It is a widely held belief that one can will to believe, disbelieve, and withhold belief concerning propositions. It is sometimes said that we have a duty to believe certain propositions. These theses have had a long and respected history. In one form or another they receive the support of a large number of philosophers and theologians who have written on the relationship of the will to believing. In the New Testament Jesus holds his disciples responsible for their beliefs, reprimands (...) them for doubting, and speaks of the ability to believe as if it were optional. Paul makes it clear that he thinks propositional belief is a necessary condition for salvation. If a man confesses Christ as Lord with his lips and believes in his heart that God has raised him from the dead, he shall be saved . The writer of Hebrews implies that unless we have certain propositional beliefs we cannot please God . In the New Testament most cases of pistis involve more than a propositional attitude. They involve the idea of trust and faithfulness. Nevertheless, a prima facie case for saying that the volitional theses can be found in the New Testament can be made. Forms of volitionalism can be found stated more explicitly in the writings of the early Church, in the writings of Irenaeus, in the Athanasian Creed, and in Augustine. Acquinas describes faith as an act of the intellect moved by the will. Descartes is perhaps the classic example of a volitionalist, holding that if we were not responsible for our beliefs , then God would be - which is tantamount to blasphemy in that it makes God into a deceiver. (shrink)
In debate on faith and reason two opposing positions have dominated the field. The first position asserts that faith and reason are commensurable and the second position denies that assertion. Those holding to the first position differ among themselves as to the extent of the compatibility between faith and reason, most adherents relegating the compatibility to the ‘preambles of faith’ over against the ‘articles of faith’ . Few have maintained complete harmony between reason and faith, i.e. a religious belief within (...) the realm of reason alone. The second position divides into two sub-positions: that which asserts that faith is opposed to reason , placing faith in the area of irrationality; and that which asserts that faith is higher than reason, is transrational. Calvin and Barth assert that a natural theology is inappropriate because it seeks to meet unbelief on its own ground . Revelation, however, is ‘self-authenticating’, ‘carrying with it its own evidence’. 1 We may call this position the ‘transrationalist’ view of faith. Faith is not so much against reason as above it and beyond its proper domain. Actually, Kierkegaard shows that the two sub-positions are compatible. He holds both that faith is above reason and against reason . The irrationalist and transrationalist positions are sometimes hard to separate in the incommensurabilist's arguments. At least, it seems that faith gets such a high value that reason comes off looking not simply inadequate but culpable. To use reason where faith claims the field is not only inappropriate but irreverent or faithless. (shrink)
The commentary raises political questions about the ways in which data has been constituted as an object vested with certain powers, influence, and rationalities. We place the emergence and transformation of professional practices such as ‘data science’, ‘data journalism’, ‘data brokerage’, ‘data mining’, ‘data storage’, and ‘data analysis’ as part of the reconfiguration of a series of fields of power and knowledge in the public and private accumulation of data. Data politics asks questions about the ways in which data has (...) become such an object of power and explores how to critically intervene in its deployment as an object of knowledge. It is concerned with the conditions of possibility of data that involve things, language, and people that together create new worlds. We define ‘data politics’ as both the articulation of political questions about these worlds and the ways in which they provoke subjects to govern themselves and others by making rights claims. We contend that without understanding these conditions of possibility – of worlds, subjects and rights – it would be difficult to intervene in or shape data politics if by that it is meant the transformation of data subjects into data citizens. (shrink)
No figure among the western Marxist theoreticians has loomed larger in the postwar period than Louis Althusser. A rebel against the Catholic tradition in which he was raised, Althusser studied philosophy and later joined both the faculty of the Ecole normal superieure and the French Communist Party in 1948. Viewed as a "structuralist Marxist," Althusser was as much admired for his independence of intellect as he was for his rigorous defense of Marx. The latter was best illustrated in For (...) Marx (1965), and Reading Capital (1968). These works, along with Lenin and Philosophy (1971) had an enormous influence on the New Left of the 1960s and continues to influence modern Marxist scholarship. This classic work, which to date has sold more than 30,000 copies, covers the range of Louis Althusser's interests and contributions in philosophy, economics, psychology, aesthetics, and political science. Marx, in Althusser's view, was subject in his earlier writings to the ruling ideology of his day. Thus for Althusser, the interpretation of Marx involves a repudiation of all efforts to draw from Marx's early writings a view of Marx as a "humanist" and "historicist." Lenin and Philosophy also contains Althusser's essay on Lenin's study of Hegel; a major essay on the state, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses," "Freud and Lacan: A letter on Art in Reply to Andre Daspre," and "Cremonini, Painter of the Abstract." The book opens with a 1968 interview in which Althusser discusses his personal, political, and intellectual history. (shrink)
