Experimental Philosophy is a new and controversial movement that challenges some of the central findings within analytic philosophy by marshalling empirical evidence. The purpose of this short paper is twofold: to introduce some of the work done in experimental philosophy concerning issues in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics and to connect this work with several debates within the philosophy of religion. The provisional conclusion is that philosophers of religion must critically engage experimental philosophy.
Jaegwon Kim argues that if mental properties are irreducible with respect to physical properties, then mental properties are epiphenomenal. I believe that this conditional is false and argue that mental properties, along with their physical counterparts, may causally overdetermine their effects. Kim contends, however, that embracing causal overdetermination in the mental case should be resisted for at least three reasons: it is implausible, it makes mental properties causally dispensable, and it violates the Causal Closure Principle. I believe, however, that each (...) of these reasons can be defeated. Moreover, further reflection on , according to Kim’s implicit logic, may lend support to the claim that physical properties, and not mental properties, are in danger of losing their causal relevance. (shrink)
What kind of thing is a psychiatric disorder? At present, this is the central question in the philosophy of psychiatry. Answers tend toward one of two opposing views: realism, the view that psychiatric disorders are natural kinds, and constructivism, the view that disorders are products of classificatory conventions. The difficulties with each are well rehearsed. One compelling third-way solution, developed by Peter Zachar, holds that disorders are practical kinds. Proponents of this view are left with the difficult task of explaining (...) what makes practical kinds practical. Kendler, Zachar, and Craver have recently developed a new third-way solution, according to which psychiatric disorders are mechanistic property cluster kinds. This account, already influential in the philosophy of psychiatry, holds that the usefulness of psychiatric kinds is explained by the stability of multilevel mechanisms that generate psychiatric symptoms. We argue that this account, like any that purports to address the central question in the philosophy of psychiatry without first attending carefully to the nature of psychiatry and the difference between its constituent scientific and philosophical parts, will ultimately be committed to untenable views about the nature of psychiatric science, the aims and limitations of scientific inquiry and mechanistic explanations, and the role of values in psychiatry. (shrink)
Three proponents of the Canberra Plan, namely Jackson, Pettit, and Smith, have developed a collective functionalist program—Canberra Functionalism—spanning from philosophical psychology to ethics. They argue that conceptual analysis is an indispensible tool for research on cognitive processes since it reveals that there are some folk concepts, like belief and desire, whose functional roles must be preserved rather than eliminated by future scientific explanations. Some naturalists have recently challenged this indispensability argument, though the point of that challenge has been blunted by (...) a mutual conflation of metaphysical and methodological strands of naturalism. I argue that the naturalist’s challenge to the indispensability argument, like naturalism itself, ought to be reformulated as a strictly methodological thesis. So understood, the challenge succeeds by showing (1) that we cannot know a priori on the basis of conceptual analysis of folk platitudes that something must occupy the functional roles specified for beliefs and desires, and (2) that proponents of Canberra Functionalism sometimes tacitly concede this point by treating substantive psychological theories as the deliverances of a priori platitudes analysis. (shrink)
Javanese people have unique characteristics and traditions that make them appealing for research. One of the unique things of the Javanese tradition called bancaan is that it is aimed at appreciating children. Bancaan is a simple banquet of gratitude on the occasion of a child’s birthday by inviting their playmates to pray together for their good. This tradition is rich in the value of hospitality but began to disappear as influences of current development overtake. Given this reality, this study discovered (...) Christian values of hospitality in the bancaan tradition. This discovery is based on a survey by Lee Roy Martin and Michele Hersberger. This research is based on the paradigm of qualitative research. Data collection was conducted by examining the literature and studying the Bible. The problem was analysed using interactive analysis, revealing Christian hospitality values in the bancaan tradition. The values showed are as follows: bancaan is open to everyone in nature despite their backgrounds, bancaan is a form of interaction of hospitality in simplicity and bancaan is a form of regeneration of hospitality values to the child.Contribution: This manuscript provided an overview of one form of Javanese culture, which was then linked to the principles of hospitality from Jesus. This culture was a form of Javanese culture towards children’s appreciation. It is hoped that this manuscript contributes to the preservation of Javanese bancaan culture. (shrink)
