This article studies the conceptions of the interior of the Earth held by Portuguese elementary school children and senior citizens. Several studies were conducted regarding conceptions related to Earth sciences, such as rocks, minerals, earthquakes geological time, and Earth structure. Most of these studies involved students enrolled in compulsory education, some involved higher education students, several involved teachers, and only a few involved adults. The majority of the results showed that many misconceptions are held by people of all ages. Similar (...) results were found in this study, as both children and senior citizens revealed several misconceptions. The research resorted to a questionnaire based on a drawing task so as to find out the way that children and senior citizens imagine the structure and composition of the interior of our planet. A comparison between children’s and senior citizens’ drawings was made, as well as a comparison between those drawings and the historical models of the internal structure of the Earth. We found that only a small number of children and even a smaller number of senior citizens recognize that the interior of the Earth is organized in concentric layers. They assume that soil and water are a common part of the internal composition of our planet. Similarities between the drawings and the historical models were identified, particularly similarities related to Gautier’s model, which accepts the possibility of the existence of life in the interior of the planet as it happens on its surface. (shrink)
O presente trabalho investiga a crítica de Rorty à teoria do conhecimento como essência especular. Considerando a ideia presente na tradição filosófica de que o conhecimento verdadeiro é aquele que representa fidedignamente a realidade, Rorty se insurge contra esta posição, argumentado que, o pensamento representacionista se ergueu a partir da crença de que é possível construir descrições do mundo que espelhem sua própria natureza, ou seja, descrições que representem de maneira fidedigna realidade, que é objeto do conhecimento e do mundo, (...) tal como ela é em si mesma, no qual a filosofia criou uma teoria do conhecimento como essência especular. Desse modo, o trabalho direciona-se para a seguinte questão: de que forma, a teoria do conhecimento como essência especular ocasionou peseudosproblemas para a filosofia antirrepresentacionista de Richard Rorty? Sendo assim, este trabalho tentará encontrar uma resposta ou um direcionamento para a resolução desse problema. (shrink)
Este presente trabalho tem como objetivo principal analisar a crítica de Richard Rorty à filosofia representacionista, buscando apresentar uma resposta de Rorty ao representacionismo. Rorty se opõe as ideias tradicionais em filosofia, oriundas de uma tradição mentalista, descritas por meio dos conceitos de “essência”, “natureza” e “fundamento”. Ao contrário deste vocabulário, ele apresenta a ideia de antirrepresentacionismo, etnocentrismo e liberalismo. Nesse sentido, o projeto tomará por base a obra clássica de Rorty: A filosofia e o espelho da natureza, bem como (...) a obra Objetivismo, relativismo e verdade. Para Rorty, não existe uma representação da mente e da linguagem que seja exata ou que possa formular uma verdade objetiva. A crítica rortyana se estabeleceu a partir de uma concepção de conhecimento como “representação acurada” da realidade, uma concepção de conhecimento que, conforme a interpretação rortyana, pressupõe supostamente que a “mente” e a “linguagem” desempenham um papel principal na construção de “representações” necessárias à compreensão da realidade, uma vez que “conhecer é representar, acuradamente, o que está fora da mente, assim, compreender a possibilidade da natureza do conhecimento é compreender o modo pelo qual a mente é capaz de construir representações”. Para Rorty, ao contrário dessa explicação, conhecer é tomar consciência das diversas descrições e vocabulários disponíveis ao sujeito num processo interacionista constante. (shrink)
