Some of Dave Chappelle’s uses of storytelling about seemingly mundane events, like his experiences with his “white friend Chip” and the police, are examples of what W.E.B. Du Bois calls “Positive Propaganda.” This is in contrast to “Demagoguery,” the sort of propaganda described by Jason Stanley that obstructs empathic recognition of others, and undermines reasonable debate among citizens regarding policies that matter: the justice system, welfare, inequality, and race, for example. Some of Chappelle’s humor, especially in his most recent (...) Netflix specials, but also in his earlier standup performances and his series The Chappelle Show, is akin to art that appeals to emotion in the ways suggested by Du Bois in “Criteria of Negro Art” (1926). Beauty is essential to art, but, “I do not care a damn for any art that is not used for propaganda. But I do care when propaganda is confined to one side while the other is stripped and silent” (p. 22). The “one side” is that which appears to extoll American ideals, but in reality undermines them, perpetuating the subordinate status of “the other”--black citizens. Replace “beauty” with “humor” or “funny”, and we see striking parallels between Chappelle’s socio-political performances and Du Bois’ call for positive propaganda, each of which constitute “civic rhetoric” broadly construed. We no longer live in Du Bois’ America of explicit denial of rights. In many ways our situation is worse, as the mechanisms of exclusion are implicit, difficult to dislodge, because they are invisible. Chappelles’ humor draws attention to subtle undermining-propaganda in our liberal democracy, transforming it through his counter-propaganda into the spectacle that it should be; ubiquitous democracy-denying propaganda should be as obvious to whites as it is to minorities. In his words, we should all see that “that shit is fucking incredible” (Killin’ Them Softly). (shrink)
We present a specific elaboration and partial defense of the claims that cognition is enactive, embodied, embedded, affective and (potentially) extended. According to the view we will defend, the enactivist claim that perception and cognition essentially depend upon the cognizer’s interactions with their environment is fundamental. If a particular instance of this kind of dependence obtains, we will argue, then it follows that cognition is essentially embodied and embedded, that the underpinnings of cognition are inextricable from those of affect, that (...) the phenomenon of cognition itself is essentially bound up with affect, and that the possibility of cognitive extension depends upon the instantiation of a specific mode of skillful interrelation between cognizer and environment. Thus, if cognition is enactive then it is also embodied, embedded, affective and potentially extended. (shrink)
Social and linguistic perceptions are linked. On one hand, talker identity affects speech perception. On the other hand, speech itself provides information about a talker's identity. Here, we propose that the same probabilistic knowledge might underlie both socially conditioned linguistic inferences and linguistically conditioned social inferences. Our computational–level approach—the ideal adapter—starts from the idea that listeners use probabilistic knowledge of covariation between social, linguistic, and acoustic cues in order to infer the most likely explanation of the speech signals they hear. (...) As a first step toward understanding social inferences in this framework, we use a simple ideal observer model to show that it would be possible to infer aspects of a talker's identity using cue distributions based on actual speech production data. This suggests the possibility of a single formal framework for social and linguistic inferences and the interactions between them. (shrink)
In this era of suburban mega-churches and televised Sunday morning services, it is easy to forget that many Americans worship in small, community churches whose sanctuaries are often repurposed commercial spaces. In Articles of Faith, photographer Dave Jordano documents the at once humble and dynamic storefront churches of Chicago’s African American neighborhoods. These churches, which dot the south and west sides of the city, are truly community churches—individualized and idiosyncratic, they cater to the specific needs and wants of their (...) members. For the last five years, Jordano has spent his weekends traveling to different churches in the city, getting to know their pastors and parishioners. And this attention to personal detail is highly evident in his exquisite photographs that capture the identity and personalities of each church, from the hand-lettered signs to the icons. His interior images of the sacred spaces illustrate how the congregants create a comforting environment of affirmation, hope, and family for members who often live in neighborhoods marked by high crime and troubled homes. Infused in the space of these makeshift churches is also a sense of history that traces back to a time in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when one of the only forms of open expression available to African Americans was religious practice. These powerful and reverent images illuminate a vital component of urban life for many African Americans and speak to the links between the past and present African American experience. (shrink)
Shows how ethical subjectivity is not based on individual morals but contemporary cultureTaking his lead from the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, and engaging with a number of ethical thinkers, Dave Boothroyd addresses a number of key contemporary ethical subjects. In doing so, he reveals how responsibility is grounded in the everyday encounters and situations we are all familiar with.
