The interest of this paper is to discover the precondition of experience. It is suggested that Walter Benjamin's meditations on Proust, as well as on the origin of the novel, lead to the verge of that discovery. A la recherche du temps perdu is less a monumental work of fiction in this view than the limit of experience – the intransmissible fact of the transience of the present – made manifest in writing. While in Proust transience gives way to its (...) recuperation as image, Thomas Bernhard's post-Proustian masterpiece Extinction mobilizes the present's destructive potential with compelling effect, and turns it upon the work of historical experience itself. (shrink)
In this essay, Andrew Stables notes that philosophies such as existentialism, humanism, and environmentalism come in either exploratory or active forms: that is, one can study the nature of existence or the human, or one can ascribe to a way of life in an attempt to improve the world. Among the major influences on active environmentalist thought are humanism, socialism, posthumanism, and post- colonialism. In many cases, however, such ways of thinking can be as damaging or unsuccessful as they (...) may be ameliorative and successful. The search for an environmentalist Way, Stables maintains, must transcend entrenched binaries, oppositions, and ideologies without lapsing into thoroughgoing antirealism or willfully ignoring current realities. Here, he explores the valuable contributions that Daoist and Buddhist texts and practices have to offer in this search. (shrink)
Recent work by Robert Batterman and Alexander Rueger has brought attention to cases in physics in which governing laws at the base level “break down” and singular limit relations obtain between base- and upper-level theories. As a result, they claim, these are cases with emergent upper-level properties. This paper contends that this inference—from singular limits to explanatory failure, novelty or irreducibility, and then to emergence—is mistaken. The van der Pol nonlinear oscillator is used to show that there can be a (...) full explanation of upper-level properties entirely in base-level terms even when singular limits are present. Whether upper-level properties are emergent depends not on the presence of a singular limit but rather on details of the ampliative approximation methods used. The paper suggests that focusing on explanatory deficiency at the base level is key to understanding emergence in physics. (shrink)
This, the book shows, has radical implications, particularly for the question of how we seek to educate children. One Aristotelian legacy is the unquestioned belief that societies must educate the young irrespective of the latter's wishes.
Many explanations in physics rely on idealized models of physical systems. These explanations fail to satisfy the conditions of standard normative accounts of explanation. Recently, some philosophers have claimed that idealizations can be used to underwrite explanation nonetheless, but only when they are what have variously been called representational, Galilean, controllable or harmless idealizations. This paper argues that such a half-measure is untenable and that idealizations not of this sort can have explanatory capacities.
A common methodological adage holds that diverse evidence better confirms a hypothesis than does the same amount of similar evidence. Proponents of Bayesian approaches to scientific reasoning such as Horwich, Howson and Urbach, and Earman claim to offer both a precise rendering of this maxim in probabilistic terms and an explanation of why the maxim should be part of the methodological canon of good science. This paper contends that these claims are mistaken and that, at best, Bayesian accounts of diverse (...) evidence are crucially incomplete. This failure should lend renewed force to a long-neglected global worry about Bayesian approaches. (shrink)
Recent work on emergence in physics has focused on the presence of singular limit relations between basal and upper-level theories as a criterion for emergence. However, over-emphasis on the role of singular limit relations has somewhat obscured what it means to say that a property or behaviour is emergent. This paper argues that singular limits are not central to emergence and develops an alternative account of emergence in terms of the failure of basal explainability. As a consequence, emergence and reduction, (...) long held to be two sides of the same coin in the emergentist tradition, are largely decoupled. (shrink)
A signal development in contemporary physics is the widespread use, in explanatory contexts, of highly idealized models. This paper argues that some highly idealized models in physics have genuine explanatory power, and it extends the explanatory role for such idealizations beyond the scope of previous philosophical work. It focuses on idealizations of nonlinear oscillator systems.
