O'Donnell, J. R. Anton Charles Pegis on the occasion of his retirement.--Conlan, W. J. The definition of faith according to a question of MS. Assisi 138: study and edition of text.--Spade, P. V. Five logical tracts by Richard Lavenham.--Maurer, A. Henry of Harclay's disputed question on the plurality of forms.--Brown, V. Giovanni Argiropulo on the agent intellect: an edition of Ms. Magliabecchi V 42.--Synan, E. A. The Exortacio against Peter Abelard's Dialogus inter philosophum, Iudaeum et Christianum.--Fitzgerald, W. Nugae Hyginianae.--Sheehan, (...) M. M. Marriage and family in English conciliar and synodal legislation.--Shook, L. K. Riddles relating to the Anglo-Saxon scriptorium.--Boyle, L. E. The De regno and the two powers.--Colledge, E. A Middle English Christological poem.--Gough, M. R. E. Three forgotten martyrs of Anazarbus in Cilicia.--Häring, N. Chartres and Paris revisited.--Hayes, W. Greek recentiores, (Ps.) Basil, Adversus eunomium, IV-V.--Owens, J. The physical world of Parmenides. (shrink)
This edited collection of eight original essays pursues the aim of bringing the spotlight back on Anton Marty. It does so by having leading figures in the contemporary debate confront themselves with Marty’s most significative contributions, which span from philosophy of mind, philosophy of language and ontology to meta-metaphysics and meta-philosophy. -/- The book is divided in three parts. The first part is dedicated to themes in philosophy of language, which were at the centre of Marty’s philosophical thinking throughout (...) his life. The second part focuses on the problem of the objectivity and phenomenology of time and space, upon which Marty was working in the final years of his life. The final part turns to Marty’s meta-metaphysical and meta-philosophical considerations. The intended audience of this book are primarily scholars and students interested in the relevant contemporary debates, as well as scholars working on the Austrian tradition. (shrink)
Cognitive archaeologists infer from material remains to the cognitive features of past societies. We characterize cognitive archaeology in terms of trace-based reasoning, which in the case of cognitive archaeology involves inferences drawing upon background theory linking objects from the archaeological record to cognitive features. We analyse such practices, examining work on cognitive evolution, language, and musicality. We argue that the central epistemic challenge for cognitive archaeology is often not a paucity of material remains, but insufficient constraint from cognitive theories. However, (...) we also argue that the success of cognitive archaeology does not necessarily require well-developed cognitive theories: Success might instead lead to them. (shrink)
Through critical examination of three main contemporary approaches to describing moral responsibility, this book illustrates why philosophers must take into account the relationship between retrospective moral responsibility and desert of praise or blame. The author advances the moral attitude account, whereby desert of praise and blame depends on the agent’s moral attitudes in response to moral reasons, and retrospective moral responsibility results from expressions of those attitudes in overt behavior.
