Does Spinoza present philosophy as the preserve of an elite, while condemning the uneducated to a false though palliative form of ‘true religion’? Some commentators have thought so, but this contribution aims to show that they are mistaken. The form of religious life that Spinoza recommends creates the political and epistemological conditions for a gradual transition to philosophical understanding, so that true religion and philosophy are in practice inseparable.
[ Susan Hurley] I argue that the aim to neutralize the influence of luck on distribution cannot provide a basis for egalitarianism: it can neither specify nor justify an egalitarian distribution. Luck and responsibility can play a role in determining what justice requires to be redistributed, but from this we cannot derive how to distribute: we cannot derive a pattern of distribution from the 'currency' of distributive justice. I argue that the contrary view faces a dilemma, according to whether (...) it understands luck in interpersonal or counterfactual terms. /// [Richard J. Arneson] Does it make sense to hold that, if it is bad that some people are worse off than others, it is worse if those who are worse off come to be so through sheer bad luck that it is beyond their power to control? In her contribution to this symposium, Susan Hurley cautions against a closely related fallacy: from the fact that people have come to an unequal condition through unchosen bad luck, it does not follow that, if we aim to undo the influence of unchosen luck, we ought to institute equality of condition. Forswearing the fallacy that Hurley analyses is compatible with answering the question affirmatively, and more generally with holding that principles of distributive justice should be sensitive to the distinction between chosen and unchosen bad luck. This essay explores how this might be done. (shrink)
At the turn of the 21st century, Susan Leigh Anderson and Michael Anderson conceived and introduced the Machine Ethics research program, that aimed to highlight the requirements under which autonomous artificial intelligence systems could demonstrate ethical behavior guided by moral values, and at the same time to show that these values, as well as ethics in general, can be representable and computable. Today, the interaction between humans and AI entities is already part of our everyday lives; in the near (...) future it is expected to play a key role in scientific research, medical practice, public administration, education and other fields of civic life. In view of this, the debate over the ethical behavior of machines is more crucial than ever and the search for answers, directions and regulations is imperative at an academic, institutional as well as at a technical level. Our discussion with the two inspirers and originators of Machine Ethics highlights the epistemological, metaphysical and ethical questions arising by this project, as well as the realistic and pragmatic demands that dominate artificial intelligence and robotics research programs. Most of all, however, it sheds light upon the contribution of Susan and Michael Anderson regarding the introduction and undertaking of a main objective related to the creation of ethical autonomous agents, that will not be based on the “imperfect” patterns of human behavior, or on preloaded hierarchical laws and human-centric values. (shrink)
In this interview, which took place in July 2020, Muhammad Asghari, an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Tabriz, asked eleven questions (via email ) to Professor Susan Haack, a distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of Miami. This American philosopher eagerly and patiently emailed me the answers to the questions. The questions in this interview are mainly about analytic philosophy and pragmatist philosophy.This interview was conducted via personal email between me and Professor (...)Susan Haack in July 2020. This interview, which Professor Hawk eagerly accepted, includes eleven questions about her biography and roles of various philosophers in her thought and finally about the influence of the philosophy of pragmatism on her thought. Of course, it goes without saying that the Haack's book Philosophy of Logic in Iran has been translated into Persian and he has published two articles in the quarterly journal of Philosophical Investigations (University of Tabriz) and I also have translated one of her articles into Persian. What was most interesting to me was the influence of pragmatism on Haack's thought that Charles Sanders Pierce, among classical American pragmatists, had as much influence on this philosopher's thought as John Dewey had in Rorty's thought. Here I thank Professor Susan Haack for answering my questions patiently and eagerly. (shrink)
In this paper I lay out what I take to be the crucial insights in Susan Bordo's "Feminist Skepticism and the 'Maleness' of Philosophy" and point out some additional difficulties with the skeptical position. I call attention to an ambiguity in the nature or content of the "maleness" of philosophy that Bordo identifies. Finally, I point out that, unlike some feminist skeptics, Bordo never loses sight in her work of women's lived experiences.