This paper begins by tracing interest in emergence in physics to the work of condensed matter physicist Philip Anderson. It provides a selective introduction to contemporary philosophical approaches to emergence. It surveys two exciting areas of current work that give good reason to re-evaluate our views about emergence in physics. One area focuses on physical systems wherein fundamental theories appear to break down. The other area is the quantum-to-classical transition, where some have claimed that a complete explanation of the behaviors (...) and features of the objects of classical physics entirely in quantum terms is now within our grasp. We suggest that the most useful way to approach the emergent/non-emergent distinction is in epistemic terms, and more specifically that the failure of reductive explanation is constitutive of emergence in physics. (shrink)
This paper aims at revealing the various meanings of schools as more than built physical environments from a geographical-phenomenological (or ‘geo-phenomenological’) perspective. This paper consists of five sections: the first explicates the meaning of ‘geo-phenomenology’; the second reveals the meaning of ‘environment’ and a dialectics of strangeness and intimacy through geo-phenomenological analysis; the third examines the meanings of environment as ‘space’ and ‘place’ and the act of naming as the process of constructing meaning between humans and environment; the fourth section (...) attempts to explore the meaning of conceiving school as a particular environment; and the final is the conclusion. (shrink)
This research formed phase 1 of the Economic and Social Research Council project ‘Pupils’ Approaches to Subject Option Choices’ and is a near repeat of a project carried out in the mid-1980s, thus allowing for a comparison of approaches to subject choice a decade apart, comparing the situation pre- and post-National Curriculum implementation. The simple two-part questionnaire, completed by 1600 children in 11 schools, shows the differences across time and between-school differences in subject preference, but little instability in perceptions of (...) subject importance. Some useful additional data, giving student's reasons for liking subjects and finding subjects important, were obtained from interviews in four schools which formed phase 2 of the project. Comparisons are drawn with the data collected in 1984 on a similar basis. Issues of concern are highlighted with respect to particular subjects and to students’ stated reasons for liking subjects or finding them important, with regard to how this might relate to their subsequent subject choices and career development. (shrink)
Are animals not ours to use? According to proponents of veganism such as Gary Francione, any and all use of animals by humans is exploitative and wrong. It is wrong because animals have intrinsic worth and humans' use of animals fails to respect that worth. Contra Francione, I argue that that there are conditions under which it may be morally appropriate to collect, consume, sell, or otherwise use animal products. Francione is mistaken in his belief that assigning intrinsic worth to (...) a being is impossible if said being is also conceived as a resource. Using and (non-instrumental) valuing are not mutually exclusive; if they were, many if not most human relationships would be deemed morally unacceptable. Through a series of thought experiments involving intra-human relationships, I suggest that moral condemnation of relationships within which a less dependent party regularly takes from a more dependent party is indefensible. In fact, relationships of use between asymmetrically dependent parties are essential to the functioning of cooperative society, and are therefore desirable. My aims with this article are to convince readers of the need to reject principled veganism, and to garner support for new philosophical accounts of morally appropriate human-nonhuman animal relationships. (shrink)
In The Song of the Earth, Jonathan Bate promotes ‘ecopoesis’, contrasting it with ‘ecopolitical’ poetry (and by implication, other forms of writing and expression). Like others recently, including Simon James and Michael Bonnett, he appropriates the notion of ‘dwelling’ from Heidegger to add force to this distinction. Bate's argument is effectively that we have more chance of protecting the environment if we engage in ecopoetic activity, involving a sense of immediate response to nature, than if we do not. This has (...) obvious educational implications. If Bate, James and Bonnett are correct, then the educational pursuit of (eco)poetic sensibility will, of itself, contribute to education for a sustainable future by grounding human experience in nature; if their assertions are insupportable, and (eco)poetic sensibility does not afford privileged access to a state of nature, then the assumption cannot be made that the development of such sensibility will contribute to education for sustainability. I shall critique Bate's argument from a pragmatic perspective. (shrink)
Field theories have been central to physics over the last 150 years, and there are several theories in contemporary physics in which physical fields play key causal and explanatory roles. This paper proposes a novel field trope-bundle (FTB) ontology on which fields are composed of bundles of particularized property instances, called tropes and goes on to describe some virtues of this ontology. It begins with a critical examination of the dominant view about the ontology of fields, that fields are properties (...) of a substantial substratum. (shrink)
