"The stories are powerful, sometimes heart-rending, sometimes lyrical, but always deeply personal. And there is some very good philosophizing as part of the bargain." —Merold Westphal How can the seemingly separate lives of philosopher, feminist, and follower of a religious tradition come together in one person’s life? How does religious commitment affect philosophy or feminism? How does feminism play out in religious or philosophical commitment? Wrestling with answers to these questions, women who balance philosophy, feminism, and faith write about their (...) lives. The voices gathered here from several different traditions—Catholic, Protestant, Quaker, Jewish, and Muslim—represent diverse ethnicities, races, and ages. The challenging and poignant reflections in Philosophy, Feminism, and Faith show how critical thought can successfully mesh with religious faith and social responsibility. (shrink)
Twenty papers from a conference in Villanova, Pennsylvania discuss the politics, psychoanalysis and feminist theory, aesthetics, and ethics of phenomenology and existentialism in North America, from its beginnings in the 1940s to its ...
This collection examines the relationship between phenomenology, interpretation, and community, considering the issues from several viewpoints including German idealism, the discourses of the Frankfurt School, and post-structuralist thought.
Braitenberg et al.'s proposal, like most previous theories of cerebellar function (see Bower 1997, for review), is fundamentally based on the striking geometric relationship between parallel fibers and Purkinje cells. As in previous models, the current theory assumes that the activation of granule cells results in a of activated Purkinje cells, although it adds the new requirement that the granule cell layer itself have a particular spatial/temporal pattern of activation. I believe there is clear evidence that parallel fibers do (...) not have the type of excitatory effects on Purkinje cells required by this theory. (shrink)
Walt Bower - Rethinking Durkheim and His Tradition - Journal of the History of Philosophy 44:2 Journal of the History of Philosophy 44.2 323-324 Warren Schmaus. Rethinking Durkheim and His Tradition. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Pp.xii + 195. Cloth, $65.00. Warren Schmaus has offered a compelling and sophisticated reinterpretation of Émile Durkheim's sociology of knowledge in the context of the eclectic spiritualist philosophical tradition dominant during the Third French Republic. More specifically, the primary purpose of the book (...) is to examine how Durkheim's categories of understanding developed out of the way Kant was interpreted by nineteenth-century academic philosophy in France. The debate between Kantian apriorist and Humean empiricist accounts of the theory of the categories is the main epistemological dilemma for.. (shrink)
In this paper we attempt to advance the enactive discourse on perception by highlighting the role of bodily affects as prenoetic constraints on perceptual experience. Enactivists argue for an essential connection between perception and action, where action primarily means skillful bodily intervention in one’s surroundings. Analyses of sensory-motor contingencies (as in Noë 2004) are important contributions to the enactive account. Yet this is an incomplete story since sensory-motor contingencies are of no avail to the perceiving agent without motivational pull in (...) one direction or another or a sense of the pertinent affective contingencies. Before directly addressing the issue of affect in perception, we explain our peculiar, low-level conception of affect as a form of world-involving intentionality that modulates (minimally) bodily behavior without necessarily possessing informational value of any kind. We then address the deficiency concerning affect in enactive accounts of perception by examining some exemplary forms of bodily affect that constrain perception. We show that bodily affect significantly contributes to (either limiting or enabling) our contact with the world in our perceptually operative attentive outlook, in a kind of perceptual interest or investment, and in social perception. (shrink)
The full scope of enactivist approaches to cognition includes not only a focus on sensory-motor contingencies and physical affordances for action, but also an emphasis on affective factors of embodiment and intersubjective affordances for social interaction. This strong conception of embodied cognition calls for a new way to think about the role of the brain in the larger system of brain-body-environment. We ask whether recent work on predictive coding offers a way to think about brain function in an enactive system, (...) and we suggest that a positive answer is possible if we interpret predictive coding in a more enactive way, i.e., as involved in the organism’s dynamic adjustments to its environment. (shrink)
Despite extensive discussion of naïve realism in the wider philosophical literature, those influenced by the phenomenological movement who work in the philosophy of perception have hardly weighed in on the matter. It is thus interesting to discover that Edmund Husserl’s close philosophical interlocutor and friend, the early twentieth-century phenomenologist Johannes Daubert, held the naive realist view. This article presents Daubert’s views on the fundamental nature of perceptual experience and shows how they differ radically from those of Husserl’s. The author argues, (...) in conclusion, that Daubert’s views are superior to those of Husserl’s specifically in the way that they deal with the phenomenon of perceptual constancy. (shrink)
