This article begins with a review of studies in perception and depth psychology concerning the experience of exposure to sacred artworks in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox contexts. This follows with the results of a qualitative inquiry involving 45 Roman Catholic, Eastern and Coptic Orthodox, and Protestant Christians in Canada. First, participants composed narratives detailing memories of spiritual experiences involving iconography. Then, in the context of a darkened room evocative of a sacred space, they viewed artworks depicting Biblical themes and (...) interpreted their meanings. Stimuli included “Western” paintings from the Roman tradition—a selection from the Gothic, Northern Renaissance, and Renaissance canon—and matched “Eastern” icons in the Byzantine style. Spiritual experience narratives were analyzed in terms of word frequencies, and interpretations of sacred artworks were analyzed thematically. Catholics tended to utilize emotional language when recalling their spiritual experiences, while religious activity was most often the concern of Protestants, and Orthodox Christians wrote most about spiritual figures and their signifiers. A taxonomy of response styles was developed to account for participants’ interpretations of Western and Eastern artworks, with content ranging from detached descriptions to projective engagement with the art-objects. Our approach allows for representation of diverse Christians’ interpretations of sacred art, taking into consideration personal, collective, and cultural-religious sources of meaning. Our paradigm also offers to enrich our understanding of the numinous or emotional dimension of mystical contact. (shrink)
Nietzsche, the Godfather of Fascism? What can Nietzsche have in common with this murderous ideology? Frequently described as the "radical aristocrat" of the spirit, Nietzsche abhorred mass culture and strove to cultivate an Übermensch endowed with exceptional mental qualities. What can such a thinker have in common with the fascistic manipulation of the masses for chauvinistic goals that crushed the autonomy of the individual?The question that lies at the heart of this collection is how Nietzsche came to acquire the deadly (...) "honor" of being considered the philosopher of the Third Reich and whether such claims had any justification. Does it make any sense to hold him in some way responsible for the horrors of Auschwitz?The editors present a range of views that attempt to do justice to the ambiguity and richness of Nietzsche's thought. First-rate contributions by a variety of distinguished philosophers and historians explore in depth Nietzsche's attitudes toward Jews, Judaism, Christianity, anti-Semitism, and National Socialism. They interrogate Nietzsche's writings for fascist and anti-Semitic proclivities and consider how they were read by fascists who claimed Nietzsche as their intellectual godfather.There is much that is disturbingly antiegalitarian and antidemocratic in Nietzsche, and his writings on Jews are open to differing interpretations. Yet his emphasis on individualism and contempt for German nationalism and anti-Semitism put him at stark odds with Nazi ideology.The Nietzsche that emerges here is a tragic prophet of the spiritual vacuum that produced the twentieth century's totalitarian movements, the thinker who best diagnosed the pathologies of fin-de-siècle European culture. Nietzsche dared to look into the abyss of modern nihilism. This book tells us what he found.The contributors are Menahem Brinker, Daniel W. Conway, Stanley Corngold, Kurt Rudolf Fischer, Jacob Golomb, Robert C. Holub, Berel Lang, Wolfgang Müller-Lauter, Alexander Nehamas, David Ohana, Roderick Stackelberg, Mario Sznajder, Geoffrey Waite, Robert S. Wistrich, and Yirmiyahu Yovel. (shrink)
Philosophers have committed sins while studying science, it is said – philosophy of science focused on physics to the detriment of biology, reconstructed idealizations of scientific episodes rather than attending to historical details, and focused on theories and concepts to the detriment of experiments. Recent generations of philosophers of science have tried to atone for these sins, and by the 1980s the exculpation was in full swing. Marcel Weber’s Philosophy of Experimental Biology is a zenith mea culpa for philosophy of (...) science: it carefully describes several historical examples from twentieth century biology to address both ‘old’ philosophical topics, like reductionism, inference, and realism, and ‘new’ topics, like discovery, models, and norms. Biology, experiments, history – at last, philosophy of science, free of sin. (shrink)
Ways of Seeing is a unique collaboration between an eminent philosopher and a world famous neuroscientist. It focuses on one of the most basic human functions - vision. What does it mean to 'see'. It brings together electrophysiological studies, neuropsychology, psychophysics, cognitive psychology, and philosophy of mind. The first truly interdisciplinary book devoted to the topic of vision, it will make a valuable contribution to the field of cognitive science.
