Similarity and difference, patterns of variation, consistency and coherence: these are the reference points of the philosopher. Understanding experience, exploring ideas through particular instantiations, novel and innovative thinking: these are the reference points of the artist. However, at certain points in the proceedings of our Symposium titled, Next to Nothing: Art as Performance, this characterisation of philosopher and artist respectively might have been construed the other way around. The commentator/philosophers referenced their philosophical interests through the particular examples/instantiations created by the (...) artist and in virtue of which they were then able to engage with novel and innovative thinking. From the artists’ presentations, on the other hand, emerged a series of contrasts within which philosophical and artistic ideas resonated. This interface of philosopher-artist bore witness to the fact that just as art approaches philosophy in providing its own analysis, philosophy approaches art in being a co-creator of art’s meaning. In what follows, we discuss the conception of philosophy-art that emerged from the Symposium, and the methodological minimalism which we employed in order to achieve it. We conclude by drawing out an implication of the Symposium’s achievement which is that a counterpoint to Institutional theories of art may well be the point from which future directions will take hold, if philosophy-art gains traction. (shrink)
'At last one of the most famous generalizing works in anthropology by the field's most stimulating and controversial contemporary figure has been translated, beautifully, and with the enlightening preface of the second French edition.
Some argue for materialism claiming that a physical event cannot have a non-physical cause, or by claiming the 'Principle of Causal Closure' to be true. This I call a 'Sweeping Naturalistic Argument'. This article argues against this. It describes what it would be for a material event to have an immaterial cause.
Trope ontology is exposed and confronted with the question where one trope ends and another begins. It is argued that tropes do not have determinate boundaries, it is arbitrary how tropes are carved up. An ontology, which I call field ontology, is proposed which takes this into account. The material world consists of a certain number of fields, each of which is extended over all of space. It is shown how field ontology can also tackle the problem of determin-able properties (...) and the problem of completeness of things. (shrink)
The dilemma of free will is that if actions are caused deterministically, then they are not free, and if they are not caused deterministically then they are not free either because then they happen by chance and are not up to the agent. I propose a conception of free will that solves this dilemma. It can be called agent causation but it differs from what Chisholm and others have called so.
Although many philosophers today have turned away slightly from the linguistic turn, their methods, e.g. conceptual analysis, are still linguistic. These methods lead to false results. The right method in philosophy, like in other disciplines, is to try to perceive the object and to collect and weigh evidence. We must turn back to things in themselves.
This paper argues that there are true synthetic modal claims and that modal questions in philosophy in general are to be interpreted not in terms of logical necessity but in terms of syn- thetic necessity. I begin by sketching the debate about modality between logical empiricism and phenomenology. Logical empiri- cism taught us to equate being tautological with being necessary. The now common view is that tautologies are necessary in the narrow sense but that there is also necessity in a (...) wider sense. I argue against this that we should distinguish analyticity and necessity more strictly. (shrink)
A theory of causation with ‘tendencies’ as causal con- nections is proposed. Not, however, as ‘necessary connec- tions’: causes are not sufficient, they do not necessitate their effects. The theory is not an analysis of the concept of causation, but a description of what is the case in typical cases of causation. Therefore it does not strictly contradict any analysis of the concept of causation, not even reduct- ive ones. It would even be supported by a counterfactual or a probabilistic (...) analysis. (shrink)
While other philosophers have pointed out that Libet’s experiment is compatible with compatibilist free will and also with some kinds of libertarian free will, this article ar- gues that it is even compatible with strong libertarian free will, i.e. a person’s ability to initiate causal processes. It is widely believed that Libet’s experiment has shown that all our actions have preceding unconscious causes. This article argues that Libet’s claim that the actions he invest- igated are voluntary is false. They are (...) urges, and there- fore the experiment shows at most that our urges have preceding unconscious causes, which is what also strong libertarianism leads us to expect. Further, Libet’s correct observation that we can veto urges undermines his claim that our actions are initiated unconsciously and supports the thesis that we have strong libertarian free will. (shrink)
This article argues against Benjamin Libet’s claim that his experiment has shown that our actions are caused by brain events which begin before we decide and before we even think about the action. It assumes, contra the com- patibilists and pro Libet, that this claim is incompatible with free will. It clarifies what exactly should be meant by saying that the readiness potential causes, initiates, or pre- pares an action. It shows why Libet’s experiment does not support his claim and (...) why the experiments by Herrmann et al. and by Trevena & Miller provide evidence against it. The empirical evidence is compatible with strong liber- tarian free will. Neither the readiness potential nor the lateralized readiness potential causes our actions. (shrink)
This article argues that there is a great divide between semantics and metaphysics. Much of what is called metaphysics today is still stuck in the linguistic turn. This is illustrated by showing how Fraser MacBride misunderstands David Armstrong's theory of modality.
