The primary narrative problem of the analyst is, then, not how to tell a normative chronological life history; rather, it is how to tell the several histories of each analysis. From this vantage point, the event with which to start the model analytic narration is not the first occasion of thought—Freud's wish-fulfilling hallucination of the absent breast; instead, one should start from a narrative account of the psychoanalyst's retelling of something told by an analysand and the analysand's response to that (...) narrative transformation. In the narration of this moment of dialogue lies the structure of the analytic past, present, and future. It is from this beginning that the accounts of early infantile development are constructed. Those traditional developmental accounts, over which analysts labored so hard, may now be seen in a new light: less as positivistic sets of factual findings about mental development and more as hermeneutically filled-in narrative structures. The narrative structures that have been adopted control the telling of the events of the analysis, including the many tellings and retellings of the analysand's life history. The time is always present. The event is always an outgoing dialogue. Roy Schafer is clinical professor of psychology and psychiatry at Cornell University Medical College, adjunct professor of psychology at New York University, and a supervising and training analyst at Columbia University's Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. He is the author of A New Language for Psychoanalysis, Language and Insight, and Narrative Actions in Psychoanalysis: Narratives of Space and Narratives of Time. (shrink)
Over the last two decades, Kant’s name has become closely associated with the “constitutivist” program within metaethics. But is Kant best read as pursuing a constitutivist approach to meta- normative questions? And if so, in what sense? In this essay, I’ll argue that we can best answer these questions by considering them in the context of a broader issue – namely, how Kant understands the proper methodology for philosophy in general. The result of this investigation will be that, while Kant (...) can indeed be read as a sort of constitutivist, his constitutivism is ultimately just one instance of a much more general approach to philosophy – which treats as fundamental our basic, self-conscious rational capacities. Thus, to truly understand why and how Kant is a constitutivist, we need to consider this question within the context of his more fundamental commitment to “capacities-first philosophy”. (shrink)
[A]ny theory of practical rationality must explain— or explain away—the following: Rational: In many cases, what it is rational (in some sense) for one to do or intend to do depends on what one desires. [...] I argue that in order to capture the rational significance of desire, we need to consider both its content and its force, on analogy to the rational significance of both the force and content of beliefs and perceptual experiences. This will open up a new (...) and more elegant way of explaining Rational, while also allowing us to understand how our desires provide us with a basic form of normative experience. Thus, in the end, this will provide the basis for a novel defense of the ancient thesis that desire, in some sense, presents its object under the “guise of the good.”. (shrink)
It is increasingly common to suggest that the combination of evolutionary theory and normative realism leads inevitably to a general scepticism about our ability to reliably form normative beliefs. In what follows, I argue that this is not the case. In particular, I consider several possible arguments from evolutionary theory and normative realism to normative scepticism and explain where they go wrong. I then offer a more general diagnosis of the tendency to accept such arguments and why this tendency should (...) be resisted. (shrink)
It has recently been argued that certain areas of discourse, such as discourse about matters of taste, involve a phenomenon of ‘‘ faultless disagreement ’’ that rules out giving a standard realist or contextualist semantics for them. Thus, it is argued, we are left with no choice but to consider more adventurous semantic alternatives for these areas, such as a semantic account that involves relativizing truth to perspectives or contexts of assessment. I argue that the sort of faultless disagreement present (...) in these cases is in fact compatible with a realist treatment of their semantics. Then I briefly consider other considerations that might be thought to speak against realism about these areas of discourse. I conclude with the tentative suggestion that realism about matters of taste is far more plausible than most philosophers believe today. (shrink)
In this essay, I develop and defend a virtue-theoretic conception of rationality as a capacity whose function is understanding, as opposed to mere truth or correctness. I focus on two main potential advantages of this view. First, its ability to explain the rationality of forms of explanatory reasoning, and second, its ability to offer a more unified account of theoretical and practical rationality.