The article proposes to further develop the ideas of the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis by including into evolutionary research an analysis of phenomena that occur above the organismal level. We demonstrate that the current Extended Synthesis is focused more on individual traits (genetically or non-genetically inherited) and less on community system traits (synergetic/organizational traits) that characterize transgenerational biological, ecological, social, and cultural systems. In this regard, we will consider various communities that are made up of interacting populations, and for which the (...) individual members can belong to the same or to different species. Examples of communities include biofilms, ant colonies, symbiotic associations resulting in holobiont formation, and human societies. The proposed model of evolution at the level of communities revises classic theorizing on the major transitions in evolution by analyzing the interplay between community/social traits and individual traits, and how this brings forth ideas of top-down regulations of bottom-up evolutionary processes (collaboration of downward and upward causation). The work demonstrates that such interplay also includes reticulate interactions and reticulate causation. In this regard, we exemplify how community systems provide various non-genetic ‘scaffoldings’, ‘constraints’, and ‘affordances’ for individual and sociocultural evolutionary development. Such research complements prevailing models that focus on the vertical transmission of heritable information, from parent to offspring, with research that instead focusses on horizontal, oblique and even reverse information transmission, going from offspring to parent. We call this reversed information transfer the ‘offspring effect’ to contrast it from the ‘parental effect’. We argue that the proposed approach to inheritance is effective for modelling cumulative and distributed developmental process and for explaining the biological origins and evolution of language. (shrink)
In contrast to the theories of relativity, quantum mechanics is not yet based on a generally accepted conceptual foundation. It is proposed here that the missing principle may be identified through the observation that all knowledge in physics has to be expressed in propositions and that therefore the most elementary system represents the truth value of one proposition, i.e., it carries just one bit of information. Therefore an elementary system can only give a definite result in one specific measurement. The (...) irreducible randomness in other measurements is then a necessary consequence. For composite systems entanglement results if all possible information is exhausted in specifying joint properties of the constituents. (shrink)
Agency is a power, but what is it a power to do? The tradition presents us with three main answers: (1) that agency is a power to affect one’s own will, consequent upon which act further events ensue, beginning with the movement of a part of one's body; (2) that agency is a power to affect one’s own body, consequent upon which act further events ensue, beginning with the movement of an object that one touches; and (3) that agency is (...) a power to affect that material upon which one brings one's action to bear---e.g. the apple one is peeling (with a knife in one's hand). These three answers correspond to three increasingly expansive conceptions of the province of human agency. I refer to them, respectively, as volitionalism, corporealism and materialism. Only the first two are seriously considered in contemporary action theory. Favoring the third, and hoping to sharpen the conflict between the third and the first, I criticize the second. Corporealism has been a popular position—arguably, the default position in the philosophy of action—since Donald Davidson’s classic paper “Agency” (1971). Although it seems to occupy a sensible middle ground between volitionalism and materialism, corporealism is, I argue, indefensible: it shares the vulnerabilities of both its two rivals, without possessing the strengths of either. Nevertheless, reflection on corporealism lights the road to materialism, which, in the end, is the only possible alternative to volitionalism. (shrink)
EN: Selection of Marczyński's interviews on philosophy and literature which were recorded in early 2007 for the purpose of his radio broadcast "Hortus (In)Conclusus." Includes interviews with: Marek Bieńczyk, Józef Bremer, Ihor Byczko, Andrij Dachnij, Anna Dziedzic, Mateusz Falkowski, Tadeusz Gadacz, Michał Głowiński, Dorota Hall, Serhij Jospenko, Wachtang Kebuładze, Zbigniew Kloch, Andrzej Kołakowski, Wasyl Lisowyj, Ołeksandr Majewskyj, Anton Marczynski, Julia Marczyńska, Wadym Menżulin, Zbigniew Mikołejko, Monika Milewska, Andrij Okara, Ihor Paśko, Adam Pomorski, Myrosła Popowycz, Jerzy Prokopiuk, Iryna Puchta, Barbara (...) Skarga, Dmytro Stepowyk, Władysław Stróżewski, Myrosław Trofymuk, Tomas Venclova, Jan Woleński, Taras Wozniak, Arkadiusz Żychliński. (shrink)
“The inquiry into the foundations of knowledge is a systematic inquiry into the problem of truth. This problem constitutes one of the three main concerns of philosophical analysis, the others being the problem of beauty and the problem of goodness.” Thus Evangelos P. Papanoutsos, Greece’s leading contemporary philosopher, introduces this third book of his “Trilogy of the Mind.” The first two volumes covered aesthetics and ethics; this one is a major work in epistemology. Combining rigorous analysis with thorough-going scholarship, displaying (...) an intimate acquaintance with the physical and humanistic sciences, and drawing on a deep understanding of philosophical method and the history of philosophy, Professor Papanoutsos is held in high esteem by his European colleagues. This translation of his masterpiece will enhance his reputation and influence among readers of English. The themes of The Foundation of Knowledge range over the topics that have been continually challenging to the modern era of philosophers: being and consciousness, experience and reason, common sense and science, and the domains of knowledge, including the nature of philosophical knowledge. Special attention is paid to the analysis of theoretical consciousness, the problems of categorical thinking, the theory of judgment, mathematics and logic, and the limits of historical understanding. (shrink)
