The transmission of Greek learning to the Arabic-speaking world paved the way to the rise of Arabic philosophy. This volume offers a deep and multifarious survey of transmission of Greek philosophy through the schools of late Antiquity to the Syriac-speaking and Arabic-speaking worlds.
Cristina Lafont draws upon Hilary Putnam's work in particular to criticize the linguistic idealism and relativism of the German tradition, which she traces back to the assumption that meaning determines reference.
In his recent article 1 Stewart Sutherland rightly and trenchantly criticizes some accounts of hope which ignore, or radically misrepresent, how it is conceived in religious contexts. The most surprising, to me, is Chesterton's, that hope is ‘the power of being cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate’. Surprising, not so much for its content as for its source. However, this particular example could be of one who would risk giving scandal for the sake of wit; what he (...) could have had in mind is that ‘the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us’ . Sutherland also makes clear the unhelpfulness of the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ analysts' account of the concept; not least because it is given without reference to the religious concept, and often is irrelevant to the notion of hope ‘in its proper conceptual surroundings’. (shrink)
Most people would agree that compulsive lying is a "sickness." In his provocative Lying, Paul Griffiths suggests that consistent truth telling might evoke a similar response. After all, isn't unremitting honesty often associated with stupidity, insanity, and fanatical sainthood? Drawing from Augustine's writings, and contrasting them with the work of other Christian and non-Christian thinkers, Griffiths deals with the two great questions concerning lying: What is it to lie? When, if ever, should or may a lie be told? (...) Examining Augustine's answers to these questions, Griffiths grapples with the difficulty of those answers while rendering them more accessible. With rhetorical savvy Augustine himself would applaud, Griffiths aims to "seduce" rather than argue his readers into agreement with Augustine. Augustine's historically significant, characteristically Christian, and undeniably radical thoughts on lying ignite Griffiths's searching discussion of this challenging and crucial topic. Marvelously erudite and energetic, Lying will draw Augustine enthusiasts, students of ethics, and anyone who is committed to living a more honest life. (shrink)
What social conditions and intellectual practices are necessary in order for religious cultures to flourish? Paul Griffiths finds the answer in "religious reading" --- the kind of reading in which a religious believer allows his mind to be furnished and his heart instructed by a sacred text, understood in the light of an authoritative tradition. He favorably contrasts the practices and pedagogies of traditional religious cultures with those of our own fragmented and secularized culture and insists that religious reading (...) should be preserved. (shrink)
Neurosteroid 17 beta-estradiol (E2) is a steroid synthesized de novo in the nervous system that might influence neuronal activity and behavior. Nevertheless, the impact of E2 on the functioning of those neural systems in which it is slightly synthesized is less questioned. The vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) adaptation, may provide an ideal arena for investigating this issue. Indeed, E2 modulates cerebellar parallel fiber-Purkinje cell synaptic plasticity that underlies encoding of VOR adaptation. Moreover, aromatase expression in the cerebellum of adult rodents is (...) maintained at very low levels and localized to Purkinje cells. The significance of age-related maintenance of low levels of aromatase expression in the cerebellum on behavior, however, has yet to be explored. Our aim in this study was to determine whether E2 synthesis exerts an effective and persistent modulation of VOR adaptation in adult male rats. To answer this question, we investigated the acute effect of blocking E2 synthesis on gain increases and decreases in VOR adaptation using an oral dose (2.5 mg/kg) of the aromatase inhibitor Letrozole in peri-pubertal and post-pubertal male rats. We found that Letrozole acutely impaired gain increases and decreases in VOR adaptation without altering basal ocular-motor performance and that these effects were similar in peri-pubertal and post-pubertal rats. Thus, in adult male rats neurosteroid E2 effectively modulates VOR adaptation in both of the periods studied. These findings imply that the adult cerebellum uses E2 synthesis for modulating motor memory formation and suggest that low and extremely localized E2 production may play a role in adaptive phenomena. (shrink)
