Augustine is commonly interpreted as endorsing an extramission theory of perception in De quantitate animae. A close examination of the text shows, instead, that he is committed to its rejection. I end with some remarks about what it takes for an account of perception to be an extramission theory and with a review of the strength of evidence for attributing the extramission theory to Augustine on the basis of his other works.
John Locke (b. 1632, d. 1704) was a British philosopher, Oxford
academic and medical researcher. Locke’s monumental An Essay
Concerning Human Understanding (1689) is one of the first great
defenses of modern empiricism and concerns itself with determining the
limits of human understanding in respect to a wide spectrum of topics. It thus tells us in some detail what one can legitimately claim to
know and what one cannot. Locke’s association with Anthony Ashley
Cooper (later the First Earl of Shaftesbury) led him to become
successively a government official charged with collecting information
about trade and colonies, economic writer, opposition political
activist, and finally a revolutionary whose cause ultimately triumphed
in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.
Antoine Arnauld (1612–1694) was a powerful figure in the
intellectual life of seventeenth-century Europe. He had a long and
highly controversial career as a theologian, and was an able and
influential philosopher. His writings were published and widely read
over a period of more than fifty years and were assembled in
1775–1782 in forty-two large folio volumes. Evaluations of Arnauld’s work as a theologian vary. Ian Hacking,
for example, says that Arnauld was “perhaps the most brilliant
theologian of his time” (Hacking 1975a, 25). Ronald Knox, on the
other hand, says, “It was the fashion among the Jansenists to
represent Antoine Arnauld as a great theologian; he should be
remembered, rather as a great controversialist… A theologian by
trade, Arnauld was a barrister by instinct” (Knox 1950, 196).
This book looks interesting:
• David S. Wilson and Alan Kirman, editors, Complexity and Evolution: Toward a New Synthesis for Economics, MIT Press, Cambridge Mass., 2016. You can get some chapters for free here. …
Johann Christoph Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805) is best known
for his immense influence on German literature. In his relatively
short life, he authored an extraordinary series of dramas, including
The Robbers, Maria Stuart, and the trilogy
Wallenstein. He was also a prodigious poet, composing perhaps
most famously the “Ode to Joy” featured in the culmination
of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and enshrined, some two centuries
later, in the European
Hymn.[ 1 ]
In part through his celebrated friendship with Goethe, he edited
epoch-defining literary journals and exerted lasting influence on
German stage production.
The extended mind thesis claims that at least some cognitive processes extend beyond the organism’s brain in that they are constituted by the organism’s actions on its surrounding environment. A more radical move would be to claim that social actions performed by the organism could at least constitute some of its mental processes. This can be called the socially extended mind thesis. Based on the notion of affordance as developed in the ecological psychology tradition, I defend the position that perception extends to the environment. Then I will expand the notion of affordance to encompass social affordances. Thus, perception can in some situations also be socially extended.
For a cou ple of decades, higher-order the o ries of con scious ness have enjoyed great pop u lar ity, but they have recently been met with grow ing dis sat is - fac tion. Many have started to look else where for via ble alter na tives, and within the last few years, quite a few have redis cov ered Brentano. In this paper such a (neo-)Brentanian one-level account of con scious ness will be out lined and dis - cussed. It will be argued that it can con trib ute impor tant insights to our under - stand ing of the rela tion between con scious ness and self-aware ness, but it will also be argued that the account remains beset with some prob lems, and that it will ulti mately make more sense to take a closer look at Sartre, Husserl, and Heidegger, if one is on the look out for prom is ing alter na tives to the higher-order the o ries, than to return all the way to Brentano.
There are four modal paradigms in ancient philosophy: the frequency
interpretation of modality, the model of possibility as a potency, the
model of antecedent necessities and possibilities with respect to a
certain moment of time (diachronic modalities), and the model of
possibility as non-contradictoriness. None of these conceptions, which
were well known to early medieval thinkers through the works of
Boethius, was based on the idea of modality as involving reference to
simultaneous alternatives. This new paradigm was introduced into
Western thought in early twelfth-century discussions influenced by
Augustine’s theological conception of God as acting by choice
between alternative histories.
Effective Altruistism and ethical consumerism
Posted on Tuesday, 18 Apr 2017
In chapter 8 of Doing Good Better, William MacAskill argues
that we should not make a great effort to reduce our carbon emissions,
to buy Fairtrade coffee, or to boycott sweatshops. …
A Greek philosopher of 1st and early 2nd
centuries C.E., and an exponent of Stoic ethics notable for the
consistency and power of his ethical thought and for effective methods
of teaching. Epictetus’s chief concerns are with integrity,
self-management, and personal freedom, which he advocates by demanding
of his students a thorough examination of two central ideas, the
capacity he terms ‘volition’ (prohairesis) and the
correct use of impressions (chrēsis tōn
phantasiōn). Heartfelt and satirical by turns, Epictetus has
had significant influence on the popular moralistic tradition, but he
is more than a moralizer; his lucid resystematization and challenging
application of Stoic ethics qualify him as an important philosopher in
his own right.
