This is a book about how we see: the environment around us (its surfaces, their layout, and their colors and textures); where we are in the environment; whether or not we are moving and, if we are, where we are going; what things are good for; how to do things (to thread a needle or drive an automobile); or why things look as they do.The basic assumption is that vision depends on the eye which is connected to the brain. The (...) author suggests that natural vision depends on the eyes in the head on a body supported by the ground, the brain being only the central organ of a complete visual system. When no constraints are put on the visual system, people look around, walk up to something interesting and move around it so as to see it from all sides, and go from one vista to another. That is natural vision—and what this book is about. (shrink)
Gathering information from both published and unpublished material and interviews with Gibson's family, colleagues, and friends, Reed (philosophy, Drexel U.) chronicles Gibson's life and intellectual development and his attempts to synthesize several contrasting intellectual traditions into what he ultimately called an "ecological approach" to psychology. Annotation(c) 2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com).
This collection of papers is the fourth in a series of volumes on the work of the Comparative Austronesian Project. Each paper describes a specific Austronesian locality and offers an ethnographic account of the way in which social knowledge is vested, maintained and transformed in a particular landscape. The intention of the volume is to consider common patterns in the representation of place among Austronesian-speaking populations.
To the age-old debate over what it means to be human, the relatively new fields of sociobiology and artificial intelligence bring new, if not necessarily compatible, insights. What have these two fields in common? Have they affected the way we define humanity? These and other timely questions are addressed with colorful individuality by the authors of _The Boundaries of Humanity_. Leading researchers in both sociobiology and artificial intelligence combine their reflections with those of philosophers, historians, and social scientists, while the (...) editors explore the historical and contemporary contexts of the debate in their introductions. The implications of their individual arguments, and the often heated controversies generated by biological determinism or by mechanical models of mind, go to the heart of contemporary scientific, philosophical, and humanistic studies. (shrink)
A provocative work by medical ethicist James Hughes, Citizen Cyborg argues that technologies pushing the boundaries of humanness can radically improve our quality of life if they are controlled democratically. Hughes challenges both the technophobia of Leon Kass and Francis Fukuyama and the unchecked enthusiasm of others for limitless human enhancement. He argues instead for a third way, "democratic transhumanism," by asking the question destined to become a fundamental issue of the twenty-first century: How can we use new cybernetic (...) and biomedical technologies to make life better for everyone? These technologies hold great promise, but they also pose profound challenges to our health, our culture, and our liberal democratic political system. By allowing humans to become more than human - "posthuman" or "transhuman" - the new technologies will require new answers for the enduring issues of liberty and the common good. What limits should we place on the freedom of people to control their own bodies? Who should own genes and other living things? Which technologies should be mandatory, which voluntary, and which forbidden? For answers to these challenges, Citizen Cyborg proposes a radical return to a faith in the resilience of our democratic institutions. (shrink)
Both the psychology of perception and the philosophy of perception seem to show a new face when the process is considered at its own level, distinct from that of sensation. Unfamiliar conceptions in physics, anatomy, physiology, psychology, and phenomenology are required to clarify the separation and make it plausible. But there have been so many dead ends in the effort to solve the theoretical problems of perception that radical proposals may now be acceptable. Scientists are often more conservative than philosophers (...) of science. I end, therefore, as I began, with a plea for help. (shrink)
Kant's Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason is one of the great modern examinations of religion's meaning, function and impact on human affairs. In this volume, the first complete English-language commentary on the work, James J. DiCenso explains the historical context in which the book appeared, including the importance of Kant's conflict with state censorship. He shows how the Religion addresses crucial Kantian themes such as the relationship between freedom and morality, the human propensity to evil, the status (...) of historical traditions in relation to ethical principles, and the interface between individual ethics and social institutions. The major arguments are clearly and precisely explained, and the themes are highlighted and located within Kant's mature critical philosophy, especially his ethics. The commentary will be valuable for all who are interested in the continuing relevance of religion for contemporary inquiries into ethics, public institutions and religious traditions. (shrink)
