Placebos are commonly defined as ineffective treatments. They are treatments that lack a known mechanism linking their properties to the properties of the condition on which treatment aims to intervene. Given this, the fact that placebos can have substantial therapeutic effects looks puzzling. The puzzle, we argue, arises from the relationship placebos present between culturally meaningful entities, our intentional relationship to the environment and bodily effects. How can a mere attitude toward a treatment result in appropriate bodily changes? We argue (...) that an ‘enactive’ conception of cognition accommodates and renders intelligible the phenomenon of placebo effects. Enactivism depicts an organism’s adaptive bodily processes, its intentional directedness, and the meaningful properties of its environment as co-emergent aspects of a single dynamic system. In doing so it provides an account of the interrelations between mind, body and world that demystifies placebo effects. (shrink)
The extended mind thesis states that the mind is not brain-bound but extends into the physical world. The philosophical debate around the thesis has mostly focused on extension towards epistemic artefacts, treating the phenomenon as a special capacity of the human organism to recruit external physical resources to solve individual tasks. This paper argues that if the mind extends to artefacts in the pursuit of individual tasks, it extends to other humans in the pursuit of collective tasks. Mind extension to (...) other humans corresponds essentially to the ‘we-mode’ of cognition, the unique power of human minds to be jointly directed at goals, intentions, states of affairs, or values. Because the capacity for collective intentionality holds evolutionary and developmental primacy over human-epistemic artefacts relations, the extended mind should not be seen as a special phenomenon, but as a central aspect of the human condition. The original extended mind thesis carried important implications for how the cognitive sciences should proceed. In a version of the thesis that accommodates collective intentionality, these implications would go far deeper than originally assumed. (shrink)
Kant scholars have rarely addressed the centuries-old tradition of casuistry and the concept of conscience in Kant’s writings. This book offers a detailed exploration of the period from Pascal’s Provincial Letters to Kant’s critique of probabilism and discusses his proposal of a (new) casuistry as part of an moral education. / Trotz der Hinweise an wichtigen Stellen in Kants Schriften richtet die Kantforschung ihre Aufmerksamkeit nur selten auf die Jahrhunderte währende Tradition der Kasuistik und den Begriff des Gewissens, der in (...) ihrem Rahmen ausgearbeitet wird. Eingehend untersucht wird in diesem Buch insbesondere der Zeitabschnitt von Pascals »Briefen in die Provinz« bis zu Kants eigener Kritik des Probabilismus und seinem Entwurf einer (neuen) Kasuistik als Teil der ethischen Methodenlehre. (shrink)
In juxtaposition with the myth and tragedy of Ovid’s Medea, this paper investigates the possibility within the Kantian conception of agency of understanding moral evil as acting against one’s better judgment. It defends the thesis that in Kant self-deception, i. e. the intentional untruthfulness to oneself, provides the fundamental structure for choosing against the moral law. I argue that, as Kant’s thought progresses, self-deception slowly proceeds to become the paradigmatic case of moral evil. This is discussed with regard to two (...) important topics in his later moral philosophy: the doctrine of radical evil and the crucial role of the duty of truthfulness in ethics. The inquiry into Kant’s theory of conscience unfolds both against this theoretical background and in light of its historical roots in the polemic against casuistry and probabilism. This contribution closes with a brief look at the tools Kant implements to counter this tendency to self-deception in moral judgment and particularly at the role casuistry plays within his conception of moral education. (shrink)
The present article considers Giulio Racah’s contributions to general physical theory and his establishment of theoretical physics as a discipline in Israel. Racah developed mathematical methods that are based on tensor operators and continuous groups. These methods revolutionized spectroscopy. Currently, these are essential research tools in atomic, nuclear and elementary particle physics. He himself applied them to modernizing theoretical atomic spectroscopy. Racah laid the foundations of theoretical physics in Israel. He educated several generations of Israeli physicists, and put Israel (...) on the world map of physics. (shrink)
The brains of higher mammals are extraordinary integrative devices. Signals from large numbers of functionally specialized groups of neurons distributed over many brain regions are integrated to generate a coherent, multimodal scene. Signals from the environment are integrated with ongoing, patterned neural activity that provides them with a meaningful context. We review recent advances in neurophysiology and neuroimaging that are beginning to reveal the neural mechanisms of integration. In addition, we discuss concepts and measures derived from information theory that lend (...) a theoretical basis to the notion of complexity as integration of information and suggest new experimental tests of these concepts. (shrink)
This appreciation outlines the life and work of Giulio Preti, a philosopher of the critical rationalist movement. His was a tormented and conflictual philosophical itinerary from his intellectual roots in 1930s Italy, via the philosophical journal Studi filosofici in the 1940s, to his major works Praxis and Empiricism and Rhetoric and Logic in the 1950s and 1960s. His anxiety about the ambiguity of contemporary reality, it is suggested, is also ours.
