This new edition of Mind, Meaning, and Mental Disorder addresses key issues in the philosophy of psychiatry, drawing on both philosophical and scientific theory. The main idea of the book is that causal models of mental disorders have to include meaningful processes as well as any possible lower-level physical causes, and this propsoal is illustrated with detailed discussion of current models of common mental health problems. First published in 1996, this volume played an important role in bridging the gap between (...) philosophy and psychiatry, and introducing those in psychiatry to philosophical ideas somewhat neglected in their field. Completely updated, the new edition of this acclaimed volume draws on the strengths of the first edition, and will be a central text in the burgeoning field of philosophy of psychiatry. (shrink)
It is a matter of contention whether or not a general explanatory framework for the biological sciences would be of scientific value, or whether it is even achievable. In this paper we suggest that both are the case, and we outline proposals for a framework capable of generating new scientific questions. Starting with one clear characteristic of biological systems – that they all have the potential to make mistakes - we aim to describe the nature of this potential and the (...) common processes that lie behind it. Given that under most circumstances biological systems function effectively, an examination of different kinds of mistake-making provides pointers to mechanisms that must exist to make failure uncommon. This in turn informs a framework for systematic enquiry, which in this paper we apply to the haemostatic system, but which we believe could be applied to any system across biology. (shrink)
Organisms and other biological entities are mistake-prone: they get things wrong. The entities of pure physics, such as atoms and inorganic molecules, do not make mistakes: they do what they do according to physical law, with no room for error except on the part of the physicist or their theory. We set out a novel framework for understanding biology and its demarcation from physics – that of mistake-making. We distinguish biological mistakes from mere failures. We then propose a rigorous definition (...) of mistakes that, although invoking the concept of function, is compatible with various views about what functions are. The definition of mistake-making is agential, since mistakes do not just happen ¬– at least in the sense analysed here – but are made. This requires, then, a notion of biological agency which we set out as a definition of the Minimal Biological Agent. The paper then considers a series of objections to the theory presented here, along with our replies. Two key features of our theory of mistakes are, first, that it is a supplement to, not a replacement for, existing general frameworks within which biology is understood and practised. Secondly, it is designed to be experimentally productive. Hence we end with a series of case studies where mistake theory can be shown to be useful in the potential generation of research questions and novel hypotheses of interest to the working biologist. (shrink)
Berkeley argues that our ideas cannot represent external objects, because only an idea can resemble an idea. But he does not offer any argument for the claim that an idea can represent only what it resembles - a premise essential to his argument. I argue that this gap can be both historically explained and filled by examining the debates between Cartesians and sceptics in the late seventeenth century. Descartes held that representation involves two relations between an idea and its object (...) ? resemblance and causation ? and that these relations are very closely linked to each other. I look at variations upon this claim in later Cartesians, especially Desgabets and Régis. I also examine the critics who attacked this claim, especially Huet, Foucher, and Du Hamel, who developed arguments similar to Berkeley's but concluded that (Cartesian) representation is simply impossible. I also argue that Malebranche, although an adherent of the Cartesian theory of intentionality, used a modified version of this argument to argue for his claim that ideas do not exist in the mind at all. These thinkers, and especially Malebranche, provide the context in which we should understand Berkeley. (shrink)
Christian tradition holds not simply that, in Christ, God became human, but that at the end of his earthly career Christ became exalted (possessing andexercising the divine attributes such as omnipotence and omniscience), and yet remained perpetually human. In this paper I consider several models ofthe incarnation in the light of these requirements. In particular, I contrast models that adopt a temporalist understanding of divine eternity with those that adopt an atemporalist one. I conclude that temporalist models struggle to accommodate (...) the doctrines of Christ’s exaltation and perpetual humanity, and that the only viable atemporalist models are compositionalist ones. (shrink)
This book offers a broad, systematic philosophical approach to mental disorder. The authors spend the first half of the book presenting their basic philosophical allegiances, and they go on to apply their philosophical approach to mental disorder. As the authors note, psychiatry has been largely neglected by contemporary philosophy of mind, and this book is a laudable attempt to rectify the situation by producing a sustained and clinically well-informed philosophical treatment of mental disorder.
