Many people believe that the wrongness of killing a person does not depend on factors like her age, condition, or how much she has to lose by dying – a view Jeff McMahan calls the ‘Equal Wrongness Thesis’. This article argues that we should reject the Equal Wrongness Thesis on the basis of the moral equivalence between killing a person and knocking her unconscious.
It is more or less uncontroversial that when we harm someone through wrongful conduct we incur an obligation to compensate her. But sometimes compensation is impossible: when the victim is killed, for example. Other times, only partial compensation is possible. In this article, I take some initial steps towards exploring this largely ignored issue. I argue that the perpetrator of a wrongful harm incurs a duty to promote the impartial good in proportion to the amount of harm that cannot be (...) made up for by compensating her victim. (shrink)
Universalism in philosophy, argue Penny Enslin and Mary Tjiattas, tends to be regarded as an affront to particular affiliations, an act of injustice by misrecognition. While agreeing with criticisms of some expressions of universalism, they take the view that anti-universalism has become an orthodoxy that deflects attention from pressing issues of global injustice in education. In different ways, recent reformulations of universalism accommodate particularity and claims for recognition. Defending a qualified universalism, they argue, through a discussion of the Education for (...) All campaign, that the present focus on recognition should be widened to address redistribution and representation as elements of global justice in education.In her response to Enslin and Tjiattas, Sharon Todd expresses sympathy for their aspiration towards a ‘qualified universalism’, but she seeks to go beyond the dichotomy of universalism versus anti-universalism by way of a discussion of aspects of the work of Judith Butler. Butler's emphasis on cultural translation offers a way, it is claimed, to think about the universal that transcends the oppositional relation between culture and commitment to universals. In the light of this she advocates an approach that involves neither universalism nor anti-universalism but ‘critique of universality’. Thus, the task of translation, on Butler's account, prevents universality from being a standard or home-base from which we can judge the world and turns it instead into an ongoing struggle for intelligibility.In their rejoinder, Enslin and Tjiattas reject any charge that their own account has fallen into a simple dichotomisation of universalism and anti-universalism, and reaffirm their commitment to a form of universalism in which partial or contextual considerations count in ethical deliberations, and values and principles are subject to reflexive renegotiation in democratic deliberations, which provides the means of their justification and the source of their legitimacy. This yields, they claim, a non-standard form of contractualism that is both culturally sensitive and open-ended. They suggest in conclusion that the debate between themselves and Todd raises questions about whether the analytical and continental traditions can concede one another's place in the philosophy of education. (shrink)
Todd argues for the integration of science and religion to form a new paradigm for the third millennium. He counters both the arguments made by fundamentalist Christians against science and the rejection of religion by the New Atheists, in particular Richard Dawkins and his followers. Drawing on the work of scientists, psychologists, philosophers, and theologians, Todd challenges the materialistic reductionism of our age and offers an alternative grounded in the visionary work taking place in a wide array of (...) disciplines including Jungian archetypal psychology, quantum mechanics, evolutionary biology,epistemology, neuroscience and an incarnational theology implicit in the evolutionary process. (shrink)
Phylloxera, ‘big science’ and the nature of scientific debate Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11016-012-9668-z Authors Cain Todd, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, County South, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YL UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
The study addresses the cyclically temporal aspect of sequence recognition, storage and recall using the Recurrent Oscillatory Self-Organizing Map (ROSOM), first introduced by Kaipainen, Papadopoulos and Karhu (1997). The unique solution of the network is that oscillatory States are assigned to network units, corresponding to their `readiness-to-fire''. The ROSOM is a categorizer, a temporal sequence storage system and a periodicity detector designed for use in an ambiguous cyclically repetitive environment. As its external input, the model accepts a multidimensional stream (...) of environment-describing feature configurations with implicit periodicities. The output of the model is one or a few closed cycles abstracted from such a stream, mapped as trajectories on a two-dimensional sheet with an organization reminiscent of multi-dimensional scaling. The model''s capabilities are explored with a variety of workbench data. (shrink)
