Yet another tactic was offered the Negro. He was encouraged to seek unity with the millions of disadvantaged whites of the South, whose basic need for social change paralleled his own. Theoretically, this proposal held a measure of logic, for it is undeniable that great masses of Southern whites exist in conditions scarcely better than those which afflict the Negro. …
The ethical task of becoming a better person requires identifying and fairly assessing one’s motivations. Any ethical theory needs to be consistent with the structure of human motivation. Ethics therefore requires an understanding of how self-deception about motivation is possible. The two main theories of self-deception about motivation are Sigmund Freud’s theory of repression and Jean-Paul Sartre’s theory of bad faith. Freud distinguishes between rationally structured and purely mechanistic aspects of the mind, arguing that repression is a process of preventing oneself from becoming conscious of some mechanistic item. Sartre argues that this explanation fails, since the activity of repression would need to be concealed but cannot be mechanistic. Sartre’s alternative rests on his theory of projects as the ground of motivations. Since projects structure conscious experience, they structure our reflective awareness of our own projects, which allows features of our projects to become hidden from our view. Sartre’s theory is internally coherent and consistent with the view of motivation currently emerging from social psychology. But it is inconsistent with his own theory of radical freedom. It requires instead Simone de Beauvoir’s theory of project sedimentation, which in turn entails a nonpurposive form of self-deception.
In the Gospel of John we are told the story of a Samaritan woman who asks Jesus whether the proper place of worship is on the holy mountain of Samaria or in the Temple of Jerusalem. These referred to two competing, antagonistic, religious institutions. Jesus responds: “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father . . . an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn 4:21-24).
This article uses psychological and neural theories to illuminate the use of analogies in literary allegories. It shows how new theories of neural representation, encompassing both cognitive and emotional aspects, have the potential to make sense of many kinds of literary comparisons including allegories. The main text analyzed is George Orwell’s Animal Farm, whose effectiveness is discussed using the multiconstraint theory of analogy supplemented with observations about neural functioning.
Origen (c. 185–c. 253) was a Christian exegete and theologian,
who made copious use of the allegorical method in his commentaries,
and (though later considered a heretic) laid the foundations of
philosophical theology for the church. He was taught by a certain
Ammonius, whom the majority of scholars identify as Ammonius Saccas,
the teacher of Plotinus; many believe, however, that the external
evidence will not allow us to identify him with the Origen whom
Plotinus knew as a colleague. He was certainly well-instructed in
philosophy and made use of it as an ancillary to the exposition and
harmonization of scripture.
Rifling through two-hundred-year-old diaries, unfurling bundles of love-letters like flowers, saying every name in an orphanage registry under my breath, getting lost in a farmer’s field, gingerly lifting leaves long folded with perfumey motes, falling asleep in my sunshine chair, drooling spittle puddles onto a crackled map of Nunsmoor. The stories I stumbled across in the archives were often painful, shocking, and occasionally joyous. At first, they seem far away but after a short while they begin to move closer (or maybe it’s we who are moving?) and I begin to comprehend, just barely, a great aliveness.
Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) was the founder of
“deconstruction,” a way of criticizing not only both
literary and philosophical texts but also political institutions. Although Derrida at times expressed regret concerning the fate of the
word “deconstruction,” its popularity indicates the
wide-ranging influence of his thought, in philosophy, in literary
criticism and theory, in art and, in particular, architectural theory,
and in political theory. Indeed, Derrida’s fame nearly reached
the status of a media star, with hundreds of people filling
auditoriums to hear him speak, with films and televisions programs
devoted to him, with countless books and articles devoted to his
In a recent article Martha Nussbaum identified three problems with the Stoic doctrine of respect for dignity: its exclusive focus on specifically human dignity, its indifference to the need for external goods, and its ineffectiveness as a moral motive. This article formulates a non-Stoic doctrine of respect for dignity that avoids these problems. I argue that this doctrine helps us to understand such moral phenomena as the dignity of nonhuman animals as well as the core human values of life, freedom, and equality. I end by arguing that Nussbaum underestimates the mutual support between motives of respect and other moral motives such as compassion.
