Reflecting the dangers of irresponsible science and technology, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein quickly became a mythic story that still feels fresh and relevant in the twenty-first century. The unique framework of the Frankenstein myth has permeated the public discourse about science and knowledge, creating various misconceptions around and negative expectations for scientists and for scientific enterprises more generally. Using the Frankenstein myth as an imaginative tool, we interviewed twelve scientists to explore how this science narrative shapes their views and perceptions of (...) science. Our results yielded two main conclusions. First, the Frankenstein myth may help scientists identify popular concerns about their work and offer a framework for constructing a more positive narrative. Second, finding optimistic science narratives may allow scientists to build a better relationship with the public. We argue that by showing the ethical principles and social dimensions of their work, scientists could replace a negative Frankenstein narrative with a more optimistic one. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the first and the third premises of the zombie argument cannot be jointly true: zombies are either inconceivable beings or the possible existence of them does not threaten the physicalist standpoint. The tenability of the premises in question depends on how we understand the concept of a zombie. In the paper, I examine three popular candidates to this concept, namely zombies are creatures who lack consciousness, but are identical to us in their functional organization, (...) entire physical makeup, and microphysical structure. The main aim of the paper is to argue that none of these conceptions conveys a consistent zombie-concept to us, which, at the same time, would be dangerous for physicalism. In the conclusion, I argue that the source of this failure can be found in the logical fallaciousness of the argument, namely the premises simply presuppose the truth of the conclusion. (shrink)
Our paper consists of three parts. In the first part we explain the concept of mental fictionalism. In the second part, we present the various versions of fictionalism and their main sources of motivation.We do this because in the third part we argue that mental fictionalism, as opposed to other versions of fictionalism, is a highly undermotivated theory.
RESUMO Em “Ecce Homo”, Nietzsche apresenta-se ao mesmo tempo como terapeuta e enfermo. Se nos seus escritos ele concebe o filósofo como médico da cultura, nesse livro é também como paciente que comparece. Compreender as razões que o levaram a proceder dessa maneira em “Ecce Homo”, é o problema que presidirá este trabalho. Tomando como ponto de partida a análise dos primeiros capítulos do livro, contamos de início esclarecer a dupla condição de seu autor: a de terapeuta e enfermo, explorando (...) em particular sua ideia de se tomar em mãos. Examinando o último capítulo à luz dessas análises, estaremos então em condições de nos perguntar sobre o que permite a Nietzsche passar da condição de médico de si mesmo à de médico da cultura. Esperamos elucidar desse modo a relação intrínseca que ele afirma existir entre suas concepções de filosofia e vida. ABSTRACT In “Ecce Homo”, Nietzsche presents himself, at the same time, both as a doctor and a sufferer. If in his writings he conceives the philosopher as the physician of the culture, in this book he also appears as a patient. The present paper aims at questioning about the reasons which led Nietzsche to adopt this way of doing in “Ecce Homo”. Taking the analysis of the first chapters of this book as a start point, we intend to clarify, first of all, its authors’ dual condition as both a doctor and a sufferer, particularly exploring his idea of taking himself in hand. Then examining the last chapter of the book in the light of these analyses, we attempt to find out what allows Nietzsche to make the transition from his condition of being his own doctor to the condition of physician of the culture. Thereby, we aim at elucidating the fundamental relationship between Nietzsche’s conceptions of philosophy and of life. (shrink)
Verificationism is the doctrine stating that all truths are knowable. Fitch’s knowability paradox, however, demonstrates that the verificationist claim (all truths are knowable) leads to “epistemic collapse”, i.e., everything which is true is (actually) known. The aim of this article is to investigate whether or not verificationism can be saved from the effects of Fitch’s paradox. First, I will examine different strategies used to resolve Fitch’s paradox, such as Edgington’s and Kvanvig’s modal strategy, Dummett’s and Tennant’s restriction strategy, Beall’s paraconsistent (...) strategy, and Williamson’s intuitionistic strategy. After considering these strategies I will propose a solution that remains within the scope of classical logic. This solution is based on the introduction of a truth operator. Though this solution avoids the shortcomings of the non-standard (intuitionistic) solution, it has its own problems. Truth, on this approach, is not closed under the rule of conjunction-introduction. I will conclude that verificationism is defensible, though only at a rather great expense. (shrink)
We present the idea of searching for X-rays as a signature of the mechanism inducing the spontaneous collapse of the wave function. Such a signal is predicted by the continuous spontaneous localization theories, which are solving the “measurement problem” by modifying the Schrödinger equation. We will show some encouraging preliminary results and discuss future plans and strategy.
