Theoretical ethics includes both metaethics (the meaning of moral terms) and normative ethics (ethical theories and principles). Practical ethics involves making decisions about every day real ethical problems, like decisions about euthanasia, what we should eat, climate change, treatment of animals, and how we should live. It utilizes ethical theories, like utilitarianism and Kantianism, and principles, but more broadly a process of reflective equilibrium and consistency to decide how to act and be.
I respond to Ned Block’s claim that it is ridiculous to suppose that consciousness is a cultural construction based on language and learned in childhood. Block is wrong to dismiss social constructivist theories of consciousness on account of it being ludicrous that conscious experience is anything but a biological feature of our animal heritage, characterized by sensory experience, evolved over millions of years. By defending social constructivism in terms of both Julian Jaynes’ behaviorism and J.J. Gibson’s ecological psychology, I (...) draw a distinction between the experience or what-it-is-like of nonhuman animals engaging with the environment and the secret theater of speechless monologue that is familiar to a linguistically competent human adult. This distinction grounds the argument that consciousness proper should be seen as learned rather than innate and shared with nonhuman animals. Upon establishing this claim, I defend the Jaynesian definition of consciousness as a social–linguistic construct learned in childhood, structured in terms of lexical metaphors and narrative practice. Finally, I employ the Jaynesian distinction between cognition and consciousness to bridge the explanatory gap and deflate the supposed hard problem of consciousness. (shrink)
In 1912, Julian Huxley published his first book The Individual in the Animal Kingdom which he dedicated to the then world-famous French philosopher Henri Bergson. Historians have generally adopted one of two attitudes towards Huxley’s early encounter with Bergson. They either dismiss it entirely as unimportant or minimise it, deeming it a youthful indiscretion preceding Huxley’s full conversion to Fisherian Darwinism. Close biographical study and new archive materials demonstrate, however, that neither position is tenable. The Bergsonian elements in play (...) in Julian Huxley’s early works fed into his first ideas about progress in evolution and even his celebrated theories of bird courtship. Furthermore, the view that Huxley rejected Bergson in his later years needs to be revised. Although Huxley ended up claiming that Bergson’s theory of evolution had no explanatory power, he never repudiated the descriptive power of Bergson’s controversial notion of the élan vital. Even into the Modern Synthesis period, Huxley represented his own synthesis as drawing decisively on Bergson’s philosophy. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 193 - 207 Julian, in a Syriac fragment of his _Contra Galilaeos_, attacked the resurrection narratives in Matthew and Mark, because they were inconsistent with each other concerning the time of the arrival of the women to the tomb, the nature of the being they met in the tomb, and the women’s subsequent actions. Other texts in Syriac and Latin indicate the probability that Julian took over the substance of his argument (...) from Porphyry. (shrink)
Each time patients and their families are asked to make a decision about resuscitation, they are also asked to engage the political, social, and cultural concerns that have shaped its history. That history is exemplified in the career of Claude S. Beck, arguably the most influential researcher and teacher of resuscitation in the twentieth century. Careful review of Beck’s work discloses that the development and popularization of the techniques of resuscitation proceeded through a multiplication of definitions of death. (...) CPR consequently remains unique among medical treatments, because it is indicated precisely when a person dies, depending always on how each event of death becomes defined practically by patients, families, and medical professionals present at the time. It is therefore as an occasion to manage a surplus of definitions of death, and not as an occasion to determine the physiological efficacy of resuscitation, that one should approach analysis of contemporary challenges in decision-making about resuscitation. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 13 - 38 This paper assembles evidence from the full scope of Julian’s writings that the emperor had a pronounced interest in medicine and human health, which impacted both his rhetorical and real approach to political, philosophical, and religious problems. His initiatives aimed to promote doctors, medical research, and public health. He emphasized a holistic view of bodily and spiritual health in his version of theurgic Neoplatonism. Medical frames of reference also played (...) an appreciable role in his anti-Christian program. Finally, he himself and others styled him as a physician-king on a divine mission to heal the Empire of the Christian disease. (shrink)
En contra de les aparences, la meva intenció és ridiculitzar i desactivar l’estratègic ús de referències a personatges de ficció per part dels mass media, els quals pretenen identificar el fundador de WikiLeaks amb tot aquest projecte —quelcom que facilita tant la deslegitimació com la mercantilització. Així, aquest article qüestiona la dominant personalització de la web de filtracions en Julian Assange, tot mostrant algunes de les més rellevants diferències i/o contradiccions entre el rerefons normatiu de WikiLeaks i la pseudo-filosofia (...) política de l’australià. La meva tesi és que la justificació de la il·legal revelació d’informació secreta i confidencial com a pràctica de desobediència civil es posa en perill per la contaminació de postulats utilitaristes i neoliberals. (shrink)
This paper aims to study the concept of “fact of reason”, with the assistance Beck as North on the stage of transcendental philosophy, more specifically its basic Kantian approach, continuing to explore the potential of the above since the contributions of Guido de Almeida and Loparic.