This article reports the findings of AI4People, an Atomium—EISMD initiative designed to lay the foundations for a “Good AI Society”. We introduce the core opportunities and risks of AI for society; present a synthesis of five ethical principles that should undergird its development and adoption; and offer 20 concrete recommendations—to assess, to develop, to incentivise, and to support good AI—which in some cases may be undertaken directly by national or supranational policy makers, while in others may be led by other (...) stakeholders. If adopted, these recommendations would serve as a firm foundation for the establishment of a Good AI Society. (shrink)
In this paper, I’ll sketch an approach to epistemology that draws its inspiration from two aspects of Kant’s philosophical project. In particular, I want to explore how we might develop a Kantian conception of rationality that combines a virtue-theoretical perspective on the nature of rationality with a role for transcendental arguments in defining the demands this conception of rationality places upon us as thinkers. In discussing these connections, I’ll proceed as follows. First, I’ll describe the sorts of epistemological questions I’ll (...) be focusing on, and the framework within which I’ll try to address them. Then I’ll say a bit about the connections between this framework on Kant’s own views. Next, I’ll explain in more detail how the two main elements of this framework relate to one another by explaining how a certain sort of “transcendental argument” allows us to derive conclusions about the requirements of rationality from facts about the nature of rational capacities. Then, I’ll briefly illustrate these connections with two examples: the rationality of explanatory inference like inference to the best explanation and the rationality of perceptual belief. Finally, I’ll conclude by saying a bit about the relevance of this ideas for debates about the rationality of basic beliefs or prior probabilities. (shrink)
In this paper, I present a brief (and more than a little potted) history of the concepts of reason, rationality, reasonableness, and reasons in modern European philosophy and consider whether this history might support the "Anscombean" conclusion that, "The concepts of rationality and reasons ought to jettisoned if this is psychologically possible; because they are survivals, or derivatives from survivals, from an earlier conception of psychology and philosophy which no longer generally survives, and are only harmful without it.".
No discussion of academic freedom, research integrity, and patient safety could begin with a more disquieting pair of case studies than those of Nancy Olivieri and David Healy. The cumulative impact of the Olivieri and Healy affairs has caused serious self examination within the biomedical research community. The first part of the essay analyses these recent academic scandals. The two case studies are then placed in their historical context—that context being the transformation of the norms of science through increasingly close (...) ties between research universities and the corporate world. After a literature survey of the ways in which corporate sponsorship has biased the results of clinical drug trials, two different strategies to mitigate this problem are identified and assessed: a regulatory approach, which focuses on managing risks associated with industry funding of university research, and a more radical approach, the sequestration thesis, which counsels the outright elimination of corporate sponsorship. The reformist approach is criticised and the radical approach defended. (shrink)
Metaethical constructivism is one of the main movements within contemporary metaethics – especially among those with Kantian inclinations. But both the philosophical coherence and the Kantian pedigree of constructivism are hotly contested. In the first half of this article, I first explore the sense in which Kant's own views might be described as constructivist and then use the resulting understanding as a guide to how we might think about Kantian constructivism today. Along the way, I hope to suggest that a (...) fairly diverse range of views within contemporary metaethics – including some without any explicit allegiance to Kant – may be thought of as pursuing a version of the resulting strategy. (shrink)
In the following I discuss the debate between epistemological internalists and externalists from an unfamiliar meta-epistemological perspective. In doing so, I focus on the question of whether rationality is best captured in externalist or internalist terms. Using a conception of epistemic judgments as “doxastic plans,” I characterize one important subspecies of judgments about epistemic rationality—focusing on the distinctive rational/functional role these judgments play in regulating how we form beliefs. Then I show why any judgment that plays this role should be (...) expected to behave the manner internalists predict. In this way, I argue, we can explain why our basic toolbox for epistemic evaluation includes an internalist conception of rationality. (shrink)
In this essay, I discuss two familiar objections to Hume's account of cognition, focusing on his ability to give a satisfactory account of the more normative dimensions of thought and language use. In doing so, I argue that Hume’s implicit account of these issues is far richer than is normally assumed. In particular, I show that Hume’s account of convention-driven artificial virtues like justice also applies to the proper use of conventional public languages. I then use this connection between Hume’s (...) conception of language and his moral theory to show how he can respond to a number of basic objections to his views. In doing so, I explore the sense in which human cognition is essentially linguistic, and so social, for Hume, as well as many other issues concerning the relationship between Hume’s philosophy of mind and language, his epistemology, and his ethics. (shrink)
In the second half of this essay, I discuss the robust conception of rationality that lies at the heart of the Kantian version of Rationalist Constructivism – offering some reasons to prefer this conception to the more minimal accounts of rationality associated with Humean views. I then go on to discuss some of the potential metaethical advantages of the resulting form of constructivism.
