People outside France have always wondered why analytical philosophy has had so little influence in this country, while it has gained currency in many other European countries, such as Germany and Italy, not to speak of Northern Europe, where the analytical tradition is strongly established. This can be explained only by a particular conjunction of historical, cultural, sociological and maybe economical factors, which it would be too long to detail here. If there are natural characters of nations, there is no (...) reason to believe that there are no philosophical characters of nations. As Hume said, the characters of nations can have physical as well as moral causes. As for the physical causes, everybody in Britain knows how insular the Continent can be. So if there is such a thing as French analytical philosophy, nobody will be surprised to learn that it is very insular. Before presenting some of the work done by French philosophers related to the analytical tradition, let me try to give what I take to be some of the moral causes of their insularity. (shrink)
Engel argues that, although the minimalist conception of truth is basically right, it does not follow that truth can be eliminated from our philosophical thinking, as is claimed by some radical deflationists. In particular, he shows that some deflationist views have a definitively relativist and "postmodernist" ring and should be rejected. Even if a metaphysically substantive theory of truth has little chance to succeed, he argues, truth plays a central role as a norm or guiding value of our rational (...) inquiries and practices in the philosophy of knowledge and in ethics. (shrink)
As part of the conference commemorating Theoria's 75th anniversary, a round table discussion on philosophy publishing was held in Bergendal, Sollentuna, Sweden, on 1 October 2010. Bengt Hansson was the chair, and the other participants were eight editors-in-chief of philosophy journals: Hans van Ditmarsch (Journal of Philosophical Logic), Pascal Engel (Dialectica), Sven Ove Hansson (Theoria), Vincent Hendricks (Synthese), Søren Holm (Journal of Medical Ethics), Pauline Jacobson (Linguistics and Philosophy), Anthonie Meijers (Philosophical Explorations), Henry S. Richardson (Ethics) and Hans Rott (...) (Erkenntnis). (shrink)
Pascal Engel | : À partir d’une typologie des formes de connaissance, je soutiens qu’il y a trois formes principales de connaissance littéraire : cognitive propositionnelle, affective et pratique. La conception propositionnelle est erronée : la littérature ne fournit pas directement une forme de savoir que. La conception affective ou expressiviste peut au mieux dire qu’il y a des effets cognitifs des oeuvres littéraires. La conception pratique a le plus de chances d’être correcte, mais seulement si l’on accepte l’idée (...) que le savoir pratique est en partie basé sur le savoir propositionnel. | : Starting from a typology of kinds of knowledge, I argue that there are three basic conceptions of literary knowledge : cognitive propositional, affective , and practical. The cognitive conception is misguided : literary knowledge cannot be directly a form of knowledge that. The affective or expressivist conception is too weak : it can at best amount to the idea that there are cognitive effects of literary works. The practical conception is the most promising, but only if one accepts that knowing how is partly based on knowing that and propositional knowledge. (shrink)
La logique occupe dans la pensée contemporaine une place privilégiée : elle est, pour certains, une méthode universelle et, pour d'autres, l'accomplissement d'une rationalité arrogante.Pascal Engel montre combien les questions philosophiques que soulève la logique sont, au-delà de leur apparente technicité, des plus classiques. La logique, en effet, circonscrit le domaine du vrai : quelle est la nature des vérités logiques? En quoi se distinguent-elles des autres vérités et sont-elles «nécessaires» ou «a priori»? Décrivent-elles les lois d'un univers immuable (...) ou sont-elles des règles et des conventions linguistiques que nous pourrions changer à notre guise? Les inférences dont traite la logique et que l'on dit souvent triviales peuvent-elles être fécondes, comme le soutenait Leibniz, par la seule «force de la forme»? Et qu'est-ce qu'une forme logique?Faire une philosophie de la logique, ce n'est pas seulement inventorier des formes, c'est surtout analyser leurs conditions d'application au langage, à la pensée et à la réalité. Ainsi la logique retrouve-t-elle sa place : celle d'une théorie des conditions normatives de la rationalité, d'une norme du vrai. (shrink)
This 6th edition of S. Morris Engel's engaging and critical work preserves the strengths of the earlier editions_intriguing examples and timely reflections on the major fields of philosophical inquiry by some of the most important minds in the history of ideas _and expands the discussions of those fields. The new edition also incorporates expanded explorations of contemporary discussions in fields of continental and analytic philosophy, theories of justice, and feminism.