In recent years, there has been much focus on the apparent heterogeneity of schizophrenic symptoms. By contrast, this article proposes a unifying account emphasizing basic abnormalities of consciousness that underlie and also antecede a disparate assortment of signs and symptoms. Schizophrenia, we argue, is fundamentally a self-disorder or ipseity disturbance that is characterized by complementary distortions of the act of awareness: hyperreflexivity and diminished self-affection. Hyperreflexivity refers to forms of exaggerated self-consciousness in which aspects of oneself are experienced as akin (...) to external objects. Diminished self-affection or self-presence refers to a weakened sense of existing as a vital and self-coinciding source of awareness and action. This article integrates recent psychiatric research and European phenomenological psychiatry with some current work in cognitive science and phenomenological philosophy. After introducing the phenomenological approach along with a theoretical account of normal consciousness and self-awareness, we turn to a variety of schizophrenic syndromes. We examine positive, then negative, and finally disorganization symptoms—attempting in each case to illuminate shared distortions of consciousness and the sense of self. We conclude by discussing the possible relevance of this approach for identifying early schizophrenic symptoms. (shrink)
David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature is famous for its extreme skepticism. Louis Loeb argues that Hume's destructive conclusions have in fact obscured a constructive stage that Hume abandons prematurely. Working within a philosophical tradition that values tranquillity, Hume favors an epistemology that links justification with settled belief. Hume appeals to psychological stability to support his own epistemological assessments, both favorable regarding causal inference, and unfavorable regarding imaginative propensities. The theory's success in explaining Hume's epistemic distinctions gives way (...) to pessimism, since Hume contends that reflection on beliefs is deeply destabilizing. So much the worse, Hume concludes, for placing a premium on reflection. Hume endorses and defends the position that stable beliefs of unreflective persons are justified, though they would not survive reflection. At the same time, Hume relishes the paradox that unreflective beliefs enjoy a preferred epistemic status and strains to establish it. Loeb introduces a series of amendments to the Treatise that secures a more positive result for justified belief while maintaining Hume's fundamental principles. In his review of Hume's applications of his epistemology, Loeb uncovers a stratum of psychological doctrine beyond associationism, a theory of conditions in which beliefs are felt to conflict and of the resolution of this uneasiness or dissonance. This theory of mental conflict is also essential to Hume's strategy for integrating empiricism about meaning with his naturalism. However, Hume fails to provide a general account of the conditions in which conflicting beliefs lead to persisting instability, so his theory is incomplete. Loeb explores Hume's concern with stability in reference to his discussions of belief, education, the probability of causes, unphilosophical probability, the belief in body, sympathy and moral judgment, and the passions, among other topics. (shrink)
Consider the kinds of macroscopic concrete objects that common sense and the sciences allege to exist: tables, raindrops, tectonic plates, galaxies, and the rest. Are there any such things? Opinions differ. Ontological liberals say they do; ontological radicals say they don't. Liberalism seems favored by its plausible acquiescence to the dictates of common sense abetted by science; radicalism by its ontological parsimony. Priority theorists claim we can have the virtues of both views. They hold that tables, raindrops, etc., exist, but (...) they aren't fundamental. The ontological liberal's ontology provides the correct inventory of existent individuals. The ontological radical's more restricted ontology provides the correct inventory of fundamental individuals. The priority theorist claims that the derivative individuals are "no addition in being" to the fundamental ones, so we can have our cake and eat it too. It would be nice if priority theorists were right. In this paper I argue, with regret, that they are not. One upshot is that the sort of explanations which underwrite the priority theorist's distinction between fundamental and derivative individuals do not mitigate our ontological commitments. Another is that we still have to choose between the charms of liberalism and radicalism. (shrink)
The need for quantitative measurement represents a unifying bond that links all the physical, biological, and social sciences. Measurements of such disparate phenomena as subatomic masses, uncertainty, information, and human values share common features whose explication is central to the achievement of foundational work in any particular mathematical science as well as for the development of a coherent philosophy of science. This book presents a theory of measurement, one that is "abstract" in that it is concerned with highly general axiomatizations (...) of empirical and qualitative settings and how these can be represented quantitatively. It was inspired by, and represents a generalization and extension of, the last major research work in this field, Foundations of Measurement Vol. I, by Krantz, Luce, Suppes, and Tversky published in 1971. (shrink)
Some metaphysicians believe that existence debates are easily resolved by trivial inferences from Moorean premises. This paper considers how the introduction of negative Moorean facts—negative existentials that command Moorean certainty—complicates this picture. In particular, it shows how such facts, when combined with certain plausible metaontological principles, generate a puzzle that commits the proponents of this method to a contradiction.
