Formalised knowledge systems, including universities and research institutes, are important for contemporary societies. They are, however, also arguably failing humanity when their impact is measured against the level of progress being made in stimulating the societal changes needed to address challenges like climate change. In this research we used a novel futures-oriented and participatory approach that asked what future envisioned knowledge systems might need to look like and how we might get there. Findings suggest that envisioned future systems will need (...) to be much more collaborative, open, diverse, egalitarian, and able to work with values and systemic issues. They will also need to go beyond producing knowledge about our world to generating wisdom about how to act within it. To get to envisioned systems we will need to rapidly scale methodological innovations, connect innovators, and creatively accelerate learning about working with intractable challenges. We will also need to create new funding schemes, a global knowledge commons, and challenge deeply held assumptions. To genuinely be a creative force in supporting longevity of human and non-human life on our planet, the shift in knowledge systems will probably need to be at the scale of the enlightenment and speed of the scientific and technological revolution accompanying the second World War. This will require bold and strategic action from governments, scientists, civic society and sustained transformational intent. (shrink)
Converging Technologies, Shifting Boundaries Content Type Journal Article Pages 213-216 DOI 10.1007/s11569-009-0075-x Authors Tsjalling Swierstra, University of Twente Enschede Netherlands Marianne Boenink, University of Twente Enschede Netherlands B. Walhout, Rathenau Institute The Hague Netherlands R. Van Est, Rathenau Institute The Hague Netherlands Journal NanoEthics Online ISSN 1871-4765 Print ISSN 1871-4757 Journal Volume Volume 3 Journal Issue Volume 3, Number 3.
This paper contrasts David Chalmers’s formulation of the easy and hard problems of consciousness with a Cartesian formulation. For Chalmers, the easy problem is making progress in explaining cognitive functions and discovering how they arise from physical processes in the brain. The hard problem is accounting for why these functions are accompanied by conscious experience. For Descartes, the easy problem is knowing the essential features of conscious experience. The hard problem is verifying our knowledge of the mathematical—physical world. While Chalmers (...) admits that consciousness as subjective experience has something irreducible about it, he also presupposes that conscious experience arises from physical processes. These physical processes are posited as objectively real entities given prior to human experience. The knowledge of such entities is assumed without theoretical justification. This assumption arguably invites a reductive materialist theory of mind. I suggest that employing the Cartesian method to articulate the representational theory of knowledge provides an antidote to reductive materialism and illuminates the conceptual gap between physical processes and conscious experience. To illustrate this I contrast Dennett’s heterophenomenology with the Cartesian method of crossing the conceptual gap. I suggest that the hard problem is attaining a knowledge of the extra-mental physical objects, not of conscious experience. (shrink)
Thirty-eight individuals participating in a 3-month yoga and meditation retreat were assessed before and after the intervention for psychometric measures, brain derived neurotrophic factor, circadian salivary cortisol levels, and pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Participation in the retreat was found to be associated with decreases in self-reported anxiety and depression as well as increases in mindfulness. As hypothesized, increases in the plasma levels of BDNF and increases in the magnitude of the cortisol awakening response were also observed. The normalized change in (...) BDNF levels was inversely correlated with BSI-18 anxiety scores at both the pre-retreat and post-retreat such that those with greater anxiety scores tended to exhibit smaller pre- to post-retreat increases in plasma BDNF levels. In line with a hypothesized decrease in inflammatory processes resulting from the yoga and meditation practices, we found that the plasma level of the anti-inflammatory cytokine Interleukin-10 was increased and the pro-inflammatory cytokine Interleukin-12 was reduced after the retreat. Contrary to our initial hypotheses, plasma levels of other pro-inflammatory cytokines, including Interferon Gamma, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Interleukin-1β, Interleukin-6, and Interleukin-8 were increased after the retreat. Given evidence from previous studies of the positive effects of meditative practices on mental fitness, autonomic homeostasis and inflammatory status, we hypothesize that these findings are related to the meditative practices throughout the retreat; however, some of the observed changes may also be related to other aspects of the retreat such as physical exercise-related components of the yoga practice and diet. We hypothesize that the patterns of change observed here reflect mind-body integration and well-being. The increased BDNF levels observed is a potential mediator between meditative practices and brain health, the increased CAR is likely a reflection of increased dynamic physiological arousal, and the relationship of the dual enhancement of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine changes to healthy immunologic functioning is discussed. (shrink)
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill took thirty years to complete and is acknowledged as the definitive edition of J.S. Mill and as one of the finest works editions ever completed. Mill's contributions to philosophy, economics, and history, and in the roles of scholar, politician and journalist can hardly be overstated and this edition remains the only reliable version of the full range of Mill's writings. Each volume contains extensive notes, a new introduction and an index. Many of the (...) volumes have been unavailable for some time, but the Works are now again available, both as a complete set and as individual volumes. (shrink)
This book introduces the methodology and basic concepts of Dussel’s ethics of liberation. Enrique Dussel is one of the principal founders of the philosophy of liberation in Latin America. Frederick B. Mills discusses how, for Dussel, we can realize our co-responsibility for human life by responding, in accord with ethical principles, to the appeals of victims of the prevailing capital system. Mills shows how these principles, when subsumed in the political and economic fields, aim at overcoming the ongoing assault on (...) human life and nature and provide a moral compass for forging a path to liberation. He makes the case that the study of Dussel is critical to the understanding of liberatory thought in Latin America today. This book aims to introduce the ethics of liberation to a broader audience in the Global North where Dussel's ideas are urgently relevant to progressive political and economic theory and praxis. (shrink)
Religious and Ethical Perspectives on Global Migration examines the complicated social ethics of migration in today's world. Editors Elizabeth W. Collier and Charles R. Strain bring the perspectives of an international group of scholars toward a theory of justice and ethical understanding for the nearly two hundred million migrants who have left their homes seeking asylum from political persecution, greater freedom and safety, economic opportunity, or reunion with family members.
