My purpose in this article is to revisit an issue concerning the state of undisturbedness or tranquility (ἀταραξία) in ancient Pyrrhonism as this skeptical stance is depicted in Sextus Empiricus’s extant works. The issue in question is whether both the pursuit and the attainment of undisturbedness in matters of opinion should be regarded as defining features of Pyrrhonism not merely from a systematic standpoint that examines Pyrrhonism as a kind of philosophy, but mainly according to Sextus’s own account of that (...) skeptical stance. In exploring this issue, I will develop an interpretation defended in previous work, responding to some objections, discussing alternative interpretations, offering further textual support, and putting forward new arguments. It is my contention that examining whether both the pursuit and the attainment of undisturbedness in matters of opinion are essential to Pyrrhonism will make it possible to gain a more accurate understanding of this brand of skepticism. (shrink)
This paper argues for the following three claims. First, the Agrippan mode from disagreement does not play a secondary role in inducing suspension of judgment. Second, the Pyrrhonist is not committed to the criteria of justification underlying the Five Modes of Agrippa, which nonetheless does not prevent him from non-doxastically assenting to them. And third, some recent objections to Agrippan Pyrrhonism raised by analytic epistemologists and experimental philosophers fail to appreciate the Pyrrhonist's ad hominem style of argumentation and the real (...) challenge posed by the mode from disagreement. (shrink)
Suppose that a team of neurosurgeons and bioengineers were able to remove your brain from your body, suspend it in a life-sustaining vat of liquid nutrients, and connect its neurons and nerve terminals by wires to a supercomputer that would stimulate it with electrical impulses exactly like those it normally receives when embodied. According to this brain-in-a-vat thought experiment, your envatted brain and your embodied brain would have subjectively indistinguishable mental lives. For all you know—so one argument goes—you could be (...) such a brain in a vat right now.1 Daniel Dennett calls this sort of philosophical thought experiment an “intuition pump” (Dennett 1995). An intuition pump is designed to elicit certain intuitive convictions, but is not itself a proper argument: “intuition pumps are fine if they’re used correctly, but they can also be misused. They’re not arguments, they’re stories. Instead of having a conclusion, they pump an intuition. They get you to say ‘Aha! Oh, I get it!’ (Dennett 1995, p. 182). Philosophers have used the brain-in-a-vat story mainly to raise the problem of radical skepticism and to elicit various intuitions about meaning and knowledge (Putnam 1981). The basic intuition the story tries to pump is that the envatted brain, though fully conscious, has systematically false beliefs about the world, including itself. Some philosophers reject this intuition. They propose that the envatted brain’s beliefs are really about its artificial environment or that it.. (shrink)
The purpose of the present paper is twofold. First, to examine what beliefs, if any, underlie (a) the Pyrrhonist’s desire for ataraxia and his account of how this state may be attained, and (b) his philanthropic therapy, which seeks to induce, by argument, ejpochv and ataraxia in the Dogmatists. Second, to determine whether the Pyrrhonist’s philanthropy and his search for and attainment of ataraxia are, as scholars have generally believed, essential aspects of his stance.
Pyrrhonism was one of the two main ancient skeptical traditions. In this second paper of the three‐part series devoted to ancient skepticism, I present and discuss some of the issues on Pyrrhonian skepticism which have been the focus of much attention in the recent literature. The topics to be addressed concern the outlooks of Pyrrho, Aenesidemus, and Sextus Empiricus.
The question of whether the Pyrrhonist adheres to certain logical principles, criteria of justification, and inference rules is of central importance for the study of Pyrrhonism. Its significance lies in that, whereas the Pyrrhonist describes his philosophical stance and argues against the Dogmatists by means of what may be considered a rational discourse, adherence to any such principles, criteria, and rules does not seem compatible with the radical character of his skepticism. Hence, if the Pyrrhonist does endorse them, one must (...) conclude that he is inconsistent in his outlook. Despite its import, the question under consideration has not received, in the vast literature on Pyrrhonism of the past three decades, all the attention it deserves. In the present paper, I do not propose to provide a full examination of the Pyrrhonist’s attitude towards rationality, but to focus on the question of whether he endorses the law of non-contradiction (LNC). However, I will also briefly tackle the question of the Pyrrhonist’s outlook on both the canons of rational justification at work in the so-called Five Modes of Agrippa and the logical rules of inference. In addition, given that the LNC is deemed a fundamental principle of rationality, determining the Pyrrhonist’s attitude towards it will allow us to understand his general attitude towards rationality. (shrink)
In this paper, I will argue that Logics of Formal Inconsistency $$ can be used as very sophisticated and powerful methods of classical recapture. I will compare $LFIs$ with the well-known non-monotonic logics by Batens and Priest and the ‘shrieking’ rules of Beall. I will show that these proposals can be represented in $LFIs$ and that $LFIs$ give room to more complex and varied recapturing strategies.