Thierry Meynard and Dawei Pan offer a highly detailed annotated translation of one of the major works of Giulio Aleni, a Jesuit missionary in China. Referred to by his followers as "Confucius from the West", Aleni made his presence felt in the early modern encounter between China and Europe. The two translators outline the complexity of the intellectual challenges that Aleni faced and the extensive conceptual resources on which he built up a fine-grained framework with the aim of bridging (...) the Chinese and Christian spiritual traditions. (shrink)
In this paper, I contend that the uncertainty faced by policy-makers in the COVID-19 pandemic goes beyond the one modelled in standard decision theory. A philosophical analysis of the nature of this uncertainty could suggest some principles to guide policy-making.
The target article misrepresents the foundations of integrated information theory and ignores many essential publications. It, thus, falls to this lead commentary to outline the axioms and postulates of IIT and correct major misconceptions. The commentary also explains why IIT starts from phenomenology and why it predicts that only select physical substrates can support consciousness. Finally, it highlights that IIT's account of experience – a cause–effect structure quantified by integrated information – has nothing to do with “information transfer.”.
The paper focuses on Giulio Preti’s idea of discourse. According to Preti, everyday speech is the basis for scientific and logical research. The logical signs are not linguistic signs, are not a language, are not able to substitute the human language. Common speech contains historical presuppositions and fleeting figures of truth.
In this paper, I propose an assessment of the interpretation of the mathematical notion of probability that Wittgenstein presents in TLP. I start by presenting his definition of probability as a relation between propositions. I claim that this definition qualifies as a logical interpretation of probability, of the kind defended in the same years by J. M. Keynes. However, Wittgenstein’s interpretation seems prima facie to be safe from two standard objections moved to logical probability, i. e. the mystic nature of (...) the postulated relation and the reliance on Laplace’s principle of indifference. I then proceed to evaluate Wittgenstein’s idea against three criteria for the adequacy of an interpretation of probability: admissibility, ascertainability, and applicability. If the interpretation is admissible on Kolmogorov’s classical axiomatisation, the problem of ascertainability brings up a difficult dilemma. Finally, I test the interpretation in the application to three main contexts of use of probabilities. While the application to frequencies rests ungrounded, the application to induction requires some elaboration, and the application to rational belief depends on ascertainability. (shrink)
In this paper, in line with the general framework of value-sensitive design, we aim to operationalize the general concept of “Meaningful Human Control” in order to pave the way for its translation into more specific design requirements. In particular, we focus on the operationalization of the first of the two conditions investigated: the so-called ‘tracking’ condition. Our investigation is led in relation to one specific subcase of automated system: dual-mode driving systems. First, we connect and compare meaningful human control with (...) a concept of control very popular in engineering and traffic psychology, and we explain to what extent tracking resembles and differs from it. This will help clarifying the extent to which the idea of meaningful human control is connected to, but also goes beyond, current notions of control in engineering and psychology. Second, we take the systematic analysis of practical reasoning as traditionally presented in the philosophy of human action and we adapt it to offer a general framework where different types of reasons and agents are identified according to their relation to an automated system’s behaviour. This framework is meant to help explaining what reasons and what agents play a role in controlling a given system, thereby enabling policy makers to produce usable guidelines and engineers to design systems that properly respond to selected human reasons. In the final part, we discuss a practical example of how our framework could be employed in designing automated driving systems. (shrink)
Rights proclamations are often alleged to be meaningless – ‘nonsense upon stilts’. But what makes a rights proclamation meaningful? In general, I argue, meaningful rights proclamations presuppose the existence of both a duty – directed from some party to another – and an interest whose protection is at least a non-redundant element in the justification of why the duty exists. Further conditions of meaningfulness apply for specifically moral rights proclamations. Here, the interest must be of such moral relevance to ground, (...) by itself, the duty and the duty must be demonstrably compatible with other mandatory components of morality. Neither of these conditions applies to rights proclamations in the legal realm. For a legal right proclamation to be meaningful, it is sufficient that there is or there ought to be, in the legal community at stake, a legal obligation whose justification includes, as a non-redundant element, the interest of some party. (shrink)
We study how to postpone the application of the reductio ad absurdum rule ) in classical natural deduction. This technique is connected with two normalization strategies for classical logic, due to Prawitz and Seldin, respectively. We introduce a variant of Seldin’s strategy for the postponement of \, which induces a negative translation from classical to intuitionistic and minimal logic. Through this translation, Glivenko’s theorem from classical to intuitionistic and minimal logic is proven.
