What is a natural kind ? As we shall see, the concept of a natural kind has a long history. Many of the interesting doctrines can be detected in Aristotle, were revived by Locke and Leibniz, and have again become fashionable in recent years. Equally there has been agreement about certain paradigm examples: the kinds oak, stickleback and gold are natural kinds, and the kinds table, nation and banknote are not. Sadly agreement does not extend much further. It is impossible (...) to discover a single consistent doctrine in the literature, and different discussions focus on different doctrines without writers or readers being aware of the fact. In this paper I shall attempt to find a defensible distinction between natural and non-natural kinds. (shrink)
‘… and he arranged it all. It's done me the world of good, I can tell you. And that's why I said that yesterday was both yesterday and two years ago.’ ‘Well, it still sounds nonsense to me. I told you H. G. Wells would do you no good.’.
Here, Ann Cvetkovich, interviewed by Abby Wilkerson, brings Cvetkovich’s influential cultural studies analysis of depression explicitly into conversation with disability studies. Cvetkovich understands “feeling bad” as a defining affective state under neoliberalism. Drawing on a distinctive historical/cultural archive, she challenges the atomism of the neoliberal medical model that frames depression and affective distress more generally as the result of faulty brain chemistry—individual organisms gone awry. Instead, she traces these common experiences to sociopolitical phenomena ranging from current neoliberal demands for (...) productivity as exemplified in university life, to histories of colonization, slavery, and displacement. The conversation considers the value of disability frameworks for understanding mental health diagnoses and the intersections of social institutions, bodily practices, and everyday affective life. (shrink)
Argues that standard interpretations of Merleau-Ponty's criticisms of Sartrean freedom fail and presents an alternative interpretation that argues that the fundamental issue concerns their different theories of time.
Argues that choice, as a form of interpretation, is completely intertwined with the development of both sexual orientation and sexual identity. Sexual orientation is not simply a given, or determined aspect of personality.
The theory-theory claims that the explanation and prediction of behavior works via the application of a theory, while the simulation theory claims that explanation works by putting ourselves in others' places and noting what we would do. On either account, in order to develop a prediction or explanation of another person's behavior, one first needs to have a characterization of that person's current or recent actions. Simulation requires that I have some grasp of the other person's behavior to project myself (...) upon; whereas theorizing requires a subject matter to theorize about. The frame problem shows that multiple, true characterizations are possible for any behavior or situation. However, only one or a few of these characterizations are relevant to explaining or predicting behavior. Since different characterizations of a behavior lead to different predictions or explanations, much of the work of interpersonal interpretation is done in the process of finding this characterization - that is, prior to either theorizing or simulating. Moreover, finding this characterization involves extensive knowledge of the physical, cultural, and social worlds of the persons involved. (shrink)
Abstract: This essay explores recent trends and major issues related to gay and lesbian philosophy in ethics (including issues concerning the morality of homosexuality, the natural function of sex, and outing and coming out); religion (covering past and present debates about the status of homosexuality and how biblical and qur'anic passages have been interpreted by both sides of the debate); the law (especially a discussion of the debates surrounding sodomy laws, same-sex marriage and its impact on transsexuals, and whether the (...) law should be used to enforce morality); scientific research into the origins of homosexuality (including discussion of arguments against such research); and metaphysics (especially the question of whether homosexuality is socially constructed during particular times and in particular cultures, or whether sexual orientation is an essential trait cutting across times and cultures). (shrink)
Many feminists have found inspiration in Donna Haraway's myth of the cyborg (1990). From the standpoint of feminist bisexual identity, however, I contend that this myth evades the very issues of race and sexuality which it seems to be addressing. I examine the uses of a bisexual standpoint for a more concrete, situated approach to theorizing sexuality, arguing that reflection on racial identities must be incorporated as well.