What metaphysics can plausibly back up the claim that God became incarnate? In this essay we investigate the main kinds of models of incarnation that have been historically proposed. We highlight the philosophical assumptions in each model, and on this basis offernovel ways of grouping them as metaphysical rather than doctrinal positions. We examine strengths and weaknesses of the models,and argue that ‘composition models’ offer the most promising way forward to account for the pivotal Christian belief that, in Christ,true divinity (...) and true humanity meet in a genuine union. (shrink)
Thomas Aquinas is often thought to present a compositionalist model of the incarnation, according to which Christ is a composite of a divine nature and a human nature, understood as concrete particulars. But he sometimes seems to hedge away from this model when insisting on the unity of Christ. I argue that if we interpret some of his texts on the assumption of straightforward compositionalism, we can construct a defence of Christ’s unity within that context. This defence involves the claim (...) that the divine unity is so great, and the relation between Christ’s two natures so unusual, that the divine unity can be transferred to the composite Christ as a “borrowed property”. (shrink)
In ethics, ‘probabilism’ refers to a position defended by a number of Catholic theologians, mainly in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They held that, when one is uncertain which of a range of actions is the right one to perform, it is permissible to perform any which has a good chance of being the right one—even if there is another which has a better chance. This paper considers the value of this position from the viewpoint of modern ethical philosophy. The (...) unusual nature of probabilism as a theory focusing upon permissibility, rather than right-making properties, is explored and related to some modern attempts to set out ‘satisficing’ and ‘hybrid’ ethical theories. Such theories try to distinguish between what is best and what is permissible, and probabilism can be understood as an alternative way of supplementing a theory of right-making properties by adding to it a theory of permissibility. But a more radical version is also possible, where one abandons any attempt to identify right actions or right-making properties, and instead considers permissibility alone. Accordingly, a ‘multi-account theory’ of permissibility is proposed and defended as a model of how many people actually make moral decisions. (shrink)
In this paper, we examine Abelard’s model of the incarnation and place it within the wider context of his views in metaphysics and logic. In particular, we consider whether Abelard has the resources to solve the major difficulties faced by the so-called “compositional models” of the incarnation, such as his own. These difficulties include: the requirement to account for Christ’s unity as a single person, despite being composed of two concrete particulars; the requirement to allow that Christ is identical with (...) the pre-existent Son, despite the fact that the pre-existent Son is a (proper) part of the incarnate Christ; and finally the requirement to avoid Nestorianism, i.e., the position that Christ’s proper parts are persons in their own right. We argue that Abelard does have adequate solutions to these problems. In particular, we show that his theories of relations and predication can be put to use in defence of a compositional account of the incarnation. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 31 - 50 Philosophical scepticism is sometimes thought to presuppose doxastic voluntarism, the claim that we are able to believe or disbelieve propositions at will. This is problematic given that doxastic voluntarism itself is a controversial position. I examine two arguments for the view that scepticism presupposes voluntarism. I show that they rely on different versions of a depiction of scepticism as a conversion narrative. I argue that one version of this narrative does (...) presuppose voluntarism, but the other does not. Moreover, alternative versions of the narrative are available. I conclude that scepticism does not presuppose voluntarism. (shrink)
_ Source: _Page Count 20 Philosophical scepticism is sometimes thought to presuppose doxastic voluntarism, the claim that we are able to believe or disbelieve propositions at will. This is problematic given that doxastic voluntarism itself is a controversial position. I examine two arguments for the view that scepticism presupposes voluntarism. I show that they rely on different versions of a depiction of scepticism as a conversion narrative. I argue that one version of this narrative does presuppose voluntarism, but the other (...) does not. Moreover, alternative versions of the narrative are available. I conclude that scepticism does not presuppose voluntarism. (shrink)
The Participatory Model of Atonement offers an alternative view of Christian salvation, drawing on Pauline theology. It conceives of sin as a contagion which can usually be escaped only by dying. By ‘participating’ in Christ's death, the believer can escape its effects without having to die. This notion of ‘participation’ is obscure. I consider a possible way of clarifying it using metaphysical ideas taken from Jonathan Edwards. ‘Participation’ might involve becoming similar to Christ through the action of the Holy Spirit, (...) to such a degree that a person might be called identical with Christ. (shrink)