It is generally thought that suspension of judgment about a proposition p is the doxastic attitude one is rationally compelled to adopt whenever the epistemic reasons for and against p are equipollent or equally credible, that is, whenever the total body of available evidence bearing on p epistemically justifies neither belief nor disbelief in p. However, in a recent contribution to this journal, Jan Wieland proposes “to broaden the conditions for suspension, and argue that it is rational to suspend belief (...) on a certain issue even if one’s current evidence is not neutral (or even close to neutral)”. My aim in this paper is to point to a number of problems in Wieland’s position, some of which in connection with the account of Pyrrhonian skepticism found in the extant works of Sextus Empiricus. (shrink)
In On Certainty, Wittgenstein addressed the issue of beliefs that are not to be argued for, either because any grounds we could produce are less certain than the belief they are supposed to ground, or because our interlocutors would not accept our reasons. However, he did not address the closely related issue of justifying a conclusion to interlocutors who do not see that it follows from premises they accept. In fact, Wittgenstein had discussed the issue in the Remarks on the (...) Foundations of Mathematics; his view had been that certain inferential practices are constitutive of our notions of thinking and inferring. I argue that his treatment of unfounded beliefs in On Certainty essentially replicates, mutatis mutandis, his treatment of basic logical inference. (shrink)
This paper explores the notion of reciprocity in the context of active pulmonary and laryngeal tuberculosis treatment and related control policies and practices. We seek to do three things: First, we sketch the background to contemporary global TB care and suggest that poverty is a key feature when considering the treatment of TB patients. We use two examples from TB care to explore the role of reciprocity: isolation and the use of novel TB drugs. Second, we explore alternative means of (...) justifying the use of reciprocity through appeal to different moral and political theoretical traditions. We suggest that each theory can be used to provide reasons to take reciprocity seriously as an independent moral concept, despite any other differences. Third, we explore general meanings and uses of the concept of reciprocity, with the primary intention of demonstrating that it cannot be simply reduced to other more frequently invoked moral concepts such as beneficence or justice. We argue that reciprocity can function as a mid-level principle in public health, and generally, captures a core social obligation arising once an individual or group is burdened as a result of acting for the benefit of others. We conclude that while more needs to be explored in relation to the theoretical justification and application of reciprocity, sufficient arguments can be made for it to be taken more seriously as a key principle within public health ethics and bioethics more generally. (shrink)
Ancient philosophy knew two main skeptical traditions: the Pyrrhonian and the Academic. In this final paper of the three‐part series devoted to ancient skepticism, I present some of the topics about Academic skepticism which have recently been much debated in the specialist literature. I will be concerned with the outlooks of Arcesilaus, Carneades, and Philo of Larissa.
