If we want to assess whether or not a naturalized phenomenology is a desideratum or a category mistake, we need to be clear on precisely what notion of phenomenology and what notion of naturalization we have in mind. In the article I distinguish various notions, and after criticizing one type of naturalized phenomenology, I sketch two alternative takes on what a naturalized phenomenology might amount to and propose that our appraisal of the desirability of such naturalization should be more positive, (...) if we opt for one or both of the latter alternatives. (shrink)
Esta entrevista tiene como objetivo mostrar los aportes de la fenomenología de Dan Zahavi a algunas temáticas fundamentales de filosofía de la mente. El filósofo danés expresa su interés en vincular la fenomenología con otras disciplinas y comenta su último proyecto, dedicado al vínculo intersubjetivo. Además, explica su posición con respecto a la naturalización de la fenomenología, la importancia de desarrollar una filosofía de la mente desde la perspectiva de primera persona, y la cuestión del idealismo husserliano y su vínculo (...) con Putnam. Por otro lado, se refiere a cómo el estudio de los trastornos psiquiátricos aporta a la filosofía, presenta la propuesta de la tradición fenomenológica para evitar los problemas del debate internalismo-externalismo y explica la manera en que su concepto del yo ilumina la clásica discusión sobre la mente y el cerebro. Finalmente, Zahavi comenta sobre la posibilidad de vincular filosofía, ciencia y religión. (shrink)
It is widely recognized that prioritizing health care resources by their relative cost-effectiveness can result in lower priority for the treatment of disabled persons than otherwise similar non-disabled persons. I distinguish six different ways in which this discrimination against the disabled can occur. I then spell out and evaluate the following moral objections to this discrimination, most of which capture an aspect of its unethical character: it implies that disabled persons' lives are of lesser value than those of non-disabled persons; (...) it constitutes “double jeopardy” or violates Frances Kamm's non-linkage principle; it conflicts with equality of opportunity; it conflicts with fairness, which requires ignoring differential impacts of treatment; it wrongly gives lower priority to disabled persons for equally effective treatment; it conflicts with giving all persons an equal chance to reach their full potential; and, it is in conflict with giving priority to the worse off. (shrink)
This paper presents a simple argument against life being the product of design. The argument rests on three points. We can conceive of the debate in terms of likelihoods, in the technical sense – how probable the design hypothesis renders our evidence, versus how probable the competing Darwinian hypothesis renders that evidence. God, as traditionally conceived, had many more options by which to bring about life as we observe it than were available to natural selection. That is, the relevant parameters (...) were, in many cases, far more constrained under natural selection. Utterly mundane features of the world, like that the earth is very old, are actually powerful evidence that the world was not designed, since that outcome was optional on the design hypothesis but nearly inevitable on natural selection. (shrink)
Short abstract (98 words). Reasoning is generally seen as a means to improve knowledge and make better decisions. However, much evidence shows that reasoning often leads to epistemic distortions and poor decisions. This suggests that the function of reasoning should be rethought. Our hypothesis is that the function of reasoning is argumentative. It is to devise and evaluate arguments intended to persuade. Reasoning so conceived is adaptive given humans’ exceptional dependence on communication and vulnerability to misinformation. A wide range of (...) evidence in the psychology of reasoning and decision making can be reinterpreted and better explained in the light of this hypothesis. (shrink)
Reason, we are told, is what makes us human, the source of our knowledge and wisdom. If reason is so useful, why didn't it also evolve in other animals? If reason is that reliable, why do we produce so much thoroughly reasoned nonsense? In their groundbreaking account of the evolution and workings of reason, Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber set out to solve this double enigma. Reason, they argue with a compelling mix of real-life and experimental evidence, is not geared (...) to solitary use, to arriving at better beliefs and decisions on our own. What reason does, rather, is help us justify our beliefs and actions to others, convince them through argumentation, and evaluate the justifications and arguments that others address to us. In other words, reason helps humans better exploit their uniquely rich social environment. This interactionist interpretation explains why reason may have evolved and how it fits with other cognitive mechanisms. It makes sense of strengths and weaknesses that have long puzzled philosophers and psychologists--why reason is biased in favor of what we already believe, why it may lead to terrible ideas and yet is indispensable to spreading good ones.--. (shrink)
