In this article, I examine and criticize John Searle's account of the relation between mind and body. Searle rejects dualism and argues that the traditional mind-body problem has a 'simple solution': mental phenomena are both caused by biological processes in the brain and are themselves features of the brain. More precisely, mental states and events are macro-properties of neurons in much the same way that solidity and liquidity are macro-properties of molecules. However, Searle also maintains that the mental is 'ontologically (...) irreducible' to the physical, a view which follows from his understanding of the status and nature of consciousness. Consciousness is essential to the mind; subjectivity is essential to consciousness; and no purely objective, physical description of consciousness could ever capture or explain its essentially subjective character. None the less, Searle maintains that irreducibility is a 'trivial' result of our 'definitional practices' and is entirely compatible with his theory. I contend that this latter claim is based on an equivocation: Searle's conclusion only seems to follow because he alters and trivializes what philosophers ordinarily mean by 'reduction'. I also maintain that Searle's position is reductionist in the ordinary, nontrivial sense. For this reason, his theory fails to accommodate the subjective character of consciousness and fails to solve the traditional mind-body problem. Finally, I briefly discuss Searle's claim that he is not an epiphenomenalist, and argue that given the assumptions of his view there is no interesting causal role for consciousness in the physical world. (shrink)
Phenomenologists such as Merleau?Ponty have argued that the ordinary teleological relation between an embodied agent and the world is neither ?subjective? nor ?cognitive?, i.e. that it is not normally mediated by a chain of explicit cognition occurring within a distinct mental subject. Yet, while this seems true from a first?person, phenomenological perspective, I argue that teleological forms of explanation require the ascription of Intentional states. Intentional states, however, are usually regarded as subjective, cognitive states. In order to reconcile the phenomenology (...) with the logic of teleology, I introduce the notion of ?body?intentionality?. I maintain that we can use a modified version of Jonathan Bennett's concept of a teleological law to specify third?person empirical criteria for a pre?cognitive, pre?subjective kind of Intentionality. I also argue that this notion of body?intentionality provides us with at least a partial solution to the mind?body problem that avoids the inadequacies of the computational theory of mind. (shrink)
Ibn'Arabi (Murcie 1165-Damas 1241), philosophe, théologien et mystique musulman, est reconnu dans la tradition du Soufisme comme le plus grand Maître. C'est le philosophe qui a sans doute le mieux théorisé l'unicité de Dieu, reconnaissant la présence divine en toute forme et toute image. Disant de lui : " Je ne suis ni un prophète, ni un Envoyé, je suis simplement un héritier, quelqu'un qui laboure et ensemence le champ de la vie future ". Ibn'Arabi se donnait la capacité de (...) convoquer les prophètes hors de " présences imaginales " se considérant comme l'équivalent des Envoyés de Dieu. Plus qu'une biographie du Maître Ibn'Arabi, l'ouvrage est une étude, une analyse approfondie de l'univers de la spiritualité comme source de l'" imagination créatrice ". Selon ces réflexions et méditations, la Création, macrocosme cosmique, ombre visible de la lumière originelle est d'abord une matérialisation du verbe divin. Aux conditions initiales de la création des mondes répond la créature imaginant aussi son monde ou ses mondes, poursuivant elle-même la création et renouvelant. C'est par cette étude, fondatrice dans son œuvre, que Corbin a forgé le concept " d'imaginal ", initiant ici le décloisonnement qu'il poursuivra à travers toute son œuvre entre l'imaginaire et la science. (shrink)
An important work in the debate between materialists and dualists, the public correspondence between Anthony Collins and Samuel Clarke provided the framework for arguments over consciousness and personal identity in eighteenth-century Britain. In Clarke's view, mind and consciousness are so unified that they cannot be compounded into wholes or divided into parts, so mind and consciousness must be distinct from matter. Collins, by contrast, was a perceptive advocate of a materialist account of mind, who defended the possibility that (...) thinking and consciousness are emergent properties of the brain. Appendices include philosophical writings that influenced, and responded to, the correspondence. (shrink)
In “A Tension in the Strong Program: The Relation between the Rational and the Social”, Shahram Shahryari (2021) advances the following thesis: In his Strong Program in the sociology of science, David Bloor blames traditional philosophy of science for adopting a dualist strategy in explaining scientific developments, as it employs rational explanation for successful science and social explanation for flawed science. Instead, according to Bloor, all scientific developments should be explained monistically, i.e. in terms of social causes. This is also (...) referred to as the Symmetry Principle, and it is a key tenet in the Strong Program. The author detects a tension here, as Bloor apparently asserts that traditional philosophy of science deploys two kinds of explanation, and simultaneously insists that there is only one kind, i.e. social explanation. (shrink)