Disagreement is a pervasive feature of human life whose skeptical implications have been emphasized particularly by the ancient Pyrrhonists and by contemporary moral skeptics. Although the connection between disagreement and skepticism is also a focus of analysis in the emerging and burgeoning area of epistemology concerned with the significance of controversy, it has arguably not received the full attention it deserves. The present volume explores for the first time the possible skeptical consequences of disagreement in different areas and from different (...) perspectives, with an emphasis in the current debate over the epistemic impact of disagreement. The thirteen new essays collected here examine the Pyrrhonian approach to disagreement and its relevance to the present epistemological discussions of the topic; the relationship between disagreement and moral realism and antirealism; disagreement-based skeptical arguments in contemporary epistemology; and disagreement and the possibility of philosophical knowledge and justified belief. Given the ever-growing interest in both the significance of disagreement and the challenge of skepticism, this volume makes a new contribution by conjugating two important trends in current philosophical research. (shrink)
Such contradictions arise “at the limits of thought” in the following sense: we have reason to set boundaries to certain conceptual processes, which, however, turn out to actually cross those boundaries. The boundaries cannot be crossed, yet they can, for they are crossed. For example, Kant regarded noumena as beyond the limit of the conceivable, yet he made judgments about them, so he did conceive of them. For another example, Russell’s theory of types cannot be expressed, yet he does express (...) it. And so on, from Aristotle’s notion of prime matter to Derrida’s différance. The boundaries that cannot be but are crossed may concern iteration, expression, cognition, or conception. In most cases, a single argument pattern is operative, according to Priest. He calls it the Inclosure Schema [=IS]. It is a contradiction-generating mechanism that works as follows: suppose we define a set Ω, on the basis of a condition φ ); suppose that Ω exists and that it has property ψ. Next, suppose we can define a function δ such that, for any subset x of Ω that has property ψ, we have both δ ∉ x and δ ∈ Ω. As Ω is a subset of itself and it has ψ by hypothesis, a contradiction follows: both δ ∈ Ω and δ ∉ Ω. The two sides of the contradiction—or perhaps the operations by which they are established—are called Closure and Transcendence. ). For example, take Burali Forti’s paradox that is greater than all members of On, and therefore not an ordinal). Here Ω = On, and δ is the function that assigns to x the least ordinal greater than all members of x is both an ordinal—δ ∈ Ω, “Closure”—and not a member of x ). The condition φ is just the property of being an ordinal. (shrink)
Skepticism: From Antiquity to the Present is an authoritative and up-to-date survey of the entire history of skepticism. Divided chronologically into ancient, medieval, renaissance, modern, and contemporary periods, and featuring 50 specially-commissioned chapters from leading philosophers, this comprehensive volume is the first of its kind.
cal basis of consciousness. We continue by discussing the relation between spatiotem- One of the outstanding problems in the cog- poral patterns of brain activity and con- nitive sciences is to understand how ongo- sciousness, with particular attention to pro- ing conscious experience is related to the cesses in the gamma frequency band. We workings of the brain and nervous system. then adopt a critical perspective and high-.
What does autonomy mean from a moral point of view? Throughout Western history, autonomy has had no less than four different meanings. The first is political: the capacity of old cities and modern states to give themselves their own laws. The second is metaphysical, and was introduced by Kant in the second half of the 18th century. In this meaning, autonomy is understood as an intrinsic characteristic of all rational beings. Opposed to this is the legal meaning, in which actions (...) are called autonomous when performed with due information and competency and without coercion. This last meaning, the most frequently used in bioethics, is primarily legal instead of moral. Is there a proper moral meaning of the word autonomy? If so, this would be a fourth meaning. Acts can only be called moral when they are postconventional (using the terminology coined by Lawrence Kohlberg), inner-directed (as expressed by David Riesman), and responsible (according to Hannah Arendt). Such acts are autonomous in this new, fourth, and to my mind, the only one proper, moral meaning. The goal of ethics cannot be other than forming human beings capable of making autonomous and responsible decisions, and doing so because they think this is their duty and not because of any other nonmoral motivation, like comfort, convenience, or satisfaction. The goal of ethics is to promote postconventional and mature human beings. This was what Socrates tried to do with the young people of Athens. And it is also the objective of every course of ethics and of any process of training. (shrink)
In his account of Pyrrhonism, Sextus Empiricus talks about the disturbance concerning matters of opinion that afflicts his dogmatic rivals and that he himself was afflicted by before his conversion to Pyrrhonism. The aim of the present paper is to identify the distinct sources of doxastic disturbance that can be found in that account, and to determine whether and, if so, how they are related. The thesis to be defended is that it is possible to discern three sources of doxastic (...) disturbance and that two of them are to be explained by reference to the third, which is the real cause of mental distress. The paper also considers whether the thesis in question entails that there is no reason for the Pyrrhonist to suspend judgment across the board, but only to suspend judgment about evaluative matters. (shrink)
