According to the thesis of the extended mind (EM) , at least some token cognitive processes extend into the cognizing subject's environment in the sense that they are (partly) composed of manipulative, exploitative, and transformative operations performed by that subject on suitable environmental structures. EM has attracted four ostensibly distinct types of objection. This paper has two goals. First, it argues that these objections all reduce to one basic sort: all the objections can be resolved by the provision of an (...) adequate and properly motivated criterion—or mark—of the cognitive. Second, it provides such a criterion—one made up of four conditions that are sufficient for a process to count as cognitive. (shrink)
How many words—and which ones—are sufficient to define all other words? When dictionaries are analyzed as directed graphs with links from defining words to defined words, they reveal a latent structure. Recursively removing all words that are reachable by definition but that do not define any further words reduces the dictionary to a Kernel of about 10% of its size. This is still not the smallest number of words that can define all the rest. About 75% of the Kernel turns (...) out to be its Core, a “Strongly Connected Subset” of words with a definitional path to and from any pair of its words and no word's definition depending on a word outside the set. But the Core cannot define all the rest of the dictionary. The 25% of the Kernel surrounding the Core consists of small strongly connected subsets of words: the Satellites. The size of the smallest set of words that can define all the rest—the graph's “minimum feedback vertex set” or MinSet—is about 1% of the dictionary, about 15% of the Kernel, and part-Core/part-Satellite. But every dictionary has a huge number of MinSets. The Core words are learned earlier, more frequent, and less concrete than the Satellites, which are in turn learned earlier, more frequent, but more concrete than the rest of the Dictionary. In principle, only one MinSet's words would need to be grounded through the sensorimotor capacity to recognize and categorize their referents. In a dual-code sensorimotor/symbolic model of the mental lexicon, the symbolic code could do all the rest through recombinatory definition. (shrink)
Mark Balaguer’s project in this book is extremely ambitious; he sets out to defend both platonism and ﬁctionalism about mathematical entities. Moreover, Balaguer argues that at the end of the day, platonism and ﬁctionalism are on an equal footing. Not content to leave the matter there, however, he advances the anti-metaphysical conclusion that there is no fact of the matter about the existence of mathematical objects.1 Despite the ambitious nature of this project, for the most part Balaguer does not (...) shortchange the reader on rigor; all the main theses advanced are argued for at length and with remarkable clarity and cogency. There are, of course, gaps in the account but these should not be allowed to overshadow the sig-. (shrink)
An archive of Mark Sharlow's two blogs, "The Unfinishable Scroll" and "Religion: the Next Version." Covers Sharlow's views on metaphysics, epistemology, mind, science, religion, and politics. Includes topics and ideas not found in his papers.
The central argument of this interesting paper is that Popper appears to be inconsistent: on the one hand, he preaches methodological monism-scientific method in the social sciences is identical to scientific method in the natural sciences-and on the other hand he advocates “situational analysis” as the unique method of the social sciences. Situational analysis is nothing but our old neoclassical friend, the rationality principle-individual maximizing behavior subject to constraints-and thus, Popper seems to be saying, neoclassical economics is the only valid (...) kind of social science. (shrink)
Does God's existence make a difference to how we explain morality? Mark C. Murphy critiques the two dominant theistic accounts of morality--natural law theory and divine command theory--and presents a novel third view. He argues that we can value natural facts about humans and their good, while keeping God at the centre of our moral explanations.
In the twenty-four years since the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, a body of high-quality scholarship on socialism has slowly accumulated. Here I discuss two superb additions to this incipient post–Cold War canon, Mark Bevir’s The Making of British Socialism and Jonathan Sperber’s Karl Marx: A Nineteenth Century Life. Both authors take it as axiomatic that the socialist utopia, with its quasi-eschatological promise of complete human emancipation, is an idea whose time has passed. But Bevir and, to a lesser (...) degree, Sperber discern a utopian afterglow that warrants our interest—and is still quite capable of providing inspiration. “This book has been a long time in the making,” Mark Bevir admits in the .. (shrink)
J. L. Schellenberg has constructed major arguments for atheism based on divine hiddenness in two separate works. This paper reviews these arguments and highlights how they are grounded in reflections on perfect divine love. However, Schellenberg also defends what he calls the ‘subject mode’ of religious scepticism. I argue that if one accepts Schellenberg's scepticism, then the foundation of his divine-hiddenness arguments is undermined by calling into question some of his conclusions regarding perfect divine love. In other words, if his (...) scepticism is correct, then Schellenberg's case for atheism cannot stand. Finally, I demonstrate how my argument avoids the many defences that Schellenberg has employed thus far in defending these particular atheistic arguments. (shrink)
In _Buddhism As Philosophy_, Mark Siderits makes the Buddhist philosophical tradition accessible to a Western audience. Offering generous selections from the canonical Buddhist texts and providing an engaging, analytical introduction to the fundamental tenets of Buddhist thought, this revised, expanded, and updated edition builds on the success of the first edition in clarifying the basic concepts and arguments of the Buddhist philosophers.
