Justice, equality, and righteousnessthese are some of our greatest moral convictions. Yet in times of social conflict, morals can become rigid, making religious war, ethnic cleansing, and political purges possible. Morality, therefore, can be viewed as pathology-a rhetorical, psychological, and social tool that is used and abused as a weapon. An expert on Eastern philosophies and social systems theory, Hans-Georg Moeller questions the perceived goodness of morality and those who claim morality is inherently positive. Critiquing the ethical "fanaticism" of Western (...) moralists, such as Immanuel Kant, Lawrence Kohlberg, John Rawls, and the utilitarians, Moeller points to the absurd fundamentalisms and impracticable prescriptions arising from definitions of good. Instead he advances a theory of "moral foolishness," or moral asceticism, extracted from the "amoral" philosophers of East Asia and such thinkers as Ludwig Wittgenstein and Niklas Luhmann. The moral fool doesn't understand why ethics are necessarily good, and he isn't convinced that the moral perspective is always positive. In this way he is like most people, and Moeller defends this foolishness against ethical pathologies that support the death penalty, just wars, and even Jerry Springer's crude moral theater. Comparing and contrasting the religious philosophies of Christianity, Daoism, and Zen Buddhism, Moeller presents a persuasive argument in favor of amorality. (shrink)
This article discusses New Confucian views on individuality and related philosophical problems. Special emphasis is given to the position of Tu Wei-Ming, a foremost living New Confucian thinker. It is pointed out that many New Confucian philosophers share a vision of a Confucian 'ideal' individuality or selfhood based on social integration - as opposed to a Western type of individuality sometimes portrayed as an individuality by isolation. These patterns of individuality are further examined on the basis of Niklas Luhmann's (...) historical analysis of the semantics of individuality and his categories of 'individuality by inclusion' and 'individuality by exclusion'. Finally, some parallels and differences between Confucian and the Luhmannian viewpoints are pointed out, and a suggestion on how a Luhmannian perspective might contribute to reformulations of New Confucian thought is attempted. (shrink)
This essay attempts to provide a preliminary outline of a theory of identity. The first section addresses what the sociologist Niklas Luhmann has called ‘the problem of identity’, or, in other words, the mind–society problem: In how far can the internal self and the external persona be integrated into a unit? The second section of the essay briefly defines a basic vocabulary of a theory of identity. ‘Identity’ is understood as the existentially necessary formation of a coherence between the (...) ‘self’, its body and its social ‘persona’. Three different major paradigms of identity formation are distinguished from one another: a sincere identity is constructed through a firm commitment of the self to its social roles; an authentic identity is constructed through the creation of a social persona on the basis of one’s unique and original self; a ‘profilic’... (shrink)
Recent findings indicate that the constituting digits of multi-digit numbers are processed, decomposed into units, tens, and so on, rather than integrated into one entity. This is suggested by interfering effects of unit digit processing on two-digit number comparison. In the present study, we extended the computational model for two-digit number magnitude comparison of Moeller, Huber, Nuerk, and Willmes (2011a) to the case of three-digit number comparison (e.g., 371_826). In a second step, we evaluated how hundred-decade and hundred-unit compatibility effects (...) were moderated by varying the percentage of within-hundred (e.g., 539_582) and within-hundred-and-decade filler items (e.g., 483_489). From the results we predict that numerical distance as well as compatibility effects should indeed be modulated by the relevance of tens and units in three-digit number magnitude comparison: While in particular the hundred distance effect should decrease, we predict hundred-decade and hundred-unit compatibility effects to increase with the relevance of tens and units. (shrink)
Abstract Context: Established in 1997, Summa Health System’s Medical Ethics Committee (EC) serves as an educational, supportive, and consultative resource to patients/families and providers, and serves to analyze, clarify, and ameliorate dilemmas in clinical care. In 2009 the EC conducted its 100th consult. In 2002 a Palliative Care Consult Service (PCCS) was established to provide supportive services for patients/families facing advanced illness; enhance clinical decision-making during crisis; and improve pain/symptom management. How these services affect one another has thus far been (...) unclear. Objectives: This study describes EC consults: types, reasons, recommendations and utilization, and investigates the impact the PCCS may have on EC consult requests or recommendations. Methods: Retrospective reviews of 100 EC records explored trends and changes in types of consults, reasons for consults, and EC recommendations and utilization. Results: There were 50 EC consults each in the 6 years pre- and post-PCCS. Differences found include: (1) a decrease in number of reasons for consult requests (133–62); (2) changes in top two reasons for EC consult requests from ‘Family opposed to withdrawing life-sustaining treatment (LST)’ and ‘Patient capacity in question’ to ‘Futility’ and ‘Physician opposed to providing LST’; (3) changes in top two recommendations given by the EC from ‘Emotional Support for Patient/Family’ and ‘Initiate DNR Order’ to ‘Comfort Care’ and ‘Withdraw Treatment.’ Overall, 88% of recommendations were followed. Conclusion: PCCS availability and growth throughout the hospital may have influenced EC consult requests. EC consults regarding family opposition to withdrawing LST and EC recommendations for patient/family support declined. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-16 DOI 10.1007/s10730-011-9170-9 Authors Jessica Richmond Moeller, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Akron General Medical Center, 400 Wabash Ave, Akron, OH 44307, USA Teresa H. Albanese, Health Services Research and Education Institute, Summa Health System and Northeast Ohio Medical University, 55 Arch St., Suite 1A, Akron, OH 44304, USA Kimberly Garchar, Kent State University, 6000 Frank Ave., N.W, North Canton, OH 44720, USA Julie M. Aultman, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Northeast Ohio Medical University, P.O. Box 95, Rootstown, OH 44272, USA Steven Radwany, Palliative Care and Hospice Services, Summa Health System and Northeast Ohio Medical University, 55 Arch St., Suite 1A, Akron, OH 44304, USA Dean Frate, Internal Medicine, Palliative Care and Hospice Services, Summa Health System and Northeast Ohio Medical University, 55 Arch St., Suite 1A, Akron, OH 44304, USA Journal HEC Forum Online ISSN 1572-8498 Print ISSN 0956-2737. (shrink)
Does cross-cultural philosophy stand in need of a hermeneutical expansion? In engaging with this question, the symposium focuses upon methodological issues salient to cross-cultural inquiry. Douglas L. Berger lays out the ground for the debate by arguing for a methodological approach, which is able to rectify the discipline’s colonial legacies and bridge the hermeneutical distance with its objects of study. From their own perspectives, Hans-Georg Moeller, Paul Roth and A. Raghuramaraju analyze whether such a processual and hermeneutically-sensitive approach can indeed (...) open up new hermeneutic horizons. Their responses shed light upon cross-cultural philosophy’s continued embedment in Euroamerican professional philosophy and how the locality of its knowledge-seeking endeavors may indeed have repercussions on attempts to bridge temporal and spatial distances. (shrink)
This paper explores in detail an argument for epistemic expressivism, what we call the Argument from Motivation. While the Argument from Motivation has sometimes been anticipated, it has never been set out in detail. The argument has three premises, roughly, that certain judgments expressed in attributions of knowledge are intrinsically motivating in a distinct way (P1); that motivation for action requires desire-like states or conative attitudes (HTM); and that the semantic content of knowledge attributions cannot be specified without reference to (...) the intrinsically motivating judgments that such attributions express (P2). We argue that these premises entail a version of ecumenical expressivism. Since the argument from motivation has not been explicitly stated before, there is no current discussion of the argument. In this paper we therefore consider and reject various objections that one might propose to the argument, including some that stem from the idea that knowledge is factive, or that knowledge involves evidence that rules out relevant alternatives. Other objections to (P1) specifically might be derived from cases of apparent lack of epistemic motivation considered in in Kvanvig (The value of knowledge and the pursuit of understanding, 2003) and Brown (Nous 42(2):167–189, 2008), as well as from general forms of externalism about epistemic motivation. We consider these and find them wanting. Finally, the paper offers some critical remarks about the prospect of denying (P2). (shrink)
Williamson and others have argued that contextualist theories of the semantics of ‘know’ have a special problem of accounting for our practices of ‘consuming’ knowledge attributions and denials made in other contexts. In what follows, I shall understand the objection as the idea that contextualism has a special problem of accounting for how we are able to acquire epistemically useful information from knowledge claims made in other contexts. I respond to the objection by arguing that the defeasibility of knowledge makes (...) it difficult for everyone to acquire epistemically useful information from knowledge claims made in other contexts, and that there is no special problem for contextualism when it comes to acquiring epistemically useful information from knowledge claims made in other contexts. (shrink)
Various passages in the Laozi and the Zhuangzi, the two most important texts of “philosophical Daoism,” critically mock Confucian sacrificial rites. Perhaps the best known of these criticisms refers to a practice involving straw dogs. This article will attempt to expose the philosophical dimensions of these passages that show, in my reading, how Daoist philosophy looks at such sacrificial rituals as a sort of evidence of the Confucian misconceptions of time, of death and life, and of cosmic and social order.
