Consciousness is currently a thriving area of research in psychology and neuroscience. While this is often attributed to events that took place in the early 1990s, consciousness studies today are a continuation of research that started in the late 19th century and that continued throughout the 20th century. From the beginning, the effort built on studies of animals to reveal basic principles of brain organization and function, and of human patients to gain clues about consciousness itself. Particularly important and our (...) focus here is research in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s involving three groups of patients—amnesia, split brain, and blindsight. Across all three groups, a similar pattern of results was found—the patients could respond appropriately to stimuli that they denied seeing (or in the case of amnesiacs, having seen before). These studies paved the way for the current wave of research on consciousness. The field is, in fact, still grappling with the implications of the findings showing that the ability to consciously know and report the identity of a visual stimulus can be dissociated in the brain from the mechanisms that underlie the ability to behave in a meaningful way to the same stimulus. (shrink)
Much existing literature in anthropology suggests that teaching is rare in non-Western societies, and that cultural transmission is mostly vertical (parent-to-offspring). However, applications of evolutionary theory to humans predict both teaching and non-vertical transmission of culturally learned skills, behaviors, and knowledge should be common cross-culturally. Here, we review this body of theory to derive predictions about when teaching and non-vertical transmission should be adaptive, and thus more likely to be observed empirically. Using three interviews conducted with rural Fijian populations, we (...) find that parents are more likely to teach than are other kin types, high-skill and highly valued domains are more likely to be taught, and oblique transmission is associated with high-skill domains, which are learned later in life. Finally, we conclude that the apparent conflict between theory and empirical evidence is due to a mismatch of theoretical hypotheses and empirical claims across disciplines, and we reconcile theory with the existing literature in light of our results. (shrink)
This article, published originally in French just after the 1989 release of Jean-Luc Marion’s book Reduction and Givenness, consists of a sustained critical study of the manner in which Marion advances from the basic principles of phenomenology. Henry outlines briefly three principles, “so much appearance, so much being,” “the principle of principles” of Ideas I, “to the things themselves!” before entering into a lengthy dialogue with Marion’s proposal of a fourth principle: “so much reduction, so much givenness.” Henry submits each (...) principle to critique, highlighting that they contain confusing premises. Henry is appreciative of Marion’s capacity to root the appearing of phenomena in givenness, but he ultimately finds problematic the gap between the call and response that is a fundamental structure of Marion’s fourth principle. Henry, in contrast, develops his own theme of pure givenness, expressed in the form of subjectivity he calls auto-affection, in the final pages of the article. (shrink)
In this paper I focus on a central phenomenological concept in Michel Henry’s work that has often been neglected: generation. Generation becomes an especially important conceptual key to understanding not only the relationship between God and human self but also Henry’s adoption of radical interiority and his critical standpoint with respect to much of the phenomenological tradition in which he is working. Thus in pursuing the theme of generation, I shall introduce many phenomenological-theological terms in Henry’s trilogy on Christianity (...) as well as how he understands the relationship between phenomenology and theology. In the final sections of the paper, I turn to positively defining Henry’s notion of divine generation and examine the theological implications of it in light of his confrontation and rejection of the doctrine of creation in the book of Genesis found in his book, Incarnation: une philosophie de la chair. Humans are not created but are eternally generated, a bold claim that brings Henry to the brink of a kind of interiorized pantheism or Gnostic dualism. Finally, I offer some critical comments specifically about Henry’s doctrine of generation in light of the tension between auto-affection and hetero-affection and thus how one might think after Henry in light of the basic Augustinian theological distinction between self and God and the intentionality of faith opened up by that distinction. (shrink)
This rich and varied collection of essays addresses some of the most fundamental human questions through the lenses of philosophy, literature, religion, politics, and theology. Peter Augustine Lawler and Dale McConkey have fashioned an interdisciplinary consideration of such perennial and enduring issues as the relationship between nature and history, nature and grace, reason and revelation, classical philosophy and Christianity, modernity and postmodernity, repentance and self-limitation, and philosophy and politics.
This essay examines how Michel Henry's and Jean‐Luc Marion's continuation of phenomenology's turn to the invisible relates to painting, aesthetics, and theology. First, it discusses Henry and Marion's redefinition of phenomenality. Second, it explores Henry's “Kandinskian” description of abstract painting as expressing “Life.” Third, it explicates Marion's “Rothkoian” rehabilitation of the idol and renewed zeal for the icon—both phenomena exemplify “givenness.” Fourth, it unpacks my thesis: Henry's phenomenology, theologically applied, exercises an inadequate Kantian apophasis, characterized by a sublime sacrifice (...) of the imagination; although Marion's work sometimes evidences a similar tendency, its prevailing momentum offers theology a fully catholic scope. (shrink)
What does it mean to write "This is not a pipe" across a bluntly literal painting of a pipe? René Magritte's famous canvas provides the starting point for a delightful homage by the French philosopher-historian Michel Foucault. Much better known for his incisive and mordant explorations of power and social exclusion, Foucault here assumes a more playful stance. By exploring the nuances and ambiguities of Magritte's visual critique of language, he finds the painter less removed than previously thought from (...) the pioneers of modern abstraction—"confronting them and within a common system, a figure at once opposed and complementary." Foucault's brief but extraordinarily rich essay offers a startling, highly provocative view of a painter whose influence and popularity continue to grow unchecked. _This is Not a Pipe_ also throws a new, piquantly dancing light on Foucault himself. (shrink)