ABSTRACT This article analyses the abbé de Saint-Pierre as a mediator of ideas between France and England. The political proposal of the Projet pour rendre la paix perpétuelle en Europe circulated in Great Britain just before the signing of the peace treaties of Utrecht and Aachen, attesting the influence that Saint-Pierre’s proposal exerted on British thought and politics. The abbé was engaged in dialogue with Quaker pacifists and, in particular, with the projects put forward by William Penn and John Bellers, (...) both theorists of a ‘European State’. After examining the relationship between Penn’s Essay and Saint-Pierre’s ideas, the article will demonstrate how elements of Bellers’s Some Reasons found their way into the Projet with numerous convergences of lexicon and content suggesting that the abbé had drawn inspiration from Bellers. Quaker ideas on politics had a greater effect on Saint-Pierre’s conception of peace and international relations than is commonly recognized. In fact, there was a constant intellectual exchange between the abbé and British political, economic and philosophical thought. (shrink)
We study how to postpone the application of the reductio ad absurdum rule (RAA) in classical natural deduction. This technique is connected with two normalization strategies for classical logic, due to Prawitz and Seldin, respectively. We introduce a variant of Seldin’s strategy for the postponement of RAA, which induces a negative translation from classical to intuitionistic and minimal logic. Through this translation, Glivenko’s theorem from classical to intuitionistic and minimal logic is proven.
We propose that sleep is linked to synaptic homeostasis. Specifically, we propose that: (1) Wakefulness is associated with synaptic potentiation in cortical circuits; (2) synaptic potentiation is tied to the homeostatic regulation of slow wave activity; (3) slow wave activity is associated with synaptic downscaling; and (4) synaptic downscaling is tied to several beneficial effects of sleep, including performance enhancement.
Contemporary brain reading technologies promise to provide the possibility to decode and interpret mental states and processes. Brain reading could have numerous societally relevant implications. In particular, the private character of mind might be affected, generating ethical and legal concerns. This paper aims at equipping ethicists and policy makers with conceptual tools to support an evaluation of the potential applicability and the implications of current and near future brain reading technology. We start with clarifying the concepts of mind reading and (...) brain reading, and the different kinds of mental states that could in principle be read. Subsequently, we devise an evaluative framework that is composed of five criteria-accuracy, reliability, informativity, concealability and enforceability-aimed at enabling a clearer estimation of the degree to which brain reading might be realistically deployed in contexts where mental privacy could be at stake. While accuracy and reliability capture how well a certain method can access mental content, informativity indicates the relevance the obtainable data have for practical purposes. Concealability and enforceability are particularly important for the evaluation of concerns about potential violations of mental privacy and civil rights. The former concerns the degree with which a brain reading method can be concealed from an individual’s perception or awareness. The latter regards the extent to which a method can be used against somebody’s will. With the help of these criteria, stakeholders can orient themselves in the rapidly developing field of brain reading. (shrink)
Is it possible to compose a history of images? It is obvious that history can be composed only from that which is intrinsically historical; history has an order of its own because it interprets and clarifies an order which already exists in the facts. But is there an order in the birth, multiplication, combination, dissolution and re-synthesis of images? Mannerism had discredited or demystified form with its pretense of reproducing an order which does not exist in reality. But is the (...) world of existence, like the world of images, chaos or cosmos? Erwin Panofsky's1 great merit consists in having understood that, in spite of its confused appearance, the world of images is an ordered world and that it is possible to do the history of art as the history of images. In order to do this, he had to begin, as indeed he did, with the demonstration that classical art, in spite of the deep-rooted theoretical certitude, is also an art of the image; its forms are nothing if not images to which one tries to attribute the consistency of concepts, with the sole result of the demonstrating that even concepts are images and that the intellect is still another sector or segment of the image. · 1. See, e.g., Erwin Panofsky, Meaning in the Visual Art: Papers in and on Art History ; Studies in