Pedagogical intervention regarding engagement with natural, artistic and moral beauty can lead to an increase in trait hope. In a quasi-experimental design with college students the intervention group showed significantly higher gain scores on trait hope than did the comparison group; the effect size was moderate. The experimental group also experienced significantly larger increases with engagement with moral beauty ; the effect size was large. The discussion section focuses on integrating understanding beauty with moral education pedagogy, using a key element (...) in philosophical definitions of beauty : unity-in-diversity. It is hypothesized that such pedagogy will increase engagement with natural, artistic and moral beauty and thus raise trait hope. (shrink)
Letter-position tolerance varies across languages. This observation suggests that the neural code for letter strings may also be subtly different. Although language-specific models remain useful, we should endeavor to develop a universal model of reading acquisition which incorporates crucial neurobiological constraints. Such a model, through a progressive internalization of phonological and lexical regularities, could perhaps converge onto the language-specific properties outlined by Frost.
Thomas Hobbes is an iconic figure who serves as an easy reference for pundits commenting on the brutality of war as well as for critics of a distinctly modern individualism in which calculating and rapacious self-interest is the cause of the violence, destruction, and exploitation endemic to the contemporary world. Frost's reading of Hobbes's philosophy shows us that underlying such visions of self and politics is another iconic figure: that of the Cartesian subject. What gives the iconic Hobbes his (...) hardcore individualism and its corollary accounts of instrumentalism, conflict, and absolutism is a Cartesian rendering of the self as split into mind and body. Carefully elaborating Hobbes's materialist ontology, _Lessons from a Materialist Thinker_ challenges both our implicit Cartesian assumptions about the self and the commonplace Hobbes that so readily figures violence in our political imagination. Through his materialism, Hobbes presents an alternative modern account of self-consciousness, reason, agency, power, freedom, and responsibility. In doing so, he shows that our fundamental intersubjectivity and interdependence require that we pursue peace above all else. (shrink)
Alexandre Koj_ve offers a systematic discussion of key themes such as right, justice, law, equality, and autonomy in which he presages our contemporary world of economic globalization and international law. Edited and translated by Bryan-Paul Frost, this is the authoritative English language edition of a monumental work in political philosophy.
In _Biocultural Creatures_, Samantha Frost brings feminist and political theory together with findings in the life sciences to recuperate the category of the human for politics. Challenging the idea of human exceptionalism as well as other theories of subjectivity that rest on a distinction between biology and culture, Frost proposes that humans are biocultural creatures who quite literally are cultured within the material, social, and symbolic worlds they inhabit. Through discussions about carbon, the functions of cell membranes, the (...) activity of genes and proteins, the work of oxygen, and the passage of time, Frost recasts questions about the nature of matter, identity, and embodiment. In doing so, she elucidates the imbrication of the biological and cultural within the corporeal self. In remapping the relation of humans to their habitats and arriving at the idea that humans are biocultural creatures, Frost provides new theoretical resources for responding to political and environmental crises and for thinking about how to transform the ways we live. (shrink)
Most questions commonly asked about international politics are ethical ones. Should the international community intervene in Bosnia? What do we owe the starving in Somalia? What should be done about the genocide in Rwanda? Yet, Mervyn Frost argues, ethics is accorded a marginal position within the academic study of international relations. In this book he examines the reasons given for this, and finds that they do not stand up to scrutiny. He goes on to evaluate those ethical theories which (...) do exist within the discipline - order based theories, utilitarian theories, and rights based theories - and finds them unconvincing. He elaborates his own ethical theory, constitutive theory, which is derived from Hegel, and highlights the way in which we constitute one another as moral beings through a process of reciprocal recognition within a hierarchy of institutions which include the family, civil society, the state, and the society of states. (shrink)
