Against Davidsonian (or deflationary) realism, it is argued that it is coherent to believe that science can in principle give us access to the functional components of the universe as they are in themselves in distinction from how they appear to us on the basis of our quotidian concerns or sensory capacities. The first section presents the deflationary realist's argument against independence. The second section then shows that, although Heidegger pioneered the deflationary realist account of the everyday, he sought to (...) establish a robust realist account of science. Next, the third section develops two different sides of Heidegger's thinking. Resources developed by Thomas Kuhn are drawn on to work out Heidegger's account of plural worlds. This argument shows that it makes sense to talk about things-in-themselves independent of our practices, but falls short of the robust realist claim that we can have access to things as they are in themselves independent of our practices. So, secondly, Saul Kripke's account of rigid designation is drawn on to work out Heidegger's account of formal designation. On the basis of a Heideggerian elaboration of rigid designation, it is argued that we do indeed have practices for achieving access to things independent of all our practices. But this second argument leaves us unable to reject metaphysical nominalism. So, thirdly, it is proposed that the currently most persuasive philosophical argument for nominalism depends on a logico-mathematical space of possibilities. But the proto-theoretical space opened by the pre-scientific access practices has features that provide reasons for believing that the independent stuff to which we have access has a determinate structure and specific causal powers. (shrink)
Thomas Aquinas’s theory of pleasure and joy has many implications of Plato’s thinking, that pleasure must have a certain measure and different degrees, and especially of Aristotle’s teaching about the relationship between pleasure and affection, pleasure and action. Thomas holds pleasure to be given, when a present good is comprehended as attractive, when a soul turns to it and reaches the point of rest in it. Thomas is convicted, that the delectationes intelligibiles are superior to the delectationes (...) sensibiles by reason of their higher union with the intelligible. Looking back to Aristotle Thomas sees the causae delectationis in operation and in motion. The pleasure of the good person is for Thomas a moral norm of acting: Good is, who has joy to act virtuous. Generally we can speak of a renaissance of pleasure as a category of ethics in the thought of Thomas Aquinas. (shrink)
This paper addresses the notion of communicative action on the basis of Alfred Schutz’ writings. In Schutz’ work, communication is of particular significance and its importance is often neglected by phenomenologists. Communication plays a crucial role in his first major work, the Der sinnhafte Aufbau der sozialen Welt from 1932, yet communication is also a major feature in his unfinished works which were later completed posthumously by Thomas Luckmann: The Structures of the Life World (1973, 1989). In these texts, (...) Schutz sometimes refers to “communicative action,” and he comes to ascribe a crucial role to communication within the domain of the life world he calls everyday life. Based on Schutz’ texts, I shall first attempt to critically reconstruct the defining features of his notion of communication and communicative action. As a result, it emerges that Schutz’ notion of communication, particularly in its early incarnation, seems to be, at first glance, characterized by a dichotomy between virtual communication, that is communicative action in a narrow sense, and non-virtual communication. As I want to show with respect to the seemingly established dichotomous distinction between “mediated” and “immediate social action,” Schutz himself started to overcome this dichotomy. Based on this thesis, I will try to sketch a basic outline of a theory of communicative action, a theory less formulated by Schutz’ than built on Schutz’ writings. As the idea of communicative action, and particularly the transgression of the distinction between mediated and immediate action, affects the very structures of the life-world described by Schutz and Luckmann, I will ultimately demonstrate that any mundane phenomenology of the life-world requires a triangulatory method. (shrink)