The problem of the current research is to develop an instrument that accurately measures individuals' adherence or nonadherence to both Protestant Ethic and contemporary work values. The study confirms that the traditional Protestant Ethic work values and the contemporary work values are different and the instrument used to measure the work values that individuals actually support is valid and reliable. Two scales were developed based on Protestant Ethic work values and contemporary work values. A four-point Likert scale was used to (...) indicate the extent of agreement or disagreement with statements written to represent Protestant Ethic and contemporary work values. Face and content validities of the instrument were established by using two panels of experts — one consisted of authorities in the area of work values; the other consisted of editorial critics. Reliability of the instrument was confirmed by the Kuder-Richardson and test-retest methods. Four sets of work values emerged with significant discrimination among them. (shrink)
Multicultural education can be seen as generally premised on two assumptions. The first is often made explicit: that children should learn not to discriminate unfairly on grounds of ethnicity or culture. To this degree, multiculturalism is clearly morally educative, encouraging children to see others in terms of their common humanity rather than their cultural differences. The second is more implicit and diffuse: that sensitivity to cultural and ethnic difference ipso facto promotes social justice and/or harmony between people(s) and thus is (...) morally educative. Further implicit in this is that persons with different cultural practices are ipso facto ?more different? than those in similar relationships (such as neighbour, friend, customer, employee or whatever) but belonging to the same cultural groups, in terms of their lived experience. The concept ?more different? implies that ?difference? can be measured, and as a basis for policy, it further implies that such measurement can be objective. This article challenges this latter set of assumptions, drawing on ideas from nihilism, existentialism, poststructuralism and discursive psychology. If degrees of difference in lived experience cannot be objectively (or even intersubjectively) measured, then assumptions about how culture ?fixes? life experience may have undesirable, rather than desirable effects, and may counter, rather than reinforce, the explicit aim of multicultural education to reduce ethnic and cultural discrimination. Individual positioning may be as important as cultural heritage in determining differences in life experience, and thus possibilities for moral action, yet learners may not be able to respond to persons as individuals on the basis of an understanding of collective cultural differences. (shrink)
The continuous pursuit and support of medical research on both a societal and individual level is frequently presupposed as laudable, or even obligatory. However, some critics have challenged the assumption that medical research ought to be conducted. These critics reject claims that there is a moral obligation to pursue research, and that medical research may always be justifiable given adequate safeguards and regulations. We align ourselves with critics of the research imperative to the extent that we believe that medical research (...) may only be an imperfect obligation, grounded in the principle of beneficence. Our central purpose in this article, however, is not to advance an original argument concerning the .. (shrink)
This discussion provides a brief commentary on each of the papers presented in the symposium on the conceptual foundations of field theories in physics. In Section 2 I suggest an alternative to Paul Teller's (1999) reading of the gauge argument that may help to solve, or dissolve, its puzzling aspects. In Section 3 I contend that Sunny Auyang's (1999) arguments against substantivalism and for "objectivism" in the context of gauge field theories face serious worries. Finally, in Section 4 I claim (...) that Gordon Fleming's (1999) proposal for hyperplane-dependent Newton-Wigner fields differs importantly from his previous arguments about hyperplane-dependent properties in quantum mechanics. (shrink)
This study examines the relationship between teachers' beliefs and their practices at Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11) in relation to the use of questioning. Data were collected from interviewing and observing Key Stage 2 teachers at four schools in the West of England. A Straussian approach to grounded theory is followed broadly in order to analyse the data. In contrast to the findings of previous studies, which suggested a mismatch between teachers' beliefs and practices in that teachers, in certain respects, (...) do less than they claim, the research revealed that teachers use a variety of skills during their teaching that they may not always be aware of. It is also argued that teachers do not share researchers' language to express the way they teach. (shrink)
Nick Huggett and Robert Weingard (1994) have recently proposed a novel approach to interpreting field theories in physics, one which makes central use of the fact that a field generally has an infinite number of degrees of freedom in any finite region of space it occupies. Their characterization, they argue, (i) reproduces our intuitive categorizations of fields in the classical domain and thereby (ii) provides a basis for arguing that the quantum field is a field. Furthermore, (iii) it accomplishes these (...) tasks better than does a well-known rival approach due to Paul Teller (1990, 1995). This paper contends that all three of these claims are mistaken, and suggests that Huggett and Weingard have not shown how counting degrees of freedom provides any insight into the interpretation or the formal properties of field theories in physics. (shrink)
The paper considers T.S. Eliot's 'dissociation of sensibility' thesis, considering its philosophical value and attempting to defend it against published objections. While accepting some of the criticisms, it is argued that Eliot's argument is sound to a significant extent. Eliot's account retains explanatory power with regard to an enduring arts-science divide in schooling and, more broadly, in environmental ethics. In both these areas, educators can, and should, find greater synergies between arts and science, and theoria and praxis, despite continuing pressures (...) on the school curriculum to move in the opposite direction. It is suggested that an acknowledgement of living as semiosis can be helpful in this respect. (shrink)