One of the most ancient art forms, poetry, like other art forms, finds its roots embedded in activities that are not necessarily associated with art today, most notably religious rituals. Still, even while poetry is now commonly enjoyed for its own sake, many poems continue to be made for specific life events: weddings, funerals, presidential swearing-in ceremonies, anniversaries, and so on. Their connection to such events may call into question the art status of some poems; indeed, definitions of poetry (as (...) is the case with definitions of art in general) must provide an account that establishes the art status of poems while still acknowledging that some poems may be parasitic upon human activities and events that have no intrinsically artistic goals. Questions of this sort already presuppose a notion of art that divorces art works from those activities and events and establishes art-making as an endeavor in its own right, one that by definition is independent from any other goals and one that, were it to be mixed with other activities or goals, would have its art status threatened. However, just as a notion of art that denied art status to (say) the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC in virtue of its serving a function beyond the purely artistic would be seriously defective, so a definition of poetry that denied poetry status to W. H. Auden’s ‘Funeral Blues’ would be anemic at best. The intention to write a poem, therefore, is the intention to fit one’s work into a tradition, one in which, as happens to be the case, poems are written for various occasions. Likewise, the poetic tradition is one in which various formal means have been employed (alliteration, meter, rhyme schemes, etc.); a ‘transparent’ poetic intention (i.e. one in which the poet is aware of the character of her intention) would therefore involve responding to the formal dimension of the tradition in various ways (see Ribeiro 2007). (shrink)
Tendo por tema principal Apontamentos sobre Erotismo e Sagrado na Religião Tradicional Iorubá, este texto foi organizado em cinco sessões: Erotismo; A Religião Tradicional Iorubá; Encantamento e fascínio do transe; Rituais de casamento entre divindades e humanos e A busca existencial e espiritual de frequentadores das Casas de Axé. Na construção do texto foram utilizadas contribuições teóricas de Awolalu, Bataille, Braudrillard, Fernandes, Rodrigo Frias, Ribeiro, Sàlámì e Valença, bem como fragmentos da Sabedoria Veda. Foram enfatizadas a dinâmica estabelecida entre (...) divindades e humanos em rituais religiosos africanos, com especial destaque à imaginação e à fantasia no processo epistêmico propiciado por esses rituais. Reconhecido o relevante papel reservado à sedução no erotismo, foi assinalado o risco de ser o erotismo despojado de seu caráter místico e sagrado e reduzido à condição de lubricidade, devassidão e lascívia. Coloca-se, finalmente, a questão da busca existencial e espiritual de frequentadores das Casas de Axé. (shrink)
This work intends to present the scope and limits of the human intellectual knowledge according to Saint Thomas Aquinas, mainly on the ground of questions 84 and 85 of the first part of his Theological Summa.O presente trabalho tem a intenção de apresentar o alcance e os limites do conhecimento intelectual humano de acordo com Tomás de Aquino, tendo como base sobretudo as questões 84 e 85 da primeira parte de sua Suma de Teologia.
Resumo: Tomás de Aquino, ao falar de ciência mostra-se influenciado pelo Segundos analíticos. Entende ciência quer como uma disposição mental, quer como um conjunto de proposições de acordo com as propriedades e relações lógicas e epistêmicas das proposições que dele fazem parte.: When dealing with science, Thomas Aquinas proves to have been influenced by the Posterior Analytics. He understands science either as a mental disposition or as a set of propositions organized according to their properties and their logical and (...) epistemic relations. (shrink)
O presente texto é uma exposição do proêmio do Comentário de Tomás de Aquino à Metafísica de Aristóteles. Segue pari passu o texto do proêmio, mostrando sua articulação lógica e esclarecendo alguns conceitos utilizados no mesmo. Contém em anexo uma tradução em português do texto do proêmio, o plano do mesmo e o detalhamento deste quanto ao item referente “ao que é inteligível ao máximo segundo o conhecimento intelectual”, isto é, “de acordo com a separação da matéria”.
