Current accounts suggest that self-referential thought serves a pivotal function in the human ability to simulate the future during mind-wandering. Using experience sampling, this hypothesis was tested in two studies that explored the extent to which self-reflection impacts both retrospection and prospection during mind-wandering. Study 1 demonstrated that a brief period of self-reflection yielded a prospective bias during mind-wandering such that participants’ engaged more frequently in spontaneous future than past thought. In Study 2, individual differences in the strength of self-referential (...) thought — as indexed by the memorial advantage for self rather than other-encoded items — was shown to vary with future thinking during mind-wandering. Together these results confirm that self-reflection is a core component of future thinking during mind-wandering and provide novel evidence that a key function of the autobiographical memory system may be to mentally simulate events in the future. (shrink)
[opening paragraph]: Walter Freeman discusses with Jean Burns some of the issues relating to consciousness in his recent book. Burns: To understand consciousness we need know its relationship to the brain, and to do that we need to know how the brain processes information. A lot of people think of brain processing in terms of individual neurons, and you're saying that brain processing should be understood in terms of dynamical states of populations?
My object in this paper is to suggest a few reflections on some themes in Bentham's work which others as well as I have noted, without perhaps developing them as fully as might with advantage be done. There will be nothing like full development in the limited compass of what is said here, but what is said may at least indicate possible directions for further exploration. The greater part of the paper will be concerned with the notion of natural authority; (...) but I want to begin by taking a broader, though no doubt rather superficial, view of the role in Bentham's thinking of the concepts of ‘nature’ and ‘the natural’. (shrink)
The object of this article is to examine, with the work of Jeremy Bentham as the principal example, one strand in the complex pattern of European social theory during the second half of the eighteenth century. This was of course the period not only of the American and French revolutions, but of the culmination of the movements of thought constituting what we know as the Enlightenment. Like all great historical episodes, the Enlightenment was both the fulfilment of long-established processes and (...) the inauguration of new processes of which the fulfilment lay in the future. Thus the seminal ideas of seventeenth-century rationalism realized and perhaps exhausted their potentialities in the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. The ideas with which this article is concerned, however—conveniently grouped and labelled as the ideas of utilitarianism—only began to achieve systematic development in these later decades of the eighteenth century. Within that period—during the first half and more of Bentham's long life—attempts to apply those ideas to the solution of social problems met largely with failure and frustration. Yet unrealized potentialities remained, the realization of which was reserved for a time when the world of the philosophes no longer existed. The movements for social and political reform which have played so large a part in modern history since the French Revolution may be judged in widely differing ways; but whatever the verdict, these movements surely cannot be understood without due consideration of that part of their origins which lies in eighteenth-century utilitarianism. (shrink)
In the Summa Theologiae ‘simplicity’ is treated as pre–eminent among the terms which may properly be used to describe the divine nature. The Question in which Thomas demonstrates that God must be ‘totally and in every way simple’ immediately follows the five proofs of God's existence, preceding the treatment of His other perfections, and being frequently used as the basis for proving them. Then in Question 13 ‘univocal predication' is held to be ‘impossible between God and creatures’ so that at (...) best ‘some things are said of God and creatures analogically’ because of the necessity of using ‘various and multiplied conceptions’ derived from our knowledge of created beings to refer to what in God is simple for ‘the perfections flowing from God to creatures… pre–exist in God unitedly and simply, whereas in creatures they are received divided and multiplied’ . In line with this, in the De Potentia Dei the treatment of analogical predication is integrated into that of ‘the Simplicity of the Divine Essence’ . Moreover, it lies at the root of Thomas's rejection of any possibility of a Trinitarian natural theology such as, for instance, St Anselm or Richard of St Victor had attempted to develop, on the grounds that ‘it is impossible to attain to the knowledge of the Trinity by natural reason’ since ‘we can know what belongs to the unity of the essence, but not what belongs to the distinction of the persons’ . Even modern minds sympathetic to Thomas have clearly found it difficult to understand his concern for the divine simplicity: in his Aquinas Lecture Plantinga speaks for many in stating that it is ‘a mysterious doctrine’ which is ‘exceedingly hard to grasp or construe’ and ‘it is difficult to see why anyone should be inclined to accept it’. Not surprisingly, therefore, some of the most widely read twentieth–century commentators on Aquinas have paid little attention to it. Increased interest has recently been shown in it, but a number of discussions pay insufficient attention to the historical context out of which Thomas's interest in the doctrine emerged, and consequently tend to misconstrue its nature. (shrink)