In the last decade, reading research has seen a paradigmatic shift. A new wave of computational models of orthographic processing that offer various forms of noisy position or context-sensitive coding have revolutionized the field of visual word recognition. The influx of such models stems mainly from consistent findings, coming mostly from European languages, regarding an apparent insensitivity of skilled readers to letter order. Underlying the current revolution is the theoretical assumption that the insensitivity of readers to letter order reflects the (...) special way in which the human brain encodes the position of letters in printed words. The present article discusses the theoretical shortcomings and misconceptions of this approach to visual word recognition. A systematic review of data obtained from a variety of languages demonstrates that letter-order insensitivity is neither a general property of the cognitive system nor a property of the brain in encoding letters. Rather, it is a variant and idiosyncratic characteristic of some languages, mostly European, reflecting a strategy of optimizing encoding resources, given the specific structure of words. Since the main goal of reading research is to develop theories that describe the fundamental and invariant phenomena of reading across orthographies, an alternative approach to model visual word recognition is offered. The dimensions of a possible universal model of reading, which outlines the common cognitive operations involved in orthographic processing in all writing systems, are discussed. (shrink)
Direction of fit theories usually claim that beliefs are such that they “aim at truth” or “ought to fit” the world and desires are such that they “aim at realization” or the world “ought to fit” them. This essay argues that no theory of direction of fit is correct. The two directions of fit are supposed to be determinations of one and the same determinable two-place relation, differing only in the ordering of favored terms. But there is no such determinable (...) because of ineliminable asymmetries between the way that beliefs “aim at truth” and the way that desires “aim at realization.” This essay traces the ills of direction of fit theory to a misunderstanding of Anscombe and proposes a cure that distinguishes theoretical and practical thought by appeal to a distinction between thought in the form of a state and thought in the form of an event. (shrink)
From a theoretical perspective, most discussions of statistical learning have focused on the possible “statistical” properties that are the object of learning. Much less attention has been given to defining what “learning” is in the context of “statistical learning.” One major difficulty is that SL research has been monitoring participants’ performance in laboratory settings with a strikingly narrow set of tasks, where learning is typically assessed offline, through a set of two-alternative-forced-choice questions, which follow a brief visual or auditory familiarization (...) stream. Is that all there is to characterizing SL abilities? Here we adopt a novel perspective for investigating the processing of regularities in the visual modality. By tracking online performance in a self-paced SL paradigm, we focus on the trajectory of learning. In a set of three experiments we show that this paradigm provides a reliable and valid signature of SL performance, and it offers important insights for understanding how statistical regularities are perceived and assimilated in the visual modality. This demonstrates the promise of integrating different operational measures to our theory of SL. (shrink)
The relationship between divine and created causality was widely discussed in medieval and early modern philosophy. Contemporary scholars of these discussions typically stake out three possible positions: occasionalism, concurrentism, and mere-conservationism. It is regularly claimed that virtually no medieval thinker adopted the final view which denies that God is an immediate active cause of creaturely actions. The main aim of this paper is to further understanding of the medieval causality debate, and particularly the mere-conservationist position, by analysing Peter John Olivi's (...) neglected defence of it. The paper also includes discussion of Thomas Aquinas's arguments for concurrentism and an analysis of whether Olivi's objections refute his position. (shrink)
There is a growing body of literature on ethical or socially responsible investment across a range of disciplines. This paper highlights the key themes in the field and identifies some of the major theoretical and practical challenges facing both scholars and practitioners. One of these challenges is understanding better the complexity of the relationship between such investment practices and corporate behaviour. Noting that ethical investment is seldom characterised by agreement about what it actully constitutes, and that much of the extant (...) research focuses on a narrow set of issues, the paper argues that there are benefits associated with examining ethical investment as a process. (shrink)
What are ethics? -- News : towards a definition -- Morality of reporting -- The good journalist -- Truth, accuracy, objectivity and trust -- Privacy and intrusion -- Reputation -- Gathering the news -- Reporting the vulnerable -- Deciding what to publish -- Taste and decency : harm and offence -- Professional practice -- Regulation -- History of print regulation -- History of broadcast regulation -- Codes of conduct as a regulatory system -- Press regulation systems in the UK and (...) Ireland -- Broadcast regulation systems in the UK and Ireland -- The experience abroad. (shrink)
