In Book XI of the Confessions Augustine claims that time has its beginning and ending in eternity. In Being and Time, Heidegger claims that death is the ultimate futural possibility for authentic human existence. These two texts, one from the fourth century, the other from the twentieth century, depict two very different perspectives on what limits the human conception of time. Can these perspectives be reconciled? Severson offers a new reading of the Confessions that affirms Augustine's religious quest for (...) understanding while taking into account the constraints of modern criticism. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- Preface -- Introduction: Truth in Trouble -- The Linguistic Conception of Truth -- The Functions Truth Serves -- Truth in Action -- Acting Truly -- The Genesis of Representations -- Acts of Assertion -- The Truth of Statements -- The Challenge of Sceptical Relativism -- Truth as Faithfulness -- Bibliography -- Index.
In a Sentences Commentary written about 1250 the Franciscan Richard Rufus subjects Anselm’s argument for God’s existence in his Proslogion to the most trenchant criticism since Gaunilon wrote his response on behalf of the “fool.” Anselm’s argument is subtle but sophistical, claims Rufus, because he fails to distinguish between signification and supposition. Rufus therefore offers five reformulations of the Anselmian argument, which we restate in modern formal logic and four of which we claim are valid, the fifth turning on (...) a possible scribal error. Rufus’s final conclusion is that the formulation in Proslogion, chapter 3, is convincing, but not that of chapter 2. (shrink)
Public health ethics, like the field of public health it addresses, traditionally has focused more on practice and particular cases than on theory, with the result that some concepts, methods, and boundaries remain largely undefined. This paper attempts to provide a rough conceptual map of the terrain of public health ethics. We begin by briefly defining public health and identifying general features of the field that are particularly relevant for a discussion of public health ethics.Public health is primarily concerned with (...) the health of the entire population, rather than the health of individuals. Its features include an emphasis on the promotion of health and the prevention of disease and disability; the collection and use of epidemiological data, population surveillance, and other forms of empirical quantitative assessment; a recognition of the multidimensional nature of the determinants of health; and a focus on the complex interactions of many factors—biological, behavioral, social, and environmental—in developing effective interventions. (shrink)
Questions about the relation between identity and discernibility are important both in philosophy and in model theory. We show how a philosophical question about identity and dis- cernibility can be ‘factorized’ into a philosophical question about the adequacy of a formal language to the description of the world, and a mathematical question about discernibility in this language. We provide formal definitions of various notions of discernibility and offer a complete classification of their logical relations. Some new and surprising facts are (...) proved; for instance, that weak dis- cernibility corresponds to discernibility in a language with constants for every object, and that weak discernibility is the most discerning nontrivial discernibility relation. (shrink)
Philosophers are increasingly coming to recognize the importance of Freudian theory for the understanding of the mind. The picture Freud presents of the mind's growth and organization holds implications not just for such perennial questions as the relation of mind and body, the nature of memory and personal identity, the interplay of cognitive and affective processes in reasoning and acting, but also for the very way in which these questions are conceived and an interpretation of the mind is sought. This (...) volume of essays, by some of today's leading philosophers, explores all these topics, as well as the methods, results and status of the theory itself, while two 'classical' discussions by Wittgenstein and Sartre are also included. A number of the contributions – those by Donald Davidson, W. D. Hart, Jim Hopkins, Adam Morton, David Pears and Richard Wollheim – have not been published before, and a very useful bibliography is provided. It is an anthology that will be vital to anyone interested in Freudian theory and, more generally, in philosophical psychology. (shrink)
It was important to James's philosophy, especially his doctrine of the will to believe, that we could believe at will. Toward this end he argues in The Principles of Psychology that attending to an idea is identical with believing it, which, in turn, is identical with willing that it be realized. Since willing is identical with believing and willing is an intentional action, it follows by Leibniz's Law that believing also is an intentional action. This paper explores the problems (...) with James's thesis that attending=will=belief. An attempt is made to show that it has a salvageable core that is of considerable philosophical interest and importance. (shrink)
Bringing between two covers the most influential and accessible articles on Plato's Republic, this collection illuminates what is widely held to be the most important work of Western philosophy and political theory. It will be valuable not only to philosophers, but to political theorists, historians, classicists, literary scholars, and interested general readers.
We observe that approaches to intersubjectivity, involving mirror neurons and involving emulation and prediction, have eclipsed discussion of those same mechanisms for achieving coordination between the two hemispheres of the human brain. We explore some of the implications of the suggestion that the mutual modelling of the two situated hemispheres is a productive place to start in understanding the phylogenetic and ontogenetic development of cognition and of intersubjectivity.
"Cluster randomized trials," in which groups of patients are randomly assigned to different therapeutic interventions, provide a powerful way of evaluating drugs. CRTs have not been widely used, in good part because of concerns about whether patients must give informed consent to participate in them. A better understanding of how CRTs fit into clinical practice resolves the concerns.