Many philosophers maintain that causation is to be explicated in terms of a kind of dependence between cause and effect. These “dependence” theories are opposed by “production” accounts which hold that there is some more fundamental causal “oomph”. A wide range of experimental research on everyday causal judgments seems to indicate that ordinary people operate primarily with a dependence-based notion of causation. For example, people tend to say that absences and double preventers are causes. We argue that the impression that (...) commonsense causal discourse is largely dependence-based is the result of focusing on a very narrow class of causal verbs. Almost all of the vignette-based experimental work on causal judgment has been prosecuted using the word “cause”. But much ordinary causal discourse involves special causal verbs, such as “burn” and “crack”. We find that these verbs display a quite different pattern from the verb “cause”. For instance, for absences and double preventers (Studies 1-3), we find that while people are inclined to say that X caused Y to burn, turn, crack or start, they are less inclined to think that X burned, turned, cracked or started Y. In Study 4, we find that for chains involving a distal and proximal event, people are inclined to say that the distal event is not a special cause of the outcome, though it is a “cause” of the outcome. Together, we find a surprising double dissociation between “cause” and a stock of special causal verbs. We conclude by suggesting that much commonsense causal judgment, which heavily trades in special causal verbs, might be better captured by production-based accounts of causation. (shrink)
Attempts to model interstellar colonization may seem hopelessly compromised by uncertainties regarding the technologies and preferences of advanced civilizations. If light speed limits travel speeds, however, then a selection effect may eventually determine frontier behavior. Making weak assumptions about colonization technology, we use this selection effect to predict colonists’ behavior, including which oases they colonize, how long they stay there, how many seeds they then launch, how fast and far those seeds fly, and how behavior changes with increasing congestion. This (...) colonization model explains several astrophysical puzzles, predicting lone oases like ours, amid large quiet regions with vast unused resources. (shrink)
This paper argues that T.M. Scanlon’s contractualism can provide a solution to the non-identity problem. It first argues that there is no reason not to include future people in the realm of those to whom we owe justification, but that merely possible people are not included. It then goes on to argue that a person could reasonably reject a principle that left them with a barely worth living life even though that principle caused them to exist, and that current people (...) could not justify creating people with barely worth living lives on the grounds that it caused those people to exist. (shrink)
Please imagine a long fuse hanging down from the ceiling. It is a carefully woven tube of fabric that holds a core of gunpowder. We note that it is beautifully made, with brightly colored threads intertwined with the coarser bare cotton. It a masterpiece of the modern weaver's art.
This contains an extended and wide ranging bibliography, beginning with the seventeenth century, of works relevant to the problem of miracles and Hume’s essay. It is especially useful for the problem in its historical setting.
In this article, I extend the feminist use of Friedrich Nietzsche’s account of memory and forgetting to consider the contemporary externalization of memory foregrounded by transgender experience. Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals argues that memory is “burnt in” to the forgetful body as a necessary part of subject-formation and the requirements of a social order. Feminist philosophers have employed Nietzsche’s account to illuminate how gender, as memory, becomes embodied. While the account of the “burnt in” repetitions of gender allows (...) us to theorize processes of embodied identity on an individual level, analyzing gender today requires also accounting for how gender is externalized. I take up this question through the specific examples of identity documents and sex-segregated bathrooms. Returning to Nietzsche’s call to practice a resistant forgetting, I conclude by exploring the distinct strategies required to disrupt externalized memory. These strategies include contesting the use of past gender assignments in data collection and rewriting architectural reminders of gender. (shrink)
This paper explores what could be wrong with the fact of human extinction. I first present four reasons why we might consider human extinction to be wrong: it would prevent millions of people from being born; it would mean the loss of rational life and civilization; it would cause existing people to suffer pain or death; it would involve various psychological traumas. I argue that looking at the question from a contractualist perspective, only reasons and are admissible. I then consider (...) what implications this limitation on reasons has for the wrongfulness of various forms of human extinction. (shrink)
Due in part to a growing realization of the importance of the role that retailing plays in the marketing channel, and to the increasing numbers of college graduates being employed by retailers, growing attention is being placed on business students'' ethical perceptions of retailing practices. This study continues this focus by examining the ethical perceptions of collegiate business students attending two different universities which likely represent two different microcultures — conservative evangelical Protestant and secular.The results suggest that ethical perceptions may (...) vary between the students attending two universities which likely represent differing microcultures. The students attending the conservative evangelical Protestant university appear to possess ethical perceptions which are significantly more ethical than those of students attending the public university. Evidence was observed, therefore, which suggests that ethical perceptions may vary across students from differing microcultures. (shrink)
