Suppose we are about to enter an era of increasing technological unemployment. What implications does this have for society? Two distinct ethical/social issues would seem to arise. The first is one of distributive justice: how will the efficiency gains from automated labour be distributed through society? The second is one of personal fulfillment and meaning: if people no longer have to work, what will they do with their lives? In this article, I set aside the first issue and focus on (...) the second. In doing so, I make three arguments. First, I argue that there are good reasons to embrace non-work and that these reasons become more compelling in an era of technological unemployment. Second, I argue that the technological advances that make widespread technological unemployment possible could still threaten or undermine human flourishing and meaning, especially if they do not remain confined to the economic sphere. And third, I argue that this threat could be contained if we adopt an integrative approach to our relationship with technology. In advancing these arguments, I draw on three distinct literatures: the literature on technological unemployment and workplace automation; the antiwork critique—which I argue gives reasons to embrace technological unemployment; and the philosophical debate about the conditions for meaning in life—which I argue gives reasons for concern. (shrink)
What is life? For four centuries, it has been believed that the only possible scientific approach to this question proceeds from the Cartesian metaphor -- organism as machine. Therefore, organisms are to be studied and characterized the same way "machines" are; the same way any inorganic system is. Robert Rosen argues that such a view is neither necessary nor sufficient to answer the question. He asserts that life is not a specialization of mechanism, but rather a sweeping generalization (...) of it. Above all, Rosen argues that renouncing mechanism does not mean abandoning science. A radical alternative is proposed, drawn equally from experience in biology, physics, and mathematics; an alternative which draws attention to a new class of complex systems, which are radically different from mechanism. (shrink)
"Daimon Life is life-enchancing. To read it is to become richer in word." –John Llewelyn Disclosure of Martin Heidegger’s complicity with the National Socialist regime in 1933-34 has provoked virulent debate about the relationship between his politics and his philosophy. Did Heidegger’s philosophy exhibit a kind of organicism readily transformed into ideological "blood and soil"? Or, rather, did his support of the Nazis betray a fundamental lack of loyalty to living things? David Farrell Krell traces Heidegger’s political authoritarianism (...) to his failure to develop a constructive "life-philosophy"—his phobic reactions to other forms of being. Krell details Heidegger’s opposition to Lebensphilosophie as expressed in Being and Time, in an important but little-known lecture course on theoretical biology given in 1929–30 called "The Basic Concepts of Metaphysics," and in a recently published key text, Contributions to Philosophy, written in 1936–38. Although Heidegger’s attempt to think through the problems of life, sexual reproduction, behavior, environment, and the ecosystem ultimately failed, Krell contends that his methods of thinking nonetheless pose important tasks for our own thought. Drawing on and away from Heidegger, Krell expands on the topics of life, death, sexuality, and spirit as these are treated by Freud, Nietzsche, Derrida, and Irigaray. Daimon Life addresses issues central to contemporary philosophies of politics, gender, ecology, and theoretical biology. (shrink)
In theory, at least, we might achieve a certain sort of invulnerability right at the end of life. Suppose that under favorable circumstances we can live a certain number of years, say 125, but no longer, and also that we can make life as a whole better and better over time. Under these assumptions we might hope to disarm death by spending 125 years making life as good as it can be. If we were lucky enough to (...) accomplish that, afterwards we would be immune to mortal harm. Especially for those who are closer to the beginning of life than to the end, however, this strategy leaves much to be desired. It is like devouring an entire banquet so as to eliminate the danger of someone stealing it from us. Like a feast, a good life is safely ours after it is over, but then safety comes too late to be of any use to us. To be of practical value, we need protection from mortal harm much earlier in life. (shrink)
Acting Now to End World Poverty Peter Singer. were our own, and we cannot deny that the suffering and death are bad. The second premise is also very difficult to reject, because it leaves us some wiggle room when it comes to situations in.
Chapter 1 FROM ORDER TO DISORDER 5 mins. John enters and goes into his office. He says something very quickly about having made a bad mistake. He had sent the review of a paper. . . . The rest of the sentence is inaudible. 5 mins.
