Murga porteña, the satirical street theatre tradition associated with Carnival in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is historically a strongly patriarchal institution. Prominent roles such as reciting poetry, singing, and playing percussion instruments have been reserved exclusively for men. As the feminist movement in Argentina has grown in visibility and importance in recent years, feminist murga participants disrupted these patriarchal patterns. Women murga performers have begun to use murga as a space for feminist practice, both by creating women-only organizations to learn murga (...) skills and by bringing feminist perspectives into mixed-gender murgas. Murgueras are engaged in a multifaceted feminist project that disrupts gendered patterns by building women-only spaces to develop competence in the performance of historically masculine skills such as percussion. Drawing on ethnographic participant-observation of murga events as well as in-depth interviews with key organizers at the confluence of murga and feminism, we explore the ways in which murga has provided the spaces and strategies for collective feminist engagement. Murgas have become important social institutions in which women are “undoing gender” and disseminating feminist perspectives, even as most members join them not as explicitly feminist institutions. (shrink)
Hosea-Zephaniah so closely conform to Zechariah's description of the “former prophets” that these books may have been written or edited as a prelude to Zechariah. Recognizing that Zechariah constructed a picture of earlier prophets that would support his own message in the Persian period invites modern readers to reflect on the promise and the dangers of engaging in a similar process of reshaping the past in the interests of the present.
In a comment on concupscentia, Rahner says that while we may properly draw a distinction between “the spiritual and the sensitive as between two really distinct powers of man,” we must recognize that no human power can be conceived as a “thing.” Given that caution, what would Rahner think of the Freudian “Id”—a word which Freud chose to characterize the nonhuman “it” (thing) at the base of human motivation? Not surprisingly, Rahner says that with the strength of faith we can (...) see in the unconscious “the power of the Holy Ghost.”The essay at hand turns, then, to a significant anti-Freudian theorist, Julia Kristeva, who has developed an extended analysis of the meaningful structures of the psyche prior to the development of self-consciousness in the standard Freudian Oedipal scenario. In contrast to the law of the “castrating” Father who establishes the world of consciousness, of self and other: abstract self-consciousness and abstract signigcation, Kristeva holds out the realm of the Mother in which self andother are “one.” The paradigm of the realm of the Mother is not separation of self and other, but the fusion of self and other in the event of pregnancy. Kristeva’s metaphor of pregnancy is used as a comparison to the relation of God and the human. Prior to the thematic, self-conscious sense of self, there is an ontological relation of God and the human which is the foundation of self.Kristeva’ s realm of the mother constitutes a world of “body language.” The essay concludes with a discussion of the “positivity” of sexuality as body language. In so far as sex leads one back into the body, into “the sensitive” it opens up a realm of meaning that is fatally absent from the abstract self-consciousness produced by the Law of the Father. (shrink)
Lucy O'Brien argues that a satisfactory account of first-person reference and self-knowledge needs to concentrate on our nature as agents. Clearly written, with rigorous discussion of rival views, this book will be of interest to anyone working in the philosophy of mind and action.
In this paper I want to propose that we see solipsism as arising from certain problems we have about identifying ourselves as subjects in an objective world. The discussion will centre on Wittgenstein’s treatment of solipsism in his Tractatus Logico- Philosophicus. In that work Wittgenstein can be seen to express an unusually profound understanding of the problems faced in trying to give an account of how we, who are subjects, identify ourselves as objects in the world. We have in his (...) compressed remarks, the kernels of a number of arguments which all come together to form what can be called the problem of self-identification. I want to argue that the solipsism of the Tractatus arises at least in part as a solution to, or – to put it less optimistically – as a symptom or articulation of this problem. In approaching Wittgenstein’s early discussion of solipsism in this way I will obviously be in disagreement with some other interpretations of the work. For example, there are those who think that there is no ‘solipsism of the Tractatus’.1 In fact, the Tractarian arguments presented below as motivating solipsism have been seen as fulfilling the quite opposite function of refuting it. I do not intend in this piece to engage with alternative interpretations. Let me say a little bit about why I have granted myself the licence not to do so. First, the focus of my concern with solipsism is on how it connects with what I have called the problem of self-identification. While it is a concern that emerged in an attempt to make sense of Wittgenstein’s remarks in. (shrink)
How is it that we think and refer in the first-person way? For most philosophers in the analytic tradition, the problem is essentially this: how two apparently conflicting kinds of properties can be reconciled and united as properties of the same entity. What is special about the first person has to be reconciled with what is ordinary about it. The range of responses reduces to four basic options. The orthodox view is optimistic: there really is a way of reconciling these (...) apparently contradictory properties as contained within the same thing. The heretical views are pessimistic and content to be so: there is no such way, and that is because there is simply nothing to reconcile – because there is really nothing special about what is in question; or there is really nothing ordinary about it; or there is really nothing …. (shrink)
The twelve specially written essays in this volume investigate the neglected topic of mental action, and show its importance for the metaphysics, epistemology, and phenomenology of mind. The essays investigate what mental actions are, how we are aware of them, and what is the relationship between mental and physical action.
