This article offers a novel, conservative account of material constitution, one that incorporates sortal essentialism and features a theory of dominant sortals. It avoids coinciding objects, temporal parts, relativizations of identity, mereological essentialism, anti-essentialism, denials of the reality of the objects of our ordinary ontology, and other departures from the metaphysic implicit in ordinary ways of thinking. Defenses of the account against important objections are found in Burke 1997, 2003, and 2004, as well as in the often neglected six paragraphs (...) that conclude section V of this article. (shrink)
On the most popular account of material constitution, it is common for a material object to coincide precisely with one or more other material objects, ones that are composed of just the same matter but differ from it in sort. I argue that there is nothing that could ground the alleged difference in sort and that the account must be rejected.
Over the last two or three decades, puzzles concerning vagueness, identity, and material constitution have led an increasing number of ontologists to “eliminate” at least some of the objects of folk ontology. In the book here reviewed, Trenton Merricks proposes to eliminate any and all material objects that lack nonredundant causal powers. The objects found lacking include statues, baseballs, planets, and all other inanimate macroscopica, including the masses and conjunctive objects favored by some other eliminativists. The objects found to possess (...) the requisite powers include human persons, who are taken to be human organisms, other conscious organisms, such as dogs and dolphins, and the microscopica of which organisms are composed. Merricks doesn’t assume that there are physical simples. But he does assume that there is at least one level of microscopica, and he uses ‘atoms’ as a convenient term for the microscopica of some unspecified level. As regards organisms that lack consciousness, Merricks is agnostic. (shrink)
Dion is a full-bodied man. Theon is that part of him which consists of all of him except his left foot. What becomes of Dion and Theon when Dion’s left foot is amputated? Employing the doctrine of sortal essentialism, I defend a surprising answer last defended by Chrysippus: that Dion survives while the seemingly unscathed Theon perishes. For replies to critics, see my publications of 1997 and (especially) 2004.
I aim to show that there are cases in which an ordinary material object exists intermittently. Afterwards there are a few words about the consequences of acknowledging such cases, but what is of more interest is the route by which the conclusion is reached. When deciding among competing descriptions of the cases considered, I have tried to reduce to a minimum the role of intuitive judgment, and I have based several arguments on "metaphysical principles," two of which I have defended.
It is hard to see why the head and other brain-containing parts of a person are not themselves persons, or at least thinking, conscious beings. Some theorists have sought to reconcile us to the existence of thinking person-parts. Others have sought to avoid them but have relied on radical theories at odds with the metaphysic implicit in ordinary ways of thinking. This paper offers a novel, conservative solution, one on which the heads and other brain-containing parts of persons do exist (...) but are neither persons, thinkers, nor conscious beings. A much briefer statement of the solution is found in section 5 of Burke 2004. (shrink)
Dion is a full-bodied man. Theon is that part of him which consists of all of him except his left foot. What becomes of Dion and Theon when Dion’s left foot is amputated? In Burke 1994, employing the doctrine of sortal essentialism, I defended a surprising position last defended by Chrysippus: that Dion survives while the seemingly unscathed Theon perishes. This paper defends that position against objections by Stone, Carter, Olson, and others. Most notably, it offers a novel, conservative solution (...) to the many-thinkers problem, a solution that enables us to accept the existence of brain-containing person-parts while denying that those person-parts are thinking, conscious beings. (shrink)
Mobile phones are reportedly the most rapidly expanding e-reading device worldwide. However, the embodied, cognitive and affective implications of smartphone-supported fiction reading for leisure (m-reading) have yet to be investigated empirically. Revisiting the theoretical work of digitization scholar Anne Mangen, we argue that the digital reading experience is not only contingent on patterns of embodied reader–device interaction (Mangen, 2008 and later) but also embedded in the immediate environment and broader situational context. We call this the situation constraint. Its application to (...) Mangen’s general framework enables us to identify four novel research areas, wherein m-reading should be investigated with regard to its unique affordances. The areas are reader–device affectivity, situated embodiment, attention training and long-term immersion. (shrink)
An argumentative passage that might appear to be an instance of denying the antecedent will generally admit of an alternative interpretation, one on which the conditional contained by the passage is a preface to the argument rather than a premise of it. On this interpretation. which generally is a more charitable one, the conditional plays a certain dialectical role and, in some cases, a rhetorical role as well. Assuming only a very weak principle of exigetical charity, I consider what it (...) would take to justify the less charitable interpretation. I then present evidence that those conditions are seldom met. Indeed, I was unable to find a single published argument that can justifiably be charged with denying the antecedent. (shrink)
In this paper, I offer a novel, conservative solution to the puzzle of Tibbles the cat. I do not criticize the existing solutions or the theories within which they are embedded. I am content to offer an alternative, one that relies on the recently resurgent doctrine of Aristotelian essentialism. My solution, unlike some of its competitors, is applicable to the full range of cases in which, as with Tib and Tibbles, there is the threat of coinciding objects. In section 1, (...) I present the solution. In sections II-IV, I defend it against four objections. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to expand the usefulness of equal opportunities legislation for females in sport by providing a philosophically based opposition toward the long history of gender stereotypes, embodied in the AEC, that currently limit its effects.
