In this timely and wide-ranging study, Karsten Stueber argues that empathy is epistemically central for our folk-psychological understanding of other agents--that it is something we cannot do without in order to gain understanding of other minds. Setting his argument in the context of contemporary philosophy of mind and the interdisciplinary debate about the nature of our mindreading abilities, Stueber counters objections raised by some in the philosophy of social science and argues that it is time to rehabilitate the empathy thesis.Empathy, (...) regarded at the beginning of the twentieth century as the fundamental method of gaining knowledge of other minds, has suffered a century of philosophical neglect. Stueber addresses the plausible philosophical misgivings about empathy that have been responsible for its failure to gain widespread philosophical acceptance.Crucial in this context is his defense of the assumption, very much contested in contemporary philosophy of mind, that the notion of rational agency is at the core of folk psychology. Stueber then discusses the contemporary debate between simulation theorists--who defend various forms of the empathy thesis--and theory theorists. In distinguishing between basic and reenactive empathy, he provides a new interpretive framework for the investigation into our mindreading capacities. Finally, he considers epistemic objections to empathy raised by the philosophy of social science that have been insufficiently discussed in contemporary debates. Empathy theorists, Stueber writes, should be prepared to admit that, although empathy can be regarded as the central default mode for understanding other agents, there are certain limitations in its ability to make sense of other agents; and there are supplemental theoretical strategies available to overcome these limitations. (shrink)
_Rediscovering Aesthetics_ brings together prominent international voices from art history, philosophy, and artistic practice to discuss the current role of aesthetics within and across their disciplines. Following a period in which theories and histories of art, art criticism, and artistic practice seemed to focus exclusively on political, social, or empirical interpretations of art, aesthetics is being rediscovered both as a vital arena for discussion and a valid interpretive approach outside its traditional philosophical domain. This volume is distinctive, because it provides (...) a selection of significant but divergent positions. The diversity of the views presented here demonstrates that a critical rethinking of aesthetics can be undertaken in a variety of ways. The contributions open a transdisciplinary debate from which a new field of aesthetics may begin to emerge. Contributors include: Claire Bishop, Diarmuid Costello, Paul Crowther, Arthur Danto, Nicholas Davey, Thierry de Duve, James Elkins, Francis Halsall, Michael Ann Holly, Julia Jansen, Michael Kelly, Robert Morris, Tony O'Connor, Peter Osborne, Adrian Piper, David Raskin, Carolee Schneemann, Richard Shiff, Wolfgang Welsch, and Richard Woodfield. (shrink)
This book proposes a new phenomenological analysis of the questions of perception and cognition which are of paramount importance for a better understanding of those processes which underlies the formation of knowledge and consciousness. It presents many clear arguments showing how a phenomenological perspective helps to deeply interpret most fundamental findings of current research in neurosciences and also in mathematical and physical sciences.
This book examines the philosophical foremothers of women’s philosophy and explores what their work may have to offer modern theorizing in feminist ethics. Through such writers as Catharine Macaulay, Mary Wollstonecraft, and George Eliot, Gardner interprets a varied selection of moral philosophers in an attempt both to contribute to our understanding of their work, and perhaps even to encourage other philosophers to interpretive work of their own. She also looks into the reasons such forms as novels, letters, and poetry have (...) often been assigned non-philosophical status, while they seem to be prevalent in the work of women philosophers from the history of philosophy. (shrink)
Karl Barth and the displacement of natural law in contemporary Protestant theology -- Development of the natural-law tradition through the high Middle Ages -- John Calvin and the natural knowledge of God the Creator -- Peter Martyr Vermigli and the natural knowledge of God the Creator -- Natural law in the thought of Johannes Althusius -- Francis Turretin and the natural knowledge of God the Creator.
