Robert Hanna presents a fresh view of the Kantian and analytic traditions that have dominated continental European and Anglo-American philosophy over the last two centuries, and of the connections between them. But this is not just a study in the history of philosophy, for out of this emerges Hanna's original approach to two much-contested theories that remain at the heart of contemporary philosophy. Hanna puts forward a new 'cognitive-semantic' interpretation of transcendental idealism, and a vigorous defense of Kant's theory of (...) analytic and synthetic necessary truth, making this compelling reading for all who are interested in these fundamental philosophical issues. (shrink)
Building on contemporary research in embodied cognition, enactivism, and the extended mind, this book explores how social institutions in contemporary neoliberal nation-states systematically affect our thoughts, feelings, and agency. Human beings are, necessarily, social animals who create and belong to social institutions. But social institutions take on a life of their own, and literally shape the minds of all those who belong to them, for better or worse, usually without their being self-consciously aware of it. Indeed, in contemporary neoliberal societies, (...) it is generally for the worse. In The Mind-Body Politic, Michelle Maiese and Robert Hanna work out a new critique of contemporary social institutions by deploying the special standpoint of the philosophy of mind—in particular, the special standpoint of the philosophy of what they call essentially embodied minds—and make a set of concrete, positive proposals for radically changing both these social institutions and also our essentially embodied lives for the better. (shrink)
There are perceptual states whose representational content cannot even in principle be conceptual. If that claim is true, then at least some perceptual states have content whose semantic structure and psychological function are essentially distinct from the structure and function of conceptual content. Furthermore the intrinsically “orientable” spatial character of essentially non-conceptual content entails not only that all perceptual states contain non-conceptual content in this essentially distinct sense, but also that consciousness goes all the way down into so-called unconscious or (...) subpersonal mental states. Both my argument for the existence of essentially non-conceptual content and my theory of its structure and function have a Kantian provenance. (shrink)
Robert Hanna argues for the importance of Kant's theories of the epistemological, metaphysical, and practical foundations of the "exact sciences"--relegated to the dustbin of the history of philosophy for most of the 20th century. In doing so he makes a valuable contribution to one of the most active and fruitful areas in contemporary scholarship on Kant.
In Rationality and Logic, Robert Hanna argues that logic is intrinsically psychological and that human psychology is intrinsically logical. He claims that logic is cognitively constructed by rational animals and that rational animals are essentially logical animals. In order to do so, he defends the broadly Kantian thesis that all rational animals possess an innate cognitive "logic faculty." Hanna 's claims challenge the conventional philosophical wisdom that sees logic as a fully formal or "topic-neutral" science irreconcilably separate from the species- (...) or individual-specific focus of empirical psychology.Logic and psychology went their separate ways after attacks by Frege and Husserl on logical psychologism--the explanatory reduction of logic to empirical psychology. Hanna argues, however, that--despite the fact that logical psychologism is false--there is an essential link between logic and psychology. Rational human animals constitute the basic class of cognizers or thinkers studied by cognitive psychology; given the connection between rationality and logic that Hanna claims, it follows that the nature of logic is significantly revealed to us by cognitive psychology. Hanna 's proposed "logical cognitivism" has two important consequences: the recognition by logically oriented philosophers that psychologists are their colleagues in the metadiscipline of cognitive science; and radical changes in cognitive science itself. Cognitive science, Hanna argues, is not at bottom a natural science; it is both an objective or truth-oriented science and a normative human science, as is logic itself. (shrink)
Robert Hanna works out a unified contemporary Kantian theory of rational human cognition and knowledge. Along the way, he provides accounts of intentionality and its contents, sense perception and perceptual knowledge, the analytic-synthetic distinction, the nature of logic, and a priori truth and knowledge in mathematics, logic, and philosophy. This book is specifically intended to reach out to two very different audiences: contemporary analytic philosophers of mind and knowledge, and contemporary Kantian philosophers or Kant-scholars. At the same time, it rides (...) the crest of a wave of exciting and revolutionary emerging new trends and new work in the philosophy of mind and epistemology, with a special concentration on the philosophy of perception. What is revolutionary in this new wave are its strong emphases on action, on cognitive phenomenology, on disjunctivist direct realism, on embodiment, and on sense perception as a primitive and proto-rational capacity for cognizing the world. Hanna makes a fundamental contribution to this philosophical revolution by giving it a specifically contemporary Kantian twist, and by pushing these new lines of investigation radically further. (shrink)