Henry Nelson Wieman and Reinhold Niebuhr were theologically poles apart—Wieman a “new naturalist” and Niebuhr a “new super naturalist”—according to Wieman's nomenclature. Wieman devoted more time and attention to Niebuhr than Niebuhr did to him. The reason for this was the result of Wieman's sustained attack on the “new supernaturalism” with which he identified Niebuhr as one of the major American representatives. This article traces the background to Wieman's view of Niebuhr—Wieman's own views on science, on religion, and on Christianity—then (...) proceeds to Wieman's analysis of Niebuhr's theology and his relation to the “new supernaturalism,” concluding with Niebuhr's reply to Wieman. (shrink)
'Folk psychology' is a term that refers to the way that ordinary people think and talk about minds. But over roughly the last four decades the term has come to be used in rather different ways by philosophers and psychologists engaged in technical projects in analytic philosophy of mind and empirical psychology, many of which are only indirectly related to the question of how ordinary people actually think about minds. The result is a sometimes puzzling body of academic literature, cobbled (...) together loosely under that single heading, that contains a number of terminological inconsistencies, the clarification of which seems to reveal conceptual problems. This paper is an attempt to approach folk psychology more directly, to clarify the phenomenon of interest, and to examine the methods used to investigate it. Having identified some conceptual problems in the literature, I argue that those problems have occluded a particular methodological confound involved in the study of folk psychology, one associated with psychological language, that may well be intractable. Rather than attempt to solve that methodological problem, then, I suggest that we use the opportunity to rethink the relationship between folk psychology and its scientific counterpart. A careful look at the study of folk psychology may prove surprisingly helpful for clarifying the nature of psychological science and addressing the contentious question of its status as a potentially autonomous special science. (shrink)
To those of us who are not mathematicians or physicists, Einstein’s theory of relativity often seems incomprehensible, exotic, and of little real-world use. None of this is true. Daniel F. Styer’s introduction to the topic not only shows us why these beliefs are mistaken but also shines a bright light on the subject so that any curious-minded person with an understanding of algebra and geometry can both grasp and apply the theory.Styer starts off slowly and proceeds carefully, explaining the (...) concepts undergirding relativity in language comprehensible to nonscientists yet precise and accurate enough to satisfy the most demanding professional. He demonstrates how the theory applies to various real-life situations with easy equations and simple, clear diagrams. Styer's classroom-tested method of conveying the core ideas of relativity—the relationship among and between time, space, and motion and the behavior of light—encourages questions and shows the way to finding the answers. Each of the book’s four parts builds on the sections that come before, leading the reader by turn through an overview of foundational ideas such as frames of reference, revelatory examples of time dilation and its attendant principles, an example-based exploration of relativity, and explanations of how and why gravity and spacetime are linked. By demonstrating relativity with practical applications, Styer teaches us to truly understand and appreciate its importance, beauty, and usefulness.Featuring worked and end-of-chapter problems and illustrated, nontechnical explanations of core concepts, while dotted throughout with questions and answers, puzzles, and paradoxes, Relativity for the Questioning Mind is an enjoyable-to-read, complete, concise introduction to one of the most important scientific theories yet discovered. The appendixes provide helpful hints, basic answers to the sample problems, and materials to stimulate further exploration. (shrink)
The funeral tradition of the Torajan people is one of the most recognised funeral traditions in the world, a part of Indonesia’s rich indigenous knowledge. However, this particular tradition has been in decline over time because of the alienation caused by the spreading of Christianity. This research aimed to reinterpret metaphysical anthropology of the funeral tradition of the Torajan people using the concept of the sleeping soul from the narration of Jesus in Mark 5:35–42 and Daniel 12:1–3. The research (...) used a qualitative approach with theological and ethnographic research types. The results of this study reveal that the concept of the sleeping soul in the biblical view can reinterpret metaphysical anthropology in the funeral tradition of the Torajan people as follows: souls are eternal in the process of death, souls of the deceased are helpless and the sleeping soul is an eschatological hope for Christianity and Torajan people.Contribution: The aim of this research is to find a Christian metaphysical anthropology doctrine that is cordial to the funeral tradition of the Torajan people. The relationship between the two is that they have the same way of appreciating human existence metaphysically. This finding contributes to Christianity in the preservation of Torajan culture. (shrink)
Plimpton 322 is one of the most sophisticated and interesting mathematical objects from antiquity. It is often regarded as teacher’s list of school problems, however new analysis suggests that it relates to a particular geometric problem in contemporary surveying.
