What happens when neuroscientific knowledges move from laboratories and clinics into therapeutic settings concerned with the care of children? ‘Brain-based parenting’ is a set of discourses and practices emerging at the confluence of attachment theory, neuroscience, psychotherapy and social work. The neuroscientific knowledges involved understand affective states such as fear, anger and intimacy as dynamic patterns of coordination between brain localities, as well as flows of biochemical signals via hormones such as cortisol. Drawing on our own attempts to adopt brain-based (...) parenting, and engaging with various strands and critiques of new materialism and affect theory, we explore the ways in which the social sciences and humanities might fruitfully engage with neuroscientific concepts and affects. How does science-affected indeterminacy, with all its promises of ontological and experiential agency, help us to observe, wait, bind or hold together volatile mixtures of habit, speech and action? (shrink)
This article examines the connections between employment agencies, ethics and migrant workers. The article identifies three approaches adopted by agencies towards ethics and migrant workers, namely, ‘business case’, ‘minimal compliance’ and ‘social justice’ approaches. Through case studies of three agencies in the UK, the article explores the potential and limitations of each of these approaches for meeting the needs of migrant workers. The article points to the limitations of both the business case and ‘minimal compliance’ approaches, stemming from tensions between (...) the attempt to put in place ethical approaches towards the employment of migrant workers and the imperatives of the competitive strategies being pursued by agencies. The article points to the potential for social enterprise agencies to effectively meet the needs of migrants. These agencies can focus on more than just the first transition of migrants into the labour market; can formalize transitions within the labour market and link people to jobs that are more appropriate to their skills and experience, as a means of preventing the perpetuation of skill underutilisation. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to give an account of a methodological link between drama and political theory. This account is drawn primarily from the early philosophical work of Deleuze. Following Deleuze, we will refer to it as ‘the method of dramatization’. We will argue that dramatization is a method aimed at determining the quality of political concepts by ‘bringing them to life’, in the way that dramatic performances bring to life the characters and themes of a play-script. We (...) demonstrate that this can be specified in relation to the development of this method in Deleuze's early philosophical work as a practical, critical and artistic method and, in relation to the ontological assumptions he articulated and defended in Difference and Repetition, as a process of intensification of the Idea of the political. By way of example, we discuss how the dramatization of the concept of ideology functions in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus. We conclude with some lines of inquiry that could be pursued by political theorists looking to investigate further the dramatic nature of method in political theory. (shrink)
Over the past 50 years, postmodernism has been a progressively growing and influential intellectual movement inside and outside the academy. Postmodernism is characterised by rejection of parts or the whole of the Enlightenment project that had its roots in the birth and embrace of early modern science. While Enlightenment and ‘modernist’ ideas of universalism, of intellectual and cultural progress, of the possibility of finding truths about the natural and social world and of rejection of absolutism and authoritarianism in politics, philosophy (...) and religion were first opposed at their birth in the eighteenth century, contemporary postmodernism sometimes appeals to (and sometimes disdains) philosophy of science in support of its rejection of modernism and the enlightenment programme. (shrink)
How could social scientists and cultural theorists take responsibility in engaging with science? How might they develop an experimental sensibility to the links between the production of knowledge and the production of existence or forms of life? Critically outlining key fields in the social and cultural studies of science, we interrogate a number of approaches to these questions. The first approach tries to make sense of how science operates in relation to economic, political and cultural forces. The second analyses science (...) as a form of embodied work or practice. The third engages with science as collaborative-collective elaboration of events, ranging across cultural theory, contemporary art and participant ethnographies. This outline sketches a vector of responsibility across this diverse range of engagements, suggesting that contemporary movements between science and other knowledges constitute ethical and political imperatives. (shrink)
In his recent book Reflective Democracy, Robert Goodin argues that 'external-collaborative' models of democratic deliberation procedures need to be supplemented by 'internal-reflective' deliberation. The exercise of the moral imagination plays a central role in Goodin's account of 'democratic deliberation within'. By imaginatively putting ourselves in the place of a range of others, he argues, including those who maybe not be able to represent their own interests, we can make their points of view 'communicatively present' in deliberation. Goodin's argument emphasizes (...) the role of art and other forms of cultural representation in helping to bring about this expansion of moral imagination. Drawing on debates in philosophy of mind concerning the scope and limits of our capacities to simulate other minds, I argue that Goodin's analysis of 'democratic deliberation within' conflates different kinds of imaginative project. In doing so, it underestimates both the difficulties of imaginatively putting ourselves in the place of others and the political risks in doing so. I argue, alternatively, that moral engagement with others involves the capacity for sympathy and that art and other forms of cultural representation can enlarge the scope of our sympathies, by assisting us to overcome imaginative resistance to alien points of view. In developing this argument, I provide a qualified defense of Iris Young's claim that respect for others involves 'asymmetrical reciprocity'. (shrink)
Written by experts in their field, this Companion surveys the challenges and provocations raised by the major voices of poststructuralism: Foucault, Deleuze, Derrida, Cixous, Lyotard, Guattari, Kristeva, Irigaray, Barthes and Baudrillard. Thematically organised and clearly written, it will guide students and researchers in philosophy, literature, art, geography, politics, sociology, law, film and cultural studies around the nature and contemporary relevance of poststructuralism.
