By definition, pain is a sensory and emotional experience that is felt in a particular part of the body. The precise relationship between somatic events at the site where pain is experienced, and central processing giving rise to the mental experience of pain remains the subject of debate, but there is little disagreement in scholarly circles that both aspects of pain are critical to its experience. Recent experimental work, however, suggests a public view that is at odds with this conceptualisation. (...) By demonstrating that the public does not necessarily endorse central tenets of the “mental” view of pain (subjectivity, privacy, and incorrigibility), experimental philosophers have argued that the public holds a more “body-centric” view than most clinicians and scholars. Such a discrepancy would have important implications for how the public interacts with pain science and clinical care. In response, we tested the hypothesis that the public is capable of a more “mind-centric” view of pain. Using a series of vignettes, we demonstrate that in situations which highlight mental aspects of pain the public can, and does, recognize pain as a mental phenomenon. We also demonstrate that the public view is subject to context effects, by showing that the public’s view is modified when situations emphasizing mental and somatic aspects of pain are presented together. (shrink)
Sorensen here offers a unified solution to a large family of philosophical puzzles and paradoxes through a study of "blindspots": consistent propositions that cannot be rationally accepted by certain individuals even though they might by true.
In this book, Sorensen presents the first general theory of the thought experiment. He analyses a wide variety of thought experiments, ranging from aesthetics to zoology, and explores what thought experiments are, how they work, and what their positive and negative aspects are. Sorensen also sets his theory within an evolutionary framework and integrates recent advances in experimental psychology and the history of science.
Sorensen presents a general theory of thought experiments: what they are, how they work, what are their virtues and vices. On Sorensen's view, philosophy differs from science in degree, but not in kind. For this reason, he claims, it is possible to understand philosophical thought experiments by concentrating on their resemblance to scientific relatives. Lessons learned about scientific experimentation carry over to thought experiment, and vice versa. Sorensen also assesses the hazards and pseudo-hazards of thought experiments. Although (...) he grants that there are interesting ways in which the method leads us astray, he attacks most scepticism about thought experiments as arbitrary. They should be used, he says, as they generally are used--as part of a diversified portfolio of techniques. All of these devices are individually susceptible to abuse, fallacy, and error. Collectively, however, they provide a network of cross-checks that make for impressive reliability. (shrink)
An entertaining history of the idea of nothing - including absences, omissions, and shadows - from the Ancient Greeks through the 20th century How can nothing cause something? The absence of something might seem to indicate a null or a void, an emptiness as ineffectual as a shadow. In fact, 'nothing' is one of the most powerful ideas the human mind has ever conceived. This short and entertaining book by Roy Sorensen is a lively tour of the history and (...) philosophy of nothing, explaining how various thinkers throughout history have conceived and grappled with the mysterious power of absence -- and how these ideas about shadows, gaps, and holes have in turned played a very positive role in the development of some of humankind's most important ideas. Filled with Sorensen's characteristically entertaining mix of anecdotes, puzzles, curiosities, and philosophical speculation, the book is ordered chronologically, starting with the Taoists, the Buddhists, and the ancient Greeks, moving forward to the middle ages and the early modern period, then up to the existentialists and present day philosophy. The result is a diverting tour through the history of human thought as seen from a novel and unusual perspective. (shrink)
Roy Sorenson offers a unique exploration of an ancient problem: vagueness. Did Buddha become a fat man in one second? Is there a tallest short giraffe? According to Sorenson's epistemicist approach, the answers are yes! Although vagueness abounds in the way the world is divided, Sorenson argues that the divisions are sharp; yet we often do not know where they are. Written in Sorenson'e usual inventive and amusing style, this book offers original insight on language and logic, the way world (...) is, and our understanding of it. (shrink)
The eclipse riddle -- Seeing surfaces -- The disappearing act -- Spinning shadows -- Berkeley's shadow -- Para-reflections -- Para-refractions : shadowgrams and the black drop -- Goethe's colored shadows -- Filtows -- Holes in the light -- Black and blue -- Seeing in black and white -- We see in the dark -- Hearing silence.