I consider sophisticated forms of relativism and their effectiveness at responding to the skeptical argument from moral disagreement. In order to do so, I argue that the relativist must do justice to our intuitions about the depth of moral disagreement, while also explaining why it can be rational to be relatively insensitive to such disagreements. I argue that the relativist can provide an account with these features, at least in some form, but that there remain serious questions about the viability (...) of the resulting account. (shrink)
On its face, Hume's account of mental representation involves at least two elements. On the one hand, Hume often seems to write as though the representational properties of an idea are fixed solely by what it is a copy or image of. But, on the other, Hume's treatment of abstract ideas makes it clear that the representational properties of a Humean idea sometimes depend, not just on what it is copied from, but also on the manner in which the mind (...) associates it with other ideas. Past interpretations of Hume have tended to focus on one of these elements of his account to the neglect of the other. But no interpretation of this sort is likely to capture the role that both copying and association play within Hume's discussion. In what follows, I argue that the most plausible way of understanding Hume's discussion involves attributing to him a unified account of mental representation in which both of these elements play a central role. I close by discussing the manner in which reading Hume in this way would alter our understanding of the relationship between Hume's thought and contemporary philosophy of mind. (shrink)
In this paper, I focus on Kant’s doctrine of figurative synthesis. Figurative synthesis is the result of the activity of productive transcendental imagination. This is the chief problem of the so-called “second proof step” in Kant’s deduction of the categories according to the second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason. The pure original synthetic apperception forms in the inner and outer sense - i. e. in time and space - by self-affection structures of order that make it possible to (...) cognize empirical objects. The order of space and time through figurative syntheses must be distinguished on the one hand from space and time as forms of intuition and on the other hand from the order of the manifold given in space and time. This clarifies the differences and relations between the constitutive noetic faculties of our knowledge apparatus. (shrink)
In this paper I offer an argument for a view about the epistemology of peer disagreement, which I call the “Rational Symmetry View”. I argue that this view follows from a natural conception of the epistemology of testimony, together with a basic entitlement to trust our own faculties for belief formation. I then discuss some objections to this view, focusing on its relationship to other well-known views in the literature. The upshot of this discussion is that, if the Rational Symmetry (...) View is correct, much of the action in the epistemology of disagreement relates—not to how one should treat those one regards as an “epistemic peer” in the sense popular in that literature—but rather to who one should treat as such. (shrink)
In these comments I briefly discuss three aspects of the empiricist account of the epistemic role of experience that Anil Gupta develops in his Empiricism and Experience. First, I discuss the motivations Gupta offers for the claim that the given in experience should be regarded as reliable. Second, I discuss two different ways of conceiving of the epistemic significance of the phenomenology of experience. And third, I discuss whether Gupta's account is able to deliver the anti-skeptical results he intends it (...) to. I close by suggesting that, once fully fleshed out, Gupta's account is best understood in terms of the fusion of certain core ideas within both the empiricist and the rationalist traditions. (shrink)
This book proposes a reading of Dionysius the Areopagite's longest and most important treatise 'On the Divine Names' from a philosophical point of view, rather than from a theological point of view which dominates the secondary literature. At the same time, it can serve as an introduction to the entire philosophy of Dionysius.
Famously, in the second Critique , Kant claims that our consciousness of the moral law provides us with sufficient grounds to attribute freedom to ourselves as noumena or things-in-themselves. In this way, while we have no rational basis to make substantive assertions about things-in-themselves from a theoretical point of view, it is rational (in some sense) for us to believe that we are noumenally free from a practical one.