The problem of structure and agency has been the subject of intense debate in the social sciences for over 100 years. This book offers a solution. Using a critical realist version of the theory of emergence, Dave Elder-Vass argues that, instead of ascribing causal significance to an abstract notion of social structure or a monolithic concept of society, we must recognise that it is specific groups of people that have social structural power. Some of these groups are entities with (...) emergent causal powers, distinct from those of human individuals. Yet these powers also depend on the contributions of human individuals, and this book examines the mechanisms through which interactions between human individuals generate the causal powers of some types of social structures. The Causal Power of Social Structures makes particularly important contributions to the theory of human agency and to our understanding of normative institutions. (shrink)
Susan Hurley (1998a, 2003a, 2008) argues that our capacities for perception, agency and thought are essentially interdependent and co-emerge from a tangle of sensorimotor processes that are both cause and effect of the web of interactive and communicative practices they weave us into. In this paper, I reconstruct this view and its main motivations, with a particular focus on three important aspects. First, Hurley argues that an essential aspect of conscious perception – its perspectival unity – constitutively depends on agency. (...) That is, agency is a transcendental condition on the possibility of perception (§3). Second, understanding why this dependence obtains involves understanding why perception and agency emerge together, and how they do so on the basis of a web of interrelated capacities for sensorimotor control (§2, §4). Third, understanding these first two aspects of Hurley’s view is the key to understanding the sophisticated interplay between i) her arguments for the causal interdependence of sensory input and motor output, and ii) her arguments for the essential interdependence of perception and agency. (shrink)
This introduction to a special issue of Topoi introduces and summarises the relationship between three main varieties of 'enactivist' theorising about the mind: 'autopoietic', 'sensorimotor', and 'radical' enactivism. It includes a brief discussion of the philosophical and cognitive scientific precursors to enactivist theories, and the relationship of enactivism to other trends in embodied cognitive science and philosophy of mind.
The New York Times have praised Dave Chappelle as "an American folk hero" for his ability to communicate across lines of race, class, and culture at a time when Americans are more polarized than they have ever been. Dave Chappelle and Philosophy brings together twenty-five chapters by philosophers of diverse backgrounds and varying points of view, looking closely at the hilarious, annoying, exhilarating, upsetting, and thought-provoking aspects of Chappelle's wonderfully rich output. This volume of the Series serves as (...) an invitation to think about some of the most urgent moral and political questions of our time. (shrink)
In this richly argued and provocative book, David Davies elaborates and defends a broad conceptual framework for thinking about the arts that reveals important continuities and discontinuities between traditional and modern art, and between different artistic disciplines. Elaborates and defends a broad conceptual framework for thinking about the arts. Offers a provocative view about the kinds of things that artworks are and how they are to be understood. Reveals important continuities and discontinuities between traditional and modern art. Highlights core topics (...) in aesthetics and art theory, including traditional theories about the nature of art, aesthetic appreciation, artistic intentions, performance, and artistic meaning. (shrink)
What does it mean to adopt a phenomenological approach when doing philosophy of perception? And what form should such an approach take? I address these questions by first distinguishing three different ways of drawing philosophical conclusions based on phenomenological reflection: 'Humean' phenomenology, which attempts to discern the structure of perceptual experience via reflection on its surface properties; 'Kantian' phenomenology, which aims to provide a priori arguments about the structure perceptual experience must have if it is to possess universally agreed upon (...) manifest properties; and 'Husserlian' phenomenology, which aims to achieve an intuitive grasp of the essential properties of perceptual experience via attempted imaginative variation of its aspects and properties. Drawing on arguments from Merleau-Ponty, I then argue that the shortcomings of each of these approaches motivate a 'Merleau-Pontian' conception of phenomenology as 'radical reflection' - a mode of reflection on perceptual experience that simultaneously attempts to understand the origins and authority of reflection itself. The methodology for philosophy of perception that results is a thoroughly interdisciplinary one, aiming to reconcile philosophical conclusions about the necessary structures of perceptual experience with our best empirical knowledge of the bodily, psychological, cultural and historical contingencies that shape both our experiences and our reflective capacities. (shrink)
Artistic labour was exemplary for Utopian Socialist theories of 'attractive labour', and Marxist theories of 'nonalienated labour', but the rise of the anti-work movement and current theories of 'fully automated luxury communism' have seen art topple from its privileged place within the left's political imaginary as the artist has been reconceived as a prototype of the precarious 24/7 worker. 'Art and Postcapitalism' argues that art remains essential for thinking about the intersection of labour, capitalism and postcapitalism not insofar as it (...) merges work and pleasure but as an example of noncapitalist production. Reassessing the contemporary politics of work by revisiting debates about art, technology and in the nineteenth and twentieth century, Dave Beech challenges the aesthetics of labour in John Ruskin, William Morris and Oscar Wilde with a value theory of the supersession of capitalism that sheds light on the anti-work theory by Silvia Federici, Andre Gorz, Kathi Weeks and Maurizio Lazzarato, as well as the technological Cockayne of Srnicek and Williams and Paul Mason. Formulating a critique of contemporary postcapitalism, and developing a new understanding of art and labour within the political project of the supersession of value production, this book is essential for activists, scholars and anyone interested in the real and imagined escape routes from capitalism. (shrink)