In our contemporary post-modern context, it has become increasingly awkward to talk about a good that is shared by all. This is particularly true in the context of mammoth multi-national corporations operating in global markets. Nevertheless, it is precisely some of these same enormous, aggrandizing forces that have given rise to recent corporate scandals. These, in turn, raise questions about ethical systems that are focused too myopically on self-interest, or the interest of specific groups, locations or cultures. The obvious traditional (...) alternative to moral bellybutton gazing is the common good, which challenges the modern business enterprise to realize non-instrumental values that can only be attained in our life together. The common good dictates that leadership should be judged, first of all, according to moral criteria rather than professional competence. It helps correct the distorted prioritization of the maximization of profit in every business decision, recognizing that businesses have a multitude of rights and responsibilities, and the common good reminds us that the first of these is not always profit-making. (shrink)
The project of the paper is a critical examination of the "strong thesis of eliminative materialism" in the philosophy of mind--The claim that all the mental entities that constitute the framework of commonsense psychology are, In principle at least, Eliminable from our ontology. The central conclusion reached is that the traditional formulation of this thesis is demonstrably untenable as it rests on a mistaken view of the relationship between our psychological self-Knowledge and language.
The author proposes an analysis of boredom. The analysis he proposes is that boredom is an unpleasant mental state consisting of weariness, restlessness, and lack of interest, where certain causal relations exist among the components. He goes on to elaborate on and defend his analysis, concluding with some thoughts on the idea that boredom has some grand metaphysical significance.
In their target article, Hutto and Satne eloquently articulate the failings of most current attempts to naturalize mental content. Furthermore, we think they are correct in their insistence that the only way forward is by drawing a distinction between two kinds of intentionality, one of which is considerably weaker than—and should be deployed to explain—the propositional variety most philosophers take for granted. The problem is that their own rendering of this weaker form of intentionality—contentless intentionality—is too weak. What’s needed is (...) a species of intentionality distinct from both the industrial-strength version beloved by philosophers and the intentionality lite recommended by Hutto and Satne. We briefly motivate and sketch this alternative, and say a few words about the account of cognition that it spawns. (shrink)
Reformers urge that representation no longer earns its explanatory keep in cognitive science, and that it is time to discard this troublesome concept. In contrast, we hold that without representation cognitive science is utterly bereft of tools for explaining natural intelligence. In order to defend the latter position, we focus on the explanatory role of representation in computation. We examine how the methods of digital and analog computation are used to model a relatively simple target system, and show that representation (...) plays an in-eliminable explanatory role in both cases. We conclude that, to the extent that biologic systems engage in computation, representation is destined to play an explanatory role in cognitive science. (shrink)
Although connectionism is advocated by its proponents as an alternative to the classical computational theory of mind, doubts persist about its _computational_ credentials. Our aim is to dispel these doubts by explaining how connectionist networks compute. We first develop a generic account of computation—no easy task, because computation, like almost every other foundational concept in cognitive science, has resisted canonical definition. We opt for a characterisation that does justice to the explanatory role of computation in cognitive science. Next we examine (...) what might be regarded as the “conventional” account of connectionist computation. We show why this account is inadequate and hence fosters the suspicion that connectionist networks aren’t genuinely computational. Lastly, we turn to the principal task of the paper: the development of a more robust portrait of connectionist computation. The basis of this portrait is an explanation of the representational capacities of connection weights, supported by an analysis of the weight configurations of a series of simulated neural networks. (shrink)
_An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge_ guides the reader through the key issues and debates in contemporary epistemology. Lucid, comprehensive and accessible, it is an ideal textbook for students who are new to the subject and for university undergraduates. The book is divided into five parts. Part I discusses the concept of knowledge and distinguishes between different types of knowledge. Part II surveys the sources of knowledge, considering both _a priori_ and _a posteriori_ knowledge. Parts III and IV provide (...) an in-depth discussion of justification and scepticism. The final part of the book examines our alleged knowledge of the past, other minds, morality and God. O'Brien uses engaging examples throughout the book, taking many from literature and the cinema. He explains complex issues, such as those concerning the private language argument, non-conceptual content, and the new riddle of induction, in a clear and accessible way. This textbook is an invaluable guide to contemporary epistemology. (shrink)