‘Interactional expertise’ is developed through linguistic interaction without full scale practical immersion in a culture. Interactional expertise is the medium of communication in peer review in science, in review committees, and in interdisciplinary projects. It is also the medium of specialist journalists and of interpretative methods in the social sciences. We describe imitation game experiments designed to make concrete the idea of interactional expertise. The experiments show that the linguistic performance of those well socialized in the language of a specialist (...) group is indistinguishable from those with full blown practical socialization but distinguishable from those who are not well socialized. The imitation game can also be used to indicate whether an individual can enter an esoteric domain and master the interactional expertise, a skill required by interpretative sociologists of science, anthropologists, ethnographers, and the like.Keywords: Expertise; Interactional expertise; Imitation game; Turing test; Colour blindness; Interpretative methods. (shrink)
Modern semiotics is a branch of logics that formally defines symbol-based communication. In recent years, the semiotic classification of signs has been invoked to support the notion that symbols are uniquely human. Here we show that alarm-calls such as those used by African vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops), logically satisfy the semiotic definition of symbol. We also show that the acquisition of vocal symbols in vervet monkeys can be successfully simulated by a computer program based on minimal semiotic and neurobiological constraints. (...) The simulations indicate that learning depends on the tutor-predator ratio, and that apprentice-generated auditory mistakes in vocal symbol interpretation have little effect on the learning rates of apprentices (up to 80% of mistakes are tolerated). In contrast, just 10% of apprentice-generated visual mistakes in predator identification will prevent any vocal symbol to be correctly associated with a predator call in a stable manner. Tutor unreliability was also deleterious to vocal symbol learning: a mere 5% of “lying” tutors were able to completely disrupt symbol learning, invariably leading to the acquisition of incorrect associations by apprentices. Our investigation corroborates the existence of vocal symbols in a non-human species, and indicates that symbolic competence emerges spontaneously from classical associative learning mechanisms when the conditioned stimuli are self-generated, arbitrary and socially efficacious. We propose that more exclusive properties of human language, such as syntax, may derive from the evolution of higher-order domains for neural association, more removed from both the sensory input and the motor output, able to support the gradual complexification of grammatical categories into syntax. (shrink)
An argument against the rationality of desiring to go to heaven might be put in the form of a trilemma: (1) any state of being that both lasts eternally and preserves me as the person I am would be hellish and therefore would not be a state of being that I could have any reason to desire; (2) any state of being that lasts eternally and yet fails to preserve my personhood by turning me into a non-person would not be (...) a state of being that I (qua person that I am) could have any reason to desire; and (3) any state of being that lasts eternally and yet fails to preserve my personhood by turning me into some other person would not be a state of being that I (qua person that I am) could have any reason to desire. This paper offers defenses of each of the three horns of this trilemma and concludes that there is no rationally compelling reason for any human being to desire to go to heaven. (shrink)
Supposing you were convinced by certain radical skeptical arguments that many of your beliefs were not justifiably believed by you, what stance could/should you adopt with regard to those skeptically-problematized beliefs? This paper explores a range of possible reactions, aiming to be reasonably comprehensive in coverage though admittedly suggestive rather than decisive in its treatment of each individual reaction. In considering this variety of responses we begin to see suggestive intimations of the ways in which radical skepticism could represent a (...) threat to our notions of cognitive self-mastery. (shrink)
In a recent paper (in Argumentation, 2006) Robert Talisse and Scott Aikin suggest that we ought to recognize two distinct forms of the straw man fallacy. In addition to misrepresenting the strength of an opponent’s specific argument (= the representation form), one can also misrepresent the strength of one’s opposition in general, or the overall state of a debate, by selecting a (relatively) weak opponent for critical consideration (= the selection form). Here I consider whether we as philosophy professors could (...) be seen as sometimes committing the selection form of the straw man through the performance of our regular teaching duties. (shrink)
