This article examines the place of human and animal subjectivity in two autobiographically informed texts by Hélène Cixous. It takes her view on the word ‘human’ and the figure of Fips, the dog of the Cixous family, as a point of departure. By thinking through this figure, I argue, Cixous analyses the dehumanizing logic of colonialism and anti-Semitism in Algeria and develops her own response to such kinds of political evils, arguing for human relationality and animal corporeality. The article shows (...) that Cixous’ meeting with Fips creates a stigma that, belatedly, breaks through the barrier between herself and the dog; the reopening of the wound takes place in a poetical writing that reveals an intense ‘animal humanity’ formed by communal suffering, finiteness, and love. The lesson Cixous learns from the memory of Fips the dog is how to become ‘better human’. This becoming is also an assault on the false humanism of the colonial project and on racialized social exclusion. (shrink)
I have been asked to consider two questions: How Christian ‘oughts’ are related to Christian ‘is-es’, and, What does Christianity take flourishing to be? The background to these questions is that Christian ethics have traditionally been taken, both by supporters and opponents, as au ethic of creature-hood, sometimes quite crudely conceived. It is a sketch, but by no means a caricature, of a great deal of standard Christian thinking, to depict it as answering the two questions as follows: God is (...) your Creator: therefore you ought to obey him. The end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him for ever. (shrink)
James Tabery Helen Longino’s Studying Human Behavior is an overdue effort at a nonpartisan evaluation of the many scientific disciplines that study the nature and nurture of human behavior, arguing for the acceptance of the strengths and weaknesses of all approaches. After years of conflict, Longino makes the pluralist case for peaceful coexistence. Her analysis of the approaches raises the following question: how are we to understand the pluralistic relationship among the peacefully coexisting approaches? Longino is ironically rather unpluralistic (...) about her pluralism, forcing a choice between integrative pluralism and her preferred ineliminative pluralism. I hope to show that the analysis of approaches she offers actually accommodates a pluralism that is both integrative and ineliminative.Approaches to studying human behaviorPhilosophy of biology took shape as a discipline in the 1970s. This disciplinary formation over. (shrink)
Helen Steward argues that determinism is incompatible with agency itself--not only the special human variety of agency, but also powers which can be accorded to animal agents. She offers a distinctive, non-dualistic version of libertarianism, rooted in a conception of what biological forms of organisation might make possible in the way of freedom.
El filósofo español José Ortega y Gasset y su traductora al alemán Helene Weyl intercambiaron correspondencia entre los años 1923 y 1946. José Ortega y Gasset y Helene Weyl formaron parte de dos grandes comunidades de intelectuales europeos: Ortega, representante de la filosofía académica en España y Helene Weyl, representante de una intelectualidad vivida más allá de cualquier corsé academicista. Su correspondencia documenta el desarrollo de dos grandes espíritus europeos así como la singular intersección de estos dos mundos y culturas (...) a través de un momento histórico difícil y turbulento del siglo XX. (shrink)
Helen Steward puts forward a radical critique of the foundations of contemporary philosophy of mind, arguing that it relies too heavily on insecure assumptions about the sorts of things there are in the mind--events, processes, and states. She offers a fresh investigation of these three categories, clarifying the distinctions between them, and argues that the category of state has been very widely and seriously misunderstood.
Contemporary social-scientific research seeks to identify specific causal mechanisms for outcomes of theoretical interest. Experiments that randomize populations to treatment and control conditions are the “gold standard” for causal inference. We identify, describe, and analyze the problem posed by transformative treatments. Such treatments radically change treated individuals in a way that creates a mismatch in populations, but this mismatch is not empirically detectable at the level of counterfactual dependence. In such cases, the identification of causal pathways is underdetermined in a (...) previously unrecognized way. Moreover, if the treatment is indeed transformative it breaks the inferential structure of the experimental design. Transformative treatments are not curiosities or “corner cases,” but are plausible mechanisms in a large class of events of theoretical interest, particularly ones where deliberate randomization is impractical and quasi-experimental designs are sought instead. They cast long-running debates about treatment and selection effects in a new light, and raise new methodological challenges. (shrink)
In Studying Human Behavior, Helen E. Longino enters into the complexities of human behavioral research, a domain still dominated by the age-old debate of “nature versus nurture.” Rather than supporting one side or another or attempting..
