We discuss a recent approach to investigating cognitive control, which has the potential to deal with some of the challenges inherent in this endeavour. In a model-based approach, the researcher deﬁnes a formal, computational model that performs the task at hand and whose performance matches that of a research participant. The internal variables in such a model might then be taken as proxies for latent variables computed in the brain. We discuss the potential advantages of such an approach for the (...) study of the neural underpinnings of cognitive control and its pitfalls, and we make explicit the assumptions underlying the interpretation of data obtained using this approach. (shrink)
When Kepler concluded that the orbit of Mars was not a circle, he was led to the belief that the orbit was an oval touching the circle at the apsides and lying within the circle at other points. In the definition of the oval, physical hypotheses played a primary role. Two forces were involved; a tractive force arising from the effect of the solar rays rotating with the sun, and a directing force arising from a natural instinct of the planet (...) itself. The former pushed the planet along the orbit while the latter enabled the planet to steer itself across the stream of the solar vortex in a small epicycle. In adopting this physical theory to determine the oval, Kepler was led into what he himself described as ‘a new labyrinth’. After several attempts to construct the oval, and by progressively eliminating the sources of error from his calculating procedures in order to arrive at an accurate mathematical formulation of the physical hypotheses, he was able to conclude that the oval was inconsistent with the empirical data and the physical theory in need of modification. (shrink)
This essay argues that the practical reason approach to the study of social conventions (and social normativity more generally) fails to adequately account for the fluency of social action in environments that we experience as familiar. The practical reason approach, articulated most recently in Andrei Marmor’s Social Conventions: From Language to Law (2009) does help us, though not wholly adequately, to understand how we tend to react to, and experience, unfamiliar situations or unfamiliar behaviors, that is, those situations in which (...) a certain practice becomes problematic or is problematized, or where we are obliged to, or moved to, justify or deliberate. The reason why the practical reason approach is not wholly adequate when it comes to understanding unfamiliar situations or unfamiliar behaviors is that it tends to subsume the unfamiliar under the familiar, that is, it tends to negatively evaluate anything that is deemed to be not in accordance with the rules and reasons already familiar to the observer. This excludes the possibility of the observer having to transform himself or herself, and thus change what is familiar to him or her. (shrink)
This essay argues that the practical reason approach to the study of social conventions fails to adequately account for the fluency of social action in environments that we experience as familiar. The practical reason approach, articulated most recently in Andrei Marmor’s Social Conventions: From Language to Law does help us, though not wholly adequately, to understand how we tend to react to, and experience, unfamiliar situations or unfamiliar behaviors, that is, those situations in which a certain practice becomes problematic or (...) is problematized, or where we are obliged to, or moved to, justify or deliberate. The reason why the practical reason approach is not wholly adequate when it comes to understanding unfamiliar situations or unfamiliar behaviors is that it tends to subsume the unfamiliar under the familiar, that is, it tends to negatively evaluate anything that is deemed to be not in accordance with the rules and reasons already familiar to the observer. This excludes the possibility of the observer having to transform himself or herself, and thus change what is familiar to him or her. (shrink)
Foucault’s vocabulary of arts of existence might be helpful to problematize the entwinement of humans and technology and to search for new types of hybrid selves. However, to be a serious new ethical vocabulary for technology, this art of existence should be supplemented with an ongoing critical discourse of technologies, including a critical analysis of the subjectivities imposed by technologies, and should be supplemented with new medical and philosophical regimens for an appropriate use of technologies.
