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)
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)
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 mental model theory claims that the ability to falsify is at the core of human rationality. We assume that cognitive conflicts (CCs) and socio-cognitive conflicts (SCCs) induce falsification, and thus improve syllogistic reasoning performance. Our first study assesses adultsâ ability to reason in two different conditions in a single experimental session. In both conditions the participants are presented with conclusions alternative to their own. In the CC condition they are told that these conclusions are casual, in the SCC condition (...) they are told they have been produced by another individual. The second study is analogous to the first, with the exception that the participants deal with the two conditions in two different experimental sessions. The overall results reveal that falsification is enhanced by conflicts experienced at the cognitive level. The results also reveal that learning to reason occurs in adults, when tested in two distinct experimental periods. (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)
The essay explores the possibilities afforded by Heidegger’s thought for addressing the question of the reality of the phenomenon within the framework of the theory of quantum mechanics. Heidegger’s conception of the task of phenomenology is seen to provide a crucial axis along which the phenomenon of quantum physics can be connected both to its appearance in language and to the historical unfolding of the horizon that grounds the possibility of an encounter with the phenomenon itself. The determinations of this (...) horizon, i.e. of the order of “phenomenality” that makes the appearance of the phenomenon possible, are analyzed in the instance of quantum mechanics, and compared to the ones presented by Heidegger in his considerations concerning the appearing of the phenomenon in Aristotelian and classical physics. The three main directives that structure the analysis of this order of phenomenality are the determinations of the conditions of experience of the phenomenon, of the function of language that makes this appearance possible, and of the subject function that constitutes, and is in turn constituted by, this experience. (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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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.
Dreams are a remarkable experiment in psychology and neuroscience, conducted every night in every sleeping person. They show that the human brain, disconnected from the environment, can generate an entire world of conscious experiences by itself. Content analysis and developmental studies have promoted understanding of dream phenomenology. In parallel, brain lesion studies, functional imaging and neurophysiology have advanced current knowledge of the neural basis of dreaming. It is now possible to start integrating these two strands of research to address fundamental (...) questions that dreams pose for cognitive neuroscience: how conscious experiences in sleep relate to underlying brain activity; why the dreamer is largely disconnected from the environment; and whether dreaming is more closely related to mental imagery or to perception. (shrink)
Folk-economic beliefs may be regarded as “evidential fictions” that exploit the natural tendency of human cognition to organize itself in narrative form. Narrative counter-arguments are likely more effective than logical debunking. The challenge is to convey sound economic reasoning in narratively conspicuous forms – an opportunity for economics to rethink its role and agency in public discourse, in the spirit of its old classics.
The property of fundamental mechanical theories which allows to treat compound objects as particles under suitable conditions is considered. It is argued that such a property, called compoundation invariance, is a nonreleasable property of any mechanical theory not declaring to which elementary constituents it applies. Compoundation invariance is discussed in the framework of Bohmian mechanics. It is found that standard Bohmian mechanics satisfies the requirement of compoundation invariance, with some reservation in the case of compound objects with spin. On the (...) contrary that requirement is violated when additional terms are added to the standard velocity. (shrink)
Eriksson thinks that moral disagreements are intuitively faulty whereas disagreements about taste are intuitively faultless. He attempts to account for this difference by arguing, first, that moral judgements and taste judgements differ with regard to the presence of a disposition to challenge conflicting judgements and, second, that the intuition that a judgement is mistaken consists in the disposition to challenge it. In this article, I focus on the reasons given to support the first claim and argue that they are not (...) sufficient. First, I assess the thesis that a taste judgement is only contingently connected with a disposition to challenge conflicting judgements. Second, I focus on the claim that a moral judgement is in part a disposition to challenge conflicting judgements. In both cases, I argue that the reasons given fail to disclose any substantial difference between the two domains. (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)