This paper considers questions about continuity and discontinuity between life and mind. It begins by examining such questions from the perspective of the free energy principle (FEP). The FEP is becoming increasingly influential in neuroscience and cognitive science. It says that organisms act to maintain themselves in their expected biological and cognitive states, and that they can do so only by minimizing their free energy given that the long-term average of free energy is entropy. The paper then argues that (...) there is no singular interpretation of the FEP for thinking about the relation between life and mind. Some FEP formulations express what we call an independence view of life and mind. One independence view is a cognitivist view of the FEP. It turns on information processing with semantic content, thus restricting the range of systems capable of exhibiting mentality. Other independence views exemplify what we call an overly generous non-cognitivist view of the FEP, and these appear to go in the opposite direction. That is, they imply that mentality is nearly everywhere. The paper proceeds to argue that non-cognitivist FEP, and its implications for thinking about the relation between life and mind, can be usefully constrained by key ideas in recent enactive approaches to cognitive science. We conclude that the most compelling account of the relationship between life and mind treats them as strongly continuous, and that this continuity is based on particular concepts of life (autopoiesis and adaptivity) and mind (basic and non-semantic). (shrink)
We imagine posthumans as humans made superhumanly intelligent or resilient by future advances in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science. Many argue that these enhanced people might live better lives; others fear that tinkering with our nature will undermine our sense of our own humanity. Whoever is right, it is assumed that our technological successor will be an upgraded or degraded version of us: Human 2.0. Posthuman Life argues that the enhancement debate projects a human face onto an (...) empty screen. We do not know what will happen and, not being posthuman, cannot anticipate how posthumans will assess the world. If a posthuman future will not necessarily be informed by our kind of subjectivity or morality the limits of our current knowledge must inform any ethical or political assessment of that future. Posthuman Life develops a critical metaphysics of posthuman succession and argues that only a truly speculative posthumanism can support an ethics that meets the challenge of the transformative potential of technology. (shrink)
Some think that life is worth living not merely because of the goods and the bads within it, but also because life itself is good. I explain how this idea can be formalized by associating each version of the view with a function from length of life to the value generated by life itself. Then I argue that every version of the view that life itself is good faces some version of the following dilemma: either (...) (1) good human lives are worse than very long lives wholly devoid of pleasure, desire-satisfaction, knowledge, or any other goods, or (2) very short lives containing nothing but suffering are worth living. Since neither result is plausible, we ought to reject the view that life itself is good. On the view I favor, any given life may be worth living because of the goods that it contains, but life itself is neutral. (shrink)
Fred Feldman's fascinating new book sets out to defend hedonism as a theory about the Good Life. He tries to show that, when carefully and charitably interpreted, certain forms of hedonism yield plausible evaluations of human lives. Feldman begins by explaining the question about the Good Life. As he understands it, the question is not about the morally good life or about the beneficial life. Rather, the question concerns the general features of the life that (...) is good in itself for the one who lives it. Hedonism says (roughly) that the Good Life is the pleasant life. After showing that received formulations of hedonism are often confused or incoherent, Feldman presents a simple, clear, coherent form of sensory hedonism that provides a starting point for discussion. He then presents a catalogue of classic objections to hedonism, coming from sources as diverse as Plato, Aristotle, Brentano, Ross, Moore, Rawls, Kagan, Nozick, Brandt, and others. One of Feldman's central themes is that there is an important distinction between the forms of hedonism that emphasize sensory pleasure and those that emphasize attitudinal pleasure. Feldman formulates several kinds of hedonism based on the idea that attitudinal pleasure is the Good. He claims that attitudinal forms of hedonism - which have often been ignored in the literature -- are worthy of more careful attention. Another main theme of the book is the plasticity of hedonism. Hedonism comes in many forms. Attitudinal hedonism is especially receptive to variations and modifications. Feldman illustrates this plasticity by formulating several variants of attitudinal hedonism and showing how they evade some of the objections. He also shows how it is possible to develop forms of hedonism that are equivalent to the allegedly anti-hedonistic theory of G. E. Moore and the Aristotelian theory according to which the Good Life is the life of virtue, or flourishing. He also formulates hedonisms relevantly like the ones defended by Aristippus and Mill. Feldman argues that a carefully developed form of attitudinal hedonism is not refuted by objections concerning 'the shape of a life'. He also defends the claim that all of the alleged forms of hedonism discussed in the book genuinely deserve to be called 'hedonism'. Finally, after dealing with the last of the objections, he gives a sketch of his hedonistic vision of the Good Life. (shrink)