Maurice Merleau-Ponty's _Phenomenology of Perception_ is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important contributions to philosophy of the twentieth century. In this volume, leading philosophers from Europe and North America examine the nature and extent of Merleau-Ponty's achievement and consider its importance to contemporary philosophy. The chapters, most of which were specially commissioned for this volume, cover the central aspects of Merleau-Ponty's influential work. These include: Merleau-Ponty’s debt to Husserl Merleau-Ponty’s conception of philosophy perception, action and the role (...) of the body consciousness and self-consciousness naturalism and language social rules and freedom. Contributors: David Smith, Sean Kelly, Komarine Romdenh-Romluc, Hubert Dreyfus, Mark Wrathall, Thomas Baldwin, Simon Glendinning, Naomi Eilan, Eran Dorfman, Francoise Dastur. (shrink)
Trust is central to our social lives in both epistemic and practical ways. Often, it is rational only given evidence for trustworthiness, and with that evidence is made available by communication. New technologies are changing our practices of communication, enabling increasing rich and diverse ways of ‘being there’, but at a distance. This paper asks: how does telepresent communication support evidence-constrained trust? In answering it, I reply to the leading pessimists about the possibility of the digital mediation of trust, Philip (...) Pettit and Hubert Dreyfus. I also rebut Media Richness Theory, which proposes a linear relationship between the volume of mediated information and the quality of communication. Positively, I develop a speech-act theory of digitally mediated communication, drawing on Austen’s identification of the illocutionary act. The choice of a particular technology of communication constitutes part of what is communicated, including a setting of the social ‘frame’, and thus the possibilities for trust to be sustained or eroded. How something is said is part of what it is that is said. (shrink)
Foreword Michael Wood xi 1 Plato Today, by R.H.S. Crossman, Spectator 3 2 English Philosophy since 1900, by G. J. Warnock, Philosophy 5 3 Thought and Action, by Stuart Hampshire, Encounter 8 4 The Theological Appearance of the Church of England: An External View, Prism 17 5 The Four Loves, by C. S. Lewis, Spectator 24 6 Discourse on Method, by René Descartes, translated by Arthur Wollaston, Spectator 26 7 The Individual Reason: L’esprit laïc, BBC Radio 3 talk, Listener 28 (...) 8 What Is Existentialism? BBC World Service talk broadcast in Vietnamese 35 9 Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions, by Jean-Paul Sartre, translated by Philip Mairet, Spectator 38 10 Sense and Sensibilia, by J. L. Austin, reconstructed by G. J. Warnock; Philosophical Papers, edited by J. O. Urmson and G. J. Warnock, Oxford Magazine 40 11 The Concept of a Person, by A. J. Ayer, New Statesman 45 12 Two Faces of Science, BBC Radio 3 talk in the series Personal View, Listener 48 13 The English Moralists, by Basil Willey, New York Review of Books 52 14 Universities: Protest, Reform and Revolution, Lecture in celebration of the foundation of Birkbeck College 55 15 Has ’God’ a Meaning? Question 70 16 Russell and Moore: The Analytical Heritage, by A. J. Ayer 75 17 Immanuel Kant, by Lucien Goldmann, Cambridge Review 77 18 A Theory of Justice, by John Rawls, Spectator 82 19 Beyond Freedom and Dignity, by B. F. Skinner, Observer 87 20 What Computers Can’t Do: A Critique of Artificial Reason, by Hubert L. Dreyfus, New York Review of Books 90 21 Wisdom: Twelve Essays, edited by Renford Bambrough, Times Literary Supplement 101 22 The Socialist Idea, edited by Stuart Hampshire and L. Kolakowski, Observer 104 23 Anarchy, State, and Utopia, by Robert Nozick, Political Philosophy 107 24 The Ethics of Fetal Research, by Paul Ramsey, Times LiterarySupplement 115 25 The Moral View of Politics, BBC Radio 3 talk in the series Current Trends in Philosophy, Listener 119 26 The Life of Bertrand Russell, by Ronald W. Clark; The Tamarisk Tree: My Quest for Liberty and Love, by Dora Russell; My Father Bertrand Russell, by Katharine Tait; Bertrand Russell, by A. J. Ayer, New York Review of Books 125 27 Reflections on Language, by Noam Chomsky; On Noam Chomsky: Critical Essays, edited by Gilbert Harman, New