The term “Cartesianism” is commonly applied to a wide range of philosophical and scientific doctrines. The question of what constitutes the spirit or essence of Cartesianism – providing a common core for the works of Descartes, Arnauld, Rohault, La Forge, Régis, Spinoza, Le Grand or Malebranche, among others – has elicited a great variety of answers. Without attempting a comprehensive response to the question, I begin by presenting some main presuppositions and goals commonly attributed to Descartes and other Cartesian doctrines (...) – both by their proponents and opponents. A fundamental Cartesian postulate concerns the metaphysical dualism of body and mind. Thoughts (e.g., ideas, volitions and judgments) are regarded by Descartes as modifications of the mind, whereas extension, size, shape, motion or rest are modifications of matter. According to the Cartesian “way of ideas,” the mind is directly acquainted only with its own modifications, and the objects external to the mind are known only through the mediation of ideas. External reality is viewed as given independently of any individual subjective consciousness. Although Descartes was not the first to posit this view, he invested it with a new meaning in his novel conception of the human mind. Within this framework, the Cartesian subject has been viewed mainly as an observer – one who can only represent independent reality rather than constitute it. Some indication of this view may be found in the third part of the.. (shrink)
Noa Naaman-Zauderer’s book aims to bring to light the ethical underpinnings of Descartes’ system: on her view, in both the practical and the theoretical spheres Descartes takes our foremost duty to lie in the good use of the will.The marked ethical import of Cartesian epistemology takes the form of a deontological, non-consequentialist view of error: epistemic agents are praised/blamed when they fulfill/flout the duty to not assent to ideas that are less than clear and distinct.Extra-theoretical realms admitting of (...) no clear and distinct perceptions are subject to ‘softer’ duties of acting on the basis of the best available reasons. Since Cartesian epistemology involves ethical considerations,and since the late Cartesian ethics of virtue crucially depends on metaphysical knowledge about the nature and function of the will, Descartes’ ethics is not just a fruit of his tree of knowledge but it also nourishes its own roots. (shrink)
This book offers a new way of approaching the place of the will in Descartes' mature epistemology and ethics. Departing from the widely accepted view, Noa Naaman-Zauderer suggests that Descartes regards the will, rather than the intellect, as the most significant mark of human rationality, both intellectual and practical. Through a close reading of Cartesian texts from the Meditations onward, she brings to light a deontological and non-consequentialist dimension of Descartes' later thinking, which credits the proper use of (...) free will with a constitutive, evaluative role. She shows that the right use of free will, to which Descartes assigns obligatory force, constitutes for him an end in its own right rather than merely a means for attaining any other end, however valuable. Her important study has significant implications for the unity of Descartes' thinking, and for the issue of responsibility, inviting scholars to reassess Descartes' philosophical legacy. (shrink)
This book offers a way of approaching the place of the will in Descartes' mature epistemology and ethics. Departing from the widely accepted view, Noa Naaman-Zauderer suggests that Descartes regards the will, rather than the intellect, as the most significant mark of human rationality, both intellectual and practical. Through a close reading of Cartesian texts from the Meditations onward, she brings to light a deontological and non-consequentialist dimension of Descartes' later thinking, which credits the proper use of free (...) will with a constitutive, evaluative role. She shows that the right use of free will, to which Descartes assigns obligatory force, constitutes for him an end in its own right rather than merely a means for attaining any other end, however valuable. Her important study has significant implications for the unity of Descartes' thinking, and for the issue of responsibility, inviting scholars to reassess Descartes' philosophical legacy. (shrink)
In this book, Noa Naaman-Zauderer explores the deontological and non-consequentialist dimensions of Descartes’ later writings. Focusing on the role of the will, she argues that Descartes considers the correct use of free will as not merely a means to some other end, but “an end in its own right” (1). She further argues that for Descartes, the role of reason is to govern the “right use” of free will rather than to distinguish truth from falsity (2). Naaman- (...) class='Hi'>Zauderer follows Descartes’ deontological approach through his epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. The focus of chapter 1 is Descartes’ theory of ideas. Contrary to the standard interpretations, which take the clarity and distinctness (and the .. (shrink)
This article examines the Israeli documentary My Land Zion and the Palestinian documentary Paradise Lost. Both films are critical autobiographical texts and in both, the woman filmmaker negotiates her emotional and ideological ties with her culture, history, and nation. Naaman proposes that by using the autobiographical genre and by engaging emotionally as well as rationally, the women filmmakers discussed offer a particular gendered position rebelliously outside nationalism and the place of women within it.