The “staccato run,” in which a runner stops infinitely often while running from one point to another, is a prototypical “superfeat,” that is, a feat involving the completion in a finite time of an infinite sequence of distinct acts. There is no widely accepted demonstration that superfeats are impossible logically, but I argue here, contra Grunbaüm, that they are impossible dynamically. Specifically, I show that the staccato run is excluded by Newton’s three laws of motion, when those laws are supplemented (...) with a defensible philosophical judgment. (shrink)
Suppose that five minutes ago, to our astonishment, a healthy, full-grown duck suddenly popped into existence on the table in front of us. Suppose further that there was no first time at which the duck existed but rather a last time, T, at which it had yet to exist. Then for each time t at which the duck has existed, there is an explanation of why the duck existed at t: there was a time t’ earlier than t but later (...) than T such that the duck existed at t’, and it was only to be expected that a healthy duck would survive the brief period from t’ to t. But would these explanations remove the mystery? Taken collectively, would they explain why the duck has existed since T rather than never having existed at all? Presumably not. But if not, this seems to discredit the style of explanation offered by Hume and Edwards for the infinite regress they hypothesize of causes and effects. (shrink)
This book brings together researchers with cognitive-scientific and literary backgrounds to present innovative research in all three variations on the possible interactions between literary studies and cognitive science. The tripartite structure of the volume reflects a more ambitious conception of what cognitive approaches to literature are and could be than is usually encountered, and thus aims both to map out and to advance the field. The first section corresponds to what most people think of as "cognitive poetics" or "cognitive literary (...) studies": the study of literature by literary scholars drawing on cognitive-scientific methods, findings, and/or debates to yield insights into literature. The second section demonstrates that literary scholars needn't only make use of cognitive science to study literature, but can also, in a reciprocally interdisciplinary manner, use a cognitively informed perspective on literature to offer benefits back to the cognitive sciences. Finally, the third section, "literature in cognitive science", showcases some of the ways in which literature can be a stimulating object of study and a fertile testing ground for theories and models, not only to literary scholars but also to cognitive scientists, who here engage with some key questions in cognitive literary studies with the benefit of their in-depth scientific knowledge and training. (shrink)
David Fairchild explains that sport is an evocative symbolic system that demonstrates the apparently ‘natural’ division of humans into two separate and dichotomous genders, and also demonstrates the apparently ‘genetically based’ hierarchy between the genders in terms of sporting results. Additionally, this hierarchy of performance translates into a hierarchy of authority, such that men occupy the most powerful positions in coaching, administration and the sports media. The initial section of this paper will follow on from Fairchild to suggest some changes (...) that are necessary before women will gain semantic authority over their participation in sport. The paper will then suggest that the expansion of the discursive space in sport to include alternate standpoints produced by women [and other marginalised groups] can follow tactics employed by feminist standpoint theorists to expand discursive space in other fields. The final section of the paper will look at how a feminist politics in discursive sport will need to challenge what William Morgan has suggested is the recently acquired dominant position of ‘interpretative broad internalism’ in sport philosophy as one of the foundational underpinnings of internalism explains sport as a perfect practice. This underpinning has been used in substantive practice to undermine the knowledges of women athletes and commentators. This final section will look at some examples of translating private authorship into political authority for women in sport. (shrink)
The objective of this article is to review extant empirical studies of empathy in narrative reading in light of (i) contemporary literary theory, and (ii) neuroscientific studies of empathy, and to discuss how a closer interplay between neuroscience and literary studies may enhance our understanding of empathy in narrative reading. An introduction to some of the philosophical roots of empathy is followed by tracing its application in contemporary literary theory, in which scholars have pursued empathy with varying degrees of conceptual (...) precision, often within the context of embodied/enactive cognition. The presentation of empirical literary studies of empathy is subsequently contextualized by an overview of psychological and neuroscientific aspects of empathy. Highlighting points of convergence and divergence, the discussion illustrates how findings of empirical literary studies align with recent neuroscientific research. The article concludes with some prospects for future empirical research, suggesting that digitization may contribute to advancing the scientific knowledge of empathy in narrative reading. (shrink)