Advances in the neurosciences have many implications for a collective understanding of what it means to be human, in particular, notions of the self, the concept of volition or agency, questions of individual responsibility, and the phenomenology of consciousness. As the ability to peer directly into the brain is scientifically honed, and conscious states can be correlated with patterns of neural processing, an easy—but premature—leap is to postulate a one-way, brain-based determinism. That leap is problematic, however, and emerging findings in (...) neuroscience can even be seen as compatible with some of the basic tenets of existentialism. Given the compelling authority of modern “science,” it is especially important to question how the findings of neuroscience are framed, and how the articulation of research results challenge or change individuals’ perceptions of themselves. Context plays an essential role in the emergence of human identity and in the sculpting of the human brain; for example, even a lack of stimuli (“nothing”) can lead to substantial consequences for brain, behavior, and experience. Conversely, advances in understanding the brain might contribute to more precise definitions of what it means to be human, including definitions of appropriate social and moral behavior. Put another way, the issue is not simply the ethics involved in framing neurotechnology, but also the incorporation of neuroscientific findings into a richer understanding of human ethical (and existential) functioning. (shrink)
I have argued that orthographic processing cannot be understood and modeled without considering the manner in which orthographic structure represents phonological, semantic, and morphological information in a given writing system. A reading theory, therefore, must be a theory of the interaction of the reader with his/her linguistic environment. This outlines a novel approach to studying and modeling visual word recognition, an approach that focuses on the common cognitive principles involved in processing printed words across different writing systems. These claims were (...) challenged by several commentaries that contested the merits of my general theoretical agenda, the relevance of the evolution of writing systems, and the plausibility of finding commonalities in reading across orthographies. Other commentaries extended the scope of the debate by bringing into the discussion additional perspectives. My response addresses all these issues. By considering the constraints of neurobiology on modeling reading, developmental data, and a large scope of cross-linguistic evidence, I argue that front-end implementations of orthographic processing that do not stem from a comprehensive theory of the complex information conveyed by writing systems do not present a viable approach for understanding reading. The common principles by which writing systems have evolved to represent orthographic, phonological, and semantic information in a language reveal the critical distributional characteristics of orthographic structure that govern reading behavior. Models of reading should thus be learning models, primarily constrained by cross-linguistic developmental evidence that describes how the statistical properties of writing systems shape the characteristics of orthographic processing. When this approach is adopted, a universal model of reading is possible. (shrink)
This article interrogates the specter of resistance in the writings of Giorgio Agamben and Michel Foucault, arguing they open up divergent ways of theorizing resistance to power. This article’s focus is on both philosophers’ use and interpretation of the dispositif, or apparatus, which controls and orders subjects, and which is the target for forms of resistance. Whereas for Foucault resistance is a practice existing as a transcendent possibility for any individual, Agamben reads such transcendent forms of resistance as ultimately reinforcing (...) the control of the dispositif, arguing that only a turn to ontology and immanent politics can resistance be meaningful. (shrink)
Observing that René Descartes's dualistic philosophy haunts our conceptualization of matter, this essay argues that Thomas Hobbes develops a non-Cartesian materialism, which is to say that he articulates a materialism in which matter is not construed as essentially unthinking. Tracing his accounts of sense, perception, and thinking, this essay reconstructs Hobbes's account of self-consciousness and proposes that in a subject conceived as wholly embodied, self-knowledge or self-awareness takes the form of memory. The essay elaborates how Hobbes 's account of self-consciousness (...) as memory transforms our understanding both of the form taken by the subject's self-mastery and of the relationship between the individual and the collective. It concludes by speculating about the implications of this account for our understanding of Hobbes's theories of ethics and politics. (shrink)