The philosophical tradition of phenomenology, with its focus on human bodily perception, can be used to explore the ways scientific instrumentation shapes a user’s experience. Building on Don Ihde’s account of technological embodiment, I develop a framework of concepts for articulating the experience of image interpretation in science. These concepts can be of practical value to the analysis of scientific debates over image interpretation for the ways they draw out the relationships between the image-making processes and the rival scientific explanations (...) of image content. As a guiding example, I explore a contemporary debate over images of the surface of Mars which reveal a landmass that resembles river delta formations on Earth, and which thus has important implications for the history of Martian climate and water flow. The phenomenological framework I develop can be used to help evaluate the different interpretations on offer for these images, and to analyze the roles in this discussion played by spacecraft equipped with cameras and laser and thermal imaging devices. (shrink)
Yoga, together with other so-called holistic spiritual practices such as reiki or meditation, is one of the most popular spiritual disciplines in our contemporary society. The success of yoga crosses the boundaries between health, sport, religion, and popular culture. However, from a sociological point of view, this is a largely under-researched field. Aiming to fill this gap, this article analyzes the impact, meaning, and implications of the practice of yoga by taking prisons as the institutional context of the study. The (...) growth of yoga in penitentiary settings is a recent trend in many countries and raises new questions concerning its potential to foster well-being and self-transformation. The research presented here applies Schutz’s concepts of “finite province of meaning” and “stock of knowledge” to understand yoga’s role in inmates’ lives. The main argument of the article is that yoga is a body technique that affords inmates the possibility to enter into a “finite province of meaning” and transcend their everyday prison lives. However, the impact of yoga upon inmates’ lives is not limited just to its physical effects as learning yoga also involves the acquisition of a “spiritual stock of knowledge” made up of Eastern philosophy, holistic concepts, and self-help therapeutic narratives. Indeed, physical movements and spiritual accounts constitute one another in the practice of yoga, thus opening up a pathway into a different reality; movement and spiritual discourse inform one another—and it is precisely in this reflexivity that “transcendent experiences” are created and yoga is made meaningful and important in the improvement-setting of the prison. This article is based on ethnographic fieldwork developed carried out in two different penitentiary institutions. (shrink)
Foucault's analysis of an aesthetics of existence is presented as an instrument to practice ethical thought without the presupposition of an autonomous subject. The implications of Foucault's aesthetics of existence for ethical thought are traced to the work of Nietzsche. In Foucault's work, experiences of oneself are not a given, but are constituted in power relations and true-and-false games. In the interplay of truths and power relations, the individual constitutes a certain relationship to him- or herself. Foucault designated the relation (...) to oneself and one's existence as the main area of ethical concern and the most important field where aesthetic values are to be applied. In his aesthetics of existence, he invited the individual to problematize the relationship with the self and by using 'self-techniques' to transform it into a work of art. The relation to intimate others, shaped as friendship, is crucial to this ethical-aesthetic approach. Key Words: aesthetics of existence ethics Foucault friendship Nietzsche subjectivity. (shrink)
Justice for children meets specific obstacles when it comes to its realization due not only to the nature of rights and the peculiarities of children as subjects of rights. The conflict of interests between short-term and long-term aims, and the different interpretations a state can do on the question concerning how to materialize social rights policies and how to interpret its commitments on social justice play also a role. Starting by the question on why the affluent states do not seem (...) to be motivated enough to fully assume those duties of justice toward children —derived form recognizing children’s rights—, this article aims to explore and shed light on what psychology of motivation and moral psychology, and positive approaches could offer in relation to political and ethical challenges toward childhood. Hence this article advocates for the modification and enrichment of the philosophical discourse on children’s rights with what psychology has proved to have a more efficient impact in agents’ action and motivation. In doing so, practical philosophy could improve its role helping understand and eventually surpassing some akratic tendencies in the public sphere with respect to children’s rights. (shrink)
This essay examines the use of fictions in the reasoning of the House of Lords and United Kingdom Supreme Court in the context of two recent lines of authority on English tort law. First, the essay explores the relevance of counter-factual scenarios to liability in the tort of false imprisonment, in the light of the Supreme Court decisions in Lumba and Kambadzi. The second series of decisions is on causation in negligence claims arising from asbestos exposure. These cases have revealed (...) fundamental, ongoing judicial disagreement about the nature and extent of the exceptions made to general principles. The cases are also shown to lend force to Del Mar’s argument about the diachronicity of legal fictions. Overall, it is argued that such fictions play an important role in common law reasoning. (shrink)