Only human beings have a rich conceptual repertoire with concepts like tort, entropy, Abelian group, mannerism, icon and deconstruction. How have humans constructed these concepts? And once they have been constructed by adults, how do children acquire them? While primarily focusing on the second question, in The Origin of Concepts , Susan Carey shows that the answers to both overlap substantially. Carey begins by characterizing the innate starting point for conceptual development, namely systems of core cognition. Representations of core (...) cognition are the output of dedicated input analyzers, as with perceptual representations, but these core representations differ from perceptual representations in having more abstract contents and richer functional roles. Carey argues that the key to understanding cognitive development lies in recognizing conceptual discontinuities in which new representational systems emerge that have more expressive power than core cognition and are also incommensurate with core cognition and other earlier representational systems. Finally, Carey fleshes out Quinian bootstrapping, a learning mechanism that has been repeatedly sketched in the literature on the history and philosophy of science. She demonstrates that Quinian bootstrapping is a major mechanism in the construction of new representational resources over the course of childrens cognitive development. Carey shows how developmental cognitive science resolves aspects of long-standing philosophical debates about the existence, nature, content, and format of innate knowledge. She also shows that understanding the processes of conceptual development in children illuminates the historical process by which concepts are constructed, and transforms the way we think about philosophical problems about the nature of concepts and the relations between language and thought. (shrink)
The Oxford Handbook of Happiness is the definitive text for researchers and practitioners interested in human happiness. Its editors and chapter contributors are world leaders in the investigation of happiness across the fields of psychology, organizational behaviour, education, philosophy, social policy and economics.
In Freedom Within Reason, Susan Wolf charts a course between incompatibilism, or the notion that freedom and responsibility require causal and metaphysical independence from the impersonal forces of nature, and compatibilism, or the notion that people are free and responsible as long as their actions are governed by their desires. Wolf argues that some of the forces which are beyond our control are friends to freedom rather than enemies of it, enabling us to see the world for what it (...) is. The freedom we want is not independence from the world, but independence from the forces that prevent us from choosing how to live in the light of a sufficient appreciation of the world. (shrink)
In this important book, Susan Hurley sheds new light on consciousness by examining its relationships to action from various angles. She assesses the role of agency in the unity of a conscious perspective, and argues that perception and action are more deeply interdependent than we usually assume. A standard view conceives perception as input from world to mind and action as output from mind to world, with the serious business of thought in between. Hurley criticizes this picture, and considers (...) how the interdependence of perceptual experience and agency at the personal level (of mental contents and norms) may emerge from the subpersonal level (of underlying causal processes and complex dynamic feedback systems). Her two-level view has wide implications, for topics that include self-consciousness, the modularity of mind, and the relations of mind to world. The self no longer lurks hidden somewhere between perceptual input and behavioral output, but reappears out in the open, embodied and embedded in its environment. Hurley traces these themes from Kantian and Wittgensteinian arguments through to intriguing recent work in neuropsychology and in dynamic systems approaches to the mind, providing a bridge from mainstream philosophy to work in other disciplines. Consciousness in Action is unique in the range of philosophical and scientific work it draws on, and in the deep criticism it offers of centuries-old habits of thought. (shrink)
The book is an investigation of the semantics of numericals, counting and measuring, and its connection to the mass/count distinction from a theoretical and crosslinguistic perspective. It reviews some recent major linguistic results in these topics, and presents the author's new research including in-depth case studies of a number of typologically unrelated languages.