We here analyse the ethical dimensions of the UK's ‘Research Excellence Framework’, the latest version of an exercise which assesses the quality of university research in the UK every seven or so years. We find many of the common objections to this exercise unfounded, such as that it is excessively expensive by comparison with alternatives such as various metrics, or that it turns on the subjective judgement of the assessors. However there are grounds for concern about the crude language in (...) which for example all relevant scholarship becomes called ‘research’ and publications become ‘outputs’. The focus on the impact of research, which was a new feature of the most recent exercise, is particularly problematic, creating as it does a tendency to what Aristotle called alazony, self-aggrandisement, on the part of academics. We conclude that the REF is a mixed good from an ethical point of view, and that more could be done to mitigate its more unfortunate features. (shrink)
This paper is intended to contribute to the discussion of the differential level of adoption of Big Data among research communities. Recognising the impracticality of conducting an audit across all forms and uses of Big Data, we have restricted our enquiry to one very specific form of Big Data, namely general purpose taxonomies, of which Mosaic, Acorn and Origins are examples, that rely on data from a variety of Big Data feeds. The intention of these taxonomies is to enable the (...) records of consumers and citizens held on Big Data datasets to be coded according to type of residential neighbourhood or ethno-cultural heritage without any use of questionnaires. Based on our respective experience in the academic social sciences, in government and in the design and marketing of these taxonomies, we identify the features of these classifications which appear to render them attractive or problematic to different categories of potential user or researcher depending on how the relationship is conceived. We conclude by identifying seven classifications of user or potential user who, on account of their background, current position and future career expectations, tend to respond in different ways to the opportunity to adopt these generic systems as aids for understanding social processes. (shrink)
Philosophers often assume that folk hold pain to be a mental state – to be in pain is to have a certain kind of feeling – and they think this state exhibits the classic Cartesian characteristics of privacy, subjectivity, and incorrigibility. However folk also assign pains bodily locations: unlike most other mental states, pains are held to exist in arms, feet, etc. This has led some to talk of the ‘paradox of pain’, whereby the folk notion of pain is inherently (...) conflicted. Recently, several authors have rejected the paradox view, arguing instead that folk hold a univocal, bodily view. This paper presents six objections to the bodily view of the folk concept of pain. We then outline a direction for future research – the ‘polyeidic approach’ – whereby the folk notion of pain is held to encompass various divergent strands and we suggest that certain problems surrounding the treatment and communication of pain might be usefully be viewed through the lens of the polyeidic approach. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss William J. Clifford's principle, "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence" and an objection to it based on William James's contention that "Our passional nature not only lawfully may, but must, decide an option between propositions, whenever it is a genuine option that cannot by its nature be decided on intellectual grounds." I argue that on one central way of understanding the key terms, there are no genuine (...) options that cannot be decided on intellectual grounds. I also argue that there is another way to understand the terms so that there are cases of the sort James describes, but then, as an objection to Clifford, the argument is needlessly complex, invoking concepts such as genuine options and intellectual undecidability, that play no crucial role. (shrink)
Contemporary conversations about religion and culture are framed by two reductive definitions of secularity. In one, multiple faiths and nonfaiths coexist free from a dominant belief in God. In the other, we deny the sacred altogether and exclude religion from rational thought and behavior. But is there a third way for those who wish to rediscover the sacred in a skeptical society? What kind of faith, if any, can be proclaimed after the ravages of the Holocaust and the many religion-based (...) terrors since? Richard Kearney explores these questions with a host of philosophers known for their inclusive, forward-thinking work on the intersection of secularism, politics, and religion. An interreligious dialogue that refuses to paper over religious difference, these conversations locate the sacred within secular society and affirm a positive role for religion in human reflection and action. Drawing on his own philosophical formulations, literary analysis, and personal interreligious experiences, Kearney develops through these engagements a basic gesture of hospitality for approaching the question of God. His work facilitates a fresh encounter with our best-known voices in continental philosophy and their views on issues of importance to all spiritually minded individuals and skeptics: how to reconcile God's goodness with human evil, how to believe in both God and natural science, how to talk about God without indulging in fundamentalist rhetoric, and how to balance God's sovereignty with God's love. (shrink)
The following is a transcript of a discussion about the question between Richard Rorty, Hilary Putnam, and James Conant. The discussion was part of a series of discussions on more or less philosophical subjects broadcast on Chicago Public Radio. This discussion is anchored by Gretchen Helfrich. Two listeners (Chris and Edwin) also took part.
MicroRNAs are non‐coding regulators of gene expression and key factors in development, disease, and targets for bioengineering. Consequently, microRNAs have become essential elements of already burgeoning draft plant genome descriptions where their annotation is often particularly poor, contributing unduly to the corruption of public databases. Using the Citrus sinensis as an example, we highlight and review common failings of miRNAome annotations. Understanding and exploiting the role of miRNAs in plant biology will be stymied unless the research community acts decisively to (...) improve the accuracy of miRNAome annotations. We encourage genome annotation teams to do it right or not at all. (shrink)
There are close affinities between James' theory of time as discussed in A Pluralistic Universe and the so-called epochal theory of time offered by Alfred North Whitehead. In this paper I examine James' theory and compare it with the views of Henri Bergson.
The morality of our distant ancestors bears a remarkable resemblance to the moral experiences of modern athletes. This book brings together stories from today’s sports world and the moral practices of hunter-gatherers to shed new light on both sports and morality and offer a unique interpretation of America’s love affair with sports.