How does one committed to the claims of Christ and a biblical story of redemption live Christianly and navigate the competing worldviews encountered in everyday medical practice? Adopting the practical conceptual framework promoted by Reformed Christian philosopher and theologian Albert Wolters, we argue for an all-encompassing biblical understanding of God’s cosmic redemption plan for the entire creation order in contrast to a more typical sacred/secular duality. We then apply the concepts of structure and direction, drawn from a pretheological understanding of (...) human life drawn from the Scripture, to a semi-fictional case study in discerning Christian faithfulness in everyday mundane aspects of medicine. Our subsequent analysis seeks to render an interpretation of what it means to live life consistent with that worldview when confronted with challenges like those presented in the case. (shrink)
Principles can seem as entrenched in moral experience as Kant thinks space, time, and the categories are in human experience of the world. However not all cultures have such a view. Classical Indian and Chinese philosophies treat modification of the self as central to ethics. Decisions in particular cases and underlying principles are much less discussed. Ethics needs comparative philosophy in order not to be narrow in its concerns. A broader view can give weight to how people sometimes can change (...) who they are, in order to lead better lives. (shrink)
I defend a perceptual account of face-to-face mindreading. I begin by proposing a phenomenological constraint on our visual awareness of others' emotional expressions. I argue that to meet this constraint we require a distinction between the basic and non-basic ways people, and other things, look. I offer and defend just such an account.
Many would consider the lengthening debate between moral realists and anti-realists to be draw-ish. Plainly new approaches are needed. Or might the issue, which most broadly concerns realism in relation to normative judgments, be broken down into parts or sectors? Physicists have been saying, in relation to a similarly longstanding debate, that light in some respects behaves like waves and in some respects like particles. Might realism be more plausible in relation to some kinds of normative judgments than others?
While there is a steadily growing literature on epistemic injustice in healthcare, there are few discussions of the role that biomedical technologies play in harming patients in their capacity as knowers. Through an analysis of newborn and pediatric genetic and genomic sequencing technologies (GSTs), I argue that biomedical technologies can lead to epistemic injustice through two primary pathways: epistemic capture and value partitioning. I close by discussing the larger ethical and political context of critical analyses of GSTs and their broader (...) implications for just and equitable healthcare delivery. (shrink)
Joel Feinberg was a brilliant philosopher whose work in social and moral philosophy is a legacy of excellent, even stunning achievement. Perhaps his most memorable achievement is his four-volume treatise on The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law, and perhaps the most striking jewel in this crowning achievement is his passionate and deeply insightful treatment of paternalism.1 Feinberg opposes Legal Paternalism, the doctrine that “it is always a good reason in support of a [criminal law] prohibition that it is (...) necessary to prevent harm (physical, psychological, or economic) to the actor himself.” Against this doctrine Feinberg asserts that when an agent’s sufficiently voluntary choice causes harm to herself or risk of harm to herself, this category of harm-to-self is never a good reason in support of criminal law prohibition of that type of conduct. (shrink)
Much recent work on empathy in philosophy of mind and cognitive science has been guided by the assumption that minds are composed of intracranial phenomena, perceptually inaccessible and thus unobservable to everyone but their owners. I challenge this claim. I defend the view that at least some mental states and processes—or at least some parts of some mental states and processes—are at times visible, capable of being directly perceived by others. I further argue that, despite its initial implausibility, this view (...) receives robust support from several strands of empirical research. (shrink)
Is there anything peculiarly "photographic" about photography—something which sets it apart from all other ways of making pictures? If there is, how important is it to our understanding of photographs? Are photographs so unlike other sorts of pictures as to require unique methods of interpretation and standards of evaluation? These questions may sound artificial, made up especially for the purpose of theorizing. But they have in fact been asked and answered not only by critics and photographers but by laymen. Furthermore, (...) for most of this century the majority of critics and laymen alike have tended to answer these questions in the same way: that photographs and paintings differ in an important way and require different methods in interpretation precisely because photographs and paintings come into being in different ways. These answers are interesting because, even within the rather restricted classes of critics, photographers, and theorists, they are held in common by a wide variety of people who otherwise disagree strongly with each other—by people who think that photographs are inferior to paintings and people who believe they are superior; by people who think that photographs ought to be "objective" and those who believe they should be "subjective"; by those who believe that it is impossible for photographers to "create" anything and by those who believe that they should at least try. Joel Snyder teaches criticism and history of photography at the University of Chicago and is presently compiling a book of his own photographs. His contributions to Critical Inquiry include "Picturing Vision" and "Reflexions on Las Meninas: Paradox Lost", written with Ted Cohen in the Winter 1980 issue. Neil Walsh Allen produces educational audio-visual materials and has designed eight permanent exhibits on the history and applications of photography for the Smithsonian Institution. (shrink)