Disappointed by the indifferent reception of his 1739 Treatise of Human Nature, particularly in view of his commitment to vividness and convincingness as epistemological criteria, Hume recast crucial arguments from his Treatise in “The Epicurean,” “The Stoic,” “The Platonist,” and “The Sceptic,” four pieces from his 1741–2 Essays Moral and Political. Locating these texts within both the dialogue and essay genres, I demonstrate how Hume continues the project of the Treatise by showing, rather than telling, his views: he blends rhetoric (...) and reasoned argument to show that they are in many cases indistinguishable; he depicts his speakers' conclusions as consequences of their personalities to show his skepticism about human freedom; and he concludes, in a moment strongly reminiscent of the famous end of Book I of the Treatise, by showing the limits of philosophy itself. (shrink)
This highly original interpretation of Paul by the Jewish philosopher of religion Jacob Taubes was presented in a number of lectures held in Heidelberg toward the end of his life, and was regarded by him as his “spiritual testament.” ...
Despite a staggering body of research demonstrating sex differences in expressed emotion, very few theoretical models (evolutionary or non-evolutionary) offer a critical examination of the adaptive nature of such differences. From the perspective of a socio-relational framework, emotive behaviors evolved to promote the attraction and aversion of different types of relationships by advertising the two most parsimonious properties of reciprocity potential, or perceived attractiveness as a prospective social partner. These are the individual's (a) perceived capacity or ability to provide expedient (...) resources, or to inflict immediate harm onto others, and their (b) perceived trustworthiness or probability of actually reciprocating altruism (Vigil 2007). Depending on the unique social demands and relational constraints that each sex evolved, individuals should be sensitive to advertise and cues through selective displays of dominant versus submissive and masculine versus feminine emotive behaviors, respectively. In this article, I introduce the basic theoretical assumptions and hypotheses of the framework, and show how the models provide a solid scaffold with which to begin to interpret common sex differences in the emotional development literature. I conclude by describing how the framework can be used to predict condition-based and situation-based variation in affect and other forms of expressive behaviors. (shrink)
Medical nihilism is the view that we should have little confidence in the effectiveness of medical interventions. Jacob Stegenga argues persuasively that this is how we should see modern medicine, and suggests that medical research must be modified, clinical practice should be less aggressive, and regulatory standards should be enhanced.
Recent discussion of Scanlon's account of value, which analyses the value of X in terms of agents' reasons for having certain pro-attitudes or contra-attitudes towards X, has generated the problem (WKR problem): this is the problem, for the buck-passing view, of being able to acknowledge that there may be good reasons for attributing final value to X that have nothing to do with the final value that X actually possesses. I briefly review some of the existing solutions offered to the (...) WKR problem, including those by Philip Stratton-Lake and Jonas Olson, and offer a new, better one, which accommodates all the relevant cases presented in the literature. (shrink)
In a paper published in Psychological Review, Tyler Burge has offered a unified non-mentalistic account of a wide range of social cognitive developmental findings. His proposal is that far from attributing mental states, young children attribute to humans the same kind of internal generic states of sensory registration that biologists attribute to e.g. snails and ticks. Burge’s proposal deserves close attention: it is especially challenging because it departs from both the mentalistic and all the non-mentalistic accounts of the data so (...) far. Moreover Burge has been one of the leading philosophers of mind of the past 40 years and some of his writings on the objectivity of perception display a deep understanding of the relevance of science for sharpening our understanding of the mind. After taking a close look at the developmental evidence, in particular at false-belief studies, I argue that Burge’s, 409–434, 2018) account faces severe obstacles. To give one telling example: if young children can only attribute to others sensory registrations, then it is hard to explain the evidence showing that they respond differently to an agent’s ignorance and to her false belief. (shrink)
