importance of including Afro-Americans in any acceptable and comprehensive history of the nation long before the historians of various groups of European-Americans or Asian-Americans had begun to advocate a similar treatment for their groups. And if Williams did not impress the white professional historians, he gave heart and encouragement (...) to future Afro-American historians. When the History of the Negro Troops appeared in 1887, nineteen-year-old W. E. B. Du Bois was a college senior at Fisk University and editor-in-chief of the student magazine, The Fisk Herald. In the columns of the Herald Du Bois wrote, "At last we have a historian; not merely a Negro historian, but a man who judged by his merits alone has written a splendid narrative. The Herald congratulates George W. Williams, and the race, which may justly be . . . [proud] of him."1 Many years later, Carter G. Woodson, the founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History and of the Journal of Negro History, described Williams' History of the Negro Troops as "one of the most valuable accounts of the Civil War."2 With words like these from Du Bois and Woodson, on whose shoulders much of the second stage of Afro-American historiography would rest, it is not too much to say that GeorgeWashington Williams was responsible for the beginnings of Afro-American historiography. · 1. The Fisk Herald, January 1888, p. 8.· 2. Woodson's appraisal of Williams was found among his papers and made available to me by Dr. Charles H. Wesley when he was executive director of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which had been founded by Woodson in 1915. John Hope Franklin, president-elect of the American Historical Society, has written a biography of GeorgeWashington Williams. He is the John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor of History at the University of Chicago and the author of, among other works, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans and A Southern Odyssey: Travelers in the Antebellum North. (shrink)
Early last year, the GenEthics Consortium (GEC) of the Washington Metropolitan Area convened at GeorgeWashington University to consider a complex case about genetic testing for Alzheimer disease (AD). The GEC consists of scientists, bioethicists, lawyers, genetic counselors, and consumers from a variety of institutions and affiliations. Four of the 8 co-authors of this paper delivered presentations on the case. Supplemented by additional ethical and legal observations, these presentations form the basis for the following discussion.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to severe shortages of many essential goods and services, from hand sanitizers and N-95 masks to ICU beds and ventilators. Although rationing is not unprecedented, never before has the American public been faced with the prospect of having to ration medical goods and services on this scale.
In this paper, we approach the idea of group cognition from the perspective of the “extended mind” thesis, as a special case of the more general claim that systems larger than the individual human, but containing that human, are capable of cognition (Clark, 2008; Clark & Chalmers, 1998). Instead of deliberating about “the mark of the cognitive” (Adams & Aizawa, 2008), our discussion of group cognition is tied to particular cognitive capacities. We review recent studies of group problem-solving and group (...) memory which reveal that specific cognitive capacities that are commonly ascribed to individuals are also aptly ascribed at the level of groups. These case studies show how dense interactions among people within a group lead to both similarity-inducing and differentiating dynamics that affect the group's ability to solve problems. This supports our claim that groups have organization-dependent cognitive capacities that go beyond the simple aggregation of the cognitive capacities of individuals. Group cognition is thus an emergent phenomenon in the sense of Wimsatt (1986). We further argue that anybody who rejects our strategy for showing that cognitive properties can be instantiated at multiple levels in the organizational hierarchy on a priori grounds is a “demergentist,” and thus incurs the burden of proof for explaining why cognitive properties are “stuck” at a certain level of organizational structure. Finally, we show that our analysis of group cognition escapes the “coupling-constitution” charge that has been leveled against the extended mind thesis (Adams & Aizawa, 2008). (shrink)
Hans-Georg Gadamer, the major proponent of philosophical hermeneutics, reveals himself here as a highly sensitive reader and critic of the German literary tradition. This is not the work of a specialist as narrowly defined in the typical literary study. Although he is a master of the techniques of criticism, Gadamer always sees the study of literature as a fundamentally human activity where human beings, generation after generation, pose their questions to an encroaching darkness that threatens to rob them of their (...) confidence in the meaning of life and death. Never pedantic or antiquarian, these studies show such literary giants of the German past as Goethe and Hölderlin as our contemporaries. Gadamer demonstrates his ability to achieve the creative interplay of literature and philosophy which, in isolation, easily degenerate into sterile academic games. Typical of this dialogue are essays on Rainer Maria Rilke, including an examination of a problem of punctuation in one of his poems. What would be, in less capable hands, one more solution to a literary problem, turns out to be one of Gadamer’s creative approaches to the mystery of man’s relation to time and death. (shrink)
There is growing interest in contact tracing apps for pandemic management. It is crucial to consider ethical requirements before, while, and after implementing such apps. In this paper, we illustrate the complexity and multiplicity of the ethical considerations by presenting an ethical framework for a responsible design and implementation of CT apps. Using this framework as a starting point, we briefly highlight the interconnection of social and political contexts, available measures of pandemic management, and a multi-layer assessment of CT apps. (...) We will discuss some trade-offs that arise from this perspective. We then suggest that public trust is of major importance for population uptake of contact tracing apps. Hasty, ill-prepared or badly communicated implementations of CT apps will likely undermine public trust, and as such, risk impeding general effectiveness. (shrink)
This is a sustained critique of materialism. The contributors offer arguments from conscious experience, rational thought, the interaction of mind and body, and the unity and persisting identity of human persons, and develop a wide range of alternatives.
