The arrival in 1909 of the library of manuscripts now known as the Chandra Shum Shere collection increased by well over six thousand the already substantial holdings of the Bodleian and Indian Institute libraries, and made Oxford the repository of the largest known collection of Sanskrit manuscripts outside the Indian subcontinent. It is a huge and uniquely valuable collection of paper and palm leaf manuscripts, purchased for Oxford University by Sir Chandra Shum Shere, the then Prime Minister of Nepal. The (...) General Editor of the catalogue of the collection is Dr Jonathan Katz, Consultant to the Oriental Department of the Bodleian Library, formerly Librarian of the Indian Institute, and present Master of the Queen's Scholars at Westminster School. (shrink)
This paper defends what the philosopher Merleau Ponty coins ‘the imaginary texture of the real’. It is suggested that the imagination is at work in the everyday world which we perceive, the world as it is for us. In defending this view a concept of the imagination is invoked which has both similarities with and differences from, our everyday notion. The everyday notion contrasts the imaginary and the real. The imaginary is tied to the fictional or the illusory. Here it (...) will be suggested, following both Kant and Strawson, that there is a more fundamental working of the imagination, present in both perception and the constructions of fictions. What Kant and Strawson failed to make clear, however, was that the workings of the imagination within the perceived world, gives that world, an affective logic. The domain of affect is that of emotions, feelings and desire, and to claim such an affective logic in the world we experience, is to point out that it has salience and significance for us. Such salience suggests and demands the desiring and sometimes fearful responses we make to it; the shape of the perceived world echoed in the shapes our bodies take within it. (shrink)
Merab Konstantinovich [Mamardashvili] met with me immediately, as soon as I requested it, although he forewarned me that he could only dimly remember much of that distant past in which I was most interested. But evidently that past still perturbed him as well, since he agreed to speak with me even though he had not yet completely recovered from his illness, and hence his voice was feeble, at times subsiding to a whisper; he would pronounce his words indistinctly, constantly sticking (...) one onto another; on top of that, for technical reasons the dictaphone was situated a bit away from him. It was therefore very difficult to transcribe the text, and I raised many questions with the idea of asking Merab Konstantinovich about them at our next meeting and clearing up some things. But alas, there was no next meeting … Hence I am permitting myself now to publish only some of the most clearly enunciated fragments of my conversation with him, one of the four "forefathers" of the Moscow Methodological Circle, whose name for us, today's participants (and hence neophytes) in the methodological movement, is enveloped by legends handed down by word of mouth. I kept my questions to a minimum. Mamardashvili's reminiscences, arguments, and reflections will seem contentious to many. But no matter, one can dispute points of substance even with those who have passed on. (shrink)
Using an economic bargaining game, we tested for the existence of two phenomena related to social norms, namely norm manipulation – the selection of an interpretation of the norm that best suits an individual – and norm evasion – the deliberate, private violation of a social norm. We found that the manipulation of a norm of fairness was characterized by a self-serving bias in beliefs about what constituted normatively acceptable behaviour, so that an individual who made an uneven bargaining offer (...) not only genuinely believed it was fair, but also believed that recipients found it fair, even though recipients of the offer considered it to be unfair. In contrast, norm evasion operated as a highly explicit process. When they could do so without the recipient's knowledge, individuals made uneven offers despite knowing that their behaviour was unfair. (shrink)
A crucial debate currently raging in the fields of cognitive and social science centers around general and specific approaches to understanding the actions of others. When we understand the actions of another person, do we do so on the basis of a general theory of psychology, or on the basis of an effort to place ourselves in the particular position of that specific person? Hans Herbert Kögler and Karsten R. Stueber's Empathy and Agency addresses this other issues vital to current (...) social science in an advanced and diverse analysis of the foundations of social-scientific methodology based on recent cognitive psychology. The book serves as both an introduction to the debate for non-academic audiences and as a catalyst for further discussion for serious theorists. Empathy and Agency provides a solid foundation of the fundamental issues in social and cognitive science, but also presents the most influential paradigms in the field at this time. (shrink)
Rejectionists argue that collective belief ascriptions are best understood as instances of collective acceptance rather than belief. Margaret Gilbert objects to rejectionist accounts of collective belief statements. She argues that rejectionists rely on a questionable methodology when they inquire into the nature of collective belief ascriptions, and make an erroneous inference when they are led to believe that collectives do not really have beliefs. Consequently, Gilbert claims that collective belief statements are best understood as instances of belief. I critically examine (...) Gilbert’s criticisms of rejectionism. I argue that rejectionism is still a viable account of collective belief ascriptions. I also argue that Gilbert’s most powerful criticism provides important insight into what really stands between her and the rejectionists. Gilbert and the rejectionists do not yet agree about what background assumptions can be made in developing an account of collective belief ascriptions. (shrink)