The philosophy of Epicurus (341–270 B.C.E.) was a complete and
interdependent system, involving a view of the goal of human life
(happiness, resulting from absence of physical pain and mental
disturbance), an empiricist theory of knowledge (sensations, together with
the perception of pleasure and pain, are infallible criteria), a
description of nature based on atomistic materialism, and a
naturalistic account of evolution, from the formation of the world to
the emergence of human societies. Epicurus believed that, on the basis
of a radical materialism which dispensed with transcendent entities
such as the Platonic Ideas or Forms, he could disprove the possibility
of the soul’s survival after death, and hence the prospect of
punishment in the afterlife.
In the fall of 1998 Trent Lott used his power as Senate Majority Leader to prevent the confirmation of James C. Hormel, an openly gay San Francisco philanthropist who was then President Clinton's nominee for Ambassador to Luxembourg. Mr. Lott made it clear that his opposition to Hormel was based on his opposition to homosexuality in general. Asked by a television interviewer during the controversy whether homosexuality is a sin, Mr. Lott answered "Yes, it is"; he went on to compare gay people to alcoholics, sex addicts, and kleptomaniacs.
Law and democracy seem oddly estranged in academic philosophical discourse. Aside from some controversies about constitutionalism, there is very little mention of democracy in most contemporary jurisprudential treatments. Likewise, one can leaf through extensive discussions of democracy that do not elaborate any distinctive, essential role that law plays in achieving democratic aims. Law tends to be treated as an instrumental afterthought.
In this paper, I make explicit some implicit commitments to realism and conceptualism in recent work in social epistemology exemplied by Miranda Fricker and Charles Mills. I offer a survey of recent writings at the intersection of social epistemology, feminism, and critical race theory, showing that commitments to realism and conceptualism are at once implied yet undertheorized in the existing literature. I go on to offer an explicit defense of these commitments by drawing from the epistemological framework of John McDowell, demonstrating the relevance of the metaphor of the “space of reasons” for theorizing and criticizing instances of epistemic injustice. I then point out how McDowell’s own view requires expansion and revision in light of Mills’ concept of “epistemologies of ignorance.” I conclude that, when their strengths are used to make up for each others’ weaknesses, Mills and McDowell’s positions mutually reinforce one another, producing a powerful model for theorizing instances of systematic ignorance and false belief.
When philosophers ponder whether machines could be conscious, they are generally interested in a particular form of AI: AGI, or artificial general intelligence. AGI doesn’t exist yet, but we now have domain specific intelligences like AlphaGo and Watson, the world Go and Jeopardy! champions, respectively. These systems outperform humans in specific domains, and they are impressive. But AI seems to be developing exponentially, and within the next ten or twenty years there will likely be forms of artificial general intelligence (AGI). AGI is a kind of general, flexible intelligence that can do things like make breakfast without burning the house down, while thinking of mathematics and answering the phone. Its intelligence is not limited to a single domain, like chess. Because AGIs are general, flexible, integrate knowledge across domains, and exhibit human-level intelligence or beyond, AGIs seem like better candidates for being conscious than existing systems.
This study investigated the development of intuitions about which properties are associated with the brain and which are associated with the body. A sample of 60 children aged 6, 8, and 10 years, as well a sample of 20 adults, were told about a brain transplant between two individuals and were asked about where certain properties resided after the transplant. Adults and older children construed the characteristics associated with fine-motor behaviour, culpability, social contract and best friendships as transferring with the brain. Characteristics associated with gross-motor behaviour, physical/biological properties, ownership and familial relationships were more likely to be seen as remaining with the body. Domain-based explanations for this pattern of results are discussed. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
do know that preverbal infants assume that intrinsic behaviors are associated more with distinctive insides than, say, with distinctive hats (9); however, this study reveals infer-social contingency may have only been cognitively integrated later. This is plausible, but it cannot explain why contingency and furriness also work if self-propulsion is a foundational part of the expectations. Perhaps instead, there are initially two different systems for predators and prey: A hair-trigger detection system for
Personality is increasingly being viewed as a complex and changing system. Self-processes are worth considering in this context because of their highly dynamic quality: they interact and influence one another in extremely intricate ways. In this chapter we first classify self-related terms and examine the following key processes in detail: self-awareness and associated processes (e.g., self-reflection, self-distancing, mindfulness), mental time travel (autobiography and prospection), and self-knowledge (including self-concept). More briefly, we also review Theory-of-Mind, self-rumination, self-esteem, and self-talk. We present information about neuroanatomy, subtypes, measurement, and functions of self-processes, as well as links with personality. Some important messages proposed are: (1) self-awareness is made up of various sub-processes and must be divided into self-reflection and self-rumination, (2) prospection depends on autobiographical knowledge, (3) our self-concept often is inaccurate, and (4) self-talk is present in most—if not all—other self-processes.
