Arango Vargas, Manuel Alejandro
04 April 2016
This dissertation proposes the central elements of a Social Enactive Theory of Perception (SEP). According to SEP, perception consists in sensory-based practices of interaction with objects, events, and states of affairs (objects, from now on) that are socially constituted. I oppose the representational view that perception is an indirect contact with the world, consists of the passive receiving and processing of sensory input, is in need of constant assessment of accuracy, and is a matter of individuals alone. I share the basic enactivist insight that perception is a type of activity, but I depart from standard enactivism on the grounds of its individualistic bias and its limited conception of activity. Instead of motor actions, I formulate the concept of perceptual practices as the appropriate framework to understand perception. Perception is woven into socially informed, contextual, sensory-based everyday activities, such as food, dance, and dress, and even seemingly independent, basic perceptual activities and concepts are constituted by such practices. Perceptual individual interactions instantiate social perceptual practices but are not just repetitions of a script. We perceive objects in virtue of perspectives or appearances, not in spite of them, and on this basis I offer SEPâs take on experience, properties, and contents. I conceive perceptual experience as finely grained interactions between subjects and objects, both of which are spatially, temporally, and pragmatically situated. Objects and their sensory properties are perceived dynamically and always in multiple appearances. Perceptual content offers a pragmatic specification of the perceptual objects in the specific ways they appear to subjects. For SEP, perception is normatively structured. SEPâs perceptual normativity is not a worry about a supposed constant threat that our perceptions be nonveridical, but about the placement of perceptual things in a system of possibilities and expectations, cast in terms of degrees of fulfillment of expectations and in a horizon of pragmatic significance, both of which are functions of the socially constituted interactions between a perceiver and a rich theory of appearances.
Segall, Matthew David
13 July 2016
<p> In this dissertation, I lure the process philosophies of F. W. J. Schelling and A. N. Whitehead into orbit together around the transcendental philosophy of Immanuel Kant. I argue that Schelling and Whitehead’s <i> descendental</i> aesthetic ontology provides a way across the epistemological chasm that Kant’s critiques opened up between experience and reality. While Kant’s problematic scission between the phenomenal world and the thing-in-itself remains an essential phase in the maturation of the human mind, it need not be the full realization of mind’s potential in relation to Nature. I contrast Schelling’s and Whitehead’s descendental philosophies with Kant’s transcendentalism by showing how their inverted methods bridge the chasm—not by resolving the structure of reality into clear and distinct concepts—but by replanting cognition in the aesthetic processes that power it. Hidden at the generative root of our seemingly separate human capacities for corporeal sensation and intellectual reflection is the same universally distributed creative power or imaginal ether underlying star formation and blooming flowers. Human consciousness is not a transcendental onlooker upon the world but a microcosmic participant in the Life of the Whole. Humanity is a development of what has always been enveloped in the Earth and wider universe, as natural as leaves on a tree. </p><p> Through a creative interweaving of their process-relational orientations, I show how the power of imagination so evident in Schelling’s and Whitehead’s thought can provide philosophy with genuine experiential insight into <i> cosmos, theos,</i> and <i>anthropos</i> in the aftermath of the Kantian revolution. The two—<i>anthropos</i> and <i> cosmos</i>—are perceived as one by a <i>common sense</i> described in this dissertation as <i>etheric imagination.</i> This etheric sense puts us in touch with the divine life of Nature, which the ancients personified as the <i>ψυ&khgr;η &tgr;oυ κóσμoυ </i> or <i>anima mundi.</i></p>
Epistemic Injustice and the Problem Of Novelty: Identifying New Tools with Audre Lorde and Hannah ArendtSkene-BjÃ¶rkman, Sandra Diane 01 August 2016 (has links)