Machine generated contents note: -- Acknowledgements -- Introduction - The Problem of Moral Status -- PART I: MORAL ONTOLOGIES: FROM INDIVIDUAL TO RELATIONAL DOGMAS -- Individual Properties -- Appearance and Virtue -- Relations: Communitarian and Metaphysical -- Relations: Natural and Social -- Relations: Hybrid and Environmental -- Conclusion Part I: Diogenes's Challenge -- PART II: MORAL STATUS ASCRIPTION AND ITS CONDITIONS OF POSSIBILITY: A TRANSCENDENTAL ARGUMENT -- Words and Sentences: Forms of Language Use -- Societies and Cultures (1): Forms of (...) Living Together -- Societies and Cultures (2): Forms of Life -- Bodies and Things: Forms of Feeling and Making -- Spirits and Gods: Forms of Religion -- Fences, Walls, and Maps: Forms of Historical Space -- Moral Metamorphosis: Concluding the Transcendental Argument -- General Conclusion -- References -- Index. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Mathematics and its philosophy; 2. The limits of mathematics; 3. Plato's heaven; 4. Fiction, metaphor, and partial truths; 5. Mathematical explanation; 6. The applicability of mathematics; 7. Who's afraid of inconsistent mathematics?; 8. A rose by any other name; 9. Epilogue: desert island theorems.
The Greek term mártyras carries the double meaning of witness and martyr. This paper invites an exploration of the relationship between these two concepts in the contexts of first century and contemporary Africa using the life of St Mark as a historical lens. The paper suggests that many Western authored histories of the Christian movement are distorted by a lack of attention to the Eastern and African expansion of the Church in the early centuries and that contemporary African Christians (...) have erroneously bought into this emaciated history and the theology to which it has given rise. Through an examination of various themes in the life, witness and death of St Mark, and the relationship between martyrdom and witness in African Christian history, the paper encourages a reappraisal of the African roots of Christianity as a rich source for contemporary discipleship in Africa and the universal Church. (shrink)
Mark Olssen is one of the leading social scientists writing in the world today. Inspired by the writings of Michel Foucault, Olssen’s writing traverses philosophy, politics, education, and epistemology. This book comprises a selection of his papers published in academic journals and books over thirty-five years.
This Review Essay examines Mark Freeman’s thoughtful book, Necessary Evils: Amnesties and the Search for Justice. One of the book’s core arguments is that amnesties from criminal prosecution, however unpalatable to liberal legalist sensibilities, should not be entirely purged from the toolbox of post-conflict transitions. Although advancing this argument, Freeman also struggles with it, and ultimately builds a very restrained and heavily technocratic defense of the amnesty. This Review Essay weighs this argument, among others, on its own terms and (...) also within the context of recent events that post-date the book’s publication. The result is a vibrant exposition of the limits of law, and the limits of politics, in transcending episodes of massive human rights violations. (shrink)
Mark Vernon links the resources of the philosophical tradition with numerous illustrations from modern culture to ask what friendship is and how it relates to sex, work, politics and spirituality. Unusually, he argues that Plato and Nietzsche, as much as Aristotle and Aelred, should be put center stage. Their penetrating and occasionally tough insights are invaluable if friendship is to be a full, not merely sentimental, way of life for today.
This paper argues that the occurrence of a non-native species, such as purple loosestrife, on one's property does not constitute a nuisance in the context of background principles of common law. No one is injured by it. The control of non-native species, such as purple loosestrife, does not constitute a compelling public interest, moreover, but represents primarily the concern of an epistemic community of conservation biologists and ecologists. This paper describes a history of cases in agricultural law that establish that (...) a public authority may enter private property to destroy a tree or other species but only to protect a compelling public interest, such as the apple industry in Virginia or the citrus industry in Florida, and only if it pays all the costs including just compensation. The paper argues a fortiori that if a public authority enters private property to control non-native or “invasive” species it must pay all the costs and indemnify the owner—contrary to what many state laws contemplate and the Environmental Law Institute recommends. (shrink)
It is a commonplace of British History that following the onset of the French Revolution and the publication of Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France a widespread debate on political principles took place. The ‘debate on France’—the trial of the French Revolution before the enlightened and independent tribunal of the English public, as James Mackintosh referred to it,—was, according to Alfred Cobban, ‘perhaps the last real discussion of the fundamentals of politics in this country’.
The recent philosophical literature on religious experience has mostly been concerned with experiences which are taken by the subject of the experience to be directly of God or some other supernatural entity, or to involve some suspension of the subject–object structure of conventional experience. In this paper I consider a further kind of experience, where the sense of God is mediated by way of an appreciation of the existential meanings which are presented by a material context. In this way the (...) paper aims to extend the standard philosophical concept of religious experience so as to take account of phenomenological treatments of sacred place, and to give more prominence to the materially mediated or sacramental character of much religious experience. (shrink)
If libertarianism is true, then there is a sense in which agents have it within their power to bring it about that some world is actual. Against recent arguments for the incompatibility of divine foreknowledge and human freedom, I offer an account of power over the past which takes this implication of libertarianism into consideration. I argue that the resulting account is available to Ockhamists and that it is immune to recent criticisms of the notion of counterfactual power over the (...) past. But I contend that it is not an option for Molinists and that this fact leaves that position vulnerable to incompatibilist arguments. (shrink)