Think of the last thing someone did to you to seriously harm or offend you. And now imagine, so far as you can, becoming fully aware of the fact that his or her action was the causally inevitable result of a plan set into motion before he or she was ever even born, a plan that had no chance of failing. Should you continue to regard him or her as being morally responsible—blameworthy, in this case—for what he or she did? (...) Many have thought that, intuitively, you should not. Recently, Alfred Mele has employed this line of thought to mount what many have taken to be a powerful argument for incompatibilism: the “Zygote Argument”. However, in interesting new papers, John Martin Fischer and Stephen Kearns have each independently argued that the Zygote Argument fails. As I see it, the criticisms of Fischer and Kearns reveal some important questions about how the argument is meant to be—or how it would best be—understood. Once we make a slight (but important) modification to the argument, however, I think we will be able to see that the criticisms of Fischer and Kearns do not detract from its substantial force. (shrink)
In the literature on free will, fatalism, and determinism, a distinction is commonly made between temporally intrinsic (‘hard’) and temporally relational (‘soft’) facts at times; determinism, for instance, is the thesis that the temporally intrinsic state of the world at some given past time, together with the laws, entails a unique future (relative to that time). Further, it is commonly supposed by incompatibilists that only the ‘hard facts’ about the past are fixed and beyond our control, whereas the ‘soft facts’ (...) about the past needn’t be. A substantial literature arose in connection with this distinction, though no consensus emerged as to the proper way to analyze it. It is time, I believe, to revisit these issues. The central claim of this paper is that the attempts to analyze the hard/soft fact distinction got off on fundamentally the wrong track. The crucial feature of soft facts is that they (in some sense) depend on the future. Following recent work on the notion of dependence, however, I argue that the literature on the soft/hard distinction has failed to capture the sense of dependence at stake. This is because such attempts have tried to capture softness in terms of purely modal notions like entailment and necessitation. As I hope to show, however, such notions cannot capture the sort of asymmetrical dependence relevant to soft facthood. Arguing for this claim is the first goal of this paper. My second goal is to gesture towards what an adequate account of soft facthood will really look like. (shrink)
How can anyone be rational in a world where knowledge is limited, time is pressing, and deep thought is often an unattainable luxury? Traditional models of unbounded rationality and optimization in cognitive science, economics, and animal behavior have tended to view decision-makers as possessing supernatural powers of reason, limitless knowledge, and endless time. But understanding decisions in the real world requires a more psychologically plausible notion of bounded rationality. In Simple heuristics that make us smart (Gigerenzer et al. 1999), we (...) explore fast and frugal heuristics – simple rules in the mind's adaptive toolbox for making decisions with realistic mental resources. These heuristics can enable both living organisms and artificial systems to make smart choices quickly and with a minimum of information by exploiting the way that information is structured in particular environments. In this précis, we show how simple building blocks that control information search, stop search, and make decisions can be put together to form classes of heuristics, including: ignorance-based and one-reason decision making for choice, elimination models for categorization, and satisficing heuristics for sequential search. These simple heuristics perform comparably to more complex algorithms, particularly when generalizing to new data – that is, simplicity leads to robustness. We present evidence regarding when people use simple heuristics and describe the challenges to be addressed by this research program. Key Words: adaptive toolbox; bounded rationality; decision making; elimination models; environment structure; heuristics; ignorance-based reasoning; limited information search; robustness; satisficing; simplicity. (shrink)
There are several argumentative strategies for advancing the thesis that moral responsibility is incompatible with causal determinism. One prominent such strategy is to argue that agents who meet compatibilist conditions for moral responsibility can nevertheless be subject to responsibility-undermining manipulation. In this paper, I argue that incompatibilists advancing manipulation arguments against compatibilism have been shouldering an unnecessarily heavy dialectical burden. Traditional manipulation arguments present cases in which manipulated agents meet all compatibilist conditions for moral responsibility, but are (allegedly) not responsible (...) for their behavior. I argue, however, that incompatibilists can make do with the more modest (and harder to resist) claim that the manipulation in question is mitigating with respect to moral responsibility. The focus solely on whether a manipulated agent is or is not morally responsible has, I believe, masked the full force of manipulation-style arguments against compatibilism. Here, I aim to unveil their real power. (shrink)
