A version of this op-ed appeared in print on May 10, 2015, on page SR9 of the New York edition of The New York Times with the headline : “Rhythms of the Brain”. It is also online here. IN 1890, the American psychologist William James famously likened our conscious experience to the flow of a stream. “A ‘river' or a ‘stream' are the metaphors by which it is most naturally described,” he wrote. “In talking of it hereafter, let's call it (...) the stream of thought, consciousness, or subjective life.” - Biologie – Nouvel article. (shrink)
Grodzinsky's localization claim can be questioned on empirical grounds. The Trace Deletion Hypothesis fails to account for a number of comprehension facts in Broca's aphasia and conduction aphasics show similar comprehension patterns. Frontoparietal systems are recruited during sentence comprehension only under conditions of increased processing load and/or attentional demands.
Why do we need government? A common view is that government is necessary to constrain people's conduct toward one another, because people are not sufficiently virtuous to exercise the requisite degree of control on their own. This view was expressed perspicuously, and artfully, by liberal thinker James Madison, in The Federalist, number 51, where he wrote: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Madison's idea is shared by writers ranging across the political spectrum. It finds clear expression in (...) the Marxist view that the state will gradually wither away after a communist revolution, as unalienated “communist man” emerges. And it is implied by the libertarian view that government's only legitimate function is to control the unfortunate and immoral tendency of some individuals to violate the moral rights of others. (shrink)
It is commonplace to suppose that the theory of individual rational choice is considerably less problematic than the theory of collective rational choice. In particular, it is often assumed by philosophers, economists, and other social scientists that an individual's choices among outcomes accurately reflect that individual's underlying preferences or values. Further, it is now well known that if an individual's choices among outcomes satisfy certain plausible axioms of rationality or consistency, that individual's choice-behavior can be interpreted as maximizing expected utility (...) on a utility scale that is unique up to a linear transformation. Hence, there is, in principle, an empirically respectable method of measuring individuals' values and a single unified schema for explaining their actions as value maximizing. (shrink)
This volume examines the complex and vitally important ethical questions connected with the deployment of nuclear weapons and their use as a deterrent. A number of the essays contained here have already established themselves as penetrating and significant contributions to the debate on nuclear ethics. They have been revised to bring out their unity and coherence, and are integrated with new essays. The books exceptional rigor and clarity make it valuable whether the reader's concern with nuclear ethics is professional or (...) personal. Part I explores the morality of nuclear deterrrence from each of the two dominant traditions in moral philosophy, deontology and consequentialism, and points out a number of interesting ethical dilemmas. Part II criticizes a variety of alternatives to deterrence - unilateral nuclear disarmament, world government, strategic defense against ballistic missiles, and nuclear coercion - and argues for mutual nuclear disarmament as a realistic and desirable long-run alternative. (shrink)
In a well-known article, 1 John Hick argues that the proposition ‘God exists' is, in principle, verifiable but is not falsifiable. Essentially, his argument is that while no experience in this life could conclusively disprove the existence of the Christian God, certain experiences one might have in the after-life would conclusively verify the existence of the Christian God. In particular, he argues that post mortem experiences of Christ ruling in the Kingdom of God would constitute a verification of the existence (...) of the Christian God. In this paper, I shall argue that on Hick's own assumptions, the existence of the Christian God turns out to be falsifiable, in principle, as well as verifiable. (shrink)
It is, perhaps, a propitious time to discuss the economic rights of disabled persons. In recent years, the media in the United States have re-ported on such notable events as: students at the nation's only college for the deaf stage a successful protest campaign to have a deaf individual ap-pointed president of their institution; a book by a disabled British physicist on the origins of the universe becomes a best seller; a pitcher with only one arm has a successful rookie (...) season in major league baseball; a motion-picture actor wins an Oscar for his portrayal of a wheelchair-bound person, beating out another nominee playing another wheelchair-bound person; a cancer patient wins an Olympic gold medal in wrestling; a paralyzed mother trains her children to accept discipline by inserting their hands in her mouth to be gently bitten when punishment is due; and a paraplegic rock climber scales the sheer four-thousand-foot wall of Yosemite Valley's El Capitan. Most significantly, in 1990, the United States Congress passed an important bill – the Americans with Disabili-ties Act – extending to disabled people employment and access-related protections afforded to members of other disadvantaged groups by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophical discourse has deeply problematized the possibility of absolute existence. Hegel’s Foundation Free Metaphysics demonstrates that by reading Hegel’s Doctrine of the Concept in his Science of Logic as a form of Absolute Dialetheism, Hegel’s logic of the concept can account for the possibility of absolute existence. Through a close examination of Hegel’s concept of self-referential universality in his Science of Logic, Moss demonstrates how Hegel’s concept of singularity is designed to solve a host of metaphysical and epistemic paradoxes (...) central to this problematic. He illustrates how Hegel’s revolutionary account of universality, particularity, and singularity offers solutions to six problems that have plagued the history of Western philosophy: the problem of nihilism, the problem of instantiation, the problem of the missing difference, the problem of absolute empiricism, the problem of onto-theology, and the third man regress. Moss shows that Hegel’s affirmation and development of a revised ontological argument for God’s existence is designed to establish the necessity of absolute existence. By adopting a metaphysical reading of Richard Dien Winfield’s foundation free epistemology, Moss critically engages dominant readings and contemporary debates in Hegel scholarship. Hegel’s Foundation Free Metaphysics will appeal to scholars interested in Hegel, German Idealism, 19th- and 20th-century European philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, and contemporary European thought. (shrink)