Iconology: Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance ; Problems in Titian, Mostly Iconographic ; Idea: Ein Beitrag zur Begriffsgeshicte der älteren Kunsttheorie [Idea: a concept in art theory, trans. Joseph J. S. Peake ]. Giulio Carlo Argan, who has seriously influenced the course of art history and criticism in postwar Italy, is professor of modern art at the University of Rome. He has written on Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Borromini, Brunelleschi, and Gropius and three volumes of critical essays on modern art. His Skira volume on Baroque art, Europe of the Capitals, is his only major work published in English. "Ideology and Iconology" originally appeared in Italian in the journal Storia dell'arte, which he edits, and in Psicon. Rebecca West, translator of this article and assistant professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago, presently is collaborating on a translation of Dario Fo's theater. She has translated "Narrative Structures and Literary History" by Cesare Segre, for the Winter 1976 issue of Critical Inquiry. (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Giulio Castellani (1528-1586): A Sixteenth-Century Opponent of Scepticism CHARLES B. SCH1VHTT THE PROBLEMOF THE ORIGINS of scepticism in early modern philosophy has been a much debated issue. Sanches, Montaigne, Charron, and Bayle all contributed to the milieu which made it possible for the sceptical direction of thought to develop into such a potent force by the time of David Hume. The actual origins of modern scepticism, which seem (...) to go back to a slightly earlier date, lie in the confluence of several different intellectual movements during the early years of the sixteenth century: Christian anti-intellectualism, the reintroduction of the literary remains of the ancient sceptical tradition, the epistemological developments of scholastic nominalism, and certain inherent tendencies of Renaissance humanism. It is in the early decades of the sixteenth century that the seeds which later blossomed forth at the time of Hume originally took root. Hume himself merely reaped the harvest of several hundred years of sceptical preparation? Aside from certain manifestations of doubt which developed out of the epistemological theories of fourteenth-century nominalism, the origins of modern scepticism are generally held to date from the first publication of Sextus Empiricus' ancient summaries of Pyrrhonism during the decade of the 1560's. While it has previously been recognized that at least hints of scepticism were current in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the implications to be derived from this fact do not seem to have been adequately exploredT I shall not here go into these early manifestations of scepticism in a detailed way. Rather, I shall briefly touch upon a few little-known examples of the influence of ancient scepticism during the Reniassance and, then, I shall focus upon an early and practically neglected attack upon scepticism published before the first printings of Sextus Empiricus' writings. I shall discuss the circumstances of the composition of Giulio Castellani's anti-sceptical work, Adversus Marci TuIlii Ciceronis academicas questiones disi For a recent survey of early modem scepticism see Richard H. Popkin, The History o] Scepticism /tom Erasmus to Descartes (Assen: 1960). Of the large literature which connects scepticism with religious doubt during this period see especially Henri Busson, Les sources et le dgveloppement du rati~nalizme dar~ la litt~rature ]ran~aise de la Renaissance (Paris: 1957) and Don Cameron Allen, Doubt's Boundless Sea (Baltimore: 1964). The di.~cussionof this period seems to be the weakest part of Popkin's excellent book, particularly with regard to the treatment which he gives to Italian thought. See, also, his other articles, especially,"Skepticismand the Counter-Reformation in France," Archiv/fir Re/armationsgeschichte, LI (1960),58-86and "The High Road to Pyrrhonism," American Philosophical Quarterly, II (1965),18--32.In my forthcoming study, Gian]rancesco Pico (1469-1533) and His Critique o/Aristotle, I give a detailed analysis of the major representative of early sixteenthcentury scepticism. [151 16 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY putatio (1558), which antedates the first printing of Sextus Empiricus by four years, indicating that scepticism was already widespread enough to provoke an attack from the camp of the dogmatists. Furthermore, I shall analyze Castellani 's arguments in the context of the philosophical views of the mid-sixteenth century. Scepticism in the Early Renaissance Direct knowledge of the major ancient source of scepticism, the already mentioned writings of Sextus Empiricus, was rare throughout the Middle Ages. There are but two known extant Latin manuscripts which date before 1400. s From the fifteenth century we know of two more manuscripts, neither complete in itself, but together containing a significant portion of the extant writings of Sextus. 4 This evidence indicates that Sextus' works were not well known in translation before the first Latin editions of The Oulines o] Pyrrhonism (1562) and of Against the Mathematicians (1569). With the advent of an increased interest in and knowledge of Greek in Western Europe in the fifteenth century, we find a corresponding increase in the number of Greek manuscripts of Sextus Empiricus. Consequently, by the time of the first printings, an appreciable number of copies of his writings were available. Some were brought from the East, but a large number also are attributable to European scribes. 5 We also know that in... (shrink)