A fine collection of articles on J. S. Mill. One outstanding virtue of this collection is that it doesn't restrict itself to the "standard" topics that are normally associated with Mill. In addition to articles dealing with Mill's logic and utilitarianism, there are articles dealing with Mill's theory of poetry, democracy, and authority. Also included are several selections that vividly portray the flavor and versatility of Mill. In his introduction, Schneewind makes a brief but forceful case for the need to (...) understand Mill in his many facets as a most eminent philosopher and Victorian man of letters.--R. J. B. (shrink)
Mill's conception of economic freedom extends his broader view of freedom to economic institutions in ways that have previously been overlooked. In his view, economic freedom involves not merely the absence of burdensome constraints on economic activities, but also the power of individuals to direct the course of their lives with respect to their economic activities and relationships. It encompasses opportunities and resources for individuals, acting independently of others, effectively to pursue their own life plans as well as participation by (...) associated individuals in governing economic enterprises. Accordingly, he is critical of the ‘restraints’ that existing capitalism imposes on the economic freedom of individuals and he favours significant reforms of existing capitalism to achieve greater economic freedom. This understanding of Mill's conception of economic freedom sheds new light on his place in the liberal tradition and on an important point of contact between the liberal and socialist traditions. (shrink)
Each contributor to this book has used personal experience as the basis from which to frame his individual sociological perspectives. Because they have personalized their work, their accounts are real, and recognizable as having come from 'real' persons, about 'real' experiences. There are no objectively-distanced disembodied third person entities in these accounts. These writers are actual people whose stories will make you laugh, cry, think, and want to know more.
Do the rich descriptions and narrative shapings of literature provide a valuable resource for readers, writers, philosophers, and everyday people to imagine and confront the ultimate questions of life? Do the human activities of storytelling and complex moral decision-making have a deep connection? What are the moral responsibilities of the artist, critic, and reader? What can religious perspectives—from Catholic to Protestant to Mormon—contribute to literary criticism? Thirty well known contributors reflect on these questions, including iterary theorists Marshall Gregory, James Phelan, (...) and Wayne Booth; philosophers Martha Nussbaum, Richard Hart, and Nina Rosenstand; and authors John Updike, Charles Johnson, Flannery O'Connor, and Bernard Malamud. Divided into four sections, with introductory matter and questions for discussion, this accessible anthology represents the most crucial work today exploring the interdisciplinary connections between literature, religion and philosophy. (shrink)
In this paper, we show that the question of the relative importance of innate characteristics and institutional arrangements in explaining human difference was vehemently contested in Britain during the first half of the nineteenth century. Thus Sir Francis Galton’s work of the 1860s should be seen as an intervention in a pre-existing controversy. The central figure in these earlier debates—as well as many later ones—was the philosopher and economist John Stuart Mill. In Mill’s view, human nature was fundamentally shaped by (...) history and culture, factors that accounted for most mental and behavioral differences between men and women and among people of different classes, nationalities, and races. Indeed, Mill’s whole program of social reform depended on the assumption that human differences were not fixed by nature. To identify the leading figures in these disputes about difference and the concrete context in which they occurred, we explore three debates in which Mill played a key role: over the capacities and rights of women, the viability of peasant proprietorship in India and Ireland, and the status of black labor in Jamaica. The last two draw our attention to the important colonial context of the nature–nurture debate. We also show that ideas that for us seem of a piece were not always linked for these earlier thinkers, nor did views on innateness necessarily have the political correlates that we now take for granted. (shrink)
This essay argues that Spinoza’s metaphysics offers a theoretical framework for dissolving the conceptual gap in contemporary consciousness studies. The conceptual origins of the gap have their roots in Cartesian substance dualism. If phenomenal experience is conceived as substantially distinct from correlated physical processes in the brain, an explanatory gap opens in our understanding of the mind/body relation. Spinoza’s metaphysics offers an ontology that preserves the qualitative difference between phenomenal experience and physiological processes while conceiving the ultimate numerical unity of (...) mind and its correlated physical processes. The notion of qualitative difference within substantial unity is deduced from Spinoza’s redefinition of the basic features of the Cartesian universe: substance, attribute, and mode. Redefinition results in a property dualism that is internally consistent and dissolves the conceptual gap in contemporary consciousness studies. This paper identifies and explains the central argument for qualitative distinction within substantial unity and recommends a framework for consciousness studies that views phenomenology and neuroscience as complementary disciplines. (shrink)
Formulations of Mill's principle of utility are examined, and it is shown that Mill did not recognize a moral obligation to maximize the good, as is often assumed. His was neither a maximizing act nor rule utilitarianism. It was a distinctive minimizing utilitarianism which morally obligates us only to abstain from inflicting harm, to prevent harm, to provide for others minimal essentials of well being (to which rights correspond), and to be occasionally charitable or benevolent.