This book addresses issues of defining and measuring the quality of life. Leading philosophers and economists examine recent developments in the philosophical definition of well-being and link them to practical issues such as the delivery of health care and the assessment of women's quality of life. The volume reflects the growing need for interdisciplinary work as economists become more aware of fundamental philosophical questions and philosophers of the importance of linking theoretical enquiries to an understanding of complex practical (...) problems. (shrink)
Part I: The representation of life -- Can life be given a real definition? -- The representation of the living individual -- The representation of the life-form itself -- Part II: Naive action theory -- Types of practical explanation -- Naive explanation of action -- Action and time -- Part III: Practical generality -- Two tendencies in practical philosophy -- Practices and dispositions as sources of the goodness of individual actions -- Practice and disposition as sources of (...) individual action. (shrink)
Compiling twenty articles on the nature of life and on the objective of the natural sciences, this remarkable book complements Robert Rosen's groundbreaking Life Itself -- a work that influenced a wide range of philosophers, biologists, linguists, and social scientists. In Essays on Life Itself, Rosen takes to task the central objective of the natural sciences, calling into question the attempt to create objectivity in a subjective world and forcing us to reconsider where science can lead us (...) in the years to come. (shrink)
Life and Death in Freud and Heidegger argues that mortality is a fundamental structuring element in human life. The ordinary view of life and death regards them as dichotomous and separate. This book explains why this view is unsatisfactory and presents a new model of the relationship between life and death that sees them as interlinked. Using Heidegger’s concept of being towards death and Freud’s notion of the death drive, it demonstrates the extensive influence death has (...) on everyday life and gives an account of its structural and existential significance. By bringing the two perspectives together, this book presents a reading of death that establishes its significance for life, creates a meeting point for philosophical and psychoanalytical perspectives, and examines the problems and strengths of each. It then puts forth a unified view, based on the strengths of each position and overcoming the problems of each. Finally, it works out the ethical consequences of this view. This volume is of interest for philosophers, mental health practitioners and those working in the field of death studies. (shrink)
Half a century ago, before the discovery of DNA, the Austrian physicist and philosopher Erwin Schrödinger inspired a generation of scientists by rephrasing the fascinating philosophical question: _What is life? _Using their expansive understanding of recent science to wonderful effect, acclaimed authors Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan revisit this timeless question in a fast-moving, wide-ranging narrative that combines rigorous science with philosophy, history, and poetry. The authors move deftly across a dazzling array of topics—from the dynamics of the bacterial (...) realm, to the connection between sex and death, to theories of spirit and matter. They delve into the origins of life, offering the startling suggestion that life—not just human life—is free to act and has played an unexpectedly large part in its own evolution. Transcending the various formal concepts of life, this captivating book offers a unique overview of life’s history, essences, and future. Supplementing the text are stunning illustrations that range from the smallest known organism to the largest. Creatures both strange and familiar enhance the pages of _What Is Life?_ Their existence prompts readers to reconsider preconceptions not only about life but also about their own part in it. (shrink)
What do biologists want? If, unlike their counterparts in physics, biologists are generally wary of a grand, overarching theory, at what kinds of explanation do biologists aim? A history of the diverse and changing nature of biological explanation in a particularly charged field, "Making Sense of Life" draws our attention to the temporal, disciplinary, and cultural components of what biologists mean, and what they understand, when they propose to explain life.