Drawing on the work of Audre Lorde and Hannah Arendt, I offer an account of the problem of epistemic injustice that focuses on the contributions of hermeneutically marginalized epistemic agents. Taking Miranda Frickerâs influential account of the problem of epistemic injustice as an example, I argue that current work on the problem suffers from an over-emphasis on the ethico-epistemic practices of the perpetrators of the harm. My revised account of epistemic injustice explores the complex nature of the relationship between the two forms of epistemic injustice identified by Fricker: Testimonial Injustice â which relates to knowledge-production and knowledge conveying-practices; and Hermeneutical Injustice â which relates to storytelling and other meaning-making practices. <p> I argue that Frickerâs monological account of the problem, within which there is only one group social imaginary from which to draw hermeneutical and testimonial resources, leaves epistemic agents with very few resources for making new meanings or conveying new knowledges. In order to access a multiplicity of social imaginaries, within which novel knowledges and ways of making meaning already exist, one must engage with others whose social imaginary differs significantly enough from hers at the level of 1) storytelling, or meaning-making practices, or 2) knowledge-production / knowledge-conveying practices. <p> In outlining my alternative approach to the problem of epistemic injustice, I first break down the six-steps involved in arriving at reflective ethico-epistemic judgments, which are capable of overcoming the prejudicial ethico-epistemic assessments that lead to testimonial and hermeneutical injustices. I then re-cast the problem as a failure of imagination, remembrance, and pluralism, and finally review the ways in which Lordeâs and Arendtâs approaches to ethico-epistemic injustice offer remedies to these particular failures, beginning with the pluralism found in everyday epistemic exchanges. For Lorde this begins with identifying a plurality of knowledges and knowledge-conveying practices, and for Arendt this begins with identifying a plurality of meaning-making practices. The faculties of imagination and remembrance are key to overcoming the problem of epistemic injustice, but they can only be rehabilitated through engagement with a plurality of significantly different others drawing on social imaginaries significantly different than oneâs own.
Semrau, Luke Bascome
24 June 2016
Drawing on empirical evidence in medicine, economics, law, and anthropology, I argue that a market is uniquely capable of meeting the demand for transplantable kidneys, and that it may be arranged so as to operate safely. The welfare gains, expected to accrue to both vendors and recipients, are sufficient to justify sales. Having spelled out the considerations recommending a kidney market, I address the most forceful objections facing the proposal. Despite its currency, the claim that incentives will crowd out altruistic donors and result in a decrease in supply is empirically unsupported and predicated on an implausible view of donorsâ motives. A host of objections claim vendorsâ will not give informed consent. Many such objections identify easily remediable problems, or impose unreasonable standards â standards that would rule out morally permissible kidney donation. And all presuppose a model of morally transformative consent that, I argue, is deficient. Two further challenges point to harms inflicted on those who do not participate in the market. Some claim that those in poverty will be subject to harmful social and legal pressure to vend. This objection fails to distinguish between being pressured to perform a specific act, and being under general economic pressure and having the option to perform an act. It, moreover, presupposes vending more common than is possible. Others worry that the market will give rise to unfair pecuniary externalities. This objection also presupposes that kidney sales will occur more often than is possible. But more importantly, the normative consideration that is supposed to make such externalities especially objectionable, in fact, recommends allowing sales. I also make a political case for kidney sales. I offer an account of the stateâs proper role in the market. I begin with a conception of democratic equality according to which the state is responsible to secure for its citizens the preconditions for democratic participation. I then show that this end would be promoted were the state to end the current prohibition on sales.