(The downloadable document, posted 07/23/22, incorporates post-publication corrections/refinements, mainly of section II.) The article gives a novel argument to show that there is sense of 'exists' suitable for posing a substantive issue between presentists and eternalists. It then seeks to invigorate a neglected variety of presentism. There are seven doctrines, widely accepted even among presentists, that create problems for presentism. Without distinguishing existence and being, presentists can comfortably reject all seven. Doing so would dispose of the majority of presentism’s problems. (...) Further, it would enable presentists to reduce A-judgments to B-judgments, thereby insulating presentism from doubts about the intelligibility of A-theories. For reasons indicated very briefly, it might also make presentism less difficult to reconcile with special relativity, though the point is not pursued here. (shrink)
This paper1 uses concepts of anxiety and Foucauldian governmentality to investigate the ways that the discourses supporting the ban on performance-enhancing drugs in sport have been manipulated and broadened to treat this issue as a public policy and health issue rather than an example of rule violation in sport. Some effects of this expansion include the broadening of drug testing to include testing for recreational drugs, the intrusion of both central governments and scientific experts into the issue and the curtailment (...) of civil liberties for athletes. A further effect has been the perpetration of injustices against athletes under the guise of such injustices being necessary to maintain the integrity of sport. (shrink)
"Sport, Tradition and Freedom" entails a philosophical examination of the relationship between traditions of rationality and understandings of freedom in sport. Chapter One introduces the ideas of freedom and virtue. Chapter Two involves a critical and historical exploration of the traditions of conservatism, liberalism and Marxism and the effects that these traditions have had on accounts of freedom in sport. Chapter Three examines the issue of freedom in sport from a social critical-formalist perspective, particularly addressing the influence that the process (...) of commodification in advanced capitalism has had on sport. It also endeavours to suggest that the virtues, as explained by Alisdair Maclntyre, are important to the protection of formal freedom in sport, from the effects of advanced capitalism. Chapter Four examines the link between the modern liberal tradition and the virtue tradition. This link is made via the ideas of self-determination and authentic social unions which both traditions share. This chapter also investigates the influence that these various traditions have had on the framing and solution to issues in sport, using the drug issue as a paradigm case. The conclusion suggests that it may be profitable to explore the rationality of less dominant traditions in society when investigating sport. Inquiry revealed that many traditions of understanding in sport rely heavily on elements from political traditions in society. Freedom in sport has been linked to conservative notions of a craft, to liberal notions of play and the independent individual and to accounts of freedom which support the dominant capitalist institutions of society. The examination by social critical theorists of the freedom of authentic social practices and the location of this freedom in the formal rules of sport, provided an alternative to these previous explanations which had located freedom in either the attitude of the player or the economic institutions of society. On the formalist view of sport, freedom is located in the pursuit of gratuitous difficulty, which the rules of sport make possible. The protection of this freedom from social abrogation involves virtue, the formation of authentic social unions, and judgement in sporting participation. The concluding chapter suggested that the protection of formal freedom and the importance of judgement and "seeing without illusion" in sport is critical to issues such as feminism, professionalism and creativity in sport. (shrink)