Examining previous discussions on how to construe the concepts of gender and race, we advocate what we call strategic conceptual engineering. This is the employment of a (possibly novel) concept for specific epistemic or social aims, concomitant with the openness to use a different concept (e.g., of race) for other purposes. We illustrate this approach by sketching three distinct concepts of gender and arguing that all of them are needed, as they answer to different social aims. The first concept serves the aim of identifying and explaining gender-based discrimination. It is similar to Haslanger’s well-known account, except that rather than offering a definition of ‘woman’ we focus on ‘gender’ as one among several axes of discrimination. The second concept of gender is to assign legal rights and social recognitions, and thus is to be trans-inclusive. We argue that this cannot be achieved by previously suggested concepts that include substantial gender-related psychological features, such as awareness of social expectations. Instead, our concept counts someone as being of a certain gender solely based on the person’s self-identification with this gender. The third concept of gender serves the aim of personal empowerment by means of one’s gender identity. In this context, substantial psychological features and awareness of one’s social situation are involved. While previous accounts of concepts have focused on their role in determining extensions, we point to contexts where a concept’s role in explanation and moral reasoning can be more important.
With phenomenal characters, we seem finally to have come face to face with paradigmatic instances of intrinsic properties. The hurtfulness of pain, the acrid smell of sulphur, the taste and flavor of pineapple—these things are intrinsic qualities if anything is.
Many viewers of time travel movies and readers of time travel fiction see loops where there are none. The loops they think are there are persistent cognitive illusions. In what follows I explain why they are illusions and how the illusion arises.https://www.philosophicalprogress.org/sourcesadmin
Although Reid never addresses Molyneux’s question by name, he has much to say that bears upon it, particularly in his discussions of the capacities of the blind and the relations of visible to tangible figure. My goal in this essay is to ascertain and evaluate Reid’s answer. On a first reading, it can seem that Reid gives two inconsistent answers. I shall argue, however, that the inconsistency goes away once we distinguish different versions of what is being asked. I shall also argue that Reid’s answer of yes to one important Molyneux question is more plausible than Berkeley’s answer of no.
The rise of medically unexplained conditions like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome in the United States looks remarkably similar to the explosion of neurasthenia diagnoses in the late nineteenth century. In this paper, I argue the historical connection between neurasthenia and today’s medically unexplained conditions hinges largely on the uncritical acceptance of naturalism in medicine. I show how this cultural acceptance shapes the way in which we interpret and make sense of nervous distress while, at the same time, neglecting the unique social and historical forces that continue to produce it. I draw on the methods of hermeneutic philosophy to expose the limits of naturalism and forward an account of health and illness that acknowledges the extent to which we are always embedded in contexts of meaning that determine how we experience and understand our suffering.
Antiochus, who was active in the latter part of the second and the
early part of the first centuries B.C.E., was a member of the Academy,
Plato’s school, during its skeptical phase. After espousing skepticism
himself, he became a dogmatist. He defended an epistemological theory
essentially the same as the Stoics’ and an ethical theory which
synthesized elements from the Stoa and Plato and Aristotle. In both
areas he claimed to be reviving the doctrines of the Old Academy of
Plato and his earliest successors and
“Affirmative action” means positive steps taken to
increase the representation of women and minorities in areas of
employment, education, and culture from which they have been
historically excluded. When those steps involve preferential
selection—selection on the basis of race, gender, or
ethnicity—affirmative action generates intense controversy. The development, defense, and contestation of preferential affirmative
action has proceeded along two paths. One has been legal and
administrative as courts, legislatures, and executive departments of
government have made and applied rules requiring affirmative action.