Desde la visión de Ortega y Gasset y Julián Marías aparece el pensador Árabe Ibn Jaldún como uno de los principales puentes tendidos entre Oriente y Occidente, tanto que es considerado por ambos como el primer filósofo de la historia. Según afirmaciones de Ortega, el pensador árabe es el cimiento que heredaron las generaciones de ambos pensadores españoles.
Se trata de exponer y examinar los argumentos del filósofo Julián Marías en relación con el problema de la ética de la persona humana, desde la perspectiva de la vida humana y de la Antropología metafísica. Integrante de la "Escuela de Madrid", su pensamiento ha sido inspirado por la filosofía rac..
One of Julian Barbour’s main aims is to solve the problem of time that appears in quantum geometrodynamics (QG). QG involves the application of canonical quantization procedure to the Hamiltonian formulation of General Relativity. The problem of time arises because the quantization of the Hamiltonian constraint results in an equation that has no explicit time parameter. Thus, it appears that the resulting equation, as apparently timeless, cannot describe evolution of quantum states. Barbour attempts to resolve the problem by allegedly (...) eliminating time from his interpretation of QG. In order to evaluate the efficacy of his solution, it is necessary to ascertain in what sense time has been eliminated from his theory. I proceed to do so by developing a form of conceptual analysis that is applicable to the concept of time in physical theories and applying this analysis to Barbour’s account. (shrink)
Guy Kahane and Julian Savulescu respond to my paper “Valuing Disability, Causing Disability” by arguing that my assessment of objections to the mere-difference view of disability is unconvincing and fails to explain their conviction that it is impermissible to cause disability. In reply, I argue that their response misconstrues, somewhat radically, both what I say in my paper and the commitments of the mere-difference view more generally. It also fails to adequately appreciate the unique epistemic factors present in philosophical (...) discussions of disability. (shrink)
Julian Cole argues that mathematical domains are the products of social construction. This view has an initial appeal in that it seems to salvage much that is good about traditional platonistic realism without taking on the ontological baggage. However, it also has problems. After a brief sketch of social constructivist theories and Cole’s philosophy of mathematics, I evaluate the arguments in favor of social constructivism. I also discuss two substantial problems with the theory. I argue that unless and until (...) social constructivists can address the two concerns, we have reason to be skeptical about social constructivism in the philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
Life can be awful. For this to be the stuff of tragedy and not farce, we require a capacity to be more than we presently are. Tony Webster, the narrator of Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending, poses a challenge to this commitment of ethics in his commentary on the instability of memory. But Barnes leads us past this difficulty by showing us that Tony’s real problem is his inability to make sense of himself—a failure of self-knowledge. Tony’s (...) past is tangled up with others he can scarcely see as people. Let us hope we can do better. (shrink)
Julian Schwinger was one of the leading theoretical physicists of the twentieth century. His contributions are as important, and as pervasive, as those of Richard Feynman, with whom he shared the 1965 Nobel Prize for Physics. Yet, while Feynman is universally recognized as a cultural icon, Schwinger is little known even to many within the physics community. In his youth, Julian Schwinger was a nuclear physicist, turning to classical electrodynamics after World War II. In the years after the (...) war, he was the first to renormalize quantum electrodynamics. Subsequently, he presented the most complete formulation of quantum field theory and laid the foundations for the electroweak synthesis of Glashow, Weinberg, and Salam, and he made fundamental contributions to the theory of nuclear magnetic resonance, to many-body theory, and to quantum optics. He developed a unique approach to quantum mechanics, measurement algebra, and a general quantum action principle. His discoveries include 'Feynman's' parameters and 'Glauber's' coherent states; in later years he also developed an alternative to operator field theory which he called Source Theory, reflecting his profound phenomenological bent. His late work on the Thomas-Fermi model of atoms and on the Casimir effect continues to be an inspiration to a new generation of physicists. This biography describes the many strands of his research life, while tracing the personal life of this private and gentle genius. (shrink)