The paper presents the idea of cross‐cultural philosophy, which have inspired the organizers of the cyclic global conferences held at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, USA, since 193 First, the author discusses some definitions of the comparative method applied in contemporary philosophy and promoted, among others, through the project of the “East‐West Philosophers’ Conference”. Then, she reports the major themes and panel topics raised during the eleventh conference organized in Honolulu, May 25–31, 2016.
Taking Arthur Fine’s The Shaky Game as my inspiration, and the recent 25th anniversary of the publication of that work as the occasion to exercise that inspiration, I sketch an alternative to the “Naturalism” prevalent among philosophers of physics. Naturalism is a methodology eventuating in a metaphysics. The methodology is to seek the deep framework assumptions that make the best sense of science; the metaphysics is furnished by those assumptions and supported by their own support of science. The alternative presented (...) here, which I call “Locavoracity,” shares Naturalism’s commitment to making sense of science, but alters Naturalism’s methodology. The Locavore’s sense-making projects are piecemeal, rather than sweeping. The Locavore’s hypothesis is that the collection of local sense-making projects fails to issue a single overarching unifying framework deserving of the title “the metaphysics that makes the best sense of science.” I muster some examples supporting the Locavore hypothesis from the interpretation of quantum field theories. (shrink)
Nearly 30 years have passed since Donald Davidson ﬁrst presented his ar- gument against the possibility of psychophysical laws in “Mental Events”. The argument applies to intentional rather than phenomenal properties, so whenever I refer to mental properties and to psychophysical laws it should be understood that I mean intentional properties and laws relating them to physical properties. No consensus has emerged over what the argument actually is, and the subsequent versions of it presented by Davidson show signiﬁcant differences. But (...) many have been inclined to agree with the spirit of the argument and with its conclusion. (shrink)
When performing an action of a certain kind, an agent typically has se- veral reasons for doing so. I shall borrow Davidson’s term and call these rationalising reasons (Davidson 1963, 3). These are reasons that allow us to understand what the agent regarded as favourable features of such an action. (There will also be reasons against acting, expressing unfavour- able features of such an action, from the agent’s point of view.) I shall say that R is a rationalising reason of (...) agent X’s for K-ing iﬀ R consists of (i) a desire of X’s to L and (ii) a belief of X’s that K-ing promotes L-ing (to be discussed shortly). It is frequently said that when an agent X is K-ing and has several rationalising reasons for K-ing, not all of those reasons are reasons for which X is K-ing, that motivate X’s K-ing, or that explain X’s K-ing. In this paper I challenge this view. (shrink)
Early Buddhist Metaphysics provides a philosophical account of the major doctrinal shift in the history of early Theravada tradition in India: the transition from the earliest stratum of Buddhist thought to the systematic and allegedly scholastic philosophy of the Pali Abhidhamma movement. Entwining comparative philosophy and Buddhology, the author probes the Abhidhamma's metaphysical transition in terms of the Aristotelian tradition and vis-à-vis modern philosophy, exploits Western philosophical literature from Plato to contemporary texts in the fields of philosophy of mind and (...) cultural criticism. (shrink)
This chapter focuses on the dispute between necessitarians and contingentists, mainly addressing the issue as to whether laws of nature are metaphysically necessary or metaphysically contingent with a weaker kind of necessity, commonly referred to as natural, nomological, or nomic necessity. It is assumed here that all fundamental properties are dispositional or role properties, making the dispute a strictly verbal one. The existence of categorical intrinsic properties as well as dispositional properties is also assumed and the relationship between them examined. (...) Finally, the chapter concludes by returning to the debate between necessitarians and contingentists under the assumption that both dispositional and categorical fundamental properties exist. It is argued here that necessitarian positions can be recast as contingentist, but that there are unequivocally contingentist positions preferred because they are less mysterious despite being ontologically more complex. (shrink)
The distinction between token and type physicalism is a familiar feature of discussion of psychophysical relations. Token physicalism, or ontological physicalism, is the view that every token, or particular, in the spatiotemporal world is a physical particular. It is contrasted with type physicalism, or property physicalism -- the view that every first-order type, or property, instantiated in the spatiotemporal world is a physical property. Token physicalism is commonly viewed as a clear thesis, strictly weaker than property physicalism, strictly stronger than (...) substance physicalism, and as a good statement on its own or in conjunction with other theses of minimal physicalism.[i] It is also generally simply assumed to be true, though Davidson has offered a famous argument for its truth, and some have argued against it. Many of those arguing against it are substance physicalists, indicating that they believe token physicalism to be a strictly stronger view.[ii]. (shrink)
What values, if any, would be undermined by determinism?[i] Traditionally this question has been tackled by asking whether determinism is compatible with free will or whether it is compatible with moral responsibility. Compatibilists say that determinism would not threaten free will or moral responsibility, and hence that people’s values should not be influenced by whether or not they believe in determinism. Incompatibilists say that determinism would undermine free will or moral responsibility, and hence that a belief in determinism should have (...) a considerable impact on one’s values, precluding many popular evaluative beliefs. (shrink)
Comment on A Fine: "Piecemeal Realism." Fine's critique of scientific realism derives its force from a selective focus on mechanics. But what does the antirealist have to say about evolutionary theory or astrophysics? Furthermore, the circularity objection to the "explanationist" defence of realism can be countered. Fine's own position (NOA) reduces either to instrumentalism or to an unargued-for realism, depending on where the stress is laid.