Several commentators have recently attributed conflicting accounts of the relation between veridical perceptual experience and hallucination to Husserl. Some say he is a proponent of the conjunctive view that the two kinds of experience are fundamentally the same. Others deny this and purport to find in Husserl distinct and non-overlapping accounts of their fundamental natures, thus committing him to a disjunctive view. My goal is to set the record straight. Having briefly laid out the problem under discussion and the terms (...) of the debate, I then review the proposals that have been advanced, disposing of some and marking others for further consideration. A.D. Smith’s disjunctive reading is among the latter. I discuss it at length, arguing that Smith fails to show that Husserl’s views on perceptual experience entail a form of disjunctivism. Following that critical discussion, I present a case for a conjunctive reading of Husserl’s account of perceptual experience. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to motivate the need for and then present the outline of an alternative explanation of what Dan Zahavi has dubbed “open intersubjectivity,” which captures the basic interpersonal character of perceptual experience as such. This is a notion whose roots lay in Husserl’s phenomenology. Accordingly, the paper begins by situating the notion of open intersubjectivity – as well as the broader idea of constituting intersubjectivity to which it belongs – within Husserl’s phenomenology as an approach (...) distinct from his more well-known account of empathy in the Fifth Cartesian Meditation. I then recapitulate and criticize Zahavi’s phenomenological explanation of open intersubjectivity, arguing that his account hinges on a flawed phenomenology of perceptual experience. In the wake of that criticism, I supply an alternative phenomenological framework for explaining open intersubjectivity, appealing to the methodological principles of Husserl’s genetic phenomenology and his theory of developmentally primitive affect. Those principles are put to work using the resources of recent studies of cognitive developmental and social cognition. From that literature, I discuss how infants learn about the world from others in secondary intersubjectivity through natural pedagogy. Lastly, the paper closes by showing how the discussion of infant development explains the phenomenon of open intersubjectivity and by highlighting the relatively moderate nature of this account compared to Zahavi’s. (shrink)
In this paper I piece present an account of Husserl’s approach to the phenomenological reconstruction of consciousness’ immemorial past, a problem, I suggest, that is quite pertinent for defenders of Lockean psychological continuity views of personal identity. To begin, I sketch the background of the problem facing the very project of a genetic phenomenology, within which the reconstructive analysis is situated. While the young Husserl took genetic matters to be irrelevant to the main task of phenomenology, he would later come (...) to see their importance and, indeed, centrality as the precursor and subsoil for the rationality of consciousness. I then argue that there is a close connection between reconstruction and genetic phenomenology, such that reconstruction is a necessary component of the program of genetic phenomenology, and I set out an argument of Husserl’s compelling one to enter into reconstructive territory. With that impetus, I schematically lay out the main contours one finds in Husserl’s practice of reconstructive techniques. We find him taking two distinct approaches, that of the individual viewed egologically (through the abstract lens of a single individual’s consciousness) and as embedded in interpersonal relations. Husserl occasionally calls these the approach “from within” and “from without,” respectively. Ultimately, the two approaches are not only complementary, but require one another. In closing, I argue that these considerations lead to a blurring of lines between the genetic and generative phenomenological registers, which challenges the prevalent view that there is a sharp demarcation of the two. (shrink)
While classical phenomenology, as represented by Edmund Husserl’s work, resists certain forms of representationalism about perception, I argue that in its theory of horizons, it posits representations in the sense of content-bearing vehicles. As part of a phenomenological theory, this means that on the Husserlian view such representations are part of the phenomenal character of perceptual experience. I believe that, although the intuitions supporting this idea are correct, it is a mistake to maintain that there are such representations defining the (...) phenomenal character of low-level perception. What these representations are called on to explain, i.e., the phenomenal character of perceiving objects in their full presence, can be more parsimoniously explained by appealing to certain affective states or affect schemas that shape the intentional directedness of low-level perceptual experience and define its phenomenal character in a non-representational way. This revision of the Husserlian view, it is shown, also helps us understand the normative character of perception. (shrink)
The recently published volume Rasmus Thybo Jensen and Dermot Moran have put together, The Phenomenology of Embodied Subjectivity, displays the richness that phenomenological approaches to embodiment have to offer, both in terms of the many insights of some of its major figures and as a style of inquiry that continues to be aptly deployed in diverse theoretical contexts. As such, the collection is accessible to a broad audience. The phenomenological perspectives represented are primarily those of Husserlian phenomenology and, to a (...) lesser extent, the existential phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, and Heidegger. In most cases, only general familiarity with these varieties of phenomenology is presupposed, although some contributors stay very close to the texts they aim to elucidate and the peculiar idiom of those texts. Though the primary theoretical orientation of the various contributions is phenomenological, many of the contributions either engage non-phenomenological philosophy (e. (shrink)