Quentin Skinner's The Foundations of Modern Political Thought is primarily of interest to philosophers not for its excellent account of European thought about the state but for the self–conscious philosophy which has gone into it. It is a rare historian who pauses to get his philosophy in order before he embarks on a major enterprise, though such a policy is possibly less unusual in intellectual history than in other fields. In Skinner's case, however, this order of doing things has been (...) pushed so far that he counts as a philosopher in his own right, rather than as merely someone who is unusually careful to think about what he is doing. The publication of this major work thus provides a convenient opportunity to make a few remarks about the relation between historical theory and practice. (shrink)
The Aristotelian view that the moral virtues–the virtues of character informed by practical wisdom–are essential to an individual's happiness, and are thus in an individual's self-interest, has been little discussed outside of purely scholarly contexts. With a few exceptions, contemporary philosophers have tended to be suspicious of Aristotle's claims about human nature and the nature of rationality and happiness. But recent scholarship has offered an interpretation of the basic elements of Aristotle's views of human nature and happiness, and of reason (...) and virtue, that brings them more into line with common-sense thinking and with contemporary philosophical and empirical psychology. This makes it fruitful to reexamine the question of the role of virtue in self-interest. (shrink)
Liberal political philosophy presupposes a moral theory according to which the ability to assess and choose conceptions of the good from a universal and impartial moral standpoint is central to the individual's moral identity. This viewpoint is standardly understood by liberals as that of a rational human agent. Such an agent is able to reflect on her ends and pursuits, including those she strongly identifies with, and to understand and take into account the basic interests of others. From the perspective (...) of liberalism as a political morality, the most important of these interests is the interest in maximum, equal liberty for each individual, and thus the most important moral principles are the principles of justice that protect individuals' rights to life and liberty. According to the communitarian critics of liberalism, however, the liberal picture of moral agency is unrealistically abstract. Communitarians object that moral agents in the real world neither choose their conceptions of the good nor occupy a universalistically impartial moral standpoint. Rather, their conceptions of the good are determined chiefly by the communities in which they find themselves, and these conceptions are largely “constitutive” of their particular moral identities. Moral agency is thus “situated” and “particularistic,” and an impartial reflection on the conception of the good that constitutes it is undesirable, if not impossible. Further, communitarians contend, the good is “prior” to the right in the sense that moral norms are derived from, and justified in terms of, the good. An adequate moral and political theory must reflect these facts about moral agency and moral norms. (shrink)
I begin with a note about moral goodness as a quality, disposition, or trait of a person or human being. This has at least two different senses, one wider and one narrower. Aristotle remarked that the Greek term we translate as justice sometimes meant simply virtue or goodness as applied to a person and sometimes meant only a certain virtue or kind of goodness. The same thing is true of our word “goodness.” Sometimes being a good person means having all (...) the virtues, or at least all the moral ones; then goodness equals the whole of virtue. But sometimes, being a good person has a narrower meaning, namely, being kind, generous, and so forth. Thus, my OED sometimes equates goodness with moral excellence as a whole and sometimes with a particular moral excellence, viz., kindness, beneficence, or benevolence; and the Bible, when it speaks of God as being good sometimes means that God has all the virtues and sometimes only that he is kind, mereiful, or benevolent. When Jesus says, “Why callest thou me good: None is good, save one, that is God,” he seems to be speaking of goodness in the inclusive sense, but when the writer of Exodus has God himself say that he is “merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,” God is using “goodness” in the narrower sense in which it means benevolence, for he goes on to make it clear that he is also just and severe. Similarly, “good will” may mean either “morally good will” in general, as it does in Kant, or it may mean only “benevolent will,” as it usually does; in “men of good will” it is perhaps ambiguous. (shrink)
Arendt's conception of culture could supersede claims that nature's intrinsic value or human interests best ground environmental ethics. Fusing ancient Greek notions of non-instrumental value and Roman concerns for cultivating and preserving worldly surroundings, culture supplies an ethic for the treatment of nonhuman things. Unlike a system of philosophical propositions, an Arendtian ecology could only arise in public deliberation, since culture's qualitative judgements are intrinsically linked to processes of political persuasion.