RESUMEN Esta entrevista tiene como objetivo mostrar los aportes de la fenomenología de Dan Zahavi a algunas temáticas fundamentales de filosofía de la mente. El filósofo danés expresa su interés en vincular la fenomenología con otras disciplinas y comenta su último proyecto, dedicado al vínculo intersubjetivo. Además, explica su posición con respecto a la naturalización de la fenomenología, la importancia de desarrollar una filosofía de la mente desde la perspectiva de primera persona, y la cuestión del idealismo husserliano y su (...) vínculo con Putnam. Por otro lado, se refiere a cómo el estudio de los trastornos psiquiátricos aporta a la filosofía, presenta la propuesta de la tradición fenomenológica para evitar los problemas del debate internalismo-externalismo y explica la manera en que su concepto del yo ilumina la clásica discusión sobre la mente y el cerebro. Finalmente, Zahavi comenta sobre la posibilidad de vincular filosofía, ciencia y religión. ABSTRACT The aim of this interview is to show the contributions of Dan Zahavi's phenomenology to some fundamental issues in philosophy of mind. The Danish philosopher expresses his interest to link phenomenology to other disciplines and talks about his latest project, dedicated to the intersubjective relation. He also explains his position with respect to the naturalization of phenomenology, the importance of developing a philosophy of mind from a first-person perspective, and the question of Husserlian idealism and his link with Putnam. On the other hand, he refers to how the study of psychiatric disorders contributes to philosophy, presents the proposal of the pheno-menological tradition to sidestep the problems of internalism-externalism debate, and explains how his concept of self illuminates the classic discussion on mind and brain. Finally, Zahavi comments on the possibility oflinking philosophy, science and religion. (shrink)
Dan Zahavi engages with classical phenomenology, philosophy of mind, and a range of empirical disciplines to explore the nature of selfhood. He argues that the most fundamental level of selfhood is not socially constructed or dependent upon others, but accepts that certain dimensions of the self and types of self-experience are other-mediated.
Augustine tells us in the Confessions that his reading of Cicero's Hortensius at the age of nineteen aroused in him a burning ‘passion for the wisdom of eternal truth’. He was inspired ‘to love wisdom itself, whatever it might be, and to search for it, pursue it, hold it, and embrace it firmly’. And thus he embarked on his arduous journey to the truth, which was at the same time a conversion to Catholic Christianity, and which culminated twelve years later (...) in his experience in the garden in Milan. (shrink)
Dan Zahavi presents a rich new study of the philosophy of Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology. What kind of philosophical project was Husserl engaged in? What is ultimately at stake in so-called phenomenological analyses? In this volume Zahavi makes it clear why Husserl had such a decisive influence on 20th-century philosophy.
Quite a number of the philosophical arguments and objections currently being launched against simulation (ST) based and theory-theory (TT) based approaches to mindreading have a phenomenological heritage in that they draw on ideas found in the work of Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Stein, Gurwitsch, Scheler and Schutz. Within the last couple of years, a number of ST and TT proponents have started to react and respond to what one for the sake of simplicity might call the phenomenological proposal (PP). This (...) paper addresses some of these critical responses, and distinguishes—in the process—substantive disagreements from terminological issues and other issues that are symptomatic of different research agendas. It does so by focusing specifically upon some objections made by Pierre Jacob. These epitomize the kinds of concerns that are being raised about PP at the moment, and thus facilitate a reply on behalf of PP that also applies more generally. (shrink)