A computer can come to understand natural language the same way Helen Keller did: by using “syntactic semantics”—a theory of how syntax can suffice for semantics, i.e., how semantics for natural language can be provided by means of computational symbol manipulation. This essay considers real-life approximations of Chinese Rooms, focusing on Helen Keller’s experiences growing up deaf and blind, locked in a sort of Chinese Room yet learning how to communicate with the outside world. Using the SNePS computational (...) knowledge-representation system, the essay analyzes Keller’s belief that learning that “everything has a name” was the key to her success, enabling her to “partition” her mental concepts into mental representations of: words, objects, and the naming relations between them. It next looks at Herbert Terrace’s theory of naming, which is akin to Keller’s, and which only humans are supposed to be capable of. The essay suggests that computers at least, and perhaps non-human primates, are also capable of this kind of naming. (shrink)
Most people believe that it is sometimes morally permissible for a person to use force to defend herself or others against harm. In Defensive Killing, Helen Frowe offers a detailed exploration of when and why the use of such force is permissible. She begins by considering the use of force between individuals, investigating both the circumstances under which an attacker forfeits her right not to be harmed, and the distinct question of when it is all-things-considered permissible to use force (...) against an attacker. Frowe then extends this enquiry to war, defending the view that we should judge the ethics of killing in war by the moral rules that govern killing between individuals. She argues that this requires us to significantly revise our understanding of the moral status of non-combatants in war. Non-combatants who intentionally contribute to an unjust war forfeit their rights not to be harmed, such that they are morally liable to attack by combatants fighting a just war. (shrink)
Helen Frowe has recently offered what she calls a “practical” account of self-defense. Her account is supposed to be practical by being subjectivist about permissibility and objectivist about liability. I shall argue here that Frowe first makes up a problem that does not exist and then fails to solve it. To wit, her claim that objectivist accounts of permissibility cannot be action-guiding is wrong; and her own account of permissibility actually retains an objectivist (in the relevant sense) element. In (...) addition, her attempt to restrict subjectivism primarily to “urgent” situations like self-defense contradicts her own point of departure and is either incoherent or futile. Finally, the only actual whole-heartedly objectivist account she criticizes is an easy target; while those objectivist accounts one finds in certain Western European jurisdictions are immune to her criticisms. Those accounts are also clearly superior to hers in terms of action-guidingness. (shrink)
We propose category theory, the mathematical theory of structure, as a vehicle for defining ontologies in an unambiguous language with analytical and constructive features. Specifically, we apply categorical logic and model theory, based upon viewing an ontology as a sub-category of a category of theories expressed in a formal logic. In addition to providing mathematical rigor, this approach has several advantages. It allows the incremental analysis of ontologies by basing them in an interconnected hierarchy of theories, with an operation on (...) the hierarchy that expresses the formation of complex theories from simple theories that express first principles. Another operation forms abstractions expressing the shared concepts in an array of theories. The use of categorical model theory makes possible the incremental analysis of possible worlds, or instances, for the theories, and the mapping of instances of a theory to instances of its more abstract parts. We describe the theoretical approach by applying it to the semantics of neural networks. (shrink)
Setting goals in the workplace can motivate improved performance but it might also compromise ethical behavior. In this paper, we propose that individual differences in the dispositional tendency to morally justify behavior moderate the effects of specific performance goals on unethical behavior. We conducted an experimental study in which working participants, who were randomly assigned to a specific goal condition or to a condition with a vague goal that lacked a specific target, completed two tasks in which they had the (...) opportunity to act unethically. In an ethical dilemma task, participants in the specific goal condition were more likely to advocate using unethical methods. However, in an anagram task, only those with high moral justification overstated their performance to a greater degree in the specific goal condition. As such, individuals may not be equally susceptible to the ‘dark side’ of goal-setting. (shrink)