This paper summarizes the results of an analysis of empirical data on ethical attitudes of professionals and managers in relation to organizational core values in the Information Technology (IT) industry. This study investigates the association between key organizational values as independent variables and the ethical attitudes of IT managers as dependent variables. The study also delves into differences among IT non-managerial professionals, mid-level managers, and upper-level managers in their ethical attitudes and perceptions. Research results indicated that IT professionals from mechanistic (...) organizations were much more likely to report – compared to those from organic organizations – that managers in their corporate environment engage in behaviors considered unethical and that successful managers were more unethical relative to unsuccessful managers. There were significant differences between the upper-level managers and the mid-level managers and between the mid-level managers and the IT non-managerial professionals on certain key ethical issues. This paper discusses the conceptual framework, hypotheses, research methodology, data analysis, implications of the findings, and suggested areas of further research. (shrink)
There is wide agreement that community engagement is important for many research types and settings, often including interaction with ‘representatives’ of communities. There is relatively little published experience of community engagement in international research settings, with available information focusing on Community Advisory Boards or Groups (CAB/CAGs), or variants of these, where CAB/G members often advise researchers on behalf of the communities they represent. In this paper we describe a network of community members (‘KEMRI Community Representatives’, or ‘KCRs’) linked to a (...) large multi-disciplinary research programme on the Kenyan Coast. Unlike many CAB/Gs, the intention with the KCR network has evolved to be for members to represent the geographical areas in which a diverse range of health studies are conducted through being typical of those communities. We draw on routine reports, self-administered questionnaires and interviews to: 1) document how typical KCR members are of the local communities in terms of basic characteristics, and 2) explore KCR's perceptions of their roles, and of the benefits and challenges of undertaking these roles. We conclude that this evolving network is a potentially valuable way of strengthening interactions between a research institution and a local geographic community, through contributing to meeting intrinsic ethical values such as showing respect, and instrumental values such as improving consent processes. However, there are numerous challenges involved. Other ways of interacting with members of local communities, including community leaders, and the most vulnerable groups least likely to be vocal in representative groups, have always been, and remain, essential. (shrink)
The idea of moral reform requires that morality be more than a description of what people do value, for there has to be some measure against which to assess progress. Otherwise, any change is not reform, but simply difference. Therefore, I discuss moral reform in relation to two prescriptive approaches to common morality, which I distinguish as the foundational and the pragmatic. A foundational approach to common morality (e.g., Bernard Gert’s) suggests that there is no reform of morality , but (...) of beliefs, values, customs, and practices so as to conform with an unchanging, foundational morality. If, however, there were revision in its foundation (e.g., in rationality), then reform in morality itself would be possible. On a pragmatic view, on the other hand, common morality is relative to human flourishing, and its justification consists in its effectiveness in promoting flourishing. Morality is dependent on what in fact does promote human flourishing and therefore, could be reformed. However, a pragmatic approach, which appears more open to the possibility of moral reform, would need a more robust account of norms by which reform is measured. (shrink)
I present an original model in judgment aggregation theory that demonstrates the general impossibility of consistently describing decision-making purely at the group level. Only a type of unanimity rule can guarantee a group decision is consistent with supporting reasons, and even this possibility is limited to a small class of reasoning methods. The key innovation is that this result holds when individuals can reason in different ways, an allowance not previously considered in the literature. This generalizes judgment aggregation to subjective (...) decision situations, implying that the discursive dilemma persists without individual agreement on the logical constraints. Notably, the model mirrors the typical method of choosing political representatives, and thus suggests that no voting procedure other than unanimity rule can guarantee representation that reflects electorate opinion. Finally, I apply the results to a normative argument for unanimity rule in contract theory and juries, as well as to problems posed for deliberative democratic theory and the concept of representation. (shrink)
It has been argued that environmental decision-making can be improved be introducing citizen panels. The authors argue that citizen panels and other models of citizen participation should only be used as a consulting forum in exceptional cases at the local level, not as a real decision-making procedure. But many problems in the field of environmental policy need nonlocal, at least regional or national, regulation due to the fact that they are of national impor-tance. The authors argue that there are good (...) reasons not to institutionalise national citizen panels. They advocate the view that more reasonable and more competent solutions can be found by introducing forms of direct democracy. (shrink)