In relation to a thesis put forward by Marx Wartofsky, we seek to show that a historiography of mathematics requires an analysis of the ontology of the part of mathematics under scrutiny. Following Ian Hacking, we point out that in the history of mathematics the amount of contingency is larger than is usually thought. As a case study, we analyze the historians’ approach to interpreting James Gregory’s expression ultimate terms in his paper attempting to prove the irrationality of \. (...) Here Gregory referred to the last or ultimate terms of a series. More broadly, we analyze the following questions: which modern framework is more appropriate for interpreting the procedures at work in texts from the early history of infinitesimal analysis? As well as the related question: what is a logical theory that is close to something early modern mathematicians could have used when studying infinite series and quadrature problems? We argue that what has been routinely viewed from the viewpoint of classical analysis as an example of an “unrigorous” practice, in fact finds close procedural proxies in modern infinitesimal theories. We analyze a mix of social and religious reasons that had led to the suppression of both the religious order of Gregory’s teacher degli Angeli, and Gregory’s books at Venice, in the late 1660s. (shrink)
In fact, it requires two major social institutions--morality and government--working in a coordinated fashion to do so. This is one of the main themes of Hobbes's philosophy that will be developed in this book.
In Dependent Rational Animals, Alasdair MacIntyre attempts to ground the virtues in a biological account of humans. Drawing from this attempt, he also tries to answer the question of why we should care for the severely disabled. MacIntyre’s difficulty in answering this question begins with the fact that his communities of practices do not naturally include the severely disabled within their membership and care. In response to this difficulty, he provides four reasons for why we should care for the severely (...) disabled. I argue that three of these reasons are inadequate, and that the fourth is incomplete although it does point in a promising direction. I conclude that a more satisfactory answer requires a further extension of the central development from After Virtue to Dependent Rational Animals, and I draw from Wendell Berry, whose work MacIntyre admires, to provide an illuminating illustration of what such an answer might look like. (shrink)
For centuries, moral philosophers have attempted to clarify the relationship between morality and rational self-interest. They have been especially interested in the possibility that there are situations in which it is perceptibly against one’s interests to act morally, e.g., situations in which it clearly pays to lie, cheat, or steal. Hobbes, who held an egoistic view of human nature, was especially troubled by this possibility. For if psychological egoism is true and this possibility is a real one, there may be (...) situations in which people must act in a way that is either immoral or irrational. To avoid this unpalatable conclusion, Hobbes seeks to show that the aforementioned possibility is illusory, that no real conflict between morality and rational prudence can occur. (shrink)
This book surveys the leading modern theories of property - Lockean, libertarian, utilitarian/law-and-economics, personhood, Kantian and human flourishing - and then applies those theories to concrete contexts in which property issues have been especially controversial. These include redistribution, the right to exclude, regulatory takings, eminent domain and intellectual property. The book highlights the Aristotelian human flourishing theory of property, providing the most comprehensive and accessible introduction to that theory to date. The book's goal is neither to cover every conceivable theory (...) nor to discuss every possible facet of the theories covered. Instead, it aims to make the major property theories comprehensible to beginners, without sacrificing accuracy or sophistication. The book will be of particular interest to students seeking an accessible introduction to contemporary theories of property, but even specialists will benefit from the book's lucid descriptions of contemporary debates. (shrink)
With the diversification of philosophy, and the dismantling of stark divides in philosophical methodology in the West, the character of philosophy appears more indeterminate than ever—and demands fresh investigations not only into the character of philosophy, but also the concept of indeterminacy itself. The over-arching aim of this collection, which brings together a wide range of philosophical and inter-disciplinary perspectives, is to bring into focus the prominence and significance of indeterminacy as a common thread in recent Asian philosophy, continental thought, (...) and other philosophical approaches. The theme of indeterminacy can be traced throughout the history of both Western and Asian philosophy. Among the pre-Socratics, Anaximander stands out as recognizing (though not fully clarifying) its significance in his famous formulation of the first principle of philosophy as the apeiron—the indeterminate. In modern philosophy, indeterminacy appears time and again as a recurrent theme in post-Kantian idealism, phenomenology, and continental philosophy. This volume shines a spotlight on the way indeterminacy arises as an important theme for relatively neglected thinkers in the Western tradition, such as F.W.J. Schelling, and it offers fresh perspectives on the significance of indeterminacy for well-read thinkers such as Husserl and Hegel. What is more, this volume includes chapters that bring out the presence and importance of indeterminacy in the various schools of Chinese and Japanese philosophy (among others), such as in various forms of Daoist thinking and the Kyoto school, which cannot be underestimated. By bringing these schools of thought into dialogue with each other, we hope that the volume will enrich the thinking of all traditions, East, West, and beyond. (shrink)