The importance of relationality in ethical leadership has been the focus of recent attention in business ethics scholarship. However, this relational component has not been sufficiently theorized from different philosophical perspectives, allowing specific Western philosophical conceptions to dominate the leadership development literature. This paper offers a theoretical analysis of the relational ontology that informs various conceptualizations of selfhood from both African and Western philosophical traditions and unpacks its implications for values-driven leadership. We aim to broaden Western conceptions of leadership development (...) by drawing on twentieth century European philosophy’s insights on relationality, but more importantly, to show how African philosophical traditions precede this literature in its insistence on a relational ontology of the self. To illustrate our theoretical argument, we reflect on an executive education course called values-driven leadership into action, which ran in South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt in 2016, 2017, and 2018. We highlight an African-inspired employment of relationality through its use of the ME-WE-WORLD framework, articulating its theoretical assumptions with embodied experiential learning. (shrink)
Hao Wang, a prolific philosopher and researcher, was known for his close intellectual friendship with Kurt Gödel, his advocacy for the study of logic at Oxford, and for his path-breaking contributions to logic and automated theorem proving. Yet in a memorial volume published sixteen years after Wang’s passing, the editors Charles Parsons and Montgomery Link noted “rather little has been published on Wang’s considerable body of work or on the man’s personality and unusual personal history.” The goal of this article (...) is to see what light Wang’s logical journey in life sheds on Chinese philosophy and the Western analytic tradition. (shrink)
In this paper we claim educational leadership as an autonomous discipline whose goals and strategies should not mirror those typical of business and political leadership. In order to define the aims proper to educational leadership we question three common assumptions of what it is supposed to carry out. First, we turn to Hannah Arendt and her contemporary critics to maintain that education aims at opening up exceptions within the normal course of events rather than simply preserving it. This way, education (...) is not reduced to an instrument at the service of the reinforcement of a given social and economic system. This leads us to ask what should exactly educational leadership oppose by means of these exceptions. According to Tyson E. Lewis’s wise application to education of Giorgio Agamben’s ontology of impotentiality, the apparently reasonable idea that education must help the subject to develop his potentials is precisely an instrumentalization of education which brings about a desubjectification of the learner. Education should actually make the pupil aware of his right not to carry his potentiality to its actualization and dwell instead in a state of impotentiality. Third and last, we complicate this picture by alluding to Zygmunt Bauman’s critique of the rejection of Western individuals to realize certain possibilities, which they deem too costly. By analysing in conjunction Agamben’s encouragement to suspend one’s potential and Bauman’s insistence on the need of not suspending it, we conclude by defining what, in our opinion, defines the raison d’être of educational leadership. (shrink)
A philosophical novel with alternating chapters of dialogue and lecture. The plot, functioning solely as a vehicle for an eclectic and syncretistic philosophy, is artificial. The philosophy is unoriginal, but the dialogues are quite readable. --D. S.
For at least 50 years science fiction’s dangerousness has sprung largely from its leaps into the transgressive. But something has now changed; the biggest problem today for anyone trying to create dangerous science fiction is that in the developed countries we now live largely in a libertarian, post-transgressive culture. There is, however, at least one target for science fiction that grows increasingly dangerous; the border between scarcity and post-scarcity. This danger is perhaps best realized in the great Mars trilogy by (...) Kim Stanley Robinson, which not only imagines a bridge from our current scarcity-based culture to a post-scarcity culture, but also shows people building this very bridge up from the foundations of our life today. Perhaps more dangerously, he then follows Marcuse and Mumford in envisioning not only an end to the economic problem of poverty but also to the social, anthropological and psychical forces of scarcity, showing step-by-step the dramatic changes in psychology, values and lives that post-scarcity would bring. And so, like certain tales by Plato and Tolstoy, it is a ‘threshing tale’, a tale that forces us into an imaginative confrontation with our current values, intending to winnow the false from the true. This epic sets out to alter the way we see ourselves and our social sphere, hoping – like William Blake – that altering the eye alters all; perhaps nothing but such a plausible, non-utopian and social vision of life in post-scarcity can be truly dangerous to the way we now think, love, work and war. (shrink)
In a questionnaire study on organ allocation 348 students of medicine and economics at the universities of Halle and Hannover responded to questions concerning their basic attitudes toward alternative criteria of organ allocation. Medical criteria were widely accepted by the respondents. Considerations concerning the patient's value to society were seen as being of minor importance. With respect to reciprocity, we could detect a high share of respondents who would favor former living donors and discriminate against murderers. Among considerations of fairness, (...) the criterion of waiting time gained the highest support. Furthermore, majorities favored the view that health-compromising behavior and differences in age should play a role. Economic considerations were strongly rejected as criteria of organ allocation. (shrink)
This paper considers the similarities between Adam Smith's device of the impartial spectator and the use of perspectival devices in common law reasoning. The paper adopts a reading of Smith's device as one involving the exercise of imaginative sympathy by an ordinarily virtuous, and culturally and historically situated, spectator who does not have a stake in the outcome of the scene being evaluated. The point here is to show that the impartial spectator is 1) a device of common, ordinary virtue (...) – both in the sense of being located in a culture at a specific point in time, and in the sense of possessing only moderate, achievable virtues ; and 2) a device that enables a focus on a situation, which requires imaginative work, emotional engagement and careful, particularised description. Having so modelled Smith's device, the paper shows the similarities between it and the use of perspectival devices in common law reasoning, specifically here via the ‘right-thinking member of society' test in defamation law. (shrink)