'Never before has there been so many and such dreadful weapons in so many irresponsible hands.' - Karl Popper, from the Preface All Life is Problem Solving is a stimulating and provocative selection of Popper's writings on his main preoccupations during the last twenty-five years of his life. This collection illuminates Popper's process of working out key formulations in his theory of science, and indicates his view of the state of the world at the end of the Cold (...) War and after the collapse of communism. (shrink)
ABOUT THE BOOK:The present work is based on a critical study of all the available sources in the original and attempts a historical reconstruction of Sankara`s life and work.The ideas of Sankara have been generally interpreted in the light of later.
Applies Deleuzian theory to an array of physical phenomena, scientific issues, and political events. Life, War, Earth demonstrates how Gilles Deleuze’s ontology of the virtual, intensive, and actual can enhance our understanding of important issues in cognitive science, biology, and geography. The book offers a unique reading of Deleuze’s corpus and a useful method for applying Deleuzian techniques to the natural sciences, the social sciences, political phenomena, and contemporary events.
Modern medicine provides unprecedented opportunities in diagnostics and treatment. However, in some situations at the end of a patient’s life, many physicians refrain from using all possible measures to prolong life. We studied the incidence of different types of treatment withheld or withdrawn in 6 European countries and analyzed the main background characteristics.
"All art should become science and all science art; poetry and philosophy should be made one." Friedrich Schlegel's words perfectly capture the project of the German Romantics, who believed that the aesthetic approaches of art and literature could reveal patterns and meaning in nature that couldn't be uncovered through rationalistic philosophy and science alone. In this wide-ranging work, Robert J. Richards shows how the Romantic conception of the world influenced (and was influenced by) both the lives of the people who (...) held it and the development of nineteenth-century science. Integrating Romantic literature, science, and philosophy with an intimate knowledge of the individuals involved—from Goethe and the brothers Schlegel to Humboldt and Friedrich and Caroline Schelling—Richards demonstrates how their tempestuous lives shaped their ideas as profoundly as their intellectual and cultural heritage. He focuses especially on how Romantic concepts of the self, as well as aesthetic and moral considerations—all tempered by personal relationships—altered scientific representations of nature. Although historians have long considered Romanticism at best a minor tributary to scientific thought, Richards moves it to the center of the main currents of nineteenth-century biology, culminating in the conception of nature that underlies Darwin's evolutionary theory. Uniting the personal and poetic aspects of philosophy and science in a way that the German Romantics themselves would have honored, The Romantic Conception of Life alters how we look at Romanticism and nineteenth-century biology. (shrink)
Livings things are so very strange -- The quest for a theory of life -- Understanding 'understanding' -- Stability and instability -- The knotty origin of life problem -- Biology's crisis of identity -- Biology is chemistry -- What is life?
We ordinarily think that, keeping all else equal, a life that improves is better than one that declines. However, it has proven challenging to account for such value judgments: some, such as Fred Feldman and Daniel Kahneman, have simply denied that these judgments are rational, while others, such as Douglas Portmore, Michael Slote, and David Velleman, have proposed justifications for the judgments that appear to be incomplete or otherwise problematic. This article identifies problems with existing accounts and suggests a (...) novel alternative theory: what best accounts for our preference for an uphill over a downhill life (and many other episodes) is that losses of momentary value are themselves bad and gains in momentary value are themselves good. (shrink)
This book provides a fascinating study of a community of scientists at the prestigious Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Science in Melbourne, Australia. These scientists are mainly concerned with investigating the immune system, which enables us to cope with the many bacteria and viruses that invade our bodies. The Hall Institute scientists are part of a distinctive subculture, with its own myths and rites of passage, which can be investigated in much the same way as anthropologists investigate 'primitive' (...) cultures. The volume shows how scientific programs and methods are shaped by cultural factors, including social, political, and economic constraints, and by the Institute's setting and the ethos of the new biology. The emphasis is on how science is actually done in concrete situations as distinct from what scientists say they do, and what philosophers and historians and sociologists of science theorize about what they do. Life Among the Scientists will be of great interest to scientists, students of the philosophy, history, and sociology of science, anthropologists and social scientists, and the general reader who wants to know what the scientific life is really like. (shrink)
Available for the first time in English, Roger's masterwork of intellectual history situates the life sciences within the larger context of French Enlightenment thought and the history of institutions.