The most promising way of responding to arguments for the incompatibility of divine foreknowledge and human freedom (in one way or another) invokes a claim about the order of explanation: God knew (or believed) that you would perform a given action because you would, in fact, perform it, and not the other way around. Once we see this result, many suppose, we'll see that divine foreknowledge ultimately poses no threat to human freedom. This essay argues that matters are not so (...) simple, for such reasoning threatens also to reconcile divine prepunishment with human freedom. The question here is this: if you have already been ( justly) punished by God for doing something, how then could you avoid doing that thing? As we'll see, there is a strong argument that seems to show that you couldn't. However, this essay argues that if divine prepunishment rules out human freedom, then so does divine foreknowledge. The arguments are exactly parallel in certain crucial respects. At any rate, investigating the issues surrounding prepunishment can help to throw into relief the various different strategies of response to the foreknowledge argument and can bring out what their costs and commitments really are. In particular, investigating prepunishment can help to bring out the inadequacy of the “Ockhamist” reply to the argument, as well as the sense in which God's past beliefs need to depend on what we do, if we are plausibly to have a choice about those beliefs. (shrink)
The plane was going to crash, but it didn't. Johnny was going to bleed to death, but he didn't. Geach sees here a changing future. In this paper, I develop Geach's primary argument for the (almost universally rejected) thesis that the future is mutable (an argument from the nature of prevention), respond to the most serious objections such a view faces, and consider how Geach's view bears on traditional debates concerning divine foreknowledge and human freedom. As I hope to show, (...) Geach's view constitutes a radically new view on the logic of future contingents, and deserves the status of a theoretical contender in these debates. (shrink)
In his The Phenomenon of Man, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin develops concepts of consciousness, the noosphere, and psychosocial evolution. This paper explores Teilhard’s evolutionary concepts as resonant with thinking in psychology and physics. It explores contributions from archetypal depth psychology, quantum physics, and neuroscience to elucidate relationships between mind and matter. Teilhard’s work can be seen as advancing this psychological lineage or psychogenesis. That is, the evolutionary emergence of matter in increasing complexity from sub-atomic particles to the human brain and (...) reflective consciousness leads to a noosphere evolving towards an Omega point. Teilhard’s central ideas provide intimations of a numinous principle implicit in cosmology and the discovery that in and through humanity evolution not only becomes conscious of itself but also directed and purposive. (shrink)
This paper argues that there is no genuine puzzle of ‘imaginative resistance’. In part 1 of the paper I argue that the imaginability of fictional propositions is relative to a range of different factors including the ‘thickness’ of certain concepts, and certain pre-theoretical and theoretical commitments. I suggest that those holding realist moral commitments may be more susceptible to resistance and inability than those holding non-realist commitments, and that it is such realist commitments that ultimately motivate the problem. However, I (...) argue that the relativity of imaginability is not a particularly puzzling feature of imagination. In part 2, I claim that it is the so-called ‘alethic’ puzzle, concerning fictional truth, which generates a real puzzle about imaginative resistance. However, I argue that the alethic puzzle itself depends on certain realist assumptions about the nature of fictional truth which are implausible and should be rejected in favour of an interpretive view of fictional truth. Once this is done, I contend, it becomes evident that the supposed problem of imaginative resistance as it has hitherto been discussed in the literature is not puzzling at all. (shrink)
The nature of the general connection between emotion and value, and of the various connections between specific emotions and values, lies at the heart of philosophical discussion of the emotions. It is also central to some accounts of the nature of value itself, of value in general but also of the specific values studied within particular philosophical domains. These issues all form the subject matter of this article, and they in turn are all connected by two main questions: (i) How (...) do emotions disclose or create values? (ii) What are the epistemic credentials of emotion in justifying evaluative thought and discourse? This second question obviously presupposes some answer to the first question concerning the way in which emotions reveal, constitute, or create value. (shrink)