The concept of the threshold is a central one for thinking about relations between nonhuman and human animals. It refers to hosting and being hosted, the host and the guest, the inside and the outside of the domestic space. It also invokes values of mutual respect and attentiveness. This paper draws on ethological and philosophical sources to argue for the importance of the threshold in understanding human–animal interactions. Violence, sociality, technology and altruism are bound up in the threshold. As such, (...) the concept contains both descriptive and normative dimensions, encompassing both dimensions of the Greek ēthos. (shrink)
Collingwood has often been depicted as a neglected and isolated thinker whose original ideas on the contextual nature of truth anticipated important trends in postwar thought. The spiritual aspects of his thought, however, have often been problematic, precisely because they seem to conflict with his more influential ideas. Although Collingwood's overtly theological and metaphysical writing can be safely confined to an early, perhaps even juvenile phase of his career, the spiritual dimension of some of his later work, including, for example, (...) the famous doctrine of reenactment, has often been marginalized, repressed, or domesticated in order to preserve Collingwood's historical place in twentieth-century philosophy of history. This radical conflict continues to disrupt both the reception of Collingwood's ideas and attempts to contextualize them historically. However, if the spiritual and theological nature of Collingwood's thought is taken seriously, and not marginalized, it is hard to see his career as discrete stages of development. The problem of transcendent identity was a central concern for Collingwood throughout his career, and it unifies much of his thinking on divergent topics. The problematic idea of reenactment actually opens up a complex connection in Collingwood's thought between ethical action, historical time, and our relationship with divine reality. It is this rediscovery of Collingwood's spiritual ideas on history that leads to a reevaluation of his own historical context, for it becomes clear that these ideas were neither eccentric nor old-fashioned. The problems Collingwood was addressing link him with a much broader movement of European thought in the interwar period, one that was trying to mediate transcendent reality and concrete historicity in a situation of crisis and fragmentation. (shrink)
The continuing clash of ethical titans resounds with the cries of utilitarianism, virtue ethics, hedonism, rational egoism, emotivism, deontology, universal prescriptivism, rational contractarianism, and non-cognitivism. This fray is predicated upon each combatant assuming that his truth is complete and exclusive of all others and that his predecessors have been refuted. But are these assumptions true? Is it not possible that each has indeed grasped something true: the necessity of pursuing the greatest good for the greatest number in political action; the (...) indispensability of virtues; the ethical relevance of personal happiness; the goodness of pleasure and self-love; the priority of moral duty over inclinations; the universality of moral norms; and the importance of feelings in living the ethical life? And is it not possible that this fray is merely an historical artefact arising from the widespread—albeit uncritical—belief that Hume, Kant, and Moore destroyed the viability of eudaimonistic teleology, especially as expressed by Aristotle and Aquinas? If these possibilities are real, perhaps the rediscovery of ethical eudaimonia would include currently factional insights in such a way as to resolve on-going perplexities and provide a basis for a peaceful settlement. (shrink)
Throughout its fifty-year history, the role of the medical humanist and even the name “medical humanities” has remained raw, dynamic and contested. What do we mean when we call ourselves “humanists” and our practice “medical humanities?” To address these questions, we turn to the concept of origin narratives. After explaining the value of these stories, we focus on one particularly rich origin narrative of the medical humanities by telling the story of how a group of educators, ethicists, and scholars struggling (...) to define their relatively new field rediscovered the studia humanitatis, a Renaissance curriculum for learning and teaching. Our origin narrative is composed of two intertwined stories—the history of the studia humanitatis itself and the story of the scholars who rediscovered it. We argue that as an origin narrative the studia humanitatis grounds the medical humanities as both an engaged moral practice and pedagogical project. In the latter part of the paper, we use this origin narrative to show how medical humanists working in translational science can use their understanding of their historical roots to do meaningful work in the world. (shrink)
The methodological nonreductionism of contemporary biology opens an interesting discussion on the level of ontology and the philosophy of nature. The theory of emergence (EM), and downward causation (DC) in particular, bring a new set of arguments challenging not only methodological, but also ontological and causal reductionism. This argumentation provides a crucial philosophical foundation for the science/theology dialogue. However, a closer examination shows that proponents of EM do not present a unified and consistent definition of DC. Moreover, they find it (...) difficult to prove that higher-order properties can be causally significant without violating the causal laws that operate at lower physical levels. They also face the problem of circularity and incoherence in their explanation. In our article we show that these problems can be overcome only if DC is understood in terms of formal rather than physical (efficient) causality. This breakdown of causal monism in science opens a way to the retrieval of the fourfold Aristotelian notion of causality. (shrink)
The North American landscape has changed considerably since European settlement, and ecological restorationists are responding to these changes by attempting to restore “natural” areas to their presettlement conditions. Through participant observation, interviews, and document analysis, this work details the physical and conceptual reconstruction of the oak savanna ecosystem. The construction of the “oak savanna” is shown to be more than the creation of a new classification of nature; it is the remaking of a natural community in situ. The “creation story” (...) of the oak savanna is told through the examination of the contested creations of the scientific claim, the expertise to make such a claim, and of nature itself. Finally, the implications of this research for environmental science and the place of the constructivist sociologist are discussed. (shrink)
Aldo Leopold shot a wolf a hundred years ago, the most iconic wolf kill in conservation history, a shooting now historically confirmed, which three decades later he elevated into his “green fire” metaphor and symbol. There are tensions. Was Leopold a hypocrite? He spent the rest of his life hunting and trying to produce more game to kill. Thinking like a mountain, thinking big in the big outdoors, there is a dramatic shift of focus from a dying wolf’s eyes to (...) a land ethic. Thinking big enough, globally, Leopold saving wolves, or wilderness, or game management seems simplistic and parochial before global warming or environmental justice. Still, Leopold is on a moral frontier. (shrink)