York Review of Books 133 28 The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins, New Scientist 140 29 The Fire and the Sun: Why Plato Banished the Artists, by Iris Murdoch, New Statesman 142 30 The Logic of Abortion, BBC Radio 3 talk, Listener 146 31 On Thinking, by Gilbert Ryle, edited by Konstantin Kolenda, London Review of Books 152 32 Rubbish Theory, by Michael Thompson, London Review of Books 157 33 Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life, by Sissela Bok, Political Quarterly 161 34 Logic and Society and Ulysses and the Sirens, by Jon Elster, London Review of Books 165 35 The Culture of Narcissism, by Christopher Lasch; Nihilism and Culture, by Johan Goudsblom, London Review of Books 169 36 Religion and Public Doctrine in England, by Maurice Cowling, London Review of Books 173 37 Nietzsche on Tragedy, by M. S. Silk and J. P. Stern; Nietzsche: A Critical Life, by Ronald Hayman; Nietzsche, vol. 1, The Will to Power as Art, by Martin Heidegger, translated by David Farrell Krell, London Review of Books 179 38 After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, by Alasdair MacIntyre, Sunday Times 184 39 Philosophical Explanations, by Robert Nozick, New York Review of Books 187 40 The Miracle of Theism: Arguments for and against the Existence of God, by J. L. Mackie, Times Literary Supplement 197 41 Offensive Literature: Decensorship in Britain, 1960-1982, by John Sutherland, London Review of Books 200 42 Consequences of Pragmatism, by Richard Rorty, New York Review of Books 204 43 The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell, vol. I, Cambridge Essays 1888-99, edited by Kenneth Blackwell and others, Observer 216 44 Reasons and Persons, by Derek Parfit, London Review of Books 218 45 Wickedness: A Philosophical Essay, by Mary Midgley, Observer 224 46 Secrets: On the Ethics of Concealment and Revelation, by Sissela Bok; The Secrets File: The Case for Freedom of Information in Britain Today, edited by Des Wilson, foreword by David Steel, London Review of Books 226 47 Choice and Consequence, by Thomas C. Schelling, Economics and Philosophy 231 48 Privacy: Studies in Social and Cultural History, by Barrington Moore, Jr., New York Review of Books 236 49 Ordinary Vices, by Judith Shklar; Immorality, by Ronald Milo, London Review of Books 241 50 The Right to Know: The Inside Story of the Belgrano Affair, by Clive Ponting; The Price of Freedom, by Judith Cook, Times Literary Supplement 246 51 Taking Sides: The Education of a Militant Mind, by Michael Harrington, New York Times Book Review 252 52 A Matter of Principle, by Ronald Dworkin 256 53 The View from Nowhere, by Thomas Nagel, London Review of Books 261 54 What Hope for the Humanities? Times Educational Supplement 267 55 The Society of Mind, by Marvin Minsky, New York Review of Books 274 56 Whose Justice? Which Rationality? by Alasdair MacIntyre, London Review of Books 283 57 Intellectuals, by Paul Johnson, New York Review of Books 288 58 Contingency, Irony and Solidarity, by Richard Rorty, London Review of Books 295 59 Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity, by Charles Taylor, New York Review of Books 301 60 The Need to Be Sceptical, Times Literary Supplement 311 61 The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life, by Kenneth J. Gergen, New York Times Book Review 318 62 Realism with a Human Face, by Hilary Putnam, London Review of Books 320 63 Political Liberalism, by John Rawls, London Review of Books 326 64 Inequality Reexamined, by Amartya Sen, London Review of Books 332 65 The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics, by Martha Nussbaum, London Review of Books 339 66 Only Words, by Catharine MacKinnon, London Review of Books 345 67 The Limits of Interpretation, by Umberto Eco; Interpretation and Overinterpretation, by Umberto Eco, with Richard Rorty, Jonathan Culler, and Christine Brooke-Rose, edited by Stefan Collini; Six Walks in the Fictional Woods, by Umberto Eco; Apocalypse Postponed, by Umberto Eco, translated and edited by Robert Lumley; Misreadings, by Umberto Eco, translated by William Weaver; How to Travel with a Salmon & Other Essays, by Umberto Eco, translated by William Weaver, New York Review of Books 352 68 On Hating and Despising Philosophy, London Review of Books 363 69 The Last Word, by Thomas Nagel, New York Review of Books 371 70 Wagner and the Transcendence of Politics, New York Review of Books 388 71 Why Philosophy Needs History, London Review of Books 405. 