A prominent recent strategy for advancing the thesis that moral responsibility is incompatible with causal determinism has been to argue that agents who meet compatibilist conditions for responsibility could nevertheless be subject to certain sorts of deterministic manipulation, so that an agent could meet the compatibilist’s conditions for responsibility, but also be living a life the precise details of which someone else determined that she should live. According to the incompatibilist, however, once we became aware that agents had been manipulated (...) or ‘set up’ in the relevant way, we should no longer judge that they are responsible for their behavior, nor should we hold them responsible for it by blaming them, in case what they did was wrong. In this paper, I aim to shift the debate to different terrain. The focus so far has been simply on what we may or may not permissibly say or do concerning manipulated agents. But I believe a powerful new incompatibilist argument can be mounted from considering whether the manipulators themselves can justifiably blame the agents they manipulate in compatibilist-friendly ways. It seems strikingly counterintuitive to suppose that they may do so. The argument of this paper, however, is that, given the right story, incompatibilism provides the best explanation for why this is so. In short, the compatibilist must say that, while such manipulated agents are still responsible, the manipulators lack the moral standing to blame them. But I argue that, on compatibilist assumptions, this explanation ultimately fails. (shrink)
As a flashpoint for specific instances of conflict, Muslim sartorial practices have at times been seen as being antagonistic to “western” ideas of gender equality, secularity, and communicative practices. In light of this, I seek to highlight the ways in which such moments of antagonism actually might be understood on “cosmopolitical” terms, that is, through a framework informed by a critical and political approach to cosmopolitanism itself. Thus, through an “agonistic cosmopolitics” I here argue for a more robust political understanding (...) of what a cosmopolitan orientation to cultural difference can offer education. The paper moves from a focus on harmony to agonism and from cosmopolitanism to the cosmopolitical, and within each I discuss the questions of democracy and universality, respectively. Drawing on, the work of Chantal Mouffe, Judith Butler and Bonnie Honig, I discuss the basis upon which our agonistic interactions can inform education in promoting better ways of living together. This requires, in my view, nothing less than a clear understanding of the very difficulties of pluralism and a questioning of some of the ways we often reflect on the political dimension of these difficulties. I offer some reflections on what an agonistic cosmopolitics has to offer the debates surrounding the wearing of various forms of Muslim dress in schools in the conclusion. My overall claim is that cosmopolitanism as a set of ideas that seek more peaceful forms of living together on a global scale is in need of a theoretical framework that faces directly the difficulties of living in a dissonant world. (shrink)
In this article I examine the status of putative aesthetic judgements in science and mathematics. I argue that if the judgements at issue are taken to be genuinely aesthetic they can be divided into two types, positing either a disjunction or connection between aesthetic and epistemic criteria in theory/proof assessment. I show that both types of claim face serious difficulties in explaining the purported role of aesthetic judgements in these areas. I claim that the best current explanation of this role, (...) McAllister's 'aesthetic induction' model, fails to demonstrate that the judgements at issue are genuinely aesthetic. I argue that, in light of these considerations, there are strong reasons for suspecting that many, and perhaps all, of the supposedly aesthetic claims are not genuinely aesthetic but are in fact 'masked' epistemic assessments. (shrink)
In this paper we critically evaluate Trenton Merricks’s recent attempt to provide a “new” way of defending compatibilism about divine foreknowledge and human freedom. We take issue with Merricks’s claim that his approach is fundamentally different from Ockhamism. We also seek to highlight the implausibility of Merricks’s rejection of the assumption of the fixity of the past, and we also develop a critique of the Merricks’s crucial notion of “dependence.”.
Unlike its predecessors, this systematic survey of the law of Athens is based on explicit discussion of how the subject might be studies, incorporating topics such as the democratic political system and social structure. Technical and legal terms are explained in a comprehensive glossary.