I am concerned with a very problematic concept of identity which one encounters in studies of practical problems concerning the adoption of children. The notion is problematic in the extreme, as I shall try to show. It seems to crop up not only in the work of researchers on this topic, but in the spontaneous and untutored accounts of themselves given by adoptees. The question is whether there is a concept here at all: by which I mean not, instead, a (...) family of concepts linked by family resemblances, but rather some disparate ideas linked only by verbal similarities, and run together for mistaken theoretical purposes. The notion arises crucially in attempts to deal with practical questions arising in determining policies with regard to adoption: with regard to the placement of children for adoption, and the advice to be given to adoptive parents and to adopted children, whether young or adult, who encounter, or perhaps do not even encounter, difficulties. (shrink)
In The Grammar of Society, first published in 2006, Cristina Bicchieri examines social norms, such as fairness, cooperation, and reciprocity, in an effort to understand their nature and dynamics, the expectations that they generate, and how they evolve and change. Drawing on several intellectual traditions and methods, including those of social psychology, experimental economics and evolutionary game theory, Bicchieri provides an integrated account of how social norms emerge, why and when we follow them, and the situations where we are (...) most likely to focus on relevant norms. Examining the existence and survival of inefficient norms, she demonstrates how norms evolve in ways that depend upon the psychological dispositions of the individual and how such dispositions may impair social efficiency. By contrast, she also shows how certain psychological propensities may naturally lead individuals to evolve fairness norms that closely resemble those we follow in most modern societies. (shrink)
In Norms in the Wild, distinguished philosopher Cristina Bicchieri argues that when it comes to human behavior, social scientists place too much stress on rational deliberation. In fact, she says, many choices occur without much deliberation at all. Two people passing in a corridor automatically negotiate their shared space; cars at an intersection obey traffic signals; we choose clothing based on our instincts for what is considered appropriate. Bicchieri's theory of social norms accounts for these automatic components of coordination, (...) where individuals react automatically to cues that focus their attention on what the norm is in that situation. Social norms thus act as rules for making choices in a social world where people expect others -- often unconsciously -- to follow the same rule. Some norms enable seamless social co-operation, while others are less beneficial to human flourishing.Bicchieri is famous for her interdisciplinary work on game theory and most recently her work on social norms, and Norms in the Wild represents her latest challenge to many of the fundamental assumptions of the social sciences. Bicchieri's work has broad implications not only for understanding human behavior, but for changing it for better outcomes. People have a strongly conditioned preference for following social norms, but that also means that manipulating their expectations can cause major behavioral changes. Bicchieri has been working recently with UNICEF and other NGO's to explore the applicability of her views to issues of human rights around the world. Is it possible to change social expectations around forced marriage, genital mutilations, and public health practices like vaccinations and sanitation? If so, how? What tools might we use? This short book explores how social norms work, and how changing them - changing preferences, beliefs, and especially social expectations - can potentially improve lives all around the world. It will appeal to an unusually broad range of readers including philosophers, psychologists and others in behavioral sciences, and anyone involved in public policy or at NGOs. (shrink)
A superb example of the bookmaker's and translator's art, this new edition of Plato's _Symposium_ exhibits aesthetic, literary, and intellectual excellences rarely found together in a single volume. Tom Griffith's translation of this foundation work of Western culture is unsurpassed for the balance it achieves between readability and fidelity to Plato's Greek. For felicity of phrasing, freshness, care to match the sense of the Greek rather than its wording, and for its idiomatic rendering of the spoken word, it has no (...) peer. Originally published in a limited edition with facing Greek and color wood engravings, Griffith's translation is here presented in reduced format that retains the aesthetic quality of the original version at an affordable price. (shrink)
In this new study, Cristina Chimisso explores the work of the French Philosopher of Science, Gaston Bachelard by situating it within French cultural life of the first half of the century. The book is introduced by a study - based on an analysis of portraits and literary representations - of how Bachelard's admirers transformed him into the mythical image of the Philosopher, the Patriarch and the 'Teacher of Happiness'. Such a projected image is contrasted with Bachelard's own conception of (...) philosophy and his personal pedagogical and moral ideas. This pedagogical orientation is a major feature of Bachelard's texts, and one which deepens our understanding of the main philosophical arguments. The primary thesis of the book is based on the examination of the French educational system of the time and of French philosophy taught in schools and conceived by contemporary philosophers. This approach also helps to explain Bachelard's reception of psychoanalysis and his mastery of modern literature. _Gaston Bachelard: Critic of Science and the Imagination_ thus allows for a new reading of Bachelard's body of work, whilst at the same time providing an insight into twentieth century French culture. (shrink)