The traditional understanding of abstraction operates on the basis of the assumption that only entities are subject to thought processes in which particulars are disregarded and commonalities are lifted out (the so-called method of genus proximum and differentia specifica). On this basis Frege criticized the notion of abstraction and convincingly argued that (this kind of) “entitary- directed” abstraction can never provide us with any numbers. However, Frege did not consider the alternative of “property- abstraction.” In this article an argument for (...) this alternative kind of abstraction is formulated by introducing a notion of the “modal universality” of the arithmetical and by developing it in terms of the distinction between type-laws (laws for entities – applicable to a limited class of entities) and modal laws (obtaining for every possible entity without any restriction). In order to substantiate this argument a case is made for the acceptance of an ontic foundation for the arithmetical (and other modes or functions of reality – with special reference to Cassirer, Bernays, Gödel and Wang), which, in the final section, serves to give an ontological account of (i) the connections between the arithmetical and other aspects of reality and (ii) the applicabality of arithmetic. In the course of the argument the impasse of logicism is briefly highlighted, while a few remarks are made with regard to the logical subject- object relation in connection with Frege's view that number attaches to a concept. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.22(1) 2003: 63-80. (shrink)
One of the dominant traditions in normative ethics is characterised by the attempt to develop a comprehensive moral theory that can distinguish right from wrong in a range of cases by drawing on a philosophical account of the good. Familiar versions of consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics have emerged from this tradition. Yet such theories often seem to lack the resources needed to evaluate the broader contexts in which moral dilemmas arise, which may cause them to encourage moral complicity. Context-insensitive (...) complicity of this sort receives surprisingly little direct philosophical attention, despite its being a ubiquitous concern for ordinary moral agents and despite the threat it poses to this form of ethical theorising. The present paper sketches the problem more formally and canvasses some leading responses before locating its source in the implicit distinction between moral and non-moral domains at the root of much traditional normative theorising. (shrink)
Much work in contemporary philosophy of mind and neurophilosophy hinges on the concept of ‘representation,’ but that concept inherits a problematic ambiguity from neuroscience, where scientists may distinguish between cognitive and physiological levels of representation only tacitly. First, I explicate two potentially distinct senses of representation corresponding to these levels. I then argue that ambiguity about the nature of representation in philosophy of mind is problematic for at least one prominent philosophical project that aims to use neuroscientific work on representation (...) to defend the existence or explanatory relevance of intentional mental states, namely Schroeder’s (2004) scientific explication of desire in terms of the neurobiology of reward. I argue that philosophical treatments of the relationship between cognitive and neural architecture must attend more carefully to the ambiguity in the concept of representation. I conclude by outlining a strategy for addressing the gap between levels of representation, one that privileges a local or narrow philosophical approach to interpreting scientific concepts and data over a global or general approach. (shrink)
What is the proper content of a course in professional ethics, such as business ethics, engineering ethics, or medical ethics? Though courses in professional ethics have been present in colleges and universities for decades, the question remains largely unsettled, even among philosophers. This state of affairs helps to sustain and even exacerbate public misconceptions about ethics and professional ethical training in higher education. I argue that the proper content of such courses remains a potential source of confusion because the term (...) ‘ethics’ is ambiguous between philosophical and nonphilosophical forms of normative inquiry into behavior, where the former involves broad, context-sensitive reflection on moral obligation, and the latter involves the narrower analysis and codification of behavioral norms with less sensitivity to context. Failure to distinguish between these two senses of ethics can result in conflicting conceptions of and expectations for training and courses in professional ethics. I sketch some of the specific problems generated by the ambiguity. I conclude by proposing an initial step toward a solution, one which focuses on making more explicit the distinction between courses that aim to teach professional policy and “best practices” and those that encourage genuine philosophical inquiry into morality and the good life. (shrink)
Philosophy courses are now regularly under fire from educators, administrators, politicians, and financially overextended students and parents demanding shorter and more economically fruitful college degree programs in a climate of economic austerity. Yet, perhaps in the face of a number of high- profile ethical violations in the business and professional world, many of these groups have been calling for more, and more effective, pre- and professional ethics education. This paradoxical call for more ethics and less philosophy is finding unlikely support (...) from a number of academic philosophers who ar- gue that traditional forms of ethics education, which emphasize reflection on abstract normative theories and principles, ought to be replaced with more practical ethics courses that emphasize real-world moral training and which focus on shaping character and behavioral dispositions. I examine this trend toward practical ethics education and argue that it wrongly decouples rational- ity and moral motivation, threatens to erode a crucial distinction between ethics and policy, and contributes to widespread misunderstanding of the nature of ethics. (shrink)