The problem of other minds has a distinguished philosophical history stretching back more than two hundred years. Taken at face value, it is an epistemological question: it concerns how we can have knowledge of, or at least justified belief in, the existence of minds other than our own. In recent decades, philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, anthropologists and primatologists have debated a related question: how we actually go about attributing mental states to others (regardless of whether we ever achieve knowledge or rational (...) justification in this domain). Until the mid-nineties, the latter debate – which sometimes goes under the name of the “mindreading” debate – was characterized by a fairly clear-cut opposition between two theoretical outlooks: “theory-theory” (TT) and “simulation theory” (ST). Theory-theorists typically argued that we attribute mental states to others on the basis of a “theory of mind” that is either constructed in early infancy and subsequently revised and modified (Gopnik 1996), or else is the result of maturation of innate mindreading “modules” (Baron-Cohen 1995). (shrink)
In this volume, Feinberg focuses on the meanings of "interest," the relationship between interests and wants, and the distinction between want-regarding and ideal-regarding analyses on interest and hard cases for the applications of the concept of harm. Examples of the "hard cases" are harm to character, vicarious harm, and prenatal and posthumous harm. Feinberg also discusses the relationship between harm and rights, the concept of a victim, and the distinctions of various quantitative dimensions of harm, consent, and offense, including the (...) magnitude, probability, risk, and "importance" of harm. (shrink)
Socrates continues to be an extremely influential force to this day; his work is featured prominently in the work of contemporary thinkers ranging from Hannah Arendt and Leo Strauss, to Michel Foucault and Jacques Rancière. Intervening in this discussion, What Would Socrates Do? reconstructs Socrates' philosophy in ancient Athens to show its promise of empowering citizens and non-citizens alike. By drawing them into collective practices of dialogue and reflection, philosophy can help people to become thinking, acting beings more capable of (...) fully realizing the promises of political life. At the same time, however, Joel Alden Schlosser shows how these practices' commitment to interrogation keeps philosophy at a distance from the democratic status quo, creating a dissonance with conventional forms of politics that opens space for new forms of participation and critical contestation of extant ones. (shrink)
I am grateful to Philip Reed for his article ‘Expressivism at the Beginning and End of Life’. His piece compellingly demonstrates the import of expanding analyses concerning the expressivist thesis beyond the reproductive sphere to the end-of-life sphere. I hope that his intervention spurns further work on this connection. In what follows, I want to focus on what I take to be moments of slippage in his use of the concept of disability, a slippage to which many disability theorists succumb. (...) In short, I argue that there are crucial moments in his argument where Reed runs together cases of disability that should be kept distinct—at minimum for the context in which he discusses them. Namely, forms of disability the suffering of which justice can eliminate versus those that ‘no amount of accessibility and social justice could eliminate’.1 Disability studies scholars and philosophers of disability have long noted that certain types of disability are often ‘left …. (shrink)
-/- Human beings are conscious not only of the world around them but also of themselves: their activities, their bodies, and their mental lives. They are, that is, self-conscious (or, equivalently, self-aware). Self-consciousness can be understood as an awareness of oneself. But a self-conscious subject is not just aware of something that merely happens to be themselves, as one is if one sees an old photograph without realising that it is of oneself. Rather a self-conscious subject is aware of themselves (...) as themselves; it is manifest to them that they themselves are the object of awareness. Self-consciousness is a form of consciousness that is paradigmatically expressed in English by the words “I”, “me”, and “my”, terms that each of us uses to refer to ourselves as such. -/- A central topic throughout the history of philosophy—and increasingly so since the seventeenth century—the phenomena surrounding self-consciousness prompt a variety of fundamental philosophical and scientific questions, including its relation to consciousness; its semantic and epistemic features; its realisation in both conceptual and non-conceptual representation; and its connection to our conception of an objective world populated with others like ourselves. (shrink)
This book is concerned with the role of intuitions in the justification of philosophical theory. The author begins by demonstrating how contemporary philosophers, whether engaged in case-driven analysis or seeking reflective equilibrium, rely on intuitions as evidence for their theories. The author then provides an account of the nature of philosophical intuitions and distinguishes them from other psychological states. Finally, the author defends the use of intuitions as evidence by demonstrating that arguments for skepticism about their evidential value are either (...) self-defeating or guilty of arbitrary and unjustified partiality towards non-intuitive modes of knowledge. (shrink)
In this peer commentary on L. Syd M. Johnson’s “Inference and Inductive Risk in Disorders of Consciousness,” I argue for the necessity of disability education as an integral component of decision-making processes concerning patients with DOC and, mutatis mutandis, all patients with disabilities. The sole qualification Johnson places on such decision-making is that stakeholders are educated about and “understand the uncertainties of diagnosis and prognosis.” Drawing upon research in philosophy of disability, social epistemology, and health psychology, I argue that this (...) educational qualification is insufficient to address systemic ableism and other forms of epistemic bias in quality of life judgments. (shrink)