This paper is about the nature of the relationship between (1) the doctrine of Non-Conceptualism about mental content, (2) Kant's Transcendental Idealism, and (3) the Transcendental Deduction of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding, or Categories, in the B (1787) edition of the Critique of Pure Reason, i.e., the B Deduction. Correspondingly, the main thesis of the paper is this: (1) and (2) yield serious problems for (3), yet, in exploring these two serious problems for the B Deduction, we also (...) discover some deeply important and perhaps surprising philosophical facts about Kant's theory of cognition and his metaphysics. (shrink)
In this essay I argue that a broadly Kantian strategy for demonstrating and explaining the existence, semantic structure, and psychological function of essentially non-conceptual content can also provide an intelligible and defensible bottom-up theory of the foundations of rationality in minded animals. Otherwise put, if I am correct, then essentially non-conceptual content constitutes the semantic and psychological substructure, or matrix, out of which the categorically normative a priori superstructure of epistemic rationality and practical rationality - Sellars's "logical space of reasons" (...) - grows. (shrink)
Necessarily and trivially, ‘I’ means its occurrent utterer or thinker. But how is self-reference possible? Providing an adequate answer to this very hard question is the task undertaken by John Campbell in Past, Space, and Self. His answer, in a nutshell, is that the fundamental ground of self-reference is self-consciousness; and the bulk of the book is devoted to sketching the architecture of this cognitive capacity. Campbell wants to say that the essence of self-consciousness is given in the set of (...) cognitive abilities making it possible to think of oneself as presented and individuated by means of a causal-spatiotemporal self-narrative. Not only is self-consciousness the ground of self-reference, however, but also “possession of this core set of abilities defines possession of concepts”. While Campbell thinks of his account as making up a seamless whole, I would like to distinguish for the purposes of exposition between the thesis that self-consciousness in his sense explains self-reference and the thesis that Campbellian self-consciousness explains concept-possession. It may be that the case made for one of the theses is stronger and more convincing than the case made for the other; I shall address that issue briefly later. (shrink)
In Embodied Minds in Action, Robert Hanna and Michelle Maiese work out a unified treatment of three fundamental philosophical problems: the mind-body problem, the problem of mental causation, and the problem of action. This unified treatment rests on two basic claims. The first is that conscious, intentional minds like ours are essentially embodied. This entails that our minds are necessarily spread throughout our living, organismic bodies and belong to their complete neurobiological constitution. So minds like ours are necessarily alive. The (...) second claim is that essentially embodied minds are self-organizing thermodynamic systems. This entails that our mental lives consist in the possibility and actuality of moving our own living organismic bodies through space and time, by means of our conscious desires. The upshot is that we are essentially minded animals who help to create the natural world through our own agency. This doctrine--the Essential Embodiment Theory--is a truly radical idea which subverts the traditionally opposed and seemingly exhaustive categories of Dualism and Materialism, and offers a new paradigm for contemporary mainstream research in the philosophy of mind and cognitive neuroscience. (shrink)
? We gratefully acknowledge the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona, Tucson, which provided a grant for the support of this work. E.T. is also supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the McDonnell Project in Philosophy and the Neurosciences. 1 See David Woodruff Smith.
Robert Hanna and Evan Thompson offer a solution to the Mind-Body-Body Problem. The solution, in a nutshell, is that the living and lived body is metaphysically and conceptually basic, in the sense that one’s consciousness, on the one hand, and one’s corporeal being, on the other, are nothing but dual aspects of one’s lived body. One’s living and lived body can be equated with one’s being as an animal; therefore, this solution to the Mind-Body-Body Problem amounts to an “animalist” version (...) of the dual aspect theory. (shrink)
Episodic memory is usually regarded in a Conceptualist light, in the sense of its being dependent upon the grasp of concepts directly relevant to the act of episodic recollection itself, such as a concept of past times and of the self as an experiencer. Given this view, its development is typically timed as being in the early school-age years. We present a minimalist, Non-Conceptualist approach in opposition to this view, but one that also exists in clear contrast to the kind (...) of minimalism espoused by Clayton and Dickinson with regard to memory in food-caching birds. While emphasising the nonconceptual elements of episodic memory we also insist on the essentially phenomenological nature of the memory. We propose the third year of life as a plausible onset period. Our view is rooted in Kantian assumptions about the spatiotemporal content of experience and about the synthetic unity of experience—and thus of re-experience. We answer two objections to this position. (shrink)
In this paper we (i) identify the notion of ‘essentially non-conceptual content’ by critically analyzing the recent and contemporary debate about non-conceptual content, (ii) work out the basics of broadly Kantian theory of essentially non-conceptual content in relation to a corresponding theory of conceptual content, and then (iii) demonstrate one effective application of the Kantian theory of essentially non-conceptual content by using this theory to provide a ‘minimalist’ solution to the problem of perceptual self-knowledge which is raised by Strong Externalism.