The aim of the paper is to show that the privacy of conscious experience is inconsistent with any kind of physicalism. That is, if you are a physicalist, then you have to deny that more than one subject cannot undergo the very same conscious experience. In the first part of the paper we define the concepts of privacy and physicalism. In the second part we delineate two thought experiments in which two subjects undergo the same kind of conscious experience in (...) such a way that all the physical processes responsible for their experiences are numerically the same. Based on the thought experiments and their interpretations we present our argument for the inconsistency of the privacy of experience with physicalism in the third part of the paper. In the final part we defend our argumentation against some objections. (shrink)
Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is tasked with facing the hundred-year history of Indian Residential Schools. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission is frequently invoked in relation to the Canadian TRC, perhaps because this is one of the few TRCs worldwide that Canadians know. Whilst the South African TRC is mainly applauded as an international success, I argue that loose analogizing is often more emotive than concise. Whilst much indeed can be drawn from the South African experience, it (...) is important to specify the Canada–South Africa analogy. In this article, I do so by focussing on the institutional approach to truth and how this relates to issues of settler/White denial. The South African experience teaches that narrow approaches to truth collude with superficial views of reconciliation that deny continuities of violence. Consequently, I argue that Indigenous–settler reconciliation requires a broad truth that locates residential schools on a continuum of violence, linking extraordinary abuses with structural injustices and historic colonization with lived relationships. (shrink)
Polanyi belongs to a tradition which is neither modernist nor postmodernist, but which affirms speculative philosophy as an alternative to both and as an important form of public discourse. With his origins in the philosophical culture of central Europe, he may well emerge as a bridge between continental and Anglo-American analytic philosophy. He was a moral philosopher in the Aristotelian tradition who anticipated the turn in recent years away from the modern ethics of rules to the classical ethics of virtue. (...) Within this context he espoused a new kind of liberalism and a different understanding of liberty. (shrink)
Since its first publication in 1818, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus has transcended genres and cultures to become a foundational myth about science and technology across a multitude of media forms and adaptations. Following in the footsteps of the brilliant yet troubled Victor Frankenstein, professionals and practitioners have been debating the scientific ethics of creating life for decades, never before have powerful tools for doing so been so widely available. This paper investigates how engaging with the Frankenstein myth (...) may help scientists gain a more accurate understanding of their own beliefs and opinions about the social and ethical aspects of their profession and their work. The paper presents findings from phenomenological interviews with twelve scientists working on biotechnology, robotics, or artificial intelligence projects. The results suggest that the Frankenstein myth, and the figure of Victor Frankenstein in particular, establishes norms for scientists about what is considered unethical and dangerous in scientific work. The Frankenstein myth both serves as a social and ethical reference for scientists and a mediator between scientists and the society. Grappling with the cultural ubiquity of the Frankenstein myth prepares scientists to face their ethical dilemmas and create a more transparent research agenda. Meanwhile, by focusing on the differences between real scientists and the imaginary figure of Victor Frankenstein, scientists may avoid being labeled as dangerous individuals, and could better conceptualize the potential societal and ethical perceptions and implications of their research. (shrink)
Knowing that some state of affairs—expressed by a proposition, p—is possible, and the possibility that one knows that p have, quite obviously, different meanings. This paper focuses only on their logical relationship—whether they entail one another. I will argue for the following three claims: the basic verificationist principles of anti-realism, at least in their simplest forms, and in conjunction with some other, intuitively reasonable principles, do entail that these two concepts are substitutionally equivalent. Our pre-theoretical expectations question this outcome, as (...) counterexamples can be manufactured. I will also argue that this substitutional equivalence has further, highly counter-intuitive implications. Finally, I will argue that some of the standard strategies to avoid the well-known paradoxes of anti-realism fail to solve this new paradox, while others may be able to do that, but only at a considerable price. However, the introduction of a moderate anti-realist truth operator, the actual objective of this paper, does dissolve the paradox, and arguably at an affordable price. (shrink)