In this book, a dozen distinguished scholars in the field of the history of philosophy and science investigate aspects of the commentary tradition on Aristotle's De generatione et corruptione, one of the least studied among Aristotle's treatises in natural philosophy. Many famous thinkers such as Johannes Philoponus, Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, John Buridan, Nicole Oresme, Francesco Piccolomini, Jacopo Zabarella, and Galileo Galilei wrote commentaries on it. The distinctive feature of the present book is that it approaches this commentary tradition (...) as a coherent whole, thereby ignoring the usual historiographical distinctions between the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the seventeenth century. Frans de Haas and Henk Kubbinga address the Greek commentary tradition on De generatione et corruptione. Simone van Riet's essay is devoted to the Latin version of Avicenna's third treatise of his Kitab al Shifa, which discusses Aristotle's De generatione et corruptione. James Otte traces the intricate history of the identification of the Latin translator of Aristotle's treatise as Burgundio of Pisa. The essay by John Murdoch explores the fortuna of atomistic arguments in the Latin commentary tradition. Jurgen Sarnowsky, Henk Braakhuis, and Stefano Caroti examine various themes in the commentaries that were produced by the so-called Buridan School, that is, John Buridan, Albert of Saxony, Nicholas Oresme, and Marsilius of Inghen. The article by Silvia Donati focuses on the influential commentary by the Expositor, Giles of Rome. The final essay, written by Anita Guerrini, tackles Robert Boyle's attitude in the Origin of Forms and Qualities toward such Aristotelian key concepts as forms, matter, qualities, and mixture. These essays are prefaced by a preliminary survey by Hans Thijssen of Aristotle's text, its Latin translations and its Greek, Arabic and Latin commentaries. (shrink)
Emotion regulation has the odd distinction of being a wildly popular construct whose scientific existence is in considerable doubt. In this article, we discuss the confusion about whether emotion generation and emotion regulation can and should be distinguished from one another. We describe a continuum of perspectives on emotion, and highlight how different (often mutually incompatible) perspectives on emotion lead to different views about whether emotion generation and emotion regulation can be usefully distinguished. We argue that making differences in perspective (...) explicit serves the function of allowing researchers with different theoretical commitments to collaborate productively despite seemingly insurmountable differences in terminology and methods. (shrink)
Individuals and businesses make numerous payments every day. They sometimes have choices about what forms of payment to make or accept, and at other times are effectively forced to use a particular form. Often there is an asymmetric power relationship between payer and payee that raises the issue of whether one side unfairly exploits the other. Is it unethical exploitation for an employer to pay employees with a fee-laden payroll card over other more convenient forms of payment? Does the fee (...) structure of payment networks such as Visa and MasterCard unfairly exploit merchants? The bitcoin payment system is an ethical as well as technological evolution as it was designed to be an electronic payment system that does not rely upon trust. Can an entire payment system like bitcoin be “evil,” as charged by Krugman? Payment tools as such are ethically neutral, but can be used in an ethical or unethical manner. (shrink)
Recent concern over “high frequency trading” (HFT) has called into question the fairness of the practice. What does it mean for a financial market to be “fair”? We first examine how high frequency trading is actually used. High frequency traders often implement traditional beneficial strategies such as market making and arbitrage, although computers can also be used for manipulative strategies as well. We then examine different notions of fairness. Procedural fairness can be viewed from the perspective of equal opportunity, in (...) which all market participants are treated alike. The same rules apply to HFT as to other traders. Another approach to fairness is in the equality of outcomes. Many HFT strategies are beneficial to other market participants, so one cannot categorically denounce the practice as unfair. Other strategies, for both high and low frequency trading, are not. It is thus important to distinguish between the technology and the use of the technology to make judgments on fairness. (shrink)
Speakers often do not state requests directly but employ innuendos such as Would you like to see my etchings? Though such indirectness seems puzzlingly inefficient, it can be explained by a theory of the strategic speaker, who seeks plausible deniability when he or she is uncertain of whether the hearer is cooperative or antagonistic. A paradigm case is bribing a policeman who may be corrupt or honest: A veiled bribe may be accepted by the former and ignored by the latter. (...) Everyday social interactions can have a similar payoff structure (with emotional rather than legal penalties) whenever a request is implicitly forbidden by the relational model holding between speaker and hearer (e.g., bribing an honest maitre d’, where the reciprocity of the bribe clashes with his authority). Even when a hearer’s willingness is known, indirect speech offers higher-order plausible deniability by preempting certainty, gossip, and common knowledge of the request. In supporting experiments, participants judged the intentions and reactions of characters in scenarios that involved fraught requests varying in politeness and directness. (shrink)
