Ayahuasca is a psychoactive beverage that is mostly used in ritualized settings (Santo Daime rituals, neo-shamanic rituals, and even do-it-yourself-rituals). It is a common practice in the investigated socio-cultural field to call these settings “healing rituals.” For this study, 15 people who underwent ayahuasca (self-)therapy for a particular disease like chronic pain, cancer, asthma, depression, alcohol abuse, or Hepatitis C were interviewed twice about their subjective concepts and beliefs on ayahuasca and healing. Qualitative data analysis revealed a variety of motivational (...) patterns, subjective effects, and user types. Most participants were convinced that ayahuasca had influenced their illness positively or improved their coping with their illness. More importantly, it had enhanced their well being in general. As a result, we concluded that the effects of ayahuasca should not be reduced to a pharmacological model. The substance should be conceptualized as a psychological catalyst that unfolds within different fields of sociocultural ideas. (shrink)
Proponents of the substance view contend that abortion is seriously morally wrong because it is killing something with the same inherent value and right to life as you or I. Rob Lovering offers two innovative criticisms of the anti-abortion position taken by the substance view – the rescue argument and the problem of spontaneous abortion. Henrik Friberg-Fernros offers an interesting response to Lovering, but one I argue would be inconsistent with the anti-abortion stance taken by most substance view theorists.
This article introduces to a wider public a hitherto unknown report written by the “Romantic” natural philosopher and mineralogist Henrik Steffens. In the 1811 report Ideas on Medical Meteorology, commissioned by the Prussian Ministry of the Interior via the physician Johann Christian Reil, Steffens argued for a new, “organic” perspective on meteorology focusing on interrelations between the atmosphere and diseases among humans and animals. This new outlook, he argued, was to be realized via a series of observations directed by (...) the state administration. Excerpts from the report are translated and commented upon in order to illuminate their context. These show the report to be part of a significantly older European tradition of inquiry into the connection between changes in the atmosphere and health. A speculative variation of this tradition, for which the general term “Organic Meteorology” is introduced here, was ignited in German-speaking regions through Schelling’s natural philosophy. The report and its context show that the Prussian state was willing to engage with “Romantic” natural philosophy, that Steffens gladly provided expertise for this purpose, and that this was part of a more general effort to professionalize medicine. (shrink)
The question of whether humans have free will, like the question of the meaning of life, is one whose answer depends on how the question itself is interpreted. In his recent book Neurophilosophy of Free Will: From Libertarian Illusions to a Concept of Natural Autonomy, Henrik Walter examines whether free will is possible in a deterministic natural world, and he concludes that the answer is "It depends" (xi). He rejects a libertarian account of free will as internally inconsistent, but (...) argues for a version of compatibilism that he calls "natural autonomy." Natural autonomy, or "giving oneself laws" (8), is a successor concept to libertarian free will, and it provides for a self-determination that is consistent with a deterministic and fully physical world. Walter covers a lot of ground in this book. He debunks dualism, examines classical and modern physics, critiques radical constructivism, and utilizes chaos theory, and he refers to figures from St. Augustine to Humberto Maturana, Dennett, Einstein, Hegel and Nozick. This book could be seen as encompassing two distinct projects. The first project is a defense of what Walter calls "neurophilosophy" as a methodology for answering traditional philosophical questions. This methodology is more commonly known as "cognitive science," and Walter accepts the naturalistic premises that underlie most of the work being done by cognitive scientists today. The second project is an application of the neurophilosophical methodology to the traditional question of whether free will is compatible with determinism. The defense of a neurophilosophical methodology is concentrated in the second section of the book, whereas the first and third sections focus on the issue of free will. In the first section Walter presents a thorough overview of the free will debate. It is the final third of the book that warrants the most attention, for this is where the original work is concentrated. Before we examine Walter's contribution to the free will debate, let us briefly look at his historical analysis and the neurophilosophical method that he advocates.. (shrink)
This paper reconsiders Georg Henrik von Wright’s theory of causation from the point of view of pragmatism. Given the conceptual link between causation and action, von Wright’s position might be reinterpreted along pragmatist lines, even though he never explicitly developed his views with reference to pragmatism. However, the dichotomy between the ontological and the conceptual presupposed by von Wright may also be criticized from a pragmatist perspective.
"Naturalism" is still often identified with a reductive worldview that identifies the final real constituents of the world with the deliverances of the natural sciences—or perhaps only of physics. In the last thirty years, however, there has been a concerted effort among analytic philosophers to distinguish between that reductive "strict naturalism" and a new "liberal naturalism" that does not deny that mental states, human agency, and moral norms are also natural realities. (For liberal naturalism, see, for example, the essays collected (...) by Mario de Caro and David MacArthur in Naturalism in Question [Harvard... (shrink)
G. H. V. Wright möchte die 'typische' Erklärung des Historikers als andersartig gegenüber der subsumptionstheoretischen Auffassung betrachten. Neu dabei ist sein Bemühen, das Schema des praktischen Schlusses als Basis der 'intentionalen Erklärung', die seiner Ansicht nach für die Geschichtswissenschaft charakteristisch ist, in den Vordergrund zu stellen. Doch scheitert sein Versuch, von der Handlungstheorie her ein Erklärungsschema aufzubauen, das logisch als Syllogismus erscheinen, aber ohne generelle Prämissen (über Korrelationen von 'Motivationshintergrund' und Handlung) auskommen soll. Die in der weiteren Diskussion (W. Stegmüller (...) u.a.) herausgestellte Möglichkeit, 'Erklären' in der Historie als eine Art Motiv-Analyse aufzufassen und von der Kausalanalyse zu trennen, kann m.E. zu einer Beschränkung der Forschungs- und Argumentationsmöglichkeiten in der Geschichtswissenschaft führen. (shrink)
G. H. V. Wright möchte die 'typische' Erklärung des Historikers als andersartig gegenüber der subsumptionstheoretischen Auffassung betrachten. Neu dabei ist sein Bemühen, das Schema des praktischen Schlusses als Basis der 'intentionalen Erklärung', die seiner Ansicht nach für die Geschichtswissenschaft charakteristisch ist, in den Vordergrund zu stellen. Doch scheitert sein Versuch, von der Handlungstheorie her ein Erklärungsschema aufzubauen, das logisch als Syllogismus erscheinen, aber ohne generelle Prämissen auskommen soll. Die in der weiteren Diskussion herausgestellte Möglichkeit, 'Erklären' in der Historie als eine (...) Art Motiv-Analyse aufzufassen und von der Kausalanalyse zu trennen, kann m.E. zu einer Beschränkung der Forschungs- und Argumentationsmöglichkeiten in der Geschichtswissenschaft führen. (shrink)