While contemporary readers may find what appear to be appealing streaks of liberalism in Montaigne's 'Essays', I argue that a more careful analysis suggests that Montaigne's overall stance is quietistic and conservative. To help support this claim I offer a close reading of 'Essays' III.11 ("Of Cripples"), where Montaigne offers his famous critique of the witch trials of early modern Europe. Once Montaigne's objections to the witch trials are properly understood, we see that Montaigne did not seriously or consistently dispute (...) the church's authority in political matters, though certain undeveloped seeds of liberalism do leave an unresolved tension in his writings. (shrink)
In this paper I aim to address--and also to better understand--what is perhaps the most intuitive objection to Pyrrhonian skepticism, namely, that to completely suspend one's judgment is psychologically impossible. I propose to come to an understanding of Sextus's relation to this objection by trying to more clearly understand Sextus's claims about the "Skeptic". I hope to show that it is at least possible for us to understand Sextus and his claims about the "Skeptic" without being driven to either (1) (...) invoke restrictive interpretations of his claims or (2) adopt implausible hypotheses concerning his sincerity. (shrink)
This paper reflects on quality assessment and performance evaluation in higher education, namely by analysing the insufficient link between those two aspects. We start by reviewing the current state of the art regarding different processes and mechanisms of quality assessment and performance evaluation and discuss some of the major issues regarding the implementation of some of them. In particular, we analyse the current limitations regarding data collected, available and publicised on the performance of HEIs and the problems those limitations bring (...) to a fair evaluation of higher education. Through this analysis we intend to contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms of evaluation in higher education and the way these may lead to the promotion of better quality assessment practices and institutional management. (shrink)
I argue that we are subject to ‘aesthetic luck’ in four senses: constitutive, upbringing, sociogeographic, and circumstantial. I review evidence from our practices, philosophy, and science. I then consider what challenges aesthetic luck raises to the communicability of aesthetic judgments, the formation of one’s aesthetic character, and the goal of a life well lived, as well as possible answers to those challenges.
In 'Of the Standard of Taste' Hume aspires to silence the 'extravagant' cavils of the anything-goes de gustibus sceptic by developing a programme of aesthetic education that would lead all properly-trained individuals to a set of agreed-upon aesthetic judgements. But I argue that if we read Hume's essay as an attempted direct theoretical refutation of de gustibus scepticism, Hume fails to achieve his aim. Moreover, although some recent commentators have read the essay as aiming at a less ambitious ‘sceptical solution’ (...) to the de gustibus challenge, I argue that this ‘sceptical solution’ reading also fails to save Hume's project. Thus the anything-goes de gustibus sceptic remains unvanquished. (shrink)
While Hume is famous for his development and defence of various arguments for radical scepticism, Hume was bothered by the tension between his ‘abstruse’ philosophical reflections and ordinary life: If he often felt intensely sceptical in his study, he nonetheless felt genuinely unable to take these sceptical views seriously when he returned to the concerns and activities of everyday life. Hume's published work shows a deep and ongoing preoccupation with this tension, and I believe it also shows that Hume's view (...) about the ‘durability’ of scepticism (that is, the extent to which sceptical insights can have an abiding impact on our cognitive lives) underwent an evolutionary development throughout the course of his publishing career. In this paper I propose to trace these textual developments in detail. In particular, I will argue that Hume's concern for intellectual stability is what drives the evolution, as he struggled to understand the ‘durable value’ in scepticism. (shrink)
In ' Unnatural Doubts' Michael Williams argues that Cartesian skepticism is not truly an "intuitive problem" (that is, one which we can state with little or no appeal to contentious theories) at all. According to Williams, the skeptic has rich theoretical commitments all his own, prominent among which is the epistemic priority thesis. I argue, however, that Williams's diagnostic critique of the epistemic priority thesis fails on his own conception of what is required for success. Furthermore, in a brief "Afterword" (...) I argue that the later Wittgenstein (to whom Williams sometimes appeals) would concur with my critique of Williams's antiskeptical efforts. (shrink)