William Rapaport, in “How Helen Keller used syntactic semantics to escape from a Chinese Room,” (Rapaport 2006), argues that Helen Keller was in a sort of Chinese Room, and that her subsequent development of natural language fluency illustrates the flaws in Searle’s famous Chinese Room Argument and provides a method for developing computers that have genuine semantics (and intentionality). I contend that his argument fails. In setting the problem, Rapaport uses his own preferred definitions of semantics and syntax, (...) but he does not translate Searle’s Chinese Room argument into that idiom before attacking it. Once the Chinese Room is translated into Rapaport’s idiom (in a manner that preserves the distinction between meaningful representations and uninterpreted symbols), I demonstrate how Rapaport’s argument fails to defeat the CRA. This failure brings a crucial element of the Chinese Room Argument to the fore: the person in the Chinese Room is prevented from connecting the Chinese symbols to his/her own meaningful experiences and memories. This issue must be addressed before any victory over the CRA is announced. (shrink)
The paper considers and opposes the view that processes are best thought of as continuants, to be differentiated from events mainly by way of the fact that the latter, but not the former, are entities with temporal parts. The motivation for the investigation, though, is not so much the defeat of what is, in any case, a rather implausible claim, as the vindication of some of the ideas and intuitions that the claim is made in order to defend — and (...) the grounding of those ideas and intuitions in a more plausible metaphysics than is provided by the continuant view. It is argued that in addition to a distinction between events and processes there is room and need for a third category, that of the individual process, which can be illuminatingly compared with the idea of a substance. Individual processes indeed share important metaphysical features with substantial continuants, but they do not lack temporal parts. Instead, it is argued that individual processes share with substantial continuants an important property I call ‘modal robustness in virtue of form’. The paper explains what this property is, and further suggests that the category of individual process, thus understood, might be of considerable value to the philosophy of action. (shrink)
The Habits of Racism examines some of the complex questions raised by the phenomenon and experience of racism. Helen Ngo argues that the conceptual reworking of habit as bodily orientation helps to identify the more subtle but fundamental workings of racism, exploring what the lived experience of racism and racialization teaches about the nature of the embodied and socially-situated being.
Upon what kind of moral order does capitalism rest? Conversely, does the market give rise to a distinctive set of beliefs, habits, and social bonds? These questions are certainly as old as social science itself. In this review, we evaluate how today's scholarship approaches the relationship between markets and the moral order. We begin with Hirschman's characterization of the three rival views of the market as civilizing, destructive, or feeble in its effects on society. We review recent work at the (...) intersection of sociology, economics, and political economy and show that these views persist both as theories of market society and moral arguments about it. We then argue that a fourth view, which we call moralized markets, has become increasingly prominent in economic sociology. This line of research sees markets as cultural phenomena and moral projects in their own right, and seeks to study the mechanisms and techniques by which such projects are realized in practice. (shrink)
"Open Democracy envisions what true government by mass leadership could look like."—Nathan Heller, New Yorker How a new model of democracy that opens up power to ordinary citizens could strengthen inclusiveness, responsiveness, and accountability in modern societies To the ancient Greeks, democracy meant gathering in public and debating laws set by a randomly selected assembly of several hundred citizens. To the Icelandic Vikings, democracy meant meeting every summer in a field to discuss issues until consensus was reached. Our contemporary representative (...) democracies are very different. Modern parliaments are gated and guarded, and it seems as if only certain people—with the right suit, accent, wealth, and connections—are welcome. Diagnosing what is wrong with representative government and aiming to recover some of the lost openness of ancient democracies, Open Democracy presents a new paradigm of democracy in which power is genuinely accessible to ordinary citizens. Hélène Landemore favors the ideal of “representing and being represented in turn” over direct-democracy approaches. Supporting a fresh nonelectoral understanding of democratic representation, Landemore recommends centering political institutions around the “open mini-public”—a large, jury-like body of randomly selected citizens gathered to define laws and policies for the polity, in connection with the larger public. She also defends five institutional principles as the foundations of an open democracy: participatory rights, deliberation, the majoritarian principle, democratic representation, and transparency. Open Democracy demonstrates that placing ordinary citizens, rather than elites, at the heart of democratic power is not only the true meaning of a government of, by, and for the people, but also feasible and, today more than ever, urgently needed. (shrink)