Despite huge advances in education, knowledge and communication, it can often seem we are neither well-trained nor well-practiced in the art of clear thinking. Our powers of reasoning and argument are less confident that they should be, we frequently ignore evidence and we are all too often swayed by rhetoric rather than reason. But what can you do to think and argue better? First published in 1939 but unavailable for many years, Susan Stebbing's Thinking to Some Purpose is a (...) classic first-aid manual of how to think clearly and remains astonishingly fresh and insightful. Written against a background of the rise of dictatorships and the collapse of democracy in Europe, it is packed with useful tips and insights. Stebbing offers shrewd advice on how to think critically and clearly, how to spot illogical statements and slipshod thinking, and how to rely on reason rather than emotion. At a time when we are again faced with serious threats to democracy and freedom of thought, Stebbing's advice remains as urgent and important as ever. This Routledge edition of Thinking to Some Purpose includes a new Foreword by Nigel Warburton and a helpful Introduction by Peter West, who places Susan Stebbing's classic book in historical and philosophical context. (shrink)
Most people, including philosophers, tend to classify human motives as falling into one of two categories: the egoistic or the altruistic, the self-interested or the moral. According to Susan Wolf, however, much of what motivates us does not comfortably fit into this scheme. Often we act neither for our own sake nor out of duty or an impersonal concern for the world. Rather, we act out of love for objects that we rightly perceive as worthy of love--and it is (...) these actions that give meaning to our lives. Wolf makes a compelling case that, along with happiness and morality, this kind of meaningfulness constitutes a distinctive dimension of a good life. Written in a lively and engaging style, and full of provocative examples, Meaning in Life and Why It Matters is a profound and original reflection on a subject of permanent human concern. (shrink)
The United States Government does not mandate that US based firms follow US social and environmental law in foreign markets. However, because many developing countries do not have strong human rights, labor, and environmental laws, many multinationals have adopted voluntary corporate responsibility initiatives to self-regulate their overseas social and environmental practices. This article argues that voluntary actions, while important, are insufficient to address the magnitude of problems companies confront as they operate in developing countries where governance is often inadequate. The (...) United States can do more to ensure that its multinationals act responsibly everywhere they operate. First, policymakers should define the social and environmental responsibilities of global companies. They must consistently make their expectations for global business clear – and underscore that this objective can often be accomplished without mandates. Second, the US should closely examine the policies that undermine global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and address the many conflicting signals sent by policymakers. Third, the President should make the US government a CSR model by examining how to use its purchasing power to promote human rights. Finally, the US government should require pension funds to report on the social and environmental consequences of their investments. In these ways, Americans can mind our business – and thus make sure that US based firms do not undermine social and environmental progress when they operate in the developing world. (shrink)
The peculiar dilemma of the self in our era has been noted by a wide range of writers, even as they have emphasized different aspects of that dilemma, such as the self’s alienation, disorientation, inflation, or fragmentation. In The Self: Beyond the Postmodern Crisis, Paul C. Vitz and Susan M. Felch bring together scholars from the disciplines of psychology, philosophy, theology, literature, biology, and physics to address the inadequacies of modern and postmodern selves and, ultimately, to suggest what an (...) alternative, “transmodern” account of the self might look like. The transmodern self, the editors argue, acknowledges meaning and purpose transcending the individual. In other words, it reflects an understanding of the human person that is not only intimately connected with the Judeo-Christian tradition but also rejects the twin delusions of absolute autonomy and cosmic meaninglessness that mark the present age. (shrink)
In this provocative book, Susan Bordo untangles the myths, ideologies, and pathologies of the modern female body. Bordo explores our tortured fascination with food, hunger, desire, and control, and its effects on women's lives.
For over thirty years Susan Wolf has been writing about moral and nonmoral values and the relation between them. This volume collects Wolf's most important essays on the topics of morality, love, and meaning, ranging from her classic essay "Moral Saints" to her most recent "The Importance of Love.".
Susan Stebbing (1885–1943), the UK’s first female professor of philosophy, was a key figure in the development of analytic philosophy. Stebbing wrote the world’s first accessible book on the new polyadic logic and its philosophy. She made major contributions to the philosophy of science, metaphysics, philosophical logic, critical thinking, and applied philosophy. Nonetheless she has remained largely neglected by historians of analytic philosophy. This Element provides a thorough yet accessible overview of Stebbing’s positive, original contributions, including her solution to (...) the paradox of analysis, her account of the relation of sense-data to physical objects, and her anti-idealist interpretation of the new Einsteinian physics. Stebbing’s innovative work in these and other areas helped move analytic philosophy from its early phase to its middle period. (shrink)
Susan B. Levin argues that Plato's engagement with medicine is richer than previously recognized and that he views it as an important rival for authority on nature and flourishing. Levin shows further that Plato's work, particularly the Laws, holds significant promise for bioethics that has so far been nearly untapped.