Recent philosophical attention to fiction has focused heavily on the phenomenon of imaginative resistance: the fact that readers are sometimes unable or unwilling to play along with an author’s instructions to imagine certain contents, especially about moral matters. Readers’ resistance in these cases seems puzzling, given that they are typically willing to imagine all sorts of implausible, even impossible things. Theorists have offered various explanations for resistance. Richard Moran (1994) argues that resistance arises, at least in part, because evaluative and emotional engagement with fiction requires more than merely imaging certain contents: it involves actual, robust responses, which are not the sort of thing readers can simply choose to do in response to an author’s demands. Kendall Walton (1994), Steve Yablo (2002) and Brian Weatherson (2004) argue that resistance arises because what readers are able to imagine is constrained by fixed conceptual or metaphysical principles. And Tamar Szabó Gendler (2000, 2006a) argues that resistance is driven by readers’ unwillingness to ‘export’ certain moral principles or perspectives from fictions to reality.
Relational egalitarians hold what matters for justice is that all members of a society “stand in relations of equality to others.” The idea that all human beings are moral equals is widely shared: it underlies the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and many national constitutions. …
In our ASSC20 symposium, “Does unconscious perception really exist?”, the four of us asked some difficult questions about the purported phenomenon of unconscious perception, disagreeing on a number of points. This disagreement reflected the objective of the symposium: not only to come together to discuss a single topic of keen interest to the ASSC community, but to do so in a way that would fairly and comprehensively represent the heterogeneity of ideas, opinions, and evidence that exists concerning this contentious topic. The crux of this controversy rests in no small part on disagreement about what is meant by the terms of the debate and how to determine empirically whether a state is unconscious or not.
The current issue of Philosophy Now has a little article on Carnap by one Alistair MacFarlane, a Scottish electrical engineer who has held a number of academic administrative posts. To judge by a few of the details he relates about Carnap’s life, he seems to have known or met Carnap personally, though he also commits a surprising number of factual errors. …
The theory of evolution by natural selection is, perhaps, the crowning
intellectual achievement of the biological sciences. There is,
however, considerable debate about which entity or entities are
selected and what it is that fits them for that role. This article
aims to clarify what is at issue in these debates by identifying four
distinct, though often confused, concerns and then identifying how the
debates on what constitute the units of selection depend to a
significant degree on which of these four questions a thinker regards
It initially seems to be a strange combination of views that (a) killing in defense of the innocent is sometimes permissible, but (b) lying is never permissible, not even in defense of the innocent. Yet that is the predominant view in the Christian tradition. …
There are different kinds of studies of Berkeley. Some focus on specific areas of his thought; some provide overviews.1 Of the overviews, some are arranged according to the chronology of his individual works; others are arranged according to topics.2 Internal, analytic studies examine the cogency of his arguments and show how dif— ferent interpretations of his texts handle criticisms raised by recent commentators; historical studies describe the background assumptions that inform his thinking.
It is a standard understanding that we live in time. In fact, the whole physical world as described in sciences is based on the idea of objective (not absolute) time. For centuries we have defined time ever so minutely, basing them on finer and finer event measurements (uncoiling springs to atomic clocks) that we do not even notice that we have made an inductive leap when it comes to time - we can measure time, so we experience time. In the current work I wish to critique this inductive leap and examine what it means to experience time. We are embodied and embedded cognitive agents, constrained by our body as well as in continuous interaction with our environment. So another way to ask the question of temporal experience would be - how embodied is time? I posit that experience of time spoken of in general literature is a linguistic construct, in that, the idea of experience of time overshadows the actual phenomenal contents of time perception. Moreover, time perception itself comes from a post-facto judgment of events. It has also been observed that the order of events in time can be altered to create an illusion of violation of causality itself. This points to the possibility that events are arranged in a temporal map that can be read off by higher cognitive substrates. In the current work we go on to explore the nature of such a map as it emerges from an embodied mind.