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Iain I remember reading Thomas Jefferson in high school; he wrote so eloquently about our human need for freedom that I got choked up just reading him. When I found out he'd had slaves I was stunned, traumatized intellectually, but I lacked the resources to work through it very far at the time. Reading Heidegger a few years later I had a similar experience, only magnified and more complicated. As I read Heidegger's later work in Hubert Dreyfus's wonderful (...) "later Heidegger" course at UC Berkeley, I had that strange experience Emerson describes as our own ideas returning to us with "alienated majesty"; here, I thought, was someone who had eloquently expressed ideas that I felt were at the core of my own thinking but that I had never managed to articulate adequately. I was deeply moved by Heidegger's critique of our increasingly nihilistic treatment of our world and each other as meaningless resources to be optimized and I was inspired by his vision of poetic thinking as a way out of this historical nihilism. Then I found out he'd been a Nazi. I was intellectually traumatized once again. But this time I didn't let the question go: How could the greatest thinker of the twentieth century have thrown the weight of his thinking behind its most horrible political regime? That's something I've been struggling with for almost twenty years now. I believe I made some real progress in understanding this difficult and controversial issue in Heidegger on Ontotheology: Technology and the Politics of Education, and I hope to disseminate the view I presented there to a broader audience in a book I'm working on now, an intellectual biography of Heidegger. (shrink)
The "hard problem" of today's consciousness studies is subjective experience: understanding why some brain processing is accompanied by an experienced inner life. Recent scientific advances offer insights for understanding the physiological and chemical phenomenology of consciousness. But by leaving aside the internal experiential nature of consciousness in favor of mapping neural activity, such science leaves many questions unanswered. In Ontology of Consciousness, scholars from a range of disciplines -- from neurophysiology to parapsychology, from mathematics to anthropology and indigenous non-Western modes (...) of thought -- go beyond these limits of current neuroscience research to explore insights offered by other intellectual approaches to consciousness. These scholars focus their attention on such philosophical approaches to consciousness as Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, North American Indian insights, pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilization, and the Byzantine Empire. Some draw on artifacts and ethnographic data to make their point. Others translate cultural concepts of consciousness into modern scientific language using models and mathematical mappings. Many consider individual experiences of sentience and existence, as seen in African communalism, Hindi psychology, Zen Buddhism, Indian vibhuti phenomena, existentialism, philosophical realism, and modern psychiatry. Some reveal current views and conundrums in neurobiology to comprehend sentient intellection. Contributors: Karim Akerma, Matthijs Cornelissen, Antoine Courban, Mario Crocco, Christian de Quincey, Thomas B. Fowler, Erlendur Haraldsson, David. J. Hufford, Pavel B. Ivanov, Heinz Kimmerle, Stanley Krippner, Armand J. Labbé, James Maffie, Hubert Markl, Graham Parkes, Michael Polemis, E Richard Sorenson, Mircea Steriade, Thomas Szasz, Mariela Szirko, Robert A.F. Thurman, Edith L.B. Turner, Julia Watkin, Helmut Wautischer. (shrink)
