In contrast to symbolic or associationist representations, I advocate a third form of representing information that employs geometrical structures. I argue that this form is appropriate for modelling concept learning. By using the geometrical structures of what I call conceptual spaces, I define properties and concepts. A learning model that shows how properties and concepts can be learned in a simple but naturalistic way is then presented. I also discuss the advantages of the geometric approach over the symbolic and associationist (...) traditions. (shrink)
This is a study of how self-transformation may occur through the practice of reframing one's personal experience in terms of a canonical language: that is, a system of symbols that purports to explain something about human beings and the universe they live in. The Christian conversion narrative is used as the primary example here, but the approach used in this book also illuminates other practices such as psychotherapy in which people deal with emotional conflict through language.
Woolcock, Peter G A topic much exercising the minds of religious believers at the moment is whether or not science and religion are natural enemies. The Religion and Ethics program on the ABC's Radio National, for example, has recently provided access on its website to a series of articles on the topic, with titles such as Science or Naturalism? The Contradictions of Richard Dawkins; Christianity and the Rise of Western Science; Did Darwin Defeat God?; Does Science Make Belief in (...) God Obsolete?; Does Science Preclude Belief in Science; Genesis Created Science; Lawrence Krauss's Deficiencies; Theology Must Save Science from Naturalism, just to mention a few. As these titles suggest, the Religion and Ethics program is clearly on a mission to defend religion against the onslaught of philosophical materialism, presenting (as it does) only articles that argue either for the compatibility of science and religion or for the dependence of science on religion. My aim here is to redress the balance. Yes, science and religion are best understood as natural enemies. (shrink)
A selective view of the relationship of censorship and free speech to the individual and society. The author does not take for granted that censorship is wrong, but equally what he has written is in no way an apology for censorship. He offers no solution to the problem of the proper extent of censorship in a society. Instead, he hopes to show that censorship, and more widely, other restrictions on freedom, cannot be considered in a self-contained way but have implications (...) of which the advocate of unrestricted freedom for the individual in matters of opinion seems surprisingly unaware. (shrink)
In this important book Peter G. Brown seeks to chart a new future for the species that share the earth. He offers an innovative, yet historically grounded, argument for human rights to bodily integrity; to moral, religious, and political choice; and to subsistence that all persons owe each other irrespective of nationality. He also argues that we have direct moral obligations to non-humans - he calls this 'respect for the commonwealth of life'. Honouring these obligations requires a thorough regrounding (...) of human institutions. Through a series of careful arguments the reader is shown: *How we could reconceptualise economics from a growth orientation to an economics of stewardship as a moral end.*How governments could be thought of as trustees to protect human rights and commonwealth of life.*How civil society could be organised and property rights reconceptualised in service of these objectives.The book concludes with the argument that traditional prerogatives of nation states need to be transparent to enforceable international standards concerning human rights and the commonwealth of life, and offers a practical agenda for beginning this fundamental reorientation. (shrink)
The view that metaphysics is a waste of time appears to be gaining in popularity. It is held openly by many scientists and even many philosophers. I argue here that this is a consequence of the way metaphysics is usually done and the futility of a certain approach to it, and not a reason to suppose there is no useful knowledge to be acquired from its study. -/- .
The relationship between the Russell's 'Western' philosophy, which remains for the most part the philosophy of the modern university department, and the 'Perennial' or 'non-dual' philosophy of Plotinus, the Buddha and Lao Tsu is not widely understood. We examine this relationship by reference to the Noble Nagarjuna and his explanation of the antinomies of metaphysics. We suggest that in respect of logical analysis the relationship is a simple one since all clear-thinking philosophers must converge on the same results.
There is a widespread view that Buddhist philosophy embodies logical contradictions such that there would be 'true' contradictions, This article explains that this is not the case and that Buddhist philosophy, more generally the Perennial philosophy, denies all contradictions for the sake of a doctrine of Unity.
Some time ago, in an article for the Journal of Consciousness Studies, David Chalmers challenged his peers to identify the ingredient missing from our current theories of consciousness, the absence of which prevents us from solving the 'hard' problem and forces us to make do with nonreductive theories. Here I respond to this challenge. I suggest that consciousness is a metaphysical problem and as such can be solved only within a global metaphysical theory. Such a theory would look very like (...) the information theory proposed by Chalmers, but with the addition of an extra phenomenon that would allow it to become fundamental. (shrink)
The difficulties of philosophy reflects the nature of reality. Here it is proposed that the inability of scholastic philosophers to solve philosophical problems is a clear indication that neither philosophy nor reality is as complicated as they believe, but that its conceptual simplification cannot be achieved when we reject nondualism and endorse extreme and partial world-theories.