While much has been written about the functional profile of intentions, and about their normative or rational status, comparatively little has been said about the subjective authority of intention. What is it about intending that explains the ‘hold’ that an intention has on an agent—a hold that is palpable from her first-person perspective? I argue that several prima facie appealing explanations are not promising. Instead, I maintain that the subjective authority of intention can be explained in terms of the inner (...) structure of intention. In adopting an intention the agent comes to see herself as criticizable depending on whether she executes the intention. This allows us to explain in first-personal terms why the agent becomes disposed to act and deliberate in ways that are characteristic of intention. As intention-formation involves profound changes to reflexive evaluative attitudes, this is the ‘Self-Evaluation’ view of the subjective authority of intention. (shrink)
It is commonplace for both philosophers and cognitive scientists to express their allegiance to the "unity of consciousness". This is the claim that a subjects phenomenal consciousness, at any one moment in time, is a single thing. This view has had a major influence on computational theories of consciousness. In particular, what we call single-track theories dominate the literature, theories which contend that our conscious experience is the result of a single consciousness-making process or mechanism in the brain. We argue (...) that the orthodox view is quite wrong: phenomenal experience is not a unity, in the sense of being a single thing at each instant. It is a multiplicity, an aggregate of phenomenal elements, each of which is the product of a distinct consciousness-making mechanism in the brain. Consequently, cognitive science is in need of a multi-track theory of consciousness; a computational model that acknowledges both the manifold nature of experience, and its distributed neural basis. (shrink)
Book description: * Seventeen brand-new essays by leading philosophers and psychologists * Genuinely interdisciplinary work, at the forefront of both fields * Includes a valuable introduction, uniting common threads Leading philosophers and psychologists join forces to investigate a set of problems to do with agency and self-awareness, in seventeen specially written essays. In recent years there has been much psychological and neurological work purporting to show that consciousness and self-awareness play no role in causing actions, and indeed to demonstrate that (...) free will is an illusion. The essays in this volume subject the assumptions that motivate such claims to sustained interdisciplinary scrutiny. Patients with Anarchic Hand syndrome sometimes find their hands perform apparently goal-directed actions which the patients disown, yet seem to be unable to suppress (for example, reaching out for someone else's food in a restaurant). On the face of it, these patients lack the kind of control and self-awareness we ordinarily take ourselves to have when acting intentionally. Questions raised by this phenomenon include: What is involved in being aware of an action as one's own? What is the nature of the control these patients are lacking and which characterizes normal intentional actions? What is the relation between a priori explanations of consciousness and self-consciousness, on the one hand, and empirical work on the information-processing mechanisms involved in action control, on the other? Questions of action control and self-awareness tend to be treated separately in both philosophy and psychology. The central idea behind this volume is that outstanding unresolved issues on both topics, and in both disciplines, can only be resolved by an interdisciplinary examination of the relations between them. The editors' useful introductory essay offers a guide to cross-disciplinary reading of the contributions, and makes connections between them explicit. The book will be compulsory reading for psychologists and philosophers working on action explanation, and for anyone interested in the relation between the brain sciences and consciousness. (shrink)
It is an extraordinary thing that Descartes' famous Cogito argument is still being puzzled over; this paper is another fragment in an untiring tradition of puzzlement. The paper will argue that, if I were to ask the question the Cogito could provide for a positive answer. In particular, my aim in this is to argue, in opposition to recent discussion by John Campbell, that there is a way of construing conscious thinking on which the Cogito can be seen to provide (...) a non-question begging argument for one's own existence. (shrink)
Oaksford & Chater (O&C) have rejected logic in favor of probability theory for reasons that are irrelevant to mental-logic theory, because mental-logic theory differs from standard logic in significant ways. Similar to O&C, mental-logic theory rejects the use of the material conditional and deals with the completeness problem by limiting the scope of its procedures to local sets of propositions.