Why is it that the modern conception of literature begins with one of the worst writers of the philosophical tradition? Such is the paradoxical question that lies at the heart of Jean-Luc Nancy's highly original and now-classic study of the role of language in the critical philosophy of Kant. While Kant did not turn his attention very often to the philosophy of language, Nancy demonstrates to what extent he was anything but oblivious to it. He shows, in fact, that the (...) question of _philosophical style_, of how to write critical philosophy, goes to the core of Kant's attempt to articulate the limits, once and for all, that would establish human reason in its autonomy and freedom. He also shows how this properly philosophical program, the very pinnacle of the Enlightenment, leads Kant to posit literature as its other by way of what is here called the _syncope_, and how this other of philosophy, entirely its product, cannot be said to exist outside of metaphysics in its accomplishment. This subtle, unprecedented reading of Kant demonstrates the continued importance of reflection on the relation between philosophy and literature, indeed, why any commitment to Enlightenment must consider and confront this partition anew. (shrink)
This is a wide ranging and deeply learned examination of evolutionary developmental biology, and the foundations of life from the perspective of information theory. Hermeneutics was a method developed in the humanities to achieve understanding, in a given context, of texts, history, and artwork. In Readers of the Book of Life, the author shows that living beings are also hermeneutical interpreters of genetics texts saved in DNA; an interpretation based on the past experience of the cell (cell lineage, species), confronted (...) with and incorporating present environmental clues. This approach stresses the history, not only of the digital record saved in the DNA, but also of the flesh - the cellular organization which has a direct time-continuity with the very origins of life. This book is aimed at reconciling two opposite approaches to life. The first strictly sticking to a belief that all phenomena observed in the realm of the living can be explained from laws of physics. The opposite stressing the importance of features characteristic for a given level of description. To bring both views into a common understanding, the first part gives a comparison of the two problem solving strategies. The second part surveys the development of 20th century biology, bringing to light branches that never became part of the research mainstream. The third section of the book reviews a large body of recent evidence that can be interpreted in favor of the hermeneutic arguments. (shrink)
Anscombe holds that a proper account of intentional action must exhibit “a ‘form’ of description of events.” But what does that mean? To answer this question, I compare the method of Anscombe’s Intention with that of Frege’s Foundations of Arithmetic—another classic work of analytic philosophy that consciously opposes itself to psychological explanations. On the one hand, positively, I aim to identify and elucidate the kind of account of intentional action that Anscombe attempts to provide. On the other hand, negatively, I (...) hope to dispel the canard that Anscombe’s opposition to the causal theory of action is a product of “behaviorism.”. (shrink)
Cognitive archaeologists attempt to infer the cognitive and cultural features of past hominins and their societies from the material record. This task faces the problem of minimum necessary competence: as the most sophisticated thinking of ancient hominins may have been in domains that leave no archaeological signature, it is safest to assume that tool production and use reflects only the lower boundary of cognitive capacities. Cognitive archaeology involves selecting a model from the cognitive sciences and then assessing some aspect of (...) the material record through that lens. We give examples to show that background theoretical commitments in cognitive science that inform those models lead to different minimum necessary competence results. This raises an important question: what principles should guide us in selecting a model from the cognitive sciences? We outline two complementary responses to this question. The first involves using independent lines of evidence to converge on a particular capacity. This can then influence model choice. The second is a broader suggestion. Theoretical diversity is a good thing in science, but is only beneficial over a limited amount of time. According to recent modelling work, one way of limiting diversity is to introduce extreme priors. We argue that having a broad spectrum of views in the philosophy of cognitive science may actually help cognitive archaeologists address the problem of minimum necessary competence. (shrink)
This book provides a contemporary overview of an age-old question in philosophy, namely the connection between intellectual and moral virtues. Ideal for courses in virtue ethics and virtue epistemology, the volume includes coverage of specific topics, such as vice, ignorance, hope, courage, patience, justice and mercy.