Burns, C. R. Introduction.--Antiquity: Margalith, D. The ideal doctor as depicted in ancient Hebrew writings. Edelstein, L. The Hippocratic oath. Edelstein, L. The professional ethics of the Greek physician. Michler, M. Medical ethics in Hippocratic bone surgery. Maas, P. L., Oliver, J. H. An ancient poem on the duties of a physician.--The medieval era: Levey, M. Medical deontology in ninth century Islam. Bar-Sela, A., Hoff, H. E. Isaac Israeli's fifty admonitions of the physicians. Rosner, F. The physician's prayer attributed (...) to Moses Maimonides. MacKinney, L. C. Medical ethics and etiquette in the early middle ages, the persistence of Hippocratic ideals. Welborn, M. C. The long tradition, a study in fourteenth-century medical deontology.--The modern period: Larkey, S. V. The Hippocratic oath in Elizabethan England. Pleadwell, F. L. Samuel Sorbiere and his Advice to a young physician. Clark, G. Bernard Mandeville, M.D., and eighteenth-century ethics. Burns, C. R. Thomas Percival, medical ethics or medical jurisprudence? Burns, C. R. Reciprocity in the development of Anglo-American medical ethics, 1765-1865. Williams, T. F. Cabot, Peabody, and the care of the patient. (shrink)
In her recent paper ‘The Epistemology of Propaganda’ Rachel McKinnon discusses what she refers to as ‘TERF propaganda’. We take issue with three points in her paper. The first is her rejection of the claim that ‘TERF’ is a misogynistic slur. The second is the examples she presents as commitments of so-called ‘TERFs’, in order to establish that radical (and gender critical) feminists rely on a flawed ideology. The third is her claim that standpoint epistemology can be used to establish (...) that such feminists are wrong to worry about a threat of male violence in relation to trans women. In Section 1 we argue that ‘TERF’ is not a merely descriptive term; that to the extent that McKinnon offers considerations in support of the claim that ‘TERF’ is not a slur, these considerations fail; and that ‘TERF’ is a slur according to several prominent accounts in the contemporary literature. In Section 2, we argue that McKinnon misrepresents the position of gender critical feminists, and in doing so fails to establish the claim that the ideology behind these positions is flawed. In Section 3 we argue that McKinnon’s criticism of Stanley fails, and one implication of this is that those she characterizes as ‘positively privileged’ cannot rely on the standpoint-relative knowledge of those she characterizes as ‘negatively privileged’. We also emphasize in this section McKinnon’s failure to understand and account for multiple axes of oppression, of which the cis/trans axis is only one. (shrink)
A major and timely re-examination of key areas in the social and political thought of Hegel and Marx. The editors' extensive introduction surveys the development of the connection from the Young Hegelians through the main Marxist thinkers to contemporary debates. Leading scholars including Terrell Carver, Chris Arthur, and Gary Browning debate themes such as: the nature of the connection itself scientific method political economy the Hegelian basis to Marxs' "Doctoral Dissertation" human needs history and international relations.
The last decade has seen the transformation of the study of sexuality from a marginalized effort to a fully respected discipline at many major universities. There are numerous publications devoted solely to the topic and queer theory, a force to be reckoned with, has its own celebrities. Nonetheless, queer studies is considered to be the brainchild of the humanities, with the social sciences slowly coming around to apply its principles to empirical research. Long, Slow Burn, a powerful collection of essays (...) by Kath Weston, argues that social science has been talking about sex all along; to deny this one would have to overlook Kinsey's pioneering sex research in the 1950s, or the psychiatrist Evelyn Hooker's pathbreaking study of homosexuality, but also in the "sex talk" that lies at the heart of classic debates on kinship, inequality, cognition, and other foundational topics in the social sciences. What is different now, Weston claims, is the way sexuality has been isolated from other contemporary issues. Long, Slow Burn lays out a radically different approach to the study of sexuality. Not content with its ghettoization as a contained subfield, Weston refuses to draw an artificial line around sexuality. Her essays do not attempt to make sexuality a discrete object of study. Rather, each essay "sexes up" a conventional subject, such as kinship, race or labor, proving that once you start paying attention to sexuality, you can never look at social issues in the same way again. Long, Slow Burn offers an intervention, an attempt to see sexuality as it permeates the multiple fibers of our social fabric. It demonstrates that sexuality has always been a part of the social sciences, but more importantly, is the key to their future. (shrink)
The full range of Bentham's engagement with Blackstone's view of law is beyond the scope of a single article. Yet it is important to recognize at the outset, even in a more restricted enquiry into the matter, that the engagement, begun when Bentham, not quite sixteen years of age, started to attend Blackstone's Oxford lectures, was indeed a lifelong affair. Whatever Bentham had in mind when, at the age of eighty, in 1828, he began to write a work entitled ‘A (...) familar view of Blackstone: or say Blackstone familiarized’, the manuscripts at least suffice to prove that ‘Our Author’ was still in the forefront of his mind at that octogenarian but still indefatigably active stage of his career. Every aspect of Bentham's multifarious intellectual activity over the intervening decades had been touched in some measure by his response to Blackstone's ideas. It still seems true to say what was said a dozen years ago: It would be an exaggeration to say that Bentham elaborated his own conception of law by way of a constant and conscious dialectic with the views of Blackstone. But it would be an exaggeration for which the evidence would afford some excuse. (shrink)