Recently, an associative learning account of cognitive control has been suggested (Verguts & Notebaert, 2009). In this so-called adaptation by binding theory, Hebbian learning of stimulus–stimulus and stimulus–response associations is assumed to drive the adaptation of human behavior. In this study, we evaluated the validity of the adaptation-by-binding account for the case of implicit learning of regularities within a stimulus set (i.e., the frequency of specific unit digit combinations in a two-digit number magnitude comparison task) and their association with a (...) particular response. Our data indicated that participants indeed learned these regularities and adapted their behavior accordingly. In particular, influences of cognitive control were even able to override the numerical distance effect—one of the most robust effects in numerical cognition research. Thus, the general cognitive processes involved in two-digit number magnitude comparison seem much more complex than previously assumed. Multi-digit number magnitude comparison may not be automatic and inflexible but influenced by processes of cognitive control being highly adaptive to stimulus set properties and task demands on multiple levels. (shrink)
The story of “Cook Ding” —who actually acts not so much as a cook, but as a butcher at a ruler’s court—has gained almost iconic status as, one might say, the mother of all knack stories in the Zhuangzi 莊子. It has become one of the most widely known narratives of the text, both in and outside the Chinese cultural world, and in both past and contemporary times. The story, and its protagonist, have thereby come to represent a standard conception (...) of what the book and the philosophy of Zhuangzi is supposed to be all about: a form of Daoist sagehood, somewhat vaguely understood as manifesting itself in a marvelous level of skill that makes one a “virtuoso” in the art of life, or... (shrink)
When asked by students taking Chinese Philosophy classes with me what I can recommend as reading material, I usually say, among other things, anything written by François Jullien. Thankfully, with Vital Nourishment: Departing from Happiness, there is now a new title available in English translation to add to this list. As with the works of most philosophically inclined writers whom I like, this book by Jullien does not really say much that has not already been said by him, at least (...) implicitly, in previous publications. More or less "creative" writers, paradoxically, tend to produce variations of one or more themes and thus repeat themselves to a certain degree. That is, so to speak, the price one has to pay if one .. (shrink)
This article proposes a new definition of information security, the ‘Appropriate Access’ definition. Apart from providing the basic criteria for a definition—correct demarcation and meaning concerning the state of security—it also aims at being a definition suitable for any information security perspective. As such, it bridges the conceptual divide between so-called ‘soft issues’ of information security and more technical issues. Because of this it is also suitable for various analytical purposes, such as analysing possible security breaches, or for studying conflicting (...) attitudes on security in an organization. The need for a new definition is demonstrated by pointing to a number of problems for the standard definition type of information security—the so-called CIA definition. Besides being too broad as well as too narrow, it cannot properly handle the soft issues of information security, nor recognize the contextual and normative nature of security. (shrink)
This article introduces a semiotic methodology that can be applied in Comparative Philosophy as an alternative to still dominating content-based methods. Isuggest distinguishing between three semiotic structures that operate on the basis of different relations between the signifier and the signified. These are the structures of “presence”, “representation”, and “significance”. I argue that ancient Chinese philosophy tends to employ the first structure whereas traditional Western philosophy tends toward the second. Postmodern philosophy, however, gives preference to the third one. In accordance (...) with these different semiotic structures, culturally and historically different conceptions of nature and culture have emerged. (shrink)
"All men by nature desire to know"-this is the famous first sentence of Aristotle's Metaphysics. It is interesting to note how knowledge, at least since Aristotle, could be understood as a desire, as a mental craving, so to speak. When understood as a desire, knowledge necessarily goes along with a certain absence, a lack. Those who crave for knowledge are not yet fully in its possession, they are still on the search.
This essay is meant to shed light on a discourse that spans centuries and includes different voices. To be aware of such trans-textual resonances can add a level of historical understanding to the reading of philosophical texts. Specifically, we intend to demonstrate how the notion of the ineffable Dao 道, prominently expressed in the Daodejing 道德經, informs a long discourse on incongruent names in distinction to a mainstream paradigm that demands congruity between names and what they designate. Thereby, we trace (...) the development of the idea of the ineffable Dao quite differently from modern mystical interpretations. We show how, in an early Chinese context, it first gives rise to a sociopolitical critique of the incongruity underlying socially constructed names in the Zhuangzi 莊子, then to a discourse on the incongruity between moral virtues and names in Xuanxue 玄學 philosophy, and eventually to Sengzhao’s 僧肇 claim that a perceived congruence of names with things does not entail actual congruence between names and reality. (shrink)
Contrary to the popular belief that feminism has gained a foothold in the many disciplines of the academy, the essays collected in Theorizing Backlash argue that feminism is still actively resisted in mainstream academia. Contributors to this volume consider the professional, philosophical, and personal backlashes against feminist thought, and reflect upon their ramifications. The conclusion is that the disdain and irrational resentment of feminism, even in higher education, amounts to a backlash against progress.