Richard Kraut presents a new theory of human well-being. Kraut's principal idea, Aristotelian in spirit, is that 'external goods' have at most an indirect bearing on the quality of our lives. A good internal life - one with quality emotional, intellectual, social, and perceptual experiences - is what well-being consists in.
This is the first book in modern times that makes sense of the Nicomachean Ethics in its entirety as an interesting philosophical argument, rather than as a compilation of relatively independent essays. In Taking Life Seriously Francis Sparshott expounds Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics as a single continuous argument, a chain of reasoned exposition on the problems of human life. He guides the reader through the whole text passage by passage, showing how every part of it makes sense in the (...) light of what has gone before, as well as indicating problems in Aristotle's argument. No knowledge of Greek is required. When the argument does depend on the precise wording of the Greek text, translations and explanatory notes are provided, and there is a glossary of Greek terms. Sparshott offers insightful and useful criticism, making Taking Life Seriously the best available companion to a first reading of the Ethics. (shrink)
Has biopolitics actually become thanatopolitics, a field of study obsessed with death? Is there something about the nature of biopolitical thought today that makes it impossibile to deploy affirmatively? If this is true, what can life-minded thinkers put forward as the merits of biopolitical reflection? These questions drive Improper Life.Campbell argues that a "crypto-thanatopolitics" can be teased out of Heidegger's critique of technology and that some of the leading scholars of biopolitics---including Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, and Peter Sloterdijk---have (...) been substansively influenced by Heidegger's thought, particularly his reading of proper and improper writing. In fact, Campbell shows how all of these philosophers have pointed toward a tragic, thanatopolitical destination as somehow an inevitable result of technology. But in Improper Life he articulates a corrective biopolitics that can begin with rereadings of Foucault, Freud, and Gilles Deleuze. Throughout Improper Life, Campbell insists that biopolitics can become more positive and productively asserts an affirmation techne not thought through thanatos but rather through bios. (shrink)
How can we live life wisely? Tiberius argues that we need to develop the kind of wisdom that emphasizes the importance of learning from experience. We need to care about things that sustain us and give us good experiences, have perspective on our successes and failures, and be moderately self-aware and cautiously optimistic about human nature.
This entry begins by indicating respects in which the concept of life’s meaning has only recently become salient in English-speaking bioethical discussions and by clarifying what talk of ‘life’s meaning’ and cognate phrases mean, at least to most of the philosophers and bioethicists who have used them. This essay then addresses six major respects in which thought about what makes a life meaningful has influenced bioethics. The first four issues concern life and death matters for human (...) beings, and specifically involve: euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, reproductive ethics, life extension, and transhumanism. The other two topics are about respects in meaningfulness figures into somewhat ‘less vital’ medical contexts, concerning ways in which promoting health is conceived either as a way to advance meaning or as in competition with the latter value. This essay concludes by offering a brief bird’s-eye reflection on the state of the field. (shrink)
To date, no definition of life has been unequivocally accepted by the scientific community. In frustration, some authors advocate alternatives to standard definitions. These include using a list of characteristic features, focusing on life’s effects, or categorizing biospheres rather than life itself; treating life as a fuzzy category, a process or a cluster of contingent properties; or advocating a ‘wait-and-see’ approach until other examples of life are created or discovered. But these skeptical, operational, and pluralistic (...) approaches have intensified the debate, rather than settled it. Given the failure of even these approaches, we advocate a new strategy. In this paper, we reverse the usual line of reasoning and argue that the “life problem” arises from thinking incorrectly about the nature of life. Scientists most often conceptualize life as a class or kind, with earthly life as a single instance of it. Instead, we advocate thinking about Earth’s Life as an individual, in the way that species are now thought to be. In this view, Life is a monophyletic clade that originated with a last universal common ancestor, and includes all its descendants. We can continue to use the category ‘life’ pragmatically to refer to similarities between various phenomena and Life. But the relevant similarities are a matter of interest and preference, not a matter of fact. The search for other life in the Universe, then, is merely a search for entities that resemble parts of Life in whatever sense astrobiologists find most appealing. This does not mean that the search for evolved complexity elsewhere in the universe or its creation in the lab are futile endeavors, but that debates over whether they count as ‘life’ are. Ironically, finally abandoning the concept ‘life’ may make our searches for evolved complexity more fruitful. We explain why. (shrink)