Anthony Collins (1676-1729) maintains that consciousness might be a material process or result from material processes. On the one hand, Collins accepts Locke’s view that from consciousness, i.e., the activity of thinking, we acquire no knowledge about the nature of the thinking substance. On the other, he takes seriously Samuel Clarke’s challenge that the thinking substance must be suitably unified because consciousness is unified. In this paper, I argue that, throughout his correspondence with Clarke, Collins maintains that (...) consciousness signifies actual thinking and does not refer to the capacity of thinking. His main materialist thesis is that the powers of parts of material systems can bring about unified powers and that the power of thinking may be such a power. Collins attempts to satisfy the unity requirement by arguing that a unity correspondence can obtain between consciousness and the power of thinking that is realized in a material composite. (shrink)
In trying to connect a primarily literary account of sentimental history and theory to a primarily philosophical account of feminist pragmatism,1 certain dangers emerge. One is to unintentionally privilege the genre of philosophy over the genres of poetry or sentimental fiction. In H.S. Thayer’s insightful Meaning and Action: A Critical History of Pragmatism, as but one example, philosophical writing subordinates other genres, such as poetry or novels, leading to readings of Dewey and James that disproportionately weight the influence of philosophical (...) writing on their attitudes. Doing this not only limits the cultural complexity of James and Dewey’s thought, it tends to discount the writing of pragmatists like.. (shrink)
Organizations do moral wrong. States pursue unjust wars, businesses avoid tax, charities misdirect funds. Our social, political, and legal responses require guidance. We need to know what we’re responding to and how we should respond to it. We need a metaphysical and moral theory of wrongful organizations. This book provides a new such theory, paying particular attention to questions that have been underexplored in existing debates. These questions include: where are organizations located as material objects in the natural world? What’s (...) the metaphysical relation between organizations and their members? Can organizations be blameworthy for attitudes and character traits, as well as for actions? What about feelings of guilt, remorse, and shame—can organizations feel these emotions and why does this matter? How and why are members implicated in organizations’ wrongs? How should organizations’ reparative costs be apportioned among members? The book answers these questions. It argues that organizations are material objects with humans as material parts—much like how a pizza is a material object with slices as material parts. This picture helps us make sense of organizations’ blameworthiness, including blame for organization-level actions, attitudes, and character traits. The book argues that organizations can experience moral self-awareness—a crucial component of guilt, remorse, and shame. Members can be implicated in organizations’ actions in numerous ways—and, it is argued, members’ level of implication should determine their share of organizations’ reparative burdens. (shrink)
This paper reviews briefly the reception of the Arabic philosophy in the Latin West and it analyzes the work of Henri Corbin entitled Histoire de la philosophie islamique, in which the author identifies the philosophy realized in the Arab world with the Islamic religion, offering a very personal and particular vision of that philosophy.
Après l’odorat, la vue, l’ouïe, Alain Corbin, « historien du sensible », s’attache à un nouveau domaine d’étude relevant des sensibilités et de l’imaginaire, celui du plaisir des sens. Adoptant la démarche d’anthropologie historique qui lui est familière, il décrypte les différentes représentations (essentiellement masculines) de la jouissance au sein du couple hétérosexuel dans l’espace francophone de tradition catholique entre 1770 et les années 1860. Pour mener ce voyage dans le temps, il...
The most popular uniting theme in feminist peace literature grounds women's peace work in mothering. I argue if maternal arguments do not address the variety of relationships different races and classes of mothers have to institutional violence and/or the military, then the resulting peace politics can only draw incomplete conclusions about the relationships between maternal work/thinking and peace. To illustrate this I compare two models of mothering: Sara Ruddick's decription of "maternal practice" and Patricia Hill Collins's account of racial-ethnic (...) women's "motherwork.". (shrink)
This book defends morality against the critiques of egoims, subjectivism, and relativism. It argues that we can and should construe some moral standards as objective and that justice and self-development are the cornerstones of healthy morality. Opening with a dialogue meant to tease and provoke the reader, the book's subsequent chapters treat misconceptions about morality, the possibility of unselfish action, the nature of free will and moral responsibility, and the identity of moral right and wrong.