The phenomenological approach to schizophrenia has undergone something of a renaissance in Anglophone psychiatry in recent years. There has been a proliferation of works that focus on the nature of subjectivity in schizophrenia and related disorders, and that take inspiration from the work of such German and French philosophers as Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty, and such classical psychiatrists as Minkowski, Blankenburg, and Binswanger (Rulf 2003; Sass 2001a, 2001b). This trend includes predominantly theoretical articles, which typically incorporate clinical material as well (...) as reviews of empirical and experimental findings in psychopathology. Some very recent examples (since 2000) are studies of .. (shrink)
Various forms of anomalous self-experience can be seen as central to schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. We examined similarities and differences between anomalous self-experiences common in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, as listed in the EASE , and those described in published accounts of severe depersonalization. Our aims were to consider anomalous self-experience in schizophrenia in a comparative context, to refine and enlarge upon existing descriptions of experiential disturbances in depersonalization, and to explore hypotheses concerning a possible core process in schizophrenia . Numerous (...) affinities between depersonalization and schizophrenia-spectrum experience were found: these demonstrate that rather pure forms of diminished self-affection can involve many experiences that resemble those of schizophrenia. Important discrepancies also emerged, suggesting that more automatic or deficiency-like factors—probably involving self/world or self/other confusion and erosion of first-person perspective—are more distinctive of schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. (shrink)
The distinguished philosopher Louis Loeb examines the epistemological framework of Scottish philosopher David Hume, as employed in his celebrated work A Treatise of Human Nature. Loeb's project is to advance an integrated interpretation of Hume's accounts of belief and justification. His thesis is that Hume, in his Treatise, has a "stability-based" theory of justification which posits that his belief is justified if it is the result of a belief producing mechanism that engenders stable beliefs. But Loeb argues that the (...) striking corollary to this theory is that no belief generating mechanism is fully stable - or fully justified - for a fully reflective person. This carefully argued and original interpretation of Hume makes sense of seemingly contradictory ideas and will provoke serious discussion among Hume scholars. (shrink)
It has been argued recently that some basic emotions should be considered natural kinds. This is different from the question whether as a class emotions form a natural kind; that is, whether emotion is a natural kind. The consensus on that issue appears to be negative. I argue that this pessimism is unwarranted and that there are in fact good reasons for entertaining the hypothesis that emotion is a natural kind. I interpret this to mean that there exists a distinct (...) natural class of organisms whose behavior and development are governed by emotion. These are emoters. Two arguments for the natural kind status of emotion are considered. Both converge on the existence of emotion as a distinct natural domain governed by its own laws and regularities. There are then some reasons for being optimistic about the prospects for consilience in emotion theory. 1 The mantra 2 Griffiths on emotions as natural kinds 3 Panksepp on emotions as natural kinds 4 Emotion as a neurobiological kind 5 Emotion as a psychological kind 6 Response to the mantra 7 Unification or fragmentation? 8 Concluding remarks. (shrink)
Louis Pojman and Robert Westmoreland have compiled the best material on the subject of equality, ranging from classical works by Aristotle, Hobbes and Rousseau to contemporary works by John Rawls, Thomas Nagel, Michael Walzer, Harry Frankfurt, Bernard Williams and Robert Nozick; and including such topics as: the concept of equality; equal opportunity; Welfare egalitarianism; resources; equal human rights and complex equality.
Bell’s theorem admits several interpretations or ‘solutions’, the standard interpretation being ‘indeterminism’, a next one ‘nonlocality’. In this article two further solutions are investigated, termed here ‘superdeterminism’ and ‘supercorrelation’. The former is especially interesting for philosophical reasons, if only because it is always rejected on the basis of extra-physical arguments. The latter, supercorrelation, will be studied here by investigating model systems that can mimic it, namely spin lattices. It is shown that in these systems the Bell inequality can be violated, (...) even if they are local according to usual definitions. Violation of the Bell inequality is retraced to violation of ‘measurement independence’. These results emphasize the importance of studying the premises of the Bell inequality in realistic systems. (shrink)
This paper offers a comparative study of abnormalities in the experience of space, time, and general atmosphere in three psychiatric conditions: schizophrenia, melancholia, and mania. It is a companion piece to our previous article entitled 'Varieties of Self- Experience'; here we focus on experiences of the world rather than of the self. As before, we are especially interested in similarities but also in some subtle distinctions in the forms of subjectivity associated with these three conditions. As before, we survey phenomenologicallyoriented (...) clinical and theoretical accounts as well as patient reports. Experiences involving forms of alienation from the practical and social world and a sense of uncanniness seem to be common in both schizophrenia and affective disorders. But despite some significant similarities, changes in schizophrenic subjectivity appear to be more pervasive and profound, involving experiences of fragmentation, meaninglessess, and ineffable strangeness that are rare or absent in the affective disorders. (shrink)
One of the nation's leading military ethicists, Louis P. Pojman argues that globalism and cosmopolitanism motivate the need for greater international cooperation based on enforceable international law. The best way to realize the promises of globalism and cogent moral arguments for cosmopolitanism, Pojman contends, is through the establishment of a World Government.