My primary aim in this paper is to outline a quasi-realist theory of aesthetic judgement. Robert Hopkins has recently argued against the plausibility of this project because he claims that quasi-realism cannot explain a central component of any expressivist understanding of aesthetic judgements, namely their supposed ‘autonomy’. I argue against Hopkins’s claims by contending that Roger Scruton’s aesthetic attitude theory, centred on his account of the imagination, provides us with the means to develop a plausible quasi-realist account of aesthetic judgement. (...) Finally, I respond to two recent attempts to discredit the validity of the notion of aesthetic autonomy. I claim that both fail adequately to address the underlying non-realist motivations and justifications for maintaining the principle. (shrink)
Central to Fischer and Ravizza's theory of moral responsibility is the concept of guidance control, which involves two conditions: (1) moderate reasons-responsiveness, and (2) mechanism ownership. We raise a worry for Fischer and Ravizza's account of (1). If an agent acts contrary to reasons which he could not recognize, this should lead us to conclude that he is not morally responsible for his behaviour; but according to Fischer and Ravizza's account, he satisfies the conditions for guidance control and is therefore (...) morally responsible. We consider ways in which the account of guidance control might be mended. (shrink)
Psychoanalytic self-psychology as outlined by such depth psychologists as Jung, Fordham, Winnicott and Kohut provide a framework for conceptualizing a relationship of complementarity between psychic and immune defence as well as loss of bodily and self integration in disease. Physicist Erwin Schrödinger’s thesis that the so-called “arrow of time” does not necessarily deal a mortal blow to its creator is reminiscent of the concept of timeless dimensions of the unconscious mind and the Self in Analytical Psychology, manifest for instance, in (...) dream content and archetypal symbols. These notions are not only consistent with the concepts of timelessness and meaningful coincidence (synchronicity) in psychoanalysis. They are also implicitly spiritual with intimations of a numinous dimension of the evolutionary process in which humanity participates. This includes the idea that an evolving God becomes conscious through and is completed by humankind in a process (Incarnational) theology which regards the numinous as both immanent and transcendent. And concepts of mind which transcend the individual in a transpersonal sense. The treatment of the psychophysical problem by depth psychologist Carl Jung and physicist Wolfgang Pauli with their notion of the unconscious archetypes as timeless, cosmic ordering and regulating principles creating a bridge between mind and matter in a relationship of complementarity is compatible with such a perspective on the numinous which might in turn be useful for contemporary theology and spirituality. (shrink)
Nelson Pike’s article, “Divine Omniscience and Voluntary Action,” is one of the most influential pieces in contemporary Philosophy of Religion. Published over forty years ago, it has elicited many different kinds of replies. We shall set forth some of the main lines of reply to Pike’s article, starting with some of the “early” replies. We then explore some issues that arise from relatively recent work in the philosophy of time; it is fascinating to note that views suggested by recent work (...) in this area and related areas of metaphysics have implications for Pike’s argument - implications perhaps not previously noticed. (shrink)
In this paper I draw some distinctions between the terms “cultural diversity” and “plurality” and argue that a radical conception of plurality is needed in order both to re-imagine the boundaries of democratic education and to address more fully the political aspects of conflict that plurality gives rise to. This paper begins with a brief exploration of the usages of the term diversity in European documents that promote intercultural education as a democratic vehicle for overcoming social conflict between different cultural (...) groups. In contradistinction to these usages, this paper calls for a more robust conception of plurality, one that does not simply denote membership in different cultural groupings but is rooted in the human condition and based on a conception of uniqueness. Following the work of Hannah Arendt and feminist philosopher Adriana Cavarero, I explore how the appearance of unique beings in specific contexts can be understood as an eminently political act and I contend that such a view leads to a better educational understanding of conflict and contestation. The paper sketches the contours of democratic plurality along this line of thought and discusses how these new boundaries have implications for education’s relation to democracy. (shrink)