When it comes to understanding the nature of social cognition, we have—according to the standard view—a choice between the simulation theory, the theory-theory or some hybrid between the two. The aim of this paper is to argue that there are, in fact, other options available, and that one such option has been articulated by various thinkers belonging to the phenomenological tradition. More specifically, the paper will contrast Lipps' account of empathy—an account that has recently undergone something of a revival in (...) the hands of contemporary simulationists—with various accounts of empathy found in the phenomenological tradition. I discuss the way Lipps was criticized by Scheler, Stein and Husserl, and outline some of the core features of their, at times divergent, alternatives. I then proceed by considering how their basic take on empathy and social cognition was taken up and modified by Schutz—a thinker whose contribution to the analysis of interpersonal understanding has been unjustly neglected in recent years. (shrink)
The central problem for pragmatics is that sentence meaning vastly underdetermines speaker’s meaning. The goal of pragmatics is to explain how the gap between sentence meaning and speaker’s meaning is bridged. This paper defends the broadly Gricean view that pragmatic interpretation is ultimately an exercise in mind-reading, involving the inferential attribution of intentions. We argue, however, that the interpretation process does not simply consist in applying general mind-reading abilities to a particular (communicative) domain. Rather, it involves a dedicated comprehension module, (...) with its own special principles and mechanisms. We show how such a metacommunicative module might have evolved, and what principles and mechanisms it might contain. (shrink)
Humans have two kinds of beliefs, intuitive beliefs and reflective beliefs. Intuitive beliefs are a most fundamental category of cognition, defined in the architecture of the mind. They are formulated in an intuitive mental lexicon. Humans are also capable of entertaining an indefinite variety of higher-order or "reflective" propositional attitudes, many of which are of a credal sort. Reasons to hold "reflective beliefs" are provided by other beliefs that describe the source of the reflective belief as reliable, or that provide (...) explicit arguments in favour of the reflective belief. The mental lexicon of reflective beliefs includes not only intuitive, but also reflective concepts. (shrink)
It is commonly believed that Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), well known as the founder of phenomenology and as the teacher of Heidegger, was unable to free himself from the framework of a classical metaphysics of subjectivity. Supposedly, he never abandoned the view that the world and the Other are constituted by a pure transcendental subject, and his thinking in consequence remains Cartesian, idealistic, and solipsistic. The continuing publication of Husserl’s manuscripts has made it necessary to revise such an interpretation. Drawing upon (...) both Husserl’s published works and posthumous material, Husserl’s Phenomenology incorporates the results of the most recent Husserl research. It is divided into three parts, roughly following the chronological development of Husserl’s thought, from his early analyses of logic and intentionality, through his mature transcendental-philosophical analyses of reduction and constitution, to his late analyses of intersubjectivity and lifeworld. It can consequently serve as a concise and updated introduction to his thinking. (shrink)
This chapter determines a major empirical hurdle for any future discipline of memetics. It mainly shows that one can find very similar copies of some cultural item, link these copies through a causal chain of events which faithfully reproduced those items, and nevertheless not have an example of memetic inheritance. In addition, the stability of cultural patterns is proof that fidelity in copying is high despite individual variations. It is also believed that what is offered as an explanation is precisely (...) what needs to be explained; what is offered as a solution is in fact the very problem to be solved. Moreover, the issue is whether the relative stability observed in cultural transmission is proof of replication. The example of the acquisition of language is briefly addressed. The Darwinian model of selection is informative, and in various ways, for thinking about culture. Imitation is of course well worth investigating. On the other hand, the grand project of memetics is misled. (shrink)
Humans massively depend on communication with others, but this leaves them open to the risk of being accidentally or intentionally misinformed. To ensure that, despite this risk, communication remains advantageous, humans have, we claim, a suite of cognitive mechanisms for epistemic vigilance. Here we outline this claim and consider some of the ways in which epistemic vigilance works in mental and social life by surveying issues, research and theories in different domains of philosophy, linguistics, cognitive psychology and the social sciences.