In the range of his intellectual interests and the profundity of his mathematical thought Hermann Weyl towered above his contemporaries, many of whom viewed him with awe. This volume, the most ambitious study to date of Weyl's singular contributions to mathematics, physics, and philosophy, looks at the man and his work from a variety of perspectives, though its gaze remains fairly steadily fixed on Weyl the geometer and space‐time theorist. Structurally, the book falls into two parts, described in the general (...) introduction by the editor: Part 1 contains four essays on particular aspects of Weyl's work, highlighting ideas he developed in various editions of his classic Raum‐Zeit‐Materie. Part 2 presents a lengthy study by Robert Coleman and Herbert Korté covering nearly the whole gamut of Weyl's mathematical research, an impressive feat. Both in the introduction as well as in footnotes to the articles Erhard Scholz's editorial voice chimes in discreetly, helping tie all five studies together.Coleman and Korté begin chronologically with Weyl's early work in analysis and the modern theory of Riemann surfaces before turning to differential geometry, unified field theory, and the space problem, a topic they use as a springboard for a discussion of their own recent work on the foundations of space‐time. They then take up Weyl's shift to group representation theory and its applications to quantum mechanics, ending with his much earlier research on the structure of the continuum. All of these topics are well handled, but the authors' own agendas coupled with their penchant for overlooking chronology in order to package Weyl's work into neat little bundles leave one feeling rather stranded and far removed from the sources of Weyl's inspiration. Moreover, the narrative style makes this part of the volume read like a technical appendix, albeit a most informative one. Readers who tackle Scholz's far more contextualized essay will be amply rewarded by comparing his views with the opinions set forth by Coleman and Korté in Part 2.Scholz gives a masterful account of Weyl's intellectual journeys from 1917 to 1925 in a study that serves as a fulcrum for the entire volume. Drawing on a number of recently published studies, including his own, on the interplay between mathematics and physics inspired by Einstein's theory of general relativity, Scholz describes how Weyl responded to this challenge by developing a truly infinitesimal space‐time geometry that generalized classical Riemannian geometry. Although unconvinced by Einstein's critique of his unified field theory, Weyl shifted his focus from this realm to the classical space problem, analyzed earlier with more primitive techniques by Hermann Helmholtz and Sophus Lie. In this connection, it should be mentioned that Thomas Hawkins has given a probing analysis of Weyl's related work on the representation of Lie groups in his tour‐de‐force work, Emergence of the Theory of Lie Groups . Scholz argues that Weyl's struggle to tame his modernized version of the space problem stemmed from a deep‐seated belief in his geometrical ideas, which in turn were nourished by philosophical musings. By demonstrating the closely related conceptual links that motivated Weyl's research in infinitesimal geometry, space‐time physics, and the foundations of mathematics, Scholz nicely illuminates the underlying fabric of epistemological concerns that occupied Weyl's attention during this fertile period.The three remaining essays in Part 1 focus on other aspects of Weyl's work in mathematical physics and cosmology. Skuli Sigurdsson's “Journeys in Spacetime” offers a broad interpretation of Weyl's career, one that emphasizes Weyl's sensitivity to cultural tensions as reflected in his philosophical roots, which combined phenomenology with facets of German idealism. Shaken by the annihilation of cultural values in Nazi Germany, Weyl became deeply aware of the gulf that separated his earlier life in Göttingen and Zurich from the one he took up at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study in 1933. He tried to adapt, but felt out of place in an Anglo‐American scientific culture openly hostile toward metaphysics and speculative philosophy. Sigurdsson stresses these tensions, contrasting the introspective, creative individual against the backdrop of the collective in the age of the machine, but without spelling out which collective were most important for him. Wolfgang Pauli thought he knew and, like Einstein before him, he had no compunction about bluntly telling Weyl he was a mathematician, not a physicist.Pauli's opinions notwithstanding, Weyl did far more than just dabble around the mathematical edges of the new physics. If Coleman and Korté perhaps press their case for his visionary accomplishments too far, Norbert Straumann's essay “Ursprünge der Eichtheorien” suggests why Weyl's reputation among physicists has risen steadily ever since the advent of Yang‐Mills theory