This article explores how the notion of obesity as health problem (1) functions to obscure or justify global inequities related to food production and access and (2) indicates still deeper problems of injustice and the neglected role of embodiment in analyses of justice and injustice, and notions of political subjecthood. Food, the need to eat, and the food system shape social existence profoundly yet are underexplored in philosophy, especially political philosophy. Drawing on disability theory and food studies, this article uses (...) the crisis of body weight to explore relationships between neoliberalism, transnational capitalism, the industrialized agro-food system, and world health. Obesity discourse spotlights lifestyle choices of individuals, casting women especially as making irresponsible decisions for their families. A politically informed (and more medically sophisticated) perspective suggests that the real crisis is a social pact, which I term the ThinContract, predicating personhood and full social inclusion on body type. (shrink)
Argues that Dennett's apparent inability to commit ontologically on the being of intentionality can be resolved by regarding intentionality as realized at the ontological level of a pattern of social behavior.
This paper argues that one's perception of another person's bodily activity is not the perception of the mere flexing and bending of that person's limbs, but rather of that person's intentions. It makes its case in three parts. First, it examines what conditions are necessary for children to begin to imitate and assimilate the behavior of other adults and argues that these conditions include the perception of intention. These conditions generalize to adult perception as well. Second, changing methodologies, the paper (...) presents a first person phenomenology of watching another person act which demonstrates that one's own perception is of intentions. The phenomenological analysis of time consciousness is the keystone of this argument. Finally, the paper looks at some recently established facts about infant and child development, and shows that these facts are best explained by thinking that the child is already perceiving intention. (shrink)
This essay pushes the ontological implications of Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception to their limit. While everybody knows he used Gestaltist notions to displace atomistic ontologies,1 I completely subordinate the phenomenological to the ontological, so that his deployment of Form from The Structure of Behavior becomes the fundamental maneuver of the Phenomenology. The more traditional concerns with subject/object and mind/body dualities are then both secondary to and solved by this use of Form, and the book becomes not so much a phenomenology (...) as an explicitly new metaphysics.Merleau-Ponty introduces the living body as être au monde amid his discussion of the phantom limb and initially compares it neither .. (shrink)
The abstinence approach to sex education remains influential despite its demonstrated ineffectiveness. One bill forbids the “promotion” of “gateway sexual activity,” while requiring outright condemnation of “non-abstinence,” defined so loosely as to plausibly include handholding. Bioethics seldom (if ever) contributes to sex-ed debates, yet exploring the pivotal role of medical discourse reveals the need for bioethical intervention. Sex-ed debates revolve around a theory of human flourishing based on heteronormative temporality, a developmental teleology ensuring the transmission of various supposed social goods (...) through heterosexual marriage (Halberstam, 2005). Heteronormative temporality also constitutes a moralized discourse in which the values of health and presumed certainties of medicine serve to justify conservative religious dictates that otherwise would appear controversial as the basis for public policy. Overall, this analysis explores how moralized medical discourses compound existing injustices, while suggesting bioethics’ potential contributions to moral and political analysis of sex-ed policies. (shrink)
"Knowledge of self, knowledge of others, error and the place of consciousness" examines texts and problems from the phenomenological tradition to show that the other does not present her/himself as a consciousness enclosed in a merely material body. I discuss Merleau-Ponty''s attempt to supplant this view with the view that the other is always seen as an "incarnate consciousness" - a unity of mind and body in activity. This view faces a difficulty in that it seems to collapse the distinction (...) between one''s own understanding of one''s behavior and the understanding which another might have of this same behavior. In response to this objection, I study how the meaning of people''s behaviors are settled in dialogue. I argue that the meanings that an actor gives to her or his behavior cannot rest entirely with that person, nor are they determined solely by the interpreter, but instead develop in the interaction between the actor and the interpreter. (shrink)
In this bold and original book, Hans Radder examines a number of connected problems that arise where philosophy, science, and sociology overlap. They all arise from two central features of science and technology, set out in the introductory chapter. First, science and technology must be "realized" in the world. Since any realization of one scientific discovery will typically exclude the realization of others, knowledge is not merely the neutral acquisition of truths: there is an inevitable connection between knowledge and power. (...) Second, scientific work is "nonlocal," having significance that stretches far beyond the specific spatial and temporal boundaries of one experiment or one realization. Sometimes the nonlocality is experimental, for experiments must be reproducible; sometimes it is social and political, since discoveries may be successfully appropriated by multinational companies. (shrink)