The purpose of this book, first published in 1957, is to make a critical analysis of the controversial Socratic problem. The Socratic issue owes its paramount difficulty not only to the status of available source materials, but also to the diversity of opinion as to the proper use of these materials. This volume offers a new approach to the problem, and a starting point to further investigations.
Includes substantial selections from the Second Part of the Summa Theologica and the Summa Contra Gentiles. Pegis's revision and correction of the English Dominican Translation renders Aquinas' technical terminology consistently as it conveys the directness and simplicity of Aquinas' writing; the Introduction, notes, and index aim at giving the text its proper historical setting, and the reader the means of studying St. Thomas within that setting.
To determine what the speaker in a cooperative dialog meant with his assertion, on top of what he explicitly said, it is crucial that we assume that the assertion he gave was optimal. In determining optimal assertions we assume that dialogs are embedded in decision problems (van Rooij 2003) and use backwards induction for calculating them (Benz 2006). In this paper, we show that in terms of our framework we can account for several types of implicatures in a uniform way, (...) suggesting that there is no need for an independent linguistic theory of generalized implicatures. In the final section, we show how we can embed our theory in the framework of signaling games, and how it relates with other game theoretic analyses of implicatures. (shrink)
The conclusion of practical reasoning is commonly said to rest upon a diverse pair of representations—a “major” and a “minor” premise—the first of which concerns the end and the second, the means. Modern and contemporary philosophers writing on action and practical reasoning tend to portray the minor premise as a “means-end belief”—a belief about, as Michael Smith puts it, “the ways in which one thing leads to another,” or, as John McDowell puts it, “what can be relied on to bring (...) about what.” On this point there is little difference between followers of Davidson and followers of Anscombe, or between those who invoke Hume’s legacy and those who invoke Aristotle’s. But Aristotle himself held a very different position. According to him, the minor premise concerns particulars, a sphere controlled by perception. The perception of particulars—that is, of the really-existing people and things confronted in the field of action—plays no essential role in the modern account of rational agency. Because it does not, the modern account fails to explain how one could act for a reason, or how practical reasoning could deliver any conclusion. (shrink)
The socialist project is burdened by a history of brutal failures. The authors of the papers collected in this volume are convinced that a democratic and humane socialism is both desirable and possible. They lay out their view of different aspects of this new socialism in this book. Anatole Anton and Richard Schmitt are both the editors and contributors to this book. -/- Select chapters translated into Spanish have appeared in a volume in Barcelona, Spain.
