Henri Bergson's philosophy, which Sartre studied as a student, had a profound but largely neglected influence on his thinking. In this paper I focus on the new light that recognition of this influence throws on Sartre's central argument about the relationship between negation and nothingness in his Being and Nothingness. Sartre's argument is in part a response to Bergson's dismissive, eliminativist account of nothingness in Creative Evolution (1907): the objections to the concept of nothingness with which Sartre engages are precisely (...) those raised by Bergson. Even if Sartre's account of nothingness in its entirety is found to be flawed, I argue that the points he makes specifically against Bergson are powerful. My discussion concludes with a brief examination of the wider philosophical background to Sartre's and Bergson's discussion of nothingness: here I point to some important aspects of Sartre's early philosophy, including some features of his conception of nothingness, that may testify to Bergson's positive influence on his thought. (shrink)
Health-related Quality of Life measures have recently been attacked from two directions, both of which criticize the preference-based method of evaluating health states they typically incorporate. One attack, based on work by Daniel Kahneman and others, argues that ‘experience’ is a better basis for evaluation. The other, inspired by Amartya Sen, argues that ‘capability’ should be the guiding concept. In addition, opinion differs as to whether health evaluation measures are best derived from consultations with the general public, with patients, or (...) with health professionals. And there is disagreement about whether these opinions should be solicited individually and aggregated, or derived instead from a process of collective deliberation. These distinctions yield a wide variety of possible approaches, with potentially differing policy implications. We consider some areas of disagreement between some of these approaches. We show that many of the perspectives seem to capture something important, such that it may be a mistake to reject any of them. Instead we suggest that some of the existing ‘instruments’ designed to measure HR QoLs may in fact successfully already combine these attributes, and with further refinement such instruments may be able to provide a reasonable reconciliation between the perspectives. (shrink)
Nelson Goodman has constructed two theories of simplicity: one of predicates; one of hypotheses. I offer a simpler theory by generalization and abstraction from his. Generalization comes by dropping special conditions Goodman imposes on which unexcluded extensions count as complicating and which excluded extensions count as simplifying. Abstraction is achieved by counting only nonisomorphic models and subinterpretations. The new theory takes into account all the hypotheses of a theory in assessing its complexity, whether they were projected prior to, or result (...) from, projection of a given hypothesis. It assigns simplicity post-projection priority over simplicity pre-projection. It better orders compound conditionals than does the theory of simplicity of hypotheses, and it does not inherit an anomaly of the theory of simplicity of predicates — its failure to order the ordering relations. Drop Goodman's special conditions, and the problems fall away with them. (shrink)
Spinoza’s metaphysics has returned in the work of Hugh Everett as physics— as a complete and consistent interpretation of Quantum Mechanics that resolves the traditional puzzles of the standard interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.
In this article, I reply to the charge, made in Analysis by Anthony Hatzimoysis, that my criticism of Sartre's Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions is unwarranted. I argued that Sartre offers two lines of reasoning about emotional experience that are in clear conflict with each other. Hatzimoysis counters that we can and should read Sartre's text in a way that avoids attributing inconsistency to Sartre. In response, I argue that Hatzimoysis' suggestion about how one might read the text (...) does not in fact remove the central inconsistency. Pace Hatzimoysis, the inconsistency that I identified remains. (shrink)
This paper considers how the experience of illness fits within Sartre?s account of embodiment in Being and Nothingness. Sartre makes some remarks about illness, but does not develop a full account. I show that the anti?naturalistic ontological framework in which Sartre?s discussion of the body is placed, which opposes my ?being?for?Others? to my ?being?for?myself?, imposes a revisionary account of illness, and how Sartre?s model of interpersonal relations affects his view of doctors, and their role in the illness experience. I note (...) and discuss the connection Sartre draws between illness and bad faith. I also point out that recent phenomenologically inspired criticisms of the medical establishment that draw on Sartre?s account of the body are limited by their failure to engage with Sartre?s ontology. (shrink)