Stoicism was one of the new philosophical movements of the Hellenistic
period. The name derives from the porch (stoa poikilê)
in the Agora at Athens decorated with mural paintings, where the
members of the school congregated, and their lectures were held. Unlike ‘epicurean,’ the sense of the English adjective
‘stoical’ is not utterly misleading with regard to its
philosophical origins. The Stoics did, in fact, hold that emotions
like fear or envy (or impassioned sexual attachments, or passionate
love of anything whatsoever) either were, or arose from, false
judgements and that the sage – a person who had attained moral and
intellectual perfection – would not undergo them.
The Trap Door Spiders was a literary dining club that met in New York in the middle part of the 20th century. It was home to a number of luminaries, but its best-known members were probably the science fiction authors (and publishers) Isaac Asimov, L. Sprague DeCamp and Lester Del-Rey. …
The standard view in philosophy treats pains as phenomenally conscious mental states. This view has a number of corollaries, including that it is generally taken to rule out the existence of unfelt pains. The primary argument in support of the standard view is that it supposedly corresponds with the commonsense conception of pain. In this paper, we challenge this doctrine about the commonsense conception of pain, and with it the support offered for the standard view, by presenting the results of a series of new empirical studies that indicate that lay people not only tend to believe that unfelt pains are possible, but actually, quite common.
Taking literally the concept of emotional truth requires breaking the monopoly on truth of belief-like states. To this end, I look to perceptions for a model of non-propositional states that might be true or false, and to desires for a model of propositional attitudes the norm of which is other than the semantic satisfaction of their propositional object. Those models inspire a conception of generic truth, which can admit of degrees for analogue representations such as emotions; belief-like states, by contrast, are digital representations. I argue that the gravest problem—objectivity—is not insurmountable.
Within a few decades it is likely that gene editing technologies will become increasingly viable, safe, and cheap. As scientists uncover the genetic basis for heritable personality traits, including different cognitive styles, parents will face hard choices. Some of these traits will involve trade-offs from the standpoint of the individual's welfare, while others will involve trade-offs between what is best for each and what is good for all. A simple example is extraversion, which positively correlates with subjective well-being and increased sociality, but which negatively correlates with academic performance. Another example is neuroticism, which can lead to increased achievement but also a greater risk of anxiety and depression. Although we think we should generally defer to the informed choices of parents about what kinds of children to create, we argue that decisions to manipulate polygenic personality traits will be much more ethically complicated than choosing our children’s eye color or hair type. We end by defending the principle of regulatory parsimony, which holds that when legislation is necessary to prevent serious harms we should aim for simple laws that apply to all, rather than micro-managing parental choices that shape the cognitive traits of their children.
Chinese philosophy was developed on the basis of ontological,
epistemological and metaphysical paradigms that differ from those of
Western theoretical discourses. The concepts and categories used in
Chinese philosophy cannot be easily transferred from one
socio-cultural context into another, and it is often difficult to
understand this philosophy through the lens of traditional Western
thought. The exclusive application of Western methods can thus lead
to severe misunderstandings and false interpretations of Chinese
discourses. It is therefore important to use caution so as not to
diminish the richness and depth of Chinese thought or turn it into
a weak version of Western philosophical thought.
Is phenomenal consciousness constitutively related to cognitive access? Despite being a fundamental issue for any science of consciousness, its empirical study faces a severe methodological puzzle. Recent years have seen numerous attempts to address this puzzle, either in practice, by offering evidence for a positive or negative answer, or in principle, by proposing a framework for eventual resolution. The present paper critically considers these endeavours, including partial-report, metacognitive and no-report paradigms, as well as the theoretical proposal that we can make progress by studying phenomenal consciousness as a natural kind. It is argued that the methodological puzzle remains obdurately with us and that, for now, we must adopt an attitude of humility towards the phenomenal.