Theological fatalists contend that if God knows everything, then no human action is free, and that since God does know everything, no human action is free. One reply to such arguments that has become popular recently— a way favored by William Hasker and Peter van Inwagen—agrees that if God knows everything, no human action is free. The distinctive response of these philosophers is simply to say that therefore God does not know everything. On this view, what the fatalist arguments in (...) fact bring out is that it was logically impossible for God to have known the truths about what we would freely do in the future. And this is no defect in God’s knowledge, for infallible foreknowledge of such truths is a logical impossibility. It has commonly been assumed that this position constitutes an explanation of where the fatalist argument goes wrong. My first goal is to argue that any such assumption has in fact been a mistake; Hasker and van Inwagen have in effect said only that something does go wrong with the argument, but they have not explained what goes wrong with it. Once we see this result, we’ll see, I think, that they need such an account—and that no such account has in fact been provided. The second goal of this paper is therefore to develop— and to criticize— what seems to be the most promising such account they might offer. As I see it, this account will in fact highlight in an intuitively compelling new way what many regard to be the view’s chief liability, namely, that the truths about the future which God is said not to know will now appear even more clearly (and problematically)‘ungrounded’. (shrink)
This paper addresses the so-called paradox of fiction, the problem of explaining how we can have emotional responses towards fiction. I claim that no account has yet provided an adequate explanation of how we can respond with genuine emotions when we know that the objects of our responses are fictional. I argue that we should understand the role played by the imagination in our engagement with fiction as functionally equivalent to that which it plays under the guise of acceptance in (...) practical reasoning, suggesting that the same underlying cognitive-affective mechanisms are involved in both activities. As such, our imaginative engagement with fiction un-problematically arouses emotions, but only to the extent that we are not occurrently attending to our epistemic relation to the fiction i.e. fully attending to the fact that the object of our response is merely fictional. In order to illuminate this idea I examine a recent proposal that the phenomenology of attention is partially non-attributive, and I argue that emotional phenomenology too shares this characteristic. (shrink)
Multiple drug resistant strains of HIV and continuing difficulties with vaccine development highlight the importance of psychologi- cal interventions which aim to in uence the psychosocial and emo- tional factors empirically demonstrated to be significant predictors of immunity, illness progression and AIDS mortality in seropositive persons. Such data have profound implications for psychological interventions designed to modify psychosocial factors predictive of enhanced risk of exposure to HIV as well as the neuroendocrine and immune mechanisms mediating the impact of such factors (...) on disease progression. Many of these factors can be construed as unconscious mental ones, and psychoanalytic self-psychology may be a useful framework for conceptualizing psychic and immune de- fence as well as bodily and self-integration in HIV infection. Al- though further prospective studies and cross-cultural validation of research are necessary, existing data suggest that psychoanalytic insights may be useful both in therapeutic interventions and evaluative research which would require an underlying epistemology of the complementarity of mind and matter. (shrink)
This paper identifies and addresses some dilemmas to be faced in promoting educational projects concerned with human rights. Part of the difficulty that human rights education initiatives must cope with is the way in which value has been historically conferred upon particular notions such as freedom and justice. I argue here that a just education must grapple head‐on with the conceptual dilemmas that have been inherited and refuse to shy away from the implications of those dilemmas. To do this I (...) address the fundamental fictions upon which rights are based and view those fictions as nonetheless useful for opening up the ethical terms of human rights education. With reference to the work of Arendt, Lyotard and Levinas, I conclude that the real potential of human rights education lies in its capacity to provoke insights that help youth live with ambiguity and dilemma, where freedom, justice, and responsibility cannot be dictated to them, but rather involve tough decisions that must be made in everyday life. (shrink)
A cosmopolitan ethic invites both an appreciation of the rich diversity of values, traditions and ways of life and a commitment to broad, universal principles of human rights that can secure the flourishing of that diversity. Despite the tension between universalism and particularism inherent in this outlook, it has received much recent attention in education. I focus here on one of the dilemmas to be faced in taking cosmopolitanism seriously, namely, the difficulty of judging what is just in the context (...) of an increasingly divergent public—and classroom—discourse about values, rights and equality. I propose in what follows that judgement cannot rely on any script, even one as attractive, perhaps, as cosmopolitanism. To explore what is at stake in making judgements in an educational context, I draw on both Hannah Arendt's and Emmanuel Levinas's notions of judgement and thinking. The paper discusses the educational significance of thought and judgement as conditions for reframing the universalism–particularism problem found in a cosmopolitan ethic. My argument is that there is a world of difference between educating for cosmopolitanism, which entails a faith in principles, and ‘thinking cosmopolitan’, which entails a hope in justice for my neighbours. (shrink)