28 June 2016
<p> I argue that Kant’s primary epistemological concern in the <i> Critique of Pure Reason</i>’s transcendental deduction is empirical cognition. I show how empirical cognition is best understood as “rational sensory discrimination”: the capacity to discriminate sensory objects through the use of concepts and with a sensitivity to the normativity of reasons. My dissertation focuses on Kant’s starting assumption of the transcendental deduction, which I argue to be the thesis that we have empirical cognition. I then show how Kant’s own subjective deduction fleshes out his conception of empirical cognition and is intertwined with key steps in the transcendental deduction’s arguments that the categories have objective validity and that we have synthetic a priori cognition.</p>
King, Michael, 1966-1998
In this dissertation I seek to overthrow the most sacred dogma in the philosophy of mind: the doctrine that the mind is multiply realizable. Ever since Hilary Putnam introduced Turing machine functionalism, the idea that the mind is multiply realizable has gone unquestioned, and a form of the multiple realizability thesis now permeates the thinking of most functionalists. Nevertheless, I argue, this thesis is mistaken. And precisely because (radical) multiple realizability is the main obstacle of a psychophysical reduction of the mind, by undermining the multiple realizability thesis I open the way for such a reduction to take place. I argue further, however, that analog computationalism is the only form of computationalism that is compatible with psychoneural reduction. I then describe the salient properties of analog computers and explore the implications of these properties for psychoneural reduction.
Covey, Edward Hume.
The case of human development is taken as a paradigm for rights of development and duties to cause development. I argue that our standard intuitions about the moral status of infants presuppose that we ascribe genuine moral significance (including rights of development) to non-persons. A number of considerations (both intuitive and formal) seem to lead to the thesis that there are no necessary conditions for membership in our moral community, or the nearly-equivalent thesis that certain sorts of potentiality are sufficient for rights of development. Both are tentatively defended throughout this work. In the theses suggested above, both the logical and physical possibility of the development in question would be necessary conditions for the applicability of rights of development or duties to cause development. I analyze and evaluate the general claim that potentiality is a ground for moral rights, and investigate whether the physical impossibility of becoming might block some of the supposed counterintuitive implications of potentiality principles. I argue that identity conditions form metaphysical constraints on ethical potentiality principles, ruling out the prescription of many kinds of "becoming" even with any thesis that potentiality entails rights of development. A crucial distinction is drawn between two ordinary-language senses of 'become'. I find no metaphysical grounds, and no specifically moral grounds, for considering kind membership (e.g., species) as morally significant per se, although it remains undecided whether there are reasons for such significance that are grounded in the practical constraints of application of moral principles. Changes of kind do not have significant implications for the limits of potentiality reasoning except inasfar as they are tied up with identity conditions of individuals. It is concluded that our considered intuitions about the moral status of infant development could be generated by several types of theory, all involving some sort of potentiality thesis, and that some potentiality theories are far less problematic than they initially appear to be.
Hershfield, Jeffrey Allan.
Methodological physicalism is the thesis that causal-explanatory notions appearing in true explanations must be physicalistically reducible. The thesis of methodological physicalism has figured prominently, if tacitly, in much recent work on folk psychology. The thesis serves as a premise in the arguments of both realists and eliminativists. In chapter 1 I discuss seven arguments which argue for the truth of methodological physicalism. A principal thesis of this work is that methodological physicalism is false. I argue in chapter 2 that propositional-attitude notions are irreducible but play a causal-explanatory role in true explanations of actions. My account of folk-psychological explanations of actions employs Garfinkel's (1981) notion of explanatory relativity. On Garfinkel's account, an explanandum consists of an event or state of affairs embedded in a contrast space of possible events or states of affairs. By being embedded in different contrast spaces one and the same event or state of affairs can be a constituent of distinct explananda. My account distinguishes between the explanation of an action and the explanation of the bodily movement which realizes that action, on the grounds that they embed the same bodily movement in distinct contrast spaces. One consequence of this view is that the causal-explanatory notions of explanations of actions, viz., propositional attitudes, are not reducible to the causal-explanatory notions of physical explanations of bodily movements. In chapter 3 I critically examine the teleological theory of Millikan, and in chapter 4 my concern is with Fodor's theory of asymmetric dependence. The upshot of my discussion in these chapters is that neither of these proposals is capable of achieving its reductionist aims. The topic of chapter 5 is a view which I dub 'the deflationary theory of meaning.' I argue that the deflationary theory is untenable in the face of Quinean arguments for the indeterminacy of translation. In the final chapter I reexamine the arguments for methodological physicalism cited in chapter 1. One result to emerge from this discussion is the admission that folk-psychological generalizations cannot be explained in terms of more basic physicalistic generalizations.