Educational literature has tended to focus, explicitly and implicitly, on two kinds of task orientation: the ability either to focus on a single task, or to multi-task. A third form of orientation characterises many highly successful people. This is the ability to combine several tasks into one: to ‘kill two birds with one stone’. This skill characterises people with initiative, who exercise judgment, deliberation and creative imagination in their personal organisation. The motivation to work in this way indicates personal commitment (...) rather than mere compliance. Focusing on its development educationally implies a shift from either/or, linear, methodical, mechanical and technicist thinking to encouraging individual and collective responsibility, initiative and risk-taking, resulting in unpredictable outcomes. The emphasis on judgment renders the issues as ethical rather than narrowly instrumental. Dominant ethical approaches are, therefore, considered in relation to this in terms of its application for teaching. (shrink)
Much of the world will be living in broadly "liberal" societies for the foreseeable future. Sustainability and security, however defined, must therefore be considered in the context of such societies, yet there is very little significant literature that does so. Indeed, much ecologically-oriented literature is overtly anti-liberal, as have been some recent responses to security concerns. This book explores the implications for sustainability and security of a range of intellectual perspectives on liberalism, such as those offered by John Rawls, Robert (...) Nozick, Frederick Hayek, Ronald Dworkin, Michael Oakeshott, Amartya Sen and Jrgen Habermas. (shrink)
Wayne Martin’s Theories of Judgment marks a significant advance in the philosophical analysis of judgment. He understands that the domain of judgment is so large that it allows only a selective treatment. We can expand Martin’s insight by acknowledging that this domain is, in fact, hypercomplex and therefore unsurveyable in Wittgenstein’s sense. Martin’s treatment of judgments can, however, be extended in a number of directions. Of particular importance is it to understand the linguistic aspect of theoretical judgments, the challenges (...) to the synthetic conception of judgment constituted not only by existential, but also by impersonal and negative judgments, and the exploration of the links between the notions of judgment and truth. (shrink)
Andrew Wayne discusses some recent attempts to account, within a Bayesian framework, for the "common methodological adage" that "diverse evidence better confirms a hypothesis than does the same amount of similar evidence". One of the approaches considered by Wayne is that suggested by Howson and Urbach and dubbed the "correlation approach" by Wayne. This approach is, indeed, incomplete, in that it neglects the role of the hypothesis under consideration in determining what diversity in a body of evidence (...) is relevant diversity. In this paper, it is shown how this gap can be filled, resulting in a more satisfactory account of the evidential role of diversity of evidence. In addition, it is argued that Wayne's criticism of the correlation approach does not indicate a serious flaw in the approach. (shrink)
Like many who work on attention, Wu takes William James as an anchor point, concluding, "So, James was right" (274). In fact, this book can be seen as a continuation of James' project -- as with James' "Attention," Wu's book provides an extensive review of current research on attention. In fact, he engages at length with an impressive amount of work in contemporary philosophy and science, mentioning 10 such researchers – Ned Block, John Campbell, Marisa Carrasco, David Chalmers, David Marr, (...) Christopher Mole, Jesse Prinz, Declan Smithies, George Sperling, and Anne Treisman -- more than 30 times each. Readers interested in contemporary research on attention could learn a great deal from these discussions. The book nonetheless falls short of serving as a complete review of research on attention -- a point Wu in fact accepts (9). Two conspicuous absences include historical philosophy and phenomenology, both of which I discuss briefly below. (shrink)
Dr. Wayne proposes that an autonomy-based approach to the treatment and care of older patients with dementia be replaced with an agency-based approach. In this commentary, I suggest that such a shift is unnecessary and would undermine patients’ moral, legal, and human rights.
Jonathan Kvanvig's book, The Value of Knowledge and the Pursuit of Understanding (Kvanvig, 2003), is a wonderful example of doing epistemology in a style that Kvanvig himself has termed "value−driven epistemology." On this approach, one takes questions about epistemic value to be central to theoretical concerns, including the concern to provide an adequate account of knowledge. This approach yields the demand that theories of knowledge must provide, not just an adequate account of the nature of knowledge, but also an account (...) of the value of knowledge. Given the near−universal assumption that knowledge has a special kind of value, this demand seems reasonable, though surprisingly hard to satisfy. Another consequence of this approach to doing epistemology is that certain assumptions about epistemic value, like what sorts of things have it and what sorts of things don't, and where such value comes from, become much more salient to the epistemic enterprise. In his book, Kvanvig challenges the assumption that knowledge has some unique store of epistemic value. And he investigates the matter by asking questions about what the bearers of epistemic value are and where they get it. He concludes, of course, that knowledge as we have come to conceive it in 21st century epistemology has no such special value. (shrink)