In “The Child’s Relations with Others,” Merleau-Ponty argues that certain early experiences are jointly owned in that they are numerically single experiences that are nevertheless given to more than one subject (e.g., the infant and caregiver). Call this the “joint ownership thesis” (JT). Drawing upon both Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological analysis, as well as studies of exogenous attention and mutual affect regulation in developmental psychology, I motivate the plausibility of JT. I argue that the phenomenological structure of some early infant–caregiver dyadic exchanges (...) is best described as involving joint subjects. From birth, some experiences are constitutively social in that certain phenomenal states, such as the positive emotions that arise within these early exchanges, are jointly owned. Along the way, I consider a possible objection. I conclude by considering the explanatory significance of adopting JT. (shrink)
In this paper, I outline two strands of evidence for the conclusion that the dynamical approach to cognitive science both seeks and provides covering law explanations. Two of the most successful dynamical models—Kelso’s model of rhythmic finger movement and Thelen et al.’s model of infant perseverative reaching—can be seen to provide explanations which conform to the famous explanatory scheme first put forward by Hempel and Oppenheim. In addition, many prominent advocates of the dynamical approach also express the provision of this (...) kind of explanation as a goal of dynamical cognitive science. I conclude by briefly outlining two consequences. First, dynamical cognitive science’s explanatory style may strengthen its links to the so-called “situated” approach to cognition, but, secondly, it may also undermine the widespread intuition that dynamics is related to emergentism in the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
The concept of empathy has received much attention from philosophers and also from both cognitive and social psychologists. It has, however, been given widely conflicting definitions, with some taking it primarily as an epistemological notion and others as a social one. Recently, empathy has been closely associated with the simulationist approach to social cognition and, as such, it might be thought that the concept’s utility stands or falls with that of simulation itself. I suggest that this is a mistake. Approaching (...) the question of what empathy is via the question of what it is for, I claim that empathy plays a distinctive epistemological role: it alone allows us to know how others feel. This is independent of the plausibility of simulationism more generally. With this in view I propose an inclusive definition of empathy, one likely consequence of which is that empathy is not a natural kind. It follows that, pace a number of empathy researchers, certain experimental paradigms tell us not about the nature of empathy but about certain ways in which empathy can be achieved. I end by briefly speculating that empathy, so conceived, may also play a distinctive social role, enabling what I term ‘transparent fellow-feeling’. (shrink)
Disability has been a topic in multiple areas of philosophical scholarship for decades. However, it is only in the last ten to fifteen years that philosophy of disability has increasingly become recognized as a distinct field. In this paper, I argue that the foundational question of continental philosophy of disability is the question of the meaning of ability. Engaging a range of canonical texts across the Western intellectual tradition, I argue that the foundational question of continental philosophy of disability is (...) the question of the meaning of ability. I then explore three pathways toward this question: the verdict of bodies, the bind of bodies and worth, and the dogma of individual ability. I contend that unlike the question of the meaning of being, the question of the meaning of ability is not simply a problem of forgetting but instead a problem of cruelty and dehumanization. (shrink)
An increasing number of scholars at the intersection of feminist philosophy and critical disability studies have turned to Merleau-Ponty to develop phenomenologies of disability or of what, following Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, I call "non-normate" embodiment. These studies buck the historical trend of philosophers employing disability as an example of deficiency or harm, a mere litmus test for normative theories, or an umbrella term for aphenotypical bodily variation. While a Merleau-Pontian-inspired phenomenology is a promising starting point for thinking about embodied experiences of (...) all sorts, I here draw a cautionary tale about how ableist assumptions can easily undermine accounts of non-normate experience. I first argue that the omission or misguided treatment of disability within the history of philosophy in general and the phenomenological tradition in particular is due to the inheritance of what I call “the ableist conflation” of disability with pain, suffering, and disadvantage. I then show that Merleau-Ponty’s famous reading of the blind man’s cane is problematic insofar as it omits the social dimensions of disabled experiences, misconstrues the radicality of blindness as a world-creating disability, and operates via an able-bodied simulation that confuses object annexation or extension with incorporation. In closing, I contend that if phenomenology is to overcome the errors of traditional philosophy, as Merleau-Ponty once hoped, it must heed the insights of “crip” or non-normate phenomenology, which takes the lived experience of disability as its point of departure. (shrink)