Drawing on Deleuze’s ‘Postscript on Control Societies’, our initial focus in this article will be on the role of institutions within societies of control, an analysis which brings Deleuze into the orbit of Ervin Goffman’s famous ethnographic work on total institutions. This cross-comparative analysis of Deleuze and Goffman will allow us to show how institutions of control function by sequencing ‘dividuals’ across institutional domains in a continual process of totalization. Inspired by James Williams’s recent work on the ‘process philosophy of (...) signs’, we then argue that a critique of totalizing institutions can be positively articulated as a process-oriented challenge to algorithmic technologies and as a counter-sequencing of institutional control. We conclude with some reflections on the emergent modes of resistance that challenge both institutional and technological control, and we will proffer criteria for assessing such practices in relation to the two-sided nature of critique they enact, both processual and counter-sequential. (shrink)
As many of the contributors to Vulnerability: New Essays in Ethics and Feminist Philosophy note, vulnerability has increasingly become a focus of philosophers. One may think, for example, of Robert Goodin, care ethicists such as Eva Kittay, or more recent works by Alasdair MacIntyre, Judith Butler, or Adriana Cavarero. While this volume does not offer sustained engagements with Butler, Cavarero, or the so-called Continental thinkers from which they draw, it does offer a wide range of thoughtful essays that contribute (...) in myriad ways both to theorizing vulnerability and to understanding the ethical and political consequences of taking vulnerability seriously.1 Before discussing the essays... (shrink)
Robert H. Holden, in ‘The Public University's Unbearable Defiance of Being’ argues that the public university ought to welcome the infusion of relevant beliefs, including religious ones, in carrying out its research and teaching responsibilities. In this paper, I examine whether he has shown that some opinions are suppressed, whether he has shown that other views are hegemonic, the central argument that lies behind his thinking, and then consider the educational consequences of his position.
Drawing on Aristotle’s notion of “ultimate responsibility,” Robert Kane argues that to be exercising a free will an agent must have taken some character forming decisions for which there were no sufficient conditions or decisive reasons.<sup>1</sup> That is, an agent whose will is free not only had the ability to develop other dispositions, but could have exercised that ability without being irrational. To say it again, a person has a free will just in case her character is the product (...) of decisions that she could have rationally avoided making. That one’s character is the product of such decisions entails ultimate responsibility for its manifestations, engendering a free will. (shrink)
During the later 16th and 17th centuries, Scotland's elite, divided by the Reformation and afflicted by political upheaval, found consolation, and sometimes inspiration, in the teachings of ancient philosophy. The neo-Stoicism with which they especially engaged was a versatile and cosmopolitan body of thought which had developed in response to chronic instability across Europe. Influenced by its ideas about public and private life, which were discussed in poetry and drama as well as in letters, meditations and extended scholarly treatises, they (...) learned how to follow Stoic example - to prepare themselves for political duties, to confront the turbulence of their own world, and even to cultivate a justifiable retirement in the face of its irrational and uncontrollable furies. Examining figures as diverse as Buchanan, Drummond of Hawthornden, Hume of Godscroft, Gordon of Gordonstoun, the Marquis of Montrose, Alexander Ross, Robert Leighton and Sir George Mackenzie, this study traces the attempt made to educate Scots to transpose Roman morality onto early-modern society, providig at the same time an insight into the mental outlook and cultural horizons of the later Stuart elite. (shrink)
Drawing on Aristotle’s notion of “ultimate responsibility,” Robert Kane argues that to be exercising a free will an agent must have taken some character forming decisions for which there were no sufficient conditions or decisive reasons. That is, an agent whose will is free not only had the ability to develop values and beliefs besides those that presently make up her motives, but could have exercised that ability without being irrational. An agent wills freely, on this view, by beingultimately (...) responsible for how she is currently disposed to act. Kane needs, then, to show how an agent could be responsible for decisions that her deliberations did not guarantee. He must also explain how a decision for which there is no decisive reason could yet be rational, assuming that the responsibility engendering decisions forming the basis of a free will would be rational. I shall argue here that Kane has achieved neither of these goals. (shrink)