The hippocampal formation is known for its importance in conscious, declarative memory. Here, we report neuroimaging evidence in humans for an additional role of the hippocampal formation in nonconscious memory. We maskedly presented combinations of faces and written professions such that subjects were not aware of them. Nevertheless, the masked presentations activated many of the brain regions that unmasked presentations of these stimuli did. To induce a nonconscious retrieval of the faces and face-associated occupational information, subjects were instructed to view (...) the previously masked faces and to guess the professional category of each person—academic, artist, and workman. Guessing the professional category of previously masked versus new faces activated the left and right hippocampal formation and right perirhinal cortex as well as bilateral fusiform areas and fronto-temporal areas known to mediate the retrieval of semantic information. These activations within the semantic processing system suggest that conceptual knowledge acquired during masking was nonconsciously retrieved. Our data provide clues to an analogous role of the hippocampus in conscious and nonconscious memory. (shrink)
Dogmatists often exploit the skeptical argument based on the brains-in-a-vat scenario as a test case for their epistemological enterprises. I argue that this ‘argument’ does not deserve our attention, so it should not be used as a test case. I first show that the possibilities of empirical knowledge and of skeptical scenarios are inconsistent. If so, the BIV-skeptic must make the case for preferring such scenarios over the possibility of empirical knowledge. The central argument of my paper is that the (...) BIV-skeptic can neither rely on any selection principle for this purpose, nor can she claim that she needs no such principle. Then I will show that we can even dispense with the Inconsistency Thesis: if the skeptic wishes, she may allow for the possibility of empirical knowledge. The essay concludes with considering the morals of the above argument for the dogmatist endeavor. (shrink)
Cette étude se propose de montrer que les considérations de Nietzsche sur le langage sont déterminantes pour son projet philosophique. S'il est vrai qu'elles n'arrivent pas à constituer une théorie du langage, elles jouent tout de même un rôle central dans le cadre de sa pensée. D'une part, dans le versant critique de son œuvre, quand il s'agit de s'attaquer à la métaphysique, Nietzsche reprend deux propositions consignées dans ses écrits philologiques; il soutient la thèse selon laquelle le langage est (...) indispensable au processus d'élaboration des connaissances philosophiques et défend l'idée que la pensée ne devient consciente que grâce au langage. D'autre part, dans le versant constructif de son œuvre, quand il s'agit d'exprimer ses propres conceptions, il met en pleine lumière son besoin de trouver une forme d'expression qui ne se limite pas à représenter le monde. Dans son œuvre à double volet, Nietzsche ne se présente pas comme un penseur qui se débat emprisonné dans les rets du langage; bien au contraire, il fait le langage se retourner contre lui-même — afin de créer un nouveau langage. This study intends to show that Nietzsche's considerations about language are fundamental to his philosophical project. While it is true that they do not form a theory of language, they nevertheless play a central role within the framework of his thought. On the one hand, within the critical dimension of his work, when he tackles metaphysics, Nietzsche resumes two propositions from his philological papers : he supports the thesis according to which language is indispensable to the process of elaborating philosophic knowledge and defends the idea that language is what allows thought to become conscious. On the other hand, within the constructive dimension of his work, when he expresses his own conceptions, he highlights the need to find a form of expression which is not limited to representing the world. Within the framework of his bidimensional thought, Nietzsche does not appear to be a thinker struggling and imprisoned in the snares of the language; on the contrary, he turns language against itself — in order to create a new language. (shrink)
A Moderate Anti-realist approach to truth and meaning, built around the concept of knowability, will be introduced and argued for in this essay. Our starting point will be the two fundamental anti-realists principles that claim that neither truth nor meaning can outstrip knowability and our focus will be on the challenge of adequately formalizing these principles and incorporating them into a formal theory. Accordingly, the author will introduce a MAR truth operator that is built on a distinction between being true (...) and being factual. He will show then that this approach partitions propositions into eight classes, on the basis of their knowability. We will then ask the following question: Given the anti-realist principles, what kind of theory of propositional meaning can properly explain the meaninglessness of fully unknowable propositions? This question will lead us to the claim that the meaning/content of propositions should be identified not with the set of possible worlds in which the propositions are true/factual, but rather in which they are known. This modified approach will then be used to analyze both the Liar Paradox and the Strengthened Liar. To anticipate the conclusion of this essay, it will be shown that a MAR framework can render definite truth and factuality values to the Liar sentence and it will also confirm our intuition that such paradoxical sentences are devoid of proper meaning. (shrink)