On the standard simple foundationalist interpretation of Thomas Reid’s epistemology, his epistemic appeals to God seem problematic. These appeals are generally dismissed as dogmatic, viciously circular, or mere irrelevant pieties. This chapter responds first that, even on the standard foundationalist interpretation, theism can sometimes boost the epistemic justification of first principles. It then argues that Reid’s epistemology is plausibly interpreted as containing coherentist strands. While not generally necessary for knowledge, coherence can boost the justification of our basic beliefs, and this (...) boost in justification can be valuable in certain contexts. Because many of Reid’s epistemic appeals to God—including those that are viciously circular on the standard interpretation—are coherence-generating, this interpretation provides a plausible explanation for how theism can boost the justification of various first principles, including first principles about the reliability of our faculties. (shrink)
Gregory of Nyssa made important contributions to both theological thought and the understanding of the spiritual life. He was especially significant in adapting the thought of Origen to fourth century orthodoxy. The early treatise on the inscriptions of the Psalms shows the early stages of the development of Gregory's thought. This book presents the first translation of the treatise in a modern language. The annotations show Gregory's indebtedness to the thought of classical antiquity as well as to (...) the Bible. The Introduction sets forth the structure of Gregory's treatise, and places it in the context of earlier Christian commentaries on the Psalms. It shows how his hermeneutical approach was influenced by both Iamblichus the Neo-Platonist and Origen. Finally, Dr Heine compares Gregory's understanding of the stages of the spiritual life in the treatise with that in his later and more widely known writings on the life of Moses and the Song of Songs. (shrink)
In this paper I systematically reconstruct Hegel’s concept of “free mechanism” as developed in the Science of Logic. The term “free mechanism” appears absurd since each of the terms constituting it appears mutually exclusive. I argue that we may grasp it only on (1) the assumption of self-reference and (2) via a triad of syllogisms, which altogether constitute a process of alternating middle terms. On the whole, I employ Hegel’s account of “free mechanism” to illuminate the activity of objectivity, whereby (...) the self-determining concept resurrects itself from its dormancy in an indifferent totality. (shrink)
The role of theism in Thomas Reid’s epistemology remains an unresolved question. Opinions range from outright denials that theism has any relevance to Reid’s epistemology to claims that Reid’s epistemology depends upon theism in a dogmatic or a viciously circular manner. This dissertation attempts to bring some order to this interpretive fray by answering the following question: What role or roles does theism play in Reid’s epistemology, particularly in relation to the epistemic justification of first principles? Chapters 2-4 lay the (...) foundation for answering this question and clarify some terminology. Chapter 2 distinguishes key senses in which Reid uses the terms “principle” and “first principle.” Chapter 3 argues for a novel interpretation of common sense and the principles of common sense. This interpretation avoids a number of objections to Reid’s principles of common sense. Chapter 4 considers the initial externalist justification of Reid’s first principles. It shows Reid has a surprisingly well-developed proper-functionalism and brings to light several overlooked elements of his epistemology. Chapters 5-8 argue theism can and does play various important and philosophically respectable roles in Reid’s epistemology, particularly in relation to the justification of first principles. Chapter 5 argues that even on the standard foundationalist interpretation of Reid’s epistemology, theism can and does boost the justification of first principles. Chapter 6 shows Reid’s epistemology is not a form of simple foundationalism but contains coherentist elements. This enables theism further to boost the justification of first principles. Chapter 7 reveals that Reid’s epistemology contains different kinds or levels of knowledge, and shows that theism enables the highest form of knowledge, which I call scientia. Chapter 8 argues that within Reid’s epistemology theism helps protect and preserve the justification of first principles. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This article recovers the discussion of the relationship between religion, human nature and happiness in the Scottish Enlightenment physician John Gregory’s A Comparative View of Human Nature. Through examining Gregory’s best-selling but understudied text, this article explores how the Aberdeen Enlightenment’s own branch of the wider Scottish ‘science of human nature’, centred at the famous Aberdeen Philosophical Society, was as deeply concerned with the study of religion as it was the philosophy of mind. Gregory examined how (...) the purported cultural spread of dogmatic scepticism, associated by the Aberdonians with David Hume, threatened individual happiness and social tranquillity by removing the crutch of religious belief upon which the multitude depended. In doing so, it suggests that the contribution made by physicians to the Scottish Enlightenment’s engagement with religion has been unjustly ignored. (shrink)
Gregory S. Moss examines the central arguments in Ernst Cassirer’s first volume of the Philosophy of Symbolic Forms to show how Cassirer defends language as an autonomous cultural form, and how he borrows the concept of the “concrete universal” from G. W. F. Hegel in order to develop a concept of cultural autonomy.