The Ethics of War and Peace is a lively introduction to one of the oldest but still most relevant ethical debates. Focusing on the philosophical questions surrounding the ethics of modern war, Helen Frowe presents contemporary just war theory in a stimulating and accessible way. This 2nd edition includes new material on weapons and technology, and humanitarian intervention, in addition to: theories of self-defence and national defence jus ad bellum, jus in bello and jus post bellum the moral status (...) of combatants the principle of non-combatant immunity and the nature of terrorism and the moral status of terrorists. Each chapter uses examples and concludes with a summary, discussion questions and suggestions for further reading to aid student engagement, learning and revision. The glossary has been expanded to cover the full range of relevant terminology. This is the ideal textbook for students of philosophy and politics approaching this important area for the first time. (shrink)
No discussion of academic freedom, research integrity, and patient safety could begin with a more disquieting pair of case studies than those of Nancy Olivieri and David Healy. The cumulative impact of the Olivieri and Healy affairs has caused serious self examination within the biomedical research community. The first part of the essay analyses these recent academic scandals. The two case studies are then placed in their historical context—that context being the transformation of the norms of science through (...) increasingly close ties between research universities and the corporate world. After a literature survey of the ways in which corporate sponsorship has biased the results of clinical drug trials, two different strategies to mitigate this problem are identified and assessed: a regulatory approach, which focuses on managing risks associated with industry funding of university research, and a more radical approach, the sequestration thesis, which counsels the outright elimination of corporate sponsorship. The reformist approach is criticised and the radical approach defended. (shrink)
Helen's self-disparagement is an anomaly in epic diction, and this is especially true of those instances where she refers to herself as "dog" and "dog-face." This essay attempts to show that Helen's dog-language, in that it remains in conflict with other features of her characterization, has some generic significance for epic, helping to establish the superiority of epic performance over competing performance types which treated her differently. The metaphoric use of χύων and its derivatives has not been well (...) understood: the scholiast's gloss "shameless" is no more than a functional equivalent, and interpretations linking it primarily with reckless courage or with sexual misconduct are not well founded. An analysis of contexts suggests that "dog" as an insult has a fundamental association with physical greed and even cannibalism. The implied notion of avarice, however, may also be extended into other behavioral spheres, including those of fighting and sexuality. A character may also be called "dog" for reviling or slandering another unjustly. These strongly negative implications are out of keeping with the character given to Helen in epic. For where tragedy and lyric generally represent Helen as blameworthy, Homeric epic tends to absolve her of blame and to make her personally as well as physically attractive. The unexpected application of dog-terms to her may therefore be read as an allusion to other versions of the Troy legend which were more hostile to Helen. Negative portrayals of Helen are likely to have figured in the ancient kitharodic narrative which was a precursor of both tragedy and lyric; these are perhaps the unfriendly "songs" mentioned by Helen at Il. 6.357. By referring to such defamatory narratives through the dog-insult and through other instances of Helen's self-blame, the epic performer marks his own more favorable treatment as a generic preference. (shrink)
The paper argues that actions should be thought of as processes and not events. A number of reasons are offered for thinking that the things that it is most plausible to suppose we are trying to cotton on to with the generic talk of ‘actions’ in which philosophy indulges cannot be events. A framework for thinking about the event-process distinction which can help us understand how we ought to think about the ontology of processes we need instead is then developed, (...) building on some excellent work already done by philosophers working at the intersection of philosophy and linguistics. (shrink)