Distinguished contributors take up eminent scholar Daniel R. Schwarz’s reading of modern fiction and poetry as mediating between human desire and human action. The essayists follow Schwarz’s advice, “always the text, always historicize,” thus making this book relevant to current debates about the relationships between literature, ethics, aesthetics, and historical contexts.
Les quatre textes qui suivent tentent d'analyser dans la littérature québécoise et française récente les manifestations d'une société en mutation, désireuse ou non de rompre avec les stéréotypes de sexes, de revisiter et réconcilier féminin et masculin. Les écrivaines, avec quelques belles longueurs d'avance, continuent de vouloir à la fois le corps et l'esprit, la vie et la fiction, de jongler avec l'altérité et les identités plurielles et de travailler des textes ûctionnels, théoriques et incamés, qui prennent en compte le (...) réel Leur travail de réflexion et de création ne cesse, en fait, d'interroger les artifices de l'art, les mensonges de la petite et de la grande histoire, et de prouver qu'on ne peut impunément dissocier éthique et esthétique ! Le thème de l'autobiographie foetale qui hante la littérature masculine récente est très représentatif de la masculinité en crise; il cristallise ses angoisses, ses résistances ou sa nouvelle quête émotive, affective et corporelle.The following four-part paper try to analyse in recent quebecer and french littérature the manifestations of a changing society, wether it be willing or not to break with gender stereotypes and reconcile the masculine/feminine dichotomy. Female writers still show leadership in wanting both body and mind, life and fiction; in thinking ofalterity and multiple identities; and in working at fictionnal, theoretical and incarnate texts wich take reality into considerations. Their reflexion and creation in effect never stops questionning the artistic device, the lies of both small and big history to prove that we cannot inconsiderately dissociate Ethics from Esthetics ! The foetal autobiography team now haunting recent male littérature is very representative of the masculinity crisis; it cristallizes his anguish resistances or his new emotive, affective and corporeal quest. (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.
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 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.
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..
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)
This paper describes and defends the “virtues of ingenuity”: detachment, lucidity, thoroughness. Philosophers traditionally praise these virtues for their role in the practice of using reasoning to solve problems and gather information. Yet, reasoning has other, no less important uses. Conviction is one of them. A recent revival of rhetoric and argumentative approaches to reasoning (in psychology, philosophy and science studies) has highlighted the virtues of persuasiveness and cast a new light on some of its apparent vices—bad faith, deluded confidence, (...) confirmation and myside biases. Those traits, it is often argued, will no longer look so detrimental once we grasp their proper function: arguing in order to persuade, rather than thinking in order to solve problems. Some of these biases may even have a positive impact on intellectual life. Seen in this light, the virtues of ingenuity may well seem redundant. Defending them, I argue that the vices of conviction are not innocuous. If generalized, they would destabilize argumentative practices. Argumentation is a common good that is threatened when every arguer pursues conviction at the expense of ingenuity. Bad faith, myside biases and delusions of all sorts are neither called for nor explained by argumentative practices. To avoid a collapse of argumentation, mere civil virtues (respect, humility or honesty) do not suffice: we need virtues that specifically attach to the practice of making conscious inferences. (shrink)
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)
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)
The terrorist attacks of 2001 were a reminder that individual and collective safety cannot be taken for granted. Since then, physicians, alongside public health professionals and other healthcare professionals as well as nonhealthcare personnel, have been developing plans to enhance the protection of public health and the provision of medical care in response to various threats, including acts of terrorism or bioterrorism. Included in those plans are strategies to attend to large numbers of victims and help prevent greater harm to (...) even larger populations. (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 Bermuda Principles for DNA sequence data sharing are an enduring legacy of the Human Genome Project. They were adopted by the HGP at a strategy meeting in Bermuda in February of 1996 and implemented in formal policies by early 1998, mandating daily release of HGP-funded DNA sequences into the public domain. The idea of daily sharing, we argue, emanated directly from strategies for large, goal-directed molecular biology projects first tested within the “community” of C. elegans researchers, and were introduced (...) and defended for the HGP by the nematode