Many of the negative connotations of corporate social responsibility (CSR) are linked to its perceived role as a public relations exercise. Following on calls for more positive engagement by public relations professionals in organisational strategic planning and given the rapidly increasing interest in CSR as a business strategy, this article addresses the question of how the theory and practice of public relations can provide direction and support for CSR. To this end, this article explores leadership styles and motivations of a (...) sample of corporate leaden from prominent Australian-based corporations in relation to their chosen CSR activities to examine the current position of, and potential for, professional communicators' impact in shaping CSR-driven policies at a strategic level. We find that while public relations theory has evolved, many leaders still see public relations professionals only as a source of positive publicity. Our findings suggest that the model of distributive leadership has more relevance to an emerging idea of public relations involvement in CSR than more traditional understandings of leadership. We conclude that the public relations profession needs to develop a greater understanding of senior management approaches to the development and dissemination of CSR activities to support organisational leadership as it currently operates with respect to CSR. (shrink)
Teachers are often placed in a space of tensionbetween responding to students as persons andresponding to students through theirinstitutionally-defined roles. Particularlywith respect to eros, which has becomeincreasingly the subject of strictinstitutional legislation and regulation,teachers have little recourse to a language ofresponsibility outside an institutional frame. By studying the significance of communicativeambiguity for responsibility, this paperexplores what is ethically at stake forteachers in erotic forms of communication. Specifically, it is Levinas's own ambiguousunderstanding of the ethical significance oferos, and what we have (...) to learn from it, thatoffers a way of reading the place of eros inresponsibility. I conclude my discussion withsome thoughts on what a renewed understandingof responsibility might mean at the personaland institutional levels. (shrink)
Intentions and emotions arise together, and emotions compel us to pursue goals. However, it is not clear when emotions become objects of awareness, how emotional awareness changes with goal pursuit, or how psychological and neural processes mediate such change. We first review a psychological model of emotional episodes and propose that goal obstruction extends the duration of these episodes while increasing cognitive complexity and emotional intensity. We suggest that attention is initially focused on action plans and their obstruction, and only (...) when this obstruction persists does focal attention come to include emotional states themselves. We then model the self-organization of neural activities that hypothetically underlie the evolution of an emotional episode. Phases of emotional awareness are argued to parallel phases of synchronization across neural systems. We suggest that prefrontal activities greatly extend intentional states while focal attention integrates emotional awareness and goal pursuit in a comprehensive sense of the self in the world. (shrink)
A working assumption that processes of natural and cultural evolution have tailored the mind to fit the demands and structure of its environment begs the question: how are we to characterize the structure of cognitive environments? Decision problems faced by real organisms are not like simple multiple-choice examination papers. For example, some individual problems may occur much more frequently than others, whilst some may carry much more weight than others. Such considerations are not taken into account when (i) the performance (...) of candidate cognitive mechanisms is assessed by employing a simple accuracy metric that is insensitive to the structure of the decision-maker's environment, and (ii) reason is defined as the adherence to internalist prescriptions of classical rationality. Here we explore the impact of frequency and significance structure on the performance of a range of candidate decision-making mechanisms. We show that the character of this impact is complex, since structured environments demand that decision-makers trade off general performance against performance on important subsets of test items. As a result, environment structure obviates internalist criteria of rationality. Failing to appreciate the role of environment structure in shaping cognition can lead to mischaracterising adaptive behavior as irrational. (shrink)
Shepard promotes the important view that evolution constructs cognitive mechanisms that work with internalized aspects of the structure of their environment. But what can this internalization mean? We contrast three views: Shepard's mirrors reflecting the world, Brunswik's lens inferring the world, and Simon 's scissors exploiting the world. We argue that Simon 's scissors metaphor is more appropriate for higher-order cognitive mechanisms and ask how far it can also be applied to perceptual tasks. [Barlow; Kubovy & Epstein; Shepard].