A tongue-in-cheek marketing review of university philosophy prompted by a slow-down in sales and mounting criticism of the product. These problems are diagnosed as the consequence of an inward-looking culture that encourages a narrow and fixed focus on selling the traditional product while discouraging examination of its competitors.
Mysticism claims of its logical scheme that it is Euclidean, that from its first axiom or principle the remainder of its doctrine follows, but it makes this claim in so many languages and in such a variety of obscure and self-contradictory ways that it is difficult to discern how this could be possible, and it is rarely considered a plausible claim in metaphysics. I believe it is plausible, and in this essay I try to explain why. -/- .
More than thirty-five years ago, a longitudinal study was established to research the health and well-being of older people living in an English city. Self and Meaning in the Lives of Older People provides a unique set of portraits of forty members of this group who were interviewed in depth from their later seventies onwards. Focusing on sense of self-esteem and, especially, of continued meaning in life following the loss of a spouse and onset of frailty, this book sensitively illustrates (...) these persons' efforts to maintain independence, to continue to have a sense of belonging and to contribute to the lives of others. It examines both the psychological and the social resources needed to flourish in later life and draws attention to this generation's ability to benefit from strong family support and from belonging to a faith community. In conclusion, it questions whether future generations will be as resilient. (shrink)
This innovative volume brings together specialists in international relations to tackle a set of difficult questions about what it means to live in a globalized world where the purpose and direction of world politics are no longer clear-cut. What emerges from these essays is a very clear sense that while we may be living in an era that lacks a single, universal purpose, ours is still a world replete with meaning. The authors in this volume stress the need for a (...) pluralistic conception of meaning in a globalized world and demonstrate how increased communication and interaction in transnational spaces work to produce complex tapestries of culture and politics. Meaning and International Relations also makes an original and convincing case for the relevance of hermeneutic approaches to understanding contemporary international relations. (shrink)
Faced with this divergence of views, the studies in this book therefore focus on the broader issue of whether archaeologists and other cultural heritage experts should ever work with the military, and if so, under what guidelines and ...
Peter G. Brown and Jeremy J. Smith (eds): Water Ethics: Foundational Readings for Students and Professionals Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9310-x Authors Neelke Doorn, Department of Technology Policy and Management, Section of Philosophy, 3TU. Centre of Ethics and Technology/Delft University of Technology, PO Box 5015, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
In recent years, observational techniques at cosmological distances have been sufficiently improved that cosmology has become an empirical science, rather than a field for unchecked speculation. There remains the fact that its object, the whole universe, exists only once; hence, we are unable to separate “general” features from particular aspects of “our” universe. This might not be a serious drawback if we were justified in the belief that presently accepted laws of nature remain valid on the cosmological scale. In the (...) author's opinion, however, there are grounds for doubting that belief. The three arguments presented are (1) the possibility that apparent constants of nature may, during cosmological times, turn out to vary (Dirac conjecture); (2) the effective breakdown of the principle of relativity caused by the effects of the cosmological environment on local experiments; and (3) the fact that present theory leads to field singularities at the early stages of the expanding universe, which might be a signal that currently accepted theoretical concepts are inadequate for an understanding of highly condensed matter. (shrink)
Gert H. Müller The growth of the number of publications in almost all scientific areas,· as in the area of (mathematical) logic, is taken as a sign of our scientifically minded culture, but it also has a terrifying aspect. In addition, given the rapidly growing sophistica tion, specialization and hence subdivision of logic, researchers, students and teachers may have a hard time getting an overview ofthe existing literature, partic ularly if they do not have an extensive library available in their (...) neighbourhood: they simply do not even know what to ask for! More specifically, if someone vaguely knows that something vaguely connected with his interests exists some where in the literature, he may not be able to find it even by searching through the publications scattered in the review journals. Answering this challenge was and is the central motivation for compiling this Bibliography. The Bibliography comprises (presently) the following six volumes (listed with the corresponding Editors): I. Classical Logic W. Rautenberg II. Non-c1assical Logics W. Rautenberg IH. Model Theory H. -D. Ebbinghaus IV. Recursion Theory P. G. Hinman V. Set Theory A. R. Blass VI. ProofTheory; Constructive Mathematics J. E. Kister; D. van Dalen & A. S. Troelstra. (shrink)
Harris finds the spirit of Hegel in his systematic thinking unified by dialectical logic, his uncompromising realism, and his powerful responses to the dilemmas of modernity in his time and ours. Writing from a lifetime of knowledge and obvious erudition about the history of philosophy, recurring central questions of philosophy, and modern science over the past few centuries, Harris seeks to revive interest in Hegel's philosophical thought and to indicate its relevance to the present.