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articles
1. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Dariusz Adamek, Józef Bremer The Conscious Brain: Some Views, Concepts, and Remarks from a Neurobiological Perspective
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The goal of this article is to review some aspects of brain anatomy and neurophysiology that are important for consciousness, and which hopefully may be of benefit to philosophers investigating the conscious mind. Taking as an initial point of reference the distinction between “the hard problem” and “the weak problems” of consciousness, we shall concentrate on questions pertaining to the second of these. A putative “consciousness system” in the brain will be presented, paying special attention to diffuse projection systems. The “center of gravity” will be brain connectivity, since consciousness must, critically, be dependent on coherent activity and timing. “Detectors” of synchronicity and coincidence, like NMDA receptors, also necessarily play a role here. To be conscious, we do not need an entire brain. While even large hemispherectomies need not unequivocally affect consciousness, far smaller brain-stem lesions may be devastating in this regard. Even so, the recent discovery by Matthew F. Glasser et al. of 180 separate areas in the human brain cortex is intriguing from a teleological perspective, as it is quite unthinkable that any of them could be “redundant.
2. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Paul Kucharski On the Harm of Genocide
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My aim in this essay is to advance the state of scholarly discussion on the harms of genocide. The most obvious harms inflicted by every genocide are readily evident: the physical harm inflicted upon the victims of genocide and the moral harm that the perpetrators of genocide inflict upon themselves. Instead, I will focus on a kind of harm inflicted upon those who are neither victims nor perpetrators, on those who are outside observers, so to speak. My thesis will be that when a whole community or culture is eliminated, or even deeply wounded, the world loses an avenue for insight into the human condition. My argument is as follows. In order to understand human nature, and that which promotes its flourishing, we must certainly study individual human beings. But since human beings as rational and linguistic animals are in part constituted by the communities in which they live, the study of human nature should also involve the study of communities and cultures—both those that are well ordered and those that are not. No one community or culture has expressed all that can be said about the human way of existing and flourishing. And given that the unity and wholeness of human nature can only be glimpsed in a variety of communities and cultures, then part of the harm of genocide consists in the removal of a valuable avenue for human beings to better understand themselves.
3. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Anna Zhyrkova A Reconstruction of John the Grammarian’s Account of Substance in Terms of Enhypostaton
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The concept of enhypostaton was introduced into theological discourse during the sixth-century Christological debates, and aimed to elucidate the orthodox doctrine of the unity of two natures in the singular hypostasis of Christ. In spite of the fact that the conceptual content of the term is recognized by contemporary scholarship as pertaining to the core of Christology, the notion of enhypostaton is often described as obscure and not clearly defined. The coining of the term is often ascribed to Leontius of Byzantium, whereas in fact he only followed and developed solutions already introduced into Christological discourse by John the Grammarian. The article aims to clarify the notion by offering a philosophical account of the meaning and theoretical origins of “enhypostaton,” as introduced by John the Grammarian in the context of his discussion of substance as en-hypostatical being. Enhypostaton emerges as the proper way of describing the ontological complements of a particular entity. This seems to be a significant development in the philosophical explanation of substance.
4. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Andrzej Wierciński Hegel’s Phenomenology of Unhappy Consciousness: The Dialectic of the Phenomenology of Spirit as the Education of Consciousness
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Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit is a careful description of the progressive unfolding of Spirit. Its dialectic is the education of consciousness. There are three stages of unhappy consciousness: external beyond, changing individual, and achieved reconciliation. Being aware of its own mutability, the self yearns for reconciliation, which can only come from the external beyond, from the unchanging. The quest of unhappy consciousness for reconciliation is characterized by the three stages of devotion, sacramental desire and labour, and self-mortification. The self, constituted by what is other, is never able to achieve lasting satisfaction; it desires the unity of self-consciousness. Through the experience of itself, the self comes to a clearer self-awareness and transgresses its own limits.
5. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Józef Bremer Effect Anticipation and the Experience of Voluntary Action Control
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This paper discusses the issues surrounding voluntary action control in terms of two models that have emerged in empirical research into how our human conscious capabilities govern and control voluntary motor actions. A characterization of two aspects of consciousness, phenomenal consciousness and access consciousness, enables us to ask whether effect anticipations need be accessible to consciousness, or whether they can also have an effect on conscious control at an unconscious stage. A review of empirical studies points to the fact that willed actions are influenced by effect anticipations both when they are conscious and when they remain inaccessible to the conscious mind. This suggests that the effects of conscious voluntary actions—in line with the ideomotor principle proposed by William James—are anticipated during the generation of responses. I propose that the integration of perceptual and motor codes arises during action planning. The features of anticipated effects appear to be optionally connected with the features of the actions selected to bring about these effects in the world.
book reviews
6. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Anna Zhyrkova Matyáš Havrda: The So-Called Eighth Stromateus by Clement of Alexandria
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7. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Note about Forum Philosophicum
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articles
8. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Emmanuel Nartey Omniscience, Free Will, and Religious Belief
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In this paper, I examine a standard foreknowledge argument and some interesting ways of handling it, along with some criticisms. I argue that there are philosophically interesting notions of free will that are compatible with determinism. These are the notions of free will that matter to ordinary life, and I argue that these generate a way for a philosophically interesting understanding of free will to be compatible with belief in God’s infallible foreknowledge. I discuss two key questions—the empirical question and the divine interference question—that are often neglected in the contemporary debate on foreknowledge and free will. Finally, I provide some answers to these questions that I hope can advance the debate.
9. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Carl Humphries Schmalenbach on Standing Alone before God: A Philosophical Case-Study in Ontologico-Historical Understanding
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This article explores the clarificatory potential of a specific way of approaching philosophical problems, centered on the analysis of the ways in which philosophers treat the relationship between ontological and historical forms of commitment. Its distinctive feature is a refusal to begin from any premises that might be considered “ontologistic” or “historicistic.” Instead, the relative status of the two forms of commitment is left open, to emerge in the light of more specific inquiries themselves. In this case the topic in question is furnished by an essay from the early twentieth century German philosopher Herman Schmalenbach, entitled “Der Genealogie der Einsamkeit” (somewhat problematically translated as “On Lonesomeness”). The aim is to show how the import of Schmalenbach’s historicophilosophical treatment of certain features arguably central to the spiritual practices and religious beliefs of Christianity can be more effectively grasped when approached in these terms. The first part provides an overview of the key points of Schmalenbach’s essay, while the second presents some conceptual-analytic considerations as a basis for exploring relations between ontological and historical forms of commitment as these figure in his text. Some possible broader implications for Christianity and its relationship to modern society are then also briefly sketched.
10. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Sergey Trostyanskiy Iamblichus’ Response to Aristotle’s and Pseudo-Archytas’ Theories of Time
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This article aims to shed light on certain aspects of Iamblichus’ theory of time that have not been sufficiently examined to date in the scholarly literature. As of today, there are a mere handful of scholarly works tackling Iamblichus’ solutions to the paradoxes of time in particular, and his contribution to the developments of the Neoplatonic theory of the subject more generally. This article attempts to redress the lack of literature on this topic by examining Iamblichus’ response to Aristotle’s and Pseudo-Archytas’ theories of time. It begins with a brief survey of the philosophical developments that led to and were formative for Iamblichus’ philosophical explorations of the area in question. Then it moves on to provide a detailed account of Iamblichus’ own unique and puzzling theory of time. The author applies the method of comparative analysis, scrutinizing Iamblichus’ solution to the paradoxes of time against the backdrop of Aristotle’s and Pseudo-Archytas’ theories. The author identifies firm scholarly grounds for doing so from within the tradition of Iamblichus studies initiated by the ground-breaking research of Shmuel Sambursky and Salomon Pines and continued, inter alia, in the subtly nuanced analysis of Richard Sorabji and John Dillon. The author concludes that Iamblichus successfully resolved the paradoxes of time and that his conception lent itself to a more effective highlighting of the ordering function of time.