Postgenderism is an extrapolation of ways that technology is eroding the biological, psychological and social role of gender, and an argument for why the erosion of binary gender will be liberatory. Postgenderists argue that gender is an arbitrary and unnecessary limitation on human potential, and foresee the elimination of involuntary biological and psychological gendering in the human species through the application of neurotechnology, biotechnology and reproductive technologies. Postgenderists contend that dyadic gender roles and sexual dimorphisms are generally to the detriment (...) of individuals and society. Assisted reproduction will make it possible for individuals of any sex to reproduce in any combinations they choose, with or without "mothers" and "fathers," and artificial wombs will make biological wombs unnecessary for reproduction. Greater biological fluidity and psychological androgyny will allow future persons to explore both masculine and feminine aspects of personality. Postgenderists do not call for the end of all gender traits, or universal androgyny, but rather that those traits become a matter of choice. Bodies and personalities in our postgender future will no longer be constrained and circumscribed by gendered traits, but enriched by their use in the palette of diverse self-expression. (shrink)
Transhumanism is a modern expression of ancient and transcultural aspirations to radically transform human existence, socially and bodily. Before the Enlightenment these aspirations were only expressed in religious millennialism, magical medicine, and spiritual practices. The Enlightenment channeled these desires into projects to use science and technology to improve health, longevity, and human abilities, and to use reason to revolutionize society. Since the Enlightenment, techno‐utopian movements have dynamically interacted with supernaturalist millennialism, sometimes syncretically, and often in violent opposition. Today the transhumanist (...) movement, a modern form of Enlightenment techno‐utopianism, has evolved a number of subsects, from the libertarian utopians funded by billionaire Peter Thiel, to religious syncretists like the Mormon Transhumanist Association, to the left‐wing technoprogressives and their bioliberal intellectual allies. In reaction to accelerating technological innovation and transhumanist ideas, apocalyptic Christians, and even secular catastrophists, have begun to incorporate human enhancement into their End Times scenarios. With all sides believing that the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, there is a growing likelihood of violent confrontation. (shrink)
Recently there has been an outpouring of consumer frustration over rising food and energy prices. Many politicians railed against “speculators” who allegedly drove up the prices of key necessities. Is speculation unethical? This article reviews the traditional arguments against speculation. Many of the standard criticisms confuse speculation with gambling. In much the same way as ethicists now draw distinctions between usury and normal business interest, we draw a distinction between socially useful speculation and gambling. Gambling involves taking on risk with (...) no plausible expectation of making a profit. Gambling may provide entertainment value to some people, but like other addictive activities causes grave harm to a subset of users. Speculation involves taking on a business risk with a plausible expectation that a profit will result. Speculators provide an important risk bearing service by taking on risks that others do not want. They help markets to function better by helping to incorporate information into prices as well as providing liquidity. Speculators may actually reduce shortages by causing quicker price increases that motivate producers to increase production and consumers to conserve. But even socially useful speculation may have an ethical dark side. Does such speculation cause damage by adding excess volatility to prices? Speculators may contribute to price bubbles. At what point does legitimate speculation become odious “price gouging?” We also draw an ethical distinction between speculation, which seeks to benefit from changing prices, and manipulation, actions taken to push prices away from their economically appropriate levels. (shrink)
For centuries psychologists have been trying to explain how a man or an animal could perceive space. They have thought of space as having three dimensions and the difficulty was how an observer could see the third dimension. For depth, as Bishop Berkeley asserted at the outset of the New Theory of Vision (1709), “is a line endwise to the eye which projects only one point in the fund of the eye.” Space was its dimensions. It was empty save for (...) a collection of objects or bodies. For an observer, the objects were in different directions at various distances and the question was how these distances could be detected. For two hundred and fifty years we have tried to answer this question and failed. The explanations have been controversial, contradictory, and confused. (shrink)