in the 1950s. In the course of describing Weyl's adaptation of his gauge transformation formalism to Dirac's electron theory, Straumann sheds considerable light on Pauli's role as self‐appointed watchman guarding the disciplinary boundary that separated theoretical physics from physical mathematics . He further suggests that disciplinary jealousy was a major reason why Pauli dismissed Weyl's two‐component formalism for spinors out of hand.In the realm of cosmology, on the other hand, Weyl's work has long since passed into the dustbins of history, as Hubert Goenner remarks in recounting a fascinating chapter in the infancy of space‐time physics. While doing so, Goenner shows how initially Weyl almost slavishly adopted what Einstein called Mach's principle, which asserts that the metric structure of space‐time is solely determined by the distribution of matter in the universe. This notion was quickly challenged by Willem De Sitter, who showed that Einstein's matter‐free field equations admitted a global solution with non‐zero constant curvature. Both Einstein and Weyl tried to argue that invisible masses must be present just over the “spatial horizon” of De Sitter's world in order to account for its curvature. Goenner meticulously analyzes the physical and mathematical issues at stake in this debate, stressing how Weyl gradually moved away from a strong physical interpretation to one in which mathematics models rather than physics models simply reveal natural phenomena. He argues further that Weyl's cosmological principle arose as the final expression of his search for a deeper physical meaning.Given the quality of these essays, it is regrettable that this book contains so little about Weyl's professional career, a weakness the editor could have redressed at least partially in his general introduction. This omission is all the more unfortunate given the dearth of readily accessible information about Weyl's life available elsewhere. For however mundane his outward existence may have been, the reader cannot be expected to appreciate the interplay between the world Weyl knew and his creative responses to it without fairly detailed knowledge of his biography. Shorn from these contexts, it becomes difficult to form a flesh‐and‐blood image of Weyl beyond the cliché‐ridden stereotype that sees him as a “heroic thinker in the grand German tradition.” While none of the authors falls into this trap, the collective impression they leave suggests a most enigmatic figure. Either Weyl the man tends to get lost in the shadows of his collected scientific output or he appears as a mystic loner, an outcast who abhorred the machine age in which he lived. Closer attention to the people in his life would no doubt produce a very different picture of the man and his interests. This major lacuna notwithstanding, the present volume will surely remain an indispensable resource for any future investigations of Weyl's staggering intellectual achievements. (shrink)
This book is the first to provide a sustained, coherent analysis of Foucault's work as a whole. To demonstrate the sense in which Foucault's work is beyond structuralism and hermeneutics, the authors unfold a careful, analytical exposition of his oeuvre. They argue that during the of Foucault's work became a sustained and largely successful effort to develop a new method - "interpretative analytics" - capable of explaining both the logic of structuralism's claim to be an objective science and the apparent (...) validity of the hermeneutical counterclaim that the human sciences can proceed only by understanding the deepest meaning of the subject and his tradition. (shrink)
For fifty years Hubert Dreyfus has done pioneering work which brings phenomenology and existentialism to bear on the philosophical and scientific study of the mind. This is a selection of his most influential essays, developing his critique of the representational model of the mind in analytical philosophy of mind and mainstream cognitive science.
In diesem Aufsatz möchte ich einen Überblick über unser heutiges Wissen bezüglich der Übersetzung der Elemente Euklids ins Lateinische geben. Cicero hat als Quästor in Sizilien das Grab des Archimedes aufgesucht und instandsetzen lassen, er nennt gelegentlich Euklid und Archimedes und er zitiert in Academica I, Buch II, § 116, die Definitionen von Punkt und Linie. Vor dem 6.
