This is an outstanding contribution to Scotistic scholarship in English. A distinguished array of Scotus and medieval philosophy scholars have served up polished essays to mark this the seventh centenary of the birth of the "Subtle Doctor." Allan Wolter writes on "The Formal Distinction," Timotheus A. Barth on "Being, Univocity, and Analogy According to Duns Scotus," Heiko Oberman on "Duns Scotus, Nominalism, and the Council of Trent," Efrem Bettoni on "The Originality of the Scotistic Synthesis," Bonansea on "Duns Scotus' (...) Voluntarism," Felix Alluntis on Scotus' treatment of "Demonstrability and Demonstration of the Existence of God." There are nine other contributions, most of uniformly high quality, including extended notes by Charles Balic on "The Life and Works of John Duns Scotus" and "The Nature and Value of a Critical Edition of the Complete Works of John Duns Scotus."—E. A. R. (shrink)
Unlike most anthologies in aesthetics and the philosophy of art, the present selection does not try to collect representative extracts from the writings of most, or even many, important aestheticians throughout the ages. It aims for depth rather than width and tries to do as much justice as possible to those aestheticians which it does include, without bothering much about those left out. The result is really impressive. No less than 138 pages are devoted to Plato and Aristotle alone, where (...) the reader may find not only the usual passages from the Poetics and the Rhetoric but also relevant material from De Partibus Animalium and Politica. Such an anthology, so it seems, must be an opinionated one. Thus, while it contains some 70 pages of Dewey's Art as Experience, there is not a single line of Santayana in it. Although I disagree with the choice made in this case, I cannot but admire the courage it took to make it. Another surprise is the inclusion of the relatively obscure mediaeval thinker, Marsilio Ficino, in an anthology which excludes Baumgarten, Lessing, Burke, Schiller, Coleridge, Bosanquet and Alexander, to mention but few, and whose sole contemporary representative is Heidegger. The extracts from Ficino's commentary on Plato prove, however, to be highly interesting and relatively original, too. Thus, even if Ficino is not as great as some of the aestheticians not included in this volume, I, for one, would not regret this mark of personal, off-beat, taste. The last selection, Heidegger's "The Origin of the Work of Art," appearing for the first time in English translation, comes as special bonus to the reader. The editors' introductions to each selection are generally concise, precise, and very helpful. Sometimes, however, one may find an exception: in their introduction to the Heidegger translation, the editors characterize the Kehre as a "reversal... from the stress on anxiety, nothingness... to a stress on more affirmative moods." This is, to say the least, a grossly misleading remark, which is likely to confuse the student of the later Heidegger rather than help him.—E. M. Z. (shrink)
Spatial asymmetries are an intriguing feature of directed attention. Recent observations indicate an influence of temperament upon the direction of these asymmetries. It is unknown whether this influence generalises to visual orienting behaviour. The aim of the current study was therefore to explore the relationship between temperament and measures of spatial orienting as a function of target hemifield. An exogenous cueing task was administered to 92 healthy participants. Temperament was assessed using Carver and White's (1994) Behavioural Inhibition System and Behavioural (...) Activation System (BIS/BAS) scales. Individuals with high sensitivity to punishment and low sensitivity to reward showed a leftward asymmetry of directed attention when there was no informative spatial cue provided. This asymmetry was not present when targets were preceded by spatial cues that were either valid or invalid. The findings support the notion that individual variations in temperament influence spatial asymmetries in visual orienting, but only when lateral targets are preceded by a non-directional (neutral) cue. The results are discussed in terms of hemispheric asymmetries and dopamine activity. (shrink)
Wynne-Edwards and the history of group selection Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9613-6 Authors Samir Okasha, Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1TB UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
The popular expedient of identifying noncognitivism with the claim that moral judgments are neither true nor false leaves open the question of what kind of thing a moral judgment is—an indeterminacy that has led to decades of confusion as to what the noncognitivist is more precisely committed to. Sometimes noncognitivism is presented as a claim about mental states (“Moral judgments are not beliefs”), sometimes as a claim about meaning (“X is morally good” means no more than “X: hurray!”), sometimes as (...) a claim about speech acts (“Moral judgments are not assertions”). Focus on the last two possibilities. The former calls for a translation schema from a propositional surface grammar to a non-propositional deep structure. Such schemata from the noncognitivist are familiar to students of metaethics. (Cf. A.J. Ayer’s claim that in saying “You acted wrongly in stealing that money” one is “not saying anything more than … ‘You stole that money,’ [but] in a peculiar tone of horror.”) It is less widely realized that the noncognitivist is not obliged to offer any such translation schema, for she might instead plump for the last option, of formulating noncognitivism as a theory not of meaning but of use. Perhaps the moral cognitivist is correct about the meaning of moral sentences (there is a wide range of possibilities here) but wrong about the way people use moral sentences: perhaps people do not assert moral sentences, perhaps the nature of acceptance of a moral claim is not belief. (shrink)
On Thursday, August 21, 1862, Edmond and Jules de Goncourt registered in their Journal a short entry on the nature of life: “Qu’est-ce que la vie? L’usufruit d’une agrégation de molecules”—What is life? The usufruct of an aggregation of molecules. Although the extraordinary chronicles of the social and cultural life of the Second French Empire written by the Goncourt brothers includes names of their most distinguished contemporaries, the writers, artists, politicians and socialites they befriended outnumber by far the scientists. It (...) is almost certain that they were never close to Felix Dujardin, a distinguished microbiologist and member of the French Academy of Sciences. In 1835, Dujardin had started crushing ciliates under the microscope and observed that the tiny cells exuded a jellylike substance, which he described as a “gelée vivante” and was eventually named “protoplasm” by Johann E. Purkinje and Hugo von Mohl. The small note written by the Goncourts in their journal is an indica. (shrink)