Compiled by a leading scholar of Chinese poetry, _Clouds Thick, Whereabouts Unknown_ is the first collection of Chan poems to be situated within Chan thought and practice. Combined with exquisite paintings by Charles Chu, the anthology compellingly captures the ideological and literary nuances of works that were composed, paradoxically, to "say more by saying less," and creates an unparalleled experience for readers of all backgrounds. _Clouds Thick, Whereabouts Unknown_ includes verse composed by monk-poets of the eighth to the seventeenth centuries. (...) Their style ranges from the direct vernacular to the evocative and imagistic. Egan's faithful and elegant translations of poems by Han Shan, Guanxiu, and Qiji, among many others, do justice to their perceptions and insights, and his detailed notes and analyses unravel centuries of Chan metaphor and allusion. In these gems, monk-poets join mainstream ideas on poetic function to religious reflection and proselytizing, carving out a distinct genre that came to influence generations of poets, critics, and writers. The simplicity of Chan poetry belies its complex ideology and sophisticated language, elements Egan vividly explicates in his religious and literary critique. His interpretive strategies enable a richer understanding of Mahayana Buddhism, Chan philosophy, and the principles of Chinese poetry. (shrink)
I think that there are good reasons to adopt a relativist semantics for epistemic modal claims such as ``the treasure might be under the palm tree'', according to which such utterances determine a truth value relative to something finer-grained than just a world (or a <world, time> pair). Anyone who is inclined to relativise truth to more than just worlds and times faces a problem about assertion. It's easy to be puzzled about just what purpose would be served by assertions (...) of this kind, and how to understand what we'd be up to in our use of sentences like ``the treasure might be under the palm tree'', if they have such peculiar truth conditions. After providing a very quick argument to motivate a relativist view of epistemic modals, I bring out and attempt to resolve this problem in making sense of the role of assertions with relativist truth conditions. Solving this problem should be helpful in two ways: first, it eliminates an apparently forceful objection to relativism, and second, spelling out the relativist account of assertion and communication will help to make clear just what the relativist position is, exactly, and why it's interesting. (shrink)
i> “There’s no disputing about taste.” That’s got a nice ring to it, but it’s not quite the ring of truth. While there’s definitely something right about the aphorism – there’s a reason why it is, after all, an aphorism, and why its utterance tends to produce so much nodding of heads and muttering of “just so” and “yes, quite” – it’s surprisingly difficult to put one’s finger on just what the truth in the neighborhood is, exactly. One thing that’s (...) pretty clear is that what’s right about the aphorism, that there’s no disputing about taste, isn’t that there’s no disputing about taste. There’s heaps of disputing about taste. People engage in disputes about which movies, music, paintings, literature, meals, furniture, architectural styles, etc. are good, beautiful, tasty, fun, elegant, ugly, disgusting, etc. all the time. This is obvious to anyone who has watched dueling-movie-critics shows, read theater reviews, or negotiated with a group or partner about which movie or restaurant to go to, or which sofa or painting to put in the living room. It takes great care and good aim to fling a brick without hitting somebody who’s engaged in a dispute about taste. (shrink)
Many philosophers (myself included) have been converted to causal decision theory by something like the following line of argument: Evidential decision theory endorses irrational courses of action in a range of examples, and endorses “an irrational policy of managing the news”. These are fatal problems for evidential decision theory. Causal decision theory delivers the right results in the troublesome examples, and does not endorse this kind of irrational news-managing. So we should give up evidential decision theory, and be causal decision (...) theorists instead. Unfortunately, causal decision theory has its own family of problematic examples for which it endorses irrational courses of action, and its own irrational policy that it is committed to endorsing. These are, I think, fatal problems for causal decision theory. I wish that I had another theory to offer in its place. (shrink)
You’re imagining, in the course of a different game of make-believe, that you’re a bank robber. You don’t believe that you’re a bank robber. You are moved to point your finger, gun-wise, at the person pretending to be the bank teller and say, “Stick ‘em up! This is a robbery!”.