When making inferences about similar others, people anchor and adjust away from themselves. However, research on relational self theory suggests the possibility of using knowledge about others as an anchor when they are more similar to a target. We investigated whether social inferences are made on the basis of significant other knowledge through an anchoring and adjustment process, and whether anchoring on a significant other is more effortful than anchoring on the self. Participants answered questions about their likes and habits, (...) as well as the likes and habits of a significant other, a target similar to their significant other, and a yoked control. We found that prediction differences between the significant other and similar target led to longer response times, and we found the opposite effect for self and target differences, suggesting anchoring and adjustment from the significant other rather than the self. These effects were moderated by the source-relative salience of the dimension being evaluated. The evidence was mixed with respect to the question of whether anchoring on a significant other is more effortful than anchoring on the self. (shrink)
Because Gadamer is very sensitive to the role of history, tradition and authority within human life, the overall intention of this article will be to unveil major elements of modern philosophy which exerted an influence upon his thought. In this sense it can be seen as applying his notion of 'Wirkungsgeschichte' to an assessment of certain aspects of his own thought. Particularly in his view on causality and history Gadamer illustrates the intimate connection of his thought with the dialectics of (...) nature and freedom. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.21(4) 2002: 291-305. (shrink)
By taking serious a remark once made by Paul Bernays, namely that an account of the nature of rationality should begin with concept-formation, this article sets out to uncover both the restrictive and the expansive boundaries of rationality. In order to do this some implications of the perennial philosophical problem of the “coherence of irreducibles” will be related to the acknowledgement of primitive terms and of their indefinability. Some critical remarks will be articulated in connection with an over-estimation of rationality (...) – concerning the influence of Kant's view of human understanding as the formal law-giver of nature (the supposedly “rational structure of the world”), and the apparently innocent (subjectivist) habit to refer to experiential entities as 'objects'. The other side of the coin will be highlighted with reference to those kinds of knowledge transcending the limits of concept-formation – culminating in formulating the four most basic idea-statements philosophy can articulate about the universe. What is found “in-between” these (restrictive) and (expansive) boundaries of rationality will then briefly be placed within the contours of a threefold perspective on the self-insufficiency of logicality – as merely one amongst many more dimensions conditioning human life. Although the meaning of the most basic logical principles – such as the logical principles of identity, non-contradiction and sufficient reason – will surface in our analysis, exploring some of the complex issues in this respect, such as the relationship between thought and language, will not be analysed. The important role of solidarity – as the basis of critique – will be explained and related both to the role of immanent criticism in rational conversation and the importance of acknowledging what is designated as the principle of the excluded antinomy (which in an ontic sense underlies the logical principle of non-contradiction). The last section of our discussion will succinctly illuminate the proper place of the inevitable trust we ought to have in rationality – while implicitly warning against the rationalistic over-estimation of it (its degeneration into a rationalist “faith in reason”). Our intention is to enhance an awareness of the reality that rationality is embedded in and borders on givens which are not open to further “rational” exploration – givens that both condition (in a constitutive sense) and transcend the limits of conceptual knowledge. Some of the distinctions and insights operative in our analysis are explained in Strauss 2000 and 2003. Yet, most of the systematic perspectives found in this analysis of rationality are only developed in this article for the first time. Since a different study is required to discuss related problems and results found within cognitive science, it cannot be discussed within one article. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.22(3) 2003: 247–266. (shrink)
The interrelationships among a number of variables and their effect on ethical decision making was explored. Teams of students and managers participated in a competitive management simulation. Based on prior research, the effects of performance, environmental change, team age, and type of team on the level of ethical behavior were hypothesized. The findings indicate that multiple variables may interact in such a fashion that significance is lost.
The Systems Theory is a complex theory (yet it is not identical to recent theories of complexity). The intention of this qualification is to demonstrate that the concept of a system is a complex basic concept of scientific thinking. This means that it is defined in terms of various elementary basic concepts brought together in its explication. The definition given by Von Bertalanffy to the concept of a system employs conceptual elements coming from at least five prominent conceptual clusters. In (...) order to highlight the nature and interrelations between these clusters this article focuses upon perennial philosophical issues which present themselves within the definition of a system. They are those of stability and change, the one and the many (unity and multiplicity), the whole and its parts, and the relation between the material and the vital. An analysis of the interrelations between these clusters provides the basis for an assessment of the scope and limitations Von Bertalanffy's concept of a system. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.21(3) 2002: 163-179. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This paper discusses competing notions of the concept of ‘order’ in the Admonition Controversy with respect to the interpretation of the decorum of 1 Corinthians 14:26-30, a text principally concerned with order in worship. As the controversy ensued the understanding of ‘order’ broadened to include church discipline and polity, both Puritan and Conformist alike constructed their polemic with a rhetorical appeal to the Pauline text in question-interpretations at odds with each other. Furthermore, both sides understood their interpretation as standing (...) faithfully in the tradition of Calvin. This paper follows the appeals to 1 Corinthians 14:26-40 by Advanced Protestants and Conformists from its use in the treatise ‘Of Ceremonies’ found in the Book of Common Prayer, through the Admonition to the Parliament, the responses of John Whitgift and Thomas Cartwright, and finally Richard Hooker’s Preface to the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie. (shrink)