In Gadamer’s hermeneutics, interpretation is inseparable from the broader concern of making one’s way in life. In this book, James Risser builds on this insight about the juxtaposition of human living and the act of understanding by tracing hermeneutics back to the basic experience of philosophy as defined by Plato. For Risser, Plato provides resources for new directions in hermeneutics and new possibilities for "the life of understanding" and "the understanding of life." Risser places Gadamer in dialogue (...) with Plato, with the issue of memory as a conceptual focus. He develops themes pertaining to hermeneutics such as retrieval as a matter of convalescence, exile as a venture into the foreign, formation with respect to oneself and to life with others, the experience of language in hermeneutics, and the relationship between speaking and writing. (shrink)
“Pale Blue Dot” and “Anthropocene” are common tropes in astrobiology and often appear in ethical arguments. Both support a decentering of human life relative to biological life in terms of value. This article introduces a typology of life-value narratives: hierarchical narratives with human life above other life and holistic narratives with human life among other life. Astrobiology, through the two tropes, supports holistic narratives, but this should not be viewed as opposed to Christianity. (...) Rather, Christian scriptures provide seeds of both hierarchical and holistic narratives, each of which may flourish in different environments. By attending to which aspects of human life are valued—or disvalued—relative to biological life, we can better understand how life-concepts do work in ethics, anthropology, and soteriology in secular as well as theological contexts. (shrink)
For post-Kantian philosophy, “life” is a transitory concept that relates the realm of nature to the realm of freedom. From this vantage point, the living seems to have the double character of being both already and not yet free: Compared with the external necessity of dead nature, the living already seems to exhibit a basic type of spontaneity and normativity that on the other hand still has to be superseded on the path to the freedom and normativity of spirit. (...) The contributions in the third volume of the series Freedom and Law take their departure from Hegel in order to investigate the extent to which we need figures and concepts of the living to understand the genesis and structure of theoretical and practical self-determination. In these analyses, Hegel’s philosophy reveals itself as a thinking not restricted to a mere opposition between the determinations of life and the freedom of spirit, but rather conceives of a freedom that realizes itself in and through life: a freedom of life. (shrink)
What is Life? This is the question asked by Denis Noble in this very personal and at times deeply lyrical book. Noble is a renowned physiologist and systems biologist, and he argues that the genome is not life itself: to understand what life is, we must view it at a variety of different levels, all interacting with each other in a complex web. It is that emergent web, full of feedback between levels, from the gene to the (...) wider environment, that is life. (shrink)
You have a complex and detailed aesthetic life. You make aesthetic decisions every day. You wake up, shower, and dress. When you decide what to wear, you think about how it feels and fits. You have aesthetic feelings and reactions every day. The sunset swings into view as you turn a corner and you think, “That’s beautiful.” A wave of calm and pleasure wash over you. You take a bite of cake and you think, “Wow, that’s sweet.” Maybe too (...) sweet. Almost everything you do has an aesthetic dimension—from the way you make your bed, prepare your coffee, and tie your shoes, to the way you speak to others and edit photos to post on social media. You have a complex and detailed aesthetic life that you orchestrate every day through your aesthetic decisions, reactions, feelings, and actions. But why live this way? What exactly is aesthetic life and why, if at all, does it matter? In Aesthetic Life and Why It Matters, three philosophers present their different answers to this question and discuss the many challenging and fascinating philosophical issues that arise in our aesthetic lives. (shrink)