It is bad news to find out that one's cognitive or perceptual faculties are defective. Furthermore, it’s not always transparent how one ought to revise one's beliefs in light of such news. Two sorts of news should be distinguished. On the one hand, there is news that a faculty is unreliable -- that it doesn't track the truth particularly well. On the other hand, there is news that a faculty is anti-reliable -- that it tends to go positively wrong. These (...) two sorts of news call for extremely different responses. We provide accounts of these responses, and prove bounds on the degree to which one can reasonably count oneself as mistaken about a given subject matter. (shrink)
On many of the idealized models of human cognition and behavior in use by philosophers, agents are represented as having a single corpus of beliefs which (a) is consistent and deductively closed, and (b) guides all of their (rational, deliberate, intentional) actions all the time. In graded-belief frameworks, agents are represented as having a single, coherent distribution of credences, which guides all of their (rational, deliberate, intentional) actions all of the time. It's clear that actual human beings don't live up (...) to this idealization. The systems of belief that we in fact have are fragmented. Rather than having a single system of beliefs that guides all of our behavior all of the time, we have a number of distinct, compartmentalized systems of belief, different ones of which drive different aspects of our behavior in different contexts. It's tempting to think that, while of course people are fragmented, it would be better (from the perspective of rationality) if they weren't, and the only reason why our fragmentation is excusable is that we have limited cognitive resources, which prevents us from holding too much information before our minds at a time. Give us enough additional processing capacity, and there'd be no justification for any continued fragmentation. I argue that this is not so. There are good reasons to be fragmented rather than unified, independent of the limitations on our available processing power. In particular, there are ways our belief-forming mechanisms—including our perceptual systems—could be constructed that would make it better to be fragmented than to be unified. And there are reasons to think that some of our belief-forming mechanisms really are constructed that way. (shrink)
Intentionalism is the view that the phenomenal character of an experience is wholly determined by its representational content is very attractive. Unfortunately, it is in conflict with some quite robust intuitions about the possibility of phenomenal spectrum inversion without misrepresentation. Faced with such a problem, there are the usual three options: reject intentionalism, discount the intuitions and deny that spectrum inversion without misrepresentation is possible, or find a way to reconcile the two by dissolving the apparent conflict. Sydney Shoemaker's (1994) (...) introduction of appearance properties is a particularly ingenious way of pursuing the third strategy, by maintaining that there is a representational difference between the phenomenally spectrum-inverted subjects.2 In introducing appearance properties, Shoemaker does two things: he identifies a theoretical role for some family of properties to play, and he suggests a family of properties as candidates to play that role. I'll argue that his proposed candidates do not play the role as well as we would like, suggest some new candidates, and argue that they do a better job. (shrink)
A common first reaction to expressivist and quasi-realist theories is the thought that, if these theories are right, there's some objectionable sense in which we can't be wrong about morality. This worry turns out to be surprisingly difficult to make stick - an account of moral error as instability under improving changes provides the quasi-realist with the resources to explain many of our concerns about moral error. The story breaks down, though, in the case of fundamental moral error. This is (...) where the initial worry finally sticks - quasi-realism tells me that I can't be fundamentally wrong about morality, though others can. (shrink)
Colors aren't as real as shapes. Shapes are full?fledged qualities of things in themselves, independent of how they're perceived and by whom. Colors aren't. Colors are merely qualities of things as they are for us, and the colors of things depend on who is perceiving them. When we take the fully objective view of the world, things keep their shapes, but the colors fall away, revealed as the mere artifacts of our own subjective, parochial perspective on the world that they (...) are. (shrink)
Externalism about the mind holds that the explanation of our representational capacities requires appeal to mental states that are individuated by reference to features of the environment. Externalists claim that ‘narrow’ taxonomies cannot account for important features of psychological explanation. I argue that this claim is false, and offer a general argument for preferring narrow taxonomies in psychology.
The “top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches have been thought to exhaust the possibilities for doing cognitive neuroscience. We argue that neither approach is likely to succeed in providing a theory that enables us to understand how cognition is achieved in biological creatures like ourselves. We consider a promising third way of doing cognitive neuroscience, what might be called the “neural dynamic systems” approach, that construes cognitive neuroscience as an autonomous explanatory endeavor, aiming to characterize in its own terms the states and (...) processes responsible for brain-based cognition. We sketch the basic motivation for the approach, describe a particular version of the approach, so-called ‘Dynamic Causal Modeling’ (DCM), and consider a concrete example of DCM. This third way, we argue, has the potential to avoid the problems that afflict the other two approaches. (shrink)
Subjects with delusions profess to believe some extremely peculiar things. Patients with Capgras delusion sincerely assert that, for example, their spouses have been replaced by impostors. Patients with Cotard’s delusion sincerely assert that they are dead. Many philosophers and psychologists are hesitant to say that delusional subjects genuinely believe the contents of their delusions.2 One way to reinterpret delusional subjects is to say that we’ve misidentified the content of the problematic belief. So for example, rather than believing that his wife (...) is has been replaced by an impostor, we might say that the victim of Capgras delusion believes that it is, in some respects, as if his wife has been replaced by an impostor. Another is to say that we’ve misidentified the attitude that the delusional subject bears to the content of their delusion. So for example, Gregory Currie and co-authors have suggested that rather than believing that his wife has been replaced by an impostor, we should say that the victim of Capgras delusion merely imagines that his wife has been replaced by an impostor.3. (shrink)
It has recently been argued that the success of the connectionist program in cognitive science would threaten folk psychology. I articulate and defend a "minimalist" construal of folk psychology that comports well with empirical evidence on the folk understanding of belief and is compatible with even the most radical developments in cognitive science.