The extended mind thesis (EM) asserts that some cognitive processes are (partially) composed of actions consisting of the manipulation and exploitation of environmental structures. Might some processes at the root of social cognition have a similarly extended structure? In this paper, I argue that social cognition is fundamentally an interactive form of space management—the negotiation and management of ‘‘we-space”—and that some of the expressive actions involved in the negotiation and management of we-space (gesture, touch, facial and whole-body expressions) drive basic (...) processes of interpersonal understanding and thus do genuine social-cognitive work. Social interaction is a kind of extended social cognition, driven and at least partially constituted by environmental (non-neural) scaffolding. Challenging the Theory of Mind paradigm, I draw upon research from gesture studies, developmental psychology, and work on Moebius Syndrome to support this thesis. (shrink)
Insofar as many older adults fit some definition of disability, disability studies and gerontology would seem to have common interests and goals. However, there has been little discussion between these fields. The aim of this paper is to open up the insights of disability studies as well as philosophy of disability to discussions in gerontology. In doing so, I hope to contribute to thinking about the good life in late life by more critically reflecting upon the meaning of the body, (...) ability, and the variability of each. My central argument is that we should conceptualize age‐associated bodily variations and abilities not in terms of individual capacity, but in terms of what I call “the extended body.” It is in light of the meaning of embodiment and ability in general that we must think differently and more capaciously about the meaning of late life in particular. (shrink)
The multiverse view in set theory, introduced and argued for in this article, is the view that there are many distinct concepts of set, each instantiated in a corresponding set-theoretic universe. The universe view, in contrast, asserts that there is an absolute background set concept, with a corresponding absolute set-theoretic universe in which every set-theoretic question has a definite answer. The multiverse position, I argue, explains our experience with the enormous range of set-theoretic possibilities, a phenomenon that challenges the universe (...) view. In particular, I argue that the continuum hypothesis is settled on the multiverse view by our extensive knowledge about how it behaves in the multiverse, and as a result it can no longer be settled in the manner formerly hoped for. (shrink)
Despite being assailed for decades by disability activists and disability studies scholars spanning the humanities and social sciences, the medical model of disability—which conceptualizes disability as an individual tragedy or misfortune due to genetic or environmental insult—still today structures many cases of patient–practitioner communication. Synthesizing and recasting work done across critical disability studies and philosophy of disability, I argue that the reason the medical model of disability remains so gallingly entrenched is due to what I call the “ableist conflation” of (...) disability with pain and suffering. In an effort to better equip healthcare practitioners and those invested in health communication to challenge disability stigma, discrimination, and oppression, I lay out the logic of the ableist conflation and interrogate examples of its use. I argue that insofar as the semiosis of pain and suffering is structured by the lived experience of unwelcome bodily transition or variation, experiences of pain inform the ableist conflation by preemptively tying such variability and its attendant disequilibrium to disability. I conclude by discussing how philosophy of disability and critical disability studies might better inform health communication concerning disability, offering a number of conceptual distinctions toward that end. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the concept of normality in medical research and clinical practice is inextricable from the concept of ambiguity. I make this argument in the context of Edmund Pellegrino's call for a renewed reflection on medicine’s basic concepts and by drawing on work in critical disability studies concerning Deafness and body integrity identity disorder. If medical practitioners and philosophers of medicine wish to improve their understanding of the meaning of medicine as well as its concrete practice, (...) I contend that they should take seriously the import and centrality of ambiguity for biomedicine. (shrink)
Some recent developments in Artificial Intelligence—especially the use of machine learning systems, trained on big data sets and deployed in socially significant and ethically weighty contexts—have led to a number of calls for “transparency”. This paper explores the epistemological and ethical dimensions of that concept, as well as surveying and taxonomising the variety of ways in which it has been invoked in recent discussions. Whilst “outward” forms of transparency may be straightforwardly achieved, what I call “functional” transparency about the inner (...) workings of a system is, in many cases, much harder to attain. In those situations, I argue that contestability may be a possible, acceptable, and useful alternative so that even if we cannot understand how a system came up with a particular output, we at least have the means to challenge it. (shrink)
Phylogenetic trees are meant to represent the genealogical history of life and apparently derive their justification from the existence of the tree of life and the fact that evolutionary processes are treelike. However, there are a number of problems for these assumptions. Here it is argued that once we understand the important role that phylogenetic trees play as models that contain idealizations, we can accept these criticisms and deny the reality of the tree while justifying the continued use of trees (...) in phylogenetic theory and preserving nearly all of what defenders of trees have called the “importance of tree thinking.”. (shrink)
The article introduces readers to the study of disability, both with respect to the interdisciplinary field of disability studies and the field of philosophy of disability. We then offer an overview of three central areas of philosophical inquiry where feminist work in philosophy and disability has made significant contributions: (1) metaphysics and ontology, (2) epistemology and phenomenology, and (3) ethical, social, and political philosophy.