In thinking about Rancière and Law, as this collection exhorts us to do, I have turned my attention to one of the most well-known areas of Rancière’s writings, the Rights of Man. In “Who is the Subject of the Rights of Man?”, Rancière aimed a broadside at the rights-scepticism which can be traced in much of critical theory to the writings of Hannah Arendt, and an older tradition on the right exemplified by Edmund Burke and Jeremy Bentham. Rancière’s writings and (...) thought cover a wide range of areas, but it is the famous focus on rights which interests me here, as it brings to bear the problematisation of the ‘subject’ which Rancière develops in his writings. Rancière does not take an ontological view of the subject. Rancière’s writings on human rights attempt to get out of an ontological trap he sees being promulgated in relation to them. These writings on rights and the subject illustrate Rancière’s conception of politics as a process, which emphasises a dynamic staging of conflicts and the impossibility of stepping outside that discussion and conflict. My starting point is Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. This eighteenth century piece of literature is key for the discussion about the subject of human rights, and the paradoxes which those rights contain. This novel was used in United Nations debates to justify parts of the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In basing the subject of human rights in part on the eponymous hero of the same novel, the drafting committee constructed a vision of the human subject which conflated the figures of man and citizen. The subject of human rights was not a natural man, but intimately connected and indivisible from the society in which he was living. I connect Arendt’s critique of the right to have rights to these debates at the United Nations, illustrating how they lend support to Arendt’s criticisms of human rights. I then outline Rancière’s counter-critique of Arendt, and his defence of politics and rights. I show how Rancière’s distinction between politics and the police envisions a subject which is created through ‘dissensual’ acts. These acts of ‘dissensus’ are the very divisions, the strife or the conflict which constitutes the stage on which politics occurs. Rancière’s subject does not need to act politically in an existing public sphere where individuals recognise each other as equal and distinct. Rather, the acts they commit help contest the very meaning of rights and politics; a politics which always entails the verification of equality as such. I want to turn to the consequences of this processual politics. I use Rancière’s writings on politics and his defence of rights to illustrate how, in his schema, political subjects can be formed and new subjects hitherto unrecognised can be created through dissensual acts. I argue that in Rancière, any judgment on the quality of a political act, and the subject it can create, is necessarily made ex post facto. Rancière’s separation of politics from ethics forces us to avoid pre-judgments of the political nature of acts. This carries the risk that the reader of Rancière will interpret only the acts they are already sympathetic towards as ‘political’ and dissensual. The political remains in the eye of the beholder. As a result, this processual politics must be supplemented with a later judgment to be able to differentiate between potential political acts. In treating Rancière as a serious thinker of modernity and of rights, we need a way to distinguish between an act which is, for example, carried out by racists or those who oppress rights, and an act carried out by a demonstrator or as an act of resistance against hegemony. I argue that it is possible, following Rancière, to conceive of both as acts of dissensual politics potentially giving rise to political subjects. This in turn highlights the key issue for me in relation to Rancière’s thought. How can we distinguish between the quality of actors who act politically, without falling back on a presumed political sphere or modern liberal political philosophy? I conclude that a stronger questioning of the types of judgment needed to differentiate between political acts is required to avoid Rancière’s thought being used to justify forms of action the reader finds sympathetic. (shrink)
Drawing upon the thought of Giorgio Agamben, this essay focuses upon the potential of a single act to change a political order. Agamben’s writings retain the possibility for a paradigmatic gesture that opens a space for a politics not founded on a form of belonging grounded in a particular property, such as national identity. To illustrate this event this essay turns to Agamben’s construction of whatever-being, which is constructed hyper-hermeneutically. This term is chosen deliberately. Whatever-being retains a hermeneutic structure, but (...) is constructed through singular paradigmatic examples. These examples are evidence for whatever-being’s existence as a pure singularity, unable to be reduced to a particular quality. Such examples are gestures that allow future modes of belonging to separate themselves from oppressive foundations and dominating constructions of political existence, through revealing the possibility of a new way of being that does not require a revolutionary ‘zero hour’ to be brought about. (shrink)