A prominent approach to scientific explanation and modeling claims that for a model to provide an explanation it must accurately represent at least some of the actual causes in the event's causal history. In this paper, I argue that many optimality explanations present a serious challenge to this causal approach. I contend that many optimality models provide highly idealized equilibrium explanations that do not accurately represent the causes of their target system. Furthermore, in many contexts, it is in virtue of (...) their independence of causes that optimality models are able to provide a better explanation than competing causal models. Consequently, our account of explanation and modeling must expand beyond the causal approach. (shrink)
For nearly half a century, Quentin Skinner has been the world's foremost interpreter of Thomas Hobbes. When the contextualist mode of intellectual history now known as the “Cambridge School” was first asserting itself in the 1960s, the life and writings of John Locke were the primary topic for pioneers such as Peter Laslett and John Dunn. At that time, Hobbes was still the plaything of philosophers and political scientists, virtually all of whom wrote in an ahistorical, textual-analytic manner. Hobbes had (...) not been the subject of serious contextual research for decades, since the foundational writings of Ferdinand Tönnies. For Skinner, he was thus an ideal subject, providing a space for original research on a major figure, and an occasion for some polemically charged methodological manifestos. Both of these purposes animated his 1965 article “History and Ideology in the English Revolution,” and his 1966 article “The Ideological Context of Hobbes's Political Thought”. The latter of these remains to this day one of the most widely cited scholarly articles in the fifty-year run of Cambridge's Historical Journal. Among other results of these early efforts was the scholarly controversy during which Howard Warrender chided Skinner for having reduced the “classic texts in political philosophy” to mere “tracts for the times”. (shrink)
Anthony Collins is known mostly as an eighteenth-century freethinker who contributed to ideas of rational religion and religious toleration, as a close friend of John Locke, and as a necessitarian and materialist who held a significant correspondence with Samuel Clarke. Yet, his political philosophy has rarely received serious attention, and he remains a neglected figure in the history of political thought. This article attempts to recover Collins as a philosopher who developed a complex political theory, by focusing on (...) his conceptions of liberty and authority. It shows that he conceptualised liberty, and liberty of thought in particular, both as non-interference and non-domination, namely, an absence of censorship as well as an absence of continuous tyranny over the minds of humankind. Then, it shows that Collins also developed a thorough idea of civil authority, according to which even religious liberties may depend in some cases on the discretion of the civil sovereign. Finally, this article suggests that Collins’s multi-layered theory continued to develop after his lifetime, and that he therefore had a prominent place in eighteenth-century debates of liberty and authority. (shrink)
Many accounts of scientific modelling assume that models can be decomposed into the contributions made by their accurate and inaccurate parts. These accounts then argue that the inaccurate parts of the model can be justified by distorting only what is irrelevant. In this paper, I argue that this decompositional strategy requires three assumptions that are not typically met by our best scientific models. In response, I propose an alternative view in which idealized models are characterized as holistically distorted representations that (...) are justified by allowing for the application of various modelling techniques. (shrink)
Cílem této studie je představit základní rámec filozofického díla anglického volnomyšlenkáře Anthonyho Collinse (1676–1729) v kontextu britského osvícenského myšlení konce 17. a první poloviny 18. století. Prostřednictvím analýzy jednotlivých spisů je vyloženo Collinsovo chápání rozumu jako nástroje nepostradatelného nejen v oblasti poznání profánního, ale také divinálního. Studie dále sleduje Collinsovu obhajobu naprosté volnosti myšlení i formy jeho vyjádření. Významný prostor je věnován rovněž autorově filozofii náboženství. Studie dokládá, že Collins nebyl izolovaným myslitelem, ale že ve svém díle těžil jak (...) z předcházející (Spinoza, Herbert z Cherbury a především John Locke), tak i současné filozofické diskuze (zejména John Toland). (shrink)
My goal in this paper is to reconstruct Anthony Collins’ challenge to the authority of orthodox Anglican figures, which arises due to arguments Collins develops in his Vindication of the Divine Attributes (1710) and Discourse on Free-Thinking (1713). In addition to shedding light on a hitherto underappreciated argument by Collins, my reconstruction allows me to propose a solution to the interpretive problem posed by §§16–22 of the fourth dialogue of Berkeley’s Alciphron (1732). While it has been acknowledged (...) that Collins looms large in the background of these sections, Berkeley’s argumentative strategy has remained perplexing to commentators, particularly his references to several Scholastic thinkers. I argue that we can make sense of Berkeley’s strategy and references if we appreciate that these sections are intended to evade Collins’ challenge. (shrink)
Robin Collins argues that three facts implicate a designer of the universe--that life depends upon the precise tuning of physical constants, that the laws of physics show evidence of beauty, and that the universe is intelligible. But Collins' case is pervaded by vague arguments which shift between defending theism specifically and defending a more generic design hypothesis. This provides the appearance of having all of the advantages of the generic design hypothesis, such as greater initial plausibility, while masking (...) the implication that intelligent life is just as unlikely given design with unspecified motives as it is given "chance." If design is to provide us with any expectations at all about what the world would be like, Collins has to defend theism in particular throughout. Moreover, while on single-universe naturalism the existence of anything as impressive as human beings may be very unlikely, on theism the existence of intelligent beings as unimpressive and flawed as humans is also very unlikely. And given that human beings do exist, single-universe naturalism, but not theism, entails that they exist in this particular universe. (shrink)