Peter Singer’s defense of the duty to aid the world’s poor by the pond analogy is self-defeating. It cannot be both true that you ought to save the drowning child from a pond at the expense of ruining your shoes and that you ought to aid the world’s poor if you thereby do not sacrifice anything of comparable moral importance. Taking the latter principle seriously would lead you to let the child in front of you drown whenever you could thereby (...) save more children in the developing world. Though Singer can defend the duty to aid the world’s poor starting from consequentialist principles requiring you to make things go best in the impartial sense, he cannot have it invoking the commonsense judgment about what you ought to do in the pond case. There is no sound path from commonsense morality to Singer’s principles of beneficence. (shrink)
The volume presented here is a collection of the contributions to an author s colloquium with Walter Burkert, which was held in November 2007 in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Bielefeld. Well known experts looked in detail at the work of the internationally renowned scholar of Greek. In his epochal cultural-scientific studies focusing on the origins of human co-existence in rites, on violence, sacrifice, guilt and horrific scenarios of death, Burkert approached questions of biological behavioural research, (...) anthropology and aggression theory, and developed an enormous intellectual impact that reached beyond classical and religious studies. ". (shrink)
Two recent books on populism represent more than any other the new mainstream in populism studies. Through a reconstruction of the main arguments advanced by Jan-Werner Müller, on the one hand, and Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, on the other, this article aims to highlight both the significant accomplishments as well as the main limitations of this orientation. Special attention is given to the way in which the two projects deal with the relationship between populism and democracy. In this (...) respect, substantial differences emerge between them, largely due to the different scope of each intervention: Müller articulates a polemical argument, while Mudde and Kaltwasser seem to encompass a more nuanced research agenda. And yet, despite all their differences, the two books share a common definitional basis when they identify moralization and moralism as the kernel of populist ideology. It is here, however, that the shaky basis of the new mainstream is revealed. Apart from betraying substantive continuities with a discredited Cold War pluralism, this moralistic stress seems ultimately inadequate to function as the central criterion for the differential identification of populism. (shrink)
Today, music is ubiquitous, highly valued in all known cultures, playing many roles in human daily life. The ethnographic study of the music of extant human foragers makes this quite apparent. Moreover, music is ancient. Sophisticated bird-bone and ivory flutes dated from 40 kya reveal an even earlier musical-technological tradition. So is music likely to be an entrenched feature of human social life during the long passage to behavioral modernity—say, by 150 kya—or earlier? In this article I sketch an evolutionary (...) model that focuses on hominin vocal musicality and communication in the Pleistocene, tracking between series of phenotypes and changes in ecological, social, cognitive, and informational contexts. The model links musicality and protomusic to a bigger picture of hominin socio-cognitive evolution, making some connections clearer, motivating further theorizing and the search for new evidence. (shrink)
Der moralische Kontraktualismus ist neben der kantischen und utilitaristischen Tradition die dritte Haupttradition einer aufgeklärten Moralphilosophie. Seine Kernthese besagt, daß moralische Normen und Forderungen legitim sind, wenn die Betroffenen sich aus ihren Interessen heraus auf die Etablierung dieser Normen hätten einigen können. Eine vernünftige Moral ist demnach, obwohl sie Freiheitsbeschränkungen verlangt, zum gegenseitigen Vorteil der Einzelnen. Die Autoren des Bandes diskutieren im Lichte neuerer Arbeiten die Vorzüge und Schwierigkeiten der moralischen Vertragstheorie. Zentrale Themen sind der Begriff der Moral, das Problem (...) der moralischen Normativität, der Zusammenhang von Moral und Interesse, von Moral und Rationalität sowie die Frage, welche moralischen Normen eine kontraktualistische Theorie konkret zu begründen vermag. (shrink)
In this paper we are going to show that error coping strategies play an essential role in linguistic pragmatics. We study the effect of noisy speaker strategies within a framework of signalling games with feedback loop. We distinguish between cases in which errors occur in message selection and cases in which they occur in signal selection. The first type of errors affects the content of an utterance, and the second type its linguistic expression. The general communication model is inspired by (...) the Shannon–Weaver communication model. We test the model by a number of benchmark examples, including examples of relevance implicatures, quantity implicatures, and presupposition accommodation. (shrink)
When an agent intentionally changes something separate from herself—when, say, she opens a bottle—what is the relation between what the agent does and what the patient suffers? This paper defends the Aristotelian thesis that action is to passion as the road from Thebes to Athens is to the road from Athens to Thebes: they are two aspects of a single material reality. Philosophers of action tend to think otherwise. It is generally taken for granted that intentional transactions must be analyzed (...) in terms of a causal relation. Controversy surrounds the question what the causal relata are: event-causalists claim that both of the relata are events; agent-causalists claim that the first relatum is an agent, and they dispute among themselves whether the second is an event or a terminal state of the patient. But the entire controversy assumes the necessity of some causal analysis of transactions. This paper argues that, far from being necessary, no such analysis is even possible. (shrink)
Philosophers have recently argued that since there are people who are blind, but don't know it, and people who echolocate, but don't know it, conscious introspection is highly unreliable. I contend that a second look at Anton's syndrome, human echolocation, and ‘facial vision’ suggests otherwise. These examples do not support skepticism about the reliability of introspection.