In previous work I urged that the perceptual experience we rational animals enjoy is informed by capacities that belong to our rationality, and - in passing - that something similar holds for our intentional action. In his Presidential Address, Hubert Dreyfus argued that I thereby embraced a myth, "the Myth of the Mental". According to Dreyfus, I cannot accommodate the phenomenology of unreflective bodily coping, and its importance as a background for the conceptual capacities exercised in reflective intellectual activity. (...) My paper responds to this accusation. Dreyfus misreads my invocation of Aristotle, and is thereby led to suppose, wrongly, that I conceive rationality as detached, brought to bear on practical predicaments from a standpoint other than one of immersion in them. I urge that even unreflective bodily coping, on the part of rational animals, is informed by their rationality. Dreyfus mentions Heidegger’s distinction, which is picked up by Gadamer, between being oriented towards the world and merely inhabiting an environment. But he sets it aside, whereas it is crucial for the issue between us. Engaged bodily coping involves responsiveness to affordances, and responsiveness to affordances on the part of rational animals belongs to their relation to the world. I explain how the idea that conceptual capacities are actualized in our perceptual experience is connected with the thought that our perceptual experience opens us to the world. Finally, I suggest that the real myth in this area is the conception of rationality underlying Dreyfus’s resistance to my picture. (shrink)
McDowell's claim that "in mature human beings, embodied coping is permeated with mindedness",1 suggests a new version of the mentalist myth which, like the others, is untrue to the phenomenon. The phenomena show that embodied skills, when we are fully absorbed in enacting them, have a kind of non-mental content that is non-conceptual, non-propositional, non-rational and non-linguistic. This is not to deny that we can monitor our activity while performing it. For solving problems, learning a new skill, receiving coaching, and (...) so forth, such monitoring is invaluable. But monitoring what we are doing as we are doing it degrades performance to at best competence. On McDowell's view, there is no way to account for such a degradation in performance since the same sort of content would be involved whether we were fully absorbed in or paying attention to what we were doing. McDowell claims that it is an advantage of his conceptualism that it avoids any foundationalist attempt to build up the objective world on the basis of an indubitable Given or any other ground-floor experience. And, indeed, if the world is all that is the case and our minds are unproblematically open to it, all experience is on the same footing. But one must distinguish motor intentionality, and the interrelated solicitations our coping body is intertwined with, from conceptual intentionality and the world of propositional structures it opens onto. The existential phenomenologist can then agree with McDowell in rejecting traditional foundationalisms, while yet affirming and describing the ground-floor role of motor intentionality in providing the support on which all forms of conceptual intentionality are based. (shrink)
Abstract Freedom in the sense of free will is a multiway power to do any one of a number of things, leaving it up to us which one of a range of options by way of action we perform. What are the ethical implications of our possession of such a power? The paper examines the pre-Hobbesian scholastic view of writers such as Peter Lombard and Francisco Suárez: freedom as a multiway power is linked to the right to liberty understood as (...) a right to exercise that power, and to liberation as a desirable goal involving the perfection of that power. Freedom as a power, liberty as a right, and liberation as a desirable goal, are all linked within this scholastic view to a distinctive theory of law as constituting, in its primary form of natural law, the normative recognition of human freedom. Hobbes's denial of the very existence of freedom as a power led him to a radical revision both of the theory of law and of the relation of law to liberty. Law and liberty were no longer harmonious phenomena, but were left in essential conflict. One legacy of Hobbes is the attempt to base a theory of law and liberty not on freedom as a multiway power, but on rationality. Instead of an ethics of freedom, we have an ethics of reason as involving autonomy. The paper expresses some scepticism about the prospects for such an appeal to reason as a replacement for multiway freedom. (shrink)