The Unfinished Revolution compares the post-Second World War histories of the American and British gay and lesbian movements with an eye toward understanding how distinct political institutional environments affect the development, strategies, goals, and outcomes of a social movement. Stephen M. Engel utilizes an electic mix of source materials ranging from the theories of Mancur Olson and Michel Foucault to Supreme Court rulings and film and television dialogue. The two case study chapters function as brief historical sketches to elucidate (...) further the conclusions on theory and whilst being politically-oriented, they also examine gay influence and expansion into mainstream popular culture. The book also includes an appendix that surveys and assesses the analytical potential of five critical understandings of social movements: the classical approach, rational choice, resource mobilization, new social movement theories, and political opportunity structures. It will be of value to academics and students of sociology, political science, and history. (shrink)
An action-oriented perspective changes the role of an individual from a passive observer to an actively engaged agent interacting in a closed loop with the world as well as with others. Cognition exists to serve action within a landscape that contains both. This chapter surveys this landscape and addresses the status of the pragmatic turn. Its potential influence on science and the study of cognition are considered (including perception, social cognition, social interaction, sensorimotor entrainment, and language acquisition) and its impact (...) on how neuroscience is studied is also investigated (with the notion that brains do not passively build models, but instead support the guidance of action). A review of its implications in robotics and engineering includes a discussion of the application of enactive control principles to couple action and perception in robotics as well as the conceptualization of system design in a more holistic, less modular manner. Practical applications that can impact the human condition are reviewed (e.g., educational applications, treatment possibilities for developmental and psychopathological disorders, the development of neural prostheses). All of this foreshadows the potential societal implications of the pragmatic turn. The chapter concludes that an action-oriented approach emphasizes a continuum of interaction between technical aspects of cognitive systems and robotics, biology, psychology, the social sciences, and the humanities, where the individual is part of a grounded cultural system. (shrink)
Normative accounts of the correctness of belief have often been misconstrued. The norm of truth for belief is a constitutive norm which regulates our beliefs through ideals of reason. I try to show that this kind of account can meet some of the main objections which have been raised against normativism about belief: that epistemic reasons enjoy no exclusivity, that the norm of truth does not guide, and that normativism cannot account for suspension of judgement.
Theories of binding have recently come into the focus of the consciousness debate. In this review, we discuss the potential relevance of temporal binding mechanisms for sensory awareness. Specifically, we suggest that neural synchrony with a precision in the millisecond range may be crucial for conscious processing, and may be involved in arousal, perceptual integration, attentional selection and working memory. Recent evidence from both animal and human studies demonstrates that specific changes in neuronal synchrony occur during all of these processes (...) and that they are distinguished by the emergence of fast oscillations with frequencies in the gamma-range. (shrink)
Cognitive functions like perception, memory, language, or consciousness are based on highly parallel and distributed information processing by the brain. One of the major unresolved questions is how information can be integrated and how coherent representational states can be established in the distributed neuronal systems subserving these functions. It has been suggested that this so-called ''binding problem'' may be solved in the temporal domain. The hypothesis is that synchronization of neuronal discharges can serve for the integration of distributed neurons into (...) cell assemblies and that this process may underlie the selection of perceptually and behaviorally relevant information. As we intend to show here, this temporal binding hypothesis has implications for the search of the neural correlate of consciousness. We review experimental results, mainly obtained in the visual system, which support the notion of temporal binding. In particular, we discuss recent experiments on the neural mechanisms of binocular rivalry which suggest that appropriate synchronization among cortical neurons may be one of the necessary conditions for the buildup of perceptual states and awareness of sensory stimuli. (shrink)
This article discusses the arguments against associating epistemic responsibility with the ordinary notion of agency. I examine the various 'Kantian' views which lead to a distinctive conception of epistemic agency and epistemic responsibility. I try to explain why we can be held responsible for our beliefs in the sense of obeying norms which regulate them without being epistemic agents.
Belief is not a unified phenomenon. In this paper I argue, as a number of other riters argue, that one should distinguish a variety of belief-like attitudes: believing proper - a dispositional state which can have degrees - holding true - which can occur without understanding what one believes - and accepting - a practical and contextual attitude that has a role in deliberation and in practical reasoning. Acceptance itself is not a unified attitude. I explore the various relationships and (...) differences between these doxastic attitudes, and claim that although acceptance is distinct from belief, it rests upon it, and is therefore a species of belief. (shrink)
The knowledge account of assertion (KAA) is the view that assertion is governed by the norm that the speaker should know what s/he asserts. It is not the purpose of this article to examine all the criticisms nor to try to give a full defence of KAA, but only to defend it against the charge of being normatively incorrect. It has been objected that assertion is governed by other norms than knowledge, or by no norm at all. It seems to (...) me, however, that a number of these criticisms are based on a number of misunderstandings of the notion of a norm and of the way it can regulated a given practice. Once we spell out in what sense knowledge can play a normative role in this context, the KAA appears much more plausible. (shrink)
How physicians approach patients and the problems they present is much influenced by the conceptual models around which their knowledge is organized. In this paper the implications of the biopsychosocial model for the study and care of a patient with an acute myocardial infarction are presented and contrasted with approaches used by adherents of the more traditional biomedical model. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