Two hundred years after it was first published, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, the modern Prometheus remains relevant. This novel has endured because of its literary merits and because its themes lend themselves to analysis from multiple viewpoints. Scholars from many disciplines have examined this work in relation to controversial scientific research. In this paper, we review the academic literature where Frankenstein is used to discuss ethics, bioethics, science, technology and medicine. We searched the academic literature and carried out a content (...) analysis of articles discussing the novel and films derived from it, analyzing the findings qualitatively and quantitatively. We recorded the following variables: year and language of publication, whether it referred to the novel or to a film, the academic discipline in which it was published, and the topics addressed in the analysis. Our findings indicate that the scientific literature on Frankenstein focuses mainly on science and the personality of the scientist rather than on the creature the scientist created or ethical aspects of his research. The scientist’s responsibility is central to the ethical interest of Frankenstein; this issue entails both the motivation underlying the scientist’s acts and the consequences of these acts. (shrink)
Este ensayo busca evaluar la optimista afirmación de Leibniz según la cual el nuestro es el “mejor de los mundos posibles”. para ello, se intenta leerla a la luz del contexto original del cual se extrae dicha frase, es decir, adentrarse aunque sea brevemente en el sistema que Leibniz formuló para rastrear los motivos que lo llevaron a expresarse de ese modo. en suma, se intenta comprender no solo el sentido de dicha frase, sino (en contra de voltaire quizá) al (...) propio Leibniz, o en todo caso, a su optimismo. Con eso en mente, primero se plantea la tesis leibniziana de la multiplicidad de mundos posibles (§1), para preguntarse luego por qué, de entre ellos, nuestro mundo habría de ser el mejor, lo cual conduce a examinar el principio de razón suficiente (§2). Al hacerlo aparece inevitablemente el tema de dios, lo cual motiva a su vez la pregunta de por qué dios eligió crear este mundo en particular en vez de otro (§3). Finalmente se vincula la armonía preestablecida con el optimismo. (shrink)
Developmental System Theory is a theoretical reinterpretation of biological phenomena challenging the conventional gene-centered account of development and evolution. In this paper, I focus on Griffiths and Gray’s version of Developmental Systems Theory and I particularly analyze their reconceptualization of inheritance. First, I present their concept of expanded and diffused inheritance; then, I examine and criticize their refusal of the multiple inheritance system model; finally, I present and contrast Griffiths and Gray’s extension of what they call the “causal (...) parity thesis” from development to evolution. I argue that their proposal is an interesting and programmatic philosophical perspective on biological phenomena but, because of their commitment to holism, fails to provide both more heuristic tools for empirical investigation in biology and a more realistic representation of the biological world. (shrink)
The original contributions to this Royal Institute of Philosophy collection are centrally concerned with ethics, but from a wide variety of perspectives. The essays, written by authors of great distinction, range from the analytic and theoretical to the applied, touching such topical and hotly-debated issues as what constitutes morality in political life, the relation between education and ethical standards, and whether morality can indeed be defined. The volume will provide stimulating reading for scholars and students alike.
This book was first published in 1985. The journal is concerned with the study of philosophy in all its branches: logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, social and political philosophy and the philosophies of religion, science, history, language, mind and education. The journal is not committed to any particular school or method and contributors are expected to avoid needless technicality. There is a section on new books which includes reviews, book notes and a list of books received.
What impulses lead us to ask philosophical questions and pursue philosophical enquiry? In a series of stimulating essays fourteen distinguished thinkers examine philosophy and their own engagement with it. Titles such as "How philosophers (who lose their faith) redefine their subject," "Philosophical plumbing," "Putting into order what we already know" and "Is philosophy a 'theory of everything'?" indicate the range of topics and the lively and provocative ways in which they are tackled.