Existential phenomenologists hold that the two most basic forms of intelligent behavior, learning, and skillful action, can be described and explained without recourse to mind or brain representations. This claim is expressed in two central notions in Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception: the intentional arc and the tendency to achieve a maximal grip. The intentional arc names the tight connection between body and world, such that, as the active body acquires skills, those skills are “stored”, not as representations in the mind, (...) but as dispositions to respond to the solicitations of situations in the world. A phenomenology of skill acquisition confirms that, as one acquires expertise, the acquired know-how is experienced as finer and finer discriminations of situations paired with the appropriate response to each. Maximal grip names the body's tendency to refine its responses so as to bring the current situation closer to an optimal gestalt. Thus, successful learning and action do not require propositional mental representations. They do not require semantically interpretable brain representations either.Simulated neural networks exhibit crucial structural features of the intentional arc, and Walter Freeman's account of the brain dynamics underlying perception and action is structurally isomorphic with Merleau-Ponty's account of the way a skilled agent is led by the situation to move towards obtaining a maximal grip. (shrink)
_Internet_ is een van de eerste boeken waarin het filosofische inzicht -van Plato tot Kierkegaard - betrokken wordt op het debat over de mogelijkheden en onmogelijkheden van het internet. Dreyfus laat zien dat de onstoffelijke, 'vrij zwevende' websurfer zijn oorsprong vindt in Descartes' scheiding van geest en lichaam, en hoe Kierkegaards inzichten in de opkomst van het moderne leespubliek vooruitlopen op de nieuwsgierige, maar elk risico vermijdende internet-junkie. Uitgaande van recente onderzoeken naar het isolement dat veel internetgebruikers ervaren, toont Dreyfus (...) aan hoe het internet, door zijn nadruk op privé-ervaringen, gebruikers berooft van wezenlijke, belichaamde vermogens zoals vertrouwen, stemmingen en betrokkenheid bij met anderen gedeelde lokale aangelegenheden. _Internet_ is verplichte kost voor iedereen die on line is en is geïnteressseerd in onze plaats in de 'e-revolutie'. (shrink)
Existential phenomenologists hold that the two most basic forms of intelligent behavior, learning, and skillful action, can be described and explained without recourse to mind or brain representations. This claim is expressed in two central notions in Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception: the intentional arc and the tendency to achieve a maximal grip. The intentional arc names the tight connection between body and world, such that, as the active body acquires skills, those skills are stored, not as representations in the mind, (...) but as dispositions to respond to the solicitations of situations in the world. A phenomenology of skill acquisition confirms that, as one acquires expertise, the acquired know-how is experienced as finer and finer discriminations of situations paired with the appropriate response to each. Maximal grip names the body's tendency to refine its responses so as to bring the current situation closer to an optimal gestalt. Thus, successful learning and action do not require propositional mental representations. They do not require semantically interpretable brain representations either.Simulated neural networks exhibit crucial structural features of the intentional arc, and Walter Freeman's account of the brain dynamics underlying perception and action is structurally isomorphic with Merleau-Ponty's account of the way a skilled agent is led by the situation to move towards obtaining a maximal grip. (shrink)
Contemporary Philosophy in Focus offers a series of introductory volumes to many of the dominant philosophical thinkers of the current age. Thomas Kuhn, the author of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, is probably the best-known and most influential historian and philosopher of science of the last 25 years, and has become something of a cultural icon. His concepts of paradigm, paradigm change and incommensurability have changed the way we think about science. This volume offers an introduction to Kuhn's life (...) and work and then considers the implications of Kuhn's work for philosophy, cognitive psychology, social studies of science and feminism. The volume is more than a retrospective on Kuhn, exploring future developments of cognitive and information services along Kuhnian lines. Outside of philosophy the volume will be of particular interest to professionals and students in cognitive science, history of science, science studies and cultural studies. (shrink)
Back in 1950, while a physics major at Harvard, I wandered into C.I. Lewis’s epistemology course. There, Lewis was confidently expounding the need for an indubitable Given to ground knowledge, and he was explaining where that ground was to be found. I was so impressed that I immediately switched majors from ungrounded physics to grounded philosophy.
It is generally argued that if the wave-function in the de Broglie–Bohm theory is a physical field, it must be a field in configuration space. Nevertheless, it is possible to interpret the wave-function as a multi-field in three-dimensional space. This approach hasn’t received the attention yet it really deserves. The aim of this paper is threefold: first, we show that the wave-function is naturally and straightforwardly construed as a multi-field; second, we show why this interpretation is superior to other interpretations (...) discussed in the literature; third, we clarify common misconceptions. (shrink)
Our contemporary nihilism -- Homer's polytheism -- From Aeschylus to Augustine : monotheism on the rise -- From Dante to Kant : the attractions and dangers of autonomy -- Fanaticism, polytheism, and Melville's "evil art" -- David Foster Wallace's nihilism -- Conclusion : lives worth living in a secular age.