Aphantasia is a recently discovered disorder characterised by the total incapacity to generate visual forms of mental imagery. This paper proposes that aphantasia raises important theoretical concerns for the ongoing debate in the philosophy and science of consciousness over the nature of dreams. Recent studies of aphantasia and its neurobehavioral correlates reveal that the majority of aphantasics, whilst unable to produce visual imagery while awake, nevertheless retain the capacity to experience rich visual dreams. This finding constitutes a novel explanandum for (...) theories of dreaming. Specifically, I argue that the recent dream reports of aphantasics constitute an empirical challenge to the emerging family of views which claim that dreams are essentially imaginative experiences, constitutively involving the kinds of mental imagery which aphantasics, ex-hypothesi, lack. After presenting this challenge in the context of Jonathan Ichikawa’s recent arguments for this view, I argue that this empirical challenge may be overcome if the imagination theorist abandons Ichikawa’s account of dreaming in favour of a modified version. This involves the claim that dreams are essentially inactive and constitutively involve non voluntary forms of imagination. I conclude with a suggestion for further research which can test the viability of this alternative hypothesis, and move the debate forward. (shrink)
This article considers the differential absorption and integration of refugee physicists into various countries during the 1930s, and the social and intellectual factors responsible for this, focusing particularly on the social functions of the British and American university at that period, as well as continuing ideological struggles in the Soviet Union. More generally, the issue of the relative absorption of refugee physicists is used to examine the nature of the physics communities and other institutions of the host societies.
This paper summarizes the results of an analysis of empirical data on ethical attitudes of professionals and managers in relation to organizational core values in the Information Technology industry. This study investigates the association between key organizational values as independent variables and the ethical attitudes of IT managers as dependent variables. The study also delves into differences among IT non-managerial professionals, mid-level managers, and upper-level managers in their ethical attitudes and perceptions. Research results indicated that IT professionals from mechanistic organizations (...) were much more likely to report - compared to those from organic organizations - that managers in their corporate environment engage in behaviors considered unethical and that successful managers were more unethical relative to unsuccessful managers. There were significant differences between the upper-level managers and the mid-level managers and between the mid-level managers and the IT non-managerial professionals on certain key ethical issues. This paper discusses the conceptual framework, hypotheses, research methodology, data analysis, implications of the findings, and suggested areas of further research. (shrink)
This paper presents some important issues on misidentification of human interlocutors in text-based communication during practical Turing tests. The study here presents transcripts in which human judges succumbed to theconfederate effect, misidentifying hidden human foils for machines. An attempt is made to assess the reasons for this. The practical Turing tests in question were held on 23 June 2012 at Bletchley Park, England. A selection of actual full transcripts from the tests is shown and an analysis is given in each (...) case. As a result of these tests, conclusions are drawn with regard to the sort of strategies which can perhaps lead to erroneous conclusions when one is involved as an interrogator. Such results also serve to indicate conversational directions to avoid for those machine designers who wish to create a conversational entity that performs well on the Turing test. (shrink)
There has been a growing interest in research concerning memory modification technologies (MMTs) in recent years. Neuroscientists and psychologists are beginning to explore the prospect of controllable and intentional modification of human memory. One of the technologies with the greatest potential to this end is optogenetics—an invasive neuromodulation technique involving the use of light to control the activity of individual brain cells. It has recently shown the potential to modify specific long-term memories in animal models in ways not yet possible (...) with other MMTs. As the therapeutic potential of optogenetics has already prompted approval of the first human trials, it is especially important and timely to consider the opportunities and dangers this technology may entail. In this article, we focus on possible consequences of optogenetics as an MMT by analyzing fundamental threats potentially associated with memory modifications: the potential disruption of personality and authenticity. (shrink)
Francesco Guala has developed some novel and radical ideas on the problem of external validity, a topic that has not received much attention in the experimental economics literature. In this paper I argue that his views on external validity are not justified and the conclusions which he draws from these views, if widely adopted, could substantially undermine the experimental economics enterprise. In rejecting the justification of these views, the paper reaffirms the importance of experiments in economics.
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