Julian of Norwich emphasizes God’s eternal and unchanging love for humankind. Her visions show how God is not angry with our sins and so has no need to forgive us. God does not shame or blame us but excuses us and plans how to reward and compensate us for sin. In relation to Mother Jesus, we remain dear lovely children who need help, correction, and education. Although these remarks suggest to some that Julian must be soft on sin, (...) that she has no adequate appreciation of the worthiness of God or the dignity of human nature, I argue that this is far from the case. On the contrary, she makes Divine worthiness axiomatic and urges readers to live into it. She relocates human dignity not in its intrinsic value but in our centrality to God’s plan. She measures the seriousness of sin in terms of the real hard work it takes to rear us up out of it: crucifixion for Christ, the hell of being a sinner and the crucifixion of life-long penance for us. Nevertheless, the brightness of her visions dominates with her assurance that despite the sin-produced sufferings of this present life, all will be well. (shrink)
In 1938, doctors Eric Guttmann and Walter Maclay, two psychiatrists based at the Maudsley Hospital in London, administered the hallucinogenic drug mescaline to a group of artists, asking the participants to record their experiences visually. These artists included the painter Julian Trevelyan, who was associated with the British surrealist movement at this time. Published as ‘Mescaline hallucinations in artists’, the research took place at a crucial time for psychiatry, as the discipline was beginning to edge its way into the (...) scientific arena. Newly established, the Maudsley Hospital received Jewish émigrés from Germany to join its ranks. Sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, this group of psychiatrists brought with them an enthusiasm for psychoactive drugs and visual media in the scientific study of psychopathological states. In this case, Guttmann and Maclay enlisted the help of surrealist artists, who were harnessing hallucinogens for their own revolutionary aims. Looking behind the images, particularly how they were produced and their legacy today, tells a story of how these groups cooperated, and how their overlapping ecologies of knowledge and experience coincided in these remarkable inscriptions. (shrink)
I am very grateful to Simon Beck for his thoughtful response to my paper “Transplanting Brains?” (2016). Needless to say, he raises more issues than I can hope to answer in a brief response. While Beck seemingly feels that the deck has been stacked against him, I think that the majority of his criticisms result from misconceptions and misunderstandings that I intend to straighten out in what follows. Before proceeding, I would like to draw attention to a worry (...) that is lurking in the shadows. Perhaps Beck and I talk at cross purposes. While Beck is concerned with a metaphysical theory of personal identity that supposedly holds across all possible worlds—and as such places heavy importance on counterfactuals and intuitions—I am concerned only with the natural world with the aim of generating empirically substantiated hypotheses about how things really are when it comes to persons persisting through time. Now, here is a disclaimer: If the natural world does not exhaust reality, then my discussion is only partial. It goes without saying that most contemporary philosophers given a choice between going with science and going with intuitions, go with science. (shrink)
Julian Huxley’s contribution to twentieth-century biology and science popularisation is well documented. What has not been appreciated so far is that despite Huxley’s eminence as a public scientific figure and the part that he played in the rise of experimental zoology in Britain in the 1920s, his own research was often heavily criticised in this period by his colleagues. This resulted in numerous difficulties in getting his scientific research published in the early 1920s. At this time, Huxley started his (...) popular science career. Huxley’s friends criticised him for engaging in this actively and attributed the publication difficulties to the time that he allocated to popular science. The cause might also have its roots in his self-professed inability to delve deeply into the particularities of research. This affected Huxley’s standing in the scientific community and seems to have contributed to the fact that Huxley failed twice in the late 1920s to be elected to the Royal Society. This picture undermines to some extent Peter J. Bowler’s recent portrayal of Huxley as a science populariser. (shrink)
Julian of Norwich (b. 1342) anticipated the ontological and epistemological work on sexed embodiment pioneered in the work of Merleau-Ponty and Irigaray in the 20th century. Her epistemology of sensual ‘showings’ helped reconfigure women’s embodiment and speech acts (‘bodytalk’): by recognizing cognitive emotions and the knowledge-producing body; and by envisioning the intertwining of human flesh with All That Is. The paper next examines Merleau-Ponty’s somatic discourse on the chiasmic flesh, which leads to a discussion of Irigaray’s work on poetic (...) mimesis. (shrink)
Julian Reiss finds an insoluble paradox in the claims that economic models are at the same time false, nevertheless explanatory, and that only true explanations explain. But the claim that they are false is itself false. A closer look at what ?truth? may mean is needed.