A Brief History of the Paradox is the first narrative history of paradoxes. Sorenson draws us deep inside the tangles of riddles, paradoxes and conundrums by answering the questions which are seemingly unanswerable. Can God create a stone too heavy for him to lift? Can time have a beginning? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Filled with illuminating anecdotes, A Brief History of the Paradox is vividly written and will appeal to anyone who finds trying to answer unanswerable (...) questions a paradoxically pleasant endeavour. (shrink)
Can God create a stone too heavy for him to lift? Can time have a beginning? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Riddles, paradoxes, conundrums--for millennia the human mind has found such knotty logical problems both perplexing and irresistible. Now Roy Sorensen offers the first narrative history of paradoxes, a fascinating and eye-opening account that extends from the ancient Greeks, through the Middle Ages, the Enlightenment, and into the twentieth century. When Augustine asked what God was doing (...) before He made the world, he was told: "Preparing hell for people who ask questions like that." A Brief History of the Paradox takes a close look at "questions like that" and the philosophers who have asked them, beginning with the folk riddles that inspired Anaximander to erect the first metaphysical system and ending with such thinkers as Lewis Carroll, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and W.V. Quine. Organized chronologically, the book is divided into twenty-four chapters, each of which pairs a philosopher with a major paradox, allowing for extended consideration and putting a human face on the strategies that have been taken toward these puzzles. Readers get to follow the minds of Zeno, Socrates, Aquinas, Ockham, Pascal, Kant, Hegel, and many other major philosophers deep inside the tangles of paradox, looking for, and sometimes finding, a way out. Filled with illuminating anecdotes and vividly written, A Brief History of the Paradox will appeal to anyone who finds trying to answer unanswerable questions a paradoxically pleasant endeavor. (shrink)
My thesis is that ‘rational’ is an absolute concept like ‘flat’ and ‘clean’. Absolute concepts are best defined as absences. In the case of flatness, the absence of bumps, curves, and irregularities. In the case of cleanliness, the absence of dirt. Rationality, then, is the absence of irrationalities such as bias, circularity, dogmatism, and inconsistency.
Accounting ethics failures have seized headlines and cost investors billions of dollars. Improvement of the ethical reasoning and behavior of accountants has become a key concern for the accounting profession and for higher education in accounting. Researchers have asked a number of questions, including what type of accounting ethics education intervention would be most effective for accounting students. Some researchers have proposed virtue ethics as an appropriate moral framework for accounting. This research tested whether Smithian virtue ethics training, based on (...) Adam Smith’s “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”, is effective in improving accounting student’s cognitive moral development. This research used a pre-test, treatment, post-test, quasi-experimental design utilizing the Defining Issues Test 2 instrument to measure students’ CMD. Analysis of DIT-2 gain scores did show a significant improvement in subjects’ personal interest scores and a significant improvement in an overall measure of CMD, the DIT N2 index, whereas their DIT-2 post-conventional scores did not improve significantly. This research supports the proposition that the concepts contained in Smithian virtue ethics can contribute to an effective accounting ethics education intervention. However, further research is required to determine what concepts should be included to improve accounting students’ post-conventional moral reasoning. (shrink)
To understand lying, we naturally focus on small scale lies involving one speaker, one listener, one assertion. This methodology confers artificial plausibility upon the requirement that liars intend to deceive. For it excludes principal-agent conflicts that emerge from linguistic division of labor. When an employee lies for her boss, she need not inherit his motive to deceive. She displays loyalty even if her lie does not deceive. Focus on a single lie in isolation also blinds us to tactical deceptions such (...) as telling a lie which is intended to be caught to advance another lie. Many of these complexities arise from situations that approximate common knowledge without quite crystallizing into this uniform transparency. (shrink)
Putting laypeople in an active role as direct expert contributors in the design of service robots becomes more and more prominent in the research fields of human–robot interaction and social robotics. Currently, though, HRI is caught in a dilemma of how to create meaningful service robots for human social environments, combining expectations shaped by popular media with technology readiness. We recapitulate traditional stakeholder involvement, including two cases in which new intelligent robots were conceptualized and realized for close interaction with humans. (...) Thereby, we show how the robot narrative together with aspects of power balancing stakeholders, such as hardware constraints and missing perspectives beyond primary users, and the adaptivity of robots through machine learning that creates unpredictability, pose specific challenges for participatory design processes in HRI. We conclude with thoughts on a way forward for the HRI community in developing a culture of participation that considers humans when conceptualizing, building, and using robots. (shrink)
Can merely thinking about an imaginary situation provide evidence for how the world actually is--or how it ought to be? In this lively book, Roy A. Sorensen addresses this question with an analysis of a wide variety of thought experiments ranging from aesthetics to zoology. Presenting the first general theory of thought experiment, he sets it within an evolutionary framework and integrates recent advances in experimental psychology and the history of science, with special emphasis on Ernst Mach and Thomas (...) Kuhn. Sorensen explores what thought experiments are, how they work, and what their virtues and vices are. In his view, philosophy differs from science in degree, but not in kind. For this reason, he claims, it is possible to understand philosophical thought experiments by concentrating on their resemblance to scientific relatives. Sorensen assesses the hazards of thought experiments and grants that there are interesting ways in which the method leads us astray, but attacks most scepticism about thought experiments as arbitrary. He maintains that they should be used--as they generally are--as part of a diversified portfolio of techniques, creating a network of cross-checks that make for impressive reliability. (shrink)
is an important principle, worthy of serious scrutiny. Its truth or falsity bears on the question of whether moral rightness, obligatoriness, etc., are a matter of factors “internal” to an agent, or whether “external” factors are relevant to determining the moral normative status of acts. Moreover, Access enjoys considerable intuitive support. If I destroy Greensboro in professor Sorensen’s example by pushing the wrong button, I seem to have a good excuse to give to anyone who would accuse me of (...) wrongdoing: “I had no way of knowing that this action would be wrong!” But if I have a good excuse, then pushing the button doesn’t seem wrong; and if that action isn’t wrong, then I had no obligation to refrain from pushing that button. A principle distinct from, but analogous to, Access also deserves our attention. (shrink)
In _Plato on Democracy and Political technē_ Anders Dahl Sørensen offers an in-depth investigation of Plato’s discussions of democracy’s ‘epistemic potential’, arguing that this question is far more central to his political thought than is usually assumed.