This essay explores cultural and psychological dynamics in indigenous Amazonian narratives about a powerful trickster figure named Made-from-Bone. Particular attention is given to the ways in which speaking verbs, quoted speeches, and dialogical interactions are used as psychological tools for understanding and explaining others'inner thoughts and emotions. Comparative analysis of two narratives set in the distant mythical past demonstrates how intentionality is a semiotic ideology that emerges through dialogical interaction. These narrative practices are deeply rooted in shamanic healing practices, especially (...) the use of musical and other symbolic sound elements as a privileged sense modality for expressing and experiencing psychological processes of making dreams, emotions, and inner thoughts into objects of conscious thought and discourse. (shrink)
In this investigation of Christian thinkers, selected philosophers, and other religious leaders, key issues regarding Christianity over the centuries are discussed in detail. Considering the arguments for and against each position, the study's perspective focuses on the key questions of life and existence, showing the different ways Christian thinkers have answered them. Providing an excellent way into understanding these issues and having readers formulate opinions for themselves, the collection of questions include: How can we believe in God when there is (...) so much suffering? Does science mean the end of religion? Does life after death really exist? Have we any good reason to believe in God? What is the ultimate goal of life? and What does it mean to lead a good life? (shrink)
This volume focuses on the authorial voice in antiquity, exploring the different ways in which authors presented and projected various personas. In particular, it questions authority and ascription in relation to the authorial voice, and considers how later readers and authors may have understood the authority of a text's author.
To date, the theology and practices of modern pagan religions have not been critically studied using the methods of analytic theology. I discuss some of the challenges presented by these religions for the analytic theologian, and present a possible methodology to address these challenges, based on interview. I then use this methodology to examine the Wiccan practice of “Drawing Down the Moon”, comparing it in particular to the Christian doctrine of incarnation, and considering its philosophical implications.
“It would take a book to work through all the literature in detail,” observes Michael Gorman on the question of how to interpret Thomas Aquinas’s views on whether Christ had a single esse or two, “and it would be one of the most tedious books ever written”. To the nonspecialist, the details of how a medieval theologian thought the divinity and humanity of Christ relate to each other in terms drawn from Aristotelian metaphysics must rank as one of the most (...) obscure, not to mention uninteresting, problems in the history of philosophy. Sometimes it can seem like that to the specialist, too.Luckily, Gorman’s authoritative and engaging book not only avoids the tedium of the volume he imagines, it makes an excellent... (shrink)
Differences in infant caregiving behavior between cultures have long been noted, although the quantified comparison of touch-based caregiving using uniform standardized methodology has been much more limited. The Parent-Infant Caregiving Touch scale was developed for this purpose and programming effects of early parental tactile stimulation on infant hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal -axis functioning, cardiovascular regulation and behavioral outcomes, similar to that reported in animals, have now been demonstrated. In order to inform future studies examining such programming effects in India, we first aimed (...) to describe and examine, using parametric and non-parametric item-response methods, the item-response frequencies and characteristics of responses on the PICTS, and evidence for cross-cultural differential item functioning in the United Kingdom and India. Second, in the context of a cultural favoring of male children in India, we also aimed to test the association between the sex of the infant and infant “stroking” in both cultural settings. The PICTS was administered at 8–12 weeks postpartum to mothers in two-cohort studies: The Wirral Child Health and Development Study, United Kingdom and the Bangalore Child Health and Development Study, India. Mokken scale analysis, parametric item-response analysis, and structural equation modeling for categorical items were used. Items for two dimensions, one for stroking behavior and one for holding behavior, could be identified as meeting many of the criteria required for Mokken scales in the United Kingdom, only the stroking scale met these criteria in the sample from India. Thus, while a comparison between the two cultures was possible for the stroking construct, comparisons for the other non-verbal parenting constructs within PICTS were not. Analyses revealed higher rates of early stroking being reported for the United Kingdom than India, but no sex differences in rates in either country and no differential sex difference by culture. We conclude that PICTS items can be used reliably in both countries to conduct further research on the role of early tactile stimulation in shaping important child development outcomes. (shrink)