Patent landscaping is the process of finding patents related to a particular topic. It is important for companies, investors, governments, and academics seeking to gauge innovation and assess risk. However, there is no broadly recognized best approach to landscaping. Frequently, patent landscaping is a bespoke human-driven process that relies heavily on complex queries over bibliographic patent databases. In this paper, we present Automated Patent Landscaping, an approach that jointly leverages human domain expertise, heuristics based on patent metadata, and machine learning (...) to generate high-quality patent landscapes with minimal effort. In particular, this paper describes a flexible automated methodology to construct a patent landscape for a topic based on an initial seed set of patents. This approach takes human-selected seed patents that are representative of a topic, such as operating systems, and uses structure inherent in patent data such as references and class codes to “expand” the seed set to a set of “probably-related” patents and anti-seed “probably-unrelated” patents. The expanded set of patents is then pruned with a semi-supervised machine learning model trained on seed and anti-seed patents. This removes patents from the expanded set that are unrelated to the topic and ensures a comprehensive and accurate landscape. (shrink)
The transparency of perceptual experience has been invoked in support of many views about perception. I argue that it supports a form of enactivism—the view that capacities for perceptual experience and for intentional agency are essentially interdependent. I clarify the perceptual phenomenon at issue, and argue that enactivists should expect to find a parallel instance of transparency in our agentive experience, and that the two forms of transparency are constitutively interdependent. I then argue that i) we do indeed find such (...) parallels: the way in which an action is directed towards its goal through our bodily movements parallels the way in which an experience is directed towards its object through our perceptual sensation, and ii) reflecting on sensorimotor skills shows why the two instances of transparency are constitutively interdependent. Section 4 gives reasons for generalizing beyond the cases considered so far by applying the enactive view to Kohler's landmark studies of perceptual adaptation. The final section clarifies the form of enactivism to which the previous sections point. The view that emerges is one whereby our perceptual and practical skills are interrelated aspects of a single capacity to have one's mind intentionally directed upon the world. The transparency of experience, on this view, is achieved in virtue of our capacities as agents as much as it is given in virtue of our capacities as perceivers. (shrink)
This article aims to demonstrate how the formation of ethical subjectivity must be considered in conjunction with the techno-politics of secrecy and disclosure, and it proposes an account of the ways in which the technical transition and ‘democratization’ of archival upload/download capacity associated with digital communications fundamentally challenges the existing structure of control over such things as censorship and cultural memory understood in terms of power of recall. It argues that it is against this background and in view of the (...) mediality of communications that the question of responsibility with respect to secrets and their disclosure must ultimately be posed. It seeks to establish the difference between a purely political and an ethico-political understanding of the secrecy/disclosure dyad as this functions, on the one hand, in relation to philosophical inquiry itself and, on the other, in relation to normative representations of informational events, and it contextualizes its theoretical account of this difference in relation to the ‘Wikileaks phenomenon’ viewed as a disclosive event. It examines how ethical subjectivity is formed in relation to ‘information’ and in the wider context of a digital culture of archivization, characterized by the ubiquitous recording of communications of all kinds. Drawing centrally on the ethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, for whom ‘infinite responsibility’ is ‘incarnated’ as the ‘ultimate secret of subjectivity’ in me, and Derrida’s account of both the necessary technicity of the human and the impossibility of ‘saying the event’, it proposes a way of thinking the ethico-techno-politics of secrecy and disclosure in terms of the singularity of the event and the unique responsibility of the ethical Subject in relation to that. (shrink)
'Social construction' is a central metaphor in contemporary social science, yet it is used and understood in widely divergent and indeed conflicting ways by different thinkers. Most commonly, it is seen as radically opposed to realist social theory. Dave Elder-Vass argues that social scientists should be both realists and social constructionists and that coherent versions of these ways of thinking are entirely compatible with each other. This book seeks to transform prevailing understandings of the relationship between realism and constructionism. (...) It offers a thorough ontological analysis of the phenomena of language, discourse, culture and knowledge, and shows how this justifies a realist version of social constructionism. In doing so, however, it also develops an analysis of these phenomena that is significant in its own right. (shrink)
Dragon days: introduction to the new edition -- Enter the dragon: on the vernacular of beauty 1 -- Nothing like the son: on Robert Mapplethorpe's X portfolio -- Prom night in flatland: on the gender of works of art -- After the great tsunami: on beauty and the therapeutic institution -- American beauty.