Husserl’s theory of passive experience first came to systematic and detailed expression in the lectures on passive synthesis from the early 1920s, where he discusses pure passivity under the rubric of affection and association. In this paper I suggest that this familiar theory of passive experience is a first approximation leaving important questions unanswered. Focusing primarily on affection, I will show that Husserl did not simply leave his theory untouched. In later manuscripts he significantly reworks the theory of affection in (...) terms of instinctive intentionality and a passive experience of desire aimed at satisfaction and enjoyment. This paper will show that the theory of affection and the theory of instincts in Husserl are really one and the same, differing only in the superior theoretical apparatus with which Husserl treats the phenomenon in his more considered theory of the instincts. I demonstrate the connection between the two theories by showing how what he generically calls “affection” in earlier texts is the same phenomenon he calls “curiosity” in later texts. The connection is further supported by the way curiosity does the same work as affection in its function within Husserl’s theory of association, serving as the basic connective tissue linking diverse experiences. In closing, I deal with the problem of how to integrate the experience of the body into the theory of instincts, displaying in another way how Husserl improves his theory of affection by making it more concrete when he recasts it as a theory of instincts. (shrink)
Implicit and explicit memory tasks are interpreted within a traditional memory theory that distinguishes associations between different classes of memory units . Associations from specific sensory features to logogens are strengthened by perceptual experiences, leading to specific perceptual priming. Associations among concepts are strengthened by use, leading to specific conceptual priming. Activating associations from concepts to logogens leads to semantic and associative priming. Item presentation also establishes a new association from it to a representation of the personal context, comprising an (...) “episodic memory.” Such contextual associations play a major role in explicit memory tasks such as recall or recognition. A critical assumption of the theory is that presentation of a given item strengthens its sensory and contextual associations independently; this permits the theory to explain various dissociations of implicit and explicit memory measures. Furthermore, by assuming that brain-injured patients with global amnesia have a selective deficit in establishing novel associations to the context, the theory can explain their deficits in explicit memory along side their intact implicit memory. (shrink)
In this paper I explore a curious phenomenon discussed in Husserl’s later manuscripts under the name “pre-world.” This notion arises in the context of his ongoing development of a genetic phenomenology, i.e., a phenomenology that is concerned with the dynamics of conscious life, concerning both the generation of new meaning for consciousness and new dimensions of conscious life. The pre-world is one such dimension. I explore it here in two stages. First, I consider the initial unsavoriness of the very idea (...) of a pre-world, whose metaphysical implications are suspect, on the surface. Nevertheless, I show that the pre-world puts the subject in contact with reality in a very special sense that should remedy this worry. Second, I show how the notion of the pre-world re-opens Husserl’s thought of the possible annihilation of the world from Ideas i. In fact, it explains the possibility, by revealing its experiential ground. (shrink)
There is clearly some area of thematic overlap between the subject matter of Edmund Husserl's genetic phenomenology and studies of cognitive development. I aim in this paper to clarify the extent of this overlap. This will, I hope, serve as an indicator about whether genetic phenomenology might be able to shed some light on actual cognitive-development phenomena. To begin with, I differentiate two strands within Husserl's genetic phenomenology, an idealized and a concrete approach. After providing a schematic outline of the (...) former I argue that its application to actual, empirical cases of cognitive development faces serious challenges. I then set out the concrete approach, in two stages. First, I explain the importance of bodily experience on the concrete approach and note some affinities it has with the work of Piaget and embodied approaches to cognitive development. Second, I introduce the notion of affect as the engine of the developmental process on the concrete approach, an idea that, moreover, helps clarify how the concrete approach overcomes the problems facing the idealized approach. Finally, I propose that Vygotsky's notion of the 'zone of proximal development' can serve as a bridge between Husserl's concrete approach and contemporary scaffolded and extended accounts of cognitive development. (shrink)
One way to defend humane animal agriculture is to insist that the deaths of animals aren’t bad for them. Christopher Belshaw has argued for this position in the most detail, maintaining that death is only bad when it frustrates categorical desires, which he thinks animals lack. We are prepared to grant his account of the badness of death, but we are skeptical of the claim that animals don’t have categorical desires. We contend that Belshaw’s argument against the badness of animal (...) death relies on overly simplistic thought experiments and isn’t sufficiently careful in how it attributes mental states to animals. We present some cases of animal behavior from recent work on animal cognition that are most plausibly understood as spurred by categorical desires and we show how an independently plausible account of mental content—Ruth Millikan’s teleosemantics—supports our attribution of categorical desires in those cases. We end by arguing that even if you’re wary of our reliance on teleosemantics, you should still accept it due to considerations about moral risk. (shrink)
Hume said that to have a memory image of some individual, x, is to perceive a ‘faint copy’ of some prior perception of x. This classical view of memory images includes three distinct claims: Images and percepts are mental entities which serve as objects for a ‘direct’ or ‘non-inferential’ perception. A memory image of some individual, x, shares numerous properties with some prior perception of x.