Sometimes two wrongs do make a right. That is, others' violations of moral rules may make it permissible for one to also violate these rules, to avoid being unfairly disadvantaged. This claim, originally advanced by Hobbes, is applied to three cases in business. It is suggested that the claim is one source of scepticism concerning business ethics. I argue, however, that the conditions under which business competitors' violations of moral rules would render one's own violations permissible are quite restricted. Hence, (...) the observation that two wrongs may make a right does not give people a broad warrant for ignoring moral standards in their business activities. (shrink)
One recent priority of the U.S. government is developing autonomous robotic systems. The U.S. Army has funded research to design a metric of evil to support military commanders with ethical decision-making and, in the future, allow robotic military systems to make autonomous ethical judgments. We use this particular project as a case study for efforts that seek to frame morality in quantitative terms. We report preliminary results from this research, describing the assumptions and limitations of a program that assesses the (...) relative evil of two courses of action. We compare this program to other attempts to simulate ethical decision-making, assess possibilities for overcoming the trade-off between input simplification and output reliability, and discuss the responsibilities of users and designers in implementing such programs. We conclude by discussing the implications that this project highlights for the successes and challenges of developing automated mechanisms for ethical decision making. (shrink)
Ovaj je rad odgovor na sedmu točku, podtočke A) i B) Capetownskog iskaza o predanju, a cilj mu je pokušati odgovoriti na pitanje: “Je li ljubav pravilna kršćanska reakcija na stvorenje izvan ljudskog roda i/ili na ljudske narode i kulturu? Na temelju sažetka koncepcija kao što su ljubav i svijet u biblijskom tekstu, pokazujemo kako biblijska koncepcija ljubavi kategorično ističe duboku i brižnu posvećenost drugoj osobi unutar međuljudskih, odnosno odnosa između Boga i čovjeka. “Svijet” u Svetom pismu može imati pozitivno, (...) neutralno ili negativno značenje, ovisno o pojmu i kontekstu, a kršćani pripadaju i posrnulom stvorenju koje iščekuje oslobođenje, kao i ljudskim narodima u kulturama koje su u grijehu i pobuni protiv Boga. Premda Biblija nigdje ne zapovijeda vjernicima da vole stvorenje izvan ljudskog roda niti kolektivne ljudske entitete kao što su narodi i kulture, kršćani mogu izraziti ljubav prema Bogu i bližnjemu u obliku brige za stvorenje i kao svoj doprinos kulturi na način koji će proslaviti Boga. Tako kršćani mogu “voljeti” stvorenje i kulturu, ali isključivo u zavisnosti od temeljne ljubavi usmjerene na Boga i bližnjega. This paper is a response to point seven, sub-points A) and B) of The Cape Town Commitment, and attempts to answer the question “is love the proper Christian response to the nonhuman creation, and/or to human nations and culture?” Based on a summary of the concepts of “love” and the “world” in the biblical texts, it is shown that the biblical concept of “love” strongly emphasizes heartfelt and caring commitment for another within human relationships and divine-human relationships. The “world” in scripture can be construed in positive, neutral or negative senses, depending on the term and context, and Christians find themselves both in a fallen creation which awaits liberation and within human nations and cultures in a state of sin and rebellion against God. While the Bible never commands believers to love the nonhuman creation or collective human entities like nations and cultures, Christians may yet appropriate love for God and neighbor through their attentive care of creation and through their contribution to culture in a way that glorifies God. In these ways, Christians may “love” creation and culture, but only in a contingent sense with their foundational love focused on God and neighbor. (shrink)