The ‘standard interpretation’ of John Taurek’s argument in ‘Should the Numbers Count?’ imputes two theses to him: first, ‘numbers scepticism’, or scepticism about the moral force of an appeal to the mere number of individuals saved in conflict cases; and second, the ‘equal greatest chances’ principle of rescue, which requires that every individual has an equal chance of being rescued. The standard interpretation is criticized here on a number of grounds. First, whilst Taurek clearly believes that equal chances are all-important, (...) he actually argues for a position weaker than the equal greatest chances principle. Second, the argument Taurek gives for the importance of equal chances ought to commit him to being more hospitable to the significance of numbers than he seems to be. Third, and as a result, Taurek should not have dismissed the significance of numbers but embraced a form of pluralism instead. Fourth, this result should be welcomed, because pluralism is more plausible than either the equal greatest chances principle or the saving the greater number principle. (shrink)
Robustness is a common platitude: hypotheses are better supported with evidence generated by multiple techniques that rely on different background assumptions. Robustness has been put to numerous epistemic tasks, including the demarcation of artifacts from real entities, countering the “experimenter’s regress,” and resolving evidential discordance. Despite the frequency of appeals to robustness, the notion itself has received scant critique. Arguments based on robustness can give incorrect conclusions. More worrying is that although robustness may be valuable in ideal evidential circumstances (i.e., (...) when evidence is concordant), often when a variety of evidence is available from multiple techniques, the evidence is discordant. †To contact the author, please write to: Jacob Stegenga, Department of Philosophy, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
In a series of influential papers, John McDowell has argued that the rule‐following considerations explored in Wittgenstein’s later work provide support for a particularist form of moral objectivity. The article distinguishes three such arguments in McDowell’s writings, labelled the Anthropocentricism Argument, the Shapelessness Argument, and the Anti‐Humean Argument, respectively, and the author disputes the effectiveness of each of them. As far as these metaethical debates are concerned, the article concludes that the rule‐following considerations leave everything in their place.
Several hypotheses on the form and function of sex differences in social behaviors were tested. The results suggest that friendship preferences in both sexes can be understood in terms of perceived reciprocity potential—capacity and willingness to engage in a mutually beneficial relationship. Divergent social styles may in turn reflect trade-offs between behaviors selected to maintain large, functional coalitions in men and intimate, secure relationships in women. The findings are interpreted from a broad socio-relational framework of the types of behaviors that (...) facilitate selective advertisement and investment of reciprocity potential across individuals and within groups of men and women. (shrink)
In the present interview, Jacob Rogozinski elucidates the main concepts and theses he developed in his latest book dedicated to the issue of modern jihadism. On this occasion, he explains his disagreements with other philosophical (Badiou, Baudrillard, Žižek) and anthropological (Girard) accounts of Islamic terrorism. Rogozinski also explains that although jihadism betrays Islam, it nonetheless has everything to do with Islam. Eventually, he describes his own philosophical journey which led him from a phenomenological study of the ego and the (...) flesh to the study of past (witch-hunts, French Reign of Terror) and contemporary (jihadism) terror apparatuses. (shrink)
This paper examines an important but neglected topic in Suárez’s metaphysics–—namely, his theory of efficient causation. According to Suárez, efficient causation is to be identified with action, one of Aristotle’s ten highest genera or categories. The paper shows how Suárez’s identification of efficient causation with action helps to shed light on his views about the precise nature of efficient causation, and its role in his ontology. More specifically, it shows that Suárez understands efficient causation to be a distinctive or sui (...) generis type of entity, and that he thinks we must adopt this view in order to account for the facts of efficient causation. The paper also examines several objections to Suárez’s account. (shrink)
According to an influential view, one function of mirror neurons (MNs), first discovered in the brain of monkeys, is to underlie third-person mindreading. This view relies on two assumptions: the activity of MNs in an observer’s brain matches (simulates or resonates with) that of MNs in an agent’s brain and this resonance process retrodictively generates a representation of the agent’s intention from a perception of her movement. In this paper, I criticize both assumptions and I argue instead that the activity (...) of MNs in an observer’s brain is enhanced by a prior representation of the agent’s intention and that their task is to predictively compute the best motor command suitable to satisfy the agent’s intention. (shrink)