Modernism in the philosophy of science demands a unified story about what makes an inquiry scientific (or a successful science). Fine's "natural ontological attitude" (NOA) is "postmodern" in joining trust in local scientific practice with suspicion toward any global interpretation of science to legitimate or undercut that trust. I consider four readings of this combination of trust and suspicion and their consequences for the autonomy and cultural credibility of the sciences. Three readings take respectively Fine's trusting attitude, his emphasis upon (...) local practice, and his antiessentialism about science as most fundamental to NOA. A fourth, more adequate reading, prompted by recent feminist interpretations of science, offers less restrictive readings of both Fine's trust and his suspicion toward approaching science with "ready-made philosophical engines" (Fine 1986b, 177). (shrink)
Hunting and gathering is, evolutionarily, the defining subsistence strategy of our species. Studying how children learn foraging skills can, therefore, provide us with key data to test theories about the evolution of human life history, cognition, and social behavior. Modern foragers, with their vast cultural and environmental diversity, have mostly been studied individually. However, cross-cultural studies allow us to extrapolate forager-wide trends in how, when, and from whom hunter-gatherer children learn their subsistence skills. We perform a meta-ethnography, which allows us (...) to systematically extract, summarize, and compare both quantitative and qualitative literature. We found 58 publications focusing on learning subsistence skills. Learning begins early in infancy, when parents take children on foraging expeditions and give them toy versions of tools. In early and middle childhood, children transition into the multi-age playgroup, where they learn skills through play, observation, and participation. By the end of middle childhood, most children are proficient food collectors. However, it is not until adolescence that adults begin directly teaching children complex skills such as hunting and complex tool manufacture. Adolescents seek to learn innovations from adults, but they themselves do not innovate. These findings support predictive models that find social learning should occur before individual learning. Furthermore, these results show that teaching does indeed exist in hunter-gatherer societies. And, finally, though children are competent foragers by late childhood, learning to extract more complex resources, such as hunting large game, takes a lifetime. (shrink)
This paper seeks to analyse an under-discussed kind of self-control, namely the control of thoughts and sensations. I distinguish first-order control from second-order control and argue that their central forms are intentional concentration and intentional mindfulness respectively. These correspond to two forms of meditation, concentration meditation and mindfulness meditation, which have been regarded as central both in the traditions in which the practices arose and in the scientific literature on meditation. I analyse them in terms of their characteristic intentions, distinguish (...) them from concentration and mindfulness in general, and examine the relations between them. Concentration involves keeping the mind focused on a single object, while mindfulness requires noticing whatever mental states occupy the focus of one’s consciousness. In the course of the investigation I examine the role of phenomenology and volition in the activity of meditating, and how they change as meditative capacities develop. (shrink)
Arthur Fine's Natural Ontological Attitude (NOA) is intended to provide an alternative to both realism and antirealism. I argue that the most plausible meaning of "natural" in NOA is "nonphilosophical," but that Fine comes to NOA through a particular conception of philosophy. I suggest that instead of a natural attitude we should adopt a philosophical attitude. This is one that is self-conscious, pragmatic, pluralistic, and sensitive to context. I conclude that when scientific realism and antirealism are viewed with a philosophical (...) attitude there are still legitimate philosophical questions to address. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to offer a classification of particulars in terms of their relations to spatiotemporal and spatial regions. It begins with an examination of spatiotemporal particulars, and then explores the extent to which a parallel account can be offered of continuants, or spatial particulars that can endure and change over time, assuming such particulars exist. For every spatial particular there are spatiotemporal particulars that can be described as its life and parts thereof. But not every time-slice (...) of a spatiotemporal particular yields a spatial region suitable for hosting a corresponding spatial particular. Events are spatiotemporal particulars though not all spatiotemporal particulars are events. Objects and states are spatial particulars though not all spatial particulars are objects or states. Spatial and spatiotemporal particulars can be either bare regions, or the contents or material contents of such regions, or property instantiations. It is left open whether events are contents of regions, property instantiations, or both. But it is argued that objects are material contents of spatial regions while states of objects are property instantiations. Spatiotemporal particulars can be changes or nonchanges. Events and states can be instantaneous while objects cannot. (shrink)
Although Ian Hacking’s meta-concept is frequently applied to historical cases, few theorists have questioned the very idea of a style of reasoning. Hacking himself considers Donald Davidson’s conceptual scheme argument to be the most formidable challenge to the style idea, but Hacking has set up a straw man in Davidson. Beyond Hacking’s own conclusion, that Davidson's narrow concern with meaning incommensurability does not apply to styles, which are not incommensurable in that way, there is the more obvious point that styles, (...) which do not organize or fit the world, are not the kind of schemes with which Davidson is concerned. In fact, Hacking agrees with Davidson, in that both propose we can argue over a topic only when we employ the same style of reasoning (a suggestion which I contend is not necessarily the case). Hacking has a more serious problem, in that he cannot remain a Kantian without justifying his style idea with a transcendental argument. But this kind of argument is only available to those who support a univocal notion of reason, which the very idea of a style seems to outlaw. He has overlooked the challenges which arise out of Arthur Fine’s NOA. Hacking’s attention to historical detail and unwillingness to employ transcendental arguments in support of his view renders him immune to Fine’s arguments against inference to the best explanation. But the list of the necessary and sufficient criteria which identify styles of reasoning cannot prevent the proliferation of (bogus) styles. Moreover, Fine’s call for openness in inquiry shifts the burden of proof against Hacking and calls for him to prove: 1) that we cannot understand the history of science without the style meta-concept and 2) that whenever we encounter a mystery, our first order of business should be to stand back and uncover the style of reasoning which makes the predicament possible, instead of getting directly to the business of solving the problem. According to Fine, some puzzles just happen. And there is no guarantee that uncovering the style, which identifies the topic as a topic, will have anything to do with solving the mystery. Not only is there no such guarantee, but Hacking’s position, if it is to sidestep Davidson’s critique, actually requires that styles play only the minimal role of identifying topics. Styles must be fairly trivial. Fine thinks it is deeply unnatural to view science as entertainment. Philosophers are not to shine their lights on the action and watch it unfold. Rather, we are all to join the performance, thereby eliminating the artificial boundary between actor and audience which we mistakenly call upon to reinforce the notion that the raw material of science constrains our reflections about it. (shrink)
Considering that negative intergroup emotions can hinder conflict resolution, we proposed integrative emotion regulation as possibly predicting conciliatory policies towards outgroups in violent conflict. Two studies examined Jewish Israelis’ self-reported IER, empathy, liberal attitudes, and support for humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza. Study 1 found that unlike reappraisal Jewish Israelis’ ability to explore emotions promoted concern for others’ emotions, which in turn predicted support for humanitarian aid. Study 2 replicated this mediation model, additionally confirming that liberal attitudes moderated the (...) relation between IER and support for humanitarian aid. Thus, IER linked more strongly with humanitarian support when the commitment for liberal egalitarian beliefs was high. Preliminary results hold important theoretical and practical implications regarding the potential to empathise with outgroup members in intractable conflicts. (shrink)
Models of set theory are constructed where the non-stationary ideal on PΩ1λ is presaturated. The initial model has a Woodin cardinal. Using the Lévy collapse the Woodin cardinal becomes λ+ in the final model. These models provide new information about the consistency strength of a presaturated ideal onPΩ1λ for λ greater than Ω1.