Society increasingly demands corporations to be accountable for their past misbehaviours. Some corporations engage in forgetting work with the aim of avoiding responsibility for their wrongdoings. We argue that whenever social actors have their past actions called into question and engage in forgetting work, an ethics of remembering takes place. A collective project of social forgetting is contingent on the emergence of coordinated actions among players of an industry. Similarly, sustained efforts of forgetting work depend on the continuity of the (...) project through various generations of employees, which presumes the existence of frameworks of remembering in place. We analysed this paradox through a historical case study of the U.S. tobacco industry. We conclude that forgetting work may be a double-edged sword. It might be beneficial in the short run, to the extent that corporations can successfully maintain the public ignorance about their deceitful pasts. In the long run, however, it creates additional layers of historical irresponsibility and may turn into a compounded liability in the event the memory of the collective strategy of social forgetting becomes public. (shrink)
An objection that has been raised to the conciliatory stance on the epistemic significance of peer disagreement known as the Equal Weight View is that it is self-defeating, self-undermining, or self-refuting. The proponent of that view claims that equal weight should be given to all the parties to a peer dispute. Hence, if one of his epistemic peers defends the opposite view, he is required to give equal weight to the two rival views, thereby undermining his confidence in the correctness (...) of the Equal Weight View. It seems that the same objection could be leveled against those who claim to suspend judgment in the face of pervasive unresolvable disagreements, as do the Pyrrhonian skeptics. In this paper, I explore the kind of response to the objection that could be offered from a neo-Pyrrhonian perspective, with the aim of better understanding the intriguing character of Pyrrhonian skepticism. (shrink)
. David Chalmerss version of two-dimensional semantics is an attempt at setting up a unified semantic framework that would vindicate both the Fregean and the Kripkean semantic intuitions. I claim that there are three acceptable ways of carrying out such a project, and that Chalmerss theory does not coherently fit any of the three patterns. I suggest that the theory may be seen as pointing to the possibility of a double reading for many linguistic expressions (a double reading which, however, (...) is not easily identified with straightforward semantic ambiguity). (shrink)
In this article I first sketch what I take to be two Quinean arguments for the continuity of philosophy with science. After examining Wittgenstein’s reasons for not accepting the arguments, I conclude that they are ineffective on Wittgenstein’s assumptions. Next, I ask three related questions: Where do Quine’s and Wittgenstein’s philosophical views essentially diverge? Did Wittgenstein have an argument against the continuity of science with philosophy? Did Wittgenstein believe until the end of his philosophical career that scientific results are philosophically (...) irrelevant? It will be seen that all three questions are related with Wittgenstein’s distinction between conceptual and factual issues. I conclude that the opposition between Quinean philosophy and Wittgensteinian philosophy is genuine. (shrink)
Accelerated changes to the planet have created novel spaces to re-imagine the boundaries and foci of environmental health research. Climate change, mass species extinction, ocean acidification, biogeochemical disturbance, and other emergent environmental issues have precipitated new population health perspectives, including, but not limited to, one health, ecohealth, and planetary health. These perspectives, while nuanced, all attempt to reconcile broad global challenges with localized health impacts by attending to the reciprocal relationships between the health of ecosystems, animals, and humans. While such (...) innovation is to be encouraged, we argue that a more comprehensive engagement with the ethics of these emerging fields of inquiry will add value in terms of the significance and impact of associated interventions. In this contribution, we highlight how the concept of spatial and temporal scale can be usefully deployed to shed light on a variety of ethical issues common to emerging environmental health perspectives, and that the potential of scalar analysis implicit to van Potter’s conceptualization of bioethics has yet to be fully appreciated. Specifically, we identify how scale interacts with key ethical issues that require consideration and clarification by one health, ecohealth, and planetary health researchers and practitioners to enhance the effectiveness of research and practice, including justice and governance. (shrink)
In his Pyrrhonian Outlines , Sextus Empiricus employs an argument based upon the possibility of disagreement in order to show that one should not assent to a Dogmatic claim to which at present one cannot oppose a rival claim. The use of this argument seems to be at variance with the Pyrrhonian stance, both because it does not seem to accord with the definition of Skepticism and because the argument appears to entail that the search for truth is doomed to (...) failure. In the present paper, I examine the passages in which Sextus utilizes the argument from possible disagreement and offer an interpretation that makes the use of this argument compatible with the Pyrrhonian outlook. (shrink)
La présente étude a deux objectifs. Le premier est d’examiner les différentes formulations de l’objection de l’ἀπραξία telle qu’elle fut soulevée contre le scepticisme académicien et le pyrrhonisme, ainsi que les réponses à cette objection proposées par Arcésilas et Sextus Empiricus. Le second objectif consiste à évaluer la force de la version de l’objection de l’ἀπραξία selon laquelle le sceptique ne peut réaliser les actions rationnelles propres à l’être humain.