A stable democracy requires a shared identity and political culture. Its citizens need to identify as one common demos lest it fracture and balkanise into separate political communities. This in turn necessitates some common communication network for political messages to be transmitted, understood and evaluated by citizens. Hence, what demarcates one demos from another are the means of communication connecting the citizens of those demoi, allowing them to debate and persuade each other on the proper conduct of government and on (...) issues of common interest. For the ancient Athenians, their public sphere was the agora (marketplace); for the Federalists in the American colonies, the newspaper; for us today, it is the Internet. Until now, the physical nature of these communication networks has resulted in a trade-off between the reach of political messages (the numeric and geographic composition of the demos who receive political messages and may participate in the public sphere) and the ability to target the content of a message on that network towards individual citizens. One-to-one interpersonal conversation in the agora was highly targeted but could reach only as far as a voice could carry. The speakers and audience were well known to each other through personal interaction. As the printing press and later television allowed for greater and greater reach, the content of these messages became more generic as the speakers became more distant from their audience. The wider the audience grew, the less a message could be targeted at a particular audience segment without alienating others. (shrink)
Dave Chappelle took an extended leave from comedy for moral reasons. I argue that, while he had every right to leave comedy because of his moral concerns, he was not obliged to do so. To make this case, I present Chappelle’s argument that the potential negative consequences of his racial humor obliged him to leave. Next, I argue against Chappelle’s argument about avoidable harms as the harms are not his responsibility, he was not being negligent, and the benefits of (...) his humor outweigh the harms. I also argue in support of the intuition that another’s failure of comprehension or moral character, even if that failure will predictably result in harms to others, should not convert moral acts into immoral ones. (shrink)
The development of immersive media-communication environments, and their theorization in terms of the `haptic', calls for a reconsideration of the relationship between sensuality and the ethics of contact. For the most part, the cultural theorization of the virtual which remains preoccupied with the visual has tended to limit its scope to the paradoxes, politics and ethics of representation. Much of media and cultural studies work, for instance, has adopted, directly or indirectly, the traditional visual and ocularcentric paradigm in its analyses (...) of cultural forms and technologies as these have become integrated into contemporary life. Whilst it has been argued, for instance by Mark Hansen in his recent books, that this paradigm is inadequate to digital media and the developments of human-machine interactions the digital introduces, few comentators have addressed how new developments in immersive sensory media environments bear on the ethics of communication. By way of a reflection on the themes of the tactility of contact and the ethics of touch in the work of Emmanuel Levinas, this article critically evaluates the ethical significance of the `sensory extension' haptic media represent. It identifies and argues against the neo-positivist tendency of Hansen's reliance on the empiricism of the neurosciences whilst locating the resources for an ethics of touch in Levinas' concept of time as `diachrony'. (shrink)
Mark Edmundson explores and defends the value of ideals in contemporary culture, focusing on courage, contemplation and compassion. In his argument, he explicates the ideas of authors and thinkers such Homer, Plato, and the Christian and Eastern religious traditions. Shakespeare and Frued are seen as detractors of the Soul.
Neurotheology is a fast-growing field of research. Combining philosophy of mind, neuroscience, and religious studies, it takes a new approach to old questions on religion. What is religion and why do we have it? Neurotheologists focus on the search for the neural correlate of religious experiences. If we can trace religious experiences to specific parts of the brain, chances are we can reduce religion as such to that grey soggy matter as well. This article predicts neurotheology will not be able (...) to locate the neural correlate of religious experiences. As we cannot decide phenomenally what makes an experience religious, neurologically we cannot find its correlate either. That is, if there are fixed neural correlates to begin with, because their existence is still a matter of debate. In addition, religious experiences seem to be a kind of experience, like emotional or relational experiences, making them indistinguishable from similar nonreligious experiences. Even if one manages to trace the neural correlate of religious experiences, neurotheology will still not be able to account for the rise of religion without resorting to theories from other disciplines. In the end, we do not know enough about consciousness and the way it relates to the brain to make conclusive claims about the search for religious states of consciousness. It seems, however, that even though neurotheology could provide fascinating insights in the workings of the religious brain, on its own, it will prove unable to explain religion fully. (shrink)
How should we understand the relationship between conscious perception and action? Does an appeal to action have any place in an account of colour experience? This essay aims to shed light on the first question by giving a positive response to the second. I consider two types of enactive approach to perceptual consciousness, and two types of account of colour perception. Each approach to colour perception faces serious objections. However, the two views can be combined in a way that resists (...) the criticisms to each. Furthermore, the hybrid view we arrive at lets us see which enactive account of perceptual consciousness we should prefer in the case of colour. (shrink)
Big business moguls seem determined to dismantle public schools in the name of a market driven system of educating children via vouchers and charter schools. No Child Left Behind contributes to this business-model and penalizes children and teachers with unrealistic expectations and expensive unnecessary testing. Research indicates that NCLB, charter schools, and vouchers do not improve students’ learning or help educators teach better. The facts presented herein are evidence of public school successes and provide reasons to honor public school educators (...) and support public schools across America. (shrink)