Chapter 10 of Idealism and Christian Theology is “Idealism and Participating in the Body of Christ” by James Arcadi. This article is very clearly written and handles both philosophy and theology well. …
Karl Marx (1818–1883) is best known not as a philosopher but as
a revolutionary, whose works inspired the foundation of many communist
regimes in the twentieth century. It is hard to think of many who have
had as much influence in the creation of the modern world. Trained as
a philosopher, Marx turned away from philosophy in his mid-twenties,
towards economics and politics. However, in addition to his overtly
philosophical early work, his later writings have many points of
contact with contemporary philosophical debates, especially in the
philosophy of history and the social sciences, and in moral and
The demarcation between science and pseudoscience is part of the
larger task of determining which beliefs are epistemically warranted. This entry clarifies the specific nature of pseudoscience in relation
to other categories of non-scientific doctrines and practices,
including science denial(ism) and resistance to the facts. The major
proposed demarcation criteria for pseudo-science are discussed and
some of their weaknesses are pointed out. In conclusion, it is
emphasized that there is much more agreement on particular cases of
demarcation than on the general criteria that such judgments should be
Albert Camus (1913–1960) was a journalist, editor and
editorialist, playwright and director, novelist and author of short
stories, political essayist and activist—and, although he more
than once denied it, a philosopher. He ignored or opposed systematic
philosophy, had little faith in rationalism, asserted rather than
argued many of his main ideas, presented others in metaphors, was
preoccupied with immediate and personal experience, and brooded over
such questions as the meaning of life in the face of death. Although
he forcefully separated himself from existentialism, Camus posed one
of the twentieth century’s best-known existentialist questions, which
launches The Myth of Sisyphus: “There is only one
really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide”
(Entry on the violinist thought experiment)
The most widely discussed argument against abortion focuses on the right to life. It starts from something like the following premise:
(1) If an entity X has a right to life, it is impermissible to terminate X’s existence. …
I argue that perceptual consciousness is constituted by a mental activity. The mental activity in question is the activity of employing perceptual capacities, such as discriminatory, selective capacities. This is a radical view, but I hope to make it plausible. In arguing for this mental activist view, I reject orthodox views on which perceptual consciousness is analyzed in terms of (sensory awareness relations to) peculiar entities, such as, phenomenal properties, external mind-independent properties, propositions, sense-data, qualia, or intentional objects.
In his paper, Presentational Character and Higher-Order Thoughts, which came out in 2015 in the Journal of Consciousness Studies, Gottlieb presents a general argument against the higher-order theory of consciousness which invokes some of my work as support. …
This article gives two arguments for believing that our society is unknowingly guilty of serious, large-scale wrongdoing. First is an inductive argument: most other societies, in history and in the world today, have been unknowingly guilty of serious wrongdoing, so ours probably is too. Second is a disjunctive argument: there are a large number of distinct ways in which our practices could turn out to be horribly wrong, so even if no particular hypothesized moral mistake strikes us as very likely, the disjunction of all such mistakes should receive significant credence. The article then discusses what our society should do in light of the likelihood that we are doing something seriously wrong: we should regard intellectual progress, of the sort that will allow us to find and correct our moral mistakes as soon as possible, as an urgent moral priority rather than as a mere luxury; and we should also consider it important to save resources and cultivate flexibility, so that when the time comes to change our policies we will be able to do so quickly and smoothly.
In recent years, a number of philosophers and cognitive scientists have advocated for an ‘interactive turn’ in the methodology of social-cognition research: to become more ecologically valid, we must design experiments that are interactive, rather than merely observational. While the practical aim of improving ecological validity in the study of social cognition is laudable, we think that the notion of ‘interaction’ is not suitable for this task: as it is currently deployed in the social cognition literature, this notion leads to serious conceptual and methodological confusion. In this paper, we tackle this confusion on three fronts: 1) we revise the ‘interactionist’ definition of interaction; 2) we demonstrate a number of potential methodological confounds that arise in interactive experimental designs; and 3) we show that ersatz interactivity works just as well as the real thing. We conclude that the notion of ‘interaction’, as it is currently being deployed in this literature, obscures an accurate understanding of human social cognition.
Chapter 8 of Idealism and Christian Theology is “Jonathan Edwards, Idealism, and Christology” by Oliver Crisp. This is the second of the two previously published essays, having appeared in another edited volume in 2011. …
Recall the example discussed in my earlier post:
Jill and Jack: Jill fears (without good reason) that Jack is angry with her. As a result of her fear, Jack’s face looks angry to her when she sees it. If you saw Jack, you’d see his neutral expression for what it is. …
In his book Beyond Art, Dominic McIver Lopes presents a multitude of arguments about main problems in the philosophy of art but centred on the problem of defining what is art and what is a work of art . He argues for “buck passing” theory of art . According to this theory, the task is passed to philosophical theories which, first, have to find necessary and sufficient conditions, or at least, some non-trivial conditions what makes each kind of art exactly that kind of art . It has a form: “X is a work of art if and only if X is a work of K, where K is an art” . Lopes offers support for his theory through many arguments around problems of aesthetic appreciation, aesthetic properties, value, appreciative kinds and practices, media used in various artforms, etc . He tries to show that theory is more viable and more informative than its competitors . I present and critically assess some of the claims from the book; it seems that, according to a form of the theory, we can do without the concept of “art” altogether .