Scholarship on ancient Pyrrhonism has made tremendous advances over the past three decades, thanks especially to the careful reexamination of Sextus Empiricus’ extant corpus. Building on this momentum, the authors of the eight essays collected here examine some of the most vexed and intriguing exegetical and philosophical questions posed by Sextus’ presentation of this form of skepticism. The essays explore in a new light the skeptical interpretation of Plato, the differences between Pyrrhonism and Cyrenaicism, the Pyrrhonist’s stance on ordinary life, (...) religion, language, and ethics, Sextus’ discussion of our access to our own mental states, and the relationship between Pyrrhonism and epistemic internalism and externalism. These new essays represent a substantial contribution to the advancement of scholarship on Pyrrhonian skepticism. (shrink)
Reconstructing some of the experiences of people living with tuberculosis in Argentina in the first half of the twentieth century, as reflected not only in written and oral accounts but also in individual and collective actions, this article explores the ways in which patients came to grips with medical expertise in times of biomedical uncertainty. These negotiations, which inevitably included adaptations as well as confrontations, highlight a much less passive and submissive patient–physician relationship than is often assumed. Though patients were (...) certainly subordinate to medical doctors’ knowledge and practices, that subordination, far from absolute, was limited and often overthrown. The article focuses on patients’ demands to gain access to a vaccine not approved by the medical establishment. By engaging with media organizations, the sick invoked their “right to health” in order to obtain access to experimental treatments when biomedicine was unable to deliver efficient therapies. (shrink)
In this paper, I critically engage with Casey Perin's interpretation of Sextan Pyrrhonism in his book, The Demands of Reason: An Essay on Pyrrhonian Scepticism. From an approach that is both exegetical and systematic, I explore a number of issues concerning the Pyrrhonist's inquiry into truth, his alleged commitment to the canons of rationality, and his response to the apraxia objection.
It is sometimes claimed that conciliatory views on disagreement ultimately lead to either global or widespread scepticism. This is deemed to be a serious problem for conciliationism either because scepticism of either kind is a patently untenable stance or because it poses a serious threat to our intellectual and social lives. In this paper, I first argue that the alleged untenability of both types of scepticism is far from being obvious and should therefore be established rather than taken for granted, (...) and then that those who reject them because of the threat they pose surprisingly confuse pragmatic reasons with epistemic reasons. (shrink)
In this introductory chapter, I first offer an overview of the two themes addressed in the present collection - namely, disagreement and skepticism - and their connection, then present the purpose and content of the volume.