This paper discusses Scotus’s view of how God knows sins by analyzing texts from his discussions of God’s permission of sin and predestination. I show that Scotus departed from his standard theory of how God knows contingents when explaining how God knows sins. God cannot know sins by knowing a first-order act of his will, as he knows other contingents according to Scotus, since God does not directly will sins. I suggest that Scotus’s recognition that his standard theory of God’s (...) knowledge of contingents could not account for how God knows sins may have contributed to his ultimate rejection of this theory. (shrink)
In this chapter I seek to rehabilitate and elaborate the so-called “mischief rule” of English law. I begin by interrogating two views of legal and constitutional interpretation which make symmetrical mistakes about legal interpretation: Larry Alexander and Emily Sherwin’s view in Demystifying Legal Reasoning and Jack Balkin’s in Living Originalism. Against these views I argue that the appropriate interpretation of laws is guided by the “mischief” the legislators were trying to remedy when they created the law and by what the (...) legislators and the subjects of the law understand when laws are created or changed. (shrink)
Recovering Reason: Essays in Honor of Thomas L. Pangle is a collection of essays composed by students and friends of Thomas L. Pangle to honor his seminal work and outstanding guidance in the study of political philosophy. These essays examine both Socrates' and modern political philosophers' attempts to answer the question of the right life for human beings, as those attempts are introduced and elaborated in the work of thinkers from Homer and Thucydides to Nietzsche and Charles Taylor.
This article explores how the press reports nonhuman animal hoarding and hoarders. It discusses how 100 articles from 1995 to the present were content analyzed. Analysis revealed five emotional themes that include drama, revulsion, sympathy, indignation, and humor. While these themes draw readers' attention and make disparate facts behind cases understandable by packaging them in familiar formats, they also present an inconsistent picture of animal hoarding that can confuse readers about the nature and significance of this behavior as well as (...) animal abuse, more generally. (shrink)
The overarching purpose of Moral Cruelty is to identify and sensitize the reader to the existence of "moral sadism." It is the authors' contention that what we as individuals perceive as "normal" modes of interaction conceal hidden contributions to cruelty.
This article explores the ways in which we hold participants in dispersed practices to ethical account for the accumulated consequences of their individual actions over time. This ‘holding to account’ is quite different to that found within centralised practices such as a state or a corporation. In the case of a state, for example, we hold presidents, prime ministers to account in terms of well understood norms of ethical behaviour internal to the practice. For example, we might accuse them of (...) corruption. In such cases an actor is criticised for failing to adhere to a well understood ethical norm. In dispersed practices, the holding to account is different. Here the allegation is that the participants, through adhering to the ethical norms inherent in the practice, are collectively bringing about an unethical result. Through their doing the ethically right thing, they are bringing about a wrong. Marx's analysis of capitalism can be understood in this way. In the normal day to day activity in a capitalist system, individual buyers and sellers are not doing anything ethically wrong, but the accumulated outcome of their individual actions is ethically unacceptable. The wrongdoing arises from a failure to understand the structural consequences of the operation of the practice over time. It also arises from a failure to understand and act on the political possibilities of transformation that exist within the practices in question. (shrink)
Giorgio Agamben’s development of a messianic politics-to-come seeks to counter the law which is in force without significance, a law which creates bare life. Embodying this messianic politics, and a call for the law’s fulfilment, is the figure of whatever-being, a form-of-life. This article contends that there is an important conceptual problem in respect of Agamben’s construction of such a form-of-life, namely the issue of relationality. The problem of relationality in Agamben is explored here through the comparative lens of relationality (...) in Levinas’s thought. It is contended that Agamben’s messianic subject, his form-of-life, has a negative relation to its other, in contrast to Levinas’s positive, subject forming view of relationality. (shrink)