Can desires and actions be evaluated as responsive or unresponsive to reasons, in ways that extend beyond the instrumental implications of one's (other) desires? And does there exist any form of inference or reasoning that is practical in nature? Hume is generally supposed to have given an unambiguously negative reply to both of these questions. In particular, he is often taken to have held that no desire, passion, or action may ever be said to be opposed to reasons, except (perhaps) (...) in so far as it is based on a false belief or confused piece of means-ends reasoning. And he is generally taken to have held that the existence of some sort of peculiarly practical form of inference or reasoning is fundamentally .. (shrink)
In reaction to growing critics regarding ecological and ethical aspects of intensive animal husbandry, different initiatives of ethical poultry production try to establish alternative food supply chains on the market. To be able to stabilise these niche innovations parallel to the mainstream regime, new forms of cooperation along the value added chain and with the consumers play an important role. Based on a case study of integrated egg and meat production from a dual-purpose breed by small multifunctional farms in Northeast (...) of Germany, the paper exemplifies the challenges for the different partners of the food supply chain and cooperation management. Empirical data were obtained via nine qualitative interviews with actors along the value chain and via participatory observation of workshops and meetings. The research was embedded in a transdisciplinary project, where different measures to meet the existing challenges were taken and evaluated. Analysing the existing cooperation reveals possibilities for improving cooperation management by e.g. clarifying the goals of the cooperation, including the points of sale as part of the food supply chain and communication of the ethical and sustainability qualities of the product to the consumers. However, the analysis also shows the limits of cooperation in an environment dominated by the paradigm of specialisation, economies of scale and cost reduction, which is also characteristic for parts of the organic sector. The paper discusses if the challenges of establishing this radical niche innovation can be met without a fundamental change of framework conditions as e.g. regulation on animal husbandry. (shrink)
As with any sensory input, music might be expected to incorporate the processing of information about the safety of the environment. Little research has been done on how such processing has evolved and how different kinds of sounds may affect the experience of certain environments. In this article, we investigate if music, as a form of auditory information, can trigger the experience of safety. We hypothesized that there should be an optimal, subjectively preferred degree of information density of musical sounds, (...) at which safety-related information can be processed optimally; any deviation from the optimum, that is, both higher and lower levels of information density, should elicit experiences of higher stress and danger; and in general, sonic scenarios with music should reduce experiences of stress and danger more than other scenarios. In Experiment 1, the information density of short music-like rhythmic stimuli was manipulated via their tempo. In an initial session, listeners adjusted the tempo of the stimuli to what they deemed an appropriate tempo. In an ensuing session, the same listeners judged their experienced stress and danger in response to the same stimuli, as well as stimuli exhibiting tempo variants. Results are consistent with the existence of an optimum information density for a given rhythm; the preferred tempo decreased for increasingly complex rhythms. The hypothesis that any deviation from the optimum would lead to experiences of higher stress and danger was only partly fit by the data. In Experiment 2, listeners should indicate their experience of stress and danger in response to different sonic scenarios: music, natural sounds, and silence. As expected, the music scenarios were associated with lowest stress and danger whereas both natural sounds and silence resulted in higher stress and danger. Overall, the results largely fit the hypothesis that music seemingly carries safety-related information about the environment. (shrink)
I describe characteristic phenomena of quantum physics that suggest that reality appears to us in two domains: the open and well-known domain of empirical, material things—the realm of actuality—and a hidden and invisible domain of nonempirical, non-material forms—the realm of potentiality. The nonempirical forms are part of physical reality because they contain the empirical possibilities of the universe and can manifest themselves in the empirical world. Two classes of nonempirical states are discussed: the superposition states of microphysical entities, which are (...) nonempirical because observation destroys them, and the virtual states of material systems, which are nonempirical because they are empty. The non-empirical part to physical reality represents a predetermined and hidden order that exists before it is empirical, and the visible world is an emanation out of it. I discuss consequences for our understanding of human nature, the origin of life, and human values. Reality is an indivisible wholeness that is aware of its processes, like a Cosmic Spirit, and it reveals its awareness in the mindlike properties of elementary processes as well as in the human consciousness. Thus, one is led to G. W. F. Hegel's thesis that the Cosmic Spirit is thinking in us. (shrink)