If God brings about an event in the universe, does it have a preceding cause? For example, if the universe began with the Big Bang and if God brought it about, did the Big Bang then have a preceding cause? The standard answer is: yes, it was caused by a divine willing. I propose an alternative view: God’s actions, unlike human actions, are not initiated by willings, undertakings, or volitions, but God brings about the intended event directly. Presenting a solution (...) to the dilemma of free will I explain what ‘bringing about directly’ means and show that the question of what an action begins with is distinct from the question whether it is a basic action. (shrink)
Branden Thornhill-Miller and Peter Millican as well as Janusz Salomon put forward versions of supernaturalism that avoid the existence of a religion which alone provides the true revelation and the only way to salvation and which teaches that God acted in this world. Their rejection of revealed, exclusive religion is based on an argument from religious diversity and an argument from natural explanations of religious phenomena. These two together form the "common-core/diversity dilemma". In this article I refute these two arguments (...) by arguing that explaining the origin of belief in supernatural agents does not provide a reason for not believing in the existence of supernatural agents. (shrink)
Lee and Schwarz propose that grounded procedures can also be related to connection rather than separation. Drawing on consumer behavior research, we point to different grounded procedures of connection – in terms of the motor actions involved, their salient properties, and their motivational conditions – and discuss how procedures of separation may be affected by the procedures of connection that precede them.
Visual and cognitive skills are key to successful functioning in highly demanding settings such as elite sports. However, their mutual influence and interdependencies are not sufficiently understood yet. This cross-sectional study examined the relationship between visual skills and executive functions in elite soccer players. Fifty-nine male elite soccer players performed tests assessing visual clarity, contrast sensitivity, near-far quickness, and hand-eye coordination. Executive function measures included working memory capacity, cognitive flexibility, inhibition and selective attention. Overall, visual abilities were largely correlated with (...) executive functions. Near-far quickness performance showed a large correlation with an executive function total score as well as with cognitive flexibility, working memory, and especially selective attention. Visual clarity and contrast sensitivity were moderately correlated with the cognition total score. Most consistent correlations with the visual functions were present for working memory. These findings present an overall vision-cognition relationship but also very specific linkages among subcategories of these functions, especially meaningful relations between near-far quickness, selective attention and cognitive flexibility. Further studies are needed to investigate the neuropsychological mechanisms accounting for the correlations and possible improvements of the executive functions by training specific visual skills. (shrink)
Dance provides natural conditions for studying relationships between coordination patterns and human experience. von Zimmermann and colleagues investigate whether relatively simple or more complex forms of movement coordination are related to pro‐social experiences during group dance. They find that pro‐social experience depends on the degree to which movement patterns are distributed and diversified, but not the degree to which movement patterns are simply unitary.
Isabelle Stengers’ cosmopolitical proposal is an influential attempt by a European philosopher to transform the burdensome legacy of Western thought. Reconsidering her comprehensive engagement with the cosmology of the British mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, this article reveals two concepts as foundational to Stengers’ cosmopolitics: civilization and commerce. While not usually associated with a critical political theory, in her development of what we call a commercial political ontology, Stengers explores the modes of inheriting these ostracized notions. By tracing the (...) genealogy of this political ontology back to Pericles’ first explicit defense of persuasion as a requisite for civilization, we argue that Pericles’ famous funeral oration provides the structure for Whitehead’s cosmology, and, ultimately, Stengers’ cosmopolitics. As such, we understand her cosmopolitical proposal as a dress rehearsal of a funeral eulogy for bourgeois society. (shrink)