Susan Schneider (2019) has proposed two new tests for consciousness in AI (artificial intelligence) systems, the AI Consciousness Test and the Chip Test. On their face, the two tests seem to have the virtue of proving satisfactory to a wide range of consciousness theorists holding divergent theoretical positions, rather than narrowly relying on the truth of any particular theory of consciousness. Unfortunately, both tests are undermined in having an ‘audience problem’: Those theorists with the kind of architectural worries that (...) motivate the need for such tests should, on similar grounds, doubt that the tests establish the existence of genuine consciousness in the AI in question. Nonetheless, the proposed tests constitute progress, as they could find use by some theorists holding fitting views about consciousness and perhaps in conjunction with other tests for AI consciousness. (shrink)
In this paper, I look at Susan Stebbing’s articles and reviews that critically engage logical positivism. These appeared before the publication of A.J. Ayer’s Language, Truth and Logic and helped shape the early British reception of logical positivism. I highlight Stebbing’s adoption of G.E. Moore’s tripartite distinction between knowing a proposition, understanding it, and giving an analysis of it and, in light of this distinction, her focus on whether the principle of verifiability can ground a plausible account of communication. (...) Stebbing thinks not, and I reconstruct her reasons, as well as her own account of communication. In doing this, I relate her criticisms to her rejection of methodological solipsism and her dissatisfaction with the logical positivist treatment of statements about other minds and the past. I also argue that Stebbing’s work provides a bridge to later criticisms of logical positivism from ordinary language philosophers. Foregrounding Stebbing’s engagement with logical positivism, especially her focus on communication, paints a fuller picture of how the logical positivists came to be part of analytic philosophy despite having different concerns than many of the British philosophers engaging their work. (shrink)
Violence and the Remaking of a Self Susan J. Brison. Political activism (including lobbying for new legislation, speaking out, educating others, helping survivors) can also help to undo the double bind of self-blame versus helplessness.
Susan James explores the revolutionary political thought of one of the most radical and creative of modern philosophers, Baruch Spinoza. His Theologico-Political Treatise of 1670 defends religious pluralism, political republicanism, and intellectual freedom. James shows how this work played a crucial role in the development of modern society.
Passion and Action is an exploration of the role of the passions in seventeenth-century thought. Susan James offers fresh readings of a broad range of thinkers, including such canonical figures as Hobbes, Descartes, Malebranche, Spinoza, Pascal, and Locke, and shows that a full understanding of their philosophies must take account of their interpretations of our affective life. This ground-breaking study throws new light upon the shaping of our ideas about the mind, knowledge, and action, and provides a historical context (...) for burgeoning current debates about the emotions. (shrink)
The nature/nurture debate is not dead. Dichotomous views of development still underlie many fundamental debates in the biological and social sciences. Developmental systems theory offers a new conceptual framework with which to resolve such debates. DST views ontogeny as contingent cycles of interaction among a varied set of developmental resources, no one of which controls the process. These factors include DNA, cellular and organismic structure, and social and ecological interactions. DST has excited interest from a wide range of researchers, from (...) molecular biologists to anthropologists, because of its ability to integrate evolutionary theory and other disciplines without falling into traditional oppositions. The book provides historical background to DST, recent theoretical findings on the mechanisms of heredity, applications of the DST framework to behavioral development, implications of DST for the philosophy of biology, and critical reactions to DST. (shrink)
On July 4, 1990, while on a morning walk in southern France, Susan Brison was attacked from behind, severely beaten, sexually assaulted, strangled to unconsciousness, and left for dead. She survived, but her world was destroyed. Her training as a philosopher could not help her make sense of things, and many of her fundamental assumptions about the nature of the self and the world it inhabits were shattered.At once a personal narrative of recovery and a philosophical exploration of trauma, (...) this book examines the undoing and remaking of a self in the aftermath of violence. It explores, from an interdisciplinary perspective, memory and truth, identity and self, autonomy and community. It offers imaginative access to the experience of a rape survivor as well as a reflective critique of a society in which women routinely fear and suffer sexual violence.As Brison observes, trauma disrupts memory, severs past from present, and incapacitates the ability to envision a future. Yet the act of bearing witness, she argues, facilitates recovery by integrating the experience into the survivor's life's story. She also argues for the importance, as well as the hazards, of using first-person narratives in understanding not only trauma, but also larger philosophical questions about what we can know and how we should live.Bravely and beautifully written, Aftermath is that rare book that is an illustration of its own arguments. (shrink)