Dentro del laberinto de Jorge Luis Borges: Una breve sintesis del mundo occidental y el mundo oriental.Yang, Yin. January 1993 (has links)
Esta disertacion es un producto del hechizo y del desconsuelo de leer a Borges. Las obras de Borges, al nivel estetico, construyen laberintos ludicos, entrampadores y matadores con todos sus posibles objetos; al nivel metafisico, sus obras giran, sin excepcion, alrededor del patron de oposiciones y del infinito. De ahi la imposibilidad de su laberinto y su cosmovision ludico-pesimista. En el mundo borgeano, no existe la Verdad, ni el sentido de existencia, ni la iniciativa humana; la muerte es la unica salida/solucion de ese laberinto, de las oposiciones/bifurcaciones/inversiones y del irresoluble infinito. Dada la creencia de ld autora de que la muerte/el infinito no puede ser la unica solucion para el laberinto borgeano, la disertacion explora nuevas y constructivas posibilidades para ese laberinto. El primer capitulo examina como se manifiesta el laberinto estilistico en las obras de Borges y como se asocia con el laberinto metafisico; el segundo capitulo se dedica a la cosmovision de Borges para elaborar la caracteristica laberintica en su pensamiento: su discurso cerrado, su fatalismo jugueton y su pasiva Weltanschauung; el tercer capitulo coloca a Borges en el contexto occidental para presentar la problematica tanto del logocentrismo como del desconstruccionismo--la problematica borgeana; mientras que el cuarto capitulo le ubica al argentino en el contexto oriental (los preceptos extraidos del Taoismo y del Budismo) explorando salidas positivas de su laberinto a traves de la comparacion del maniqueismo con el dualismo, la cosmovision resignada con la antropocentrica y el intelectualismo borgeano con el trascendentalismo espiritual. El fruto de este estudio debe ser una sintesis de los conocimientos directos de la autora sobre las culturas, literaturas y filosofias del mundo occidental y del mundo oriental; debe ser un estudio de las fundaciones metafisicas de la literatura de Borges; debe ser un "rompehechizos" de lo borgeano; y sobre todo, debe ser un desafio para el laberinto de Borges, un desafio existencial y espiritual.
Perlman, Mark David.
Naturalistic theories of the content of mental representations almost universally hold that mental content is a function of the use of mental representations. However, use theories of meaning have a problem explaining how misrepresentation could be possible. If all uses count in fixing meaning, then none of them can be misuses, and there can be no misrepresentation (as well as no conceptual error or false belief). Typical use theories seek to limit the uses which count towards meaning, and they propose criteria which are supposed to make some uses not count in the determination of the meaning of a mental representation, so that some of those non-meaning-fixing uses could be misrepresentations. I argue that none of these attempts can succeed. They are either inconsistent, or question-begging and arbitrary. This includes all two-factor conceptual role theories, causal theories, informational theories, and adaptational role theories. Most also cannot allow for misrepresentation, and those which can do so by invoking some non-naturalistic source of meaning. So, I conclude that no naturalistic theory of content is consistent with the possibility of misrepresentation. Moreover, I propose a way to make sense of content without misrepresentation, by adopting a pragmatic view of representation, inference, and learning. On such a view, identification of an 'error' is interpreted as the adoption of a new concept and discontinuation of the use of the old concept. Concepts are judged with an eye not to truth, but rather, to their utility. We adopt some concepts and not others in virtue of their success in maneuvering through the world, and the social pressure to speak and think using the concepts which others use. Communication between people holding different concepts is still possible provided that the concepts are similar enough for the differences to be irrelevant in the context of the communication. This pragmatic view of meaning and concept change has significant implications for epistemology, metaphysics, truth, philosophy of science, psychology, and artificial intelligence. I pay special attention to the issue of meaning holism, explaining the various levels of holism that the no-misrepresentation can entail.
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