Anselm claimed that his Proslogion was a “single argument” sufficient to prove “that God truly exists,” that God is “the supreme good requiring nothing else,” as well as to prove “whatever we believe regarding the divine Being.” In this paper we show how Anselm’s argument in the Proslogion and in his Reply to Gaunilo can be reconstructed as a single argument. A logically elegant result is that the various stages of Anselm’s argument are validated by standard axioms from contemporary modal (...) logic. (shrink)
This paper discusses a much-neglected aspect of Neil MacCormick's theory of legal reasoning, namely what he calls ‘consequential reasoning’. For MacCormick, consequential reasoning is both an omnipresent feature of legal reasoning in England and Scotland, as well as being a valuable one. MacCormick articulates the value of consequential reasoning by seeing it as contributing to the forward-looking requirement of formal justice, ie, of deciding the instant case on grounds that one is willing to adopt when deciding future similar cases. This (...) paper situates consequential reasoning in the overall picture of legal reasoning MacCormick develops in Legal Reasoning and Legal Theory, going on to show the evolution of his view on consequential reasoning in later work, which culminates in Rhetoric and the Rule of Law. It is argued that MacCormick's later view of consequential reasoning, ie, of a process of testing possible rulings by evaluating the acceptability or unacceptability.. (shrink)
The discovery of a second genesis of life besides the one on Earth, this time on Mars, would have profound scientific and philosophical implications. Scientifically, it would provide a second example of biochemistry and of evolutionary history. Many important biological questions may be answerable through the comparison of biochemistry between the life forms on the two planets. Philosophically, the discovery of a second genesis of life in our solar system would suggest that the phenomenon of life is distributed throughout the (...) universe. We could finally be confident that we are not alone. To protect a second genesis as we search for it, the robotic and human exploration of Mars should be done in a way that is biologically reversible, i.e., we must be able to undo our contamination of Mars if we discover a second genesis of life there. It is important to note that human exploration can be done in a way that is biologically reversible. Further, the discovery of a second genesis of life on Mars poses new questions in ethics. One question is: what ethical consideration is due to an alien life form when that life is distinctly different from Earth life, and the members of that life are no more advanced than microorganisms? Will we choose to terraform Mars to enhance the richness and diversity of the indigenous life we find there? In considering our answers to these questions, we should note that for most of Earth’s history our ancestors were microscopic. (shrink)
_The Philosopher's Annual_ attempts to select the ten best articles published in philosophy the previous year. Impossible? Yes. By attempting the impossible this collection calls attention to truly exceptional critiques from the philosophical field. This is the 22nd volume of the series, collecting outstanding work from the philosophy literature of 1999. Each year the members of the distinguished nominating board are asked to name three papers that most impressed them from the literature of the previous year. No limitations are placed (...) on sources from which articles may be nominated, on subject matter, or on mode of treatment. The process delivers a diverse collection of engaging, high caliber work that stands as a valuable sample of contemporary work in philosophy. (shrink)
This latest volume of _The Philosopher's Annual_ presents the ten best articles published in the field during 2001. No limitations are placed on the articles' sources, subject matter or mode of treatment, providing for a diverse collection of engaging, high-caliber work that stands as a valuable sample of contemporary philosophy. This year's volume includes papers by Robert Bernasconi, Hans Halvorson, Christopher Hitchcock, Ignacio Jane, Brian Leiter, Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel, Joel Pust, Alison Simmons, Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson, and (...) Crispin Wright. (shrink)
The article describes the powers of the President of Ukraine as the Head of the security sector and national defense and the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The paper explores the legislative framework corresponding to real opportunity of exercising the power in this area by the President of Ukraine. The research focuses on the quality of implementing certain powers in the field of Ukraine's security and defense by the acting President.
Nagel, San Juan, and Mar report an experiment investigating lay attributions of knowledge, belief, and justification. They suggest that, in keeping with the expectations of philosophers, but contra recent empirical findings [Starmans, C. & Friedman, O. (2012). The folk conception of knowledge. Cognition, 124, 272–283], laypeople consistently deny knowledge in Gettier cases, regardless of whether the beliefs are based on ‘apparent’ or ‘authentic’ evidence. In this reply, we point out that Nagel et al. employed a questioning method that biased participants (...) to deny knowledge. Moreover, careful examination of participants’ responses reveals that they attributed knowledge in Gettier cases. We also note that Nagel et al. misconstrue the distinction between ‘apparent’ and ‘authentic’ evidence, and use scenarios that do not feature the structure that characterizes most Gettier cases. We conclude that NS&M’s findings are fully compatible with the claim that laypeople attribute knowledge in Gettier cases in general, but are significantly less likely to attribute knowledge when a belief is generated based on apparent evidence. (shrink)