biologists John Sulston and Robert Waterston. In the C. elegans community, and subsequently in the HGP, daily sharing served the pragmatic goals of quality control and project coordination. Yet in the HGP human genome, we also argue, the Bermuda Principles addressed concerns about gene patents impeding scientific advancement, and were aspirational and flexible in implementation and justification. They endured as an archetype for how rapid data sharing could be realized and rationalized, and permitted adaptation to the needs of various scientific communities. Yet in addition to the support of Sulston and Waterston, their adoption also depended on the clout of administrators at the US National Institutes of Health and the UK nonprofit charity the Wellcome Trust, which together funded 90% of the HGP human sequencing effort. The other nations wishing to remain in the HGP consortium had to accommodate to the Bermuda Principles, requiring exceptions from incompatible existing or pending data access policies for publicly funded research in Germany, Japan, and France. We begin this story in 1963, with the biologist Sydney Brenner’s proposal for a nematode research program at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the University of Cambridge. We continue through 2003, with the completion of the HGP human reference genome, and conclude with observations about policy and the historiography of molecular biology. (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)
This paper argues in favor of the epistemic properties of inclusiveness in the context of democratic deliberative assemblies and derives the implications of this argument in terms of the epistemically superior mode of selection of representatives. The paper makes the general case that, all other things being equal and under some reasonable assumptions, more is smarter. When applied to deliberative assemblies of representatives, where there is an upper limit to the number of people that can be included in the group, (...) the argument translates into a defense of a specific selection mode of participants: random selection. (shrink)
Morin has written a rich and valuable book. Its main aim is to isolate the factors involved in maintaining behavioural lineages over time, and to understand how these factors might interact. In doing so, it takes issue with the abstract and idealised models and arguments of dual-inheritance theorists, which are alleged in this account to rely on an overly simplistic notion of imitative learning. Morin’s book is full of ethnographic, anthropological, and psychological research, and there is much to (...) commend in it. However, Morin’s arguments against the dual-inheritance theorists are less convincing when put under scrutiny, and his positive picture which includes appeals to ostensive communication, intrinsic appeal and cultural attraction has some difficulties. I argue that when we contrast dual-inheritance theorists and Morin, we find that there may be fewer differences and greater commonalities than Morin’s book might suggest. (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.
This article shows that in two respects, Gödel's incompleteness theorem strongly supports the arguments of Edgar Morin's complexity paradigm. First, from the viewpoint of the content of Gödel's theorem, the latter justifies the basic view of complexity paradigm according to which knowledge is a dynamic, unfinished process, and develops by way of self-criticism and self-transcendence. Second, from the viewpoint of the proof procedure of Gödel's theorem, the latter confirms the complexity paradigm's circular line of inference through which is formed (...) the all-round knowledge of a concrete object. (shrink)
I argue that any successful account of permissible self- defence must be action-guiding, or practical . It must be able to inform people’s deliberation about what they are permitted to do when faced with an apparent threat to their lives. I argue that this forces us to accept that a person can be permitted to use self-defence against Apparent Threats: characters whom a person reasonably, but mistakenly, believes threaten her life. I defend a hybrid account of self-defence that prioritises an (...) agent’s subjective perspective. I argue that it is sufficient to render the use of defence permissible if an agent reasonably believes that (a) she is morally innocent, and (b) if she does not kill this person, then they will kill her. I argue that the correct account of self-defence must distinguish between whether an agent is permitted to inflict harm, and whether the target is liable to bear that harm. (shrink)