You face two buttons. Pushing one will destroy Greensboro. Pushing the other will save it. There is no way for you to know which button saves and which destroys. What ought you to do? Answer: You ought to make the correct guess and push the button that saves Greensboro. Second question: Do you have an obligation to push the correct button?
The book draws heavily on unparalleled access to the archives of Astrid Kirchherr and includes photographs of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Kirchherr's former fiance, Stuart Sutcliffe, as well as other key protagonists in ...
Subliminal perception occurs when prime stimuli that participants claim not to be aware of nevertheless influence subsequent processing of a target. This claim, however, critically depends on correct methods to assess prime awareness. Typically, d9 (‘‘d prime’’) tasks administered after a priming task are used to establish that people are unable to discriminate between different primes. Here, we show that such d9 tasks are influenced by the nature of the target, by attentional factors, and by the delay between stimulus presentation (...) and response. Our results suggest that the standard d9 task is not a straightforward measure of prime visibility. We discuss the implications of our findings for subliminal perception research. (shrink)
In his book “Seeing Dark Things” (2008), Roy Sorensen provides many wonderfully ingenious arguments for many surprising, counter-intuitive claims. One such claim in particular is that when we a silhouetted object – i.e. an opaque object lit entirely from behind – we literally see its back-side – i.e. we see the full expanse of the surface facing away from us that is blocking the incoming light. Sorensen himself admits that this seems a tough pill to swallow, later characterising (...) it as “the most controversial thesis of the book” (2011, p199). -/- I will argue against Sorensen’s controversial thesis and in favour of what seems to me to be a much more natural and commonsensical alternative: when we see a silhouetted object, what we see is its edge and only its edge – so we do not see its entire back-side. (shrink)
Based on a series of lectures delivered in 1840, Thomas Carlyle’s_ On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History_ considers the creation of heroes and the ways they exert heroic leadership. From the divine and prophetic to the poetic to the religious to the political, Carlyle investigates the mysterious qualities that elevate humans to cultural significance. By situating the text in the context of six essays by distinguished scholars that reevaluate both Carlyle’s work and his ideas, David Sorensen and (...) Brent Kinser argue that Carlyle's concept of heroism stresses the hero’s spiritual dimension. In Carlyle’s engagement with various heroic personalities, he dislodges religiosity from religion, myth from history, and truth from “quackery” as he describes the wondrous ways in which these “flowing light-fountains” unlock the heroic potential of ordinary human beings. (shrink)
Roy Sorensen has discussed a scenario he calls 'the Disappearing Act', introduced a puzzle based on this scenario, and offered a solution to this puzzle. We argue against Sorensen's solution and offer our own.