The article examines two digital phenomena linked to money and finance, which are the bitcoin and high-frequency trading, through the lens of Vilém Flusser’s concept of technical image. Flusser’s theory highlights three aspects of technical images: they are engendered by the act of organizing particles, are produced by people who operate devices through keys, and are mediated by code, which is linear and pertains to the era of written text, which Flusser conflates with the notion of history. In this article, (...) the argument focuses on the aspects of high-frequency trading and the blockchain that relate to the idea of images. The sections investigate how money has historically operated in the logic of Flusser’s description of symbol manipulation in relation to consciousness and temporality: from the circular time of magical consciousness to the linear time of historical consciousness, and more recently, to the non-dimensional time of post-historical consciousness. The article argues that there are two levels, or layers, in the images involved in cryptocurrencies or algorithmic trading, but only one of them is visible to the human operator or viewer, in the form of a price. The other, which indeed represents the operations in the system, is only accessible to the machines themselves. The questions raised concern the role of these recent digital financial and monetary forms in the development of a reality dominated by apparatuses and technical images. (shrink)
Este trabalho tem por objetivo a compreensão da ação em Aristóteles. Para este fim será utilizado o livro III da Ética a Nicômaco, passando antes por uma breve definição da virtude, tal como aparece no livro II, a qual, pode-se dizer ser o bem para a ação, na medida em que é aquilo que se deve alcançar com ela. No campo específico da ação será visto como ela pode ser distinguida entre voluntária, involuntária e não-voluntária. Neste espectro insere-se igualmente a (...) discussão sobre o que significa agir por e na ignorância. Além disso, se abordará também a questão relacionada à deliberação e à escolha.: This study aims to understand the action in Aristotle. For this purpose, we will use the book III of the Nicomachean Ethics, after doing a brief definition of virtue, as it appears in the Book II, which can be said to be the good for the action, as that is what should be reached by her. In the specific field of action, it will be seen how she can be distinguished between voluntary, involuntary and non-voluntary. This spectrum is also part of the discussion about what it means to act by and in the ignorance. In addition, the study will also address the issue related to deliberation and choice. Keywords: Deliberation, Choice, Action, Nicomachean Ethics. (shrink)
My purpose in this paper is to examine whether Pyrrhonian skepticism, as this stance is described in Sextus Empiricus’s extant works, has practical or epistemic value. More precisely, I would like to consider whether the Pyrrhonist’s suspension of judgment (ἐποχή) and undisturbedness (ἀταραξία) can be deemed to be of practical or epistemic value. By ‘practical’ value I mean both moral value and prudential value. Moral value refers to moral rightness and wrongness; prudential value to the value of well-being, personal or (...) social. Hence, when I ask whether the Pyrrhonist’s suspension and undisturbedness have practical value, I mean whether they make us behave in a manner that is morally right or wrong, and whether they allow us to attain those goals that would make it possible to live well. As for ‘epistemic’ value, it refers basically to the values of attaining truth and avoiding error. Hence, when I ask whether the Pyrrhonist’s suspension has epistemic value, I mean whether it allows us to attain truth and avoid error. My main focus will be the practical value of both suspension and undisturbedness because this is the value on which ancient philosophy scholars critical of Pyrrhonism have laid emphasis. The reason for examining the epistemic value of suspension is that doing so will enable a fuller assessment of the significance of Pyrrhonism as a kind of philosophy, which is my primary concern. (shrink)
This paper approaches the current epistemological debate on peer disagreement from a neo-Pyrrhonian perspective, thus adopting a form of skepticism which is more radical than those discussed in the literature. It makes use of argumentative strategies found in ancient Pyrrhonism both to show that such a debate rests on problematic assumptions and to block some maneuvers intended to offer an efficacious way of settling a considerable number of peer disputes. The essay takes issue with three views held in the peer (...) disagreement debate: there is an objective fact of the matter about at least most controversial questions; we possess theory-neutral evidence bearing on those questions which grants us access to the truth of the matter; and many peer controversies are resolved by attending to which disputant has correctly evaluated the objective evidence. With respect to the first two views, it is argued that the belief in both objective facts and theory-neutral evidence is subject to fierce dispute, and should not therefore be taken for granted in the discussion of peer disagreement. As for the third view, it is argued that from either a first- or a third-person perspective, there seems to be epistemic symmetry between the disputants which makes it necessary to suspend judgment. (shrink)