This article responds to one of Thaddeus Metz's criticisms of the theory that the meaning of life is to fulfil a purpose assigned by God. In particular, it addresses the argument that only an atemporal God could ground meaning but that an atemporal God could not assign a purpose. In order to do this, the article first argues that Metz's criticisms misread the relevant sense of purpose. It then argues that on a more plausible reading of 'purpose', we can see (...) that it is in fact the kind of thing that an atemporal God could assign. (shrink)
If Kant’s theory of justice is known for one thing, it is for offering a vision of a perfectly just society that is utterly disconnected from the imperfect societies that we occupy. The purity of Kant’s account has attracted criticism from those who claim that if a theory of justice is to be practical, it must offer more than a vision of a perfectly just society. It must also explain how existing societies mired in injustice are to be brought into (...) ever-closer conformity with the ideal that justice prescribes. In this essay, I will argue that this is exactly what Kant’s mature legal and political theory offers. To discern this feature of Kant’s theory, a neglected component must be integrated into his broader framework. This component is what Kant refers to in Toward Perpetual Peace as a permissive law of public right. (shrink)
Republican liberty, as recently defended by Philip Pettit and Quentin Skinner, characterises liberty in terms of the absence of domination, instead of, or in addition to, the absence of interference, as favoured by Berlin-style negative liberty. This article considers several claims made on behalf of republican liberty, particularly in Pettit's and Skinner's recent writings, and finds them wanting. No relevant moral or political concern expressed by republicans, it will be contended here, fails to be accommodated by negative liberty.
Embodied simulation and the epistemic motivation to search for the of other people's behaviors are not necessary for specific and functional responding to, and hence processing of, human facial expressions. Rather, facial expression processing can be achieved through lower-cognitive, heuristical perceptual processing and expression of prototypical morphological musculature movement patterns that communicate discrete trustworthiness and capacity cues to conspecifics.
Kant's political philosophy draws a distinction between 'passive' citizens who are merely protected by the law and 'active' citizens who may also contribute to it. Although the distinction between passive and active citizens is often dismissed by scholars as an 'illiberal and undemocratic' relic of eighteenth century prejudice, the distinction is found in every democracy that distinguishes between mere inhabitants -- such as tourists and guestworkers -- and enfranchised citizens. The purpose of this essay is both interpretive and suggestive. First, (...) I will argue that Kant's mature distinction between active and passive citizens follows from an institutional deficiency in the the developing state rather than the natural deficiency of passive citizens, as Kant's critics have alleged. Second, I will draw on systematic features of Kant's political thought in order to claim that the state has a duty to create the institutional conditions of universal active citizenship. (shrink)
The present article is an elaborated and upgraded version of the Early Career Award talk that I delivered at the IAPR 2019 conference in Gdańsk, Poland. In line with the conference’s thematic focus on new trends and neglected themes in psychology of religion, I argue that psychology of religion should strive for firmer integration with evolutionary theory and its associated methodological toolkit. Employing evolutionary theory enables to systematize findings from individual psychological studies within a broader framework that could resolve lingering (...) empirical contradictions by providing an ultimate rationale for which results should be expected. The benefits of evolutionary analysis are illustrated through the study of collective rituals and, specifically, their purported function in stabilizing risky collective action. By comparing the socio-ecological pressures faced by chimpanzees, contemporary hunter-gatherers, and early Homo, I outline the selective pressures that may have led to the evolution of collective rituals in the hominin lineage, and, based on these selective pressures, I make predictions regarding the different functions and their underlying mechanisms that collective rituals should possess. While examining these functions, I echo the Early Career Award and focus mostly on my past work and the work of my collaborators, showing that collective rituals may stabilize risky collective action by increasing social bonding, affording to assort cooperative individuals, and providing a platform for reliable communication of commitment to group norms. The article closes with a discussion of the role that belief in superhuman agents plays in stabilizing and enhancing the effects of collective rituals on trust-based cooperation. (shrink)