Although the main responsibility for informed consent of medical procedures rests with doctors, nurses’ roles are also important, especially as patient advocates. Nurses’ preparation for this role in settings with a hierarchical and communal culture has received little attention. We explored the views of hospital managers and nurses regarding the roles of nurses in informed consent and factors influencing these roles. We conducted a qualitative study in a private, multispecialty hospital in Indonesia. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven managers. Two (...) rounds of focus group discussions with nurses (n = 27) were conducted. Constant comparative approach was used in the analysis. Nurses can act as manager, witness, information giver, and advocate in the informed consent process. These roles are influenced by nurses’ preparedness, hospital culture and policy, patients’ understanding, family involvement, and cost-related issues. In preparation for these tasks, nurses should acquire communication skills, clinical knowledge, and legal and ethical knowledge. (shrink)
In the twentieth century, philosophers tackled many of the philosophical problems of previous generations by dissolving them--attacking them as linguistic illusions and showing that the problems, when closely inspected, were not problems at all. Roy A. Sorensen takes the most important and interesting examples from one hundred years of analytic philosophy to consolidate a different theory of dissolution. Pseudo-Problems offers a fascinating alternative history of twentieth century analytic philosophy. It seeks to outline a unified account of dissolution that can (...) consolidate the piecemeal insights of analytic philosophers. An accessible account of questionable questions, the book represents an important contribution to the debates about creativity and problem solving. (shrink)
Im Zuge einer Änderung des Arzneimittelgesetzes im November 2016 hat der Deutsche Bundestag beschlossen, dass gruppennützige Arzneimittelforschung mit nicht-einwilligungsfähigen Erwachsenen unter bestimmten Bedingungen erlaubt sein soll. Das entsprechende Gesetz wird voraussichtlich im Jahr 2020 in Kraft treten. Das ethische Problem dieser Forschung besteht darin, dass Personen, die nicht in der Lage sind, ihre Einwilligung in die Forschung zu erteilen, nicht vom medizinischen Fortschritt ausgeschlossen werden sollen. Der Gesetzgeber hat versucht, diesen Konflikt zu lösen, indem er die Zulässigkeit der gruppennützigen Forschung (...) mit nicht-einwilligungsfähigen Erwachsenen an die Voraussetzung geknüpft hat, dass Studienteilnehmer ihre Einwilligung zuvor in einer Probandenverfügung erteilen. Der Beitrag hat das Ziel, die neue Regelung zur gruppennützigen Forschung mit nicht-einwilligungsfähigen Erwachsenen aus ethischer Sicht zu bewerten. Die Frage, ob die Gesetzesänderung weitere Forschung ermöglichen wird, hängt wesentlich davon ab, ob man mit Blick auf Studien, die sowohl eigennützige als auch gruppennützige Maßnahmen umfassen, eine Gesamtbetrachtung oder eine Einzelbetrachtung dieser Studien vorzieht. In unserem Beitrag argumentieren wir für eine Einzelbetrachtung. Es wird weiterhin die Auffassung vertreten, dass die im Gesetzgebungsverfahren vorgeschlagene Probandenverfügung die Selbstbestimmung der Patienten fördern kann, wenn sie mit Blick auf die mit der Teilnahme verbundenen Eingriffe ein Mindestmaß an Bestimmtheit erreicht.Zusammenfassend wird die Auffassung vertreten, dass gruppennützige Forschung mit nicht-einwilligungsfähigen Erwachsenen trotz der genannten Bedenken unter bestimmten Bedingungen ethisch zulässig sein kann. In der Gesamtabwägung erscheint dabei die eindeutige Definition und strenge Beachtung der Bedingungen der EU-Verordnung 536/2014 mit Blick auf einen ethisch gerechtfertigten Einbezug von nicht-einwilligungsfähigen Erwachsenen in gruppennützige Forschung als besonders bedeutsam. (shrink)
Legal systems can be metaphorically taken as semantic and pragmatic enclosures. The ancient world has given us at least three literary loci that display the self-disruptive significance of this kind of metaphor if assumed as a practical guideline in the attempt to steer human experience. The first such loci can be traced in biblical Eden; the second one in the Phaeacian garden described in Homer’s Odyssey; the third in the stories of the first and second mythical Athens included in Plato’s (...) Timaeus and Republic. In all these tales, human beings ineluctably end up straying across the semantic-spatial borders which certain categories and rules have given them to encompass their experience. All these literary loci offer both a semio-cognitive and a constitutional lesson for lawyers and sovereigns. My intention is to exploit these lessons to show that the most relevant limit of legal systems, if taken as semantic and pragmatic enclosures, consists precisely in their inability to constitutively limit themselves and their semiotic borders. This inaptitude is due, in my view, to the semiotic ‘exceedance’ of the phrastic, or descriptive parts of legal rules even more than the semantic vagueness of the values underlying their legitimacy. Any attempt to define the semantic and spatial boundaries of human experience by means of verbal enunciations implies the use of categorical schemes to define the legitimate and/or forbidden behaviors. But categorical schemes, in turn, comprise boundaries that draw protean verges between the inside and the outside of each category. The categorical ‘inside’ compellingly tends to exceed its borders so as to protrude out toward what is outside the category. In turn, the ‘outside’ shows, more often than not, continuities with the axiological/teleological patterns underpinning the semantic boundaries of legal rules. Any attempt to limit the competence/extension of law, if taken in its semantic/spatial significance, would seem to unveil what law could or should be, but is not. Relying on the above literary loci, I will try to demonstrate that this apparently contradictory implication is inherent in the dialectic between equality/universality and difference/plurality that makes up categorization itself, and thereby the semiotic prerequisites to considering any legal rule. (shrink)