For more than 10 years, Ulrich Beck has dominated discussion of risk issues in the social sciences. We argue that Beck's criticisms of the theory and practise of risk analysis are groundless. His understanding of what risk is is badly flawed. His attempt to identify risk and risk perception fails. He misunderstands and distorts the use of probability in risk analysis. His comments about the insurance industry show that he does not understand some of the basics of that (...) industry. And his assertions about the wrongness of allowing acceptable levels of exposure to toxic chemicals do not stand up to scrutiny. Key Words: Beck risk analysis risk perception probability insurance. (shrink)
The Modern Synthesis has been receiving bad press for some time now. Back in 1983, in an article entitled “The Hardening of the Modern Synthesis” Stephen Jay Gould criticized the way the Modern Synthesis had developed since its inception in the 1930s and early 1940s (Gould 1983). Back then, those who would later become known as ‘architects’ of the synthesis were united in their call for explaining evolution at all levels in terms of causation at one level: genetics. What drove (...) changes in gene frequency remained an open question. It could be mainly selection, or drift, or some (other) form of constraint. But in the two decades that followed, the synthesis underwent a major change. By the late 1940s the synthesis had ‘hardened’ around adaptationism, according to Gould. Influential contributors like Dobzhansky, Simpson and Wright had increasingly expressed adaptationist views in the later editions of their landmark books. Not because evidence had piled up, showing that selection was in fact pervasive. Instead, Gould argued, adaptationist tendencies had been preserved by some kind of cultural inertia, and were now being revived. “Certain ‘national styles’ persisted from the eighteenth century, through Darwin’s era, and into our own time. Views on adaptation provide a good example” (Gould 1983). Gould did not just argue that some form of adaptationism had resurfaced. He became well-known for his efforts to intervene on this status quo by attempting to make evolutionary biology more ‘pluralistic’. In collaborative work with Richard Lewontin (Gould and Lewontin 1979), Elisabeth Vrba (Gould and Vrba 1982; Vrba and Gould 1986) and Niles Eldredge (Eldredge and Gould 1972; Gould and Eldredge 1977) he criticized the synthesis for its adaptationism and its lack of appreciation for hierarchical perspectives. Gould exerted his influence in a different way as well. Together with Eldredge, he had facsimiles reprinted of the first editions of two books that had shaped synthesis, but with their own critical introductions (Eldredge 1982; Gould 1982). Dobzhansky’s Genetics and the Origin of Species and Mayr’s Systematics and the Origin of Species appeared as reprints in the ‘Columbia Classics in Evolution’ series, sending an unambiguous message to the readers: these are foundational works, but they have been superseded. In the summer of 2008, some 25 years after Gould made his point about the hardening of the Modern Synthesis, a group of sixteen biologists and philosophers gathered at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI) near Vienna, Austria, to discuss cutting-edge research that reaches beyond the synthesis framework. Before it even started, this workshop on the ‘Extended Synthesis’ had already attracted a fair share of attention in the blogosphere and had resulted in a news feature in Science (Pennisi 2008). After the meeting, Nature weighed in on the matter (Whitfield 2008). The results of over 3 days of presentations and extensive discussion have now been published as Evolution—The Extended Synthesis. 1 The publication of this collection of sixteen essays is accompanied by the republication of Julian Huxley’s Evolution: The Modern Synthesis; the book that introduced the term ‘Modern Synthesis’. Both books are introduced by the organizers of the KLI workshop, Massimo Pigliucci and Gerd Müller. Like Gould and Eldredge before them, Pigliucci and Müller did not reissue one of the canons of the Modern Synthesis without giving the readers some ‘guidance’. Starting with the cover, the editors proclaim boldly that this is ‘the definitive edition’ of Huxley’s book. In a new foreword, they sketch the context in which the book was written and assess some of its features. They voice some mild criticism of alleged ‘adaptationism’. But their tone is different from that of Gould and Eldredge. Pigliucci and Müller praise Huxley for his pluralistic outlook, which has again become essential in the forging of an Extended Synthesis. That makes Huxley’s book more than just an interesting but obsolete classic. Instead, it can teach valuable lessons about how to ‘soften up’ a synthesis that has become hardened over time. (shrink)
The admiration of the Soviet Union amongst Britain's interwar scientific left is well known. This article reveals a parallel story. Focusing on the biologists Julian Huxley and Lancelot Hogben and the scientific journalist J.G. Crowther, I show that a number of scientific thinkers began to look west, to the US. In the mid- to late 1930s and into the 1940s, Huxley, Crowther and Hogben all visited the US and commented favourably on Roosevelt's New Deal, in particular its experimental approach (...) to politics. Huxley was first to appreciate the significance of the experiment; he looked to the Tennessee Valley Authority as a model of democratic planning by persuasion that could also be applied in Britain. Crowther, meanwhile, examined the US through the lens of history of science. In Famous American Men of Science and in lectures at Harvard University, he aimed to shed light on the flaws in the Constitution which were frustrating the New Deal. Finally, Hogben's interest in the US was related to his long-standing opposition to dialectical materialism, and when he finally saw the US at first hand, he regarded it as a model for how to bring about a planned socialist society through peaceful persuasion. (shrink)
In this series of articles the early life and work of the young Julian Schwinger is explored. After a brilliant beginning at Columbia University, where he received his Ph.D., Schwinger went to work with J. Robert Oppenheimer in Berkeley. His stay, work, and interactions with Oppenheimer are discussed.
In this series of articles the early life and work of the young Julian Schwinger are explored. In the present article, we discuss Schwinger's winding up his work at the MIT Radiation Laboratory, being offered a tenured professorship at Harvard University, getting married, and settling down into a highly productive teaching and research career.