We explore the issue of media content and corporate social responsibility by considering three questions:1. Why is this issue becoming so salient to a variety of stakeholders across the political spectrum at this time?2. What are the ethical issues that companies and policy makers should be concerned about with regard to media content?3. How can media-related companies and industries either better self-regulate or enhance consumer choice to respond to legitimate concerns about access tocontent?
We argue that are no such things as literal categories in human cognition. Instead, we argue that there are merely temporary coalescences of dimensions of similarity, which are brought together by context in order to create the similarity structure in mental representations appropriate for the task at hand. Fodor contends that context‐sensitive cognition cannot be realised by current computational theories of mind. We address this challenge by describing a simple computational implementation that exhibits internal knowledge representations whose similarity structure alters (...) fluidly depending on context. We explicate the processing properties that support this function and illustrate with two more complex models, one applied to the development of semantic knowledge , the second to the processing of simple metaphorical comparisons . The models firstly demonstrate how phenomena that seem problematic for literal categorisation resolve to particular cases of the contextual modulation of mental representations; and secondly prompt a new perspective on the relation between language and thought: language affords the strategic control of context on semantic knowledge, allowing information to be brought to bear in a given situation that might otherwise not be available to influence processing. This may explain one way in which human thought is creative, and distinctive from animal cognition. (shrink)
In the first systematic study of the philosophy of Thomas Nagel, Alan Thomas discusses Nagel's contrast between the "subjective" and the "objective" points of view throughout the various areas of his wide ranging philosophy. Nagel's original and distinctive contrast between the subjective view and our aspiration to a "view from nowhere" within metaphysics structures the chapters of the book. A "new Humean" in epistemology, Nagel takes philosophical scepticism to be both irrefutable and yet to indicate a profound truth (...) about our capacity for self-transcendence. The contrast between subjective and objective views is then considered in the case of the mind, where consciousness proves to be the central aspect of mind that contemporary theorising fails to acknowledge adequately. The second half of the book analyses Nagel's work on moral and political philosophy where he has been most deeply influential. Topics covered include the contrast between agent-relative and agent-neutral reasons and values, Nagel's distinctive version of a hybrid ethical theory, his discussion of life's meaningfulness and finally his sceptical arguments about whether a liberal society can reconcile the conflicting moral demands of self and other. (shrink)
On the day before Christmas, 1170, Robert de Broc, member of a family of royal servants that had taken up King Henry II's fierce opposition to Thomas Becket, seized a horse bringing goods to the archbishop and cut off its tail. The next day, Archbishop Thomas noted this incident after his Christmas sermon when renewing his excommunication of Robert and several others, and he discussed it again four days later in his initial meeting with the men who would (...) shortly murder him. The excision of the horse's tail appears in five of the biographies of the martyr and subsequently in the national chronicles of Roger of Howden and Ralph of Diceto. Why did a minor act of cruelty inflicted on a horse seem so noteworthy to contemporaries? The sources recording it resound with the rich Latin vocabulary of shame: “dedecus, contemptus, ignominia, dehonestatio, opprobrium.” Robert's highly symbolic act, part of a pattern of harassment by the Brocs, was designed not just to threaten Becket but also to humiliate him. (shrink)
I begin by sketching the Epicurean position on death - that it cannot be bad for the one who dies because she no longer exists - which has struck many people as specious. However, alternative views must specify who is wronged by death (the dead person?), what is the harm (suffering?), and when does the harm take place (before death, when you’re not dead yet, or after death, when you’re not around any more?). In the second section I outline the (...) most sophisticated anti-Epicurean view, the deprivation account, according to which someone who dies is harmed to the extent that the death has deprived her of goods she would otherwise have had. In the third section I argue that deprivation accounts that use the philosophical tool of possible worlds have the counterintuitive implication that we are harmed in the actual world because counterfactual versions of us lead fantastic lives in other possible worlds. In the final section I outline a neo-Epicurean position that explains how one can be wronged by being killed without being harmed by death and how it is possible to defend intuitions about injustice without problematic appeal to possible worlds. (shrink)
Now that the collective death of mankind has become a possibility, no other thought can remain unimpaired. Harry Redner traces historically the onset of this acute state of Nihilism from what might be called the Faustian revolution, symbolized by Faust's pronouncement “In the beginning was the Deed.” Redner reflects on the passage of the three main Fausts, from Marlowe’s to Goethe’s to Thomas Mann’s, and this reflection serves as the dramatic metaphor for a review of the relationship of (...) Progress to Nihilism in modern civilization. Starting with an exposition of the key Faustian thinkers, Marx, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, and Heidegger, the book proceeds by examining the dominant modern ideas on Man, Time, and Nihilism with reference to Foucault, Derrida, and Althusser. Its focus in this is firmly fixed on Language, which is a key preoccupation of all these thinkers but has not yet been taken far enough to afford a basis for the explanation of fundamental changes in civilization. Language in its creative and destructive functions, as constituting both the conscious and unconscious of a culture, is reconceived so as to account for the hidden link between Progress and Nihilism. The author then examines sociologically the dominant aspects of Progress in terms of the ideas of Weber, Adorno, and Marcuse on Technology, Subjectivity, and Activism. Finally, an extensive literary study of the three main Fausts concludes with a coda on the future of music. An epilogue draws some ethical and political conclusions for action. Dramatic in form, In the Beginning Was the Deed is lucid and direct in style, tinged with a wry humor demanded by the gravity of the subject matter. In its attempt to represent Man in the nuclear age and to reflect on that representation, it is a work that seeks to comprehend our time and to act on that comprehension. This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1982. (shrink)
Philosopher Harry Frankfurt has famously coined “bullshit” as a technical term— it refers not to outright lying but rather to a casual indifference to truth. Disregard for truth is accepted and even expected in many contexts, yet it creates conditions for gross injustice and dehumanization. I offer an account of widespread cultural indifference to truth as structural sin, a condition I call “truth indifference.” Draw- ing on Thomas Aquinas’s understanding of the virtue of truth (veracitas), I map out (...) the conceptual framework that must be in place before Christian ethicists can provide an adequate moral analysis of structural truth indifference. (shrink)
This follow-up to The Moral Domain carries forward the exploration of new ways of modeling moral behavior. Whereas the first volume emphasized the work of Lawrence Kohlberg and the tradition of cognitive development, The Moral Self presents a paradigm that also incorporates noncognitive structures of selfhood. The concerns of the sixteen essays include the diversity of moral outlooks, the dynamics of creating a moral self, cognitive and noncognitive prerequisites of the psychological-development of autonomy and moral competence, and motivation and moral (...) personality. Gil G. Noam is Director of the Hall-Mercer Laboratory of Developmental Psychology and Developmental Psychopathology at Harvard Medical School. Thomas Wren is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University of Chicago.Contributors: Part I. Conceptual Foundations. Harry Frankfurt. Amelie Oksenberg Rorty. Ernst Tugendhat. Ernest S. Wolf. Thomas Wren. Part II. Building a New Paradigm. Augusto Blasi. Anne Colby and William Damon. Helen Haste. Mordecai Nisan. Gil G. Noam. Larry Nucci and John Lee. Part III. Empirical Investigation. Monika. Keller and Wolfgang Edelstein. Lothar Krappmann. Leo Montada. Gertrud Nunner-Winkler. Ervin Staub. (shrink)