A long-standing theme in discussion of perception and thought has been that our primary cognitive contact with individual objects and events in the world derives from our perceptual contact with them. When I look at a duck in front of me, I am not merely presented with the fact that there is at least one duck in the area, rather I seem to be presented withthisthing in front of me, which looks to me to be a duck. Furthermore, such a (...) perception would seem to put me in a position not merely to make the existential judgment that there is some duck or other present, but rather to make a singular, demonstrative judgment, that that is a duck. My grounds for an existential judgment in this case derives from my apprehension of the demonstrative thought and not vice versa. (shrink)
Listening to someone from some distance in a crowded room you may experience the following phenomenon: when looking at them speak, you may both hear and see where the source of the sounds is; but when your eyes are turned elsewhere, you may no longer be able to detect exactly where the voice must be coming from. With your eyes again fixed on the speaker, and the movement of her lips a clear sense of the source of the sound will (...) return. This ‘ventriloquist’ effect reflects the ways in which visual cognition can dominate auditory perception. And this phenomenological observation is one what you can verify or disconfirm in your own case just by the slightest reflection on what it is like for you to listen to someone with or without visual contact with them. (shrink)
Do we directly perceive physical objects? What is the significance of the qualification ‘directly’ here? Austin famously denied that there was a unique interpretation by which we could make sense of the traditional debate in the philosophy of perception. I look here at Thompson Clarke’s discussion of G. E. Moore and surface perception to answer Austin’s scepticism.
This paper is a critical review of Mitchell Green’s Self-Expression . The principal focus is on Green’s contention that all expression is at route, a form of signalling by an agent or by some mechanism of the organism which has been evolutionary selected for signalling. Starting from the idea that in some but not all expression an agent seeks to express his or her self, I question the centrality of communication to the idea of expression.
In this paper I discuss Hume’s theory of pride and the ‘remarkable mechanism’ of sympathy. In the first part of the paper I outline the ways in which Hume’s theory can accommodate the sense in which the passions are directed on things or possess intentionality while still holding to his view that passions are simple feelings. In the second part of the paper I consider a problem internal to Hume’s account of pride which arises in his discussion of the love (...) of fame and the functioning of sympathy; I explain how the tensions can be reconciled by recognising that Hume’s theory of sympathy is more nuanced than has commonly been recognized. In the third part I turn back to the evaluation of Hume’s theory of pride and argue that while it is unfair to complain that Hume does not make self-evaluation a central component of pride, Hume’s treatment of the idea of self in his theory of the passions is inadequate because he can make no proper room for the phenomenon of vicarious pride. (shrink)
Institutions, if unjust, ought to be reformed or even abolished. This radical Rawlsian thought leads to the question of whether the family ought to be abolished, given its negative impact on the very possibility of delivering equality of life chances. In this article, we address questions regarding the justice of the family, and of marriage, and reflect on rights, equality, and the provision of social goods by institutions. There is a temptation to justify our social institutions in terms which highlight (...) their universal accessibility and benefits. But we may best understand the claim of some of our most important institutions where we recognize that they are forms of social good which may legitimately benefit some without having to benefit all. Their abolition is unjustified where there is sufficient value in them given our collective needs that it is unreasonable for some to refuse the means to maintain and promote these goods. (shrink)