There are a number of agricultural farming practices that are controversial. These may include using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, and planting genetically modified crops, as well as the decision to dehorn cattle rather than raise polled cattle breeds. We use data from a survey of Missouri crop and livestock producers to determine whether a farmer’s ethical framework affects his or her decision to engage in these practices. We find that a plurality of farmers prefer an agricultural policy that reflects (...) principles based on rights rather than principles of utilitarianism or justice. Furthermore, after controlling for personal and farm characteristics, we find a positive correlation between farmers preferring a rights-based policy and a farmer’s use of chemical farm inputs and polled rather than horned cattle. We also find that a combination of ethical framework and farm and farmer characteristics correlate with decisions to use farm chemicals, while only farm and farmer characteristics affect the decision to plant GM crops and only a farmer’s ethical framework affects the decision to use polled cattle. (shrink)
Placebo-controlled trials are controversial when individuals might be denied existing beneficial medical interventions. In the case of malaria, most patients die in rural villages without healthcare facilities. An artesunate suppository that can be given by minimally skilled persons might be of value when patients suddenly become too ill for oral treatment but are several hours from a facility that can give injectable treatment for severe disease. In such situations, by default, no treatment is (or can be) given until the patient (...) reaches a facility, making the placebo control design clinically relevant; alternative bioequivalence designs at the facility would misrepresent reality and risk incorrect conclusions. We describe the ethical issues underpinning a placebo-controlled trial in severe malaria. To protect patients and minimise risk, all patients were referred immediately to hospital so that each had a higher chance of prompt treatment through participation. There was no difference between artesunate and placebo in patients who reached clinic rapidly; among those who could not, a single artesunate suppository significantly reduced death or permanent disability, a finding of direct and indirect benefit to patients in participating villages and elsewhere. (shrink)
Can a planetary anthropology cope with both the "provincial cosmopolitanism" of alternative anthropologies and the "metropolitan provincialism" of hegemonic schools? How might the resulting "world anthropologies" challenge the current panorama in which certain allegedly national anthropological traditions have more paradigmatic weight--and hence more power--than others? Critically examining the international dissemination of anthropology within and across national power fields, contributors address these questions and many others.
Both macaque monkeys and humans have been shown to have what are called ‘mirror neurons’, a class of neurons that respond to goal-related motor-actions, both when these actions are performed by the subject and when they are performed by another individual observed by the subject. Gallese and Goldman (1998) contend that mirror neurons may be seen as ‘a part of, or a precursor to, a more general mind- reading ability’, and that of the two competing theories of mind-reading, mirror neurons (...) lend support to simulation theory. I here offer four reasons why I think mirror neurons do not provide support for simulation theory over its contender, theory theory. (shrink)
Imagination and memory are often distinguished as fiction and reality, but classical authors, such as Hobbes, have been well aware of their similitudes. And the French writer Stendhal (acknowledging his debt to Hobbes, whose works he read in his youth) is perhaps the novelist to have shown most accurately how, from the moment love became amour passion in the beginning of the 19th century, the power of imagination inside memory began to grow – until it was able to undermine and (...) even cut the link between memory and reality. But the emergence of passionate love creates a new challenge: can we control the powers of passion that we have identified? How can we accept the ideal of freeing the emotions, and simultaneously aim to control them, in order to attain a better life than human beings have had until now? (shrink)
Baron Reed has developed a new argument for skepticism: (1) contemporary epistemologists are all committed to two theses, fallibilism and attributabilism; unfortunately, (2) these two theses about knowledge are incompatible; therefore, (3) knowledge as conceived by contemporary epistemologists is impossible. In this brief paper I suggest that Reed's argument appears to rest on an understanding of attributabilism that is so strong (call it maximal attributabilism) that it's doubtful that many contemporary epistemologists actually embrace it. Nor does Reed offer any direct (...) argument for the truth of maximal attributabilism. Therefore, we need not be persuaded by Reed's new argument for skepticism. (shrink)
In an earlier paper ("Skeptical Parasitism and the Continuity Argument," 'Metaphilosophy' 2004: 714-732) I suggested that the well-known "plane-spotters" story-first proposed by Thompson Clarke and later developed by Barry Stroud-distorts the very skeptical view it aims to elucidate. However, considerations of space prohibited me from fleshing out my criticisms of the Clarke/Stroud story in that paper. In this paper I aim to fill in this lacuna by showing how the Clarke/Stroud story distorts the skeptic's view. I conclude the paper by (...) briefly sketching the alternative position I endorse and explaining how it avoids the distortions encouraged by the Clarke/Stroud story. (shrink)