The philosophy of emotions has long been dominated by the view called «cognitivism». According to it, emotions are characterized not by mere physical impulses but by a cognitive evaluation of their object. However, despite their success, cognitive theories have to deal with various objections and are divided on how to answer to them. In this essay I want to defend the form of cognitivism claimed by Martha Nussbaum from the most common criticisms. After a brief summary of her account, I (...) confront some of the objections that have been raised against it. In Section 2 I deal with the classic problem of emotions in infants and animals, which lack linguistic abilities. Later, I confront the potential problem represented by cases in which one’s emotion and reasoned judgment seem to differ: in paragraph 3 I consider irrational phobias and fears, to show how they can be accounted for in terms of judgments and thoughts, and not only of perceptions; in paragraph 4 I deal with the objection that «judgementalist» theories violate the «principle of charity», for they ascribe an excessive irrationality to people. I argue that experimental evidence suggest that it is not implausible to assume that people have contradictory beliefs under conditions of uncertainty, and that perceptual theories of emotion fail to account for some fundamental aspects of these phenomena. Finally, in paragraph 5, I deal with the objection according to which a cognitive-evaluative theory cannot explain the sense of passivity that we commonly experience in emotions. (shrink)
The increasing success of the evidence-based policy movement is raising the demand of empirically informed decision making. As arguably any policy decision happens under conditions of uncertainty, following our best available evidence to reduce the uncertainty seems a requirement of good decision making. However, not all the uncertainty faced by decision makers can be resolved by evidence. In this paper, we build on a philosophical analysis of uncertainty to identify the boundaries of scientific advice in policy decision making. We start (...) by introducing a distinction between empirical and non-empirical types of uncertainty, and we explore the role of two non-empirical uncertainties in the context of policy making. We argue that the authority of scientific advisors is limited to empirical uncertainty and cannot extend beyond it. While the appeal of evidence-based policy rests on a view of scientific advice as limited to empirical uncertainty, in practice there is a risk of over reliance on experts beyond the legitimate scope of their authority. We conclude by applying our framework to a real-world case of evidence-based policy, where experts have overstepped their boundaries by ignoring non-empirical types of uncertainty. (shrink)
Feminist thinkers have commonly interpreted Edith Stein’s “dual anthropology” as a form of essentialism and difference feminism. For them, men and women have (or should have) different functions and capabilities. The article argues against this traditional account. Starting from two distinct criticisms of difference feminism – that of Judith Butler and that of Martha Nussbaum – it claims that the best way to read Stein’s position is to consider it a liberal feminism, for the emphasis that she puts on the (...) uniqueness of every single human being. (shrink)
Recent Libet-style experiments are of limited relevance to the debate about free action and free will, and should be understood as investigations of arbitrary actions or guesses. In Libet-style experiments, the concept of 'free action' is commonly taken to refer to a 'self-initiated voluntary act', where the self prompts an action without being prompted. However, this idea is based on the problematic assumption that the conscious self needs to be free from every constraint in order to be actually free. We (...) maintain that a fundamental condition for free action is the presence of reasons to act responsibly. By analyzing a recent neuroscientific experiment, we indicate how its results could be interpreted as indicating how free action operationalization is inappropriately focusing on arbitrary actions. Hence, the way free action has been experimentally studied may have had a misleading influence on the debate about free will. (shrink)