In this short paper I survey recent contextualist answers to the challenge from disagreement raised by contemporary relativists. After making the challenge vivid by means of a working example, I specify the notion of disagreement lying at the heart of the challenge. The answers are grouped in three categories, the first characterized by rejecting the intuition of disagreement in certain cases, the second by conceiving disagreement as a clash of non-cognitive attitudes and the third by relegating disagreement at the pragmatic (...) level. For each category I present several important variants and raise some (general) criticisms. The paper is meant to offer a quick introduction to the current contextualist literature on disagreement and thus a useful tool for further research. (shrink)
__Husserl and Transcendental Intersubjectivity __analyzes the transcendental relevance of intersubjectivity and argues that an intersubjective transformation of transcendental philosophy can already be found in phenomenology, especially in Husserl. Husserl eventually came to believe that an analysis of transcendental intersubjectivity was a _conditio sine qua non_ for a phenomenological philosophy. Drawing on both published and unpublished manuscripts, Dan Zahavi examines Husserl's reasons for this conviction and delivers a detailed analysis of his radical and complex concept of intersubjectivity, showing that precisely his (...) reflections on transcendental intersubjectivity are capable of clarifying the core-concepts of phenomenology, thus making possible a new understanding of Husserl’s philosophy. Against this background the book compares his view with the approaches to intersubjectivity found in Heidegger, Sartre, and Merleau-Ponty, and it then attempts to establish to what extent the phenomenological approach can contribute to the current discussion of intersubjectivity. This is achieved through a systematic confrontation with the language-pragmatical positions of Apel and Habermas. (shrink)
The analyses of the mind–world relation offered by transcendental idealists such as Husserl have often been dismissed with the argument that they remain committed to an outdated form of internalism. The first move in this paper will be to argue that there is a tight link between Husserl’s transcendental idealism and what has been called phenomenological externalism, and that Husserl’s endorsement of the former commits him to a version of the latter. Secondly, it will be shown that key elements in (...) Husserl’s transcendental idealism, including his rejection of representationalism and metaphysical realism, is shared with a number of prominent contemporary defenders of an externalist view on the mind. Ultimately, however, it will be suggested that the very alternative between internalism and externalism—an alternative based on the division between inner and outer—might be inapplicable when it comes to phenomenological conceptions of the mind–world relation. (shrink)
The Human Genome Project will produce information permitting increasing opportunities to prevent genetically transmitted harms, most of which will be compatible with a life worth living, through avoiding conception or terminating a pregnancy. Failure to prevent these harms when it is possible for parents to do so without substantial burdens or costs to themselves or others are what J call “wrongful handicaps”. Derek Parfit has developed a systematic difficulty for any such cases being wrongs — when the harm could be (...) prevented only by preventing the existence of the individual who would have a worthwhile life even with the handicap, then bringing him into existence with the handicap does not make him worse off and so does not wrong him. I argue that a non “person‐affecting” principle requiring the avoidance of suffering and limited opportunity correctly accounts for cases of wrongful handicaps without requiring that the individuals with the handicap have been made worse off and therefore wronged. It is an advantage, not a difficulty, of this account that it does not imply that the person with the handicap has been wronged or is a victim with a special moral complaint. (shrink)
If one looks at the current discussion of self-awareness there seems to be a general agreement that whatever valuable philosophical contributions Husserl might have made, his account of self-awareness is not among them. This prevalent appraisal is often based on the claim that Husserl was too occupied with the problem of intentionality to ever really pay attention to the issue of self-awareness. Due to his interest in intentionality Husserl took object-consciousness as the paradigm of every kind of awareness and therefore (...) settled with a model of self-awareness based upon the subject-object dichotomy, with its entailed difference between the intending and the intended. As a consequence, Husserl never discovered the existence of pre-reflective self- awareness, but remained stuck in the traditional, but highly problematic reflection model of self-awareness. (shrink)
An introduction to Jean-Luc Marion's philosophical and theological work in the form of a conversation with the author. Marion reflects on major 20th century French figures and their varied influence on his work, while giving an overview of his writings in the history of philosophy, theology, and phenomenology.
From an evolutionary point of view, the function of moral behaviour may be to secure a good reputation as a co-operator. The best way to do so may be to obey genuine moral motivations. Still, one's moral reputation maybe something too important to be entrusted just to one's moral sense. A robust concern for one's reputation is likely to have evolved too. Here we explore some of the complex relationships between morality and reputation both from an evolutionary and a cognitive (...) point of view. (shrink)
The article explores and compares the accounts of empathy found in Lipps, Scheler, Stein and Husserl and argues that the three latter phenomenological thinkers offer a model of empathy, which is not only distinctly different from Lipps’, but which also diverge from the currently dominant models.