In this article, I explore what I call the persecutory trope – which underscores the alterity of the phantom and its relentless haunting and spectral oppression of the protagonists – in recent American ghost films, connecting it to the ethical thought of the continental philosophers, Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida. Films like The Ring, The Grudge, It Follows, and Sinister depict terrifying spectral antagonists whose relentless persecution of the protagonists often defies comprehension and narrative closure. I suggest that these films (...) comprise a specific supernatural subgenre due to the particular way in which their specters haunt the victims. The relentlessness of the spectral assailant, and the foreclosure of actions by which the specter is either expelled from or reintegrated into symbolic understanding of its victim, can be construed in terms of the ethical relationship between the other and the self in the work of Levinas and Derrida. Their focus on the moral agent's responsibility to an other, an obligation that the agent does not undertake voluntarily, entails the spectralization of ethical responsibility insofar as it does not rest on solid, evidential grounds. This article shows how the spectralization of the ethical resonates in recent American ghost films through the disruptive effects of the specter's haunting and responsive mourning enacted by protagonists. (shrink)
Graham Priest has focused attention on an intriguing but neglected paradox posed by José Benardete in 1964. Benardete viewed the paradox as a threat to the intelligibility of the spatial and temporal continua and offered several different versions of it. Priest has selected one of those versions and formalized it. Although Priest has succeeded nicely in sharpening the paradox, the version he chose to formalize has distracting and potentially problematic features that are absent from some of Benardete's other versions. I (...) offer a formalization of a simpler version of the paradox, the one that presents most plainly Benardete's challenge to the spatial continuum. Proposed resolutions of Benardete's paradox should address this version of the paradox as well as the one formalized by Priest. (shrink)
The separation of men’s and women’s competitions in the sporting world has been suggested as a necessary protection for female athletes against the superior athletic performances of male athletes. The comparison of the most elite performers in these two categories maintains the historical pattern of viewing male sport and the male athlete as the standard, and female sport and the female athlete as the inferior ‘other’. This paper argues for a transformative utilization of the separation of men’s and women’s sports (...) by female athletes and sporting organizations. Female sporting organizations may creatively change the rules and practices of the malestandard, so as to challenge the historical patterning of sport. This paper will use the image of the cyborg, and the motivation behind cyborg politics, to call for creativity in dealing with the ban on drugs in sport. (shrink)
While philosophy of sport clings for life, sport in Austalasia has undergone a significant transformation since the early 1990s. Sport is now considered 'more than a game'. That is, elite, high-performance sport is now big business that is also perceived as a powerful instrument for the expression of national identity and pride. This has resulted in a growing scientific and manaagement focus in university level sport, exercise and physcial education related courses (McKay et al. 1990). This reflects a similar trend (...) in universities in North America and the U.K. (shrink)
Logic and Proofs, developed at Carnegie Mellon, is the only instructional program that can support a computer-taught course (not just a computer-assisted course) in modern symbolic logic. I describe and assess the program. Then, drawing on my twenty years of experience, initially with Patrick Suppes’ Valid (no longer available), recently with Logic and Proofs, I discuss the very substantial benefits, as well as the challenges, when offering symbolic logic via a computer-taught course.
The anti-doping policy of the Gay Games offers an interesting exemplification of the treatment–enhancement distinction. Some Gay Games athletes require steroids to deal with the effects of HIV or for sexual reassignment, and the practice community had to negotiate coordinating conventions with regard to steroid use that remained committed to the deeper conventions of Gay Games sport. This paper will investigate the way that this policy emanated from the type of participatory social practice community that would be necessary for any (...) sport to challenge the anti-doping fundamentalism within contemporary sports. (shrink)
Logic and Proofs, developed at Carnegie Mellon, is the only instructional program that can support a computer-taught course in modern symbolic logic. First I provide a description and an assessment of the program. Then, drawing on my twenty years of experience, initially with Patrick Suppes’ Valid, recently with Logic and Proofs, I discuss the benefits and challenges, both sizable, when offering symbolic logic via a computer-taught course.
This paper examines the quest for the quantification of the predicate, as discussed by W.S. Jevons, and relates it to the discussion about universals and particulars between Plato and Aristotle. We conclude that the quest for the quantification of the predicate can only be achieved by stripping the syllogism from its metaphysical heritage.