Contemporary liberal thinkers commonly suppose that there is something in principle unjust about the legal prohibition of putatively victimless crimes. Here Robert P. George defends the traditional justification of morals legislation against criticisms advanced by leading liberal theorists. He argues that such legislation can play a legitimate role in maintaining a moral environment conducive to virtue and inhospitable to at least some forms of vice. Among the liberal critics of morals legislation whose views George considers are Ronald Dworkin, (...) Jeremy Waldron, David A.J. Richards, and Joseph Raz. He also considers the influential modern justification for morals legislation offered by Patrick Devlin as an alternative to the traditional approach. George closes with a sketch of a "pluralistic perfectionist" theory of civil liberties and public morality, showing that it is fully compatible with a defense of morals legislation. Making Men Moral will interest legal scholars and political theorists as well as theologians and philosophers focusing on questions of social justice and political morality. (shrink)
In his collection George extends the critique of liberalism he expounded in Making Men Moral and also goes beyond it to show how contemporary natural law theory provides a superior way of thinking about basic problems of justice and political morality. It is written with the same combination of stylistic elegance and analytical rigour that distinguished his critical work. Not content merely to defend natural law from its cultural despisers, he deftly turns the tables and deploys the idea to (...) mount a stunning attack on regnant liberal beliefs about such issues as abortion, sexuality, and the place of religion in public life. (shrink)
George Berkeley notoriously claimed that his immaterialist metaphysics was not only consistent with common sense but that it was also integral to its defense. Roberts argues that understanding the basic connection between Berkeley's philosophy and common sense requires that we develop a better understanding of the four principle components of Berkeley's positive metaphysics: The nature of being, the divine language thesis, the active/passive distinction, and the nature of spirits. Roberts begins by focusing on Berkeley's view of the (...) nature of being. He elucidates Berkeley's view on Locke and the Cartesians and by examining Berkeley's views about related concepts such as unity and simplicity. From there he moves on to Berkeley's philosophy of language arguing that scrutiny of the famous "Introduction" to the Principles of Human Knowledge reveals that Berkeley identified the ideational theory of meaning and understanding as the root cause of some of the worst of man's intellectual errors, not "abstract ideas." Abstract ideas are, rather, the most debilitating symptom of this underlying ailment. In place of the ideational theory, Berkeley defends a rudimentary "use theory" of meaning. This understanding of Berkeley's approach to semantics is then applied to the divine language thesis and is shown to have important consequences for Berkeley's pragmatic approach to the ontology of natural objects and for his approach to our knowledge of, and relation to other minds, including God's. Turning next to Berkeley's much aligned account of spirits, the author defends the coherence of Berkeley's view of spirits by way of providing an interpretation of the active/passive distinction as marking a normative distinction and by focusing on the role that divine language plays in letting Berkeley identify the soul with the will. With these four principles of Berkeley's philosophy in hand, he then returns to the topic of common sense and offers a defense of Berkeley's philosophy as built upon and expressive of the deepest metaphysical commitments of mainstream Christianity. Roberts' reappraisal of this important figure should appeal to all historians of philosophy as well as scholars in metaphysics and philosophy of language. (shrink)
Talk of group minds has arisen in a number of distinct traditions, such as in sociological thinking about the “madness of crowds” in the 19th-century, and more recently in making sense of the collective intelligence of social insects, such as bees and ants. Here we provide an analytic framework for understanding a range of contemporary appeals to group minds and cognate notions, such as collective agency, shared intentionality, socially distributed cognition, transactive memory systems, and group-level cognitive adaptations.
Contextual emergence was originally proposed as an inter-level relation between different levels of description to describe an epistemic notion of emergence in physics. Here, we discuss the ontic extension of this relation to different domains or levels of physical reality using the properties of temperature and molecular shape as detailed case studies. We emphasize the concepts of stability conditions and multiple realizability as key features of contextual emergence. Some broader implications contextual emergence has for the foundations of physics and cognitive (...) and neural sciences are given in the concluding discussion. Relevant facts about algebras of observables are found in the appendices along with an abstract definition of Kubo-Martin-Schwinger states. (shrink)