My concern is this paper is to consider the nature of obsessive thoughts with the aim of getting a clearer idea about the extent to which they are rightly identified as passive or as active. The nature of obsessive thoughts is of independent interest, but my concern with the question is also rooted in a general concern to map the extent of mental activity, and to defend the importance and centrality of a view of self-knowledge that appeals to agency. I (...) hold that much of our mental lives is active, and that the distinctive knowledge we have of our own minds is in many cases best explained by appealing to agency. Along with many others, I take knowledge of our actions and activities to be distinctive. We know our actions and activities in a way that we do not know anything else, and in a way that is distinctively and essentially self-conscious. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is to articulate further what may be called an agency theory of self-knowledge. Many theorists have stressed how important agency is to self- knowledge, and much work has been done drawing connections between the two notions.<sup>2</sup> However, it has not always been clear what _epistemic_ advantage agency gives us in this area and why it does so. I take it as a constraint on an adequate account of how a subject knows her own mental states (...) and acts, that it construe the known mental states and acts realistically and as independent of their self-ascription, and that it deliver genuine epistemic standing to the knower. The main task of the paper will, then, be to explore how our having rational agency with respect to our mental states may be able to secure genuine epistemic warrant for our self-ascriptions of states or acts independent of the ascriptions. This task will be carried out by focussing on the question of what account we should give of our knowledge of what I call our acts of judging. In the remainder of this section, I will do a little to clarify what is meant by that question. Section 2 will attempt to introduce us to elements of the best way to approach the question by considering some alternative strategies. Section 3 is devoted to forming some idea of what _kind_ of warrant we are looking for when considering how agency might give us self-knowledge. Section 4 aims to present a suggestion as to how agency gives us the kind of warrant identified over our acts of judging. Section 5 deals with some objections. (shrink)
In this paper I am going to argue that we should take actions to be prime. This will involve clarifying what it means to claim that actions are prime. I will consider Williamson's construal of actions as prime in a way that parallels his treatment of knowledge. I will argue that we need to be careful about treating our actions in the way suggested because of an internal relation between the success condition of an action and the action itself; a (...) parallel relation does not hold for most cases of knowledge. (shrink)
We analyse the electronic portfolio in higher education policy and practice.While evangelical accounts of the ePortfolio celebrate its power as a new eLearning technology,we argue that it allows the mutually-reinforcing couple of neoliberalism and the enterprising self to function in ways in which individual difference can be presented, cultured and grown, all the time within a standardised framework which relentlessly polices the limits of the acceptable and unacceptable. We point to the ePortfolio as a practice of government, arguing that grander (...) policy coalesces out of a halting, experimental set of technological instruments for thinking about how life should be lived. (shrink)
While new generations of implantable brain computer interface devices are being developed, evidence in the literature about their impact on the patient experience is lagging. In this article, we address this knowledge gap by analysing data from the first-in-human clinical trial to study patients with implanted BCI advisory devices. We explored perceptions of self-change across six patients who volunteered to be implanted with artificially intelligent BCI devices. We used qualitative methodological tools grounded in phenomenology to conduct in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Results (...) show that, on the one hand, BCIs can positively increase a sense of the self and control; on the other hand, they can induce radical distress, feelings of loss of control, and a rupture of patient identity. We conclude by offering suggestions for the proactive creation of preparedness protocols specific to intelligent—predictive and advisory—BCI technologies essential to prevent potential iatrogenic harms. (shrink)
This paper argues that Gareth Evans' treatment of first person reference based on the myriad ways we have of receiving information about our bodies and location, cannot secure the guaranteed reference exhibited by first person reference. It faces a problem both when a subject fails to receive such information about herself, and when she receives misinformation.