A century after his landmark report Medical Education in the United States and Canada (1910), Abraham Flexner remains an icon in the history of American medical education. Working for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, he visited each of the 155 medical schools then in existence in the United States and Canada, after which he published a blistering, muckraking report. This report helped bring about the destruction of the proprietary medical school, put forth the Johns Hopkins School of (...) Medicine as the ideal of what a medical school should look like, and established Flexner as the unchallenged arbiter of educational reform in American medicine. Two years after the report, he became assistant .. (shrink)
Susan Hekman believes we are witnessing an intellectual sea change. The main features of this change are found in dichotomies between language and reality, discourse and materiality. Hekman proposes that it is possible to find a more intimate connection between these pairs, one that does not privilege one over the other. By grounding her work in feminist thought and employing analytic philosophy, scientific theory, and linguistic theory, Hekman shows how language and reality can be understood as an indissoluble unit. (...) In this broadly synthetic work, she offers a new interpretation of questions of science, modernism, postmodernism, and feminism so as to build knowledge of reality and extend how we deal with nature and our increasingly diverse experiences of it. (shrink)
The Unity of Reason is the first major study of Kant's account of reason. It argues that Kant's wide-ranging interests and goals can only be understood by redirecting attention from epistemological questions of his work to those concerning the nature of reason. Rather than accepting a notion of reason given by his predecessors, a fundamental aim of Kant's philosophy is to reconceive the nature of reason. This enables us to understand Kant's insistence on the unity of theoretical and practical reason (...) as well as his claim that his metaphysics was driven by practical and political ends. Neiman begins by discussing the historical roots of Kant's conception of reason, and by showing Kant's solution to problems which earlier conceptions left unresolved. Kant's notion of reason itself is examined through a discussion of all the activities Kant attributes to reason. In separate chapters discussing the role of reason in science, morality, religion, and philosophy, Neiman explores Kant's distinctions between reason and knowledge, and his difficult account of the regulative principles of reason. Through examination of these principles in Kant's major and minor writings, The Unity of Reason provides a fundamentally new perspective on Kant's entire work. (shrink)
Susan Stebbing’s paper “Logical Positivism and Analysis” (March 1933) was unusually critical of Wittgenstein. It put up a sharp opposition between Cambridge analytic philosophy of Moore and Russell and the positivist philosophy of the Vienna Circle to which she included Wittgenstein from 1929–32. Above all, positivists were interested in analyzing language, analytic philosophers in analyzing facts. Moreover, whereas analytic philosophers were engaged in directional analysis which seeks to illuminate the multiplicity of the analyzed facts, positivists aimed at final analysis (...) which “proves” that there are simples. Stebbing’s paper urged Wittgenstein to recast his philosophy and 1933 abandon those components of it that linked him to the Vienna Circle. (shrink)
____The Rejected Body__ argues that feminist theorizing has been skewed toward non-disabled experience, and that the knowledge of people with disabilities must be integrated into feminist ethics, discussions of bodily life, and criticism of the cognitive and social authority of medicine. Among the topics it addresses are who should be identified as disabled; whether disability is biomedical, social or both; what causes disability and what could 'cure' it; and whether scientific efforts to eliminate disabling physical conditions are morally justified. Wendell (...) provides a remarkable look at how cultural attitudes towards the body contribute to the stigma of disability and to widespread unwillingness to accept and provide for the body's inevitable weakness. (shrink)