In seinem im Stil einer vorlesungsartigen Einführung in die Ethik verfaßten Buch stellt Anton Leist die unausweichliche Bedeutung der Ethik für jeden einzelnen in seinem eigenen Leben heraus. Verstanden wird die Moral in einem an Kant orientierten Vorschlag als eine ideelle Konstruktion, die objektive Kriterien sowohl entwickelt wie ihnen gehorcht. Inhaltlich entsteht dabei eine universelle Moral, die allerdings von internen Widersprüchen bedroht ist. Die persönlichen und unpersönlichen Beziehungen, die Forderungen nach Hilfe und Nichtschaden stehen widersprüchlich zueinander und benötigen einer (...) neuen Zuordnung. Der moderne Universalismus ist auch heute noch weitgehend ein Programm – wenn auch, wie der Autor zeigt, ein grundsätzlich realisierbares. (shrink)
How Non-being Haunts Being explores the many different modes of absence and non-being that pervade life, language, thought, and culture. A highly readable book of great interest to a wide audience, it ensures that readers will never think of life, death, or themselves, the same way again.
This book presents a phenomenological and hermeneutical research, where the body is taken both as fundamental ontological situation of human, as well as a language phenomenon, appearing in the dialectical tension between two Greeks notions – soma and sarx. The first of them is a becoming, hypostasizing entity, which in Aristotelian terms can be called dynamis (potentiality), while the second one, since it is a hypostasis, can be called energia (actuality). So the difference between them, using Heidegger’s terms, can be (...) seen as ontological one. One of the hypotheses of the research is that such a specifically divided body is a ground of mystical experience. Though as the examples provided here were mysticisms by Gregory Palamas and Meister Eckhart, they were interpreted as spectacular particularities of the broader, not only religious, phenomenon of mysticism. The latter is redefined here as a relation (including erotic one), based on meeting and co-action of two or more bodies etc. -/- This book is a phenomenological and hermeneutical research, where the body is presented both as fundamental ontological situation of human, as well as a language phenomenon, appearing in the dialectical tension between two Greeks notions – soma (the body) and sarx (flesh). The first of them is a becoming, hypostasizing entity, which in Aristotelian terminology can be called dynamis (potentiality), while the second one, since it is a hypostasis, can be called energia (actuality). Though the difference between them, using Heidegger’s terminology, can be presented as ontological. For one of the hypotheses of the research is that such a specifically divided body is a ground of mystical experience. Though as examples taken here were mysticisms by St Gregory Palamas and Meister Eckhart, they understood here as radical, but spectacular particularities of the broader (and essential for such a body) phenomenon of mysticism, which is redefined in this book as not only religious relation, based on meeting and co-action of two or more bodies, hermetic from the outside (so erotic relation also can be presented by this notion). (shrink)
The debate concerning the ontological status of musical works is perhaps the most animated debate in contemporary analytic philosophy of music. In my view, progress requires a piecemeal approach. So in this article I hone in on one particular musical work concept – that of the classical Western art musical work; that is, the work concept that regulates classical art-musical practice. I defend a fictionalist analysis – a strategy recently suggested by Andrew Kania as potentially fruitful – and I develop (...) a version of such an analysis in line with a broad commitment to philosophical naturalism. (shrink)
According to pluralism about some concept, there are multiple non-equivalent, legitimate concepts pertaining to the ontological category in question. It is an open question whether conceptual pluralism implies anti-realism about that category. In this article, I argue that at least for the case of music, it does not. To undermine the application of an influential move from pluralism to anti-realism, then, I provide an argument in support of indifference realism about music, by appeal to music archaeological research, via an analogy (...) with Adrian Currie’s indifference realism about species licensed by paleobiological research. (shrink)
