I argue that Husserl’s transcendental account of the role of the lived body in sense-making is a precursor to Alva Noë’s recent work on the enactive, embodied mind, specifically his notion of “sensorimotor knowledge” as a form of embodied sense-making that avoids representationalism and intellectualism. Derrida’s deconstructive account of meaning—developed largely through a critique of Husserl—relies on the claim that meaning is structured through the complication of the “interiority” of consciousness by an “outside,” and thus might be thought to lend (...) itself to theories of mind such as Noë’s that emphasize the ways in which sense-making occurs outside the head. But while Derrida’s notion of “contamination” rightly points to an indeterminateness of meaning in an outside, extended, concrete lived world, he ultimately reduces meaning to a structure of signification. This casts indeterminateness in terms of absence, ignoring the presence of non-linguistic phenomena of embodied sense-making central to both the contemporary enactivist program and to the later Husserl, who is able to account for the indeterminateness of meaning in lived experience through his distinction between sense and more exact linguistic meaning. Husserl’s transcendental theory of meaning also allows for a substantive contribution to sense-making from the side of the perceived object—an aspect missing from Noë’s account. Thus, in contrast to Derrida and to Noë, Husserl accounts for sense-making in terms of both the lived body and the lived world. (shrink)
Steven Crowell’s book is a welcome addition to the literature in phenomenology as well as a demonstration of the importance of phenomenology for those working in other areas of contemporary philosophy, especially those areas of Anglo-American philosophy concerned with normativity, meaning and the philosophy of action. Through a series of thirteen independent but thematically linked essays, he offers a novel account of the importance of normativity to phenomenology, a carefully argued re-thinking of the Husserlian and early Heideggerian accounts of intentionality (...) in light of this account, and ample considerations of the relevance of this reading—and of the classical phenomenological tradition more generally—for broader issues of contemporary philosophical concern.Part I lays out Crowell’s conception of phenomenology as transcendental philosophy in the Kantian tradition and explains his special emphasis on meaning and normativity. He takes as his starting point a very broad conception o .. (shrink)
The paper examines Lévi-Strauss' criticisms of Sartre's conception of dialectical reason and history as presented in the last chapter of La Pensée Sauvage , suggesting that these criticisms are misplaced. Sartre's notion of reason and history in the Critique is much closer to structuralist accounts than Lévi-Strauss seems to recognize, but it differs in placing a strong emphasis on activity and praxis in place of the latter's passive conception of reason. The active role of the inquirer in structuralist thought is (...) examined using Roland Barthes' account of "The Structuralist Activity," which is shown to have important affinities with Sartre's own conception of the relation of structure and praxis in the Critique . I then briefly consider a modified conception of the role of history in structuralism expressed by Lévi-Strauss in the mid-seventies, suggesting that his altered position still fails to recognize the important role of praxis in structuralist accounts of history. I conclude by suggesting that Lévi-Strauss' criticisms are nonetheless important for illustrating the "Critical" character of Sartre's Critique. (shrink)
Listening to someone from some distance in a crowded room you may experience the following phenomenon: when looking at them speak, you may both hear and see where the source of the sounds is; but when your eyes are turned elsewhere, you may no longer be able to detect exactly where the voice must be coming from. With your eyes again fixed on the speaker, and the movement of her lips a clear sense of the source of the sound will (...) return. This ‘ventriloquist’ effect reflects the ways in which visual cognition can dominate auditory perception. And this phenomenological observation is one what you can verify or disconfirm in your own case just by the slightest reflection on what it is like for you to listen to someone with or without visual contact with them. (shrink)
A long-standing theme in discussion of perception and thought has been that our primary cognitive contact with individual objects and events in the world derives from our perceptual contact with them. When I look at a duck in front of me, I am not merely presented with the fact that there is at least one duck in the area, rather I seem to be presented with this thing in front of me, which looks to me to be a duck. Furthermore, (...) such a perception would seem to put me in a position not merely to make the existential judgment that there is some duck or other present, but rather to make a singular, demonstrative judgment, that that is a duck. My grounds for an existential judgment in this case derives from my apprehension of the demonstrative thought and not vice versa. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to set out some of the ontologies amongst which some forms of anti-realism must select. This provides the appropriate setting for presenting an alternative realist ontology. The argument is that the choice between the varieties of anti-realism and realism is inevitably a choice between ontologies.
Does anyone ever survive his or her bodily death ? Could anyone? No speculative questions are older than these, or have been answered more frequently or more variously. None have been laid to rest more often, or — in our times — with more claimed decisiveness. Jay Rosenberg, for instance, no doubt speaks for many contemporary philosophers when he claims, in his recent book, to have ‘ demonstrated ’ that ‘ we cannot [even] make coherent sense of the supposed possibility (...) that a person's history might continue beyond that person's [bodily] death’. (shrink)
‘Marital faithfulness’ refers to faithful love for a spouse or lover to whom one is committed, rather than the narrower idea of sexual fidelity. The distinction is clearly marked in traditional wedding vows. A commitment to love faithfully is central: ‘to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part… and thereto I plight [pledge] thee my troth [faithfulness]’. (...) Sexual fidelity is promised in a subordinate clause, symbolizing its supportive role in promoting love's constancy: ‘and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto her/him.’. (shrink)
In ‘ The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy ’ Laurence Sterne writes: That of all the several ways of beginning a book which are now in practice throughout the known world, I am confident my own way of doing it is the best—I'm sure it is the most religious—for I begin with writing the first sentence—and trusting to Almighty God for the second.
In Chapters 6 and 7 of Language, Truth and Poetry I attempted to solve the ancient problem of fictional reference by claiming that a fictional construct ‘points’ or refers to certain features of reality in rather the same way as an abstraction like ‘gravitation’ or ‘cruelty’ does. I now believe that this theory of mine is unsatisfactory; and I should like to propose a new solution to the problem.
Q: If necessity is the mother of invention, whence necessity? A. : The matrix of necessity in God-talk is religious experience, philosophically interpreted. The interpreters, theists and non-thesists, have indeed been inventive.
The standard foil for recent theories of hope is the belief-desire analysis advocated by Hobbes, Day, Downie, and others. According to this analysis, to hope for S is no more and no less than to desire S while believing S is possible but not certain. Opponents of the belief-desire analysis argue that it fails to capture one or another distinctive feature or function of hope: that hope helps one resist the temptation to despair;2 that hope engages the sophisticated capacities of (...) human agency, such as planning;3 or that hope involves the imagination in ways desire need not.4 Here, I focus on the role of imagination in hope, and discuss its implications for hope’s relation to practical commitment or end-setting. (shrink)