Human dignity is making a comeback. The essay focuses on the story that this comeback of human dignity presupposes and recasts. In that story, the “human family” is portrayed in terms of aristocratic dignitas. The consequences are twofold: human dignity is co-implicated with the de-animalization of the human being; once de-animalization is introduced, the story of human dignity cultivates an aristocratic sense of elevation of the human over other species, or what I will call “species aristocratism.” The fact that a (...) new kind of aristocratism based on species emerges from the story of human dignity should concern us, I suggest, because it not only confronts us with unintended consequences of relying on human dignity as the foundation of human rights but also invites us to rethink our contemporary egalitarian, democratic ethos, understood as aristocracy for all. (shrink)
This article suggests that humanism is a decisionism in contemporary critical political theory. Despite obvious and multiple differences, leading critical theorists like Giorgio Agamben, Slavoj Žižek, Eric Santner, and Jürgen Habermas, among others, share an investment in stabilizing the human being as a ground of the political. This stabilization of the human should concern political theorists, as this article argues, because it uncritically reproduces conceptual affinities between the notion of the human being and sovereign authority. By investing in the stability (...) and centrality of the human being, these theorists perform what will be called, paraphrasing an often neglected argument by Carl Schmitt, a decision to be human. Contrary to conventional wisdom, I argue that Schmitt’s decisionism is not merely circumscribed to sovereignty’s juridico-political dimension, but that it also includes a peculiar commitment to God’s decision to become human in Christ. Against this decisionism as humanism, the article draws on Walter Benjamin, Roberto Esposito, and Jacques Derrida to propose an alternative politics that destabilizes humanity and sovereignty through the emergence of the animal, or what will be called melancholic lycanthropy. (shrink)
The present paper has two, interrelated objectives. The first is to analyze the different senses in which arguments are characterized as persuasive in the extant writings of Sextus Empiricus. The second is to examine the Pyrrhonist’s therapeutic use of arguments in the discussion with his Dogmatic rivals – more precisely, to determine the sense and basis of Sextus’ distinction between therapeutic arguments that appear weighty and therapeutic arguments that appear weak in their persuasiveness.
I discuss Paolo Casalegno's objections to my views about semantic normativity as presented in my book Lexical Competence (MIT Press, 1997) and in a later paper. I argue that, contrary to Casalegno's claim, the phenomenon of semantic deference can be accounted for without having to appeal to an “objective” notion of reference, i.e. to the view that words have the reference they have independently of whatever knowledge or ability is available to or within the linguistic community. Against both Casalegno and (...) Timothy Williamson, I argue that a semantic norm based on objective reference would be really inapplicable, even though a speaker might believe to be guided by such a norm. (shrink)
In recent years, there has been renewed interest in Pyrrhonism among both philosophers and historians of philosophy. This skeptical tradition is complex and multifaceted, since the Pyrrhonian arguments have been put into the service of different enterprises or been approached in relation to interests which are quite distinct. The diversity of conceptions and uses of Pyrrhonism accounts for the diversity of the challenges it is deemed to pose and of the attempts to meet them. The present volume brings together twelve (...) essays by leading specialists which explore the history and philosophical significance of this form of skepticism: they discuss some thorny questions concerning ancient Pyrrhonism, explore its influence on certain modern thinkers, and examine it in relation to contemporary analytic philosophy. The essays combine historical and exegetical analysis with an assessment of the philosophical merits of the Pyrrhonian outlook, with the aim of understanding it both in its historical context and in connection with contemporary concerns. This volume, the first entirely devoted to a detailed study of the Pyrrhonian tradition, is intended to open up new exegetical and philosophical perspectives on Pyrrhonism and to motivate further examination of certain difficult issues. It will be a valuable resource for scholars of ancient philosophy, historians of modern philosophy, and epistemologists, as well as for graduate students interested in skepticism. (shrink)
We argue that the minimal biological requirements for consciousness include a living body, not just neuronal processes in the skull. Our argument proceeds by reconsidering the brain-in-a-vat thought experiment. Careful examination of this thought experiment indicates that the null hypothesis is that any adequately functional “vat” would be a surrogate body, that is, that the so-called vat would be no vat at all, but rather an embodied agent in the world. Thus, what the thought experiment actually shows is that the (...) brain and body are so deeply entangled, structurally and dynamically, that they are explanatorily inseparable. Such entanglement implies that we cannot understand consciousness by considering only the activity of neurons apart from the body, and hence we have good explanatory grounds for supposing that the minimal realizing system for consciousness includes the body and not just the brain. In this way, we put the brain-in-a-vat thought experiment to a new use, one that supports the “enactive” view that consciousness is a life-regulation process of the whole organism interacting with its environment. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is twofold: to discuss some challenging issues concerning Sextus’ works and outlook, and to offer an overview of the influence exerted by Sextan Pyrrhonism on both early modern and contemporary philosophy.