Contrary to the belief of most Kantians and Kant scholars, Kant is in fact an anarchist. In this paper, I distinguish sharply between two concepts of enlightenment, enlightenment lite and heavy duty or radical enlightement ; show how there is an unbridgeable gap between Kant’s official political theory in The Doctrine of Right and his ethics; show how Kant’s real political theory is worked out in Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, and is in fact a heavy-duty, radically enlightened (...) version of anarchism; refute and debunk widely-believed Hobbesian assumptions about human nature, which are in fact nothing but cognitive illusions; and propose a de-biasing strategy in political aesthetics for ridding ourselves of these Hobbesian cognitive illusions. (shrink)
In this essay I revisit Kant's much-criticized views on arithmetic. In so doing I make a case for the claim that his theory of arithmetic is not in fact subject to the most familiar and forceful objection against it, namely that his doctrine of the dependence of arithmetic on time is plainly false, or even worse, simply unintelligible; on the contrary, Kant's doctrine about time and arithmetic is highly original, fully intelligible, and with qualifications due to the inherent limitations of (...) his conceptions of arithmetic and logic, defensible to an important extent. (edited). (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the Sellarsian Myth of the Given does not apply to all forms of Non-Conceptualism; that Kant is in fact a non-conceptualist of the right-thinking kind and not a Conceptualist, as most Kant-interpreters think; and that an intelligible and defensible Kantian Non-Conceptualism can be developed which supports the thesis that true perceptual beliefs are non-inferentially justified and also normatively funded by direct, embodied, intentional interactions with the manifest world (a.k.a. the Grip of the Given).
A reply to contemporary skepticism about intuitions and a priori knowledge, and a defense of neo-rationalism from a contemporary Kantian standpoint, focusing on the theory of rational intuitions and on solving the two core problems of justifying and explaining them.
It is traditionally held that our knowledge of necessity is a priori; but the familiar theories of a priori knowledge – platonism and conventionalism – have now been discredited, and replaced by either modal skepticism or a posteriori essentialism. The main thesis of this paper is that Kant's theory of a priori knowledge, when detached from his transcendental idealism, offers a genuine alternative to these unpalatable options. According to Kant's doctrine, all epistemic necessity is grounded directly or indirectly on our (...) capacity for clear and distinct rational intuition. Insight, in turn, depends upon functions of the imagination for creating “mental models” of necessary truths. This doctrine is well exemplified by Kant's account of our knowledge of simple analytic truths. (shrink)
According to Kant in the Prolegomena, the natural kind proposition (GYM) "Gold is a yellow metal" is analytically true, necessary, and a priori. Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam have argued that on the contrary propositions such as (GYM) are neither analytic, nor necessary, nor a priori. The Kripke-Putnam view is based on the doctrine of "scientific essentialism" (SE). It is a direct consequence of SE that propositions such as (GE) "Gold is the element with atomic number number 79" are metaphysically (...) necessary and a posteriori. Were Kant to travel by time-machine to the present and to consider (GE), however, he would regard it as metaphysically contingent; and even if he were able to admit it as necessary, it would be synthetic a priori, and not a posteriori. In these ways, the conflict between Kant and the scientific essentialists is a sharply-defined one: if the essentialists are right, then the Kantian theory of meaning, necessity, and a priori knowledge is wrong; but if Kant is right, then SE is wrong. As a prolegomenon to the development and defense of Kant's positive theory of natural kind propositions, this paper undertakes a Kantian critique of SE. Following the Introduction, the paper has three sections. The first section spells out the main theses and assumptions of SE. The second section, setting aside the semantic and logical components of SE, focuses on its epistemic and metaphysical components and offers four Kantian arguments against them. The final section offers Kantian "diagnoses" of the flaws in SE exposed by the four critical arguments. (shrink)
Consciousness is what makes the mind-body problem really intractable. My reading of the situation is that our inability to come up with an intelligible conception of the relation between mind and body is a sign of the inadequacy of our present concepts, and that some development is needed. Mind itself is a spatiotemporal pattern that molds the metastable dynamic patterns of the brain.
Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947) quotably wrote in 1929 that “the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”1 The same could be said, perhaps with even greater accuracy, of the twentieth-century Euro-American philosophical tradition and Immanuel Kant (1724–1804).2 In this sense the twentieth century was the post-Kantian century. Twentieth-century philosophy in Europe and the USA was dominated by two distinctive and (after 1945) officially opposed traditions: the analytic tradition and (...) the phenomenological tradition. Very simply put, the analytic tradition was all about logic and analyticity,3 and the phenomenological tradition was all about consciousness and intentionality.4 (See also “The birth of analytic philosophy,” Chapter 1; “The development of analytic philosophy: Wittgenstein and after,” Chapter 2; “American philosophy in the twentieth century,” Chapter 5; and “Phenomenology,” Chapter 15.) Ironically enough however, despite their official Great Divide, both the analytic and the phenomenological traditions were essentially continuous and parallel critical developments from an earlier dominant neo-Kantian tradition. This, by the end of the nineteenth century had vigorously reasserted the claims of Kant’s transcendental idealism against Hegel’s absolute idealism and the other major systems of post-Kantian German Idealism, under the unifying slogan “Back to Kant!” So again ironically enough, both the analytic and phenomenological traditions were alike founded on, and natural outgrowths from, Kant’s Critical Philosophy. By the end of the twentieth century however, and this time sadly rather than ironically, both the analytic and phenomenological traditions had not only explicitly rejected their own Kantian foundations and roots but also had effectively undermined themselves philosophically, even if by no means institutionally.. (shrink)
On the supposition that one’s ethics and politics are fundamentally dignitarian in a broadly Kantian sense—as specifically opposed to identitarian and capitalist versions of Statism, e.g., neoliberal nation-States, whether democratic or non-democratic—hence fundamentally non-coercive and non-violent, then is self-defense or the defense of innocent others, using force, ever rationally justifiable and morally permissible or obligatory? We think that the answer to this hard question is yes; correspondingly, in this essay we develop and defend a theory about the permissible use of (...) force in a broadly Kantian dignitarian moral and political setting, including its extension to non-violent civil disobedience in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr; and perhaps surprisingly, we also import several key insights from Samurai and Martial Arts ethics into our theory. (shrink)
According to Kant in the Prolegomena, the natural kind proposition "Gold is a yellow metal" is analytically true, necessary, and a priori. Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam have argued that on the contrary propositions such as are neither analytic, nor necessary, nor a priori. The Kripke-Putnam view is based on the doctrine of "scientific essentialism". It is a direct consequence of SE that propositions such as "Gold is the element with atomic number number 79" are metaphysically necessary and a posteriori. (...) Were Kant to travel by time-machine to the present and to consider, however, he would regard it as metaphysically contingent; and even if he were able to admit it as necessary, it would be synthetic a priori, and not a posteriori. In these ways, the conflict between Kant and the scientific essentialists is a sharply-defined one: if the essentialists are right, then the Kantian theory of meaning, necessity, and a priori knowledge is wrong; but if Kant is right, then SE is wrong. As a prolegomenon to the development and defense of Kant's positive theory of natural kind propositions, this paper undertakes a Kantian critique of SE. Following the Introduction, the paper has three sections. The first section spells out the main theses and assumptions of SE. The second section, setting aside the semantic and logical components of SE, focuses on its epistemic and metaphysical components and offers four Kantian arguments against them. The final section offers Kantian "diagnoses" of the flaws in SE exposed by the four critical arguments. (shrink)
It is now conventional wisdom that conscious experience — or in Nagel’s canonical characterization, “what it is like to be” for an organism — is what makes the mind-body problem so intractable. By the same token, our current conceptions of the mind-body relation are inadequate and some conceptual development is urgently needed. Our overall aim in this paper is to make some progress towards that conceptual development. We first examine a currently neglected, yet fundamental aspect of consciousness. This aspect is (...) the spontaneity of consciousness, by which we mean its inner plasticity and inner purposiveness. We then sketch a “neurophenomenological” framework for thinking about the relationship between the spontaneity of consciousness and dynamic patterns of brain activity as studied in cognitive neuroscience. We conclude by proposing that the conscious mentality of sentient organisms or animals is active and dynamic, and that this “enactive” conception of consciousness can help us to move beyond the classical dichotomy between materialism and dualism. (shrink)
Hegel's logic is often understood as a competitor to ordinary formal logic; this leads to such false accusations as that hegel "denies the principle of non-Contradiction." on the contrary, Hegel's speculative logic is wholly conservative with respect to ordinary logic. What hegel denies is ordinary logic's suitability to be a paradigm for philosophy. Hegel's logic, Itself, Can be seen as arising from a critical ontological reflection on ordinary logic.
According to Kant, being purely rational or purely reasonable and being autonomously free are one and the same thing. But how can this be so? How can my innate capacity for pure reason ever motivate me to do anything, whether the right thing or the wrong thing? What I will suggest is that the fundamental connection between reason and freedom, both for Kant and in reality, is precisely our human biological life and spontaneity of the will, a conjunctive intrinsic structural (...) property of our animal bodies, which essentially constitutes human personhood and rational agency. I say ‘suggest’ because, obviously, no proper argument for such a conclusion could ever be worked out in a short essay. I would nevertheless like to motivate my suggestion by way of a commentary on the second part of Adrian Moore's extremely rich and interesting recent book, Noble in Reason, Infinite in Faculty. (shrink)