Modern bioethics is clearly dominated by deontologists who believe that we have some way of identifying morally correct and incorrect acts or rules besides taking account of their consequences. Robert M. Veatch is one of the most outspoken of those numerous modern medical ethicists who agree in rejecting all forms of teleological, utilitarian, or consequentialist ethical theories. This paper examines his critique of utilitarianism and shows that the utilitarianism of John Stuart Mill is either not touched at all by his (...) critique or can be defended against it. This article argues that the dominant deontological majority is mistaken and that a utilitarian theory of moral action very much like Mill’s is precisely what is needed by modern medical ethics and by those medical practitioners who are resolved to practice medicine in a reasonable and morally acceptable manner. (shrink)
Helen Longino’s “contextual empiricism” is one of the most sophisticated recent attempts to defend a social theory of science. On this view, objectivity and epistemic acceptability require that research be produced within communities that approximate a Millian marketplace of ideas. I argue, however, that Longino’s embedding of her epistemology within the framework of Mill’s political liberalism implies a conception of individual epistemic agents that is incompatible with her view that scientific knowledge is necessarily social, and I begin to articulate an (...) alternative conception that is better suited to a truly social theory of science. †To contact the author, please write to: School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology, 685 Cherry Street, Atlanta, GA 30332‐0345; e‐mail: [email protected] (shrink)
This book offers a clear and highly readable introduction to the ethical and social-political philosophy of John Stuart Mill. Dale E. Miller argues for a "utopian" reading of Mill's utilitarianism. He analyses Mill's views on happiness and goes on to show the practical, social and political implications that can be drawn from his utilitarianism, especially in relation to the construction of morality, individual freedom, democratic reform, and economic organization. By highlighting the utopian thinking which lies at the heart of Mill's (...) theories, Miller shows that rather than allowing for well-being for the few, Mill believed that a society must do everything in its power to see to it that each individual can enjoy a genuinely happy life if the happiness of its members is to be maximized. Miller provides a cogent and careful account of the main arguments offered by Mill, considers the critical responses to his work, and assesses its legacy for contemporary philosophy. Lucidly and persuasively written, this book will be a valuable resource for students and scholars seeking to understand the continued importance of Mill's thinking. (shrink)
This essay argues that Sartre offers a version of the intrinsic theory of inner awareness that is based on a feature of the internal negation that determines the relation between the for-itself and the in-itself : non-positional awareness. Non-positional awareness is the implicit consciousness of being conscious of an object that is a component of every conscious mental state. For example, the perceptual experience of this table is directed towards the table, but at the same time it is an awareness (...) of itself, though not as an object. Sartre’s ontology, and his account of the structure of intentionality, provide the theoretical foundation for a coherent account of how non-positional awareness lights up consciousness of an object without itself being either a subject or object of experience. (shrink)
The aim of this dissertation is to demonstrate that the very conditions which Kant argues constitute the obligation of each individual to will the actualization of the universal moral law in the world and in one's own personality lead to the overall ruin of the Kantian practical reason. To this end we investigate that feature of persons--the divided self--which gives rise to moral obligation, and the postulates, which allegedly make the fulfillment of obligation possible. ;One of the central problems in (...) Kant's critical ethics is how to account for moral obligation in terms of a self divided into noumenal and phenomenal aspects. This problem leads to a crisis when moral consciousness comes to understand the irreconcilable gulf which lies between its atemporal self and its empirical temporal self. Thus our thesis is that Kant, having established autonomy of the will on the ground of a transcendent self, fails, despite the introduction of the moral postulates, to explain the ultimate harmony of the noumenal and phenomenal aspects of the self. ;Kant attempts to preserve the autonomy of Willkur by placing its possibility in an order not subject to the "mechanism of nature." But while thus preserving the integrity of freedom, Kant makes it difficult to explain the manner in which an atemporal decision can establish virtue in the temporal personality. ;This dissertation examines the Kantian cirtique of heteronomous will and his alternative theory of autonomous will by focusing on the differences between the ethics of Kant and Hume. We then analyze in detail the problem of explaining moral obligation on the basis of a divided self. Here we criticize the Hegelian interpretation of moral consciousness with the aim of articulating the central antithesis within the divided self. ;This dissertation, in conclusion, indicates a path away from, but always in dialogue with, Kant's practical reason. We finally reject the atemporal self and the abstract universal and raise questions about any future metaphysics of morals. (shrink)