In the asymptotic safety paradigm, a quantum field theory reaches a regime with quantum scale invariance in the ultraviolet, which is described by an interacting fixed point of the Renormalization Group. Compelling hints for the viability of asymptotic safety in quantum gravity exist, mainly obtained from applications of the functional Renormalization Group. The impact of asymptotically safe quantum fluctuations of gravity at and beyond the Planck scale could at the same time induce an ultraviolet completion for the Standard Model of (...) particle physics with high predictive power. (shrink)
Wahrnehmen, Sprechen, Denken und Handeln sind zeichenverfasste und interpretative Vorgänge. Deren Verständnis ist Ziel der Allgemeinen Zeichen- und Interpretationsphilosophie Günter Abels. Insofern hierbei Zeichen nicht bloß als Stellvertreter-für-etwas und Interpretationen nicht bloß als Deutungen-von-etwas begriffen werden, rücken die Zeichen- und Interpretationsverhältnisse in eine fundamentale Stellung. Mit diesen Grundwörtern zeitgenössischer Philosophie lassen sich auch erfahrungsorganisierende, wirklichkeits- und sinnformierende Prozesse als sinnlogische Voraussetzungen aufschlussreich beschreiben. So macht die Untersuchung der Zeichen- und Interpretationspraxis unsere alltäglichen wie auch besonderen Welt-, Fremd- und Selbstverhältnisse verständlich. (...) Auf dieser Basis hat Abel in einem breiten Spektrum philosophischer Problemfelder sowie an der Schnittstelle zu Wissenschaften, Künsten, Architektur, Technik, Politik, Recht und Öffentlichkeit originäre Positionen entwickelt, deren Thesen und Argumente prominente Autorinnen und Autoren ausgehend von eigenen Forschungsbeiträgen erörtern. In einem lebendigen Dialog mit Abel kommt es so zu kritischen Herausforderungen und Weiterentwicklungen seines Ansatzes. Beiträge und Repliken messen die Perspektiven der Allgemeinen Zeichen- und Interpretationsphilosophie sowie deren interdisziplinäres Potenzial aus. (shrink)
Francis Bacon's experimental philosophy is discussed, and the way in which it not only shapes scientific methodology but also deeply pervades all philosophical and social learning. Bacon draws us in to participate in an experiment with experience. The central driving force is the idea that learning how to learn is necessary in order to know. To meet this requirement, he considers the relation of form and content of pivotal importance, and therefore the selection of the literary form and the form (...) of data inscription is decisive in the construction of a heuristic tool. His inductive method serves a dual purpose: first, the so-called indicative form aims at securing knowledge by a comprehensible procedure that controls and guides hypothetical thinking. Second, the literary forms "fragment" and "aphorism" embody the subjunctive, and invite intellectual openness and even speculation. In this article, special emphasis is put on Bacon's use and justification of the aphorism. Bacon's pervasive experimentalism meets in some sense today's broad adoption of the experimental mode. His philosophy calls for an ontology that is also at work in recent notions of co-action and co-working, or of affordance. (shrink)
We review the use of introspective and phenomenological methods in experimental settings. We distinguish different senses of introspection, and further distinguish phenomenological method from introspectionist approaches. Two ways of using phenomenology in experimental procedures are identified: first, the neurophenomenological method, proposed by Varela, involves the training of experimental subjects. This approach has been directly and productively incorporated into the protocol of experiments on perception. A second approach may have wider application and does not involve training experimental subjects in phenomenological method. (...) It requires front-loading phenomenological insights into experimental design. A number of experiments employing this approach are reviewed. We conclude with a discussion of the implications for both the cognitive sciences and phenomenology. (shrink)
This paper studies the effects of social comparison on risk taking behavior. In our theoretical framework, decision makers evaluate the consequences of their choices relative to both their own and their peers’ conditions. We test experimentally whether the position in the social ranking affects risk attitudes. Subjects interact in a simulated workplace environment where they perform a work task, receive possibly different wages, and then undertake a risky decision that may produce an extra gain. We find that social comparison matters (...) for risk attitudes. Subjects are more risk averse in the presence of small social gain than social loss. In addition, risk aversion is decreasing in the size of the social gain. (shrink)