Stephen Stich has argued that psychological theories that instantiate his Syntactic Theory of Mind are to be preferred to content-based or representationalist theories, because the former can capture and explain a wider range of generalizations about cognitive processes than the latter. Stich's claims about the relative merits of the Syntactic Theory of Mind are unfounded. Not only is it false that syntactic theories can capture psychological generalizations that content-based theories cannot, but a large class of behavioral regularities, readily explained by (...) content-based theories, appear to be beyond their explanatory reach. (shrink)
Both local and global issues are typically dealt with in the Social Studies curriculum, or in curriculum areas with other names but similar intents. In the literature about Social Studies the imagination has played little role, and consequently it hardly appears in texts designed to help teachers plan and implement Social Studies lessons. What is true of Social Studies is also largely reflected in general texts concerning planning teaching. Clearly many theorists and practitioners are concerned to engage students' imaginations in (...) learning, even though they use terms other than 'imagination' in doing so. This article suggests that a more explicit attention to imagination can make our efforts to engage students in learning more effective. We provide, first, a working definition of imagination, then show how students' imaginations can be characterized in terms of the 'cognitive toolkits' they bring to learning. We look at such 'cognitive tools' as stories, images, humor, binary oppositions, a sense of mystery and how these can be used to engage students' imaginations in learning Social Studies and other content from kindergarten to about grade four. We then consider 'cognitive tools' commonly deployed by students from about grade four to grade nine, including a sense of reality, the extremes of experience and limits of reality, and associating with the heroic. We also provide examples of how using such tools could influence planning and teaching Social Studies topics. (shrink)
Ever since Berkeley discussed the problem at length in his Essay Toward a New Theory of Vision, theorists of vision have attempted to explain why the moon appears larger on the horizon than it does at the zenith. Prevailing opinion has it that the contemporary perceptual psychologists Kaufman and Rock have finally explained the illusion. This paper argues that Kaufman and Rock have not refuted a Berkeleyan account of the illusion, and have over-interpreted their own experimental results. The moon illusion (...) remains unexplained, and a Berkeleyan account is still a contender. (shrink)
Diversity is a good thing. Some of its value is instrumental. Having people around with diverse beliefs, or customs, or tastes, can expand our horizons and potentially raise to salience some potential true beliefs, useful customs or apt tastes. Even diversity of error can be useful. Seeing other people fall away from the true and the useful in distinctive ways can immunise us against similar errors. And there are a variety of pleasant interactions, not least philosophical exchange, that wouldn’t be (...) possible unless some kinds of diversity existed. Diversity may also have intrinsic value. It may be that a society with diverse views, customs and tastes is simply thereby a better society. But we will mostly focus on diversity’s instrumental value here. We think that what is true of these common types of diversity is also true of moral diversity. By moral diversity we mean not only diversity of moral views, though that is no doubt valuable, but diversity of moral behaviour. In a morally diverse society, at least some people will not conform as tightly to moral norms as others. In short, there will be some wrongdoers. To be sure, moral diversity has some costs, and too much of it is undoubtedly a bad thing. Having rapists and murderers adds to moral diversity (assuming, as we do, that most people are basically moral) but not in a way that is particularly valuable. Still, smaller amounts of moral diversity may be valuable, all things considered. It seems particularly clear that moral diversity within a subgroup has value, but sometimes society as a whole is better off for being morally diverse. Let us consider some examples. Many violations of etiquette are not moral transgressions. Eating asparagus spears with one’s fork is not sinful, just poor form. But more extreme violations may be sinful. Hurtful use of racial epithets, for example, is clearly immoral as well as a breach of etiquette. Even use of language that causes not hurt, but strong discomfort, may be morally wrong.. (shrink)
The Pastoral contains a non-Marxist class based non-traditional analysis of sinful acts in economic life. Data on poverty, income distribution, unemployment and economic problems are used to assert the existence of a marginalyzed, economically disenfranchised class, victims of the sinful self-serving actions of individuals influential in economic and political institutions. Economic scarcity, the reality of risk, conflicting policy goals, imperfect economic policy insights, mistaken choices, and the consequences of sinful acts for the sinner are ignored as possible causes of imperfect (...) economic outcomes as the bishops advocate solutions through an expanded agenda of government programs and power. (shrink)
In this paper, in response to Nicolson’s claim that South African liberation theology is non‐realist – or at least is non‐realist in its language – I suggest that Albert Nolan’s important book God in South Africa is not based on such an “exotic” philosophical basis but is a reflection using the populist Marxism of the anti‐apartheid struggle of the 1980s. The clue here is Nolan’s use of the Colonialism of a Special Type thesis, an integral part of ANC and Communist (...) Party discourse since the 1960s. Nolan himself has described his work as “historical materialist” in its philosophical language. Such a position seems far removed from non‐realism, although they certainly sound similar in Nolan’s God‐language.I then examine non‐realist theologian Don Cupitt’s model of “militant religious humanism” and conclude that a non‐realist liberation or political theology along these lines suffers too much from a sense of relativism or absurdity for it to be of use to those who use liberation theology. From this I try to suggest how a non‐realist liberation theology might be developed. In the end, however, I conclude that though such a theology could be constructed, it would probably not be effective: liberation theology requires a real God who really sides with the poor. (shrink)
Long time delay before lasing in a II-VI laser diode has been observed. Due to this delay, a nominal threshold current increases as the width of applied current pulse becomes shorter. This delay is attributed to the internal Q switching caused by the balance of injected carriers, temperature rise and gain-guiding. By fitting the calculated data to the experimental ones, rates of refractive index change with carrier concentration and with temperature have been estimated.