The paper argues that it is possible for an incompatibilist to accept John Martin Fischer's plausible insistence that the question whether we are morally responsible agents ought not to depend on whether the laws of physics turn out to be deterministic or merely probabilistic. The incompatibilist should do so by rejecting the fundamentalism which entails that the question whether determinism is true is a question merely about the nature of the basic physical laws. It is argued that this is a (...) better option for ensuring the irrelevance of physics than the embrace of semi-compatibilism, since there are reasons for supposing that alternate possibilities are necessary for moral responsibility, despite Fischer's claims to the contrary. There are two distinct reasons for supposing that alternate possibilities might be necessary for moral responsibility—one of which is to do with fairness, the other to do with agency itself. It is suggested that if one focuses on the second of these reasons, Fischer's arguments for supposing that alternate possibilities are unnecessary for moral responsibility can be met by the incompatibilist. Some possible reasons for denying that alternate possibilities are necessary for the existence of agency are then raised and rejected. (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)
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)
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)
The real, thought of as human reality, that is, a mixture of the imaginary, mythology, emotions, flesh, passions, suffering, love, is always surprising, full of possibilities and hard to grasp. A thinking adapted to the complex reality of our earthly homeland cannot be a trivial realism content with the established order and accepting the victory of the victorious. On the contrary, understanding of reality, lucidity are often the result of an ethical revolt against the fait accompli, against certainty. The thinking (...) suggested by Morin attempts to move beyond the alternatives between, on the one hand, the worst option: the utopia that thinks it is realistic, and on the other the utopia that knows it is utopia, and is therefore harmless, outside the real. The hope is to introduce the poetry of intensity into reality, to resist the oppressive forces of pseudo-realism by cultivating the garden of our earthly homeland. (shrink)
been recently proposed (Morin, 2003; 2004). The model takes into account most known mechanisms and processes leading to self-awareness, and examines their multiple and complex interactions. Inner speech is postulated to play a key-role in this model, as it establishes important connections between many of its ele- ments. This paper first reviews past and current references to a link between self-awareness and inner speech. It then presents an analysis of the nature of the relation between these two concepts. It (...) is suggested that inner speech can inter- nally reproduce and expand social and physical (ecological) sources of self- awareness. Inner speech can also create a psychological distance between the self and mental events it experiences (thus facilitating self-observation) it can act as a problem-solving device where the self represents the problem and self-information the solution, and can label aspects of one’s inner life that would otherwise be difficult to objectively perceive. Empirical evidence supporting the role of inner speech in self-awareness is also presented. (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)
Humean compatibilism is the combination of a Humean position on laws of nature and the thesis that free will is compatible with determinism. This article's aim is to situate Humean compatibilism in the current debate among libertarians, traditional compatibilists, and semicompatibilists about free will. We argue that a Humean about laws can hold that there is a sense in which the laws of nature are 'up to us' and hence that the leading style of argument for incompatibilism?the consequence argument?has a (...) false premiss. We also display some striking similarities between Humean compatibilism and libertarianism, an incompatibilist view. For example, standard libertarians face a problem about luck, and we show that Humean compatibilists face a very similar problem. (shrink)
Moral foundation theory posits that specific moral transgressions elicit specific moral emotions. To test this claim, participants were asked to rate their emotions in response to moral violation vignettes. We found that compassion and disgust were associated with care and purity respectively as predicted by moral foundation theory. However, anger, rage, contempt, resentment and fear were not associated to any single moral transgression. Thus, even though the type of moral violation matters for the type of emotion that is elicited, the (...) link between moral foundations and moral emotions seems more complex than moral foundation theory suggests. Rather, the findings suggest that there are both emotion-specific foundations and emotion-unspecific foundations. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore the question what a continuant is, in the context of a very interesting suggestion recently made by Rowland Stout, as part of his attempt to develop a coherent ontology of processes. Stout claims that a continuant is best thought of as something that primarily has its properties at times, rather than atemporally—and that on this construal, processes should count as continuants. While accepting that Stout is onto something here, I reject his suggestion that we should (...) accept that processes are both occurrents and continuants; nothing, I argue, can truly occur or happen, which does not have temporal parts. I make an alternative suggestion as to how one might deal with the peculiar status of processes without jettisoning a very natural account of occurrence; and assess the consequences for the category of continuant. (shrink)