A sample of 460 low-income women completed a mate preference questionnaire and surveys that assessed family background, life history, conscientiousness, sexual motives, self-ratings (e.g., looks), and current circumstances (e.g., income). A cluster analysis revealed two groups of women: women who reported a strong preference for looks and money in a short-term mate and commitment in a long-term mate, and women who reported smaller differences across mating context. Group differences were found in reported educational levels, family background, sexual development, number of (...) children, and motives for having sex. Implications for understanding individual differences in women’s mate-preference trade-offs are discussed. (shrink)
Historically, the hypothesis driving emotion research has been that emotion’s data-base—in language, physiology, and behavior— is organized around specific mental states, as reflected in evaluative language. It is suggested that this approach has not greatly advanced a natural science of emotion and that the developing motivational model of emotion defines a better path: emotion is an evolved trait founded on motivational neural circuitry shared by mammalian species, primitively prompting heightened perceptual processing and reflex mobilization for action to appetitive or threatening (...) survival cues. As the field moves forward with increasingly sophisticated measurement technology and assessing more complex affective functioning, scientific understanding of human emotion will proceed best within the framework of this mammalian brain model. (shrink)
According to the universal entropy bound, the entropy of a complete weakly self-gravitating physical system can be bounded exclusively in terms of its circumscribing radius and total gravitating energy. The bound’s correctness is supported by explicit statistical calculations of entropy, gedanken experiments involving the generalized second law, and Bousso’s covariant holographic bound. On the other hand, it is not always obvious in a particular example how the system avoids having too many states for given energy, and hence violating the bound. (...) We analyze in detail several purported counterexamples of this type, and exhibit in each case the mechanism behind the bound’s efficacy. (shrink)
Although there has been consistent interest in Marx and Marxism there has been little sustained interest in the origins of Marx’s ethical thought and his relation to the German philosophical tradition as a whole. Work has been done linking Marx to Fichte, and a great deal more linking him to Hegel. However, the fundamental concept joining them all is recognition, or interpersonal relations in general. In this regard, none of the German thinkers can be understood withoutfirst grasping their understanding of (...) the human person as one among many. This article begins this process for Marx. Although some literature has been devotedto the explication of Marx’s notion of species-being it is sparse and dated. In this article I proceed to reiterate how important species-being is as the foundationto Marx’s ethical philosophy. However, my main focus is on simply how to understand the concept itself. I, therefore, devote the majority of the article to ananalysis of Marx’s use of the concept in his early work as well as his critique of Ludwig Feuerbach’s use of it. This account provides the basis for understandingMarx’s concept of human essence and is the beginning of a project of rephrasing Marxian ethics around the concept of recognition thus reconnecting him to theGerman philosophical tradition. (shrink)
In his ‘On a Supposed Right to Lie from Philanthropy’ Kant makes the astonishing claim that one is not entitled to lie even to save a friend from a murderer. This claim has been an embarrassment for Kant's defenders and an indication of Kant's excessive rigour for his detractors. Responses to SRL fall into three main groups. The first of these groups, that of Kant's critics, claim that SRL demonstrates that Kant's ethical views are so rigorous that they become abhorrent (...) in practice. The second group, Kant's defenders, argues that Kant's conclusions in SRL do not follow from his own ethical principles. The third group, made up of scholars who are generally sympathetic to Kant's position, attempts to explain why a liar is responsible for all the bad consequences that follow from his act by providing an account of Kant's theory of imputation. (shrink)