[Robert Stalnaker] Saul Kripke made a convincing case that there are necessary truths that are knowable only a posteriori as well as contingent truths that are knowable a priori. A number of philosophers have used a two-dimensional model semantic apparatus to represent and clarify the phenomena that Kripke pointed to. According to this analysis, statements have truth-conditions in two different ways depending on whether one considers a possible world 'as actual' or 'as counterfactual' in determining the truth-value of the (...) statement relative to that possible world. There are no necessary a posteriori or contingent a priori propositions: rather, contingent a priori and necessary a posteriori statements are statements that are necessary when evaluated one way, and contingent when evaluated the other way. This paper distinguishes two ways that the two-dimensional framework can be interpreted, and argues that one of them gives the better account of what it means to 'consider a world as actual', but that it provides no support for any notion of purely conceptual a priori truth. /// [Thomas Baldwin] Two-dimensional possible world semantic theory suggests that Kripke's examples of the necessary a posteriori and contingent a priori should be handled by interpreting names as implicitly indexical. Like Stalnaker, I reject this account of names and accept that Kripke's examples have to be accommodated within a metasemantic theory. But whereas Stalnaker maintains that a metasemantic approach undermines the conception of a priori truth, I argue that it offers the opportunity to develop a conception of the a priori aspect of stipulations, conceived as linguistic performances. The resulting position accommodates Kripke's examples in a way which is both intrinsically plausible and fits with Kripke's actual discussion of them. (shrink)
For most of the problems that economists consider, the assumption that agents are self-interested works well enough, generating predictions that are broadly consistent with observation. In some significant cases, however, we find economic behavior that seems to be inconsistent with self-interest. In particular, we find that some public goods and some charitable ventures are financed by the independent voluntary contributions of many thousands of individuals. In Britain, for example, the lifeboat service is entirely financed by voluntary contributions. In all rich (...) countries, charitable appeals raise large amounts of money for famine relief in the Third World. The willingness of individuals to contribute to such projects is an economic fact that requires an explanation. (shrink)
Neither the existence of God nor the nature of God is apparent or obvious. If God exists, why is it not entirely clear to everyone that this is so? How can theists explain God's hiddenness, and how plausible are their explanations? God, if God exists, is an omnipotent, morally good, omnipresent being, than whom none greater can be conceived. Surely it is well within the abilities of God to let God's existence and nature be known to us. Why isn't the (...) existence and nature of our Heavenly Father as apparent as, say, the existence of our various earthly fathers? (shrink)
Robert Owen was one of the most extraordinary Englishmen who ever lived and a great man. In a way his history is the history of the establishment of modern industrial Britain, reflected in the mind and activities of a very intelligent, capable and responsible industrialist, alive to the best social thought of his time. The organisation of industrial labour, factory legislation, education, trade unionism, co-operation, rationalism: he was passionately and ably engaged in all of them. His community at New (...) Lanark was the nearest thing to an industrial heaven in the Britain of dark satanic mills; he tried to found a rational co-operative community in the USA. In everything he contemplated, he saw education as a key. This selection of his writings on education illustrates his rationalist concept of the formation of character and its implications for education and society; also his growing utopian concern with social reorganisation; and third, his impact on social movements. Silver's introduction shows Owen's relationship to particular educational traditions and activities and his long-term influence on attitudes to education. (shrink)
Among moral attributes true virtue alone is sublime. … [I]t is only by means of this idea [of virtue] that any judgment as to moral worth or its opposite is possible. … Everything good that is not based on a morally good disposition … is nothing but pretence and glittering misery. 1.
The traditional problem of evil is set forth, by no means for the first time, in Part X of Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion in these familiar words: ‘Is [God] willing to prevent evil, but not able? then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? whence then is evil?’ This formulation of the problem of evil obviously suggests an argument to the effect that the existence of evil in (...) the world demonstrates that God does not exist. The purpose of this paper is to examine this argument, with a view to showing that while it is not a conclusive argument, it is much stronger than some apologists for traditional theism allow. (shrink)
The contemporary explosion of information makes intellectual responsibility more needed than ever. The uncritical tend to believe too much that is unsubstantiated; the overcritical tend to believe too little that is true. A central problem for this paper is to formulate standards to guide an intellectually rigorous search for a mean between excessive credulity and indiscriminate skepticism. A related problem is to distinguish intellectual responsibility for what we believe from moral responsibility for what we do. A third problem is how (...) to square intellectual responsibility in retaining our views with the realization that peers we respect disagree with us. Much of the paper is directed to articulating principles for dealing with such disagreements. (shrink)