Quantum systems have a holistic structure, which implies that they cannot be divided into parts. In order tocreate (sub)objects like individual substances, molecules, nuclei, etc., in a universal whole, the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen correlations between all the subentities, e.g. all the molecules in a substance, must be suppressed by perceptual and mental processes.Here the particular problems ofGestalt (shape)perception are compared with the attempts toattribute a shape to a quantum mechanical system like a molecule. Gestalt perception and quantum mechanics turn out (on an (...) informal level) to show similar features and problems: holistic aspects, creation of objects, dressing procedures, influence of the observer, classical quantities and structures. The attribute classical of a property or structure means thatholistic correlations to any other quantity do not exist or that these correlations are considered as irrelevant and therefore eliminated (either deliberately and by declaration or in a mental process that is not under rational control). An example of animposed classical structure is the nuclear frame of a molecule. Candidates for classical properties that arenot imposed by the observer could be the charge of a particle or the handedness of a molecule. It is argued here that at least part of a molecule's shape can begenerated automatically by the environment. A molecular shape of this sort arises in addition to Lamb shift-type energy corrections. (shrink)
For as long as there has been anything called “the philosophy of action,” its practitioners have accounted for action in terms of an associated kind of explanation. The alternative to this approach was noticed, but not adopted, by G. E. M. Anscombe. Anscombe observed that a series of answers to the reason-requesting question “Why?” may be read in reverse order as a series of answers to the question “How?” Unlike answers to the question “Why?”, answers to the question “How?” are (...) not explanatory of what they are about: they reveal, not reasons for doing something, but ways of doing something, and they have the form of what Aristotle called a practical syllogism. The alternative to theorizing action in terms of explanation, is, thus, to theorize it in terms calculation. In exploring this alternative, I argue for three main theses: first, that (pace Anscombe) it is not a matter of indifference whether we theorize action in terms of the question “Why?” or in terms of the question “How?”; second, that the question “Why?” is a question for an observer of action (the agent already knows the answer and can learn nothing from the inquiry), whereas the question “How?” is a question for the agent—and moreover, one that the agent must answer in order to achieve any end whatsoever—so that part of what is at stake is the standpoint from which action is to be theorized; and finally, that the standpoint of the agent, revealed by the question “How?”, is prior to that of an observer. (shrink)
In this paper, I attempt to reconstruct Schelling’s theory of organism, primarily as it is elaborated in the First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature and the Introduction to the Outline. First, I discuss the challenge that the properties of organisms presented to the dominant scientific viewpoint by the end of the eighteenth century. I present different responses to this challenge, including reductive materialism, metaphysical and heuristic vitalism, and the Kantian response, and I situate Schelling’s account of (...) organism with respect to these responses. I argue that while Schelling agrees with vitalism in that he wants to preserve the specificity of organic phenomena, he rejects principles such as vital forces or the formative drive postulated by vitalism, even for purely heuristic purposes. I argue that Schelling understands organisms fundamentally in terms of the coordinated functioning of their organs. I further clarify Schelling’s account of problematic organic phenomena by focusing on his treatment of the relation between organic activity and organic receptivity. For Schelling, organic activity and organic receptivity mutually condition each other. I provide a detailed account of how this is supposed to work. (shrink)
The proliferation of biometric identification technology raises difficult issues in the matter of security, privacy and identity. Though biometric "images" are not images per se, they are both unique representations of an individual in themsevles and a means of access to other identifying information. I compare biometric imaging with other kinds of identifying representations and find that there are issues specific to biometric ID's. Because they represent information that is written into the body they are directly related to one's sense (...) of autonomy and self-esteem. Releasing biometric ID's into the public sphere therefore involves a tangible loss of control and privacy. This does not mean that to do so is never a reasonable act, but rather that it should be carefully weighed, and should never be mandatory in order to receive any fundamental rights or benefits. (shrink)