"In the gorgeous and rugged terrain of Jewish thought, there is no higher mountain to climb than Maimonides, and no more slippery or exhilarating ascent. Halbertal has made it all the way to the top, and his survey of the whole of the Maimonidean landscape is trustworthy and masterful. This is the richest and most intellectually sophisticated book on Maimonides I have ever read."--Leon Wieseltier "In this learned and penetrating work, Halbertal offers us a Maimonides who draws on the dominant (...) Greco-Islamic thought of his time while creating a system of thought that is fully Jewish. He shows us how the early "Commentary on the Mishnah" links up with the "Mishneh Torah" and with the "Guide of the Perplexed," written at the end of his life, to form an unexpected and radical intellectual unity. Beautifully written, "Maimonides" brings out both Maimonides's intellectual success and the paradoxical critical approaches to him after his death."--David J. Wasserstein, Vanderbilt University "Insightful and learned. Halbertal is perhaps the leading philosopher of Jewish law today. His book on Maimonides, like his other writings, reflects wide erudition and is written clearly and sharply."--Warren Zev Harvey, professor emeritus, Hebrew University of Jerusalem "Displaying the marvelous depth and clarity that mark all his work, Halbertal explains in abundant detail the transformations that Maimonides sought to effect in the Jewish world. He provides incisive interpretations of both legal and philosophical writings, yet he is also a biographer, binding together Maimonides's life, self-perception, and intellectual agenda. This is an exceptionally rich book, one that offers fresh perspectives for experts and a highly accessible introduction for general readers."--David Shatz, Yeshiva University "An outstanding and thrilling portrait of Maimonides. Halbertal's analytic lucidity and psychological depth are singular, and his talents are abundantly apparent on every page. This is an extraordinary book."--Menachem Lorberbaum, Tel Aviv University. (shrink)
Baruch Spinoza was one of the most important philosophers of all time; he was also arguably the most radical and controversial. This was the first complete biography of Spinoza in any language and is based on detailed archival research. More than simply recounting the story of Spinoza's life, the book takes the reader right into the heart of Jewish Amsterdam in the seventeenth century and, with Spinoza's exile from Judaism, right into the midst of the tumultuous political, social, intellectual (...) and religious world of the young Dutch Republic. Though the book will be an invaluable resource for philosophers, historians, and scholars of Jewish thought, it has been written for any member of the general reading public with a serious interest in philosophy, Jewish history, seventeenth-century European history, and the culture of the Dutch Golden Age. Spinoza: A Life has recently been awarded the Koret Jewish Book Award. (shrink)
Youth sport is habitually promoted as an important context for learning that contributes to a person’s broader development beyond sport-specific skills. A growing body of research in this area has operated within a life skills discourse that focuses on useful, positive and decontextualised skills in the production of successful and adaptive citizens. In this paper, we argue that the ideological discourse of life skills, underpinned by ideas about sport-based positive youth development, has unduly narrowed the research on learning (...) in sport to only what is deemed functional, teachable, and economically productive. After considering the problems associated with the currently dominant life skills approach, we explore existential learning as an alternative perspective on conceptualising and studying learning in sport. An existential approach provides a non-instrumental theory of learning with an emphasis on discontinuity, relational self and ‘becoming’, opening an avenue for exploring various forms of informal learning under-explored in sport. We discuss the applications of this alternative approach for future research and practice in learning in youth sport. (shrink)
This work addresses the autonomous organization of biological systems. It does so by considering the boundaries of biological systems, from individual cells to Home sapiens, in terms of the presence of Markov blankets under the active inference scheme—a corollary of the free energy principle. A Markov blanket defines the boundaries of a system in a statistical sense. Here we consider how a collective of Markov blankets can self-assemble into a global system that itself has a Markov blanket; thereby providing an (...) illustration of how autonomous systems can be understood as having layers of nested and self-sustaining boundaries. This allows us to show that: (i) any living system is a Markov blanketed system and (ii) the boundaries of such systems need not be co-extensive with the biophysical boundaries of a living organism. In other words, autonomous systems are hierarchically composed of Markov blankets of Markov blankets—all the way down to individual cells, all the way up to you and me, and all the way out to include elements of the local environment. (shrink)