Creating education systems that promote democratic sustainability has been the concern of political thinkers as diverse as J. S. Mill, Dewey, Benjamin Barber and Derek Bok. The classic dichotomisation of democratic theory between deliberative democrats and Schumpeterian democrats suggests that education in the service of democracy can be constructive—that is, provide a student with the skills necessary to elect her leaders without changing her nature—or reconstructive—that is, fundamentally and radically reshape the student to produce a citizen whose goals are transformed (...) to be congruent with society. Michael Oakeshott, who has written extensively both on political regimes and on the purpose of liberal education, offers a third way to assess the connection between government and education. Despite his own dismissal of civic or political education as fundamentally vocational and thus beyond the boundaries of the liberal arts, this paper provides a potentially surprising Oakeshottian defence of political education within the liberal arts with reference to the importance he places on experience as a pedagogic tool. Thus, Oakeshott's educational philosophy has a certain resonance with the recent calls to locate the relevance of liberal arts within the burgeoning development of experiential civic engagement programmes in American universities. (shrink)
The issue of benefits in international clinical research is highly controversial. Against the background of wide recognition of the need to share benefits of research, the nature of benefits remains strongly contested. Little is known about the perspectives of research populations on this issue and the extent to which research ethics discourses and guidelines are salient to the expectations and aspirations existing on the ground. This exploratory study contributes to filling this void by examining perspectives of people in low-income South (...) African communities on benefits in international clinical research. Twenty-four individuals with and without experience of being involved in clinical research participated in in-depth interviews. Respondents felt that ancillary care should be provided to clinical research participants, while a clinical study conducted in particular community should bring better health to its members through post-trial benefits. Respondents' perspectives were grounded in the perception that the ultimate goal of international clinical research is to improve local health. We argue that perspectives and understandings of the respondents are shaped by local moral traditions rather than clinical research specificities and require attention as valid moral claims. It is necessary to acknowledge such claims and cultural worlds from which they emerge, thus building the foundation for equal and embracing dialogue to bridge different perspectives and handle contradicting expectations. (shrink)
Sosa takes epistemic normativity to be kind of performance normativity: a belief is correct because a believer sets a positive value to truth as an aim and performs aptly and adroitly. I object to this teleological picture that beliefs are not performances, and that epistemic reasons or beliefs cannot be balanced against practical reasons. Although the picture fits the nature of inquiry, it does not fit the normative nature of believing, which has to be conceived along distinct lines.
These replies to commentators on my work focus on the nature of epistemic norms, on the nature of truth and on the nature and value of knowledge. A normative account of belief and knowledge is committed to substantial and objective epistemic norms. But not everyone agrees on their form. I try here to reply to some doubts raised by my critics.
The identity theory of truth, according to which true thoughts are identical with facts, is very hard to formulate. It oscillates between substantive versions, which are implausible, and a merely truistic version, which is difficult to distinguish from deflationism about truth. This tension is present in the form of identity theory that one can attribute to McDowell from his views on perception, and in the conception defended by Hornsby under that name.
There are mental actions, and a number of epistemic attitudes involve activity. But can there be epistemic agency? I argue that there is a limit to any claim that we can be epistemic agents, which is that the structure of reasons for epistemic attitudes differs fundamentally from the structure of reasons for actions. The main differences are that we cannot act for the wrong reasons although we can believe for the wrong reasons, and that reasons for beliefs are exclusive in (...) a sense in which our reasons for actions are not. Epistemic agency is possible in the weak sense that we can be active, but not in the strong one in which we could have some elbow room for our epistemic reasons in reasoning leading to beliefs and other epistemic states. (shrink)
I discuss Ruth Marcus' conception of beliefs as dispositional states related to possible states of affaires. While I agree with Marcus that this conception accounts for the necessary distinction between belief and linguistic assent, I argue that the relationship between dispositional beliefs and our assent attitudes is more complex, and should include other mental states, such as acceptances, which, although they contain voluntary elements, are further layers of dispositional doxastic attitudes.
Simon Blackburn has shown that there is an analogy between the problem of moral motivation in ethics (how can moral reasons move us?) and the problem of what we might call the power of logical reasons (how can logical reasons move us, what is the force of the 'logical must?'). In this paper, I explore further the parallel between the internalism problem in ethics and the problem of the power of logical reasons, and defend a version of psychologism about reasons, (...) although not one of the Humean form. I discuss two forms of cognitivism: (i) a pure cognitivism and 'hard' realism modelled after Dancy's parallel conception in ethics: when we grasp logical reasons we grasp facts, which are directly known to us; (ii) a Kantian form of cognitivism, based on the idea that compulsion by reason goes with the capacity of reflection. I argue that (i) is implausible, and that (ii) fails to meet the internalist requirement. One would then seem to be left with what Dancy calls, about practical reasoning, psychologism about reasons. I sketch what might be such a psychologism. But it fails to account for the objectivity of logical reasons. I argue that the relevant state here is a form of dispositional knowledge of logical reasons. (shrink)
This paper tries to say in what sense truth is a norm, a thesis that Donald Davidson, whose view are examined, denies. After skteching his conception of rationality, it is argued that truth is a norm in only the sense that we ought to believe what we believe is true, not that we all to believe everything which is true. This minimal norm of truth is isolated and defended.