Responding to Danaher et al. on self-tracking technologies, I argue that human lived experience is becoming increasingly mediated by generalized, statistical information, which I term our "infotality." Drawing on the work of Foucault, I argue that infotality is historically novel and best understood as the product of biopolitics, healthism, and informatics. I then critique the authors' "stance of cautious openness,” which misunderstands the aims of the technology in question and the fundamental ambiguity of the role information plays in the achievement (...) of human wellbeing. Self-tracking technologies are not primarily designed to change behavior; they are designed to create and sustain the desire for their use. I conclude by suggesting that infotality names a new way to fall for an old ruse: the promise that more information means more wellbeing. (shrink)
Many phylogenetic systematists have criticized the Biological Species Concept (BSC) because it distorts evolutionary history. While defenses against this particular criticism have been attempted, I argue that these responses are unsuccessful. In addition, I argue that the source of this problem leads to previously unappreciated, and deeper, fatal objections. These objections to the BSC also straightforwardly apply to other species concepts that are not defined by genealogical history. What is missing from many previous discussions is the fact that the Tree (...) of Life, which represents phylogenetic history, is independent of our choice of species concept. Some species concepts are consistent with species having unique positions on the Tree while others, including the BSC, are not. Since representing history is of primary importance in evolutionary biology, these problems lead to the conclusion that the BSC, along with many other species concepts, are unacceptable. If species are to be taxa used in phylogenetic inferences, we need a history-based species concept. (shrink)
This paper is an exploration of how we do things with music—that is, the way that we use music as an esthetic technology to enact micro-practices of emotion regulation, communicative expression, identity construction, and interpersonal coordination that drive core aspects of our emotional and social existence. The main thesis is: from birth, music is directly perceived as an affordance-laden structure. Music, I argue, affords a sonic world, an exploratory space or nested acoustic environment that further affords possibilities for, among other (...) things, (1) emotion regulation and (2) social coordination. When we do things with music, we are engaged in the work of creating and cultivating the self, as well as creating and cultivating a shared world that we inhabit with others. I develop this thesis by first introducing the notion of a musical affordance . Next, I look at how emotional affordances in music are exploited to construct and regulate emotions. I summon empirical research on neonate music therapy to argue that this is something we emerge from the womb knowing how to do. I then look at social affordances in music, arguing that joint attention to social affordances in music alters how music is both perceived and appropriated by joint attenders within social listening contexts. In support, I describe the experience of listening to and engaging with music in a live concert setting. Thinking of music as an affordance-laden structure thus reaffirms the crucial role that music plays in constructing and regulating emotional and social experiences in everyday life. (shrink)
This collection of essays displays Charles Larmore’s exceptional ability to combine the best of analytic and Hegelian traditions of moral and political theory. This cross-pollination has produced a book that, as a whole, advances several important new proposals, especially regarding political liberalism and moral epistemology.
Common wisdom tells us that we have five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. These senses provide us with a means of gaining information concerning objects in the world around us, including our own bodies. But in addition to these five senses, each of us is aware of our own body in way in which we are aware of no other thing. These ways include our awareness of the position, orientation, movement, and size of our limbs (proprioception and kinaesthesia), (...) our sense of balance, and our awareness of bodily sensations such as pains, tickles, and sensations of pressure or temperature. We can group these together under the title. (shrink)