This book articulates a participatory conception of deliberative democracy that takes the democratic ideal of self-government seriously. It aims to improve citizens' democratic control and vindicate the value of citizens' participation against conceptions that threaten to undermine it. The book critically analyzes deep pluralist, epistocratic, and lottocratic conceptions of democracy. Their defenders propose various institutional ''shortcuts'' to help solve problems of democratic governance such as overcoming disagreements, citizens' political ignorance, or poor-quality deliberation. However, all these shortcut proposals require citizens to (...) blindly defer to actors over whose decisions they cannot exercise control. Implementing such proposals would therefore undermine democracy. Moreover, it seems naive to assume that a community can reach better outcomes 'faster' if it bypasses the beliefs and attitudes of its citizens. Unfortunately, there are no 'shortcuts' to make a community better than its members. The only road to better outcomes is the long, participatory road that is taken when citizens forge a collective will by changing one another's hearts and minds. However difficult the process of justifying political decisions to one another may be, skipping it cannot get us any closer to the democratic ideal. Starting from this conviction, the book defends a conception of democracy ''without shortcuts''. This conception sheds new light on long-standing debates about the proper scope of public reason, the role of religion in politics, and the democratic legitimacy of judicial review. It also proposes new ways to unleash the democratic potential of institutional innovations such as deliberative minipublics. (shrink)
It is unreasonable to assume that our pre-scientific emotion vocabulary embodies all and only those distinctions required for a scientific psychology of emotion. The psychoevolutionary approach to emotion yields an alternative classification of certain emotion phenomena. The new categories are based on a set of evolved adaptive responses, or affect-programs, which are found in all cultures. The triggering of these responses involves a modular system of stimulus appraisal, whose evoluations may conflict with those of higher-level cognitive processes. Whilst the structure (...) of the adaptive responses is innate, the contents of the system which triggers them are largely learnt. The circuits subserving the adaptive responses are probably located in the limbic system. This theory of emotion is directly applicable only to a small sub-domain of the traditional realm of emotion. It can be used, however, to explain the grouping of various other phenomena under the heading of emotion, and to explain various characteristic failings of the pre-scientific conception of emotion. (shrink)
BackgroundAdvances in biomedicine can substantially change human life. However, progress is not always followed by ethical reflection on its consequences or scientists’ responsibility for their creations. The humanities can help health sciences students learn to critically analyse these issues; in particular, literature can aid discussions about ethical principles in biomedical research. Mary Shelley’sFrankenstein; or, the modern Prometheus(1818) is an example of a classic novel presenting complex scenarios that could be used to stimulate discussion.Main textWithin the framework of the 200th anniversary (...) of the novel, we searched PubMed to identify works that explore and discuss its value in teaching health sciences. Our search yielded 56 articles, but only two of these reported empirical findings. Our analysis of these articles identified three main approaches to usingFrankensteinin teaching health sciences: discussing the relationship between literature and science, analysing ethical issues in biomedical research, and examining the importance of empathy and compassion in healthcare and research. After a critical discussion of the articles, we propose usingFrankensteinas a teaching tool to prompt students to critically analyse ethical aspects of scientific and technological progress, the need for compassion and empathy in medical research, and scientists’ responsibility for their discoveries.ConclusionFrankensteincan help students reflect on the personal and social limits of science, the connection between curiosity and scientific progress, and scientists’ responsibilities. Its potential usefulness in teaching derives from the interconnectedness of science, ethics, and compassion.Frankensteincan be a useful tool for analysing bioethical issues related to scientific and technological advances, such as artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and cloning. Empirical studies measuring learning outcomes are necessary to confirm the usefulness of this approach. (shrink)
Strict constructivist philosophers conclude that no truth claims can be verified on the basis of mystical exploration due to the thoroughly conditioned character of such experiences. In response, Bede Griffiths’s life of dialogue between Christianity and Hinduism suggests that mystical knowing incorporates both conditioned and unconditioned elements. In the cross-culturally identifiable experience of self-transcendence in meditation, the relationship between the conditioned subject and the unconditioned sacred “object” is transformed, resulting in an intuitive knowledge for which different criteria of verifiability (...) are both needed and available. Griffiths’s multireligious experience thus supports the identification of common ground for various religions in mystical knowing. (shrink)
El presente artículo pretende investigar el alcance, la función y la articulación que juega la modificación de neutralidad en “Ideas I”. A través del análisis de su estructura, se llegará a la conclusión de que, en cierto sentido, la modificación de neutralidad puede suponer una temprana vía de acceso a las temáticas que años más tarde serán desarrolladas en la “Crisis de las ciencias europeas”, interpretación ya sugerida por Brainard. Se sugiere, asimismo, un aumento de la presencia de los modos (...) de la conciencia neutralizada en el quehacer matemático propio de algunas actitudes “modeli-zadoras” de algunas ciencias sociales.This article aims to investigate the scope, function and articulation of neutrality modification in "Ideen I". Through the analysis of its structure, it will come to the conclusion that, in a certain sense, the neutrality modification can be an early path to the themes that years later will be developed in the "Crisis of European Sciences", as Brainard’s interpretation suggest. It also comes up with an increase in the presence of modes of neutralized consciousness in own mathematical work of some "modeler" attitudes of some social sciences. (shrink)